Video – Masterclass on the terroir of the Mosel, amongst the vines with Ernie Loosen

Aug 27, 12 Video – Masterclass on the terroir of the Mosel, amongst the vines with Ernie Loosen

Posted by in German wine, Travel, Videos

I had the pleasure of visiting Ernie Loosen earlier this summer in the Mosel Valley. We roamed around the Dr. Loosen grand cru vineyards on the slopes of the Mosel while Ernie proceeded to give a masterclass on the soils of the his and his neighbours vineyards. It was a fascinating and very informative morning. Afterwards we got to try his wines, from the entry level up to the Erdener Pralat. The previous evening we’d had some Pralat from the 80’s – fantastic whether young or old. So, without further ado, I will let Ernie do the talking about the amazing soils of the Mosel and the wines that are the result…. *warning, this video is for terroir geeks Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Celebrity Cruises with Vinopolis and Oz Clarke this Autumn

Aug 14, 12 Celebrity Cruises with Vinopolis and Oz Clarke this Autumn

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Portugal, Spain

Earlier this year I was invited to learn more about Celebrity Cruises at Vinopolis and it was a surprising evening for me. Cruise ships have definitely changed from the days of shuffleboard and the blue-rinse brigade, focusing on fine dining and wine as well as having a variety of shipboard activities and themed cruises. Celebrity Cruises is going to be offering wine themed cruises in September, October and November featuring some of the premier European wine regions. The cruises will be stopping in Spain, France and Portugal and will be offering wine seminars and sessions whilst on board. A very special cruise is departing on Oct 13 with Oz Clark and resident wine expert of Vinopolis, Tom Forrest on board to lead the wine masterclasses. Departing directly from Southampton the programme includes on board activities and expert led-sessions, such as introductions to wine tasting, meet and greet sessions and wine masterclasses from the key regions visited. The cruise will be calling at Paris (Le Havre, France), Bordeaux (Le Verdon, France), Bilbao (Spain), Vigo (Spain) and Porto (Portugal) and  is only available if booked directly with Celebrity Cruises on 0844 481 7682. The Winesleuth is going to be on this cruise as well so you can be sure to follow my adventures here, both at sea and ashore. In the meantime, here is a small taste of what to expect from Tom Forrest, who will be be conducting wine seminars along with Oz Clarke. Here, Tom is talking about a few of the wines and the regions they come from… *pics and video courtesy of Celebrity Cruises Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Aug 08, 12 Johannes Leitz makes lunch at home in Rudesheim (oh, yeah and we get to try his 2011 rieslings)

Posted by in Food and Wine, German wine, Travel

Johannes Leitz ebulliently came out to greet us as we pulled up to the family home in the town of Rudesheim am Rhein, with lots of smiles and handshakes, he ushered us into the open kitchen/den where we were to have our winetasting. But first, lunch… I was a bit surprised when Johannes disappeared and then reappeared with salad ingredients and began to prepare our lunch. I’ve never had a winemaker make lunch right in front of my eyes but Johannes is a man of many talents. A bright, fresh and surprising white asparagus and strawberry salad with citrus dressing was an amazing combination of flavours – I was a bit dubious but it was an explosion of flavour. That was followed with a Thai coconut curry soup with prawn paired with the 2009 Rudesheimer Burg Rottland spatlese. The sweetness of the soup was countered by the acidity and balance of the wine, a great match. It’s commonly asserted that riesling goes well with Asian food and this was a prime example of the cuisine and wine working together. But wait, there was more! Johannes brought out a rack of lamb with potato dauphinoise. Johannes gave us 2 wines to pair with that –2011 Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg and the 2010 Rudesheimer Drachenstein Auslese. Johannes believes his wines are all about the terroir and the land certainly comes through in these wines. You can almost taste the stones while you drink the wine, beautifully structured, deep and intense with excellent minerality. Johannes told us a bit of the vineyard history over lunch. The Leitz family has been making wine since at least 1744 but it wasn’t until after WW II that his grandfather rebuilt the winery. Johannes’ father took over the winery later but died suddenly in 1966, leaving the vineyard to his wife who had her hands full with a flowershop, family and vineyard to run. It wasn’t until 1985 that Johannes took over the winery and began to rebuild it. Since then, he...

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I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Aug 04, 12 I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Posted by in Food and Wine, Italy, wine bars

I know this great little place in Covent Garden, it’s called Dalla Terra. It’s easy to miss even though it is in the heart of Covent Garden, just off Long Acre as a matter of fact. Dodging my way past the throngs of shoppers and tourists, I turned off on to a sleek corridor of shops which ended in an open stone courtyard, surrounded on all sides by some very beautiful architecture. Dalla Terra’s glass fronted facade announces its presence in big white blocky letters. Stepping inside though, it’s very inviting, warmly lit with walls of wine lining both sides of the interior. One side of the room has individual tables  whilst the other side has a long communal table, ending with a table for two situated right next to the glass walled wine cellar. There’s also a long bar at the back of the bar if you just fancy a few bar snacks. It’s a wine bar that specializes in small Italian wine producers. They range from the big boys like Banfi and Gaja to small, natural wine producers. As many of you know, I am sceptical of natural wines but there are enough good ones to justify having them on a list and Dalla Terra has some winners. We were there for some wine and food matching. Dalla Terra has a full menu as well as cheese and charcuterie platters.  We tried  a fab dish of marinated hake before moving onto a “board” of meat as it’s termed at the restaurant. Dalla Terra sources as much of their food from Italy as possible and the charcuterie plate was a bonanza of salami! They offer a salami and cheese board paired with 5 different red and white wines and is available for only £20 – bargain and well worth it! The cheeses as well were all Italian. We picked a red wine to go with the cheeses, a Valpolicello, Kairos  from the producer, Zyme. A rich, textured wine, bursting with flavour, a succulent...

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Roses of Bordeaux on board in the Bay of Archachon

Jul 31, 12 Roses of Bordeaux on board in the Bay of Archachon

Posted by in Food and Wine, France

Rosé is still fighting an up hill battle. Despite the variety of styles available, most people either associate it with sickly sweet Blossom Hill or the light, pale rosés of Provence. There are however, wines that fall into the middle and that is where you can find the rosés of Bordeaux. Deeper in colour but still bursting with fruit, they are dry with balanced acidity and some even have a hint of tannin to them. As part of my trip to the Fete le Vin with the CIVB, we got to spend one sunny day on the Bay of Archachon, which is less than an hour’s drive away from the centre of Bordeaux, sailing, eating and drinking those lovely wines. Archachon is the beach playground of Bordeaux and it has a long promenade of cafes facing a wide beach of tan coloured sand. We arrived at around 10am as people were setting up beach football pitches and sun umbrellas. Arcachon is also famous for its oysters and we got to sample them once we were on the boat. A few winemakers were also along for the ride (and they just happened to bring along some white Bordeaux) along with the rosés. White Bordeaux is probably just as misunderstood as Bordeaux rosés. If people know about it, they think of the sweet white wines of the region but dry whites are also made from the sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes that are predominately grown in the region, along with a bit of muscadelle and ugni blanc. The Bordelais seem to be focusing on sauvignon blanc and I do like the wines, they have body and weight to them with lemon and grapefruit aromas and flavours. The rosés made an appearance and were very welcome as we were boating along. A cavalcade of seafood joined the roseés and we had literally buckets of langoustines, crabs, oysters, snails, all on ice and just waiting to be cracked open. We had to shuck the oysters ourselves but it’s...

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