Guest post – 5 incredible wine destinations

May 27, 13 Guest post – 5 incredible wine destinations

Posted by in All, Guest Post, Travel

When you’re looking for the perfect summer wine bottle, there are a lot of different routes you could take. You might do some research to figure out which types of wine pair best with your favourite summer meals. You might simply head to the closest Marks and Spencer and pick out a few featured bottles. Or you might try to find a local tasting where wonderful summer wines will be available for display and sampling. But, if you want to get particularly adventurous looking for great wine this summer, there is yet another appealing option to consider: travel. The world is full of spectacular wine regions with wonderful atmospheres and delicious wines, all just waiting to be enjoyed and sampled. In fact, there are almost so many great wine regions that it’s tough to choose one to visit. But to help you along, here are 5 particularly incredible destinations around the world. Puglia, Italy You may think first of sprawling fields when you hear the word “vineyard,” and in this sense Puglia is a unique wine destination. A small peninsula surrounded by water so blue it seems straight out of a fantasy, Puglia is home to old world architecture and an isolated feeling that makes you feel privileged just to be there. Throw in exquisite wine and you’ve got a magnificent vacation! Douro Valley, Portugal The Douro River winds through a valley between hills dotted with beautiful vineyard terraces in this otherworldly destination. Picturesque without being cluttered or overpopulated, the Douro Valley offers a selection of very old vineyards with very fine wine. In particular, you’ll want to make sure you try some of this region’s renowned Port selections. Vale dos Vinhedos, Brazil Known primarily for its active and vibrant cities and its festive beaches, Brazil is also home to some of the most fascinating wine country in South America. Largely thanks to Italian immigrants from the 19th century, Vale dos Vinhedos almost resembles the mountains, green wine regions of Europe more than any traditional Brazilian landscape, and offers a massive selection of fine wines. There’s plenty to see and do throughout...

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Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Aug 16, 12 Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Posted by in South Africa

Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch, S. Africa,  is located in what many consider to the premium wine growing region of the country. The vineyard is in the Banghoek Valley which means “scary corner” due to that fact that it used to the stomping grounds of local leopards. Nowadays they have all but disappeared leaving the valley to the vines. The vineyard was originally a fruit farm founded in the 1950’s which then became a vineyard in the 1960’s. The family sold their grapes to other vineyards until 1993 when Helmut Hohman, the owner died. It wasn’t until 2003 that the vineyard was revitalized by Adrian Vanderspruy, the current proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards. I had dinner with the winemaker, Simon Thompson, in London not long ago at the wine cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.  Over dinner, Simon related how a study had been commissioned of the vineyard site and they had found that it was a very unique site with the best soils placed in the middle of a hanging valley. The location having good sunlight but still being in a protected site. We touched on the fact that they practice “bio-viticulture”, it’s a phrase that was coined by a Stellenbosch professor and the the philosophy encapsulates both the principles of organic and biodynamic winemaking. Oldenburg believe that winemakers should “tread lightly on the environment”. In this case, they use as little copper and sulphur as possible in the winemaking process and the softest approach. They think a healthy microbial soil structure is very important in the grape growing process. They also do quite a bit of green harvesting to ensure that only the best grapes get through. Over dinner we had the first public vertical tasting of their chardonnays. Rather oaky in style, Simon believes that the way forward for South African chardonnay is less oak and I tend to agree with him. He’s a big fan of chenin blanc and thinks it could be the third wine of S. Africa. I tried the...

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Sonomo Cutrer 2006 Chardonnay – brief tasting note

California chardonnay. Not usually one of my go-to wines but I had a chardonnay from Sonoma-Cutrer the other day that was really quite enjoyable. Sonoma-Cutrer is located in the Russian River Valley and have been producing quality chardonnay since the early 1980’s. I was a bit sceptical as my memory of California chardonnays are oaky butter bombs but the 2006 Sonoma-Cutrer is nothing of the sort. A straight up chardonnay, it was a clear bright wine with flecks of gold dancing around the glass. A fresh nose of tropical fruits, most notably creamy pineapple along with mango and ginger and a faint aroma of honeysuckle. There wasn’t a butter bomb in sight. The wine slipped down quite easily. Quite a rich chardonnay, with more of the pineapple notes and a zesty lime finish. The oak was present but not overpowering. I had it with my dinner of roast chicken and salad and it was quite tasty. I’m no longer afraid of California chardonnays, at least not Sonoma-Cutrer’s chardonnays. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Speed dating California wine….

A couple of months ago I went to a tasting, here in London, of what was being marketed as California ‘benchmark’ wines which left me mightly unimpressed. I just knew California vintners could do better having sampled many on my trips home so I was excited when the Sonoma county Vintners invited me to Goodman Steakhouse in Mayfair for a Winemakers Speed-dating event.  First of all Goodman Steakhouse is a quality place and I knew their wine list so I thought if they’re having it at Goodman, the wines gotta be good. And so they were. We weren’t speed dating the winemakers, we were speed dating their wines. 8 hectic minutes to sip, taste, swirl and spit as well as get as much info from the winemakers as possible. 8 minutes might seem like a long time of one to one contact but the first two wines makers I sat down with, we had barely finished introductions let alone getting around to the wine before the bell rang *DING* and it was time to move on! There were 4 winemakers and their wines scattered around the smaller dining room of Goodman. Jim Pedroncelli, Proprietor and Director of Sales and Marketing at Pedroncelli showing off his 2007 Mother Clone Zinfandel, Rod Berglund President and Wine Maker at Joseph Swan Vineyards with his 2005 Zinfandel and 2007 Pinot Noir, followed by Jeff Stewart Vice President Winemaker at Buena Vista with a 2007 Chardonnay and 2007 Pinot Noir and finally Tom Hinde, President and CEO of Flowers Winery with their 2008 Chardonnay and 2007 Pinot Noir. Sonoma Valley specializes in the cool climate varietals chardonnay and pinot noir but also grows the more traditional sauvignon blanc and zinfandel further inland. The range of microclimates and zones varies from the cool Sonoma coast to the rolling hillsides of the Russian River Valley to hilltop estates overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I found the wines to be brilliant examples of the best that California can do. Now THIS is what...

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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, and 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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