Why the old world still rules
WINE CHOICE Alvarinho in Portuguese and albarino in north-west Spain, the onceobscure grape is now on trendy wine lists. Clean and crisp with delicate aromatics and refreshing acidity, try Tesco Finest Vinas Del Rey Albarino 2015, (£8).
WHEN you rock up to a dinner party and the electric gates slide open to reveal a home akin to Hogwarts, you know it’s going to be a special night. I was extra excited because I had been privy to the wine selection earlier, hand-picked from our host’s personal cellar. These showstoppers had worked every day of ageing into some of the best wines I’ve ever had the pleasure to drink, and I was extremely grateful for the experience.
The big question every wannabe socialite must ask in the morning is: “Was it worth it?” In this instance, it most definitely was and it made me realise that guzzling discounted supermarket bottles of plonk is a false economy. There is nothing truer in wine than “you get what you pay for”.
Luckily, there is a way of getting both value for money and a great experience.
The old world producers are experimenting with historic regional grapes you’ve probably never heard of, that usually taste better than their wellknown varietal cousins. These are handcrafted wines by small producers without big marketing departments or lavish headquarters to support.
There’s France with its corbieres from Languedoc, which gets better with age but is brilliant any time, or Portugal’s Vinho Verde region with its alvarinho that comes with a surprising effervescence. However, for me, one stands head and shoulders above the rest: the Jumilla region of Spain with its monastrell.
The key is to experiment and look at wines above £7. Next time you have neighbours round for some liver and fava beans, leave the chianti alone and pour them a great Romanian sangiovese.