I’ve been working with my first supper club ‘Pop-up Dinner Reading’ to help the ladies behind the cooking, Laura and Anu to enrich their guests’ culinary experience even further by recommending and providing the perfect wines to pair with their delicious tasting menus.
The sun is out again! At a balmy 11 degrees celcius, it’s considerably warm enough to have the roof down on the car and I even paused to soak up some rays for a few seconds earlier. I realise that it’s not the done thing for wine trades-folk to be delivering wine in such a frivolous vehicle, so the car will be being exchanged for something a little more grown up and practical in the very near future.
The sunshine nicely ties in to the imminent arrival of the first Perfect Friday Wine still rosé. Last year I did a good job looking for the perfect summer rosé and as long as I can find some that meets my high standards, I intend to stock more than one throughout the warmer months. So to start us off, my trusty Languedoc wine producers, Calmel and Joseph have recently released their Villa Blanche Grenache Gris, which I had the pleasure of trying last week and managed to get my mitts on a sample.
In true PFW style, I ran the rosé past my tasting public on Saturday and got some fabulous feedback. It was kept suitably cool all day thanks to the single digit temperature as one can only expect on the first day of March and many were disappointed because they couldn’t take a bottle away on the day. I can safely say that I have an order in for some of the very first bottles imported into the UK, so expect me to be fully stocked within the next fortnight or so. Pre-orders welcome, just contact me.
Villa Blanche Grenache Gris, IGP Pays d’Oc, Languedoc, France £8.50 Perfect Friday Wine. Grenache Gris is a paler, close relation of the black grape variety Grenache that you find in many red wines from Languedoc, the Southern Rhone valley and Spain, under the name Garnacha. Grenache ‘noir’ is also used extensively in rosé across southern France and beyond. The gris has a lighter pinky-grey skin, which is reflected here in the beautifully pink colour of the wine.
The Villa Blanche has a really light and fresh raspberry nose, immediately conjuring up warm days and long summers evenings. The palate is dry and delicate with more raspberry fruit with some welcome acidity and a lingering finish. To follow on in the footsteps of the Villa Blanche Picpoul and Syrah, this wine does not disappoint. Great with a bowl of cashew nuts or, needless to say, summer barbecues. All we need now is some heat with this sunshine and the delivery to arrive!
I may be being over optimistic, but is that Spring that I sense in the air? The sun, yes, that’s right folks, the sun is shining – well, it was 5 minutes ago. What is more, there isn’t a gale force wind blowing, threatening to snap my shooting daffodils off before they’ve even bloomed. This could all change before the weekend of course as I’ll be back on my stall on Maidenhead Produce Market, so expect snow or a mini-typhoon on Saturday, just to keep me on my toes.
Although the budding trees suggest that we’re moving out of red wine season into white, and dare I mention it in February, rosé, I’ve had a reoccurring question asked of me of late by white wine drinkers who would like to dabble in a bit of red but aren’t sure where to start. To ease you in gently, my recommendation would be to find something young and fruity with low tannin* and little to no oak; tackling a Gran Reserva Rioja or Australian Barossa at this stage would be ill advised.
The obvious suggestion would be to try a light and fruity Gamay from one of the Beaujolais Villages such as Fleurie or Brouilly, or a Pinot Noir, but let me introduce those of you that are new to red, and anyone else looking for an easy-going red, to Languedoc’s very own soft and supple Carignan. Continue reading “Red wine for those who prefer white.”
I can’t actually pin point the last year that I dined out on Valentine’s Day. I do recall a distant Valentine’s memory, once upon a time, of being squeezed into a restaurant, approximately 6 inches from the couple on the next table for a pretty ordinary set meal at a pretty extraordinary price. It felt forced, unromantic and a rip-off, resulting in my vow to never ever eat out on Valentine’s night again.
That’s not to say that Valentine’s Day goes unnoticed in our household. It’s actually a good excuse to close the laptop, leave the TV off and have a date-night in, with a decent bottle of wine or two and a meal to match. Back in the old days, before life got that little bit more hectic, these evenings weren’t so few and far between, we certainly didn’t need a prompt such as Valentine’s Day for us to actually sit down at the table, eat together and have a real conversation.
We’re now almost dependent on occasions such as Valentine’s, anniversarys, and birthdays to remind us that romance isn’t dead but are total creatures of habit in that whenever we do have a date night, in comes the ribeye steak and big red wine. We go wild where the starter and pudding are concerned and vary these according to our mood. This Valentine’s however, (look away now Husband) we’ll be having smoked salmon of some description to start and most likely cheesecake, inspired by one of my ex-rowing friends who’s in the midst of a cheesecake baking frenzy, to finish after our steak. So my own Valentine’s wine-inspired date-night in is going to look a little something like this, with no need to stray from my own PFW wine list: Continue reading “Valentine’s Dinner Wine Matching”
As I have declared many times before, I’m a big advocator of English Wine (the link will take you to much of my chatter around the subject). I have therefore been extremely excited to have been able to get in on the act and add 2 award-winning examples of English Sparkling Wine to the PFW portfolio; Bluebell Vineyard Estates Hindleap Seyval Blanc (white) and their Brut Rosé (pink, obviously).
This is the first year where my daughter seems to have truly grasped the concept of Christmas. She was telling me yesterday how Santa needs to have mince pies and milk left out for him. I’m pretty sure this information hasn’t come from memory, since a year is a long time when it’s more than a quarter of your life. I’m also certain that this advice didn’t come from me, let’s face it, there’s no chance that I’d be suggesting milk as Santa’s ‘one for the road’.
Which brings me on nicely to what exactly would Santa be choosing to wash down his mince pies? Apart from the more traditional suggestions that might spring to mind, such as sherry or port, I’d think that Santa would be looking for something warming and spicy with a touch of sweetness. My Calmel and Joseph Corbieres would certainly do the trick, but it’s a different kind of wine that I’ve been wanting to share with you for a while, partly due to one of my other half’s old rowing buddies obsession with the Italian wine Amarone, but also since I’ve encountered a couple of wines this year that have been made in the same way, resulting in a style of wine which would be the perfect accompaniment to mince pies, chocolate cake and Christmas pudding alike, as well as dark and meaty wintery dinners.
What: Juan Gil 4 Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain Where Out: Chateau Marmot, Temporary Dining, Anywhere, UK, One glass of the 5 glass £27 wine flight Where In: Old Butchers Wine Cellar, Berkshire, around £10 Occasion: Tonight, #winewednesday, ‘In’, after a busy and increasingly stressful day in the office. Previously, ‘Out’, at my first pop-up restaurant (see my Chateau Marmot post here – I told you I’d buy it again!). Food match: Tonight, nothing to note, but this is a big, fruity and tannic wine, so may I suggest something big and beefy, such as those delicious ribs mentioned in my previous post or perfect for steak. Conclusion: Deep, dark and tannic. Lovely smooth and rounded blackberry fruit. Bonus point: To counterbalance the jet-lag of the clocks changing back to GMT, and the resulting draggingly long colder days and dark evenings; my mid-week saviour! Happy Hallowe’en!
There’s nothing more touching as a wine blogger, than when someone brings back a bottle of wine from their far flung travels, just for little old me. The best is when I get to drink it with them and we can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ about it together, like when a good friend returned from her native Cape Town with a South African Malbec. Very tasty it was too, I hope you’ll forgive the lack of tasting notes, I can’t always be ‘on duty’ :). Continue reading “Wine Wednesday Riesling”
Boy, have I been busy this fortnight. I’ve had a big project go-live in the day job, been given new projects to replace the old and hit some exciting milestones wine-wise, one of which being the new hosting-site for my blog. Although I’ll still be ‘reading and following’ on wordpress.com, I’m now fully functional over on wordpress.org thanks to a patient and clever friend who’s much less technically challenged than myself. So I’d just like to apologise first to my loyal and kind wordpress.com followers for lack of warning that I was moving. Yes, I did post a ‘please follow me over –>here<— at perfectfridaywine.com’ post, but only into ‘Drafts’, so was obviously no good! So here’s my plea:
If you’ve enjoyed reading about my capers in wine over the past year, I really appreciate all the support and encouragement that each and every one of you has given me, so please, please continue to follow me –>here<— at perfectfridaywine.com. I promise to keep my tales fresh, relevant and as frequent as possible. I suspect that you might not need to do anything at all and if this is the case, please do me a favour and like or comment on this post (my first since the blog relocated) so that I know that I don’t need to email you all to beg for refollowage.
So there you go 🙂
On to other news, another more interesting milestone, or perhaps ‘announcement’, is that on the run up to Christmas, I’m dipping my toe into the wine trade. More to come later on this, but in preparation, I’ve held 3 tastings at my house over the past 2 weeks. One sparkling, one white, one red, so if you’re reading this, thanks to all my Perfect Friday Wine helpers for your feedback and enthusiasm. Be grateful I didn’t fancy branching out into selling carpets or house insurance 😉
So, to share the stars of the tastings (and of course, I didn’t take any photos of the wines);
Where Out: The Hind’s Head, Bray, Berkshire £12 125ml glass/ £51 a bottle Where In: Alfred the Grape, Marlow, Bucks, £35.99 Occasion: ‘Out’ for my birthday back in July, ‘In’ for Mr. PFW’s birthday last week. Food match: Drank as an appetiser both times but it went very well with Monday’s poppadums! Conclusion: A beautiful golden colour with a fresh dryness and crisp butteriness on the palate. An excellent non-vintage choice which made a nice change from the usual Moet or Perriet Jouet. Bonus point: That The Hind’s Head really hasn’t changed much over the years since Heston Blumenthal has owned it. Unlike other local gastro pubs, you really can still pop in for a pint and not feel like you shouldn’t be there (I didn’t notice whether there were any crisps behind the bar). Plus my favourite Ribeye with bone marrow is still on the menu all this time on.