I had some guests staying for the weekend and was planning what we were going to eat and drink and thought I should just check what I had in my fridge.
Which got me to asking myself the question, what does someone in the wine trade have in their fridge?
It turns out that there are always a couple of go-to wines as well as the odd bottle of sample wine I’ve been sent to taste.
The one wine I constantly have in my fridge is Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla (Waitrose £11.19 75cl, Hermitage Cellars £6.15 37.5cl).
I have long thought sherry is one of the best value wines in world. Its remarkable value is partly due to the fact it is not as fashionable as it once was. But with the current interest in Spanish cuisine and wines there has been a resurgence in sherry sales, albeit it from an admittedly small base.
Manzanilla is a style of fino or dry sherry that comes from the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda and is perhaps unique in the world of wine. Although the grapes may come from anywhere in the Jerez region, manzanilla has to be aged in this small seaside town in order to be labelled as manzanilla.
Made from the palomino grape, it is made as a dry white wine and fortified to 15 per cent before being aged in the traditional sherry solera system in old American oak barrels.
This is thrilling bone dry white wine, with notes of almonds, yellow apples and a touch of saltiness on the nose, before a fresh, crisp pallet with more notes of saltiness. Maybe I’m being fanciful here, but there’s a hint of a see breeze.
I remember being in Sanlucar de Barrameda and sitting down for a lunch of local prawns and La Gitana Manzanilla, so good I can still taste it now, hence why there is always a half bottle in my fridge!
The Society’s Hungarian White Wine 2018 (The Wine Society £6.75) was sent to me as a sample and what a pretty little good value wine it is. Made for the Wine Society in the Eger region of Hungary from local indigenous grapes, this is really fresh with floral and herb notes, followed by a crisp palate and lovely bright finish.
Simple dry white wine for sipping in the garden on a summer’s evening.
Another sample in my fridge was Rustenburg Chardonnay 2018, Stellenbosch (Waitrose, Ocado £14.99) an altogether more serious wine.
Made on one of the Cape’s most historic wine estates, having been founded in 1682, this is a wine to show just how far South Africa has come in producing some world class chardonnay in the past decade. It was fermented in oak before being aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, 25 per cent of which were new.
The nose has complexity with tangerine peel, stone fruits, citrus and a little spice, followed by a beautifully integrated palate with the oak supporting the fruit as opposed to dominating.
A gorgeous wine to serve with roast chicken or firm textured grilled fish.