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Love: Barbera

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Yummy wine. I had this with dinner tonight at Locale Italian in Westminster. High acid so drink with gooey fatty cheese!
xxx

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Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very merry day with your family and friends. Enjoy some yummy wine (Scott Paul Pinot Noir “Audrey” for us today!) and lots of time relaxing.

All my best
Kristen

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I am amazing. Honestly – I truly rock. I am spreading the love of wine all around the world. Am I a predictable gift giver? A bit of an alcho? Nah – I am just incredibly thoughtful and really really nice…
To date, I have sent wine to Australia (twice), New York and Castlerea (IE).
Soon I will send an additional case of wine to San Diego for my sister’s family.
I have handed out 4x bottles of wine to various people in London.
In belated-honour of my Dad’s 70th birthday, I am going to put on a family wine tasting for my in-laws and my parents who are all celebrating Christmas with us in Seattle this year.
In other words, I am racking up the bottles and spreading the cheer! 34 bottles and counting…

My favorite wine gift mix:
6 bottles, 4 of your favorite sparkling wine (prosecco or cava work well both for pocket book and taste buds – ping me if you want some suggestions) and 2 of your favorite Pinot Noir (my fav is anything from Marlborough. You can buy it at a reasonable price compared to French and Oregonian and its almost guaranteed to be tasty). Try to get free shipping if possible – I shop around a bit before buying to see if there is a retailer offering it. Can save you bundles…so you can buy more wine!!

Retailers I used for my shopping adventures:

Castlerea: Karwig Wines Ltd, Cork based online wine delivery service. Great experience – free shipping for the holidays (though only a few euro otherwise), quick ordering system and it was delivered quickly without hassle or followup needed.
New York: Sherry-Lehmann wine and spirits. Expensive shipping (half case was $16!!) but an otherwise good experience. Given all the available vendors for buying wine online in New York, I was disappointed with the selection at most of them and all of them (that I could find) charged a LOT for shipping. Otherwise a hassle-free experience.
Australia: Vintage Cellars, OK service though took a bit of time and one of the wines I wanted wasn’t in stock (contrary to their website). I was offered two alternatives to my initial choice – both were from the same region and of the same quality however one was slightly less expensive and one slightly more. What puzzled me was that I was offered the alternative for the same price as my initial choice…now if one of the wines is CHEAPER than the one I initially wanted – why on earth would you offer it to me at the same price? Overstock of the more expensive wine? Or just a lack of understanding what they were doing/offering.
Australia: Petersons Champagne house (direct from site), ridiculous website and payment process using PayPal. Absolute crap! However, I emailed them after placing the order and got a response in 48 hours (meanwhile, money was taken out of my account and I was stood waiting to find out if I had a fight on my hands). The email they sent did apologize for their website (perhaps they already know it sucks but are locked into a contract with PayPal?) and promptly asked for my details to send the wine out. It was delivered in 24 hours which helped them redeem themselves…slightly.

More to come…

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How to Serve Champagne

a little “how-to” for the holidays…instructions on something that you should be doing a LOT of this Christmas – Opening sparkling wine!!

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Just hit 1,000 visits!

Wanted to mark the occasion of hitting 1,000 hits on my blog. Took a while – but it is fun to get here. Thanks and looking forward to another 1,000!!

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I read today about an interesting distribution method, potentially saving lots of cash strapped wineries a lot of dosh while also doing some good for the environment. Silvertap wines (silvertapwines.com) skip the bottling of their wines and distribute via casks to their partners (restaurants only at the moment from what I can tell). Each cask holds 130 standard glasses of wine and using their preservation system the promise is that the last glass is just as good as the first – eliminating spoilage completely.
Sounds great – but…really? Are we missing something integral to the enjoyment of sharing a bottle of wine – by removing the bottle? Does it matter?
I’m on the fence still…

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Last weekend, a few of my aussie friends and I rented a cottage in the Cotswolds for a weekend break from the big city. One of the key requirements of any weekend away with friends is a good box of wine. Given that we all love our wine and lean towards aussie and kiwi varietals when we are together, we set ourselves to a challenge to find 6 bottles from different regions around the world. The other key was to keep the cost below £50 total for the 6 bottles.

After picking out our spoils from the shelves at Majestic Wine Warehouse in Victoria, we packed up our little hybrid and rushed away to the countryside! Over the course of the weekend, in between walking around the beautiful little streets of Bibury and Barnsley, we enjoyed a different kind of adventure through tasting the various wines. Absolutely amazing the differences across regions, varietals and vintages. We didn’t get too geeky about it all – just enjoyed it and commented on the various tipples as we tried them. As we finished each wine the familiar phrase rang out in the air – ‘Where shall we go next? Italy? South Africa?’. Just plain fun to be honest. Here are the wines that we picked – try it out for yourself one evening, weekend, holiday and let me know how you go!

Our picks:
Treviso Prosecco Torri del la Marca – Italy
Papa Luna Calatayud 2008 – Spain
l’Enigme de Foncalieu Merlot 2008 – France
Kings River Shiraz 2009 – South Africa
Neblina Carmenère, 2010 Central Valley – Chile (my house wine – always amazing)
Lo Zoccolaio, Sucule Barbera d’Alba 2007 – Italy (my favorite!! a bit pricier but definitely worth it)

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