Pushing the boundaries

Giving new wines a go

Laura Clay

No one likes change. We tend to stick to what we know and know what we can rely on. This is particularly true with wine when we feel that if we’ve forked out a tenner or more we want to be happily rewarded and not disappointed.  But life is short and there are so many exciting wines out there it seems a shame to limit ourselves to half a dozen or so safe bets.

There are trends in wine just as there in fashion. Some of you will remember when you loved German white or Entre-Deux-Mers; oaky Aussie Chardonnay or Blush Zinfandel but in the UK at the moment we unable to get enough of Pinot Grigio from Italy.

If you move just a few miles east of where Pinot Grigio comes from you’ll find yourself in Slovenia and Croatia. Wines from both these countries can be very exciting and they’re not just for enjoying whilst sitting on the terrace in the sunshine they travel well too and, because of their natural propensity to work brilliantly with food, are finding listings at top restaurants such as Simpsons and Purnell’s.

Try this from Loki, Birmingham’s newest wine merchant, in the Great Western Arcade:

Piquentum Malvazija £14.99 from Croatia is a dry and earthy wine, light and tangy enough for fish dishes, weighty enough for cheese and chicken dishes.

Another holiday destination whose wines work extraordinarily well with food has got to be Greece. Wipe oxidised Retsina from you mind and think fresh, minerally Assyrtiko. Vin Neuf in Stratford sells Gaia Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2012 from Santorini at £18.00 apart from it being delicious and interesting, it lends itself to so many different dishes, from seafood to lamb.

Are you keeping up with the times and had a Brazilian yet? Double entendres aside, it might surprise you to know that Brazil is the 5th largest producer of wine in the Southern Hemisphere. They’ve been making wine since 1875, can boast two harvests a year and a massive 22% of what they produce is made into sparkling wine. Tom I’Anson Wines, a shop based near Cheltenham sells Miolo Brut Milliseme 2009 for £15.95 which is made with a second fermentation in the bottle to create the bubbles and has a lovely fresh, apple and citrus fruitiness, a gentle mousse and an indulgent easiness to it.

If you’re feeling really adventurous you might like to try a wine from Uruguay: www.winesofuruguay.co.uk sell an intriguing dessert wine called Alcyone for £19 (50cl).

Where better to try Indian wines than in the Midlands? Connolly’s stock Soul Tree Sauvignon Blanc 2012 for £8.69 which will work perfectly with many of your favourite spicy dishes.

Trends in cooking have changed dramatically over recent years which means taking a fresh look at the wines which match what we eat. Push those wine boundaries. Try something new. You won’t have to travel further than your local wine merchant.


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