Soothsaying for the Beeb’s Bill Buckley
It’s the first of my monthly wine slots with the brilliant Bill Buckley at BBC Berkshire and BBC Oxford and, as last year, I’m kicking off the new year with some predictions for the wine world in 2019, tasting as we go.
Here’s the list of the wines, with stockists, prices, and a few words about why I have chosen them:
We start with the most expensive wine I have ever brought along for Bill to taste – Nyetimber 1086 Rosé 2010 (£175 at Inn at Home, Newbury or the Oxford Wine Company). Back in October, England’s first wine producer to style itself on Champagne, Nyetimber, grabbed everyone’s attention with its new prestige vintage cuvée, 1086. With the 2009 Brut at £150 and the Rosé at £175, these are priced to take on the likes of Krug and Cristal. Deservedly so, as they are the finest English sparkling wines I have ever tasted. England’s sparklers just get better and better – and I predict a big rise in awareness and sales.
Our second choice fits the times and also the time of year. For those opting for a moderation month, rather than a dry January, The Doctors Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (£9 Tesco or Ocado) is a brilliant piece of innovation. The doctor is John Forrest and, with his wife Brigid, they have used clever canopy management techniques to produce a rare feat, a low alcohol Savvy, at just 9.5%. The best thing about this wine is that you’d have no idea, as it tastes just like a classic Kiwi Sauvignon. No messing about in the winery and no compromises here.
Next, it’s a bag in a box. So much better for the planet, but also really convenient for the consumer. Bag in box its going upmarket as this When in Rome Grillo (£25.99 from Waitrose, which is the equivalent to £8.67 per bottle, as the box is 3 bottles worth) neatly demonstrates. A lovely slightly floral, citrus fruited, silky textured wine from Sicily’s west coast, this is perfect for summer. Portable, is stays fresh for six weeks, so it’s ideal for single people who want a glass from the fridge from time to time. The Nero D’Avolo is really great too.
Finally, Bojo is back! Fear not, I don’t mean him. Beaujolais has suffered unduly from the ‘Nouveau’ marketing mistakes of the past. Gamay is a wonderful grape and its time has come, with its beautiful blend of energy and sophistication. Henry Fessy Fleurie 2015 (£15.50 at Oddbins in Oxford and nationwide) has juicy, crunchy red fruit and a beguiling floral character. The Beaujolais Crus, like Fleurie, are where to search for fine wines that give many expensive Burgundies a run for their money.