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Posts Tagged ‘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!

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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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Hi all,
Apologies for the long silence. Its as they say – life took over. Here’s my update:
– I’ve done a few wine tastings. One was on a yacht, for 45 people, as part of my friend’s new venture, Yachtlegend.com. Check it out and sorry for sailing.
– I’ve been doing my day job (it does kind of rock).
– I’ve been drinking some lovely, lovely wines – and have now become addicted to the idea of going to Chile for some further ‘research’.
– I’ve visited a winery in Majorca (yes, they have them – lots of them. The one I went to was in Pollenca.
I will post a few of the adventures shortly, and please do accept my humble apologies for being silent for so long.

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Normally I am not a sherry drinker – I don’t favour the yeasty characters of a fino and the oxidised varieties tend to never quite satisfy. Last night however I plunged head first into passionate love affair with Palo Cortado.  During a catch up with one of my dearest friends, whom also happens to be my ‘Sherry-drinking’ friend, brought out this absolute beauty – Apostoles Palo Cortado Viejo, 30 year Sherry. It was nutty, fully of coffee, a light yeast and a really really really long finish (I can still taste it this morning…and yes, I brushed my teeth and had a few espressos). And having done a few quick searches, you can get your hands on it for just under £17. One thing is they have a ‘muy viejo’ as well as the ‘viejo’ that I tried. Its a bit more expensive but more widely available. It would be interesting to try the two of them side by side.

I feel a sherry tasting coming on…

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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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Today I am having a few of my lovely American friends over for a last-minute-but-amazing potluck Thanksgiving feast. I have already started the planning (you might say, but the dinner is TODAY and you’re not done planning?) and am about to run off to the shops to pick up some lovely bits & bats to complete my dishes. I have offered to make Baked Camembert with balsamic onions, Cornbread & sausage stuffing, Mushroom & truffle gravy and slow cooked Mulled wine…get excited!

And my wine choices for today….

This Cheval-Blanc Signe is one that I’ve wanted to write about for a while – Its a tener from Whole Foods and is SPEC-tacular. Nice solid Cabernet with a certain sophistication that belies the price tag. Absolutely perfect for a foodie feast with friends.
I’ll post some more pics as people arrive with their food (and their wine!!)

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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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