It's been said that some wine doesn't travel well - but these days there are plenty of ways of recreating your holiday vibe after flying home.

‘We get lots of people coming in after their holidays hoping to find the special wine they enjoyed on their trip,’ said Andy Langshaw at Harrogate Wines, ‘and sometimes we have it, or something very close. If we don’t have that particular wine, we try and put people in touch with the importer if there is one, but quite often the economics don’t work out.’

Finding a special wine on holiday is one of the joys of travel. There is nothing better than discovering a great value, fabulous wine that goes down well in the sunshine.  Bringing that wine back to the UK is a little more difficult, especially if you travel by plane.  Even loading the boot of the car with your souvenir wine may not bring the same amount of joy as it did while you were on the terrace of your gîte or sitting around the pool.

Anything bought in the sunshine, at a local market or direct from the producer always tastes better than something that you take from a supermarket shelf in the UK.  This applies to all kinds of produce, from peaches to lettuces, and especially wine.

If you do squeeze a few bottles of your favourite tipple into your suitcase then you should let it settle for a week or so before pulling the cork and tasting. If it still conjures up the scents of the hills in Provence, Chiantishire or the Languedoc then you may have discovered a gem.  If on a wet weekend in Barnsley, York or Leeds it seems to have lost its charm, then perhaps the sunshine added an extra layer of magic to the flavours.

One of the main problems with trying to recreate the taste of holiday drinking is cost. Turning up at the local co-operative with your own 5 litre bottle and filling it from a petrol-pump type of dispenser is the best, cheapest and most fun way to buy wine. Once you try to recreate that experience in the UK, cost gets in the way.

A bottle sold direct from the grower has no marketing costs, no agents, transport and no UK duty and VAT.  These can add £4 or more to that 1 euro bottle of wine, making it a lot less attractive for the household budget.  And then there is always the chance that your favourite grower doesn’t have enough wine to interest a UK retailer.  If he sells all he can make in his local market, especially during the holiday season, then why would he want the hassle of dealing with the notoriously difficult UK market?

While you may not be able to find the exact same wine that you drank on holiday, there is bound to be something pretty close to it on your local supermarket shelf.  Here are a few suggestions.

Provence

I love the stark beauty of Provence and the breeze that moderates the summer heat as you head to the hills.  To capture that holiday mood again head to Sainsbury where you can find Brad and Angelina’s wine, Miraval, normally £19 down to £16 until September 17.  Despite the divorce they still co-own the wine business but its sheer, captivating quality is down to Famille Perrin who have looked after this wine since the beginning of the project.

Alternatively, at Marks and Spencer you can get a magnum-sized bottle of Coteaux Varois en Provence that will cost you only a little more than a single bottle of Miraval (£18).  This wine comes in the traditional curvy bottle which fits the hand so easily, making it a crime not to share this with friends.  Its flavours are traditional too with floral notes, redcurrant fruit and a twist of pink grapefruit.

Go buy some olives, anchovies and salad then sit out in the garden and you will be transported back to Aix-en-Provence, even if you have to sit under a brolly.

Languedoc

If you have been cruising the Canal du Midi, visiting historic Carcassonne or just enjoying the sea and sunshine along the glorious southern French coastline then head for the wines of Paul Mas. This company, run by Jean-Claude Mas works across the whole of the Languedoc, bringing together the classic tastes of the region.  Head to Morrisons for the crisp, lively Vinus Clairette, and the chunky, creamy, dark fruits of Vinus Malbec, both at £8.25.

If you have spent time close to the Rhône, you will probably have come across the wines of Famille Perrin.  Their simple, fruit-filled wines under the label Vieille Ferme (£8.79, Waitrose) are great value.  The rosé is my favourite while the sun in shining, but I will switch to the spice-edged, Syrah-loaded red fairly soon.

Tuscany

With its hilltop villages, historic cities and delicious food, Tuscany makes a fabulous holiday destination, and there is plenty of wine to choose to remind you of it. Try the crisp, citrus and green apple flavours of Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2018, from Teruzzi and Puthod Rondolino (Waitrose £9.49, down to £7.49 starting 11 September until 8 October).  Waitrose also has the lovely clove-spiced, black cherry-filled flavours of Villa Cafaggio 2015 down from £13.49 to £9.99 over those same dates.

For sheer value Tesco’s savoury, cherry-soaked Chianti Classico Reserva, currently down from £8 to £7 until September 9 is hard to beat.

 

Spain

Any Spanish holiday usually involves plenty of sea, sun and sangria, but even sangria doesn’t taste the same in your own back garden. Instead head for the chunky red fruit flavours of Toro Loco Superior from Aldi at such a great price (£3.99) it isn’t worth trying to carry your holiday wine home with you.

As a memento of your time in Spain, the wines of Rioja are always a firm favourite and Tesco’s Viña del Cura Rioja 2018 (£5) is a great value, simple, juicy, strawberry and plum-filled wine.  You can climb the quality ladder taking in Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva at increasing prices, but my suggestion is that you stick with the cheapie and start saving for next year’s holiday.

About The Author

Christine Austin

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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