One of the great things about being a Sommelier today is being able to taste wines from all over the world. I am so lucky to have such an awesome opportunity to try different styles of wines that it’s hard not to get swept away with it all and enjoy every minute of it.
My team and I at The Forest Side have a wine-by-the glass selection that’s (let’s be honest) a little bit leftfield. The reason being was simply to be able to offer people a selection of wines that would challenge their perceptions and stand out from the crowd. In this month’s post I have chosen 3 of those wines – a white, a red and a dessert wine that I love to bits and want to share with you:
THE WHITE ONE:
I discovered this wine a couple of weeks ago, when one of my suppliers told me he was coming to The Forest Side with a wine maker from Italy – I was excited of course! It was one of those “very-quick-passing-tastings” that was over within half an hour…. but the outcome was that this wine was simply extraordinary.
Angelo makes several different cuvées within their range, but this particular one is very special. Its special because the vineyard is situated on top of a sulphur mine. Now you may think that’s a little crazy, but what it does to the wine is simply sublime… it gives the wine this extraordinary acidity and freshness that I haven’t tasted before (somewhat like a Chablis). Along with a slight salinity that pairs wonders with seafood or simply as an aperitif on a warm summers day…. Yes, a little quirky and different, but for those who are willing to explore they are in for a real treat.
This wine is not currently available by the glass at The Forest Side, but it will be very soon!
THE RED ONE
This is such an awesome wine!!! Made from 135-year-old “pre-phyloxerra vines” down in the Roussillon in southern France from Carignan. As we come into Spring/Summer the style of food that we offer is slowly going to be changing and thus get lighter and more influenced by the ingredients of the season.
The wine itself is a collaboration that began in 1993 between a civil servant and a fruit grower who wanted to capture the pure essence of the land within the region. The wine undergoes a 3-week maceration with the stems intact which gives it a pure yet rustic character. It works wonders with bbq meats, cheese and lighter flavour dishes. I personally just love a glass (slightly chilled) on the terrace on a warm summers evening.
THE DESSERT WINE:
One of the joys of owning a Coravin, essentially a tool that allows one to extract wine from a bottle of wine without removing the cork #sommeliersfavouritetoy (!!), is that I can now put whatever wine I want by the glass without the wine going off, hence why I have this Eiswein on by the glass at the moment.
I was introduced to German Riesling by Tobias Brauweiller MS whilst working for him at The Ritz London. I discovered that Riesling (as a grape) is possibly the most versatile grape in the world. It can range from bone dry and nail-bitingly acidic to impossibly luscious and ever so sweet.
This estate is a benchmark (in my view) and their Eiswein is a thing to behold. An Eiswein is a wine that can only be made when the conditions are perfect. The grapes are left on the vine until winter sets in. The then freeze, sending sugar levels going sky high with water levels dropping, and acid levels dropping too. It’s an ultra-rare style of dessert wine that is so complex and intriguing that I could write a book on it. Aromas of sea buckthorn, orange peel, essencia honey and a slightly bitter edge make this (for me) the perfect way to finish a meal.
Happy drinking folks!