Paris comes to London,winetasting at The Dorchester with Le Meurice

Jul 13, 11 Paris comes to London,winetasting at The Dorchester with Le Meurice

Posted by in Hotels and Spas

Walking into The Dorchester, I was on time for once. No, I was early! And why was I early? Well, when Le Meurice of Paris says don’t be late on the invitation, one does not want to risk being left out in the cold. Le Meurice is part of the luxury hotel group, The Dorchester Collection and the Head Sommelier of Le Meurice was in London to give us a taste of their monthly wine tastings, held on the first Tuesday of each month. This being Le Meurice, it’s not any old winetasting but a tasting led by Estelle Touzet, the aforementioned Head Sommelier paired with canapes created in conjunction with the hotels Executive Chef, 3 Michelin star rated, Yannick Alleno. They call it Les Nocturnes du 228 because the hotel is located at 228 rue de Rivoli and the event is held in the evening, obviously. Estelle was extremely friendly and easygoing, full of information about all of the wines we tried as well as the food paired with it. Originally from the Loire Valley, Estelle started out in the kitchen before switching over to be a sommelier. She told us that she and Yannick work closely together so that each pairing is a seamless mouthful. Where does the wine end and the food begin, is the question. As Estelle is French and the hotel is in Paris, I thought all the wines would be French but I was wrong. Estelle is a young, adventurous sommelier and she likes to push the boundaries of the wine world. She has not only an extensive list of French and European wines on her list but also goes out to find new and exciting wines from Australia, America and New Zealand amongst others. We blind tasted four wines, 2 whites and 2 reds, along with 4 matching canapes. Estelle would give us hints and try to draw us out but even us seasoned wine pros were hesitant to begin shouting out names and places but after...

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Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

May 25, 11 Some finds from the 2011 London International Wine Fair

Posted by in England, London

Last week was the London International Wine Fair which meant that there were producers from all parts of the world in town to show off their wines as well as numerous launches of new lines and blends to show off to the trade. To say there was a variety of wine on show would be an understatement. White wine, red wine, even one of my favourites, sherry had a stand or two for tastings. Every night after the fair there was an event or 3 going on. The first night, I headed over to Camino in Canary Wharf to check out the launch of Tio Pepe’s Fino Rama sherry. A delicate,dry sherry that is only good for 3 months! It’s the only wine I know of that has a shelf life. The reason it has a shelf life is because the sherry is unfined, unfiltered and drawn from the middle of the cask. The only thing they do to it before bottling is allow it to settle before going into the bottle. This was their second offering of the Fino En Rama and this year’s vintage was much clearer then last year’s. It was a very cold Spring and the wine had two weeks to settle  because it was 2 weeks before they could bottle due to the Easter holidays. A rather delicate wine with yeatsy, bready notes on the nose, citrus and nutty flavours with a dry finish, drinking that with almonds was almost impossible to put down! I was in Croatia recently and so had to stop by the Croatian wine stand at the LIWF. I had to chance to speak with Mladan Rozanic about his red wines as well as try a couple. Besides the 2007 SuperIstrian which I had tried in Croatia, I also sampled his 2007 100% cabernet sauvignon and 2007 100% teran ( a native grape of Istria), both were monsters of rich dark fruit, the cab having  pronounced mineral notes on the nose. The teran was a...

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Good grub at the Fox and Anchor (& the wines are pretty good, too)

How can you dislike a wine list that divides it’s wines into amusing descriptions like these? I came across that saucily titled winelist at the Fox and Anchor, a pub in Smithfields that wants to be more then a boozer but less then one of those chi-chi gastropubs that seem to have taken over the capitol. As Scott Malugh, general manager, explained to me, he wants to the Fox to go back to it’s roots as a place where you can go and relax with a pint. Where, cliched as it may be, “everyone knows your name” But Scott not only wants to make his pub friendly and personable, he also wants to offer patrons, both regulars and passersby, good British food and not charge an arm and a leg for the pleasure of dining on local produce. The pub is divided in two with the front half having a traditional bar on one side and tables lining the wall opposite. It’s only when you pass by all that into the second room that it you walk into a small dining room surrounded by cozy dining “snugs”. Semi private small rooms that seat from 2 – 4 people, perfect if you want to have your own little party while still being able to look out the doorway and see all the action. While I was waiting for my dining companion, Ms Fundamentals to arrive, Scott suggested I try one of their real ales. The Fox has an extensive list of real ales both on tap and in bottle, mostly from the UK but I did spy Sam Adams from the good ol’ US of A on there. I wanted something different so asked Scott to surprise me. Chalky’s Bark, bottled ale from Sharp’s was duly poured. An ale with real ginger added for a bit of a kick. Not exactly your traditional English ale but it was tasty and I could certainly get used to drinking it. Not too heavy either, I sometimes find...

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Fairtrade supper and wines

Fairtrade fortnight is here and as a fair minded person, The Winesleuth is going to be doing her best to find out more about the Fair Trade wine business. I got a taste of it a few weeks ago at the Friday Food Club‘s inspired Fairtrade Dinner, making an entire meal with Fairtrade inspired menu. Lee Behan is the fellow behind Friday Food club and it’s him who you will find most likely in the kitchen, although FFC does occasionally have guest chefs at the helm. For this special FFC Fairtrade Dinner, Lee had teamed up with the Modern Pantry‘s Anna Hansen to cook up a Fairtrade meal with a Modern Pantry spin to it. Lee and Anna served up a delicious starter of Spiced Burford Brown Hen Scotch Egg with yuzu tomato chutney, green pea curry and chilled curry paste. A very tasty, spicy scotch egg tempered by the sweetness of the yuzu tomato chutney. Of course Fairtrade wines were in abundance and we had a South African Sauvigon Blanc, the 2010 Percheron from Stellenbosch paired with the egg. The wine was ok but I found it to be a bit too nettle-y and it had a rather stark finish to it. Others around the table enjoyed it but I thought it was a little bit too acidic and had a bitter lemon finish, not quite balanced, almost but not quite. The wine that I did like was the red that was served with the main of Loin of Venison served with chestnut and nutmeg puree, pomegranate & rhubarb jelly and slow roast grape jus. The Los Unidos 2010 Fairtrade Carmenere/Cabernet Franc from the Central Valley of Chile. A robust red, slightly confected on the nose but showing good structure and plenty of red and black fruits on the palate. It was a good wine to with the venison, the tannins not too harsh, and the wine finishing on a spicy note. I quite enjoyed it, the only thing I found disagreeable was...

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“Every wine tells a story”. Not your boring old wine book…

I’m now officially an “international wine expert”. That’s what it says on the cover of  Tara Devon O’Leary’s new book, “Every wine tells a Story”. Well, it doesn’t name me directly on the cover but I was one of the contributors for Tara’s book and I’m very excited to see my name in a book ( and no, my high school yearbook, doesn’t count). When Tara asked me to write a short post about my favourite wine experience of the year, I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. I get to do so many fun things with and around wine that it was hard for me to pin down a ‘favourite experience’ but try I did and came up with the video that Eat Like a Girl and I made last year. You know, the one where I’m dressed up as a gorilla. Tara got 28 other wine pros, not only based in London but also from around the world. She has everyone from Steven Spurrier, renowned wine consultant and write to Assaf Dudai, who writes for the latest I-Phone wine app, Haidu to contribute their stories. It was fun to read about everyone’s vinous adventures and occasional mishaps. Whether it was red wine or white wine, sparkling or sweet, practically every wine style you can think of is in there. I’m sure Tara’s book is going to be a bestseller, how could it not be with such stellar contributors? You can find out more on FB here, buy the book from or read up on the contributors here. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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