The unusual suspects – The reds

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.  If variety truly is the spice of life then why do we always order the same dish in the Indian restaurant on a Friday night?

Could it be that we are all working so hard and making so many decisions every day that when we find a wine variety that we like we stick with it, one less decision to deal with?  Or is it just a case of lack of advice when we need it?

Bad advice and misinformation is generally the norm at point-of-sale.  We stand in the supermarket aisle, searching the labels for clues, trying not to be swayed by the flannel panel on the back label or the supermarket wine buyer’s recommendations.

For red wine, three big names are what you find most commonly marketed, Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s what a lot of us Brits drink and what you’d comfortably expect to find behind the bar at your local.  But what do they bring to mind by association?  Malbec, a gaucho riding through the Argentinian pampas?  Cabernet Sauvignon, a big, violet coloured, Professor Plum of a wine?  Merlot, Paul Giamatti’s character from the movie Sideways, ‘If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any ****ing Merlot!’…?

OAK N4 is here to help change those possible perceptions.  From the list they offer:

  • Mitolo 2014, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia. Bursting with red berry and cassis, a velvety plush feeling in the mouth and a dry finish
  • For Merlot there’s Chateau D’Arcole, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru with rich black fruits on the nose
  • And Valcheta Malbec from Argentina – highly drinkable

But as you probably know by now, OAK N4 do like to take their customers out of their comfort zone, in the gentlest and friendliest of ways just a little into those deep dark scary woods.  So here are some OAK N4 alts.

If you like Malbec then why not try this Aglianico, Vesevo Beneventano. From Campania this has delicious dark fruits with the minerality of nearby Vesuvius.  A Merlot person? Then OAK N4 recommend this Garnacha Carignan blend Sere 2015 from Montsant in Catalunya. Ripe fruits, spice and herbs.  Or if Cabernet Sauvignon is your thing, how about Meerlust Red from Stellenbosch? This is a Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  All three of these wines are available by the glass so you can try something new, without buying a bottle.

Choice overload?  Just pop in to OAK N4 and ask, there’s a free glass of wine for the best Paul Giamatti impression.  Beat me to it puh-leese!

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