Consistently good value, you can’t go wrong with half a dozen bottles of this in your house for a mid-week glass after a hard day. South Africa means new world fruit of quince and apple, mixed with old world restraint, freshness and an elegant lift. A great wine with fish, a lovely wine with chicken and delicious wine on its own with a recorded episode of The Wine Show. Where you’ll probably learn that the glass seal on the bottle is called a ‘prunt’.
Sometimes it’s good to go unashamedly for the acme, the classic, the classic example of the style. This is a plush, ripe, currant and vanilla-scented Argentine Malbec made for juicy steaks and… juicy steaks. They say Argentines eat their average body-weight in meat each year, mostly steak. And this is what they drink while they do it. Go Gaucho. Go Malbec.
The villa and tower where Matt, Matt and I spent the summer lies by Orvieto – where they make this. A hugely under-rated wine, especially in this style. People translate ‘amabile’ as medium-sweet but actually it’s just soft, peachy and with a rounded almond aroma. Simply beautiful afternoon sipping wine, perhaps whilst watching the tennis, the garden or the children. Don’t be fooled by the notion that good wine has to be steely and taut. Sometimes a gentle caress is what you need.
I poured this award-winning white recently for some friends and their expressions said it all. Wide-eyed looks of revelation; mouths pursed in a ‘oooohh’; big grins. Great Verdejo has the fresh zest of Sauvignon Blanc but with quince, not gooseberry. And it’s a more herbal, less aggressive wine, making is so much more versatile with food like coriander chicken, grilled Halloumi salad or seafood paella. Best of all, Verdejo (native to the Rueda district in central northern Spain from which this hails) is a relative unknown, so you get a better wine for less money.
Aromatic, fruity and juicy are not ‘manly’ attributes. But the tall, broad-shouldered, rugby player Gerard Bertrand is an expert at making the most of this scented, tropical grape. He’s utterly committed to his native Languedoc-Roussillon and balancing Viognier’s heady frangrance with local typicity and freshness. It’s perfect with salads and richer white-meat dishes, and anything that includes fruity, spicy elements. A delicious summer wine really and great value too.
Many things influence fashions in wine, and the meteoric rise in Moscato d’Asti sales since 2011 is down to rapper Jay-Z. Since he took to the fizz his fans have followed suit and now it’s one of the most popular wines with young people, especially in the US. For hip hop fans this is a good match with albums including ‘American Gangster’ and ‘The Blueprint 3’.