Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A Great Range of Wines From Turning Leaf

If you’re looking for a range of wines that has something to cater for everyone’s taste, then you should look no further than those produced by the Turning Leaf vineyard. They’re priced at around the £7.50 mark and are available from the major supermarkets and most good off licenses.

I had the pleasure of spending the evening with Stephanie Edge their winemaker, just before Christmas, going through their current range and pairing them with food. Stephanie’s philosophy for the wine is that when it goes into the bottle it’s ready to drink, which to me, sounds like a good place to start!

The first wine we tasted was their Pinot Grigio, I’m not the biggest fan of these as they tend to be very non-descript and uninteresting. This one though, showed good fruit flavours of Pears and Apples, with a good level of acidity and a reasonable length of flavours on the palate. They produced a well balanced and enjoyable drink, which I thought was an excellent example of what can be done with Pinot Grigio, given a little care and attention.

We then moved on to their Chardonnay, this wine is fermented in French Oak and racked off Lees for a further nine months, it is also allowed to go through Malolactic fermentation. All of this creates a rich wine with a buttery texture, giving you flavours of tropical fruit, butterscotch, cedar and a touch of spice coming through in the background. The most surprising part of this wine for me was that despite it going through Malolactic, it still had a reasonable level of acidity, which shouldn’t have been there. On discussing with Stephanie it became apparent that this had been quite deliberate, and the Malolactic fermentation had been arrested before completion. With all this going on in the glass, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was never going to work, but strangely it did. Actually it was a very enjoyable drink, that wasn’t over oaked, was refreshing and provided good flavours with a good length on these.

The first red of the evening was their Pinot Noir, which is a grape that tends to prefer cooler climates than that of California, but if you look hard enough, apparently you can find some cool, shaded areas. This wine spends nine months in French, American and Hungarian oak, which all add there own interesting characteristic to the wine. You had a light red colour with good aromas of Red Cherries, Red Currants and a touch of sweet spice in the background. Combine these with low acidity and low levels of tannin; you got a well balanced, easy drinking wine that on a hot day you could chill slightly and enjoy!

Next we moved on to their Zinfandel, which is one of my favourite grapes, again as with the Pinot, this wine see’s some oak ageing before bottling. In the glass this wine had a wonderful deep, almost opaque ruby/purple colour and pronounced aromas of Blueberries, Violets and spice. You got these aromas on the taste but in a more concentrated, jammy way that come at you wave after wave, first the fruit, followed by the floral violet notes, then the spice and finally cocoa. Combining these with a good level of acidity and tannin, and a long length on those fantastic flavours you got a very good wine, with some complexity and for the price you’d struggle to find one as good.

The final wine of the night was the Cabernet Sauvignon, as before this see’s some oak ageing with their eclectic blend of oak. You got a deep ruby/purple colour again with pronounced aromas of Blackcurrant leaves, Cassis and Dark Cherries. You got a good level of acidity and tannin, which produced a well balanced and enjoyable wine, very typical of what you get from warm climate Cabernet’s.

It was a great evening, with some very enjoyable wine and company! The wine of the evening for me had to be the Zinfandel, which showed some fantastic flavours and complexity resulting in a great drinking and thoroughly enjoyable wine.

Picture Courtesy of WCommunications

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