Prosecco and sauv blanc are now part of the national fabric, so we sought guidance from The Wine Gang expert, Joanna Simon, to expand our horizons in the best aisle of the supermarket. She talked us through some trends happening at an exciting time in the winey world, so you can be confident when purchasing that unpronounceable Portuguese bottle of grape.
1 // Freshen the fullness
The notable move is to wines that are lighter and fresher. Today ain't the day for big and heavy, oaky wines. In winter, full-bodied styles still have their place but they have more freshness. Joanna is keen to stress this doesn't mean thin and light, but rather easy to drink and elegant. She recommends Les Costières de Pomerol Beauvignac Picpoul de Pinet 2016, for freshness and lift.
2 // Gamble on the grape
Look beyond the well known grape varieties. For example, give Cabernet Franc a try rather than the usual Cabernet Sauvignon. Or look out forPlaimont Producteurs from south west France. The tangy, dry white Saint-Mont (available at M&S) is full of personality and made from local grape varieties, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac. Gamble!
3 // The Time is Nye
We're in a bubbles bubble. Prosecco was a gateway tipple for a whole new raft of people. This has helped create interest in other sparklings, and Joanna recommends English producers Nyetimber. Their Classic Cuvee is widely available, including in Waitrose and Harvey Nichols. And did we mention, it's as good as Champagne? Probably better.
4 // Listen to the French, but buy Italian
No longer the preserve of that one hot week in summer, rosé has been burgeoning globally for yonks. The French now drink more pink than white or red! If that's not all the proof you need, frankly, you’re beyond help. Rosé needn’t mean sweet they're not particularly light and often have a high alcohol content. Try a fuller style with deep colour, such as this Italian dry.
5 // Finding Douro
Portuguese wine is on the up and doubly good news - they often offer good value for cash money. Try theCasal de Ventozela vinho verde, with fresh, citrusy flavours that goes extremely well with seafood. The Douro region, normally known for its production of Port is also of note for both its red and white (tinto and branco to you).
The Wine Gang will host their Winter Festival at The Cube on Oct 7. Talks, Wine Walks and plenty of those all important samples are included in the ticket price, available here.