BIRMINGHAM WINE WEEKEND
24–26 April 2020
WINE OF THE MOMENT
As the countdown continues to our favourite weekend of the year, we’ve been on the search for the best wines in town to wet our whistle. To do this, we caught up with Birmingham’s brightest food and drink critics to find out what they’ve been sipping and why we need to give them a try…
Food and drink expert
Txacoli isn’t a name that rolls off the tongue with ease, but it sure as heck flows down my gullet readily. It’s a white wine grape from the Basque region of northern Spain that suddenly became popular during the 1980s, when forward-thinking vintners showed the grape the respect and love it deserves. I first drank it a decade ago in the garden at Mugaritz restaurant near San Sebastián, sipping a refreshing glass as I ate tiny spuds baked in edible clay so that they resembled pebbles. Expect an easy-to-sip wine that’s pale green, vibrant and has a slight sparkle. It drinks well as an aperitif, with seafood or light tapas. For a version with more depth and complexity, hunt down a bottle of Bengoetxe Txacoli, Getariako Txakolina 2017 (available from Connolly’s Wine in Birmingham at around £16).
My Wine of the Moment has to be the Joshua GSM (Grenache, Mataro, Shiraz) from Teusner Wines of Barrosa Valley. It is currently being paired with Wagyu Brisket, 35-day aged sirloin, dashi, wild mushroom available on the Harborne Kitchen tasting menu. The tri-varietal style allows each element to really sing and adds endless complexity when compared to the to more common single varietal options that the region is famous for. It’s absolutely delicious and real foodie wine.
Tom Cullen, Director of IChoose Birmingham, went for an unusual choice of a dessert wine… My Wine of the Moment is a bottle of Tokaji. For years I’ve been convinced I hate all dessert wines, but then I went to Sky by the Water at Resorts World and the sommelier said he’d show me the error of my ways. He brought out Tokaji (Hungarian sweet wine) that absolutely blew me away. I don’t remember what year it was (the wine I mean, I remember the year this happened because it was last week), but dear lord it was sensational. I would pair the wine with a dessert at Sky by the Water called The Apple.
What. A. Combo.
THE WINE EVENTS COMPANY
Recently referred to as the ‘official/unofficial Mayor of Wine in Brum’ by iChoose magazine, Tony Elvin, of The Wine Events Company, gives us his wine of the moment. I’d have to go for the 2017 Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Domaine de la Janasse. They love to blend their wines in this part of the world, with Châteauneuf-du-Pape, their most famous red wine of the region permitted to compose up to 13 locally grown grapes. This wonderfully quaffable Rhône valley white is a blend of five grapes. Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Viognier and Roussanne combine to produce this powerfully dry drop of heaven. Aromas of peach and apricot, excellent concentration on the palate and a refreshing acidity on the finish.
This wine is made from selected plots with sandy soils on the edge of the appellation Châteauneuf-du-Pape with minimal intervention and definitely no nasty chemicals. It’s available online for around £15 but can be found easily in the city at a wine merchant.
FOUNDER OF LOKI WINE
My top wine pick would have to be Truffle Hound by Unico Zelo. These guys are a really cool Australian winery, trying to make wines of character and a little different from the usual Aussie wines. They love Italian varietals, and this is a blend of two varieties – Barbera, and Nebbiolo (used to make Barolo). The blend together gives a wonderfully unique and interesting wine, and they also produce the wine ‘naturally’ so no fining and filtration.
Allegedly it gives you less of a hangover than wines with higher sulphite! I first tried the wine in McLaren Vale, Australia, in a bar owned by the legendary natural wine producer, Taras Ochota. The wine is great on its own, however with the subtlety of fruit from the Barbera and some tannic structure from the Nebbiolo it works really well with just simple food – just try it with a plate of ham; it’s my favourite snack!”