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A study has shown that people can get 15% more pleasure out of their wines by simultaneously drinking and listening to the right kind of music. (and that’s fabulous news )

Professor Spence of Oxford University discovered that the brain (yes yours, no matter how big or small ) and therefore taste, is influenced by ‘outside’ forces when eating and drinking.

So to make your wine taste better choose your background music wisely.

He found that humans want to match sensations to taste and said the following apply

Malbec works well with instruments like the organ

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for Malbec

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Mike Oldfield

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Prodigo Malbec Honest Grapes £27.20

 Sauvignon Blanc,works well with light white wines and is suitable to listen to harp music.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for S.B

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Anne Roos

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Greywacke Wines Direct £15.95

  • Sweet wines, such as a Late Harvest Riesling, matches with music with an even rhythm, slow tempo and high pitch yet soft. Piano music is best.
  • Sour wines, like red Italians such as Barbera, correspond with music that has a syncopated rhythm, fast tempo and a high pitch. Brass instruments are good.
  • Fino Sherry and other salty wines are also good with brass instruments but prefer staccato.
  • Wines with fruity aromas such as Beaujolais matches with a high pitch, whereas wines with smokey (Margaux), dark chocolate (Nero d’Avola) or cedar (Bordeaux) match with a low pitch.
  • High tannin wines correspond with rock guitar of chunky, gritty strings and full bodied wines match with a symphonic orchestra.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for high tannin wines

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Foo Fighters

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Nebbiolo Lea and Sandeman £12.75

 

Sound can also entirely change the taste and texture of the wine. For example, if you listen to powerful and heavy music, this will make the wine taste more powerful and heavy, or if you listen to mellow and soft music, the taste of the wine will correspond.

He also found ;

  • Wines with a strong orange aroma such as Sauternes, correspond with music that is bright, sharp and dynamic. A rhythm that is lively and fast. Think Bieber
  • Vanilla flavours, such as American-oaked Chardonnay match with music with a soft even rhythm and a slow tempo. Sting

Charles Spence explaining his theories at Google UK Sept 2015. Have a look !!

https://youtube/JgUVjKsP_wc

You can even match wine to musical genres…

See if you agree :

Rock n’ roll  is Cabernet Sauvignon = host of styles and quality,  but when its good its really good. Chuck berry is favourite

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shopping

Inglenook Cab. Sauvignon 2009 £93

Jazz is Cabernet Franc. Roy Ayers

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Ricitelli Cabernet Franc Great Wines Direct £27.60

Gamay and Electro just work.  Gamay is sharp, funky, fresh. It’s the aperitif to the main course  Bonobo

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Moulin a vent Fraziers Wine Merchants £19.99

“Moscato is like pop music. Sweet as honey and straight forward. Ellie Goulding

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I could talk this week about a different wine,  a different region or even a different grape variety but I think its important to have the bigger picture in front of you .

Enjoying wine is not just about trying the 20 point test that most individuals in the wine industry are programmed to learn characteristic by characteristic.

Available on request ( just seeing if you are reading this !!!)

What is important is to surround your self with the appreciation of wine (what ever the cost) and enrich the moment irrespective of value.

Expensive watches and expensive cars are trappings of perceived success and cannot be savoured over a good wine and good music (no they cant ! ) wine can enrich the moment……. but wine with music is a different kettle of fish

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“a kettle of fish “

once you have this right your life is complete

Have the right mood and you appreciate the right music. Which is why we listen to relaxing melancholy music when we want to chill out and upbeat modern music when we want to exercise.

I was laughed at by my peers a few years ago for daring to suggest wine and music in the same sentence and yet here i am.

If you have looked at my blog over the last 10 weeks you would of noticed that at the end of every blog I add a music pairing , some cool , some on trend, some even out of fashion  but all recommendations can be enjoyed in the moment with the right wine.

But after all of this you know what I’m going to say. Either you believer this or you don’t.

If you look at the very notion of pairing wine with the Lunar Calendar and listening to suitably paired music and you agree with it and then put this in context with wine then………

Then you must have a Zen moment. Things are in sync. and the wine music pairing works.

Trust me I’m a dog !

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Only you will know if only you will try

Go on be a devil !!!

Do you believe music can be paired with wine to enhance the experience ?

Please click on link ABOVE  to take part in the poll

As a treat here’s this week overall  music pairing in video format from a discovery this week – enjoy

 

Enjoy life, enjoy the moment but above all enjoy the wine !

Just look how beautiful the set of photos are  – highlighting almost every single welsh vineyard in the UK

On the quest for an unstuffy world i thought how could i make this topic of Welsh wine unstuffy. I thought I would highlight  rather than state facts.

So over a period of weeks if you would like me to talk about anything – let me know. This will grow organically

EMAIL ME !!!

thegrapewizard@gmail.com

 

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That’s me folks !!!!

Of course i cant speak from authority if the following are not true

1. I am Welsh (born in St. Asaph 13th August 19…)

2. A passion for everything Welsh

3.  Not been on Holiday to my homeland more than once

All are true

We have great producers producing award winning wines.

Indeed some producers don’t rely on the obvious varietals (grapes) to increase their revenue. They work with what they know will grow according  to the climate and the terroir

Grape Varieties Grown in Wales

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SEYVAL BLANC (White Grape)
crops heavily even in the most unfavourable of summers and has effective disease resistance. It is a good ”˜all rounder’ and is often used for blending –  well suited to oak ageing and used for still or sparkling wines. Can produce a neutral white wine with crisp acidity.

TRIOMPHE (Red Grape)
French hybrid. Very vigorous in growth and disease resistant. Produces close knit bunches of small red grapes which give a dark red juice – flavours of strawberries and blackcurrants.

BACCHUS (White Grape)
Bacchus is considered to be one of the best grape varieties of Wales and in 2003 was the third most widely planted grape in the UK. Its grapes are intense and aromatic, with high sugar content. Bacchus wines age well and develop interesting flavours.

KERNLING (Red Skinned Grape with White Flesh)
produces a typical Germanic-style white wine with high acidity.

HUXELREBE (White Grape)
 Huxelrebe produces large tightly packed bunches of grapes which produce a pleasant medium wine It has a high natural acidity and strong aromas of elderflowers, producing very fruity wines that age well.

REICHENSTEINER (White Grape)
this German variety ripens early and regular cropper producing grapes with good sugar levels. It is reliable but a little neutral and is often used for blending in both still and sparkling wines, having good sugar levels.

SIEGERREBE (White Grape)
A small berried and intensely aromatic variety. It is often used to bolster blended wines and a few growers use it as a varietal in its own right

MADELEINE ANGEVINE (White Grape)
It flowers late and crops early. It is useful for blending since it ages well and its relative low acidity will blend well with higher acid varieties. On its own it produces wines that are light and fruity with a pronounced muscat bouquet.

 

Vineyards of Wales – some not included as is neither a commercial business or not enough information is known

  • Pant Du Vineyard
    Pant Du Vineyard and Orchard has been planted on the south facing glacial slopes of the beautiful Nantlle Valley.Selling wine, cider, apple juice, and spring water, it’s a family-run business with a café on site. Tours, private parties and wine tastings are available. www.pantdu.co.uk
  • Tŷ Croes Vineyard   The vineyard covers two and a half acres of vines that have now been turned into delicious Welsh wines. Producing white wines from Phoenix and Seyval Blanc, and Rondo which is red, you can pop in for a tour of the vineyard and you can have a tipple tasting too.  www.tycroesvineyard.co.uk
  • Penarth Vineyard
    Situated on a unique riverside location in Powys, they say their Welsh wine is unique because they grow varieties which are believed to be unsuitable for the climate, yet the grapes face the elements giving them a richness of flavour and depth of character.  You can make an appointment to visit the vineyard, or visit, Quince’s, their delicatessen in Newtown, to sample their wine, or indulge in chocolates and local produce.www.penarthvineyard.co.uk
  • Kerry Vale Vineyard
    Planted in 2010, the vineyard covers six acres of farmland in Churchstoke. The land it’s situated on was once part of the ancient Roman site of Pentreheyling Fort, and pottery found on the site is displayed in the vineyard shop.You can visit the vineyard for tours from June to September, scheduled for every Saturday and Sunday throughout the season, plus bank holidays and occasional midweek times. They also take bookings for group tours at other times by special arrangement. www.kerryvalevineyard.co.uk
  • Llaethliw Vineyard
    A new, family run vineyard, the first grapes were picked in October of 2013 and the first 2000 bottles of white, red and rosé came in May 2014.  Llaethliw Vineyard is situated on the coastal plain at the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains in Neuaddlwyd, Aberaeron, on the West Coast of Wales.The winery, shop and café/restaurant are under development.www.llaethliw.co.uk
  • Jabajak Vineyard
    Previously a working farm and stables Jabajak has been converted and restored into a restaurant with bed and breakfast accommodation, set within a vineyard. Self guided, guided and private tailored tours available, including cellar door and lounge tastings.www.jabajak.co.uk
  • Cwm Deri Vineyard
    A working smallholding which first opened to the public in 1992, Cwm Deri is surrounded by the Pembrokeshire National Park.  Taste their wines and liqueurs and sample home-cooked food in the conservatory restaurant.www.cwm-deri.co.uk
  • Meadow View Vineyard
    Benefitting from the rich clay loams of the Vale of Glamorgan and the relatively frost free environment, Gwin y Fro (Wine of the Vale) is produced from grapes grown at the family-run vineyard. Vineyard tours by appointment only.
    www.meadowviewvineyard.co.uk

So the Total Hectares of Welsh Vineyards is 34.72 or 34 football pitchs

with 26 Vineyards.

Some are not listed here as there is not enough information but this brings me onto my next point. This is a blog first.

It is going to be interactive.

I have highlighted grapes, vineyards and size . What I would like readers to do is ask me any questions about any information above or if you would like to know something else let me know.

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Waitrose cellar £11.99 Glyndwr White

 

email me !!!

 

thegrapewizard@gmail.com

 

Music Pairing

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Chablis Grand Cru. These are of the highest quality vineyards, particularly Les Clos,  and have both freshness and age well.  Six other Grands Crus include Blanchots, Bougros, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir.
The map of Chablis, below, shows these seven Grand Crus all packed together tightly on the same hillside.
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Secondly, Chablis Premier Cru which lie on the west-facing hill immediately above the village of Chablis also and should be drunk young. (also highlights Petit Chablis)
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Town of Chablis

 Petit Chablis principally found on the outskirts which were all planted to keep up with global demand

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Beauregards, Beauroy, BerdiotBeugnon, Blanchot, Bougros, Butteaux
Chapelot, Chatains, Chaume de Talvat, Les Clos, Côte de Bréchain,Côte de Cuissy, Côte de Fontenay, Côte de Jouan,  Côte de Léchet

Côte de Savant Côte de Vaubarousse, Côte des Prés Girots, Les Epinottes Forêts Fourchaumes, Les Fourneaux, GrenouillesL’Homme Mort, Les LysMélinots,

Mont de Milieu, Montée de Tonnerre, MontmainsMorein, Pied d’Aloup, Preuses, Roncières, Sécher TroesmesVaillons, Valmur, Vau Ligneau, Vau de Vey, Vaucoupin, VaudésirVaugiraut, Vaulorent, Vaupulent, Vaux Ragons, Vosgros

 

 

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So forty seven Climats in total: Forty for Chablis Premier Cru, and seven for Chablis Grand Cru. The latter are all on the right bank of the Serein, whereas the Climats of Chablis Premier Cru are on either side of the river, twenty four on the left bank, sixteen on the right bank.
So in essence: Grand Cru Chablis has the most presence of oak, Premier Cru less so, followed by Chablis which shows some sign of oak and finally Petit Chablis which has little or no oak at all
BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES – Petit Chablis
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
2015,2014,2013,2011,2008,2007,2000,1997,1992,
1989,2009,2006,2003,2001,1999,1998,1988,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong !
(taken scores from a host of leading authors on wine and assesed in a best overall GW score.)

Petit ChablisProduction surface area

Area under production = 884.15 ha.

 Over the coming weeks I will be highlighting more Chablis and Premier Cru as well as Grand Cru Chablis. Each has their own style, each has different characteristics to suit different foods. It is a versatile as it is noble. 

But for those of you who like little to no oak, try this Petit Chablis from DOMAINE MILLET Petit Chablis 2014
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 shopping
Uvinum £18:12
Music Pairing
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Elements

Having spent a wonderful 2 weeks in Puglia 2 years ago I thought this time would be time repeating itself .  Puglia has grown to be one of my favourite places in the world. Gone are the glitzy sidewalks of California.  Gone are the elegant Parisian pavements. Even the mere hint of a passigiata is rarely seen.  I was here ( with the better half ) for a wedding down in the heart ❤️ of Italy. In a place where only locals go and in a place so tranquil you can hear a cat 🐱 tiptoe.

The wedding was for a good work friend of mine and his long suffering (now) wife  The hotel was fabulous and so was the hospitality. (Please visit the website : Montelauro)

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Monopoli

I did have a booking at grotto palazzese (Restaurant in the rocks) but having read the  reviews i saw that you would be paying premium rate just to have the chance of sitting at potentially 1 of 6 tables sea-side with overated food and super expensive bills  . The odds were against it we declined this time !. We had earlier in the week visited La sommita and that was out of this world (michelin starred and didnt dissapoint !)

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Because the Wallet was in meltdown we opted for this view from the terrace of the restaurant in Monopoli …

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Wasn’t a hard choice to make !!!

We settled for  Terrace restaurant . Fabulous setting and super great location. We watched the 🌅 and settled down to 3 courses. Being a seaside town we had a glorious choice of the best fish. What we got was very average  squid 🐙 and dishes that were a bit bland. It seems like this part of Italy has the sun and location but what lets them down is  the lack of specialist abilities that offer modern twist on cooking.  It’s not often I refuse food but this time too much of one thing made me feel 🤢. Great atmosphere,great location just ok food !

One thing Puglia has to its credit is the emerging cottage industry that is gin and olive oil and the very recent observation that Italian cooking is getting modern and sexy.

( Cucini Komera)

 

Late on in the week long holiday we stayed in a lovely apartment hosted by Albergo diffuse –  A stones throw from all the action of Monopoli

We even found through chatting to locals that there was a guy who was making gin out of olive oil EVO Gin

Wine 🍷 we bought primitivo a lovely gin (with cinnemon )& negramaro

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(All three will be tasted and reported on , i promise )

but here are the links in the meantime

Quota 29

Jerry Thomas project

Polvanera

 So after a busy week  which felt like a 2 week holiday we were ready to return to the uk.

In essence this holiday could be life changing. A lot of love was felt for this region but is this experience mearly just a dream or will we jump off into the unkown , only time will tell. Reading between the lines i think what will happen is that this event contributed to what’s about to happen   Enriching the soul ( and I’m not spiritual) is becoming a central part to most people’s lives as we grow ever more stressed at the day to day .9-5

Apologies for short blog this week

Jason

 

It’s that time again in a little corner of SW London . That every year the peace and tranquility of Southfields is shattered by the sound of thousands of feet marching up to the tennis in Wimbledon Village

Wimbledon has the honour of being the largest single annual sporting catering operation in Europe and the average quantities supplied by Championships’ caterers include a 40-year-old relationship with

It is during the 2 weeks that 29,000 bottles of Lanson are drunk. A mighty feat in any producers handbook. To complement the amount thats drunk,  28,000 kg (140,000 servings) of English strawberries are consumed.

strawberries-wide

This is the time to celebrate , to worship the “god of tanning” of which turns us Brits from  pasty white into

Lobster red !!!

We can only do this, it seems by drinking lots of champagne in the hot weather and loads of strawberries to boot.

Strawberries and  raspberries will always be the fruits of summer for the UK  but what about drink.

The historical bit……….

Champagne was originally produced in England, where the technology for bottling and corking drinks containing carbon dioxide was developed in the latter part of the 1500s,  In 1662, scientist Christopher Merret reported to the Royal Society of London that adding sugar “promoted effervescence,” lending champagne its signature sparkle.

However, determining the right amount of sugar required careful experimental processes to avoid bottle explosions. 100 years later and champagne was perfected. The original, sweet version became trendy in Paris among the wealthy, whilst the English preferred dry champagne and the English wine-making method became popular throughout the wine-making world.

The tradition of drinking champagne started in the Royal courts of Europe prior to 1789, where champagne was viewed as a status symbol and became very popular in the late nineteenth century. Today, it’s often used to commemorate joyous occasions, from launching ships to throwing champagne glasses on the floor at Russian weddings and Wimbledon.

 I can think of no better way to celebrate a relaxing time with friends or a trip to wimbledon tennis  than a nice chilled bottle of the following :

Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicholas Francois 2002 champagne £120 The Whiskey Exchange

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or Bollinger Grande Annee 2002 Bollinger G.A. 2002 Millesima £130

This champagne are restrained refined and  elegant and one of the best years for vintage in the last 15 years.

Lanson Brut (Wimbledon’s preferred champagne) on the other hand is composed of 35% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier, aged for three years.

The wine is fresh and fruity, with fresh apple notes and a grassy, mineral characteristics coming on later. Refreshing and well-balanced although I found it a little one dimensional. Ok if you want an unassuming champagne and 1/2 the price.  There is a champagne for everyone out there .and even sparkling wine’s from the UK  Although far to mention on here in this short piece , I will however highlight a few which i think is worth of a mention

some great producers  include

Camel valley Camel valley rose  £26.95

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Really individual English style in the best possible way. Delicate salmon pink colour, lovely floral and strawberry aromas, pure refreshing palate.

 

Bolney

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A simple, light and refreshing English sparkling wine. Very easy to drink with a charming elderflower creaminess. £23.99 Bolney bubbly

not to mention Wales

 Jabajak vineyard

Welsh Blush Sparkling 2014

A delicate sparkling rosé produced from our hand-picked Seyval and Phoenix grapes. Blushed with Rondo giving fabulous hints of strawberry on the nose leading to summer berries on the palate with a crisp dry finish. £35.00 Welsh sparkling

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As a footnote to the piece , there is so much talent and so many producers, now is the time for the government to support UK producers and UK brand in wine and champion the fabulous products we have on offer.  Champagne will be forever a celebration but there is nothing wrong in having sparkling wines as an alternative to it.  We have a slight restriction in that the size of the vineyards and yield of the grapes might be a little on the small side. Local grapes mean distinctive characteristics, so gentle interaction from the winemaker is needed to appeal to the palate of the consumer. But what ever the case champagne or sparkling wine should be drunk in times of happiness, in times of tears,in times of victory and in times of despair. It is a wine for enjoying.

A point worth thinking about ….

Do we as consumers pay champagne prices for champagne

or

Pay champagne prices for UK sparkling wine as the price of loyalty/patriotism or look to alternative markets !

Email me your favourite champagnes + photos   at  thegrapewizrd@gmail.com or merely just your comments

and sign up at thegrapewizard.com

Sorry its a short one this week !!!!

 

Music pairing

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 June has seen scorching hot weather, some of the hottest days on record.  The last time the mercury edged this high was in the 1970’s and no fashionable summer dinner party was complete until someone had opened a bottle of one of Portugal’s most famous exports Mateus Rose to accompany their Parma ham and melon balls!  One of the things I love about wine is that just like food there is always a new taste to discover so let me introduce you to one I’ve discovered recently.

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Chilled red.  Yes I’ve discovered recently that there are many reds which are perfectly suited for chilling.  Lighter bodied reds such as Beaujolais, Barolos and even Pinot Noir can be delicious when served a few degrees lower than “celler temperature”.  Because of their low tannin content, they don’t see the negative impact that low temperatures can bring to heavier reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and many countries and cultures have a wine drinking tradition based around light, airy, bright and zippy red wines, served nicely chilled.

On a hot summer’s day, along with some charcuterie (maybe even Parma ham and melon balls) or similar, I can think of few things finer than a pleasantly cold (not fridge cold) glass of Pinot Noir.

Try these two from Berry Bros.

2015 Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates, Denis Jamain 14.95 Berry Bros
2013 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Sandford & Benedict, Santa Ynez Valley 44.50 Berry Bros

And if you’re sipping your Pinot in the Caymen Islands 🇰🇾 this summer, tell ’em “the Grape Wizard” sent you because this beauty Furst Spatburgunder , Pinot Noir Kyd 44 is Fab. Jacque Scott

Traditionally, red wines are served between 62-68 oF (15-20oC) and whites  between 49-55 F (9-13 C). Try one of the reds at the white wine temperature.

Or try this : Pour a glass of red at room temperature.  Chill the rest of the half bottle and try a little.  Notice how temperature affects the experience and character of the wine. But as always what you like is more important to me than doing whats right or what’s fashionable.

While some wines, like Lambrusco and Beaujolais, are traditionally consumed chilled, experiment with Merlot, or a young Spanish Rioja or Chilean carmenere
You can’t guarantee fab results but it’s fun trying.  There are no rules!

So at your next Summer Soiree try sharing your experience

” Hmmmm  I don’t think this Cab Sav is ideally suited to be paired with lobster. “.

” I’d say this Chardonnay has a little too much oak to be paired with a Phaal “

Although these statements sound pretentious, just go with your instincts!  One day you’ll get it right!

Now back to chilled reds…..try some of these:

1. Lambrusco
Lambruscos are light-bodied sparkling wines made in NE Italy. Wine results when yeast eats grape juice; if a winemaker stops fermentation before the yeast has passed, there will be sugar left in the wine.

Some Lambruscos are therefore sweet (sugar left in the wine), some are medium-dry (small amount of sugar in the wine) and some are dry (little to no sugar left in the wine itself). You can try all three but for the purposes of this article I would just ask your nearest wine merchant for a dry Lambrusco and serve it chilled

Heres a recommendation for you  

Cavicchioli, Lambrusco di Sorbara, Vigna del Cristo, 2014  £12.29 Tannico

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2. Beaujolais

Beaujolais is the wine that comes from the Burgundy region of France. It’s made out of the Gamay grape, which produces some of the lightest-bodied reds out there. There is a relationship between how big a wine’s body is and how long it needs to be aged in bottle before release. It’s Gamay’s petit personality that enables some Beaujolais to be released as quickly as possible after a harvest as “Beaujolais Nouveau.”

Patrick Chodot Brouilly 75cl £9 Tesco by the case

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Even try your hand a Beaujolais Nouveau.  Louis Jadot Chateau des Jacques Morgon 2009, is complex and fruity, and lovely chilled.

3. Pinot Noir
Though some people first heard about it in the movie “Sideways”, Pinot Noir is one of the world’s most revered wine grapes. It’s the basis of the red wines of Burgundy — one of France’s most iconic regions — and it’s planted lots of other places, including New Zealand, California, and Oregon. It’s lighter bodied and produces famously complex and delicious wines.

2013 BOURGOGNE Pinot Noir Domaine François Raquillet £17.75 Lea & Sandeman2013-BOURGOGNE-Pinot-Noir-Domaine-Francois-Raquillet.240x700.17515

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Cristom Vineyards Mt. Jefferson Cuvée Pinot Noir £32.50 Honest Grapes

One of the problems with Pinot Noir wines is they’re labor-intensive to produce and therefore it’s hard to get good ones on the cheap.

4. Barbera d’Asti
Also in NE Italy, the Barbera D’Asti region relies upon the Barbera grape, which is the third-most planted grape in Italy. Barbera D’Asti wines have relatively high acid, aren’t tremendously complicated and aren’t usually aged for a long time, which is all good news for chilled drinking.

Araldica Barbera D’asti Superiore £8.99shopping-1

Araldica Barbera D’Asti Superiore, Italian, Red Wine £8.99 Waitrose

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Barbera d’Asti Superiore Trinchero DOCG Organic £17.90  Vorrei

5. Zinfandel
Zinfandel is arguably the flagship red grape of California — for a long time, in fact, people even thought it was native there. (Since genetic testing came about, it’s been discovered it’s the same as a red grape from Italy called Primitivo.) The biggest bodied of the wines on this list by a long shot, Zinfandels are not often consumed cold, but they can be.

As with the Pinot Noirs, you can break the bank with Zinfandel — but there’s no need to for these purposes. You want something inexpensive, bright, and jammy. Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is a great place to source from.

So chill out and try something new!

So for those of you sipping your chilled red in the Caymen Islands or even the rest of us on our sun lounger in the back garden, remember wherever you are, you are in a pretty place indeed. Its summer, sit back, enjoy the sunshine and suck (or sip) the marrow out of life!

Enjoy this moment. It is a moment of reflection and relaxation.

And as such you need some music. So here it is this weeks music pairing

Pair wine with.

Unknown-4Ben Howard.

 

This year , as happens every year, in the wine market the release of the en-primeur wines is upon us. The importance of price relies on the quality of the vintage . The best years of Bordeaux carry the greater demand and the years that are regarded as the worst are usually cheaper.  These best years are often called “the stellar years” – 1982, 1990, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 and now possibly 2016.

 Get the right producer for the right price and you could invest into a good return (Wine investment)

So what is a good investment in this years 2016 release

Having looked quite closely at the recent release there were prices that had jumped up (markets view on Prices) Indeed these producers have their prices listed below :

Chateau                 Release Price             Current Price (GBP)         % Change
Haut Brion                 £4,150                            £4,550                              9.64%
Lafite                          £4,390                             £5,000                             13.90%
Marguax                    £4,400                             £6,050                              37.50%
Mouton                      £4,150                             £4,600                              10.84%
Las Cases                   £1,450                             £1,590                               9.66%
Angelus                      £2,650                            £2,950                                11.32%
Palmer                        £2,160                            £2,400                               11.11%

So which Chateau is good value – one producer that stands out is

Leoville-Barton

this years release price is  £372 En Primeur for a ½ case of 6 must be a steal !

To explain En Primeur in Grapewizard speakeasy is simple !

  • Wines are bought before they are bottled and released onto the market.
  • Wines are void of Duty and VAT and then usually shipped 2-3 years after the vintage. 
  • Wines are bought at In Bond prices – No Duty or VAT paid 
  • On arrival in the UK the wines will be stored, under bond until they are bought and then tax is paid

The main advantage with this is that the prices are always considerably cheaper than the future price of the wine on the open market.

How much is Wine Duty?
£2.16 per 75cl bottle of still wine.
UK VAT = 20% (applied after duty)

So add En Primeur price + £2.16 per bottle(Duty) and 20%vat  increase = cost of bought wine

Wine is a great investment and has been outstripping gold and silver in recent years and is often seen as an alternative to investing in Art

NOW the fun bit !!! 

LEOVILLE BARTON is situated in one of Bordeaux’s favoured regions . That of St Julien

bordeaux_map
St Julien is the smallest of the ‘Big Four’ Médoc communes, it is recognised as one of the most consistent of the main regions .  At their very finest they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.

Léoville Barton one of three estates in the Léoville estate and has been owned by the Barton family since 1826. There is no château and the wine is made at Langoa Barton. Léoville Barton’s 48 hectares of vineyards are located in the east of the St-Julien wine appellation and lie on gravelly-clay soils. They are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon 72%, Merlot 20%, Cabernet Franc 8%. The wine is matured in oak barrels  (50% new) for 18 months.

Since Anthony Barton (8th Generation) took over the reins quality has soared at Léoville Barton and the wine has gone from being a solid mid-league performing 2ème Cru Classé to one of the most exciting wines in St. Julien.

  • Léoville Barton is tannic and austere in youth but with time turns into a cedary character that is the hallmark of St. Julien, along with intensely pure blackcurrant and cassis fruit notes.

Léoville Barton’s wines are made for cellaring show at their best with 10-15 years of bottle ageing.

Anthony Barton was born in 1930 . He stood in line to inherit very little of the wine estate. His elder brother Christopher was the heir to other estates whilst the Bordeaux domaines belonged to his uncle Ronald who was expected to marry and have his own children who would subsequently inherit his estates. However Ronald was old by the time he married and had no children, thus Anthony who became heir.

 He moved to Bordeaux in 1951.  and such was the harvest that year that Anthony’s  Uncle Ronald told him, ”Another harvest like this and I will have to sell”.

 Since 1986, Anthony has lived in the Médoc château with his wife Eva.

Anthony-Barton-640x480

Other notable family members to the estate include

  • Lilian Barton Sartorius (9th Gen.) and Anthony’s daughter
    Studied in England and at the age of 22 Lilian joined her father at his merchant company and obtained the DUAD wine tasting diploma at the University of Bordeaux.

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For over 30 years they have divided their responsibilities between the Saint Julien vineyards and the merchant business ‘Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton’, where they were joined by Lilian’s husband, Michel Sartorius. Lilian Barton has now taken over from her father in running the wine properties and family merchant company. She has since been joined by her two children, Mélanie and Damien.

  • Mélanie Barton Sartorius,

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the family’s 1st Oenologist, took on the role of Technical Director in 2013 at Chateau Mauvesin Barton in Moulis (Médoc), a domaine that was purchased by the family in 2011.

  • Damien Barton Sartorius

Unknown-9

divides his time between the family’s properties and other wine related projects.

THE VINTAGE 2016

1st Wine           Chateau Leoville Barton

2nd Wine          La Reserve de Leoville Barton  

As with most Bordeaux producers every winemaker showcases their fines wines as the chateaux’s jewel.  Wines that are made to be accessible to the greater public at a lesser cost and intended to be a snapshot of what is about to come are often referred to as “second wines”  These are in no way inferior and allow consumers to purchase wines from high or low rated producers.

BLENDING
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc

ALCOHOL13.5°

DATES OF MANUAL HARVEST – 25th september to 8th october

NEW BARRELS 60%
TASTING
A stream of cherries, raspberries and grapefruit… Opulent and rich but with a glamour and class side, wrapped in a lace dress, extremely fine.

Wine cellar Insider commented on the 2016 Leoville Barton – “A nose of blackberry, licorice, earth and smoky tobacco is easy to notice. Darkly colored, Full bodied, rich, fresh, long and sweet, there is a reflection coming off the ample tannins and lift that accentuates the densely textured, fruit-filled finish. This wine leaves a great impression. Produced from blending 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot, the wine reached 13% alcohol. The harvest took place September 29 to October 13. 94 – 96 Pts

 Fine + Rare commented “A consistent appellation from a quality perspective that offers masses of variety in terms of style. St Julien also appears to have produced some outstanding wines. Trademark elegance is abundant, combined robust but silky tannins, these were a pleasure to taste. Critics have already singled out Ducru-Beaucaillou and Léoville Las Cases for enormous praise. Although dependent on final pricing, Talbot and Clos du Marquis may well offer excellent value. Although only a handful of critics have released their scores, tasting notes from St Julien are peppered with “best ever” and comparisons to 2009, 2010 and 2015”

This wine is sure to last at least till 2040

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So although a brief snap shot of the producer is outlined above there is an awful lot of choice for consumers to purchase and drink. Each region has its own characteristic and St Julien is no different. One omission in this blog is the price of Leoville-Barton’s 1st wine was approx £1500 per case (early 80’s) and yet today it is £374 for six. This can only surely be down to the producer being out of favour with drinkers. This producer is a favoured producer of Bordeaux and the quality is never in question. Maybe market demand is fickle and could be cyclical. What was once popular may once again be so. Tastes change and at the moment  Leoville-Barton is a serious inclusion to any investment

Its just a shame i have to wait a pesky 10-15 years to try it at its best

 

 

 

music Pairing :           images-1

Enjoy with “time-out” peace of mind and a leather club chair !

 

I could make this as dry as gin itself but I’ll try and compact 300 years into a blog post and make it easy to read !!!

A few points of history  (The geeky bit )

  • A Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius

Unknown-1

(Here he is ! 😜)

…is often falsely credited with the invention of gin around 1650.  Here is why:

  • The first ever literary reference to jenever  ( original term for gin)  was in a play “The Duke of Milan” (1623), when Sylvius would have been nine!
  • English soldiers in 1585 were already drinking jenever for its calming effects before battle, from which “Dutch Courage” is believed to have originated.
  • The earliest known reference to jenever appears in the 13th century encyclopaedic work Der Naturen Bloeme (Bruges),
  • And the earliest printed recipe for jenever dating from 16th century work Een Constelijck Distileerboec (Antwerp).

Gin emerged in England in varying forms as of the early 17th century, When William of Orange,

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(these guys don’t do anything for the Alpha Males!!)

Ruler of the Dutch Republic, occupied the British throne with his wife Mary – gin became vastly more popular, particularly in it’s crude, inferior forms, where it was more likely to be flavoured with turpentine as an alternative to juniper.

The formation by King Charles I of the Worshipful Company of Distillers (WCD), where members had the sole right to distil spirits in London and Westminster and up to twenty-one miles beyond improved both the quality of gin and its image; it also helped English agriculture by using surplus corn and barley. Anyone could now distil by simply posting a notice in public and just waiting ten days (if only it were so simple nowadays!).  Sometimes gin was distributed to workers as part of their wages and soon the volume sold daily exceeded that of beer and ale, which was more expensive anyway.

In 1729, an excise licence of £20 was introduced and two shillings per gallon duty was levied. In addition to which, retailers now required a licence. This almost suppressed good gin but it was the quantity consumed of bad spirits which continued to rise.😪

In 1730 London had over 7,000 shops that sold only spirits.

William Hogarth in his ‘Gin Lane’, an engraving depicting gin drinking at the time portrays a scene of idleness, vice and misery, leading to madness and death. Typical of the time and showcases how bad it must of been!

See below

Gin-lane ART 2

The Gin Riots

The problem was tackled by introducing The Gin Act in 1736, which made gin prohibitively expensive. A licence to retail gin cost £50 and duty was raised fivefold to £1 per gallon with the smallest quantity you could buy retail being two gallons. The Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, and Dr. Samuel Johnson were among those who opposed the Act since they considered it could not be enforced against the will of the common people. They were right. Riots broke out. About this time, 11 million gallons of gin were distilled in London, which was over 20 times the 1690 figure and has been estimated to be the equivalent of 14 gallons for each adult male. But within six years of the Gin Act being introduced, only two distillers took out licences, yet, over the same period of time, production rose by almost fifty per cent.

The Gin Act, finally recognised as unenforceable, was repealed in 1742 and a new policy, which distillers helped to draft was introduced: reasonably high prices, reasonable excise duties and licensed retailers under the supervision of magistrates.  Still applicable today.

These changes led to more respectable firms embarking on the business of distilling and retailing gin and it became the drink of high quality, which it has since remained.

Gin had been known as ‘Mother’s Milk’ from the 1820s but later in the century it became known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’, a description perhaps originating from the earlier ‘Blue Ruin’ of the prohibition era in the previous century.

As reforms took effect, so the gin production process became more refined. Gin evolved to become a delicate balance of  elegance and began its ascent into high society.

Ok you get the picture…

Jump forward to 2009 and HMRC receives applications for not one, but two microdistilleries in London: Sipsmith in Hammersmith, and Sacred in Highgate. There was a problem, however. HMRC didn’t know how to deal with them.  Licences had not been issued in such a long time that the process was somewhat outdated

 

After much to-ing and fro-ing, the licences were dispatched, and the two craft distilleries were in business.

 

Sipsmith Website                                 Sacred Gin Website

Ian Hart of Sacred – who cold distills his gins, vodka and vermouths using his laboratory set up in his living room – remembers how difficult it was in the early days. ‘Back in 2009 when we and Sipsmith started, people had only really heard about Gordon’s, Beefeater, Tanqueray… the idea that there was a two-man band operating out of their house was very unusual, and it was a real uphill struggle to start with. But it’s a lot easier now, because there’s a lot more enthusiasm for new artisan gins.’

The UK has come a long way since 2009 – HMRC are now prepared and willing to work with new craft distillers to help get them set up with the required licences, and this step change has had a positive effect.

‘There was a wave of craft distillers starting up in America, and that really inspired what happened in the UK – the first wave was Chase [in Herefordshire], Sipsmith and Sacred,’ says Jamie Baxter, master distiller at COLD, who used to be the distiller at Chase. ‘We’re part of the second wave that’s coming through at the moment, and the third wave is just about to start.’

 

 

VESPER MARTINI

 

Now onto drinking the stuff.  One of the best ways to appreciate its unique characteristics is in a classic Martini.  My favourite is The Vesper which according to Ian Fleming Is 007’s cocktail of choice, shaken not stirred naturally:

“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”
-Casino Royale, Chapter 7

 

Gin-lane ART 5

GIN 50 cl and Tonic 1 measure of gin and three of tonic 150cl

and because I am writing this from Italy here is the Italian way of drinking it:

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NEGRONI

1 oz. dry gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. vermouth rosso
cocktail glass

So what ever you do this week  what ever gin you choose  just enjoy yourself and dont let anyone tell you there are set rules for what gin goes.  Of course enjoy the classics but there are so many to choose from nowadays, all with their own aromatic and distinctive character. It would be a shame to stop at Gordon’s, Tanqueray or even Sipsmith.  It may not turn out to be your forever favourite but it just might be! That’s the fun of discovering something new.  I for one am on the hunt this week for a local Apuglian gin – I might find a blinder or I might not but the enjoying the experience is what counts!

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Please send me photos of you gin pick today to thegrapewizard@gmail.com  Salute!!

See these fab links for more stuff

World Gin Awards 2017

Best London Gin Bars

Best Gins in NYC

Famous Gin moments in the movies,tv and books

tiger 1

If ever there was David and Goliath moment . This was it!  An event of a global super brand taking on a minnow And loosing ! (High court battle against Heineken) 😀

Tiger Gin had a problem on its hands and Heineken though it could squash the annoying little bug 🐜 and protect their brand. Heineken had argued that “tiger gin” and “tiger 🐯 beer ” were  too closely linked and that one would damage the image of the other.  The judges in the court case overthrew Heineken’s objections and the end result was that Tiger Gin got its name and I get to try this product to see what all the fuss is about.

JJ Lawrence (owner of Tiger Gin) followed his passion and produced a new class of luxury British Spirit using only the finest botanicals and spices, carefully chosen from the best harvests from around the world.

A formula that gives the taste a smooth and sweet feel.

Distilled and bottled in the UK.

It was named TIGER GIN  due to the long drawn out fight with JJ and the courageous actions for the little guy to take on a global company.

tiger 41/6/17 Setting up the fabulous Gin !

Having won a legal battle in the High Court, this Shropshire gin is the ‘baby’ of a Shropshire lad – JJ Lawrence. It is crafted in England by artisan master distillers using traditional methods, and proudly presented in a unique bottle with great care and affection. Working alongside a local distiller they have created a unique, complex formula. which results in a great tasting, smooth, sweet gin.

Below (if you’ve never seen them are the ingredients for TG.)

Image result for angelica root

 

 Angelica root

cassia bark

 Image result for cinnamon bark

cinnamon bark

 Image result for ground nutmeg

 
ground nutmeg

Image result for lemon peel

lemon peel

liquorice root


 Image result for orange peel

orange peel

orris root

The taste test.

Aroma : Strong Juniper and a zesty lemon drizzle cake citrus

To taste, Strong juniper and liquorice fill the mouth – slightly sweet. Coriander seed, cinnamon and cassia bring a waxy lemon finish.

Tiger is classically styled gin to taste as the gin slides down the throat easily . Rich juniper enhances the classic G&T taste and in terms of a cocktail. In terms of a cocktail, the liquid makes for a lovely, traditional Martini.

Image result for traditional martini

 

One thing that is mysterious is …. who is JJ Lawrence. A quick search of the internet shows little evidence of the man/ or woman behind this fabulous product.  Maybe that the way it’s supposed to happen ,  maybe the brand speaks louder than the people behind it.

Any info on the man the myth is greatly appreciated .

Music Pairing :  Ludivico Einaudi  – Elements

Image result for einaudi elements
So to sum up upon tasting the gin i was very surprised at how much a couple of slices of oranges made to the drink . very much a big citrus punch juniper came through like a steamroller but all ingredients are symbiotic and harmonize the overall character of the product. A must have addition in any cocktail cabinet

 

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House of Tides

28-30 The Close

Tyne and Wear

NE1 3RF

01912303720

info@houseoftides.co.uk

Nestled in the busom of Newcastle’s 7 bridges lies a building that almost goes unnoticed. It lies there as a homage to the history of this northeastern town.  Newcastle is a haven for wedding parties on a weekend but under the hubbub of all things loud and brash lies the House of Tides.  This unassuming building has won :

Michelin Guide, One Michelin Star 2016, 2017

3 AA Rosettes 2015, 2016, 2017

AA UK Restaurant Of The Year 2015-2016
Sunday Times Top 100 UK Restaurants 2017

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Kennie and Abbie  are owners of the House of Tides. It is a 60 cover restaurant set over 2 floors. the lower floor has original 400 year old flagstones (see photo above) whilst up stairs has oak beams open fireplace and views over the tyne. It is casual and informal yet sophisticated. Quality is in evidence with not only the decor but the food. Kenny has a passion for seasonal ingredients sourced around the northeast and manifests itself in modern dishes with an ever-changing tasting menu for both lunch and dinner.

Fabulous cocktails !!!

My self and my better half (sister and brother in law) opted for Tasting menu. Food paired with wine. An inspired choice.

1st Course

Lindesfarne Oysters , cucumber & caviar

Cavendish Ridgeview Sussex England 2014

Two things I’ve never tried lobster and oysters.  More to do with trying at their best and not the thought of a slimy sea creature going down my throat   On this night the first dish was the lindesfarne oyster. Super soft and super delicate. Something I will never forget. This was an important moment for me and the time wasn’t spoilt. It was delicious dish perfectly complemented by a fabulous sparkling wine from the South of England   Fresh and vibrant

Tasting notes

Chardonnay dominant – making it fresh and crisp with pinot noir (depth and complexity) and Pinot meunier (rustiness)  Light golden in colour with a fine mousse, aromas of citrus melon and honey. Can be drunk now but will age. (up to 4 -5 years)

2nd Course

Scallop Rhubarb & Larson Dill

Simple dishes are normally the most spectacular. And the scallop was no exception the rhubarb was just the right sweetness and the dill complemented the dish with a gentle herbaceous freshness this was finished off by a fab white burgundy

La Croix Chardonnay pouilly fuisse Domain Robert-Denogent Burgundy France 2014 –wonderful lemony nose with touches of pear and honeysuckle. Fresh fruit with a touch of minerality. You would almost feel your drinking better than you actually are!!! perfect accompaniment to the scallops. Good acidity

3rd course

Sea Bass Asparagus & Mussels

Can’t say too much about this dish – the photo says it all! . The NZ Ataware Sauvignon Blanc 2015 was a white that was full of herbaceous notes  complimented by orange zest and lime. The palate was cleansed by a crisp fresh and elegant finish – full of acidity. Top top match !

NZ SB 2015

4th Course

Lamb & Hen of the woods with lovage

Wowser! = Hen of the woods. Anyone not tried this fungus is loosing out . Not only is it soft and savoury it also has a strong flavour of pepperyness . A not so popular mushroom this “little fella’ ” almost took over the whole dish. The lamb was perfectly cooked and did not disappoint. Complemented by the mushroom and the lovage the 3 ingredients worked perfectly.

Psi Tempranillo Dominio de Pingus Rivera del Duero Spain 2012

Pingus

Dark dense and silky red  blueberries and cherries. Chalky feel in the mouth with a long finish. Medium bodied with a character that nods back to the previous two years. It an understated star.

5th course

Gariguette 🍓 curry leaf 🍃

Fresh strawberries in a kind of mousse with a gentle curry leaf to take the edge of the sweetness. A great change from all the previous tasting dishes. Light and fresh

Riesling spatlese gunderloch rheinhessen Germany 🇩🇪 2015 Sweet ripe fruit mango peach an spicy fruit finish complexity of peach and tangerine – great acidity from a top vintage.

Dark chocolate 🍫 hazelnut

Very rich and very decadent  has to have a wine that competes with this richness. ordinarily i would suggest elysium from the US but in this instance a sweet red desert wine from southern france matched the dark flavours.

Grenache noir vin flux natural  Jean Marc Lafage Maury Rouillson France 2015

One thing this restaurant does is makes the whole experience unpretentious and not in the least bit stuffy. Everything is without stress and has top class table service. Even the upstairs with its wonky floor ( a sign off its originality) and simple dishes make this experience  as relaxed as you can get – even to the most nervous and inexperienced foodie. As you can see from the blog there is a lot of information that is described here that was not evident at the meal. All carefully chosen wines  (Pingus is a top winery in Spain. 2015 is a great year for Riesling in Germany and a carefully chosen sparkling  wine from England shows the care and attention that this place deserves it michelin star.

Go and Visit  !

House of Tides website

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