Converting the masses


I’ve made it my mission in life to convert my friends who state they don’t like wine as I fail to believe this can be true. I think the majority of twenty-something’s have only tried the cheap & nasty wines on offer during their university years and are reluctant to spend money on a bottle not knowing what it’s going to taste like.

Whenever I mention that I work in the wine trade people are genuinely intrigued. I often find myself victim to an onslaught of questions about the wines they’ve tasted and, in particular, a list things they didn’t enjoy about them. I used to find it quite daunting, but now I enjoy suggesting alternatives, explaining a little abut the wines and hopefully helping them find a wine they will love.

My recent converts include a friend who swore she’d never had a glass of white that she liked enough to buy the bottle. Her main dislikes were that the wines were either too dry, too alcoholic or had that “˜cat pee’ smell which immediately pointed to adislike of the Sauvignon Blanc grape. After some deliberation I suggested a bottle of Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett JJ Prüm 2008.


This is a truly delicious wine, very interesting on the nose and palate. Its notes of lemongrass and lime zest coupled with its purity create a long finish and it’s a real pleasure to drink. I find my generation are slightly nervous of German wines but I think this is a real winner and she loved it. She now avoids Chenin Blanc & the new world cheap Chardonnays on offer at the supermarket which she always used to plump for. At £22 inc vat per bottle it’s not cheap but so worth it.

(I had this with some incredibly fiery aromatic Szechuan food a week ago and it was fantastic – more than rose to the challenge and kicked an Alsatian and an Australian Riesling into touch. Ed.)

Another common statement I hear is that people don’t like red wine as it’s too heavy and the tannin is an issue for some people. I tend to steer people towards Burgundy and I recently suggested a bottle of Gevrey Chambertin Christian Sérafin 2002 to my best friend for a romantic meal accompaniment and she’s now asked to buy a case. I love the elegance and it’s a bit punchier than other burgundies so it’s an interesting one.


For a cheaper everyday alternative that doesn’t need food I suggest Bourgogne Champ de Perdrix Domaine Jean-Pierre Charton 2007. At £10 all in it is a real winner and has a delicious aroma of sweet red fruits. You will need to be quick though – we are about to move on to the 2009 vintage.


I’ve still got a way to go in converting some of my peers but luckily I love a challenge…