Torrontes on the beach

It’s amazing how easy it is to waste time on Twitter! As much as I love it, it can be a distraction. For example, I got up at noon today (really, I’m an early riser, well 9-ish most days but I’m still recovering from jet lag) all ready to finish off this here post and then the little bird started chirping at me. Should I look? Oh, wait, I see a mention, ok, just one peek. Good morning to you @andrewshot. Ok, back to work. Another chirp. WHAT?!! Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? Gotta tweet my remarks on that. Ok, back to work. Maybe I should do #Follow Friday? And so it goes….ANYWAY…. Right before my holiday, I went to the Argentine wine trade tasting in London and had quite a few surprisingly delicious wines made from the white varietal, torrontes. I say surprisingly because when I lived in Buenos Aires, the torrontes served up there was truly horrid.  But I digress…torrontes is claimed by Argentina as it’s flagship white wine. No one knows how it got to Argentina but recent DNA profiling suggests it’s a relative of malvasia and most likely came over with the Spanish missionaries back in the day. Either way, it’s the white that Argentina calls it’s own. Somehow it ended up on a tiny little island in the Calibogue Sound off the the coast of S. Carolina. Yeah, the Argentines have reached even remote Haig Point on Daufauskie Island. I spotted the Crios 2007 Torrontes made by Susannah Balbo, one of the most well known and respected winemakers in Argentina on the Calibogue Restaurant winelist and had to order it. The Crios line is her effort to produce reasonably priced, drinkable wine. We had some for lunch on our next to last day of vacation… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Hairy armpits and the guilty pleasures dinner

Back in February I had a guilty pleasures dinner at my house with some of my foodie blogger friends. We had so much fun that we decided to do it again. Bibendum Dan (aka The Boy) and I got to chatting about what wines we should bring along. At first we had visions of  Blue Nun and pricy claret but then Dan was hit by inspiration – why not bring some esoteric wines, mix it up a bit.  What about some of those crazy, extreme, ‘hairy armpit’ wines – you know, the ones made with grapes gone wild, no rows of vines, no filtering, no sulphur, just pure old grape juice.   So, armed with two of the hairiest armpit red wines I could find in Artisan&Vine, I showed up at Eatlikeagirl ‘s doorstep one wet and wild nite.  We sampled the Contadino #5  2005 from the slopes of Mt Etna – about as natural a wine as you can get. Made by the winemaker, Frank Cornelissen, this one is unsulphured and a bit unstable. Retail £16.50 And from La Casot des Mailloles, the La Poudre d’escampette ’07. Alain Castex farms his vines on the slopes of Banyuls and  let’s his vines run wild amongst the herbs and wild flowers of the hills. It’s all in there. This wine is given a dose of sulphur on bottling but it’s still pretty wild. Retail £19.90 What did we think…… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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The wines of Virginia at the ’09 LIWF w/video

I know it may seem like I’ve been banging on about English wine, English vodka, the English, etc., but I am living here, in England. I have however, not forgotten about my country…”My country tis of thee, sweet land of liberty…”…ahem, um…now where was I? Oh, yeah…anyway, we all know about California wine, the wines of Oregon and Washington and New York’s cool climate offerings but what about Virginia’s wines? Yup, you heard me right, the wines of Virginia. The Jamestown settlers were the first to try and cultivate wines but without much success. Even T.J. (Thomas Jefferson, our third president) back in the day, brought over cuttings from France to his estate in Monticello in the hopes of producing fine wine but to no avail despite his efforts over 30 years. Until recently grapegrowing and wine making in Virginia were pretty much a quixotic affair. I remember going to a vineyard about 8 years ago and it was an “interesting” experience. Since then however, Virginia wineries have made improvements in leaps and bounds and now are known for producing aromatic, creamy viogniers and fragrant, full cabernet francs. There are now over 140 vineyards in Virginia and only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries. If you want to know more of the history, click here. I met the folks from New Horizons Wines, Christopher Parker and his colleague Judy at the ’09 London International Wine Fair. I had a chance to try the Veritas Viognier ’07 and have a chat with Judy… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Toro!toro!toro! – sippin’ on the bull at the LIWF, video

Tinta de Toro. Wine of the Bull? Is that like the Hungarian wine, Bull’s blood? The origins of the name may be lost in the mists of time but I can tell you that tinta de toro is a local varietal found in the western half of Spain, near the town of Zamora. It’s thought that the varietal is an adaptation of that traditional Spanish varietal, tempranillo. Tempranillo does go by so many names, ojo de liebre, tinto fino, tinto del pais, ulle de llebre and tinto roriz (in Portugal) to name a few. The province of Zamora, where the D.O. Toro is located is in the extreme western part of the region of Castillo Y Leon in western Spain, near the border with Portugal. As a matter of fact, the river Duero (or Douro as it’s known in Portugal) cuts through the region.  The D.O.Toro vineyards are in the southeastern part of the province. The region was demarcated in 1987 but they’ve been growing grapes there since Roman times and the wines were quite prized during the Middle Ages and beyond, even being sent on ships to the New World to sustain the conquistadores on the tough job of subduing the natives.  There are currently 8000 hectares under cultivation. Toro is best known for it’s tinta de toro but they also grow malvasia, garnacha and the white varietal, verdejo. The Tinta de Toro red wines are known for being lusher and richer versions of tempranillo due to the vineyards more southernly situation.  Whilst wandering around the London International Wine Fair with Gabriella of Catavino, we came across the Munia brand of tinto de toro and decided to give them a try, the video says it all…. [viddler id=64f1ab91&w=437&h=333] Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Slide show from the LIWF, London 2009

Last week was the London International Wine Fair and to say I had a great time would be an understatement. It was 3 perfect days of discovering, tasting and non-stop talking about wine, wine and more wine. I truly never get bored of talking about wine. This is the third year I’ve gone and even though it seemed to be familiar territory, there’s always something new. I also managed to make it to the Distil show this year, which was all about the spirits. This year in particular, my wineblogger friends from Catavino and Adegga were there to promote the winebloggers conference taking place in Portugal this Autumn. Needless to say, the European Winebloggers conference stand became my home away from home during the 3 days of the fair. I met lots of great producers, tried some interesting and fabulous wines and hung out with both old and new friends. I’d like to shout out to Andrew from Spittoon, Jean from Cooksister, Bibendum Dan and Bibendum Erica, Rob (Wine conversation), German winemaker Patrick  Johner, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino), Andre R. (Adegga), Penny from my fave Chelsea winecellar, The Bluebird, The winemaestro, and my friends from Oddbins, Eleanor and Ana and all the wonderful peeps I met at the fair this year. During the next few weeks, I’ll be posting videos from the fair so keep an eye out for interesting, informative and (I hope) entertaining videos. Until next year’s wine fair…Cheers! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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