HANNIBAL’S NEWS – WINTER 2023
It’s a funny month, January – most of us see it as dismal, cold and incredibly dark. The month after Christmas and time to tighten the belt as it were. Yet we can also look at January as a month of optimism, excitement and anticipation – a month to evaluate and plan for the year ahead. So as we march full pelt through February and the days get longer (possibly warmer?), let’s together anticipate 2023 with welcome excitement and glee in our stride – as they say, “things can only get better”!
With the northern hemisphere vineyards still dormant and the southern just in the midst of the harvest, we can be grateful that by and large grapes are not affected by the current weather patterns playing havoc on other fruit and veg. No tomatoes? Well to be fair, at this time of year, you’ll get better flavour from tinned toms rather than fresh ones. Indeed, forcing anything to grow outside its true season is arguably pointless in terms of quality and flavour intensity. So let’s not pine for them, rather find seasonal alternatives for now and spark up with something a bit different – my latest craze is cooking with cashews!
As to planting your own toms, absolutely! But beware to plant too soon – there’s another cold spell on its way…
SIMON HACKETT’S ‘OLD VINE’ GRENACHE
One of our favourites for the last ten years, Hackett doesn’t muck around – he selects the best fruit for his wines and this ripe Grenache sits splendidly with white meats. (You can even serve it a touch cooler if you wish as Grenache has a relatively low tannin content.)
CIELLO BIANCO, SICILY
If there’s one great thing that came out of 2022, it’s the Ciello Bianco – a Sicilian organic wine from the Rallo cellars who in bygone years, were famed for the production of delicious Marsala. This is an unfiltered dry white from the Cataratto – expect it to throw a sediment and present a tad cloudy. Get over that and you’ll love every mouthful.
VILLA WOLF PINOT NOIR, GERMANY
If you ask me, winemaker Ernst Loosen should be sainted for the exquisiteness of his Pinot Noir! Not an understatement in the slightest – if you like delicate Pinots, then this is hard to beat. Handles white meats perfectly, or just sit back, kick off the slippers and enjoy.
LE CADET DU CLAYMORE, LUSSAC SAINT EMILION, BORDEAUX
A lovely, accessible example of structured Bordeaux wine. If you’re going for a rib of beef over the festive season, then reach for this – you won’t be disappointed.