13 Mar 2014

A really unusual red wine: Fonte del Re Lacrima di Morro d'Alba

Are you stuck in a wine drinking rut? Sick of drinking stuff that tastes just a bit, well, winey? A bit dull? Here's a weird one to get you thinking while you're drinking. I suspect it might divide people into the "wow, that's really interesting" camp and the "wow, that's really weird" camp, so choose the right time to open it.

Twirl your glass around a bit, stick your nose in and it smells amazing. Very orangey; also peaches; blossom of some kind; lavender, maybe. Floral and perfumed like a hippy's patchouli-scented boudoir, in my mouth sensing a squirt of honey and lemon, a slice of orange peel.

In fact - thinking about this wine from memory now (I had it a couple of days ago) - I suspect if tasted blind you could be forgiven for thinking it a white rather than a red wine, what with all those citrussy and floral flavours, maybe a viognier or something like that.

Did I enjoy it? I loved the experience: the reminder you can get all these different scents and flavours inside one glass of wine, like an Aladdin's cave discovering new things as you work your way through it. With the debate about novelty wine in mind, it was drinkable too.

Fonte del Re Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, £11.99 from M&S

6 Mar 2014

Can you make sparkling wine in a SodaStream?

What happens if you put cheap white wine in a SodaStream and fizz it up? Well, apparently it can make for a decent sparkling wine. Helen McGinn, author of the Knackered Mothers' Wine Club blog, says here celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal are big fans of the technique.

(I'm guessing Heston whizzes his wine up to a specific RPM twice a day over a three-day period before freeze-drying it and serving it as foam over some really small fish and chips. Meanwhile you can picture Jamie in his kitchen with some cheap Italian chardonnay in one corner, a SodaStream in the other, and a dream of Pukka Prosecco! in Jamie's Italians everywhere.)

The best SodaStream wines

Helen McGinn found Aldi's Toro Loco rose to be the best of a selection she tried out in the SodaStream, closely followed by Waitrose Italian Dry White and Las Falleras Rose from M&S. So there you go - it might be worth a whizz. That's if you still have a SodaStream lying around. (Incidentally, after hearing nothing of SodaStream since about 1987, this is the second story about the brand I read in a matter of days: the other one was about Scarlett Johannson's decision to quit her Oxfam role due to conflict with her SodaStream advertising deal.)

How to aerate wine without a decanter

Anyway while I'm talking about whizzing up wine, I came across this other article about sticking your wine in a food blender. This time, the aim is to add air to it and open up the flavours. Apparently it's a very effective way of aerating the wine - no doubt despite the serious risk of looking like you're having a Basil Fawlty moment in front of your dinner guests.

Bottle shock

Incidentally both articles make me wonder whether you could "damage" your wine with a kind of bottle shock by whizzing it up like this. Then again, I suppose that's more pertinent with wines that are more expensive than your £3.69 bottle of Toro Loco.

A similar thought came to mind when I saw this YouTube video by Stephen Cronk, the British owner of French wine producer Mirabeau, which went viral. Again, I suppose you wouldn't want to be bashing your Chateau Cheval Blanc against a wall inside a shoe - but then I suppose if you're the person who can afford that then you're also the person who can afford a corkscrew, or at least one who doesn't lose their corkscrew every other day. Pass me the Toro Loco...