Curious Wine Blog

Country Focus: Portugal

PORTUGAL IS A REFRESHINGLY EXOTIC ‘mainstream’ wine producer: hardly anyone has heard of its regions, with one notable exception; mention of its extensively-used native grapes – 200 are in use - prompts blank-faced head scratching in all but the most devoted oenophiles.

Recipe: Peri Peri Roast Chicken

PERI PERI ('pepper pepper') is a traditional Portuguese sauce that dates from the fifteenth century. Depending on how it's made it can be incendiary stuff, but if you're a bit wimpy you can tame the fiery heat by just skimping on the chillies and Tabasco.

Grape Focus: Grenache

GRENACHE, the world’s 7th most-planted grape, is an increasingly-fashionable Mediterranean variety that is grown extensively across the wine world's warmer spots, particularly either side of the Pyrenees and in South Australia.

Regional Focus: Rueda

RUEDA, 100km northwest of Madrid, was something of a sleepy backwater until the 1980s when massive Rioja house Marques de Riscal ‘discovered’ and popularised local sleeping beauty grape Verdejo, in the process propelling the region into the spotlight.

Country focus: New Zealand

THE WORLD'S MOST ISOLATED COUNTRY, separated by three hours’ flight time from its nearest neighbour Australia, New Zealand lies between 36° and 45° south. Indeed it is the planet’s southernmost wine-producing nation and boasts also its most easterly wine region, Gisborne.

Regional Focus: The Rhône

The Rhône, in southeast France, is the country’s second-largest wine region after Bordeaux; but it’s really best considered as two separate, distinct, areas. The elevated northGrows mostly Syrah, and makes barely a tenth of the Rhône’s wine but more-or-less monopolises the zone’s glamour.

Food and Wine Matching 101

THE 'ART' OF FOOD AND WINE MATCHING is actually a relatively recent invention (1980s); before this most people unthinkingly drank local wines with local foods - and lived to tell the tale! But for whatever reason, today, it's an overly-prescribed area that can even create anxiety for some people.

Most Planted Grapes

UNTIL NOW, pub quiz participants were doomed to flounder impotently when asked: “Which is the world’s most-planed wine grape variety?” The answer used to be Spain’s anonymous white grape Airén, which thrives in the world’s largest wine appellation, La Mancha, and has t ..

The Wines of France

FRANCE HAS more land under vine than any other country bar Spain, competes with Italy each year for the title of world’s largest producer, is the world’s top fine wine exporter, its prime source of oak for barrels and its most important exporter of vine nursery material. France is wine.

Wine manners

"IT IS BAD MANNERS to refill your glass without offering to do the same for your neighbours beforehand. Never fill a glass more than two thirds full. Hold it by the stem when drinking and do not gulp it down as if you have been in the desert for several hours.