Spring into action
Published by David Adamick on 09/05/2019
Wondering what wines to pair with spring's seasonal ingredients? Roberson food and wine matching aficionado David Adamick makes some suggestions.
This should put a little one in your step now that the season’s arrived, and with it some great new additions to the Roberson portfolio: Jurançon Sec, London Cru English Bacchus/Pinot Noir Rosé, Jasnières, Coteaux-de-Loire, Cahors and Lalande-de-Pomerol to keep us busy when taking on spring’s seasonal offerings.
These being morels, cockles, winkles, oysters, sardines, crab, spring lamb and venison to name a few. At a glance, things for the most part are looking fresh and delicate, where wines of elegance and restraint will find their best expression.
Shellfish love everything from Champagne to Sauvignon/Chenin Blanc to Picpoul de Pinet and it’s always a minor joy to find more obscure, regional alternatives to the old favourites. Step up regional co-op Cave de Gan’s ‘Brut Océan’ Jurançon Sec, a cuvée of 100% Gros Manseng, a main local varietal from the Jurançon appellation near the town of Pau in the extreme south-west of France. All hand-harvested fruit of certified raisonée farming, fermented in stainless steel tank, ‘Brut Océan’ offers crisp, white stone fruit, a slight waxy and nuttiness and underlined by saline minerality, having both the acidity and definition to meet the delicacy of the season’s frutti di mare, and yet rounded with more body than you might expect. And as with Picpoul, Gros Manseng is perfect with grilled sardines – they also being in season.
No less so Roberson’s soon-to-arrive wines from Pascal Janvier, whose Jasnières (Cuvée du Silex) and Coteaux-de-Loire give us striking acidity and a precision of fruit ideal with more delicate crustacea: pale, straw-hued, light and also delicate; nicely balanced and quite fresh; both cuvées have the slightest residual sugar that harmonises well with crab’s natural sweetness.
And continuing the elegance is the returning London Cru Baker Street Bacchus, fresh from Kent/West Sussex vineyards: expressive gooseberry and elderflower aromas and a hint of freshly cut meadow. On the palate is great length, crisp acidity and wonderfully textured finish from aging on lees. Hand-picked fruit and gently pressed in whole bunches to preserve the delicate aroma and freshness, the majority fermented in stainless steel, with 10% fermented in barrel to help build texture on the mid palate.
Close on the heels of Bacchus is the new Rosaville Rd Rosé, 100% Pinot Noir rosé from Surrey’s Greyfriars Vineyard. This will offer seasonal fare aromas of pink grapefruit and fresh strawberries with an elegant textural quality from time ageing on lees. A luminous, pale salmon hue it has also subtle savoury Pinot notes to compliment beautifully the natural delicacies of spring.
As for reds, well, lamb loves ‘em all. But given its fattiness, we can do with an extra bit of tannin for which our first stop will be France’s own Mendoza -- Cahors. That is to say, the original heartland of Malbec. The twist here, however, is that Roberson’s new Prieuré de Cénac Cahors is made by a long-time winemaker in Argentina, Hervé Fabre, offering a wonderful expression to counter the relative glut of South American Malbec in the UK market. Fresh, crunchy black fruit with wonderful grip; firm structure, lovely sweet spice and deep, earthy flavours with smoky, liquorice notes. Quite literally, Prieuré de Cénac Malbec is a most welcome refreshment from what is often enough the heavy-going, overripe and alcoholic New World offerings that abound.
Finally, Châteaux Moncets and Chambrun, a coupled establishment of the Lalande-de-Pomerol appellation will be a final and ideal consideration as their Merlot-based, Right Bank wines meet both the weight and richness of lamb and venison, providing superb grip and acidity for counter balance. The 2014 Chateau Moncets is 66/32/2% Merlot, Cab-Franc, Cab Sauv offering more verve, freshness, red/black fruit and heightened acidity cleaning up nicely with ¾ used oak elegantly interwoven. A gutsier and opulent 2011 Château Chambrun has a predominance of Merlot (83%) with the remainder Cabernet Franc, offering slightly smoky, blackcurrant and blackberry fruit on the nose with silky tannins, sweet spice, fresh black fruit on the palate, finishing long and clean. With 50/50% new/old wood this time (also 16 months on) both wines display a more modern freshness and purity of fruit over oak and extraction.
May your spring table creak!
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