Reliable wine for every day drinking

50connect wine expert Nick Gough looks at the improvement in UK wine production and why we are creatures of habit when choosing our plonk.
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I believe we can now say that we’ve had a very good summer weather-wise. The English wine makers are generally getting very excited about the quality of their grape harvest and I look forward to sampling the resulting sparkling wines in a few years time. However in many famous European vineyards the story is not so rosy. This year has been full of disasters – poor weather in the spring meant a late and not particularly good flowering season and though many vines recovered, local flooding, storms and worst of all hail have stripped vines in some vineyards of all growth. It is by no means all doom and gloom, but unfortunate wine makers from Bordeaux to Austria are looking at disastrous vintages in 2013.

How will that affect us UK wine drinkers? Well not too badly, as it happens. We now import much of our wine from the New World where they generally have more settled weather and more reliable crops. Countries such as Australia and South Africa not only produce very good wine, but make it easy to choose, with labels in English and grape varieties prominent. Which is just fine for many wine drinkers who are not often sure the source of the wine that they are drinking and wouldn’t know very much about it even if they did.

Whenever I am tasting wine with people, it is immediately obvious that they like a certain style of wine and tend to stick to it. We are creatures of habit and choose the wines we know and like time and time again. It may be a favourite brand, but it is most likely to be a favourite grape variety. It is the grape variety that dictates the style of a wine. What the winemaker does with his grapes is also a contributing factor (Californian Blush style White Zinfandel is made from a red grape that is also made into a full robust red wine), but we know that Sauvignon Blanc is going to be crisp and citrusy and Merlot will more often than not be smooth and round. So how do we choose wines that we can confidently pull out of the fridge when friends call in?

It was no big surprise when the clever marketing people at my previous employer came up with a cunning plan…”We’ll introduce a range of wines that are varietally labeled. We’ll send our wine makers around the world to source the very best wine made from the most popular grapes at the right price. We’ll need to make bottles look attractive and easy to choose, with a clear indication of what the wines taste like. Oh – and a name… after the winemakers – Oliver and Greg.” And that’s what happened.

The resulting selection was spectacularly successful and became hugely popular in bars and restaurants. Great glugging wines with enough punch to be drunk with food.

And now they are available for you to buy – at some pretty astonishing prices. Follow the link to and you can choose from:

  • Chenin Blanc – Mouthwatering, fresh and lively
  • Chardonnay – Rich, creamy and smooth
  • Zinfandel Rose – Exciting, juicy and refreshing
  • Merlot – Voluptuous, soft and lingering
  • Shiraz – Evocative, sumptuous and big
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Indulgent, delicious and warm

Their descriptions – not mine, but I think you get the idea!

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Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 3:13 pm Food & Drink