The Churchfield Selection Box #1 is our first foray into mixed cases. It’s been driven partly by our mission to introduce as many of you as possible to great wines that you may not have discovered yet and partly by customers asking us: “When are you going to do a selection box?”
Each of these wines represents what our shop is about: helping you uncover and (hopefully) enjoy wines that don’t usually make their way onto a supermarket shelf. Wines that are a little off the beaten path: perhaps made from unusual grapes, or from lesser-known regions, or by biodynamic, artisan producers.
Each of these wines has done particularly well in the shop. Some of them are new vintages of favourites, but we tasted them all before re-stocking, to ensure they still came up to scratch.
Below, you’ll find a bit more information on the wines, what to expect from each and which foods make good matches. Have fun, and let us know what you think!
Chateau Dereszla Dry Tokaji 2012 (Hungary)
The Dereszla Winery dates back to Medieval times. In 2000, it was bought by the D’Aulan family, the former owners of Champagne House Piper Heidsieck.
Tokaji refers to a wine that comes from the Tokaj region in Hungary, more famous for its sweet wine Tokaji Aszu. The two main grapes that make the dessert wine are used to make this dry, very food-friendly wine: Furmint, with its light tropical flavours and searing acidity; Hárslevelű, with its aromatics and gentle spicing.
Try with: Piquant food such as chicken paprika, five-spiced pork chops or a mild, creamy chickpea curry. It’s also good with roast pork belly, or monkfish wrapped in Parma ham and roasted.
Domaine Perraud Bourgogne Aligoté 2011 (France)
Aligoté is the other white grape used in Burgundy (besides the more prestigious Chardonnay). It can make – in our opinion – rather dull, acidic wines. But winemaker Jean-Christophe Perraud has turned it into a supple, fresh combination of crunchy peaches and lemons.
It is fermented with wild yeasts, and gets its creamy texture by going through malolactic fermentation to soften some harsh acids, resting on its lees (post-fermentation yeast cells) for six months in tank, before a further four months’ ageing in bottle.
Try with: Roast chicken. A great combination. Other good matches include tagliatelle with a salmon and cream sauce, cauliflower or macaroni cheese, pork loin stuffed with peaches and thyme, and roasted or poached meaty fish some as salmon or halibut.
Weingut Winter Riesling Trocken 2012 (Germany)
Mention the phrase “German Riesling” and many people run for the hills in fear of sweetness. However, this Riesling is DRY. More of the sugar from grapes is converted into alcohol. So it has a bit more body than your classic off-dry Riesling plus bags of lime flavours – juice, pith, blossom with a peachy underbelly and lip-smacking acidity. We think it makes a great bridge between steely new world Rieslings and off-dry old world ones.
Try with: Prawns or squid with chilli, lime and coriander, Thai-style crab cakes, Vietnamese spring rolls, chicken roasted lemon and oregano or a risotto primavera.
Clos du Gravillas Sous Les Cailloux des Grillons 2012 (France)
This red wine is one of several produced by American John Bojanowski and his French wife Nicole, who organically farm their domaine in Saint-Jean-de-Minervois.
We think they make some of the most interesting wines in the Languedoc
This medium-bodied, rather playful wine is a blend of seven grapes (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Grenache, Counoise, Terret Gris and Mourvèdre). It makes us think of ripe bramble juice trickling over gravel, with flecks of licorice.
Try with: Autumn stews, roasted root vegetables and toad in the hole. Or how about John and Nicole’s suggestions? “With steak, falafel sandwiches or just with good friends.”
Pittnauer Velvet NV (Austria)
Technically, this is mainly made from grapes harvested in 2010 near Austria’s border with Hungary. But, for one reason or another, biodynamic winemaker Gerhard Pittnauer blended in some wine from 2009.
As the name suggests, this is smooth, easy drinking and lush – a blend of Austrian grapes Zweigelt and Blaufränkisch, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is one of our most popular wines.
It’s the sort of wine you can sip on its own, but could take you through a meal. Well, perhaps not the dessert…
Try with: Roast beef, pork stew, sausage rolls, nut roast, chilli con carne or even just a simple baked potato with Cheddar.
Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent 2010 (Lebanon)
While Chateau Musar raised the profile of Lebanese wine to modern oenophiles, it was the Jesuit priests who founded Chateau Ksara in 1857 that paved the way by producing the country’s first dry red wine.
This blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in oak for six months, adding ripples of vanilla and cloves to the concentrated juicy fruits and robust tannins.
The vinous equivalent of slipping on a light woolly jumper as the temperatures start to dip.
Try with: Lamb dishes. Perhaps not the sweet spring meat, but more flavoursome dishes like shepherd’s pie, slow-cooked lamb shanks, and lamb tagine. Other good matches include merguez sausages and couscous, cottage pie (even a veggie one) or a char grilled rump steak.