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 Northern England Wine Tasting School, Cumbria U.K. Lake District Wine Tastings and WINE OF COURSE.

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Draft list of Portuguese Wines

After reading the blog below click on the button to see the draft list of Portuguese Wines

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Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

Alsace Wine and New Zealand Wine

Wine Merchants Wine

January 15, 2019

My Christmas stocking contained a Screwpull corkscrew  and two bottles of Alsace Pinot Gris. The wine was from a vineyard in Dambach la Ville, in the Bas Rein, the more northerly vineyard region of Alsace.  When I saw the labels on the bottles, I was pleased to see that they were from Schaef-Warley, which was one of the vineyards we visited during the Dane Valley Wine Appreciation Society's Alsace trip in 2014., and where we had a most enjoyable and entertaining visit. Among discerning wine lovers, Alsace wines are highly prized which is why they are sometimes called 'Wine Merchant's ' wine. Generally speaking, they are largely overlooked in the U.K. This might be because they are traditionally bottled in the German looking 'flute' bottle and mistaken for German wines. They are, however French. More truthfully they are neither French nor German but Alsacienne, or as some would say wine from German grapes made in the French way!  (They are very, very popular in Paris bistrots)


The cork screw came in handy. Alsace  wine producers are sticklers for tradition so corks are still the order of the day. These days the stelvin (metal screw top) is becoming more and more popular . These days, in New Zealand all white wines are bottled with the Stelvin cap.   At a tasting a few years ago the producer who was hosting a wine tasting I attended in London said that the downside was that there was no 'POP' as the cork came out of the bottle. He said that they had come up with a suitable slogan and asked for silence. He then picked up a bottle of white wine and as he gripped and turned the Stelvin top 'there was the usual 'click',  he smiled and said, "Hear the Click of Quality"

Alicante Bouchet grape variety

Enough Stone.

February 14, 2019

Part of the taste of a wine comes from the variety of grapes  used. This picture I took while on a  vineyard visit near Lisbon in Portugal, is of a very unusual variety,: Alicante Bouchet.  The name suggests that this grape variety originated in Spain but Portugal produces many wines from its own indigenous varieties . Look out for wines produced from Baga especially those made by Luis Pato.  Another of my favourite wine producers is Quinta de Roques.  Outstanding wines too from Quinto do Centro. Try Pedra Basta (Enough stone:). a blend of several indigenous varieties including also, Alicante Bouchet!

Winetasting Shop

Fino

June 28th 2019

Now that summer is in full swing, Fino sherry comes into its own. Perfect to accompany food, tapas style, or as an aperitif with nuts and olives, dips etc. I like it to accompany soup as it has the punch to stand up to strong flavours, and with smoked fish for the same season This picture is of me enjoying a Fino in the right setting: an historic bar in Osuno, Andalusia (en-route for Montilla and Cordoba).

Australian wine tasting masterclass in Edinburgh

Wines of Australia, Masterclass Tasting in Edinburgh

July 26th 2019

I was privileged to be invited to the Apex Hotel, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh last week. We tasted 12 wines presented very ably by Emma Symington MW of Wine Australia (www.wineaustralia.com) and Tom Cannavan, the well known wine journalist and broadcaster (htps://wine-pages.com) The aim was to showcase wines reflecting Australia's climatic diversity, winemaking brilliance, and innovative spirit. Although the wines were divided into three flights of four wines, Ocean (Influence), Attitude, and Altitude (Influence) 

all twelve wines had a purity, refined elegance, and precise definition.   My favourite white wine was Logan Wines 'Weemala', Orange, Pinot Gris 201. Fabulous, intriguing nose, touch of spice, different from another favourite of mine, Trimbach Pinot Gris, but there were echos of Alsace there. And, at a RRP of £11.00 Excellent value. The star of the show was, for me, 'Thistledown Wines 'Vagabond' McLaren Vale Grenache 2017 14.5%. A tremendous nose, sweet attack with a thread of liquorice - rich and opulent strawberry flavours on the palate. A delightful wine. 

Australian winemaking has a long history, a successful present and undoubtedly, a great future ahead. 

Gruner Veltliner, Austrian white wine

A very impressive glass (of an excellent white wine).

July 26th 2019

I had a big surprise the other day when a near neighbour who drove past me while I was walking my dog, stopped his car, got out and presented me with a bottle of Austrian wine. He had just returned from a Bike Road trip around the alpine passes of Austria,Italy and Switzerland. It was Mantlerhof, Gruner Veltliner

(see my Lake District Wine Tasting Facebook page) 

Gruner Veltliner, Austrian white wine

A very good partner to a bowl of Scottish mussels in a garlic and cream sauce.

Tuesday 27th Augus2t019

I was browsing the wines in my local Aldi at the weekend. Not a huge selection but enough choice for most people and some good value for money wines.  I noticed a Macon Blanc and my eyes lit up as I'm a great fan of white Burgundy and the best one I've ever tasted was a Domaine Michel Vire-Clesse,  from very near Macon. On several occasions I have taken groups to the Maison-Maconnaise for a meal and a tasting of local wines. In fact , on one occasion, when I asked to speak to the person who would be showing the wines, they look bemused and said, well, that's you! 

Me? I said, hoarsely. 'Mais oui, Monsieur'  (They had no one available who could speak English) Fortunately, most of the wines were Beaujolais Crus, and I was able to get through the tasting ok though what the many French diners thought who surrounded our centre table made of it all, I can only guess. But I digress,,,


There next to the Macon-Blanc was this bottle of Haut Poitou Sauvignon Blanc. More expensive that the Macon-Blanc but still under £7.00. This would be a better match, I thought; even though Haut Poitou is a very obscure wine region.  It was great, crisp notes of lime, lemon and grapefruit on a base of vibrant minerality, and pleasant mouth-watering acidity to deal with that unctuous garlic and butter sauce. A winning combination. 

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(see my Lake District Wine Tasting Facebook page) 

Gruner Veltliner, Austrian white wine

Pic St Loup

Tuesday 27th AUgust 2019

I was in Sainsburys at the weekend and spotted this wine while browsing. Pic St Loup is a noted vineyard area near Montpellier. As it was the last bottle remaining, it had been reduced in price from £10.000 to £8.00, so that was two reasons to buy it, and the third was that I had just purchased a pack of lamb steaks and on the back label was a suggestion: try with herb crusted lamb!

The grape varieties weren't mentioned but I'd guess they might have been Grenache, Sirah, Cinsault. and Mourvedre. 


I dipped the steaks in flour, then egg and then in my own spelt breadcrumbs, combined with chopped Rosemary, Oregano and Chives, from the garden. Then I oven baked them for an hour, and served them with fries and chestnut mushrooms. 


Everything worked really well. The wine had an earthy, spicy depth of flavour,  red fruits and a smooth liquorice finish. Perfect with the lamb and mushrooms.

(see my Lake District Wine Tasting Facebook page) 

Saturday Wine Workshop, Tutored Tasting with 2 course meal

The Langwathby Station Cafe/Restaurant

Tuesday 17th September 2019

Well, what an encouraging start in the lead-up to the first Wine Workshop event!


In under 2 weeks we have achieved the minimum number of bookings required and hopefully, by the end of the month, we might have a few more to add to the 12 who have already booked.


I was once asked to carry out a tutored tasting for two people, which went OK but this is not ideal. and once I presented a wine tasting for a group of 50. This was also OK but not ideal. Most wine tastings fall into the range of between 10 and 24, and happily, this is the optimum range in my opinion. Tastings should have a certain vibe which is achieved with the optimum numbers, and similarly, a certain dynamic. When there are too many people, things can drift, there is a disconnect between the participants, and it's harder for them to focus. So this is why we limit the numbers to 24 participants only. 


I am now engaged in searching for an interesting and balanced mix of suitable Portuguese wines. The list of wines to be tasted will be published in early October. Watch this space!


 


 

Saturday Wine Workshop, Tutored Tasting with 2 course meal

Luis Pato, Vinhas Velhas Tinto

Tuesday 17th September 2019



I have been engaged in searching for an interesting and balanced mix of suitable Portuguese wines. The list of wines to be tasted will be published in early October. However, I do have a draft list and I'm now looking forward to the event more than ever. 

I have to say that Byrne and Co in Clitheroe arev a really outstanding wine merchants as everyone already knows. 


They had all the wines I was looking for and over a hundred more besides!!! 


Luis Pato is a star. The most outstanding wine maker in the Bairrada region. I've met him on two occasions when visiting his winery. I have watched him plant vine cuttings between rows of established vines on grafted rootstock;. an experiment to see if the cuttings could survive and grow on their own roots, protected by the grafted vines which might ward off the dreaded phylloxera; Later, at a tasting of his remarkably good wines, I remember him smiling, as he pointed to the duck on a wine label, 'Pato means duck in Portuguese', he said. 


This wine, his Vinhas Velhas Tinto is likely to be the star of the show!


Click on the button above to see the draft list of wines for the |Portuguese event  on the Saturday Wine Workshop page)




 


 

Saturday Wine Workshop, Tutored Tasting with 2 course meal

Luis Pato, Vinhas Velhas Tinto

Tuesday 17th September 2019



I have been engaged in searching for an interesting and balanced mix of suitable Portuguese wines. The list of wines to be tasted will be published in early October. However, I do have a draft list and I'm now looking forward to the event more than ever. 

I have to say that Byrne and Co in Clitheroe arev a really outstanding wine merchants as everyone already knows. 


They had all the wines I was looking for and over a hundred more besides!!! 


Luis Pato is a star. The most outstanding wine maker in the Bairrada region. I've met him on two occasions when visiting his winery. I have watched him plant vine cuttings between rows of established vines on grafted rootstock;. an experiment to see if the cuttings could survive and grow on their own roots, protected by the grafted vines which might ward off the dreaded phylloxera; Later, at a tasting of his remarkably good wines, I remember him smiling, as he pointed to the duck on a wine label, 'Pato means duck in Portuguese', he said. 


This wine, his Vinhas Velhas Tinto is likely to be the star of the show!


Click on the button above to see the draft list of wines for the |Portuguese event  on the Saturday Wine Workshop page)




 


 

Saturday Wine Workshop, Tutored Tasting with 2 course meal

The Vintner, Langhorne Creek, South Australia

 Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese Blend 14.5% 2016

Tuesday 29th October 2019

I've stumbled upon a few bargain wines recently, while shopping in Penrith. Biferno £8.00 A very drinkable smooth red from Molise in south East Italy: Booths supermarket. 


Douro, a characterful red Decanter Magazine bronze medal winner £6.00 Simply the Best range, Morrisons supermarket.


But the above wine in the headline  is the best bargain. Only an incredible £4.99 at Home Bargains!.