What’s Hot in the World of Wine: Argentinian Malbec & Christmas drinking





After a fleeting hiatus our fortnightly instalment of What’s Hot in the World of Wine returns with an almighty bang as this week we run the rule over the Telegraph’s focus on Argentinian Malbec, The Sunday Times examines a few festive tipples to whet your beak over Christmas, while the affable Olly Smith of the Daily Mail champions some decent wines to sup during the Christmas party slog. Finally we look at the Guardian who kindly reveals “three affordable wines to warm your heart on a cold winter's eve.”


Argentinian Malbec

"The variety thrives in Mendoza's warm, dry climate, and it makes a dazzling match with the country's national dish, lean beef steak. Think deeply coloured, ruby-red wine, dense with ripe black cherry, raspberry and damson, full bodied but rounded."

CellarVie Wines: The Telegraph’s Susy Atkins suggests Malbec “is now Argentina’s flagship grape” and some of the wines on offer are a testament to the excellent modern style of winemaking now commonplace in South America. The finest Argentinean Malbecs tend to beautifully soft and juicy and as aforementioned they are also a delightful food match with steak. Even inexpensive Malbecs from this innovative winemaking region tend to be effortlessly drinkable and not necessarily requiring a culinary partner.

Why not try:

Etchart Privado Malbec, Valle de Cafayate 2011

Salentein Reserve Malbec Valle de Uco 2010, Mendoza


Christmas cheer

The Sunday Times list a plethora of wines to enjoy over the festive period, “with the emphasis on quality”. From the reds, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Australia’s Margaret River stands out as a hearty, fruit driven wine perfectly suited to a winter’s evening, while a refreshingly, zesty Chenin Blanc from South Africa certainly resonated with the CellarVie Wines team. Elsewhere, a Blanc de Blancs Brut is “the perfect all-day Christmas tipple”, while Bollinger Rose Brut NV gets a strong write-up from Bob Tyrer.

CellarVie Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon has thrived in Australia over the last decade or so and the JJ Hahn Homestead from the Barossa Valley, a recent addition to our website, is a real staff favourite. Its full-bodied and like all the best Cabernet Sauvignons it packs a decent punch. Likewise the Cape Mentelle blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc from the Margaret River is a complex and compact red wine that is more than a match for the typically festive meats eaten at this time of year. Given The Times trumpeted a Blanc de Blancs we will happily follow suit, by once again urging anyone with any inclination for bubbles to try the remarkably unheralded yet utterly brilliant Besserat de Bellefon. Regularly acclaimed during awards season, this boutique champagne is a model of subtle finesse and an absolute must for Christmas day supping.

Why not try:

JJ Hahn Homestead Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley 2009

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot 2007

Boschendal Pavillion Chenin Blanc-Viognier, Coastal Region 2011

Bollinger Rosé NV


Christmas Party season

The Daily Mail’s Olly Smith admits "festive parties can be the most splendid evenings or an absolute dirge of mind-grating horror" dependent on the wine on offer. He then subsequently suggests some great value wines to nurse you through those awkward wine induced and occasionally ill-advised encounters with your work colleagues. In addition to citing a few crucial party tips (“Keep your white wine bottles in a bucket with water and ice – ice on its own is far less effective at cooling and keeping cool") Smith also recommends a few sparkling wines and some fruit driven yet light red and whites perfect for a Christmas party.

CellarVie Wines: There are so many affordable and excellent alternatives to Champagne that they are now too numerous to mention but the Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene DOCG NV from Bolla is an absolute belter. We showed this lovely sparkling wine at the Spirit of Christmas fair earlier in the month and it was universally appreciated both in terms of its price and more pertinently its taste. This really is an excellent party wine that will leave your punters quenched for a hugely reasonable £12.99 a bottle. For light, infinitely quaffable red wine, we would urge you to try (if you haven’t already) the Rare Vineyards Carignan. At £8.49 a bottle, this is a dangerously drinkable red wine that is an ideal tipple for Christmas party season, while the same producer has also created an equally brilliant white made from a Marsanne-Viognier blend.

Why not try:

Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene DOCG NV Bolla

Rare Vineyards Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2010

Rare Vineyards Marsanne-Viognier 2010, Pays d'Oc


Winter Warmers

The Guardian’s David Williams recommends three wines to warm the festive cockles this winter, listing a Grüner Veltliner from Austria, a Chianti Classico and a South Australian Shiraz.

CellarVie Wines: The Grüner Veltliner grape varietal is increasingly common on the London restaurant scene and this is because it produces fragrant wines that marry well with a host of different foods. The Soellner incarnation from Wagram is a testament to the ingenuity of the family owned winery and it’s also a biodynamic wine for those that way inclined. The Chianti Classico Aziano, Ruffino is a great winter wine that tastes superbly with good food, most notably flavoursome and gamey meats. Finally, Williams champions an Aussie Shiraz so where better to start than with the George Wyndham version seeing as he was the first man to plant commercial Shiraz vines in Australia. It’s a full-bodied red that requires food but on a cold winter’s day it will undoubtedly warm the soul.

Why not try

Soellner Wogenrain Grüner Veltliner 2011, Wagram

Chianti Classico Aziano, Ruffino, 2009/10

George Wyndham Shiraz, South Australia 2006
 
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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