What's Hot in the World of Wine: Diamond Jubilee, Natural Wines & the movies





Once a fortnight, CellarVie Wines kicks back with the weekend’s newspapers in an effort to determine what’s hot in the world of wine, offering up views and possible alternatives to the nation’s big-hitting publications and their wine suggestions. In the sixth instalment of ‘What’s Hot’, a number of venerated wine journalists purport their thoughts and interests within the industry and amongst other things discuss Natural Wines, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, selecting wine to match a film like the timeless classic Withnail & I and rising alcohol by volume...

 
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc & Australia

The Sunday Times’ Bob Tyrer recommends three bottles - two from Australia and one from their neighbours New Zealand - suggesting each one will have their merits during the upcoming Olympics, taking inspiration from his recent trip to the Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth. Starting with a Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand, Tyrer praises the “grapefruit nuances” of this widely celebrated grape. The Sunday Times then looks across the Tasman at a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon, two of Tyrer’s favourite tipples, intimating both represent great value for money.

CellarVie Wines says: Marlborough is New Zealand’s premier Sauvignon Blanc growing region and alongside the Loire Valley it is perhaps the world’s finest example of this grape varietal. Enjoyed best when young and unoaked, they very rarely age well so there really is no time like the present to crack open a bottle of the stuff.

While Australian Pinot Noir is often supple and smooth boasting lashings of sweet fruit and well-worth sampling, we would like to suggest the same varietal from Chile as an equally delicious alternative. A country that is swiftly gaining a reputation for making superb wines across the board, Chilean Pinot Noir is a prime example of the region’s excellence, as well being great value for money.


Why Not Try:

Vidal Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough

Veramonte Pinot Noir Reserva, Casablanca Valley 2009


The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Victoria Moore of The Sunday Telegraph highlights a "plethora of limited edition tipples" to help us enjoy the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Citing the recent improvement of Moët & Chandon and in particular their Diamond Jubilee bottle which will be served at Buckingham Palace on June 4, Moore intimates “it is more direct and lucid, and less sweet, than it used to be”.

Tesco (perish the thought) have released a Diamond Jubilee Brut Reserva Cava but the aforementioned wine scribe is less than complimentary about the £6 a bottle (!!) bubbly claiming "it is absolutely revolting. Really soapy – like having little divots of Imperial Leather stuck around your mouth. Horrible."

CellarVie Wines says: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee should be a celebration of all things British and as a result we think you should be drinking English wine and our* Jubilee mixed case is the perfect place to start if you are looking for a variety of wines from our fair shores [*shameless plus].

Why Not Try:

The English Jubilee Mixed Case

 
Wine and Movie pairings: Heat & Pouilly Fumé 
 
Olly Smith amusingly endeavours to match wine with movies, discussing amongst other things, how a bottle of "Sicilian red wine during The Godfather, Japanese Koshu wine during Lost In Translation or even Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc during The Lord of the Rings" might "enhance the experience of what you’re watching." Getting to the crux of the issue, the Daily Mail writer then deliberates over pairing wine with a movie’s theme, claiming a nice "sharp, cool, arresting and mildly smokey Pouilly Fumé" is a great match for the suspenseful Heat, starring the indomitable Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. 

CellarVie Wines says: Smith’s jovial approach to wine pairing masks an interesting point about selecting the right wine to suit the occasion or as he puts it “you wouldn’t pick a spicy rich and boozy glass of port to sip on a boiling day on the beach." Pairing wine with food or to match an occasion is never easy, but when done correctly the right wine with a meal or an event creates a combination that celebrates and enhances the experience. If that sounds like a little too heavy for a Wednesday afternoon, have a read of Smith’s enjoyable piece, particularly of interest to film buffs with a penchant for wine…obviously.

Why not try:

Château Brane-Cantenac 2005, 2ème Cru Classé Margaux with Withnail & I

Pouilly-Fumé, La Ralotte 2008, Adrien Maréchal with Heat (the film that is)
 
 
Natural Wine
 
The Guardian takes on the controversial pros and cons of natural wine, rightly suggesting that “nothing gets the wine world hotter under the collar”. Fiona Beckett says fans of "organic food, eat sourdough bread and enjoy unpasteurised cheese...should at least give natural wine a try" and there is of course plenty of merit in this, even if vegetarians and people averse to cheese still remain something of an anomaly to the vast majority in the CellarVie Wines office.

CellarVie Wines says: People often forget that wine is an agricultural product and that natural wines have subsequently existed since it was first made 8,000 years ago. Although natural wine is perhaps no longer the latest buzzword in the industry, it does continue to polarise opinion and spark meaningful debate, but rather than contest the merits and nuisances of organic wines and its relevant flavour profile, let’s be thankful it has led to greater questioning about wine’s authenticity, sustainability and most recently provenance.

 
Alcohol by volume 
 
In Katie Spicer’s latest Sunday Times instalment she pays lip service to the high alcohol content in an ever-increasing number of wines, claiming "the changing styles of winemaking, matched with climate change, is making certain wines, even very good ones, nothing short of scary" unless of course you are in the “those who drink to forget” bracket. Where previously ABV (alcohol by volume) was associated with “cornershop filth”, it is now more and more common in higher-end wines both from the old and new world and Spicer suggests "some extremely grand vineyards are now producing a delicious version of Special Brew".

CellarVie Wines says: Where high alcohol content used to mean the flavour of wine is often compromised, that is increasingly not the case nowadays. The wine industry, particularly in Australia where grapes don’t tend to reach their optimum ripeness until later, have successfully negotiated the detrimental effect of high ABV levels, producing wines that retain their positive attributes. While caution is necessary, particularly when a bottle is as much as 14% and occasionally more, the high alcohol content should not deter you, because this often means the grape has achieved a far greater level of ripeness and will subsequently have the fruit, acidity and tannin levels to match.

Why not try:

Grant Burge Benchmark Shiraz 2009, South Australia (ABV 14%)

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007, Bolla (ABV 14.5%)
 
 

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