Helen's wine suggestions
When you’re on the go all the time it can be tricky to find a minute to think about the perfect selection of wine for your Grape Night In. Luckily, our wine expert Helen has a few recommendations to make things easier for you.
Here’s a pick of her current favourites, suitable for your Grape Night In:
Tesco Finest Prosecco DOC, £8
Prosecco comes from northern Italy and is made from the Glera grape. It gets its fizz from a second fermentation that takes place in a tank, creating bubbles in the base wine. This one’s lovely and fresh with soft pear flavours and a gentle fizz.
Morrisons The Best Vintage Cava, £7.50
Cava comes from Spain, usually made from a blend of local grapes. But unlike Prosecco, it gets its fizz from a second bubble-inducing fermentation in the bottle, just as champagne does. More bubbly than prosecco, with riper, richer fruit flavours, this one’s a vintage cava meaning it’s made from grapes grown in a single year. Properly lemony fizz with a whiff of biscuits.
Cremant De Bourgogne, £12, M&S
This one’s made in the same way as champagne but it’s from the Burgundy region, so is similar but not exactly the same. It’s made from the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes (two of the three main grapes used to make champagne), along with another local white grape called Aligoté and even a dash of Gamay (a red grape). Seriously smart stuff – and great value.
Les Pionniers Champagne Brut NV £16.99, Co-op
This is from one of champagne’s most well-known houses (as they’re called), Piper Heidsieck. Champagne is all made in the traditional method, meaning it gets its bubbles from that second fermentation in the bottle rather than a tank like Prosecco. And once made, it’s left to age in the bottle for longer so it can develop more complex flavours. Made from a blend of the three main champagne grapes, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Meunier, expect a richer, toastier style of fizz than Prosecco or Cava.
French Sauvignon Blanc
Atlantique Sauvignon Blanc, £7.99, Waitrose
This is from the Loire Valley, the same region that Sancerre comes from. Both are made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape but this is a much cheaper alternative. Think citrus fruits with a twist of gooseberry.
Chilean Sauvignon Blanc
Co-op Irresistible Leyda Valley Sauvignon Blanc, £7.49
This one comes from the Leyda Valley in Chile and is different in style to the one from the Loire, with riper tropical fruit flavours – but still with that unmistakable Sauvignon streak of gooseberry.
Old World Chardonnay
Jean Bouchard Chablis, £9.99, Aldi
Chablis is a small region in northern France and as throughout the Burgundy region, Chardonnay rules when it comes to white wine. This one’s a simple take on the style, with subtle apple flavours and a cream soda character (minus the bubbles, obviously).
New World Chardonnay
Mount Rozier Peacock Chardonnay, £7, Sainsbury’s
Unlike Sauvignon Blanc’s strikingly similar streak wherever it’s made, Chardonnay is more a blank piece of paper. Here, producer and place have created a ripe, warm style with tropical fruit flavours.
Old World Pinot Noir (light bodied)
Palataia Pinot Noir 2015, £11.50, M&S
Germany might not be the first place that springs to mind when buying red wine but they’ve been producing brilliant Pinot Noir (called Spätburgunder there) in recent years. This one shows off the grape’s juicy side with raspberry fruit flavours and a touch of spice. A small part of the blend was aged in oak barrels, hence the spice.
New World Shiraz (full bodied)
Tesco Finest Barossa Shiraz 2016, £10, Tesco
Next to the Pinot Noir, you’ll taste a complete shift in flavour. Rather than red fruits, we’re firmly in blackcurrant territory here. And compared with the German Pinot Noir, you can pretty much taste the sunshine in the glass.
Exquisite Collection Argentinian Malbec, £6.29, Aldi
Juicy, fresh and ripe, this one’s got bags of plum fruit flavours and the tannins are velvet-soft. Malbec isn’t a particularly thick-skinned grape and the skin is where tannins come from.
Cabernet Sauvignon (firm)
Tesco Finest Medoc, £8.20, Tesco
This is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with some Merlot in there too (most Bordeaux reds include these two grapes in the blend). And the combination of cooler climate and heavyweight grapes produce a firmer style of wine compared with the Malbec.
Helen’s book, The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club, is out now. Check her blog for weekly wine recommendations, www.knackeredmotherswineclub.com
Responsible drinking and non-alcoholic choices
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