THESE fair islands of ours have been pretty hopeless in the World Cup. England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Are we there or thereabouts in the final stages?
Are we heck. Though it shouldn’t stop us settling down to watch the World Cup Final with a glass or two of vino.
The eventual arrival of the World Cup on our screens was an exciting moment. I love football. I love wine (you’ve probably noticed).
The marketing machine for Brazilian wines has been full pelt for at least a year and who can blame them. Eyes centre stage on the country full of carnival and pizzazz.
I found some Brazilian wines from M&S, which has been stocking them since March for the footie fest One thing you can say about the labels is they are full on carnival.
What of the wines though? I shared them at a girlie night where footie wasn’t a priority (so I couldn’t talk about Tim Cahill’s amazing goal against the Dutch).
I made it hard for them by wrapping the bottles in foil, so no clues and they had to write down their thoughts. We started off with Coconova Brut NV, (£8.99).
The girlies spotted peach aromas in this sparkler, a blend of sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, and verdejo. One girlie: “It gives you a pang, making you screw your face up”. I thought, great label great name, grapey with background tangerines.
Carnival Sparkling Moscato NV, (£9.99). One girlie, ”no scent, sweet, nice, smooth”. Another girlie, “sweet vanilla”. For me, a sweet fizz of lemon sorbet but shallow on flavour.
Araucaria Riesling Pinot Grigio 2013, (£8.49). It takes a lot to encourage me to try a pinot grigio, but the blend with riesling was enough of an excuse. The girlies: “Nice” “doesn’t smell of much” and “apple”. Me? It was OK; I’ve had much better for the price but thank goodness for the riesling to give the grigio a fruity dimension and depth.
Intenso Teroldego 2013, (£9.99). Teroldgo isn’t a grape I’ve come across before so open minds here. Girls: “fruity” “smoky” “blackurrant”. I say, enjoyable juicy bursts of blackberries and herbs.
Also in my glass … July heralds the start of 31 Days of Riesling, an initiative by Wines of Germany. I love riesling and don’t really need an “initiative” to enjoy it, but nevertheless, here are some thoughts.
The lovely Wines of Germany people suggested I try goats cheese salad with pear and walnuts with Mineralstein Riesling (Marks & Spencer, £8.99). I’m not a goats’ cheese fan so I used feta, and it was scrums. The wine is a blend of riesling from Mosel and Pfalz and contrasts fruity pears, a wet slate of minerality and a dash of spice.
I flash-fried some prawns with garlic and chilli and added coriander and a squeeze of lemon. Crusty bread and Devil’s Rock Riesling (Co-op, £6.99) were the finishing touches. Devil’s Rock 2013 vintage won bronze at the recently announced Decanter World Wine Awards. It is full of zesty lemon, lime and grapefruit and was zingy-licious with the spicy prawns.
Another riesling – kind of – worthy of mention is from Alsace and specifically, the ever-reliable Wine Society (www.thewinesociety.com). The Society’s Vin d’Alsace, Hugel (£8.50) is “kind of” a riesling because it is a blend including sylvaner, pinot blanc, riesling, pinot gris with gewurztraminer and muscat. That’s a mouthful in more ways than one. A great choice for a summer’s day; citrus, pears and hums of honey with a bitey-blitz of acidity.
This column first appeared in the saturday extra magazine July 5 2014