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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An Evening of Swine and Wine

Swine and Wine. Sounds like my idea of a very good night indeed and my friends over at DVine Wine teamed up with Lardy Da (cute) to put on a supper club-y type dinner the other night somewhere under an arch near London Bridge. A big sparse room, with concrete floors, art pieces scattered around the walls and a rockabilly bass player in the corner greeted me as I entered and I thought, yeah, this should be a good night. What made me sure it was going to be a good night was the big paper bag full of pork crackling on the table I noticed when I sat down. Brilliant idea in lieu of bread! DVine Wine, who I’ve written about before, are all about sourcing sustainable wines, not necessarily natural wines, more like biodynamic or organic which, if they happen to be natural, well that’s just a good wine nonetheless.  Lardy Da is all about the swine and using the bits and pieces that normally get thrown out (like trotters and tails for the jelly) for their ethically sourced pork pies. The idea of pork pies and wine, well, why not? The first wine we had was a sylvaner, a lesser known grape from the great producer Domaine Ostertag. This wine was a winner round the table, a 2007 it was lusher then expected with ripe granny smith apples and a pleasing coconut flake nose, finishing off with dry, zippy lime notes. Served with a trad pork pie, it cut through the fat like a scythe. A New Zealand sauvignon blanc but not as we know it. The 2010 Urlar s.blanc was a throwback to the way NZ SB used to be – gooseberry, passionfruit and lime with none of that cat’s pee on the nose. I do hope that is falling out of favour. This was a fuller s.b. then I’m used to but delicious indeed. It was served with a pig’s head terrine which I didn’t really think had much...

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Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Oct 16, 11 Villa Maria wines and the London Philharmonic Orchestra

Posted by in New Zealand wine

I went to a performance of the  London  Philharmonic Orchestra the other night as a guest of Villa Maria wines. I remember Villa Maria from my days at Oddbins but haven’t really had an opportunity to try their wines. I see them occasionally in the supermarket but that’s about it. Villa Maria has been supporting the London Philharmonic Orchestra for the past 4 years and lays on a hospitality bar for the LPO, when they perform at the Southbank  Royal Festival Hall.  It was a civilized way to start the evening, mingling with members of the orchestra and other guests, nibbling on canapes and sipping on Villa Maria wines.There were a variety of wines on tasting including the rose, the sauvingon blanc and the 2009 Private Bin Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabernet, a Bordeaux blend. The 2009 was an easy going, very drinkable red wine and perfect as an aperitif, although at 13.5%, you do have to be careful you don’t drink too much of it with canapes. We were there to hear Yannick Nezet-Seguin from Montreal conduct the orchestra. I do enjoy attending such events and one of the highlights has to be the 87 year old pianist, Aldo Ciccolini. He was amazing, performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K466 with such energy. I hope I have even a 10th of Aldo’s pizzazz when I’m in my 80’s. I thinks it’s great that Villa Maria supports the arts, especially in light of the recent budget cuts. A big thank you to Villa Maria for inviting me to the performance. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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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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What’s for dessert? Forrest Estate Botrytised Riesling 2006

What’s for dessert? No matter how many courses there may be for a meal, whether it be 2 or 8, I always look forward to the dessert or pudding (as they call it here in England) course. An amusing story regarding the word”pudding”. Years ago when I first came to London from California, fresh out of university, I got a job as a waitress in the West End. One night an English customer asked me if we had any puddings. I replied, unwittingly, I should add, “I’m sorry sir, but we don’t have any pudding. We do however have some very nice desserts.” Needless to say, he gave me a very strange look. At the time I didn’t realize that “pudding” was the English version of what we call “dessert” in the States. Pudding in America denotes something like a tapioca pudding, not as creamy as a mousse but similar. “Two countries divided by a common language,” indeed! After a rather delicious lunch of tapas at The Providores not long ago, Vintage Macaroon (pictured) and I were debating what to have for dessert. Rather then sharing a dessert we ended up with two desserts and two wines! Yes, we are greedy and insatiable. We’d had a bottle of riesling with lunch so we carried on with a racy New Zealand botrytised riesling from Forrest Estate and a Noble semillon from Pegasus Bay. I enjoyed the semillon but the real stand out for me was the riesling. Forrest Estate has an interesting story. It’s a winery that was founded by two Drs., John and Brigid Forrest, one a molecular biologist and the other a medical doctor, who chucked it all in to try their hand at winemaking. As they say on their site, they did it because they wanted “…a mixture of the wine ‘passion’ and a desire to achieve and be recognised and rewarded for ones efforts. In hindsight we struck upon a career which suits our personalities – a perfect blend of art...

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Jackson Estate Pinot Noir at the Stolen supper club

Somehow, I have become a foodie. How did this happen? One minute I’m just bebopping along, doing my wine thing, next thing I know, I’m reviewing Michelin starred restaurants and supper clubs. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise as food and wine are meant to go together and like so  many of my wineblogging breathren, I do think that wine should be drunk with food close at hand. I have to say though that the wine always takes centre stage, although I do make an effort to think about the food too. Supper Clubs, great idea but a bitch to find! Luiz and I must have spent 10 minutes looking for the Stolen Supper Club in Notting Hill. Can you blame us, here is the door, sans door number: Our charming hostess, Mia (aka Bonnie) greeted us at the door and led us into a currently being renovated flat, cue lots of exposed ceilings and plasterwork. The only thing fully in place was the brand new kitchen where her accomplice Leandro (Clyde) was busy preparing our dinner. It was looking good as she led us past the oven and into a lovely garden where the other guests were chatting and drinking. The Stolen Supper Club’s USP so to speak is that they ‘steal’ famous chef’s  recipes to re-create their dining experience in their supper club at home. This week they were replicating Mark Hix’s menu and due to the fact that Mia had spent 10 years in the London restaurant scene, Mark is a friend and kindly donated Hix napkins for the evening as well as plenty of info on his restaurants and the aperitif for the evening. The menu was from Hix Oyster and Chop House and we duly started with oysters on the half shell fresh from Billingsgate Market that morning, served with a bloody mary granita on top and naked for the purists. I liked the bloody mary granita but I like my oysters unadorned  by anything but a splash...

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