How to expand your wine horizons online | Fiona Beckett on wine


One of one of the best issues to come out of the months of restrictions and lockdowns (properly, you could have to seek for positives someplace) are wine tastings on Zoom. And whilst you would possibly assume they wouldn’t have a lot attraction, the upside is that you’ve the precise wines in entrance of you and entry to their makers in particular person, albeit online, to shed gentle on the character of a selected area. I’ve significantly loved ones I’ve joined in on from Australia, which have included Margaret River chardonnay, Tasmanian pinot noir and Rutherglen muscat, a sticky-toffee pudding of a wine that I counsel you deal with your self to pronto, assuming you’re not doing dry January. Though it have to be mentioned these classes often passed off at 10am UK time, which might not be very best.

Online tastings additionally present an incentive to attend a distinct segment one you could by no means have beforehand thought of. Criolla wines from Argentina, for instance, produced from the varieties introduced by the early settlers, and completely completely different in character from at this time’s ubiquitous malbec; or wines from a single producer in Sicily that exhibit the impact of various terroirs (see the intriguing cerasuolo under).

None of that is new to skilled wine writers reminiscent of myself, after all, however the great thing about Zoom is that anybody can be a part of a tasting, as long as they’re ready to order the wines, which additionally makes them a fantastic platform for small producers particularly. A few weeks in the past, I sat in on a captivating tasting with a Tuscan vineyard, Torre alle Tolfe, that featured three wines produced from grapes that contribute to, however usually go unnoticed in, a chianti mix, on this case ciliegiolo, canaiolo and colorino. You can purchase a blended case direct from the winery’s website for €135 (£122), together with transport.

Such tastings additionally function fewer wines (six on common) than you get at an enormous industrial one, which supplies you an opportunity actually to take into consideration them, in addition to to return and style them once more the following day, maybe with meals, which is usually a game-changer. Two latest tastings of beaujolais and Loire chenin blancs, as an example, confirmed how very way more various and complicated they’re than is usually thought. In reality, online tastings are one of many best and most gratifying methods to find out about wine.

They are additionally a well timed reminder that wine is about folks, somewhat than only a commodity. What they will’t replicate, nonetheless, is a way of place, or the expertise of strolling via a winery and eventually understanding why that specific piece of dust produces that specific liquid within the bottle. And it appears like we’ll have to cling on for a couple of extra months but for that.

Five wines I found via Zoom tastings

Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat £11.99 a half-bottle (on offer) Bon Coeur Fine Wines, £15.50 winedirect.co.uk, 17.5%. Gloriously raisiny, treacley dessert wine to sip by a log fireplace.

Domaine Cady Cheninsolite 2018

Domaine Cady Cheninsolite 2018 £13.99 Waitrose Cellar, 14%. Rich, peachy chenin blanc from the Loire, however in a mode that would simply have come from South Africa or elsewhere within the new world. Drink with rooster (or salmon) in a creamy sauce.

Mauricio Lorca Recoleta Criolla Grande 2019

Mauricio Lorca Recoleta Criolla Grande 2019 £11 Quercus Wines, £11.25 The Whisky Exchange, 13%. Light years from the full-bodied Argentinian wines we’re used to, this gloriously vibrant purple produced from the indigenous criolla grape is extra like a beaujolais.

Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria copy

Santa Tresa Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2018 £10.99 Ocado, £13.75 Vintage Roots, 14%. Invigoratingly vivid, peppery mix of Sicily’s indigenous frappato and nero d’avola – a purple you can simply drink with sturdy fish dishes. Organic, too.

Beaujolais Regnié Julien Sunier

Beaujolais Regnié Julien Sunier 2018 £21.50 Berry Bros & Rudd, 12.5%. Beaujolais from one of many area’s stars, and considered one of its much less well-known appellations. Fresh, advanced, savoury, thrilling. Needs decanting. Drink with grilled or roast pork.

• For extra by Fiona Beckett, go to matchingfoodandwine.com



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