Italian wines and Drink Price at the 2010 LIWF- videos

When I was at the 2010 London International Wine Fair, I came across DrinkPrice. Actually, they came across me as they were roaming the Excel Centre looking to interview wine people and what we thought were some of our interesting finds. I had come across some great Italian wines and did a brief tasting note with DrinkPrice presenter (and wine drinker) Nathan Nolan. DrinkPrice is a new website that aims to catalogue all the drinks available in the UK. The also have numerous video interviews and reviews on their site. You can see my picks for interesting Italian wines, including a  Sicilian Red, a Nero Cappuccio and a Marsala Superiore. Have a look to see what we thought of these wines and how they matched up with the food on offer.… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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KetelOne Bloody Mary Trail

Ketel One Citroen and Square Meal set the month of May as the month to find the best bloody mary in London. I got a little cheque book in the mail which entitled me to two free bloody mary’s at 10 bars around Shoreditch/Old Street. The criteria was pretty easy, rate them on  the cocktail and also on the experience. I’ve never really thought much of bloody mary’s, somebody asked me if it wasn’t a drink you had after the night before. Which is pretty much what I always thought but I was game. My willing volunteer, Eatlikeagirl, tagged along for some of my bloody mary adventure. 3 of the bars didn’t even try! I mean come on, pouring a tomatoey conconction over ice and throwing in a slug of vodka is not going to get you the crown of best bloody mary. Special odious condemnation goes to The Chill Bar in Brick Lane. Sticky concrete floors, dank smell of spilled beer, bright lights and bored staff did not make for a welcoming experience. And terrible bloody marys, full of pepper pieces, it’s only saving “grace”, it was strong. Let’s put that horrible experience behind us and get on to my top 3. Many of the bars also served a little snack to go along with drink and some but not all my faves served food with it. Spot number 3 goes to Pinchito Tapas near Old St. What I liked about their ‘mary was they kept true to their Spanish roots and added a shot of sherry along with the more exotic tapa of pineapple blue cheese jelly served alongside it. Talk about an umami explosion! Whew! That was some good stuff.Cool venue, too. No. 2 goes to the Rivington Grill. A light and tasty concoction, full of horseradish but a good citrus balance. It was surprisingly light bodied but still packed a punch. Extra points for actually serving it with a stalk of celery. And a great big slab of welsh rarebit....

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Absinthe, how NOT to drink it-video

Absinthe. Isn’t that the stuff that caused Van Gogh to cut off his ear? Poor absinthe is actually the victim of a smear campaign begun by temperance advocates in the 1880’s and it has never fully recovered. Absinthe doesn’t cause hallucinations as the popular misconception goes, rather, it is thought that the absinthe of the 1800’s was made with poisonous chemicals to give it it’s famous greenish hue, or green fairy as it was often called, which may have caused those absinthe drinkers to think that sunflowers were talking to them or whatever it was they imagined. Absinthe’s allure was further deepened by it’s association with bohemian artists and writers of the late 1800’s to early 20th century and their belief that it heightened their artistic sensibilities. It might also have something to do with the high alcohol content, clocking in at between 50 -75% alcohol, it’s no wonder it has to be diluted with water and sugar. Lately, absinthe is enjoying a revival and I came across an organic absinthe at the recent London Real Food Fest. Interestingly, absinthe was never banned in the UK because it never gained popularity here, unlike the Continent where at one point, over 36 million litres  a year were being consumed by the French alone. Biosinthe is made with all organically certified herbs as well as being distilled from organic wine. The distillery is situated in the Rhineland-Palatinate and made by Master Distiller, Fedor Back. Biosinthe is 60% proof, pretty potent stuff. If you want a quick lesson in how to prepare absinthe and how NOT to drink it, check out the video. I survived and no, sadly, no sunflowers talked to me on the way home…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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How to make Burt’s chips

It’s a little known fact (to the English) but the proper name of crisps is chips! Yes, that’s right, you read correctly. Potato crisps originally came from America where we called them crispy chips. When they arrived on the shores of Ol’Blighty, you already had chips (as in fish and chips) so to avoid confusion, you called them crisps. So there. I’m going to continue to refer to my “crisps” as chips, safe in the knowledge that that is their correct name. I found out this fascinating piece of name trivia from none other then the MD of Burt’s Chips himself, Mr. Jonty White. Jonty was relating a bit of the history of Burt’s Chips and the question of why they are called crisps not chips came up. Jonty said that we would be surprised at the number of angry letters he gets wanting to know WHY they’re not called Burt’s CRISPS. For the record, the short story is a restaurant patron in New York in the late 1800’s thought his potatoes were not crispy enough and kept sending them back until the chef got so fed up, he sliced ’em up very thinly, fried them to a crisp and sent them out to the table. The patron loved them and the rest, as they say, is history…. Now you know. I was in Devon on a blogger trip to the West Country and one of our stops was at Burt’s Chips to make some chips and maybe even get to pick the next new flavour. Burt’s was started in 1997 with a beat up old fryer and lots of hardwork. The first batch came out on April 1, 1997 but the chips weren’t ready for market until that Autumn. At Burt’s, the philosophy is to make the chips as naturally as possibly with no artificial flavours or chemical preservatives. The folks at Burt’s know where all the potatoes come from, each field even! And each batch has it’s own personal fryer. You can even visit...

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Meet the Parent’s Burgundy – 2007 Pommard Les Epenots

    There is an association of female wine producers in Burgundy. Why female only? What sort of feminist conspiracy is going on on the golden hills of the the Cote d’Or or the chalky soils of Chablis? It’s not really a plot to overthrow the male winemakers of Burgundy. Just a reflection of the fact that men don’t like to talk about their problems, vinous or otherwise. That was the reason given to me for the formation of the Association of Burgundy Female Winemakers, that and the fact that the female winemakers wanted to improve the image of Burgundy by focusing on wines, educating the young and preserving the culture of wine appreciation in France and beyond. There are currently 35 members, all friends who enjoy getting together for a good chin wag a couple of times a year to discuss their viticultural problems.   I sat down with Anne Parent of Domaine Parent in the Cote d’Or (and also the Vice President of BIVB) to have a chat about the association and also try her wines. The Parent’s produce both white and red Burgundy from Corton and Pommard respectively. Anne and her sister Catherine took over in 1998 when their brother decided to branch out of the family vineyard and start up his own. Anne, though says that she’s wanted to be a winemaker ever since she was a little girl. As a child, she  used to follow her father around the vineyard soaking up all she could about wine making and the vineyards. We had our own little chin wag about her 2007 Premier Cru Les Epenots. Here are Anne’s thoughts on her Pommard….   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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What a year it’s been! So long 2009, Hello 2010…

I’m not really one to look back, I’m either daydreaming about the future or looking forward to tonight’s wine – more or less the same thing. But I saw one of Niamh’s tweets about her year-end round-up and it got me to reminiscing about my vinous adventures this past  year. The great thing about a blog – I’ve got a record of many of my favourite drinking adventures. Not all of them mind you, because many I just never got around to blogging about but I did manage to put up almost 120 blog posts this year! I would have done more but I was computer-less over the summer after my laptop was stolen in June. This was definitely the year that The Winesleuth embraced video in all it’s gory messiness. Whether the videos made any sense, well, I’ll let you decide but I sure did have a lot of fun making them. I’d like to get a bit more creative in 2010 and maybe even, dare I say it, a bit more professional. My favourites of the year include ones I made with my good friend and fellow wineblogger Wine90 – she just cracks me up. Here we’re reviewing the Balfour Brut Rose…. But Bibendum Dan was another excellent foil, here we are talking about hairy armpit wines… Fun events, as when Catavino came to town and their winetasting at Vinoteca… [viddler id=74e84e69&w=437&h=333] or the Naked Wines Argentine wine auction….. [viddler id=f70e4865&w=437&h=392] and then there’s just amusing and charming winemakers…Etienne Hugel of the Alsatian winemaker Hugel & Fils… [viddler id=9fe1ae3d&w=437&h=392] and Neil McGuigan of the Australian McGuigan Vineyards, to name a few… [viddler id=49575c47&w=437&h=392] And, of course, the vids of my wine reviews, my favourite has to be one I did in S. Carolina while I was on holiday – every time I see it, it reminds me of what a great holiday I had… Of course there was Twitter as well and the Foodies, most especially Eatlikeagirl with whom I did the...

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