SGiven that there is still a comparatively small amount of homegrown wine in the UK, and much of that is not what you would call cheap, you probably already spend most of your time drinking wine from the places you go, or you could go on vacation. One factor in the boom and bust of Provençal rosé, let’s say, is that it evokes, like no other, sunny days in the south of France. That said, though, I suppose not many Brits venture inland behind Venice, where prosecco is produced, so Christmas nostalgia might not be the only reason for a wine’s popularity.
The well-documented danger, of course, is that the wine you found so fascinating on vacation just isn’t that great once you take it home. It was probably a lot cheaper in his homeland to begin with, and there’s nothing wrong with that – drinking at parties is all about wine that slips easily, rather than the kind that demands attention and respect.
Some wines make sense only on the spot. One of them, sadly, is sherry, which despite the best efforts of its advocates, fails to find a permanent place in most people’s fridges (I love it though, so I’ll keep trying). Sometimes, however, a wine is difficult to find here. I really enjoyed edelzwicker, a delightfully fruity and inexpensive mix of local grape varieties, when I’ve been to Alsace, but hardly anyone sells it in the UK. And unless you’re on vacation in south-western France, you’re unlikely to come across the delicious jurançon sec, although I was recently pleased to find one in Aldi’s specially selected range at £ 6.99 (13%).
Other wines travel better. Assyrtiko, the crisp, food-friendly white from Greece, is having a moment: Aldi has the Aspri Petra 2020 (13%), again at £ 6.99, just like Albariño from Spain. Greek wine is also being vigorously promoted by The Wine SocietyThanks in particular to your enthusiastic young buyer Matthew Horsley.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s vineyards are mainly in the center and north of the country, rather than the more touristy south, but if you can’t get to one of my favorite places, the Douro Valley, at least try some of the reds from that region. which tend to be incredibly good value.
The irritating thing if you’ve just been on vacation, or more likely still remember what one of them looked like, is how much cheaper wine is in your home environment than in the UK. Mind you, just think about what you are saving on airfare and Covid testing …
Wines to make you feel that you are far away
Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2020 £ 7.99 (on sale this weekend) Waitrose, 12%. Delicious and bright white seafood to drink with grilled sardines or other grilled fish.
Kompsos White Karavitakis 2020 £ 9.95 The Wine Society, 13.5%. My tasting note for this exotically scented Cretan assyrtiko blend was “scream greek holidays”. Perfect drink for a summer afternoon with a selection of meze.