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Friday, 24 October 2014

Half Term Treat

Hooray for half term. Sort of. As we crawl towards it, I'm half-excited, half-panicking. Excited about not having to set the alarm quite so early. Panicking about fitting in some work. The children are most excited about Halloween, obviously. Which has turned into a monster (pun intended). They usually come back from Trick or Treating with such an enormous haul of treats, I'm able to syphon off enough Haribo to fuel my own sweet habit for months. I'll be making up the usual batch of eyeball jellies (blueberry in a lychee in a glassful of jelly) along with something fizzy for the adults, of course. In the meantime, I have a treat for one of you. I met Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall when filming The Alan Titchmarsh Show recently and I've got a signed copy of his latest book, Light & Easy (£25, Bloomsbury) to give away. Just leave a comment on the blog here or on the KMWC facebook page and we'll pick a winner after half term*. 

Current white in the fridge: Territorio Torrontes 2013, £6.49, Tesco
I was sent this Argentinian white to try (don't cry for me). From one of the highest and driest vineyard locations in the world, in the north of Argentina. The grape is called Torrontes, not really found anywhere but here. And the style is decidedly floral, with a kind of lemony, jasmine thing going on. Light but not feeble, it's gorgeous. And great value. Loved my crab and avocado on toast (one of my favourite quick suppers when the Husband's away).  

Current red in the rack: Vinalba Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Merlot, £7.50 (currently on offer), Sainsbury's
Another Argentinian wine, this time from the southernmost wine region. If you like big reds, this is one such. Made from a blend of traditional Bordeaux grapes, it's then aged in French barrels giving it a lovely oaky flavour along with masses of brambly black fruits. Proper autumnal wine, this one. Just add a sofa, blanket and a book. Half term happiness guaranteed. 

Peace out, winos x

*T&Cs:
1. Competition closes on 31st October at 11.59pm (spooky).
2. The prize draw is open to any UK resident over the age of 18.
3. My mother will pick out a name at random and her decision is final (it's her hat).

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tired and Tasted

I've tried a lot of wine today, even by my standards. Over 250 in fact, at various supermarket wine tastings. And even though I can face nothing but a cup of hot chocolate now, I'm looking forward to sharing details on the best of them including an amazing French pair that'll make brilliant party wines (one red, one white), the outrageously good sweetie for £5 (won't use the c-word yet, but you know where I'm going with that one) and the orange wine from Croatia (a white wine made using ancient techniques resulting in a beautiful amber rose colour and unusual - in a good way - flavours). Not to mention the eau de vie Poire Williams with an actual pear inside the bottle (the bottle is placed on the tree so the fruit grows inside it - I know!) and a beautiful red vermouth made for Manhattans. Also, if you love gin, I'm tasting six of the best with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on The Alan Titchmarsh Show this Friday at 3pm. Tune in, pre-gin. 

Current white in the fridge: Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2013, £11.99, Armit
This is from a winery called Seresin, in New Zealand's Marlborough region. Now, the Seresin wines are more expensive. But Momo is Seresin's offspring (momo means offspring in Maori, love that). And what a gorgeous baby it is, with lots of lime and passion fruit. So, smarter than your average. Worked beautifully with slices of smoked salmon (darling). 

Current red in the rack: Cotes du Rhone Villages 2013, £7.99, M&S
Great value Rhone red made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah grapes. This one's all bramble fruit and a kick of pepper. Cotes du Rhone Villages wines are usually better quality and value than simple Cotes du Rhone wines, with more weight and flavour to them. And they make great food wines, especially anything with meat and spice. 

Peace out, winos x

Friday, 10 October 2014

This Little Piggy

Guess where I went last week? No, not to market. But neither did I stay at home. Rather, I had a night away in a hotel called The Pig - on the beach. It's in Studland Bay and I was asked to join a party for dinner and then stay the night. In a bed, on my own, with a sea view and pillows as plump as marshmallows. The hotel is picture perfect, with sweeping views over fields to the sea. I couldn't quite see the beach, but then a friend told me it's a nudist beach so I'm quite relieved about that. Dinner was freshly caught lobster, lamb chops and a beautiful pink blancmange rabbit (really) all washed down with achingly good wines. It was like a dream. The next morning I drank two of these and went wee, wee, wee, all the way home. 

Current white in the fridge: Cliffhanger Riesling 2013, £9.49, Tesco
My mum popped in for a glass of wine this evening and initially crinkled her nose when I offered her a glass of Riesling. But within minutes, she was sipping away quite happily on this lovely German wine from the Mosel Valley. Called Cliffhanger as a nod to the steep slopes on which the vines cling, the grapes have to be harvested by hand (too steep for tractors). And the wine is fresh, ripe and full on with lemon and lime flavours. Perfect gossip erudite discussion enabler. 

Current red in the rack: Truly Irresistible Barbera d’Asti 2012, £6.99, Co-op
Gotta love Italian reds like this, they are such good value for money. Made from the Barbera grape in the northern region of Piedmont, it's all about the juicy black cherry fruit. Simple but beautifully done, it doesn't need food but transformed my lazy plate of cheese and crackers to something approaching indulgent. Sent to me by the team at Co-op, but I'm going back for more.  

More pics of The Pig - on the beach taken by me (like you couldn't tell):

View from my room
Lots of lobster!
A pink blancmange rabbit, obviously. 
Sunrise over the bay
Peace out, winos x

Please note I was a guest of The Pig - on the beach for dinner, bed and breakfast in October 2014. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Premier Cru

I was going to settle down to write this hours ago. But then I started reading other blogs, some SO bloody brilliant, I couldn't stop reading them. Like this post from Reluctant Launderer, in which she makes bread and drinks cocktails. Or this one from Claire at Crumbs (warning, it's sad but there is cake). And then there was this one from Esther - food for thought in more ways than one. You see? That's why I'm always struggling to finish my book club book. I'll get straight to the wines, before I get distracted again.

Current white in the fridge: Waitrose Crisp & Floral White, £4.99, Waitrose
This one was in the fridge at my in-laws on Sunday and honestly, I'd forgotten how brilliantly simple and delicious it is. I mean, that's slightly the point. It's not the most memorable wine but sometimes that's exactly what you want. Something really chilled, cheap and cheerful to sip on before you tuck into a huge roast and crack open a bottle of red. Which is what we did. Still, this blend of Chardonnay and the rather aggressive sounding Muller-Thurgau grapes from the Veneto region in northern Italy does exactly what it says on the tin label. 

Current red in the rack: SW6 Red Wine 2 (Barbera) 2013, £15, www.londoncru.co.uk
Another Italian wine, but a million miles from the one above. Actually, not quite a million miles given that it's made in London. But in terms of taste, this is a wine you won't forget in a hurry. Made from Barbera grapes grown in Piedmont, in northern Italy, the grapes were trucked over to London's first winery called London Cru (in SW6, hence the name) and made into a very lovely red by Australian-born winemaker Gavin Monery. Now, Barbera can be a bit on the weedy side but not here. Obviously, it loves London. This is fabulously perky with a great big dollop of red cherry fruit. If you want to try it, get in there quick because quantities are limited. FYI - these were sent to me by the team at London Cru. But I'll be buying more. Note the funny numbers are because EU labelling laws mean they can't put helpful stuff on the labels, like grapes and vintage. 


SW6 Red 2 (Barbera).
Along with a belated birthday card I thought v. appropriate.

Peace out, winos x