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Archive for the ‘9 A Love of Wine & Cheese’ Category

Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

I’VE ALWAYS THOUGHT of wine bars as being like the iPad. There we were, happy with our laptops and our smart phones, unaware that we needed anything in between. Then we saw what a lovely piece of kit the iPad was and we made it part of our daily lives. So it is with wine bars. We had pubs, some of which served decent wine; we had cafés and restaurants; so where was there room for something else? Step into L’Atelier du Vin on Dyke Road, just south of the Seven Dials, and you’ll find out. You are immediately cocooned in a warm, old-fashioned atmosphere of good taste, where armchairs have cushions, shelves have books on them, and Charlie attends to your needs as though he has all day just to talk about the wines on offer. (more…)

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What wine-lover has not, at some time, dreamed of owning a vineyard, whiling away long hot summers watching the grapes ripen, a glass of last year’s vintage in hand? A few are foolish enough to try it. A very few actually make a success of it; although, as the saying goes, you can make a small fortune out of wine-making, but only if you start with a large fortune. I’ve thought about this a lot, so imagine my interest when Colette, our co-editor, alerted me to the fact that Vinod Mashru is selling wine at Bright News, in Buckingham Road, that not only has his label on it, but which has been produced by a partnership between his family and a Spanish wine-making family in Rioja. (more…)

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ALL OF US who love wine will have had the same experience. We open a bottle, it doesn’t impress us at first, but as the meal goes on it seems to wake up, so that by the time we’ve finished the bottle we are astonished at how good it is. “How the wine has opened up” we say, assuming that it’s the contact with the air that has released those previously hidden aromas. Some of us will even decant any red wines that are more than a few years old in the hope of getting the aeration done from the start.

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IN CELEBRATION OF 21 years of The Whistler’s ‘Love of Wine’ column, we have two beautifully illustrated books by Jane Hughes, ‘The Wine Lover’s Guide’ and ‘The Wine Lover’s Record Book’ to give away to the winner of this competition.  These books inspired us to start the column all those years ago. Richard Piggott, Philip Reddaway and most recently, Andrew Polmear, all took up the chalice (so to speak) of writing interesting, varied and knowledgeable articles about wine (and occasionally other drinks).  Emails with the correct answers will be entered into a draw to determine the winner. Send your answers to thewhistler1976@gmail.com by 31 August 2019. (more…)

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Mona LisaAS SOMEONE WHO values ‘character’ in a wine above some arbitrary score of ‘excellence’, I really ought to love Italian wine. The country is so geographically varied it has more distinct ‘terroirs’ than anywhere else. And they have, and use, more different grape varieties than the rest of the world put together. But there is an Italian style of wine making that hasn’t so far appealed to me – at its extreme, the red wines are light in colour, acid in the mouth and the flavours tend towards unripe cherry. But I’ve always known I’m missing something, so I went recently to a wine tasting of 38 Italian wines organised by The Wine Society. On the train to London I put together the prejudices I carried with me. Let’s see how they fared. (more…)

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Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

I’VE ALWAYS LOVED Rioja. It seems to me to be the best of both worlds: plenty of power, with its dark fruit, even liquorice flavour; but also capable of depth, complexity, even elegance. Not everyone thinks so highly of it, probably because there are lots of cheap bottles around. The average bottle of Rioja sold in the UK costs £6.82. With £3 tax and the profit for the shipper and the retailer that’s about a £1 a bottle for the winemaker. It’s amazing that it’s drinkable. But the glories of Rioja cost more, although far less than French, US or Australian
wines of the same quality. (more…)

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Andrew Polmear writes for the love of wine . . .

I’m sure you are puzzling over Malbec. How is it that a grape of French origin, now hardly used in France, is such a hit in Argentina? Where it is still used in France it tends to make a rather austere, even harsh wine. In Argentina it makes wine that is consistently lush and fruity, packed with rich cherry and plum flavours. The reason for this difference was the question posed at a recent wine tasting at Seven Cellars, on Dyke Road, led by Laurie Webster from Las Bodegas, a specialist importer of Argentinean wine. We started with pure Malbec from the Languedoc. (more…)

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