Competition – Matt White

Matt White – 'A happily married, unhappy commuter. Father of two children, guardian of an unexceptional vegetable garden and owner of an improving cellar. Currently I am long some underwhelming wine, but short of a good palate so well balanced. Slowly starting to understand what I like by trying anything and everything. Loving learning drinking.' This is his (unedited) entry in our seminal wine competition.

Wine is of a place. And for me, in my twenties, that place was Tesco.

Single, living in my flat, buying premade meals and microwavable veg, I discovered wine. Not the sort of wine you get allocated, not the sort of wine you hunt out or whose vineyard you’d like to visit; just wine. The wine most people drink most of the time. Deep in colour, high in alcohol, fruity as heck, and always on special. Happy times.

Over the course of a few months however, a strange thing happened. I started to take an interest. I read the labels. I looked places up online. I realised some wines tasted better with certain meals. One bottle even tasted better the following day. Unlike most food stuffs, this had actually improved by being exposed overnight to my kitchen.

I started to buy Italian wines with my three minute lasagne. It worked. Local wine with local food. I guess it made sense.

One night after work, I’d found a Prawn Curry that was reduced. Remembering my dad’s advice of red with meat, white with fish, I left my usual red hunting grounds and moved down the aisle to give white wine a shot. But where to start? The same way I do when picking a Grand National horse. Something with a cool name that stands out.

Cue the Gewürztraminer. Cool name. Weird bottle. It certainly stood out.

I don’t need to tell anyone reading this the joy that a (probably too) cold bottle of this Alsatian beauty can bring, but wow. It smelled unlike anything else I’d ever drunk. It tasted incredible and it worked with my curry. My local food with local wine theory was put on hold. There was so much I needed to learn. Was this a one off? What other combinations could I find?

Since that bottle I’ve taken WSET 2, read books, subscribed to websites, even bought a foil cutter. I’ve tried many wines, I still read all the labels, and I’ll always love Gewürz.

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