When I received the invitation to attend the first Investec event in their newly created series of The Stand debates my eyes must have lit up in excitement like those of a 5-year old about to unpack Christmas presents. Two of UK’s and world’s most influential wine experts, authors to a number of wine books on my bookshelf – Jancis Robinson MW and Oz Clarke – were to debate the strengths and weaknesses of Old World vs. New World wines. Continue reading Old World vs. New World – Jancis Robinson & Oz Clarke battle it out
Even though it may seem like this winter will never end, we are officially, inevitably and luckily (yay!) approaching its end. Meaning that sometime sooner or later we will be stepping away from our full-bodied, big, warming, winter red wines and reach out for that bottle of refreshing crisp white to go with our ever lighter meals.
In the meantime, I thought I would start spreading some summer mood and pre-open the season of “refreshing whites” with an impressive bottle I received from the London merchant Roberson Wine for review: Continue reading Season pre-opening – summer whites dreaming
I was wondering if this is something worth sharing and have decided that it is, simply for the sake of this being “off the beaten track” rather than a standard American bar kind of thing.
Coco – a cocktail I ordered at the Beaufort bar at The Savoy hotel in London last weekend. It was created to honor the fashion icon Coco Chanel and to “..remember the legacy she left” as it says on the menu. The cocktail ingredients were: Grey goose vodka, Lillet Blanc, 2006 vintage of Moët et Chandon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape reduction. Served (apparently) in an original glass from 1923, with chocolate caviar on the side and the mysterious house Chanel No.5 in a spray bottle.
Frankly speaking, they had me at Chateauneuf-du-Pape reduction. I was just too curious to try a cocktail that contains a red wine sirup and also tempting – vintage champagne. They say Chateauneuf-du-Pape was Madame Chanel’s favorite wine and she always had it with fish caviar which she also loved – good call to replace it with chocolate caviar to go with the cocktail. (CNDP and fish caviar must have been a terrible food and wine pairing!)
What can I say.. A pleasant drink, not to sweet not too sour not to strong not too… anything really. And actually not that special as it is presented to be. Is it worth £25? God no. The way I see it, it is a lovely marketing attempt to make customers aware that Coco Chanel used to stay at the hotel and to celebrate the fashion icon. And is it rather targeted at a fashionista who had spent a whole day shopping and would like to finish her evening in style and in spirit of fashion. I however, will stick to a proper glass of good old Chateauneuf.
If you haven’t had a chance to taste wines of Chateau Montelena of Napa, California, you might still have heard about it. Montelena was featured in the movie called “Bottle shock”, where it was THE new world producer to beat French wines in a blind tasting referred to as “The judgement of Paris” in 1976, held by the British wine expert Steven Spurrier. The movie is based on real events although there has been some criticism in regards to the accuracy of the script. This film is certainly not a masterpiece but still quite entertaining and a must-see for all wine lovers.
But back to the wine! I discovered the 2010 Montelena Cabernet on the wine list at the CUT – a fantastic steak restaurant on London’s Park Lane – and looked no longer, I knew I had to try it! I apologize for the very brief wine description as it was rather difficult to focus on producing a full tasting note being in a big group of friends in a very lively environment.
TASTING NOTE: smooth tannins, pronounced cassis notes; smoke/tar and floral aromas somewhat reminded me a bit of Barolo, although it was more violets rather that roses. Very good quality easy drinking wine that will develop further. Decanting recommended.
The wine is a blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc and retails for an average of £30 per bottle; considering its quality, fame and ageing potential I find this a good value. It matched perfectly with a medium cooked USDA beef fillet mignon and was an excellent and more elegant alternative to my usual choice of Malbec to go with steaks.
If you are interested in purchasing the wine drop me a line and I will be happy to help you source it.
A photo gallery of my trip back in August 2013, mostly in the area in and around the towns of Saint-Emilion & Pomerol. Only in Staint-Emilion have I seen vineyards in the middle of the city centre.. A truly stunning phenomenon of nature, viticulture and so much medieval history living and breathing each other!