Hairy armpits and the guilty pleasures dinner

Back in February I had a guilty pleasures dinner at my house with some of my foodie blogger friends. We had so much fun that we decided to do it again. Bibendum Dan (aka The Boy) and I got to chatting about what wines we should bring along. At first we had visions of  Blue Nun and pricy claret but then Dan was hit by inspiration – why not bring some esoteric wines, mix it up a bit.  What about some of those crazy, extreme, ‘hairy armpit’ wines – you know, the ones made with grapes gone wild, no rows of vines, no filtering, no sulphur, just pure old grape juice.   So, armed with two of the hairiest armpit red wines I could find in Artisan&Vine, I showed up at Eatlikeagirl ‘s doorstep one wet and wild nite.  We sampled the Contadino #5  2005 from the slopes of Mt Etna – about as natural a wine as you can get. Made by the winemaker, Frank Cornelissen, this one is unsulphured and a bit unstable. Retail £16.50 And from La Casot des Mailloles, the La Poudre d’escampette ’07. Alain Castex farms his vines on the slopes of Banyuls and  let’s his vines run wild amongst the herbs and wild flowers of the hills. It’s all in there. This wine is given a dose of sulphur on bottling but it’s still pretty wild. Retail £19.90 What did we think…… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

Berry Brothers joins the Twitterati-TTL and biodynamic wines

Berry Brothers & Rudd, only the oldest wine merchant in the world, wine purveyor to The Queen, rumoured to have  labrynthine cellars that stretch from St. James to Buckingham Palace – Has joined the twitterati. Not only have they joined the twitterati @winematters , they even did a Twitter Taste live from said cellars last week. The Winesleuth and Wine90 couldn’t make it to the cellars (we don’t like spiders) so we settled in at my house, anxiously awaiting the DHL guy who delivered the wines and then joined in via Twitter. This wasn’t any old wine tasting, it was a biodynamic wine tasting. I didn’t know this but BBR carry an extensive range of organic and now biodynamic wines. Are biodynmic wines any better or worse?  We were the judge. There were 3 wines on tasting: 2007   Mâcon, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon (Stelvin) — Héritiers du Comte Lafon  £11.95 2006   Vacqueyras, Garrigues, Domaine Montirius — Montirius — France  £11.95 2006   L’As, Coteaux du Languedoc, Mas Conscience — Mas Conscience — France £15.40 Here’s what we thought of the Vacqueyras… A big thanks to Berry Brothers & Rudd and to Rob over at WineConversation for inviting us and getting the wines to my house just in time! Follow us on twitter! @winematters  (BBR’s tweets) @thewinesleuth  @wine90 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

A biodynamic Cotes du Rhone- Dom. Les Aphillanthes ’06

Now that I work in a natural wine bar, you’d think I’d be posting all the time about natural wines. You’d think. But no. What have I been doing, you’re might be wondering? Spending all my time, now that I work nights, out on the golf course, what else? You can find me there most  afternoons now. It probably doesn’t help that the golf course is a 15 minute walk from my house and they have a driving range. So rather then waxing lyrical about this fantastic biodynamic chablis or this wonderfully complex natural Italian blend, I’ve been working on correcting my slice and chipping away in the rough. I am currently drooling over Haig Point Golf Course (where I’ll be holidaying in a few weeks) and these snappy Nike Ladies golf shoes I saw online the other day. Sad, I know. But enough about golf ( how did I get addicted so fast?) and back to my first passion – wine. We do winetasting in the bar every Wednesday so this week, I opened a “classic” (something we don’t have a lot of in A&V, we go for the more offbeat wines) a Cotes du Rhone from Domaine Les Aphillanthes, Vieilles Vignes 2006. Although it’s from a classic region, the wine is wholly biodynamic and produced by the innovative winemaker, Daniel Boulle. Boulle interestingly enough came to biodynamic practices in the vineyard in a roundabout way, via his son who was successfull treated for eczema with natural medical practices. This in turn encouraged Boulle to turn to biodynamic methods as they had similar philosophies. He is also a proponent of minimal intervention, transporting the wine with gravity, fermenting his wines in concrete vats and bottling without filtration, all of which are meant  to showcase the pure intense flavours of the wine. So how did this “classic” do? 75% grenache, 15% carignan and 10% mouvedre, it was a still fairly youthful in appearance, a bright garnet in the glass,  a nose of  smoky wet wood like...

read more

Millton Vineyards, pioneering biodynamic NZ wines

The Winesleuth has finally gotten a new job!! Yay!!!  I’m so glad to be moving on and my new job is with the natural  (and local) wine bar, Artisan and Vine. I met Kathryn (first post here) back in February and was so impressed by her enthusiasm and passion (see video here) for natural and local (read English) wines that I started hanging around A&V, even taking a trip with Kathryn to Davenport Vineyards (video here) this past March. And now I’ve joined A&V to be able to work with all those amazing, interesting natural wines.   Trafalgar roundabout from on high So earlier this week, I found myself at the top of New Zealand House on Haymarket, enjoying the views of London – London Eye on one side, Buck House on the other with  Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in between. It really makes you realize how closely packed everything is in London. Now you might be wondering, what the hell was the Winesleuth doing up in the penthouse of NZ House? Why, at a winetasting of course, deciding what new wines to add to the A&V list. They were of course natural and biodynamic wines, this batch from New Zealand with winemaker, James Millton of Millton Vineyards, Gisbourne, NZ, in attendance and hosted by the good folks of Vintage Roots, one of the UK’s leading organic wine specialists. Bio certified James and Annie Millton were one of the pioneers of natural, biodynamic wine production in the Southern Hemisphere, establishing their vineyard on the banks of the Te Arai River near Gisbourne on the North Island of New Zealand. The Millton philosophy is to produce wine traditionally using biodynamic techniques. They adhere to the original biodynmic principles as laid out by Dr Rudolf Stiener in 1924 and all the wines are certified biodynamic and have the “Bio-gro”organic trademark and grower number on the back of the bottle. What does this mean? In a nut shell it encompasses “…growing the grapes without the use of herbicides, insecticides, systemic fungicides or soluble fertilisers. It also...

read more
%d bloggers like this: