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Drink: Forgotten Wines

somewhere-over-the-rainbowGood on Waitrose for starting a forgotten cuts of meat campaign (see Release the Pressure below). Perhaps I need to start a Forgotten Wines campaign. Whilst the buying power of the supermarket giants (again Waitrose is the only place that makes an effort) should give us more choice what we actually get is a sterile range of alcoholic fruit juices. There are over 300 different grape varieties grown around the world producing countless styles. Then why can we only have our Shiraz smoked, our Chardonnay oaked, our Merlot, Sauvignon and Cabernet ….um and our individuality choked?

Real wine for me is when you can taste the place where the wine is grown. The soil type and climate changes the way the vine grows and the grapes taste. If I faced a room of supermarket wines blind folded I wouldn’t have a hope in Jacob’s Creek of spotting the country or region of origin. Generally produced by smaller, less commercial producers you just won’t find ‘real’ wines in supermarkets. If you want great meat do you go to your local butcher, who knows where his meat comes from or to the supermarket? And will you get real help or advice? I once asked in Tesco for cheese straws and was given a cheese stringers! Find and get to know your local independent wine merchant and you will drink  better, more delicious, forgotten wines. Unless we act now these styles will die out!

Charles Joguet Les Varennes Chinon 2001, Loire, France
(£21.50 Planet of the Grapes)
An amazingly complex red wine from the Loire Valley made from the unloved Cabernet Franc grape. This wine is refreshingly austere, fresh and pure – as is the case with most Loire reds. The website advises that you ‘Drink after breathing’ – I think they mean decant! This is an expensive, older wine – you should be able to pick up a great Chinon for around £10.

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