Joseph Barnes Wines
Charles Hardcastle of Joseph Barnes Wines has an enthusiasm for all things quirky and offbeat, eschewing the classics for organic, biodynamic and natural regional wines.
Here, more than anywhere, you need the guiding hand of an independent merchant with a good palate, but at their best, these wines are vibrant and fresh in a way that more conventional mainstream wines can only dream of.
Casa Belfi, Colfondo Prosecco 2012, Italy (£14.99) sealed with a crown top, it looks like cloudy lemonade; it is actually a natural, unfiltered traditional-method Prosecco. Fresh sharp and lemony, with a fine mousse and linear acidity. Neither a Champagne nor a Prosecco, it is vibrant and vivacious.
Serve as an aperitif.
De Martino Muscat, 2012, Chile (£11.50) Made from the less aromatic and ancient Muscat d'Alexandrie grape grown at an altitude of 800m, this is plump yet fresh with sweet, ripe lemony apple flavour. There is a rich, apricotty Viognier-like character with minerality and freshness.
Match with light starters or roast chicken.
Bodegas Aroa Laia, Navarra 2013, Spain (£11.50) a garnatxa / Garnacha / Grenache, this late-ripening grape is full of ripe fruits with pencil shavings and some woodsy-earthiness. Sweet, ripe vibrant cherry fruit, it is clean, pure, fresh and supple. An easy drinker, it can be lightly chilled in summer.
Match the supple freshness with tuna, barbecue foods or roast chicken.
Chateau de Jau, Muscat de Rivesaltes 2011, France (£11.99, 50cl) made from the aromatic Muscat a Petits Grains and fortified to 16% with grape spirit, this sweet-strong wine, drunk locally as an aperitif, is floral with candied lemon and marzipan, sweet spice and touch of alcoholic bitterness.
Match with lemon torte.
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