Modern opulence at Louis Roederer. May 2018

TheGrapeWizard at the doors of Louis Roederer

I was lucky enough to be invited to the amazing Louis Roederer estate in Reims last month, late May 2018.  Getting up early is never easy , but 4.30 AM is great time for the soul.  No Commuters, birds tweeting, the world waking up and life just about to start for the day.  Just a shame I had to walk to the Underground with my eyes shut!

No problems on the Tube and everything at Customs went quickly and efficiently. On the train, the usual business meetings are happening with lots of convivial chatter.   As I take in the Kent countryside swooshing past the window, I feel a sense of jubilation.  Louis Roederer has been on my radar for a while and finally I am on my way.  So I begin to wonder, despite the hour, if a glass of Champagne when I am offered is in fact appropriate.  I refrain this time – its still a little early. even for the GW!

It’s all thanks to Alexandra at Maisons Marques et Domaines (LR Distributor in the UK), that I am finally ticking this House off my “Tours at the Most Coveted Vineyards” bucket list.

Upon arrival  I am greeted warmly by Maria at L.R.  who gives me a fun-packed tour of  the Headquarters and what a great experience it is!  I feel like I am the kid that won the golden ticket touring the Willy Wonka factory!

It’s so great to learn more first hand about a world-class producer and especially one so respected by the industry itself.  There are many producers making unadventurous, bland champagnes for the mass consumer.  But LR is not one of them.  LR produces special wines with distinctive characteristics. What a pleasure to be here!

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Louis Roederer is now managed by the seventh generation, led by Frédéric Rouzaud and is one of very few independent, family-run Houses remaining today, producing over 3.5 million bottles and shipping to over 100 countries.

 Starting out as Dubois Père & Fils in 1776,  Louis Roederer inherited and renamed his Uncle’s House in 1833.  In contrast to the practices of his time, Louis decided to invest in his own vines with the idea to master the end to end process of creating vintage wines.  Owning his own vines gave him control of quality and led to particularly distinctive characteristics, establishing L R’s reputation as one of Champagnes best producers.

By 1876, production had reached 2.5 million bottles, 10% of total production of Champagne and exporting had begun to Russia.  Viewed by many as the world’s first prestige cuvées,  Cristal was in fact created at the request of Tsar Alexander II, for exclusive consumption of the Royal Household.  It remained exclusive until 1945 when Cristal was first launched commercially for the rest of the world to enjoy!

Back in 1876 and as the political situation worsened, the Tsar feared assassination and requested that his Champagne was bottled in clear glass so that he could see the bubbles and prevent anyone hiding a bomb in the punt (GW note: a punt is a Champagne bottle’s characteristic bottom recess or hollow).   Louis Roederer commissioned a Flemish bottle maker to create a clear lead glass Champagne bottle with a flat bottom and its why today the bottle is still wrapped individually in its now distinctive yellow cellophane to protect the wine from UV light.

 From the acquisition of those first 15 hectares of vines in the Grand Cru vineyards of Verzenay in 1845, LR’s vineyards now stretch across 240 hectares or just under 600 Rugby sized pitches.  All their vintage Champagne originates from these vines  – 410 individual parcels of land to be precise.  Their distinctive characteristics are very much a product of thr provenance of each vineyard as they are able to

choose the very best grapes from any of the 3 main areas of production depending on the success of the season.

The Montagne de Reims, The Vallée de la Marne, and The Côte des Blancs. (see below)

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Their Champagne involves all 3 classic grape varieties

  • Chardonnay for its minerality, finesse, and elegance;
  • Pinot Noir adds structure, complexity and is useful for ageing;
  • Pinot Meunier brings harmony and softness and a hint of rustic to certain cuvées

 

Last but not least the WINES !

Here I’ve listed my top 4 wines from LR. There are of course more wines to the estate but the ones that stand out for me are highlighted below.

Brut Premier

The freshness, finesse, and brightness of Brut Premier makes it the perfect wine for festive occasions. Its is structured, rich and has a good length.

 

After the upheavals of the First World War that destroyed more than half of the LR estate, Léon Olry Roederer reconstructed the new vineyards by buying grapes externally to ensure survival of the House during this difficult period.  He created multi-vintage wine with a consistent flavour, whatever the harvest year.

It is now called Brut Premier.

A blend of around 40% Pinot noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. It is aged for 3 years in LR’s cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement (Removing frozen yeast after second fermentation in the bottle )

Louis Roederer Vintage

In my opinion, their flagship Champagne which best represents the LR terroir and the finesse, purity and precision of their wine-making skills is Louis Roederer Vintage

 

 LR uses the structure and power of the Pinot noir grapes from the Montagne de Reims (see map) to create its Cuvée Vintage. Exposed to the north-east, the grapes mature more slowly on the vine and the character of the wine intensifies and becomes more refined through ageing – if the vines were exposed to the South East it would be perfect aspect for the grapes to grow. Hence the slowing down of the maturing process

Composed of around 70% Pinot noir and 30% Chardonnay, 30% the Vintage cuvée is generally matured on lees for 4 years and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement (disgorging) to attain perfect maturity.

The palate is characteristic of LR’s vintages:  a rich and winey fullness is refined by the sweetness, acidity and tight blend of the Pinot noir grapes of Verzenay. Tasting reveals sparkling suggestions of candied fruits, almond paste, toast, white chocolate, and caramel

Blanc de Blanc Vintage

This Champagne is pure and bright. Its contrasting tones range from an intense, chiselled acidity to the supple lightness of notes of fresh hazelnuts, almonds, and white flowers with accents of acacia, broom, and honeysuckle.

 

From 1830 onwards, the House of Louis Roederer acquired extensive knowledge of the terroirs and plot-by-plot vinification. Louis Roederer selected two exceptional Grands Crus: Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize producing taut, highly aromatic wines that have finesse.

 

100% Chardonnay, the Blanc de Blancs Vintage cuvée is generally matured on lees for five years and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement.

In the mouth, the attack is typically Chardonnay—it is smooth and delicate, and markedly sweet. Slightly sweetened floral notes and white fruit and dried fruit notes are combined with the almost chalky minerality of the Côte des Blancs.

The texture has notes of sugared almond, a sensation that is strengthened by a soft effervescence that envelops the mouth. This is followed by an impression of finesse, elegance, and freshness, strengthened by suggestions of fresh mint and basil.

CRISTAL

Cristal is both powerful and delicate, combining subtlety and precision.

LR’s most famous wine was created in 1876 to satisfy the demanding tastes of Tsar Alexander II. The emperor asked Louis Roederer to reserve the House’s best cuvée for him every year. To distinguish this cuvée, this exceptional champagne came in a flat-bottomed, transparent lead-crystal bottle. The new brand was named after this precious material, which is particularly transparent and luminous.

 

Produced uniquely during the best years, when the Chardonnay (around 40%) and Pinot noir (around 60%) grapes have attained perfect maturity, Cristal is aged for 6 years in LR’s cellars and left for a further 8 months after dégorgement.

Cristal is a remarkably balanced and refined champagne. It has a silky texture and fruity aromas, complemented by a powerful mineral quality with white fruit and citrus notes. Cristal is a wine that keeps well: it can be conserved for over twenty years without losing its freshness and character.

THE 2002 HARVEST

2002 was an extraordinary harvest, in which all the criteria for a great vintage in Champagne were met: temperatures were uniformly warm, without excess sun or heat, with a markedly mild winter and a slight shortfall of rain during the growing cycle.

This is regarded as the best year in the last 20.

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Cristal 2002 £279.20 Amazon.co.uk

BUY BUY BUY!

GW BEST CHAMPAGNE VINTAGE YEARS

BEST to worst

1990, 1996,1985,1988,2002

1995,1982,2006,2008,2004,1975,1998,1979, 2005

1989,2007,2000,1999,2003,1976,1997, 1993

1986, 1992,1983,1994,1987,1991,1984

If you want something special go for the top row  , something more affordable is 2nd third and fourth row.

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Line up of tasted Champagnes

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In Bottle form !

Sadly due to last-minute events, just before I arrived the – Chef De Cave – Louis Roederer’s Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon was unable to have an interview with Me. I am still hopeful and have submitted the questions for Jean-Baptiste to answer on his return

Stay tuned for interview when it’s posted.

Below are question submitted but not answered

GW: Name one thing that you haven’t accomplished that you would like to
GW: Name one champagne other than your own which you like and why –
GW : If you were to keep a memento of your favourite bottle of Champagne –  , what is the best way to remove labels from the Bottle and what would the Champagne be ( If it wasn’t one of yours)
GW : What do you think of the English and Welsh sparkling wine industry.
GW :Name one thing that scares you !
GW :Wine is so much better enjoyed if paired with music. What song/genre would you pair with
The Louis Roederer Estate of wines
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GW :What are you drinking at the moment
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GW:What wine would you like to try that you have’nt ,or a wine that you want to invest in?
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GW:Who is the person/persons you most admire and why
GW: Whats going on in the estate in the month
And finally no GW article would be complete without a music pairing.
A delicious glass of LR Brut Premier goes very well with a spot of Keith Jarrett.
Salut!  GW.

 

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Grape Britain: Hattingley Valley – a warm ray of sunshine on a bleak wintery day…

In the last 10 years hectarage of planted vines in the UK has more than doubled making wine one of the fastest growing agricultural products in the UK. Visit any supermarket and you’ll discover many increasingly impressive bottles from some of the big Estates – Nyetimber, Chapel Down and Camel Valley in Cornwall to name a few.

Interest in English wine has surged along with the rise of craft beers and locally sourced produce. Customers are increasingly interested in tasting wines from lesser-known producers but who are these new winemakers?

Hence my quest – Grape Britain – to visit everyone of the 500+ English and Welsh Vineyards

Logo_HV ESW_no backgroundSomewhere between the M3 and the south coast sits a criss-cross of country lanes, roads so entwined you easily find yourself lost. It is here in the heart of Hampshire you will find Hattingley Valley and it sits perfectly in this idyll. It was quite a sight for a Londoner – the bare branched trees forming tunnels along the roads. It had me wondering if I was on my way to Westeros.

Simon Robinson, a former lawyer, established Hattingley Valley in 2008 with the help of Emma Rice, Founder of Custom Crush, a wine analysis laboratory.  Together they have grown the vineyard into a modern, eco-friendly winery over 60 acres across two sites. Simon and Emma and their teams take pride in the quality their work and the use of the latest technology. They were the UK’s first winery to adopt solar power.

MICHAEL BOUDOT 019_HV tasting room

TM Michael Boudot

Ten years on, the winery has attracted a passionate and dynamic group of individuals, excited about the explosion of interest in English wines and about the prospect of working at the forefront of English wine-making.

They are separated into two distinct teams who together look after the vineyard and make the wine. The wine-making team is made up of Emma and Jacob Leadley (top photo) with help from Will Perkins (2nd Photo)

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will-perkins

The second part of the team (vineyard team) is headed up by Lauren Merryfield (no photo) (Vineyard Manager), Roman Henrion and Tom Birkett

Everyone I spoke to was passionate about viticulture and enthusiastic to try new techniques – from new ways to provide wind and frost protection, irrigation, nutrient application and canopy management (that’s looking after every part of the vine visible above the ground).

There is a huge commitment to evaluating the Hampshire terrior and planting an experimental range of grape varieties and root stock in search of the best fruit-bearing vines.

Hattingley Valley has the potential to be one of the leading and most respected of English sparkling wines. They have already won many global awards and are a leading player in the English sparkling wine industry

The team now manages 60 acres on two well-situated sites. The vines are nurtured throughout the growing year with an environmentally sensitive approach to enhance ripeness, yield and fruit quality.

Just some of the awards Hattingley Valley has won

I was lucky therefore to have an interview with Rebecca Fisher (Marketing and Events Manager) to talk about Hattingley Valley and also put some questions forward to Jacob Leadley, wine-maker.

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VISIT AND INTERVIEW TO HATTINGLEY VALLEY

16th March 2018

The GrapeWizard inaugural interview

GW. What motivated you to join the wine industry ?

JL. It’s such an exciting time to be part of the emerging English wine industry.

GW. What’s going on in the month of March?   Is this month any different from any other. Has the snow caused you any problems?

JL. We are in the midst of tirage (the drawing of wine from a barrel prior to bottling). Its always very stressful, but also very rewarding, it is just great to get the wines safely into bottle then have a beer!

GW. What would you say makes the winery here at Hattingley unique?

JL. At Hattingley we have created a reputation based on quality and we work hard to maintain and improve those standards. I have been here for 7 years and have worked tirelessly to ensure we make the best possible wines every year, the wines tell all.

GW. What is the best thing about working at Hattingley?

JL. It has to be the team – we have without doubt one of the most passionate and fun-loving teams going. Coming to work and working with people so passionate is infectious.

GW.What is the one thing that scares you ?

JL. An empty wine fridge and sub-zero temperatures in April.

GW. What are your predictions for the industry in the year ahead 2018?

JL. Its going to be a bumper year – both in terms of volume and quality, but I always say that in March.

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GW.   And now SIP-SAVE-STALK. What are sipping right now, investing in and what are your hot tips in the industry?

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GW.  What you are drinking at the moment?

JL. Gibbston Valley – School House Block (2012) – An amazingly pure and lighter Pinot from Central Otago, New Zealand (Sadly, it’s only available to buy in NZ!).2012schoolhouse-pinotnoir

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GW. What wine you would like to or have invested in and why?

JL. I wish I had put away more of our World Champion 2011 Blanc de Blancs (Hattingley’s 2011 Blanc de Blancs was awarded gold medal, best in class and ‘World Champion’ trophy in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2017)

Slide3GW.  And finally who is the person or persons you most admire in the industry and why?

JL. Anyone who takes a chance and just enjoys what they do. This industry is full of passionate people and thats what makes the industry so vibrant

GW. ANd of course wine is always better if paired with music.  What music pairing would you make for your Brut,  Sparkling Rose,  Kings Cuvee and Vintage?

JL. We play so much music in the winery that it is impossible to pick a song for each of these wines.  What I will say is that these wines would not be as good without the music.

Hattingley’s range :

Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve_black background

£30 each or 6 = £180

CLASSIC RESERVE

Perfect for toasting all occasions.

DESCRIPTION

A blend of several vintage wines. The grapes were hand harvested and whole bunch pressed. 15% of this wine was put in French barrels to soften the wine’s natural acidity before secondary fermentation in bottle and a minimum of 18 months ageing on its lees and at 5 months on cork to add complexity.

TASTING NOTES

Pale gold in colour with an abundance of fine bubbles, this has vibrant baked apple, creamy nougat and brioche notes on the nose, supported by a hint of toast and fresh red fruit

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

2013 CLASSIC CUVÉE MAGNUM

DESCRIPTION

An elegant wine with delicate nose of hedgerow flowers , it has finesse, vibrant green fruit and a characteristic toasty flavour.

Pale gold in colour and well-balanced on the palate showing crisp acidity and fine mousse. It has delicate toasty characteristics from being aged on lees whilst the gentle oak flavour adds complexity.

TASTING NOTES

This wine signifies their style –  the grapes were harvested and 25% of the total blend was barrel fermented for 8 months in tank and barrel  to create texture and richness

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Hattingley Valley Rose_No Vintage_black background

£36 each or 6 for £216

2014 ROSÉ

Perfect for balmy summer days.

DESCRIPTION

Subtle and delicate in colour with bright red fruit and fresh acidity, supported by fine toasty notes developed by ageing in the bottle.

2014 was the best vintage to date at Hattingley Valley with near perfect growing conditions. Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes were hand picked and gently pressed. Approximately 8% of the blend was fermented in Burgundy barrels. The wine spent 5 months in tank and barrel before tirage where 2% of Pinot Précoce was added to enhance colour, body and flavour.

Hattingley Valley Kings Cuvee_black background

£80 or 6 for £480

2013 KINGS CUVÉE

A very limited release, the Kings Cuvée is a premium blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 100% barrel fermented and then aged for 8 months in 4-5 year old oak barrels.

DESCRIPTION

A classic blend of grapes from the Home vineyard. It has a fine persistent mousse with soft approachable fruit, a subtle hint of autolysis and a delicate oak character.

TASTING NOTES

After rigorous taste tests, only the top 7 barrels were selected out of 180 available. Once bottled the wine spent 30 months on lees and 6 months on cork before release.

Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Hattingley Valley Blanc De Blancs_black

No price on HV Website

2011 BLANC DE BLANCS

Selected from the very best parcels of Chardonnay.

DESCRIPTION

A fabulous vintage for HV.  The Chardonnay grapes were harvested between the second and third weeks of October with a good sugar:acidity ratio. The October sunshine also contributed to exceptionally ripe fruit and some wonderful wines.

TASTING NOTES

This wine has a lovely deep gold colour with a green hue and a fine mousse.

The nose has delicate white fruit that gives way to a rich toasty and honeyed charm. The palate has ripe apples with a crisp yet soft acidity that is balanced by a hint of oak influence.

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A rich and rounded mouth-feel and long finish.

It has great ageing potential.

As well as doing fabulous sparkling wines they also complement there range by 2 other wines.

Entice_2016 vintage_reflection_HR

ENTICE

2 bottles £40 or 12 for £240

Elegant English dessert wine full of aromas of peach and  elderflower  crisp acidity with a long finish.

Food pairing English blue cheese & any pudding

All vegan and vegetarian friendly

Aqua Vita Shadow -® The Electric Eye Photography

£45

AQUA VITAE

Hattingley Valley decided to hand harvest chardonnay grapes earlier than usual from the vineyards in order to retain a high level of acidity specifically for this project.

This Aqua Vitae is a smooth digestif to enjoy at the end of the meal and benefits from being served straight out of the freezer. It also makes an ideal white base spirit for a cocktail that focuses on English products.

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…and that butterfly that features on the branding is the Silver-washed Fritillar.  It is a rare butterfly found on the chalk-based vineyard at Hattingley Valley in rural Hampshire. The presence of the pretty butterfly indicates the vineyard is a healthy environment with a rich biodiversity.

The weather may have been bleak and cold on the day of my visit but the team and their welcome could not have been warmer. I was very impressed by the team and and the vineyard. I would recommend HV to anyone looking for a fine English sparkling wine.  I’ve already got my bottle of Kings Cuvee and my playlist ready for the next ray of sunshine…

GW MUSIC PAIRING

Enjoy Kings Cuvee with :

3rd March Mulled Wine Day. Enjoy anywhere, anytime, any place – as long as its cold !

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As I write this the “Beast from the East” and a local UK storm “Emma”  is firmly beating down upon us ! – Scotland is in the grip of -15, Most of NE England has fallen to a stand still and most of SW is almost under control of the Army . Almost sounds like this could be a take over from a military dictatorship or an episode from “Game of Thrones”

The polar vortex nicknamed “Beast From The East” has spiraled in from the arctic and is to blame. Winter is coming…..

What caused this and what can we do to solve it !

A polar vortex is a mass of desperately cold air that sits above the Earth’s north and south poles.  Controlled by a large pocket of low pressure it rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole.  When the vortex is strong it is concentrated over the Arctic or Antarctic area -but when weak it can split into two or more freezing vortices. This is where the problems start as they can move south to Canada, the USA and Europe, increasing the risk of air temperatures decreasing to potentially dangerous levels.Which is what we are witnessing at the moment.

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Photo taken this week showing the cold snap over most of Europe

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This weeks weather affecting airports

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A scene from Chinatown, London

 All this means we are cold , we are grumpy and more importantly we need a winter warmer.

Perfect timing for one of the coldest events in recent years and the US celebrating Nation Mulled wine day on the 3rd March

NATIONAL MULLED WINE DAY USA

National  Mulled Wine Day is observed annually on March 3rd.

Mulled spirits are wine and liquors that have been heated and spiced. Mulled wine is usually made with red wine (usually inexpensive but full of fruit – Cabernet Sauvignon works best)  with various spices, fruits and sometimes slightly sweetened with honey.  Popular blends include cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus, vanilla, anise, cloves, raisins or pears. Despite its high sugar content, mulled wine is not a drink that ages well.

Historically Pubs who make their own usually make a rather thin alternative to mulled wine that was once designed to show off the wealth and generosity in Medevial times. Indeed a cookery book published about 1390 first highlight the potential benefits of a warming drink. With a recipe which included cinnamon, ginger, galangal, cloves, long pepper, nutmeg, marjoram, cardamom and grains of paradise itwas more overpowering and medicinal than it was enjoyable

what all of these recipes show is that the mulled wine is a basic drink. Not much finesse , not much elegance but a pleasant spiced alcoholic drink merely for warming the soul.Because of its basic Nature it can never command an expensive price and is therefore great in Winter for people to enjoy a drink with friends.

Searcy’s Champagne Bar in St Pancreas currently holds the world record for the highest cost per glass   (Click here for link to find out more ! )

 

 

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Franz Settner and Son 5 Euro

Outstanding Value !!

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Screaming eagle 1992 £500,000

Although a person who mixes spices with this scarce Cabernet is a brave person!!!

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The Franz Stettner & Sohn firm is one of the largest distilleries in Bavaria. Everything began with a bottle of lemon liqueur on 12 July 1949. Since then, the firm has passed into the hands of its third generation, with premises of over 40,000 m², its own transport fleet of 23 trucks, a warehouse with a capacity of over three million litres, and six fully automated filling lines. In our selection, you will find the most diverse fruit brandies and liqueurs, distinguished wines, as well as sparkling wines, Champagnes, Federweisser, mulled wines, and fruit and honey wines. Our self-produced, alcohol-free range includes fruit juices, spritzers, refreshment drinks and mixers, energy drinks, iced tea, mineral and table waters, and syrups and of course mulled wine

Franz Settner and sons (click to go to their website )

How to make the perfect  mulled wine

Perfect mulled wine

Makes about 12 servings

2 unwaxed oranges
1 lemon, peel only
150g caster sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity, unoaked red wine
150ml ginger wine

1. Peel and juice 1 orange, and add to a large saucepan along with the lemon peel, sugar and spices. Add enough wine to just cover the sugar, and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until you have a thick syrup.

2. Meanwhile, if you’re serving the mulled wine immediately, stud the second orange with 6 vertical lines of cloves, and then cut into segments to use as a garnish.

3. Turn the heat down, and pour the rest of the wine into the saucepan, along with the ginger wine. Gently heat through and serve with the orange segments as a garnish. Alternatively, you can allow the syrup to cool, and pour it into sterilised bottles for use at a later date.

Is mulled wine a guaranteed spirit raiser, or by far the worst thing about Christmas – Slade and paper hats included? What do you put in your own festive punch – or what would you prefer to be offered instead?

Global Gluwein

 

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AUSTRIA goes gaga for Glühwein

Basotxerri Gluhwein

Means: “Glowing Wine”. A steaming staple drink of ski resorts and Christmas markets nationwide.

Classic ingredients: Lemon juice + sugar + cloves + cinnamon sticks + orange + vanilla + wine (make it a bottle of Blaufränkisch to keep the whole thing Austrian).

ITALY brews bellissimo Vin Brule

Vin-Brule-con-Barbera-d-Asti vinicartasegna.it.

Means: Simply “Mulled Wine”

Classic ingredients: Nutmeg + sugar + cloves + cinnamon + lemon peel + apple + wine (something full bodied and fruity, like a Piedmont Nebbiolo).

NORWAY does glugs of gorgeous Gløgg

Glogg Lemsipmatt Flickr 2

Means: From “glödgad vin” = “glowing, hot wine”

Classic ingredients: Orange + raisins + cardamoms + cloves + ginger + almonds + cinnamon + dash of Muscatel/Port + wine (a dry red, like a Svenska from neighbouring Sweden).

FRANCE says Vive la Vin Chaud

Vin Chaud Jf2C Flickr Public Use 2

Means: “Hot Wine”

Classic ingredients: Cinnamon + orange zest + sugar + cloves + cardamom + cheeky splash of cognac + wine (go for a good old red vin de france).

SLOVENIA snuggles up with mugs of Kuhano Vino

kuhano-vino-2 Christine tasteofdivine.com

Means: “Boiled wine”

Classic ingredients: Clementines + lemon + orange + nutmeg + star anise + cinnamon + cloves + wine (there are some super Slovenian Merlots like Quercus).

FINLAND has glorious Glögi

Glogi check Raija Lehtonen Visit Finland 2

Means: “Glow Wine”

Classic ingredients: Blanched almonds + berries + raisins + cinnamon + sugar + cloves + fruit juice (grape / orange / blackberry) + wine (maybe a Scandi merlot).

Recommended grape varieties:

Fruity red wines are especially suitable for making a good Glühwein. By heating the wine the aromas which are often reminiscent of red fruit are particularly strongly expressed and create a wonderful harmony with the seasoning ingredients.

Red wine varieties  that go well with the spices include Cabernet Sauvignon, Rioja Crianza and a Merlot. Grape varieties that either have black or red fruit with little tannins and little oak will work well.  Pinot noir is especially worth a try. Even go for a German Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).

So today is mulled wine day in most countries. even if it isn’t who needs an excuse to try a variation on any of the above recipes. Give it a try. Enjoy the warming drink , sniff the aromas and have fun.

GW

 

2018 Open That Bottle Night (OTBN)

OTBN Saturday 24th February 2018

Today is a a day just like any other day , except 18 years ago a day was set aside for “open that bottle day” We all open bottle of champagne for celebration and we open bottles of port to enjoy with cheese – Sometimes you just need some ‘ME TIME’ to enjoy that bottle , that moment and that memory!

The founders of Open That Bottle Night  are Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall St. Journal (wine@wsj.com). The event was first celebrated in 2000 and the practice has continued every year since then.

Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher write “Tastings,” the weekly wine column of The Wall Street Journal. They also are the authors of “Wine for Every Day and Every Occasion,” “Love by the Glass: Tasting Notes from a Marriage” and “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine.” A complete revision of that book, called “The New and Improved Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine,” was published in September 2002.
Ms. Gaiter and Mr. Brecher have been married since 1979. Ms. Gaiter was a national reporter and editor covering issues of race for the Journal from 1990 to 2000. Mr. Brecher was Page One Editor of the Journal from 1992 to 2000. They began writing “Tastings” in 1998 and became full-time wine columnists in 2000.

It is always celebrated on the last Saturday in February, so the date can range from the 22nd to the 29th of that month.

The originators of Open That Bottle Night realized that we all have such bottles, but we never find just the right occasion to open them up and enjoy the contents. Wine is meant to be enjoyed. OTBN allows a bottle to come out from it’s hiding place, be opened up and to be enjoyed

To some wine lovers a special bottle of wine is one that came from a particular wine region and is of a particular year. To a married couple, it may be a bottle of ordinary wine or champagne that was given them at their wedding.

Whatever makes your bottle of wine special to you, Open That Bottle Night is the annual event in which those special bottles are brought out to help us share our lives and celebrate the memories.

 

In a new format i will from now on highlighting SIP, SAVE and STALK on every article

Sip- is a wine that can be drunk now!

Save – is a wine that should be invested in or stored for improvement

Stalk- is to name a person, place or Wine that should be inspirational or aspirational

 

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Taittinger Comtes BdeB 1998 £99 Berry Bros

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998
First pressings only. 5% matured in new French oak. 100%.  Toasty, aromatic nose. The palate is fresh with lemony fruit

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Quite structured and warm with some savoury bite.

Rich hazelnut, peach and pear

yet with bracing lemony acidity.

nice freshness

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 1996 Ch. Petrus, Pomerol £2945 Berry Bros

 

PARKER – The 1996 Petrus is a big, monolithic, foursquare wine with an impressively opaque purple color, and sweet berry fruit intermixed with earth, pain grille, and coffee scents.

Full-bodied and muscular, with high levels of tannin, and a backward style, this wine will require patience.

 

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Gerard Francis Claude Basset (born 1957) OBE, MS, MW, MBA, OIV MSc is the owner of Hotel TerraVina, a New Forest Hotel near Southampton in Hampshire, United Kingdom. He is currently the only person in the world to hold the combined titles of Master of Wine, Master Sommelier, Wine MBA, OIV MSc in Wine Management and World’s Best Sommelier.

Certainly an Inspiration !

GERARD-BASSET-Ovogodisnji-pobednik-svetskog-prvenstva-Somelijera

Follow this link to learn more about Gerard

 

IDEAS for that bottle opening !

1. Choose the wine. Choose a wine that means the most to you, the one that you would simply never open otherwise. You’re looking for a bottle full of memories.

2. Both reds and whites are often better closer to cellar temperature (around 55 degrees) than today’s room temperature. Don’t over chill the white, and think about putting the red in the refrigerator for an hour or two before opening it if you’ve been keeping it in a 70-degree house.

3. Have a backup wine ready for your special meal, in case your old wine really has gone bad.

4. If you are having an OTBN party, ask everyone to say a few words about the significance of the wine they brought

5. Serve dinner. Open the wine and immediately take a sip. If it’s truly, irretrievably bad — meaning vinegar — you will know it right away.

6. Enjoy the wine for what it is, not what it might someday be or might once have been.

 

Just enjoy !

 

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