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Wine whine

Posted on 04 October 2008 by Dan Johnson

I’m ashamed to say that despite being a Francophile, I’m the world’s worst wine buff. Waves of inadequacy flow over me if asked to choose a red, white or rosé when with friends. I live by the rule of house-rouge for meat, house-blanc with fish, and house-rosé for my wife.

So it was with mixed feelings I settled down to a Rhone Alpes sponsored lunch at a recent industry get together, when the host told us that there were three wines to try for the aperitif, three more with main course and another three for dessert.

I was less concerned with picking out the finer points of each wine, more worried about picking my way home afterwards.

Each wine was enthusiastically presented by a sommelier from one of the three vineyards taking part, and each sommelier obviously lived and breathed the bottle they were talking about.

It’s fascinating to hear people bringing to life the community and culture behind the different varieties of wine, in this case from Beaujolais to Côtes du Rhône.

And considering I am such a wine heathen, with a little direction even I could appreciate the differences in flavours.

Yet despite this input from the Rhone Alpes team, and even a recent course at the excellent Vinopolis wine tasting attraction in London, I’m still overawed by the choice when faced by the hundreds of different brands on the shelves of our local supermarket.

How do I know when I’m selecting a vintage that has been lovingly crafted or mass-produced cheap plonk? Does dearer mean better, or are there bargains to be had for under £10?

When you go on your holiday to France, do you try the local tipples and bring back ideas for your future purchases in the UK, or, like me, are the names of local vineyards and varieties forgotten as your holiday ends?

There are several really good blogs about wine in France, with my favourites including Sharon’s Wine Blog and Wineterroirs.

What tips do you have for choosing the perfect wine?

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