Sip great summery scented wines for under ten quid:—
June 24 1981 is probably a date that doesn’t immediately make you think of wine. It was the day that the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only was released. Ever since watching that movie at the Odeon in Bournemouth, I’ve been on a quest to taste a particular wine featured in the film.
Finally, some 39 years to the day since the movie’s release, I have fulfilled the task. And it led me to an unexpected conclusion, reminding me of one of my many rules of wine.
The wine in question is made by the organic Greek wines estate Theotoky, which lies almost at the centre of Corfu. Bond is being played by Roger Moore who, as you can imagine, exudes even more smoothness than an Alp made of peanut butter.
While 007 is dining at the casino, he’s offered a glass of wine from the home place of his dining companion, the villainous Aris Kristatos, played by Julian Glover. ‘If you’ll forgive me,’ croons Sir Rog, ‘I find that a little scented for my palate. I prefer the Theotoky Aspro.’
It’s a line I remember so well that I spent innumerable years identifying, pausing the VHS, scribbling notes and resolving to taste that precise wine some day. Last summer on holiday in Paxos, an island just off Corfu, I found the wine in a supermarket while buying ice creams for the kids.
It was literally like popping out for the paper and finding the actual Holy Grail winking from the newsagent’s window.
Just two bottles were left. I nabbed them both and gave one to a dear friend for his birthday and stashed the other in my cellar, almost in disbelief that it had fallen into my grasp.
For months it lay there, like some trinket imbued with superpowers that I dared not deploy. Until lockdown, when I finally plucked up the fortitude to meet the liquid from a lifetime ago that flowed between Bond and a baddie in a movie that still divides the fans to this day.
Before tasting it, I poured a cheery bottle coming soon from The Wine Society – look out for The Society’s Greek White 2019, which will be under ten quid and I’ll be recommending here for its fragrance and excellence.
And then came the For Your Eyes Only wine… It was fine. Not bad, nor great, just a perfectly respectable glass that came and went.
Usually, I’ll write extensive notes about most wines I taste, especially if I plan to recommend, but not this time. Instead I found myself writing a reminder of my third rule of wine: never make the wine the occasion.
You laden it with so much expectation that it can never hope to deliver and live up to the hype. Instead, I went back to sipping great summery scented wines for under ten quid.
Rather than recreating a moment in a movie that’s nearly 40 years old, it turns out, pouring something great value in the here and now is far more satisfying.
This week’s guest on Olly’s podcast is Dan Snow: tune in at aglasswith.com. From tomorrow, Angellica Bell joins Olly for the next episode. And remember to grab the offer to buy three or more bottles of Babylonstoren’s 2020 Mouvèdre Rosé and get a 500ml tin of its Extra Virgin Olive Oil as a gift.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
FRUGAL FRASCATI: Winemakers Choice Frascati 2019 (12%) £4.49 Asda. For under five quid, this is as drinkable as it gets. Don’t expect the world, but if you want an ice-cold white for cracking and making spritzers with soda and a slice of lime, this is exactly what you need.
PARSIMONIOUS PICPOUL: Finest Picpoul de Pinet 2019 (13%) £6.50 Tesco. This stunning white is down from £7.50 until 12th July. Seize it! Breezy as the seaside, this light citrus white is gorgeous served cool with shellfish or as a zesty aperitif.
CUT-PRICE CLASSIC: The Classics Gavi 2019 (12%) £8 M&S. Charming purity and lovely silkiness, lemony freshness with a surging boost of snappy nectarine all delivering the goods on this Italian ace.
REASONABLE ROSE: Leftfield Rosé Hawkes Bay 2019 (12%) £8.99 Waitrose (on offer). Grab this offer fast – it runs out on June 30, when the price pings back up to £11.99. Wonderful inventive pink wine from New Zealand, with fruity headlines and exuberance that leaps out of the glass.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Berton Vineyard Fiano Vermentino 2019 (12%) £8.25 Co-Op. Delicious as a nectarine spliced with a tangerine. Zingy brilliance here from Down Under and for the price is a wonderful wine to pour and let the good times roll.