Pete Ste­wart rec­om­mends

Sunday Herald Life - - DRINK -

AFOR FAR bri­die is a thing of beauty and as such, de­serves a really nice wine to com­ple­ment its flavours. Ide­ally you’re look­ing for some­thing with a bit of body (also known as oomph) and a pep­pery kick. This makes me think of a Syrah or Gre­nache-based blend from France or a very de­cent new world Shi­raz. In the past, I have been guilty of sug­gest­ing that the Rhone Val­ley doesn’t pro­duce good and ex­cit­ing wines at af­ford­able prices. I have now come to re­alise that this is clearly not the case, you just have to get out there and find them. Gigondas, Lirac and Vac­queyras in the south­ern Rhone are bril­liant places to seek out wee gems, and you’ll also oc­ca­sion­ally find a Cotes du Rhone-Vil­lages that could change your life, with­out overly af­fect­ing your pocket.

The north­ern Rhone fa­mously pro­duces small quan­ti­ties of very good wine, whereas in the south you get lots but gen­er­ally of a lesser qual­ity. This means that you need to have a wee bit of knowl­edge con­cern­ing the wine­maker as you need to seek out the good guys and avoid the lazy pro­duc­ers mak­ing the one-di­men­sional, slightly sweeter styles.

If you fo­cus on the “Vil­lages” tag on the la­bel, you are at least guar­an­teed that the wine will be from one of the 16 best sub­re­gions in the Rhone.

An interesting but left­field sug­ges­tion this week is the Cotes du Rhone Vil­lages Blanc Laudun Pierre-Henri Morel 2016 (Majestic Wine Ware­house, £9.99). De­spite the fact that this is a white wine, it has enough char­ac­ter to stand up to dishes that are more usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with a red. Try this with Shirley’s bri­dies. A more clas­sic match would be a bot­tle of the Lirac Les Closiers 2015 (M&S, £10.50). This blend of Gre­nache and Syrah is as tra­di­tional as they come, and it’s a very food-friendly wine that will match bri­dies, cas­soulets, and just about any hearty dish that springs to mind. If you’re feel­ing a touch more Aus­tralian this week­end, grab a bot­tle of the Vi­na­ceous Snake Charmer Shi­raz 2014 (In­ver­ar­ity One to One, £14.49). This McLaren Vale Shi­raz is aged in a com­bi­na­tion of French and Amer­i­can oak which adds depth and com­plex­ity to your glass. The wine has a lovely dark choco­late mocha note which makes it the per­fect match with richer dishes, and (of course) For­far bri­dies. Pete Ste­wart is Glasgow direc­tor of In­ver­ar­ity 121, 185a Bath Street, Glasgow (0141 221 5121) www.in­ver­ar­ity121.com

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