Not to be one always looking back, whenever I start a new year I try and think about all the great times of last year and it helps me get really up for all the challenges and possibilites for 2020.
So whilst most of you are doing Dry January or something equally as healthy to overcome the post-Christmas and New Year booze/chocolate/meat comas, I thought I’d start the year with a quick recap of the wines that meant a lot to me in 2019…
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!
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.
I realised yesterday that I’d written something without really explaining what I meant, so here’s my chance to put it right. I’d gone on a bit about Ant being a fan of picking New World wines as opposed to me who seems to be picking Old World wines. For those of you who haven’t the foggiest what that means, let’s have a go at explaining that.
Sometimes the choice of wines we have over here in the UK can be a bit of a bugger. Especially when it comes to trying to convince your mates to have a go at a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve been having a good old think myself.