£14.95–£16.99, N D John, Drinkmonger, Kwoff
You don’t need to see the brassy yellow colour of this wine or its label to know that it’s no conventional dry white. Technically it’s a so-called natural wine (the grapes ferment with their skins, as in red wine making, instead of being pressed and the juice only fermenting), but if natural wine, aka orange wine, is a red rag to a bull, ignore the tag and continue. Please. And don’t read the back of the bottle if you think labels should stick to the vital statistics or a bland tasting note.
Golden Mullet Fury is original, idiosyncratic, crazy even, but utterly delicious – and if you’ve never understood what people mean by texture in wine, this won’t leave you in any doubt. It’s full of perfume and flavour, but the mouthfilling, almost oily, smoothness and succulence is as much a part of the pleasure. It smells and tastes of smoky coffee beans, almond, apricot, lemon curd, honey and lemon zest and the taste lingers, finally to fade out on a clean citrus note. Although it feels like a mouthful, it’s only 12.5% alcohol. Wine is all about balance.
The back story is that Alpha Box & Dice experiment, “without boundaries, regional, varietal or stylistic”, to make small-batch, minimum intervention, vegan friendly wines. The inspiration for Golden Mullet Fury was Moldova, where the winemaker has worked. The Semillon and Viognier are in the same vineyard, so they’re fermented together (co-fermented), then the wine is aged in oak, mostly old, for 18 months. You can drink it on its own, but it takes food in its stride. It could tackle a light fish curry, it’s good with pork and with creamy blue and hard cheeses and it’s vegetable friendly.
Alpha Box & Dice Golden Mullet Fury Semillon Viognier 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia
£14.95–£18.75, ND John, Drinkmonger, Kwoff, Flagship Wines