If you get the chance to try 18 whites and 32 reds from the same region, the same year and the same producer, you should not let it pass. With prices from £17 to £250 per bottle, this is Burgundy, not bargain supermarket wine, but many of them do represent excellent value for money. Some of the most pleasing wines were the £17 Beaujolais. BRENDAN BARRATT reports.
In the basement level St James’s Room at 67 Pall Mall, London, the glasses were well and truly out for the tasting that aimed to test the assertion of celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, that only a “total numpty” would buy English wine.
We talk a lot about fizz on this site and I personally adore sampling sparkling wine from as many regions or producers as possible. With our retailers offering an ever broader selection of bubbles at varying price points, it has been pleasing to see crémant take such a mainstream position in bottle shops and supermarkets.
The centre of Verona has a quite a strange charm that transports one back in time. Not to the Roman age but rather to a time of over-exposed matt film photography; old school markets and the bustle of tourists and locals that can appear as quickly as they vanish at the turn of a narrow street.
Tim Hall from Scala Wine is a well known Champagne expert and importer specialising in a very carefully selected list of wines. A tasting that pits the NKOTB, English Sparkling, with the established global standard for what sparkling wine actually is, Champagne, did not escape his radar. Gratefully he shares his response here:
I think it is great. and I am entirely comfortable. It's all part of the fun of assessing wine - this is a wine specialist club, not a bench marking official outfit. Steven is obviously part of the story of this kind of face-off so a no-brainer for the club's marketing. I'm glad a club I am a member of is doing this tasting.
We’ve heard a mixed response to the Steven Spurrier’s imminent ‘Judgement of London’ tasting, ranging from excitement to outrage. In this thoughtful reply to my email, and whether you agree with him or not, Terence Kenny speaks with decades of industry experience:
Knowing Steven Spurrier and his inquisitive well directed love for wine, what he is doing is good and I am glad that he is doing and not some 27 year old geek with a shelf full of half read books and 500 posts on facebook about wine. Spurrier is legitimate.
It seems that English sparkling wine producers don’t appreciate their customers being referred to as “numpty’s”. Responding to Marco Pierre White’s barbed comments, a tasting has been organised called the Judgement of London (#JoL) at 67 Pall Mall, London’s wine focussed private members club.
The tasting will be in the spirit of the famous ‘Judgement of Paris’, also presided over by Steven Spurrier in 1976, adding a layer of historical context to the proceedings. He himself will compére the London event which is sure to raise eyebrows, as Spurrier himself is a producer of English Sparkling Wine at Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset.
Wine Tasting in Abruzzo - tasting notes
Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.
Abruzzo: fine wine in an Italian idyll
East from Roma to Abruzzo
From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.
Watch: Wine Tips from the Grape-Pickers Party
After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of.
Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!
From Picasso to Pecorino Wine (not cheese!!)
What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.
Fermo and the genteel pleasures of the Palazzo B&B
The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.