Recently the wine market has become flooded with bottles and bottles of cheap generic plonk, which the less refined palates of students will guzzle with gusto: a little like blackcurrant or pineapple cordial at 14% proof. Wine is becoming the drink of all peoples, yet I mourn the death of realised appreciation of this most noble and ancient of liquids.
The Italian Job, £3.99, 3 for £9.99, Costcutter
This is an obvious ‘student wine’, although relatively low in alcohol at 11.5% this wine has a heady and full character and is typically earthy, as are many Italian reds. The wine has deep purple colour and is clearly very young and, I should say, be drank young too. I didn’t rate this wine, the heavy body was not adequately tempered by fruit. I would imagine this wine is made from poor quality and randomly mixed grapes (mainly nebbiolo?), as the overall impression I got was a coarse and unrefined wine, which really needs red meat to balance it. I think it would be better slightly warmer than I tasted it and would be more than adequate for those summer barbecues.
Jacob’s Creek, Chardonnay 2004, £5.99, Costcutters
Hasn’t the sun set on the reign of the chardonnay? Certainly its not as universally popular with aspiring sophisticates and women wishing to reform their Essex-girl reputations by not drinking pints of lager. What we have seen with chardonnay is a complete reinvention. A move has been thankfully made away from over-oaked, over-ripe, hot and fat-tasting wines. Jacob’s Creek is a case in point. The characteristic tropical fruit is acceptably balanced by enough vanilla-scented American oak, to make it an enjoyable, if a little predictable, drink on a warm summers afternoon. I should say this wine ought to be chilled, but not as low as I see many people (and restaurants) chilling wines; to about seven or eight degrees would be perfect.
Les Meslieres, AC Touraine, 2003, £6.59, Majestic
This is a wine I bought during my last trip to France, and have subsequently found it available at Majestic. Following a trend in lesser-known French appellations, it is of a single grape variety – in this case, gamay. The gamay grape is not known really for anything other than Beaujolais. This wine is described as a ‘vin de soif’ and I cannot think of a better description. It is beautifully smooth and light and is full of sweet red fruit without being sickly or unpalatable. This is a wine I regularly drink and is best drank very slightly chilled, and is a complex rarity to enjoy, especially in the summer. This is also a good wine for those who do not regularly drink red.