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Wine from the Loire
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 13/05/2021 The most famous wines from the Loire are white, from the villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire where the famous Pouilly Fume comes from. The trouble is that even though these wines are generally great, because they are well known they are always very expensive, generally from £12 upwards. However, the wine making in the Loire in less well-known regions and villages has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Whether that's because…
Springtime Sipping with Fortnum & Mason
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 29/04/2021 What could be more stylish than a Fortnum's picnic hamper, and some Fortnum's branded wines to go with it? The same for the first barbecues of the season. Fortnum's wine department is one of the best, with a good range carefully picked, and at all price points from really good wines around £10, then upwards as high and superb as you might want to go! Just to sweeten deal even further, you’ll save 10% on these fantastic bottles when you buy 12 or…
SOLA Wine Pairing
Top class Californian cooking needs a couple of good Californian wines, for the white we recommend from Waitrose the delicious Chateau Souverain Chardonnay, luscious intense rich Chardonnay and a perfect match for this cooking! Just £9.79 from Waitrose Cellar. The red must again be from Waitrose, the Bonterra Organic Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is dark and intense with masses of dark berry fruit and a hint of leather and eucalyptus. Available for £12.99 in Waitrose.
Jose Pizarro Wine Pairing
The wonderful Basque menu with tapas, Jamon, olives, anchovies and typical Basque main dishes also has a good selection of typical northern Spanish wines and some old mature sherries on offer from this Michelin starred restaurant. Try the Pizarro white Rioja or their exclusively Basque Wine, the complex Txakolina. I am surprised they have not offered the one wine that I would expect for this food, a great fino bone dry sherry, or even better a fresh crisp Manzanilla. The salty crispness and…
Trishna Wine Pairing
The Indian Seafood Experience from Trishna requires bright fresh white wines, but robust enough to be able to match the spices used. A citric, fresh hoppy lager is also a good alternative if you don't feel like drinking wine. My recommendations are firstly the famous wine from the fish dominant gastronomy of Galicia in northern Spain, Rias Baixas Albariño. Majestic have the excellent Villarei 2018 for £12.99. Crisp, citric but with an intense mineral and ripe fruit mid-palate and a nice bright…
The Best Bordeaux in Waitrose
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 08/04/2021 The British love their Bordeaux, or for the reds "Claret" as they prefer to call it, for the last several hundred years. Ever since Eleanor of Aquitaine (Bordeaux was Aquitaine's capital) married Henry the Second of England in 1152, and was mother to two further English Kings, Richard 1st and King John, the trade in wine between the two countries has been unstoppable. English cooking - roasts and grills, seems to have been almost created to…
The Best Champagne in Waitrose
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 08/04/2021 Pop into your nearest Waitrose for three of arguably the best non-vintage Champagnes available in Waitrose, which are really worth shouting about. The best Grande Marque Champagne Houses pride themselves in their non-vintage Champagnes. Indeed, Krug refuse to call their Grande Cuvee "non-vintage" and use the term "a blend of vintages". The reason being that creating a wonderful Champagne is all about the Art and skill of blending. A great Champagne…
Dinings SW3 Wine Pairing
Dinings SW3 has a stunning menu of carefully selected ingredients. Therefore I wanted to select the accomanying wines very carefully too. The wonderful Japanese treatment of shellfish would be suited with a good, dry Sake. Waitrose have Sawanotsuru Delux Sake which is dry with highly polished rice giving fruity flavours and a brightness. £11.99. A great alternative to Sake is a fino sherry. With the crispness and power to compliment the dishes, the excellent brand leader, Gonzales Byass Tio Pepe…
Is it time for a German Wine Revival?
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 18/03/2021 Some of you old enough will remember Liebfraumilch, brands like Blue Nun and Black Tower which sold millions of cases in the UK back in the 1960s,70's and 80's. The wines were slightly sweet, fresh and bland, made mostly from a crossed grape varietal called Muller-Thurgau. The one good thing about them is that the Germans know how to make "correct" wine, so whilst they were dull, at least they were well made. Through the 1980s and 1990s the British…
The Great Sherry Revival
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 05/03/2021 A very interesting statistic appeared last week from Nielsen, who do the industry audit of all retail sales. They reported that sales of sherry are showing an 18% increase over the last year, with the brand leader, Tio Pepe, showing 21% increases. Moreover, in January the sales were 50% up so the trend is continuing, if not growing stronger. The recent history, I mean the last forty years, of sherry had previously been one of slow decline, from…
Shoryu Wine Pairing
The delicious tonkotsu ramen and noodle dishes which are rich in flavours and umami require a clean bright but flavoursome wine, and for the more spicy piri piri dish it works particularly well with a bright citric lemony German lager. For the Ganso and Vegan dishes, I recommend the full bodied white Rioja, Los Hermanos Manzanos Blanco Barrica 2019 from Laithwaites at £8.55 for a mixed case of twelve with our voucher. This wine has complex flavours from the barrel ageing and blend of grapes…
Explore the Diverse Wines of Italy
One small consolation of “lockdown” has been the opportunity to try lots of different wines. Much as we all have our own favourites, it is most rewarding to try and discover something new and different. This is especially the case when so many parts of the world keep churning out very similar mass market wines often made by or in consultation with “travelling” wine makers. Sauvignon Blanc is now the biggest selling white wine in the UK and pretty well every country grows this grape varietal…
Gymkhana Wine Pairing
The wonderfully varied tastes and flavours of these dishes requires big fresh flavours in a wine to work well. The classic pairing with the spicy hot byriani dish made with the delicious muntjac deer is a rich Alsace white. I have chosen the most powerful and somewhat spicy grape, Gewurztraminer, and a medium dry wine with a touch of residual sugar which counters and compliments the hotter spices, but also works well with the milder dishes. The Pierre Brecht Gewurztraminer 2016 from Laithwaites…
Brigadiers Wine Pairing
The delicious gently spicy dishes and variety of the Brigadiers “mixed grill” can either be best matched with a hoppy fresh beer, or a bright fresh white wine. For those who insist on a red as well, a gutsy Aussie red works really well with the lamb, but I have chosen one with some freshness to also match the richness of the dish. The ideal beer, is in fact a Germanic or even Pilser style lager. Made with Bavarian yeast and the mouth cleansing saphi hops, Brewdog’s Unfiltered Lost Lager is…
Bar Douro Wine Pairing
It was a delight to see that Max Graham, son of Jonny Graham, had started a proper Bar for good Portuguese food in the City. His father Jonny set up Churchill Port in the 1970s when Graham’s Port, the family business, was acquired by their close associates in the Douro, the Symington family who also own, amongst others, Dows Port and Warres. The ideal aperitif and refreshing drink when it’s hot, like it often is in the Douro, is chilled white Port and tonic, often with a sprig of mint. Quite…
LEON Love Burger Review
Finish-at-Home meal kits have become a bit of a craze over the last 12 months, the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality industy being one of the biggest drivers. There is something very exciting about being able to enjoy your favourite restaurants from home and by preparing some of it yourself, you retain the freshness you'd get if you were really there! When I heard about the LEON LOVe Burger and Fries kit for 2, i knew I had to try it. This is a vegan meal kit and as someone very…
LEON Wine Pairing
The vegan Love Burger needs a bright juicy red, to compliment its “meaty” textures and flavours and balance with the delicious Aioli and Burger sauces. I have chosen three lovely good value Vegan reds. For those who like an elegant and more delicate juicy wine the Julien Revillon Beaujolais Villages 2017 from Laithwaite's is a reminder of how good Beaujolais can be. Lots of juicy raspberry and fresh bright wild berry fruit, and light elegant persistence. A bit heavier and great value as are…
Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill Wine Pairing
I suppose Bentleys oysters are about as iconic as you can get in London. I have been popping into Swallow Street for a dozen or half dozen since the early 1970’s during the season with an “r" in the month. What a wonderful idea for Saint Valentines Day, there is nothing more romantic than to share a dozen (or two) if wonderfully fresh unopened oysters in the height of the season with the one you love. May I respectfully suggest that the bottle of Piper Heidsieck Champagne be drunk as an…
Galvin la Chapelle Wine Pairing
The Classic cooking from Galvin requires Classic wines. For his Saint Valentine’s Day menu, I guess you must start with a romantic glass of Pink Champagne. Most of the Grande Marques great Champagne Houses have a pink Champagne these day, but always far more expensive that their regular white fizz. I don’t know why, unless it is marketing costs, as it really doesn’t cost that much more to make! There is, however, a wonderful value pink Champagne in Majestic Wine, which they have stocked for…
The Enjoyment of Lower Alcohol Wines
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr 15/01/2021 With lockdown it is tempting and enjoyable to open a few more bottles than normal. But I have found that this increased frequency of consumption is so much better if the alcohol levels are not up there at 14-15% which is increasingly the norm. Put it down to global warming, but more likely winemakers ability to grow much riper grapes. If you prefer lower levels of alcohol, which frankly I do, there has been a lot of de-alcoholised wines appearing…
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