Friday, 11 June 2010

World Cup Wines. Day Two. Argentina vs Nigeria

Once upon a time people would have laughed if you'd offered them wine from Australia. 

Nowadays we take it for granted. Jacobs Creek is a household name. 

So how would you react today if you were offered a wine from Nigeria? Say a glass from Jacobs Wines Limited? 

Would you laugh? 

You'd be right to, as all the best-selling wine in their range - no relation to Jacobs Creek by the way - is made from pineapples. Over a million litres, something like 1.4 million bottles, of pineapple wine. Every year.

It comes in red, yes red, white and sparkling varieties. 

The range includes the 15% red Jacobs Tonic Wine, a powerful and sweet dessert style white at 14%, a 'Burgundy-style (!) Red Candid Wine - bizarrely described as full-bodied but only 10% ABV - plus a Candid dry white and the aforementioned sparkler, called Jays. 

Jacobs Wines also offer Topman pineapple brandy, and, not surprisingly, fresh pineapple juice. But I've left my own personal favourite until last. The wittily named Sanctuary - a specially produced communion wine that apparently offers a 'noticeable pineapple bouquet'. I'm not making this up. 

Maybe it's time to switch our attention to the opposition. 

If you're watching Argentina, just pour yourself a big old glass of red Malbec. 

It's what Argentina does best of all. It's meaty, even beefy, like their famous steaks, it's muscular like Mascherano and can be silky smooth like Lionel Messi. 

It can be lush, highly scented, packed with dark damson fruit. Stick to the 100% varietal too - no need to dilute or soften it with cheap Bonarda or Touriga Nacional as you can find 100% Malbecs at lower price levels anyway. And you can find the top quality premium versions at fine wine prices too.

They are all very very drinkable. It's a terrific gluggable red. And Argentina offers a consistency of quality that belies its football team's recent struggles to qualify for the World Cup. Rather, Malbec maintains the standard set in 1978 when Argentina ran out winners thanks to the genius of Mario Kempes, and saw them champions again in 1986 and runners-up in 1990.

If you must drink white, and daytime matches probably demand it, Torrontes is the often equally punchy peachy white alternative.

Argentina have never been beaten in three full internationals against Nigeria. Don't expect a cupset. 

Malbec 3 Pineapple 0

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