Welcome to our wine list, which we hope is the finest and most wide-ranging in Orkney.
For 2018 we have introduced several exciting new wines, including some favourites that we have a personal connection with. Wine lovers are particularly encouraged to examine our Cellar Selection towards the end of the list where we have some special and rare choices. All bottles are 750ml, unless otherwise stated.
We’ve chosen two white and two red wines to be our house wines – meaning that they are easy to drink, and suited to a wide range of dishes on our menu.
1. Karu, Sauvignon Blanc, 2016, Chile, £16
Dry and refreshing, this crisp, subtly-perfumed Sauvignon comes from Chile’s Central Valley, where cool vineyard sites ensure clean, green flavours. A fine match for seafood and salad, but also a perfect wine to sip by itself. A well-established favourite.
- Grand Cape, Viognier, 2016, South Africa, £16
Our house Viognier is full bodied, with luscious, tropical-fruit aromas. It has a touch of sweetness so will please those who like a medium style; but it’s sophisticated enough to bring a smile to the face of any lover of classic northern Rhône whites.
- Maison de Vigneron, Vaucluse Rouge, 2015, France, £16
A lovely medium-bodied southern red, grown in a river valley west near Avignon. Grenache grapes give a wine that is soft and fruity with just a sprinkle of spice. Very easy to drink, it’s good by the glass or with a wide range of lighter meat dishes.
- Grand Cape, Shiraz, 2016, South Africa, £16
Like its white equivalent, this red wine is a dead-ringer for a fine wine from the northern Rhône – Crozes-Hermitage, perhaps. It’s full-bodied and powerful, scented with raspberries and violets, and very smooth. Extraordinary value for money: South African wine is on a roll.
- Maison de Vigneron, Côtes de Gascogne Rosé, 2016, France, £16
From Gascony, south of Bordeaux, this is a simply delicious rosé. Light, dry and refreshing, it will match fish and salad, or make perfect pink-drinking by itself.
- El Coto, Rioja Rosado, Spain, 2016. £19
A beautiful strawberry-pink colour, and with aromas of strawberries on the nose. This would make a lovely aperitif, though its long, clean finish makes it a good match for seafood too. Certainly the best rosé Rioja we’ve ever tasted.
CHAMPAGNE AND SPARKLING WINE
- Lunetta, Prosecco Spumante, NV, Italy, £24
A fresh and frisky sparkling wine in traditional Italian style. Light bodied and a little off-dry, with crisp appley flavours, this is a very drinkable sparkler.
- Lunetta, Prosecco Spumante, NV, Italy, 200ml bottle £7.25
The same delicious Prosecco, but in a handy 200ml bottle; two decent glasses to share…or to keep for yourself.
- Lunetta, Prosecco Rosato, NV, Italy, 200ml bottle £7.25
A touch of pink adds to the pleasure.
- Valentin Bianchi, Mendoza Brut, NV, £30
Made using the classic Champagne grapes of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and vinified using the classic Champagne method, this offers toasty aromas, long lasting fizz and subtle flavours at a price the French can only dream of. Highly recommended.
- Farnese, ‘Fantini’ Cuvée Rosato Brut, Italy, NV, £35
New for 2018, this intriguing sparkler comes from Basilicata in the far south of Italy. It’s made with the Aglianico grape, which usually ends up in full-bodied reds, but in this case it’s a cherry-scented, slightly sweet, very fruity rosé. Try it by itself or with rich seafood like scallops.
- Taltarni, Sparkling Shiraz, Australia, 2013, £40
Australia’s unique contribution to the world of wine, sparkling Shiraz is a fixture at every down-under Christmas dinner – and it does go well with turkey and trimmings. It’s a fantastic deep red in the glass, with fine crimson bubbles. Despite being dry, it’s a good match for cheese and even dense chocolate puddings as well as roasts of all kinds…not just turkey.
- Champagne Lallier, Grand Cru Grande Réserve Brut, NV, France, £60
Lallier is a small, family-owned winery, free of the overpriced glitz often associated with the big brands. Made entirely from the best Grand Cru vineyards, this superb Champagne is chiefly Pinot Noir, with just a touch of Chardonnay, so has real depths of fruity flavour, as well as a superb, toasty fizz.
- Champagne Lallier, Vintage Champagne, 2008, France, £90
A luxurious Champagne for that special occasion, the Lallier Grand Cru is aged in barrel for more than five years, then in bottle for several more. The result is a rich but harmonious wine (a touch more Pinot Noir than Chardonnay) with great length, depth of flavour, and finesse. Aromas of brioche and baked apple… Very classy indeed, and good with food as well as by itself.
A PERSONAL SELECTION
Château de la Gardine
On holiday at the end of 2017, we travelled the length of the Rhône Valley, exploring the wonderful food and wine of the area. One wine that particularly impressed us was a Châteauneuf-du-Pape by Château de la Gardine, and we asked who distributed it in the UK. Amazingly, they said they didn’t have a UK agent, and just shipped small quantities directly to a few specialist merchants in England. This seemed like a challenge! We got together with our Kirkwall wine merchant, Kirkness & Gorie, and have imported a broad selection directly from the Rhône to Orkney.
On tasting their wines again, it would be an understatement to say we are impressed: whether entry-level Cotes du Rhône or top-end Châteauneuf and Hermitage, these wines offer astonishing quality and great value for money.
They own two wineries: Château de la Gardine itself, an ancient property, owned and run by the Brunel family since 1945, and Chateau Saint-Roch, a few miles to the west, on the other side of the river Rhône, which they have been running since 1998. They also work under the name Brunel de la Gardine as négociants, buying in wine to blend and mature to their exacting specifications from the Northern and further-flung parts of the Southern Rhone. Whatever the label, the wines are very special indeed.
SOUTHERN RHÔNE: WHITE
- Brunel de la Gardine, Côtes du Rhône Blanc, 2017. £19.50
This has complexity far beyond what its modest price would suggest, but it’s the pleasure of drinking it that’s the main thing! Peachy, light to medium bodied, dry but rich – this is by far the best white Côtes du Rhone we’ve ever encountered. Enjoy by itself or with all manner of lighter dishes.
- Château Saint-Roch, Lirac Blanc, 2016 £25.00
Delightful citrus aromas and a touch of oak for added body make this a classic seafood wine. As with the Cotes du Rhône, it’s a blend of traditional grapes including Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Rousanne and Viognier.
- Château de la Gardine, Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc, 2016 £55.00
A majestic white wine, blending Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc grapes, fermented and aged in oak. Its richness is balanced by a distinct minerality from the limestone soil of the vineyards. Try with rich fish and shellfish dishes like monkfish, scallops, lobster and turbot. You could ask for this to be decanted if you wanted to really open up its aromas.
SOUTHERN RHÔNE: RED
- Brunel de la Gardine, Côtes du Rhône Rouge, 2016. £20
Incredible quality for what is often a lowly appellation: this would make a great introduction to Gardine’s wines. Mostly consisting of Grenache and Syrah, it has lovely aromas of violets, a medium to full body, and good length. Try with red or white meat. Above all, just try it! 2016 was the best vintage in the Southern Rhône for more than 25 years: get it while you can, as they have now run out of it at the château.
- Château Saint-Roch, Lirac Rouge, 2016 £25.00
A step up, this Lirac blends Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre to delicious effect. Although it’s aged in oak barrels, they are all old, and so add little oaky flavour: rather, the wine is fresh and fruity and medium-bodied. Good with lighter meat dishes, and cheese.
- Château de la Gardine, Rasteau Rouge, 2014 £30.00
The Brunel family have been farming in Rasteau, a few miles east of the Château, since 1963. Here they grow mainly Grenache grapes, with a small amount of Syrah. The wine is unoaked, allowing the dark and earthy fruit of the Grenache to shine through, lightened by some raspberry aromas from the Syrah. Try with meaty dishes, including duck and other game.
- Château de la Gardine, Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge 2015 £55
This wine is the flagship of Gardine’s production: in France, everything they do is measured against the success of this wine in each vintage. Luckily, although there are many good wines from this famous area, this is often listed as one of the very best. A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah and the (very obscure) Muscardin, it is aged in oak barrels, which provide lovely sweet vanilla aromas, complementing the concentrated dried- and roasted-fruit flavours. For such a big wine, it’s remarkably elegant. Superb with full-flavoured dishes of all kinds. Decant if you can. 2015 was a very good vintage.
- Château de la Gardine, Châteauneuf du Pape Rouge, 2015, MAGNUM £120
The same, but in a double-sized (1.5 litre) bottle. Nothing beats the drama of a magnum of fine wine at the table!
- Château de la Gardine, Châteauneuf du Pape, ‘Gaston Philippe,’ 2011 £115
This is Gardine’s top wine. A careful selection of the best, ripest Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes is made, they are co-fermented, then aged for roughly 18 months in barrel. The resulting wine is dark purple, almost black in colour; it has complex aromas of cassis and berry jam; it is quite big and tannic, making it an ideal match for red meats like steak, and roast lamb or beef. A special wine for special occasions, it’s definitely a good idea to ask for this to be decanted so its concentrated layers of flavour can start to open up.
NORTHERN RHÔNE: RED
- Brunel de la Gardine, Crozes-Hermitage, 2016. £30
Like Côtes du Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage comes from a large area, and consequently quality can be variable. But you don’t have to worry with Gardine! In fact, this wine is an object lesson in Northern Rhône style, and represents amazing quality for money. It’s 100% Syrah, and has beautiful aromas of raspberries and violets, good structure, and loads of soft, generous fruit. If you like Australian Shiraz, try this and found out where the Aussies got their inspiration from!
- Brunel de la Gardine, Hermitage Rouge, 2015 £60
Overlooking the sleepy town of Tain is a precipitous sloping vineyard with a tiny, ancient, stone hermitage on top. From this dramatic setting comes one of the world’s greatest red wines, which somehow manages to be both powerful and graceful at the same time. 100% Syrah, it is dark as ink and has aromas of violets and raspberries, an array of complex flavours that open out in the mouth – truffle, leather, cassis – and a long subtly-spicy finish. Decant if possible, and pair with the finest meat and game dishes.
LIGHT, REFRESHING WHITE WINES
- Goats Do Roam, 2016, South Africa, £20
Charles Back is a maverick with an eye for a humorous label. Luckily, he is also one of South Africa’s greatest winemakers (honoured in 2014 with the IWC Lifetime Achievement Award.) This unoaked blend of Chenin Blanc, Viognier and several other grapes has zingy acidity and great fruity flavours. A Lynnfield favourite.
- El Coto, Rioja Blanco, 2016, Spain, £20
This wine really stopped us in our tracks: the fruitiest, freshest white Rioja we’d ever encountered. To ensure crispness, the grapes are grown in cool vineyards nearly 1000 metres above sea level. A blend of Viura, Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc it is gently aromatic, refreshing, and wonderful with fish and shellfish.
- Corte Giara, Pinot Grigio, 2016, Italy, £22
A lovely Pinot Grigio from its heartland between Venice and Verona, made by one of the area’s greatest winemaking dynasties, the Allegrinis. Lots of perfume, plenty of refreshing acidity, and good length, all coming together in elegant harmony. Great by itself, with fish, or with many salads and even white meat.
CRISP, SEAFOOD-FRIENDLY WHITES
- Azevedo, Vinho Verde, 2017, Portugal, £20
We’re adding a Vinho Verde to our list for the first time, and it’s a stunner. It impressed us immensely when we tasted it in the springtime, and we think it will be a fantastic match for shellfish and seafood generally. Some Vinho Verde’s are bitingly acidic, but this one is restrained: crisp, but also featuring lots of peachy fruit.
- Château du Coing de St Fiacre, Muscadet, 2015, France, £24
A classic seafood wine from the mouth of the Loire valley in eastern France. It originates between the Sèvre and Maine rivers, the best terroir in the area, where the winemaker’s family have owned vineyards since 1421! If you want a light refreshing wine to match mussels or other seafood, look no further.
- Loimer, Kamptal Grüner Veltliner, 2015, Austria, £32
An outstanding introduction to a country whose wines we’re not too familiar with. Grüner Veltliner is about as crisp and zingy as wine gets – and is a fantastic match for oily fish such as mackerel and salmon. If you’re thinking of ordering those dishes, be a bit adventurous and try a ‘GV’ to accompany it: you won’t be disappointed.
- Château de Fontenille, Entre-Deux-Mers, 2015, France, £28
An under-appreciated French classic. White Bordeaux varies in style, but this one is clean and refreshing, with subtle stone-fruit flavours. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon and Muscat, it makes an elegant match for seafood and salads.
- Domaine de Corbillieres, Sauvignon de Touraine, 2016, France, £25
Remarkable value for an excellent Loire Valley interpretation of the world’s favourite aromatic grape: Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a lovely refreshing aperitif and a good match for lighter dishes. If you want to splash out on a Sancerre or Pouilly Fumé, see our Cellar Selection, but if you want to try one of the Loire’s hidden treasures, look no further.
34. Tinpot Hut, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, NZ, £27
Winemaker Fiona Turner has crafted an absolutely stunning Marlborough Sauv Blanc, with all the exuberant, grapefruity perfume the region is famous for. A long, refreshing finish makes this a great match for fish, shellfish and goats cheese – though it’s lovely by itself too.
FULLER BODIED WHITE WINES
- Sileni Estates, Cellar Selection Pinot Gris, 2016, New Zealand, £20
Fuller in flavour and rounder in texture than Italian Pinot Grigio, New Zealand’s Pinot Gris is an increasingly popular style. Sileni’s version is at the lighter end, but still full of lovely pear-juice flavours. Try by itself or with many light to medium dishes.
- Novas, Gran Reserva Chardonnay, 2016, Chile, £25
A lovely full-bodied Chardonnay, from South America’s leading organic producer. Gold in the glass, with beautiful aromas of tropical fruit and toasted nuts. A touch of oak ageing gives a creamy texture, and the boldness to match white meat dishes as well as salads and fish.
37. Waterkloof, Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc, 2015, South Africa, £26
Winemaker Paul Boutinot hosted a Lynnfield Lux dinner in 2016 and, of his many fine wines, this one stood out. It has a full, rich palate with quite a lot of weight, yet it’s balanced with perfect acidity. Try with scallops, white meats, or by itself.
- Domaine Perraud, Mâcon Villages, 2015, France, £30
Every good wine list needs a white Burgundy, but in the face of crazy prices for the famous names and a lot of affordable but dull stuff, where to turn? The answer is to the southern appellation of Mâcon, and a young (mid-thirties) winemaker called Jean-Christophe Perraud. Using grapes from family vineyards as old as he is, he crafts lightly oaked Chardonnays that are full-flavoured and crisply acidic. Very adaptable, but we particularly like it with scallops and other shellfish. Highly recommended for lovers of refined old-world whites.
AROMATIC WHITE WINES
- Domaine de Vedilhan, ‘Sercia’ Viognier, 2017, France, £20
Lovely apricot and peach aromas, typical of Viognier, are allied with a lovely silky texture to produce an easy drinking with that is superb as an aperitif or with any seafood. It’s particularly good with slightly spicy dishes. New for 2018: we predict a popular hit!
- Cave de Turckheim, ‘Tradition’ Gewürztraminer, 2016, France, £26
Happy memories of off-dry, sweetly-aromatic German white wines? This wine should appeal hugely – it’s in a more modern, elegant style but retains all the appealing features of those favourite Germans of old. Lovely perfumes of rose petals and Turkish delight.
- Axel Pauly, ‘Generations’ Feinherb Riesling, 2015, Germany, £30
Axel Pauly recently took over the family vineyards from his father, after working at wineries around the world. His fresh touch is producing fresh modern Rieslings, from very dry to sumptuously sweet; this one is slightly sweet, but very much a sophisticated food wine: a stunning match for crab, and wonderful with any seafood. A perfect aperitif too, especially for those who think they don’t like Riesling! Our wine supplier always chooses this when he comes to The Lynnfield…that must tell you something! (We’ll be moving to 2016 soon.)
- Martin Codax, Albariño, 2016, Spain, £27
Since joining our list a few years ago, this has been a great hit, proving to be a superb seafood wine. Grown in vineyards just a couple of miles from the Atlantic, the cool seaside nights ensure the grapes’ aromatic character is retained, along with a dry, crisp finish. If you haven’t tried Albariño before, we strongly recommend you do.
LIGHT TO MEDIUM BODIED REDS
- Goats do Roam, 2015, South Africa, £20
Another winner from Charles Back: the quality of the wine belies its jokey name. If only all Côtes du Rhône were this fruity, smooth and spicy! Made mostly with Syrah, with touches of Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Grenache for added complexity and warmth, this is easy to drink, easy to love and a match for very many dishes.
- La Madone, Fleurie, 2015, France, £25
A very nice Fleurie indeed, with all the lovely flowery Beaujolais aromatics the name conjures up. A glowing cherry red colour in the glass, and a nice soft slurp in the mouth. One of our most popular reds.
- Big Top, Zinfandel, 2015, USA, £18
When we introduced this wine in 2015, we surprised a few people by placing it in the Light to Medium section. Zinfandels are often big, brutish monsters, but though this one has a healthy 14% alcohol, it’s surprisingly light and fresh. Its fruitiness is complemented by a sprinkling of pepper and spice. From old vines near Lodi, California. Food-wise, it’s a great all-rounder.
- Sileni Estates, Cellar Selection Pinot Noir, 2016, New Zealand, £22
New Zealand is now almost as celebrated for its Pinot Noirs as its Sauvignons: they have the knack of making Pinots that are much rounder and fruitier than comparable Burgundies, but that still retain elegance. Sileni’s is a fine example, delicious to drink by itself and with all but the heaviest dishes.
- Vallet Frères, ‘Kirkness & Gorie’ Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2014, France, £27
Vallet Frères is a small family business established in 1864, and still adhering to traditional methods of vinification. No surprise, then, that their Pinot Noir is in classic Burgundian style: scented with raspberries and smoke, very light in colour and body, though with firm underlying tannins. Match with lighter meat dishes such as chicken or terrine. Less traditional is that it was bottled in Kirkwall by our wine supplier, overseen by visiting winemaker Pierre Vallet. La Vieille Alliance in action: made in France, bottled in Orkney!
JUICY ITALIAN REDS
- Colacino, Savuto Rosso, Italy, 2014, £24
A rarely seen wine from a rarely visited area. Calabria is the toe of Italy’s boot, and in common with much of the far south of the country, it is only just emerging as a fine-wine region. Hot and arid, it has pockets of fascinating ancient vines, such as the Arvino, Greco Nero and Magliocco that make up this blend. Unoaked, light to medium-bodied, and with cherry and balsamic aromas, the Colacino would go well with lighter meat or vegetarian dishes.
- Poggiotondo, Organic Chianti, 2014, Italy, £27
From the heart of Tuscany comes this rich, organic Chianti: it has lots of power and intense cherry flavours, but is very drinkable. A balsamic tang, characteristic of the Sangiovese grape, makes it a great food wine too. Try it with any Italian-influenced dish, or with lamb and other red meats.
- Allegrini, Valpolicella, Italy, 2016, £27.00
Allegrini is one of the stars of the Veneto area in north-central Italy: their Valpolicella stands out like a beacon of quality midst a sea of factory-farmed wines of that name. Light to medium bodied, this has charming cherry aromas, good length, and a lot of class. Try with fuller-flavoured fish dishes as well as terrines, chicken and lighter meat dishes.
- Massolini, Barbera d’Alba, Italy, 2016, £40
Massolino is famous as a maker of fine Barolo but this is a completely different style of Piedmont red: youthfully purple in the glass, it is vibrantly fruity, unoaked, and very easy to enjoy. We enjoyed it at this year’s Wine Festival Lux with Italian-style pot roast beef, but almost any meat dish would work well, even white meat or game, as would cheese.
RIOJA AND BEYOND: SPAIN
- El Coto, Rioja Crianza, 2014, £24
Crianza, the youngest of El Coto’s red Riojas, is all about the fruit. True, it is aged in American oak barrels for twelve months, but that is apparent in attractive vanilla aromas rather than anything very woody. Instead you get loads of raspberry fruit, and a juicy, medium body. Great with white meat, cold meat and terrine, salads, and by itself.
- Coto de Imaz, Rioja Reserva, 2013, £32
The Reserva is aged for 18 months in American oak. Allied with top quality, intensely flavoured Tempranillo grapes, the result is a perfect balance between warm fruit and toasty oak. A full-bodied wine, this is great with any red meat dish, or game, and mature cheese.
- Coto de Imaz, Rioja Gran Reserva, 2011, £45
Only produced in the best vintages, three or four times per decade, the Gran Reserva is aged for 24 months in barrel, then at least 36 more in bottle. The result is a wine of great power, but also subtlety: the initial intense fruit flavours have evolved into a complex layering of dried fruit, leather, spice and coconut. This is not an introduction to Rioja, it’s a wine to move up to when you’ve tried the relatively approachable pleasures of the Crianza and Reserva. After that…with a nice rare steak or roast…this will be heavenly.
- Pinna Fidelis, Rivera del Duero, Spain, 2015, £20
New to our list in 2015, this quickly became a favourite for many regular customers. It’s exuberantly fruity, with aromas of raspberries, blackcurrants and cherries vying for attention – and it’s all underpinned by a subtle flavour of sweet vanilla from oak ageing. Great value for a famous area, and a great all-round red, suitable for a wide range of foods.
- Bodegas Castaño, Hecula, Spain, 2015, £20
A powerful, earthy red from south-east Spain, in the mountains above Alicante. Made from the Monastrell grape (or Mourvèdre as it is known in France) this is a dark, brooding wine with assertive tannins that really comes into its own when matched with a nice juicy steak, North Ronaldsay mutton, or perhaps venison.
- Grão Vasco, Dão, 2016, Portugal, £18
Portugal is best known for robust, spicy reds, so we were excited to discover this light, almost Beaujolais-like red from the rolling hills of the Dão region. New for 2018, we recommend trying it with lighter meat dishes or by itself.
- Foral, Douro, 2015, Portugal, £18
The blend of local grapes – Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, and Touriga Francesca – doesn’t give much indication of what to expect, so we’ll tell you: it’s a full-bodied, characterful wine with herby aromas, and rich plum and raisin aromas. (Not surprising, as it originates in the Douro Valley, home also to rich, plummy Port.) Match with robust dishes.
- Quinta da Terrugem, Alentjo, 2013, £30
Portugal is exporting more and more interesting wines from areas outside the famous Douro and Dão. The grape is Touriga Roriz, the area of origin is Alentjo, east of Lisbon, and the style is warm, dark and spicy, with a firm tannic structure over initial fruitiness. We recommend decanting (or at least swirling around enthusiastically in your glass) and matching with game and red meat. Rarely seen on UK wine lists, this is a real find.
MEDIUM BODIED WINES, OLD WORLD AND NEW
- Chateau los Boldos, Merlot, 2016, Chile, £19
A perfect expression of Merlot from the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes: soft and plummy, with a touch of sweet spice from ageing in French oak. Excellent value and a great match for many meat dishes.
- Chateau los Boldos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile, 2016, £19
As with their Merlot, some of the fruit for this classic Cabernet comes from vineyards dating back as far as 1948. Lovely concentrated cassis aromas and a lick of tannin are the result, make this a perfect match for lamb or mutton.
- Nieto Senetiner, Bonarda, 2015, Argentina, £21
A wine that impressed us hugely at recent tastings. (And that was before we found out it was a multiple award-winner around the world.) A generous mouthful of plummy, brambly fruit, with a refreshing minerality on the finish. After Malbec it’s Argentina’s second most popular red, and we reckon it could become just as popular over here too. Try with any white or red meat.
- Château Mahon-Laville, Bordeaux Supérieur, 2015, France, £29
A blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is smooth, well-structured, but with bags of blackcurrant and plum fruit. Ideal with lamb and other red meats. The owner and winemaker is Jean-Christophe Barbe, Professor of Oenology at Bordeaux University, so you can be confident that this is classic Claret!
BIG SPICY REDS
- The Goatfather, South Africa, 2014, £26
We tried this at a Lynnfield Lux dinner in the depths of winter, and were wowed but its dark, fruity, spicy blend of Shiraz and Pinotage. So we decided we had to have just one more South African on the list!
- Altos los Hormigas, Malbec Clasico, Argentina, 2015, £28
Argentina’s ‘national grape’ brings its signature dark purple colour and plummy aromas to this outstanding food wine. Lots of character and good length make it a natural to pair with a good steak. An established favourite.
- Mitolo, ‘Jester’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, 2015, £30
We have featured Mitolo’s wines at several Lux dinners. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is made using partially dried grapes, resulting in a classic Southern Australian red: deep in colour, powerfully scented, a bit of a blockbuster in fact. But with the right food its balance shines through; try with steak, stews and even cheese.
- The Black Craft, Shiraz, Australia, 2015, £28
This is what makes Australia a great wine country: straight-ahead, no-nonsense, easy-drinking red, with buckets of warm, red berry flavours, substantial but not sledgehammer body, and a few subtle eucalyptus notes tucked away underneath. Pure pleasure.
Our Sherries are produced in Jerez by a Norwegian, Jan Pettersen. The Spaniards have taken him to their heart – and anyone trying these wonderful wines will understand why. They really are (as the critics are saying) amongst the finest Sherries in existence. All are available by the glass, and make excellent aperitifs, though we do recommend the Fino as an excellent seafood accompaniment too.
- Fernando de Castilla, Classic Fino, NV, Spain, £25 £4
Mouth-wateringly fresh, crisp and dry, this would be lovely by itself at the start of a meal, or – best of all – with fish and shellfish.
- Fernando de Castilla, Classic Amontillado, NV, Spain, £28 £4
Lengthy ageing in oak results in a tawny-coloured, smooth and nutty wine, with just a hint of sweetness. A great aperitif, or good with mixed, tapas-style foods, and cheese.
- Fernando de Castilla, Classic Cream, NV, Spain, £28 £4
Moderately sweet but not syrupy: this is mahogany coloured and aromatic. A good aperitif for those who like to start sweet; but can also accompany desserts and cheeses, especially blues.
- Curatolo, Marsala Superiore Dolce, NV, Italy. £30 £5
The Curatolo family have been making Marsala for over a century. This, their top wine, is smooth, semi-sweet, complex and very drinkable. Sip as an aperitif, or after dinner, or even with a biscuit instead of afternoon tea!
LYNNFIELD CELLAR SELECTION
We are proud to offer a special selection of premium quality wines, from some of the world’s leading winemakers. As elsewhere in our list, we have selected here on the basis of interest and appropriateness for our menu, rather than just ‘bagging’ famous names. We would be very happy to decant any of these wines for you, which may be beneficial for some of the bigger reds in particular: please just ask us when you order.
- Château Mouras, Grand Vin de Graves, 2014, France, £40
An equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot ensure there’s plenty of fruit here, but the traditional minerality of Graves – from its gravelly soil – adds something special. A traditional Claret, then, with a fresh edge.
- Clos de la Cure, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2012, France, £50
The wines of St Emilion are favoured by attractive plummy aromas and soft, generous bodies, and this is no exception. Long ageing in oak is apparent only in the underlying structure, generously clothed in rich, rounded Merlot fruit. Tannins are very fine, the finish long. A good match for game, beef or mature cheese.
- Château Tayac, Margaux, 2010, France, £57
A classic left bank blend, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and just a touch of Petit Verdot in support. The wines of the Margaux appellation are famed for their subtlety, finesse and fine tannins, and this is no exception. But this fourth-generation family wine has an intensity of fruit that marks it out as something special – especially with roast beef or lamb.
- Laroche, Chablis, 2015, France, £45
Gwénaële Laroche stayed here during the Orkney Wine Festival a few years ago and introduced us to her whole range. We decided to make this lovely wine our house Chablis. Unoaked, it’s a refreshing, streamlined interpretation with loads of crisp lemony fruit. A good match for fish, shellfish, chicken or salads – or as a palate-stimulating aperitif.
- Vallet Frères, Meursault, 2015, France, £70
‘One wishes there were more people like Vallet in Burgundy,’ wrote renowned critic Robert Parker, praising their adherence to traditional Burgundian wine-making. This Meursault is a great example of the classic style: elegant in texture, with complex vanilla and cashew aromas and a long fresh finish. Superb with chicken, lobster and other rich, creamy dishes.
- Vallet Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Clos de la Justice,’ 2011, France, £70
Clos de la Justice is a ‘monopole,’ an ancient vineyard site exclusively owned and vinified by the Vallet family. A unique piece of terroir, it lies immediately behind their cave in the heart of Gevrey-Chambertin. Its wines have all the finesse and complexity you’d expect of a fine Côte d’Or red, with the warmth of the site lending just a little extra intensity of fruit than most.
- Domaine Jean-Pierre Bailly, Pouilly Fumé, 2016, France, £30
The Loire Valley is heartland of traditional Sauvignon Blancs, and this is a sophisticated yet easy to drink wine from one of its most famous villages. The fruit is there in abundance, but so are fleeting aromas of smoke and flint. Delicious.
86. Domaine Henry Pellé, Sancerre ‘La Croix de la Garde,’ 2015, France, £35
A classic Sancerre and a wonderful wine: mixing generous fruity aromas with underlying crisp minerality as only Sancerre can. Great with shellfish, goat’s cheese, asparagus – or, of course, by itself.
87. Domaine de la Chevalière, Bourgeuil ‘Busardières,’ 2006, France, £45
A rare opportunity to try a mature Loire Valley red from a great family producer, who have been making wine here for over 400 years. A dense, concentrated Cabernet Franc, this has wonderful aromas of blackcurrant leaf, black cherries and tobacco leaves. Ask for it to be decanted, and wave after wave of wonderful aromas will be awoken. Wonderful with duck or other game, and also with most red meats or even a cheeseboard.
- Alpha Zeta, Amarone, 2011, Italy, £55
A wine unique to the Valpolicella area, made by air-drying Corvina and Rondinella grapes till their flavours concentrate and intensify. It’s a big wine in every sense: Port lovers who want a wine to accompany their main course will be delighted by this! A winner with hearty beef and game dishes, or with strong, hard cheese to finish your dinner.
- Campiogiovanni, Brunello di Montalcino, 2009, Italy, £65
One of the great wines of Italy, Brunello is made in and around the mountain-top village of Montalcino in the south of Tuscany. The warm climate delivers very ripe grapes, and consequently wines of great power and complexity. Brunello can be noticeably tannic, but with the right food – beef, mutton, roast pork – it is a truly memorable experience.
- Poderi Colla, Barolo, Bussia Dardi Le Rose, 2012, Italy, £62
A textbook Barolo: in the glass it’s the colour of a Piemontese sunset, on the nose there’s tar and roses, on the palate plenty of firm tannin. We recommend decanting this wine, and matching it with our heartiest beef and mutton dishes. Then it will be reveal its true majesty: an Italian classic, with real class.
- Shaw+Smith, M3 Chardonnay, 2016, Australia, £48
A stunning, full-flavoured Chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills. Shaw+Smith coax amazingly concentrated fruit from their high-altitude, cool-climate vineyards, then age it in good quality oak. The result is multi-layered, complex, full-bodied and a wonderful match to the richest fish and shellfish dishes, as well as white meat and pungent cheese.
- Shaw+Smith, Shiraz, 2015, Australia, £48
We’ve loved this wine for years, and had mixed feelings when it won the Australian Shiraz Trophy at 2014’s International Wine Challenge. We were pleased, because it’s a powerful yet perfectly balanced red that deserves all the prizes going; but we were disappointed, because it swiftly became almost impossible to find! (Lovers of Northern Rhône reds should give this a try.)
- Greywacke, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, New Zealand, £35
Kevin Judd was founding winemaker at Cloudy Bay, and guided that winery to its immense critical and popular success over more than twenty years. Ten years ago, he moved on and founded his own, much smaller winery, and has had immediate rave reviews. This is not a simple, grassy Marlborough Sauvignon: Judd introduces multiple levels of complexity and richness. Outstanding with white meat as well as rich fish dishes.
- Greywacke, Wild Sauvignon, 2012, New Zealand, £60
A very rare opportunity to enjoy an aged Sauvignon Blanc from one of the world’s greatest experts. We know what you’re thinking: shouldn’t Sauv Blanc be drunk young and fresh? Usually, yes. But Kevin Judd has made a wine so densely packed with flavour – from careful fruit selection, wild yeast and oak ageing – that it matures beautifully. Superb with all seafood. Sip and enjoy one of the world’s great white wines: there’s probably not another restaurant in the country where you can enjoy this experience!
- Greywacke, Marlborough Pinot Noir, 2013, New Zealand, £60
Greywacke are best known for their whites, but their Pinot Noir is such a stunner (featured at the 2016 Orkney Wine Festival) that we just had to add it to our list. It has the depth of flavour and balance of a great Burgundy, but with the exuberant fruit that only the New World can bring. This is never going to be a best seller…but everyone who tries it will love it!
- Emiliana, Coyam, 2014, Chile, £40
One of Chile’s greatest red wines, from one of the world’s finest and largest organic producers. It’s a blend of no fewer than six different grape varieties with Syrah and Carmènere providing most of the dark, intensely-flavoured fruit. The unusual blend, and oak ageing, create a wine reminiscent of a South American Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and one that has been acclaimed by critics; leading US writer James Suckling, for instance, gave this vintage 94 points. Forget the critics…just order up a nice steak or roast, decant if possible, and enjoy a very special glass of red.
2016 saw us travelling through some of the wine producing areas of Germany. Although we have listed Axel Pauly’s excellent Riesling for many years (see above), there are many fine German wines beyond its most famous export. So here are four excellent wines, all from the vineyards around Lauffen am Neckar, and all made from obscure but delicious grapes.
- Hirschmüller, Grauburgunder, 2016 £32
German for Pinot Gris – but very different from Italian or New World styles. This is a bone-dry white, but elements of citrus and white fruits soften the finish. It has prominent acidity and will accompany salmon – fresh or smoked – admirably. Also, a great match for shellfish, particularly crab.
- Lauffener Weingärtner, Poet Series Schwarzriesling, 2014 £27
The German name for Pinot Meunier, one of the three Champagne grapes, which is rarely vinified on its own. It is a lightly flavoured red wine, reminiscent of cherries, raspberries and loganberries with a slightly spiced finish. It is good with chicken, charcuterie and salads; or even try it with fish.
- Lauffener Weingärtner, Poet Series Cuvée Cabernet, 2013 £27
An assemblage of Cabernet varieties, this leads with black fruits, but notes of spice and cedar come in behind thanks to the delicate influence of oak ageing. This is ideal with steak, game or North Ronaldsay mutton.
- Schaaf, Dornfelder, 2015 £27
This traditional, off-dry red exhibits ripe flavours of bramble, blaeberry and blackcurrant cordial. A ready match for cheese – on its own or in a sauce – it will also perfectly accompany dishes with a bit of spice.