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Ep 18 TNWG Wine Times: 'What Bottle Do You Suggest?'

💡 A common question that is asked of me, whether it be by friends and family or by readers and social media contacts and one which really cannot be answered in one sentence. However, it is a good question and we have to think about a number of different elements when answering it. Below, I have done my best to formulate an answer and also give some things that need to be taken into consideration when answering such a broad question too.

👉 The way I tend to look at this question is in a number of different ways: Financial, Social and Human Factors to delivering the right result! This is not necessarily a new concept either, far from it. In fact, there are wine firms today (to many to mention) who are delivering 'customisable' wine choices based on individual preferences.

But probably the most fundamental question of all, before we break those categories down would be: 

🤔 Do you as the consumer know what sort of wine you like or do not like? 

In either instance, this is the most important and helpful thing that can drive the next few sections. Knowing what you dislike can be as important, if not more, than what you do like!

💵 Financial 💴

It is not as simple as saying, yes I love a 1982 vintage from Bordeaux so that would be the bottle of choice. The reality is most of us will never taste a 1982 vintage because it has been crowned by many as being the finest ever. It is also unfair to say that someone should have to spend £000s for a bottle. Hence, therein lies the first question - How much are you looking to spend?

🍷 Clearly, I have pulled the 1982 vintage out to extenuate the point, but looking at it on a more granular level, are you looking for a bottle of wine that comes in under £10, is it £10-20 or maybe its the special occasion bottle and so you would like to spend a little more?

This is not to say that higher price automatically means a better bottle either, there are some fabulous wines that I regularly drink that come under the £10 point (most notably a wonderful Grillo most recently). However, the outline of price is important, as we are have different expenses and not least due to the energy crisis that we all currently face alongside inflation of most consumer orientated products too. 

💵 We all ultimately have our own limits on what we are willing to pay for a 'nice bottle of wine' and this has to be a determining factor.

🏐Food and Friends👯

One of the biggest drivers of choice of wine for me personally and in our household, is the decision around what we might be eating that evening. Food plays a big factor in defining what wine you would drink with it and how it can aid the flavour profile or be at odds with it. With friends? For a certain occasion? How many glasses? Is it one to be shared or drunk alone?

🥳 All these play a part in our decision making and can determine whether we enjoy a bottle or not. If you are sharing it with friends because it is a joyous occasion, then the likelihood is you are going to enjoy the wine (although admittedly I have had instances where that wasn't the case too!).

🍽️ Food is one of the biggest factors! Food can bring a dish to life and complete a meal but it can also be a completely soul destroying way to ensure you do not want to pick up that bottle again. For example, let's imagine you have a beef stew on the go (pretty likely this winter) and you decide you have really enjoyed floral, light white wines in the past so pick a light Pinot Gris. You will soon find that if paired with this dish, you really will not get those amazing floral notes, because the strength and richness of that beef dish will overpower it. 

The offset to this can be that sparkling wine goes brilliantly with fish and chips from the chippy - why I hear you ask? This is because salty foods and high acidic wines go superbly well together. Try it!

🫂Human 🫂

🧩 This is probably the hardest piece of the puzzle and also one which is the most difficult to quantify too. We all have different likes and dislikes, reasons for liking or disliking wine or certain styles or grape varietals. All of our senses and palates are different to one another. So how do you quantify this to be able to select the right bottle for the right person.

🧩 There are more legs to this too, what about the sort of mindset and mood you are in at the time of consumption. Do not forget there is a reason why you will see more TV and social media adverts of rose wines in spring and summer versus that of in winter. If it is exceptionally grey outside and cold, is it a red wine that you head for or a white? Does red wine create that warm sensation (especially if a full bodied high alcohol wine) that means you pick that when feeling irritable and cold? Mood perception can dictate a large number of your choices on that specific day and wine selection is no different.

🧩 If you are typically more often than not, a specific colour drinker, i.e. if you 9 times out of 10 drink white, then are you really sub consciously looking for a white recommendation? Are there some wines that have brought back bad memories, for example, as we have mentioned in previous editions, some people do not like 'Chardonnay'. Now whilst there are a huge array of different Chardonnay styles (including sparklings), has this already influenced your thought process so would not welcome that style? 


💥 As with most things, and wine is no different, try different styles and try different options at your price point. Learn to find out what style and grape varietal and location it comes from and then build out from there. Better yet, make sure you also note down those that you like less. 

💥 Ask me - The Northern Wine Guy or come to a wine event that I host where we explore wine styles!! Capture a bottle of wine with the bottle label and I can then suggest wines that you may like that are similar in style and price.


On International Women's Day it is great to see some big headlines in the wine industry in the press too.


Whilst I have always said that I prefer to buy my wine from wine specialists and wine independents, this headline and story could not be missed. A great way of showing the evolution of the industry and how we are finding ways in which to become better for the environment. Bravo Aldi team!



On the week (as at 8th March 10:30 LDN) changes:

EQUITIES: FTSE 100 flat; ⬆️ DAX up 0.6%; ⬆️ S&P 500 up 1.2%; ⬇️ Nikkei 225 down 0.6%; ⬇️ Dow Jones down 0.5%;

COMMODITIES: ⬇️ Brent Oil down 0.2% ; ⬇️ Crude Oil down 0.6% ; ⬆️ Gold up 5.4%; ⬆️ Silver up 8%; ⬆️ Copper up 2.7%

BONDS (in yield terms): ⬇️ UK 2yrs lower 0.0295%; ⬇️ UK 10yrs lower 0.192%; ⬇️ German 10yrs lower 0.15%, ⬆️ US 2yrs lower 0.093%; ⬆️ US 10yrs lower 0.186%;

Interest rate cut, when? That is the key question to most of the developed markets this week as both the FED and the ECB stressed that it was on the cards but at the point at which a cutting cycle would start is still somewhat of a lottery. Pricing for both lies between June and July but with the ECB's Villeroy suggesting it could be as easy as April, markets are positioning themselves in readiness for interest rate falls. The FED Chair Powell also spoke to lawmakers this week indicating that cuts would come this year, albeit not just yet.

Lagarde in her press conference for the ECB said that lowering interest rates would be a distinct possibility come June thanks to their fresh projections of inflation hitting their 2% target by 2025. 

One thing I can say and that history dictates, is that Central bankers have never really been proactive in rate moves, so I would prefer to look at fading the front month views on an early than expected cut and look at potential for a delayed response. It will most likely be signalled by the US too. Meanwhile the likely first central bank to move is the BoJ, with as early as March an option for a rate HIKE!

For those looking at Chinese equities, I am still struggling to get excited despite the best intentions and efforts from the government - with their latest economic targets and policy announcements failing to excite the investor community. For me I would still steer away from Chinese economy exposure near term.

Domestically, I will not rehash my points I made on the UK spring budget announcement earlier this week, but suffice to say, keep an eye on the British ISA which will of course, give more tax free allowance into the next tax year to be optimised and this will be taken into account in the next Asset Allocation Monthly.


A big thank you to Picture House Social, Cody Paige Pendlebury and Skye Thompson-Moore for hosting the first in the series of The Northern Wine Guy Wine Tasting Sessions.

On International Women's Day we also have 2 amazing women in the wine field in both our wine podcast editions this week that are well worth a listen. Inspirational in wine writing and content as well as winemaking!

🎙️ 'The Northern Wine Guy Podcast Show' under the Series 'What Bottle Is On Your Table, Tonight?' speaks to the creator of Skin + Pulp Sophia Longhi !!

Sophia is a hugely acclaimed wine writer who most recently in 2023 took the IWSC - Club Oenologique Emerging Talent in Wine Communication Award. She is a highly successful writer, wine host and content creator - take a listen to the latest podcast now. You can also download on Spotify, Amazon and Apple too.

🎙️On the second podcast, 'The Andy and Olly Show' tune in to listen to our interview with vineyard owners Gary and Kathy Jordan of Jordan Wines in Stellenbosch, South Africa, as we hear how they established the estate, how they have done this year with the harvest and their developments into the UK too! Kathy has been a huge advocate of women in wine for well over a decade now with the establishment of the Jordan Women in Wine Initiative in South Africa in October 2012!! They are both trend setters in wine development and education and were a delight to speak to this week. Jordan Wine Estate 

Finally, it is off to ProWein for Andy and Olly so next week maybe a little bit of a blur, but be sure to follow their progress and findings by following @thenorthernwineguy on Instagram for updates and recommendations. Have a good week!

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