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Soccer-watching sipping wines

Last year Spanish wine production surged 41 percent and overtook France to clinch the top spot overall. Italy exports the most wine and the USA consumes the most. So France is second for now in volume produced and volume consumed, but they scored five goals in one game, so I would like to think vins de France today.

Argentina (just cannot get away from wine and soccer) may come to mind first when I mention Malbec, but in this case I am going back to the beginning to a small AOC in southern France called Cahors. By law only red wines are produced and they must be at least 70 percent Malbec and our 2011 Georges Vigouroux Cahors Gouleyant is a blend of 80 percent Malbec and 20 percent Merlot. The Vigouroux family helped revitalise this appellation in the early 1970s as it had fallen on hard times since the 19th century ravages of phylloxera. Gouleyant loosely translates as “gulp-able” which is appropriate considering its full-bodied berry and cocoa, subtle liquorice, hints of spice and smoke and charming minerality. At $14.85 it is in the party wine category for sure.

Georges Vigouroux “Pigmentum” 2011 Malbec takes its name from the Latin for “thing that gives colour” and this grape that has grown in Cahors for over 2,000 years produces juice that caused the English, in the Middle Ages, to call it the black wine. Pigmentum shows off raspberry, blackcurrant, blackberry and ripe, soft tannins. Goes exceptionally well with an exciting soccer match and will only set you back $14.70.

Rosé d'Anjou is a popular wine that is created in the Loire Valley and our 2012 from Calvet is a typical blend of Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Grolleau grapes that are fermented at low temperature to prevent lovely aromatics from being lost.

When our sons were young we used to pick berries in the forests of northern Wisconsin and this Rosé brings to mind those days. Just off-dry with refreshing, delicious berry fruit. $15.40

So let us say that your team has just excelled and won their game and you feel the need to celebrate with a wine from the area where coronation festivities were held as French kings were anointed.

Should you serve in the Victorian coup rumoured to be shaped from Marie Antoinette's breasts? Heavens no as it disperses the nose and bubbles and over-oxygenates the wine. How about a tall, thin flute that has been in fashion for forty years? “Please no” say many Champagne producers today as it is far better just to use a fine quality white wine glass or one shaped like a tulip.

There are over 100 “Champagne Houses” and 19,000 small vine-growing producer/farmers that between them manage an area about five times the size of our Island. I like to think that strict laws assure that all Champagne is good, but there are some that are “more good than others”. In an age of large corporate owned firms we are happy to represent one of the remaining family owned, relatively small ones that is called Billecart Salmon. In my mind it is the Champagne lovers Champagne.

Take well-known wine critic Jancis Robinson for instance; she wrote of blind tasting 18 of the best admired non vintage Champagnes and being the most impressed by the Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve that we sell for $55.95. The Wine Spectator thought this of it “Bright with tangy acidity and a lively bead, this displays fruit-forward flavours of macerated apricot, pineapple and Granny Smith apples, with hints of ginger, biscuit and kumquat”. Just keep in mind if your team is not up to your expectations that Napoleon once said “Champagne! In victory one deserves it. In defeat one needs it”.

This column is a paid advertorial for Burrows, Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows, Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at mrobinson@bll.bm or on 295-0176. Burrows, Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George's (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at www.wineonline.bm.

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Published June 27, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm)

Soccer-watching sipping wines

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