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Monthly Archives: March 2015

  • The Taste of Tamarind...and Enotria

    This month, London journalist David Hughes reviewed Tamarind restaurant’s Taste of Tamarind set menu, including a suggested wine flight which features three Enotria wines.

    Tamarind is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in the heart of London’s Mayfair – It was the first Indian restaurant in the world to gain a star, and is now one of only nine establishments in the world that have been awarded this accolade.

    Starter

    Tamarind’s Channa Chaat starter is paired with Trimbach’s Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 2007, a wine that has won praise across the globe, including The Wine Advocate’s David Schildknecht, who wrote:

    2007 Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile, Trimbach

    ".. its arrow-like penetration and sharpness; its adamant stoniness; and its citrus zest and cherry pit bitterness, are allied to formidable density; bracing salinity; deep, marrow-like meatiness; a subtle suggestion of textural creaminess; and an overall impression of exhilarating, vibrant refreshment."

    David Hughes was impressed by the how well the wine balanced with the Channa’s tamarind sauce:

    “The Channa Chaat is presented round and flat like a fishcake, surrounded by crushed vermicelli, and topped with a tamarind sauce and micro cress. India’s quick snack of boiled chick peas looks very grown up. A couple of bites in and the flavours meld intriguingly, with the tang of the tamarind picking up nicely with the Alsace Riesling. Sommelier Reynald Felder tells us it’s been an interesting journey for him to find a juxtaposition of tastes that he’s truly comfortable with. Indian food is very happy with wine, but its bold flavours reward some experimentation.”

    Fish course

    2013 Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys, DefaixThe Grilled Scallop, Smoked Peppers & Tomato Chutney is matched with a Premier Cru Chablis Les Lys Chablis 2013 from Domaine Bernard Defaix. This is a young Premier Cru wine chosen for its fruity profile  -  it works as the perfect foil for the smoke, spice and soft fruit flavours of the chutney, while complementing the clean, meaty flavours of the scallops. Chablis is a classic with any seafood, but the provenance of its Premier Cru designation adds an extra level of complexity to the flavours.

    Burghound’s Allen Meadows is also a fan of Defaix’s outstanding Chablis:

    “I have said it before but it bears repeating: the improvement at this estate has been nothing short of phenomenal. Chablis fans should add the Defaix brothers to their short list of rising stars”

    Main course

    2011 Châteauneuf du Pape, Domaine Chante CigaleThe main event on the tasting menu is the Elliot Farm Lamb Chops, served with one of Enotria’s top Châteauneuf-du-Papes, which reviewer David Hughes went away raving about:

    “...a 2011 Chateaunuef –du-Pape from Dom Chante Cigale is selected to go with our Elliot Farm Lamb Chops, Raw Papaya, Spinach, Dal, Pulao Rice & Naan. The lamb has the succulence I’d usually associate with something cooked medium-rare, but there’s only the faintest trace of pink. Despite its strength at 16% the C-de-P has very little tannin, and its slight austerity works. Spinach, dal, rice and naan are very popular sides to go with lamb, but humble as it may be, the rice was outstanding, with delicate touches of saffron providing a subtle aroma.”

    Tamarind can be found at 20 Queen Street, London, W8 5NP.

    Review by David Hughes for Kensington, Chelsea & Westminster Today, Dining Out March 2015. 

  • Cinyo de Mayo and the rise of Tequila

    Alex Turner explains the 5th May is a big day in the world of tequila, although not necessarily in Mexico itself as it is not their national day but a celebration of the success in the battle of Puebla in 1862. The Mexican army were fighting against the much larger and better equipped French forces and won this particular battle hence the day of celebration. Incidentally, the national day of Mexico is September the 16th (Mexican Independence Day).

    So why do we celebrate 5th of May? The Mexican population living in America tend to celebrate it more than the people living in Mexico but they are also more likely to celebrate the 4th of July too as this is the national day of their adopted country.

    The Americans just love to party and drink tequila and with the amount of tequila sold in America it is a big opportunity for the tequila brands to shift some bottles.

    Since the second world war tequila has become a big business in the US and the rest of the world, the sales of Tequila in the USA increased from just under a billion dollars in 2003 to $2.5 billion in 2013 as the tequila makers started to move their brands away from a shot and ritual (salt/lime) spirit to a more refined mixing and sipping spirit like whisky.

    Mexican DancerTaking their cues from other spirit categories as well as understanding their consumer a bit better has led to the growth of the 100% agave tequila as well as the increase in aged tequilas. The increase in the more premium 100% agave tequila which allows for differences in terroir (the regions soil, climate & environmental factors) to influence the flavour of the spirit is a relatively new addition to the tequila category certainly in the UK. Previously, mixto tequila was the most common style available and was usually the one that was consumed with a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of salt. Certainly, bartenders and their guests who have a taste for tequila are moving away from mixto and into 100% agave and in some cases are looking for tequila from specific parts of the region too.

    Whisky and other spirits have made a big deal about the maturation process and how this changes the nature of the liquid to make a richer, smoother spirit. Using different types of oak or other wood, placing the barrels in different warehouses, using different barrels that have contained other spirits or wines before all have an effect on the flavour of the spirit and of course add a nice dimension to the brand story.

    The tequila super brands have begun releasing longer aged tequilas that have spent at least four years in wood and in some cases up to seven years to appeal to the aged spirit connoisseurs. As we know Mexico is a hot country unlike Scotland and the agave is a delicate tasting plant and doesn’t like spending too much time in the barrel so the distillers have to use cooler warehouses to make sure the agave flavour is not dominated by the oak. However, the aged spirit consumers are often more impressed by the sweet spice notes of the barrel and how they complement the flavour of the agave. One other point to make, these longer aged tequilas are not inexpensive and taking cues from the other spirit categories the brand owners know that older usually means more cost.

    Mixed drinks such as the margarita (killer bartender fact; a billion margaritas are drunk every year in the USA*) are still massively important to the tequila industry and in many cases are how many people are introduced to the spirit. Other drinks like the El Diablo, Paloma, Japanese Slipper and Sangrita are also great ways of getting your guests into drinking tequila without having to offer a piece of citrus fruit and salt!!

    Finally, there are other agave spirits that we will cover in much more detail a bit later on in the year (probably on September the 16th)

    El Diablo

    35ml Blanco tequila

    15ml Crème de cassis

    Top with ginger ale

    Build over cubed ice in a highball glass and garnish with a lime wedge

    Paloma

    50ml Reposado tequila

    15ml Lime juice

    Top with grapefruit soda

    Build over cubed ice in a salt edged highball glass and garnish with a lime wedge

    Japanese Slipper

    35ml Blanco tequila

    15ml Midori

    10ml Lime juice

    10ml Lemon juice

    1 Bar spoon caster sugar

    Dash egg white

    Dry shake, then shake over cubed ice and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass

    Agavoni

    20ml Blanco tequila

    20ml Campari

    20ml Sweet vermouth

    Build over cubed ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a lime twist

    Sangrita

    15ml Tomato juice

    15ml Orange juice

    10ml Lime juice

    Dash of chilli sauce

    Dash of grenadine

    Salt & pepper

    Make a batch, stir over cubed ice and strain into a shot glass and serve with a shot of your favourite tequila. Remember, sip don’t shoot!!!

    *bartender facts may not be wholly accurate!

     

  • Wine Spectator:100 Great Producers

    Italian wine buyer Sergio De Luca attended the prestigious OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers in Italy last week, returning with news that an amazing nine Enotria producers made the grade.

    The tasting was organised by Wine Spectator; the wines hand-picked by the magazine to highlight the diversity of producers in Italy.

    See below for a selection of tasting notes from Wine Spectator’s event programme:

    Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva

    Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, 2007

    92 points

    “Rich and medium weight, with cherry, berry, leather and spice notes converging on the long, juicy finish. Balanced in a sleek, compact manner, ending with fresh touches of mineral. Best from 2016 through 2032.”

    Bruce Sanderson, Wine Spectator, OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers 2015

    Nino Negri 5 Stelle Sfursat 2010  92 points

    Nino Negri, Sfursat 5 Stelle

    “A graceful red, with polished tannins and delicately knit layers of ripe black cherry and damson plum fruit, cured tobacco and accents of ground anise and mocha. Light grip graces the aromatic finish. Drink now through 2029.”

    Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers 2015

    2009 currently available - 2010 coming soon

    Castello di Fonterutoli, Rosso di Toscana, SiepiCastello di Fonterutoli, Rosso di Toscana, Siepi 2007*

    94 points

    “Soft and attractive, with notes of dried blueberry and toasty oak. Very floral. Full and velvety- textured, with a delicious finidh. An excellent red.”

    James Suckling, Wine Spectator, OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers 2015

    *Very limited stocks of 2007 - 2010 is current vintage

    Jermann, Vintage Tunina IGTJermann, Vintage Tunina IGT 2012

    92 points

    “A lovely, creamy white, with vibrant acidity and a steak of smoky mineral driving the flavors of melon, Marcona almond, Meyer lemon, white peach and orchard blossom. Shows good definition and complexity, yet remains lithe and mouthwatering overall. Drink now through 2025.”

    Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers 2015.

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 CarricantePlaneta Eruzione 1614 Carricante, 2013

    88 points

    “There’s real zip to this light-bodied, minerally white, with tangy flavous of nectarine, fresh quince, ginger and verbena, underscored by subtle stone and smoke notes. Drink now through 2018.”

    Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, OperaWine, Finest Italian Wines: 100 Great Producers 2015

    Other Enotria producers selected for the list included FerrariFontanafreddaLibrandiUmani Rochi.

  • Robert Parker on Crasto

    Mark Squires of eRobertParker has posted scores of Quinta do Crasto's 2012 vintage, as well as reviews of back vintages of their LBVs.

    Of the 2012 vintage, he writes, "Crasto's 2012s are among the best I saw in 2012, a year that showed a lot of bright and refreshing wines....They are true to the vintage: crisp, invigorating, good acidity...it is a charming and intensely flavorful group."

    He is also a bit of a fan of Crasto's LBV selection: "The truth is that Crasto's LBVs not only match other producers' Vintage Ports, they do a pretty good job of matching Crasto's Vintage Ports, too."

    Here are the tasting notes and scores for the currently available reds and fortifieds from his selection: 

    Quinta do Crasto Tinto Crasto Superior 2012– 90 points

    2012 Crasto Douro Superior, Quinta do Crasto

    "The 2012 Tinto Crasto Superior is a classic 2012 from Crasto--fresh, with invigorating fruit that has a certain "just-squeezed juice" feel to it. It is a blend of Touriga Nacional (50%), Touriga Franca (25%), Tinta Roriz (20%) and Souzão at 5%. It was sourced from Quinta da Cabreira and aged for 12 months in 100% French oak barrels (only 35% new). It is simply delicious. I will say that there have been deeper and more powerful vintages of this brand, but overall its enticing fruit this year makes it very hard to resist. It will be interesting to see how well it ages and whether its personality continues to carry the day. At the moment and over the next several years, this will be an infallible crowd-pleaser, though, and is worth leaning up on. Drink: 2015-2025."

    Mark Squires, https://www.erobertparker.com, Feb 2015

    2012 Douro Reserva Quinta do CrastoQuinta do Crasto Reserva Old Vines 2012 – 93 points

    "The 2012 Reserva Old Vines, Crasto's familiar brand, is easily the best intersection of price and quality in Crasto's 2012s, although that is frequently true. It comes awfully close to being the best wine, too. It is a very fine performance in this restrained year. It was aged for 18 months in barriques (85% French). With more depth and persistence than any of the other bottlings Crasto submitted this issue, excepting only the Vinha da Ponte, it shows nice depth for a 2012, fine structure with persistence and tension on the finish and that crisp, invigorating air that Crasto's 2012s display. It is a creature of the vintage--but a very pretty creature it is.

    "It is not as lush as some entrants in this brand or as deep, but few have had this lively feel to them. It is pretty delicious, too. It will be approachable young, but give it a couple of years if you can. It should also age well, given its acidity and real backbone. It is perhaps noteworthy that Crasto cut out three southern-facing vineyards from the blend this year, and also added in most of the fruit that would otherwise go to Maria Teresa, another of its specialty wines. There were 93,000 bottles produced. Drink: 2015-2030."

    Mark Squires, https://www.erobertparker.com, Feb 2015

    2008 Late Bottled Vintage Port, Quinta do CrastoQuinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Port 2008 – 92 points

    "The 2008 Late Bottled Vintage Port is an old-vines field blend aged in used Portuguese 9,000-liter tanks. It was bottled in July 2013. In this very elegant vintage that produced a lot of focused wines, Crasto managed to produce something rather sexy, sweet and delicious, but as with most fine LBVs, that's on first taste. After some air and a couple of days, it shows a firm backbone and tightens considerably. It is a wine that demonstrates some capability for aging, but it may be a touch more compact–and a bit more intense–than some others here. It is a more youthful and exuberant version of an LBV in Crasto's fine vertical here. Many might prefer this moment for this wine, but that's a mistake, because there is a lot going on here. It may be one of my favorite 2008s in this issue's LBV roundup. Its sappy young fruit is a marvel on opening. However, it should evolve and become more interesting, even if it is pretty hard to resist right now. Its structure will allow it to do so. It is a fine achievement in general and in the vintage. There were 27,000 bottles produced. Drink: 2015-2036."

    Mark Squires, https://www.erobertparker.com, Feb 2015

  • Goode Choice – Yealands Pinot Noir

    This week wine expert and blogger Jamie Goode was praising the reds of New Zealand’s Yealands:

    “Yesterday I made some great discoveries...two Winemaker’s Reserve bottlings from Yealands, one from home turf (Awatere) and the other from a vineyard in Gibbston, Central Otago, are serious wines, and they aren’t crazy expensive.”

     

    2013 Pinot Noir Winemaker Reserve, Gibbston Valley, YealandsYealands Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir Gibbston 2013 Central Otago, New Zealand

    "This is such an impressive Gibbston Pinot, showing fresh, meaty, dense, spicy red cherry and berry fruit, with real freshness and a silky texture. It’s just so beautiful, with lots of aromatic interest and real palate presence. 95/100"

    Yealands Winemaker’s Reserve Pinot Noir Awatere 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand "There’s a real beauty to this wine. It’s fresh, juicy and elegant with nice grainy structure under the sweet red and black cherry fruit. They key here is the mouthfeel: it’s so rounded and elegant and pure. 95/100"

    Reviews from Jamie Goode’s blog wineanorak.com

  • The Times: Jane MacQuitty on Domaine Brusset

    Jane MacQuitty reviewed Enotria's Domaine Brusset Gigondas Tradition Le Grand Montmirail 2013 in Saturday's The Times, writing that the wine was a great alternative to more costly Burgundy.

    2013 Gigondas Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Domaine BrussetDomaine Brusset is an 85-hectare estate in the heart of the southern Rhône, founded by André Brusset in 1947, with vineyards now established in Cairanne, Gigondas and Côtes du Ventoux. The domaine is run by André's grandson, Laurent, who focuses on excellent-quality fruit, vinified in a traditional manner, with a small proportion undergoing whole bunch fermentation in order to retain the fruit of the grapes. The wines strongly evoke a ‘sense-of-place’, with nuances of sun-baked rocks and aromatic herbs beneath the peppery fruit.

    2013 Gigondas Tradition Le Grand Montmirail, Domaine Brusset

    “Which would you rather have: a costly burgundy from a leading estate, or a tasty, single domaine red Rhone made by equally devoted winemakers for about half the price? Laurent Brusset is the third generation of his family to live and work at this domaine since 1947. His low yielding Tradition is mostly Grenache, with a dab each of brutish Mourvedre, spicy Syrah and perfumed Cinsault. The result is a bold, plump, plummy, peppery red with dazzling complex, lush fruit that is gorgeous now but will be even better with a few more years in the cellar.”

    Jane MacQuitty, The Times, 14th March 2015

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