Judging for the Skyscanner 2012 Airline Wine awards

Oct 04, 12 Judging for the Skyscanner 2012 Airline Wine awards

Posted by in Argentina

Earlier this week I was invited up to Edinburgh, Scotland by the Skyscanner people to take part in a blind tasting to judge the best Economy airline wines. Being a frequent flier, I was intrigued to see how the airline wines stacked up against each other. Truth be told, when I’m flying, all I want it a drinkable wine, the wine tasting part of my brain turns off and I try not to thing about the red wine I’m glugging down with my beef stew and rice. For those of you unfamiliar with Skyscanner, it’s a price comparison flight/travel site. I like Skyscanner a lot and they are my first port of call whenever I’m looking for flights online when I’m planning my holidays. I know it’s sounds like I’m pitching for them but I’ve been using them for the past few years and I’m always happy with the flights their search engines finds for me and usually buy via their site. So, I was pleased when they asked me to participate in the judging. Although we didn’t get to taste at altitude, we were on the 5th floor of the Point Hotel Conference Venue  which has a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle. Tom Cannavan was the judging leader/host and he gave us a few pointers as to what to look for when judging these wines. Mostly, we were looking for wines that were expressive and aromatic. I’ve heard that wine changes a lot up in the air and that wines that are full of fruit and body do best up there, nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I came along to judge the wines. We tasted through the Whites first. It was a blind tasting and the wines came in a variety of packaging, from Tetra-Pak, to plastic 35 mls to standard 750 mls bottles. I have to admit the first wine we tried was very good indeed. It certainly got my attention. After that, the wines ranged from good quality to non-descript...

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One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Aug 10, 12 One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Posted by in Australia

One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world will soon be on sale here in London. It’s from Penfold’s Winery and is called the Ampoule (rrp £120,000). Made from the oldest continuously producing cabernet vines in the world from Penfolds Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, and only produced in the best years, the 2004 has been chosen to be bottled in the Ampoule. According to Penfold’s,  “…the wine is contained in a hand blown glass ampoule that provides an ideal wine environment and a bespoke glass plumb-bob that suspends the ampoule within a wooden Jarrah cabinet – all produced by South Australia’s finest craftsman…” The most eyebrow-raising aspect is that for that £120,000 price tag, “…a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner (essentially your very own master-class). The winemaker will travel to the destination of choice, where the ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. The winemaker will then prepare the wine using a beautifully crafted sterling silver tastevin…” Sounds a bit over the top but you will be getting your money’s worth (I hope)! There’s only been 12 bottles produced and this will be the first one displayed in Europe. It will be at the new wine shop opening soon in Mayfair, Hedonism. R un by the aptly named Alistair Viner – formerly of Harrod’s wine department, where he spent 16 years including Chief Wine Buyer before leaving to start Hedonism. Who will buy this wine and is it worth it? Stay tuned…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Jan 30, 12 Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Posted by in Chile

A few weeks ago I went to a wine workshop organized by the Chilean premium wine producer, Santa Rita Estates on the top floor of Millbank Tower. What a view! What was just as impressive was the vertical of their super premium wine, Casa Real. Going back to the first vintate 1989, we tasted through to the latest  2010. Casa Real is a true “vintage” wine in that they only make the wine in exceptional years, just like Vintage Port or Vintage Champagne. Since 1989 there have been only 8 productions of Casa Real. The region is dear to the heart of the winemaker Cecilia Torres, who has been the winemaker of Casa Real since 1989. She thinks the vineyards, Alto Jahuel, are capable of producing such fine wines because of it’s terroir of alluvial soils above a layer of clay which gives excellent drainage and impart a minerality to the wines. The vines are 50 years old but still going strong. The wine is 100% cabernet sauvignon, aged in French oak barrels for between 12 and 14 months. Tasting the wines, they all showed excellent balance- fruit, acidity, tannins all there existing harmoniously. One of the presenters noted that these wines are very exciting because they show the future and the ageability of Chilean wine. He predicts that in future, Chile will have more super premium wines appearing in the marketplace.  Cecilia commented that her favourites were from the 1990’s as they exhibited light and elegant qualities and they haven’t dried out or lost their fruit character. Off all the vintages, the 1989 is her favourite. We tasted 2010, 2008, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1997, 1995 and 1989. I started with the youngest and worked my way back. The 2010 and 2008 were full of ripe red fruits and bitter chocolate notes, the tannins still grainy but not unpleasing to the palate. I could taste already that they were going to develop into exceptional wines, the quality of the fruit disclosing itself already. 2005...

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Wine at the beach, Argentina

It’s hard to believe, sitting here in my flat in London, all wrapped up in a heavy jumper and wearing thick socks, that a little over a week ago I was frolicking in the waves and stretching out on the beach in Argentina. Like all holidays, that one had to come to an end and so I find myself flipping through my slideshow on my laptop, hardly believing that I was basking in the sun such a short time ago. Like any wineblogger worth her salt, I took pics of most of the wines we had and even though they were not top of the line, we were at the beach, upon reflection I realized that they were very good value for  money. This being Argentina, a land of good, affordable wine, you can walk into any supermarket or even corner shop and find a wall of wine. Granted, it might not be the best and sometimes, storage conditions are not exactly ideal but for around £3-£5, you can get a decent wine to go along with your pizza or pasta. It being summer, the days are long and we often didn’t get home from the beach til past 8. Bear in mind that in Villa Gesell, where we were staying, the shops have some archaic rule that they cannot sell wine after 9pm! You can imagine the rush then upon returning home, jump into the shower to wash off the sand and then a quick run into town to pick up a bottle before they stopped selling wine. I know, you’re probably thinking, why didn’t you just buy a case at the beginning of the week but what fun is that? The SAME wine every night? No thanks. Plus, I got to check out the different stocks of various shops. The first night was when we discovered that stupid rule but luckily, we found a restaurant that would sell us a bottle of wine takeaway. The Fond de Cave 2009 Malbec from Mendoza,...

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Un lugar en los Andes, high altitude malbec from Mendoza

I was visiting Mendoza, Argentina as part of my prize for winning the Argento/Bibendum Wine Contest back in March of this year. As you may recall, me and Niamh (Eatlikeagirl) made a guerilla winetasting video and won. Sadly, Niamh had to postpone her trip due to a family illness but I was game to carry on. Part of the trip was a visit to an estancia which was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.  I visited Estancia San Pablo on the hills flanking the Valle de Uco. Our host for the afternoon was Walter Scibilia-Campana, an enologist as well as owner of the estancia.  Walter and his wife, Karinna have carved out a lovely little guesthouse in the foothills of the Andes and welcome guests to take part in horseback excursions into the mountains as well as spend a few days on a working estancia. Walter’s family are big cattle ranchers but Walter decided to break away from that tradition and went to the Univ. of Mendoza to study enology. An interesting story about Walter´s history. Back when he was at the graduation ceremony from the University of Mendoza, he attended wearing the traditional Guacho dress of the region. The school authorities refused to give him his diploma saying he was not dressed appropriately. They told him, he could receive his diploma once he was dressed accordingly. Now, this did not sit will with Walter, who had worn traditional dress throughout his university career. He decided to sue the univeristy for discrimination and won! Rather then take the payout, Walter requested that the university pay for his wine master’s degree at Montpellier in France, which they did. After finishing at Montpellier, he went on to work for wineries in Bordeaux and California before settling in Mendoza to raise a family and wines. Walter has planted vines at some of the highest if not the highest altitudes in Mendoza. His malbec vines are at 1700 metres as well as his pinot noir. The pinot is...

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