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My next wine tasting is coming up in a few weeks on March 17th from 5 – 7PM and spaces are booking up fast – sign up now to reserve your space! If you haven’t come to a tasting before, they are hosted out of my home in Battersea (right near the park). You will be welcomed with a glass of sparkling (or perhaps mulled cider to be on theme) and invited to sit down by the fire.

We will be tasting some lovely wines paired with Irish specialties like salt beef (aka corned beef), strong cheddar cheese and some sort of lovely potato dish – because you can’t have an Irish party without potatoes! We will finish off with my two favourite Irish spirits: Hennessy and Baileys. Before you say it, I know that Hennessy isn’t Irish but its Irish to me! If you come to the tasting, I will tell you why. For those of you that love a good sing-a-long, we’ll have some catchy Irish pub songs playing in the background during the evening (guitars, aspiring singers and musicians are welcome!).

Future dates are posted as well and sign ups are welcome. Get in touch if you have any ideas or suggestions – they are welcomed and appreciated.

Sláinte

Kristen

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Thanks to my wonderful guests who attended the tasting this afternoon. I was glad to meet a few new people and see some good friends’ faces. I hope to see all of you again at a tasting in the future.
As promised, here is a list of the wines that we went through today.

WineTasting_Feb13

Saumur, Gratien & Meyer Brut, £12
Champagne, Rose Brut, Gauthier, £33
Sauvignon Blanc, Geisen 2011 Marlborough New Zealand, £10
Cabernet, Merlot & Cabernet Franc, Vergelegen 2009, £11 **GROUP FAVOURITE**
Pinotage, Barista 2010 South Africa, £9
Reserve Port, Taylors First Estate, £12
Palo Cortado Viejo, Apostoles £17

Food pairings:
Sparkling – Homemade bread, toasted with goats cheese, basil & garlic
Cabernet – Sliced & grilled chorizo
Pinotage – Chocolate (60% cacao)
Palo Cortado – Banana Walnut & Caramel cake (homemade by Blair – recipe to follow)

Also, I mentioned a few things during the tasting that people asked I make note of:
-My favourite region in Spain is Bierzo. There are some stunning examples available but a lovely one that is widely available is Petalos, Bierzo 2009.
Viu Manent Reserve Carmenere is an absolute stunner and highly recommended if you enjoy this style.

I will be posting new dates shortly. If you’re interested in learning more about wine – or just meeting some new people – make sure to sign up! I will look forward to hosting you.

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I love this time of year. Who can resist mulled wine, warm fires, cozy sweaters and cold evenings? Not this girl. The whole season kicked off for me this week. I met a friend at the Southbank Winter Festival on Monday evening where we ate hog roast, drank hot wine (wasn’t really mulled…but they tried) and bought Chrissie presents (for ourselves mainly…).

On Sunday I’m having ten of my closest friends in London over for a Thanksgiving feast-ival. Thanksgiving is all about bringing people together, making a potluck with lots of warm and very fattening food and drinking wine, brandy and really anything else you can get your hands on. My contributions to the feast this year will be hot-pot mulled wine and a warm cheese dish (of some sort…). One of my friends has a smoker (yes, he immediately went out and bought it when he moved to London from Texas a few months back…I don’t think they have a can opener but by goodness they must have a smoker!) so we will have proper Texan smoked ham. Another friend is from South Carolina and will be contributing her families sweet potato dish of deliciousness. Everyone has their favourites.

I’m going to break out a few bottles of my French Burgundy that I picked up during my trip in October. I’m excited to see how it goes with all the gorgeous homemade foods. Mostly I’m just excited about having people I love in my home: dancing, chatting, laughing and preparing ourselves for the silly season ahead. I really do love this time of year.

Recommendations for Thanksgiving wines: 
Prosecco is a must. As I always say – any one will do – just pick dry or extra dry. If you like sweet – an Asti would be gorgeous as an aperitif. I added a dash of port to my sparkling last weekend for my tasting and made it a cocktail – yum! Plus its pretty…

Pinot Noir is always a good bet. Ned Pinot Noir, NZ (£10) is a perfect selection.

Port for dessert is very Thanksgiving. That said, a good Botrytis wine could go brilliantly. This one sounds perfect: A Sticky End Noble Sauvignon Blanc (£16)

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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.

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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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I have been asked by my lovely artist friend, Blair, to choose a wine for her upcoming currated art show in Shoreditch. She has selected a theme for the tasting: ‘Go Bananas!’ and I am meant to select a wine that is both in line with the theme and an artist’s budget. I am tasting a few options this weekend and will let you know what we end up selecting.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the show check out the details at www.hatchedgallery.com. Her show opens on the 11th November and runs Monday through Friday, 10AM -6PM, until the 2nd December.

I am also going to host a full wine tasting out of her gallery at the conclusion of the show on December 2nd. If you are interested in attending, drop me a line. Sign-ups are taken for £10 pp until November 11th, £15 pp thereafter.

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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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