Do you love someone who loves wine? Alan chooses his top Christmas present ideas for enthusiasts of the grape by looking to three great British institutions of wine.
While Brexit has been Brexiting and the media has been flirting with the easy charms of Prosecco, the experts have been quietly turning their attention to the super-high quality sparkling wines of England’s own Nyetimber.
My current favourite from the range is the 100% Chardonnay ‘Blanc de Blancs’ which has been produced on Nyetimber’s ideal West Sussex terrain since 1992.
The 2009 vintage, which includes some new technical developments, was released earlier in the year to great acclaim.
This wonderful wine combines complex fruit ‘n floral delicacy, lip-smacking citric power and toasty scrumptiousness within a finely textured mousse.
A home-grown example of olfactory bliss, Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2009 is currently on offer from Hennings Wine attractively priced at £31.75 a bottle.
2: Membership of The Wine Society
Imagine having access to a huge list of wines, from everyday drinkers at £5.25 a bottle to fine and rare vintage gems costing into the hundreds; all curated by experts whose primary concern is not profit but quality, value for money and customer satisfaction.
For a one-off, lifetime payment of £40 with no ongoing fees, this is what a gift of membership of The Wine Society provides, as well as numerous specialised events, offers and services. There’s not even any obligation to make any purchases.
It’s a wine lover’s ‘no-brainer’, especially as £20 of the joining fee is taken off the first order.
The only question that you’ll be asking yourself is “Why didn’t I do this before?”
3: Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2017
Now in its 40th year of production, this little book performs the miraculous function of converting its previously bewildered owner into a ‘de facto’ wine expert.
Hugh Johnson’s bang-up-to-date information about grapes, regions, wineries, vintages and suitability for foods, is conveyed with an enviable succinctness honed over a lifetime of brilliant wine writing.
With a little practice, a mere few seconds of consultation can transform the experience of choosing a bottle of wine from one of befuddlement into one of confident anticipation.
Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book 2017 is published by Octopus Books at £11.99.