German wines at a Scandinavian supperclub

Feb 11, 13 German wines at a Scandinavian supperclub

Posted by in Food and Wine, German wine

Regular readers of my blog know that I like German wines. Whether they are mineral laden, acid streaked rieslings or fruity, medium bodied pinot noirs, I think they are still under-appreciated wines. German wines can be drunk as aperitifs or on their own but they really shine when they are paired with food. The Wines of Germany teamed up with Scandinavian cook book author Signe Johansen recently to prepare a menu of Norwegian food paired with German wines.That may sound a bit strange but when you consider that 1 in 4 bottles of wine sold in Norway is from Germany, then it begins to make a lot more sense. The cuisine of Norway – salty fish, sour pickled vegetables and fresh seafood are good companions to the the German wines. We started with a two rieslings and a lovely pinot noir paired with shrimp and fish roe on crispbread and spiced Norwegian veal & lamb meatballs. The Rechsgraf von Kasselstatt Riesling trocken 2011 (Mosel, £8.95) was off dry, full of ripe peachy fruit and a nice lean, lime finish. The other riesling, the Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten kabinett 2011 (Mosel £15.99) was, although labeled a kabinett, was very much more on the off-dry, almost spatlese side, I thought. Very fruity and round on the palate. Both wines have good acidity but I thought the Rechsgraf was a better match with the shrimp. It had a crisper, cleaner finish to it. The Palataia pinot noir 2011 (Pfalz £8.99) was probably one of my favorites of the evening. A definite crowd pleaser, full of soft ripe red berry fruit, a hint of smokiness with a smooth round mouthfeel, very morish and the acidity of the wine while not excessive, was enough to cut through the fat of the veal & lamb meatballs. Sashimi grade salmon was used for the starter of cured salmon with wild dill pollen, Scandinavian pickles and horseradish creme fraiche. The salmon was melt in your mouth good, extremely velvety but full of flavour....

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Hahn Estates Wine Country Tapas in London

Nov 15, 12 Hahn Estates Wine Country Tapas in London

Posted by in California, Food and Wine, restaurants

Although I’m from California, I’m really not all that familiar with the wines of California. Of course, I know your Mondavis and Fetzers but as so many of California’s wines don’t ever make it to the UK’s shores, I am a bit in the dark as to what they are doing over there. So, I was quite pleased to be invited along to Automat American Brasserie in Mayfair for what was billed as a “Wine Country Tapas” tasting with Hahn Estates wines. Wine Country Tapas? Well, why not. I’m a bit tired of Spanish tapas anyway. Turns out the idea behind the tapas is to showcase the local, fresh and sustainable produce of the region and pair it with Hahn Estates wines. They have an Estate Chef, Brian Overhauser, who has created dishes specifically for this culinary program. As we were in London, we got a taster of California cuisine, including seared scallops, wild mushroom risotto and, one of the most interesting dishes – smoked egg yolk and autumn vegetable salad. The winery sells these wine country tapas on site, along with a glass of wine, so that guests can see how food and wine matching works for themselves. But what about the wines? Hahn Estates is located in the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Central Coast of California. If you’re familiar with CA, it’s close to Monterey. One of the main draws for Hahn Estates was the fact that the Santa Lucia range is very much affected by the “Blue Grand Canyon” – a very deep canyon (more than 2 miles deep) just off the coast, the cold water creating a cold wind that is funneled into the appellation. This wind has a huge affect on the grapes, helping to extend the hang time and development of the grapes. The soil of the Santa Lucia Mtn range also had very good drainage which gives added depth and complexity to the pinot noir, especially, that is grown there. Bill Leigon, President of the company, and...

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Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Oct 29, 12 Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

One of the things I love about wine, among the many, are the back stories that go with them. Meeting the winemakers or owners and listening to their tales of how the wine came to be, is fascinating and for me, always enhances the wine drinking experience. I had just returned to London from a long press trip but wasn’t going to let that stop me and went straight from Southampton to The Greenhouse Restaurant in Mayfair to meet Carol Duval-Leroy, her son Julien and their winemaker, Sandrine Logette-Jardin. I do love champagne and never say no if I can help it! What piqued my interest about Duval-Leroy was the fact that Carol took over after the untimely death of her husband about 20 years ago. She has not only kept the house going but is also the only woman to head a champagne house today. She now runs the house with the along with her three sons. Much like the original Veuve Clicqout of the 1700’s, she has not only continued but made many innovations as well as producing top quality champagne. The House is one of the few that uses organic grapes for their Brut Champagne and their tasting room is the only one in Champagne to  incorporate photovolataic panels, have a system for retrieving rainwater and have soundproofed it with a wall of vegetation. Over 40% of the Estate is made up of Premier Cru and Grand Cru villages on the Cotes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. But enough of that, on to lunch. We started with the Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru, made from 100% Premier Cru grapes, they call it the Fleur because the nose is very floral. A blend of 70/30 chardonnay/pinot noir, it was light and fresh, a great aperitif and way to start the lunch. The Rose Prestige 1er cru is made by letting the must goes through an 18 to 20 hr maceration before malolactic fermentation and then a blend of rose saignee and white...

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Chatting with Sir George Fistonich of Villa Maria Estates

Sep 19, 12 Chatting with Sir George Fistonich of Villa Maria Estates

Posted by in New Zealand wine

“I’ve never met a wineblogger before, it was very nice talking to you…” That’s what Sir George Fistonich told me after we had spent about 45 minutes chatting about his Villa Maria Estates’ past, present and future. I was amused that he was amused to meet a “wineblogger”. Sir George was in town last night as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of Villa Maria Estates and that’s how I found myself chatting with him.  From the humble beginnings of leased land, George and his wife, Jane, have built Villa Maria into a well respected (and well awarded) wine brand.  I had the opportunity to chat with George and learn a bit  more about Villa Maria before a grand tasting and dinner at the BAFTA in Piccadilly. After initially talking about the history of Villa Maria, I asked George what he thought set Villa Maria apart from the rest and how they had managed to be so successful in a crowded field of brands. “Innovation and quality” was George’s reply. Villa Maria is one of the top 5 family owned wineries in New Zealand and George believes that the fact that it’s still family owned allows them to do things that wineries with shareholders just can’t do. For example, in 2001 when Villa Maria switched to all screwcaps, people thought that they were crazy, but they could do it because they had no one to answer to but themselves. As we now know, George was right in his decision to go all screwcap. Villa Maria also has the luxury of being able to do experimental plantings. They have a few hectares where they can plant basically whatever they want and see what happens. They are currently experimenting with verdelho, vermentino and arneis. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. George had brought along a sample of the arneis which we tried at the tasting and I have to say it was very good. It’s great to see a lesser known variety...

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Talking with Australian winemaker Brian Croser about his Tapanappa wines… (podcast)

Jul 16, 12 Talking with Australian winemaker Brian Croser about his Tapanappa wines… (podcast)

Posted by in Australia, Podcast

In this edition of  my podcast I had the pleasure of speaking with the legendary Australian winemaker, Brian Croser. Brian, as most of you probably know, started Petaluma Winery in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia in 1976 and sold it in 2001. However, selling Petaluma was a new start for Brian and his wine Anne and after the sale, they started a new label and called it Tappanapa. I had dinner with Brian and Anne at the Savoy Grill recently here in London where I asked Brain to explain Tappanapa and it’s wines and philosophy in a bit more detail. Brian talks about why he thinks terroir is most important when it comes to producing quality wines and why he thinks that the diurnal differential is a myth…. (Listen Here to) Australian wine maker Brian Croser …And that was the delightful Australian wine maker Brian Crozer talking about his wine label, Tapanappa. Thanks for  listening and if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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