Solicitor dispenses advice on wine

Instead of legal advice a Shropshire solicitor has been dispensing his specialist advice of a very different kind to readers of a national newspaper.

After 30 years of collecting and enjoying fine wines, commercial lawyer Stuart Rose was able to put his accumulated knowledge and nose for a good vintage to use when asked to review bottles of wine for The Times.

Mr Rose, a consultant solicitor with Hooper Burrowes Legal, based in Shrewsbury, was asked by the newspaper to scrutinise two bottles of wine from a supermarket’s new premium range. His verdict appeared in an article for the Weekened supplement of The Times earlier this month.

“The newspaper was looking for two professionals and an amateur. My daughter works for The Times and, knowing my enthusiasm for a good wine, put my name forward,” he said.

“They rang me and I thought it would be fun to do. Aldi sent me a couple of bottles from their Exquisite Range and I was interviewed by The Times to give my reaction. It was good fun and I enjoyed two pleasant bottles of wine.

“I’ve been collecting and researching wines for about 30 years and it was the first time I’ve been able to put the knowledge I’ve gained during that time to use. I’d love to do it again.

“I have always drunk red wine and I drink white as well, occasionally. I have always collected Claret, which is a red Bordeaux, and is sadly the most expensive of all wines!”

Mr Rose was asked to put a New Zealand Pinot Noir and a German Riesling, both priced at £6.99, through their paces.

His verdict: He enjoyed the Pinot Noir very much but “it might not stand up to roast beef! It’s a drinking wine so polish it off as soon as it’s opened”! The Clare Valley Riesling he described as “extraordinary”.

“It’s not fizzy but has a little prickle… If someone offered me the choice between this or champagne I’d rather have a glass of this,” he told The Times. 

“In this country we are sent the very best wines from around the world. We have a greater choice than anywhere else. You can get a damned good bottle from supermarkets these days,” added Mr Rose, who lives in Nesscliffe.

“The Aldi wines were £6.99 and the Riesling, in particular was superb. And £6.99 is a good price for Pinot Noir which is a Burgundy grape. For a decent bottle of Burgundy you’d pay £15.”

His top wine-buying tips? “It makes sense to spend more than £6 or £7 on a bottle because the tax and bottling costs are about £4. If you’re paying £6, you’re paying at least half as much again for a better quality wine.

“If you’re buying really good wine, consider the investment value. It’s good to get two cases of everything you buy – one to drink and one to sell. Six years ago I bought a case of Calon-Segur. I paid £43 a bottle and it’s now traded at £130 a bottle!”

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Pete White Pete White

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