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…
So we made it Friday again, eh? As everyone’s thoughts turn to the weekend and what we’ll be getting up to, no doubt some of you will be off on a couple of trips with wine high in the agenda, as it bloody should be. So what the not-to-be-missed wine-o destinations?
Any wine geek worth their salt loves a good barrel room. Ok, going on trip after trip wandering round looking at rows of neatly packed new barrels can get a bit tiresome after a while, but it’s the smell of the place and knowledge that all that lovely liquid is ageing away beautifully under the oak. And at Quinta Do Noval they’ve got one of the more impressive ones around.
One of the first things you’re told when you’re sat in your lecture room at WSET (wine exam board) HQ, eagerly waiting to tackle Port, is that most people in the UK drink it wrong. I’m not saying that they miss their mouth and tip it down their shirts, or that they stand on their heads and try and drink it backwards. It’s more that bad habits have crept into how lots of Brits drink Port. And as a Port lover myself, it’s that glorious mix of funny and annoying to watch it happen.
Once you start really getting into wine, it’s not enough to just head down to the shops, buy a bottle, and get stuck in. You need to be there, you need to wander round the vineyard and soak it all up. Couple of reasons really, one is that you get to drink the wine with the locals, eating the local food, doing your best to feel like part of the furniture. The other is that vineyards are invariably beautiful places. One wine region is chalked up on most people’s lists as the number one “need to visit”, and lucky little me got to go there a couple of weeks back…the Douro valley in Portugal.
I was just going to go for the one bottle this week, but then realized I’d be doing this up at my parent’s house. The idea of just one bottle between the four of us just didn’t really work, so The Taste The Difference Douro from Sainsbury’s and the Cottas Douro from Spirited Wines were up!
I’m kind of ignoring white wines from the Douro this week. That’s not to say they don’t make them. They do. And they’re increasing in quality as the years roll by thanks to some pioneering winemaking. Only thing is that this blog was all about making sure we can all easily get hold of the wines we’re trying. I’ve never seen a white Douro in the supermarket. So reds it is this week!
In recent months there’s been a huge push by Portuguese wines into the mainstream in UK wine market. I guess for years it’d been the place where Port comes from, oh and maybe a bit of Mateus Rosé on the side. Well luckily for us wine-o’s Portugal has really stepped up through the gears of late, and none more so than the Douro Valley.