What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Savoury reds, medium-sweet whites & Riesling





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 this instalment of ‘What’s Hot’, we scrutinise some of our venerated wine journalists’ weekend efforts including The Sunday Times’ championing of savoury red wine, Susy Atkins of the Telegraph’s endorsement of medium-sweet whites, and the improvements of once maligned Rieslings…
 
Savoury Reds

Red wines “are often unrelentingly fruity” according to The Sunday Times’ Kate Spicer, suggesting their “blackcurrant, blackberries, cherries, red fruit, occasionally even grapes, worst of all, jam” flavours can be abhorrent to “a savoury person”. Spicer then recommends a number of tipples to suit the latter, intimating the likes of Bobar Yarra Valley Syrah 2010 and a See Saw S&M 2009 have a “mild toasty, smoky, meaty sort of something going on”.

CellarVie Wines says: Tis the season to barbecue (allegedly) so there is no better time to highlight reds such as those mentioned by Spicer. There seems to a perpetual willingness to describe the unrelentingly fruitiness of red wine, but as Spicer suggests, there is plenty of room for other flavours and characteristics to shine through.

Why not try:

Cabernet Sauvignon Grave del Friuli 2006, Borgo Tesis, Fantinel

Cullinan View Shiraz 2011, Robertson, South Africa


Medium-sweet whites

Susy Atkins of the Telegraph extols the merits of the “under-appreciated” medium-sweet white wines, suggesting their palatable goodness is the ideal accompaniment to food; “that drizzle of honey in the flavour of these wines that makes them so versatile” can heighten most meals. Think of premium German Riesling and Gewürztraminer from Alsace, and not of the “bland, dull, sugary whites that have nothing of the poise and balance of the finer medium whites” aforesaid.

CellarVie Wines says: If and when the sun shows its beautiful face then medium-sweet whites or off-dry drops are a lovely addition to the hopefully balmy setting. The coolness of Gewürztraminer or the unique perfume of Riesling often prove ideal matches for food too.

Why not try:

Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2007, S.A.Prüm
 
Gewürztraminer Alsace 2009, Martin Zahn 


Summer drinking

Its Wimbledon fortnight whoop de doo, so the Daily Mail’s Olly Smith urges you to get outdoors and revel in the underwhelming weather with “bright, fresh whites, nimble, pale rosé, cool fizz or fragrant, supple, easy reds.” He suggests “summer will be more golden with a glass of the good stuff to hand” and who are we to argue with that fine sentiment. Austrian Riesling, “Beaujolais and Pinot Noir lightly chilled” are all on Smith’s to-do list, as is chilling light and fruity reds for 20 minutes in the fridge.

CellarVie Wines: As discussed in the last instalment of What’s Hot, there is huge merit in forgetting the age-old “room temperature” rule, and add to that the uncomfortably humid weather and you have yourself a host of perfectly feasible excuses to chill red wine. Likewise, Austrian Riesling as recommended by the aforementioned Smith are deliciously dry and crisp or as he eloquently puts it “as pure as a brook cascading from the top of Mount Olympus.”

Why not try:

Brouilly Domaine des Dames de la Roche 2009, E.Loron et Fil

Soellner Fumburg Grüner Veltliner 2008, Wagram
 
Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacques 2008, Louis Jadot 


Outdoor drinking with a meal

The Guardian follows a similar theme to the Daily Mail (strangely so given their respective outlooks) by recommending some summery drinks to enjoy with a meal in the great outdoors. David Williams recommends a Malbec from Argentina claiming its “deep, dark, plummy fruit… would suit a barbecue should the weather make that more than a hypothetical possibility.” Elsewhere he recommends a Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon from Western Australia and a Ripasso Valpolicella from the Veneto region of Northern Italy.

CellarVie Wines: We are all itching to dust-down the barbeque and fire it up (its July for goodness sake) and when the moment arrives (fingers crossed) all of Williams’ suggestions will have their respective merits. The traditional ‘Ripasso’ technique as mentioned above, involves re-fermenting the finished wine on the skins of grapes used for the Amarone. The resulting flavour is more intense and it gives the wine a much more substantial finish; its definitely worth a try if you haven’t already. 

Why not try:

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Le Origini 2007, Bolla

Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2008, Margaret River

Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso Le Poiane 2008, Bolla


Riesling

Bob Tyrer pondered "the general antipathy towards riesling in Britain" in this week's Sunday Times, suggesting the modern “trocken (dry)” version of this grape is far removed from “the old, flowery style” of yesteryear.

CellarVie Wines says: Rieslings from the Mosel region are, as the aforementioned Sunday Times’ journo suggests, becoming increasingly popular and are certainly experiencing something of a revival. Vibrant and refreshing, Rieslings are a lovely wine to enjoy when the weather improves and are hugely versatile with food. Tryer lists an Australian Riesling and although they seem to be continuously maligned when compared to their more vaunted German and Austrian counterparts, they too are refreshingly juicy, retain a full-bodied flavour and are definitely worth a try.

Why not try:

Riesling Alsace 2009, F.E.Trimbach
 
Leasingham Magnus Riesling 2009, Clare Valley 


Eastern Mediterranean wines

The Sunday Telegraph focused their attentions on Marks & Spencer’s new eastern Mediterranean wines, sourced from places like Lebanon, Turkey and Slovenia. Suggesting their range of 15 wines was bold "since the wines are not only unfamiliar in provenance, but pretty pricey", Susy Atkins was generally pretty positive about the "characterful, different, exciting grapes" on show.

CellarVie Wines: We would happily urge you to get off the well-beaten track and discover wines outside of those perceived to be 'traditional winemaking regions'. For example, the Bekaa Valley region of Lebanon has been making superb wines for some time now and although the industry was patently stifled by the country’s years of conflict, Château Musar has been a leading light for many years now, so check them out.   

Why not try:

Hochar Père et Fils Red, Chateau Musar 2002, Bekaa Valley
 
 

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