|Wines in the press December 30- Jan 2|
|Wednesday, 05 January 2011 10:58|
She thinks if you enjoy wine the effect of a period of abstinence tends to be that you simply resume your previous drinking patterns - and then some. Her solution is to drink less but buy better. Two or three days a week without booze, just a glass on other weekday nights and a really nice bottle to share at the weekend. It shouldn't involve extra spending - if you spend £20 a week on wine then you can buy a couple of decent bottles instead. Beckett thinks the new year is also a good time to explore a new grape variety, wine-producing country or less familiar region of a country whose wines you already like. She suggests Carignan as a grape variety, with Morande Carignan (£12.25, Jeroboams), from Maipo, being the perfect partner to beefy pies and stews.
After the excess of Christmas, it's time to ease gently into the new year, says Olly Smith. For those who aren't abstaining he says what's needed are wines that are gentle, lower in alcohol and lighter on their feet than usual. In his opinion the key is generally to avoid wines that say ‘low alcohol' as such wines haven't impressed Smith with their flavours. His preferred styles are those such as German Riesling or Portuguese Vinho Verde which are naturally lower in alcohol. He recommends Northern France as a good place to look - the Loire Valley's offerings range from reds and whites to fizz and sweet wines, and are all worth investigating. Italian whites tend to be a good bet too, or coastal Spanish wine such as white Albariño. Smith adds, if you're searching for a region producing wines with moderate alcohol, you need look no further than your local vineyard right here in the UK. Today there are vineyards in England, Wales, Scotland, the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland, and you can hunt for the nearest one to you at english wineproducers.com. There is, of course, another way to drop the alcohol levels in your wine - by deploying a mixer, adds Smith
Jancis Robinson MW says after a few rather lacklustre wine book vintages, 2010 has yielded a number of interesting titles. The most uplifting, in her opinion, is also one of the shortest; Terry Theise's, Reading between the Wines (University of California Press, £16.95). Theise has an established reputation among American wine lovers as a seasoned importer of fine, artisanal wines from Germany, Alsace and Champagne, and as an impassioned writer about them. Allen Meadows is another American who was lured away from finance by his love of Burgundy. His self-published, The Pearl of the Côte - The Great Wines of Vosne Romanée (Burghound Books, $59.99), is not the lyrical polemic that is Theise's but could hardly be faulted for thoroughness, adds Robinson.
Her most riveting, wine book of the year is Wine Myths and Reality by scientist Benjamin Lewin (Vendange, £39.99). She says he touches on all manner of controversial topics such as the use of the additive Mega Purple to make red wine redder, the questionable quality of some of the judgments of the leading American wine magazine Wine Spectator, the alleged "burnt rubber" odour in some South African red wines, Spain's unwise blanket adoption of Tempranillo, the "stupidity" of Canadian protectionism, exactly how and when Constellation became the biggest wine company in the world, photographs of machines designed to manipulate wines even at top addresses - these are just a few things Robinson picked out at random from what she thinks is a "marvelous book".