Dry January? Or just cutting down after the excesses of the festive period? Well done to you! If you're going to be drinking less, then you can afford to push the boat out and drink better. Splash a little more on a bottle of wine than you might otherwise.
Here are three wines to help you drink better, as I recommended on BBC Wiltshire's "Wines for the Weekend" this week.
Californian and Aussie chardonnay of yesteryear got a bad reputation for being bulk produced and oaked to a point that wasn't necessary. According to UK supplier Bibendum's trends report, oaked chardonnay will be the next big thing for 2020.
Yes, you heard right. Producers are working hard to reduce that overbearing oak influence, and this Frei Brithers chardonnay from the fog drenched vineyards of Russian River Valley, Sonoma, is wonderful. The vineyards were planted over 125 years ago, and the cooling fog that rolls in from the ocean allows the grapes to maintain their freshness and fruity flavours.
The oak adds finesse, gives some buttery, vanilla notes and brings out the wonderful golden colour of the wine.
If you like ripe flavours of apple, pear, melon and a touch of tropical fruit, give this a try. The price tag may be more than you'd normally splash out, but keep an eye out for offers from Waitrose!
This red wine from Italy has gone straight to number one of my favourite wines of 2020 so far! Made with organic primativo grapes from sun drenched slopes of Puglia in Southern Italy, this is a smooth, full bodied bargain!
It's made by the appassimiento method, which means the grapes are dried out in the sun before fermentation to concentrate the sugars. As there's more sugar to turn into alcohol during the fermentation process, it is 14% alcohol. The appassamiento creates a lovely richness, with tastes of spice, dark chocolate and stewed black fruits, with a touch of vanilla from the oak.
This wine would be great with hearty, meaty stews, Italian pasta dishes and steak.
A treat fit for a king!
The King’s Ginger is a liqueur which was specifically formulated by Berry Bros. & Rudd in 1903 for King Edward VII. Rich and zesty, it was created to stimulate and revivify His Majesty and has been appreciated by bon viveurs ever since.
A fiery ginger spirit enlivened by a hit of zesty lemon, this is best enjoyed both on its own over ice, or in cocktails (there are some recipes on the Berry Bros and Rudd website).