Excuse the rather clumsy play on words, anything to grab a headline.
Of course we are talking about client entertaining, but you worked that out already, right?
Gone are the days of long ‘boozy’ lunches, for most anyway. Yet client entertaining is still a valuable way of maintaining relationships and of course thanking them for their valued custom.
But what to serve for a modern day client event or lunch? Does Champagne send out the wrong message (am I paying you too much?) and do clients actually appreciate or understand fine quality Bordeaux blends?
Modern Wine Options
In much the same way I tend to judge people on where they arrange to meet me for a coffee (well, only a little), what does your boardroom drinks cabinet say about your company? If indeed you have such a thing.
I don’t think you can go wrong with a bottle of fizz, and these days there are plenty to choose from. I’d skip the obvious Prosecco if you are really trying to stand out from the crowd. Whilst fresh, fruity and completely inoffensive, it’s a bit like meeting at Costa (using my previous analogy).
Often overlooked but very well made and well- priced are French Crémants. Bougogne, Loire, Jura, Bordeaux – there are lots of them about. Made in the traditional method (i.e. just like Champagne but not aged for quite as long) and sometimes using similar grapes. One which has its own Appellation is Blanquette de Limoux, reputedly the oldest sparkling wine in the world, made from the Mauzac grape in the Languedoc region of France.:
Blanquette de Limoux, Aldi priced at £7.99 is a delicious alternative to Champagne at a fraction of the price and the label even looks quite posh. https://www.aldi.co.uk/p/000000024247200
For white, Albariño is a lovely option and a good news story for the Galicia region in North West Spain, where it is made. It varies from light to medium bodied and is aromatic with citrus and peach flavours with zingy acidity.
It has some more interesting flavours due to contact with the lees (dead yeast cells….perhaps don’t dwell on this) which makes it a far more appealing wine than most of the other ‘simple white wines’ on the shelves. I’d recommend Albariño Pazo de Señorans which you can find in Booths and other good independent wine merchants – usual price around £10.
For red, it is a little bit more tricky and so food dependent. Malbec is extremely popular mainly due to its smooth silky tannins. However, did you know that the Chilean name for Malbec is Cot? DO dwell on this as it makes you sound clever!
Pérez Cruz Cot Reserva is available from Oddbins in Chorlton (tell Gordon the shop manager you saw this, I’ll get some brownie points) at around £15 per bottle. http://www.oddbins.com/chorlton
Finally to really impress how about a Madeira (yes, you heard it right)!
Barbeito, Rainwater Madeira made from the Tinta Negra grape is delicious and complex yet, like all Madeira wines, has fantastically refreshing acidity, so not cloying. Available at Reserve Wines in West Didsbury https://www.reservewines.co.uk/ and online from various places.
Read this blog from the fantastic Fiona Beckett on food matches for Madeira: http://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/wine_pros/great-new-ideas-for-madeira-pairings/
This wine choice probably equates to meeting somewhere really cool in the Northern Quarter (previous bad rep. but enjoying a huge resurgence).
I’d certainly say yes to that invitation.