Hello it’s Nigel “The Wine Guy” here with the second instalment of the world of wines. As January gives way to February (the coldest month of the year) the wine trade has been very busy and thoughts turn to the next upcoming event on the calendar....Valentine’s Day.
It is tradition that throughout January and February that wine merchants in London and government sponsored wine organisations such as New Zealand Wines, Australia Wines, South Africa Wines, hold large tastings of the previous year’s vintages. These events are attended by Journalists, Supermarket wine buyers, Wine bloggers, Masters of Wine, etc who are looking to import wines from Europe and beyond.
The professionals who taste the wine are looking for wines which are good value for money, food friendly, have market appeal and much more. At some of the larger events over 800 wines are on show and are available to be tasted, there can be 2 or 3 of these events on most days through January until early March. London is awash with the world of wine.
The outcome of these tastings and the feedback gained influences the wines in the independent merchant’s shops, restaurants and supermarkets in the coming year. This can be ‘make or break’ for many producers around the world with new styles and different grape varieties find their way onto our shelves and others dropping out of favour.
I was invited this year to attend the Wines of Australia tasting held at the lovely Saatchi Gallery just off Kings Road, Chelsea. The event lasted from 10am until 6pm with over 1400 people attending and tasting wines on what turned out to be a very interesting day. Many Australian winemakers had made the trip over to be quizzed and questioned on all aspects of their business. These questions ranging from their vineyard practices to the way the wines are bottled and every part of the process in between.
My opinion of the day was that Australian producers have little to fear in the UK wine markets as their wines have such a mass appeal with the fruit forward, soft and very well marketed product which will sell well for many years to come.
A grape variety which might make its name in the coming years from Australia is Moscato which I did notice is being produced by more winemakers in a modern low alcohol style mainly as a Rosé still or Rosé sparkling wine. Keep your eyes open for it in the supermarkets or wine merchants.
Mentioning rosé wines, has anyone noticed Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away? What better way to celebrate this day for lovers than with a lovely glass of rosé still or even a sparkling wine? The array of rosé wines on the shelves over the past ten years has grown rapidly and is now a very large part of the UK wine market. What should we look for? Be aware that colour doesn’t affect the sweetness of the wine but production area might. So if you enjoy a softer fruity style, look out for rosé wines from California whereas French or Spanish rosé styles are often dry with red berry fruit aromas. As for sparkling wines, Champagne rules the roost but why not try a cheaper option such as a good Prosecco from Italy or Cava from Spain, or why not try an English sparkling wine and support our local producers.
I will finish this time with a couple of wines which I have tasted and recommend you try. The star scores are evaluated out of 5 (bearing in mind quality and price)...
Sainsbury`s Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Brut 2011 - A lively moose while being poured into the glass which gives way to gentle bubbles rising through this white sparkling wine. Nice aromas of apple, pear are carried through onto the taste which is clean, young and mouth cleansing. A perfect bubbly to start your Valentine's evening - very good value for money as it's on special offer at £7.49 (correct as at 04/02/2012)......3.5 stars
Marks & Spencer Reserve Du Boulas , Cote Du Rhone Rosé 2010 - Made with a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. This wine has an attractive pale raspberry colour with creamy red fruit aromas. Typical rosé style summer fruit palette with good dry tannins and very juicy fruit flavours. A lovely wine to have with chicken salad or a pasta dish. This is specially blended for M&S by their Masters of Wine buyer department and a steal at £7.99... (correct as at 07/02/2010).....4 stars
If anyone would like to email any questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org please feel free and I hope you enjoyed a look into the world of wines this month. See you next month for some more insight and remember.....please drink responsibly. Twitter @NigelC100
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