Quinta de la Rosa and their take on Portuguese rose

Note from the Winesleuth: I was looking thru my drafts folder,  found this post and realized it was never posted. Why? I don’t know but seeing as I’ m heading to Portugal next week for the European Winebloggers Conference in Lisbon and then the Douro Valley the following week, here is a short post and video featuring a rosé made from varietals usually reserved for port making. The tasting was sometime in Spring ’09 I was invited to the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird on the King’s Road in Chelsea the other night for a winetasting of the well known Portuguese producer Quinta de la Rosa. Portuguese wines get a lot of press in the UK marketplace but they are still in the process of becoming household wines in England. It used to be the custom at one time to present a pipe of port as a christening present. Sadly, that custom seems to have fallen into disuse but at one time it was what many a lucky infant received. Quinta de la Rosa was bought in 1906 as a christening present for Sophia Bergquist’s grandmother, Claire Feuerheerd, guess they didn’t think a pipe was enough. Feuerheerd was the family port company but was sold in the 1930’s. Claire kept La Rosa in the family and continued to run it for many years. In 1988, Sophia and her father Tim, decided to relaunch the ports and began producing top notch ports. In the early 90’s, they were one of the pioneers of still red wine production in the Douro Valley. The quinta is situated on the banks of the Douro valley in the Alto Douro not far from the town of Pinhão, with commanding views of the river. The Douro is best known for their ports but thanks to the efforts of producers like Sophia and her father, quality wines are now being produced and exported. The winemaker of Quinta is Jorge Moreira. He trained under Jerry Looper, a California winemaker, so he has many international...

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Upcoming – Cuban cigars & Caribbean Rum at the Bluebird

It’s that time of year again. That’s right, it’s time for the Bluebird’s summertime cigar extravaganza! Last year, Penny, manager of the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird put on a fantastic evening of fine aged Cognac and Cuban cigars (read about last year’s event here). It was held in the lovely patio of the Bluebird restaurant and was a great success and a lot of fun! This year, Penny has pulled out all the stops and is featuring Caribbean rum along with one of my favourite cigars, the Partagas series D no. 2. The event will kick off with a rum cocktail on arrival followed by a tasting of 4 premium rums: Chairman’s Reserve Golden Rum from St. Lucia, one of the leading golden rum distillers from the Windward Island of St.Lucia, the distillery was founded in 1932 by the Barnard family. It’s a double distilled pot still and column still rum for a refined and smooth lash… Elements 8 Rum is another St. Lucian, this one made up of 8 distinct elements blended together to create this super premium rum from a family that’s been producing rum for over 120 years. Trois Rivieres Rum, this one hails from the nearby island of Matinique, this is a smooth, fruity rum aged in oak barrels, sounds promising! And lastly, the Diplomatico Rum, a slight change of place for this one,whilst we’re still in the Caribbean, we’ve now moved onto Venezuela which is known for their quality rums. This one comes from Destilerias Unidas which has been producing top of the line rum for 45 years. All the rums will be paired with Galler ‘Elements’ Chocolates which are exceptional Belgium choccies developed by Jean Galler and his team of chocolatiers. We’ll also be able to puff on a freshly rolled Partagas throughout the evening. Light snacks will also be included, which you’ll be able to munch on whilst watching the live demonstration of the fine art of cigar rolling. So, 5 rums, fine chocolates, one Cuban cigar and light...

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First English wine, now English vodka

Whilst wandering around the London International Wine Fair, I took the second day to cross the hall to Distil which is the little brother event to the LIWF. Distil is a showcase for spirits- tequila, rum, whiskey, vodka, liquors, they were all there. The only problem with Distil is you can’t really spend a lot of time there because you’d be blotto after a couple of tasters, esp. if you got dragooned by the tequila people. I was there with Penny to source some aged rum for an upcoming event at the Bluebird but got waylaid by Chase Vodka. Seems I’ve become a big fan of anything English recently. Well, I suppose if you’re in England you should buy English, you know all that think global, buy local guff and as much as California needs my support, it is a long way away. First we had English wine and all the incredulous looks that came with that phrase and now we’ve got English vodka. Gin yes, but vodka? Watch me down a shooter of Chase Vodka ( and speak to the Master Distiller, Jaime Baxter). Ever wonder what they do with the potatoes that don’t make it into the award-winning Tyrell’s crisps? Well, wonder no more because the folks at Chase Distillery use them to make vodka. As Jaime explained to me, there is nothing wrong with the potatoes, they’re just not the right size for crisps so into the hand-crafted copper batch pots and 3 weeks later, ta-dah! English potato vodka. There’s a lot more that goes into them then that but that’s the short version. To quote Chase: ” From home grown Herefordshire potatoes, to…custom-made copper still, to a hand finished bottle…” they are true artisans of vodka. And some tasty stuff it is! Retailing on-line for around £32.99 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Slide show from the LIWF, London 2009

Last week was the London International Wine Fair and to say I had a great time would be an understatement. It was 3 perfect days of discovering, tasting and non-stop talking about wine, wine and more wine. I truly never get bored of talking about wine. This is the third year I’ve gone and even though it seemed to be familiar territory, there’s always something new. I also managed to make it to the Distil show this year, which was all about the spirits. This year in particular, my wineblogger friends from Catavino and Adegga were there to promote the winebloggers conference taking place in Portugal this Autumn. Needless to say, the European Winebloggers conference stand became my home away from home during the 3 days of the fair. I met lots of great producers, tried some interesting and fabulous wines and hung out with both old and new friends. I’d like to shout out to Andrew from Spittoon, Jean from Cooksister, Bibendum Dan and Bibendum Erica, Rob (Wine conversation), German winemaker Patrick  Johner, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino), Andre R. (Adegga), Penny from my fave Chelsea winecellar, The Bluebird, The winemaestro, and my friends from Oddbins, Eleanor and Ana and all the wonderful peeps I met at the fair this year. During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting videos from the fair so keep an eye out for interesting, informative and (I hope) entertaining videos. Until next year’s wine fair…Cheers! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Cloudy Bay, video winetasting at the Bluebird

Cloudy Bay=Sauvignon blanc=New Zealand’s iconic wine. The one that put it on the map.This was all I knew about NZ sauvignon blanc until I moved to London and had opportunity to try it. Cloudy Bay has been so iconic that consumers might not even know how it tastes but buy it on the name alone.  Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Until recently, it was fabulous but their main wine maker, the one who put them on the map left, after being taking over by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy) So, how is it now? Well, Wine90 (Sarah Newton) and I were at the the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird the other night to try the latest releases which included some surprisin other varietals as well as the usual  sauvignon blanc on show. See what we thought… Tasting notes: Cloudy Bay 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – nettly nose with notes of ripe pineapple and other tropical fruits. Good acidity but quite a rounded mouthful with a long lime finish. I liked it but think it’s a bit overpriced at £21.99 Cloudy Bay 2008 Gewurztraminer  – We both loved this one! Honeysuckle, rose water, and apparently Turkish delight on the nose, a lovely palate of more honeysuckle and orange blossoms. I thought it was an excellent example, lush and well balanced with just enough acidity to stop it from becoming louche and flabby. £26.00 Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2006, released 2009 –  this is their boutique wine, made from a wines that have been fermented using indigenous yeasts. A few barrels were put aside and they let nature run it’s course. The result was this rich, complex, creamy wine with layers of fruit, smoke, butter, and gingery spices, a fabulous wine. £37.00 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2006 – New Zealand is certainly carving out a niche for themselves in the pinot noir stakes. I’ve had a fair amount of NZ PN and Cloudy Bay’s offering is typical New world – loads of smoky bacon and black plums, wood spices lurking in the background. On the palate, lush tannins, but a...

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