(But don’t let him hear us calling him that.)
We source several of our favourite wines from Liam Steevenson, Master of Wine and flying winemaker (although his flight feathers are severely clipped at this point in time!). These include the easy-going Flora & Fauna red and white – great value at just a tenner a pop; the bright and juicy Le Lievre (the hare), Minervois; the crisp-yet-creamy L’Abeille Picpoul de Pinel; the powerful Immortelle, its medium-bodied sibling La Petite Immortelle, and their sweet cousin the Immortelle Rivesaltes Grenat; our “Angel-beater” rosé, Maïa; and the wonderfully textured El Garbi Blanco, a complex, fresh/mineral/earthy Garnacha Blanco (Grenache Blanc) grown at altitude in the high land of the Terra Alta in Catalonia, Spain.
Well two new wines of Liam’s have hit our shelves this week and we’re very excited to have them both. We always knew that we had a space for a white Bordeaux and so we were delighted when Liam introduced “La Pélerine” (the pilgrim). What we didn’t know we needed was another Spanish Grenache. But once we’d tasted El Garbi Tinto, the red counterpart to El Garbi Blanco, OMG* did we need it!
La Pélerine, Bordeaux Blanc, France
A fantastically sophisticated blend of 2/3 Sauvignon Blanc and 1/3 Semillon in the classic style of Entre-Deux-Mers – this one gains extra depth and complexity from the concentration of the Semillon grapes that come from old vines and a limited period of skin contact to drive the structural tannins that underlie this refreshing, zingy wine.
El Garbi Tinto, Terra Alta, Spain
In southern France and Spain, traditionally Grenache Noir / Garnacha Negro, produces deep and powerful wines. Try Tres Picos, from North-Eastern Spain, or Origine Rouge, from the Rhône Valley in France – two delicious, deep, chocolatey wines. But grow your Grenache Grapes at altitude in the Terra Alta, harvest them before the over-ripen, and then treat them gently and blend them with a little of the El Garbi white Grenache and you have a wine so light and juicy that it can rival a Pinot Noir.
*OMG – Oh My Grapes!