7 Wines You Should Definitely Drink... When You Get The Chance
July 01, 20183 min read
The internet seems to want to tell you to do everything "before you die". Global Bucket Lists are in crisis! So instead, I'm just going to share what wines you should try - when you get the chance.
I am pretty bored of being told to do things “before I die”. The list of things I have to do before the Grim Reaper casts his heavy scythe over me is getting ridiculous. I don’t even like camping, for example, and now I’ve got 20 of the places to see before I canhappily say I have lived (apparently).
We won't jump on the bandwagon here, but I would really like to tell you about sometypes of winesthat I definitely would recommend you try. (If you happen to die before having tried them, that's a shame - but you probably didn't make it to all of those campsites yet either)
So here are my 7 wines to drink that are worth hunting down, when you get the chance:
Amarone Della Valpolicella (Italy)
A rich, dry Italian wine that has a unique winemaking process - the grapes are allowed to dry over straw mats for about 120 days, causing them to prune and shrivel, which concentrates the sugars (think how a raisin is much sweeter than a grape). The grapes are then made into wine, creating ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid. It’s incredible.
Tokaji Aszu (Hungary)
Tokaj is a wine producing region in Hungary, and its sweet wines can approach something other-worldly. It’s like drinking smooth, orange-infused honey. Tokaji Aszu is made from botrytised grapes, which is when the grapes have rotten, reducing the water content and leaving grapes with high sugar content. The wines come in a range of 3-6 puttonyos, which designate sugar content. These wines are rare, making up just 1% of production from the region.
Bordeaux Premier Cru (France)
To be frank, a lot of Bordeaux wines are very poor, so for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, I am qualifying this as Bordeaux Premier Cru – not just any Bordeaux. Premier Cru translates to “First Growth”, but it has nothing to do with when the grapes are grown, it’s just a designation for the highest quality level of production from the region – of which there are just 5 Chateaux.
Like Bordeaux, quality can be hit and miss at the lower levels, but Pinot Noir from Burgundy – which most reds are (outside of Beaujolais) can, of course, be outstanding.
My aim in life is to be able to afford a Domain de la Romanee Conti Grand Cru for Christmas dinner – that’s my personal “before I die” target.
Tinta de Toro (Spain)
The vast majority of red wines from Spain are from the Tempranillo grape, and Tinta de Toro can produce examples that are vibrant, ruby red with soft silky tannins and exuberant aromas of leather, tobacco, plum and herbs. A slow afternoon in Spain with a (few) bottle(s) of this and a selection of mouth-watering tapas and good friends is, perhaps, what life was made for.
Of course. You’ll have a tried it already, for sure – but it can’t be ignored from the list. The famous quote attributed to Dom Perignon on its discovery sums it up:
“Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!”
This variety was thought to be lost in commercial volumes due to the vines being wiped out in Europe, only to be found to grow in rude health in Chile. It was misunderstood as merlot, and the merlot being grown was named ‘chilean merlot’ due to its differences from actual merlot. The truth is there was also merlot being grown next to carmenere, and they were hard to distinguish. However, after many years of work, Chile is no producing ‘pure’ carmenere which is outstanding; well balanced, persistent with spice, plum and black cherry.
As I come to the end of the list, I’m thinking of all the other wines I would like to put in here: Sancerre, Sauternes, South African Pinotage, NZ Sauv Blanc, Washington State Cab Sauv, Argentinian Malbec… My list is way too short, but hopefully, there’s some ideas in there for you to explore.