Steingarten riesling and Jacob’s Creek Visitor’s Centre

Mar 14, 13 Steingarten riesling and Jacob’s Creek Visitor’s Centre

Posted by in Australia, Travel

Laying by the pool at the Novotel Hotel in Barossa Valley, the last thing I wanted to do was leave, especially considering this was my last chance to get some sun before returning to grey England but I had an appointment with  Jacob’s Creek and so I reluctantly left the pool, headed for the Steingarten riesling vineyard. However, once I met up with James Keane from Jacob’s Creek and we were standing on top of the Hill of Grace, I was glad I had abandoned the pool. We were standing on a hill overlooking the vines of Steingarten, a legendary riesling vineyard of the Barossa Valley. Colin Gramp originally dynamited the hills to plant the vines in the rocky soil and planted roughly 1000 vines on side of the windy hilltop. Jacob’s Creek still uses grapes from this plot to make the Steingarten although they do source grapes from the Eden Valley, which the vines face, in the distance. Steely, pure and intense, James and I had a glass of the Steingarten riesling before toasting the vines with the leftovers in our glass. Afterwards we did a brief tour of some of the other vineyards of Jacob’s Creek before lunch. After that we headed over to the new visitor’s centre recently opened by Jacob’s Creek. Now I know Jacob’s Creek has a bit of a reputation in the UK as being a cheap supermarket wine but the Australians keep all the good stuff for themselves. I have to admit I had certain prejudices regarding Jacob’s Creek’s wines but over there they have lots of interesting wines available. We sat down to lunch and I had a choice of 3, what James called, ‘new varieties’ of Australia, fiano, vermentino and arneis. Jacob’s Creek likes to experiment and these 3 are part of ‘cellar door only’ wines available to the public. The other ‘new varieties’ included montepulciano, tannat, negroamaro, mataro (mouvedre, not really a ‘new variety’ so to speak as it’s been grown in the Barossa...

read more

German wines at a Scandinavian supperclub

Feb 11, 13 German wines at a Scandinavian supperclub

Posted by in Food and Wine, German wine

Regular readers of my blog know that I like German wines. Whether they are mineral laden, acid streaked rieslings or fruity, medium bodied pinot noirs, I think they are still under-appreciated wines. German wines can be drunk as aperitifs or on their own but they really shine when they are paired with food. The Wines of Germany teamed up with Scandinavian cook book author Signe Johansen recently to prepare a menu of Norwegian food paired with German wines.That may sound a bit strange but when you consider that 1 in 4 bottles of wine sold in Norway is from Germany, then it begins to make a lot more sense. The cuisine of Norway – salty fish, sour pickled vegetables and fresh seafood are good companions to the the German wines. We started with a two rieslings and a lovely pinot noir paired with shrimp and fish roe on crispbread and spiced Norwegian veal & lamb meatballs. The Rechsgraf von Kasselstatt Riesling trocken 2011 (Mosel, £8.95) was off dry, full of ripe peachy fruit and a nice lean, lime finish. The other riesling, the Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten kabinett 2011 (Mosel £15.99) was, although labeled a kabinett, was very much more on the off-dry, almost spatlese side, I thought. Very fruity and round on the palate. Both wines have good acidity but I thought the Rechsgraf was a better match with the shrimp. It had a crisper, cleaner finish to it. The Palataia pinot noir 2011 (Pfalz £8.99) was probably one of my favorites of the evening. A definite crowd pleaser, full of soft ripe red berry fruit, a hint of smokiness with a smooth round mouthfeel, very morish and the acidity of the wine while not excessive, was enough to cut through the fat of the veal & lamb meatballs. Sashimi grade salmon was used for the starter of cured salmon with wild dill pollen, Scandinavian pickles and horseradish creme fraiche. The salmon was melt in your mouth good, extremely velvety but full of flavour....

read more

A couple of cracking white wines from the Languedoc, Chateau d’Angles La Clape

Feb 01, 13 A couple of cracking white wines from the Languedoc, Chateau d’Angles La Clape

Posted by in France

Bourboulenc. I just like the name of that grape. It kind of rolls off the tongue…bour-bouuuuuuuu-leeeeeeenc……. Anyway, bourboulenc is a white variety that grows mostly in southern France and was the star grape for me at a recent tasting I went to hosted by AOC Languedoc Wines. Bourboulenc is the main variety used in Chateau d’Anglès La Clape’s Classique blanc 2010 (the rest of the blend being 40% grenache blanc, 5% marsanne, and 5% roussane). Everyone at the tasting jumped on this little jewel of a wine. Refreshing but fleshy, spicy and creamy but still retaining a structural integrity, this was a wine that was really hard to put down. I found it approachable but intriguing at the same time, my mouth flooded with the flavours of citrus and white fruits along with the minerality that comes from the soil. I found myself coming back to this wine again and again because it was just so morish! Usually, I tend to pick the most expensive wines at a tasting as my favourite but the Classique comes in at under a tenner (barely), £9.99 from the Wine Rack. Later, at dinner, we had the Classique’s big brother, the Chateau d’Anglès La Clape 2008 Grand Vin. 40% bourboulenc, 20%grenache white, 20%roussane and 20% marsanne, the wine had spent 7 months on the lees and a further 2 years in old barrels. The result, a creamy and rich wine rolling around my palate. Not too creamy but a pleasure to drink, flavours of white peaches and nutty almond notes on the finish. It was still  a powerful wine with èthe smells of the sea and the particular aromas of garrigue – the lavender, herbs and other wild things that grow in the south of France all mingling together on the nose. The wine was paired with baked sea scallops with seaweed, which turned out to highlight the iodine and mineral notes of the wine. A fresh wine that still has plenty of aging potential with a long and...

read more

Dom Perignon 2002 rose – Intensely sublime

Jan 30, 13 Dom Perignon 2002 rose – Intensely sublime

Posted by in Champagne

Looking forward to trying the latest release of Dom Perignon rosé, the 2002? Well, too late. It was released yesterday in the UK and the entire allocation is gone!  That was fast but after being one of the lucky ones to be invited to the launch yesterday at Leighton House Museum, I can see why it flew off the shelves. When the cellar master himself, Richard Geoffroy, says that the 2002 rose is “one of the closest to the ideal” of what a rosé champagne should be, it’s not surprising that it’s been snapped up so quickly. Yesterday was the launch of the 2002 rosé here in the UK at Leighton House Museum. It was rather fitting that the launch was in Leighton House as the musuem is treasure trove of priceless Islamic tiles that Lord Leighton collected in his lifetime. Very apropos considering the official world wide launch of the 2002 was in Istanbul last week. We were seated around a square pond in the Arab Hall, which puts one very much in mind of the sitting room of a Turkish palace. And in the middle of the room, Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy walked us through our first tasting of the 2002 rosé. Richard believes that the 2002 is a statement about pinot noir, that it is about intensity and volume, a full bodied wine with room for creamy expansion. One thing that did surprise me about the rosé was the colour. I would expect a rosé that is over 10 years old to be showing it’s age but the 2002 was still looking very youthful. It was a bright strawberry hue and could easily have been mistaken for a much younger wine. So what did I think of the rosé? It was an intense wine. I think I wrote on my FB wall something about it being the Christopher Walken of rosé champagne. And it is – smouldering & intense with deep fruit flavours and aromas – cherry, black cherry, smoke, iodine,...

read more

Aveqia – Swedish cooking classes

Jan 28, 13 Aveqia – Swedish cooking classes

Posted by in Food and Wine

I seem to be going to cooking classes a lot lately. I don’t know if that’s because I need lessons or not but they are a lot of fun. Swedish cooking seems to be on a lot of radars these days and having recently visited Malmo, Sweden myself recently, I was very much looking forward to cooking at Aveqia. They call themselves a “new restaurant concept”. So, if you want to do more than just sit there and wait for your food, this is certainly for you. All kidding aside, it really is a great evening out. We started off with glasses of sparkling wine, so it can’t be that arduous. The venue of Aveqia is, while not exactly hidden, there is no outside signage to let you know you’ve arrived – only a red velvet rope. Hmmm, maybe that does mean you’ve arrived… They primarily focus on cooking classes as a corporate activity but Saturday nights are turned over to private parties. The evening I attended, there were mixed groups of people, from singles to groups of 3 to 4 friends. After welcome drinks, we were ushered into the dining area/kitchen space and given a tour and health and safety brief by the 3 chefs who would be supervising our cooking experience. Aveqia has been running in Sweden for the past 3 years and has proven very successful, with 2 sites in Sweden and now their third site here in London, in Farringdon. It was founded by entrepreneur Johan Kadar and Chef David Berggren, who has experience in both Michelin starred restaurants and 5 star hotels. Our chefs for the evening,Peter Hencz, Celine Fauvelle and Daniel Johanssen (you can read up on the chef bios here) all have been based in the flagship restaurant in Stockholm but have now relocated to work here in London. We paired off in groups, my friend Jeanne had come along with me, and we volunteered to make the starter of foie gras with winter apples, brioche and almond...

read more
%d bloggers like this: