Touraine and Rose d’Anjou – easy drinkers for the summer

Aug 11, 15 Touraine and Rose d’Anjou – easy drinkers for the summer

Posted by in All

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Loire Valley a few times and the wines never fail to surprise me. I often forget what wonderful easy drinking wines they are and how they pair so well with food due to their diverse flavour profiles. Recently, I attended a dinner with Square Meal at Portland Restaurant in Marylebone. The Portland serve seasonal produce and the dinner was full of fresh spring greens and veggies as well as a succulent pork belly but more on that in a minute. First the wines. We were served a selection of 3 rosés and 2 Touraine wines and one red Touraine wine. Touraine is made with sauvignon blanc and the rosés were mostly Grolleau, which is common in the Loire Valley. Touraine wines are a great choice for spring and summer as they are light and refreshing. We started with the Dom. Bellevue 2014 as an aperitif, very refreshing and crisp way to start the evening. The plan was to mix up the evening a bit and so we then moved onto a Rosé d’Anjou. These wines are off dry but when served with a fatty dish such as the pork rillettes that we scarfed down, they are perfect. Rosés are also great with dessert and the almond pithivier with raspberry jam was a great match, the red fruits in the wine pairing nicely with the strawberry jam. I also like the fact that the rosés are so light, unlike proper dessert wines, which although I love, can be a bit much after a heavy meal. We had the La Jaglerie  Rosé d’Anjou with dessert. As the Portland emphasises fresh and local produce, the main of old spot pig belly was excellent with the Red Touraine Les Marcottes Dom de Pierre 2012. Although the Loire is not known for it’s red wines, they do make vibrant red wines with loads of acidity and very fresh red and black fruit flavours. An excellent wine to cut through the fatty goodness...

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Summertime drinking…Mirabeau Roses

Jul 03, 15 Summertime drinking…Mirabeau Roses

Posted by in All, France

Now that the weather is cooperating, more or less, and giving us lots of nice and sunny days, I’ve been breaking out the rosé wines. I recently received a few samples of the Mirabeau rosés and loved them. Mirabeau have an interesting back story, actually, they have the one we all have about chucking everything in and moving to the south of France but they actually did it. In 2009 Stephen Cronk quit the rat race and upped sticks with his wife and three children, leaving the suburbs of southwest London for the foothills of Provence. I met Stephen recently at the Taste of London and he had no regrets about leaving the rat race. Stephen did loads of research finding the best vineyards in Provence before setting up shop. They brought an impressive international winemaking team together led by Jo Ahearne MW. It’s one of the most accomplished teams in their field and they employ the most current winemaking techniques from around the world, while concentrating on building lasting relationships with local growers. The result are award winning rosés, the Mirabeau Classic which has aromas and flavours of wild strawberry, raspberry and redcurrant , light and lively on the palate, it’s an absolute thirst quencher. Their premium rosé, the Mirabeau Pure has hints of grapefruit, cherry and orange blossom but is fuller and a wine with more depth. It’s a “gastronomic”wine as they say, meaning it would be a great companion at your lunch or dinner table. Mirabeau rosés are available in the UK at Waitrose and online. They’re also active Twitter users so follow them @mirabeauwine Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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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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Part 2 of my visit to Vilarnau – Amphoras, chestnut barrels and tasting the cavas

Dec 11, 14 Part 2 of my visit to Vilarnau – Amphoras, chestnut barrels and tasting the cavas

Posted by in All, Spain, Sparkling Wine

Yesterday I visited cava producer Vilarnau in Penedes, Spain (post here).   After my tour of the grounds and winery, it was time for a tasting of their cavas. As we were walking through the cellar to the tasting room, we passed by a collection of clay vases that were sitting under a set of spotlights. Curious, I asked my guide, Vilarnau winemaker Eva Plazas Torné, if they were some sort of archeology display. With a laugh, she explained that they were actually an experiment that they was currently conducting with the xarello grape. Eva explained to me that she was experimenting with fermentation in amphora made from the various soils of Penedes. I asked her if it she had gotten the idea from the Georgians but she told me that she had gotten the idea from a local potter that she knew, she liked his work and asked him if he could make amphora for her. Her idea is to make amphora from the  different soils of Penedes and ferment the xarello in a distinct amphora to see how the fermentation goes. Already, Eva says that one of the xarello’s (the one in the amphora mostly composed of clay) has almost finished malo while the others have changed to different degrees but not gone through malo. Eva hopes to find the best soil for the amphora and ferment the xarello in it. If things go to plan, she’s hopes to use 300 litre amphora next year. The experimental amphora this year are only 15 litres.  After fermentation in the amphora, she would than do the second ferment in bottle. It will be interesting to see how/if this experiment is successful. As for Eva, she admitted that she’s just as curious as me to see how it will turn out. Almost directly in front of the amphora was another experiment of Vilarnau, chestnut barrels. Eva explained that in the region a hundred years ago,they used to use chestnut instead of oak for barrel aging when...

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2013 Chateau Leoube rose for the summer

Jun 25, 14 2013 Chateau Leoube rose for the summer

Posted by in All, France

I received this lovely rosé not long ago from Château Léoube and as it’s definitely rosé weather, this one is a charmer. I’ve had this rosé in the past and it seems to be getting better every year. Château Léoube is located in Provence and they make a classic Provençal rose. The domain has a variety of soils and is close to the sea. They grow grenache, cinsault, syrah mourvedre and cabernet sauvignon. The 2013 rosé is pale pink in colour and crystal clear, it has a very fresh nose of wild strawberries and red berries followed by a surprisingly fresh and fruity palate. This is a quality wine with depth of flavour and a long finish that I was not expecting from what is usually referred to as ‘light and lively’ wines. I really enjoyed this wine just sitting outside in my garden but it would also be good with grilled vegetables, BBQ chicken or even something a bit spicier. The 2013 Château Léoube rosé is available in the UK at Daylesford, Bibendum Wine and Goedhuis & Co. Suggested RRP £14.99 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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