Choosing a new wine and jumping out of your comfort zone can be a daunting prospect, but it’s always worth going beyond what you know or what’s on offer at the end of a supermarket aisle. There are tons of fantastic vineyards all over the world, so why not take the plunge and indulge in a new wine today?
For instance, if you like an Australian Shiraz, you’ll probably also like a French Syrah: Shiraz and Syrah are the same grape, just in a different language. Same goes for the Italian grape Primotivo, which when planted in California becomes Zinfandel. It’s all about looking beyond the label and trying something new.
Wine expert Maddie Bryett of wine importer Les Caves De Pyrene knows a thing or two about wine, so we thought we’d put some questions to her about the best wines to try if you fancy experimenting…
What are your favourite wine regions?
I have a few, but I particularly love The Loire Valley and also the French Jura region. The Loire Valley has an extensive range of styles, many of its wines are naturally produced and you can get some fantastic wine for not very much money. Similarly, Jura has some truly individual styles of wine which are delicious.
What should people look for when they’re choosing a new wine?
The first thing I’d say is not to go to the supermarket - they’re under a lot of pressure to sell in bulk and you don’t get the best wine. Go to an independent wine shop and speak to the specialist staff there. You can find out about the winemaker, if the wine is sustainable, what it goes best with - whatever you want to know. There are often clues about the wine on the label too, so make sure you read those.
You supply small wine businesses and restaurants. What’s popular right now?
London is a bit of a bubble in terms of trends because there are so many restaurants to choose from, but right now London likes a Muscat as well as Picpoul de Pinet wines from the Languedoc in France. Outside of London, Pinot Grigio and New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are popular right now, plus Chardonnay is making comeback too. Vineyards have moved away from the old oaky Chardonnay style and it’s tasting much fresher as a result.
Are there some less well known wine regions we should look out for?
Hungary is producing some good wines at the moment, as are Austria and Croatia. Croatia has a long history with wine but it’s seeing a real resurgence currently.
What are common myths about wine?
The main one is that red wine goes with cheese - it doesn’t. White wine or sweet wines often work better.
You promote organic and biodynamic wines - do these taste different?
Yes, the resulting wine often achieves better results. We promote no pesticides, natural production methods and minimal intervention with the environment. If you get a better wine at the end of it too, it’s a win-win.
What are the best years for wine vintages?
2010 was a great year all round for wine, so that’s an obvious one to go for. If you’re buying Bordeaux, 2005 and 2009 were good too.
Do you have a favourite wine?
They change all the time, but currently I’m favouring a Galliarda Del Itata Muscat from the Di Martino vineyard in Chile - it’s a beautiful wine.
If you fancy trying something new, why not come along to our Wine Masterclass (run by Maddie Bryett) and try some fabulous organic and biodynamic wines for yourself? You’ll also find great wines from Les Caves De Pyrene for sale at the on-site Jenius Social deli, so pop in anytime!
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