English Bacchus and anything Greek: these are the wines Olly Smith thinks restaurants should include on their menus this year

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

This week on The Staff Canteen's Grilled podcast, TSC editor Cara Houchen and returning co-host Richard Bainbridge of Benedicts in Norwich were joined by celebrated wine pundit, broadcaster, author and fellow podcaster, Olly Smith

Amid a range of topics and anecdotes covered, we picked Olly's brains for his expert knowledge on wine - asking him what chefs and restaurants should incontrovertibly offer alongside their food menus this year.

First and foremost, he said, "if we're in Britain, you should definitely have some English wine on there." 

While our country's still wines are fantastic, with an increasing prevalence of good reds and rosés, he said, "my money is on whites at the moment. Bacchus in particular is great." British fizz, he added, "is good." 

"I do believe they're great and they should be on our wine lists."

Don't be afraid to Stray from the classics

But as well as British wines, he said, "I also think - go Greek," as "the country has "pretty much 100 percent boutique wine production, the climate is dry, it's very forgiving for your grapes so it tends to be more organic than not - you're getting grapes that pair beautifully with food that are not very well known so there's always a story to tell." Not to mention that the country's wines are highly regional. 

"You can have hot places, islands, coastal places," he said. 

"For my money, the really, really cool thing about Greece is going to be about altitude. Mountains in Greece in the future are going to produce some of - in my view - the greatest wines in Europe." 

Specifically, he added, look for wines from Nemea, in the Peloponnese region. 

"I was there just a week ago and I thought, 'oh, there's oranges growing, olive vines, it reminds me a bit of California,' and then I thought, 'no it's not California, it's actually Chile. Because you've got the mountains as well, you've got every trick in the book to make either good value or high-end wine." 

"Every good chef should be looking to Greece, because the wines are phenomenal, there's a little bit unknown, they've got a great story, and the food that they can pair with, the broad range of the local grapes - the sky is the limit. It's so exciting." 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 11th May 2022

English Bacchus and anything Greek: these are the wines Olly Smith thinks restaurants should include on their menus this year