Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Aug 16, 12 Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Posted by in South Africa

Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch, S. Africa,  is located in what many consider to the premium wine growing region of the country. The vineyard is in the Banghoek Valley which means “scary corner” due to that fact that it used to the stomping grounds of local leopards. Nowadays they have all but disappeared leaving the valley to the vines. The vineyard was originally a fruit farm founded in the 1950’s which then became a vineyard in the 1960’s. The family sold their grapes to other vineyards until 1993 when Helmut Hohman, the owner died. It wasn’t until 2003 that the vineyard was revitalized by Adrian Vanderspruy, the current proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards. I had dinner with the winemaker, Simon Thompson, in London not long ago at the wine cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.  Over dinner, Simon related how a study had been commissioned of the vineyard site and they had found that it was a very unique site with the best soils placed in the middle of a hanging valley. The location having good sunlight but still being in a protected site. We touched on the fact that they practice “bio-viticulture”, it’s a phrase that was coined by a Stellenbosch professor and the the philosophy encapsulates both the principles of organic and biodynamic winemaking. Oldenburg believe that winemakers should “tread lightly on the environment”. In this case, they use as little copper and sulphur as possible in the winemaking process and the softest approach. They think a healthy microbial soil structure is very important in the grape growing process. They also do quite a bit of green harvesting to ensure that only the best grapes get through. Over dinner we had the first public vertical tasting of their chardonnays. Rather oaky in style, Simon believes that the way forward for South African chardonnay is less oak and I tend to agree with him. He’s a big fan of chenin blanc and thinks it could be the third wine of S. Africa. I tried the...

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I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Aug 04, 12 I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Posted by in Food and Wine, Italy, wine bars

I know this great little place in Covent Garden, it’s called Dalla Terra. It’s easy to miss even though it is in the heart of Covent Garden, just off Long Acre as a matter of fact. Dodging my way past the throngs of shoppers and tourists, I turned off on to a sleek corridor of shops which ended in an open stone courtyard, surrounded on all sides by some very beautiful architecture. Dalla Terra’s glass fronted facade announces its presence in big white blocky letters. Stepping inside though, it’s very inviting, warmly lit with walls of wine lining both sides of the interior. One side of the room has individual tables  whilst the other side has a long communal table, ending with a table for two situated right next to the glass walled wine cellar. There’s also a long bar at the back of the bar if you just fancy a few bar snacks. It’s a wine bar that specializes in small Italian wine producers. They range from the big boys like Banfi and Gaja to small, natural wine producers. As many of you know, I am sceptical of natural wines but there are enough good ones to justify having them on a list and Dalla Terra has some winners. We were there for some wine and food matching. Dalla Terra has a full menu as well as cheese and charcuterie platters.  We tried  a fab dish of marinated hake before moving onto a “board” of meat as it’s termed at the restaurant. Dalla Terra sources as much of their food from Italy as possible and the charcuterie plate was a bonanza of salami! They offer a salami and cheese board paired with 5 different red and white wines and is available for only £20 – bargain and well worth it! The cheeses as well were all Italian. We picked a red wine to go with the cheeses, a Valpolicello, Kairos  from the producer, Zyme. A rich, textured wine, bursting with flavour, a succulent...

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10 Green Bottles website relaunched

I like specialist wine shops but there are not many around the high street nowadays. Happily, there seems to be more and more appearing on the internet. Some people may find it a bit intimidating buying wine online but just as you rely on the assistance of the staff in a wine shop, the better online wine websites have a bounty of information which can make it easier to choose a wine. 10 Green Bottles is a specialist wine shop that also has quite an impressive new website. They have a great little shop in Brighton so in this case, you can visit the shop before you buy online. 10 Green Bottles pretty much do what they say on the tin – 10 wines from 5 styles: red, white, rose, sparkling, spirits/fortified. It certainly does simplify the choosing process. Their new website is pretty cool, with tasting notes and a countdown of each wine available. Don’t worry if they run out of your favourite wine, if there’s demand and the winery still has a supply of it, they will re-order. The wines are almost all exclusive to 10 Green Bottles and start at around the £9 price point.  I went to a tasting of their wines in London not long ago and I can tell you that they do have some amazing value wines. There was a fabulous white burgundy on show  from Dom. Huber-Verdereau, a cracking rose from Italian producer Col del Mondo and a great cremant de Loire from Domaine de la Paleine NV. Check out their new website, you won’t be disappointed by the selection. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

May 14, 12 Hey, Vini Italiani, what’s up?

Posted by in Italy, wine bars

You don’t have to go far from the UK to find exciting wines and wine regions. It’s easy to forget sometimes that we are very lucky to have access to wines from all over the world. We have so many great wine shops here. I was reminded of this last week when some Texan wine blogging friends of mine were in town and we decided to do a bit of wine tasting. We visited only a few but they were quite  impressed by the range of wines and wine shops in London. One of the shops we visited was the Italian wine specialist Vini Italiani. I like that name, if you say it out loud, it sounds like you’re referring to your friend Vinny. As in “Yo, Vinny! What’s  up?” Anyway. Italy is one of my favourite wine countries because I’m always discovering a new wine or variety or sometimes, both!  Everyone knows Barolo and Chianti, perhaps Nero d’Avola  and, of course, the ubiquitous pinot grigio but there are so many other varieties and wines waiting to be discovered. I had never been to Vini Italiani but had heard about it via Twitter and Facebook and it looked like they might have an interesting selection. What attracted me more then anything were the enomatic machines. I think they are a great attraction in any wine shop and certainly make the prospect of wine shopping a lot more fun. For those of you who are not familiar with the machines or haven’t had the opportunity to use them, they are basically wine dispensing machines which use a chip and pin type card to purchase the wine. You put on a set amount of money on the card and then slip it into the machine and make your choice. The machines dispense the wines in 3 different sizes, at Vini Italiani it was 25ml, 50 mls and 75 mls, all at various price points depending on the price of the bottle, which gets deducted from the...

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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...

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