Category Archives: Blog

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.

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.

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

Coffee and Comedy in California

Coffee and Comedy in California

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Joe Fattorini

How do you take your coffee? Seriously, did you wake up to a powerful espresso, or kick off the day with a milky latte? Tell me what coffee you like and I’ll tell you what wine you’ll love.

Or at least I hope so. Comedian Gina Yashere’s wine preferences run to “do you have anything that tastes like Sprite?” When I discover I must find a wine she’d love, I know this will be a challenge. Even for the coffee test.

But we’re in a convertible Mustang. Driving along the California Coast along the Pacific Coast highway visiting places we’d seen here. We’re heading to wineries around Santa Barbara along the California coast. Not much to complain about there. Until Gina drops in her little surprise. She’s arranged for me to do a job swap and perform stand-up, in two days, at North Hollywood’s legendary Ha Ha Comedy Cafe. Can I find a wine Gina will love, and some jokes that will make her laugh?

It’s a road trip that takes us through the Santa Rita Hills and into the wine-making country made famous by the film Sideways. After a glass of fizz at the famous “Hitching Post” we head into the vines. Thanks to the cooling winds off the Pacific, this is perfect territory for supple Pinot Noir and bright Chardonnay. But Gina’s palate isn’t the easiest to please. And my jokes don’t help much either.

Then it’s into Santa Barbara itself. The Funk Zone is a vibrant neighbourhood of coffee shops, wine tasting rooms and small businesses. For me it’s a great opportunity to understand Gina’s palate, picking our way through different grapes and wine styles. For Gina it’s a great opportunity to road-test my stand-up on strangers.

I have twenty-four hours to find a wine that Gina says is delicious. And jokes that Los Angelinos say are funny. It’s not looking good…

Discover more about visiting California and its wineries at visitcalifornia.co.uk

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.

Mendocino – Thinking outside the Bottle

Mendocino – Thinking outside the Bottle

Amelia Singer

Not many people have heard of Mendocino. Whereas neighbouring Napa is the most-visited tourist attraction after Disneyland, Mendocino’s bucolic beauty belies a region of grit – winegrowers here are traditionally paid lower prices for fruit. However, attracting labour is the biggest issue, especially when many vineyard workers are being seduced by marijuana growers. The average price of grape picking is $10 an hour but you can earn $25 trimming weed.

To deal with this crisis, local sheriff, Tom Allman, had a creative solution – why not use prisoners from the county jail as pickers? Driving Joe and I in his police car, Tom explains how he concocted this scheme with Martha Barra, whose family-run winery was being seriously affected. Together they chose several prisoners to do the harvest and paid them a fair wage. It worked so well that the number of prisoner pickers has increased and three other sheriffs have incorporated this scheme.

As effective as this scheme sounded, I couldn’t help but ask Martha Barra if she felt safe in the vineyards. According to Martha, Tom had a rigorous selection system but I was unconvinced.

My doubts persisted until I had seen the prisoners themselves. Out in Martha’s vineyard I could see how studiously they worked. They displayed an impressive knowledge of viticulture but they also really enjoyed it. As one prisoner said “it feels like you’ve accomplished something.” Perhaps the most impressive story was Jaime’s who enjoyed the work so much he then became the vineyard manager as soon as he left jail.

I now view this moody region in a new light. It could perhaps be the innovator of the greatest labour initiative in California. I understand why Martha Barra takes delight in writing cheques for these pickers. This scheme has created sustainable labour but it has also given local people a second chance in life.

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.

The Napa Valley and its Wine Train

The Napa Valley and its Wine Train

Gizzi Erskine

There are vineyards in all but one state in the USA: Washington DC (which isn’t technically a state) is the only state in the Union not to grow grapes for winemaking. And yet when most people are asked to name an American wine region they will say California, and more specifically, Napa.

Having already visited Arizona, one of the USA’s emerging wine regions, The Wine Show decided that I should meet two of America’s best wine makers in the Napa Valley.

David Mahaffey has been making wine for the Miss Olivia Brion vineyard at Heron Lake for more than 30 years. Since its very first vintage, he’s been known for making very elegant wines. But who is Olivia Brion and how did her French name come to grace this most American wine? You can read more about her here but her skills were in the making and selling of bicycles in France in the 19th century. But her ‘Haut-Brion’ wine-making roots and spirit act as an inspiration for the wine and winemakers at Heron Lake.

In 1905 Olivia, wearing trousers and sporting short hair, shocked the sporting world by beating a train travelling from Canterbury to Maidstone in Kent on her bicycle. Later in life she caused a scandal by publishing passionate letters from her many lovers, including Warren Harding, Paul Gauguin, Charles Chaplin and Isadora Duncan. She was also part of the suffragette movement and all-round woman of substance. Dare I say it, not unlike me!

I also meets Loren Trefethen from the family-owned-and-run Trefethen Vineyard. Loren’s grandparents moved to Napa in the late 1960s. At that time there were only 20 mostly struggling vineyards in what was then considered an agricultural backwater. But by 1979 John Trefethen, Loren’s father, had begun producing wines of such great quality that their chardonnay was named the best in the world at the Gault-Millau Wine Olympics in Paris.

My ‘date’ with Loren and David is aboard the Napa Wine Train which travels along the same route as laid out by Samuel Brannan, an early Californian pioneer who brought tourists including writer Robert Louis-Stevenson to the region from San Francisco. The Napa Wine train has been running since 1989 and features lovingly restored Pullman carriages in which passengers can travel through the valley past some of the most famous vineyards in the world.

As a thank you for sharing their stories about Napa and their wines, I decide to cook some lunch on board the train – another first for me! Chef Kelly Macdonald kindly allows me into the kitchen where I cook a lunch to complement the wine David and Loren have brought. For inspiration, I look back to France however, preparing a beautiful Coq au Vin, (chicken in red wine) using local ingredients and herbs that I feel bring out the subtleties in the wine. Both winemakers are very happy with their lunch; I’d like to think I did The Wine Show and the UK very proud indeed.

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.

Our wine picks for California Wine Month

Our wine picks for California Wine Month

September marks the start of California Wine Month, a yearly celebration of the region’s wonderful winemaking culture. Featuring regional festivals, dinners, vineyard tours, and intimate tastings – the event appeals to serious wine lovers and newbies alike.

Whilst you may not be able to make it to the Golden State to experience this joyous celebration of Californian wine first-hand, luckily there are plenty of incredible bottles you can source worldwide.

If you’re looking for inspiration, consider the below list a great starting point. Who knows, that first sip may just encourage you to head Stateside and experience this incredible wine region up close!

Hirsch Vineyards West Ridge Estate Pinot Noir

I have no doubt lives have been changed by this wine. Hirsch are among the most lauded California producers by Pinotphiles. Intense and complex, this is an expression of California as much as Pinot Noir. There’s inviting richness but also delicacy. Truffles and earth, but a New World heart of vibrant berry fruit.

The Halcyon Riesling

Some of us like something sweeter. Softer. Richer. But it’s so hard to find. So, when you come across wines like this with its lightly-sweet style and sweet peach and lightly-honeyed style, hold them dear. Sweeter wines make wonderful companions to spicier dishes. But also this is gorgeous to sip through the evening. It’s aromatic, fragrant with a beautiful balance of lifted citrus freshness.

Fess Parker Chardonnay

The curious geography of California’s Central Coast lets winemakers experiment. To make the most of little valleys to bring out different styles. It’s the extremes of warm days that flesh out the pear fruit. And cold nights that keep tangy, crisp apple that make this distinctive. It’s oaky with baked pastry and made for roasted chicken, turkey, corn and pies.

Inglenook Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

When Francis Ford Coppola bought a piece of history at Inglenook, he took on an estate modelled on the finest Bordeaux châteaux, and it still makes wines in an homage to Bordeaux with the meaty heft of Napa. Currants, blueberries and those supple, soft Californian tannins cry out for a steak.

Barra of Medocino Pinot Noir Rose

It’s crackers to think that a generation ago, rose was a flibbertigibbet footnote in the wine statistics. Today there are pinks of every hue and palates from the tangy to tropical. This is in the melon, peach, strawberry, fruit salad variety. Lots of juicy fruit and light on the herbal notes. A dry wine, lovely with salads and tortillas (I discovered) but with a sun-warmed fruit.

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.

Viva La Volvo Revolution

Viva La Volvo Revolution

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 explores the changing face of the Chilean wine industry.

Joe Fattorini

‘Those who can ride, ride! We will break through the enemy!’ This was the rousing cry of General Bernardo O’Higgins at the battle of Rancagua. His men were surrounded and outnumbered. According to legend the last 120 of them were forced to take refuge in a cellar. That cellar is still there at the Santa Rita estate. And today, surrounded by neat rows of bottles and artfully positioned barrels, it’s hard to imagine the ragtag, defeated group of patriots, injured and terrified as they prepared to flee to three years of exile over the Andes in Argentina.

Today the 120 cellar at Santa Rita is the home of a new revolution. And one of its Generals is Cecilia Torres. Cecilia is fondly known as the ‘Grandmother of Chilean wine’. She is warm, generous and quick with a smile. But also pioneer with a steely determination. Since 1989 Cecilia has been responsible for making Casa Real, one of Chile’s greatest wines. Casa Real surprised the world with its quality, complexity and focus. It also gave a generation of Chilean winemakers the confidence to make wines that could compete with the best. And Cecilia’s example also inspired a particular group of winemakers. Around a third of all people making wine in Chile are women. One of the highest proportions in the world.

I’ve heard it said (not least by Argentineans) that Chileans are by nature a sensible people. The winemakers certainly give that appearance. Pressed chinos, polo shirt, winery-branded fleece and a pair of sensible shoes is the uniform of the Chilean winemaker. And the wines had a similar reputation through the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. Cecilia’s revolution in quality led to growth in consistent, fruity, balanced… sensible wines. But like the Volvos they were compared with, they were reliable but often lacked excitement.

Today, a new generation of winemakers is changing that reputation. Rather than just a Cabernet or a Merlot, these winemakers are experimenting with exotic blends of new varieties. Rather than just making wine in the warm valley floor, they’re moving up the hills. Or even to completely new regions in Chile’s high altitude, desert north and cool south. And there’s a twist. Pisco. This is the grape spirit that gobbled up Chile’s grapes and led to plantings of bland, over-productive varieties. But this 17th century brandy is now mixed in innovative cocktails. I tried several of them. After a few you wouldn’t be able to ride. But you’d have the courage to follow Bernardo O’Higgins breaking through any enemy.

Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Here is one of the world’s great ‘icon’ wines, that deserves the title and is still within reach of mere mortals. A wine that changed our perceptions of Chilean wine forever. It remains true to its origins with a deftly crafted masterclass in pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Cassis, spice, cedar, toast and the capacity to age. Serve with something devastatingly simple like a roast Cote de Boeuf. Let the wine sing.

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.

Wine Education Week

Raise a glass this September to WSET’s Wine Education Week

 

At The Wine Show, we know our viewers are constantly looking to delve deeper into the world of wine, discovering more about the culture, history, and diverse nature of this most marvelous drink.

It’s why we’re delighted to let you know about WSET’s exciting new educational initiative. Having awarded over 400,000 wine lovers one of its qualifications in the UK alone since it was founded in 1969, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, the largest global provider of wine and spirits qualifications, is celebrating its milestone 50th anniversary with the first ever global Wine Education Week, running from 9-15 September 2019.

The event kicks off on 9th September with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for wine lovers to help break a Guinness World Record – for the largest ever recorded sommelier lesson. TV personality and award-winning wine expert Olly Smith and sommelier Virgilio Gennaro (Wine Director at Giorgio Locatelli Consultancy) will host a crowd looking to shatter the existing record of 271 people, and you could be one of them!

How can I get involved?

The hosts will give attendees an insight into the art of pairing food and wine and guide them through tasting four wines matched with complementary foods. Tickets to the event are priced at £20.00 and are available to purchase here. Similar events across the world will mark the beginning of Wine Education Week, starting in Auckland, New Zealand and ending in Los Angeles, USA.

Following the launch, Wine Education Week will continue with almost 70 events taking place across the UK, with sessions ranging from ‘Deciphering Wine Labels’ to ‘Matches Made In Heaven’ – and ‘All That Sparkles’ for some added fizz! The events will help attendees make wiser choices when choosing a bottle and to discover the delights of lesser-known wines they might not have tasted before.

Full details about Wine Education Week and the events taking place can be found at www.wineeducationweek.com 

Bringing the world’s wine lovers together to celebrate and learn more about wine

Seven days, 450 events across 45 countries – the biggest global consumer wine event ever held. So, whether you’re novice or knowledgeable, mad for Merlot or puzzled by Pinot, Wine Education Week will take you on a journey of discovery.

History forever at Klein Constantia

History forever at Klein Constantia

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 channels his inner Napoleon exploring the history of Klein Constantia, a beautiful South African winery.

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Joe Fattorini

What was it like to be Napoleon? I mean I’m short, ambitious and I’ve been disappointed in Belgium. But what was his life like day-to-day? We know what life tasted like when Napoleon had his pudding. How? Because of Vin de Constance.

At 5.00am at Klein Constantia, grape picking is in full swing. And here it really is ‘grape’ picking. Grape by shrivelled grape. Each day the pickers go to collect newly wrinkled fruit. Each grape picked only when it’s packed with unctuous, luscious juice. It’s just as they would have done in the eighteenth century. Quiet work. But not silent. The pickers chat in Afrikaans, with modern headlamps winking in the darkness. As dawn approaches, more noises join in. Birds at first, then waking baboons calling each other in the trees.

Vin de Constance wasn’t prized only because it was delicious. With all that sweetness and marmalade acidity it also travelled well. To Dickens and Austen in Britain. To Napoleon on St Helena. It also means Vin de Constance lives a long time. There’s something special about drinking a wine like the one people enjoyed in the eighteenth century. It’s something else to try the wine people actually enjoyed in the eighteenth century. I taste a 1791. The year Mozart died. The year the first American ship reached Japan. The year the Brandenburg Gate was finished. It still tastes delicious. I still don’t know what it was like being Napoleon. But it tasted good.

TWS-Vin-de-Constance

Klein Constantia Vin De Constance 2011

Taste this wine and you taste the past. Enjoy the honeyed sweetness and orange-marmalade tang. They are the same flavours that captivated Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Napoleon. The heady, complex sweet and spice aromas tell you this is one of the great wines of the world.

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.

War and Winemaking on The Loire

War and Winemaking on The Loire

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, we revisit Joe Fattorini discovering the historic and picturesque Loire Valley – and only some of it from within the confines of a barrel!

Loire-314x230

Joe Fattorini

Are you claustrophobic? If you’re not, you should be. I wondered if I could be stuck in a small place for an extended period of time. “Of course, no problem,” I thought. I couldn’t be more wrong.

It was perhaps the context. Patrice Monmousseau is jovial, convivial and charming. But in the dark cellars of his Montrichard winery, he tells his father’s story with deadly seriousness. During WW2, Jean Monmousseau smuggled agents of The Resistance across the Nazi guards on the River Cher in his wine barrels. It’s an easier task here than in other parts of France. The Loire traditionally uses a 400 litre barrel, compared with barrels of 225 litres or so elsewhere. I mean I’m small. But not that small.

Monmousseau is famous for its sparkling Saumur. But this part of the Loire also makes still, oak-aged Chenin Blanc whites and vibrant, currant-scented reds. Nazi guards on the River Cher waved over Jean and his truck of barrels as he passed from Free France to Vichy France. They imagined they were full of Chinon red or Anjoy Blanc. Little did they know that inside were undercover agents; fearing for their lives.

I say ‘fearing’. I can’t imagine they were doing anything else. You have to crouch down to get in a barrel. Then stopper your ears with plugs and headphones; the clatter of coopers hammering on the barrel’s crown and hoops is deafening. Then everything is dark. Every movement is out of your control and unanticipated. Every sound outside a mystery. When you stop moving you wonder why. When you start you wish it would stop. And the fusty, muggy heat. Creeping up, like a human-powered mini sauna.

They left me in for 50 minutes. It felt like hours. And nobody was waiting to riddle my barrel with machine gun bullets. I’ve tasted bravery with a glass of wine in the past. I’ve never done it with the same appreciation of what it really means to be brave as that night in the Loire.

Monmousseau Brut Etoile Methode Traditionnelle Non-Vintage

Great bubbles don’t come better value than this. But also with a soft pear fruit and frothy fizz, many people actually prefer this to more expensive sparkling wine. Match it with salads and a touch of spice for a magical mix. Think more robust fish dishes and spiced chicken.

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.

Santorini: Davy Jones’ Cellar

Joe visits the magical island of Santorini

 

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, we revisit Joe Fattorini’s incredible trip to the magical island of Santorini, complete with a spot of deep-sea diving!

Davy Jones’ Cellar

Joe Fattorini

Yiannis Paraskevopoulos has a naughty sense of humour. He may be one of Greece’s leading winery owners and a Professor of Oenology. But he jokes around putting on his wet suit, bobging about in his boat in the Mediterranean. He goes through all the formal diving protocols and splashes into the sea. Fifteen minutes his arm appears clutching a bottle of wine. Like Nimue, the Lady of the Lake presenting the sword to King Arthur, we grasp the bottle from his theatrical clutch.

Later over lunch, Yiannis gives me a second bottle to open with Matt and Matt. “When you open this one” he says “get them to sniff the outside of the bottle first”. I ask why, sniffing our bottle which has an attractive, iodine and oyster tang. “It won’t smell so nice in a few days” he laughs.

So why does Yiannis leave over a hundred bottles a year of his Assyrtiko wine at the bottom of a bay in the Mediterranean off Santorini? It’s an experiment. And a fascinating one. Because it turns out the sea is a pretty perfect environment for ageing wines. It’s dark (light is a great enemy of wine). It’s cool. The temperature is constant. And there’s absolutely no oxygen whatsoever. That is the really important part. We try Yiannis’s wines aged both above and below the sea. Assyrtiko ages well, its characteristic, bracing acidity mellowing with time and allowing a warm, lemon fruit to evolve. In the land-aged wines (if you can call them such a thing) there’s a nuttiness. It tastes old. But in the sea-aged wines, the mellow character comes with a brightness and clarity in the fruit. The wine tastes old and new at the same time.

And it’s that sense of old and new living side-by- side that embodies the wine business of Santorini. The island’s vineyards have some of the oldest vines on the planet. We walk through the vineyards at Estate Argyros seeing vines planted during the reign of George III. “That one was planted around the time of London’s Great Plague”. The fruit all carries the hallmark acidity of volcanic soils, and those soils date from The Minoan eruption of Thera. This was one of the biggest eruptions on earth in recorded history, and devastated the island in the second millennium BCE. It also buried, and preserved, the town of Akrotiri. Complete with three-storied houses, advanced urban planning and… wine. The large amphorae sitting where they would have done around 3600 years ago.

Santorini is a holiday paradise. The calm waters in the volcano’s caldera are some of the prettiest swimming in the Mediterranean. The food, the houses, the churches. But it’s also one of the most fascinating wine regions in the world. Too warm for most grapes, but able to produce zingy whites and sublime sticky Vinsanto through a combination of unique soils, unique grapes and generations of unique producers. Every wine lover should try these wines. None will ever regret it.

Ktima Alpha Axia White Malagousia/ Sauvignon PGI Floriana

There’s a wonderful spirit of experimentation among Greek producers, like matching the familiar zest of Sauvignon with adventurous aromatic and heady aromas of Malagousia. This is a richly textured wine, a foodie not a drinkie. Herby roast chicken or fish stew are perfect combinations.

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