One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Aug 10, 12 One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Posted by in Australia

One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world will soon be on sale here in London. It’s from Penfold’s Winery and is called the Ampoule (rrp £120,000). Made from the oldest continuously producing cabernet vines in the world from Penfolds Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, and only produced in the best years, the 2004 has been chosen to be bottled in the Ampoule. According to Penfold’s,  “…the wine is contained in a hand blown glass ampoule that provides an ideal wine environment and a bespoke glass plumb-bob that suspends the ampoule within a wooden Jarrah cabinet – all produced by South Australia’s finest craftsman…” The most eyebrow-raising aspect is that for that £120,000 price tag, “…a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner (essentially your very own master-class). The winemaker will travel to the destination of choice, where the ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. The winemaker will then prepare the wine using a beautifully crafted sterling silver tastevin…” Sounds a bit over the top but you will be getting your money’s worth (I hope)! There’s only been 12 bottles produced and this will be the first one displayed in Europe. It will be at the new wine shop opening soon in Mayfair, Hedonism. R un by the aptly named Alistair Viner – formerly of Harrod’s wine department, where he spent 16 years including Chief Wine Buyer before leaving to start Hedonism. Who will buy this wine and is it worth it? Stay tuned…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Talking with Australian winemaker Brian Croser about his Tapanappa wines… (podcast)

Jul 16, 12 Talking with Australian winemaker Brian Croser about his Tapanappa wines… (podcast)

Posted by in Australia, Podcast

In this edition of  my podcast I had the pleasure of speaking with the legendary Australian winemaker, Brian Croser. Brian, as most of you probably know, started Petaluma Winery in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia in 1976 and sold it in 2001. However, selling Petaluma was a new start for Brian and his wine Anne and after the sale, they started a new label and called it Tappanapa. I had dinner with Brian and Anne at the Savoy Grill recently here in London where I asked Brain to explain Tappanapa and it’s wines and philosophy in a bit more detail. Brian talks about why he thinks terroir is most important when it comes to producing quality wines and why he thinks that the diurnal differential is a myth…. (Listen Here to) Australian wine maker Brian Croser …And that was the delightful Australian wine maker Brian Crozer talking about his wine label, Tapanappa. Thanks for  listening and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Riesling at The Modern Pantry, Spring Tasting menu

Spring is just around the corner, now if we could just get the weather to cooperate. In anticipation of warm days and sunny skies, The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is featuring a riesling paired Spring Tasting menu for the month of March.This is first of what they promise to be a series of wine themed dinners. I think it’s apt to have riesling for Spring as it’s such a refreshing wine with it’s racy body and zippy, zingy acidity, represented by the New World’s offerings to the rich honeyed aromas and ripe stone fruit flavours and minerality of the Old World, riesling rarely let’s me down. It’s also a very versatile food wine and, with recently awarded MBE, Anna Hansen’s cuisine, is the perfect partner to the often spicy, exotic flavours of her food. The wines were chosen by Bill Knott for the restaurant and what was most interesting was that Bill said he chose the wines first and then worked with Anna to find just the right food matches. Usually, it’s the other way around when doing food and wine matching. Bill chose an array of rieslings showcasing it’s versatility from a variety of wine growing regions, from its homeland of Germany to the ends of New Zealand, we were presented with a delightful profile of the grape. An amuse bouche of tempura battered oysters was followed by the first course of Black fried squid paired with a kabinette riesling, the Bernkastler Badstube 2010 from the Mosel was a nice foil to the spicy sweet squid, the wine being slightly spritzy with loads of sweet ripe peach fruit on the palate, salty and sweet…mmmmm. Albert Mann is a great producer from Alsace and biodynamic to boot. His wines are always refined and fresh, the 2009 Albert Mann was pleasingly aromatic, almond blossom notes floating about. A slightly off dry but tasty wine with delicious ripe fruit on the palate. The seared King oyster mushroom, yuzu & tamari and kimchee & manouri pot sticker...

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The Ultimate Box Collection from Moet & Hennessey, winemakers video

Why were 3 winemakers from far flung parts of the globe all in Central London at the same time? They were here for the launch of Moet Hennessey’s Ultimate Collection Box, a collection of 6 iconic wines from MH’s wine portfolio. Although there are 6 different wines, it is hard enough to get 3 winemakers together at one time, let alone all 6 so I felt lucky to be chatting with Manuel Loazada of Numanthia, Nicholas Audebert of Cheval des Andes and Ian Morden of Cloudy Bay, all 3, Chief Winemakers for their respective estates. The Ultimate Box Collection was designed by Argentine artist Pablo Reinoso and is a handsome, handcrafted wooden jewel box designed to showcase the flagship bottles from each of the wineries from its Estates and Wines portfolio which are: Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko, Cheval des Andes, Newton’s The Puzzle, Numanthia’s Termanthia and Terrazas de los Andes’ Afincado Malbec. The box was created in part to respond to the growing consumer demand for Super Premium New World wines. Why would Moet Hennessey put together such a box and launch it now, I asked Manuel. Well, now is as good as time as any, he replied. And besides, if they waited to get all 6 winemakers together in one place, it would never happen. I had a brief chat with the 3 to see what they thought of the whole Collection concept… The Ultimate Collection Box is available from Harrod’s and thechampagnecompany.com at a suggested retail price of £500 so start saving those pennies… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Good grub at the Fox and Anchor (& the wines are pretty good, too)

How can you dislike a wine list that divides it’s wines into amusing descriptions like these? I came across that saucily titled winelist at the Fox and Anchor, a pub in Smithfields that wants to be more then a boozer but less then one of those chi-chi gastropubs that seem to have taken over the capitol. As Scott Malugh, general manager, explained to me, he wants to the Fox to go back to it’s roots as a place where you can go and relax with a pint. Where, cliched as it may be, “everyone knows your name” But Scott not only wants to make his pub friendly and personable, he also wants to offer patrons, both regulars and passersby, good British food and not charge an arm and a leg for the pleasure of dining on local produce. The pub is divided in two with the front half having a traditional bar on one side and tables lining the wall opposite. It’s only when you pass by all that into the second room that it you walk into a small dining room surrounded by cozy dining “snugs”. Semi private small rooms that seat from 2 – 4 people, perfect if you want to have your own little party while still being able to look out the doorway and see all the action. While I was waiting for my dining companion, Ms Fundamentals to arrive, Scott suggested I try one of their real ales. The Fox has an extensive list of real ales both on tap and in bottle, mostly from the UK but I did spy Sam Adams from the good ol’ US of A on there. I wanted something different so asked Scott to surprise me. Chalky’s Bark, bottled ale from Sharp’s was duly poured. An ale with real ginger added for a bit of a kick. Not exactly your traditional English ale but it was tasty and I could certainly get used to drinking it. Not too heavy either, I sometimes find...

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Lunching at Malmaison

It is now midnight as I write this and I am still full. There used to be this commercial that ran on American TV for Alka-Seltzer, the tagline was, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”. Despite the fact we didn’t “eat the whole thing”  as a matter of fact, we both took doggy bags home, we did stuff ourselves silly. We had 4 courses, which is not unreasonable, but there were some generous portions at the Brasserie of Malmaison. Malmaison is a boutique luxury hotel smack dab in the middle of Clerkenwell and their brasserie serves up tasty local produce all presented quite beautifully. The main draw for me and the reason I was there, were the bespoke wine flights that the restaurant sommelier, Stuart Fife matches with your dining choices. Stuart is new to Malmaison but he comes from Hotel du Vin in Glasgow and his matches were very well done indeed. While I was waiting for my lunching partner, Vintage Macaroon to arrive, I had a browse round the wine cellar and found some familiar labels, Spy Valley, Springfield Estate, Dinastia Vivanco, d’Arenberg Stump Jump, and Chapel Down, to name a few.  As I suspected, Bibendum Wines is the main supplier for Malmaison and they had some of their best on the list. We left ourselves in Stuart’s capable hands and didn’t regret it one bit. I had a very elderflowery, light and refreshing 2007 Bacchus from Chapel Down. I often find English wines to be a bit thin but Chapel Down make an excellent bacchus and it had enough body and elderflower/citrus flavours to match the trio of smoked blinis (haddock, salmon and mackerel pate) I had to start. The smoked fish was very tasty but I thought the blinis were a bit too soft for me, maybe blinis made of buckwheat would be better? I like the slight chewiness of them. I almost forgot to mention the pre-entree amuse bouche of intensely flavoured crab bisque, which would have...

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