Spanish roses for an Indian summer

Indian summer. Why do they call it Indian summer? Summers in India are hot as hell, not to mention wet, it being monsoon season and all. I did a bit of research (ok, looked on Wikipedia) and among the various meanings, this one seemed just as good as any of the others: …the term originated from raids on European colonies by Indian war parties; these raids usually ended in autumn, hence the extension to summer-like weather in the fall as an Indian summer…. That seems to be just as believable as any of the other definitions. So Indian summer not only means it’s still nice and sunny but that means that it’s still rosé weather! It’s no longer hot (not that it ever really got hot this summer) nor have the icy fingers of winter crept down my collar so what better wine to drink then a fresh and fruit driven yet dry rosé. I like rosés because they are so versatile as I’ve said many times and the rosés of Rioja tick all the boxes for a truly delightful drinking experience. Rioja is a big producer of  rosés and they are made up primarily of grenache and tempranillo, both varietals which produce dark red wines so it’s no surprise that Riojan rosés are usually quite dark in colour. I had 4 sent to me to try and they all had the roughly the same characteristics. Dry yet with a fabulous red fruit character, they are perfect food wines, matching with everything from tapas to BBQ. The Campo Viejo Tempranillo rosé is made from 100% tempranillo and is a fresh and funky rosé with plenty of bright red fruits on the nose and palate but no residual sugar. It’s closed with a screwcap so it’s a handle bottle to take along to the park and perfect with snacks. Marques de Vitoria rosé is another 100% tempranill and is a dry and fresh wine, light body but plenty of strawberry and red currant rolling around...

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Lunching at Malmaison

It is now midnight as I write this and I am still full. There used to be this commercial that ran on American TV for Alka-Seltzer, the tagline was, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”. Despite the fact we didn’t “eat the whole thing”  as a matter of fact, we both took doggy bags home, we did stuff ourselves silly. We had 4 courses, which is not unreasonable, but there were some generous portions at the Brasserie of Malmaison. Malmaison is a boutique luxury hotel smack dab in the middle of Clerkenwell and their brasserie serves up tasty local produce all presented quite beautifully. The main draw for me and the reason I was there, were the bespoke wine flights that the restaurant sommelier, Stuart Fife matches with your dining choices. Stuart is new to Malmaison but he comes from Hotel du Vin in Glasgow and his matches were very well done indeed. While I was waiting for my lunching partner, Vintage Macaroon to arrive, I had a browse round the wine cellar and found some familiar labels, Spy Valley, Springfield Estate, Dinastia Vivanco, d’Arenberg Stump Jump, and Chapel Down, to name a few.  As I suspected, Bibendum Wines is the main supplier for Malmaison and they had some of their best on the list. We left ourselves in Stuart’s capable hands and didn’t regret it one bit. I had a very elderflowery, light and refreshing 2007 Bacchus from Chapel Down. I often find English wines to be a bit thin but Chapel Down make an excellent bacchus and it had enough body and elderflower/citrus flavours to match the trio of smoked blinis (haddock, salmon and mackerel pate) I had to start. The smoked fish was very tasty but I thought the blinis were a bit too soft for me, maybe blinis made of buckwheat would be better? I like the slight chewiness of them. I almost forgot to mention the pre-entree amuse bouche of intensely flavoured crab bisque, which would have...

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Time is running out to register for the ’09 European Winebloggers Conf!!!

Last year I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural 2008 European Winebloggers Conference in Rioja. I had a fantastic time,  met some great people and got to drink lots of quality Rioja, among other wines. I mean, that is my kind of conference! The purpose of the conference is to help all us on-liners meet in real life, exchange ideas and hopefully come away with plenty to think about in utilizing social media. It’s great when you get the chance to meet the people you twitter with, blog with or about or just read their posts online. I’m sooo looking forward to this year’s conference in Portugal. The same folks who organized last year’s EWBC, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino), and Robert MacIntosh (Wine Conversation) have  teamed up with Viniportugal, the premier sponsor, to bring us winebloggers an event to remember. The weekend kicks off on Thursday,Oct 29th with a pre-conference EWBC gathering at the Cortes de Cima winery, which promises to be a great day out before heading back to Lisbon for the conference proper. Tickets for the event are 95 euros for bloggers and 195 euros for non-bloggers and industry types. What does your ticket include? Discount on a hotel room (which includes breakfast) at the VIP Grand Lisboa – location of the EWBC 2 sponsored lunches 2 sponsored dinners 2 sponsored grand tastings A full day of winery visits in 1 of the 3 Portuguese wine regions: Setabul / Terras do Sado, Ribatejo or Alentejo A full day of sessions on everything from monetizing your blog to videoblogging 101 Enormous amounts of networking opportunities A chance to taste wines from across Portugal An opportunity to attend the Douro Boys Press Junket trip to the Douro after the conference And much much more! Hit up the official website for all the lastest info and watch this space for details on videoblogging 101, as yours truly, The Winesleuth will be participating as a panelist, stay tuned… …And speaking of videos, check out a rerun from...

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EWBC, Social Media at the London Wine Fair09 -video

Last year (2008) saw the launch of the Winebloggers Conferences. The European one (EWBC)  was in Rioja, Spain and the North American (WBC) one in Sonoma, CA. The goal of the bloggers conferences is to enable  all of us in the virtual world to get together and exchange ideas in the real world. I mean, even if we’re all computer geeks, we still like to get out now and then. This year at the London International Wine Fair, Catavino.com and Adegga.com have gotten together and put up an information stand about the conferences. I had a brief chat with Gabriella and Ryan (and special guests) to find out what they hope to achieve at the LIWF. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Miguel Merino Riojas ’99 and ’01, Unnum ’02

the town of Briones, Spain I know it seems like I will never stop talking about the EWBC but we really packed a lot into the 2 1/2 days we were in Rioja. I can only imagine what the US Winebloggers Conference is going to be like in Sonoma, CA – which I will be flying back to the West Coast to attend in Oct. The last day of the conference was devoted to visiting wineries, Marques de Risquel – which I will blog about later, Bodegas Bilbainas – where we had our last lunch, and Miguel Merino Bodegas, a small winery smack in the middle of Briones. winery courtyard Briones is a quaintly medieval town set up on a hilltop. Historically, the grapes from the area were sent to wineries in Haro to be used in the best reserva wines. Miguel Merino, along with a few other boutique wineries, decided to set up shop here and take advantage of the excellent viticultural conditions surrounding the town. Although the winery is one of the youngest and smallest in Rioja, what it lacks in size it more then makes up for in quality. Miguel Miguel himself is quite a character. He regaled us with a story about his sorting table – of all things! During the harvest the workers use a mechanical sorting table to pick out the best grapes as they pass by. There are baskets at the feet of the workers, one on each side, where they throw out the grapes deemed unworthy. One basket is called “purgatory” and the other “hell”. The “purgatory” grapes get made into wine for family and friends. The “hell” grapes get picked up by a local farmer each day who feeds them to his cows. Miguel says the cows are known locally for being particulary disagreeable, breaking out of their enclosures and causing general havoc, but he doesn’t think it has anything to do with his “hell” grapes. We sampled 3 of his wines, the ’99 Gran...

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