With the Olympics under way Christine Austin looks for the right drinks to celebrate our athletes.
With the eyes of the world now on Rio and with team GB at their peak of fitness, this is the ideal time to position the sofa in front of the TV and get set for several weeks’ worth of first-class sport. Whether Yorkshire can match its astonishing 2012 position on the Olympic medals table remains to be seen but I expect the Yorkshire’s athletes will do us proud.
Since Rio is four hours behind the UK some of the most exciting events may be run well after bedtime, in which case the best accompaniment to breakfast reruns will be a mug of tea. But there will be plenty of daytime coverage and so this is the ideal time to stock the fridge and settle down to enjoy the many sports on offer.
The most surprising aspect is that German supermarket, Aldi is sponsoring team GB. Well done to Aldi, all sponsorship is most welcome and I hope that it brings them the right kind of rewards in terms of exposure. With that in mind it seems only fair that Aldi’s wines should feature on the starting line.
Diving: Most of the diving events are in the early evening UK time, and with five members of City of Leeds Diving Club selected for Team GB, plus another who will represent Jamaica, there will be plenty of opportunity to cheer on Team Yorkshire. Early heats should be accompanied by the lively, precise flavours of The Venturer Côtes de Gasgogne 2015 (£4.79, Aldi) which will liven up the tastebuds with its refreshing style. All 10 metre board events need a wine that can cope with heights and Hautes Côtes de Nuits 2013 (£9.99, Aldi) should fit the bill. Growing Pinot Noir grapes on the higher slopes of Burgundy manages to produce a wine with precision and finesse.
Athletics: With Yorkshire represented in so many events, from triathlon to pole vault it will be difficult to catch them all, especially since Jessica will be running her 800 metres in the middle of the night, UK time. Athletics is a multidisciplinary sport and so deserves a multi-grape approach and if you are sitting down to dinner while the races are on then Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée 13 (£16.99, Aldi) will cope with everything from a sprint to race walking. There are 13 grape varieties in the mix, each one adding its own layer of flavour, producing a wine with big, chunky, powerful, long-lasting flavours.
All hurdle events should be accompanied by a glass of D’Arenberg’s High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (£12.95 Hic! Wine Merchants, Ledston) and this will also do for the High Jump while the Triple Jump needs a wine that also has three important elements to it. Esprit des Trois Pierres 2014 (£7.69, Waitrose) from the Costières de Nîmes is made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
The marathon needs a wine that can stand the distance and Blandy’s 10-year-old Sercial Madeira (£18.50 for 50cl, Halifax Wine Co) should fit the bill. A good Madeira will be perfect alongside a bowl of salted almonds and few nibbles.
Boxing: All boxing events need a wine that can pack a punch and deliver a powerful finish. Malbec is the grape to do this and Aldi’s Exquisite Collection Malbec 2015 (£5.99) is a smooth, easy-drinking style of wine, but if more power is needed then switch to Sainsbury’s Fairtrade Morador Malbec 2015 (£8) for its gutsy flavours.
Rowing: With Yorkshire rowers in several boats in Rio, Team GB should be good for a few medals this year. Teamwork is essential in any boat and the most co-ordinated collection of wines on supermarket shelves is the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range. From the bright, clean flavours of Taste the Difference Chilean Chardonnay (currently down from £8 to £6.50), via gentle strawberry fruit in Côtes de Provence Rosé (currently down from £8 to £7) through to the robust red fruits of Taste the Difference Padthaway Shiraz (down from £7 to £6) there are wines for a whole day of rowing.
For semi-finals day you should trade up to McGuigan The Shortlist Coonawarra Cabernet from a vineyard as long and as flat as the rowing lake (£14.99 Ocado). If we get a boat in the finals there will probably be an Australian crew alongside so toast them with Dead Arm Shiraz 2010 from d’Arenberg (£28 Hic! Wine Merchants).
Cycling: With high hopes for GB medals in the cycling, there is only one wine which should be in your glass for these events. Cono Sur Bicicleta range is named after the bikes that the workers use to get around the huge Cono Sur estate in Chile. Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2015 (£7 Morrisons) is the one to pick for its lush cherry and plum fruit.
The Finals: As the games roll on and medals are won, it may be time to invest in a few bottles of Dourthe No 1, Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (£8.50, Wine Society). And when our team emerges with medals then it is time to pop the cork on the only wine that really suits the occasion – English Sparkling Wine. Choose Nyetimber for its depth of flavour and finesse (£31.99, Waitrose) or Digby Leander Pink (£28 Hic!, also available at Marks & Spencer).