Spit or Swallow

If you only buy one wine this week….

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

The New Zealand CellarA non-wine-trade friend of mine is taking her WSET certificate for fun and asked me why she ‘s being taught wine country-by-country instead of grape-by-grape. “People I know are just as likely to select a wine by grape as they are by region” she said. Good point.

Although arranging wines in this way in supermarkets hasn’t been successful I love the fact that her freedom from the trade has allowed her to think outside of the wine norm and she’s definitely onto something. Could thinking of wine in this way help broaden our wine drinking horizons so that Argentina becomes known for more than just Malbec and Spain for more than Tempranillo? ………

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Easter Sweeties….

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Have you given halfhearted instructions to your family that you’re too old for Easter eggs now…. and sort of on a diet anyway…. but know you’re going to feel forlorn when the mini-eggs are passed around to everyone but you?! Well worry not, there are still plenty of ways to get your sugar fix and Easter treat. Here are three suggestions: ………

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Know it all white…

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

This is one for the wine know-it-all in your life. Everyone has one, I am it amongst my friends and family and I would be lying if I pretended that until recently I’d barely come across a bottle of this curious Italian white grape. Falangina, which sounds like a cross between something a bit saucy and a bottle of Orangina is in fact nothing to do with either, I’d describe it as a cross in flavours between a Viognier and a Chardonnay. Typically it is aromatic and can come in the form of a food wine or a quaffer. The foodie Falangina’s are rich, opulent and textured in the same way that most whites from Alsace are and the quaffers are lighter and fresh but still perfumed.

Hailing from Italy Falangina is always a little unusual, interesting and full of character and handily you can find them at an array of price points. There’s a great one for foodies from Harvey Nichols which is on the brink of release but to whet your appetite until then try this budget friendly, quaffing option from The Coop. Rocca Vecchia Falanghina 2012 from Puglia, £6.99. Think refreshing, apricot, honeysuckle and blossom. Serve chilled. Now you know it all.

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An expensive bottle of bubbly….

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

[In song] On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me an expensive bottle of bubbly…
Sometimes only Champagne will do: when celebrating a big occasion like an engagement or wedding or as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. Billecart Salmon’s Vintage 2004 Champagne* is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, 20% of which was vinified in oak, and is the bottle for just such an occasion.
Right now it is tasting crisp and fresh but with a nod towards its ageing potential in a tasty lemon biscuit sort of way. I’d be inclined to get a bottle now and drink it next year because I prefer my Champagne with a bit more age. But at this stage in its youth I’d say this vintage is just what you need to waken your palate at  zero hundred and keep dancing into the wee hours!
* Available from Berry Bros & Rudd, Hedonism Wines, Harrods and champagnedirect.co.uk, RRP £65.00

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Double your money or quits….

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

BBC1’s Watchdog made interesting viewing last night. Did you see it? Oz Clarke unveiled what many of you have suspected for years: a wine that is on promotion for several months of the year is not worth it’s original price tag.
Having this fact confirmed for us though may not necessarily help us resist these temptations in the supermarket aisles, but if it has put you off buying cheap for a while then double your money and your chances of seriously enjoying a wine with a bottle of Longview The Whippet Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills in Australia.

It was the standout white wine by a mile at the Oddbins Press tasting this week ………

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French wine that’s très down to earth….

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

If you find wines from France a bit of a mind field then this Syrah-Viognier from micro-négociant Nicolas Perrin is a great introduction to where contemporary French winemakers are heading. Très down-to-earth in it’s approachability this is a traditional blend from the Rhône Valley made in a full and fruity New World style. Predominately Syrah (aka Shiraz) it’s ripe with purple fruit characters, violets and black cherry. A splash of Viognier is mixed in the blend (typical of Rhône reds) which adds a fresh and floral touch to a wine I could happily drink day in, day out.

Eton Vintners, Windsor (etonvintners.co.uk) RRP £10.95

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