My Sherry Amour

It was International Sherry Week recently, so what better time to taste (drink) my way through a cross section of some of the best wines that Jérez has to offer?

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Brawn For The Brain

I was fortunate enough to dine at Brawn recently and I enjoyed some of the best food that I have eaten in quite some time. An exceptional dish of grilled duck hearts on fresh broad bean purée was followed by an equally delicious confit rabbit leg served with wet polenta and a delicate gremolata.

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Lustau For Life

I love Sherry, although it’s all too infrequently that I have the chance to try a selection of really interesting examples. I was treated to a memorable Sherry extravaganza when Federico Sanchez-Pece Salmeron, brand ambassador for Bodegas Emilio Lustau, visited Reserve Wines to present a range of his very fine wines.

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Riojan Roll

Quite why the province of La Rioja and its most famous wine take their names from the River – Rio in Spanish – Oja is something of a mystery. This so-called river is actually little more than a stream, rising in the Sierra de la Demanda and flowing north until it joins the River Tirón, in turn meeting the River Ebro near Haro.

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Super Tuscan, Brilliant Rhône

Lay & Wheeler, now a part of Majestic, recently held a rather unusual tasting in Manchester. Showcasing a selection of wines from its own stocks, supplemented with older vintages from its broking list, I wasn't going to miss the chance to taste the wines of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia and of Château de Beaucastel - despite them not being the most obvious of bedfellows.

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Champagne To Shout About

A nifty little Champagne tasting at Reserve Wines last night, presented by Simon Hore of Thorman Hunt. Here is the line-up:

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Monks' Magic And Bonkers Brewing

Beer buff and blogger Matthew Gaughan shared his passion for Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers and offered an illuminating insight into their complex world. Although I don’t drink beer very often I’ve always enjoyed the Belgian beers I’ve tasted, albeit without knowing very much about what was in my glass.

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I❤NY

Given that most non-Americans are unaware that New York is a state as well as a city, imagine how few people know that New York State is producing some really exciting wines.

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All White On The Night

Another enjoyable evening of tasting and talking with Ben and the gang brought these little gems to my attention. It’s always nice to share good news, so toddle off to Hanging Ditch and treat yourself to these tempting whites.

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Love Is All You Need

The always affable and amusing Robert Steel visited Reserve in Didsbury recently with an interesting and enjoyable assortment of Italian wines from his portfolio. For The Love Of Wine was founded by his father, Ian, after an enlightening trip to Italy. Specialising originally in Italian wines from artisan family producers, they also offer a comprehensive selection of Swiss wines.

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Little Consolations From Giant Consolidations

To bastardise the words of Aeschylus, Hiram Johnson or Oliver Stone, the first casualty of wine is integrity. An almost inevitable result of the spate of mergers and acquisitions that seemed to characterise and redefine the Australian wine industry around the turn of the century was the loss of many of the things that had led to the companies involved being worth so much money.

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A Blanc Canvas

I was recently asked if I would present a tasting event at Hanging Ditch. "Certainly", I replied, "I would be delighted to." As I'm not in the trade and thus have no wines of my own to promote, the next question I was asked left me somewhat stumped. What would I like to have as the theme for my tasting?

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848 - The Number Of The Feast

After the excesses of Christmas, midway between the joyous fervour of well intentioned resolutions and the pay cheque that will once again allow you off the wagon, January can often seem to be the longest of months. What better way to shake off the malaise than by maintaining the level of decadence to which one has recently grown so accustomed?

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Two Out Of Three

As too often happens, work robbed me of most of the joy of the festive season but that didn’t stop me from enjoying a couple of rather nice bottles both as a festive treat and as a slightly belated celebration of my mum’s birthday. Given that she’s a big fan of fish, I’d lined up a bottle of Dom Pérignon and a bottle of Barboursville Vineyards’ Reserve Viognier to pair with a pescatorial pre-Christmas dinner.

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Pic Of The Bunch

It's not often that a cookbook impresses me so much that I want to write about it. Le Livre Blanc, by Anne-Sophie Pic, is just such a rarity: a jewel when viewed from every facet. From the stark modernity of the laser-cut, purposely-undersized slipcase and the pages' silver edging to the arresting beauty of the food within, this book encapsulates everything that haute cuisine aspires to be.

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Victorian Values

With the global vineyard area planted to Marsanne currently as marginal as was that of Viognier (its northern Rhône cousin) twenty years ago, Tahbilk is unique in having both the largest single holding of this variety as well as being the guardian of some of its oldest vines. Hence the "1927 Vines" epithet. Contrary to the views of many winemakers whose prestige cuvées are produced from super ripe grapes and are lavished with every luxury at their disposal, the approach at Tahbilk is positively ascetic in comparison.

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Golden Virginia

All fifty American states now produce wine, but 95% of it comes from only four of them. California is by far the most prolific state and it is responsible for five times more wine than the output of the next three combined: Washington, Oregon and New York. Of the other states, Texas and then Virginia are the fifth and sixth largest wine producers respectively.

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