Stat 1. Only seven per cent of us are prepared to pay over a tenner for a bottle of wine (in the North East it’s only two), according to a survey by drinks specialists Harpers. Apparently more than 80 per cent of wine sold in the retail sector during the past year went for under £6 a bottle. You don’t get a lot of quality for your dosh then, when 60 per cent of that goes to the Government.
Stat 2. The number of regular drinkers of wine in France, of all countries, is in freefall. In 1980 more than half of adults were consuming wine on a near-daily basis. Today it’s just 17 per cent, while the proportion who never drink wine at all has doubled to 38 per cent. In 1965, the amount of wine consumed per head was 160 litres a year. By 2010 it was 57 and it’s still falling.
Stat 3. For the first time Spain is producing more wine than any other country in the world, including Italy and France, both hit by bad growing conditions in 2013. The respective, estimated figures, in hectolitres, are 50, 47 and 42 million. Alas, a good half of vino de Espana comes from, irrigated high yielding vines from the hot plains of La Mancha and similar areas. The result is often characterless plonk, a world away from Spain’s best stuff.
As it happens, after last month’s excursion to South America, April’s wine recommendations come predominantly from France, Spain and Italy and, with one exception, don’t stray above that £10 mark. Though, if you are after a sub six quidder, look away now.
I’ll start with the exception from La Báscula, the Spanish wine range brought to life by South African winemaker Bruce Jack and Brit Master of Wine Ed Adams.
No Stone Unturned 2012 (£15.99) is a blend predominantly of Old Vine Garnacha and Cariñena from Terra Alta, a stony,old vine plot in Catalonia. The Garnacha vines are nearly 50 years old – hence the concentration and complexity, aided by 10 months in French new oak. Oodles of dark spicy blackberry fruit and a long finish make it a perfect accompaniment for an Easter lamb dinner.
La Báscula also produce a red and a white under the Catalan Eagle label. The 2013 vintage of Catalan Eagle White (£9.99) is a minerally but fresh, almost Rhone-like blend of Garnacha blanca, Viognier and Roussanne.
Source: Manchester Confidential