On the Wine Shelf...

Velenosi Querciantica Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2011 (widely available, €16 )

Made in Italy’s Marches, this is mostly Verdicchio (85 per cent ) with the addition of smaller quantities of other unspecified varieties. On the nose, the fruit has a pleasant welcoming bouquet of steely green Granny Smith apples with hints of honey and a touch of spice. On the palate, the fruit mingles from apples to citrus, the acidity is mouth-watering as you would expect in Verdicchio, and there is a decent amount of lingering depth offering a fine classy finish. In essence, with a bit of heat in the air and a plate of mussels served in a dish with white wine and garlic, what more could you ask for?

Chateau Ka, Cadet de Ka Bekaa Valley 2009 (Marks & Spencer, €12.49 )

Bit of an unusual one from Lebanon’s Bekka valley, this is a fine example of what the Middle East has to offer, in vinous terms, made with Cabernet Sauvignon (70 per cent ), Syrah (20 per cent ) and Merlot (10 per cent ) grapes that have been grown in Baalbeck, known as the ‘City of the Sun’.

On the nose, the blackcurrant and cherry fruit is noticeably rich with lots of remainders that the area is renowned for its dried Mediterranean herbs, while the palate is more intense with dried black fruit and sweet spice building up to a chewy, liquorice-like, finish. Overall, a well-priced wine that is a perfect wine to accompany the harder cheeses or to go with any dish that cries out for a feast of earthy elaborate mushrooms.

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