Mince pies and wine

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.

Continue reading “Mince pies and wine”

Summer Dining and Wine Series: Barbecues

Picture this; it’s been sunny since Wednesday and you’ve been cooped up in an air-conditioned office all week. The forecast for the weekend is STEAMY and you awaken to blue skies and glorious sunshine on Saturday morning. First thought? It’s time for a barbecue!

Proud husbandly photograph of 6 hour cooked dinner
Proud husbandly photograph of 6 hour cooked dinner

So, first thing…do we have any charcoal? Yes, I think there’s one last batch that’s been clogging up the shed all winter – just enough for one bbq. Second…food! Cue, a rummage in the freezer. Sausages – check. A couple of chicken thighs, perfect for skewers – check. This is where I, being female, would end, but this is a barbecue, 2 meats in one meal simply won’t suffice! Continue reading “Summer Dining and Wine Series: Barbecues”

Flash Recommendation: Riva Leone Barbera

What: Riva Leone, Barbera, Piedmont, Italy
Where Out: The Bull Hotel, East Street, Bridport, Dorset £5.20 175ml glass/  £19.50 a bottle
Where In: Spirited Wines, Marlow, £7.83 a bottle
Who: 1 ‘On-the-wagon-for-January’ Husband, 1 ice cream eating child

Wine for me + ice cream for the girl = family harmony
Wine for me + ice cream for the girl = family harmony

When: Post lunch coffee/ cake/ wine stop sheltering from the rain.
Food match: I drank it with a Victoria Sponge (just a slice, not a whole one) but would think it would be better matched to either the Venison or the Burger from The Bull’s menu (next time perhaps!!).
Conclusion: Spicy, eucalyptus, medium bodied with some deep redcurrant and raspberry fruit. Very easy drinking even on its own.
Bonus point: The Bull Hotel; Stylish, chilled, welcoming. Log fires in winter, sunny courtyard in the summer, great wine list…and they seem to like kids!!
Links: Riva Leone