Category Archives: Blog

A Beginners Guide to Ageing Wine

What does ageing your wine mean?

Ageing a bottle of wine means that you are deciding to place a bottle of wine into storage, usually over a number of years. If ageing is carried out correctly it can help you to create new and exquisite flavours within the wine.

Interestingly only 1% of all wine in the world should, in fact, be aged. So, it’s hardly a surprise the romanticism within the wine industry surrounding aged wine, considering both its rarity and the way it can transport you to a special moment in time.

Which wine can I age?

So, how do we choose which wine to age?

Unfortunately, there are no quick, easy solutions, as often each wine has different rules that dictate how long you should age it. Generally speaking, only truly ‘premium’ bottles of wine will benefit from ageing. Wine under thirty pounds, as a very, very broad rule of thumb, is best consumed now.

To help make the choosing less strenuous, we recommend taking a trip to see your local wine merchant, who will be able to guide you. Or you could invest in a wine education course, provided by our brilliant partners WSET, to enhance your wine knowledge.

How do you store your wine ageing?

Now you have chosen your wine and you know it’s suitable for ageing. But how do you store it?

This may seem obvious, but the temperature at which your wine is stored is vital. Wine should be stored between 7° and 18° Centigrade, with ideal humidity levels standing between 50% and 8%. A wine cellar is naturally optimal for storage, and although not every household can facilitate one…we can dream. Our partners, Sorrells, are experts in creating unique, bespoke wine rooms and cellars. You can even design your own custom wine room with their interactive wine cellar builder.

Until you’re ready to invest in the wine room of your dreams, you can try and recreate these conditions, for instance in an unused cupboard where you can control the conditions by keeping it cool and dark.

Finally, a really simple tip is to store your wine bottles on their side. As well as being space efficient, this will help keep the cork from drying out. Exceptions to this are some non-vintage Ports and Madeira wines. There’s usually a diagram on the back label to help you.

Taking a sip of a well-aged wine, like breathing in the sweet scent of a family cake recipe, can have the extraordinary ability to allow you to relive a past memory or moment. If done right, the process of ageing wine can transform it, offering complex new flavours and textures.

Simply follow our beginners guide to ageing wine and you will soon find yourself with an envious collection of aged wine that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

The Must Have Glassware For Wine Lovers In 2020

The next top priority after choosing the perfect wine is finding the perfect glass to drink it from. “A glass is a glass” some people may say, but we all know that drinks, in general, taste different depending on what kind of tableware they’re drunk from, and the same is even more true for wine!

This is why we’re so excited to have partnered with Richard Brendon – their handblown glassware is not only the pinnacle of quality and style but ensures nothing less than the best drinking experience possible!

Richard Brendon Glassware

Bowls

Wine glasses traditionally have a wide bowl shape to aid oxidation and improve flavour, as well as a narrower rim (or mouth) to direct its aroma straight to the nose before and during drinking. Stemmed wine glasses are popular not only for their elegant appearance but also the more practical reason of preventing chilled wine from being warmed by cupped hands. Some like to use different glasses depending on what wine they’re serving, but we love the sets offered by Richard Brendon, who have specially designed their glasses to enhance every type of wine, including even port and sherry.

Stemless variants (sometimes referred to as goblets) are also quickly earning their place in wine enthusiasts place settings as versatile tableware that can be used for any occasion and many a drink.

Glass Decanter

Decanters

Decanters can sometimes be seen as superfluous, a novelty, or even downright intimidating to some wine lovers, but they really are a fantastic piece of glassware worth investing in! Not only can they make a stunning centrepiece and decoration, they really help you get the best out of your wine’s flavours, bouquet, and appearance. However, it’s good to remember that not one size fits all and that different wines suit different decanters, and some not at all!

Now that we’ve armed you with some new information that you might not have been aware of before, perhaps you feel like expanding your collection? Find more stunning glassware for every occasion with our official partner, Richard Brendon.

Wondering Where to Book Your 2020 Wine Tasting Holiday? Look No Further!

With so many wonderful locations to choose from, it can be easy to feel not only spoilt for choice when it comes to wine tours to straight up overwhelmed by your options! Never fear, as the team at The Wine Show and our new partners Winerist are here to take the guesswork out of your holiday options, and that starts with a humble suggestion: Loire Valley.

 

Nestled in Central France, Loire Valley may seem an obvious suggestion for a wine tour, but predictability does nothing to dampen the charm of this gorgeous area. Known as The Garden of France, the valley is well known not just for its exquisite wines but its picture-perfect scenery and rich heritage.

Bursting with history, Loire Valley is the perfect choice for anyone with an interest in history, whether your preference lies with WWII, the French monarchy, renaissance architecture or famous personalities such as Da Vinci and Joan of Arc.

And it’s not just the history that’s rich – quality soil results in  crisp, fruity flavours that delight wine-lovers all over the world, and can be enjoyed with picnic foods amidst the lush scenery or with gourmet lunches at breathtaking chateaux – the choice is yours!

Travel is simple, with two international airports in the area and excellent rail links to Paris. In fact, for some packages, you don’t even need to take time off, and can instead break up the humdrum of daily life by experiencing a half day tour at the weekend! And once you arrive, you can soak in the gallic charm but foot, bicycle, or even railway.

The views – and wine! –  may take you to new heights but the expert guides will keep your feet firmly planted on the ground as they impart local history, wine trivia and tips to help you taste like a pro.

 

Find out more about the many wine tours available in this beautiful location and book your Loire Valley experience today – we can’t wait to see you there!

How Will Amelia Singer Be Spending Christmas This Year?

How Will Amelia Singer Be Spending Christmas This Year?

 

As we continue to celebrate the countdown to Christmas, we caught up with our very own Amelia Singer to find out her Christmas traditions and how she’ll be enjoying her time over the festive period. 

 

Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? 

Amelia: The naughtily nice list is always the way to go! 

What are you asking the big man for? 

Amelia: I never know what to ask for! I love experiences so if my family can plan some awesome fun times either at the theatre or at an interesting music event or new restaurant then I will be over the moon. Working abroad just makes me appreciate family time even more acutely.  

What does a regular Christmas day look like in the Singer household? 

Amelia: A Christmas meal which goes on for at least 5 hours! It’s a day which combines my hybrid heritage of American and Central European via traditions and food fare. New England seafood salad, tomato cabbage and rich chocolate desserts will all make an appearance as well as the goose and sausage stuffing! 

What will you be pairing with your Christmas dinner this year? 

Amelia: We still have some incredible Austrian Gobelsburg Tradition Gruner Veltliner left over from my sister’s wedding. This concentrated and complex Gruner will go fantastically with the goose. I also have a magnum of Littorai Pinot Noir which I want to open as a nod to my last year living in California. It’s also a fantastic companion with turkey and devils on horseback! And with the pudding course –  NOT port but Ben Rye made by Donnafugata on Pantelleria (island off Italy) . It is such a complex and intriguing wine; full of ripe and rich notes of apricot and peach followed by sweet sensations of dried figs and honey and aromatic dried herbs. It will be great with the sweet desserts as well as the cheese board. 

What will be your go to wine glass to enjoy this delicious wine?

Amelia: Well obvs Richard Brendon X Jancis Robinson are the best all round glasses go to. At my parents’ place though we have a hodgepodge of glasses from aesthetic but not completely functional 1930s coups to functional Riedel and Zalto. In all honesty, our house at Christmas is a buzzy open house so as long as I can get a hold of a glass or two… I will be happy! 

What would be your top tip for hosting a successful Christmas day? 

Amelia: Have the main meal at 5pm. That gives you plenty of time to open presents, prepare the meal, get changed into party gear and actually enjoy the day with whatever traditions you want to incorporate. Have cold cuts/ cheese for a simple lunch which people can help themselves to but let the main event be late afternoon.  

Did you enjoy reading about Amelia’s Christmas traditions? If you enjoyed this, you’ll also enjoy discovering what our very own Joe Fattorini gets up to over the festive period. Catch up with Joe here.

How Will Joe Fattorini Be Spending Christmas This Year?

How Will Joe Fattorini Be Spending Christmas This Year?

 

With only two days left to go until Christmas, we sat down with our resident wine expert,  Joe Fattorini, to find out his traditions and how he’ll be spending his time during the festive period! 

 

Are you on the naughty or nice list this year?

Joe: I am a very naughty boy. And I worked out years ago you still get the presents. I’m not even that keen on the word “nice”. I once ran a student restaurant and banned diners from using “nice” in their reviews. 

What are you asking the big man for?

Joe: A good night’s sleep. We have a two-year old. That and a book about the early TV chef Fanny Craddock. She lived in my Grandparent’s house once. And left the kitchen in such a state they had to redecorate.

What does a regular Christmas day look like in the Fattorini household?

Joe: There is no regular Christmas Day. There’s a Swedish Christmas Eve. And sometimes a Yorkshire Christmas Day with people from the Dales, to York, to Harrogate and Huddersfield. Huddersfield I tell you. But this year is a quiet one with friends. Then the Yorkshire people arrive on Boxing Day. 

What will you be pairing with your Christmas dinner this year?

Joe: I do know it will be an enormous bottle. I’ve just no idea what’ll be in it. I love magnums, jeroboams and Marie-Jeans when there are lots of you. It doesn’t need to be swanky wine. But there’s something special about all sharing the same bottle.

What will be your go to wine glass to enjoy this delicious wine? 

Joe: I have a cluster – is that the right word? – of Jancis Robinson + Richard Brendon One Glasses. And a young wine decanter. I’m going to decant the white. People should do that more often.

What would be your top tip for hosting a successful Christmas day?

Joe: Buy the biggest bottle that will satisfy everyone round the table. And don’t serve your best wine. You won’t remember it and nothing works that well with cranberry sauce.

Did you enjoy reading about Joe’s Christmas traditions? If you enjoyed this, you’ll also enjoy discovering what our very own Amelia Singer gets up to over the festive period. Catch up with Amelia here.

Are You a Wine Buff or Wine Bust?

You don’t have to be a wine expert to enjoy drinking it… but it helps! We’re proud to be partnered with WSET, who are at the forefront of wine education here, and we love to put our knowledge (and that of our students) to the test! Think you have what it takes to be a wine buff, or perhaps even work in the wine industry one day? Try our quick wine quiz and see how you measure up! Note down your answers and check the correct answers at the end…

 

Q1) What does it mean for a red wine to appear brown in colour?

Q2) Red wines are made from black grapes and white wines from white grapes: true or false?

Q3) Why can it be difficult to pair wine with chocolate correctly?

Q4) Why is it important to swirl wine before sampling it?

Q5) How might you describe a wine that made your mouth water after tasting it?

Q6) Sense of smell is a vital factor in wine tasting: true or false?

Q7) Can any red wines be served chilled?

 

Answers: 

A1) The wine hasn’t “gone funny”, it’s merely an older wine. In contrast, younger reds can have more purplish-violet shades instead.

A2) Both! Grape varieties can indeed affect what type of wine is produced, but colour can also depend on whether grape skins were involved in the winemaking process (for example, Champagne is made from Pinot Noir (black grapes))

A3) Both contain tannins, which can leave a dry, bitter aftertaste.

A4) Swirling wine introduces more of the liquid to oxygen the air, which aerates it. This “opens” the wine, which softens the flavour and enhances its aroma.

A5) Acidic.

A6) True. Our sense of taste and smell are intrinsically linked – without a proper sense of smell, we cannot properly taste things (which is why everything tastes wrong when you have a cold!).

A7) Yes! While most are best served at room temperature, certain light and medium bodied red wines can be served chilled to great success.

 

Less Than Three Correct Answers: Wannabe Wine Taster

 

Never fear, for what you lack in knowledge you make up for in enthusiasm. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even the most respected sommeliers were once wine newbies! Take this as a sign to brush up on your skills a bit – a good place to start is always tasting more wine (luckily) but you can also find out more by visiting our Education Hub or by enrolling in one of WSET’S wine courses.

 

Between Four and Five Correct Answers: Enthusiast

 

Look at you, you’re well on your way to perfection! You already have a solid knowledge base, but don’t be afraid to build on it, especially if you have your heart set on a career in the wine field. Get a leg up in a competitive industry and take your knowledge to the next level with one of WSET’S intermediate wine courses.

 

Six or more Correct Answers: Wine Expert

Known amongst your friends and family as The Wine Buff, you’re the first person people will ask for help when it comes to wine pairings or trying a new variety. Of course, the journey of a wine lover is never over and there’s always more to be learned, so keep your mind open, your eyes on the prize, and who knows where you’ll end up?

Chile’s Hidden Haven For Wine Lovers

Ask any keen wine traveller you know where they’d most like to travel, and France might be mentioned a few times. California or Mendoza might be the answer of those a bit more well-seasoned. But how many do you think would answer with “Chile”? Too few, certainly! Well, that’s something that we are looking to change!

Red Wine Glass

Nestled in central Chile, is the Colchagua Valley. it may not be the first place that springs to mind at the mention of wine, but that could soon be a thing of the past. Colchagua’s Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for producing bolder red wines, but the abundance of microclimates and increased development in the area means that lighter grapes and fresher wines are beginning to make more of an appearance, with Sauvignon Blanc leading the way among them.

Indeed, it’s not only the climate that favours vineyards but the landscape itself, with dry, well-drained granite soils refreshed by both the Tinguiririca River and the crystal clear meltwater it carries from the Andes, which enriches the soil not only with moisture but minerals vital for viticulture. This, in turn, leads to smaller yields, but grapes that are positively bursting with flavour. Cool breezes brought inland over coastal regions of Colchagua also benefit from increased temperature variance, giving grapes grown there the perfect blend of ripeness and acidity.

Yes, Chile has not been established as long as other wine regions (with Colchagua even newer compared to other areas such as Maipo Valley) but it has found both popularity and recognition in a short time due to their quality blends and powerhouse reds, which have even piqued the interest of French investors!

Vineyards in Chile

It may not be in the mainstream for every wine traveller as, but Colchagua Valley is popular amongst wine tourists, and even referred to as Chile’s very open Napa Valley – in fact, modern infrastructure and wineries are being built with this specifically in mind, making it an ideal place for such visits. 

With gorgeous vineyards, coastline, forests, and meadows, it’s not just the wine that’ll delight your senses; both locals and tourists alike suggest that wine enthusiasts travel between vineyards by bicycle to better enjoy the scenery and soak up the atmosphere, which is why our partners Winerist make sure to include bicycles as part of their Colchagua tour package.

For all your wine travelling needs and to find out more information about this region and to visit the Winerist website.

Christmas Wine Gadgets & Accessories For The Wine Lover Who Has It All

Buying Christmas gifts is never an easy feat, but if you are buying for a family member, friend or colleague who enjoys the world of wine and everything that goes with it, then you are certainly looking in the right place! 

During our time filming The Wine Show, we have had the opportunity to get hands-on with many new and exciting wine gadgets and accessories, some may even call us connoisseurs in the field. This being said, it is safe to say we know a good gadget or accessory when we see one. 

So, sit back and relax as we unpack our top wine themed gift ideas, so you can take it easy this Christmas.

 

Ozeri Maestro Electric Wine Opener with Infrared Wine Thermometer

 

First on our list is the Ozeri Maestro electric wine opener with infrared wine thermometer. This product was forged by the tradition of monitoring wine temperature in cellars.

Any wine connoisseur will be able to stress the importance of wine temperature. So, having the option to measure the temperature of your wine, whilst de-corking the bottle with the simple push of a button, some would call revolutionary. 

This modestly priced wine gadget featured in Season 1, Episode 2 of The Wine Show and we absolutely loved it, this is a must-have gadget for a serious wine drinker with an interest in the science of wines.

Ozeri Maestro Electric Wine Opener with Infrared Wine Thermometer

 

The Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon polishing cloth

 

With so many glasses being poured on The Wine Show there is a constant need to keep glassware spotless, this is where ‘The Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon polishing cloth’ comes into play. This microfibre cloth is designed to keep your wine glasses sparkling clean and totally scratch-free. Even the most difficult marks, like lipstick, are immediately eradicated. It also removes dust, streaks and fingerprints from the surface of your glass all whilst drying and polishing at the same time, it can even be used to polish your wine gadgets.

This intelligent cloth is designed to produce no excess fluff, fibre or lint. Leaving your glassware totally residue-free. If you love your glassware as much as your wine, then this is a must-have. With such an affordable price tag it makes a perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

The Jancis Robinson x Richard Brendon polishing cloth

 

Aromaster Master Wine Aroma Tasting Kit

 

This slightly more expensive gift idea features 88 different scents common in wine. This Aroma tasting kit is an educational tool and game designed by sommeliers. 

Whilst helping to develop wine-tasting skills, this will also help you to identify grape varieties, winemaking techniques and the maturation of the wine, as well as winemaking faults. This is an amazing gift idea for someone wanting to refine their wine palate further in the new year.

The aroma kit is the perfect wine tasting educational tool, but if you’re looking for even more in-depth knowledge about the world of wine,  then why not take a look at the brilliant courses from our education partner, WSET. Pair the Aroma Tasting Kit with the WSET courses and you’ll be a wine expert in no time!

Aromaster Master Wine Aroma Tasting Kit

 

The Richard Brendon Old Wine Decanter

 

This beautiful hand blown Wine Decanter by Richard Brendon has been handcrafted in Bohemia, a region that is world-renowned for producing the finest crystal. This bottle-shaped decanter allows you to decant a mature wine from its sediment, ensuring that it is not exposed to too much harmful oxygen, all whilst looking effortlessly elegant on your tabletop. 

It’s refined shape follows the form of the Wine Glass and the beautiful mouth-blown stopper adds an element of contemporary design to your table. This decanter will make the perfect sentimental gift this Christmas for any lover of wine.

The Richard Brendon Old Wine Decanter

 

The ZE Bag

 

Need an extra hand carrying the wine in from the car? The ZE Bag is one of the best wine gadgets we have seen in a while. This slick and sturdy designer handle bag which can carry 6 bottles of wine at one time. This uniquely designed, multi-purpose bag can be folded flat in transportation. Or alternatively, It can also be hung up and used as a wine rack.

This versatile accessory needs to be in every wine lovers arsenal.

The ZE Bag

 

The Richard Brendon wine glass

 

At The Wine Show, we understand that great wine can only be sipped from great glassware. The Richard Brendon wine glass is nothing short of beautiful. It’s Lead-Free crystal exterior boasts an astonishing shine and clarity, that we simply can’t get enough of.

This glass is perhaps the only stemmed glassware you will need to enjoy every wine at its best. Use this glass for every wine, for it will surely taste better in a glass as divine as this. The glass’s shape has been specially designed to maximise your enjoyment of all wines’ aromas and flavours in the most practical way possible. 

This gift is guaranteed to shine brighter than any other beneath the tree this Christmas.

The Richard Brendon wine glass

Are we bottling our fight on carbon emissions?

Are we bottling our fight on carbon emissions?

When talking about wine, we take great pleasure in discussing the region, vintage, blend, pairing and like Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, who Joe met in series 2, often a particular vintner or Oenologist.

Where a wine comes from; the heritage of an estate, how a family harvests their grapes, the local terroir is all vital in the final product. However, during recent filming for The Wine Show, we also found ourselves looking at the production of the bottles, the energy it took to power equipment at the winery or the mode of transportation the juice takes once it leaves the vineyard. Now more than ever perhaps, the journey your wine takes is just as important as where it came from.

bottlesss

For example, did you know that the production and shipping of a typical bottle of 75cl wine is estimated to release over 1kg of CO2 into the atmosphere? And in the UK, figures, which may make your eyes – or mouth- water, suggest we consume almost 2 billion bottles a year- around 108 per individual…

While the UK’s own wine industry is growing in reputation, let’s be clear, we are still the World’s second largest importer of wine. In 2018, we imported more than £3 billion’s worth of it. Just over £2 billion came from within the EU, and further £1.1 billion from non-EU regions.

Italy, with the continued popularity of Prosecco leads the way, with France a close second. Then Australia, Spain and New Zealand make up our top five favourite regions, which depending on your own cabinet you may have guessed.

There is much debate over which part of the process, from grape to glass and eventual disposal is the most damaging. In truth, all elements create some Carbon output. It starts with the raw materials, but generally, grapes don’t require the level of fertilisers other crops do so this doesn’t make up a significant percentage of their impact.

Next, the fermentation stage, which liberates CO2 in a different way to that which is produced from burning fossil fuels. Leaving out the woody parts of the vine, and removing any emissions from burning fossil fuels during the production and packing processes, the conversion from atmospheric CO2 to sugar and subsequently to alcohol and CO2 is pretty close to being a closed cycle – and thus relatively carbon neutral.

CELEBRITY-WINES-22-1-freshblue

However, what is apparent is that the high concentration of CO2 in the winery environment at fermentation time makes it a good opportunity for carbon capture and we have seen a few recent examples of Carbon Capture Processes (CCP) that transform the excess carbon dioxide created during fermentation. So while not essential it does the world a favour anyway.

But really, while we can look for more sustainable viticulture practices, use energy efficient equipment- to help with Carbon sequestrating- and avoid environmentally harsh chemicals, if we want to reduce the overall carbon footprint, when it comes to wine it’s what it is packaged in, rather than how the juice itself got there that has the biggest impact.

Almost half of the wine bottle’s carbon footprint comes from the production and choice of packaging – and 85% of that is from the glass bottle itself. Simply put, glass is much heavier than plastic and cannot be packed as tightly as boxes. So, because transport is always more energy intensive for a heavier vessel, it creates a much larger carbon footprint. Using glass accounts for 40% of the total weight of the product. And remember we bring the bottles in by the billions

Wine Store

As the feel, weight and design of a bottle may be considered part of the romance when enjoying your favourite slurp, to move with the times, one may consider the benefits of reusing the receptacle – after a decent wash – as when used three times a glass bottle lowers its carbon footprint roughly to that of a single-use plastic beverage bottle. (looking at a six-use stat for total neutrality). Many of you will have seen that Waitrose has championed this practice across its stores at specially constructed wine refill stations where customers can reduce by reusing and refilling their own bottles.

The message is simple enough. As an industry we have a clear challenge to innovate if we are to march towards greater sustainability. With the need to address climate change becoming ever more urgent, the continued reliance on heavy glass containers to bottle and ship wine seems outdated. By finding a lighter weight bottle or focusing on alternative packaging we can stop bottling this fight and start to make a difference.

JOSE PIZARRO 16

Mornington Peninsula: Hospitable to people, if not to grapes…

Mornington Peninsula: Hospitable to people, if not to grapes…

As we continue to celebrate our new partnership with wine travel specialists Winerist, we look back at our presenters visiting just a few of the many wonderful places Winerist offers tours to.

This week, Amelia Singer heads down under to explore one of wine’s best-kept secrets – The Mornington Peninsula…

Mornington-314x230

Amelia Singer

I was prepared for anything. Dressed as Reese Witherspoon from Wild, it was time to meet Mornington Peninsula. A cool-climate wine region, its harsh environment for grape growing is notorious amongst wine makers.

Warwick Ross may be a well-known film producer, yet his bravery in winemaking is just as impressive. His winery, Portsea Estate, lies at the furthermost point of the Peninsula, exposed to the elements. Initially startled upon discovering the wind-whipped site in 2000, he now produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that critics compare to top Burgundian wines.

Paradoxically, this hostile terrain has created not only wonderful wine, but also an extremely hospitable ‘cellar door’ ethos. The concept is that visitors try the wines and also enjoy local cuisine. Dishes are prepared on-site and savoured whilst looking out over a stunning panorama.

Further down the road, Foxey’s Hangout takes the ‘cellar door’ experience one step further. Run by Tony and Michael, two brothers and former Melbournite pub owners, the Hangout features not only tastings, but you can make your own sparkling wine too! Partial to pink, I had great fun choosing how much Pinot Noir to add to my white wine base for extra fruity flavour and colour. The result was a beautiful, blushing sparkling rosé whose packaging I could also choose! Feasting on local produce and sipping the sparkling wine I myself created from grapes around me, I completely understood these Peninsula wine pioneers.

Ten Minutes by Tractor 2014 10X Pinot Noir

I’ve been in love with this estate ever since I dropped in for impromptu lunch 10 years ago. This Pinot Noir heaves with lush red fruit and a walk-in-the-woods earthiness. Grouse pie, roasted quail, rabbit stew – this is the wine to make these dishes sing. One of my favourite wines of the show.

Book your wine and travel adventure with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

South Australia: New World Wine with History

South Australia: New World Wine with History

As the temperature starts to drop in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to start turning our attentions to some of the best the other side of the planet has to offer. And there may not be anywhere quite as picturesque, cultured, and passionate about wine as Australia.

We’re delighted to welcome another guest blog from our official travel partners Winerist, looking back at the history and culture of South Australia. We’re sure you’ll be just as inspired to take a trip and explore the vineyards for yourself after reading this as we were!

The earliest evidence of vine planting in South Australia dates back to the mid 1800’s. One of Australia’s best known luxury brands “Penfolds” had its beginnings in 1844 when Dr Christopher Penfold established a vineyard at Magill Estate with vine cuttings from southern France. Magill Estate is only 15 minutes from South Australia’s capital city Adelaide.

Penfolds has a history and tradition that strongly reflects Australia’s journey from colonial settlement to the modern Era. Established only eight years after the foundation of South Australia, Penfolds has played a crucial role in the evolution of winemaking in Australia. This prestigious winery has expanded into many other wine regions of Australia but Magill Estate is still the “spiritual” home. Recent redevelopments have preserved the rich history and charm of the site while seamlessly integrating innovation to provide an enriching visitor experience through a tour of its fascinating underground tunnels, the original cottage and bluestone cellars, before tasting your way through its premium wine collection and dining in the award-winning restaurant.

South Australia has many wine regions and some are close to the city of Adelaide. Adelaide is the Wine Capital of Australia. Rather than spending half your day travelling to & from a wine region, in 1 hour or less you are there. More time to “wine & dine” versus travel time, but if you prefer to sleep amongst the “vines”, great accommodation is available.

Visit the world-famous Barossa, the picturesque Adelaide Hills & McLaren Vale Regions. Taste award-winning wines at cellar doors and feast on gourmet local produce at restaurants. If you have the energy, maybe a bike ride amongst the vineyards after lunch to burn off those calories. Why not also experience the breathtaking views and serenity of a hot air balloon adventure. It will give you a perspective like no other.

Interested in Australia? Visit with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

Originally posted by Demi Cassiani for Winerist on 21 Oct, 2015

Tasting Australia’s most iconic wine

Tasting Australia’s most iconic wine

As we continue to celebrate our new partnership with wine travel specialists Winerist, we look back at our presenters visiting just a few of the many wonderful places Winerist offers tours to.

This week, Amelia Singer has been in Australia to meet her ‘wine pin-up’ Stephen Henschke, and try the iconic Hill of Grace…

Amelia Singer

I did not sleep the night before filming at the Henschke family home. Meeting Stephen Henschke, for a wine geek, is equivalent to thespians meeting Cate Blanchett. Both Australians are justifiably considered royalty in their specific fields. And yes, being introduced to Stephen, in his world famous vineyard, The Hill of Grace, was one of the most significant moments of my wine career – but not for the reasons I thought it would be.

I knew that this vineyard was over 150 years old, producing some of the most expensive wine in the world. These wines are not your stereotypical Aussie fruity, oaky, alcoholic fruit bombs; their exotic spice and concentrated flavours evoke the years of loving care this one family has given these grapes, over six generations. What I had not envisaged was how humble and genuine Stephen and all the Henschkes would be.

The tenacious Lutheran work ethic of the family’s immigrant ancestors is reflected in the winery ethos today. They view their job as earth’s caretakers, never producing more than they needed even when faced with commercial opportunities, and everyone works together as a supportive unit. That’s not to say that Stephen shies away from modernity, judging from the cutting-edge machinery and his dog’s own Twitter account. The Henschkes may make stunning wine but they do not take themselves too seriously – as the annual Kegel competition attests!

Henschke Hill of Grace

It’s hard to know where to begin. ‘Profoundly powerful’ say the Henschke family. And it is. Like many great wines, it’s not just the astonishing depth, complexity and quality. This wine oozes history. A single vineyard, named after a region in Silesia and shared with a Luthern Church. Making fruit so exceptional it defies description, but is packed with cherry, currant, black pepper, plum, cedar, liquorice, sage… This vintage is among the most highly rated wines in the world by experts today. If you get the chance to try it, you should.

Book your wine and travel adventure with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

The Unusual Grape Varieties of Argentina

The Unusual Grape Varieties of Argentina

As the temperature starts to drop in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to start turning our attentions to some of the best the other side of the planet has to offer. And for a South American region with a distinctly European feel – you can’t go wrong with Argentina! 

We’re delighted to welcome another guest blog from our official travel partners Winerist, discussing some of the lesser known grapes varieties you’ll find in this beautiful country. We’re sure you’ll be just as inspired to take a trip and explore the vineyards for yourself after reading this as we were!

When we think of Argentinian wine, what comes to mind is a bold, spicy Mendoza Malbec to pair with steak – yum! Hardly surprising given that it’s by far the most planted grape in Argentina and dominates the country’s wine exports. Argentina’s flagship white grape on the other hand, Torrontés, remains relatively unknown outside South America. There is, however, much more to Argentinian wine than these two grapes; over the centuries, Spanish, Italian and French settlers have all brought their native vines over to make wine in Argentina. Even Malbec was brought over from Cahors by the French in the mid-19th century! Here are some of the ‘other’ grapes to look out for from Argentina…

Bonarda

Bonarda is Argentina’s second most planted grape after Malbec. It’s valued for its colour, soft fruitiness and relatively low alcohol. Never heard of it? Hardly surprising given that it’s primarily used for blending into bulk wine, and is now extinct in its native homeland of Savoie in France – where it was known as Douce Noire.

Some producers, however, make more characterful wines from Bonarda. Zuccardi’s ‘Emma Zuccardi’ Bonarda for example is remarkably elegant. Alternatively, maverick winemaker Matías Michelini makes a lively, Beaujolais-esque style called ‘Via Revolucionaria! Bonarda Pura.

Chardonnay

Some people refuse to look beyond Burgundy for Chardonnay – unfairly so. I like to call Chardonnay the chameleon grape, in that it adapts to its surroundings: in cooler climates like in Chablis, it makes lean, citrussy wines (yes Chablis is made from Chardonnay, shock horror!); in warmer areas the fruit turns more tropical; grown on calcareous soils it can express a ‘stony’ minerality; and when oaked it can adopt flavours of butterscotch, vanilla and hazelnut.

Argentina’s best Chardonnays are made in cooler areas – either at higher altitudes, or at more southerly latitudes. Catena Zapata have pioneered high-altitude viticulture at their Adrianna vineyard 1,450 metres above sea level. The iconic ‘White Stones’ and ‘White Bones’ Chardonnays – named after ancient river deposits and fossilised animal bones –are the hallmark of this vineyard.

At higher altitude, the combination of cool nights and greater sunlight exposure facilitates a long, healthy ripening season. The grapes develop both intense fruit concentration and flavour complexity, whilst retaining vibrant acidity to give freshness to the wine. The result is an impressive combination of lean citrus and exotic pineapple fruit, a creamy texture, tantalising minerality, and vibrant acidity.

Interested in Argentina? Visit with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Originally from Bordeaux, this is arguably the most successful French grape variety in Argentina after Malbec. These tiny berries are deceptive, as they can really pack a punch! Cabernet Sauvignon wines typically have bountiful dark fruit flavours and the tight grip of a dog that won’t let you have their bone. At higher altitudes however, cool nights help the grapes retain delicate floral and red berry fruit characters.

Paul Hobbs makes some of Argentina’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon at Viña Cobos. Having formerly mastered the art at Opus One and Robert Mondavi in California, he’s transferred his skills to capturing this grape’s natural perfume at his Marchiori Estate. He’s also very skilled at softening Cabernet Sauvignon’s muscle and adding sensual smokiness and spice by maturing it in toasted French oak barrels.

Cabernet Franc

Paul Hobbs also makes great wine from Cabernet Sauvignon’s parent grape variety: Cabernet Franc. With aromas redolent of cranberries, redcurrants and rose petals, Cabernet Franc is somewhat less virile than its boisterous son that needs taming. Viña Cobos make a fantastic one as do Zuccardi. Though representing less than 1% of plantings, this grape is starting to make great waves in Argentina. It’s certainly one to look out for.

Merlot

Merlot is another Bordeaux grape to have proved successful across the pond. It may be subject to the odd bit of snobbery, but it’s capable of making some truly outstanding wines. It’s also very reliable – it’s easy to grow, easy to make good wine from, and most importantly, easy to drink. The velvety soft, plummy fruit of a good Merlot, sometimes accompanied by oaky spice, is hard not to love.

In Patagonia, the most southerly and coolest part of South America, producers such as Matías Riccitelli and Humberto Canale make particularly fresh, juicy Merlot from old vines.

Pinot Noir

Photo Credit: Bodega Chacra

Pinot Noir is also making its mark in Patagonia. At its best, Burgundy’s ultra-sophisticated red grape can produce some of the world’s most elegant, complex and flirtatious wines.

Bodega Chacra led the way in Patagonia with a range of extremely expressive, complex Pinot Noirs. Their biodynamic vineyard practices could make your stomach churn though; chamomile-stuffed cow’s bladders are one of many holistic soil preparations they use – yes, you read that correctly.

Syrah

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/bodegacolome/

Plantings of the Rhône grape, Syrah, are rapidly growing in Argentina – especially in the warmer San Juan province. Here it produces full-bodied wines, with rich flavours akin to chocolate, cured meats and blackberry jam.

In cooler climates, however, Syrah can be much more restrained, floral and peppery. This is certainly true of Calchaquí Valley, where Bodega Colomé boast the highest vineyards in the world at over 3,000m elevation. Temperatures here range by more than 20°C between day and night, prolonging the ripening season and allowing the grapes to retain freshness and aromatics.

Semillon

Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/MendelWines

Though planted in Argentina for over 100 years, Semillon has been forgotten in Argentina until recently. A shame given how multi-faceted this grape is – it makes both great sweet and dry whites in Bordeaux.

Mendel are one of the pioneers of Semillon’s comeback in Argentina, making a beautifully floral, delicately spiced style from 75-year-old vines. Riccitelli meanwhile make a much richer style of old vine Semillon, embracing the waxy texture and fragrant spice that this under-rated grape is capable of adopting.

Originally posted by Adram Kirkbride for Winerist on 13 Aug, 2018

The Craftsmanship Behind the Jancis Robinson Glass Collection

The Craftsmanship Behind the Jancis Robinson Glass Collection

As wine lovers, we spend a lot of time discussing the merits of the skill and expertise that goes into winemaking – but what of the talent and craftsmanship that goes into perfecting the humble wine glass?

The guest article below from our official glassware partners Richard Brendon showcases such a level of meticulous detail in the production of their Jancis Robinson collection, we were sure it would interest Wine Show fans who may never have thought to look ‘behind the curtain’ of this most essential wine accessory before.

ONE GLASS FOR EVERY WINE

Our Jancis Robinson Wine Collection was born from the idea that you should only need one glass for every wine. Although a simple notion, it was by no means a simple feat. Jancis Robinson and Richard talk through the craftsmanship and skill behind creating the first wine glass of its kind:

“I was looking for the perfect wine glass. I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine. White wines can be just as complex, and just as deserving of what you might call aroma enhancement as reds. It just seems so obvious and sensible to have one single wine glass for all three colours of wine, especially when so many of us are short of storage space”.  Jancis Robinson

Our Wine glass is at the heart of the Collection and has been specifically designed to perfectly work with all wines: red, white, sparkling, port, sherry, or sweet. 

EXPERT GLASSBLOWERS IN SLOVENIA

To create the perfect glass for all wines with such precise specifications, we needed to find the most talented craftspeople, which is why we went to Slovenia, where the craft of glassblowing has been perfected over hundreds of years.

The glassblowers are masters in their field and it was imperative they had the skill to make glass as fine and light as Richard and Jancis required for the collection.

In fact, the glasses were made of such fine glass that when we first launched our collection there was only one team (made up of four people) in the world who could create it. And here they are below!

“The trickiest bit was getting the quality and weight of the products just right,” says Richard. “Our glass maker initially struggled to get the weight of the glass as light as we required because they had never produced a collection this fine before. We went through many rounds of prototypes, which Jancis and I reviewed together, to ensure we delivered a final product that met every single one of our requirements perfectly.”

“That our glassblowers persevered, and very quickly learned how to make the pieces perfectly, is a real testament to their phenomenal skill and dedication to the final vision we all shared.”  Richard Brendon

The Wine Show and Richard Brendon – a perfect partnership

As well as being functionally perfect, the Jancis Robinson collection has been meticulously designed to look and feel refined, elegant and timeless. The curves from the wine glass run throughout the collection to ensure all of the pieces fit perfectly together, while the ultra-fine, but remarkably strong, mouth blown crystal puts the wine lover in intimate contact with the wine, enhancing the tasting experience every time.

THE MAKING OF THE GLASSES

The glass is first melted in a furnace; and then extracted in precise quantities to create each piece. Using a blowpipe, they carefully blow a small bubble into the hot, molten glass so that it starts to take the size and shape of the glass.

To create a consistent shape, each glass is then blown into a mould. The original prototype was made out of wood but we now use an aluminium mould, as it can withstand longer periods of constant heat.

The bowl and the stem are made from one piece of glass unlike most mass-manufactured wine glasses, which means that at this point, glass is gently pulled from the bowl to produce our elegant, elongated stem. Another ball of glass is placed on the bottom of the stem, and gently tapped into shape to create the base.

The tops of the glasses are then removed to reveal the perfectly thin, gossamer-like rim, before they’re branded with our iconic JRxRB mark.

We’re so thrilled that since the launch, our 4-man team of glassblowers has now expanded, and as such the craftsmanship skills required to make our glasses have been passed on to others, and hopefully will continue to be shared with generations to come.

Originally posted by Richard Brendon on 16 Oct, 2019

Migrating Malbec

Migrating Malbec

As we continue to celebrate our new partnership with wine travel specialists Winerist, we look back at our presenters visiting just a few of the many wonderful places Winerist offers tours to.

This week, Joe Fattorini has been in Argentina to find out about a very successful immigrant…

Episode2-images-314x230-Chile

Joe Fattorini

Where does Malbec come from? To a wine fan it’s easy. It’s a dark, inky red grape variety from South West France. Or at least it is if you pronounce it MAL-bec. But what if you pronounce it Mal-BEC? Like they do in Argentina. Where this migrant grape has made a new home.

Malbec has made its home in Argentina along with thousands of other migrants. Article 25 of Argentina’s Constitution reads “The Federal Government will encourage European immigration, and it will not restrict, limit or burden with any taxes the entrance into Argentine territory of foreigners who come with the goal of working the land.”

Among these “foreigners” were European settlers who arrived in Mendoza to grow grapes and make wine. Like the ancestors of Susana Balbo and Laura Catena. Today they make some of the world’s greatest Malbec (Mal-BEC). And Susana and Laura feel Malbec has become something different. Something distinctly Argentine.

The pioneering spirit of their ancestors lives on today. We visit Laura’s famous Adrianna Vineyard, high in the foothills of the Andes. People long believed it was impossible to ripen grapes here. But Laura’s father Nicolas trudged through winter snow and unpaved, dusty summer roads to establish the vineyard. Today Laura has developed it into one of the most prized sites in Argentine winemaking. And one of the most celebrated places in the world for the Malbec. It’s no longer just one grape among a range of more familiar variety names they offer. Malbec has become synonymous with Argentina and what makes Argentine wine distinctive. And its fortunes are intertwined with the fortunes of the people who grow it, and make it into wine.

In mile-high vineyards under the Andes we discover how grapes, and people, have migrated to make modern Argentina. And Argentine wine.

Susana Balbo Nosotros Malbec

A strong contender for the “wine of the series”. This is where Malbec becomes voluptuous, rich, full-bodied and luxurious. It’s unashamedly the finest of Susana’s work – the “selection of selections” and deserves the finest meats, cooked immaculately or simply done, beautiful rich vegetable flavours. Toast, liquorice, Crème de Mure, currants and plum with a seam of graphite running through it like a pencil.

Book your wine and travel adventure with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

Graham Beck and Biodiversity

Joe Fattorini

Biodiversity is a handful of dried poo. Mossie Basson is the Director of Conservation at Graham Beck and he’s handing me different droppings. From Kudu and Eland to various Boks. Each dropping tells a story. About how far the animal grazes, what it eats and what eats it. Mossie loves it. This is his “office”. A vast area of unspoiled hillsides with hidden valleys and thriving wildlife. An area packed with rare and sometimes unique species. Including Esterhuysenia Grahambeckii, a pointy leafed succulent, named in honour of the man who set all this up.

Mossie explains all about the balance of nature. And the particular challenge of maintaining that balance next to a vineyard. Graham Beck is in the Cape Floral Kingdom, including the Succulent Karoo Biome. It’s an area rich in plant and geological diversity. But vineyards are monocultures. A single species – vines – grows in rows to the exclusion of everything else. So Graham Beck maintains this complex nature reserve to preserve the karoo whilst making wine next door.

It doesn’t make life easy for winemakers. It means Graham Beck has its own Baboon Patroller. Yep, you read that right. From dawn to dusk, Gerswin van Rooy cycles the perimeter of Graham Beck vineyards carrying a white flag, flapping a warning at hungry baboons to steer clear. Gerswin plays a vital part maintaining the delicate relationship between nature and winemaking. Baboons can strip tonnes of grapes from vineyards in minutes. Yet, Graham Beck encourage the baboons. And zebra, honey badgers, even leopards to live and thrive in the game reserve next to the vineyards. So each morning Gerswin hops on his bike and sets off on a 40km bike ride in the sun. Mostly the baboons stay out of his way. ‘But there is one called Jackson’, Gerswin says with a smile; ‘he is a clever, old male, who lives on his own. He tries to think what I am going to do next – to beat me’. And with that Gerswin is back on his bike and off into the distance. Pitting his wits against a wily old baboon and playing a unique role in balancing wine production with nature.

 

Interested in South Africa? Visit with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

7 Things to do in Stellenbosch, South Africa

7 Things to do in Stellenbosch, South Africa

As the temperature starts to drop in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to start turning our attentions to some of the best the other side of the planet has to offer.

As Europe slips into the winter period, regions such as South Africa start to come alive,  with Stellenbosch high amongst that, and we truly can’t recommend a visit to explore the region’s wine culture highly enough.

We’re delighted to welcome another guest blog from our official travel partners Winerist, helping to bring you the best Stellenbosch has to offer. We’re sure you’ll be just as inspired to visit after reading this as we were.

In the heart of the Cape Winelands, just a half-hour drive from Cape Town, is the picturesque city of Stellenbosch. Settled in 1679, Stellenbosch features original Dutch architecture along the scenic banks of the Eerste River, and is home to the oldest university in South Africa. Today, it is a hotspot for ecotourists and intellectuals, as well as foodies and wine-lovers. Here’s a list of 9 things to do in Stellenbosch to make you trip one that you’ll never forget!

1. Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch

Photo Credit: Matt Bush at flickr.com

With Stellenbosch being so perfectly situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, having a sip of wine is the first thing you’re going to want to do. And the second. And the third. So why not get your recommendations from a vineyard with eight generations of wine-making expertise? Meerlust Wine Estate offers guests a full range of award-winning wines to taste, from Chardonnay to Petit Verdot, in a quaint and casual, history-filled tasting cellar. It’s a bit out of the way at 15 km south of Stellenbosch, but the drive through scenic country roads is nothing less than refreshing, and the destination is worth it.

2. Try a Wild Animal Tour (with wine tasting, natch)

Photo Credit: Dennis Mayk at unsplash.com

This family-friendly Winerist tour combines three unique Stellenbosch ecotourism must-sees: The first stop is Villiera Wine, home not just to some of the best sparkling wine in South Africa, but also some of the most forward-thinking of sustainability practices. You’ll take a 2-hour drive through the 220 hectares of Villiera wildlife sanctuary teeming with indigenous flora and fauna before heading to Spier Wine Farm’s Eagle Encounters, where you’ll be treated to up-close interactions with the avian residents. Finally, your last stop is Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm. You’ll be stopping for drinks in between, of course! Costs include all transportation, tastings, entry fees and juice provided in lieu of wine for children.

Interested in California? Visit with The Wine Show and Winerist

The Wine Show has partnered with specialist wine and food travel company Winerist to provide experiences in many of the countries we’ve featured on screen. Together we are offering unique wine tastings, holidays and tours that we are sure will thrill and exhilarate you. Book now to experience the unforgettable.

3. Explore Local Markets

Undoubtedly, one of the best markets in or around Stellenbosch is Root44. Open rain or shine every weekend under sturdy marquees, this market has something for everyone. Fresh produce, local wines and craft beers, delicious burgers, pizzas, biltong and more are available to lunch on while you browse artisan clothing, jewelry, and antique stalls. Or, sit back and enjoy whatever musical entertainment is provided while the kids have a romp around the fun houses or wooden playground.

Address: Corner of R44 and Annandale Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600

4. Rupert Museum

You might mistake this long, white, unassuming building on the banks of the Eerste River for just another wine cellar built in the Cape Dutch style. But it’s worth taking another look: this one hides a treasure trove of culture and color. Since opening its doors in 2005, the Rupert Museum has collected over 350 paintings, sculptures, and tapestries made by 20th century South African artists. As the leading contemporary South African art collection, the Rupert Museum is a necessary stop for art lovers visiting the Western Cape.

Location: Stellentia Rd, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa

5. Visit Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Widely known for the rugged peaks that add so much to Stellenbosch’s idyllic skyline, Jonkershoek is naturally a hotspot for hikers seeking a challenge. But this nature reserve is actually two in one: the lesser known Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve occupies the foothills of Jonkershoek, brushing right up against the vineyards of the valley, a perfect destination for more casual walks and picnics. Lucky visitors may spot local wildlife – shy though they are – such as honey badgers, baboons, or even leopard!

Address: Jonkershoek Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa

6. Hear a Concert at Stellenbosch University Conservatoire

Photo Credit: Elzahn Johnson – www0.sun.ac.za

Established privately by leading musicians of South Africa in 1905, the Conservatoire became University property in 1934 and moved to new facilities in 1978. The “Konservatorium” of today is a large-scale performance venue complex, featuring two stage halls, three lecture rooms, and 57 practice studios. Now an integral part not just of the university Theatre or Music Departments, but of the cultural life of all of Stellenbosch, the Conservatoire hosts a variety of functions including plays and concerts by both traveling and student artists. Stop by and see what’s showing while you’re in town!

Location: Victoria St & Neethling Street, Stellenbosch, 7600, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602

See here for more information.

7. See the Botanical Gardens

Photo Credit: Couleur on Pixabay.com.jpg

Adding to the list of oldest-things-in-South-Africa to be found in Stellenbosch, the Botanical Gardens were begun by University professors in 1922. Though they are still used for student and faculty research, they are also open for public viewing. Featuring several themed outdoor gardens, as well as both arid and tropical glasshouses, visitors can take their time appreciating various floral aesthetics while learning about exotic and indigenous plant life and conservation.

Hours: Open daily from 8am-5pm

See here for more information.

Originally posted by Lindsey Greer for Winerist on 18 Oct, 2018

The perfect recipe for your National Curry Week

The perfect recipe for your National Curry Week

At The Wine Show, we love good cuisine as much as we love a great wine. That’s why we’re so excited about National Curry Week, running from 7th – 13th October.

It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate both Indian cooking and Indian wine, and we’re delighted to share with you this great Tandoori Lamb Chop recipe and its wine pairing – brought to you by chef Atul Kochhar back in season one.

Have a go making this great meal this week, and let us know how you get on on our social media channels!

Atul Kochhar

Episode: Five

Atul Kochhar was the very first Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, received whilst working as Head Chef at Tamarind restaurant in London in 2001. Atul was awarded his second Michelin star in 2007 at his present restaurant, Benares, where he serves modern Indian cuisine with a contemporary British twist.

Born in Jamshedpur in eastern India, Atul began his cooking career in top hotel restaurants in India before moving to London in 1994, where he opened the fine-dining Indian restaurant Tamarind in Mayfair. Atul has been at the forefront of Indian fine dining for more than a decade, having cooked for Prince Charles and consulted for Marks and Spencer on its Indian food range.

Atul has gone a long way to change British perceptions on Indian food, saying: “I have dedicated my career to my country’s cuisine and pushed the boundaries to make it different and make people look at it differently… my food is an amalgamation of British and Indian. The biggest stamp of approval for me is when Indian people dine at my restaurant and say my food can’t be called Indian. It has to be British-Indian.”

Atul Kochhar’s Wine Choice

All Rosés taste of strawberries (it’s a bit like a wine law) but not many have the honeysuckle and spice edge of this exotic Rosé. It’s nothing like the ‘White Zinfandel’ of California, but drier and with a spiced, herbal element. It’s beautifully ripe and actually the most wonderful complement to a curry.

Atul’s Recipe: Lamb Chops with Aubergine Purée

Serves: Two

“As an Indian, I look at flavours. When I’m using cardamon, cinnamon, clove, even black pepper – heat is the last thing that comes to my mind, to be honest. I always suggest to people to use no more than 3 to 5 spices when you’re trying to cook one thing. And you create your meal around it.”

Ingredients:
  • 12 lamb chops, trimmed and cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil mixed with 15g melted butter, for basting
For the marinade
  • 200ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon gram flour roux
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and coarsely ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoons green chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon mild red chilli powder or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, coarsely ground
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
For the Aubergine purée
  • 1 Aubergine
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
Method
  • 1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a large non-metallic bowl and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature for the flavours to blend.
  • 2. Add the lamb chops, making sure they are well coated, and leave to marinate for 1 ½ hours at room temperature.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 240˚C/Fan 220˚C/Gas 9. Place the lamb chops, coated in the marinade, in a roasting tray lined with a non-stick oven mat and roast on the top shelf of the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the chops to rest for 4 minutes, covered with foil. Baste with the oil and butter mixture, and then return the chops to the oven for a further 2 minutes, or until tender and charred. Leave to rest for a further 5 minutes before serving.
  • 4. To make the aubergine puree, preheat the oven to 240˚C/Fan 220˚C/Gas 9. Place the aubergine directly on the oven rack and roast for 15-20 minutes until it is very soft and the skin is charred. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor with the lemon juice and salt to taste and blitz until a smooth paste forms, set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 180˚C/ Fan 160˚C/Gas 4.
  • 5. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan; add the cumin seeds and sauté over a medium heat until they crackle. Add the onion, green chilli and ginger, and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Stir in the aubergine paste and continue sautéing until blended and hot. Adjust the salt, if necessary, then set aside and keep hot.
  • 6. Arrange the chops on plates with the aubergine purée. Garnish and serve immediately.

Atul Kochhar’s Benares: Michelin Starred Cooking book

For those who want the Michelin spirit of cooking in their home, this book provides the cornerstone to fine dining preparation. This book is a benchmark work to treasure, and features excellent photography by Mike Cooper.

Atul’s book Benares is published by Absolute Press in June 2015.

BUY (UK)

Welcome Dominic West!

Welcome Dominic West!

All at The Wine Show are delighted to officially announce the newest member of our presenting team.

Joining Joe, James, and the Matthews for season three is the wonderful actor, director, musician and most importantly wine enthusiast, Dominic West.

Speaking to us about joining the team, Dominic enthused: “When I was asked if I would like to join the Wine Show team recording in Portugal, trying some amazing wines, I couldn’t think of any reasons to say no! I love wine but I’m hardly an expert, so it’s been great fun to be on this journey of discovery and I’ve realised there’s lots to discover.”

Dominic joins James and Joe at the historic Quinta Do Noval in Portugal, in the middle of vintage, when the vines are being harvested and where they join in the traditional winemaking method of treading the grapes.

Executive Producer Melanie Jappy was thrilled to get Dominic on board: “From the moment Dominic arrived in Portugal it was clear he was going to be a brilliant addition to the Wine Show team. Not only is he a joy to work with, his enthusiasm and genuine curiosity about wine is utterly infectious. We’re so lucky to have him on board for this series and I hope, many more to come.”

You’ll be able to see our new presenter in action when Season 3 of The Wine Show airs in 2020.

Can’t wait for Season 3? You can now watch Season 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime in the UK, Scandinavia, and South Africa! Click here for more!

Napa Valley or Sonoma County? Spotlight on Louis M Martini

Napa Valley or Sonoma County? Spotlight on Louis M Martini

California Wine Month is all about exploring and understanding everything that is great about this coastal wine region.

During our time on the show we’ve visited Napa, Mendocino, and Santa Barbara, but what of Sonoma County? And how does this stack up in comparison with the illustrious Napa Valley?

We’re delighted to welcome a guest blog from our official travel partners Winerist to help us round off California Wine Month. We’re sure you’ll find it as fascinating as we did.

A tasting that changed the wine world

A mere 42 years ago, the most illustrious wine experts in France sat side-by-side behind a long table draped with a white table cloth for a wine tasting. Nothing unusual there you might think, but this particular tasting was organised by an Englishman called Steven Spurrier with one sole aim: to show the French how good wines from the ‘New World’ could be. In this tasting, which later became known as ‘the Judgement of Paris’, Spurrier pit the wines of California, a newcomer to the wine market, against some of the finest French wines. Under the assumption that nowhere, and especially not America, could compare with the likes of France, the wines were served ‘blind’. The experts scoffed. Of course they would know which was which, right? Wrong. Much to everyone’s astonishment, both a Californian red and white took the blue ribbon. The red wine was none other than a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. Only one journalist had turned up to report on the event, and report he did, for none other than Time Magazine. This simple tasting inspired by France’s wine ego is what put California on the world wine map.

Birth of a Cabernet King

Long before the Judgement of Paris, just after Prohibition and at a time where the alcohol industry was struggling as a whole, another wine producer was eager to develop a brand solely dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon: Louis M. Martini. Foreseeing the importance of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Louis M. Martini (the person, and namesake of the winery) purchased a plot of land within St. Helena and began constructing the facilities that would enable him to craft the wine of his visions. By 1934, Louis M. Martini was the proud owner of the first new winery since the end of the Prohibition. His unrivalled passion for Cabernet Sauvignon led him to purchase hundreds more acres over the following two decades and help put together, along with four other wineries, the Napa Valley Vintners: an association born to safeguard the quality of wines from Napa.

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Napa vs Sonoma

California is home to many vineyards and wineries thus producing a wide array of varietals. Rather than lightly dabble in many, Louis M. Martini decided to become the King of Cabernet Sauvignon, paying with a focus on both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Both regions, equal in quality but producing different flavours, yield delicious options depending on your preference.

Siblings but not twins

Napa and Sonoma, like siblings, seem similar enough on the outside but delve deep into their personalities and you’ll discover distinguishable differences in their final presentation. Napa, being the more developed location of the two, offers a more Mediterranean-style climate, perfect for growing specific grapes. Sonoma, on the other hand, is the land of variety, able to grow fruits and so-called ‘trendier’ grapes for a larger variety of wine styles. Due to the sheer variety of grapes found in Sonoma, it’s typically more common to find a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa on the shelves.

When we consider flavour profile and style, Napa is more the classic, dressed-up suit-and-tie contender, while Sonoma keeps up with the fashion. Napa-based Cabernet Sauvignon offers a traditional, sweet, tannin-rich and full-bodied profile, whereas Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is more acidic, less tannic, and has a leaner profile. Of course, that isn’t to say you cannot find a Napa-style from Sonoma and vice versa; both regions produce equally stunning Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Try both and make your own decision.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Louis M. Martini, 2015

Photo credit: louismartini.com

True to the stereotypes, the 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is full on the palate, aged for 21 months on a mix of French and American oak. Deep layers of blackberry, blueberry, and blackcurrant, which attribute to the alluring rich, dark colour, are framed by lighter notes of sweet herbs, licorice, and toasted cedar. The wine is rich with well-balanced tannins leaving a long finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, Louis M. Martini, 2015

Photo credit: louismartini.com

Still full-bodied yet with plenty of unique and bold features, the 2015 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is lighter on the tannins. With a concentrated profile of wild berries, plums, and licorice complimented by the richness of mocha, vanilla and espresso, the wine finishes balanced and gracefully thanks in part to months ageing in oak.

Whichever takes your fancy, both wines age well and are well worth your time.

Originally posted by Sara Lawrence for Winerist on 18 Dec, 2018