Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wines for Christmas

Christmas Wine

There are several classic dishes served at Christmas including:
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Winter Vegetables and roasted sides including gratin and casserole
Since Christmas has several traditional variations, make your wine match the main protein dish.

Selected Christmas Wines

Wine with Roast Beef

  • Carmenere A medium-bodied Chilean wine with herbaceous qualities similar in style to Cabernet Franc
  • Nero d’Avola A full-bodied Sicilian wine that is often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
  • Cabernet Franc An herbaceous medium-bodied red wine probably more famous for the regions that produce it such as Chinon in Loire Valley, France.
  • Aglianico A high tannin bold red wine from Southern Italy that’s very savory and herbaceous.
  • Tempranillo Look for ‘Reserva’ Tempranillo from Rioja or check out the awesome Spanish wine value region called Ribera del Duero
  • Sangiovese Sangiovese is known by many regional names, keep your eyes peeled for Montalcino Rosso, Vino Nobile de Montepuliciano and, of course, the opulent and tannic Brunello di Montalcino. Learn to read an Italian wine list/label
  • Merlot Blends An outstanding alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon (and usually quite a few bucks cheaper) is Merlot. This a great opportunity to seek out a 7+ year old Bordeaux Superieur
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Blends For value, look into the 2010 vintage in Argentina and Chile for some excellent Cabernet-based blends with either Carmenere (in Chile) or Malbec (in Argentina)

Wine with Ham

  • Rosé Wine The classic region for great dry rosé is Provence. Learn more about Provence wines (including the famed Bandol).
  • Grenache or Garnacha Grenache has the fruitiness to stand up to inherently sweet ham. Many American producers are making outstanding Grenache in Paso Robles
  • Côtes du Rhône Blends This wine is actually a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Seek out the 2010 vintage.

From Wine Folly.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Double Dare..

It was tough this month just what title to give this post, there was just too much choice..The Double Dare, What 'this' week, All shiny & New, There is late & there is LATE, Delights of Italians, Don't tell the Greek.. the  list was endless.. and these 'possibilities' all occurred before the wine club met !

The hosts, Terry & Karen and their super 'shiny & new' kitchen..but lets start at the beginning of the week... there were a few emails and texts floating about from those who were expecting to attend the wine club, all wondering what wine would the host ask us to bring, had we missed the email ??  . 

Then the email arrived: (It wasn't pink, I just changed it to make it stand out, I mean who would write in pink..far too fluffy )

Well yes, better late than never I suppose. Sorry about this but Terry and I had wine club at ours on the calendar for next weekend - not this one. However, all is not lost, we have juggled around and it's now this Saturday (16th November 2013) from 7:30 pm.
Bring an Italian - I'm quite partial to them - and also bring an Italian wine. Some white some red we leave it to you to liaise amongst yourselves.
Pick from the list:-
Food will be
a) available, just about, if you're lucky
b) something from a tin with some bread - maybe flageollini e crostini con tomate
c) something you can't read or understand
d) possibly all of the above
What this says about you.....
If you picked a) you are a serious pessimist
if you picked b) you are a realist
if you picked c) you have self confidence issues
if you picked d) you couldn't care less so long as there's wine
Please let me know if you can come. I think Karen and Mick can't - but hope to see the rest of you (and your Italian).
Karen xxxx
As you can imagine, the Bring an Italian (!) started a stream of innuendo resulting in Jacqui ending with 'don't tell the Greek'... so the tone was already set for the evening before we got there..
Huh..What would their neighbours have thought if the eight of us arrived and Terry & Karen were out with their 'other' friends.. us all loaded with bottles of wine, chocolates and a Tiger (we'll get to that in a minute).. (a) would they have called the Police saying there was a rowdy gang trying to get into their neighbours house (b) invited us round to party (c) set the dogs on us or (d) mugged us for the goodies.
Now about that Tiger (still before the wine club) somehow or other & I am not quite sure how it began but Mark said he might wear his Tiger onesie, then I dared him to, then someone 'double dared' him, then money was offered (to Children in Need) if he wore it... now the thing is..Mark LOVES his Tiger suit & couldn't believe that money was being offered to get him to wear it, he would have done so with virtually no persuasion at all.  He did wear it (he'd probably had it on since two in the afternoon).. Terry offered him a bowl of milk rather than a beer on arrival.. it was funny ..
So we picked Tiger Mark up & Linda to go to wine club, we arrive at their house, Geoff had barely stopped the car, Mark leaps out & rushes to the door, like an excited puppy or should I say cub .. leaving Linda to struggle with the bags etc... the words.. world Marks own.. spring to mind !
The evening begins.. six of us arrive & have drinkies and a catch up, Linda  having been shown the lovely new kitchen does a splendid job as a presenter showing others the benefits of all the great storage space.. she could be on QVC ! 

Terry & his very clean ovens

Now if you are following closely, you will notice we are still two short, yep, Jacqui & Nick, there is nothing unusual with them running late, happens all the time (sorry J & N but it does) us all time for an extra drink whilst we wait... then we waited & waited & waited..even checked at the front door in case the bell had not been heard.. but no, nowhere to be seen, then we start to worry that something serious has happened to delay them, the concern grew with each passing minute... then ding dong.. relief its them...thank goodness they were both fine.  Well actually.. Nick was very frazzled.. (the norm too) they had been delayed.. Jacqui couldn't find the right nail varnish, Nicks fault apparently, giving her the wrong one when she asked the first time...poor Nick I hear you cry.... (Whoever has Jacqui for Secret Santa..please.. buy her a selection of colours !)  The question is, how late is too late after all 'there is late and there is LATE'
Jacqui did say later that Karen & Terry are usually her late buffer but their house so they were already there, although saying that.. they might not have been !
Now onto the wine, that's why were were together, well, actually that's probably secondary these days, its more about good company than the wine.. So now the Italians we brought along, sadly, not the human kind, although one wine description said smooth dark & ravishing !
Wine One - Albastrele Pinot Grigio 2012  13% from Laithwaites
We thought - Light in colour, needed to be colder, slightly sweet floral taste, mineral hints
Laithwaites say - Pale straw hues, dry & rounded, aromas of peach, lime, grapefruit with a minerally citrus character
Five voted this the favourite of the evening.
Wine Two - Dino Soave 2012
We thought - Pale, little bouquet and a bit rough around the edges
The bottle - A medium dry white from the Veneto region of Italy
Wine Three & Four - Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2012 from Tesco Finest range £7.99
We thought - Really Yummy !!!
Tesco thought - Smooth dark & ravishingly juicy .. Mmm mmmm
Five voted this their favourite of the evening
Wine Five - Barolo 2009 13.5%
We thought - Dark tawny edges, flavours of cherry, harsh mouth drying tannins, not popular
The bottle - Didn't get a chance to read it & too small on the photo.. doesn't matter as we didn't like it !
With the wine delicious roast meats and vegetables with an Italian flair followed by scrummy desserts.. that new kitchen makes great food ..sorry, Karen & Terry make great food !
Limoncello Ice cream served in lemon wedges

Eventually the conversation got round to the Christmas wine club and secret santa presents, for fun we asked around the table what people would like, all fishing for ideas I suspect... was it helpful (nope).. Some of the answers..Linda, last year a charity water donation gift card something similar again would be nice (honourable).. Tiger, he needs some Tiger feet, Nick a Dewalt battery a mere £80 does he realise we don't all chip in & Steve, no, he doesn't want any lemons.. Jacqui & I didn't say but maybe we need glasses as we both used Steves  all evening.
All in all a fun evening brought to a close when the Tiger needed a cat nap.
Time to stick a cork in it.
Bye X