Cunard Cruise Lines New Wine List

Dec 08, 13 Cunard Cruise Lines New Wine List

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

Recently, I was sent a few samples from Cunard Cruise Lines newest wine list. Cunard have been on the high seas for over 170 years and I’ve always wanted to sail on their flagship Queen Elizabeth II. Years ago, when I was a child in California, I visited the Queen Mary which is now ‘retired’ and moored in Long Beach, CA and was awed by the elegance and style of the ship. I haven’t quite made it to the QE II yet but if their new wine list is anything to go by, I think I’d be very happy on a trans-Atlantic crossing with them.  The list is quite comprehensive with selections from around the world. The wine list covers everything from the great vineyards of the ‘Old World’ , high quality ‘New World’ selections and some excellent examples of ’boutique’ wines from smaller, lesser known vineyards. As an example of ‘off the beaten track’, they have wines from Brazil, England and Israel on the list. I tried the carignan/shiraz dry red from Carmel Ridge. A very drinkable wine, it was delicious. I have tried Israeli wines before and been unimpressed but this wine was balanced, with juicy fruit and no hint of cloying sweetness. The wine finished on gentle spicy note.  I really liked it and would definitely recommend grabbing a bottle if you see it in the shops. Cunard have also added a sake list, with a small selection of sakes from the producer, Akashi-Tai. All their sakes are hand crafted and made with no artificial flavourings or preservatives. The Honjozo sake is one of the more traditional and favourites of sake lovers and after a few sips, I can see why. Dry but having citrus flavours and aromas, a delicate drink but one would expect no less from fine sake. Of course there is champagne on board, what would a cruise be without champagne? Veuve Clicquot and Cunard collaborated to create the first Veuve Clicquot champagne bar at sea on the Queen Mary...

read more

Working a vintage, my first week on the job at London Cru

Sep 15, 13 Working a vintage, my first week on the job at London Cru

Posted by in All, England, Lifestyle, London

Phew! I am knackered. I’ve just finished my first week at my new job and I’m exhausted. When I signed up as Event Coordinator for the first urban winery in London, London Cru (opening to the public early Nov. 2013), they vaguely mentioned something about helping out with the vintage in the winery. I, of course, jumped on that and said I’d be happy to help out. Little did I know that I would get to be a fully pledged and integrated member of the team (read: cellar rat). I am getting such a kick from spending all day in the winery and learning so much. Gavin Monery, the winemaker, is more than happy to answer all my questions and genuinely wants to share his passion for the vine.  Lots of winemakers started out as cellar rats and although I may be late coming to the game, there’s still hope for me yet. The concept behind the winery is to bring the wine making experience to Londoners. It’s not very easy to gain access to a winery during vintage time but at London Cru, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of the wine making experience with their winemaker. As a wine lover living in London, I’d be thrilled if I was able to ruck up to Zone 2 (Earls Court) and make wine in a real, fully equipped winery. Well, soon you will be able to do just that. The winery is going to be open year round for events, dinners, tastings, masterclasses and even Christmas parties as well as other such happenings. At the moment though, we’re concentrating on making our wine which should be available next year. Anyway, the grapes arrived on my second day in the job and I was thrown in the winery as the first load of 4 tonnes of chardonnay from Ch. Corneilla in the Roussillon arrived. Sorting, pressing, and putting the must into tanks used up most of the day and at the end,...

read more

Pure Chablis at the Epsom Derby 2013

Jun 05, 13 Pure Chablis at the Epsom Derby 2013

Posted by in France, Lifestyle

The sun is out and just in time for summer horse racing season. Last week I went to Ladies Day at the Epsom Derby as a guest of Pure Chablis. The sun was shining on the racecourse and we had a perfect view from our box on the top floor of the Queen’s Stand. As the event was hosted by Pure Chablis, we had plenty of chablis on hand to taste before, during and after lunch. They were showcasing the medal winners of the 2013 Concours des Vins de Chablis. Some of my favourites were on hand, including Domaine Louis Moreau, Alain Geoffroy. Garnier & Fils, Domaine Long-Depaquit, Isabelle et Denis Pommier  and Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin. On a warm, sunny Spring day, Chablis really ticks all the boxes as a refreshing wine. The 2011 premier cru wines were my favourites as they had weight and a depth of flavour that is only going to improve as they get older. When I was in Chablis recently, I found that the older vintages were the most flavourful and full of depth and character. A great day out at the races and, as an added bonus, one of my horses won! Next time I’m going to have to bet more 😉   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

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...

read more

Iittala’s Essence Plus wine glasses, does size matter?

Mar 25, 13 Iittala’s Essence Plus wine glasses, does size matter?

Posted by in Lifestyle

Does the size of a wineglass make a difference in your enjoyment of it? I think so but as a trained wine professional, I get paid to pick out the subtle differences in wine so anything that will help me when I’m tasting a wine is always welcome. But what about the average consumer who just wants to enjoy their glass of wine? I was asked to do a consumer demonstration with Iitalla’s  Essence Plus wineglasses the other day to see if the size of a wine glass does make a difference in one’s enjoyment of wine. The original Essence line from Iittala was released in 2001. Designed by Alfredo Haberli, the concept was focused on design types. The new Essence Plus line was developed with the intention to highlight the characteristics of  the wine. With that in mind, they have created 2 sizes of wine glasses — a larger one for full bodied older wines and a smaller one for lighter, younger wines. The full bodied wine glass having much more of a rounder and bigger bowl to hold the wine. I was intrigued by this idea and we had two wines to try – a Villa Maria Private Reserve pinot noir and a Villa Maria Private Reserve sauvignon blanc. New Zealand pinot noir is darker and heavier then more traditional pinots. In the bigger glass, most people did find that it enhanced the aromas of the wine but on the palate, the wine seemed to lose it’s energy and in the smaller glass showed itself more generously and made for a more enjoyable drinking experience. So, contrary to expectations, this NZ pinot noir was better in the smaller glass. I poured the sauvignon blanc into the smaller, traditional, “white wine” glass as well as the bigger glass. Again it was amusing for me to hear the reactions from the consumers, for them the aromas were more intense and the wine seemed to be lost in the bigger glass, it’s aromas dissipating and...

read more

Burj Khalifa, shopping malls and sand dunes, 24 hrs in Dubai

Mar 18, 13 Burj Khalifa, shopping malls and sand dunes, 24 hrs in Dubai

Posted by in Lifestyle, Travel

Shooting up to the top of the Burj Khalifa, it takes less then a minute to go from sea level to the 124th observatory floor of the building. That’s about 10 metres a second but the ride is so smooth, the only thing you notice is a slight popping of your ears. When you think about it, it is a bit scary, I mean that is a loooooong cable pulling you up and back down again. I was on my way to Adelaide with Emirates Airlines and to make the journey a bit less “jet laggy”, I had a 24 hour layover in Dubai. That was the idea but there was so much to do and see in 24 hrs that I really didn’t get a chance to relax… First off was a trip to The Address, one of the mega-malls in Dubai that houses the entrance to the Burj Khalifa. Someone told me that going to the top of the Burj is on many peoples’ bucket lists but seeing as I’m a bit afraid of heights, I was a bit apprehensive going to the top but once I got there, the views were so amazing, I spent an hour wandering around the observatory decks both indoors and outdoors. Luckily, it was a fairly clear day although it was a bit hazy in the distance. Stepping off the elevator, a few steps in front of you, is the door to the open deck. However, for ‘fraidy cats like me, I could edge around the interior walls of the building before screwing up my courage to step outside. And what a lovely day it was, being up 800 metres with the sun beaming down and a warm desert breeze blowing through the open slats that were about at shoulder height. I would love to be up there in the evening, that much closer to the stars, I imagine. Inside, the walls are floor to ceiling windows with interactive telescopes situated at various intervals, giving you...

read more
%d bloggers like this: