When it comes to wine and its origins, everyone has an opinion. Which country is best, which grape is best, ‘I won’t even look at a screw top’, etc etc. While it is good to remain open minded, there is little doubt that some regions make certain wines better than the rest. Depending on who you ask of course … Here, Lindsay Price, Deputy Manager of Waterhead, shares a few of her favourites.
Wines from Italy
While for some Italy’s best wine production may include the more ‘meaty’ wines such as Barolo or Chianti. I believe that if you are going to get the spirit of Italy in a glass (i.e. something you can start drinking at 12 noon with your lunch in the sun) you can’t go wrong with either the white Pinot Grigio or the red Montepulciano.
Both wines represent a light, refreshing and universally enjoyable experience. They can both be enjoyed with a range of meats and fishes, and the flavours are not heavy enough to offend anyone’s palate, therefore great if there is a group of you and you are looking to please everyone.
Wines from France
French wines have become less popular in recent years as they may be perceived as being ‘old-fashioned’ wines. However when it comes to doing classics well, no one else does it quite like the French.
Sit back and enjoy your French stick and oysters with a beautifully chilled Sancerre. Light, delicate and dry as a bone this is a welcome alternative to the full-bodied whites that France produces.
For a red alternative I would highly recommend trying a good Brouilly, a light coloured red that has a surprisingly fruity taste, especially strawberries and cherries, and is great with a really smelly bit of French cheese (but don’t expect anyone to sit with you).
Wines from New Zealand
Whilst the popularity of French wines has diminished, New Zealand is most certainly ‘wine country of the moment’, and it would be impossible to ignore it’s current darling, the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Bursting with fruit, these Sauvignons are generally more intense than from other countries due to the coastal conditions that the grapes are grown in, and can easily be enjoyed alone or with white fish. Just make sure it is perfectly chilled or it may resemble Um Bongo.
The equally delicious red alternative has to be the Pinot Noir, against bursting with fruit and slightly heavier than traditional Pinots, enjoy with a juicy rack of lamb.
Wines from Spain
Rioja, Rioja and more Rioja. Spain know what they do well, and they do plenty of it, in every colour! Firstly the more traditional red Rioja, enjoy the liquorice and cinnamon flavours and the good tannins (and usually the high alcohol content!) with more gamey meats.
Both the red and lesser-known white Riojas tend to be medium-bodied wines, so some white Riojas can resemble Chardonnays if they are particularly oakey, however served at the right temperature and with the right accompaniment, such a selection of cold meats, it can be a perfect pairing.
Finally rose Riojas are certainly the order of the day for those who enjoy a more grown-up rose wine, as they tend to be dark, dry and spicy.
Wines from Australia
G’day Chardonnay. Despite Chardonnay getting the ‘Bridget Jones’ treatment and people avoiding it lest being labelled a sad singleton, it really is worth risking the clichés and trying some really great offerings from Australia who, like California, have taken Chardonnay and made it into a lighter yet still delicious style.
At the other end of the scale, we have the full-bodied, in your face, Australian Shiraz. It makes no apologies, it is spicy, it is dark, it is bold, it will turn your lips purple, but enjoy it with a fillet steak and you’ll never go back. Not one for the faint hearted.
Do you have a favourite wine?
I know some people will read this shaking their head, ‘Where is the Chablis? Where is the Chenin Blanc? Where is the Merlot?’ but as with many things it is all a matter of taste. And I find that after a few glasses, it all tastes pretty good …
Next time you are dining in the Waterhead Bar & Grill in the Lake District, be sure to ask us for advice on choosing the perfect wine to accompany your meal.
- Written by Lindsay Price, Waterhead Deputy Manager