Tamerán Baboso Blanco, Gran Canaria, Spain 2020 (£48, thesourcingtable.com) You can trace the change in the status of footballers over the past 30 years in the sort of booze-related side hustles and retirement projects they get up to. Where once the conventional ambition for ex-pros was to run a pub, today’s players are just as likely to end up owning a vineyard or winery. Or, at least, that’s what a certain strain of player – specifically the kind of soft-shoed southern European that commentators tend to describe as sophisticated – seems to wind up doing. Examples include strolling Italian pass master Andrea Pirlo, who is involved in his family’s vineyard, Pratum Coller, near Brescia in Lombardy, and impish Barcelona and Spain winger Andrés Iniesta, who has an eponymous bodega he runs with his father in Spain’s Manchuela region in Castilla la Mancha. By far the most impressive playmaker cuvée I’ve tasted so far, however, is Manchester City and Spain international David Silva’s Gran Canaria white.
Studio by Miraval Rosé, Provence, France 2020 (£12, Tesco, Asda) What makes the Silva wine so special is its gorgeous interplay of ripe quince, pithy lemon and a mouthwatering salty-smoky mineral quality with gravity-defying balance and a richness that belies its slight 12% abv frame: the perfect reflection of the diminutive Silva’s subtle gifts as a footballer, and also on display in the other Taméran wine I got to try: the Mavalsia Volcánica 2020. Both wines are made by the supremely talented winemaker Jonatan García, whose equally arresting work at his own Suertes del Marqués project in Tenerife’s Orotava Valley is also well worth seeking out. Picking the right collaborator is what marks out most of the best celebrity wines. Certainly partnering with the Perrin Family – makers of top Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel among other excellent Rhône wines – to make their elegant rosés, has to be one of the better life decisions made by the two halves of the now-broken Brangelina brand.
Two Paddocks Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand 2019 (£31.95, hhandc.co.uk) The quality of Tamerán and, to a lesser extent, Miraval, make them exceptions to the general celebrity wine rule, where the wines wouldn’t merit so much as a passing mention were it not for the bought-in glamour of the name on the label. Still, the list keeps growing with stars of sport (Ian Botham, golfer Ernie Els), pop and rock (Kylie, Pink, Sting), and film and TV (Sarah Jessica Parker, Graham Norton) all involved to varying degrees in wines of varying degrees of not bad. A cut above, most likely because he is both closely involved in the day-to-day running of the estate and is clearly a very keen wine lover, is New Zealand actor Sam Neill’s Two Paddocks estate in Central Otago. Neill specialises in wonderfully expressive, lithe and luminously fruity pinot noir. It pairs very well with a screening of my favourite of his film performances: the reluctant father figure in fellow New Zealander Taika Waititi’s poignant comedy-drama, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
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