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Posts Tagged ‘Chardonnay’

We all went.  Friends of ours, Ruth and I and the daughters.  We piled into the cars and headed off from Hastings for what turned out to be a very good day.

After the bucketsful of rain of the last few weeks the weather miraculously held and the ambling around Glynde Place with its beautiful rural, posh-life charm was unexpectedly magical.

I am not sure if the wine tasting glasses that we received when we arrived were a gift for us to take home with us – in any case little Dolly broke one of them – but the one remaining is a nice memento.

John Torode said good morning.  Not sure if it’s because he reads the blog (!) or because he’s broken the mould as a nice polite Antipodean.  There was a Masterchef winner there (apparently) doing tasty pork bites.  A Dosa wrap van that had me going back for a naughty wallop of seconds, but there was also a goodly turnout from local producers in the wine marquee.

I didn’t manage to get to listen to Stephen Skelton. Maybe next year…

I had thought that I might go and listen to Stephen Skelton wax lyrical in one of the tutored tastings, but as we had come en famille that felt a bit rude, so Kirsty and I took one for the team and went to do a comprehensive tour of the tent – to check out what was on show, whilst the other halves were keeping the children occupied.  [I paid for it, mind.  I waited hours in the queue for the bloody face-painting afterwards.]

So we started talking to a nice Northern chap who was fronting the Bluebell Vineyard stall.  His Seyval Blanc sparkling has apparently done superbly well at the recent UK Vineyard Association awards.  It was fresh, but the mousse was quite explosive and too much would I think have given me wind.

Next came the well-met Breaky Bottom.  It was great to chat to Peter Hall, the winemaker, who was extremely complimentary about my aftershave (and made me realise what an amateur taster I still am – true professionals would have eschewed any parfum that morning in order to keep the aromas in the glass as pure as possible).

Peter was showing a Chardonnay from 2008 which smelt for all the world of oysters and seaweed; a Seyval Blanc (which he reckoned to be in the same league as the 2006 Breaky which I bigged up in the previous post, and which Kirsty adored) and a Chardonnay-Seyval Blanc blend which was much gentler in respect of bubbles, but forgettable.

I was so taken with the bottled smell of the sea that I bought a couple of the Chardonnay.

In fact Peter’s were the only purchases of the day.  The wines from Upperton vineyard were nice – the sparkling white on offer was minerally and fresh with a nose of pencil shavings.  And their sparkling pink had dairy notes, but just didn’t sway me sufficiently from BB’s C.

And then, as soon as it was begun it was over.  And we were back in the car – all brownied-up and story-told-out with smeared face paint and rosy cheeks.

A fun day, worth putting in the diary for foodies everywhere!

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I have been beguiled by the Co-op’s Fairtrade selection again.

This time I was in the Bohemia Road store, but I am pretty sure the Ore Village, Central St Leonard’s and Silverhill ones will have it too…

Over the last year or so I have been trying to broaden my experience of white wine grapes. And one of my favourite new finds has been the Torrentés grape from Argentina.

The Co-op’s own Fairtrade Torrentés Chardonnay blend (2011 vintage) has been made from grapes grown in the La Rioja valley, which as I am sure you know nestles between the Velazco mountain range in the East and the Andes in the West.

This is a solidly lemon colour in the glass with white grapefruit and minerals on the first nose – like a wintry sea breeze. After a swirl , the aromas are more of white spring flowers.

Dry and with high acidity – it really got my saliva glands working – the alcohol is not too fierce in the throat and it has a lovely silky body which at £4.99 is pretty darn impressive.

Flavours of green apple and a herby, lightly fennel-y twist make this possibly the best value white wine I have tasted for a good while.

Not that I have them much, and with Valentine’s Day a fading memory, this would have gone beautifully with fresh oysters. A trip to Rock-a-Nore beckons…

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When my grandfather passed away a couple of years ago, I ended up inheriting from him a share in the Wine Society – this is the John Lewis of the wine world: a mutual that ploughs its profits back into making good wines available at decent prices. If you are interested to know more, just have a look online.

Before Christmas, a friend of mine and I went to one of the Society’s tastings in London – exploring the wines of Portugal. It was interesting and informative – primarily because there are lots of indigenous Portugese grapes that I had never heard of. There were also a wide range of Madeira wines and Ports to try.

Verdelho is one of the four main grape varieties grown on the island of Madeira, and it is famous for making a medium dry fortified wine. So it caught my eye on the label of a South East Australian dry white on offer in Morrisons at the moment.

Rosemount, one of the bigger Australian producers, has created a (2009 vintage) Semillon, Verdelho, Chardonnay blend. It is less than half price at £4.99, until 26 February.

A medium lemon colour, the wine has immediate aromas of pear drops, apples and lychee; and after a swirl in the glass it has real cleanliness and freshness, and a bit of a tropical fruit rush.

It is a well-balanced wine in respect of alcohol and acidity with limey citrus flavours, and is evocative of fresh cut grass and summer days. Even though it’s the middle of winter, it’ll go beautifully with your favourite fish pie.

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