Wines of the Islands – January 2024

For this event we selected wines from eight different islands, accompanied by various snacks including cheeses, crackers, olives and assorted nuts.

Customers voted as their wine of the evening the Finca Biniagual ‘Negre’, Binissalem DO, 2018 from Mallorca.

1. Mystery rosé! Adgestone Vineyards Blush, England 2022
Island: Isle of Wight, England
Grapes: 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Schönburger
ABV: 11.5%
This is a hand-picked blend, from the winery’s own slope. It is whole bunch pressed within 30 minutes of picking, to achieve the lightness in colour and flavour. The juice is gravity fed to the lower cellar where the ambient temperature remains at 12C all year. No chemicals added, just yeast, nutrients, and bentonite to make safe any proteins. The wine will settle naturally for 9 months when it is racked twice, filtered and bottled with a 5g/L of Süssreserve to balance the acidity. The end result is a vegan friendly, ultra-low sulphite light rose with citrus notes and a hint of strawberry on the finish (Adgestone Vineyards online, £14.95)

2. Viñátigo Vijariego Blanco, 2022
Grape: 100% Vijariego Blanco
Island: Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
ABV: 13.5%
High aromatic intensity, emphasis on the pear and vanilla over the smoky notes characteristic of the barrels. Intense, with a marked acidity characteristic of the variety (Symposium Lewes, £30.50)

3. Aghiloja Vermentino di Gallura Superiore DOCG, 2022
Grape:100% Vermentino
Island: Sardinia, Italy
ABV: 14%
Bright straw yellow in colour. Intense and delicate bouquet, with characteristic final persistence of ripe pear. On the palate – dry and velvety. It marries perfectly with hors d’oeuvres and fish dishes, from shellfish to molluscs, seafood and grilled fish, where it can fully express its personality. Risotto alla pescatora, or stuffed pasta (Svinando online, £15.80)

4. Hatzidakis ‘Familia’ Assyrtiko Santorini PDO, 2022
Grape: 100% Assyrtiko
Island: Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece
ABV: 14%
Broad yet focused Santorini assyrtiko taken from plots across the island owned by friends and family, hence ‘familia’. Stone fruits, dried apricots and cashew on the nose with a textured and long, saline palate. Serve lightly chilled with salty canapés (The Wine Society, £30.50)

5. Patrì Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG, 2020
Grapes: 55% Nero d’Avola, 45% Frappato
Island: Sicily, Italy
ABV: 13%
The wine is clear in the glass with a beautiful ruby red colour. The characteristic notes of red fruit emerge clearly, enriched by subtle and pleasant hints of spices that give complexity to the olfactory picture. A warm and structured wine, powerful but with gentle and sweet tannins. In the mouth it is ample and pleasant, rightly sapid with a long persistent finish. Nero d’Avola gives body and longevity and Frappato gives elegance and juiciness (Svinando online, £18.40)

6. Finca Biniagual ‘Negre’, Binissalem DO, 2018
Grapes: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Manto Negro, 10% Syrah
Island: Mallorca, Spain
ABV: 14%
An approachable red with bright aromas of wild red berried fruits combined with a subtle hint of spice. Showing a beautifully balanced structure, soft and smooth with plenty of vibrant fruit and a satisfying finish (Symposium Lewes £21.25)

7. Donnafugata ‘Kabir’ Moscato di Pantelleria DOC, 2022
Grape: 100% Zibbibo (Moscato di Alexandria)
Island: Pantelleria, Italy
ABV: 11.5%
Brilliant straw yellow in colour, Kabir 2022 is characterised by a broad bouquet of tropical fruit, floral
hints of orange blossom and delicate briny nuances. Fruity and sweet notes echo in the mouth,
perfectly balanced by the fresh mineral vein. Good persistence with a delicately spiced finish. (Svinando online, £15.50 per 37.5cl)

8. Cantina Pellegrino, Passito di Pantelleria Liquoroso, 2020
Grape: 100% Zibbibo (Moscato di Alexandria)
Island: Pantelleria, Italy
ABV: 15%
This dessert wine is made from the Zibibbo grape, grown exclusively on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria. The grapes are left to dry in the sun for several weeks before they are hand-harvested and fermented for over a year in oak barrels, resulting in a rich, complex flavour. This golden-hued dessert wine boasts aromas of apricot, honey, and candied fruit, with a velvety, smooth texture and flavours of tropical fruit, vanilla, and caramel. Served chilled as a dessert wine, it pairs perfectly with a variety of desserts such as cheesecake, fruit tart, or chocolate truffles (South Down Cellars, £23.95 for 50cl)

9. The Society’s Full Rich Madeira, 3 years old
Grape: Tinta Negra Mole
Island: Madeira, Portugal
ABV: 19%
The Society’s Full Rich Madeira is made from grapes from vineyards grown at about 200m on the north of the island of Madeira near São Vicente. It makes a fine accompaniment to dessert dishes, especially fruit, cakes, chocolate puddings and soft cheeses. It will not improve further with keeping but will remain in good drinking condition for several months after opening. It does not require decanting. (The Wine Society, £14.95)