Enjoy a glass of red? Leigh Johnson of Bells Farm Vintners enjoys his wine, writes about it and knows more about the grape than the average diner. Here is his review of a Cabernet Sauvignon from a surprising source.
When eating in a restaurant, convention has it that the food is chosen first and then a wine to go with it. However, when a particular restaurant has so many excellent dishes on the menu, sometimes it more fun to abandon convention, choose the wine first and then look for a dish to accompany it. This presents the opportunity to scour the wine list for something a bit different, perhaps an unknown producer, a new grape variety or a new wine region.
This was just the experience we had at the Cherry House Restaurant in Werrington to celebrate a friend’s birthday. They have an excellent menu and one which we know well so I dived straight into the wine list to see what recent gems might catch my eye.
A wine that immediately leapt out at me was the Miolo Lote 43, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot blend. Nothing hugely unusual about the grape varieties (they are the traditional grape varieties of most Bordeaux wines) but what is interesting is that this wine comes from Brazil, a country not known for its winemaking. Unlike Argentina and Chile, Brazil does not really have a wine culture but nevertheless, it is South America’s third largest wine producer, much of its produce exported.
Miolo is Brazil’s largest fine wine producer and Bordeaux wine guru Michel Rolland acts as a consultant and the quality definitely shows. The wine is a dark ruby, almost inky. The nose is wonderfully expressive with ripe black fruits, cedar, pencil shavings and green peppers. On the palate the wine shows great complexity, richness and a roundness that belies the wine’s price tag. Ripe damsons and blackcurrant, leather and tobacco wrapped in a well-judged oak glove with soft, well integrated tannins. This really is an excellent wine and available at the Cherry House Restaurant at £39.95. You would have to pay twice that in a restaurant to buy a Bordeaux wine of the same quality.
If your budget won’t quite run to that, they also stock the Miolo Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at £23.95. This is a single variety wine and from slightly younger vines than the Lote 43 and although it doesn’t quite have the complexity of the grand vin, it’s a great value entry point alternative.
I had the Miolo Lote 43 with the roast rib-eye beef and it was an outstanding match. It’s very rare to find such an interesting wine in a restaurant anywhere outside of London and to find it on our doorstep in Werrington is an absolute treat. I would urge everyone to give this a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Leigh Johnson Facebook: Bells Farm Vintners