Cunard Cruise Lines New Wine List

Dec 08, 13 Cunard Cruise Lines New Wine List

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

Recently, I was sent a few samples from Cunard Cruise Lines newest wine list. Cunard have been on the high seas for over 170 years and I’ve always wanted to sail on their flagship Queen Elizabeth II. Years ago, when I was a child in California, I visited the Queen Mary which is now ‘retired’ and moored in Long Beach, CA and was awed by the elegance and style of the ship. I haven’t quite made it to the QE II yet but if their new wine list is anything to go by, I think I’d be very happy on a trans-Atlantic crossing with them.  The list is quite comprehensive with selections from around the world. The wine list covers everything from the great vineyards of the ‘Old World’ , high quality ‘New World’ selections and some excellent examples of ’boutique’ wines from smaller, lesser known vineyards. As an example of ‘off the beaten track’, they have wines from Brazil, England and Israel on the list. I tried the carignan/shiraz dry red from Carmel Ridge. A very drinkable wine, it was delicious. I have tried Israeli wines before and been unimpressed but this wine was balanced, with juicy fruit and no hint of cloying sweetness. The wine finished on gentle spicy note.  I really liked it and would definitely recommend grabbing a bottle if you see it in the shops. Cunard have also added a sake list, with a small selection of sakes from the producer, Akashi-Tai. All their sakes are hand crafted and made with no artificial flavourings or preservatives. The Honjozo sake is one of the more traditional and favourites of sake lovers and after a few sips, I can see why. Dry but having citrus flavours and aromas, a delicate drink but one would expect no less from fine sake. Of course there is champagne on board, what would a cruise be without champagne? Veuve Clicquot and Cunard collaborated to create the first Veuve Clicquot champagne bar at sea on the Queen Mary...

read more

Four Seasons Koh Samui, a luxury tropical hideaway

What better time to talk about beach vacations then now,when we’re battling the snow and ice of a January in London. Last month I went off to Thailand to escape the snow but looks like I came back a bit too early. I do, however, have some great memories from my trip, one of the highlights being a stay at The Four Seasons Koh Samui. Although the island may be known as a party place, the Four Seasons there is tucked away on a private hillside which is only accessible by  a long and winding path up a hill. Once you reach the top of the hill and after a quick check in, a golf cart is summoned to take you to your very own villa. While you’re a guest of the Four Seasons all transport around the hills is by deluxe golf carts. You just call reception and they send a golf cart to chauffeur you to the beach, the restaurant or the spa. The Four Seasons Koh Samui only has private villas which are scattered on the hillside, each with their own private infinity pool and views of the Gulf.  The back of the villa doesn’t have proper walls, only glass walls and sliding glass doors. There are also private residence rentals which are great for families. The villas are big, a good portion taken up by a veranda with a double lounging bed, dining table and of course, a deck which is part of the infinity pool. The cool sound of running water, courtesy of the pool fountain made for a very relaxing stay. The bedroom was huge with big comfy beds and mosquito nets. Those buggers were buzzing about but the mozzie nets worked really well. As did the air conditioning, although at night it cooled down with balmy breezes blowing across the veranda. While we were there, we were treated to a spa treatment in the hotel spa. It’s set in a coconut grove with 5 salas which are covered...

read more

The Table Cafe menu relaunch and new wine list

Aug 20, 12 The Table Cafe menu relaunch and new wine list

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Italy

I went to the relaunch of  The Table Cafe in Southwark the other day.  The main draw for me was the fact that fellow wino, Matt Walls had worked closely with the owner, Shaun Alpine Crabtree to create a wine list that was features wines and grapes that might not normally be found on UK wine lists. The evening was jam packed with the wine-eratti of the blogosphere, thanks to Matt Walls, who was on hand to meet and greet and talk about his new book (Drink Me) as well as the wines that he had chosen for the list. A small, thoughtful list, there were lots of wines that I, as a wine person, wish would get more exposure: for the reds, St. Laurent (Austrian red), Mencia from Bierzo, a reasonably priced and good Nebbiolo (£30), for the whites – Grillo, Verdeca, and Garnaxta blanc. That was just a few examples of the off the beaten track wines to be found. The best thing is the markup is not outrageous, the majority of the wines in the under £30 price range. Table Cafe was also introducing a new menu from Chef Cinzia Ghignoni, lately of Duck Soup in Soho, who wants the kitchen to focus on regional Italian cooking with a special emphasis on the cuisines her home region, Northern Italy. Table Cafe is also a big proponent of sustainability and recently was granted 2 stars by the SRA for their use of  herbs from local allotments and Regent’s Park honey. The menu is divided into small and large plates and they serve Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Brunch on the weekends. Their full menus are here  online. As for us, we had a sampling of the food and wine that evening:  I neglected to take a pic of the first starter which was Baccala mantecato with polenta crisps paired with a Portuguese Adega de Moncao Vinho Verde 2011. Very garlicky but as with all things garlic, so, so good. Loved the polenta crisps,...

read more

A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Feb 28, 12 A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Travel, wine bars

When I was in Paris last, I popped into Juveniles wine bar for a long leisurely lunch. Juveniles is a Paris institution. It was one of the first wine bar of it’s kind to open in Paris 25 years ago. At the time, the concept of  offering various wines by the glass was mostly unheard of in Paris. Scotsman Tim Johnson presides over the bar to this day and was there while I was and stopped to chat with me and my luncheon companion. The menu is French bistro and the wine list while not overly extensive is full of interesting wines from around the world as well as more esoteric French wines. If you’re looking for a non-French wine by the glass, this place is it. Always something interesting on the menu. The day we were in, there was a Chilean wine by the glass as well as Spanish! This is going to be a photo-blog because I neglected to take notes but took lots of pics! Juveniles is on a small street, very close to The Louvre but a  million miles away from the touristy hoards. Wine and Duck A few more bar interior pics. The place is small so be sure to get there either early or late, or better yet, make a reservation. Juveniles is also a wine shop, wines available at retail prices… they have a cricket club Yes, it was one of those long afternoon lunches… Juveniles 47 rue de Richelieu, 1er arrondissement M° Pyramides, tel: 01 42 97 46 49, closed Sundays Have a favourite wine bar in Paris? Leave your suggestion in the comments section Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Jan 25, 12 Restaurant Angelus wants to help you negotiate a wine list

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, restaurants

Thierry Thomasin was the Chef Sommelier at 2-Michelin starred La Gavroche for 12 years and he’s seen plenty. From the rich and famous to the punters coming in to celebrate a special occasion, he’s been on hand to advise on wine. Thierry now has his own restaurant, Angelus, a hidden gem in West London near Lancaster Gate tube stop, a delightful brasserie de luxe serving up modern British French cuisine. The food is delicious but as befits a restaurant run by an ex-Chef Sommelier, he not only wants guests to enjoy the food but also the wine and has made helping his guest negotiate the wine list a top priority. To that end, he has come up with a special dinner to show customers how to handle a wine list. At first he had in mind a dinner for men only but the demand by women to join in has been so great that he’s added another dinner for women and is even contemplating a dinner for both men and women. We had a dress rehearsal of the dinner, a 3 course meal paired with a wine of Thierry’s choosing. Thierry introduced each course along with the wine and why he thought it would go well with the dish. He also offered up amusing anecdotes and tips on what do do when confronted with a wine list, whether it’s as thick as a bible or two pages, he gave lots of helpful hints. A few top tips, call ahead to consult with the sommelier or look online (many restaurants have their lists online) to see what kind of wines are offered. Champagne is a good aperitif, it’s always my favourite, and don’t hesitate to order wine by the glass for each course. As a matter of fact, each dish was paired with a wine by the glass from the restaurant list. There was a lot more and Thierry is a very entertaining fellow but I’m not going to give away his secrets, you’ll just...

read more
%d bloggers like this: