Thursday, 11 September 2014

Reality TV

So, I was at The London Studios earlier this week for the start of the final series of The Alan Titchmarsh Show (I'm back on as the booze hound on his Friday show) when a man walked into the Make Up room. He looked really familiar but I just couldn't place him. 'You know who this is, don't you?' said Jo the make up artist, as she spray-gunned my face with foundation. Turns out, it was Barry Scott. As in 'BANG! And the dirt is gone!' Barry Scott. Except he's not Barry Scott at all. He's an actor called Neil. I know! I later played Give Us A Clue in the Green Room with Lionel Blair before squeezing past Roger Moore backstage. Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

Apologies for the video cutting out before he even says his line. Still funny, though.

Current white in the fridge: Albourne Estate Selection 2013, £12.95, www.albourneestate.co.uk
This was sent to me by the person who made it, Alison Nightingale. Her vineyard is just north of Brighton and her wines are really good. This particular blend is made up of three different grapes, including Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Bacchus and is so citrusy, it's like licking a fresh grapefruit. But there's so much more to it, including a kind of admirable steeliness. Think Judy Murray in a floral dress.  

Current red in the rack: El Patito Feo Graciano/Garnacha 2013, £7.99, Waitrose
Literally translated, this means 'the ugly duckling' because it's from Navarra, a region that lies right next door to Rioja and as the back label says, 'always the bridesmaid but never the bride'. If that's the case, this is one cool bridesmaid. Stylish without trying too hard, as it were. Made from a blend of Graciano and Garnacha grapes (both of which are found in lots of red wines from Rioja), it is brilliantly bramble-y, juicy and bright. Fab label, too. Think it's a small-ish parcel so it won't be around for long.   

Peace out, winos x

Eldest Boy (standing in for my mum) picks a winner for the case of Mirabeau Rose. The winner's name is below...

Well done, Tory Blake! Send me an email (knackered mother @ gmail dot com) and your wine will be with you asap. Thanks to everyone who joined in x

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Prize Winning Roses

Tomorrow morning, things might just get a bit stress-y round here. After six weeks of not having to say shout 'I'M LEAVING IN FIVE MINUTES AND IF YOU'RE NOT IN THE CAR YOU'RE WALKING TO SCHOOL', we're back to the old routine. Alarm clocks, rushed breakfasts and the obligatory last minute missing shoe searches (sometimes mine). Then there's the bit when you get back from the school run and the house seems so very quiet. Not entirely dreading that bit, tbh. But still, to help ease us back into the new term, I thought wine might help. At last month's Camp Bestival wine tasting, one of the most popular wines was a rosé made by an Englishman called Stephen Cronk. Together with his wife Jeany and three children, he moved to Provence back in 2009 (sigh) and set about creating his idea of a perfect rosé. Five years on and not only has he created an award-winning wine that's stocked in Waitrose (£8.99), he can also open a bottle with nothing but a shoe. Stephen's kindly donated a case of Mirabeau Rosé worth over £100 and all you need to do to make it yours is leave a comment on the blog below or on the KMWC facebook page. We'll do names in a hat as usual next week.
Nice melons.
Current white in the fridge: Saint Mont 2012, £7.99, M&S
Gorgeous wine this, from a little corner of Gascony, southwest France. Made from a blend of fabulously named local grapes including Gros Manseg, Arrufiac and Petit Courbu, it tastes of citrus and pear, with a squidge of peach in there too. It feels ripe; perfect late summer drinking. Just add simply done grilled chicken and a big green watercress salad. 

Current red in the rack: Tesco finest* Colchagua Carmenere 2013, £7.99, Tesco
I know I've done this one before but it keeps appearing in my wine rack because it is just so bloody good. Maybe it's because it tastes of bramble fruits (of which I can't get enough at the moment; I'll be attempting Diana Henry's apple and blackberry cake at the weekend) but whatever, it really is delicious. Big, bold and beautiful from Chile's Colchagua Valley. 

For great videos and more information on Mirabeau, visit their website or facebook page. 

1.  Competition closes on 8th September 2014 at 11.59pm. 
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). 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Holiday Report

Our holiday shoes. 
This time last week, we were on holiday. Highlights include:
1. Going barefoot, wearing nothing but a swimming costume and kaftan until the sun dipped.
2. Having to sing 'Happy Birthday' to the lady in the village shop in an effort to check it was indeed caster sugar, rather than salt, that I was buying for The Husband's birthday cake (my Italian is not very bene).
3. Discovering that the local Agriturismo's homemade chocolate liqueur was delicious and had magic sleeping powers.
4. Finishing my book club book as well as reading every single old Tatler magazine found in the villa.

Tans fade, but memories last forever. As long as you haven't overdone the chocolate liqueur, obviously.

Current white in the fridge: Godello Monterrei 2013, £9.99, M&S
Having drunk quite a lot of Pecorino, the delicious Italian white, last week, I was quite happy to find this in the fridge door when we got home. A change is as good as a rest, as they say. The grape is Godello, and this is from the northwest corner of Spain. Made by a great producer, it's ripe, appley and just perfect for staying sunny, even if it's pissing down outside. Made better with breadsticks and that lovely wasabi pea dip you get in Waitrose. 

Current red in the rack: Tesco Finest Saint Chinian 2013, £8.99, Tesco
There's so much good stuff to be found in the Languedoc Roussillon region in southern France, and this mini-region of Saint Chinian is a particular hotspot. The wine is a blend of Syrah and Grenache, so think of it as a baby-Rhone. Juicy, bright and brambly. It was on my summer wine-bucket list, so practically homework, really. That's me, always working. Make sure you have this with pasta pomodoro and life will seem very bene. 

Peace out, winos x

Pecorino, chilled. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

(Psst) Artist

Well, that was fun. My Camp Bestival highlights included the wine tasting I did for 50 fellow knackered mothers on Saturday evening; seeing the children race around the Kids' Garden in their circus outfits (one elephant, two human cannonballs and a clown); and sitting outside our tent in the evening sun sipping bag in box red from plastic tumblers with slices of (really delicious) pizza. We managed to miss James singing Sit Down because we were actually sitting down, sipping wine and eating pizza. Still, we raced up to the Castle Field and danced our flip flops off for the rest of the show. Oh, and then there was the Feast Collective, a tent stuffed with brilliant street food (Breddos tacos were my favourite, Baba G's indian wraps my sister's) and a rather lovely wine bar with my name on it, literally. And I must mention Pelican Post (click here for details), a project where children can buy a book and send it to a school in Africa for shared reading. Here are the Boys (and their cousin, Raff) posting their books, which they loved doing:

One last picture, because it's hilarious. My sister, with DJ BBQ from The Feast Collective:

Current white in the fridge: Tesco Premier Cru Champagne Brut NV, £19.99, Tesco
This was one of the wines featured in the KMWC wine tasting on Saturday evening and we tasted it right after a really great Prosecco, to show just how very different these two things are. Bubbles are pretty much the only thing they have in common. What I loved was that half the audience preferred the Prosecco, half the Champagne. It wasn't about the price, it was about the taste. Anyway, this one is lemony at first, biscuity afterwards and really smart stuff for the money. Definitely worth it (flicks hair like Cheryl). 

Current red in the rack: Matua Pinot Noir 2013, £7.98 on offer, Asda
This New Zealand producer sponsored Camp Bestival and had a Matua Sessions tent featuring up-and-coming music talent. For a wine brand, that's so very rock and roll and a completely brilliant idea. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir were featured on the KMWC bar and went down a storm. This Pinot's got typical raspberry fruit but with enough oomph to make it seem serious rather than skinny (which some of the cheaper Pinots can be). Lovely stuff, perfect with pulled pork as it turned out. 

Peace out, winos x

ps - thank you to everyone who came to the wine tasting and book talk, making them such fun things to do. Thanks to Annie, T, Penny and Mari; more thanks to the kind wine people who gave me some brilliant wines for the tasting and finally thanks to the Camp Bestival team for asking me to join their circus.