As Muswell Hill is plunged into darkness for the fourth time this week, we local traders carp and moan about the loss of business but we are very thankful that the power has intermittently come back on long enough to get warm and we aren’t knee deep in sewage, looters or shingle. The power cuts and the candles make me think of the Winter of Discontent and so the 1970s is the theme of this month’s wine selection.
The marvellously adorned Cantina Santa Maria La Palma Aragosta 2012 (£9.95) looks like the label hasn’t changed since the 70s. Indeed one of our customers told us that he grew up in Sardinia and this wine looks exactly as he remembers it. Still, what’s inside the bottle is great stuff: a lovely satisfying white with aromas and flavours of white peach and acacia, a pleasantly creamy feel in the mouth and a long fresh finish.
The 1970s is also responsible for some of the looks of horror from customers of a certain age when we suggest that they might try a German Riesling. If your last foray into German wines was Blue Nun it’s time to draw a line and investigate a great source of vinous delight. How about starting with Altenkirch Riesling Trocken Steillage 2012 (£13.30): lovely fresh white flowers and lime zest, with bright acidity and a very slight creaminess.
Next up, Chianti. No, not cheap plonk in a basket/lampshade that guarantees a headache the next day. Instead Falchini Chianti Colli Senesi 2010 (£12.55), a great drop produced in one of the top Chianti subzones. This vibrant, fruity wine has a charming red berry aroma with a hint of sweet spice and freshly opened tobacco pouch.
Back in 1976, a thousand million miles from an English childhood in the long hot Summer of sharing baths, the Judgement of Paris was taking place. Stuff of legend and the film Bottle Shock (starring Alan Rickman) this was not a precursor to the Trojan war but a major and controversial upset – a blind tasting competition between top French and Californian wines at which the French judged the Californians the winners. One of the successful Californians was Ridge Montebello. Its popularity and limited production are now such that rather like some of the local schools, you have to put your name down for it many years in advance. Our first allocation of Montebello is due in 2015 but in the meantime we have just taken delivery of our allocation of Ridge’s second wine, about which the most recent issue of Decanter magazine waxed lyrical but can be summed up simply as outstanding: Ridge Vineyards Estate Cabernet 2010 (£38.70). I bet it didn’t cost this in 1976.
Prohibition Wines, 34 Fortis Green Road, London N10 3HN – 020 8444 4804