Why the old world still rules

The Herald Magazine - - ETC | EATING OUT - Gra­ham Sut­tle is the manag­ing di­rec­tor of Kained Hold­ings which has nine venues, in­clud­ing The Fin­nieston and Porter & Rye in Glas­gow.

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.

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