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Friday, 24 August 2012

Two Eastern Mediterranean Wines from Marks and Spencer

I was sent a selection of six Eastern Mediterranean wines by Marks and Spencer some time ago and thought it might be interesting for colleagues to try them at our usual after-work Wine Club.

It's taken a while, but we finally opened the first two yesterday.

Sevilen Sauvignon Blanc 2011 - Turkey (£59.94 for 6, online)

Straw coloured and bright in the glass - expressively herbaceous, aromatic and pungent on the nose with a crisp freshness.

It is crisp and zingy on the palate with ripe, citrus and grapefruit acidity, a touch of lime peel, some pineapple fruit sweetness.

Full and mineral with good depth, it is long with a persistent, minerally zesty finish.

The label says it is from the Aegean region, so presumably  western Turkey not far from Greece. It rather reminds me of a Greek SB, but is perhaps rather better value for money.

There's scant information on the back label, but I'd hazard a guess at it being grown at altitude on rocky soils, with cooling sea-breezes and temperature-controlled fermentation; it has that tri-partite mix of fullness / depth, freshness / structure and good expressiveness.

A good and interesting wine; match with something appropriately Mediterranean - light seafood with herbs, mozzarella with pesto, crostini with garlic and olive oil.

Binyamina Merlot 2010 - Israel (£59.94 for 6, online)

This Israeli Merlot is a relatively pale purple colour when I pour it into the company decanter - on the nose there is vanilla spice, dark fruit, hints of chili bitterness and coffee and something slightly vegetal and decaying that I can't quite place.

Unfortunately, that proves to be the most intriguing aspect to this wine; on the palate there is more ripe plummy fruit and a soft inky texture. It is grippy with a hint of astringency or graininess, and although not long on the palate, the finish is persistent and slightly smokey.

It is pleasant enough and well-made if somewhat unspectacular, and rather shows the general limitations of Merlot, to my mind.

The back labels declares that it is kosher and suitable for passover, but then suggests matching with beef lasagna (which is forbidden, as it mixes meat and dairy).

With prominent acidity, I'm inclined to suggest matching with salami, but that is a no-no as well, but perhaps a rich bolognese would go well.

Recommended Wine

It was unanimously agreed at Wine Club that the Sevilen SB was by far the more interesting of the two.

Both wines provided for review.

Links

Marks and Spencer - http://www.marksandspencer.com/

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