From Renaissance art to Postmodernism

This article first appeared in Art Map magazine in October 2013.  Text / Sarah McCleery

From renaissance art to postmodernism, there is no denying the diversity of artistic styles. Its the same with music and literature; whether we are lovers of reggae or classical, Jane Austen or J K Rowling, there’s something for everyone.

Wine is just the same.

Knowing what colour of wine you fancy and whether youd like still or sparkling, sweet or dry is a good start but just the tip of the iceberg.

So many factors make every bottle of wine unique. Its the grape (of which there are thousands), the individual vineyard and climate in which the vines grow, the person who turns the fruit into wine and the choices they make in the winery. And then of course there’s the uniqueness of every vintage no two are ever the same.

It is a certainty that even if you drank a different wine with every meal for the rest of your life, you still wouldnt have sampled all the wines that are available to us.

For the wine enthusiast its both frustrating and enormously exciting.

To enjoy wine and explore it you need to be buying from a merchant such as Abbelio Wines ( Here you will find everything from the stylish wines of Germany and Austria, fine Champagnes, classic Bordeaux and Burgundies and hidden gems from Italy, Australia, Spain and the USA.

If youre seduced by vibrant, savoury reds that have the structure to work well with food, then look no further than the Siro Pacenti Brunello di Monalcino 2007. Its a triumphant wine that will not fail to impress.

More modestly priced but just as delicious with its vanilla-coated, spicy red fruits is the Lealtanza Rioja Crianza 2010.

For those in celebratory mood, you can find some excellent Champagnes but don’t discount other regions. The Spanish Cava from Raventos Roig is made in exactly the same way as Champagne but uses some different grapes. You get a top-quality glass of bubbles with flavours of biscuit, green apple and honey - an especially good aperitif.

Those that visit the Burgundian appellation of Chablis will tell you that despite its comparatively small surface area, the many vineyard sites (sometimes referred to as 'parcels' or 'Cru') deliver many distinct wine styles. Some of the wines are very mineral driven, whilst others are much more fruit forward.

The 2012 Billaud-Simon Chablis 1er Cru Les Vaillons demonstrates the balance and finesse that one would expect from this top south-east facing Cru. The wines minerality is softened with the fragrant, lightly floral fruits. It's an especially good wine with scallops and other shellfish.

Who can resist fine Bordeaux? One of my personal favourites is the 2005 Château Lynch-Bages. 2005 was a spectacular vintage and the wine is delicious. There are benchmark blackcurrant, coffee and smoke aromas and a palate that has wonderful concentration and finesse.

It would be remiss to finish without mentioning one of the sumptuous sweet wines that you’ll find at Abbelio. Given the work that goes in to making quality sweet wines such as Sauternes, I think the 2007 Château Rieussec is a bargain.  It’s laden with sumptuous praline and honey-coated citrus fruits and a bright acidity that keeps it fresh to the end of its very, very long finish.

Go on, be adventurous in your wine buying and reap the rewards of exploring the many styles and flavours that are available to you. You will not be disappointed.