Rediscover once-loved but now forgotten world wines

Flagship wines 24.09.15

Flagship wines 24.09.15 - Credit: Archant

Are you looking for a new taste or a different wine to enjoy?

There are new wines from emerging wine regions appearing on the shelves of wine merchants and supermarkets all the time and they are definitely worth trying. However, amidst the flurry of excitement about wines from places like Macedonia, Brazil and China it is easy to forget wines from traditional regions that were once in favour and now forgotten.

For an alternative to the New Zealand Sauvignon et al, it’s time to go back to those producers that continue to quietly make delicious wines. Wines from Alsace and Beaujolais, Germany, and sherry were once in favour but lost out to the high quality but brasher bolder stars of the New World.

As wines from around the world proliferated on the UK supermarket shelves, wines from Alsace disappeared together with those of Germany which when tasted are often liked and bought only to be forgotten again.

The lovely aromatic Alsace wines made from Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grapes are crisp, fruity and stylish and definitely worth a try.

If you like the ripe fruit notes of new Zealand Sauvignons and Pinot Gris then they offer a great alternative.

Don’t be bought put off by the tall bottles or the Germanic sounding names as like current German wines they are far removed in quality and taste from the heydays of Liebfraumilch.

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Since the days of Beaujolais Nouveau it is largely forgotten that there is much more to Beaujolais than just this fun bubble gum wine and it is the more serious wines with fuller, more complex flavours derived from oak aging that are worth seeking out.

The Gamay grape produces well-balanced wines, full of flavour yet elegant and silky with a refreshing thread of balanced acidity.

It shows its full potential in the named villages/regions including Regnie, Moulin a Vent and St Amour where the wines are quite full flavoured, whereas Fleurie has lighter flowery flavours as the name suggests. A common theme is the vibrant Gamay fruit and light tannins making Beaujolais an easy choice to accompany lighter dishes.

German wines, like Beaujolais, became the victims of their own success especially as the best-known wines such as Liebfraumilch and Piesporter came under pressure to be sold ever more cheaply in the late ‘80s, subsequently losing their innate character and style.

However, it’s worth looking out for some of the light, refreshing low in alcohol German wines made from the Riesling grape by winemakers such as S A Prum. They make a delightful aperitif and are great value too.

Sherry has much to offer in terms of its styles and flavours and is great as an aperitif or an accompaniment to many different foods.

The sweet sherry most widely remembered is but one of the range of sherry styles available from sherry producers. They are complex delicious wines created by the unique fermentation and fortification of these wines made in and around Jerez in southern Spain.

The range of sherries available is far greater than just the big names for sweet sherry whether light or dark. As we showed at a sherry tasting evening there are enough sherry styles from fino to Oloroso and PX to match all menus and tastes so why not give them a try.

Like the wines of Beaujolais, Germany and Alsace sherries are well worth seeking out: keep an open mind and try some of these forgotten wines as well as the those from the emerging trendy regions!