What a pretty bottle -Elyssia, Spanish sparkling rose

Denise, would you like to come round to mine on Saturday for dinner? I can never resist a dinner invitation, especially if it’s from a good friend and so I found myself, on time for once, on the doorstep of my friend Luiz’ house with a bottle of the new Freixenet rosado sparkling wine, the Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut in hand. Freixenet, the Spanish cava usually found in it’s iconic black bottle with gold lettering is now launching a sparkling rosado wine. Freixenet has long been a big player in the cava stakes, being part of the Codorniu group, it has a wealth of expertise, state of the art wineries and plenty of marketing muscle behind it to launch a rosado sparkling on the market. The Elyssia is a blend of 85% pinot noir and 15% trepat which is a varietal native to Catalonia, it is often used in cava blends to give a uniquely Catalonian spin to the wines. We decided to have the Elyssia as an aperitif. When I pulled out the box, there were lots of oohs and ahhs, they definitely have not skimped on the marketing. The box it comes in is very smart, a soft pink with a defining silver stripe running down the middle, it looked like a very expensive champagne box. The bottle is also well posh, clear and in the shape of traditional champagne bottles, it looked very pretty sitting on the table. So how did it taste? Well, it was fine as an aperitif. I didn’t really find much in the way of defining characteristics. It was a pleasant little bit of sparkle to the evening but I thought it should have been a bit more flavourful. Seeing as it’s a pinot noir brut, I was expecting lots of red berries and red fruits on the nose and palate but didn’t really find much on either. A pleasant sparkly, not offensive in any way. I’ve had other Rosado cavas from Spain and this one, well...

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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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Upcoming Bluebird Cigar and Cognac Tasting

The Bluebird Wineshop in Chelsea had become one of my favourites because of their great winetastings and Penny Johns, the manager has come up with a great list of tastings for the Autumn. This Wednesday, Sept 10th, she is hosting a Fine Cognac and Cigar tasting in the courtyard of the Bluebird Restaurant. Amanda Laden from Delamain Cognac will be on hand to conduct a blind tasting of 3 premier cognacs along with Dan Pink from Hunters and Frankau, cigar importers, who will talk us through the cigars. Dan is also bringing along a cigar roller for a brief demonstration. It should be a fun and informative evening. Tickets are still available click here for more information. I love a good Cuban cigar, I got a nice box of Montecristos in duty-free last weekend coming back from Spain, so I can’t wait for this tasting. The following week, Finca Sophenia of Argentina will be giving a tasting of their range on Friday, 19th of Sept. Monday, 22nd Sept. sees the Vidal Winery, located in Marlborough, NZ on hand and the very next day, 23 Sept. Cillar de Cillos from Ribera del Duero, Spain, will be tasting through their latest offerings and may even have a few surprise vintages to taste. For more information visit Penny, either in person – if you’re here in London, or at the Bluebird wineshop website. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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European Wine Bloggers Conference

As you can tell by the little badge to the right there, I’m a member of OpenWineConsortium. I love logging onto this site to see what’s going on in the wine world, what’s new and what people are talking about. I’d say that there are a fair amount of wine bloggers out there and the good folks of OWC have decided to put on not one, but two conferences for us wine bloggers. The American Wine Bloggers Conference and (just so we don’t feel left out over here on this side of the pond) The European Wine Bloggers Conference. The idea was hatched sometime last year by bloggers Ryan Opaz from Catavino and Robert MacIntosh of The Wine Conversation both of whom deal with Spanish wines. Hmmm…I wonder if that’s why the first European conference is in Logroño, Spain? Well, any excuse to visit Rioja is fine by me. Looking at the schedule of events, it looks like a great opportunity to discuss the issues that affect us as bloggers, from blogging standards to monetization. Not to mention a flurry of wine tastings and on the last day, a round of visits to the local bodegas.  I’m really hoping I can make it but if not, I’m sure we’ll be hearing plenty about it on OWC. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Spanish whites for the summer

I know it may seem cliched to say that I only drink white in the summer but I do seem to gravitate towards them once the thermometer starts heading up past 75 degrees F. and the sun starts making (almost) daily appearances. Since I’m always on the lookout for new and different wines, I ran across these two Spanish examples, Pleyades Macabeo 2007, DO Cariñena and Ermita Veracruz Verdejo 2006, DO Rueda, the other day and snapped them up. I tend to get a bit excited when I try something new, there’s always that frisson of discovery and expectation. And, I have to say, these two were excellent examples of crisp, dry, unoaked, perfect-for-a-sunny-day wines. The DO Cariñena is situated to the west of Catalunya in northeastern Spain and is probably better known for its red wines then its whites but this macabeo was a real charmer. Macabeo is usually used as one of the three varieties blended to make Spanish cava. Here it’s allowed to strike out on its own as a still white wine. The colour alone signals that this is a wine that doesn’t take itself too seriously, being a shade of pale lemon. I wouldn’t say this was an overly complicated wine either but it was crisp and fresh with a nice nose of lemon and pineapple, very clean with a nice bit of weightiness on the palate. I detected plenty of bright, cripsy citrus flavours and a good finish. I found this a very enjoyable wine to drink out in the garden or at the park. 13%alc Retail £6.99 Whereas macabeo is primarily known as a blending grape, verdejo wines are quite well known and the DO Rueda is justly famous for the verdejos it produces. The Ermita Veracruz Verdejo 2006 is an good example of whites from this region. My nose was greeted by lashings of grapefruit, orange peel and white flowers along with a streak of minerality underlying it all. After giving it a good sniff I...

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