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Archive for the ‘9 A Love of Wine & Cheese’ Category

Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

I’VE ALWAYS LOVED Rioja. It seems to me to be the best of both worlds: plenty of power, with its dark fruit, even liquorice flavour; but also capable of depth, complexity, even elegance. Not everyone thinks so highly of it, probably because there are lots of cheap bottles around. The average bottle of Rioja sold in the UK costs £6.82. With £3 tax and the profit for the shipper and the retailer that’s about a £1 a bottle for the winemaker. It’s amazing that it’s drinkable. But the glories of Rioja cost more, although far less than French, US or Australian
wines of the same quality. (more…)

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Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

I’m sure you are puzzling over Malbec. How is it that a grape of French origin, now hardly used in France, is such a hit in Argentina? Where it is still used in France it tends to make a rather austere, even harsh wine. In Argentina it makes wine that is consistently lush and fruity, packed with rich cherry and plum flavours. The reason for this difference was the question posed at a recent wine tasting at Seven Cellars, on Dyke Road, led by Laurie Webster from Las Bodegas, a specialist importer of Argentinean wine. We started with pure Malbec from the Languedoc. (more…)

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Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

There’s an appalling lot of nonsense written about wine. I thought I’d found another prime example of this recently when I read an article on an American wine website called Snooth about the sweet wines of Bordeaux. Wine makers are trying to cope with poor sales by rebranding their sweet wines as ‘Golden Bordeaux’ and the suggestion by Snooth was that sweet Bordeaux wines go well with any food, except perhaps sweet desserts. What were they thinking of, I wondered, when almost everyone calls these ‘dessert wines’? (more…)

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I’ve written before about Champagne and how annoyingly dominating it is in the sparkling wine market. My main point is that, when good, it’s so much better than any other sparkling wine that its reputation is high and, on a special occasion, anything else seems mean. This reputation allows an appalling amount of poor champagne to slip in on the coat tails of the good stuff, to be sold at high prices. (more…)

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Summer is special for us all. For some it’s the outdoor life, for others it’s the Tour de France, but for wine lovers there’s the publication of the Decanter World Wine Awards! 275 international judges taste 17,000 wines blind and make their awards accordingly. Almost all the wines are available to us, either online or in the shops. If you subscribe to Decanter (“the world’s best wine magazine”) you get the printed report free. If you don’t you can view it free online at awards.decanter.com. Never again need you be disconcerted by the huge array of wines offered to you in a supermarket, a wine merchant or online. (more…)

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I’ve been chuntering on in this column for years about how important it is to think about the wine you are drinking, either putting into words how it tastes or thinking about where it comes from and how it’s made. Otherwise you are just knocking it back, maybe enjoying it, maybe not, without learning anything that can inform your enjoyment of the next bottle you open. (more…)

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I have a friend who says he won’t pay more than £6 for a bottle of wine. I tell him he’s barmy. Wine making is a slow, difficult, and expensive business. It’s true that wine does come cheaper than £6 but it’s an industrial product, without individuality or character. If you do find one with flavour it’s probably come from oak chippings suspended in the wine like teabags. But, my friend persists, what’s so expensive about making wine? (more…)

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