Against a backdrop of established producers, Olivier Horiot only began making Champagne in 2004 (still wines in 2000). This quirky, fruity blend is has the classic tio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, as well as Arbanne and Pinot Blanc. It’s fragrant and brisk and deliciously different too.
I have no doubt lives have been changed by this wine. Hirsch are among the most lauded California producers by Pinotphiles. Intense and complex, this is an expression of California as much as Pinot Noir. There’s inviting richness but also delicacy. Truffles and earth, but a New World heart of vibrant berry fruit.
A “must try” for lovers of Brunello and great Italian reds, Andrea Costanti has worked tirelessly to make this one of the greatest Brunellos. Rich morello cherry, a clearly-defined spine from high-altitude sub-plots, spices and lingering, seamlessly integrated oak that leaves a hint of aniseed and liquorice. Utterly delicious.
There’s a reason sommeliers love Chenin from the classic appellations of the Loire. It’s in the tension and fruit purity. There’s a smokiness (notionally from “Les Choisilles” – black flint) too, and it all combines into a fabulous food matching style. It’s a great foil to the sort of complex, poised, thoughful food you find in the finest restaurants.
A wine that defies tasting notes – it’s an “amber” or orange wine, so you have the detailed structure of a red, with complex, surprising, fascinating aromas that you don’t expect constantly popping on your palate’s timeline. Beguiling. At times bizzare. Whatever you do, dont’ drink this wine without looking up winemaker Gabrio Bini and his remarkable vineyards on Pantelleria.
Here is a massive insider tip. It’s going to be harder to buy Chablis for the next few years as the harvests have been tough. But switch to Colares Malvasia like this gorgeous wine and you’ll have plenty of intense, minerally, slightly iodine tang fun in the same style. Awesome with shellfish, gorgeous with hake.
For many years I’ve kept a couple of these at home, usually one in the fridge. If you’re losing weight have a glass of this light peach and honey wine and it’ll satisfy your craving for something sweet. But at just 5% alcohol it’s not boozy or too naughty. And if you’re serving a strawberry-based pud there are few wines better.
Forget Champagne breakfasts, the ultimate wine for an early morning sparkling celebration is a Moscato d’Asti breakfast. Earlier in the day your palate will thank you for the softer, pillowy texture of Moscato and this beautiful wine (in and outside the bottle) is a gorgeous match with fresh fruit and breakfast pastries.
The Romans knew Moscato and called it Apiana because bees loved it. We call it Moscato because flies love it (mosca = fly in Italian). Latin names are sometimes more poetic. But both are attracted to the sweet, aromatic, musky aroma that froths out of the glass. I particularly love this with Christmas pudding.
Central Otago is the world’s most southerly wine region and makes these firm, savoury, dark-fruit scented Pinot Noirs. Lovers of a fuller style are quickly hooked and it’s no surprise this award-winning producer is a regular favourite as it’s one of the best value in Central Otago. Try it with lamb. New Zealand or British both match it perfectly.
On The Wine Show, we love the ‘second’ wines of great producers. The same guys, making more accessible wines but with the same love, care and attention. This has the herbal, spiced character as the estate’s world-famous top cuvée, but is more affordable. I last had this with a venison sausage and it was fantastic.
This is some of the best value fine Pinot Noir in the world. It has the dark fruit and plum fruit of North Island’s Martinborough. The grander wines from here have bigger, firmer tannins, but this is beautifully ready to enjoy now with pork and veal, but is probably best with richly flavoured vegetarian dishes.
Along New Zealand’s long, thin islands Pinot Noir reflects local conditions. In Marlborough, Nautilus brings out the fine, supple texture that frames a plum and cherry fruit. It’s concentrated and savoury. The structure is light enough for salmon, but best with quail, duck or turkey, especially with a savoury sauce.
This wine will change your life. Nobody tries Brachetto (pronounced ‘brah-ket-toh’) without falling for its frothy, flibbertigibbet charms. It’s low in alcohol, light in fizz and gigglingly unpretentious. Yet it’s seriously well-made wine, from a classic grape and another world from the syrupy pink wines from big-brand producers.
We were lucky to try this, the first release of a proper, Traditional Method fizz in China. It’s made by Judy Chan and named after her daughter and it’s lovely; a fresh apple aroma balanced by toasty, yeasty aromas and with complex spice notes on the finish. On the basis of this expect great fizz to come from China.
We weren’t kidding when we talked about China’s great heritage in producing drinks. This comes from the oldest distillery in the world, dating from 1408. It has a distinctive and unusual taste to our Western palates. There’s aniseed that feels familiar but also a savoury character of soy and exotic fruit.
Buy this while you can. It’s a proper cult wine – often selling out in weeks. A feeble 5% alcohol, softly fizzy and with the same raspberry colour you’ll find in the aromas. But what a joy. Foamy, fun, moreish and captivating. Match it with friends, entertaining chat and a long evening in the summer.
This is bottled Sicilian sunshine. Almost literally. Malvasia grapes are laid out on mats and dried giving the wine the characteristic aromas of dried fig and apricot and that rich, sticky texture. It’s actually not excessively sweet and my favourite combination is this with some blue cheese and nuts over a long evening.
A classic in the Marlborough mould, a wine with clear, intense cherry and raspberry fruit and a brightly refreshing, pert character that’s typical of the area. Although the flavours are dark the wine has a bright lift to it. Light enough for tuna and herby roasted chicken, it’s a safe bet on restaurant wine lists too.