Forget Dry January – It’s time for Try January
Blue Monday is, by dint of complete pseudoscience, the most depressing day of the year. The depths of mid-winter, the post-Christmas comedown, the final straight before January payday – all contribute towards the perfect storm of national misery, it seems. By this point in the month, the majority of us will also have failed our Dry January vows and will be reaching for a bottle of wine to console ourselves. My question to you – apart from, why did you deprive yourself of wine for 21 days in the first place? – is why not make a belated New Year’s resolution that’s actually fun to keep? Forget Dry January, it’s time for Try January.
There’s never been a more eclectic selection of wine available to us as consumers. Whether it’s exciting new varietals or previously unheralded regions, or even winemakers from traditional regions putting a modern twist on classics; there’s something new landing on shop shelves and restaurant wine lists almost every week. Yet we tend to default to the same tried and trusted options. Maybe it’s time to give something else a go?
At B&D we’re lucky enough to have a Coravin in each of our sites, which allows us to extend our wine by the glass offering into some of the finest wines on our list without the need to remove the cork – but we also slip a few left-field options into our core offering, alongside the classics. So for the next 10 days, give Try January a go.
Ask for a recommendation. Ask for a taste – if it’s a bottle that’s already open, we’re always happy to oblige (and we may have something especially open just for tasting). If you’re feeling bold, pick something at random. You never know – it may just end up being your new ‘go-to’ for 2019.
6 to Try:
Viognier, Château Fontarèche, Pays D’Oc, France
Viognier makes rich, summery wines full of peach, nectarine and honeysuckle flavours – perfect for adding a touch of joy to the bleak mid-winter. It’s also the grape variety in the hallowed wines of Condrieu (often available by the glass via Coravin), one of the classics of the southern Rhone. Sit next to the fire, close your eyes and imagine you’re in the south of France.
Pouilly-Fumé ‘La Moynerie’, Michel Redde et Fils, Loire Valley, France
(Bottle £49, also available by the glass via Coravin)
Just across the Loire from the better-known village of Sancerre, wines from Pouilly-Fumé have an elegance and light flinty, gun-smoke note that works wonderfully alongside the classic cool-climate Sauvignon Blanc notes of citrus and green leaf. Sustainably farmed by a small family outfit in the Loire.
Riesling Kabinett, J.J Prum, Mosel, Germany, 2011.
(Bottle £44; Churt/Cookham/Odiham only)
Ah, Riesling. Sommeliers, oenophiles and chefs (to name but a few) love it for its complexity, the overwhelming range of styles and interpretations available, and the food-friendly nature of lighter styles – yet many of us still give it the swerve on a list.
This is a lightly off-dry option from one of the icons of Old World Riesling – yes, there’s a touch of sugar but it’s in check with Riesling’s naturally piercing acidity, which means you get a rich mouthful of honeysuckle, candied lemon and peach, but plenty of palate-cleansing refreshment. Plenty of time in bottle has smoothed out the edges and makes for a seamless experience. Works brilliantly with spicier dishes, or by itself. Put any notions of the dreaded Blue Nun aside, this is a delight. Produced only in selected years, when our allocation is gone, it’s gone..
Douro Tinto ‘Esteva’, Casa Ferreirinha, Portugal
(Bottle £24, 175ml £6.5)
More frequently thought of as a region for fortified wines only, the Douro (around Porto) also produces delicious dry wines that provide fantastic value for money, usually from a blend of indigenous grape varieties such as Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo, the main grape variety across the border in Rioja), Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional. The result here is smooth, floral and red-fruit laden, with a nice light touch at 12.5% ABV.
Nebbiolo ‘Argo’, Villadoria, Langhe, Italy
(Bottle £34, 175ml £8.5, Churt/Cookham/Odiham only)
More commonly known as the key component in Barolo (the King of Italian wines), Nebbiolo is a unique grape variety. At it’s most intense it can be almost overwhelmingly floral, redolent of roses, cherries and violets, with plenty of grip from powerful tannin take can take several years in bottle to tame. With a lighter touch for earlier drinking however, it’s full of juicy red fruit and light rose scent, allied to plenty of freshness that makes for drinking throughout a whole meal.
Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, Beretta, Italy
Made from a blend of local varieties, Valpolicella comes in several forms – entry-level options are easy-drinking and quaffable, but the process of ‘ripasso’ creates a far more interesting beast. Using the skins from Amarone production gives greater colour, depth and intensity of flavour; making for a rich, full-bodied glass full of cherry, chocolate, dried raisin and prune. In effect a ‘baby Amarone’, this is great cold-weather wine – partner with a hearty stew for the full effect.
Posted 7th March 2019 by Rachel Borland