Valentine’s Dinner Wine Matching

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.

bluebellroseWe’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”

Perfect Friday Wine has moved!

Tasting table ready to go...
Tasting table ready to go…

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 😉

PFW little helpers in the midst of 8 reds
PFW little helpers in the midst of 8 reds

So, to share the stars of the tastings (and of course, I didn’t take any photos of the wines);

– Sparkling: a tie between the Pierre Paillard Bouzy Grand Cru Champagne and the Bluebell Vineyard Hindleap Classic Cuvée, East Sussex, England.

– White: for me, it had to be the beautiful Domaine de la Creuze Noire Saint-Véran 2011. A fabulously elegant well-priced Burgundian Chardonnay, I’m excited about trying this again.

– Red: The best value red of all had a fantastic reception, the Calmel and Joseph, Villa Blanche Syrah. Another exciting find.

Watch this space, and thanks for reading!

Please visit the Coming Soon Page for more detail on the wines and events.

Flash Recommendation: Deutz Brut Classic Champagne

Deutz Birthday Wine

What:  Deutz Brut Classic Champagne

Where OutThe 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.

Festi-wine – no glass, quantity over quality: the time and place for a wine box.

I’ve just realised that we’re less than two weeks away from heading off to a UK music festival for 5 days. Whereas last year on the run up (I was on maternity leave) I started preparing months in advance, this year, I’ve only just started to think about what we need to take, particularly what food and drink we might take to keep the cost down when we’re there.

To be honest, I’m not in the habit of drinking wine at a festival. In fact, it’s no place for fine wine or taking along anything that needs to be kept cold – totally unnecessary, unless of course you either have a camper van and therefore a fridge to hand or are too important to erect your own tent (jealous of glampers? Me? Yeah, very much so 😉  ). Festivals are for drinking real ale, lager and cider. Oh, and you won’t hear me say this very often, but they are also the only acceptable time, along with making mulled wine, and place for a…wait for it…yes, a BOX of wine.

Continue reading “Festi-wine – no glass, quantity over quality: the time and place for a wine box.”

My quest to find the perfect Rosé

Upd 26Jun14: Prices and suppliers updated.

Upd 14Aug13: In a desperate attempt to be accepted by my fellow wine bloggers, I’d like to re-submit this post that I wrote back in June for the 80th  Wine Blogging Wednesday, the subject being ‘Dry Rosé’. I’ll admit, this is cheating somewhat but after some grovelling, @winecast has humoured me and allowed this as a super-early (21 days earlier than the challenge was even set) submission. Check out twitter #wbw80 and here for more excellent entries.

Some love it, some hate it. I am in the former camp and LOVE a glass of Rosé on a sunny afternoon. I like to think that my husband and I were the sole initiators of the rosé revolution in the UK after being introduced to its merits on a holiday to St Tropez back in 2003. Prior to then, I’d tasted very little and if my memory serves me correctly, anything other than Mateus was rare to be seen on a pink wine list in the UK.

Just like I wouldn’t order just ‘a glass of white wine’ in a pub, I wouldn’t order just any old rosé. I’ve been caught out in the past by the sweet, heavy, dark, cheap rosés that many pubs serve and have been known before now to demand to see the bottle before ordering only to opt for a pint of lager instead. I am always astounded by the looks of astonishment by bar staff across the country – surely rosé is rosé? Not at all and I seriously suspect that the rosé haters amongst you simply haven’t found the right one for you yet! Rosé for me has to be dry, lightish in colour and acidic with an almost sherberty finish and I neither mind whether it’s strawberries or peaches and cream. Needless to say – it must be COLD. Continue reading “My quest to find the perfect Rosé”

Jolly Rosé Holidays

The 89 BMW pictured at Sandbanks, UK  - our mode of holiday transport is not such fun these days!
The ’89 BMW. Our mode of holiday transport is not such fun these days!

The last time I went to the Cote d’Azur and Provence, was 10 years ago to the month. We (my husband and I, in the early days) spent 3 days under canvas on the beach at Port Grimaud as part of a 2 week tour of France, living out the back of my 1989 BMW E30 convertible. This time, we’ll be in a much more sensible diesel estate (stationwagon, for my American readers), accompanied by our 2 kids (20 months and 3 years) and staying in a ‘Tiki Hut’ (a.k.a a thatched mobile home) – oh, how times change.

What will not be changing however, is the delight of buying inexpensive local rosé wine by the refillable carton from the local marché. It was on our previous trip, sat in a bar watching how the other half live on St. Tropez harbour, that we discovered the delights of Provençal rosé. From that moment on, we have continued to quaff the stuff every summer and share the love with whoever will listen – we even chose a cheap and cheerful rosé as an alternative to white wine for our guests to wash down the barbecue at our wedding.

Something else that has changed since my last trip, is that I now know a little more about wine, so I will be branching out beyond just the entry level to try and find the perfect rosé –  I’m not expecting that I’ll have too venture far.

Port Grimaud is just outside of St. Tropez and then we’re staying on a vineyard just to the east of Orange. Do you have any recommendations of vineyards to visit or specific wine producers to keep an eye out for? Please do comment!

You win some you lose some: Part 2 (1977 Chateauneuf wine tasting)

 Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 1977First off, I apologise for the delay between posts. When I started this blog, I was working a shorter week and was kindly allowed a couple of hours ‘blogging time’ on my day off by a pair of obliging napping babies…those days have passed, but as promised here is my follow on from my last post [part 1].

To recap, I had won a wine auction consisting of 2 St. Emilion Bordeaux, 2 left-bank Bordeaux and a Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Southern Rhone) – all from the 1970’s and all a little fusty looking. Figuring that all of them would, at the very least, be better drunk 20 years ago ready to drink, I wasted little time in opening the first bottle of my winnings.

Continue reading “You win some you lose some: Part 2 (1977 Chateauneuf wine tasting)”

You win some, you lose some.

In a moment of madness, having been alerted to the sale of some vintage wine in the monthly  Bourne End Auction, in Buckinghamshire, I placed a blind bid on a lot of wine from the 1970’s.

A wine lottery it seemed, but in my excitement at the mystery and owning my very own wine from my decade of birth, I swiftly submitted my bid. In my haste, foolishly, I hadn’t even bothered to look up the Chateau Laniote to see if it was ever any good, let alone when it’s 40 years old nor did I have any idea as to the history of the actual wine or any clue as to what the other 4 bottles were. Not my wisest move ever, but such fun!

lot206

Continue reading “You win some, you lose some.”

Detoxing on Baked Beans and Grenache

mince pies
Mince pie overload…

To make up for our excesses over the festive period, my other half has declared January as ‘The month of Austerity’. This means that we have been plunged into a boring few weeks of eating baked beans on toast or leftovers out of the freezer. Most boring of all though, he’s not drinking alcohol. On the upside, it turns out that he doesn’t mean for the whole month, just until Burns Night apparently, but this leaves one wine blogger a little lonesome on the wine drinking front for the next 22 days.

Continue reading “Detoxing on Baked Beans and Grenache”