Five Sommelier-Approved Wines To Buy Now
The best bottles of booze, selected by Mr Piotr Pietras, master sommelier at Hide in London’s Mayfair
Although few of us can imagine a good dinner without decent wine, beyond some well-rehearsed grapes and regions, not everyone can parse a wine list or buy bottles with total confidence. So, to save us the trouble, we thought we would ask an expert for a variety of good-value wines to know and stock our cupboards with this autumn. And we couldn’t think of anyone more suitable for such a task than Mr Piotr Pietras, master sommelier and director of wine at Hide – London’s most fashionable restaurant – in Mayfair. There are more than 6,500 bottles on the wine list at Hide, so we asked Mr Piotr to whittle his choice down to just five, explain what they taste like (and why) and suggest something to pair them with. All you need to do is drink them.
Tolpuddle Vineyard, Tasmania, Australia, 2013 (£46.90)
“A really serious cool-climate chardonnay produced in Tasmania’s Coal River Valley by cousins Michael Hill Smith MW and Martin Shaw. These two had already made their name in the Adelaide Hills by producing some delicious, leaner wines. Tolpuddle 2013 is citrusy and delicately floral, with some notes of melon on the nose. The palate is quite generous, yet it shows pure class and finesse. It has got a crispy, refreshing character and a long, smoky finish. Considering its balance and potential, it can easily compete with some lovely examples from Burgundy.”
Pair with: pan-roasted scallops or white asparagus in hollandaise sauce.
Vassaltis Winery, Santorini, Greece, 2017 (£32.60)
“Wines from Santorini have become a real deal among sommeliers from around the world. No wonder. They are characterful, mineral, zippy and versatile when it comes to food pairings. The most popular variety out there is called assyrtiko; it is so unique that it is difficult to compare it to any other grape. This estate is on the northern part of the island, producing wines with power, energy, but most of all freshness. Wines with balance. This particular Assyrtiko has got salty-volcanic minerality, a delicately creamy texture and lemon-zest flavours. It is a great reflection of the so-called ‘terroir’. Drink it not only during summer holidays, but in the colder months, too.”
Pair with: herb-poached sea bream with steamed vegetables
Clos du Pavillon, Marrans, Beaujolais, France, 2015 (£23.60)
“The gamay grape, which is loved by many, is back again. What is great about it is the fact that you will find so many different interpretations of it, so everyone can find their favourite style. Clos du Pavillon is produced from very old vines – 80-100 years old. As a result, the wine has a richer, more intense expression. The fruit is dark, spicy, with some violet and liquorice aromas in the background. It is all beautifully framed by vibrant acidity and grippy tannins.”
Pair with: duck breast served with apricot and hoisin sauce
Schubert, Wairarapa, New Zealand, 2007 (£39.80)
“This Syrah is produced on the North Island’s Wairarapa region by a passionate German called Kai Schubert. It is all about purity and precision. You will find flavours of red fruit, peppercorn and smoke. On the palate the wine is smooth, soft and very complex. It is in perfect shape right now, and stylistically it resembles the European rather than fruit-driven New World wines.”
Pair with: slow-cooked lamb or some aged cheddar.
Reserve, Moric Winery, Burgenland, Austria, 2013 (£42.50)
“Blaufränkisch is the most popular red variety from Austria, and you will definitely see this name more and more in top wine bars across Europe. Depending on the origin and the vinification, Blaufränkisch may have very different styles: from the lighter and crisper to the medium-bodied and spicy up to bolder and fruity. Blaufränkisch from Moric Winery shows perfumed aromas of cranberries and raspberries with some notes of juniper. The palate is dense, yet vibrant and silky. It is concentrated and ripe without being too heavy and there is a beautiful freshness to follow. If you’re ever unsure whether to have a syrah or a pinot noir, go for this blaufränkisch as it sits somewhere in between the two.”
Pair with: beef stew with sage, thyme and vegetables
Pair it with…
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