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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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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Wine (and food) on a Brighton getaway

Apr 19, 12 Wine (and food) on a Brighton getaway

Posted by in England, Food and Wine, Lifestyle

I was invited down to Brighton recently to check out the Brighton and Hove food and wine festival. I’ve been to Brighton a few times and it is relatively easy to get there from London. If you can’t be bothered to do all the legwork yourself you can find Brighton Holidays online. The last time I was there for a winemaker’s dinner at the Hotel du Vin Brighton, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that part of the festival was being held at the hotel and that they would be putting me up for the night there. This isn’t my first time at HdV Brighton, I’ve stayed there in the past and always enjoy walking into the comforting decor of the hotel, alternating between dark and blonde wood, cozy couches and chairs scattered around the main bar and a bustling bistro next to it. From the outside, the building dates back to the 16th-17thth century, complete with timber and whitewalls on certain parts of the hotel.  The interior though has all the mod cons and the suites come with giant bathtubs for a soak after spending the day at the beach, which by the way is literally across the road from the hotel. There’s also a charming courtyard as well as a suntrap of a terrace on the first floor. The hotel was putting on a small wine festival and had local producers and wine shops on hand to show off their wines. There was a large proportion of English wines available, including Ridgeview, Bolney’s and even Plumpton College had their local sparkling on offer. I also tried a fantastic pinot blanc from Stopham Estates. They are located in West Sussex and are the only producers of pinot blanc in the UK. The wine was not at all what I was expecting, not tasting like an English wine. By that I mean it didn’t have the telltale elderflower aromas or flavours nor was it slightly off dry. Bright and chipper, balanced fruit and...

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