Muddy meets Heather Dougherty
Which wines do the connoisseurs drink? We collared wine expert Heather Dougherty and asked her all those questions you've always wanted answers to.
Surrey wine educator Heather Dougherty is the woman behind pop-up wine events company Red, White and Rose, and also the host of Love Wine Guildford, the the wine festival that takes place in Guildford in March.
So what made you #LoveWine in the first place?
Living in France after uni probably gave me a taste for finer wines – I remember being rather impressed by a young Frenchman deliberating over whether he should drink a Pauillac or a Saint Estèphe to go with his steak. Up until then, litre bottles of Liebfraumilch served in mugs was more my usual wine experience.
It’s my round and money’s no object, what would be your absolute dream wine to share over a special dinner?
I love Champagne and people might be surprised how great it can be with food – and how the best ones can age so well. One that stopped me in my tracks recently was Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elizabeth Salmon Rosé 1990 – I would just love to taste that one again – and I’m sure you would love it too!
You, a pizza, the tv and a tenner. What’s your bargain pick?
Hmm, contrary of me, but probably not an Italian wine. I’d head for Spain – specifically a great value red from Valencia called Setze Gallets Garnacha Monastrell. Big, bold flavours, but refreshing and ripe enough to drink on its own – and an absolute bargain at £7.50 a bottle.
Is there a style of wine that you love, that you wish more wine fans knew about?
Like most people in the wine trade, I’m potty about Sherry. It’s so underrated and under-explored by UK wine drinkers. I want everyone to know that it can be dry – and it’s perfectly safe for the under 70s to drink!
Has a wine surprised you recently?
If wines can’t surprise you, that would be a bit sad wouldn’t it? Before Christmas I served that guilty pleasure of a wine, Brachetto d’Acqui (Italian, light red, sweet and sparkling) with mince pies – and it was a surprisingly great match!
Tell us the question you get asked most by wine fans…. and your usual answer?
I’m always asked “what’s your favourite wine?” and I always say that I never restrict myself to just one favourite – and that my favourites are always changing too.
If you were only allowed to drink wine made from one grape variety forever, what would it be?
That would be torture! But if I say Chardonnay, that gives me scope to drink not just white Burgundy and other great Chardonnays from around the world, but also Blanc de Blancs Champagne and sparkling wines too. That should keep me busy for a while.
Where has you most memorable wine trip taken you?
Alto Adige in northern Italy is a pretty special place – Alpine scenery combines with palms and fig trees in this unique place. In the winter it’s all ski lifts and snow, in summer it can be the hottest part of Italy! And the wines are pretty knockout too.