The weather continues to dominate the world of wine presently - although the pandemic is also playing its part in making things awkward! Here in Tavistock we’re just delighted to see more customers coming through the door as spring suddenly becomes summer!
New Zealand, famed for its fabulous, zingy and fragrant Sauvignon Blanc, was hit by heavy frosts in the Spring and vineyards suffered significant losses. There will be a shortage of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc this summer as a result - the only good news being that the grapes that survived are extremely high quality and the wine is expected to be superb. Luckily we have close ties to some high quality producers in New Zealand and our supply of estate-bottled wines (those which are bottled at the vineyard and then shipped as opposed to less expensive wines which travel over in tankers) should remain fairly consistent. Nevertheless, some of our suppliers have been in touch already to say that our allocations are being reduced - so beware!
Malbec lovers had a close shave when Argentina got off to a rocky start. The biggest production area - Mendoza - saw serious frosts in the east and that part of the region lost up to a quarter of its grapes. Then the rains came. Bear in mind they’re in the southern hemisphere, so it’s summer in January and February - and it rained and rained - right into March! Then just as producers were getting really worried about all the problems that the wet brings (mould and rot as well as grapes swelling up with water), it stopped. Just like that.
The sun came out and everything got back on course. The problem then was that both red and white grapes began ripening together, meaning that there was a lot of work to be done by a reduced workforce (pandemic regulations apply in the wine world just like everywhere else), but everyone got stuck in and the weather remained perfect. The outcome is an exceptional year for Malbec in particular - Argentina’s most famous grape is one of our biggest sellers here and all the indications are that 2021 Malbecs will be outstanding - I for one can’t wait!
If the weather remains good (the Met Office says it will but the Met Office isn’t on the western edge of Dartmoor!) then it’ll be a time of year that I particularly love - time to get the BBQ out!
I can feel my wife’s eyes rolling from here. Honestly I don’t know what she gets so upset about - on those rare occasions when I’ve overdone things a touch we’ve always managed to use the resulting briquettes to get the next barbeque going. Re-use, re-cycle re-incinerate, that’s my motto. Do you know what my favourite thing on the barbeque is these days? Cheese! Especially Halloumi, which seems to have been designed with my style of barbequing in mind. It’s robust and it comes in slabs that don’t drop down into the coals, crumble through the grill or stick like superglue to the metal.
Luckily we started stocking Greek wine for the shop recently. Unsurprisingly it goes brilliantly with Halloumi. Both the Assyrtiko (white) and the Kostifali (red) make great summer drinking. Assyrtiko is the signature grape of the island of Santorini where it’s so hot the vines are grown in a bird’s nest shape to allow the leaves to cover and protect the grapes inside! Now I’m not asking for weather so hot that we have to start building ‘nests’, but it would be lovely if the current warm spell were to stick around for a bit. Now, where’s that bag of charcoal...