Category Archives: Food

“I don’t want to ever leave Italy”

Hallgarten Marketing Coordinator, Charli Truelove, recently took to the road with Sales Manager, Phil Brodie in the Midlands team, and a group of his customers to experience the culture, cuisine and of course the wine in Emilia Romagna with the team from Cevico.

 

Day one we arrived in Bologna, the home of Bolognese, and were greeted by Alida Sangiorgi, Marketing Manager at Cevico, and our bus driver, Mauro, who took us to our first stop – an incredible visit and lunch, cooked by Chef Paola Cucchi,  at Tenuta La Massellina,  in the Castelbolognese commune of Emillia Romagna. The estate is owned by one of our most important partners, Cevico, and is the source of some of the Emilia-Romagna wines in our portfolio.

Here we were joined by more of the Cevico team who shared so much knowledge with us over the coming days; Cristina Melandri, our guide from the Cevico team and Alberto Medici, co-owner of the family run Medici Ermete.

After the already action-packed first morning and lunch, we took to the road once again to visit Basilica San Vitale one of the most important surviving examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe. The walking tour unveiled of some of Ravenna’s historical monuments including Dante’s Tomb.

To finish the day, more food followed – it’s true what they say about how fantastic the cuisine is in this part of the world! A spectacular 7 course dinner awaited at Furfanti with the Cevico team. Both the food and wine were both unsurprisingly incredible… I am already thinking; “I don’t want to ever leave Italy.”

Day two, we drove along the coast to Rimini to visit Le Rocche Malatestiane, which takes its name from one of Rimini’s oldest noble families, the Malatesta family. We were given a tour by our guides, Elena Piva and Enrico Salvatori, where we were shown and told about its fermentation tanks, grape drying process and barrel cellar, followed by a wine tasting of three whites and three reds each more moreish than the last. Including the Antica Marineria Bianco, an oaked-aged white wine made from 100% Sangiovese. We talked everything from soils, fermentation, ageing and grape varieties – a very interesting tasting and visit.

Following this busy morning, we stopped for lunch at Trattoria Zaghini Santarcangelo where we were treated to a divine array of foods, and probably the best pasta I have even eaten (the wine was pretty good too), all set in a beautiful traditional Italian restaurant surrounding.

We were well in need of a walk after such an indulgent lunch, so stopped off at Santarcangelo, a medieval town 10km north of Rimini which had the atmosphere of a large village rather than a town.

The final evening of our trip of course involved more fantastic cuisine, with dinner on the canal at a seafood restaurant, Cesenatico. Alberto Medici toasted the evening with his Lambrusco – Medici Ermete ‘La Favorita’ Rosso Secco, Lambrusco NV – a chilled sparkling red, nothing like I have tried before, filled with an abundance red fruit flavours with a delicate finish. A truly spectacular wine!

WOTM: Paringa Estate ‘Peninsula’, Mornington Peninsula, Shiraz 2016

In the words of James Halliday in the Wine Companion on the 97 point winning Paringa Estate ‘Peninsula’, Mornington Peninsula, Shiraz 2016; “Absolutely classic Paringa, one of the best – if not the best – of the early starters, with full-on cool climate Shiraz thrust. Likewise, classic blackberry, blood plum and liquorice flavours are supported by fine tannins and subtle oak.”

In a nutshell:

A subtle hint of violets laces the warm mint chocolate
and pepper core. A wonderfully enticing and silky cool
climate Shiraz.

The producer:

Located in the heart of Victoria’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula, Paringa Estate was founded in 1984 by Lindsay McCall when he purchased a derelict orchard. Lindsay’s passion and fascination with wine began in the mid 1970s and by the mid 1980s he decided to follow his dream by establishing Paringa Estate. The first vintage was in 1988 with just three tonnes of fruit and over the years it has grown considerably, with production now at 16,000 cases. Paringa Estate is one of the most highly awarded boutique wineries in Australia, regularly winning trophies for its Shiraz, Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay. The collection includes a stunning and precise Pinot Gris, as Lindsay says anywhere capable of growing great Pinot Noir should be capable of growing great Pinot Gris. The wines pay homage to Burgundy in style and James Halliday says Paringa Estate is “one of the best, if not the best, wineries on the Peninsula”.

The wine:

The berries were destemmed and 5% Viognier was co fermented in two tonne open stainless steel fermenters. This was followed by 11 months ageing in French oak barriques, of which approximately 10% were new.

Serving suggestion:

This works well with a Morrocan influenced tagine or a traditional shepherd’s pie.

 

For further information on the Paringa Estate, ‘Peninsula’ Shiraz 2016 or any other Paringa Estate wines, please contact your account manager. 

I Scream, You Scream, What do you serve with ice cream?

The scorching hot UK summer has seen temperatures exceed 30C sending customers into bars and restaurants in search of ice cream, with some retailers reporting a sales increase of over 100 per cent compared to July 2017.

We’ve taken a closer look at a question hospitality venues are hearing more and more this summer – which wines you should pair with which flavours of ice cream?

Pistachio Ice Cream

Pair this Mediterranean classic ice cream with another classic – Cava. It’s made in the same style as a Champagne, without the slightly larger price tag. The Pinord, Cava ‘+ & + Seleccion’ Brut NV is ideally suited to this ice cream, named because the winemaker’s family that first tasted the wine always wanted a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a bit more… ‘More’ in Spanish is ‘plus’ – and so the name was born.

Blood Orange Sorbet

Moscato d’Asti is your match. Almost any sorbet tastes great with this bubbly, semi-sweet dessert wine – you could even pour the Moscato over the sorbet for a refreshing sorbet float. The Michele Chiarlo ‘Nivole’, Moscato d’Asti 2017 is the wine for the job here, with its floral aromas, which are seamlessly complemented by peach and apricot notes on the fragrant bouquet. The gently sparkling palate is delicate, light and creamy.

Strawberry Ice Cream

When serving a dessert with strawberry ice cream, we would always suggest recommending a glass of off-dry rosé, such as the New Hall Vineyards, Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 from Essex. The wine has notes of ripe cassis and wild raspberry on the finish, which is perfect for cutting the richness of ice cream.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream is a simple classic, so often overlooked, but it is also a blank canvas for whatever toppings you’d like to serve. If you are topping with nuts or chocolate, you can’t go wrong with the Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port, with its soft and silky texture, and subtle nuances of wood which are balanced by a fresh acidity and impetus tannin.

 

Plain Greek Frozen Yogurt

The sour notes of plain Greek frozen yogurt pair perfectly with the similar tart flavour profile of a Santorini Vin Santo. The extended barrel aging of the Gaia Wines, Vin Santo, Santorini 2006 provides richness, as well as acidity, resulting in a wine that is deep honey in colour, complex and full-flavoured, with notes of toffee and caramel. For the ultimate pairing experience, serve with baked spiced apples or pears.

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here’s where Australian Shiraz comes into its element. The rich, red raspberry fruits, chocolate nuances, and subtle eucalyptus notes are cross-complementary with a scoop of mint and chocolate ice cream. A wine that is perfectly suited to this task is the ‘Eight Uncles’, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2015 from family run winery, Fox Gordon, which specialises in contemporary and premium wines from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.

 

Royal Ascot 2018: What to expect

Hallgarten recently became Official Wine Supplier to Ascot Racecourse, exclusively supplying all still wines to the world’s most famous racecourse.

The partnership will see Hallgarten supply wine across the site, including at Royal Ascot. Michelin-Starred chefs Simon Rogan, Philip Howard and Raymond Blanc OBE will all showcase a specially selected range of wines in their respective restaurants during the Royal Meeting.

Royal Ascot is one of the most iconic race meetings across the world – there’s nothing quite like it. From the Royal procession, to the style and fashion, to the strawberries and cream (and the racing of course), over 300,000 people are expected to attend.

There’s a lot to consider across the five day spectacle, we’ve taken a closer look at what you can expect.

At Royal Ascot’s award-winning, fifth-floor restaurant, On 5, with its extraordinary garden terrace offering panoramic views of the racecourse. What will Michelin starred Philip Howard be pouring with his signature menus…

White:

Tenuta Ammiraglia, Massovivo, Toscana, Vermentino 
A lovely, intense straw colour, which leads to an impressive bouquet of fragrant blossom and exotic fruits, along with a fascinating vein of earthy minerality which is classic of this area. Fresh, crisp and sapid, but well sustained by its structure, it has an intriguing hint of almond on the finish.

Swartland Winery, ‘Founders’, Swartland, Chenin Blanc
An expressive Chenin Blanc, showing vibrant aromas of ripe passion fruit, guava and pineapple, underpinned by refreshing citrus notes. Well balanced with a full, fruity palate and a refreshing minerality on the finish.

Rosé:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Gris Blanc’, Pays d’Oc
The palest of salmon pinks, this is a wonderfully pure, fresh flavoured wine, with vibrant fruit aromatics. The fruity characters are echoed on the palate, which has a lovely minerality and a zesty finish.

Red:

Saint Clair, ‘Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Noir 
Aromas of sun-kissed dark berries, boysenberry and freshly picked blackberries, are interlaced with toasted wood notes and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is full of sumptuous dark berries, layered with freshly ground coffee beans and dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon spice leads into a savoury finish.

 

Raymond Blanc OBE returns as chef-in-residence to the sixth-floor Panoramic Restaurant, which offers one of the finest views across the track and down the straight mile. What will Raymond be pouring this year with his gastronomic menu…

 

White:

Domaine Tabordet ‘Laurier’, Pouilly-Fumé
A classic Pouilly Fumé showing minerality complemented by notes of exotic fruits, tangerine, pink grapefruit and spicy undertones. The palate is powerful and refreshing and delivers a long, flinty finish.

Rosé:

Château de l’Aumérade ‘Cuvée Marie Christine’ Rosé, Cru Classé Côtes de Provence
A lovely pale powder pink hue, with refreshing aromas of grapefruit leading to succulent peach and apricot on the palate. Fruit forward and full, with a hint of spice, this elegant rosé has a refreshing acidity and a long finish.

Red:

Domaine de la Ville Rouge ‘Inspiration’, Crozes-Hermitage 
Deep red, intense aromas of red fruits and black olives. Spicy and peppery notes with silky tannins. An elegant and silky textured wine.

 Sweet:

Château Suduiraut, Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes
This elegantly rich wine shows orange peel and mineral notes on the nose. The palate is full bodied with almonds, spice, honey and candied fruits through to a lovely, lingering finish.

 

Chef Adam Handling, of The Frog E1 and Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden, makes his Royal Ascot debut in 2018 as he takes his role as ‘Chef in Residence’ of The Balmoral – a brand new Fine Dining restaurant within the Royal Enclosure.

White:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Terroir’ Picpoul de Pinet
A complex nose, full of citrus and floral notes combined with white peach, exotic fruit and a hint of pineapple. The palate is rich with zesty fruit and a livewire acidity which keeps your taste buds tingling. The finish is long and well rounded.

Rosé:

Saint Clair,’Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Gris Rosé
Pale salmon in colour, a refreshing rosé with lifted aromas of sun-ripened strawberry, whipped cream and spiced pear. Beautifully balanced and finely structured on the palate with creamy fruit flavours of raspberries and strawberries leading to a hint of spice on the finish.

Red:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Naturalys’, Pays d’Oc, Syrah
A deep colour, with shimmering hints of violet. Generous nose, packed with red fruit and spice. Supple, aromatic and impeccably elegant on the palate, with refined tannins and lively fruit flavours offset by subtle herbaceous aromas.

Sweet:

Quady Winery, ‘Essensia’, California, Orange Muscat
Vibrant orange in colour, this wine delivers luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate. The bittersweet orange marmalade notes balance well with the zesty citric acidity.

 

What else to expect by numbers…

56,000
bottles of Champagne

80,000
cups of tea

21,000
jugs of Pimm’s

7,000
rumps of English lamb

3,000
kilos of beef sirloin

3,500
fresh lobsters

 

Food & Wine Pairing with Gérard Bertrand

Gérard Bertrand is one of the most outstanding winemakers in the South of France, where he owns numerous estates among the most prestigious crus of Languedoc-Roussillon. Named in 2012 as the IWC Red Winemaker of the Year and Wine Enthusiast’s European Winery of the Year, he is known locally as the “King” of the Languedoc.

We have taken a closer look at some of the dishes that are best paired with Gérard Bertrand‘s wines.

Gris Blanc is an original rosé with a very pale pink colour plus grey and whitish tints. The vines are ideally in Tautavel area, between Mediterranean Sea and Pyrenees mountains, 30 km north to Perpignan in the South of France area. The dry and sunny terroir enables Grenache, the emblematic grape variety of the Mediterranean, to express its best aromas.

The palest of salmon pinks, this is a wonderfully pure, fresh flavoured wine, with vibrant fruit aromatics. The fruity characters are echoed on the palate, which has a lovely minerality and a zesty finish.

As a food pairing we recommend you serve it with oysters, or alternatively with other forms of seafood and shellfish.

The Domaine de Cigalus ‘Cigalus Rouge’, Aude Hauterive  is entirely cultivated following the principles of biodynamics. This estate benefits from a warm and sunny Mediterranean climate, allowing an advanced maturation of all the grape varieties.

The wine has especially delicate tannins and on the nose shows jammy black fruits, liquorice, spices and truffles. It is best to let the wine breath, allowing the aeration to result in the perfect expression of this wine.

The perfect pairing is a local Languedoc dish –  Cathare square of lamb, herbs, mashed potimarron and braised seasonal vegetables.

Château La Sauvageonne ‘La Villa Rosé’ is backed by the gates of Causses du Larzac, covering an area of ​​57 hectares at an altitude between 150 and 350m. The topography and the diversity of the vineyard’s soil, which is composed of Ruffles, sandstones and shales, brings a unique freshness to this wine.

Notes of crushed strawberries, sweet spices and flowers, the mouth is fresh, and is characterised by a velvety grain from red grape varieties and brioche notes from white grape varieties.

The wine pairs just as well with simple dishes such as seafood, as it does with complex dishes. A perfect dish to accompany this Drinks Business Rosé Master,  is a rosé pork medallion stuffed with candied red fruits, roasted potatoes.

WOTM: Matias Riccitelli ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree’, Lujan de Cuyo, Malbec 2015

Recently awarded 90 points on RobertParker.com,  ‘The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree’ Malbec 2015 vintage is described by Luis Gutiérrez as; “more focused aromas and a silkier mouthfeel. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a light wine, it has its power and good ripeness, but the word now is balance–balance in its style to reflect the zone, year and varietal.”

In a nutshell:

Deep purple in colour, with beautiful aromas of wild dark fruits, vanilla and chocolate on the nose. This is a complex and rich Malbec with smooth ripe tannins and a long finish.

The producer:

Matias Riccitelli is the son of renowned winemaker Jorge Riccitelli. Having worked at some of the most prestigious wineries in Argentina and several vintages around the world, Matias used his experience, knowledge and passion and set up his own winery in 2009. His vineyards cover 50 hectares located in three selected sites within the premium growing region of Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza. This is a young and dynamic project in which Matias is seeking to express the full potential of Argentine terroir.

 

The wine:

Meticulous sorting of the grapes was performed by hand, prior to vinification in order to select only the best grapes. A cool maceration took place over five days, followed by the fermentation at controlled temperatures of between 26 and 28°C. The fermentation took place in small concrete vats with indigenous yeasts. 20% of the grapes were fermented as whole clusters. The wine was matured in used French oak barrels for a period of 12 months.

Serving suggestion:

This is a delicious red which accompanies grilled meats, pasta with rich meat sauces and soft cheeses.

Veganuary

Over the past ten years, the number of vegans has increased by a staggering 360%, rising to 542,000 in the UK (according to the Vegan Society). For many, the inspiration to go vegan stems from completing the popular ‘Veganuary’ challenge. The Veganuary trend is growing more and more every year, with 2018 proving to be a record-breaking year with more than 120,000 people signing up to follow a fully plant-based diet for a month.

Seen as a few of the Hallgarten team have signed up and are well on their way to completing Veganuary, we thought we would help them out with a few vegan wine pairing suggestions (and help them also complete Tryanuary – see previous blog).

Each of these wines are suitable for vegans, having been made using alternative filtration methods.

Wild Mushroom Risotto x Santa Maria La Nave, Sicilia Bianco ‘Millesulmare’ 2014

A bright and fine example of Grecanico Dorato, with a distinctive minerality combined with wild mountain fruits, citrus characters and a hint of pineapple. Dry, with a balanced acidity, this elegant and harmonious wine has a lovely lingering finish.

This wine from a small, boutique winery on the north-western slopes of Mount Etna is a perfect pairing for all vegan food, including a wild mushroom risotto.

Thai Salad with Chickpea Carrot Peanut Crumble & Garlic Soy Dressing x Eden Road, Canberra Riesling 2016

A dry Riesling with hints of lime blossom and elderflower. Steely with an uplifting peppery finish. This New World style is from Murrumbateman in the Canberra Wine District, where they make refined wines that are produced from some of Australia’s highest vineyards. The unique combination of altitude and some of the world’s oldest soils, which were formed over 400 million years ago.

The dry style of this Riesling with good acidity makes it a perfect pairing to cut through the spice of a vegan Thai salad. The small amount of residual sugar (0.8g) in the wine is ideal for when you eat something spicy as the sugar goes to the background and the fruit comes forward.

Chana Masala, Indian curry x Fratelli, Maharashtra, Sangiovese 2016

What better pairing that a vegan Indian wine, with a vegan Indian curry? This light, but elegantly oaky wine provides the perfect fusion of acidity, with a natural impression of fruit sweetness and elegant tannins. Perfect to cut through a spicy dish.

The viticultural and winemaking expertise has been provided by Piero Masi, a master winemaker from Tuscany and creator of the famous ‘Chianti Classico Casa Sola’. The modern winery located in Akluj, in the Solapur district follows Italian traditions to showcase the team’s passion.

Quinoa Stuffed peppers x Johann Donabaum, Grüner Veltliner ‘Johann’ Federspiel 2015

A fabulous, restrained Grüner Veltliner with apple and lime characters combined with white pepper, cardamom and spicy minerality. This balanced and refreshing wine makes it a perfect combination with a simple vegan dish packed full of flavour.

Johann is carving out a formidable reputation for concentrated, mineral laden white wines. The production from his five hectares of hillside vineyard in the Spitzer Valley is miniscule, but despite this his prices remain really competitive.

 

For a full list of our vegan wines, contact your account manager.

 

WOTM: Larry Cherubino, Laissez Faire, Porongorup, Riesling 2015

 Laissez Faire Riesling 2015 is a James Halliday 95 point wine, from one of the most decorated winemakers in the world, Larry Cherubino, with a tight knit acidity lingering in the background, this is guaranteed to add zip to your January.

In a nutshell:

A beautiful lemon and lime sherbet style classic Riesling. Very fresh and crisp with layers of waxy stone fruit and floral notes finishing on a lovely almost toasty note.

The producer:

Named ‘Winery of the Year’ by James Halliday and Matt Skinner, Larry Cherubino wants his wines to be distinctive and to speak clearly of their variety and vineyard site. He believes in paying meticulous attention to the vineyard, canopy and water management, picking at the right time and minimal intervention in the winery. Larry also makes wine under the Laissez Faire label, an exquisite range of natural wines which are the ultimate expression of site, made in small batches from hand harvested grapes. From delicate whites to opulent reds, all his wines have pure class and finesse.

 

The wine:

The grapes are grown in a south facing vineyard in the Porongorup sub region, which was planted in 1998 to a density of 1800 vines per hectare. The vines’ clones are unknown, but they are on their own rootstocks. The vineyard is irrigated to achieve the optimal amount of moisture required.

With a focus on natural winemaking, this is made in small batches from hand harvested grapes. The fruit was whole bunch pressed. The juice was then settled without the addition of enzymes, sulphur or acid. Once settled, it was allowed to ferment naturally at a low temperature for six weeks.

 

Serving suggestion:

Stunning with Proscuitto-wrapped tiger prawns with pickled vegetable slaw.

New Year’s Eve Crackers

Which fizzy tipples are most likely to make a New Year’s Eve celebration go off with a bang? Here we look at what will add some sparkle to your celebration.
Something classic…
Champagne Collet Brut, Art Déco NV

A Champagne from one of the new additions to our portfolio; a broad style  with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and savoury finish.

A real foodie Champagne that is perfect as an apéritif or served with a light game starter.

Something English…
Sugrue-Pierre, The Trouble with Dreams Brut 2013

You don’t have to go far when looking for an English sparkling wine to impress than Dermot Sugrue’s Trouble with Dreams 2013, which recently took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards.

A pure and elegant multi-award winning sparkling wine, showing lemon and apple aromas, leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and crisp acidity. Long, biscuity and absolutely delicious.

Something French…
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, Crémant de Limoux NV

As a Champagne alternative, the trend for Crémant has grown dramatically in 2017 with those who are after a fizz with a difference.

King of the Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand’s attractively styled Code Rouge has an enticing floral aroma with notes of pear and citrus,refreshing and vibrant on the palate.

This Blanc de Blanc shows great finesse and elegance and works as well as an apéritif as it does with exciting Asian inspired cuisine.

Something South American…
Doña Paula, Sauvage Blanc NV

Guaranteed to be a talking point amongst guests, Doña Paula’s Sauvage Blanc is Argentina’s first 100% Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine which shows intense aromas of orange blossom, hints of
grapefruit and an intriguing touch of mint.

An SWA Silver Medal winner in 2017, this fizz also doubles up as an amazing apéritif or served alongside rich fish dishes of salmon,
tuna or shellfish.

Something Italian…
Feudi di San Gregorio, Dubl + Spumante Greco NV

Another conversation starter, this is a traditional method sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse made using 100% Greco.

Floral and fruity aromas of pumpkin flowers, honey, mango and citrus fruits contrast with the chalky vibe of the Greco grape. A good weight on the palate combines with youthfulness and a persistent minerality typical of the terroir.

Something to kick off the event…
Quady Winery, Vya Extra Dry Vermouth & Quady Winery, Vya Sweet Vermouth

No better way to welcome guests to an event than with a pre-dinner cocktail. Quady Winery has designed the Perfect Manhattan, using two of its signature Vermouth creations.

  • 60ml straight rye whiskey
  • 15ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 15ml Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon or orange twist

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

 

What are the training team drinking this festive season?

The training team, led by MW Beverly Tabbron, has put their heads together to suggest a few festive tipples perfect for the party season to serve over Christmas.

To kick off the meal:

Aromatic whites such as Ktima Gerovassiliou, Viogner 2016 or Tandem, Inmácula Viognier Viura 2015 are fantastic as an aperitif to get the party going.

For for those who prefer a zestier style, a standout option is the critically acclaimed Gaia Wines, Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2016 or the Hiruzta, Berezia Txakoli 2016!

For the main course:

When choosing reds stick with lighter styles such as; Tandem, Ars Nova 2013Michele Chiarlo, 6 Mesi Le Orme, Barbera d’Asti 2015 or a classic Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

If the meal requires a moreish fruity style of wine, the Colomba Bianca, Vitese Syrah 2016 would tick the box.

To finish:

Treat yourself to a glass of Tramin, Terminum Late Harvest Gewürztraminer 2014 – concentrated and intense with flavours of mango and lychee – or Roccolo Grassi, La Broia, Recioto di Soave 2014 – rich and honied, Christmas pud in a glass.

It’s the Most Wine-derful time of the year

The festive season is the time in every wine calendar when the so-called ‘good stuff’ is brought out, dusted off, sold to guests or purchased in the shop.

So what have the experts been recommending for this year’s festive tables?

David Williams, writing in The Observer

Lismore, Syrah 2016 

“Samantha O’Keefe makes some of South Africa’s most exciting wines from her lonely spot in a converted dairy farm in Greyton. This is the best of the beautiful bunch, a satin-textured, black-pepper-scented, raspberry-fruited pure Syrah.”

Jane Macquitty’s Top 100 Wines for Winter, in The Times
Gerard Bertrand, Merlot, Pays d’Oc 2016

“The former rugby player Gérard Bertrand produces some of the Languedoc’s finest wines from all sorts of terroirs, so grab this black cherry, cedar and red plum-packed Merlot.”

Domaine Andre Brunel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2014

“If you want a robust but velvety, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove-scented red to serve with spiced beef and casseroled game, this one has your name on it.”

 

Will Lyons, writing in The Sunday Times Food Magazine
Lismore, The Age of Grace Viognier 2016

“Down in Greyton on the Western Cape, the Californian winemaker Samantha O’Keefe has built up a strong reputation. Notes of apricot, honeysuckle and kiwi fruit make this gently aromatic Viognier a cracker.”

Olly Smith, writing in Event Magazine
Zorzal, Eggo Tinto de Tiza Malbec 2014

“Game changing Malbec blend with lively freshness and sleek polished richness.”

Victoria Moore, writing in The Telegraph
Lismore, Syrah 2015

“Californian Samantha O’Keefe set up a winery in the remote ward of Greyton, an area not known for winemaking. Her pioneering spirit paid off; her Syrah is magnificent, pure and lucid, with intense flavours and fine tannins.”

Michele Chiarlo, Nivole, Moscato d’Asti 2016

“A deliciously light, airy and effervescent sweet wine that tastes of ripe peaches and sweet fresh grapes. Just gorgeous. Low in alcohol and a wonderful pick me up too. Try it with Christmas pudding – it’s refreshing.”

Jancis Robinson, writing in the FT
Lismore, Chardonnay 2014

“Californian Samantha O’Keefe has somehow ended up making wine way up in the cool hinterland of Hermanus on the south coast of South Africa, and very fine wine it is too. Another one to compare and contrast with fine white burgundy.”

 

Adrian Smith, Sypped, writing his Christmas Wine Guide in the Independent
Berton Vineyard, Botrytis Semillon 2016

“Rich, silky, smooth, honey blossom, apricots and orange rind with a sweet glazing.”

Image result for aldi berton vineyard botrytis

Joanna Simon, writing her Festive Red Wine Guide on her blog
clos Clare, Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014

“From a two-hectare plot of 20-year-old vines in the Watervale sub-region. Benchmark Clare clarity and definition, with cool mint, ripe blueberry and chocolate, touches of toast and liquorice and super-sleek tannins. Drink over the next seven years.”

Lismore, Syrah 2016

“Supremely graceful Syrah from mountain foothills in the hidden-away Greyton region. Fragrant, pure raspberry and cherry fruit edged with smoke and white pepper and the silkiest of tannins. The Pinot Noir is also excellent.”

Henry Jeffreys, writing on why you should head down under for Christmas wine in The Spectator
clos Clare, Cemetery Block Shiraz 2014

“The Clare Valley is better known for Riesling than Syrah. You think this wine is going to be a bit of a bruiser from the spicy and smoky aromas but on the palate it’s more about cool climate grace with floral notes, crunchy fruit and light tannins.”

WOTM: Barros 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Douro

The quintessential Christmas drink and the perfect way to end a festive meal… Port. Although there are many styles to choose from, we have chosen the Barros 20 Year Old Tawny Port as our Wine of the Month for December and one we would recommend being served with the Figgy Pudding.

In a nutshell:

A rich and complex combination of dried fruit aromas,
with spice and subtle hints of wood. Elegant and full bodied, with a long, engaging finish.

The producer:

Having celebrated their 100th year of trading in 2013, Barros Port is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious companies producing and trading in Port. Much of their success comes from Colheita Ports – old Tawnies from a single year matured in cask for a minimum period of seven years.

Their expertise in Colheita Ports has established them as the stand out producer of this style. Barros leaves their Colheita Ports to mature in cask until being hand bottled to order. The loss of wine from evaporation (known as the ‘Angel’s Share’) is much higher in comparison to bottle ageing. It is a sacrifice they are willing to make and one that helps them achieve unsurpassed quality in their Colheita wines.

In June 2006, Barros Ports was integrated into the Sogevinus Group who are now responsible for growing the brand in the international markets.

The wine:

Produced by the traditional Port method. The grapes were destemmed, crushed and underwent a careful skin maceration to extract colour, aromatics and fine tannins. Fermentation took place in vats known as ‘lagares’, with constant pumpovers during fermentation.

Temperatures were controlled and maintained at between 28 to 30°C, until the desired Baumé was reached. At this moment, grape brandy was added, which is known as the ‘benefit’, resulting in a fortified wine with perfect balance. This is a blend of different harvests to achieve the array of characteristics that are typical of these aged tawny Port wines.

The wines have each matured in oak casks for varying periods of time; it is the average age of all the wines in the blend which defines the age on the label.

Serving suggestion:

Starters such as strong cheeses and pâté; or desserts such as toffee brownies, chocolate and pistachio pavé or goat’s cheese.