Wines to welcome Spring
The sun, whisper it, has finally returned. After what has felt like one of the longest winters in memory, I am finally sitting in the garden at our Cookham site writing this. The collective mood amongst team and guests alike is a giddy relief and unbridled joy at being able to venture out into patios and gardens without needing three layers and a thermal coat…
With spring well and truly sprung, 2018 feels like it’s properly getting underway finally – and what better time to give your taste buds and wine habits a bit of a refresh? We’re all creatures of habit, and that’s the same when it comes to wine also. We seek out old favourites on lists, safe in the knowledge that they won’t disappoint – but do they still excite the taste buds as they used to?
This year we’re full of exciting plans for our wine offering, starting with a refresh of our main list in April. We’ve added new varietals that you may not have tried – Pecorino and Gruner Veltliner, anyone? – and different styles of more familiar wines, including a fantastic organic, barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc from the ever-impressive Seresin Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. As always, the emphasis is on quality – and where possible, organically, bio-dynamically or sustainably produced, so you can feel good both about the taste of the wine and also the way it’s been made.
Closer to home, May also sees two very exciting events – the marriage of Harry and Meghan on the 19th May; and the advent of English Wine Week (27th May – 4th June). Both are an excellent cause for celebration, and in the name of this we’ve put together a great English wine offer which you can find out more about here.
We rotate our wine selection frequently, both by the glass and also via Coravin with the aim of offering the opportunity to taste as wide a range as possible. After all, as Paulo Coelho once wrote:
“All wines should be tasted. Some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle”.
Wise words indeed.
5 new whites to try… (as the sun’s out!)
- Pecorino, Poggio Anima, Tuscany, Italy – £6.5 a glass / £26 a bottle – No, it’s not cheese (although it does go rather well with its dairy namesake)! Juicy and crisp, this has more than a hint of herb and lime about it and makes a great alternative to Pinot Grigio. Extremely quaffable…
- Albariño, Benito Santos, Rias Baixas, Spain – £10 a glass / £39 a bottle – Peach, green apple and citrus, underpinned by a brilliantly refreshing acidity. Albariño goes from strength to strength at the minute and this is a particularly excellent example from a top-notch producer.
- Gruner Veltliner, Allram, Kamptal, Austria – £37 a bottle – Think of this as an exotic Sauvignon Blanc.. classic green apple and citrus notes but with an extra layer of white pepper and pear. The piercing acidity is just the ticket to refresh the palate.
- Condrieu, Domaine Clusel Roch, Rhone, France – £15 a glass (via Coravin) – £78 a bottle – Viognier thrives in the southern Rhone valley in France, and this is summer in a bottle – peach, apricot, almond, honey blossom and a delicious creaminess.
- Terre Alte, Livio Felluga, Friuli, Italy – £16 a glass (via Coravin) – £83 a bottle – One of the most prestigious white wines produced in Italy, from the renowned estate of Livio Felluga. This is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Friuliano and each brings their own style to this golden, perfumed – almost spicy – white which is fermented in oak barrels to add texture and richness. Highly complex and well worth a try.
3 new reds to try…
- Henry Fessy Morgon, Beaujolais, France – £34 a glass – Beaujolais, I hear you say? But put away those memories of alcoholic Ribena – made from the Gamay grape, this is juicy and lively but with some backbone from a touch of tannin and acidity. Great fun to drink, and could be slightly chilled for added refreshment.
- Rupert & Rothschild Classique, Paarl, South Africa – £11 a glass / £43 a bottle – Bordeaux meets South Africa. The classic ‘Bordeaux blend’ – Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – produced in the Paarl region by the Rupert family, with some input from the renowned Rothschilds (of Bordeaux fame). Bright red fruit, a touch of spice and sweet oak – think Bordeaux with a touch more sunshine. Perfect for the inevitable rainy day, or with sweeter meats.
- Cote-Rotie Reserve, Michel et Stephane Ogier, Rhone, France – £15 a glass (via Coravin) / £75 a bottle – The Cote-Rotie region is famed for adding a touch of Viognier (an aromatic white grape) to their red wines, made solely from Syrah. Often they require significant ageing before becoming approachable but this, from the renowned Ogier family, is designed to be drunk younger. Rich red and black fruit, intense savoury notes and silky tannins combine to make for a powerful and delicious wine.