Riedel at the Bluebird

I’m sitting here sipping the leftover ’06 Katnook Founder’s Block Chardonnay from the Guilty Pleasures dinner the other day and I’m really liking it. Could it have anything to do with the Riedel chardonnay glass I’m using? Probably, in my tastebuds opinion. Before the Riedel tasting at the Bluebird, I would have said pshaw but now, I’m convinced they really do enhance one’s wine drinking experience. I’ll be uploading a video in the next day or two but here is a quick rundown of the wines: Started off the night with Philipponnat brut champagne. A forest of Riedel champagne glasses were laid out on the bar when we arrived. It was a comparative tasting of 4 wines and a cognac. The first wine we tried was from Quincy in the Loire Valley, Joseph Mellot ’06 Sauvignon Blanc. In the taster glass it had a very closed nose and muted fruits, seemed a bit flat. In the Riedel, it really came alive, the nose was bouncy and fresh, the fruit really came thru, a sort of lemony sherbert taste with  a much smoother mouthfeel and balanced acidity. The next white was a Napa Chardonnay from Groth, an ’05. In the tester, a bit alcoholic and very oaky. In the proper Riedel the transformation was amazing. Caramel, buttery nose, hazelnuts,quite intense with sweet, ripe fruit on the palate and a nice long finish. A definite transformation. We then moved onto the reds, the first one, an ’02 Beaune 1er cru from Louis Jadot.  In the taster, not a very pronounced nose with definite tannins, it seemed quite vegetal. When we swapped glasses – much more delicate nose, very perfumy with lovely floral notes. Soft and silky. The last red was an Australian from Platagenet, an ’04 Cabernet. The nose at first was all red chili peppers, it was like walking around a Mexican food market, chewy tannins and pronounced alcohol. In the proper glass, the wine was smoother, less alcohol and the aromas and flavours of ripe black fruits came to the forefront, although there was still plenty of...

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Upcoming Riedel tasting at the Bluebird

Does a wineglass really make a difference in one’s appreciation of wine? The folks at Riedel definitely want you to think so.  Riedel has been making glass in Bohemia for 250 years but only in the past 50 years has Riedel focused on producing not just any wineglass but a wineglass specifically made for each particular grape, matching the character of the wine to enhance one’s enjoyment of their vinous delights. Well, I’m going to be able to put the wineglasses to the test on Tuesday, Jan. 27th when my favourite little wineshop, The Bluebird on the King’s Rd will be hosting a ” winetasting with a difference.” We’ll be tasting 6 classic wines, among them; champagne, Old World Sauvignon, Old World Pinot and some other choice wines in Riedel glasses. We’ll be using the Vinum series of Riedel wineglasses for the tasting. The price is £60 for the tasting but before you throw up your hands and say, “Too rich for my blood!”  remember, you’ll be able to take home a set of 6 Riedel Vinum series glasses (made with over 24% lead crystal) as well as tasting some seriously good wine ( Penny never scrimps on the wines) and sampling Bluebird canapés, which will be served after the tasting. Tickets are limited so what are  you waiting for? Broken all  your good glasses over the holidays? Need replacements? Here is the perfect opportunity to replenish your cupboard. Bohemian wineglasses, fabulous wines and delicious canapés – what better way to spend a cold winter’s evening? Contact Penny at The Bluebird on 0207 559 1130 or email to  pennyj@danddlondon.com   See you then! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Like German riesling? I love’em…

I’ve been so busy with the US Winebloggers Conference  that it seems I’ve been neglecting my old favourite, The Bluebird on the Kings Road, but that’s just not true. Last week I went there for a tasting of excellent German Rieslings. Let me just say right now, if you didn’t know already, I’m a BIG fan of German Rieslings! I love them and last week’s tasting hasn’t changed my mind one bit. The wines from Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Basserman Jordan were on display. Such a long name but I love it, gives the French a run for their money with their appellations and chateaus and vineyards. etc. This estate is one of the major estates in the Pfalz or Palatinate, as it’s often referred to, and the estate was founded in the 18th century. The aim of the winemakers is to reflect the heritage of the estate. There is even a wine museum which houses of collection of wines from 1880 to the present. I’d like to get invited to any tastings they might have at that estate. The tasting was lead by the Managing Director of the estate, Gunther Hauck. Gunther’s goal was to show how quality German riesling doesn’t conform to the old stereotype of sickly sweet sugar water but is rather  complex, fruity and dry. Gunther also wanted to emphasize the minerality and freshness of the fruit in their wines. The first riesling was the ’07 Estate Riesling. An apple/citrus nose with a strong mineraly current running through it at first, on the palate, it was extremely dry, drier then almost any riesling I ‘ve ever had. I was really enjoying it, it was not like the usually off-dry spatlese and auslese that I’ve always thought of as typical german riesling. Notes of green apple, lemon and a lime finish almost a bit bitter on the end, like the rind of a lime. We then moved onto the ’07 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling Trocken. Ungeheuer is the vineyard that the grapes come from, it has been designated as a “first class” or “first growth” within...

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Finca Sophenia ’06 Synthesis Malbec and Altosur Torrontes

When S. American wines are mentioned, Chile springs to most peoples minds but Argentina has been making a serious effort to compete with the Chileans here in the UK. While premium Argentine wines have made quite a splash in the US, they’re just beginning to make a dent in consumer consciousness here in the UK. I went to a tasting at the Bluebird Wineshop of the Finca Sophenia winery, based in the Tupungato Valley which is situated at high altitude in the north of Argentina. The vineyard is situated at 1200 metres and is one of the highest grape growing regions in the world. It does, however, have an excellent microclimate with 374 days of sunshine a year which allows the grapes to thrive despite the cold. Estefani Peretti, the representative from the estate was on hand for the tasting. Argentina has two varietals that really only seem to thrive their country, torrontes, a white varietal from Spain and of course, malbec, the red grape from France. Argentina has managed to take these two varietals and make them distinctly their own. When I lived in Argentina, I usually steered clear of torrontes because in my view it was a sickly sweet smelling, floral tasting wine with either no acidity to balance it out or too much.  The Finca Sophenia Altosur Torrontes ’08 exhibited none of those characteristics. It had a lovely, floral but not sweet nose with a touch of honeysuckle to round it out. I found it pleasingly dry with good acidity but not too much that it drowned out the white flowers and citrus character of the flavours. The finish was nice and long and had a lilting flowery/citrus echo. The citrus finish was what really surprised me as most torrontes have that flowery aftertaste but this one lacked that which made it a stand out. I could imagine this being a great sushi wine or even having it with spicy Thai food. The Synthesis Malbec ’07 is one of Finca Sophenia’s...

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Vidal Hawkes Bay Syrah ’06 of New Zealand

Last week was a busy week – 4 tastings and a London bloggers get-together – Whew! My liver tried to send out a little white flag at about the halfway point but she managed to make it through the week. This week isn’t as hectic, only 1 tasting, 2- tops! Two of the tastings I went to last week were for wineries from Down Under. Vidal winery from New Zealand on Monday at the Bluebird Wine shop and Katnook Estate from southwestern Australia on Tuesday. Australia and New Zealand. Two Antipodean  wine producers with vastly different profiles. One, a powerhouse of a producer, churning out millions of bottles a year.  The other a well known sauvignon blanc producer but gaining a reputation for its boutique wineries and wines that have not  been historically produced in that country. Monday night was a tasting of Vidal wines of Hawkes Bay, NZ where I had the opportunity to speak with Hugh Crichton, the winemaker of the Vidal Winery of Hawkes Bay, NZ. Tuesday night was the turn of Wayne Stebhens, winemaker of Katnook Estates in Coonawarra, southeast Australia to take me on a tasting tour of his wines. Both men were passionate and dedicated proponents of their wines but as my grandma used to say, the proof is in the pudding. Vidal is one of those boutique wineries with production limited to the low thousands, located in Hawkes Bay. They started out as a small family owned winery back in 1905 by Spanish immigrants and were one of the early pioneers of winemaking in NZ. Although they were bought out by Villa Maria some years ago, they strive to produce handcrafted wines which reflect both the terroir and Hugh’s skills as a winemaker. Hugh tries to retain as much of the purity of fruit as possible in his wines, not diluting it with too much oak or overextraction while at the same time pricing it reasonably. We tried a range of his wines but the one that...

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