To celebrate Global Drink Wine Day, which falls on 18 February, we've asked two experts about their favourite wines and what supermarket buys are the best.
Master of wine and Scotsman wine columnist, Rose Murray Brown and Rachael Rafferty, curator at Stem Wine Club on HOME-X, answer our questions on the best, favourite and desert island wines this Global Drink Wine Day.
Rose Murray Brown is one of only 409 Masters of Wine worldwide and is the only one to host wine courses and regular wine tastings in Scotland.
Rose also writes a regular wine column for the Scotsman.
What are the most popular wine regions in the UK?
The most popular wine countries in the UK (in terms of sales) are France, followed by Italy, then Australia, USA and Chile behind.
In France, most popular regions: Champagne, Bordeaux, Loire, Burgundy & Languedoc. In Italy, most popular regions are Veneto and Puglia. In Australia, most popular regions are south east Australia, McLaren Vale and Barossa.
Which region most misunderstood?
In France, I think Beaujolais is probably the most misunderstood and currently neglected – yet its high quality Beaujolais Crus from the northern part of Beaujolais can be excellent value and worth hunting out.
If you are looking at wine countries which are misunderstood and definitely needing more attention, I would highlight Germany, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria and Hungary.
Your top buys from supermarket buys for spring?
Aldi Gruner Veltliner 2019 £6.49 Aldi
Tesco Finest Cremant de Limoux Rose 2017 Sieur d’Arques £10 reduced from £12 Tesco
Le Rose de Balthazar 2019 £7.99 Waitrose
Waitrose Soft & Juicy Chilean Red £4.99
El Duque de Miralta Rioja Reserva 2015 £12 Marks & Spencer
Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2017 £14.99 Waitrose
Your top three tips for wine tasting at home?
Choose good quality wine glasses (Zalto are best, Riedel more affordable) – don’t use coloured or cut glass
If you can afford to, buy a ‘Coravin’ – an incredible invention which allows you to take a glass from a bottle without needing to pull the cork - ideal for single or small households who want to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling they should finish the bottle. If you cannot afford a Coravin, buy a Vacuvin.
Don’t serve white wines too cold straight from fridge. Try and decant all reds as it often really improves them with aeration.
How best to store unopened wine at home?
On its side, if it has a cork, in a cool constant temperature away from bright light - and away from too much humidity – so avoid storing near radiator, hot kitchen, hot cupboard or bathroom.
Constant temperature is more important than keeping it really cool.
Best all round wine on its own and with food?
White: Albarino from NW Spain is superb as aperitif and with seafood/fish/white meat.
Red: Gamay is superb on its own and also with charcuterie platter
Grenache/Syrah blend (from Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Villages) usually has soft tannins and rounded palate which is easy to drink on its own and with food.
Pinot Noir also easy to drink on its own and goes well with duck, lamb etc.
Your desert island wines
White: Dry German Riesling or White Burgundy
Red: German Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir)
Dry Fortified: Palo Cortado Sherry
Rachel is the COO at popular Six by Nico restaurants and curator of newly launched Stem Wine Club.
Stem Wine Club is a new home wine delivery service designed to help customers learn about wine and experience new flavour profiles from around the world.
It involves five half bottles of different wines being sent to customers homes (nationwide), with a guide to tasting and food pairings.
What region of wine is the most popular in the UK and why do you think that is?
I would probably have to go with Malborough, New Zealand for obvious reasons.
This is taken purely from my background in restaurants and the quantities of the stuff we used to go through in stock. It's a widely appreciated wine that seems to tick most peoples boxes.
What region is most misunderstood and why?
I would probably say the English wineries produce English sparkling.
I don't know if misunderstood is the right term but definitely undiscovered.
The challenges they are putting up against the champagne/ sparkling wine market is immense and I think it has a lot to be shouted about.
However when you offer an “English wine” to someone, it's natural for a few raised eyebrows to occur.
Your top three buys from a supermarket for spring and why?
Aha, My favourite hobby since lockdown:
Negreamaro from “The Best” range in Morrisons. For late spring summer barbecues this is what you’re after.
Tesco do the Rocca Amerone which I think is brilliant for the money as well .
“Studio” Rose by Miraval is a lovely rose and can be found in both the Co-op and Tesco. The bottles are also very pretty which helps.
Top three tips for wine tasting at home?
Wine tasting at home can be the best, You are relaxed, you're there to enjoy it, you don't have some well suited sommelier standing staring at you looking for your response, it can be a really nice experience to do with your partner, friends or even by yourself - you can try it easily with Stem wine club!
My top three tips I would say are:
Take your time, smell and senses can take a minute to adjust especially if you are switching between wines, take small sips and really focus on the flavours and aromas you get.
Take notes, what you liked, what you didn’t, what you got from it. The more you note down you will begin to see trends in what your thoughts were and will help you make a more educated decision when it comes to picking a wine in the future.
Use your nice glasses.
How best to store opened wine at home?
Wine doesn’t normally last long once it's open in my house so I may not be the best person to consult here but if you are the type that only enjoys a glass every so often then a manual Vac u Vin is the answer.
You can grab them on Amazon for around £10 and they vacuum the air out the bottle to slow down the oxidation process.
If you have something a little more expensive that you want to open but don't want to waste then investing in a Cora-vin is worth it.
Best all rounder wine that goes well with food and on its own?
Personally, I think Grillo is a great all rounder with both working well with food and very easy and enjoyable to drink on its own.
Your desert island wine - what bottle would you take to a desert island and why?
Champagne. If I'm going down I'm going down in style.