Maybe it’s their birthday, or they’ve just gotten engaged! Maybe it’s that couple who “know their wine”. Either way, the requirement to ‘just bring a bottle!’ looms, and last minute trips to the supermarket, or rummaging through some of the dusty bottles on the wine rack, can be less than appealing. Luckily, we have a handy list to help you find the perfect wine to impress with, whether you're the host or guest!
Also, with our next day delivery (free for orders over £75) Monday through Friday (by 2pm), you don't even need to plan that far in advance. Phew!
Oak Farm’s Barbera
Where can you find this beautiful Italian grape other than in its native land? Look no further than Lodi, a wine region in the Central Coast of California with a very similar climate to Piemonte, Italy. Californians are really good at making wine from classic Italian grape varieties and bringing something new to them. This Barbera is a great example - it's light in colour, fragrant and delicate, but it has an underlying richness, a warmth that you wouldn't necessarily expect from an Italian version. Combining the two styles has really paid off here, and you’ll have a good conversation starter with this one.
Food Pairing: Ever the flexible grape, Barbera will sit just as happily next to a pizza as it will to a glamorous three course meal. We recommend tomato based dishes, like bolognese or ratatouille, with some good Italian herbs.
Shop Oak Farm’s Barbera now, £28
Benevolent Neglect’s Riesling
Riesling has had some bad press in its time, but the examples coming out of California show wonderful characteristics of the grape, with refreshing high acidity and a more moderate sweetness. Benevolent Neglect’s version ticks so many perfect Riesling boxes. A wondrous counterpoint between a little residual sugar and tangy acidity, it’s highly energetic citrus fruit descends into tropical richness. It has remarkable tension, weight, palate development and balance. This is something you’ll remember for a while.
Food Pairing: Because of the sweetness and acidity, one giving it weight and the other helping to keep it fresh, Riesling will often pair well with spicy food. Drink it with your next Asian or Indian meal, especially if you’re having duck.
Shop Benevolent Neglect’s Riesling now, £37
Resonance’s Willamette Pinot Noir
Pinot is a staple of a good dinner. It’s hard to go wrong, but it takes a bit of effort to go really really right. Something a bit different to the everyday versions dotted on the shelves. A grape which picks up the character of the world around it, changing up the region can have a huge impact. We’ve looked at Willamette Valley, Oregon, to find something which has had care and attention put into it from growing to bottling. Resonance has produced a Pinot with an excellent balance of expressive aromatic complexity and energetic acidity. As well as the classic berries, there are velvety tannins, with hints of tobacco, tar and dried flowers. Lengthy too, something to ponder for a moment after you sip.
Food Pairing: This bottle is starting to age, but it still quite fruit forward. It will lift up a meal based around the earth - something with beetroot, mushrooms or game meat.
Shop Resonance’s Willamette Pinot Noir now, £29
Chanin Wine Company’s Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay
Even if you haven’t heard of one of the greatest Chardonnay vineyards in California, Sanford & Benedict, is one of those wines that will make you feel like you have been there! It takes you on a journey with every sip. The wine is texturally magnificent, it's silky and ample, weighty, yet focussed and precise. It opens with beautiful confit-lemon character and then comes layer upon layer of fascinating development - it unravels through to a monumental conclusion, then you're left tasting it for minutes. There is no need to talk about anything else.
Food Pairing: in all honesty, you can drink this with almost anything. Steer clear of sweet foods (finish it before dessert!), but open it before the food is on the table and enjoy it through the appetizers, starters and main.
Shop Chanin Wine Company’s Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay now, £48
Roederer Estate’s Quartet Sparkling Rosé NV
There is a Christmas party, a birthday, or you’ve been promoted?! Or, sometimes, you just need to celebrate surviving the week. Whatever the occasion, you can always level up the event by reaching for a pink bottle of bubbles. Roederer Estate’s Quartet Rosé is a serious wine, a gorgeous salmon colour that looks stunning in a flute. A wine with fine and elegant bubbles, crunchy red berry fruit and complexity from oak aged reserve wines, exactly as they do in Champagne. But this one is from Mendocino, California - just north of Sonoma County.
Food Pairing: Open this one at the start of the evening, when the nibbles are out. Plates of Prosciutto or Jamon, some hard cheeses and bread. Maybe salmon blinis if you’re feeling fancy.
Shop Roederer Estate’s Quartet Sparkling Rosé NV now, £28