JWL Issue #144: 3 Wines for Midweek Meals, plus What is English Bacchus?

June 22, 2021

It's English Wine Week, which this year they've managed to turn into 9 days of celebration rather than 7. English wine has a very special place in my heart as I went into on Saturday. What are you opening this week to celebrate?

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Holidays in Italy are pretty tricky at the moment, but on Wednesday we are whiling you away to Tuscany. Our five glass taster shows off the best that Tuscany has to offer.

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Taste

Three wines to match with midweek meals

Crémant is made with local grape varieties so is different in each part of France. Ones from the Loire are often more full of fruit and juicy apricots with a little saltiness. Gratien & Meyer Cremant De Loire Brut (Tesco, £12) is a blend of chenin blanc, cabernet franc and chardonnay. Try it with some seafood for a classic Loire Valley pairing.

A great cheese and wine pairing is this Tesco Finest Gavi (Tesco, £8.50) with parmesan or any similarly aged crumbly cheese. It’s granny smith apples,  citrus and a wealth of acidity to cut straight through that cheese. A lovely alternative to the classic cheese board red.

There’s an eccentric German painter who creates the labels on the Porta 6 Vinho Regional Lisboa (Sainsbury’s, £7.50). They’re really eye-catching (which makes it so much easier to spot on the shelves when you’re faced with a hundred wines). Made using the classic Portuguese grape varieties of tinta roriz and touriga nacional, it has the classic full ripe fruits of Portuguese wines, with the weight to match. Drink with tomato based foods such as Italian pizza and spaghetti bolognese.

Learn

What is English bacchus?

After my Saturday email, one reader asked what is bacchus? Here's a throwback to JWL #54.

Bacchus is the second most planted white grape in the UK after chardonnay, and is fast emerging as our primary still white grape. It originates from Germany, as a cross between Silvaner, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau.

It’s an early ripener, which is important in cool climate regions where our growing seasons are shorter, less warm and have greater variability. In the UK, we are still at risk of frosts even into May, so grape selection is vitally important.

Bacchus is dominated by an elderflower aroma, but can also show stone and tropical fruits too. Winemakers have done lots to experiment with this and now produce it in a range of styles including sparkling, skin contact, amphora, and a very aromatic classic.

Bacchus has most commonly been referred to as our answer to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

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