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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Wines of Navarra, more than just rosado wine

Apr 02, 12 Wines of Navarra, more than just rosado wine

Posted by in Spain

I’m quite familiar with the wines of Navarra, they’re all about rosé wines, right? Yes and no. Turns out there’s a lot more to the region then their robustly coloured rosado wines. The Wines of Navarra were in town last week to promote the region and give, me at least, a taster of their wines. Turns out they have been producing wine for centuries, going back to the 10th century and their wines flourished throughout Spain for many years in part thanks, to their position on the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Campostela, Navarra being identified with their rosado wines made from the garnacha grape. I do like the rosados of Navarra – full bodied and spicy, brightly coloured but dry, these are certainly not your wimpy, sweet California Blossom Hill style rose wines. That’s probably why I like them, wines that were made to quench your thirst as well as be served up with a rustic meal of jamon and cheese with a hunk of bread on the side. I found out though, that since the 1990’s Navarra has undergone a sea change in wine making, not abandoning the rosados but adding international grape varieties like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. What was most interesting was that these grape varieties had existed in Navarra in the past due to the large French influence of Bordeaux winemakers in the 19th century but had been lost when phylloxera hit the region in the late 1800’s. They still of course grow the traditional viura, tempranillo and garnacha but now are able to blend in the international varieties if they so desire. I tasted a chardonnay/viura blend, full of tropical fruit but having a nice dry finish as well as discovering the latest addition to the region, sauvignon blanc. I spoke to the Consul General of the region, Jordi Vidal, and he told me that sauvingnon blanc is the next big thing in the region. He cited the milder climate of the region which produces good acidity...

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Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Mar 26, 12 Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Posted by in Asia, Podcast, Spain

This episode features one of Japan’s few female winemakers, Ayana Misawa, 5th generation winemaker for Grace winery (“Chuo Budoshu” in Japanese). I met Ayana at the annual Koshu of Japan tasting, held in London in late February 2012 and she sat down to tell me a bit more about the history of the koshu grape in Japan. In the UK market, Rioja is one of the most reliable and dependable wines around. However, the Spanish have woken up to the fact that they need to innovate and I met up with the winemaker for one of the centenary wineries of Rioja, Bodagas Bilbainas. Rioja has a number of wineries that are over one hundred years old but that hasn’t stopped them from looking at innovative or different ways of making their wine. Diego Pinella Navarro, head wine maker, is part of the new generation taking Rioja wines into the future. Lastly, I move up a bit further north to the wines of Navarra. Navarra is situated just north of Rioja but other then the rosés of the region, most people don’t know much about the wines. I chatted with the Consul General of the D.O.  Jordi Vidal when he was in London last week to find out more about what’s going on there, both with the traditional varieties they have always used as well as some newer ones. And, the regions wine making connections with France…. Any questions or comments, just leave me a note in the comment section. Find the podcast on iTunes: http://bit.ly/wHVS9g or Podomatic if you don’t have iTunes: http://bit.ly/GRuZAV Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Jan 21, 12 Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Posted by in Food and Wine, Spain, wine bars

There’s nothing better then a tasty snack while having a drink with friends. Wandering around Soho after a wine tasting the other day we stopped in at  Barrafina for a couple of tapas and a glass or two of sherry. Barrafina is a typical tapas bar, no tables just a long L-shaped bar lined with barstools and a thin counter that runs along the one wall of the bar where you stand and nosh/drink. One more thing, it’s as bright as any tapas bar in Spain, lit up like the middle of the day in summertime Spain. We ordered a bottle of La Gitana manzanilla (£20) while standing at the counter. If you don’t know sherry, start with a manzanilla. Dry and nutty, with a salty tinge to it, I love manzanilla, you’re not going to find fruit in a manzanilla but it’s a great with olives and almonds, among other things. We had a plate of pimientos de padron as well. All the food is the best quality they can find and you can taste it. Pan con tomate followed,  a juicy, very light tomato puree covering the bread and utterly delicious. We followed that with little chorizo sausages wrapped in thin potato slices, divine, if a little bit greasy, so beware when eating. If you sit at the bar, you have to order something a bit more substantial and there are plenty of specials, including a raw seafood bar. The night we were there we had the special of  fresh pollack in a tomato salsa, the pollack was delicate and fresh, the chunky tomato sauce full of garlic slivers. The wine list is not very long but there are plenty of good choices and John, our bartender/waiter let us try a couple of different red wines before we settled on Grand Recosind Crianza 2005 (£28). A blend of garnacha, cabernet and carinena from the Costa Brava, savoury but still having red fruit on the finish, supple tannins rolling over my tongue. We...

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Loving this cava – Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noir

Dec 28, 11 Loving this cava – Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noir

Posted by in Spain, Sparkling Wine

I usually stick to champagne but I did have this fabulous cava on Christmas Day. Codorniu is probably better known for it’s everyday cavas but the Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noirs cuvee is a contender for best sparkling wine (non-champagne) of the year in my book. The Reina is named after a queen (reina means queen in Spanish) and is worthy of such a moniker. Spain’s first 100% blanc de noir and produced in the traditional method, the 2008 vintage is Codorniu’s premium cava. The grapes used in the blend all come from family owned vineyards and the wine is aged 18-24 months before being released onto the market. A deliciously elegant wine, tiny bubbles shooting up from the bottom of the glass and into my mouth. Soft and silky  (if it’s possible to say that about bubbles) swooshing past my tongue on the way down. A decadent cava if ever there was one, full of subtle red fruit and floral aromas on the nose with a crisp finish. The Maria Cristina is probably one of the best cavas I’ve had in a long time. It also helps that the cava is packaged in a very distinctive, sexy bottle. It’s very pleasing to my aesthetic sense with it’s squarish bottom half tapering up to a heavy rim. I’d be very happy to drink this on New Year’s Eve and at £14.99 you could have it more often than once a year. Much more often! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee for the holidays

Dec 19, 11 Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee for the holidays

Posted by in Spain, Sparkling Wine

Although I do tend to go on about champagne, I occasionally drink other sparkling wines. Freixenet sent me the Elyssia Gran Cuvee and the Elyssia Pinot noir, their premium cavas as an economical alternative to champange. I have tried the Elyssia pinot noir in the past and was left a bit wanting but I think they may have tweaked it a bit and this time around, it was definitely much fruitier then before. It’s made from 100% pinot noir and there was plenty of strawberry and raspberry on the nose and palate. It would make a good party aperitif, rosy sparkles around this time of year are always appreciated. The Gran Cuvee was a bit different. I hadn’t tried it before although I have had the Freixenet Cordon Negro in the past and I do enjoy cava. The Gran Cuvee is an interesting blend of macabeo, parelleda, chardonnay and pinot noir. A charming cava, sparkly, gently bubbles, with orange blossom and elderflower on the nose and palate, it was very easy to drink and great with dinner. I could however, have drunk this on it’s own. Both are good economical alternatives to champagne this holiday season. If you can only afford champagne for Christmas or New Years, at least you have a very good Spanish alternative for the rest of the holiday season in the Elyssia cavas. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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