I’ve done a lot of reminiscing over the last few months, turns out it comes with the getting-married territory. From tales told in the Father of the Brides speech to the various stories you’d rather forget but inevitably surface at the Hen! In wine terms if you go back as little as 30 years our wine aisles were a very different story. Compared to the world of choice we take for granted now, the similarities back then are barely recognisable. It was a time when wine was dominated entirely by the Old World; France, Spain, Germany and Bulgaria (strange but true). That’s not to say wine wasn’t being made around the world, the Australians, Californians, Chileans they were all at it, it just wasn’t making it to our shores. Then came The Judgement of Paris. A wine tasting held by a chap called Steven Spurrier an English wine merchant living in Paris that had tasted wines of the ‘New World’ and wanted to bring them to the UK. A story immortalised by a flamboyant but enjoyable film of the event called ‘Bottle Shock’ – it was set to change the way the UK saw and bought wine forever.
I witnessed a similar wine-changing event in September this year, a democratic tasting and Judgement of Argentina at Lord’s cricket ground. Organised by a 21st century incarnate of Steven Spurrier aka Naked Wines. You may have come across them already; a £40 off voucher seems to fall out of most magazines and online shopping boxes I receive. But despite their penchant for leaflets they’re determined to do things differently and change the UK wine scene. On this occasion they gathered a room full of their customers and a handful of wine bloggers to taste and rate a range of wines from unsigned Argentine wineries. 120 wines and a severe case of blackened teeth later the room reached a verdict and the very first Naked Wines rising star Gold medal was awarded to Aguma Reserva Tannat 2009. A steal at £15.99, it’s a wintery fruit bomb of a wine, made by Oscar Biondolillo in Mendoza, voted for by wine lovers like you. Get your hands on a bottle or any of the Aguma range for that matter and you’ll be reminiscing over it for days to come. www.nakedwines.com
They’ve also just launched a wine app, Halloweenly titled ‘Wine Demon’. Go to the Apple app store and take a look, it’s a bit more complicated than ‘My Wine Friend’ but if you’ve got the patience then give it a go.
An edited version of this article has been published in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of The Notebook, Kensington & Chelsea.