Why winemakers with big personalities make equally big wines

In a world of big brands, it’s easy to forget that wine is about individuals. If a winemaker is passionate about his or her vineyards and the quality of their grapes, their wines tend to be equally expressive.

And it’s not just expensive wine I’m talking about – if a winemaker has a big personality, it shines right through the range. Take Ken Forrester, a larger-than-life South African winemaker whose top wine, The FMC 2009 Chenin Blanc (£21.25, AG Wines; £21.50, Great Western Wine, Bath; £22, swig.co.uk; 14% abv), is often compared to great white burgundy. (FMC officially stands for Forrester Meinert Chenin, but the name actually came about because someone once called it a “fucking marvellous chenin”.) However, Forrester also makes great value own-label wine for Tesco and Marks & Spencer. I particularly like the smooth, peachy Ken Forrester Workhorse Chenin Blanc 2011 (£7.99, in larger branches of M&S; 14% abv), which would repay hanging on to for six to 12 months. It would be a great match for anything in a creamy sauce.

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