Sunday dinner, Pt 2 – The dessert wines

 I got a bit sidetracked last week with wineblogging Wednesday but here is pt. 2 of  my Sunday dinner. Since I was tweeting all night long ( and those were the only notes I took), I’m posting the tweets verbatim. Unfortunately, after dinner and all that red wine, the tweets got shorter so I’ve add a comment or two now that I’m a bit more sober. We had 4 dessert wines, 2 Tokaji Aszu, a German icewine, an Alsatian vendage tardive pinot gris, and an unplanned Cognac. The desserts were apple tart, raspberry pavlova – some sort of meringue-y thing with raspberries in the middle, and two cheeses. Tweets says : tokaji, icewine and alsatian pinot gris ’96 gassman, vendage tardive for dessert . That about sums it up. There were two Hungarian tokaji’s, an ’88 and a ’96, both 5 puttonyos (sounds dirty but it’s not). The botrytis affected grapes are made into a paste and collected in baskets called puttonyos which weigh about 55 pounds. The puttonyos are then made into wine, the more puttonoys, the sweeter and richer the wine. So 5 puttonyos is a pretty rich wine (thanks for the 411 epicurious.com). The tweet: Tokaji 88 – nutty, almost sherry-ish, dried apricot, almonds, luscious but lite for a tokaji. Ch. Messzelato ’88 (Oddbins, £14.99), we all agreed it was a major disappointment. It was past it, certainly didn’t taste like a tokaji. This wine was a bin end and I can see why. Next up was Penny’s contribution, an Alsatian tokay pinot gris vendage tardive, which mean late harvest. Even though it’s called tokay, it’s not made the same way as the Hungarian tokaji’s or even the same grapes. The tweets: vendage – Vin d’Alsace Rolly Gassman ’96– orange blossoms noses, quite herby a bit tropical, dried fruit, guava and pineapple  – wonderfully complex,excellent with apple pie  – Another comment on the ‘88 tokaji : more like a sherry – oloroso or sweet amontillado. vendage tardive ’96, James says it’s nice and tropical, pure elderflowers  –...

read more

Cuban Cigars and Delamain Cognac at the Bluebird

When Penny from the Bluebird wineshop told me she was hosting a cigar and cognac tasting, I was excited, a bit hesitant but also very curious to attend a cigar and cognac tasting because I’d never been to one. Although I love a good Cuban (cigar or otherwise), cognac has a rather fusty old image in my mind and I didn’t really fancy sitting around all evening with grandfatherly figures discussing the merits of cognac. But it turned out to be a smartly casual affair with plenty of mingling and good conversation. The event was presented by Amanda Laden from Delamain Cognac and Simon Chase the cigar expert from Hunters & Frankau. H&F also brought along the head of production for the Cohiba Cigar factory in Cuba, Eduardo Diaz, to demonstrate the fine art of cigar rolling. Eduardo spent most of the evening rolling cigars. I spoke to him afterwards and he told me that he’s here for 2 months doing demonstrations for H&F. I was curious about the tobacco leaves he was using and asked him if he had brought them with him. He told me that the unrolled leaves are imported by H&F for him to use specifically to make cigars during these demonstrations. We were treated to 3 XO or higher cognacs (XO signifiying that the cognac was aged for at least 6 years. No need to worry here as the youngest cognac was 25 years old) and 1 Hoya de Monterrey Especial cigar. Even though Eduardo was from Cohiba, we were smoking Hoyas because the big boss, Terence Conran -who was attending the tasting, prefers Hoya. Since there is an indoor smoking ban here in England, the tasting was held in the patio of the Bluebird. It was very nicely set up with small tables scattered about (adding to the informal atmosphere) and outdoor heaters nearby, although they weren’t needed because it was a balmy evening and the rain had miraculously stopped. We enjoyed champagne and canapes while we were...

read more

Upcoming Bluebird Cigar and Cognac Tasting

The Bluebird Wineshop in Chelsea had become one of my favourites because of their great winetastings and Penny Johns, the manager has come up with a great list of tastings for the Autumn. This Wednesday, Sept 10th, she is hosting a Fine Cognac and Cigar tasting in the courtyard of the Bluebird Restaurant. Amanda Laden from Delamain Cognac will be on hand to conduct a blind tasting of 3 premier cognacs along with Dan Pink from Hunters and Frankau, cigar importers, who will talk us through the cigars. Dan is also bringing along a cigar roller for a brief demonstration. It should be a fun and informative evening. Tickets are still available click here for more information. I love a good Cuban cigar, I got a nice box of Montecristos in duty-free last weekend coming back from Spain, so I can’t wait for this tasting. The following week, Finca Sophenia of Argentina will be giving a tasting of their range on Friday, 19th of Sept. Monday, 22nd Sept. sees the Vidal Winery, located in Marlborough, NZ on hand and the very next day, 23 Sept. Cillar de Cillos from Ribera del Duero, Spain, will be tasting through their latest offerings and may even have a few surprise vintages to taste. For more information visit Penny, either in person – if you’re here in London, or at the Bluebird wineshop website. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more
%d bloggers like this: