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  • Rupert

And now for something...slightly different

It’s been a while since my last post – a four-legged addition to the family has kept us busy. It’s also, in an odd way, changed the way I drink wine. The early mornings aren’t much fun if I’ve had a couple of glasses too many. And I’m also far from what my younger self would have described as ‘pub fit’. So, recently, I’ve been cutting down my intake a bit, being more choosy in what I’m drinking.

It has got me thinking about where I’m getting my units from. I’ve been looking for wines I don’t know or haven’t tried in a while. I’ve been looking for better quality at affordable prices too. And the fact that most supermarkets did their 25% off 6 bottles ahead of the bank holiday helped.

I’m a massive fan of Italian wine. I finished my Italian Wine Scholar studies last year, but that’s only piqued my interest more. I’m always on the lookout for something other than a Chianti or Montepulciano D ’Abruzzo. Lidl recently had a beautiful expression of a Carricante from Sicily for not very much.

And Sainsbury’s have this fantastic Teroldego Rotaliano for under £8 (which was under £6 for a few days last week). 

It’s a lovely wine – full of red and black fruits. It’s smooth and full bodied and went brilliantly with a spicy pizza I ate. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t anything special. But it is something different and great that Sainsbury's is showcasing this unusual wine. It was a chance to travel back to my studies and remember the valleys and rivers form the Campo Rotaliano plain in the far north of Italy. If you usually pick up a budget Chianti – this is well worth a try.

I love Bordeaux wines too – especially since last year’s trip to the region – so I’m always on the look out for something good. And my go to indicator of quality there is currently the Cru Bourgeois classification. It’s a bit of an odd classification as it was initially drawn up to include some of the chateaux from the Medoc which missed out on the prestigious 1855 list. It was first used back in the 1930s but has been stopped and reintroduced at various points since. However, I’ve not been disappointed by one yet. Sainsbury’s do a lovely one for £11 (which I picked up for just over £8 as part of their offer last week). I used it as part of a cheese and wine pairing night where it was one of the favourites of the night.

Aldi and Lidl often stock Cru Bourgeois wines too – this Chateau Plagnac is a brilliant example of a well-made young Bordeaux wine. It will improve with a bit of age in the bottle but, for now, it’s an absolute banger to go with your Sunday roast for £9.

It’s full of dark fruit and smoky bramble. Classifications don’t always mean good wine, but so far I’ve only had good things to say about Cru Bourgeois wines – just look out for 'Cru Bourgeois' on the label or the little badge on the back of the bottle.

I often have several bottles of wine open at any one time. Partly because I am fussy about what I drink with certain foods and partly because I’m curious. Currently I’ve got an Australian Shiraz, a NZ Sauvignon Blanc and a Zibibbo from Sicily with stoppers in.

I’m sure my thoughts will also turn to rosé soon as the weather brightens up and I’ll get a chance to sit outside in the sun with a glass. And, again, I’ll look for something a bit different rather than something predictable. I just hope our 4 month old puppy will give me five minutes of peace to enjoy it!

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