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 off-set with exotic fruit flavours while still having a lovely floral aroma.
James suggests it as a great pairing with chicken or pork, and we certainly recommend you try it, particularly if your only experience of Italian white is Pinot Grigio. Henry pre-empts his choice of No1 Awatere Sauvignon Blanc (£11.99) with the claim that it’s more like a refined Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, nearer to a Sancerre rather than the usual big, blousy gooseberry-scented SBs from New Zealand. I kind of see what he means, but as someone who doesn’t really like Sauvignon Blanc anyway, it’s still too much of a grassy, acidic rush for my taste.
Henry’s red wine choice of El Piadoso Rioja Gran Reserva (£16.99) is another big-tasting bold choice. Gran Reserva wines have to be aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years as well as left in bottle for a further 24 months, but this one takes this ageing a lot further, an extra year in oak and a full 60 months in bottle prior to release. Henry describes
the wine as ‘drinking in the atmosphere of an old library; cigar-smoke and worn leather armchairs’, and yes, it does have really complex aromas of spices, leather and liquorice, with black cherry and damson fruit flavours overlaid with lots of vanilla (the tell-tale sign of oak ageing).
Reading the reviews on Waitrose’s site it seems that there are as many negative comments as positive ones, the word ‘musty’ coming up quite often. The bottle I tasted was fine, but even as an Official Rioja Educator, for me the tastes were too over oaky, but if oak is your thing, then be my guest and fill-yer-boots with this one.
James stays with Italy for his red wine choice, moving north to the classic wine of Piedmont, Barolo, made from the Nebbiolo grape. People not used to Barolo can feel a little short changed as its not the big, full-bodied wine that people expect with an always expensive wine. It’s a shame, as this Terre del Barolo DOCG (£19.99) is a great example of the
wine, with its rose-scented aromas and raspberry flavours. Yes it’s acidic, and compared to a Shiraz, thinner and high in tannins, but it’s a wine made to be drunk with food, particularly pasta with a rich sauce, and would go well with a beef dish rather than a turkey one.
Interesting that two relatively young wine lovers stick predominantly with Old World European wines. Great choices guys, and not ones that will break the bank either. Happy Christmas to all our readers and we hope that you’ll all be opening a bottle of something special this holiday time. See you all in 2022.
Suffolk Wine Academy runs wine tastings at homes or offices, perfect for getting friends and family together. If you want to learn more about wine, you might also want to study a WSET course with us, a new Level 2 course is planned for the New Year.
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