Monday, 11 April 2016

100 wines every wine lover should try

Do you sometimes feel like you’re stuck in a wine rut? Sticking to the same tried and trusted wines, sometimes tempted to spend a bit more for a special occasion, but not really sure it was worth it?

The Association of Wine Educators are here to help – and in the interests of full disclosure, I should make it clear that I’m the chairman of the Association – with their second annual list of 100 AWEsome wines. That’s AWE as in Association of Wine Educators – see what we did there?

The eighty or so members of the Association spend their working days (and often evenings) educating and entertaining people around the country on the subject of wine. And when they’re not educating others, they are probably attending tastings, masterclasses or embarking on a study tour (yes, tough job I know) to keep their knowledge up to date. So, between us, we know quite a lot about a lot of wines.

The point of 100 AWEsome wines is to share some of our personal favourite wines of the moment – they must all be great value for money as a starting point, but also have that extra something that makes them stand out from the crowd. It could be a textbook example of a classic Rioja Crianza (number 20) or Beaujolais (number 26). Or something more off the beaten track, that, as wine lovers, we would love more people to discover, such as a Tamâioasa Româneasca from Romania (number 12) or a German Pinot Noir (number 55).

Whatever your wine tastes, you’ll find plenty to like amongst the selection. Wines are split between Under £10 sections and £10-£25 sections for red and white wines. There are also rosé, sweet and sherry categories and a brilliant and wide-ranging selection of sparkling wines, from Crémant to Premier Cru Champagne, via Prosecco, Cava, Franciacorta and more.

Below are some wines from the list to give you a flavour:

Days of Summer Miguel Torres 2014, Chile - £7.49 from Majestic (mix six price)
You don’t have to enjoy this off-dry, light and gorgeously refreshing wine only in the summer months – it will bring the feel of summer to you. This is a floral-scented delight and a wine which actually tastes of grapes…and grapefruit, apple, pineapple and mango. (Recommended by Laura Clay)

Les Nivières Saumur Cabernet Franc 2014, France - £8.99 from Waitrose
This delicious red from the south bank of the Loire is produced from the so often undervalued Cabernet Franc grape. Medium-bodied, full of vibrant, intense red/blackcurrant acidity, it can be enjoyed lightly chilled as an aperitif. Especially good with rosemary scented grilled lamb chops. (Recommended by Hazel Tattersall)

AA Badenhorst Secateurs Rosé 2015, South Africa - £11.50 from SWIG (online)
A beautiful salmon colour rosé from the masterful maverick winemaker Adi Badenhorst. A blend of Cinsault and Shiraz, with a touch of both Carignan and Grenache from 50+ year old vines. A lick of tannin lends structure, the acidity is fresh and zingy with yellow and pink citrus, also a basketful of summer red berries. (Recommended by Angela Reddin)

Villa Maria Private Bin Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2014, New Zealand - £11 from Morrison’s
Something a little different, this relatively new “gently sparkling” wine has all the well-loved and inviting flavours and aromas of a still Sauvignon Blanc with a little bubbly frisson to jazz it up. (Recommended by Nicky Ladwiniec)

You can find the entire list of 100 AWEsome wines online via the AWE website here: If you’d like a physical copy of the brochure, email me on

Here’s to making 2016 a year of drinking adventurously!