|Less is more|
|Friday, 08 March 2013|
Bernard Ferrie samples lower alcohol wines
Politicians and public health experts are trying to get the public to drink less and here I am writing a wine column! Except you readers are not the public, or not all of them. It’s odd that many of us honed our manual dexterity suturing the inebriated in casualty departments; the joys of mattress sutures and free-flowing scalp lacerations! Also strange that in the film Whisky Galore the drink-laden wreck was called the SS Politician. Should alcohol be 45p or 50p per unit? Some EU countries are upset we are trying to push them out of the UK cheap alcohol market; stick to straightening Belgian bananas, I say.
Definition fizz is 11%, the white is 10.5%, and what am I bid for red? Fifteen or 16% is not uncommon now – how about 12 or 12.5%? The producers’ dilemma is to retain flavour and interest without making decaffeinated grape juice, but it’s hard with all that New World global warming. Dessert wines and German Rieslings have been excluded.
The Doctors’ Sauvignon Blanc (£8.99, Waitrose) is 9.5% and from New Zealand. It’s an aromatic wine with blackcurrant leaves, lime and passion fruit on the nose; tropical fruit, white currant fruits of Dr John Forrest; quite a subtle one, this, and I read it was for lunchtime drinking. Off dry.
The same producer does The Doctors’ Riesling (£9.99, Adnams) at 8.5%, if you have a penchant for the Riesling grape. Lime, sherbet, apple and mandarin flavours – spice and apricot aromas. This grape is not everyone’s cup of tea, but wouldn’t you like these on prescription from your doctor?
Oxford Landing Estates named after sheep drovers’ riverside resting place. Good with seafood, fish, chicken or vegetable stir fries (£7.69, Waitrose); citrus and green apple flavours. South Australia 10.5% sauvignon blanc; an intense tropical fruit punch – vegetarian friendly.
While you are restocking on socks and underwear, sample Burra Brook another 10.5% sauvignon blanc (£7.49, M&S) – gooseberry, green pepper, and lemon from South Eastern Australia.
Blossom Hill Vineyard Collection Californian (£5.99, Waitrose) is 12% and should be drunk lightly chilled (yes, it’s a red) on a baking summer day with a venison burger and spicy dressing; berry-red baking spices, etc. – you know all this by now.
But, you cry, “Give us bubbly and some decent reds!” How about both together – well, only kidding, but the label is red – 11% Wolf Blass Red Label chardonnnay/pinot noir; citrus and strawberry flavours (£11.99, Waitrose). You can easily find proseccos at 11% but Villa Sandi Prosecco (£8.99, Majestic) is 10.5% with no loss of flavour. Crisp and clear, but not too bubbly.
OK, some reds at last – beware: these are 12.5 % but can be mopped up by some solid grub – all are from Laithwaites.
Merlot Tempranillo from South Australia Loadline; drink with anything (£7.49). Named after Samuel Plimsoll and not overloading ships. Unlikely to produce gastric overload either and you can go running in your plimsoles later after you have washed up.
Finally, a robust Italian pair: Sangiovese-Nespolino 2011; rich cherry (£6.99) – drink with pasta – what a surprise! Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – Villa Farnia di Farnese 2010 velvet plum (£7.99). Again, ideal with pastas or meaty roasts. Less is more.