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....

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Cono Sur wines sponsor the Tour de France

Jun 08, 15 Cono Sur wines sponsor the Tour de France

Posted by in All

Cono Sur Head Winemaker and CEO Adolfo Hurtado was in town recently to talk about their continued sponsorship of the Tour de France. This is the second year that Cono Sur has been the official wine of the Tour. It may sound rather unusual to have a Chilean winery sponsoring a French sporting event but they have been allowed to be one of the official sponsors. The only catch being, they can only advertise while on the legs of the tour that are not actually held in France. It’s only fitting as they are known as the wine with “the bicycle on front” that they should sponsor the Tour. The sponsorship is not coincidental as they are obsessed with bicycles in the vineyards of Cono Sur. As a matter of fact, their employees travel all through the vineyards and home again on bicycles. Adolfo commented that when you visit, there is always a row of bicycles waiting for the next rider. Cono Sur has commissioned limited edition Bicycle bells to commemorate the 102nd edition of the Tour de France. “These specially commissioned golden bells are to give thousands of Bicicleta wine drinkers something extra to remember whilst enjoying these great wines as well as this exciting sporting event.“ The bells will be on the Bicicleta range of wines. Cono Sur wines will as noted earlier be featuring in the ‘pre-race’ caravan during the Grand Depart phases which this year take place in the Netherlands and Belgium. Of course, Adolfo also had some wines for us to try. We were treated to their range of pinot noir wines. They are becoming increasingly well known for their pinot noir and Adolfo is very proud of all the work they’ve done over the years to find the best terroir for pinot noir in Chile. He says that the style and quality of Chilean pinot noir has improvedand changed a lot over the years. They have now gotten to the point where they are selecting the best spots to...

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“Extreme” Inniskillin or winter in Canada

Jan 21, 15 “Extreme” Inniskillin or winter in Canada

Posted by in All, Food and Wine

Earlier this month I jetted off to Ontario, Canada to check out their Ice Wine Festival and while I was there, we visited one of the legendary wineries of Canada, Inniskillin. The winery was founded in Niagara-on-theLake over 35 years ago by Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser. Their goal being to produce premium wine from the Niagara Peninsula. This they did but not without a few bumps along the way.  In 1983, they attempted their first harvest of ice wine made from the Vidal grape. It was a great year for ice wine but unfortunately the birds thought so too and ate all the berries from the vines before they could be harvested. Lesson learned, the next year the winery put nets up around the vines so that the birds would not be able to eat 1984’s harvest and thus was Inniskillin’s first ice wine harvest. In 1991, Inniskillin was awarded the Grand Prix d’Honneur at Vinexpo for their 1989 Ice wine. Since then, Inniskillin has been world renowned for their ice wine which they make from Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. They also produce still table wines from Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Merlot. As we were in Canada in the middle of winter, we were just in time to participate in a little bit of ice wine harvesting. Inniskillin offers a myriad of wine tastings, wine and food matching sessions and events at the winery. Check out their website for more info. Anyway, back to harvesting. Most harvesting is done at night so that the berries are still frozen solid. This is done because if the grapes warm up and get mushy, it will affect the concentration and flavour of the wine. One of the main criteria for ice wine harvest is that the temperature must be below -8C for at least 3 or 4 days in a row before picking can commence. Although we arrived mid-day, they still let us pick a few grapes from the vines and believe me, at...

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A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Jun 19, 13 A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Posted by in France, Travel

I recently went to Bourgogne for the first time and have fallen in love with the place. I’ve always liked the wines but once you go there it does cast a spell on you. I suppose I was lucky that the weather was warm and sunny, which always helps! I was visiting on a press trip with the EU funded initative Discover the Origin and I can say I certainly did do a lot of discovery while I was there. We stayed in the northern part of Burgundy, being based in the pretty little town of Beaune. A medieval town that was founded centuries ago, it is the home of the Hospice de Beune and the centre of town is full of well preserved buildings. Wandering around the ancient buildings and the cute little town square, it was hard to drag myself away from the sidewalk cafes and get out to the vineyards but go we did. We visited quite a few domains while we were there but one of the first was Domaine Jean-Francois Rapet. This domaine has been in the same family since the 1870’s and the current generation of Rapet’s are carrying on the family traditions. It’s not a large domaine but still family owned and run. We visited their main house in St. Romain. They have vineyards in St. Romain, Volnay, Pommard, Auxrey-Duresses, Ladoix Blanc and Meursault. Rapet still use the old cellars underneath the family home and have a small winery which they are busy expanding at the moment. We had a small tasting after our short tour of the cellars. One of the more interesting wines was the Coteaux Bourgogne which was introduced in 2011. They use grapes from Beaujolais to round out their blend. Their rouge Coteaux Bourgogne 2011 is made in stainless tanks and doesn’t see any oak at all. They result is a cheerful, fruity wine meant to be drunk young. It had a savoury note to it but was still very fresh. They’ve only produced...

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Iittala’s Essence Plus wine glasses, does size matter?

Mar 25, 13 Iittala’s Essence Plus wine glasses, does size matter?

Posted by in Lifestyle

Does the size of a wineglass make a difference in your enjoyment of it? I think so but as a trained wine professional, I get paid to pick out the subtle differences in wine so anything that will help me when I’m tasting a wine is always welcome. But what about the average consumer who just wants to enjoy their glass of wine? I was asked to do a consumer demonstration with Iitalla’s  Essence Plus wineglasses the other day to see if the size of a wine glass does make a difference in one’s enjoyment of wine. The original Essence line from Iittala was released in 2001. Designed by Alfredo Haberli, the concept was focused on design types. The new Essence Plus line was developed with the intention to highlight the characteristics of  the wine. With that in mind, they have created 2 sizes of wine glasses — a larger one for full bodied older wines and a smaller one for lighter, younger wines. The full bodied wine glass having much more of a rounder and bigger bowl to hold the wine. I was intrigued by this idea and we had two wines to try – a Villa Maria Private Reserve pinot noir and a Villa Maria Private Reserve sauvignon blanc. New Zealand pinot noir is darker and heavier then more traditional pinots. In the bigger glass, most people did find that it enhanced the aromas of the wine but on the palate, the wine seemed to lose it’s energy and in the smaller glass showed itself more generously and made for a more enjoyable drinking experience. So, contrary to expectations, this NZ pinot noir was better in the smaller glass. I poured the sauvignon blanc into the smaller, traditional, “white wine” glass as well as the bigger glass. Again it was amusing for me to hear the reactions from the consumers, for them the aromas were more intense and the wine seemed to be lost in the bigger glass, it’s aromas dissipating and...

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