Posts Tagged ‘France’

Would you like to taste the wine….?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Given the rise and general acceptance of the screw cap, why are we still being asked to taste a wine when we’re out and about “if it’s not sealed with a cork doesn’t that mean it can’t be corked?” I was asked. Is the offer to taste a wine now just a ritual that is so embedded into our routine that to not be asked to taste the wine would above all else be rude? Or are we being asked to taste the wine to see if we like it? Could we reasonably return a wine that has been especially opened for us on our request just because it’s not quite what we fancied? Or are we all too scared of not knowing what it should have tasted like in the first place so nod-and-smile and drink it anyway?

In NYC recently a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against a wine store and its owner by a customer who bought a number of wines he “didn’t like”. ………

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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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An expensive bottle of bubbly….

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

[In song] On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me an expensive bottle of bubbly…
Sometimes only Champagne will do: when celebrating a big occasion like an engagement or wedding or as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. Billecart Salmon’s Vintage 2004 Champagne* is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, 20% of which was vinified in oak, and is the bottle for just such an occasion.
Right now it is tasting crisp and fresh but with a nod towards its ageing potential in a tasty lemon biscuit sort of way. I’d be inclined to get a bottle now and drink it next year because I prefer my Champagne with a bit more age. But at this stage in its youth I’d say this vintage is just what you need to waken your palate at  zero hundred and keep dancing into the wee hours!
* Available from Berry Bros & Rudd, Hedonism Wines, Harrods and, RRP £65.00

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Charitable Christmas wine….

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

[In song]
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me a robust red to help charity….

When Christmas shopping has drained you of all hope, good will and money you might be left feeling deflated by excessive consumerism and in desperate need of a drink! Piggy Bank wines have been designed to help you on both fronts.

Piggy Bank Grenache 2012* from the Languedoc in the south of France is not only a great party wine that would go down well sipping while you chat, with canapés and nibbles (piggy’s in blankets?!) or with a festive gammon or beef but is also jam packed with the feel good factor. For every bottle sold wine importers Guy Anderson Wines donates 50p to one of three chosen charities. Each Piggy Bank holds £10,000 and when it’s full the money raised is distributed between the charities based on the number of votes cast for each one. At the moment they’re raising money for Meningitis UK, Wateraid and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

The wine itself is fruity and moreish, layered with fruits of the forest and cocoa characters and a hint of Christmas cake! Try a bottle for yourself and you’ll see there’s generosity in every bottle!

* Available from and the Piggy Bank Wine Shop, £7.99

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Hot on the heals of Sancerre….

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

[In song] On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me a Touraine from the Wine Society….

A Christmas Day classic is Sancerre served with a starter of smoked salmon but finding a decent one for less than £15 is hard, and it adds up if you’re catering for more than a handful of people.

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc is also from the Loire Valley in France, same as Sancerre, it is made of Sauvignon Blanc, same as white Sancerre and over the last few years the region has been working with flying winemaker and Master of Wine Sam Harrop (who comes from NZ, the land of Sauvignon Blanc) to perfect the regions’ style of Savvy. Put a wine importing heavy weight like The Wine Society behind all that and you’ve got a seriously good alternative to Sancerre at half the price like Les Hauts Lieux Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2012 which is an honest steal at £7.50.

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