Q&A with Laura Clay

by | Mar 14, 2018

So what made you #LoveWine in the first place? (e.g. particular wine, occasion, experience)
A surprisingly boring answer but learning about it made me love it. My first job in the wine world was working for a top shipper selling very nice wines which was very nice but something I really couldn’t do without a bit of knowledge. A couple of WSET courses later and I was hooked. Not addicted, obviously! Although… yes, hooked AND addicted but in a good way

It’s my round and money’s no object, what would be your absolute dream wine to share over a special dinner?

After deliberating for an age and risking you withdrawing your generous offer, I would reluctantly reject Charles Heidsiesck Blanc de Millenaires 1995, Dom Pérignon 1996 and a heap of other stop-you-in-your-tracks, jaw-droppingly-delicious wines in favour of Château Margaux 2005. Have we got a date?

You, a pizza, the tv and a tenner. What’s your bargain pick?
It’s got to be red with pizza and Rioja is often a bargain around that price point. You can get a lot of complexity, smoothness but most importantly, drinkability from Rioja.

Is there a style of wine that you love, that you wish more wine fans knew about?
White Bordeaux. People don’t seem to recognise that there is great value in all styles: light, zippy Sauvignon Blancs; fruity blends, which I refer to as wedding wines for their ability to appeal to everyone; and complex, age-worthy classy wines from Pessac-Leognan AOC, just south of the city of Bordeaux. Please try some so I can stop banging on about it.

Has a wine surprised you recently?
All the time. One of the greatest joys about wine is that you can be constantly surprised and are forever discovering new favourites. I recently tasted Casa Silva’s Riesling from Austral in Patagonia, the most southerly reaches of the Chilean vineyards, and it was gorgeous.

Tell us the question you get asked most by wine fans…. and your usual answer?
Is an expensive wine really worth it? It depends on your budget and priorities. A £500 wine isn’t necessarily five times better than a similar wine at £100, it’s just more in demand – think London property prices. At the other end of the scale, I do think you’d notice a huge difference between a £5 and £25 bottle of wine and the extra spend would be worthwhile. Inch upwards – go to a tenner first.

If you were only allowed to drink wine made from one grape variety forever, what would it be?

Don’t make me pick just one out of the thousands that available. That’s like asking me to choose between my children*.  And anyway, wines from blends are often high on my list. But if you insist then Chardonnay, because that would mean I’d always be able to drink Champagne.
*I don’t have thousands of children, three’s enough.

Where has you most memorable wine trip taken you?
So many beautiful places, so many wonderful people, so many outstanding wines…it’s difficult to choose. Last year I was lucky enough to go to Galicia, specifically Rias Baixas in North West Spain. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The inlets and islands, the beaches and dunes, the ancient coastal towns, the cobbled streets of Pontevedra, the cathedral and monuments of Santiago de Compestella………oh, and the tiny vineyards growing Albariño on pergolas. Did I mention the people? Wonderful, kind, open and friendly people with women dominating the wine world.

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