Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Sun & showers = good food & wine

What a weekend !! - both weather wise and fun wise !!

Our friends came with us to our lovely caravan on the West Wales coast for the weekend. The weather was very mixed but it didn't hinder our plans. It is always beautiful as Tywyn Photographers show with their frequent photo updates on Facebook and Twitter.

This is my very quickly taken rainbow phone photo from Fairbourne Beach looking at Barmouth Bridge. It was pouring and I really did just quickly point and click :-/

Friday night we dined at Walkers Quality Restaurant in Tywyn which I think has the best fish and chips - my fish combo would have fed all of us and was superb. I had cod, haddock, plaice and scampi - all cooked perfectly and accompanied by their delicious chips.

One of our friends had the fish combo too and the other the sausage and mash - Hubby had a steak and was very impressed. The restaurant is small and booking is advisable but the staff are so welcoming and the food perfect after an evening's drive.

Walker's does serve alcohol and we shared a good bottle of McGuigan Black Label Sauvignon Blanc which was served nicely chilled with an ice bucket.

McGuigan Black Label
Sauvignon Blanc
It was a full-flavoured wine with the signature crispness of a sauvignon; lovely flavours of peach and lime with a light nose of summer grass and mangos. It was a perfect match for my fish combo and although maybe not a first choice did go well with the meat dishes too.

Saturday's weather was very hit and miss; the weather forecast was cloudy but fair early morning building up to heavy showers. We had planned to do Precipice Walk which is reasonably high and as suggests has some tricky footpaths (single file please) so we set off mid morning with cloudy/sunny skies.

It's quite a steep walk in places and fairly rocky so I always need a pole and at times a helping hand too. I couldn't find my modern pole so took my Dad's thumb stick - I haven't got a photo and have left it at the caravan but I'll remedy that next blog. Hubby did catch me having a windswept moment on the viewing bench half way round - I think the view from here is stunning and very much worth the walk.

A much needed bench !!
The view looking down the Mawddach Estuary

The view looking north
The clouds were building as we made our way back round to the car however a beautiful butterfly was just using it to enjoy the final rays before the rain set in.

Enjoying the rays
As you can see from my first photo the rain then arrived and rain it did - so heavy with some thunder. For us is meant an afternoon in the local pub watching the football before returning to the caravan to enjoy a home cooked meal starting with a bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro - one of my prizes from Tesco Wine Community.

Freixenet Cordon Negro
Another great weekend with good friends at a place we love - next year we will be visiting our caravan in it's perfect setting many more times than we've managed this - if you get the chance visit Tywyn and it's surrounding area - you won't be disappointed :-)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Trivento 2012 Reserve Malbec

I was very lucky to be chosen by Tesco Wine Community to be one of their reviewers for Trivento - their 2012 Reserve Malbec.

Trivento Reserve Malbec
2012 Trivento Reserve Malbec

So after I enjoyed this red wine I hope you enjoy my review:

My first thoughts were what a classy, stylish bottle - a good label does make a difference.
Hubby and I decided to have this with lamb, initially I did think steak but we decided to do our tasting with lamb for a change - and what a success it was. Our first glass was straight from undoing the bottle and then an hour or so later with our dinner.
The Malbec in the glass was so smooth; it clung to the glass like a velvet crimson coating leaving the tears running with a haze a red. I kept swirling as it really looked so rich.
A definite hit of blackberries for my nose followed by a slight spice, maybe cinnamon. It brought to mind Christmas pudding.
The taste was quite different, a little tannin but not overpowering, slight fruit but a lovely surprise of vanilla. Hubby thought almost icing sugary in texture but not sweet. A warm glow and a mouth of rich fruit was our first after taste.
All of this before we even began eating - and what a difference!! The lamb lifted the fruit in the taste and lessened the tannin. It added to the vanilla in the after taste and brought the wine altogether. A really, really good pairing, which we loved more and more as we enjoyed our dinner.
I did leave a glass until the following day - the colour was same as was the nose but the taste had mellowed. The tannin had lessened to almost nothing, the blackberries were more prominent in the taste and the vanilla has softened slightly. However my preference would be to let it breathe an hour or so but no longer as it was best the day before with our meal.

We had visited the Trivento stand at the Tesco Wine Fair but I tend to do mainly whites at the fairs and missed this one - but I did try Concho Y Toro Otorio Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2006 at the Casillero del Diablo & Trivento stand - beautiful !!

CYT Otorio Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 37.5cl (Half Bottle)
Concho Y Toro Otorio Late Harvest
Sauvignon Blanc 2006

It is so smooth, with the depth of a good sauvignon blanc but with honey syrups, It isn't over sweet just so so smooth and one I will be enjoying over the festive season - I can already image a glass with Christmas pudding or poured over a bowl of Christmas pud ice cream.... maybe I won't wait until Christmas after all practice makes perfect !!

Please leave your comments about my blog or the wines - I love to read them
 - thank you for calling by !!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Favourites - Bird and Dozen !!

After two day of working hard on my Dad's front garden (he passed away last year and we're renovating the house) I came home to a very much needed glass of my favourite bird - sorry not Quirky Bird but Famous Grouse.......Ginger Grouse !!

It has a light amber colour with a slight head on pouring. It's quite sweet but not overly so and the ginger has a good kick. Although there is no whisky in Ginger Grouse there is a slight hint of the Scottish liquor lingering in the mouth. It's a lovely drink, best served chilled and enjoyed outside on the patio.

I'm not actually a whisky drinker - bourbon is more my tipple - I just love the Grouse Bird and look forward to his antics every Christmas.

And so to my favourite dozen - well it could well be .....

After the Tesco Wine Fair we order a case of Tesco Finest Four Star Whites and Tesco Finest Four Star Reds. They are a fantastic way of trying new wines from around the world - all of which have high recommendations.

Finest dozen
I was impressed by the list when I ordered but even more impressed when the wine arrived - I am really looking forward to trying all of these:
Tesco finest Block 13 Shiraz Grenache 2011.
This wine is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvèdre and is from South Australia.
It's one the Tesco Community have been loving and I have been waiting to try - I can't believe it but I missed it at the Wine Fair.
Tesco finest Douro 2011This wine is from Portugal and is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Touriga Nacional. We are actually enjoying this wine this evening - our first glass with a beef roast dinner and now a second as we settle down for the evening. We decanted it in our stylish new decanter from Dunelm and are drinking it from our gorgeous new glasses from Franglais Vins (Calais).
It has a nose of red cherries with a fruity taste and a hit of spice on the finish. There is some tannin but it's very slight.
Tesco finest Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2011.
An Italian wine aged in oak.

Tesco finest Argentina Malbec 2012.
Argentinian Malbecs are appearing more and more on wine programmes and in wine reviews, I'm planning beef with this with maybe a pepper sauce.

Tesco finest Cabernet Sauvignon Carménère 2012.
This wine is from Chile and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère.

Tesco finest Nero d’Avola 2012.
Finally another Italian wine, this one is from the south of Italy.

And so to the whites - I always considered myself someone who preferred white to red but over the last year tasting more and more wines recommended by friends on the Wine Community I am enjoying reds too. In fact the reds disappear from our wine rack quicker than the whites.

Tesco finest Côtes de Gascogne 2012.
This is a French blend of Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc grapes;
it's one I have had before and love with a crisp chicken salad.

Tesco finest Picpoul de Pinet 2012.
Another French wine from Languedoc- Roussillon;
 and another that I just adore. It is best served well chilled and in my opinion enjoyed on it's
own on a hot summer's evening sitting outside.

Tesco finest Tapiwey Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Especial 2012
This is a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile.

Tesco finest Gavi 2012
This is an Italian wine.

Tesco finest Bergerac Blanc 2011
This wine is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon and is again from France.

Tesco finest Pinot Grigio 2011
This Italian Pinot Gris is the final wine in this case.
I am very, very pleased with the white selection, although some may have preferred wine from more of a variety of countries - being a French fan I'm more than happy.

As you can tell there are some new wines to me and Hubby - I'll be making tasting notes and sharing our finds in my future blogs. Thank you for reading my news - I read and appreciate all your comments, thank you.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Birmingham - Tesco Wine Fair

We've had a very busy few weeks since coming home from France - I didn't have chance to blog our holiday but I will add a few gem finds in a blog soon. Technology has been on hold for me as my ipad belonged to school and my laptop was very, very old.

I have been extremely spoilt by Hubby as I now have a Nexus tablet and a new Dell laptop - so watch out cyber space !! Retirement has certainly not been slow or boring - in fact I cannot believe tomorrow is the start of my 4th week.

We have been so busy with birthday treats, Bicester Shopping Village, Houses of Parliament, Birmingham's new library, Caro Emerald, Cardiff and Tesco Wine Fair. don't worry this blog will not be about them all - it would be a book if it was, but I have linked the places so please go and investigate online.

So the Wine Fair yesterday - it was another great opportunity to try over 200 wines. This was the first year the fair has been in Birmingham, but our 7th visit. As Birmingham is only 20 miles away we went by train for the fair whereas previously we've stayed away for the weekend in London, Bristol or Manchester. I think I prefer staying away - the train journey was a bit of a chore. The fair is at the NEC which is a massive exhibition centre on the outskirts of Birmingham so for us it was a train into the city and out again. It was quite a long walk from the station to the actual hall and it didn't evoke quite the same atmosphere as the Brunell Centre in Bristol or Horticultural Halls in London.

However once inside the Fair it was tasting and chatting as always - with slightly less stands but each one with 6 wines wines and great experts ready to help with all the questions.

My booklet has notes on many, many wines, tasted and enjoyed; here are some of my favourites of the day (photos are from Tesco Wine) :

Tesco Finest Saint Mont - South West France
This was a first for us - a white from the Atlantic coast of France, right down south. It's a very fresh wine, lots of apples and apricots but not too dry.

Yalumba Viognier 2012 - Eden Valley Australia
Another crisp fruity wine with apricots but with the addition of some light floral notes

Apothic Red - California USA
A real smooth red which I could easily sit and sip all evening - it's a blend of  Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wirra Wirra Church Block - McLaren Valley Australia
A deep red filled with ripe berry fruit, the soft tannins are perfect for it's weight leaving a great finish.

It was great to meet the wine experts - Frances Adams from Tim Adams was lovely; The Fergus was on show but not sadly The Aberfeldy. I also loved Tim Adams Clare Valley Shiraz 2009 with it's full nose, spicy/deep smooth fruit taste with a spice after tone.

I did introduce myself to the Piggy Bank team - and was reminded I hadn't liked their Tempranillo on the Tesco Review - but I did like their Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and their Syrah 2012.

Hardy's had a new brand - Houghton - with a light Sauvignon Blanc Semillion 2012 and Cabernet Shiraz 2012. These grapes are grown on the west coast of Australia which is a different area to Hardy's normal wine grown in the south east. Apparently there is a cooler breeze which prevents the grapes from being over ripened in the strong sun and leads to lighter, smoother wines. Both were superb, different to the expected Hardy's but with quality and flavour. The Hardy's labels have had a make over and look very stylish.

Tesco Wine by the Glass had the dominant stand across the back of the Hall - it was great to meet Laura and see the team. From their stand my favourite was the Yalumba Voignier. Tesco Finest had a Wine Trail in the booklet to follow - a little tricky at times to work out which stand the wines were on. At Bidendum Wine I was given a blind tasting of a fresh, slight fizz white wine. I amazed myself (and I think the wine chap) in recognising Riesling - it was one of the Finest Wine Trail wines:

Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2011 - Western Australia
I'm not a Riesling fan as they are too sweet but this was fairly dry which did have me doubting my knowledge for a moment but the slight under fizz confirmed my thoughts. It's very different from the German Rieslings and not as petrolly as the other Australian ones I've tried.

I could write loads and loads - as I look through my booklet I keep finding another one to share but I think that's enough to wet your palette. If you have never experienced a Tesco Wine Fair then you should as they are an amazing way to learn so much more in the world of wine.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Wine - taking stock

It's soon time for our annual holiday to France which will of course include a visit to Calais Wine, Majestic Wine, Pidou and Auchan to replenish our wine cellar.

Our favourites and must buys are:

Cheverney --- Touraine Sauvignon Blanc --- Cellier de Dauphin --- Gamay
We do like the Ca'Lunghetta range at Calais Wine and Robertsons from Majestic but we're always open to new finds.
But we do enjoy other wines from elsewhere - earlier this week we had a chilli con carne dinner with a lovely bottle of Domaine de la Contrie - Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil which we bought from S H Jones. It's a lovely Loire Valley red.
 A light Cabernet Franc red with a deep purple colour
- raspberry and blackcurrant fruit bouquet and palette.
Our good friends joined us for dinner again last night and as it has been so warm lately I decided on light courses. Our menu was:
goats cheese and beetroot salad with rustic bread and olives
chicken, pork and chorizo meat wrapped in iceberg lettuce,
served with chutneys and air fryer chips
summer fruit pavlova
To start our meal off we opened a bottle of the very very good Freixenet Cava - although I generally prefer french bubbles I do enjoy this Spanish fizz. I was very lucky in winning a case with Tesco Wine  Community earlier in the month so our cellar is well stocked.

Freixenet - thanks to Tesco
Freixenet is full of light bubbles - all racing to the top of the glass with great speed. 
In the glass - a golden yellow with glistening highlights with an array of small and light bubbles which ascended with speed.

On the nose - light fruit, apples and pears, Hubby thought of Pear Drops.

On the palette - bubbles dissolved away rather like sherbet, a light fruity taste with a crisp dryness hitting the roof of your mouth.
To accompany our meal we had a lovely white Viognier our friends brought with them from their holiday in Spain and a bottle of Willunga 100 -Cabenet Shiraz 2010 - another from SH Jones when we went to the Matthew Jukes Tasting Evening.
The Willunga was a beautiful red with a deep nose of dark plums, cherries and a hint of spice. The flavour is very rich with more berries bursting through. There is just a hint of tannin with an subtle oaked finish.
All in all it was a lovely evening of excellent wine, good food and it was such a change to sit outside until quite late with a Nespresso coffee and Amaretto.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Retirement - so good, so spoilt

(blog warning- lots of reading and photos - so much to say hee hee)

Well last Friday I finished working in education - I retired at the very young age of 47 !! Hubby and I have never moved, never wanted more than we have, been quite careful with our money but have had some amazing holidays with our children and family along the way. Now at our 'young' age our bills are done and I can leave work to look after the house and make evenings and weekends job free for Hubby. I am so very very lucky.

It was an amazing last day at school - I had stitched (cross stitch is my hobby) small gifts for my close colleagues who were so surprised when I gave them out. If you'd like to see my handiwork I have a blog for my stitching - Aimetu's Stitching This blog also has my beautiful gifts from school - how amazing in my new french sign but where it will go I just don't know (I can hear the offers already .... Tesco!!)

Hubby had booked us on the Eurostar to Brussels for a 3 day break. I had been really looking forward to it as it was our first trip on Eurostar and we were staying at the 4* Sheraton. Our holidays are usually driving as it is something we love, many a time we've watched the Eurostar fly past us on the way to the South coast and whilst travelling through France, so a trip on board was definitely something to be excited about.

After a rush home and a quick taxi we made the station in good time to catch our London Midland train to Euston which was very quick, and we managed to find seats. It was a short walk from Euston to St Pancras and finding the Eurostar terminal was so easy. After checking in we waiting excitedly in the Departure Lounge - we had a bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne, glasses, olives, bread and cold meats ready to enjoy on the journey, but we did enjoy a crepe and glass of wine in the amazing terminal. There is so much glass and such a high roof it doesn't feel anything like a railway station.

St Pancras International Station
Our boarding gate opened and all check-ins completed we sat waiting in anticipation. Our carriage was 17so we guessed it would be a long train. Gate opened we hurried to find our seats and settled in for the journey .... only the Train Manager approached and checked our names. My heart was racing as I thought for a moment we were on the wrong train but to our amazement he informed us we had been upgraded and could we follow him quickly to carriage 8.

I have never walked so fast in my life - I had visions of being on the platform and the train departing without us. Carriage 8 was Business Premier - we just settled in as the train departed. I was so shocked at what had happened - especially after such an emotional day at school too. The Train Manager came back to see us and knew all about my retirement - The Eurostar Social Team whom I had Tweeted to about being excited had tracked us down and really surprised us with the upgrade - it was such a treat, so special and quite overwhelming.

We were treated to champagne, a Raymond Blanc four course meal with wine, coffee and chocolate. The Eurostar team were all so lovely - I did enjoy the journey too as we travelled through some known and unknown countryside.

Business Premier on Eurostar - champagne !

Raymond Blanc menu

Raymond Blanc meal - we had a pork main too
Arriving in Brussels we thanked the Eurostar team and made our way to the Metro. Neither of us have travelled in Belgium before but we managed to work out which line we needed - the fact that 'jump' means journey and one jump was one journey so only 2euro. The Metro was very quick and we soon emerged from the Rogier station to see the Sheraton right in front of us; quite a relief as it was now nearly 11.30pm.

Checkin done - and two free drink vouchers obtained for the bar as we took out a loyalty card - we made our way to our room - 16th floor. I have never been so high but it didn't feel odd, the lift was so smooth and took seconds, not like some shuddery ones we've been in when you worry about getting to the second floor. Our room was lovely, very spacious with a massive bed and two armchairs, lovely ensuite and much needed tea and coffee.

We didn't take breakfast at the hotel but had a buffet style one in our room with goodies we'd bought. It was actually quite nice not to have to get up at a certain time and be ready to go down for breakfast - this might be something we do again in other hotels as it was a far more relaxing way to start the day. We found local bakeries and supermarkets and purchased quite a breakfast variety.

Saturday we walked into the centre of Brussels and all around - it was very hot but with plenty of bars it was easy to take a rest. Unfortunately beer was cheaper than coca cola,coffee or water so we sampled quite a few varieties on our stops. There is so much to see but these are the main places we visited.

Manekin Pis
I wanted to try four particular things in Brussels; chocolate, beer, chips with mayonnaise and waffles....and I did:

chips and mayonnaise
There are some amazing side streets around the Grand Place that are no more than tiny alleyways but filled with restaurants all with outside tables. It was an amazing atmosphere and great value if you took one of the set menus. On returning to the hotel we decided to use our vouchers in the bar and I had a real treat - a beautiful, perfectly chilled glass of Sancere. I didn't get to look at the label but it was just perfect.  
Sunday was another special day but not for me this time - the new King of Belgium Philippe. His father Albert II had abdicated and as 21st July was Belgium's National Day all the official ceremonies where taking place including the swearing in of the new king. The day before we had walked around the Palace and the cathedral and seen all the festivities being set up - tv cameras everywhere and red carpets being laid.It was far too hot for me on Sunday so after a stroll round in the morning we bought a bottle of wine and sat in our air conditioned room watching all the celebrations on tv.

Later in the evening we went out for a meal at the Cheesecake Cafe - such another great place, full of atmosphere and brilliant food. We did not venture back into the city but retired back to the hotel to watch the fabulous fireworks on the tv - a much better view too.

Monday was our journey home although we had the morning to stroll through the city one last time. It is certainly a city we will be returning too as there is so much to see. It was very easy to find the station and we were soon onboard Eurostar ready for home. We had a bottle of red wine and a speciality bread ready to enjoy and as soon as the train moved the wine was uncorked and bread torn.

I nearly died when the Train Manager came along, stopped and checked our names. She was so lovely, asking if we'd had a good time, where we'd been, what we'd done. Again it was Eurostar Social Team - they knew our return train and had asked her to just pop along to see how the weekend went - such customer service - I am still in amazement at their kindness.

So that was my retirement trip to Brussels - this post has been far too long already to include wine details but now I'm retired I'm sure it will not be too long before the wine post appears - I have plenty of news to share too; Tesco prize, gifts, wine in Brussels - I will be posting soon as August sees us of to France for our man holiday and I'm sure I will have something to blog about then.

Thank you so much for reading my lengthy news - it would be lovely if you left a comment too, thanks.

And finally a HUGE thanks to my Hubby Nick without whom many of our adventures would not be possible; I certainly couldn't retire and life would just be boring !!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bastille Day !!

Google France has just a perfect image for Bastille Day
This year we are having a quiet Bastille Day - mainly due to the amazing heat the UK is enjoying this weekend - I am with many many others for whom heat triggers additional medical symptoms - MS is not a heat fan but by staying indoors and taking things easy it's do-able :)

And by it being Bastille Day we will of course be opening a bottle of vin francais - but which one?

Red - Chateau de Petit Thouars - a gorgeous 2009 cabernet franc

Red - Tesco Vintage Claret  Bordeaux  - a deep intenseive red

White - Jean de la Roche Sauvignon Blanc - a crisp white from Calais Wine

White - Oisly et Thesee, 'Les Mazelles’ Sauvignon de Touraine 2010 - full of gooseberries and kiwi from S H Jones

Bubbly - Nicolas Feuillatte Brut - the best champagne in my eyes.

It will probably be a red  as it's bbq steak tonight but may mean a trip back to the Loire Valley in the near future to replace stock - Chateau de Petit Thouars is just outside Chinon. It's a stunning chateau with rolling lawns, a beautifully manicured garden, and great vineyards producing fantastic Cabernet Franc wine and Cremant de Loire sparkling. Definitely a place to visit in the Loire.

And it will not be Nicolas Feuillatte as we're saving that for next weekend when we travel Brussels on Eurostar - special mini break which I'll share next time.

Looking behind last weekend was amazing !! I organised a trip to Birmingham for my work colleagues to watch The Lion King at Birmingham Hippodrome. Thee are few words to descibe it - unbelievable costumes and set.

Travelling by train to Birmingham was for a change quite enjoyable.We all had seats on an uncrowded train which arrived on time in New Street - thanks Cross Country. Before the show we met with everyone outside The Old Fox Pub just next door to the theatre, beautiful weather just added to the pre-theatre wine/beer.
A trip to the theatre is never complete without sweets and there is the perfect shop on the corner, opposite the pub. Mr Chill's Traditional Sweet Shop has all your favourites - ours being liquorice allsorts, vimto bon bons, rhubard and custard and chewing nuts. Such a great place full of childhood memories and of course sweet treats.
After the show we invaded the Big Wok - a great chinese restaurant - their buffet has a huge variety including a large salad bar and sushi range - perfect for Slimming World members. Starters and mains devourved we moved onto puddings and took great delight in trying to make a perfect ice cream cornet shaping the ice cream from the serve yourself machine - a little practice needed maybe.
A great weekend with a perfect finish on Sunday - Andy Murray winning Wimbledon 

Friday, 21 June 2013

Loire Valley Wine

SH Jones is a fantastic wine merchants having shops in Leamington Spa, Bicester and Banbury. Earlier in the year Hubby and I enjoyed one of their wine tasting evenings with Matthew Jukes at the Angel Hotel in Leamington. Last weekend we travelled to Banbury for their Loire Valley Wine Tasting in The Old Wine Shop.

Banbury is just over an hour away for us but because of the nature of our trip we booked into the Holiday Inn Express for the night. The hotel was easy to find, just off the M40; very welcoming receptionist and a great room.

We decided to walk into Banbury, about 20 minutes. The town is a mix of old and new; plenty of modern shops, Castle Quay shopping centre, a canal, old buildings and The Banbury Cross. The Old Wine Shop is a beautiful Grade II listed building that dates back to mid-1500s.

The Old Wine Shop
Side view of The Old Wine Shop
First to arrive we were warmly welcomed, the shop is just a dream; olde worlde setting with shelves filled with wines from around the world, whiskeys and an array of other bottled alcohiolic delights including Hook Norton beer (another of our previous travels).

The intimate setting, small tables laid with 8 tasting glasses, confirmed our anticipation of the wine tasting experience. SH Jones had selected 8 wines from the Loire Valley, varying in location across this central region of France.

Cave des Vignerons de Saumur, La Grande Marqu NV (Anjou region)– Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, a light traditionally produced sparkling wine.

Auguste Bonhomme, Domaine Le Fief de la Brie, Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2011 (Pays Nantes region) – Melon de Bourgogne, a white wine with a richness from cask ageing, a light nose with a hint of lemon, a taste of freshness with light citrus and melon.

Oisly et Thesee, 'Les Mazelles’ Sauvignon de Touraine 2010 (Touraine region) – Sauvignon Blanc, a nose of gooseberries and kiwi with the recognisable sauvignon taste, very similar to Sancerre.

Jean Pabiot et Fils, Domaine des Fines Caillottes, Pouily Fume 2011 (Centre region) - Sauvignon Blanc, a golden wine with a deep nose, rich flavour with a hint of smokiness.

Baumard, Clod du Papillon, Savennieres 2005 (Anjou region) - Chenin Blanc, unusual mineral nose but then a honey and marizpan pallette.

Andre Dezat et Fils, Sancerre Rouge 2011 (Centre region) - Pinot Noir, light fruit fragrance matched with light fruity flavour.

Domaine de la Contrie, Saint Nicolas de Bourgeil 2010 (Touraine region) - Cabernet Franc, classic red with depth and definition in the glass, on the nose and on the pallette.

Baumard, Quarts de Chaume 2007  ((Anjou region)- Chenin Blanc, a superb bouquet of sweet fruit and honey, with a pure nectar flavour with a perfect sweetness

I didn't make tasting notes on the night - I wish I had. Hopefully my memory has remembered the noses and pallettes to the correct wine.We did have a great information sheet which I could have jotted things down on ... if I hadn't been so busy tasting!! Our favourites were the Touraine and the Cabernet Franc both of which now reside in Cellar H, chez nous.

The  shop has an amazing variety of good quality wines; wines from particular areas of the world with a pleasingly large selection from France. Cellar H has also welcomed a couple of other French  bottles; Pasquiers Sauvignon Vermentino 2011, a crisp fruity wine, and Château Pastureau 2009 Bordeaux, a  deep cherry red.

Pasquiers Sauvignon Vermentino 2011
We had a superb evening; S H Jones’ events are definitely ones not to be missed !!

If you enjoyed reading this blog please leave a comment - thank you

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wales and Lanson Rose

Our half term holiday was filled with a variety of activities, some far more exciting than others. Firstly we went to Wales to our caravan and thankfully the sun decided to shine.

Saturday morning with did our favourite walk with Ruby - parking at Morfa Mawddach and walking across the railway bridge into Barmouth. It is a stunning walk which we never tire of.

Barmouth Bridge
Mawddach Estuary
It's about a 4 mile walk by the time we have crossed the bridge from Morfa Mawddach train station, walked up to the far end of Barmouth for a coffee at Min Y Mor Hotel and back across the bridge - tiring for everyone, but especially for Ruby dog who then sleeps all afternoon.

Sunday afternoon we crossed a new bridge - the Wales Coastal Path now has a footbridge crossing the Dysynni River just north of Tywyn.

New Dysynni Bridge
The views from the other side were amazing - new to us as we've never crossed this part of the river before. We walked inland to Tonfanau where the Bank Holiday Motorcycling race event was happening on the old airfield - Tonfanau was an Anti-Aircraft Training Camp in World War II

Training Camp in World War II

Although the Bank Holiday Monday was a wet day we had a lovely weekend in a part of the country we love - we took family with us and had a small celebration with a bottle of Lanson Rose Champagne. If you are regular reader of my blog it was one of the bottles from my Tesco Mystery Case I mention in April's post.

It was a delicious glass of very good champagne - the glass was filled with an amber liquid that shone with sparkling highlights. The small bubbles were light, very active in the glass but not a gaseous champagne.

Nose: a light peach fragrance, nothing overpowering

Taste: no outstanding fruit but a very subtle blend of peach, nectarine with a slight hint of fennel.

We enjoyed this before dinner unaccompanied but it would suit a very light starter or lunchtime meal; prawn or salmon especially.

We have had another delivery from Tesco to taste and review - the Tesco Community Gold members have been asked to try Freixenet Cordon NegroFreixenet Cordon Oro.

Cordon Negro & Cordon Oro

With being away we have yet to try these sparklers but they are both in the fridge ready for the weekend - I just need to think about food pairing - it may be we try the Oro unaccompanied as it's a semi-seco.

There always seems to be something going on or wine to be enjoyed - and soon we'll be visiting SH Jones, Banbury and Cardiff - so more news, tips and travel soon.