Archive for 2013

Chardonnay, the most marmite of grapes….

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

It’s the time of year for good will to all, isn’t it? But in this technology drenched world, despite it being C* time, cowards continue to hide behind the anonymity of the internet and get fired up over the strangest of things. The C** word in question is Chardonnay. If you didn’t know already it’s experiencing a revival, and it’s got a bunch of C*** words seriously het up! Victoria Moore, wine columnist at The Telegraph got the brunt of it, she’s been blazing a trail of glory for Chardonnay all year (see here) and although I despise most of the use of the comments section following her piece, it has at least proved that wine really can get the pulse racing!!


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Not another Christmas give-away…?!

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Are you ready? The menu is sorted, the gifts are bought, the wine is chosen and you’re about to tuck into the family sized box of Heroes feeling smug that you’re more organised than last year. Then someone goes and ruins it and gives you a gift that you haven’t bought one for. Embarrassment all round.

To avoid such scenarios and to become the ultimate in organised having an emergency gift in your handbag over the festive season is an absolute must. And I have one for you that’s light, fun, easy to wrap and free. I have four packs of Drink This Wine Gift Tags to give away to save you from just such an occasion ………

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Three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

[In song] On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…. three french wines, and a partridge in a pear tree!
There’s one thing we can all say about Christmas and that is it’s predictable. We have turkey, family, friends, too much food, too much booze, a credit card in the red and a stack of New Years resolutions about to be broken. When it comes to wine the same could be said for the choice available on our high street, little is new and most is predictable. So, discovering wineries that are actively doing something different is a real joy. Calmel & Jospeh are one such French winery based in the Languedoc region that caught my eye having declared a penchant for creating wines that will it’s tasters into uncharted taste territory. Not many wineries could make such a claim and actually deliver. ………

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An unusual white that’s wintery….

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

[In song]
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me a
n unusual white that’s wintery!

There’s been big debate in the wine world over the use of heavy weight bottles for so called Icon wines; you know the ones I mean, they look like they should be playing rugby with their overly broad shoulders and have a massive dent or punt in the bottom.

The use of these mega bottles can be a way of marketing your wine to seem more special than it is in a manner of “it must be good, look at the bottle!” I often regard it as an expression of a winery’s insecurity, think of some of the most expensive bottles in the world from the likes of Bordeaux and Burgundy, none of them are ponced up in oversized glass. Which is what makes this bottle of Terres Viognier-Chardonnay 2011 Domaine de la Baume* unusual. Firstly Viognier-Chardonnay blends are not all that common and secondly it’s from the Languedoc in the South of France and the French just don’t do macho bottles.


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A serious red to drink with turkey…!

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

[In song] On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me  a serious red to drink with turkey!

If you’re looking for tradition and nostalgia this Christmas then Claret (aka red Bordeaux) is the serve of choice with your Turkey. Luckily though a taste of the past doesn’t have to mean chewy, watery, leathery claret like it used to be. No, luckily châteaux like Cantin have made great strides to blend the traditional with modern wine tastes and their Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009* is the perfect composition of the two.

It’s every bit as good as a Grand Cru from Saint-Emilion should be but unless you know the château and the quality of the vintage then they can be tricky to determine whether they’re to your taste or in fact whether they’re ready to drink. This one is earthy, with charcoal, dried herbs and some floral notes too. The palate is rich, and fruit forward in a New World sort of way, with chocolate cherry cake and spiced plums on a mouthful that’s Old World in complexity on the finish.

So you see, you can get the best of both worlds. You just have to be prepared to pay for it!

* Available at Waitrose, £23.99

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A box of chocolates for my belly….

Monday, December 9th, 2013

[In song]
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a box of chocolates for my belly!

I have to put blinkers on at this time of year every time I go past a stack of family sized tubs of chocolate. It’s too tempting, especially Cadbury’s which I know has an unfashionably low level of actual cocoa in it but it’s full of lovely family Christmas memories so its hard to resist.
A great alternative is something a little smaller and perhaps a little more sophisticated. A small family run Scottish chocolate company called Genevie curates just such boxes with a thoughtful choice of flavours and they deliver to your door avoiding all the other tempting treats in the naughty aisle. Their favourite source of cocoa beans is Ghana where the beans produce a creamy smooth chocolate that allows a high cocoa content without sacrificing the silk like quality you’ll find in Genevie’s chocolates. ………
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