Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tired and Tasted

I've tried a lot of wine today, even by my standards. Over 250 in fact, at various supermarket wine tastings. And even though I can face nothing but a cup of hot chocolate now, I'm looking forward to sharing details on the best of them including an amazing French pair that'll make brilliant party wines (one red, one white), the outrageously good sweetie for £5 (won't use the c-word yet, but you know where I'm going with that one) and the orange wine from Croatia (a white wine made using ancient techniques resulting in a beautiful amber rose colour and unusual - in a good way - flavours). Not to mention the eau de vie Poire Williams with an actual pear inside the bottle (the bottle is placed on the tree so the fruit grows inside it - I know!) and a beautiful red vermouth made for Manhattans. Also, if you love gin, I'm tasting six of the best with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on The Alan Titchmarsh Show this Friday at 3pm. Tune in, pre-gin. 

Current white in the fridge: Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2013, £11.99, Armit
This is from a winery called Seresin, in New Zealand's Marlborough region. Now, the Seresin wines are more expensive. But Momo is Seresin's offspring (momo means offspring in Maori, love that). And what a gorgeous baby it is, with lots of lime and passion fruit. So, smarter than your average. Worked beautifully with slices of smoked salmon (darling). 

Current red in the rack: Cotes du Rhone Villages 2013, £7.99, M&S
Great value Rhone red made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah grapes. This one's all bramble fruit and a kick of pepper. Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are usually better quality and value than simple Cotes du Rhone wines, with more weight and flavour to them. And they make great food wines, especially anything with meat and spice. 

Peace out, winos x

Friday, 10 October 2014

This Little Piggy

Guess where I went last week? No, not to market. But neither did I stay at home. Rather, I had a night away in a hotel called The Pig - on the beach. It's in Studland Bay and I was asked to join a party for dinner and then stay the night. In a bed, on my own, with a sea view and pillows as plump as marshmallows. The hotel is picture perfect, with sweeping views over fields to the sea. I couldn't quite see the beach, but then a friend told me it's a nudist beach so I'm quite relieved about that. Dinner was freshly caught lobster, lamb chops and a beautiful pink blancmange rabbit (really) all washed down with achingly good wines. It was like a dream. The next morning I drank two of these and went wee, wee, wee, all the way home. 

Current white in the fridge: Cliffhanger Riesling 2013, £9.49, Tesco
My mum popped in for a glass of wine this evening and initially crinkled her nose when I offered her a glass of Riesling. But within minutes, she was sipping away quite happily on this lovely German wine from the Mosel Valley. Called Cliffhanger as a nod to the steep slopes on which the vines cling, the grapes have to be harvested by hand (too steep for tractors). And the wine is fresh, ripe and full on with lemon and lime flavours. Perfect gossip erudite discussion enabler. 

Current red in the rack: Truly Irresistible Barbera d’Asti 2012, £6.99, Co-op
Gotta love Italian reds like this, they are such good value for money. Made from the Barbera grape in the northern region of Piedmont, it's all about the juicy black cherry fruit. Simple but beautifully done, it doesn't need food but transformed my lazy plate of cheese and crackers to something approaching indulgent. Sent to me by the team at Co-op, but I'm going back for more.  

More pics of The Pig - on the beach taken by me (like you couldn't tell):

View from my room
Lots of lobster!
A pink blancmange rabbit, obviously. 
Sunrise over the bay
Peace out, winos x

Please note I was a guest of The Pig - on the beach for dinner, bed and breakfast in October 2014. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Premier Cru

I was going to settle down to write this hours ago. But then I started reading other blogs, some SO bloody brilliant, I couldn't stop reading them. Like this post from Reluctant Launderer, in which she makes bread and drinks cocktails. Or this one from Claire at Crumbs (warning, it's sad but there is cake). And then there was this one from Esther - food for thought in more ways than one. You see? That's why I'm always struggling to finish my book club book. I'll get straight to the wines, before I get distracted again.

Current white in the fridge: Waitrose Crisp & Floral White, £4.99, Waitrose
This one was in the fridge at my in-laws on Sunday and honestly, I'd forgotten how brilliantly simple and delicious it is. I mean, that's slightly the point. It's not the most memorable wine but sometimes that's exactly what you want. Something really chilled, cheap and cheerful to sip on before you tuck into a huge roast and crack open a bottle of red. Which is what we did. Still, this blend of Chardonnay and the rather aggressive sounding Muller-Thurgau grapes from the Veneto region in northern Italy does exactly what it says on the tin label. 

Current red in the rack: SW6 Red Wine 2 (Barbera) 2013, £15, www.londoncru.co.uk
Another Italian wine, but a million miles from the one above. Actually, not quite a million miles given that it's made in London. But in terms of taste, this is a wine you won't forget in a hurry. Made from Barbera grapes grown in Piedmont, in northern Italy, the grapes were trucked over to London's first winery called London Cru (in SW6, hence the name) and made into a very lovely red by Australian-born winemaker Gavin Monery. Now, Barbera can be a bit on the weedy side but not here. Obviously, it loves London. This is fabulously perky with a great big dollop of red cherry fruit. If you want to try it, get in there quick because quantities are limited. FYI - these were sent to me by the team at London Cru. But I'll be buying more. Note the funny numbers are because EU labelling laws mean they can't put helpful stuff on the labels, like grapes and vintage. 

SW6 Red 2 (Barbera).
Along with a belated birthday card I thought v. appropriate.

Peace out, winos x

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Crumbs. She's back.

The last time we picked a winner on the blog, my mother wasn't available to do the honours. She was on her way to the cinema '2 c When I wake up'. Not only does she text like a teen, she has a brilliant way of slightly re-wording things (she was actually seeing Before I Go To Sleep). She asked me the other day if I'd ever had my eyebrows 'shredded' (translation: threaded). Anyway, I popped in this morning for a coffee and she did the honours, picking a winner for the brilliant new cookbook from Claire & Lucy MacDonald, Crumbs. She does make me LOL.

Current white in the fridge: Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2013, £6.79 on offer, Waitrose
Had a half glass of this with my mother today, she wanted to know what I thought as she's in charge of buying the wine for the village Harvest Supper. And it's perfect, actually. In that it's a properly autumnal wine: it tastes of baked apples and spice and has got a little bit more alcohol in it, giving it warmth and weight. Lovely Viognier from one of Chile's most dependable producers. Just what's needed, I'd say. 

Current red in the rack: Extra Special Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2012, £7.98, Asda
Made by the De Bortoli family (the ones who make Noble One, a beautiful sweet Semillon that's reached national treasure status in Australia), this is what happens when Pinot Noir feels at home in Australia. There's black cherry fruit and spice, not too heavy but lovely with it. The Yarra Valley is tucked down south, not far from Melbourne. Perfect when the neighbours pop in. 

Peace out, winos x

Competition result! Well done Jane Willis! Email me at knackered mother @ gmail dot com with your details and a book will be on its way soonest.