Emsworth's festive wine fair will be a real cracker '“Â Alistair Gibson
Wine is such an amazingly diverse product; there are simply so many grape varieties, styles andÂ wine regions that it would be impossible to try them all in a lifetime but that's half the fun, thereÂ is always something else to taste.Â
ItÂ would be easy to stick to your favourite wine butÂ you'd beÂ missing out on a whole world of other styles and experiences.
The best way toÂ experience new wine is to put some in your glass and taste it, preferably with someone who canÂ tell you the story of where it comes from and how it was made.Â
With Christmas in mind,Â try some new wines at the Festive Wine Fair at the Brookfield Hotel in Emsworth onÂ Wednesday, November 21.Â TicketsÂ are Â£5Â with proceeds going to HavantÂ Hockey Club's youth development programme. ForÂ that you get to taste more thanÂ 50 wines withÂ their agents in the UK.
Throw in some local gins and seasonal port and I can't think of a better to start the festive season. Here's whatÂ to look out for.
AlbariÃ±o is a great example of a grape that was hardly known here until a few years ago and nowÂ with Spanish food being all the rage it has become a very fashionable grape indeed. It's a grapeÂ that is indigenous to north-west Spain and AlbariÃ±o 2017, Lagar de Bouza, Rias Biaxas (HermitageÂ Cellars Â£11.50 but on offer on the night Â£10.40) is a lovely example. Aromas of ripe citrus fruit, crushed flowers, and underlying minerality give way to a fresh, crisp palate of lemon zest, freshÂ lime and stone fruits before a mouth-watering finish.
AlbariÃ±o is slowly finding its way to theÂ new world and Stanley Estates AlbariÃ±o 2016, Marlborough (Hermitage Cellars Â£14.25 on theÂ evening) is an interesting comparison. From a single vineyard, this offers concentrated flavours ofÂ white and yellow peaches, honeydew melons, vanilla, passion fruit and pineapple areÂ complemented by minerality, zesty acidity, and slight oak spice. Both of these would be perfectÂ with a plate of fresh seafood or a starter of smoked salmon on Christmas Day.
Port is almost as traditional at Christmas as the turkey or the tree itself and Taylor's isÂ possiblyÂ the most famous of all the great port houses.
Founded in 1692, Taylor's have this year releasedÂ Taylor's Historic Limited Edition Reserve Tawny (Hermitage Cellars Â£35.95 on the evening).Â The oneÂ litre bottle is based on a unique historic EnglishÂ flask from the first half of the 18thÂ century to celebrate their long history.
The wine is a blend of aged tawny ports with a uniqueÂ character for this bottling. The bouquet offers notes of fig, sultanas and dried fruits with hints ofÂ coffee and cedarwood, before a round and smooth palate with richÂ fruit cake flavours leading toÂ a very long, satisfying finish.
This is gorgeous port, beautifully presented and would make a lovelyÂ partner to a chocolate pudding or cheese at the end of the meal.