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Posts Tagged ‘vino’

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!

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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!

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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)

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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…

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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!

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I have been meaning to post this for a while now and am only now getting around to it. I need to share the names of two wines I had while in Fontainebleau for an INSEAD marketing course in January. I picked them at random for our 8 person dinner on a Monday night and we were so pleased with them that we came back with 40 people on Wednesday and ordered the same wine for the whole group! The Sancerre was something special – crisp, fruit, floral wonderfulness. The Gigondas was ridiculous- Rhone Valley Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre…spicy and balanced, gooey and moorish. I would highly recommend these wines to anyone honestly – either for drinking alone or with a gorgeous feast.

Joseph Mellot, 2010, La Graveliere, Sancerre AC
Pierre Amadieu, 2009 Gigondas AC, Romain Machotte Rouge

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Someone sent me this illustration and it was too funny to not share…especially given the vino-centric dialog on my blog!
I love these witty cartoons with 1960’s housewives. There’s something hilarious about all the pent up rage that we assume women harbored.

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My dad turned 70 this year. He’s still incredible – lots of energy, if only a bit slower moving. As I live in London and my parents are in my hometown of Seattle, I wasn’t able to do anything for his birthday (other than send him a lame card…which even still I never ended up doing. I had it labeled and ready but I really am that big of an oaf that it never made its way to the postal box). In exchange for my complete failure as a daughter, I decided to put on a wine-tasting for him while I was home over the Christmas break. My soon-to-be-in-laws were in town as well so we had a party of 6, making for the perfect social evening! Also my dad loves wine…maybe not as much as I do but he was my initial inspiration for learning more about wine. He knows his Washington reds very well and takes pride in the quality of wine the WA vineyards are creating. I hoped to showcase this for him but also show him a few other examples.
To set the stage, I picked out my dad’s favorite wines – Cabernet (from WA), Syrah, Zinfandel, Merlot and to a lesser extent Malbec. I didn’t know the winemakers very well so left it up to chance. Some were huge successes – others were complete failures.
I opened the tasting with the WSET approved method for tasting wine (showing off my wine knowledge just a bit…). Look, Smell, Taste and Rate. I talked them through what to look for and told them some basics around the different varietals that we would be tasting.
Overall it was a huge success – though I had to temper my soon-to-be-father-in-law who insists on slugging every tasting measure and can’t help but poke fun at anything and everything…but that is actually a huge part of what made this such a great celebration for my dad. He loves people and loves laughter – mix that with a whole lot of yummy wine and he’s in heaven.
Below are the wines that we tried, listed by our opinion of them (made easy – Love, Like, Nope). Prices range from $8USD – $20USD per bottle at the supermarket.
Love:
Parkers Estate Old Vine Street 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Like:
Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Crest 2009
Renwood Syrah 2008
Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2009
Nope:
Perrin & Fils Cotes du Rhone Villages 2009
Espuela del Gaucho Malbec, Limited Edition Reserve 2010

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