World Malbec Day with Guacho

Apr 08, 15 World Malbec Day with Guacho

Posted by in All, Argentina

World Malbec Day is coming up, it’s April 17th in case you forgot to save the date. To mark the day, Argentine restaurant Gaucho is launching a week of special Malbec tastings at various Gauchos around London. I was invited to a sneak preview of the tastings with Mr Malbec, himself, Gaucho’s Director of Wine, Phil Crozier. The tasting was held at the Gaucho Piccadilly restaurant location, very handy locale, I love going there. Phil explained that our tasting would cover the spectrum of Argentine malbec from north to south and east to west. Phil started by giving us a bit of history about the grape. According to legend, malbec arrived on April 17th with a French missionary in the 1600’s. For many years it was known as the ‘French grape’ by the Italian immigrants who mainly cultivated the vines in Argentina. Malbec has had its ups and downs in Argentina but since the 1980’s 15 billion dollars has been inveseted in the industry and today, there are over 50,000 hectares in production. The tastings over the 7 days starts with The Pioneers, the winemakers who brought malbec to worldwide attention. We tasted the Mandala 2013 from one of the true pioneers of Argentine wine, Susanna Balboa. A beautiful wine, inky purple blue in colour, smooth and round but not too heavy. Lucky us, Phil brought out a board of lomita steak to match. Excellent with the steak, cutting through the fattiness of the melt in your mouth meat…. The New Generation was represented by Sebastian Zuccardi and his Poligonos, an unoaked wine made from old vines. A powerful, concentrated wine but full of fruit and very clean. The vines are in the Uco Valley where some the oldest vines in Argentina can be found. Phil developed this wine with Seb for the Gaucho wine list. As a matter of fact, 5 of the 7 wines we were tasting were developed by Phil with the winemakers. The other themed tastings will feature, ‘Old Vine...

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Argentine wine and ponies at the HPA Gaucho International Polo tournament

May 29, 13 Argentine wine and ponies at the HPA Gaucho International Polo tournament

Posted by in Argentina, Lifestyle, restaurants

Last week I was invited to the HPA Gaucho International Polo Tournament at the O2. You may be wondering what exactly this has to do with wine? Well, as the Argentine restaurant chain Gaucho is one of the main sponsors, of course Argentine cuisine and wine were going to be involved. The day started with a fantastic lunch at Gaucho at Tower Bridge. The upstairs dining room/bar has great views of Tower Bridge and City Hall. I haven’t eaten at Gaucho in quite some time but the Bife de Chorizo I had was one of the most succulent and tasty steaks I’ve had in a long time. Lunch was paired with wines from Terrazas de los Andes, the rich but elegant Selection 2009 malbec and the savoury Selection 2009 cabernet sauvignon.  Both wines tasting very well, the malbec having deep blueberry fruit notes and the cabernet being an altogether elegant glass of wine. Afterwards we headed to the O2 by Thames Clipper to taste more Argentine wines and chat with Cheval des Andes wine maker, Nicolas Audebert. I’ve known Nicolas for a few years now, and even visited him and the winery in Argentina, so it was great to see him again and find out how the vineyards are doing at the foot of the Andes. We were there for the polo and after watching an exciting match between England and Argentina, Argentina won and was presented with a magnum of Veuve Clicquot and the trophy. Afterwards, there was plenty of Veuve, Terrazas wines and dancing to end the night. Great wines from Argentina, exciting polo and drinking and dancing afterwards, a good night all around. A big thank you to Gaucho for this invitation, looking forward to next year’s match! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Cigars and red wine, they may not be a classic pairing but…

Nov 07, 12 Cigars and red wine, they may not be a classic pairing but…

Posted by in Argentina, California, Chile, Lifestyle

I recently took part in a cigar and red wine matching exercise with Alvaro Marcos Garcia of Concha y Tora and two lovely fellows, Jimmy and Dan, from Hunters & Frankau, a major cigar importer and distributor here in the UK. Alvaro is an ex-sommelier and he often noticed that diners would often have a cigar after lunch or dinner with the last of their red wine. When one thinks of cigars, it’s usually port or brandy that springs to mind as an accompaniment. However, even though cigar and red wine are not a classic pairing, they are often a common pairing. This got Alvaro to thinking and before you know it, we were sitting in the outdoor cigar lounge of Home House in Mayfair, lighting up some stogies as an experiment to see how well they would match with red wine. Alvaro had brought along 3 robust red wines to go along with the cigars that Dan and Jimmy from Hunters & Frankau had brought along. The wines were the Don Melchor 2008, Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2009 and Bonterra’s The Butler 2007. All 3 wines were from the New World and I think that for cigars, you do need big and brash wines, wines with fruit and structure because, let’s face it, cigars are not exactly wallflowers of flavour. Briefly on the wines: Don Melchor is a Chilean caberent sauvignon, a rich and complex wine with loads of fruit flavours. The Trivento is 100% malbec, a silky wine with loads of cherry and plum on the palate.  The Butler from biodynamic producer Bonterra, is an enticing syrah/grenache blend with mouvedre and petit syrah also in the blend. A rich and velvety wine, it had licorice, black cherry and a spicy note to it. There is an art to cigar rolling and Jimmy explained that hand rolled cigars are preferable to machine rolled because hand rolled cigars are whole leaves that are rolled in a particular order which allows the flavour to develop...

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Judging for the Skyscanner 2012 Airline Wine awards

Oct 04, 12 Judging for the Skyscanner 2012 Airline Wine awards

Posted by in Argentina

Earlier this week I was invited up to Edinburgh, Scotland by the Skyscanner people to take part in a blind tasting to judge the best Economy airline wines. Being a frequent flier, I was intrigued to see how the airline wines stacked up against each other. Truth be told, when I’m flying, all I want it a drinkable wine, the wine tasting part of my brain turns off and I try not to thing about the red wine I’m glugging down with my beef stew and rice. For those of you unfamiliar with Skyscanner, it’s a price comparison flight/travel site. I like Skyscanner a lot and they are my first port of call whenever I’m looking for flights online when I’m planning my holidays. I know it’s sounds like I’m pitching for them but I’ve been using them for the past few years and I’m always happy with the flights their search engines finds for me and usually buy via their site. So, I was pleased when they asked me to participate in the judging. Although we didn’t get to taste at altitude, we were on the 5th floor of the Point Hotel Conference Venue  which has a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle. Tom Cannavan was the judging leader/host and he gave us a few pointers as to what to look for when judging these wines. Mostly, we were looking for wines that were expressive and aromatic. I’ve heard that wine changes a lot up in the air and that wines that are full of fruit and body do best up there, nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I came along to judge the wines. We tasted through the Whites first. It was a blind tasting and the wines came in a variety of packaging, from Tetra-Pak, to plastic 35 mls to standard 750 mls bottles. I have to admit the first wine we tried was very good indeed. It certainly got my attention. After that, the wines ranged from good quality to non-descript...

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Chatting with Edgardo del Popolo of Dona Paula Estates, Argentina

Sep 24, 12 Chatting with Edgardo del Popolo of Dona Paula Estates, Argentina

Posted by in Argentina

“Blends are definitely the next step for Argentine malbec.” That opinion was voiced to me by Dona Paula winemaker Edgardo del Popolo while we were tasting a few of his wines the other day. Edgardo (or Edy as he prefers to be called) and I were at The Only Running Footman in Mayfair for a small tasting and we were chatting about not only Dona Paula’s wines but also meandered into the future of Argentine wine. Edy was referring specifically to malbec/cabernet franc blends. He thinks that consumers today are looking for not just everyday wines from Argentina but also for premium, high quality wines. And that is where blends come into play. Dona Paula have found some great vineyard spots in the Uco Valley of Mendoza and it is here that he’s planted not only cabernet franc but also chardonnay and malbec. Edy thinks that the cabernet franc lifts malbec, giving it the structure that it needs. He compares it to Bordeaux blends, merlot and cabernet sauvignon are fine on their own but put them together and it’s a whole different dimension. So what about these great vineyards that Edy was talking about? He was referring to the Altamira and Gualtallary vineyards of the Uco Valley. Dona Paula has such confidence in Edy that about 15 years ago he was tasked with finding the best region both in climate and soil for Dona Paula’s wines. Edy found both areas by flying over them and once identified, they had to ride in on horseback to inspect the soil as they were in a completely isolated region. Dona Paula then bought 160 hectares, each hectare going through extensive analysis to decide what would grow best there. Edy liked the region because the soils were particularly poor but full of calcium carbonate which he believes gives his wines the minerality he prizes. One of the grapes he thinks do well in the Gualtallary is chardonnay. Edy wants to make a chardonnay that is not the usual...

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Ultimate Collection LVMH

interviewing some of LVMH’s top wine makers [vodpod id=Groupvideo.11234557&w=450&h=325&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] 1st collector for Ultimate Coillection LVMHFollow my videos on vodpod Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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