Almost summertime! Hungarian Rose wine – video

Last weekend was beautiful, sunny and warm, I even managed to get a bit of a tan just sitting out in the backyard. When the sun comes out and it’s warm enough to bare my legs and arms, I like to pop open a couple of rosès. We also had a lovely brunch to go along with the wines. I had a French rosè, the Jules ’08 which I got from Oddbins, £6.99 and a Hungarian rosè, the Pannonhalmi ’08 which I think retails for about £10. I had gone to a Hungarian winetasting the previous week and the producer Pannonhalmi Abbey Vineyard had given me a rosè to take home and try. The Pannonhalmi vineyards have been in existence since 996 A.D. but have had their ups and downs over the years. They fell into disuse during the Communist years but in 2000 were revived and are now thriving. I got Sarah (wine90) to be my cameraperson and here’s what I (mostly) thought of both of them… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Cloudy Bay, video winetasting at the Bluebird

Cloudy Bay=Sauvignon blanc=New Zealand’s iconic wine. The one that put it on the map.This was all I knew about NZ sauvignon blanc until I moved to London and had opportunity to try it. Cloudy Bay has been so iconic that consumers might not even know how it tastes but buy it on the name alone.  Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Until recently, it was fabulous but their main wine maker, the one who put them on the map left, after being taking over by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy) So, how is it now? Well, Wine90 (Sarah Newton) and I were at the the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird the other night to try the latest releases which included some surprisin other varietals as well as the usual  sauvignon blanc on show. See what we thought… Tasting notes: Cloudy Bay 2008 Sauvignon Blanc – nettly nose with notes of ripe pineapple and other tropical fruits. Good acidity but quite a rounded mouthful with a long lime finish. I liked it but think it’s a bit overpriced at £21.99 Cloudy Bay 2008 Gewurztraminer  – We both loved this one! Honeysuckle, rose water, and apparently Turkish delight on the nose, a lovely palate of more honeysuckle and orange blossoms. I thought it was an excellent example, lush and well balanced with just enough acidity to stop it from becoming louche and flabby. £26.00 Cloudy Bay Te Koko 2006, released 2009 –  this is their boutique wine, made from a wines that have been fermented using indigenous yeasts. A few barrels were put aside and they let nature run it’s course. The result was this rich, complex, creamy wine with layers of fruit, smoke, butter, and gingery spices, a fabulous wine. £37.00 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2006 – New Zealand is certainly carving out a niche for themselves in the pinot noir stakes. I’ve had a fair amount of NZ PN and Cloudy Bay’s offering is typical New world – loads of smoky bacon and black plums, wood spices lurking in the background. On the palate, lush tannins, but a...

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Balfour video winetasting at the Bluebird

Well, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I’m a big fan of Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose from Hush Heath Estate and I’ve written about it numerous times. I even took a couple of bottles to the American winebloggers conference last summer where it was a big hit. Last week, Penny from the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird, had a tasting of the Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose. I took along my fellow wineblogger, Wine90, so she could see what all the fuss was about. We did a short winetasting video after the event and here it is… The Balfour Brut Sparkling Rose is available from the Bluebird, retail  £39.99 Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Video winetasting – Wakefield Chard from Oz

There seems to be a lot of debate in the twitterverse at the moment about free samples and whether or not we bloggers seem to “owe” it to the wineries (or PR flacks) positive reviews. And how objective are our reviews if they’re free? I don’t think I “owe” anyone a good review because they’ve given me wine. Although they’re probably banking on me writing a positive one. It may be a tough balancing act but I find that I write about wines I’ve enjoyed  as opposed to wines I’ve disliked. Why? Well, there are enough negative people out there and intelligent readers of my blog have probably already figured out what syle of wines I prefer anyway. Besides, my motto is “always looking for the good stuff”, do you really want to read about the bad stuff? If so, drop me a line and I’ll start bashing wineries and their wines left, right and centre.  I do consider myself lucky in that, since I work in the wine industry, I have trade access that other winebloggers  may not. And, living in London (which really is the centre of wine universe) I’m lucky enough to be able to attend the numerous trade tastings that seem to be constantly on the calendar.   So why am I talking about samples? Because I got one the other day, that’s why! It’s from Wakefield winery, based in the Clare Valley, South Australia. Wakefield Estate wines were the first estate grown and bottled wines from Wakefield winery and were first released in 1973. Since then they have been consistently winning national and international awards. The estate is situated in the Clare Valley on Australia’s famed “terra rosa” . Check out their website to get the full story. In the meantime, I received the ’07 Wakefield Cabernet and the  ’07 Wakefield Chardonnay. I did a bit of winetasting and cheesematching with the chard, check out the video…. [viddler id=d2973d84&w=437&h=333] And the ’07 Wakefield cabernet? I liked it, here are my brief notes: nose –  first impression, fresh – ripe, rich blackcurrants, lots of minty goodness,...

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Sambrook’s Brewery in the heart of south London

I know I usually blog about wine but what’s more traditional then real English cask ale in the heart of London? Being an American and a winedrinker primarily, I’ve never really gotten into the whole ale thing but I was given the chance to tour Sambrook’s brewery in Battersea to learn more about this very English beverage. At one point, London was a huge producer of English ales but most breweries have closed, with Fuller’s in Chiswick being the only major brewery still in operation. Duncan Sambrook just thought it was plain wrong that London had only one brewery. Duncan had a vision to open his own London based brewery. By a stroke of luck, he met and partnered up with David Welsh, formerly of Ringwood Best Bitter, to open up a twenty barrel plant in Battersea. The place has only been in operations 4 months but they are doing gangbusters. Real English Ale is made with only 4 ingredients, water, malt, yeast and hops and the cask ale is similar to champagne with it’s second fermentation, it’s technically “alive” when it leaves the brewery because it’s not pasteurized so the yeast is still able to work it’s magic.  I found out that the ale even “ages” in the bottle and although it has a limited shelf life, it does improve with age. I guess you could say it’s an accelerated version of aging wine. They also use isinglass to fine it, just like wine. I was liking the sound of this ale more and more. During our tour we got to see the malt before it’s ground up, they aim to use as many traditionally produced ingredients as possible and Duncan told us all about how the malt was roasted and then turned by hand for 3 days with a special pitchfork! That was pretty cool. He also showed us the hops, they use 3 to give their ale it’s distinctive flavours- Fuggles, Goldings and Boadicae (they sound like a law firm to me). Boudicea was specially produced for English ale making. We even got to stick...

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