We all love wine right? We all know that Bordeaux is a Claret thanks to Faulty Towers, and that connoisseurs feel indifferent towards Merlot thanks to the movie Sideways. But how easy is it to search beyond the vines and really discover what is going on in the glass? Turns out pretty easy, if you're keen to learn and have someone walk you through the differences.
In this article I'm going to recommend to you 5 of the best wines that will be a perfect fit for your cellar this summer.
I was recently invited to a wine tasting hosted by WSET, (the Wine & Spirit Education Trust) who are the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications. They offer beginner to expert courses in wine, spirits and sake through Approved Programme Providers across the world for enthusiasts and professionals.
Their flagship, WSET School London, is on Bermondsey Street, which is just a short walk from London Bridge. They offer a full suite of courses, from one-day Level 1 Awards in Wine, Spirits or Sake to the expert Level 4 Diploma, and also host regular tasting events and introductory sessions for people looking to learn a little more about wine but aren’t quite ready to commit to a course.
That's where I come in! The night was excellently curated by a trained sommelier and wine maker and he walked us through 8 varying bottles.
Great Carl, so you drank a whole lot of free wine, but what wines should I be stocking up on this summer?
No problem, I've got you covered. As promised here are the best wines I personally recommend for your summer parties and why!
Prosecco Le Celline Extra-Dry Millesimato 2017, Italy 11.5%
This is not only an amazing wine, but a great conversation stimulator. You can talk about the light, fresh, simple nature of the flavours.
You can highlight the yeast-y after taste as the yeast is applied to the fermentation process to eat the sugar. As this happens, it bubbles and that C02 doesn't escape, hence the reason we have carbonated wine. See that's something I didn't know.
TOP TIP! You can mention how it tastes of pear drops and your guests can nostalgically reminisce how awesome Pear Drops were back in the day. When someone asks if you can still buy Pear Drops quickly whip out a bag of Pear Drops that you bought from Marks & Spencer’s earlier. You sly boy scout charmer you.
Riesling, Felton Road Block 1 2016, Central Otago, New Zealand 9%
I'm going to mirthlessly tease you with this one because it's not actually available in the UK. Not for retail anyway. BUT if you attend a WSET class you can sample the joys of this formidable wine as they have the 100% UK allocation of it.
It comes from the most southern wine region in the world, and is extremely rare.
You'll pick up odd notes of petrol and rubber underpinning a vibrant rush of floral notes. Very much like smelling a bouquet. There's also some heightened scents of grapefruit and peaches mixed in.
TOP TIP! Just because it's lower in alcohol 9% don't think it's any less calorific. Apparently what it lacks in alcohol it makes up for in sugar. So don't think of this as diet wine.
Muscat Reserve, Trimbach 2015, Alsace, France 13%
It might sound like bunkum, but this is the only wine from the menu (and possibly from a lot of other wines also) that smells of grapes. It contains other floral characters too and is less acidic than say a Ca' Nova 2016.
TOP TIP! You can pair this nicely with goat’s cheese, asparagus and any first of the year salads.
Mercurey Premier Cru Clos L'Eveque, Domaine de Suremain 2015, Burgundy, France 13%
This wine considered by many is considered the nectar of the gods. Quite literally! During the early years the winemakers believed they thought that God had myopically blessed this vineyard because the wine tasted so good.
Truth is the conditions are sublime for this vineyard. It sits on a slope on a hill facing the sun, just conducive for winemaking. 2015 was an especially exceptional year weather wise. You put all the elements together; great year, great location, great vintage, you have a colossal wine on your hands.
TOP TIP! When asked what kind of flavours you're getting let everyone do the red berry rounds. Red cherry, raspberry obviously, but when it come to your turn say "I'm getting more 'forest floor'. There's something leafy, leafier than fruity".
Valtelline Superiore Riserva La GAtta, Triacca 2013, Italy 13%
What will you get from this? Naturally the warmth from the alcohol. The Valtellina comes from the same grape as the Barolo grape which is one of the heavyweight grapes in the wine world.
It has a very full body (which always makes me think of John Cleese picking up the wine bottle and jiggling before agreeing with the supposed Hotel Inspector) it's awesomely fragrant as you'd expect from a wine nurtured close to the Swiss border.
It's not as viscose or gloopy as some red wines, and as a result, you might not be a fan of this wine if you're die hard Barolo fan.
TOP TIP! This wine was perfectly engineered to be paired with cheese. A nice Wensleydale will soften the edges.
That's it! Do let me know if you're in agreement with my choices, or if you've gone on and done more classes with WSET. You can achieve a diploma in this kind of stuff you know! Now why wasn't that on the curriculum at school?