Posts in Tasting
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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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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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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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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Small, But Perfectly Formed

Until a few weeks ago when an invitation to a tasting landed in my inbox, I’m sorry to say that I hadn’t actually heard of Folding Hill vineyard in Central Otago. To their immense credit, Kate and her team at Reserve Wines have stocked Folding Hill’s wines ever since the release of its very first vintage, and I for one know better than to question the judgement of Kate’s palate.

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Sugar And Spice And All Things Rice

Saké. Everyone knows what it is. It’s Japanese rice wine, right? Well, that’s only partly correct. It is actually closer to a beer than to a wine in its method of production, and its range of styles and its combinations of savoury and sweet flavours make it ideal to drink with food.

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Praising The Raisining

Run by the Boscaini family - for the last fifty or so years headed by Sandro Boscaini, a.k.a. “Mister Amarone” – Masi’s list of achievements rightly sets it apart as one of the most successful and important winemaking dynasties in the Veneto.

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More From The Veneto

After working your way through my last blog post, you’ve possibly heard enough about the Veneto and its wines from me for the time being. I’m sorry for any repetition, but I wasn’t going to pass up the recent opportunity to taste the wines of Azienda Agricola Cecilia Beretta; particularly as I only had to travel as far as Hanging Ditch to do it.

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That's Amarone

One of the funny things about the creative process, at least as far as we left-brainers are concerned, is that what you end up with can often bear little resemblance to that which you set out to create. The travelling is more important than the arriving; the artistic endeavour more significant than the resulting artwork. Even more bafflingly, this is perfectly acceptable. Try to run a business that way and see what happens.

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Far From A Fiasco

The importance of Marchesi Piero Antinori’s contribution to Tuscan wine specifically, to Italian wine generally and to the standing of both in the wider world of wine cannot easily be overstated. The figures make impressive enough reading on their own: Piero is the 26th generation of a family whose unbroken winemaking provenance dates back to 1385…

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Mosel Masterclass

I have to admit that the name of Weingut Staffelter Hof wasn’t one I was familiar with, that is until I was invited to a tasting of its wines at Hanging Ditch. When I learned that it is one of the oldest vineyards in Germany, having celebrated its 1150th birthday just over two weeks ago, my ignorance was all the more embarrassing.

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An Addendum

As an addendum to A Weekend To Remember, we were “allowed” to visit one winery the next afternoon, and Zýmē’s beautiful cave was only a couple of miles away from where we were staying. Carved into the hillside, their barrel cellar is a fifteenth century quarry hewn out of the sandstone, painstakingly recovered from nature and sympathetically fitted with dramatic uplighting, climate control and a beautifully appointed tasting room.

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A Great Place To SITT

Due to the usual nonsense that is work, my recent attempt to leave the office at twelve was thwarted until nearer two o’clock. Still an early finish you might say, but I was heading to the Specialist Importers Trade Tasting (SITT) where there were forty or fifty exhibitors all of whom were desperate for me to try their wares and all of whom were only there until four o’clock.

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