Monday 7 Nov 2016 07:45

Wines to watch and while away the hours

Wines to watch and while away the hours Newcastle-born Craig Bolton, executive director of Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb, discovers some hidden gems when he switches a world of diamonds for wine.

Craig Bolton

Craig Bolton

You could say that finding a fine wine is as rewarding as getting your hands on a classic watch – a true vintage will never go out of style and both need to make you tick.

But in fact, there are real comparisons that can be made between the two. A watch, in the same way as a wine, can hold its worth and even appreciate in value the longer it matures.

My own wine journey has seen me sip on Spanish-influenced varieties on holiday in Mexico and sample Swiss wines during a work trip to the Basel & Geneva Watches of Switzerland showcase, which I’m lucky enough to count within my annual calendar. I also have a soft spot for the flavours of the Italian Riviera – pairing Mediterranean cuisine with a Trebbiano from one of the country’s top grape-growing regions. However, nothing pleases me more than a weekend at home with the family and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc – my personal and current tipple of choice. So I was excited to give moonlighting ‘chief winemaker’ Graham Norton’s Marlborough, New Zealand a whirl.

On confirming it was indeed the Graham Norton we all know and love, I was intrigued to see if it lived up to the entertaining qualities of the Friday night favourite himself. I can now tell you, with a smile, it was easily the best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had this year. It had a crisp acidity and was citrusy and fruity – characteristics which resulted in a clean finish.

Graham NortonThe flavours of lemon and gooseberry came through well with a vibrant and flamboyant tone, much like the man who created it! It packs a punch without being overpowering, softened on the palette by the sweet, floral top notes. We enjoyed it on a Saturday over a sushi picnic and then again with salmon for dinner, and it complemented the fish beautifully.

The combination of Wairau River and the Awatere Valley came together in a great partnership. It retails at a bargain price and is marketed with a cool, eye-catching label on the bottle, really making it stand out. I was disappointed when I went to order more and it was sold out online!

When it came to the Claret, I had a sneaky glass whilst making our Sunday Roast and at first judgement, I was a little underwhelmed. It’s very light and easy to drink without any of the heavy tannins which some Clarets are prone to. Initially, it tasted a little thin and the aromas were muted despite decanting it first and pouring it through the Vinturi aerator.

Definition ClaretNevertheless, I persevered and after nibbling on a small piece of beef and the tail end of a roast parsnip, the Claret totally changed. With the rich taste of the dish in front of me still present, the blend came to life – it tasted full-bodied whilst the blackcurrant and plum bouquet shone through. On second reflection, the verdict is that it’s the ideal wine to accompany a Sunday Roast.

Images taken at Northern Goldsmiths, 1 Blackett St, Newcastle

Definition Claret is £12.99 single bottle, £10.99 when you mix six price. Graham Norton is £10.99 single bottle, £8.99 mix six.
Wine supplied by Majestic Wine Warehouse, Gosforth

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