Anthony Rose: 'Our experience of wine is circumscribed by a tendency to complacency'

 

As I was adding a host of obscure grape names such as pelaverga, areni noir, and bovale sardo to some tasting notes recently, I was struck by the extent to which our experience of wine is circumscribed by a tendency to complacency. Like sticking to the same old newspaper, washing-up liquid, car or, as often as not, wine, brand loyalty may well be a virtue in the eyes of the marketing industry but it's as often as not the refuge of unadventurous consumers. A continually expanding wine universe challenges us to peer our from under the shell of our comfort zone and stick noses into an expanding array of new flavours and experiences.

Something similar must have occurred to Julia Harding MW when, tasked with finding her 50 top Portuguese wines, she decided to stick to wines made only from native Portuguese grape varieties. The result was a group of surprisingly good dry whites, among them the 2010 Quinta de la Rosa Branco, £14.95, Berry Bros (0800 280 2440), slurp.co.uk, a refreshing Douro blend of viosinho and rabigato grapes with smoky undertones and crisp, appley fruit enveloped in a swirl of smokiness, and finishing nuttily dry. Looking at her selection, Portugal's whites could well be one of wine's Next Big Things.

Crossing from Atlantic to the Mediterranean, Italy's northern region of Friuli has long been recognised for its brilliant whites such as the wonderful 2009 Vie di Romans Flors di Uis, £25, Laithwaites (0845 194 7720), a fragrant bright and exotic rich peach and pear blend based on malvasia istriana and friulano with a pithy grapefuity freshness. It's to Italy's South, though, that we now turn to increasingly for fine new wave whites such as Sicily's 2011 Planeta Carricante, £16.95-£18.95, Great Western Wine (01225 322810), Swig (0800 0272 272), Valvona & Crolla (0131 556 6066), a fragrant white whose apple- and lime-zingy aromas are complemented by a deliciously full-bodied stonefruit richness with a bone-dry finish.

Like carricante, the Mediterranean's vermentino grape also retains a natural refreshness, a factor Laithwaite's winemaker Mark Hoddy has taken advantage of in the 2011 Un Vent de Folie, Vin de France, £9.99, Laithwaites. It's an accomplished, richly-concentrated white with a lightly toasty note underscored by honeyed notes and a crisply refreshing lemony aftertaste. My most recent reminder of the new reach of obscure grape varieties was an encounter with the 2010 Zorah Karasi, £22-£23.50, Philglas & Swiggot (020-7924 4494), Shaftesbury Wines (01747 850059), Swig. Made from areni noir, this Armenian red from Zorik Gharibian is aged in traditional amphorae with fresh, fragrant cherry and pepper spice, stylish polished oak and a soft and juicy mulberry-like quality whose savoury acidity recalls northern Rhône syrah.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living