Volcanic malvasia from Lanzarote

Many Brits can last a winter up until about mid January before they start falling apart. The jet stream delivers warm currents to our south western shores that deceives us into believing that we are further south than we really are. Unfortunately, come February, the jet stream itself seems to have abandoned us, so like migratory birds many people flee the UK for sunnier climbs.  Add a comment

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Popping into Brixton? Make sure to drop in on Market Row Wines

Market Row in Brixton is a little hive of quality food outlets. If it is wine you are after then do make the effort to checkout Market Row Wines. It's a dinky little shop in the arcade that has a strong emphasis on organic wines. Keep in mind the distinction between organic and natural wines. In general I am not a fan of natural wines as there is no sulphur added to help preserve the wine in the bottle. However, organic wines, that often deliver great flavours without chemical additives in the vineyard have much to be admired. This can be a controversial subject as in times of wetness where damp can lead to rot, wine producers may start spraying their vines with copper. How healthy that must be in large quantities is debatable. However, on the whole, organic wines are a great way to ensure you getting the wine as nature intended, less the chemical pesticides and herbicides. It should also be mentioned that there are many wine producers who make their wines organically but do not bother to have them certified. Because the climate is so suitable for growing grapes, the vine growers can let nature do her work without any need to spray.

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This Vina Fuentenarro, Ribera del Duero, 2014 from Spain was a big hit in our office tasting. A big distinguishing factor is the 4 months in American oak which adds a vanilla flavour to the wine. Unlike in some instances in Spanish wines, the oak in the Vina Fuentenarro is really well integrated. It is not overpowering the fruit which is another really attractive dimention of this wine. Think dark berries and redberry, a lovely silky smooth body and good lingering flavours in the mouth. Really good wine.

Another big plus here is the price. At £11.50 this is a bargain. I noticed as I looked across the range in Market Row Wines that they have a lot of options at tis price point. I was particularly tempted by a couple of wines from the Rhone... next time!

Do give this a go if you're passing. Enjoy!

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Sicilian wine that sings: Donnafugata (+free recipe ebook)

Back in the Autumn I was invited to a lovely lunch at the Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell to meet the elegant José Rallo of Donnafugata wines in Siciliy. We tasted six wines from the portfolio, pairing each with a different course.

These are wines of character and there is no one better to present them than José. If you watch the video below you can see that we were serenaded as we tasted. Add a comment

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Dos & don'ts of Valentine's Day (it's simple)

Eating out on St Valentine's Day is cheesy (we all know that), so many of us choose to discuss this sensibly with our partners and agree to go out on another night close to the 14th. The palpable shudder of relief in being spared the grimness of other couples celebrating this valiant and noble saint's day, is also sometimes accompanied by a pang of missing out. Even if the man doesn't feel it, he ought to admit that it is worth hedging against.

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Opening night at wild + lees

InDulwich popped down to wild + lees at 2 Half Moon Lane for it’s opening last night and enjoyed a glass of fresh and fruity Cline Viogneer 2015, enough to buy a bottle to take home. It was a relaxed opening; Open bottles and some nibbles, couple sitting at the window counter drinking a bottle of cava and interesting labels to catch the eye.

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Cote de Brouilly: 1 sip & I'm loafing in bars on boulevards of #Paris.

Whilst walking at high speed through Herne Hill last Sunday I passed the newly established Wild & Lees under the railway bridge in Herne Hill and dropped in to see what was on offer. With so much talk of our amputation from Europe, I felt a pang of nostalgia for the boulevards and cafes of Paris at the sight of this bottle from the beaujolais subregion of Cote de Brouilly.  Add a comment

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Villa Maria Private Bin Shiraz, Hawkes Bay 2014

Attractive wine for Autumn, lots of plum and dark fruit aromas, a touch herb and even liquorice flavours. Very attractive and easy to drink. 

As temperatures fall through the floor here in Britain our veg turns heartier, Add a comment

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