|Wines in the press June 29- July 2|
|Monday, 02 July 2012 15:04|
There are two French descriptions of wine that are really useful but have no exact equivalent in English, says Fiona Beckett.
They are; vin de soif and vin des copains - the translations are respectively, a thirst-quenching wine and a wine for friends. Yet, neither carries the same resonance of an easy-drinking bottle that you can knock back with virtually anything and don't have to think about too deeply about, she adds. Beckett tasted one on holiday in the Languedoc; Mas Coutelou 7 rue de la Pompe Syrah, from Mas Coutelou, (on offer £8.45 at Robersons). However, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, are grape varieties you associate with a more serious, structured style. But the Montgravet Cabernet Merlot 2011 (£4.99 at Waitrose) most definitely qualifies as a vin des copains for its sheer versatility and knocks spotsoff many a sub-£10 Bordeaux, she says.
At the recent Tesco tasting Victoria Moore overheard someone saying: "If you value your taste buds, ignore that table." The table was 11 bottles of low-alcohol "wine-style drinks" ranging from 0 to 5.5% abv. She says anti-drinking publicity may have lodged in consumers minds they perhaps ought to cut down. And they may be to believe those bottles sprouting up in supermarkets (not just Tesco) that look like wine and have the names of recognisable grapes are a magic solution. Think again, says Moore. Despite a huge investment in techniques to de-alcoholise wine, or create lower-alcohol wine-like drinks, she can see no reason to even consider buying these "depressing liquids". She lists First Cape Light Pinot Grigio NV Italy (5.5%) as "mind-blowingly vapid", JP Chenet light Colombard Chardonnay 2011 France (5.5%) "a struggle" and Fairhills Fair & Light Rosé NV (5.5%) "like strawberry chews dissolved in a little white wine with water added". Moore says if you want to cut down, add water to your wine "a good wine diluted 50:50 is much tastier than any de-alcoholised wine-style drink." Alternatively, she's found two wines that have been "carefully tweaked" to reduce their alcohol content, and which she thinks have succeed in still tasting like wine. She recommends Dr L Riesling 2011 Germany (Sainsbury's, £7.39) and Jacob's Creek Cool Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Australia (10.5% Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda and Ocado, rrp £8.49).
The Financial Times
The Mail on Sunday