the home gourmet has taken great pleasure in travelling to France and Italy's lesser-known vineyards to discover some of the most exciting and exclusive wines for your pleasure.
Whether it is a world classic, or a hidden gem, the home gourmet takes great pleasure in offering a wine menu that is perfectly matched to your meal or event.
A Chardonnay from the Mâconnais area of southern Burgundy. Made in a soft, bright style with melon flavours and no oak ageing, this is an easy-drinking, rounded wine, with enough freshness to match with many different dishes.
This is an excellent alternative to Sancerre, made from the same Sauvignon Blanc variety from vineyards a few kilometres away. It has a lovely smoky and citrus aroma and is bone dry with tangy acidity and a real stony and intense character.
Monsieur Mellot always produces classic Sancerre and this cuvée is no exception reflecting perfectly both the terroir and the great 2005 vintage. It is the stony limestone of the hills around the little town of Sancerre that work so well with the Sauvignon Blanc grape and together, in the hands of the right producer, result in excellent dry wines. This classy wine has an elegant creamy and floral character with some flintiness on the palate. It would make a great match for any seafood starters or main courses, and has enough weight for creamy sauces.
Michel Laroche and his company have a world-wide reputation as extremely good wine producers not only in their Chablis home but in the South of France and Chile too. From one of Chablis' top Premier Cru vineyards, this classic cool-climate Chardonnay has a quintessential steely Chablis character, bone dry but with great depth of flavour, which gradually opens up in the glass to give a rich, dry wine. A lovely match with all fish, it can also cope with light meat dishes and creamy sauces. Try it with the cheese board too.
Following on from their cult success with their Cloudy Bay Sauvingnon Blanc, the Cloudy Bay vineyard has released its Te Koko vintage. This richly textured mature Sauvingnon has all the exotic fruitiness that we have come to expect from New Zealand wines, with a rich hint of spice and caramel as a result of its slighter maturity.
This wonderful chardonnay is created predominately from the low yielding Mendoza clone vines, which were planted over 20 years ago. This wine has won the top accolade for Chardonnay wines in the London international wine challenge. It has hints of clover honey, fig and French oak as well as floral fruity notes.
From vineyards close to the bay of Saint Tropez, this is a serious dry Provencal rosé that is best enjoyed with Mediterranean-styled food and salads. Made mainly from the traditional Grenache grape, by one of the most-established quality growers of the area, it has a delicate perfumed fruit character.
Made by the same producers of the famous Château La Nerthe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and from a superb vintage, this is an excellent Rhône red with good weight and structure showing delightful fruit character.
Really classy Bordeaux from a fine vintage, this château is the second label of the famous Château Carbonnieux. A blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon it has a complex and heady smell of blackcurrants, as well as cream and a smoky cigar-box note, both from the barrel ageing. It is still very firm on the palate, full-bodied, yet elegant, with fruit that will emerge with time. This is a wine that will improve for several years, but could be enjoyed now, especially if decanted, and served with roast lamb or even a fine beef steak.
From vineyards that are farmed organically, and a very hot year, this is a rich, robust deep red wine full of flavours of herbs, spices and leather with plenty of berry fruit character too. It manages to be a 'big' wine at the same time as having great finesse. The large appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape produces wines of very varied quality, but you cannot go wrong with the class of this one. This wine would marry extremely well with Mediterranean tomato-based dishes as well as with game birds or meat.
Created from the incredibly low yielding grape vines, this full bodied red has a tar black colour, synonymous with Syrah and Shiraz grapes. This wine carries notes of blueberries, blackberries, violets and a peppery spice. It has a flavour that continues to grow and develop for 15 years in the bottle, increasingly developing its complexity.
Two hands, Lily's garden Shiraz is another cult wine growing in popularity. It's a full-bodied red wine with notes of North African spices, leather and dried fruit. It has a complexity that can be enjoyed out of the bottle, or for up to 12 years. This powerful red wine is a real crowd pleaser and is certainly one to impress your friend's knowledge of smaller wine vineyards!
champagne and sparkling
From the delightfully-named village of Chigny-les-Roses in the Montagne de Reims area, this Champagne is made from a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes with 25% Chardonnay. The dominant Pinot grapes together with long ageing on the yeast have given soft, creamy bubbles.
Exclusively from white grapes, this is a creamy, delicate Champagne from a well established Champagne House in the southern part of the region, the Côte des Bars, east of Troyes. Unusually they use a touch of Pinot Blanc with the Chardonnay giving great intensity of flavour and length.
Chosen from a fine domaine in the area, this is a deliciously rich, honeyed and sweet, grapey wine to sup at the end of a fine meal. Muscat is one of the few wines that actually smells of grapes!