Les Dauphins rose for summer

Jun 24, 13 Les Dauphins rose for summer

Posted by in France

Over the weekend I went to the Taste of London and was re-introduced to the wines of Les Dauphins, most specifically to the new Les Dauphins rose. Les Dauphins is made by a co-operative in the Southern Rhone called Les Cellier des Dauphins and they are one of the largest producers in the Rhone accounting for over 30% of all production. I’ve had their Cotes du Rhone Villages in the past and think it’s a great summer time red. Perfect for hamburgers, grilled chicken or sausages, it has a spicy profile with a strong core of black and red fruits running through it. One of the most eye-catching things about the wine is the label. Done up in a 1920’s style font, the French were at first aghast when this label was presented to them, according to their UK rep, Louise Hill, “…they thought they needed a more classic label…” but the French were over-ruled and the label certainly does have an appeal to the UK market place. Happily, the wine inside deserves to be talked about as well. At Taste of London, I also had the opportunity to try the rosé, made of 80% grenache, 10% syrah,10% cinsault, it’s a cheeky little number, full of fruit but having good acidity which saves it from being cloying and gloopy (for lack of a better word), in the mouth. Very refreshing and I think it would be a good match with a prawn salad or grilled sausages. The Cotes du Rhone Villages is available from Waitrose, retailing for £8.49 and the rosé will be available in Asda at a retail price of £6.75. Two wines that are perfect for summer picnics, if summer ever arrives here on these soggy isles… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Cuisine et Chansons at Brasserie Joel

Oct 10, 12 Cuisine et Chansons at Brasserie Joel

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, restaurants

I was invited to partake of the Cuisine et Chansons night recently at Brasserie Joel in the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. I remember when they were building that hotel but up until now, have never actually visited it. I was pleasantly surprised by the ambiance and decor of the place. I quite liked it, all cool and sleek with lots of plate glass windows. You could even see Big Ben across the bridge from some of the Brasserie’s tables. Cuisine et Chansons is a monthly event that Brasserie Joel which I thorough enjoyed. A chance to enjoy hearty French food all the while being serenaded by a French singing chanteuse. In this case, that night’s entertainment was a duo called “Remembering Piaf”. Ok, it might sound a little cheesy but they were very good and the singer did evoke the Little Sparrow, small and pale, the red lipstick she wore seeming to emphasis her smallness. But what a voice, she could definitely fill the room! Of course she was singing French standards like “La Vie en rose” or “Non, Je ne regrette nien” but it all seemed to add to the atmosphere. The meal is served family style so even though we didn’t know the people at our table, we became fast friends once the wine started flowing. The month of October focused on the cuisine of the Rhone Alpes so naturally we had Rhone wines with dinner. There were 4 Rhone wines to choose from, 2 white and 2 red. I loved that there were two Rhone whites on the menu. White Rhones are often overlooked but they are great food wines and the two we had, Cotes du Rhone Les Rabassieres 2010 (£12.25 250ml glass, £28/bottle) and a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Bertheet Rayne, 2009 (£42/bottle) were both great dinner choices. Both wines showing lots of peaches and apricots on the palate and the Chateauneuf a big hit around the table with it’s elegant balanced body and clean finish. A board laden with...

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Moti Mahal dinner and wine

Jun 17, 12 Moti Mahal dinner and wine

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, restaurants

Not long ago I was invited to Moti Mahal for a Taittinger dinner and was pleasantly surprised by how well champagne went with Indian cuisine. Not long afterwards, I wondered how well Indian food went with other types of wine and so found myself invited back at Moti Mahal to see if it wasn’t just champagne that could stand up to the spicy flavours and aromas of India. Moti Mahal was originally established in Delhi back in 1959 where it was one of the few fine dining establishments in India. Moti Mahal came to Covent Garden in 2005 and Head Chef Anirudh Arora is very much inspired by the Grand Trunk Road of India. The Road is one of the oldest and longest roads in S.E. Asia, running Bengal to Afghanistan. As you can imagine, the cuisine varies as much as the road itself. Anirudh wrote a cook book highlighting the forgotton recipes of the road in collaboration with Hardeep Singh Kohli. The book is available online and Anirudh uses some of the recipes at the restaurant.It’s a beautifully photographed book and just leafing through my copy was enough to  make my stomach rumble. But, I digress. The dinner we had was called the Awadh Menu and it’s a menu based on the Princely States. Tandoor glazed homemade fennel paneer, tandoor roasted jumbo prawn, spicy lamb kebabs, king fish simmered in tangy curry,stir fried chicken masala, black lentil dahl, crispy fried lotus stem and raita along with an assortment of breads and rice – phew! This was a meal fit for a King. We started the meal with champagne cocktails, I had the Bengal Tiger which listed cumin as one of it’s ingredients, along with Black Smirnoff Vodka and passionfruit pulp. It was deliciously fragrant and an indication of the flavours and aromas to come. The meal also came with a very fresh tomato and veg salad that you made yourself at the table. The ingredients were humbly presented on a wooden board. It...

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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...

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