Olly Smith recommends some affordable ways—
When it comes to wine, chefs’ tastes are as demanding as their standards – and that sometimes means their wine choices often make my wallet wince. Thankfully I’ve come up with some short cuts so you don’t blow the budget when sipping in their footsteps. But what exactly do these gourmet gurus love to sip?
Matt Tebbutt, who I often appear with on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, has a superb palate and loves a glass of decent Bordeaux. Top Bordeaux reds can stretch to hundreds of pounds a bottle but I’ve found an example this week that’s right up there for a comparatively reasonable £15.99.
Another French wine fan is Candice Brown of Bake Off fame – the Burgundian red and white she served at her recent wedding that I attended in France were both absolutely magnificent. For a glimpse of similar vino, own-label wines such as my Burgundy pick from Waitrose this week are capable of surprising.
Beyond France, restaurant legend Russell Norman recently inspired me to take a trip to Venice in search of his pal Luca Di Vita at Alle Testiere. Specialising in Italian wine with ‘respect for nature, character and craftsmanship’ the wine list at Alle Testiere is a goldmine of gems with plenty of fascinating hand-made beauties – try the Occhipinti Terre Siciliane SP 68 2017 for its flourishing aromatics. And if Italian tomato-themed dishes are on your menu this week, grab my recommendation from Morrisons for a bargain.
On British shores, perhaps the greatest wine list in London right now is Tomos Parry’s Brat in Shoreditch, offering classics to indulge in such as the underrated world of sherry (check out my sweet PX pick) as well as wines from off the beaten track such as Greece. In particular, Thymiopoulos Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes 2016 from Greece at Brat is a beguiling red that feels light in body with heavyweight flavours, as though Pinot Noir took off backpacking for a year and went a bit feral.
For a pristine Greek white, try my wine of the week – for under a tenner it’ll send your tastebuds over the Moon.
OLLY PICK OF THE BUNCH
RED-HOT ITALIAN: The Best Barbera d’Asti 2016 (13.5%) £5.75, Morrisons. If you’re cooking anything in tomato sauce, this silky red is your go-to bottle.
BURGUNDY BRILLIANCE: Blueprint White Burgundy 2017 (13%) £8.99 Waitrose. Bright and peachy, this Burgundian white is splendid for the price.
SHERRY OH BABY: Very Rare Pedro Ximenez NV (17%) £9 Marks and Spencer. Sleek, sweet and dark, this is like syrup squeezed from sticky dates. Pour it over vanilla ice cream and revel!
ALL A BORDEAUX: Château Peyrabon 2002 (13%) £13.99* Majestic. Mature savoury rich Bordeaux that’s stunning with a slice of cheddar. Treat yourself. *Mix Six Price
WINE OF THE WEEK
Lyrarakis ‘voila’ Assyrtiko 2017 (13.5%) £9.99* Majestic. Step aside Chablis – this Cretan white is uniquely delicious. As goos as wine gets for under ten quid. *Mix Six Price