Category Archives: Eating/ Drinking In

Flash Recommendation: Deutz Brut Classic Champagne

Deutz Birthday Wine

What:  Deutz Brut Classic Champagne

Where OutThe Hind’s Head, Bray, Berkshire £12 125ml glass/ £51 a bottle
Where InAlfred the Grape, Marlow, Bucks, £35.99
Occasion: ‘Out’ for my birthday back in July, ‘In’ for Mr. PFW’s birthday last week.
Food match: Drank as an appetiser both times but it went very well with Monday’s poppadums!
Conclusion: A beautiful golden colour with a fresh dryness and crisp butteriness on the palate. An excellent non-vintage choice which made a nice change from the usual Moet or Perriet Jouet.
Bonus point: That The Hind’s Head really hasn’t changed much over the years since Heston Blumenthal has owned it. Unlike other local gastro pubs, you really can still pop in for a pint and not feel like you shouldn’t be there (I didn’t notice whether there were any crisps behind the bar). Plus my favourite Ribeye with bone marrow is still on the menu all this time on.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Eating/ Drinking Out, Flash Recommendation, France, Sparkling

Flash Recommendation: Sainte Marie, Estate Wine of Jersey, 2010

Jim Bergerac

Jim Bergerac

I’ll be honest here, my only knowledge of Jersey is that it’s near France, full of millionaires, they have cows and it looks pretty (from what I remember from ‘Bergerac‘). Although I don’t remember Jim (Bergerac of course), ever commenting on the local beverages, I can also add, that they can make rather tasty wine too.

jerseyThe Sainte Marie 2010 is produced by La Mare Wine Estate, a destination, event venue and local produce champion. Looking at their website, there’s little mention of the wine specifics, which is a shame, as this off-dry Seyval Blanc and Orion blend was delightful. Golden in colour and a peachy palate, the creaminess and acidity of this wine stood up proudly to the spiciness of a home-made curry made by a friend of mine, fresh back from her Jersey holiday. This was also perfectly drinkable with just the poppadums and I can also imagine it would be pretty mean with Jersey Oysters.

Bought from Waitrose in Jersey somewhere in the region of £10.85.

Additional links: Delicious Magazine Article – Jersey

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Festi-wine – no glass, quantity over quality: the time and place for a wine box.

I’ve just realised that we’re less than two weeks away from heading off to a UK music festival for 5 days. Whereas last year on the run up (I was on maternity leave) I started preparing months in advance, this year, I’ve only just started to think about what we need to take, particularly what food and drink we might take to keep the cost down when we’re there.

To be honest, I’m not in the habit of drinking wine at a festival. In fact, it’s no place for fine wine or taking along anything that needs to be kept cold – totally unnecessary, unless of course you either have a camper van and therefore a fridge to hand or are too important to erect your own tent (jealous of glampers? Me? Yeah, very much so 😉  ). Festivals are for drinking real ale, lager and cider. Oh, and you won’t hear me say this very often, but they are also the only acceptable time, along with making mulled wine, and place for a…wait for it…yes, a BOX of wine.

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My quest to find the perfect Rosé

Upd 14Aug13: In a desperate attempt to be accepted by my fellow wine bloggers, I’d like to re-submit this post that I wrote back in June for the 80th  Wine Blogging Wednesday, the subject being ‘Dry Rosé’. I’ll admit, this is cheating somewhat but after some grovelling, @winecast has humoured me and allowed this as a super-early (21 days earlier than the challenge was even set) submission. Check out twitter #wbw80 and here for more excellent entries.

Some love it, some hate it. I am in the former camp and LOVE a glass of Rosé on a sunny afternoon. I like to think that my husband and I were the sole initiators of the rosé revolution in the UK after being introduced to its merits on a holiday to St Tropez back in 2003. Prior to then, I’d tasted very little and if my memory serves me correctly, anything other than Mateus was rare to be seen on a pink wine list in the UK.

Just like I wouldn’t order just ‘a glass of white wine’ in a pub, I wouldn’t order just any old rosé. I’ve been caught out in the past by the sweet, heavy, dark, cheap rosés that many pubs serve and have been known before now to demand to see the bottle before ordering only to opt for a pint of lager instead. I am always astounded by the looks of astonishment by bar staff across the country – surely rosé is rosé? Not at all and I seriously suspect that the rosé haters amongst you simply haven’t found the right one for you yet! Rosé for me has to be dry, lightish in colour and acidic with an almost sherberty finish and I neither mind whether it’s strawberries or peaches and cream. Needless to say – it must be COLD. Continue reading

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, France, Seasonal, South Africa, Uncategorized

Jolly Rosé Holidays

The 89 BMW pictured at Sandbanks, UK  - our mode of holiday transport is not such fun these days!

The ’89 BMW. Our mode of holiday transport is not such fun these days!

The last time I went to the Cote d’Azur and Provence, was 10 years ago to the month. We (my husband and I, in the early days) spent 3 days under canvas on the beach at Port Grimaud as part of a 2 week tour of France, living out the back of my 1989 BMW E30 convertible. This time, we’ll be in a much more sensible diesel estate (stationwagon, for my American readers), accompanied by our 2 kids (20 months and 3 years) and staying in a ‘Tiki Hut‘ (a.k.a a thatched mobile home) – oh, how times change.

What will not be changing however, is the delight of buying inexpensive local rosé wine by the refillable carton from the local marché. It was on our previous trip, sat in a bar watching how the other half live on St. Tropez harbour, that we discovered the delights of Provençal rosé. From that moment on, we have continued to quaff the stuff every summer and share the love with whoever will listen – we even chose a cheap and cheerful rosé as an alternative to white wine for our guests to wash down the barbecue at our wedding.

Something else that has changed since my last trip, is that I now know a little more about wine, so I will be branching out beyond just the entry level to try and find the perfect rosé –  I’m not expecting that I’ll have too venture far.

Port Grimaud is just outside of St. Tropez and then we’re staying on a vineyard just to the east of Orange. Do you have any recommendations of vineyards to visit or specific wine producers to keep an eye out for? Please do comment!

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Cheers to English Wine Week!

A selection of English Sparkling for an upcoming tasting in May.

Hoorah to English Wine Week!

Just a quicky as I have a small person pestering me to set up a treasure hunt. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, as I believe it is too in the states. It is also World Sherry Day and, more to the point, we’re in the midst of English Wine Week.

I ran an English Wine tasting a couple of week’s ago and the general consensus from a group of happy tasters, was that the English wine was excellent. Since then, I also attended a trade show where I tried even more!

In summary;

we can grow some fabulous Bacchus – a lighter version of Sauvignon Blanc. The Pheasants Ridge Bacchus Dry from near Henley-on-Thames was a delight and the generous Michael Gilbey gave us (The Wine Team) a bottle to try. (£75 for 6 bottles) I would like to try their Sparkling Brut now.

Expect to see some Chardonnay emerging  Give the Gusbourne Estate Chardonnay (still, not sparkling – well, try that too!) a go!

Age it! – We tried a vertical tasting of Stanlake Park‘s Kings Fume (a 2006 and a 2010) (£10.99 from the vineyard) blend of Ortega, Regner, Scheurebe and Bacchus. Both tasty with the eldest being a lot creamier and softer – the jury was out as to which was preferred.

 the reds are coming along – until this particular tasting, I was yet to taste a decent English red. The 2 Pinot Noirs from Bolney Estate (£15.99) and a’Becketts (£15) however were light and fruity, with the former hinting at some good Burgundy-esque flavours and body.

don’t rule out rosé either – the Oaken Grove Benham Blush  (Waitrose, £10.99) was just how I like my rosé – light, acidic and fruity (think Provencal) [Also featured in My quest to find the perfect rosé]

….drum roll…and the sparkling……! – Becoming increasingly competitive in price and quality with Champagne and other sparkling wine, it really feels like English Sparkling is carving out its own little niche within the market, and I’m yet to try a nasty one. It’s also switching me towards pink sparkling – The Balfour Brut Rosé (£35.99, Waitrose) is a force to be reckoned with. As for the whites, you could pick up the Sainsbury’s English Sparkling Wine, a 2007 vintage from Denbies  for around £15 in their 25% off deal at the moment – a billion-times better investment than a cheap bottle of NV Champers in my opinion, and worth every penny at full price £19.99. Another that I had the pleasure of tasting this week was the award-winning Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Blanc de Blancs (£23.99). These guys were lovely to meet and all 3 of their sparklings were yummy.

Not my most scientific post this one, but wanted to share while the sun still shines and the long weekend is still in full swing. Please do share any you’ve tried and where you bought it. Happy Bank Holiday and Happy English Wine Week!

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, English Wine, Sparkling, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting

Summer Dining and Wine Series: Barbecues

Picture this; it’s been sunny since Wednesday and you’ve been cooped up in an air-conditioned office all week. The forecast for the weekend is STEAMY and you awaken to blue skies and glorious sunshine on Saturday morning. First thought? It’s time for a barbecue!

Proud husbandly photograph of 6 hour cooked dinner

Proud husbandly photograph of 6 hour cooked dinner

So, first thing…do we have any charcoal? Yes, I think there’s one last batch that’s been clogging up the shed all winter – just enough for one bbq. Second…food! Cue, a rummage in the freezer. Sausages – check. A couple of chicken thighs, perfect for skewers – check. This is where I, being female, would end, but this is a barbecue, 2 meats in one meal simply won’t suffice! Continue reading

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