Summer is Coming: The Best Wines for Summer Evenings

Jun 09, 15 Summer is Coming: The Best Wines for Summer Evenings

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

We’ve had a heatwave (sort of ) and so it’s official. Summer is on the way! This means long evenings out in the garden and barbecues. It also means a whole different load of wine to drink. Yes, even more different than the spring wines. After all, nobody really wants to sit inside nursing a bottle of red when the sun is out to play. To celebrate the imminent summer, here are the best wines for those warm evenings. Chateau Sainte Marguerite Organic Rose There’s something so refreshing about rose wine on a summer evening. Try to avoid the dark and rich looking wines, these are reserved for chilly, winter nights. Instead, opt for a rose that is pale in colour. The Chateau Sainte Marguerite sums up all that is right with the world of summer wine. It’s crisp and refreshing, a bit like taking a bite into a strawberry. This French wine is a must-have for dinners on the patio. Hunter Valley Chardonnay Looking for a dry white to accompany your fishy supper? This is the perfect wine to serve with prawn, salmon, lobster… Or even fish and chips if you fancy. The Hunter Valley is a prime example of Australian Chardonnay, which has become very up and coming in the wine world. It has all of the oakey undertones you would expect from a good Chardonnay too. Aglianico 2012 For those who refuse to put down their red, even when the sun is shining, this is the wine for you. After all, who can say no to a dark and fruity Italian wine? Although this may have an everyday price tag on it, you’ll find it tastes quite out of the ordinary. Serve this with some real Italian favourites – anything with tomato and basil in it, basically. It will go down a treat. Mount Bluff Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc NV Everyone has to have a bit of fizz in their life! Plus, summer is the perfect excuse to pop open a bottle....

read more

Decanter’s Italian Fine Wine Encounter next weekend (May 10,2014)

May 01, 14 Decanter’s Italian Fine Wine Encounter next weekend (May 10,2014)

Posted by in All, Italy

Next weekend, May 10th, is Decanter’s Italian Fine Wine Encounter. I always enjoy going to these events because it’s the perfect opportunity to meet and taste some fabulous Italian wines. I love Italian wine but sadly, I never seem to have the time to really get to know them. Decanter’s tasting serves as a good reminder of all that Fine Italian wine has to offer. This year, the event is going to be held at the centrally located Lancaster Hotel, almost directly across from Marble Arch tube station. There are going to be more than 300 wines on offer in the Grand Tasting room including many iconic Italian wine producers. As well as the Grand Tasting, there are going to be  a number of Masterclasses – tutored tastings so that you can really get to grips with Italian wines. Looking at the list, I’m very interested in the Barolo masterclass, I always forget how fascinating those wines are. If masterclasses aren’t your thing, there will also be a series of informal tastings featuring 6 wines in the Discovery Theatre. The theatre is going to be run by my friends over at Vini Italiani so I know that they’ll not only be a lot of fun but also very informative. There will also be book signings by Monty Walden of the Chateau Monty TV series and Ian d’Agata author of Native Wine Grapes of Italy by the bookstand. I go to the tasting almost every year and it’s always good fun and serves as a reminder that I really do need to get cracking on my Italian wine knowledge. So many wine regions, so little time…. For more information on where to buy your tickets, visit the Decanter website.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

A flying visit to the Sicilian winery Donnafugata

Nov 21, 12 A flying visit to the Sicilian winery Donnafugata

Posted by in Italy, Travel

Donnafugata literally means “woman in flight” and it is inspired by the flight of Queen Maria Carolina, who fled Naples ahead of Napolean’s troops in the early 1800’s. She sought refuge in Sicily where Donnafugata’s vineyards now sit, and that is how the image of a woman with windblown hair became their logo and the winery got it’s name. The same description could be used to describe José (with a hard J) Rallo, daughter of the founders Gabriella and Giacomo Rallo, she is a whirlwind around the winery. Together with her brother Antonio, they are steering the winery into the future with many new initiatives and programs. There is a lot more to Donnafugata then just wine, although they have become quickly recognized for the high quality of their wines over the past 30 years, they also have a thriving vineyard visitors program, a partnership with a local restaurant  that specializes in using local produce and support a pannetone baking operation in a Paduan prison. They certainly don’t stop. They have 2 separate vineyard sites and the main winery in Marsala. One vineyard, is on the island of Pantelleria where they have an ungrafted vineyard of Zibibbo which is over a hundred years old. It’s from this island that they make their sweet wines. The pannetone made by the prisoners of Padua is made with their Kabir Moscato di Pantelleria DOP. The chef of the prison bakery gave us a talk on the production of the pannetone and how much support Donnafugata has given them over the years. The bakery started out making a few hundred pannetone and now produce over 60,000 a year, all handmade, each batch taking over 70 hours to make. After the talk we got to try the various pannetone including the Kabir laced one. They were the best pannetone I’ve ever had, soft, moist and fluffy – not like the usual dry as sawdust pannetone you get here in London. The Kabir itself was fresh and full of honey,...

read more

“University” at The Four Seasons, Florence

Dec 07, 11 “University” at The Four Seasons, Florence

Posted by in Food and Wine, Hotels and Spas, Travel

I went to The Four Seasons University in Florence, Italy. How’s that for an alma mater? Seriously, I was invited to take part in what they term their “university” to learn more about The Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels and, in this particular session, showcasing the regional and artisanal food and wine on offer. With hotels scattered around the globe, the 2 day session was aimed at getting to know about The Four Seasons in Asia, Africa and Europe. The Four Seasons flew in General Managers from Budapest to Paris, Beirut to Doha and everywhere in between for us to chat with and find out more about what makes each hotel unique from a culinary and vinous point of view. What I found was that each one tailored the guests experience to the locale. From Paris to Prague, the hotels try to give the guests a luxury wine and dine experience while still maintaining links with the city they are in. For example, in Prague, they may be in an international hotel but offer plenty of local delicacies in their restaurants as well as offering international cuisine. Paris on the other hand, guests expect a gourmet experience and, dining in the George V’s 3-Michelin starred restaurant with a world class wine cellar, guests won’t be disappointed. The Florence Four Seasons is no different. A spectacular oasis in the middle of the city, set within a walled garden covering 11 acres, it took seven years to renovate the 15th century Palazzo Della Gherardesca and the adjacent convent. I loved the original mosaic floors in the Palazzo as well as the original frescos and paintings that have been restored to their former glory. It’s fantastic to be surrounded by such beauty. Florence pulled out all the stops for us to show off the best that the hotel and the region had to offer. The Florence property has the palazzo and a smaller building, il Conventino, on the other side of the garden. The first night, the...

read more

Bisol, Venissa and an obscure grape called dorona

Aug 12, 11 Bisol, Venissa and an obscure grape called dorona

Posted by in Italy

I was standing in the middle of Bisol’s vineyards in the heart of the Cartizze region of Valdobbiadene in Northern Italy with a glass of prosecco in hand when I spotted an odd, rusty looking chimney-like apparatus sticking straight up out of the earth at the end of the vineyard. Being The Winesleuth, I had to ask,”What is that? ” “It’s  a cannon to fire chemicals into the clouds, so we don’t get hail,” my guide, Consuelo informed me. While I was in Valdobbiadene, I did hear the cannon being fired off every afternoon. It might not be state of the art but it seemed to keep the hail away. Bisol have been making prosecco for hundreds of years and they’ve perfected the art of prosecco. An easy going, relaxed sparkling wine that is just as good with or without food, Bisol have a whole range of sparklers, from the cheerful Jeio to the seriously experimental NoSo2, Bisol seem to do it all. Standing in the middle of the vineyard, drinking the wine made from the vines surrounding me was a great experience but then again, it’s always a thrill to drink wine in the vineyards from which they came. I was drinking their Cartizze which is their top of the line wine and enjoying it immensely. Fruity, slightly off dry with lovely green apple, lemon and lime notes and, I’m not sure if it was because of the damp in the air that made the smells of the earth jump into my nose but there was a distinct mineral note coming from my glass. After sipping the Cartizze, we made our way to the winery where I sampled the NoSo2. The idea behind the NoSo2 is a wine that is made with no exposure to light or oxygen and thus can be produced and sent out without the use of sulfur. A very interesting wine, crisp and very dry, it’s not your grandma’s prosecco, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t call it a prosecco...

read more
%d bloggers like this: