Food & Drink The Recipe Muse

Wine

As the summer term draws to its epic crescendo, another batch of unwashed and unshaven students are ripped from the comfortable womb of university life and spat out into the bleak winter of the job market clutching nothing other than their lacklustre degree script and a bank balance statement that resembles the balance of payments of a small Banana republic.

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As the summer term draws to its epic crescendo, another batch of unwashed and unshaven students are ripped from the comfortable womb of university life and spat out into the bleak winter of the job market clutching nothing other than their lacklustre degree script and a bank balance statement that resembles the balance of payments of a small Banana republic. The class of 2009 will be left to fend for itself in a harsh and uncompromising job market where even the most acute understanding of post-structuralism will be unlikely to lead anywhere other than Job seeker's allowance and an impassioned plea for the continuation of parental subsistence.

It is with this in mind that I offer a kind parting gift for those due to escape the monotony of Heslington life. What follows is a few precious slithers of wine world wisdom which, while potentially not proving particularly useful in helping you land that 35 grand a year starting salary, will undoubtedly enhance your quality of life if you do manage to find a pastime other than sitting on a bench drinking white lightning whilst debating the impact of American Hegemony in the Middle East.

1. A little Extra Spending is well rewarded. As the lions share of the price of a £5 bottle of wine is tax and transport, a few extra pounds significantly increases the actual value of the wine.


2. Ignore the second and third least expensive bottles on the wine list:
As a general rule - and especially if you are unfamiliar with the restaurant - try to ignore the second and third least expensive bottles on a restaurant's wine list. This is the area of the list where the restaurateur attempts to maximise profit and often does not represent good value for money.


3. Look to the South of France:
Lax rules and regulations renders the south of France a hotbed for vinuous creativity that should be embraced by those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. In the cheaper end of the market, the warmer climate lends itself to the production of affable reds perfect for everyday drinking.


4. Chile when on a budget:
Chilean wine, while often not the most exciting, is eminently affordable and almost universally approachable. Though generally associated with reds, Chile also produces a growing quantity of Sauvignon Blanc which is often very good value for money.


5. Invest in some decent glassware:
Drinking a decent wine from Tesco Value wine glasses is tantamount to personally slapping its producer in the face. If like the majority of the population you would rather pay your mortgage than shell out on the Riedel, opt for a few thin stemmed and generously sized glasses for special occasions


6. Avoid America:
Steer clear of American wines as they do not offer value for money in the £10-20 bracket when purchased in the UK.


7. Experiment with Alsace:
With a good dose of residual sweetness and acidity, Alsatian wines are the perfect accompaniment to Asian cuisine.

8. Give sparkling wine a chance:
Rising demand from Asia has added to Champagnes already over inflated prices. Try an interesting sparkling wine at a fraction of the price.


9. Get into the Old World:
When one tires of big fruity monsters, look to old world favourites for refined elegance. Though the tannin might initially put people off, the structure and finesse of a good Bordeaux can never be underestimated


Recommendations

Les Douze 2007 Fitou, South of France (Majestic, £7.99, Buy 2 for £6.49 each)
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2005/06, Chile (Majestic, £10.99, 2 for £8.79)
Chateau Amarande 2005, Bordeaux (Oddbins, £8.99)
Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Chile (Oddbins, £6.99, Majestic, £6.24, Buy 2 for £4.99 each)
Vin D'Alsace Gewurztraminer 2007, Alsace (Marks & Spencer, £7.99)
Janz Premium NV Sparkling, New Zealand (Oddbins, £11.99)

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