The wine bottle has become our best friend over the past 12 months or so. Sofa, jogging pants, the latest episode of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and a glass of… yeah, a glass of what? I recently started writing down which wines I like and those I can skip next time. There’re plenty of apps for that, and it’s fun to see where most of the wines you drink come from. Beyond that, there’re lots of subscription and import services, at least in Sweden, that offer a frequently changing selection of wines. We get a box with six wines now and then and try wines from different producers and wine regions.
I’m not a wine expert, but I like to drink wine, whether natural or conventional. I like a Pinot Noir with pork or chicken; I am a big fan of Riesling paired with Asian food and a bold Syrah with my steak. I don’t know much of the terminology, and when ordering wine, I feel ridiculous talking about full-bodied, tannins, and aftertaste. It’s a bit like speaking a language that you understand most, you can order a taxi and make small talk, but it still feels somewhat embarrassing to speak it with the local accent.
Does that make sense? Although cooking and eating is my full-time job, my sense of smell isn’t the most delicate, and so notes of vanilla, licorice, or rubber often go unnoticed when smelling the freshly poured in wine. I challenge myself, though, now and then, to at least guess one scent or flavor in a wine I try. I’m getting better, I must say, and I think I discovered a couple of blackberry, red currant, chocolate, or tobacco hints. I keep this to myself, though, until I’m fluent in wine language and know what I’m talking about.
5 wines I think you should try, described in my own words, trying to explain the tastes of these wines as best as I can:
1. El Bandito Cortez
A lovely orange/ amber-colored wine from South Africa, which has not been skin macerated. It’s a Chenin Blanc with some funk to it, but just the perfect amount, a nice acidity, tastes of honey and apricot. We had it with some baked cod, which matched it perfectly.
2. Clos Du Four Màcon-Milly-Lamartine 2017
A very fresh, pleasantly dry Chardonnay from Bourgogne, France. It’s quite a complex wine, mineral, and a bit creamy. Apparently, it gets even better when drunk a day after opening it. I think it would be great with meatier fish, chicken or roasted vegetables.
3. Domaine Delaporte Sancerre Silex Blanc
A fantastic Sauvignon Blanc from Loire, France. Really elegant and smooth, smelling very floral and citrussy. It’s quite mineral and great with fish, or even nicer with scallops.
4. Julg Kalkmergel Spatburgunger Trocken 2018
Germany has lots of fantastic wines these days. This one is a great Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) from Pfalz, Germany. A wine that tastes of spices, cherry and oak, so more on the heavier side of Pinot Noirs. It pairs nicely with game, beef, or lamb.
5. Matassa Mambo Sun 2019
A French natural wine from Languedoc, France that was definitely a highlight in 2020. The grapes are Grenache and Macabeo, and hence it has a lot of dark berry notes. It’s quite a funky wine that’s pretty dark considering that it’s a natural wine. Matassa Mambo Sun is a great companion just by itself or with some roasted vegetables and meat with little tannins and is very drinkable.