words: Benjamin Proctor
Some of you may be nearing the end of your month long abstinence from alcohol …(how dull do you want to be?)
…But for those still thinking of an exciting resolution, why not take the opportunity to explore booze you’ve not tried before.
Sure, January’s a tough month on the wallet if not on the liver, but that doesn’t mean affordable and exciting wine isn’t on tap!
Borough Wines have taken inspiration from the South of France and now offer an updated version of the refill bottle.
How it works:
You buy a bottle for £2.50 and fill it up with £5 of wine from the barrel.
Then when you come back, just top it up yourself and it only costs a fiver.
The wines change every two months or so (currently a Merlot from South West France and a Sauvignon/Colombard blend from the same region), and there’s even a QR code on the costolata which will take you directly to the website and give you details of what’s in the barrel. What’s more, you can top up at a number of refill spots around East London, including the shop at Borough Market.
For those with a little more to splash, there’s a great range across France, all of which is imported directly from small producers. And for those who would rather venture into the unknown, here’s a selection of some undiscovered delights.
Quevedo White Port £14
Quevedo is a small, family run producer based in the Douro Valley. Their aim is to steer clear of the Stilton eating stereotype and produce a modern wine for modern times. The result is straw coloured in appearance, with fresh pear and citrus aromas. It’s sweet on the palate with notes of honey and more white fruit, but it still remains clean and fresh. Why not serve over ice with a slice of lemon to accentuate that citrus note? Or if you’d rather a long drink, it can be topped up with tonic.
Nectar de Kefraya £22
Another fortified white wine, this time from Chateau Kefraya in Lebanon. This is made from Ugni Blanc grapes (same stuff they grown in Cognac) and is then aged in oak barrels for four to seven years. It smells a little like a spiced rum, with notes of honey, toffee and vanilla, followed by a distinct nuttiness from the time spent in oak. Delicious with a crème brulée or a tarte tatin.
Hungarian Riesling and Tramini Both £1
Monks have been making wine at the Benedictine Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary since 996. They cultivate a number of varietals, including Riesling and Tramini. Riesling makes a number of styles, from super sweet to bone dry, of which these are the latter. The Pannonhalma Riesling is lean, crisp and minerally with notes of peach and citrus. Gewurztraminer can also make a variety of styles, but this Tramini (as it’s known in Hungary) is bone dry. The nose is very aromatic and floral, with notes of lychee, lavender and pepper, but the palate is fresh and clean with none of the residual sweetness normally associated with this grape. Both would be an excellent accompaniment to sushi, or would easily cut through the richness of pork or duck.
*He’ll be back! Next time with some tips on how to say fuck off to an evil hangover.