The sports hysteria is now in full bloom. The Olympic Games have just started… and what has that to do with wine, you may ask? Not much, but it serves as an excuse to talk about China and that it is becoming one of the world’s larger wine producers even if statistics are still quite unreliable. Some Chinese wines have even started to appear on the export market: Dragon Seal, Great Wall Winery and others. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to visit several wineries in China when I was in Beijing to be part of the jury in a Chinese wine competition. Some were completely local organisations but many had Western involvement, either having a European winemaker or in some cases being part-owned by foreigners. The wines were still far from being world class wines but many were well made, showing that there may be greater things to come. So if you have the opportunity to taste a Chinese wine I can certainly recommend that you try it.
We had recently more opportunities to taste ‘Olympic wines’ when we were on a wine tour in Greece. We’re spending vacation this summer in Sweden and we’ve taken that as an opportunity to do a follow-up and go through the selection of Greek wines here in Sweden. They have quite a long list of Greek wines in the monopoly stores ‘Systembolaget’. Unfortunately when you want to order this or that wine it often turns out to be out of stock. They joys of a monopoly market. But we’ve managed to go through a decent selection of the Greek wines and some of them are certainly very good. Surprisingly, it is often the whites that have been most interesting. And it certainly is not retsinas! (As a matter of fact, during our ten days in Greece we didn’t taste a single retsina. Perhaps we should have…) If you can find some Greek wines at your local wine merchant now is certainly the time to try it. Why not organise an Olympic dinner. And you can enjoy some good food and wine and forget about the television.
One of the great joys of wine, at least for me, is to try new wines – wines that I have never tried before. I’ve never quite understood people who every day drink the same wine. Seems just a touch boring. Like eating the same food every day. Or always watching the same episode of a television program. On the first day of our vacation (that is soon over) we went to the local monopoly outlet and bought a box of wine – not the ‘box wine’ (bag-in-box that accounts for more than 50% of sales in Sweden) – but a real case, with 12 bottles. And not two bottles of the same wine in the selection. So this month’s recommendation from me is to buy a case of wine and make sure that every wine is different. And don’t worry too much about what some wine critics say about the wines or what their “rating” or “score” are. Just get what you think might be interesting or fun and see how it turns out. I am sure that you will get some pleasant surprises (and an enjoyable time).
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief or forward it to them !
This post is also available in: Swedish