George Sandeman and his 20 yr old tawny – video

Nov 30, 11 George Sandeman and his 20 yr old tawny – video

Posted by in Portugal, Videos

Sandeman’s 20 yr old Tawny port recently won the International Wine and Spirits Competition’s  best port in the world for 2011. The annual competition picks the best wines in the world in various categories every year. Sandeman was established in 1790 by Scotsman George Sandeman, who founded his port and sherry trading company in Tom’s Coffee House, in the City of London. Coincidentally, The Crypt at Ely’s Place where the Sandeman dinner I attended was held, is but a stone’s throw away from the site of the original Tom’s. The Crypt is over 800 yrs old and was the site of  a 5 day wedding banquet for Henry the VIII, although there was some disagreement around the dinner table as to which wife it was, either  Anne Boleyn or Catherina of Aragon, the mystery was not solved over copious glasses of port. Sandeman became part of the huge Portuguese wine conglomerate Sogrape in the 1970’s but a member of the family is still head of the house to this day. The 7th generation of Sandeman’s,  George, became Chairman of the house in 1991 and it was my pleasure to have a chat with him after dinner about what makes 20 year old Tawny so special and why it’s one of George’s favourites… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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The Yeatman

Nov 22, 11 The Yeatman

Posted by in Hotels and Spas, Portugal

The very first thing you notice when you walk into the The Yeatman is not the statue of Bacchus that dominates the lobby but rather, it’s what Bacchus faces that takes your breath away. The view that stretches in front of you of the entire hillside of the city of Oporto is amazing any time of day or night. The Yeatman is perched on a hillside on the Gaia side of the river. Oporto is divided into two by the river, with the Gaia side being where all the port lodges are located, the grapes are grown in the Douro Valley but the wine is aged in the long buildings of Gaia. It’s also where one finds The Yeatman overlooking the red tiled roofs of the lodges. The Yeatman came about to fill the need for a luxury hotel in the city of Oporto. During my visit, I had a chance to chat with Adrian Bridges, CEO of the hotel, and he told me he wanted to create a luxury hotel that was worthy of the city of Oporto and the history of port. Adrian was involved in all aspects of the hotel, from the colour of the curtains to the mattress maker. Adrian and his wife personally slept on all 6 potential mattresses for the hotel before finally plumping for the eventual winner. Among the amenities are a luxury spa where you can while away the day amongst vine influenced decor. I loved the staircase which encircled the interior of a giant wooden vat. After my massage, I relaxed on an enclosed sundeck with of course, that panoramic view of Oporto. The hotel’s theme is wine and the Wine Director, Beatriz Machado, is all about wine experiences. She personally chose and tasted all of the wines on the wine list, sourcing what she feels are stellar examples of Portuguese wine making. Although Portugal is famous for it’s Port, the dry wines that are being produced are spectacular. The hotel hosts a wine dinner...

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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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Vinhas da Ciderma-video tasting note w/the winemaker

I was wandering around the Annual Wines of Portugal tasting the other day at Lord’s Cricket Ground (one day I must get there to see an actual cricket match as opposed to just going and sampling wine) looking for good value red wines. I came across Vinhas da Ciderma and their winemaker Monica Figueiredo pouring their range of reds from the Douro Valley. Monica has been making wine at Vinhas da Ciderma since 2002. She uses only Douru Valley varietals and has made consistently excellent wines, gaining wide acclaim in the US from The Wine Spectator. She focuses on portuguese varietals tinta nacional, tinta roriz, tinta franca, tinta barroca and even the almost forgotten tinta francisca to produce full bodied yet fresh wines that can only be from the Douro Valley. One of my favourites was the Donzel Douro DOC Reserva 2005. A blend of tinta franca, tinta roriz and tinta francisca, aged 9 months in America oak, click on the vid to hear our tasting notes. Estimated retail price £10. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Guerilla Wine Tasting: A Guest Post from Gorilla

I’m so tired of wine being exclusive. I’m so bored of the London scene. Why can’t us Gorillas have some of the action? I love wine and I think I understand it, so I sent a message out to fellow wine lovers. “Join me by the river to explore and enjoy good wine.” We had fun. We had wine. You saw what all happened… Thanks to Casa Leal, Quinta de Lagoalva and Nicole Ruduss for all their help. And  lots of hugs and kisses for The Winesleuth and Eatlikeagirl for supporting me in my vinous quest. You can read Eatlikeagirl’s post about the tasting here. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Weird and wacky Colheitas

Would you drink this? What if I told you it was a port wine? More specifically a colheita who’s age was unknown? Even after double decanting it was still looking murky but we went for it anyway. I always get confused about port classifications but I after spending an evening drinking with the fellows from The Port Forum, I’m pretty clear on what a colheita is. For the record, colheita is a tawny port that is made from a single vintage. Tawny port is red wine (from various vintages) that is aged in wooden barrels  and then bottled as opposed to vintage port which is aged in bottle. The Colheita carries two dates, the date of the vintage and the date it is bottled, which is often seperated by decades….And that ends the educational portion of today’s lesson. My good friend Oscar Quevedo was in town to sell his ports and he invited me to join him and a group of Port aficionados for a night of wierd and wacky Colheitas. The premise of these get togethers is to bring in your favourite ports to share. Since Oscar was in town, they decided to do something a bit different, hence the Colheitas. I later found out that colheita is not one of their favourites but that didn’t stop them. We jumped around the decades, 1994, 1965,1968, 1975, 1934, 1950, even the fabled 1977 (which sadly was corked!) and the one pictured at the very beginning. It was pretty cool to have the opportunity to drink wines that were older then almost anyone I know. I found many of them to have espresso coffee bean, maple syrup and of course nutty flavours and aromas. Oscar did have one trick up his sleeve, producing a moscatel that was 50- 60 years old. It had the experts fooled. Despite it’s age, it was light and grapey with lovely elderflower notes and marzipan fighting it out for dominance. Oscar had found it in his grandfather’s cellar and brought...

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