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Livery Hall Ceiling

Date: Sun, May 20, 2012 Wine Tasting

Livery Hall Ceiling

The ceiling detail of the Livery Hall in the Vintners Hall, spiritual home of the wine trade in the UK, the Vintners’ Company, one of London’s famous livery companies. Despite the halls long history this ceiling dates from a remodelling in 1932. Just a sampler of the room in which Naked Wines held its latest ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Visiting Freixenet

Date: Thu, May 17, 2012 Wine Tasting

Visiting Freixenet

It might just be down to me having the attention span of a gnat or maybe it was the translation from Catalan and Spanish to a heavily accented English; but I rather lost the thread. Roul Lopez engaged us, to one degree or another, with talk of yeast. I know, I know in relation to ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Jubilee Beers

Date: Mon, May 14, 2012 Wine Tasting

Jubilee Beers

If it is possible to wrap a Union Jack around it someone has branded it a special ‘Jubilee’ product. Good luck if you are a collector for there are hundreds – special edition malts at hundreds of pounds, Jubilee Hampers and Union Jack encased chocolates. Who would have thought a tin of digestives could be ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Messina Hof Tripytch

Date: Sun, May 13, 2012 Wine Tasting

Messina Hof Tripytch

A rare privilege, a few weeks ago, of a chance to sample some Texan wines here in the UK. You don’t see much, if any, Texan wine over here so to have these samples sent direct from the winery – Messina Hof – was a delight. The tasting, organised by Big Pinots, formed part of ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Drink Me! How to Choose, Taste and Enjoy Wine by Matt Walls

Date: Tue, May 8, 2012 Wine Tasting

Drink Me! How to Choose, Taste and Enjoy Wine by Matt Walls

Page 35 – Blagging It, about sets the tone. “Now say one of the following: If it’s a recent vintage: ‘Quite developed for a young wine.’ If it’s an older bottle: ‘Lovely developed aromas coming through’ If it’s from the New World: ‘Clearly New World,; lovely, vibrant fruit’ And so on. I imagine most in ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Goretti Wine Corks

Date: Sun, May 6, 2012 Wine Tasting

Goretti Wine Corks

Nothing says ‘great time’ quite like a grand collection of corks; and say what you like about screw-caps but they just ain’t as photogenic! Taken during a marvellous stand-up buffet at the Goretti Winery [Adegga / Snooth]this was just one little pile for they treated us grandly. The visit to the Goretti’s was part of ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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René Barbier, Penedes, Spain

Date: Tue, May 1, 2012 Wine Tasting

René Barbier, Penedes, Spain

Sadly you cant, as a member of the ‘public’ visit this impressive Moet-built and Moet-soon-sold vineyard-surrounded edifice. This is the winery for the René Barbier range of wines, one of the properties of the Freixenet group. One leaves with the impression that here, the slickly professional Freixenet people, are really not geared up for visitors. ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Wine Cellar at Freixenet

Date: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 Wine Tasting

Wine Cellar at Freixenet

Rather pleased with this photo; so chuffed in fact that rather than keeping it for a Sunday Wine Shot slot later in the year, as originally planned, I’ve hastened its ‘release’ to today. In the dim light of the Freixenet cellars it is even more remarkable I managed to capture something useable handheld. It is ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Freixenet – The Key To Reserva

Date: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 Wine Tasting

Freixenet – The Key To Reserva

As a follow-up to a rather enjoyable trip to Barcelona and Freixenet I’ve been delving into the delights of a memory stick. One of the files hidden within its virtual depths made mention of the famed ‘star-studded advertising campaigns’ produced by Freixenet, specifically one from 2007 that I’ve not seen or heard of before; probably ...

Spittoon.biz - A UK Wine Blog - We Spit... So You Can Swallow

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Waiting for the Bottle

Date: Sun, Apr 22, 2012 Wine Tasting

Waiting for the Bottle

In the never-ending hunt for great and not too expensive places to eat in London the Angel and Crown in Soho has to be one of my favourite places. Only been once mind and maxed out of the overly large portion sizes and gentle atmosphere. Ostensibly a pub with a couple of small rooms above ...

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A Taste of Scotland With A Flavour of Spain

Date: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 Wine Tasting

laphroaig live 23rd September 2010Discover what south western Spain and the remote Scottish island of Islay have in common with a tasting broadcast live and interactive from Jerez

Show date: Thursday 23rd September
Show time: 20:00 CET (GMT +1)

While most of us enjoy a hearty Rioja or a glass of sangria with tapas, the unique relationship between Spanish sherry and a Scottish whisky offers a more adventurous flavour of the region.

It means that when Jerez sherry casks are used for the maturation stages of some Laphroaig whisky expressions, the intriguing result can be traced back hundreds, and potentially thousands of years.

For while Laphroaig whisky, distilled on Scottish island of Islay, boasts a rich 200-year-old heritage, the Jerez region has been producing wine since 1100BC, and fortified wine - sherry - since at least the 13th century, with many believing production began even earlier.

Located in the south west of Spain, Jerez continues to produce sherry for export around the globe. In all there are more than 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of vineyards in the region and sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to darker heavier versions known as olorosos, made from the Palomino grape - with sweet dessert wines also being made from Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel grapes.

Tapas enjoys a similarly rich heritage, believed to have evolved as a cuisine in its own right from a more functional origin when food like bread and pieces of ham were used as a 'cover' or 'lid' - the translation of tapa - for wine to keep flies out of the drink.
Luckily, drinkers quickly learnt that the tapas and wine were an ideal combination for consumption, which is why Laphroaig is bringing together some of its expressions, including the 25 year old and Triple Wood matured in sherry casks, for a unique live online tasting session with specially-prepared tapas dishes.

Broadcasting live from the Harvey's bodegas in Jerez, this live and interactive event will offer a further insight into the creation of the sherry cask-matured expressions, by comparing Bourbon cask matured Laphroaig with sherry matured Laphroaig to assess how the flavours of the wooden barrels help contribute to the distinctive taste.

It will also give viewers a behind the scenes tour of the region and introduce experts who will be pairing a selection of whiskies with authentic Spanish tapas that bring out the rich and creamy notes of the whisky whilst complimenting the bold flavours of Spanish cuisine.

John Campbell, Jose Antonio Souto, Diego Sandrin and Simon Brooking join us live online at www.laphroaig.com/live to take part in this live tasting session on Thursday 23rd September 2010 at 20:00 CET (GMT +1)

Click here to submit questions before the show: www.laphroaig.com/live


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In pictures: Sweden's Icebar

Date: Sun, Sep 19, 2010 Wine Tasting

Absolut Vodka ice bar SwedenWhile the world famous ice-hotel is rebuilt every year (and not because it melts!, they save the ice blocks) the accompanying ice-bar is open all year. You are not going to find much in the way of wine here; and having just been there that's because its fecking cold inside. Absolut Vodka rules the roost - here being served with a berry juice. The glasses are made of ice, as are the chairs. Donning my juvenile hat myself and Helen had a giggly few minutes playing 'slippy chair'.... And yes, you really do need to wear the fur-lined coats and gloves...

The introductory video showing the hotels construction is fascinating - there is a version on youtube. Its a free standing structure held up by little more than ice and spit (or something). Each year selected artists are given a room to design and make their own. It all comes down again in the spring.

Icehotel
Marknadsvägen 63
981 91 Jukkasjärvi
Sweden


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ARSE 2: The People

Date: Wed, Sep 15, 2010 Wine Tasting

arse 2 relaxing on coombe hill

An odd lot are bloggers. You would assume intelligent but some are disgracefully bad at even making the right railway station let alone getting on the right train! ;-) (My fault apparently that Chiltern Railways switched platforms). The more awake/non-hung-over invitees did make it out to the Chilterns in time for a little light ARSE play - that's Andrews Really Secret Event, number 2 as it happens. And frankly if you don't like the acronym then these little events are not for you.

The first was in the Naval Club in London with Riccardo Prosecco and a bring-a-bottle tasting. ARSE 2 was a picnic on the highest point of the Chilterns with stunning views across the Aylesbury Vale. Not that anyone apart from me and some helpers knew this, nor the weather which, after a glorious week, turned to wind and rain for the first half of the day.

So the plan to walk up the hill worked OK despite getting lost in the woods. That WAS my fault. The late arrivals escaped this pre-tasting exercise and were ferried up by car. (Though this came with a price - carrying the final supplies across the hill to our little tasting area).

For some reason plans for a video shoot were forgotten and I hardly took any still photos at all! Nor did I eat much, or even get to try all the wines! Ooops.

Of the wines we began with a selection supplied by Nick of Bordeaux Undiscovered. Two sparklers, two whites, two rosés and two reds - all bar the latter served blind. Food was next - delicious homemade cakes crafted by Tasha Karalsinggam after a selection of salads, meats and so on from Waitrose Entertaining. There were also three cheeses I picked up from my local deli and two pies from my local butcher (Game and Pork and Leek). All this washed down with a Hardy's Pinot Grigio and a bag-in-box Shiraz-Cabernet.

The final wine selection comprised an Australian red from Waitrose and three whites from Oddbins. (Wine specifics saved for another post).

The ARSE concept - in addition to providing a little mystique in not knowing the format or exact location and a little juvenile play with the acronym ("I kiss you on both cheeks") - is to make wine tastings fun, more social and open them up to non-bloggers/non-wine experts/non-tweeters. So, in addition to my friends (many thanks again for helping out), we were joined by husbands and friends to add to the social mix. I hope all enjoyed the day.

arse2 group shot
Participants list

  1. Ailbhe (Alva) Phelan - http://www.simplysplendiferous.com//http://www.twitter.com/Ailbhetweets
  2. Andrew Barrow - http://www.spittoon.biz//http://www.twitter.com/wine_scribbler
  3. Andy Thomas - http://blog.supermarketwinereviews.com/
  4. Densie Medrano - http://www.thewinesleuth.co.uk/http://www.twitter.com/thewinesleuth
  5. Dimas Perkasa
  6. Letitia Perkasa
  7. Eben Upton
  8. Giordana Goretti
  9. Jeanne Horik - http://www.cooksister.com http://www.twitter.com/cooksisterblog
  10. Juel Darkely - http://www.winewomansong.com/http://www.twitter.com/winewomansong
  11. Liz Upton - http://www.gastronomydomine.com/ / http://www.twitter.com/Liz_Upton
  12. Niamh Een - http://www.eatlikeagirl.com/ http://www.twitter.com/eatlikeagirl
  13. Nick Horik
  14. Phil Blyth
  15. Siva Karalasinggam
  16. Tara Devon O'Leary http://www.winepassionista.com http://www.twitter.com/tara_devon
  17. Tasha Karalsinggam

arse2 coombe hill

arse2 cake!


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Latest Wine Books

Date: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Wine Tasting

Details of three new wine publications have come my way. Not actually seen them but thought passing on the details would be good...

Wine Myths and Reality by Benjamin Lewin MW
Available from Amazon.co.uk for £35

Based on years of extensive research, Wine Myths and Reality opens new doors by delving into the reality behind the mystique of wine. Covering all aspects of production and styles of wine worldwide, extending from viticulture to the trade, it explains what really goes into that bottle of wine, whether it's the cheapest plonk or the most expensive cult wine.

The first section asks the basic question: how does viticulture influence the quality of grapes and the style of the wine? Dealing with vinification, the second part asks whether "minimal intervention" winemaking makes better wine or whether wine is really made by the winemaker's decisions. The consequences of the worldwide glut of wine are the subject of the third part. The sections on New World wines and European wines are organized into chapters on individual countries, offering a penetrating analysis of the success or failure of their wine styles.

This magisterial worldwide survey leaves no area of wine production untouched, major trends are analyzed and explained, and the reader gains a unique insight into the reality of modern winemaking.

Quicklook@Wine by Richard Avery
Available as a PDF download from QuickLookBooks for £2.99

If you, like many, love drinking wine but know precious little about it beyond its price in the shop, then Quicklook@Wine provides an instant solution to help you get to grips with this fascinating industry and its products. Wine expert Richard Avery takes you briefly and clearly through the story of wine, exploring the amazing care taken in its production and the marriage of art, science and luck needed for success.

There are many ways of producing different wines. Some, as we know, are much better than others. Learn how and why this is. What is the significance of the use of different grapes? What can you tell about a wine by looking at the bottle in a shop? How should you assess a wine that you have bought? All of these questions and many more are tackled in this intriguing guide to the world of wine.

Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris MW
Not yet available

Inside Burgundy is a serious book for serious wine lovers. Offering unrivalled insights on the vineyards, the wine and the people, the 656-page book covers 1,000 specific vineyards from grand crus to obscure plots.

Internationally acclaimed wine writer, Steven Spurrier, says in his foreword to Inside Burgundy: "To sum up, Jasper Morris has found a way to illuminate the bafflingly complex relationships between people and place, vigneron and vineyard, which are at the heart of Burgundy. Authors have tried before and superb books have resulted; none, however, has succeeded quite so well in presenting the detail, in making clear the pattern, without drowning the reader in nuance, exception and ambiguity."

The book will be published in October, but a 16-page preview of Inside Burgundy can be viewed at http://www.bbr.com/GB/about/inside-burgundy.

Inside Burgundy is written by an expert who combines three decades of intimate on-the-ground knowledge of Burgundy with the healthy scepticism of an international wine merchant.

Jasper Morris has lived, breathed, bought and sold Burgundy since 1981. He has a home there, he makes his living there. He has built up over 30 years the kind of exact, on-the-ground knowledge that only someone based in the region can acquire.

Alongside his treatment of the vineyards, Jasper brings out the role of the vignerons and today's influence on them, and thus their wines. We learn the histories, their philosophies, their relationships (so many cousins, so many marriages, so many tangled inheritances - as Jasper says, the book really demands the subtitle 'The Sex Life of Burgundy').

The wine maps surpass anything previously published in English. They have been produced to match Jasper's work in breadth of coverage and depth of detail.

Wine lovers crave information and judgement: Inside Burgundy offers unrivalled insights into just why this small slice of France yields the world's most treasured wines.

The book will be available for sale in October priced £50, however customers can pre-register to reserve their limited edition signed copy at: http://www.bbr.com/about/inside-burgundy

inside burgundy


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