A New Rooftop Terrace in Piccadilly at Gaucho

May 15, 15 A New Rooftop Terrace in Piccadilly at Gaucho

Posted by in All

The sun is now making regular appearances in the skies over London which means it’s time to take advantage and start dining and drinking al fresco. Gaucho in Piccadilly have recently renovated a section of their second floor and now have a rooftop terrace. The terrace is intimate and cosy with a fireplace at one end and a retractable roof. The evening I visited, it  was a good thing they had that roof as it was a slightly drizzly evening. Luckily, the roof opens and closes at the press of a button so once it stopped raining, they quickly opened it up again. The terrace is open to the public but you can also reserve it for private dining or small parties. They offer their full list of their Argentine inspired cocktails and also have bar snacks available. I quite enjoyed the terrace and it’s a cosy little spot to slip away to in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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World Malbec Day with Guacho

Apr 08, 15 World Malbec Day with Guacho

Posted by in All, Argentina

World Malbec Day is coming up, it’s April 17th in case you forgot to save the date. To mark the day, Argentine restaurant Gaucho is launching a week of special Malbec tastings at various Gauchos around London. I was invited to a sneak preview of the tastings with Mr Malbec, himself, Gaucho’s Director of Wine, Phil Crozier. The tasting was held at the Gaucho Piccadilly restaurant location, very handy locale, I love going there. Phil explained that our tasting would cover the spectrum of Argentine malbec from north to south and east to west. Phil started by giving us a bit of history about the grape. According to legend, malbec arrived on April 17th with a French missionary in the 1600’s. For many years it was known as the ‘French grape’ by the Italian immigrants who mainly cultivated the vines in Argentina. Malbec has had its ups and downs in Argentina but since the 1980’s 15 billion dollars has been inveseted in the industry and today, there are over 50,000 hectares in production. The tastings over the 7 days starts with The Pioneers, the winemakers who brought malbec to worldwide attention. We tasted the Mandala 2013 from one of the true pioneers of Argentine wine, Susanna Balboa. A beautiful wine, inky purple blue in colour, smooth and round but not too heavy. Lucky us, Phil brought out a board of lomita steak to match. Excellent with the steak, cutting through the fattiness of the melt in your mouth meat…. The New Generation was represented by Sebastian Zuccardi and his Poligonos, an unoaked wine made from old vines. A powerful, concentrated wine but full of fruit and very clean. The vines are in the Uco Valley where some the oldest vines in Argentina can be found. Phil developed this wine with Seb for the Gaucho wine list. As a matter of fact, 5 of the 7 wines we were tasting were developed by Phil with the winemakers. The other themed tastings will feature, ‘Old Vine...

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Argentine wine and ponies at the HPA Gaucho International Polo tournament

May 29, 13 Argentine wine and ponies at the HPA Gaucho International Polo tournament

Posted by in Argentina, Lifestyle, restaurants

Last week I was invited to the HPA Gaucho International Polo Tournament at the O2. You may be wondering what exactly this has to do with wine? Well, as the Argentine restaurant chain Gaucho is one of the main sponsors, of course Argentine cuisine and wine were going to be involved. The day started with a fantastic lunch at Gaucho at Tower Bridge. The upstairs dining room/bar has great views of Tower Bridge and City Hall. I haven’t eaten at Gaucho in quite some time but the Bife de Chorizo I had was one of the most succulent and tasty steaks I’ve had in a long time. Lunch was paired with wines from Terrazas de los Andes, the rich but elegant Selection 2009 malbec and the savoury Selection 2009 cabernet sauvignon.  Both wines tasting very well, the malbec having deep blueberry fruit notes and the cabernet being an altogether elegant glass of wine. Afterwards we headed to the O2 by Thames Clipper to taste more Argentine wines and chat with Cheval des Andes wine maker, Nicolas Audebert. I’ve known Nicolas for a few years now, and even visited him and the winery in Argentina, so it was great to see him again and find out how the vineyards are doing at the foot of the Andes. We were there for the polo and after watching an exciting match between England and Argentina, Argentina won and was presented with a magnum of Veuve Clicquot and the trophy. Afterwards, there was plenty of Veuve, Terrazas wines and dancing to end the night. Great wines from Argentina, exciting polo and drinking and dancing afterwards, a good night all around. A big thank you to Gaucho for this invitation, looking forward to next year’s match! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Chatting with Edgardo del Popolo of Dona Paula Estates, Argentina

Sep 24, 12 Chatting with Edgardo del Popolo of Dona Paula Estates, Argentina

Posted by in Argentina

“Blends are definitely the next step for Argentine malbec.” That opinion was voiced to me by Dona Paula winemaker Edgardo del Popolo while we were tasting a few of his wines the other day. Edgardo (or Edy as he prefers to be called) and I were at The Only Running Footman in Mayfair for a small tasting and we were chatting about not only Dona Paula’s wines but also meandered into the future of Argentine wine. Edy was referring specifically to malbec/cabernet franc blends. He thinks that consumers today are looking for not just everyday wines from Argentina but also for premium, high quality wines. And that is where blends come into play. Dona Paula have found some great vineyard spots in the Uco Valley of Mendoza and it is here that he’s planted not only cabernet franc but also chardonnay and malbec. Edy thinks that the cabernet franc lifts malbec, giving it the structure that it needs. He compares it to Bordeaux blends, merlot and cabernet sauvignon are fine on their own but put them together and it’s a whole different dimension. So what about these great vineyards that Edy was talking about? He was referring to the Altamira and Gualtallary vineyards of the Uco Valley. Dona Paula has such confidence in Edy that about 15 years ago he was tasked with finding the best region both in climate and soil for Dona Paula’s wines. Edy found both areas by flying over them and once identified, they had to ride in on horseback to inspect the soil as they were in a completely isolated region. Dona Paula then bought 160 hectares, each hectare going through extensive analysis to decide what would grow best there. Edy liked the region because the soils were particularly poor but full of calcium carbonate which he believes gives his wines the minerality he prizes. One of the grapes he thinks do well in the Gualtallary is chardonnay. Edy wants to make a chardonnay that is not the usual...

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Wines at Altitude – Carmenere and Malbec

Jan 27, 12 Wines at Altitude – Carmenere and Malbec

Posted by in Argentina, Chile

I don’t hate Carmenere. It’s often referred to as the “marmite” of wine, you either love it or hate it. I fall into the ambivilent category, neither hating it nor loving it. I was given a little more insight into carmenere when I participated in a wine workshop sponsored by Santa Rita Estates, a premium Chilean producer, which sought to shed a bit more light on not only the wines of Chile but also it’s neighbour, Argentina and it’s flagship grape, Malbec. I participated only in the red wine tasting of the seminar but there was a white wine tasting in the morning. The Carmenere tasting was lead by Tim Atkin MW, Brian Croser and Peter Richards MW with Panellists Andres Ilabaca and Sebastian Labbe. Peter Richards MW noted that carmenere is still relatively new and that it needs more time and that he has “…no doubt that quality will increase in time. Lots of different kinds of Carmenere will emerge, as it’s a naturally varied variety…” Viña Casa Silva, Santa Rita Estates, Carmen Winemakers, and Concha y Toro were all on show, an mix of 2008 and 2009 vintages. What was most evident was the slight green notes of the wines and the tannins. I also found that there was a coffee bean character to them, but I liked that! The standout was not surprisingly a blend, 85% carmenere, 10% carignan and 5% cabernet the 2009 Apalta by Carmen Winemakers. Carmenere seems to work best when blended and this wine was fresh, spicy and full of fruit. The added varities seemed to give the wine a lift and extra dimension. Carmenere is still a work in progress for the Chileans. After a short break we reconvened for Malbec. I’ve drunk a lot of malbec, mostly in Argentina, so I was looking forward to tasting these wines. Colome Estate, Bodega Noemia, and Dona Paula were all on tasting. Salta is one of the highest altitude wine producing regions in the world, if not the...

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