Christmas lunch on the Orient Express

The invite said don´t be late, so of course I was legging it through Victoria Station in order to be on time to jump on board the Venice-Simplon Orient Express for a preview Christmas Lunch trip round the Kent countryside. I arrived at the Orient Express departure lounge on Platform 1 to be greeted by a 1920’s jazz band, happy punters  and actors gussied up as flappers, gangsters, gumshoes and, even dare I say, a faux Hercule Poirot circa Peter Ustinov in Death on the Nile. All part of the show as we prepared to step on board for a 5 hour tour.     Yes, I am talking about THE Orient Express, the glamorous train of the first half of the 20th century that moved royalty and the rich around Europe. The carriages have been restored and were first put back into service in the early 80’s after being hunted down by James B Sherwood at auction. He went on to find 35 carriages in total and has had each lovingly restored to their former Art-Deco glory. We were assigned to Vera,  a carriage which had been taken a direct hit in WWII at Victoria Station, although you would never have been able to tell, the restoration was truly complete, to begin our Jazz age train ride. We were greeted with glasses of Laurent-Perrier, which was a good thing as we were taking this trip in the middle of July and it was HOT! Probably the only hot day this past summer. I can imagine that the Pullman cars make a great place to be when the scene outside your window is covered in snow. We had to use our imagination as our view was not as wintery but the champagne definitely helped. The lunch included half a bottle per person and so I had a quick look through the wine list. There was a nice selection of reasonably priced red and white French wines and I chose a white Burgundy to go with our lunch of butternut squash soup,...

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I hate chardonnay but I love Chablis (oh, really?)

It used to amuse me to no end when I worked in a wine shop and people would tell me that. I mean, Chablis is by definition 100% chardonnay. What they meant was they didn’t like rich, oaky, buttery, often New World (I see you Australia and California, trying to slink out the back door) Chardonnay. But on second thought, it is rather worrying. I mean, how can you NOT know what you’re drinking? It’s a sad fact of wine, especially European wines, that people often don’t really know what they’re drinking. Sangiovese is the varietal ( or grape) and is what Chianti is primarily made up of. Rioja is the name of the region and the wine, tempranillo is the varietal used to make it. I could go on but you get the idea. I got an invitation the other day from the generic wine body Burgundy Wines to promote their grand tasting and seminar on Chablis. The tasting is going to be held at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden on November 5th. It’s funny, I love opera but the only time I ever get to go to the ROH is for winetastings! Anyway, they are also going to be holding a seminar to re-introduce us to the fundamentals of Chablis from Petit Chablis to Chablis Grand Cru and all the intricacies in between. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into White Burgundy. And that’s another thing, White Burgundy, Red Burdundy, why don’t they just call it chardonnay and pinot noir? Maybe that’s an idea for the next seminar…. The tasting is for trade only but if you drop a line to natalie.eude@fleishmaneurope.com and tell her The Winesleuth sent you, they’ll let you in. If you’re interested in learning more about chablis visit their website www.chablis.fr and to learn more about Burgundy in general, visit www.burgundy-wines.fr Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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The Winesleuth and Wine90 checking out the chards…

The Winesleuth (me, Denise) has joined forces with the always entertaining UK wineblogger,  Wine90 (Sarah Newton), for occasional forays into the world of video blogging or vlogs as they’re commonly known. So I called up Sarah and invited her over with a wine of her choice, something to compare and contrast with my white Burgundy. Sarah usually blogs about Italian wines but for our maiden voyage into vlogs, she chose something to go along with the chardonnay theme, an ’05 Californian chard, the ’05 Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnnay from Santa Maria Valley (£18), which she picked up from one of my favourite wineshops, Wines of the World in Earlsfield. Oddbins has been slowly releasing a trickle of wines to the shops and this little gem arrived the other day.   An ’05 white Burgundy from Domaine Martin, the Senaillet, a Macon-Villages, 1oo% chard, a fantabulous mouthful that has found it’s way onto our shores and currently at the reduced price of £6.99 Now this should be an interesting comparison…it’s a tad long but we were delighted and amused….(I can’t believe she’s never heard of creamsicles!) [viddler id=243d96ad&w=437&h=370] Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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