Wines of The Month November

This month, wine expert Joanna Simon offers her picks to complement a multitude of dishes - from a white Burgundy for fish pie to a Pinot noir for lighter dishes


Domaine Cordier Bourgogne Blanc Jean de la Vigne 2015, Burgundy, France

It seems odd that this is the first white Burgundy I've recommended here. I've homed in on Chardonnays from other regions but neglected it in its homeland. Time to put that right with the zingy candied-citrus fruit, rich buttery texture, walnut and vanilla flavours of Domaine Cordier's Jean de la Vigne.

Christophe Cordier could label this Mâcon-Villages instead of Bourgogne if he wished, but chooses not to because his wine has so much more depth, character and finesse than the average white Mâcon. Call on it to accompany fish and seafood, poultry, risotto or creamy or cheesy pasta. It would make any fish pie sing.

£14.99, or £12.99 in a six-bottle mix,


Tierra Y Hombre Pinot Noir 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile

I was going to recommend Stepp Pinot Noir from Germany, but there's been a hiccup and it hasn't reached the shelves, so I'm recommending the latest vintage of an old favourite from Chile instead. It's no exaggeration to say that this has to be one of the best value Pinot Noirs in the world and each vintage is just a little better than the last.

The 2015 won a gold medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards (the world's largest and most respected international wine competition). What's so good about it? It's classically beguiling Pinot Noir with succulent, red-fruit purity - cherries and plums with just a hint of nutmeg spiciness - a soft, savoury undertow and the lightest touch of nutty, smoky oak.

It can take food with a little spice but doesn't want to be overwhelmed by anything weighty, so serve it with something like tuna, salmon or chicken. Equally, you could drink it on its own.



The Society's Exhibition Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain

This is as much a wine for Albariño doubters as it is for devotees. It's a stunner. Albariño is a Galician grape variety that has become a bit too fashionable for its own good, with predictable effects on the quality of some bottles, so I understand why some people wonder what the fuss is about. One taste of this and anyone will be a converted.

It has wonderful purity and precision with lemony, floral fruit, a hint of apricot and a fresh sea-salty finish. You can almost feel the sea spray on your face when you drink it. It goes with fish and seafood of almost any kind, although can be less good with oily fish like mackerel, and it's good with tomatoey dishes and tapas.

It's made for The Wine Society by the family-owned and run Pazo de Señoráns and is part of the Society's Exhibition range, its top own-label range. The wines for this come from seriously good growers around the world and they alone are reason enough to join the Society. A one-off lifetime membership is £40, but as you get £20 off your first order you might as well call it £20, making it a perfect present. 



Bibbiano di Fattoria Chianti Classic 2014, Tuscany, Italy

It speaks volumes both about the quality of this wine and the quality of the producers from which the Co-op sources its wines that the other retailer of a Chianti Classico produced by Bibbiano is Berry Bros & Rudd. Wine merchants don't come with greater pedigree or authority than Berry Bros of London St James's.

The Co-op, in contrast, is a retailer to the masses, with 2,800 stores at the price-conscious end of the market. But the Co-op's wine buyers care about the quality what they put on the shelves in a way that some other big supermarkets, endlessly trading down and cutting corners, don't appear to do. Well done, Co-op.

As for the Bibbiano Chianti, it's a classic, polished Chianti, with perfumed, cherry, pomegranate and spice flavours, a hint of herbs, a soft texture, then a characteristic dry finish. It's perfect now, but could be kept in cool, dark cellar conditions for five years, and it's red meat, duck and game-friendly, but you could easily drink it with a pizza or tomatoey pasta.


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Chef's Notes: Blance Vaughan

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