What does boysenberry smell like? Malbec with lunch

Last week I was touring the vineyards of Burgenland in Austria as part of the EWBC and at one point we were tasting the wines of Eisenburg, eastern Austria.  One of the producers described his wine as having boysenberry fruit characteristics. At which point, one of the fellows in my group wondered aloud, “What does a boysenberry taste and/or smell like?” I had to laugh, as growing up in California, boysenberry syrup was one of my favourite toppings to pour over my pancakes. So what if it was grossly artificial, at least we knew what boysenberries were and we could pick them up from the local farmers market if we were so inclined. Much like I had no idea what a gooseberry was until I moved to England, so goes my friend boysenberry to my English counterparts. I only mention that story because I am now in Buenos Aires sampling all the wonderful wines that this country produces. I often say that I don’t really care for New World wines but Argentina really is stingy with their wines and keeps the best for themselves. Well, as to be expected from a country that consumes something like 80% of it’s production, why give it to the gringos? After landing, I went straight to my hotel in Palermo Viejo, the Craft Hotel, where one of best friends,Monika, was waiting for me to go to lunch. I should mention that I lived in Buenos Aires for couple of years last decade so I know it quite well. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. It was nice to take a walk down memory lane on the drive into town. Monika asked me what I wanted for lunch and I unhesitantly shouted – “Parrilla!” For the uninitiated, a parrilla (pronounced in the “Porteno” way,  as the citizens of Buenos Aires are called, pa-REE-sha) is a restaurant with a very large grill. Everything is grilled right before your eyes. The smell is fantastic and you can smell parrillas...

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We made the final cut! Now please Vote for Guerilla Wine tasting and send us to Argentina

Hi Everyone! A few weeks ago  Eatlikeagirl and I got a gorilla suit, wines from Viniportugal and twittered a secret location for folks to come down and drink with a gorilla. We videoed the whole thing and entered it in as our entry for the Bibendum Times/ Argento contest. The whole idea behind the contest was to submit an entry that was as inventive as possible about wine. Our idea was to show that good wine can be good fun! Luckily, we made the final cut and now we need your help to win. Bibendum Times has put up the top 6 entries and it’s up to you to vote for your favourite. I hope the Guerilla Wine Tasting is your favourite, so please VOTE FOR US!!  Click here, we’re entry number 5, and hopefully you’ll be sending me and Eatlikeagirl to Argentina sometime in the Autumn. Thanks in advance and keep your eyes peeled for the next Guerilla WineTasting – will be announced on Twitter soon. Voting ends Wednesday, March 17th at 5pm GMT. Just in case you missed it, here is the video,one more time: UPDATE: WE WON and will be going to Argentina in the Fall! Thanks for all your support! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Argentine/Kiwi cuisine at the same time? Lola&Simon, a restaurant in Hammersmith

I lived in Buenos Aires for 3 years back in the day so I know a bit about Argentine cuisine, even if I was a vegetarian for 2 of those 3  years. Yes, I know, how could I, was I mad, etc… One thing I can say is that I’m a pretty good judge of Argentine cuisine. I can also tell you that when I visited Gaucho at the O2, I was deeply disappointed. The food bearing only a passing resemblence to anything I’d ever eaten in BA. So, it was with some trepidation that I went to Lola & Simon, an Argentine/New Zealand (?, yes, I’ll get round to that in a second) restaurant in Hammersmith for the launch of their food and wine tasting menu. Lola & Simon is run by a charming Argentine/Kiwi couple, Nico and Kirstin – that’s where the NZ connection comes from. Their idea was to serve the best of these two Southern Hemisphere countries from the lamb and mussles of NZ to the steak and emapandas of Argentina. The wine list is also a mix of the two countries with over 50 wines currently on the list and they are set to add another 15 wines in the next few weeks. The specialize in the flagship varietals of each country, malbec from Argentina and pinot noir and sauvignon blanc from NZ. They are taking every step to ensure their customers can enjoy the wine at it’s best, even installing wine preservations machines behind the bar. Last week was the launch of the food and wine matching flights and platters. They’ve started with the malbecs and are offering 2 flights of 3 wines (50ml each) each paired with an Argentine ‘tapa’ (for lack of a better word). They’re calling it, Mad about Malbec. The first flight consisted of Picada 15, 2007 Malbec, Luigi Bosca 2006 Reserve Malbec and Rupestre 2004 Malbec/merlot/tannat blend. The Picada 15 malbec was paired with tasty grilled veg in a basalmic reduction. Full on...

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Torrontes on the beach

It’s amazing how easy it is to waste time on Twitter! As much as I love it, it can be a distraction. For example, I got up at noon today (really, I’m an early riser, well 9-ish most days but I’m still recovering from jet lag) all ready to finish off this here post and then the little bird started chirping at me. Should I look? Oh, wait, I see a mention, ok, just one peek. Good morning to you @andrewshot. Ok, back to work. Another chirp. WHAT?!! Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? Gotta tweet my remarks on that. Ok, back to work. Maybe I should do #Follow Friday? And so it goes….ANYWAY…. Right before my holiday, I went to the Argentine wine trade tasting in London and had quite a few surprisingly delicious wines made from the white varietal, torrontes. I say surprisingly because when I lived in Buenos Aires, the torrontes served up there was truly horrid.  But I digress…torrontes is claimed by Argentina as it’s flagship white wine. No one knows how it got to Argentina but recent DNA profiling suggests it’s a relative of malvasia and most likely came over with the Spanish missionaries back in the day. Either way, it’s the white that Argentina calls it’s own. Somehow it ended up on a tiny little island in the Calibogue Sound off the the coast of S. Carolina. Yeah, the Argentines have reached even remote Haig Point on Daufauskie Island. I spotted the Crios 2007 Torrontes made by Susannah Balbo, one of the most well known and respected winemakers in Argentina on the Calibogue Restaurant winelist and had to order it. The Crios line is her effort to produce reasonably priced, drinkable wine. We had some for lunch on our next to last day of vacation… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Naked Wines auction at the Argentina trade tasting

What if you were set loose on a trade tasting with 1000’s of wines to try and you had to pick just 10 to put on your winelist? How do you do it? You could go the old boring route and try all those wines or you could recruit a bunch of willing tasters to pick those wines for you. Which is exactly what Naked Wines did at the recent Wines of Argentina trade tasting. Naked wines invited 60 of their Naked Angels (people who sponsor and buy wine from specific winemakers on the Naked site)  to the Wines of Argentina trade tasting to choose 10 wines out of roughly 100 staff picked wines to add to the Naked Wines website. We were divided up into teams with a list of 25 wines each and set loose on the tasting. We then ranked the wines. The top 10 wines were tried and we then set a price as to how much we would pay for each of those particular wines. Where does the auction part come in? After the tasting of the top 10 wines, Naked gathers all of our prices and comes up with an average which then becomes the starting price for the wine. There is a £100,000 pot which is divided up amongst the wines based on how close the reps come to Naked’s price. It’s a rather complicated algorithm they use but it gets the job done. The reps are then brought in and the auction begins – Naked makes an offer and the  reps counter offer and so on and so forth for about 45 minutes when the auction is declared over and we get to see how much of each wine was bought. One of my favourite wines at the tasting was La Poderosa 2006 produced by Bodega del Fin del Mundo (which means bottom of the world) in Patagonia.  A rich, full bodied red, loads of ripe black fruits and silky smooth, a blend of malbec, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and tannat, it is the powerful one and even though it was an ’06,...

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