In the latest edition of our regular feature “Dear Matt,” our very own Agony Uncle – aka Matt Tipping, Jeroboams’ Commercial Director – answers all your wine related questions.
“Dear Matt, I have spent all month abstaining from alcohol as part of “Dry January,” what should I drink in February to get back into the swing of things?” Beatrice, St John’s Wood.
Always better just to cut back rather than abstain completely in my view; less chance of a binge in February. I would put the money you saved in January to good use to try some wine that you haven’t had before and perhaps get a bottle or two at a slight premium to your normal drinking level. You might find that less volume and better quality could work for you moving forward and therefore negate the need for dry January! In terms of where to look for inspiration it obviously depends on your preferences, but I would say that if you are normally very French focused, try Spain or Italy for something different. Equally if you would like to try something from further afield then premium Chilean or Argentinian red would be a great option (premium is the important bit as you want to avoid any mass produced wines, so aim at around £18-20 per bottle+).
“Dear Matt, I’ve noticed a lot of low alcohol wines and spirits appearing and am tempted by them. Are they any good?!?!” Ronald, Kensington.
Wines naturally low in alcohol are definitely worth looking at. Classic examples will often be low in alcohol because not all the sugar in the wine is fermented into alcohol, making the resulting wine anywhere from off-dry upwards. German Riesling features heavily in my cellar and is normally 7.5-9% alcohol. One wine which is an absolute delight and rarely over 5% is Moscato d’Asti; a gently sparkling off-dry wine from Italy. It is beautifully moreish and in the summer you can even pour it over vanilla ice cream or fresh peaches! I wouldn’t recommend wines which have alcohol removed, just like I would avoid any food or drink that has been subjected to a harsh industrial process. On the spirits side, I do like Seedlip, the non alcoholic distilled drink. Mix in with some tonic for a less-boozy G&T.
“Dear Matt, I’ve heard that farmers in the South of France live longer because of all the tannic red wine they consume. Should I adopt this lifestyle as well?” Heather, Hampstead.
Moving to the South of France to work the land seems a bit extreme just to live a few years longer! However, regularly visiting the South of France to experience the climate, food and wine seems a very decent plan and that is sure to gain you a few extra days. Relaxing whilst drinking a wine you enjoy in moderation will allow you to step back from your busy life and appreciate what you have, the extra 2.5 seconds on this earth that glass could potentially earn you is less important in my opinion.
“Dear Matt, what have you been drinking this month?” Benjamin, Fulham.
Langhe Nebbiolo, almost always a bargain. Beer (and some amazing bar snacks) at The Scarsdale Tavern in Kensington – a fine watering hole!