Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘red wine’

Alas, after almost 4 months away from my home in London, I am returning to Battersea this Thursday. I miss my friends and my lovely flat so I am very much looking forward to being surrounded by familiarity soon.

I have spent 3 ridiculous months traveling and kicking up my heels (learn more on findingnewladders.wordpress.com) Though I did not drink much wine (and no yummy wine…but one gets through somehow) while I was gallivanting around Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, I have truly made up for it since coming to California on my way back to London. I have developed a keen appreciation for beer in Southeast Asia but whenever I was craving a good red, it came chilled and very likely from a box (not necessarily a bad thing but its the easiest way to communicate the lackluster situation I found myself in).

Since coming to the US, I have tasted many delicious red wines. My friends Dave and Amie hosted me for my first week in Menlo Park. Dave is known for his amazing wine collection and he did not disappoint while I was visiting. In just visited my parents in Seattle for the weekend and found a number of bottles that I had forgotten about. They were residual from my last visit when we went out to Leavenworth for wine tasting and debauchery. I opened a few 2008 Merlots, a 2007 Cabernet Franc and a Reisling (that had spoiled). I have come back to SF this morning needing a detox. For reals.

Unfortunately, I stumbled upon The Barrel Room in Rockridge, Oakland and couldn’t help but be nosey. And of course it is happy hour. The inside is set up like a wine shop but also houses thick wooden tables and an overly extensive, region-specific (currently Germany, Austria, Switzerland), rotating list of wines by the glass. There is also a kitchen but I am unsure what exactly is offered. Happy hour is mystery wines and mystery beer. I.e. the landlady picks what to open – likely something obscure – and there is a flat cost of $5 for beer, $7 for wine. I tried the mystery wine which ended up being Mondeuse, made in the French Alps. Tart cherry and light/medium body. I unfortunately wasn’t a real fan but it was interesting which I guess is the point. I then moved on to one of my favourites, Zweigelt from Burgenland, Austria. Deep purple, black cherry and charred oak. Boom!

image image

I could stay here forever. The main thing that will hold me back is a) the cost and b) the unclear situation on foodstuffs (I’m starving). I love the concept though. Stop by if you see this place and let me know what you think!

Read Full Post »

All I can say is WOW.

Ok so I ordered this case of wine from Gauthier Wines recently. It was their Christmas Edition which included 12 bottles (2 x 6 bottles) plus lunch for 2 at their Soho restaurant – Brilliant deal and an exciting selection of wines. Unfortunately, after a week of delays with delivery, I had to get it delivered to my office…Now as I live in London, there is really no way to get it home beyond bringing it back bottle by bottle to my flat. I brought two bottles home yesterday and opened the Borsao Barrica and let me tell you, I was so excited. It was absolutely amazing…rich, spicy and authentically Spanish. Add a bit of cheese & some spicy prawns and you are in business. Plus – I did a quick search to see how much it would set me back to acquire a bit more of this gorgeous tipple and found it here for under £8! I think I’m in love…

Borsao Barrica, 2009, Campo de Borja – BUY IT (IN BULK)

Read Full Post »

I hosted my second wine tasting at my flat yesterday and welcomed an intimate group of lovely new friends into my home. We tried wines from around the world – with personal stories from the group to match! I have posted pictures of the wines below as well as some notes on our reviews. Please excuse the quality of the pictures – my lovely photographer friend, Jackee, is on holiday so I took them myself (yikes!).

What we covered: 
Introduction to tasting & discussion of glassware
Food & wine pairing – don’t overcomplicate it
New world & Old world wines and what some of the differences are
3 basic steps to tasting a wine
Party tricks for tasting and talking about wine (i.e. impress your friends…or just weird them out with your slurping technique!)

Wines we tried: 
Glass of Prosecco DOC, Corte Alta with Elderflower port (from Yorkshire) to start
Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2011
Gran Vendama Rioja Crianza 2009 **CROWD FAVOURITE
Giesen Pinot Noir, Marlborough 2010
Barista Pinotage, South Africa, 2011 **CROWD FAVOURITE
Taylors Late Bottled Harvest Port, 2006
Finished off with french press coffee w/ Baileys to prep my guests for the cold

Everyone left slightly merry with a lot of laughter which is exactly how I like it.

A few suggestions were made for future tastings which I will be taking on board:
Around the world with one grape – find the same grape from different regions around the world and try them all together.
Sherry is not just your Grandma’s drink – this one I will find more challenging as Sherry is not my favourite but alas, when the crowd wants it the show must go on.

If you want to join in on the fun, sign up for a future tasting or drop me a note.

Read Full Post »

If you’ve been hoping to increase your knowledge and awareness of amazing wines this holiday season, make sure to sign up for some upcoming tastings. Spots are still available and cost is either by donation or £10 (until 11th Nov). Its a great way to get a handle of what types of wine will impress your friends and family as well as yourself this holiday season.

For the Nov 17th tasting, so far we have a yummy Port, some gorgeous Bordeaux, a few South African stunners and maybe even a cheeky Bierzo. Sign up today!

Read Full Post »

What better time to get up to speed on what wines you like, love and covet than when you are preparing for upcoming festivities with family and friends? There are a million ways to start brushing up on your skills: Head to your local supermarket/wine shop and ask lots of questions (many times they will have tastings available while you browse – just ask), Attend a tasting (lots of places offer tastings – speciality shops, wine shops, liquor stores, etc. Keep your eyes peeled), Talk to your friends (many people have a favorite bottle of wine that they use as their ‘go to’ tipple for any celebration. Ask people you know for suggestions and you may just discover a new gem!).
For my part, I will be hosting, attending and conversing about all things wine in the next two months (have a look at what I’m up to here and sign up if you’re interested). As always, if you want to swap ideas – pull up a chair and let’s chat.

Essentials for any successful holiday: 
Brandy – my favourite is Hennessy VSOP. Top it with a bit of ginger ale for a spritzy buzz or some spicy eggnog for a classic holiday treat
Sparkling wine – the holiday favourite in my household is Prosecco because of its light body, balanced flavour and general yummy-ness (plus it can be enjoyed at any time of day…)
Good, full bodied red wine – this is the absolute must have. I love picking a few favourites each year to share with my family. I am still in the discovery phase for this year’s celebrations and will be using my upcoming tastings to explore a few pre-selected Malbecs, Petit Syrahs, Bordeauxs and Tannats. Stay tuned…

Read Full Post »

My two lovely friends got married last Monday in London with 20 of their closest friends from around the world looking on. Our troupe was then shuttled into cabs, whisked away to the Champagne bar at St Pancras station and herded into Coach 15 on the Eurostar bound for Paris. After a quick transfer to the regional station in Paris, we were on our way to Dijon. Hop, skip and a 40 minute drive from Dijon, we entered our home for the next week: Chateau du Tailly, a gorgeous 18th century block of three buildings (all of which could have been individual houses)…

So many stories, such a wonderful week. Ultimately, it was about two people: Joel and Marc whose love brought all of us together for this incredible experience. We wined and dined our way through an awe-inspiring week throughout Puligny, Chassagne, Beaune, Mersault and many more. More updates to follow but will leave you with this for now.

  

The main Chateau and my two lovely friends, Joel and Marc, who hosted us during the week:

My home for the week:

        

The winemaker at Chateau Lahaye allowing me to ‘break through the must’ on their newest harvest.

  

Cheers!

Read Full Post »

Last Sunday, I hosted my first wine tasting. How excited was I? Pretty darn excited. Even though it was a group of my friends (or perhaps because of that), I was nervous. I had carefully selected 6 wines to taste with the group, assembled all my glassware, made the savoury and sweet snacks, had the welcome Cava chilled and ready – all I needed was the group! They trickled in over the course of an hour or so (welcome glass of Cava = brilliance as they were sufficiently warmed up within a few minutes) and around 3, we kicked things off…

   

The lineup:
Clos Monistrol Cava, Vintage 2008 (welcome drink)
Martin Codax Albarino, 2011 (Rias Baixas)
Domaine Thibert Pere et Fils, Saint Veran AC, 2010 (Burgundy)
Ned Pinot Noir, Marlborough 20120 (NZ) ** CROWD FAVORITE
Vidal-Fleury, Saint-Joseph AC, 2009 (Northern Rhone)
Matsu, El Recio Tinto de Toro, 2009 (Toro Spain) ** CROWD FAVORITE
Jean Marc Lafage Mise Tardive, Maury AC, 2009 (Roussillon)

What we covered: 
Glassware: why its important and the ideal tasting conditions
Sight, Smell & Taste: Why you go through the steps and what you are looking for
Food pairing: Really we just took a break between the wines to devour some spinach-artichoke dip (recipe below), homemade bread, greek feta pie and madeira cake!!

After we finished the tasting, everyone wanted to open another bottle of the Matsu – so we enjoyed more of that incredible wine and finished off the snacks.

If you want to learn more about wine, you live in (or can travel to) the London area and this sounds like a bit of fun, sign up now for one of my upcoming tastings. Payment is donation only and homemade snacks are always supplied. 

Hot Spinach Artichoke dip
Mix together the following ingredients in a big bowl: 2 packs soft cream cheese, 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 cans artichoke hearts, 1 cup thawed (and drained) frozen spinach, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 tsp hot chili powder (to taste), 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
Place the mixture in a baking tin (shape/size doesn’t matter but make sure it doesn’t sit above the top of the pan).
Top with slices of parmesan cheese (flakes or slices – just make sure they’re thin)
Bake at 180 – 200 degrees C until bubbly and golden
Serve with bread, tortilla chips, pita chips – or just with a spoon!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: