What’s Hot in the World of Wine: The gift of wine, Crémant & Côtes du Rhône





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, the Sunday Times explains the pleasures and pitfalls of buying wine as a gift, the Daily Telegraph highlight some of the superb sparkling wines available in France but outside of Champagne, the Daily Mail extol the virtues of the Côtes du Rhône and the Guardian suggest a number of bottles to those who have fallen out of love with white wine...


The gift of wine

“I still think of wine as the perfect gift, and that the buying process should be taken seriously” So says Katie Spicer and certainly who are we to disagree? The Sunday Times’ wine journo then proceeds to explain the nuisances and intricacies of buying wine for a friend or a loved one, suggesting a little thought and endeavour never goes amiss.

CellarVie Wines says: Buying wine for oneself can be a challenge so certainly the thought of choosing a bottle for someone else is daunting. Certainly there is huge value in Spicer’s sentiment of considering the individual first and the bottle second, and equally “If you don’t know someone well, choose wines with a story or that tap into something topical”. We agree with the jovially described idea that “wines are entrées to interesting small talk. They are liquid manners” but if you are still struggling, and when all else fails, why not take the easy route out by stumping for CellarVie Wines gift service?!

Why not try:

CellarVie Wines Gift Service


Crémant

The Daily Telegraph champions French sparkling wines cultivated outside of Champagne suggesting “it is not all about” the aforementioned centre of excellence. Susy Atkins intimates a number of sparklers “made in other parts of the country can rival the cheapest champagnes, which often taste wincingly acidic and sour”. Citing areas such as Burgundy and Alsace, Atkins believes there is plenty on offer outside of Champagne and the aforementioned regions are certainly worth exploring.

CellarVie Wines says: Sparkling wines made in the classic champagne method but in other areas of France are called Crémant and while one inevitably gravitates towards France’s celebrated sparkling region, there is huge merit in the aforementioned style. Burgundian crémant "is often creamy and rich" and sparklers from Alsace "offers up a crisper style" as Atkins points out. In this encouraged age of austerity, if you are looking for something that will certainly offer you value for money then definitely explore sparkling wine outside of Champagne and that should really include Great Britain, given the patriotic swell currently enveloping our shores.

Why not try:

Château de Montgueret Saumur Brut NV

Biddenden Sparkling Rosé Wine 2008


Côtes du Rhône

The Daily Mail’s Olly Smith draws your attention to Côtes du Rhône suggesting recent vintages have been so good it should no longer be deemed a drop of yesteryear. “The simple fact is, there’s been a run of outstanding vintages where the weather and growing conditions united to create wines of superlative quality” Smith enthuses.

CellarVie Wines says: The blending of different grape varieties and the ability of winemakers to cherry-pick the finest grapes on offer from a variety of crops have certainly enhanced the reputation of the Côtes du Rhône. The resulting balance and body, particularly in their reds, has improved immeasurably in recent years and as our desperately short summer will shortly be leaving us (sob) some of their heavy reds will be a lovely accompaniment the inevitable coldness to come.

Why not try:

Côtes du Rhône Villages Séguret 2009, Les Laurons, Jean-Luc Colombo

Côtes du Rhône, La Dentelière 2010

Côtes du Rhône, Gentilhomme 2009, A. Ogier et Fils

Gigondas, Clos la Grande Boissière 2008


Reintroducing white wines 
 
The Guardian’s Fiona Beckett endeavours to reintroduce a colleague to the wonders of white wine after they recently admitted that they no longer appeal. “What found favour were full-flavoured new world or new world-style whites with a lick of oak” she explains after a thorough investigation that resulted in an oaked chardonnay from South Africa and a sauvignon-Semillon blend being recommended. Beckett also suggested to another friend fed up with sweet whites that they try an Austrian Grüner Veltliner.

CellarVie Wines says: The innovation, experimentation and courage of modern winemakers means previously staid grape varieties, styles, and regions are producing increasingly superb wines that are worth revisiting if you have fallen out of love with them. Beckett recommends a white not too dissimilar to an Albariño and the Paco & Lola 2010 has a palate tickling dryness that must be tried if you are looking for something a little different. Grüner Veltliner is in an intriguing varietal which is consistently cropping up on restaurant wine lists and its wonderfully light and perfect with food.    

Why not try:

Albariño Paco & Lola 2010

Crozes Hermitage Blanc 2009, Les Gravières, Jean-Luc Colombo

Nederburg The Manor Chardonnay 2010, Western Cape

Soellner Wogenrain Grüner Veltliner 2011, Wagram
 
 

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