The sustainable wines you should be drinking (and the dishes to pair them with)
With the British summer now in full swing, it seems only fitting that the wine selection is propped up with more than a few delicious numbers that could only befit the unique phenomenon that is a summer in the UK.
I’ve recently discovered plenty of new producers and styles that are utterly sublime (and that offer exceptional value for money, too). Whilst it’s an established fact that us Brits have a penchant for dry, zesty rosé (from Provence, in particular; Whispering Angel, anyone?), there are myriad other grape varieties and styles that can work well if you’re looking for something fun and fresh (two acronyms that can certainly be applied to summer drinking…).
“Sustainability is on everyone’s mind…”
With sustainability and global warming at the forefront of everyone’s mind (particularly in light of the recent IPCC report, which indicated a ‘code red for humanity’), many wine producers opt to focus on organic, biodynamic and natural wine techniques to reduce their impact on both their local area and the wider world. I really enjoy these wines; they really speak of the place from which they are made and the stories of the people who make them. So here are a few examples of wines to turn to, if you’re looking to enjoy an exquisite wine while doing your bit for the planet…
About the wine: This small, family-run organic winery based in Sicily, Italy, has to be (in my view) one of the best examples of minimal interventionist winemaking at an extremely reasonable price. Catarratto is a grape variety local to the Island, and is well known for producing wines that are dry, zesty and full of fresh citric fruits ( as well as some tropical fruits), with a medium body and a high acidity.
This wine hasn’t been filtered and thus has a slightly cloudy appearance. This cloudiness certainly isn’t a problem; what it does mean (well, to me, anyway) is that there isn’t anything in there that shouldn’t be in there. It’s pure, delicious grape juice.
What to pair it with: I really find this wine works well with fresh seafood – langoustines, lobster, and fresh oysters, too!
About the wine: Another recent discovery hails from the South of France: specifically, the warm, sunny region of the Languedoc on the Mediterranean coast. It’s made from 80-year-old Organic Carignan vines, grown in seven different plots in the Saint-Chinian appellation.
The wine itself has lots of dark, fresh, bramble fruits — with aromas of wild strawberries — and a lovely fun, crunchy texture, too.
What to pair it with: This is a good example of a great BBQ wine: it’s extremely quaffable, understated and full of character. Get those barbecue ribs on the go, gents.
About the wine: Chris and Andrea Mullineux began their South African wine journey back in 2007, and are extremely talented at what they do. Known amongst Sommeliers and wine enthusiasts alike, their wines rank amongst some of the best in South Africa (if not the world).
Chenin Blanc is a grape variety that has its home in the Loire Valley; yet it’s the style from South Africa that has started to come into its own over recent years. It’s a grape variety that I, as a Sommelier, enjoy both drinking and selling; I find it pairs beautifully with various food styles and has a freshness and acidity that almost comes in waves. It’s a remarkable wine.
The Mullineux Old Vines Chenin is a different character completely, however. Full of lush golden fruits, it has a wisp of oak influence that manages not to overpower the refreshing minerality. It has an incredibly refreshing character, all interlaced with a spicy aroma.
What to pair it with: The generous mouthfeel lends itself to a wide variety of food pairing options. I personally prefer it with fish based dishes, with generous helpings of rich creamy sauces, as the acidity in the wine cuts perfectly through those rich sauces. In short: it’s a wondrous wine.
Mullineux ‘Old Vines Chenin Blanc’ (POR)