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New World Wine Tasting

Our wine expert Rich the Graped Crusader is back for his fourth installment. This time round Rich took a trip to The Gallery at Selfridges to attend a masterclass with Selfridges’ Head Sommelier Dawn Davies.

Held in the Gallery Restaurant at Selfridges Dawn guided us through the wines below to show the typical varieties found in each region and the distinctions which could be drawn between grapes. The Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc examples showed particularly contrasting styles which demonstrate the sheer range of wine styles being produced in the New World.

I’ve reviewed and rated each wine below as a guide to my preferences.

Glass of Red Wine with a bottle of Red Wine shot on a white background.

Selfridges J&H Edwards Unoaked Chardonnay (Australia) – £14.99

We started the night with this unoaked Chardonnay made for Selfridges by the Edwards family in the Adelaide Hills. This had real hints of a classic French Chablis with a dry acidic finish and mineral characters. A nice wine but not a show stopper.

Dombeya Chardonnay (South Africa) – £14.50

I’ve always liked a little oak influence on my Chardonnay and this has just that. With a  real buttery taste on the palate and hints of limes this is more in line with a typical New World Chardonnay. Pretty impressive!

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc (Chile) – £10.99

I’m a bigger fan of Chile’s reds than their whites but I thought this was a quite pleasant wine. It was certainly sweeter than classic Sauvignon from New Zealand (see below) coupled with hints of grass on the palate. A decent wine but not the best white we had.

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand) – £20.99

Obviously it’s easy to give high marks to the most expensive wine we had, but it is really good! Arguably the wine that started it all for the Kiwis, this is textbook Marlborough Sauvignon with just the right level of acidity to balance the tropical fruit flavours. I could drink this all night. If you’ve never tried this, you really should!

The Crater Rim Pinot Noir (New Zealand) – £14.99

I must admit, I’ve always preferred the big brash red wine styles to the more subtle and lighter styles but I was quite impressed with this one. With lovely strawberry hints on the nose and a slightly oaky finish it was very enjoyable. Certainly a good example of what the Kiwis can achieve with this difficult but rewarding grape variety.

Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa) – £18.99

With a nod to the Old World types of Cabernet Sauvignon this was a tannic monster, with dark berry flavours, hints of tobacco and a real gamey quality. An impressive Cabernet but just not quite fruity enough for me.

Wangolina Station Shiraz (Australia) – £12.99

The find of the night in my opinion. This Shiraz shows the current trend of some Aussie winemakers in producing slightly more restrained type of wines. Coming from Mount Benson on the Limestone Coast this really impressed me. Hints of dark berries and leather and hints of spice made this a very interesting wine. The only wine I took home with me from the tasting. Excellent value.

Gouguenheim Malbec (Argentina) – £10.99

Dark in colour and, as Dawn pointed out, having real hints of Christmas spices. This would be a perfect wine for a winter night in. Massive cherry flavours and hints of spice and cinnamon added up to another great Malbec example from Argentina. If you haven’t yet tried this grape variety this is a very good starting point.

All in all a very good tasting with some great reminders of the quality of wines coming out of the New World which are making some Old World winemakers sit up and take notice!

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