Ten Things I Know About Wine

Following two weeks of tasting hundreds of wines all day, every day here, my take on the current wine-scape is this:

1. New Zealand Pinot Noir is usually divine.
2. Cheap South African red usually isn't.
3. Champagne with a bit of age is much more interesting than young stuff.
4. Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon from the Colchagua region tastes a bit like chocolate.
5. The Nebbiolo grape (of Barolo fame) is an awkward bugger but I still love it.
6. English wines, especially Sparkling ones, are definitely getting better and will have their moment.
7. Chinese wine is like real wine but spooky, hologram-ish. 
8. Top-end Burgundy is to die for, really.
9. I thought I preferred Old World Sauvignon Blanc to New World Sauvignon Blanc, but I was wrong.
10. Left-field is good: Austrian Gruner Veltliner, Southern Italian reds, undiscovered Languedoc reds...

But my biggest learning of the two weeks? Never going to miss one of the children's birthdays again. At least not until they ask me not to be there.

Current white on the side:
Tesco Finest Fiano 2008, £5.99, currently on offer at 2 for £10, Tesco
I have tried to wean myself off this stuff as it stops me drinking wines I haven't tried before but whenever it is on offer I suddenly find myself at the checkout with - whoops - another case of Fiano. This is a brilliant white grape, in this case grown in Sicily and stacked with white peach and layers of citrus fruit flavours, balanced with fresh acidity. Definitely reaches the parts other insipid whites cannot reach. Will do fine without food but it was a gorgeous match with my fishcakes hoofed down earlier this evening. 

Current red on the side:
Castillo el Destaca Crianza 2005, Ribera del Duero, £7.49 if you buy 2 bottles, Majestic
Made from a blend of Tempranillo and Grenache grapes, this is a mouthy little red from the Ribera region in Spain. Overall, Spanish wines are a joy, they taste warm and friendly. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule - old-fashioned Rioja being one - but many of the reds now have softer, more integrated oak flavours. This is one such wine, with a lovely vanilla note (given by ageing in oak) sitting very comfortably with the black cherry fruit flavours.  

Cheers dears x

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