Emsworth’s festive wine fair will be a real cracker – Alistair Gibson

Albario 2017, Lagar de Bouza, Rias Biaxas
Albario 2017, Lagar de Bouza, Rias Biaxas

Wine is such an amazingly diverse product; there are simply so many grape varieties, styles and wine regions that it would be impossible to try them all in a lifetime but that’s half the fun, there is always something else to taste. 

It would be easy to stick to your favourite wine but you’d be missing out on a whole world of other styles and experiences.

Stanley Estates Albario 2016, Marlborough

Stanley Estates Albario 2016, Marlborough

The best way to experience new wine is to put some in your glass and taste it, preferably with someone who can tell you the story of where it comes from and how it was made. 

With Christmas in mind, try some new wines at the Festive Wine Fair at the Brookfield Hotel in Emsworth on Wednesday, November 21. Tickets are £5 with proceeds going to Havant Hockey Club’s youth development programme. For that you get to taste more than 50 wines with 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 what to look out for.

Albariño is a great example of a grape that was hardly known here until a few years ago and now with Spanish food being all the rage it has become a very fashionable grape indeed. It’s a grape that is indigenous to north-west Spain and Albariño 2017, Lagar de Bouza, Rias Biaxas (Hermitage Cellars £11.50 but on offer on the night £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, fresh lime and stone fruits before a mouth-watering finish.

Taylor's Limited Edtion Reserve Tawny Bottle and Box.

Taylor's Limited Edtion Reserve Tawny Bottle and Box.

Albariño is slowly finding its way to the new world and Stanley Estates Albariño 2016, Marlborough (Hermitage Cellars £14.25 on the evening) is an interesting comparison. From a single vineyard, this offers concentrated flavours of white and yellow peaches, honeydew melons, vanilla, passion fruit and pineapple are complemented by minerality, zesty acidity, and slight oak spice. Both of these would be perfect 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 is  possibly the most famous of all the great port houses.

Founded in 1692, Taylor’s have this year released Taylor’s Historic Limited Edition Reserve Tawny (Hermitage Cellars £35.95 on the evening). The one litre bottle is based on a unique historic English flask from the first half of the 18th century to celebrate their long history.

The wine is a blend of aged tawny ports with a unique character for this bottling. The bouquet offers notes of fig, sultanas and dried fruits with hints of coffee and cedarwood, before a round and smooth palate with rich fruit cake flavours leading to a very long, satisfying finish.

This is gorgeous port, beautifully presented and would make a lovely partner to a chocolate pudding or cheese at the end of the meal.