The Bath & Wiltshire Parent’s new wine columnist, Ben Franks FRSA, from Bath-based Novel Wines, shares his monthly favourite drinks with you.
The weather may have gotten colder but in pure British spirit, some of us are still out in our gardens wrapped up warm and sharing stories over a glass of wine. Others have nestled into their sofas with the heating on, a good TV series and a dram of brandy once the kids have gone to bed. However, you’re adjusting to the weather, there’s a few tipples that are perfect for trying this time of year.
Heartier dinners and colder weather are the crying out for a full-bodied red wine. You could introduce a little sunshine with the Mediterranean Testament Organic Babic (£16.99, Novel Wines) from Croatia, full of dark chocolate and spicy berries. The grape, Babic, is unique to Dalmatia, a wine region in south of Croatia’s Adriatic coastline. It’s picked by hand and sorted for only the best grapes before being pressed under the watchful eye of winemaker Juraj Sladic.
Another exceptional red is Bruno Motter’s Don Guerino Vintage Malbec (£17.99, on offer at Novel Wines). Motter cut his teeth making Malbec in Mendoza, Argentina, before returning to his family winery in Alto Feliz, Brazil. The Malbec here is deep purple in colour and full of mulberries and juicy plums. It’s beautifully made and has rested in both American and French oak for six months before release, giving it a smooth finish.
If you’re a white wine lover, opt for something a little heavier and warming in the colder season. You don’t need to compromise on freshness of fruit, or go for oak if that’s not your thing. Instead try something richly fruity and rounded like the Hungarian white wine TR Muvek Furmint (£14.99, Novel Wines) or the peachy, floral Sicilian white Colomba Bianca ‘Vitese’ Organic Zibibbo (£9.99, Novel Wines). Both of these wines are superb with tapas, especially shellfish plates, or creamy pasta dishes.
Sometimes chilly weather just calls for a little treat. Beer lovers should definitely try Duette Sparkling Brut Beer (£8.99, Novel Wines), which packs a punch at 11.5% abv but is a soft and smooth brew with notes of marzipan, stone fruits and pears. The beer is made in Bristol in partnership with the Wiper and True brewery; it’s made with a mix of Champagne and Kolsh Lager yeasts, so it feels like a treat too.
Those of us who prefer sipping a spirit after dinner or with a bar of dark chocolate, let me introduce you to Moldovan brandy maker Divin. Their 10 year old expression, the Divin Bardar Gold Collection XO (£35, Novel Wines), has aromas of dried plum, cigar leaf and iced coffee. On the palate its smoky, warming and powerful; an ideal dram for when the winds are howling or its hammering with rain outside.
I hope a few of these suggestions have got your mouth watering! If you would like to find out more, pop into our shop at 7 Cork Place, Upper Bristol Road, Bath BA1 3BB or call our team on 01225 667311. We’re open Monday – Saturday and offer free delivery to all BA1 and BA2 post codes with no minimum order.