Rather ominously, the Lady have stopped putting my columns online so I’ll be posting them on my blog instead. Here’s my 2nd November offering:
As soon as I’m handed a wine list in restaurant, especially a good one, my mind goes blank. The thing I struggle most to remember is vintages. I can just about do Bordeaux but after that I’m lost. Was 08 a good vintage in Tuscany or was it the Rhone? This stuff matters. Wine varies enormously from year to year. Very infrequently a vintage comes along that makes life simple because it’s good all over the world. 2010 was good to outstanding pretty much everywhere but particularly in red wine regions that I drink most of: Burgundy, Rioja, the Rhone, the Languedoc and Bordeaux. The best thing about 2010s is not only do they have bags of ripe fruit but they are also very fresh. When you have a year like this, the cheaper wines, the ordinary clarets, the plain Bourgognes and the Cote-du-Rhones, are the ones to go for. So my advice when consulting a wine list is if it has 2010 on, then buy. I can just about remember that.
Yering Station Pinot Noir 2010 Slurp £14.99
Australia also had a good 2010. This is elegant and savoury, without excessive alcohol but with an Australian generosity of fruit. I liked it so much that I bought a case to go with our Thanksgiving turkey.
Cotes-du-Rhone Guigal 2010 £9.99 Majestic when you buy two bottles
This old stalwart is particularly fine in 2010. It’s great now but will be even better in a year or two when those tannins fade.
Grand Bateau 2010 £9.95 Roberson
Sometimes you can get good claret for under £10 a bottle. This smells of ripe plums and leather and on the palate it’s smooth with enough bite to keep it interesting.
Hunawihr Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker 2010 Slurp £15.95
Riesling from Alsace might just be my favourite white wine. This one is intense and sherberty, extremely dry with a long mineral finish.