Cocktails are so last season. Too fussy and frilly - they can’t compete with a great glass of wine. With vino now back in vogue, we discover the best tipples you must try.
It’s the nation’s favourite tipple – wine, whether it’s white and sparkling or a deep luscious red - holds a special place in the affections of UK drinkers.
Some 60 per cent of UK adults prefer a glass of wine over any other drink, according to one recent survey. In fact, the UK has more than 30 millionregular wine consumers who enjoy a crisp chilled glass of white wine over any other tipple.
We think we know what we like – Australian Chardonnay, Italian Pinot Grigio and French Sauvignon Blanc regularly top the list as the nation’s most popular wines.
But are we missing a trick?
Rich Brooks, bar manager at Veritas in Great George Street – which recently re-opened with a new look – believes many wine lovers will be pleasantly surprised if they care to expand their horizons just a little.
“It’s tempting for many people to just stick to what they know. But there are some excellent wines coming from regions of the world that we might not typically associate with wine – like Lebanon, for example, and the intense and delightful flavours from around the world are well worth trying.
The good news is that it doesn’t mean you have to become a wine connoisseur with an encyclopaedic knowledge of grapes, fermentation and bottling.
To mark Veritas’ re-opening we asked Rich to guide us through the best wines that we’ve simply got to try.
Forget Oz, head to Austria
Think white wine and we’re probably already halfway Down Under with a Chardonnay on our mind. Forget Australia – head to Austria instead, and try
Grüner Veltliner Globelsburg, a stunning white wine with a nutty aroma, that channels grape, stonefruit and pepper. Originally made by monks from a Cistercian monastery, it is light and refreshing, with tonnes of character.
Enjoy it with friends – share a bottle or two over some great conversation. Tuck into a Veritas chicken and bacon flatbread – designed to perfectly accompany white wine.
Blow your top
Fancy something a little more ‘explosive’? Wines made from grapes grown in volcanic soil are super trendy, says Rich. “Volcanic soils are rich in iron, calcium and magnesium plus many elements that contribute to the wine’s mineral content. You know you can expect something a little different when the vineyard is growing on the side of a live volcano!
Etna Bianco Cottanera fits the bill perfectly. “Think Chablis on steroids!” adds Rich.
Intense yet nicely balanced, it’s a lovely accompaniment to white fish dishes – like the fresh flavours of Veritas’ Sea Bass and Crab Tagliatelle. Or just enjoy relaxing with a glass, contemplating its fiery origins.
Lebanon might not be the first place which springs to mind when thinking of a warm, complex glass of red wine.
But the region is one of the secret stars of the wine world.
The Lebanese are among the oldest wine makers in the world. Modern varieties are heavily influenced by the French, so expect high quality, strong bodied reds.
Hochar Pere et Fils is a Grenache variety from Lebanese producer Chateau Musar, full of intense flavours of dark fruit and spice.
A perfect post-work drink, to sit back, savour and mull over the issues of the day. Particularly delicious with Moroccan food and lamb, try pairing it with Lamb Kofta from the Veritas menu.
South America is home to some stunning red wines. Commonly thought of as ‘new world’, wine has actually been made and perfected in Argentina and Chile for hundreds of years.
The influence of Spanish and French settlers has had its impact – and massive investment into wine production has boosted quality sky high.
Try a Kintu Sauvignon Blanc from Chile – full of grapefruit and citrus tones mixed with a fresh green ‘asparagus’ hint.
Or head to Argentina for a Trivento Malbec, deep in flavour as it is in colour, it’s Merlot in style but with a slap of spice.
Whether it’s a bar snack, a glass to savour or a bottle to share with friends, the only decision will be which one to try first. Pair your South American wine with Veritas’ Posh Corned Beef Hash or a Classic Burger.
For that 40 per cent of the population who prefer a different kind of drink, Veritas, has uncovered an equally interesting selection of craft ales, fruit beer, cider and gin to match its new, contemporary look.
Find out more about Veritas and discover your next favourite wine at Veritas.