With the vast array of wine available in today’s market and the multiple challenges of price, provenance, and the tendency of wine to be branded, on occasion, as elitist, choosing a suitable libation for a gentleman’s evening of dining or for a romantic soirée can be challenging. Herewith, then, a Gentleman’s Guide to making a sound choice – part one – written from the perspective of a lover of wine in all of its forms, and a buyer of certain types of wine for the last decade.
Wine is a complex entity, and the fact that it is ‘alive’ and constantly evolving makes it profoundly interesting. The vast majority of wines, including those with the unfashionable but highly practical screwcap (which now finds favour in many New World offerings) are designed for consumption within twelve months of release and do not reward cellaring. Their primary appeal is the youth of their fruit, their lightness, and the simple pleasures which they inflict on the tastebuds. For an aperitif of this kind, one that is light on complexity, you could look to the classic options: a young Beaujolais for example, perhaps a Joseph Drouin or a Georges Duboeuf. Each November, watch for the arrivage of the Beaujolais nouveau, wines from that year’s crop, which are a pleasure to quaff and which can be had for a little as a few euros per bottle. More complex Beaujolais are found in the crus of Brouilly, satisfying wines with more character and body, but still suitable as well for a gentle drink before dinner.
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