The wines of Virginia at the ’09 LIWF w/video

I know it may seem like I’ve been banging on about English wine, English vodka, the English, etc., but I am living here, in England. I have however, not forgotten about my country…”My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…”…ahem, um…now where was I? Oh, yeah…anyway, we all know about California wine, the wines of Oregon and Washington and New York’s cool climate offerings but what about Virginia’s wines? Yup, you heard me right, the wines of Virginia. The Jamestown settlers were the first to try and cultivate wines but without much success. Even T.J. (Thomas Jefferson, our third president) back in the day, brought over cuttings from France to his estate in Monticello in the hopes of producing fine wine but to no avail despite his efforts over 30 years. Until recently grapegrowing and wine making in Virginia were pretty much a quixotic affair. I remember going to a vineyard about 8 years ago and it was an “interesting” experience. Since then however, Virginia wineries have made improvements in leaps and bounds and now are known for producing aromatic, creamy viogniers and fragrant, full cabernet francs. There are now over 140 vineyards in Virginia and only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries. If you want to know more of the history, click here. I met the folks from New Horizons Wines, Christopher Parker and his colleague Judy at the ’09 London International Wine Fair. I had a chance to try the Veritas Viognier ’07 and have a chat with Judy… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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First English wine, now English vodka

Whilst wandering around the London International Wine Fair, I took the second day to cross the hall to Distil which is the little brother event to the LIWF. Distil is a showcase for spirits- tequila, rum, whiskey, vodka, liquors, they were all there. The only problem with Distil is you can’t really spend a lot of time there because you’d be blotto after a couple of tasters, esp. if you got dragooned by the tequila people. I was there with Penny to source some aged rum for an upcoming event at the Bluebird but got waylaid by Chase Vodka. Seems I’ve become a big fan of anything English recently. Well, I suppose if you’re in England you should buy English, you know all that think global, buy local guff and as much as California needs my support, it is a long way away. First we had English wine and all the incredulous looks that came with that phrase and now we’ve got English vodka. Gin yes, but vodka? Watch me down a shooter of Chase Vodka ( and speak to the Master Distiller, Jaime Baxter). Ever wonder what they do with the potatoes that don’t make it into the award-winning Tyrell’s crisps? Well, wonder no more because the folks at Chase Distillery use them to make vodka. As Jaime explained to me, there is nothing wrong with the potatoes, they’re just not the right size for crisps so into the hand-crafted copper batch pots and 3 weeks later, ta-dah! English potato vodka. There’s a lot more that goes into them then that but that’s the short version. To quote Chase: ” From home grown Herefordshire potatoes, to…custom-made copper still, to a hand finished bottle…” they are true artisans of vodka. And some tasty stuff it is! Retailing on-line for around £32.99 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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