I’m just coming off the back of a really enjoyable evening meeting a fella called Felipe Tosso. He’s a Chilean winemaker, responsible for the wines at Ventisquero, wines that are soon to be even further available throughout the UK, so do keep an eye out. We had a focused tasting and talk through three wines he’s particularly proud of, all three were joyous to drink, but one in particular is one I wanted to write a quick blog on. Some wine-o’s will have heard of it, some won’t, it’s from a wine grape called Pais.
Last week I headed down for a lunch thrown by Bancroft Wines for one of their wineries, Bouchon, based down in the Maule Valley in Chile. It was an invite I really wanted to accept because it was down at a restaurant, called Frenchie, that I’d heard was outstanding. Does that sound bad? Surely I should have been more pumped about tasting the wine. Well the reason I can happily admit that the restaurant was the big draw initially was that the wines were so good and interesting that they were all I was thinking about afterwards!
The wines of the New World nailed it during the nineties and noughties on the shelves of the supermarkets in the UK. The French, the Italians, even the Spanish were blasted away by low priced but solid quality wines from the varietals everyone had heard of. Chilean wine was up there in the crow’s nest of this move but, like many others, the move from low margin, high volume wines to showing off the best that country can offer is a tricky one.
I think at any dinner over the wintertime, the table just feels a bit naked without a bottle of red. Something about the warming nature of it, and that most of the warming winter foods tend to lend themselves better to red wines rather than anything else. When I cook at Christmas I’m more of a beef or game bird kind of chef rather than anything else, so a good bottle of red is usually primed and ready!
After the whites yesterday comes the reds today. I should have mentioned that these wines aren’t going to be on the shelves at Lidl shops until the 26th November. They’ll last as long as stocks do, so get down there early doors!
Anyway, here are my top 3 reds to keep an eye out for…
Chardonnay, for some reason, has been an unfashionable grape ever since I can remember. I don’t get why. How could you refuse a crisp glass of Chablis? A bit of Blanc de Blancs Champagne maybe? Something with the depth and scale of a Russian River Valley? Well if you can, you need your head testing!
Last week marked my first full week back in Blighty after the summer shenanigans across France and Italy. For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that the week was chock full of admin and accounting. Being the complete geek that I am, I love to get stuff done like that. As much as I’m nursing a ridiculous amount of paper cuts, it was a good job done. But I still managed to get some good stuff done.
A nice week back on the New World style whites. We tried two of the wines off my list, and there was definitely a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc style. The fruity and fresh wines were great with a bit of the Indian Summer we’re having over here in the UK.
This should be a lovely bevvy to have with a late lunch on Saturday or something like that. Keep the wine nice and chilled, keep it refreshing, and I think it’s a case of keeping the food fairly simple.
I’m not sure why, but I hadn’t really registered Chilean Sauvignon Blanc much before. I guess whenever I’d thought of Chilean wines I’d always been thinking mostly of the reds. From great value but well made Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots all the way to a wine we’d done a while back on NWTW, Carmenere. Seems daft now that I hadn’t thought much about the whites.