Grape Expectations

All the girls at Liz Lean PR appreciate a good wine but I must confess we are not always experts at separating the chardonnay from the chianti. Luckily for us Shaun Corrigan is!  Expert wine and beverage director for Bournemouth restaurant’s The Print Room and WestBeach, his experience includes working with some of the industry’s most prestigious restaurateurs, both nationally and internationally.

Having held positions as wine manager at the world renowned, seven star Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, assistant head sommelier at the celebrated Chewton Glen Hotel and most recently restaurant manager and head sommelier at the Grand Lisboa Hotel in China – renowned to have the best wine list in Asia with over 3500 selections – Shaun is an expert In his field. Here he shares with us girlies and you lucky readers, his top recommendations for Autumn.

“The days of discerning summer from autumn has not been so clear from the last few years, but as October creeps upon us the time has come to stop quaffing the light rosés and head for warmer pastures. This is the time of year that many sommeliers and chefs look at changes within the restaurants wine and food menus to accommodate the seasons changing fare, with dishes such as game, wild mushrooms and deep sea fishes coming into season. It’s always a pleasure for me, this time of year, as these are the flavours I most enjoy.

I love wines that speak from the heart, wines made with passion and an appreciation of the ‘terroir’; the French term for the vineyard site, and the identity of a wines character and expression. Many of these wines are made by incredible winemakers whose determination can be literally ‘tasted’ in their wines.

West Beach restaurant offers many of these wines, such as the  Fiano from Mandrarossa estate in Sicily (£17); a grape variety that is enjoying renewed acclaim for its balance and noticeable almond characters, or the Vermentino Vento, Terre di Talamo from Tuscany’s Maremma coast (£35); medium-bodied with distinct pear and Mirabelle flavours. These white wines are also incredibly versatile, tasting as an aperitif or with the stronger flavours of grilled fish and lighter game dishes.

Lighter red wines may also be appealing, such as Julio Bouchon’s Carmenere-Syrah  from the Maule Valley in Chile (£18), with intense red autumn fruits flavours tempered by subtle herbs and spices.

The Print Room, with its diverse Grande Café menu, also offers seasonal changes and its wine list is full of little gems, such as Peter Lehman’s Barossa Reserve Riesling (£26), with a little bottle age this stunning wine reveals all the depth and character of old Riesling-lime juice, honey and a kerosene character which is most appealing, or perhaps the rather more robust flavours of the Tokara Estates Chardonnay from Stellenbosch in South Africa (£36), a wine full of southern hemisphere sunshine and smokey character.

For the reds, I would suggest the ‘Red Angel’ Pinot Nero, Jermann from Friuli (£34): Jermann is better known for his white wines in Italy, but this is certainly one of the country’s best expressions of the Pinot Noir-exotic, rich and with an unbelievable finish of wild berries. From Spain’s Ribera del Duero, we also offer the Erbano Tempranillo Crianza (£32), which is an amazing wine, intoxicating in its simplicity and with a silky texture and subtle vanilla aftertaste.

We very much look forward to welcoming you to WestBeach restaurant and the Print Room, and have the pleasure to offer you a taste of the season.”

Shaun Corrigan