Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Aug 08, 12 Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Posted by in Food and Wine, German wine, Travel

Johannes Leitz ebulliently came out to greet us as we pulled up to the family home in the town of Rudesheim am Rhein, with lots of smiles and handshakes, he ushered us into the open kitchen/den where we were to have our winetasting. But first, lunch… I was a bit surprised when Johannes disappeared and then reappeared with salad ingredients and began to prepare our lunch. I’ve never had a winemaker make lunch right in front of my eyes but Johannes is a man of many talents. A bright, fresh and surprising white asparagus and strawberry salad with citrus dressing was an amazing combination of flavours – I was a bit dubious but it was an explosion of flavour. That was followed with a Thai coconut curry soup with prawn paired with the 2009 Rudesheimer Burg Rottland spatlese. The sweetness of the soup was countered by the acidity and balance of the wine, a great match. It’s commonly asserted that riesling goes well with Asian food and this was a prime example of the cuisine and wine working together. But wait, there was more! Johannes brought out a rack of lamb with potato dauphinoise. Johannes gave us 2 wines to pair with that –2011 Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg and the 2010 Rudesheimer Drachenstein Auslese. Johannes believes his wines are all about the terroir and the land certainly comes through in these wines. You can almost taste the stones while you drink the wine, beautifully structured, deep and intense with excellent minerality. Johannes told us a bit of the vineyard history over lunch. The Leitz family has been making wine since at least 1744 but it wasn’t until after WW II that his grandfather rebuilt the winery. Johannes’ father took over the winery later but died suddenly in 1966, leaving the vineyard to his wife who had her hands full with a flowershop, family and vineyard to run. It wasn’t until 1985 that Johannes took over the winery and began to rebuild it. Since then, he...

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Malmaison’s Olympic cocktails

Jul 27, 12 Malmaison’s Olympic cocktails

Posted by in Hotels and Spas, restaurants

Just  a quick post today seeing as it’s the beginning of the Olympics. If you find yourself in Clerkenwell and fancy an Olympic themed cocktail, head over to Malmaison Hotel. They’ve come up with a string of cocktails for their guests. Going for the gold? Try the Gold Martini, vodka based with elderflower cordial, it’s finished off with a garnish of edible gold powder.  Second prize goes to the Silver Martini, a very fresh gin based cocktail, it reminded me of alcoholic lemonade and was waaaay to easy to drink. Although it’s called the Bronze Martini, it was my favourite, a whiskey based cocktail, it was very similar to my favourite –  a Manhattan, and was garnished with edible bronze powder. There were also a few other cocktails on the list, including the Olympic Flame, a long,tall and quite fruity drink, the very pretty Team GB Martini and, the most enticing to me, although I didn’t order them, the 5 Olympic shots – pretty much pure liquor shots. If you’re curious, here’s what they’re made of… Blue: 15ml Blue curacao, 20ml Absolut vanilla Black: 35ml Patron XO Cafe Red: 15ml Grenadine, 20ml Absolut Citron Yellow: 15ml Galliano, 20ml Absolut Mandrin Green: 15ml Midori, 20ml Absolut Apeach Malmaison will be running these cocktails throughout the Games so pop in if you’re around Clerkenwell. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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2011 Secret de Leoube, Provencal rose

Jul 22, 12 2011 Secret de Leoube, Provencal rose

Posted by in France

It looks like summer is finally going to make an appearance and really not a minute too soon as I was beginning to give up hope. I’ve been drinking rosé wines anyway because I think that rosés can be drunk anytime of year. I say that with the proviso that I like my rosés to be dry with the fruit not too apparent on the palate. I tried Chateau Leoube’s rosé last year and enjoyed it very much. A delicately hued pink colour, it ticked all the boxes of a Provencal rosé . I tried the 2011 vintage this year and it is still a great wine. Chateau Leoube is a venture started by the same folks who own Daylesford Dairy so they do all they can to ensure that the vineyards are as organic and sustainable as possible. The wine estate consists of 65 hectares of vineyards and 20 devoted to olive trees for their organic olive oil. I also tried their Secret de Leoube 2011. A wine with body and elegance, it dances on the palate, a pale peachy colour, red berry fruits on the nose, creamy in the mouth with strawberries, cranberries and a bit of spice with a long finish (for a rose). This is a wine that is much more then an everyday rose, I loved it! The Secret de Leoube is available from Corney & Barrow and retails for £21. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Learning to ask for more than foie gras and Sauternes, Babble: an online gastronomic language course

Jul 17, 12 Learning to ask for more than foie gras and Sauternes, Babble: an online gastronomic language course

Posted by in Champagne

A friend recommended this site to me the other day and I thought it was worth posting about seeing as I’m always saying I should really learn French (and Italian and Portuguese) for my numerous trips abroad. You’d think my French would be pretty good by now! But anyway, the website called babbel.com offers online language learning courses and has, of course, it’s own online app. What really caught my attention and why I’m thinking of giving it a go is their Gastronomy and Wine course. According to their blog, “…you’ll be able to learn in seven languages how to describe wine, talk about everything from vegan (who cares? – winesleuth note) to molecular cuisine and unlock the secrets of herbs and spices (now that might be very useful from a wino’s point of view – winesleuth note ;)).” I guess I could stretch beyond foie gras and Sauternes so it may very well be useful, then again, I DO love me some foie gras and Sauternes…. Find out more about Babble here Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A Rose night in Soho…

Apr 23, 12 A Rose night in Soho…

Posted by in Food and Wine, France

There’s something about a glass of rosé from Provence that is so pleasing to the eye, a seductive quality in it’s shimmering hues that makes me just want to dive right in. I remember when I was first introduced to Provençal rosé, I was immediately smitten.  Professionally, we are trained to judge a wine by its colour but way before I got into the wine trade, I knew that there was something evocative and special about the rosés of Provence. Many British holiday-makers associate those pink tinged wines with long, lazy, hot summer days on the beaches of Southern France. Having grown up in California, I don’t, but they still have a siren call for me. Before you ask, no, I wasn’t hitting the rosé bottle before I sat down to write this post. I did, however, attend a dinner recently at Bistro du Vin Soho sponsored by Provence Wines, the generic body that promotes all wines Provençal. Wine has been made in Provence since 600 BC when the Greeks brought it over after colonizing the coast and founding Marseille. The Greeks were making wine long before the Romans had ever set foot in France, although, it was the Romans who spread the cultivation of vines to the Rhone and beyond. The first wines made by the Greeks were in fact a pale pink colour because at the time maceration was unknown and so the wines produced had little contact with the skins – just enough to give it a rosy shade. Wine making has progressed and we now have wines that come in various shades but the vignerons of Provence still carry on making their beautiful rosés. Provence is made up of 3 appellations, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. The region itself produces 88% of all rosé produced in France with Côtes de Provence producing primarily rosé wine. There are more then a dozen varieties allowed in the production of rosé but the majority use a combination of grenache,...

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