Tasting Notes

As you know, I spend a lot of time tasting wine. (Yes, I know. My job is ridiculous). But over the next few weeks I’ll be tasting more wines than usual. Around 300 a day, in fact. It’s the International Wine Challenge and as one of the judges I’m lucky enough to get to taste wines from all over the world. Today I’ve tried wines from Peru, Portugal, South Africa, Japan, England, Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Moldova and Georgia. Among others. And here’s the thing: I’ve been doing this for over twenty years and yet today I was still able to taste wines made from grapes grown in places I’d never tried before. The fact that there’s always more to discover is one of my favourite things about wine. Basically, you can never get bored. Unless of course you’ve tasted them all in one day in which case the only thing you want is an ice-cold G&T and a plate of cheese and crackers.

This week’s wine recommendations include a brilliant Italian featured on Saturday Kitchen at the weekend and a gin that tastes good and does good. Win win.

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Current white in the fridge: Found Ribolla Gialla

Price: £7.00 - Buy From M&S

One of the wines in a new range in M&S called Found, featuring little-known grapes from some of the places best suited to growing them. This particular one is made from the little-known Ribolla Gialla (pronounced ja-lah, meaning yellow in Italian) grape, from northern Italy. It’s got a bit of peach, a lot of citrus and bags of freshness. And it’s the kind of white you want chilled in your glass if you’ve got anything seafood-y on your plate. This was a dream with crab cakes.

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Current gin on the side: One Gin

Price: £28.00 - Buy From The Spirit Of One

Created just four years ago, One Gin has sage as its key botanical and given than I love a) gin and b) sage it’s no surprise I love this particular one. But not only does it taste good, 10% of all profits go to fund clean water projects around the world. As well as this gin, the also now sell one of my favourite pre-mixed gin in a tins (the Sage & Orange Zest one on their website).

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10 Comments

  • Bridgette
    4 weeks ago

    Found the Ribolla slipped down a treat last night with the Mediterranean Seabass that is offer at M & S, will definitely be buying some more, of both! Thanks Helen

    • Helen McGinn
      4 weeks ago

      Ah fantastic! So glad you like it and the food match sounds so good! x

  • Philippa
    3 weeks ago

    Very enviable position you’re in Helen. I hope very much that we get to hear from you again about your favourite discoveries. I’d be interested to hear more about the process. Do you judge individually or in a panel? I hope you’re having as much fun as it sounds on your journey of discovering wines from new destinations. Chin chin!

    • Helen McGinn
      10 hours ago

      Hi Philippa, yes we judge as panels with a team of co-chairs (of which I’m one) so all the wines are blind tasted by a team of people. And yes, it’s very very fun! x

  • Liz
    3 weeks ago

    Busy working mum managing an around the world wine tasting over zoom as a school fundraiser. Any tips on current wines that don’t necessarily need a food pairing to find the delight? I was thinking 6 wines (3 whites and 3 reds) moving across continents. Any ideas or inspiration gratefully received. Thank you Helen.

    • Helen McGinn
      2 weeks ago

      Hi! Easiest way to do this would be to pick some wines from the new Found Range from M&S, a selection of off-the-beaten-track grapes from all over the place, some great wines in there all under £10 too. More ideas in my Knackered Mother’s Wine Guide book in the Book Club chapter! Hope this helps x

  • Liz
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks Helen. Your book was in my Christmas Stocking so that chapter will now feature as part of my research! Will check out the new Found Range. Thanks. Liz (Lockdown wine enthusiast)!

    • Helen McGinn
      10 hours ago

      Ah fabulous, hope all goes well! If you need any help on individual recommendations and can’t find them here do just drop me an email and I’ll do my best to help. Helen x

  • Kate
    18 hours ago

    Hi Helen
    I would just love some recommendations for 1/2 bottles please or even the tiny ones…no idea where to start ! Thank you

    • Helen McGinn
      10 hours ago

      Hi Kate, there is a website dedicated to half bottles I think? I’ll have a look too (not my usual default, I must admit)! x

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