Bordeaux 2010 – Our Top 5

It was fascinating to taste through 100 different wines from the 2010 vintage last week with my colleague Sarah Abbott MW at Vintner’s Hall, London. My highlight of the day was arguably tasting Chateau Lafite Rothschild sharing a free-standing spittoon with the legendary Oz Clarke.

2010 contrasts with 2009, although both are considered to be among the finest of recent Bordeaux years. Whereas 2009 has delighted with its fleshy opulence and immediately approachable nature suitable for an international audience, the 2010s are more restrained with much of the concentrated fruit currently hiding behind sturdy tannins – the word ‘classic’ has been bandied around more than once.

The vines had a harder time in 2010 with drought conditions and irregular ripening throughout the summer, so the best are arguably better than their 2009 equivalents whereas there are some châteaux that have failed to make the most of the difficult conditions. It was certainly not a vintage where the winemakers could sit back and enjoy the sunshine.

Having chewed through plenty of tannins during our allotted three hour session, I am delighted with the overall quality of the wines. Although there are some wines that have fallen behind due to their imbalance of under-ripe flavours and high alcohol; mainly wines from the Haut-Médoc where quality is extremely variable; there are some absolute stunners that will be exquisite in their prime, carefully balancing the razor-sharp acidity characteristic of the vintage with intense and complex flavours. The quality of tannin in these top wines is excellent – many having a chalky texture that helps to soften the considerable astringency. Here are our top tips for what to stock up on:

 

  • Château Langoa Barton.

Saint-Julien, Third Growth

Langoa Barton always represents excellent value for money. Graphite and dark fruit aromas lead onto a dense and juicy palate. A great finish developing into spice and mineral. There is a touch of warmth from the alcohol but it is very well balanced. The wines of Saint-Julien in this vintage are accessible with integrated tannins, which bodes well for mid-term drinking.

 

  • Château Lynch-Bages

Pauillac, Fifth Growth

An extremely popular château, and you can see why. This Pauillac has the ability to come close to 2nd Growth quality in top vintages, and this has been a very successful one for them. Slightly vegetal and smoky aromas lead on to vibrant dark fruit of particularly assertive concentration, backed by chalk-textured tannins. With such a dense character this is for the mid to long term, but will be absolutely gorgeous.

 

  • Château Duhart-Milon Rothschild

Pauillac, Fourth Growth

From the same stable as Lafite Rothschild, this is not too far off the pace of his big sister this year. Inky aromas precede a palate soaked with iodine and dark fruit. Lafite-esque complexity, with less tannin but more balance at this stage (and currently a tenth of the price…). The creamy finish lingers! This is classic masculine Pauillac with wonderful aromatics.

 

  • Château Pavie Macquin

Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B

This wine stunned me with its initial hit of stewed fruit with an open, airy nature. This evolves into fresh dark fruits- concentrated with a malleable character akin to Chateau Haut-Brion. It has a really rich finish with streaks of mango and passion fruit. My joint wine of the vintage along with…

 

  • Château La Mission Haut-Brion (not to be confused with Haut-Brion mentioned above)

Pessac-Leognan

From the lesser known commune of Graves, this is still a formidable (and world famous) wine. Voluptuous aromas remind me of the nuance I usually associate with mature Burgundy, while the fruit envelopes your palate with juicy, spicy and savoury fruit. This develops into traces of mineral and iron with very well integrated tannins and a long complex finish. Brooding depth, and a sensual wine.

 

I would love to hear from you if you have tried any of these wines, or if you have any questions regarding these wines – please feel free to post below of contact me by email: james.button@theperfectcellar.com

My Perfect Sausage

Confession: I love a sausage. Fact. Well who wouldn’t? From the ‘no-one will notice if I pinch another’ cocktail sausage at kids’ birthday parties, to pigs in blankets every Christmas with sherry-warmed, giggly grannies, through to the partially incinerated banger presented with beaming masculinity at a friend’s (usually wet) BBQ; the success of the sausage is in its unerring ability to create a story; a memory; a moment in time. Add in wine (in this instance I am rocking the Rioja) and you have an unrivalled party in the mouth*.

And I am not alone. In the UK we eat enough sausages to wrap around the London Eye 129,000 times. Every year. That’s a lot of oddly shaped minced meatage.

So the sausage story is a long and complicated one. Read up and you’ll probably squirm, but don’t let that (ever) stop your quest for perfection. Please. The sausage (in all its guises) is a global phenomenon. Every country lays claim to the fact that their sausage is the original, the tastiest, the best … frankly I don’t care. The more there are, the more I can indulge my sausage passion. And that can’t be a bad thing.

Take Chorizo. The Spanish meaty maestro. He’ll wow you with his versatility and woo you with his ability to make everything more alluring. He’s a bootie caller. A fixer. A magical mysterious ride to better-ness. He’s good on his own but much prefers the company of others. And, my oh my, they are grateful for his salty, spicy irreverence. Pick me! And try him with a glass of Bodegas Perica 6cepas6. Aged in spicy oak with beautiful black fruits this incredible wine has the firm feistiness to tango triumphantly with chorizo based dishes. Or just chorizo. Or without chorizo. Just like the Spanish sausage; 6cepas6 is perfectly willing and able to delight you on its own.

Or Bratwurst. Yeah take them. Our Germanic beast of a guy. He’s a chomper and delights in oozing goodness (all over your lederhosen). Take this chap a bit further and slather him in curry (Currywurst) – now there is a champion to lift your moods. It’s a time and place thing and I struggle to match with wine with this (although if you’re munching on a fat curry laden sausage, you’ve probably had too much at this stage…)- if all else fails reach for a crisp refreshing Pilsner.

The Saucisson. Is it a sausage? Affirmative. A wonky French one yes, but totally a sausage. Comes from the Latin meaning ‘salty’ *educational interlude*. But also totally relevant. It is (salty) thus making one crave a drink (I suggest Bodegas Perica Rioja Crianza here. With just over a year oak aging the dark fruits remain bright and lively cutting through the delicious fattiness). Usually sliced and served with cornichons (chipolata-esque gherkins) the saucisson is an all dayer – there is really no time when this crinkly wonder will fail to please.

Back to Britain. And here my allegiances are divided. As is that of the nation. Up north we like our sausages rough. Coarse and grainy. Southerners prefer smooth and silky varieties. No social commentary required. Me? I like a Cumberland. Ideally coiled. Herby and hearty, generous in size and willing to take latherings of rich onion gravy. A crowd pleaser. A keeper. And a wine lover. It’s the richness of the sauce and the warming, lightly spicy herbs that make this a heavenly duo with Bodegas Perica Rioja Reserva. Aged in European oak the black fruit flavours are lush and cherried; the oak offering nuances of sweet vanilla.

Like the world of wine, there are cultural variances, geographical influences, varietal subtleties, meaning that my sausage adventure is likely to be an on-going one. But one that undoubtedly will continue to bring endless taste pleasures!

*all innuendo in this blog is deliberate

Champagne and cheese

Who would have thought of pairing Champagne and cheese together? The idea appeared quite alien to me until I tried it for myself. In actual fact this is a fantastic match and why wouldn’t it be? Two products which are inherently and ostentatiously French, both expressed in a huge variety of delightful styles. What could be more fun than finding matches between the two?!

Cheese is more often than not a better match for white wine, of which Champagne is of course made from. Champagne is the result of the second fermentation process and Cheese a result of maturation. Both have one common factor, time. Time is the element of the whole production process which brings us the beautiful array of aromas and flavours associated with both products.

Champagne is often reserved for aperitifs which, if you think about it, seems absurd given its richness of flavours- flavours which would compliment and marry so well with so many different ingredients.

One reason why Champagne marries well with cheese is due to the effervescence- the bubbles create a wonderful lift which help break down the acids and butterfats. Champagnes also have a degree of acidity and sweetness that gives them a special affinity for certain cheeses, especially the rich, buttery triple-cremes and Brie types. Champagnes are good at breaking down some of the denser, more aged, mountain cow’s milk cheeses, dissolving them into sweet, creamy finishes.

This week, we are celebrating our Bénédicte Jonchère Champagne range. We have two styles which are absolutely delightful and would marry perfectly with a whole range of cheeses- Bénédicte Jonchère Grand Reserve Brut and Bénédicte Jonchère Rose. Mr and Mrs Jonchère are one of my favourite récoltant-manipulant Champagne producers, who are involved in every stage of their winemaking from growing the grapes to blending, ageing and remuage. You can really taste the results: pure, artisanal and full of character.

Pairing them so as to bring out the best of both the Champagne and the Cheese is a relatively straightforward affair if you follow some simple rules:

Llimit yourself to a few cheeses, three maximum. To have too many cheeses and therefore flavours would simply overwhelm the champagne and render the marrying process nearly impossible. Concentrating on how a simple two or three cheeses interact allows you to really appreciate and consider the effects of the Champagne-Cheese match.

Avoid blue cheeses which have a tendency to overpower the delicate aromas of Champagne.

For softer cheeses like a soft goats cheese or cheeses that are fairly light in flavour, stick to the fresher and lighter styles of Champagne.

Finally for more firm or flavoursome cheeses, match with champagne with a fuller body such as that of a Rose Champagne or a Vintage Champagne.

Here are a couple of ideas that would go with our Bénédicte Jonchère range:

How about our Bénédicte Jonchère Brut with a creamy Chaource Cheese from the Aube in Champagne? The cheese itself has delicious hints of mushrooms and a smooth creamy finish which the champagne only helps to accentuate.

Prefer your cheese slightly more smelly? I know I do and one of my favourite cheeses from France is Epoisses from Burgundy and is a perennial favourite of fans of strong smelling cheese. It has a washed rind, pungent flavour and a spoonable, silky paste. In terms of pairing, you really need a Champagne that can stand up to those strong flavours- a Vintage Champagne or our wonderfully complex Bénédicte Jonchère Rose would marry perfectly.

What Cheeses do you think match well with Champagne? Please feel free to let us know!

When Chocolate and Wine Collide!

I am very excited to tell you about our new wine and chocolate tasting that I have just created! I think for the purpose of quality control we should sample the concept.

The idea came from a chocolate and wine tasting that I was involved in recently, it’s a hard life. We invited The Chocolatier over to The Clerkenwell Collection and I was so impressed! Having created chocolate for Arabian princes, The Maharaja and Michelin starred restaurants we knew we were in good hands. The wonderful Aneesh and Nina were inspiring and so knowledgeable. Clearly a fantastic team.

We were looking for a new, honest and diverse range of chocolatesto pair with our wines; the moment Aneesh opened up his first bag of chocolate we knew we were in for a treat. The range was so varied with all of the chocolates categorised by country, all ethically sourced, organically produced with an array of cocoa content;

Bolivia66%, Congo 70%, Peru 75%, Venezuelan 72%, Ecuador 76%, Santa Dominique 70%, Tanzania75%, Mexican66%

It was utterly fascinating to compare chocolates in this way, seeing the big and yet sometimes subtle differences in chocolate from certain regions. With similar principles to a vine, the cocoa plant relies heavily on its environment resulting in a range of differences between regions and varieties. With the warmer regions showing signs of richer, fruitier and more mellow tones and whilst cooler areas showed fresher acidity, lighter and more savoury notes.

 

Top tip – In the north of South America the chocolate tends to be more earthy with a much higher level of acidity than in the south.

 

We enjoyed an amazing selection of our Mas Amiel range that worked beautifully and really complimented the different characteristics in all of the chocolates. The match that I will not forget in a hurry was the Congo 70% chocolate and our Mas Amiel 15 year old. The Congo with its beautiful flavours of Morello cherry, tobacco and balanced by a bitter sweet, fresh and almost palate cleansing finish. The Mas Amiel with a wonderful dark and rich complexity with savoury characteristic and a mellow finish. A match made in heaven!

Our varied sweet range offered a wonderful balance to the diverse selection of chocolates – you will have to come and sample this to truly understand how.

From the fruity and slightly sweet chocolates from Bolivia to the woody and slightly tannic chocolates of Mexico, each one had something unique to offer and each one paired beautifully with a different wine. Out of pure curiosity we also purposefully tried a bad match and it really was dreadful but put into perspective just how good, a really good match was. Pairing a strong, high percentage cocoa content means the chocolate may have a slight bitter character. Matching the smoky and floral Santa Dominique, for me, did not work with the acidity and complexity of the Mas Amiel 15 year old.

So, the plan for the experience is to have some of our wonderful sweet and exclusive wines, perfectly paired with a selection of indulgent chocolates. We want this to be available to all chocolate and wine lovers, so we can make it a ‘pop in’ style tasting. Let’s get this out there and give you all the chance to experience something truly decedent with one of our wine experts on hand to explain the wines and chocolate pairing.

Let me know when you are free to sample this experience!

Grenache Day – drink slinky

my choco mas amiel

International Grape Days

Today is International Grenache Day. You could argue (and some do) that the ‘Day of’ thing is getting out of hand. (As Matt Walls – tongue in cheek – shows in his very entertaining suggestions for a new Grape Days calendar.

Does Merlot, for example, really need or deserve any awareness raising? It’s ubiquitous and everyone drinks it already. But Grenache – an underestimated hero – certainly does, and I think it was among the first grapes to get its own day.

 

Which wines are made from Grenache?

Grenache is responsible for some of the most gluggable and for some of the greatest wines in the world. That southern French rosé you found so refreshing on holiday? Grenache. That Spanish rosé you found so refreshing….Garnacha (aka Grenache). Grenache is one of the most widely planted reds in the world. And for many recent years, that was its reputation. Gluggable juicy wine.

But Grenache is the main ingredient in some great and distinctive wines – the type that make you sit up and take notice, even if you have started your evening with several glasses of rosé first.

 

Châteauneuf du Pape, Rioja, Maury and Barossa Valley Grenache

Châteauneuf du Pape, and the other great appellations of the Southern Rhône are mostly Grenache, as those warm, supply spicy lovelies of Southern France with names that (apparently) keep them difficult to sell and amazingly good value (yes, Costières de Nimes and Corbières, I mean you). Grenache is also a very important part of many a great Rioja, especially when the producer has an ancient vineyard of old, bush-trained Grenache. These twisted, stumpy vines are the Yodas of grape vines – venerable, deep and surprisingly powerful/nifty with a  light sabre.  Grenache loves heat, and tolerates drought. And if you make it fight a bit for survival (as with those old Yodas), you add amazingly seductive textures and fragrance to the trademark juicy fruit that makes you love those rosés so much.

Grenache can get really ripe without developing the thick-skinned tannin that often plagues late-picked reds from warm climates.  This high level of sugar can lead to high alcohol, which is perhaps why Grenache has a reputation for being behind ‘big’ wines. Actually, it can be beautifully nuanced, and almost delicate. Great Grenache can age. Probably the greatest example of how thrillingly is in Maury, the legendary sweet red wines of Roussillon, in South Eastern France. This pure Grenache is made in a technique a little like Port – in which the crushed grapes are fortified by grape spirit and then left to leach out amazing levels of colour, density and flavour into the juicy mix for up to a month. Great Maury from top producers like Mas Amiel can age for decades, and is a beautiful thing.

Grenache is also amazing from the Barossa Valley, especially from the ancient bush vines planted by Silesian immigrants in the 19th century. We don’t have any Barossa Valley Grenache in The Perfect Cellar, er, cellar, yet. But we are crazy about Southern France. And Rioja. So if you’d like to taste for yourself what great, sumptuous, charming Grenache tastes, choose from this lovely lot here:

http://www.theperfectcellar.com/our-delivered-wines?filter_grape=grenache&#grape=Grenache#page=1

The Perfect Afternoon Experience

Perfect Afternoon_18

Having spent the morning preparing the tasting room, the anticipation of the arrival of our special guests was on the rise. Nova of Nu Bride, Lottie of Lace & Love Hearts, Gabi of Sweetpea PR and Charlotte of Fizzy Bunting were coming to The Perfect Cellar at The Clerkenwell Collection for their very own Perfect Afternoon Experience. Working closely with the luxury wedding planners Zouch and Lamare we ensured that The Perfect Afternoon Experience was as perfect as ever and their attention to detail was undeniable.

Perfect Afternoon_34

To help us retain the wedding theme throughout, we were lucky enough to welcome WildAbout Flowers, Krishanthi Photography and Urban Cinematography to The Perfect Cellar. Each contributing to setting the scene in the most professional and elegant way. The flowers were striking and of exquisite quality representing a very clear theme that tied in beautifully with the experience. The photography created by Krishanthi was stylish and captured every moment in a natural way. There is nothing worse than that moment where you wish something had been captured in a photo and it hadn’t. When Krishanthi had sent us the images from the event it was clear that she had not missed a thing, I barely noticed her moving through the room to capture that perfect picture and yet she had managed to without overwhelming us with images at the end.

As ever the tasting was jam packed with fine wines and tasty treats to represent a perfect food and wine match. Moez Seraly, CEO of The Perfect Cellar was all set to home in on each guest’s individual preferences whilst ensuring the tasting was informative yet fun!

Perfect Afternoon_81

Working with Zouch & Lamare we learned a great deal and will continue using all of their top tips. Creating the best experience possible incorporates a number of things, not only does the food, wine and venue have to be perfect but the finer details that capture the imagination and make a guest feel special, igniting every sense is vital. I will never forget Liesl arriving with her bag of tricks ready to transform the room in a few simple steps yet with such a huge impact!

One of the most enjoyable things about running a wine experience is finding wines that everyone loves. Everyone has their own preferences and taste and so when Lotti of Lace of Love Hearts voiced that she generally didn’t like red wine, it was a real pleaseure to find a red wine on the day that she loved. And seeing the joy on everyone’s faces when they discovered new flavour combinations we had introduced them to had really made all of the joint efforts worth while.

To finish the wonderful experience we had a fantastic film created by Urban Cinematography which helped us re-live every magical moment. Pieced together with such fine detail and subtle focus on the lighting to set the mood has had such a high impact. Generally I was blown away with the collaboration of efforts from all of the talents involved in making this experience one to remember! A special thank you to everyone who helped make The Perfect Afternoon Tea such a perfect one.

Perfect Afternoon_79

The Perfect Afternoon from Urban Cinematography on Vimeo.

If you would like to book your own Perfect Afternoon experience, then click here!

 

Cheese of the month: Lanark Blue

Lanark Blue Cheese of the monthAs someone who has eaten a lot of cheeses in my lifetime, it’s unusual for me to find a new one, but this weekend I tried Lanark Blue for the first time.

It is so good I had to make it my cheese of the month. Lanark Blue is made from ewes milk and matured for varying amounts of time depending on the season. My wedge was a salty, metallic, oozing piece of cheese. Strong, but not Roquefort, which is a rather more famous ewes milk blue.

One of the things about small production cheese is it will vary from batch to batch so it can be quite difficult to pair consistently. In addition, ewe’s milk cheeses are higher in butterfat than cow’s milk cheeses, which means they tend to be richer and smoother. An example of a really high butterfat cows cheese is the triple cream Delice de Bourgogne, but that is created by adding double cream! Lanark blue isn’t buttery on that scale, but is spreadable on crackers at room temperature. A flavoured style like fig crackers would be perfect here.

What to drink alongside it? Well if you treat Lanark Chateau Filhot 2005Blue like Roquefort then Sauternes are the classic match and the Chateau Filhot, Sauternes, 2005 would be delicious gently sipped alongside. The flavours of pineapple cutting through the salt and the sweet counterbalancing the acidity in the cheese and bringing out the milky flavour. Cabernet Sauvignon Les Templiers, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thonge, 2010

If like me, you like the salty flavours  of blue cheese, but prefer them rounded out with food, then you could do a lot worse than crumbling some Lanark Blue on a really decent (preferably home made) beef burger. The sweetness of the beef will balance the tang of the cheese and a cabernet sauvignon is the perfect accompainment to this, something like the Les Templiers, Vin de Pays des Côtes de Thonge, 2010, with its blackcurrent flavour and vanilla oak in the background it won’t appear thin and watery alongside the cheese (as long as it is served with the beef).

However you pair it, you should try it soon! It gets aged for more time towards the end of the year so if you want a really strong blue cheese then it might be worth thinking about it on a winter dinner party cheeseboard. You could cater for the whole party with wine with our special Dinner Party Case, which is currently on offer at £129, a saving of over £30 and free delivery.

Let us know your favourite blue cheese and wine matches in the comments below.

Hix and Other Tastings

Hix salmon and petit chablisYou may have wondered why it has been so quiet on The Perfect Cellar blog over the last few weeks!

Well we’ve all been extremely busy with tastings, so I thought I would give you a brief run down of what we’ve been doing and of course drinking.

Hix beef and petit marsLast week was Clerkenwell Design Week, a celebration of the rich and diverse creative

business and architects based in the area. Our partner and location of our wine cellar, The Clerkenwell Collection was a showroom for the week and delivered many talks and events. You can read their summary here.

The Perfect Cellar took up a unique collaboration with Mark Hix and the Hix Oyster and Chop House to create a pairing menu of food and wine. Four unique tasting dishes, beautifully matched with three fabulous wines.

Petit Chablis HixWe ran these mini tastings throughout Clerkenwell Design Week, four times a day. You can read an attendees view on the We Eat We Tweet We Blog site. Personally, my favourite pair was the asparagus and Petit Chablis, since I love the seasonality of it, especially because with
the exceptionally warm spring we’ve had this year means that there is plenty of asparagus in shops to recreate the match at home.

THix chocs and Mas Amielhe We Eat guys particularly liked the Venezuelan Chocolate Truffles and 15 year old Mas Amiel, which is the perfect after dinner treat for those who might have eaten a bit too much in the previous courses!

We’re cooking up a few more similar pairing events over the coming months as we speak so keep your eyes peeled for more details soon.

Rebecca, The Perfect Cellar Team

 

Hola Chicos! A Story of a charming Rioja producer

Perhaps the most famous wine-producing region in Spain, Rioja produces remarkable wines year after year. Find out more about some of our range below.

There are now numerous different styles of Rioja for us to enjoy and simply saying “Vino Tinto por favour” to your waiter won’t cut it anymore; well not if you don’t want to miss out on the good stuff, anyway.

rioja 6cepas6Let me tell you a little about our favourite Riojan winery, or ‘bodega’ in Spanish. Bodegas Perica is a wonderful family-run winery, based in the heart of the Rioja Alta sub-region. The chalk-rich soil in Rioja Alta, with the unusual combination of cool winters and hot summers, means that wines produced in this region are rather wonderful, which is great news for us wine enthusiasts. Originally started by Juan Garcia as a small project to quench the thirst of his family and friends, Bodegas Perica initally didn’t even have a name. As it gradually grew and as his son reached adulthood, a fruitful business had been established. The son’s nickname at the time was Perica and hence Bodegas Perica was born. The winery is now in hands of Juan’s grandson and the family still really care about wine production. So much so that his 3 very young children have already decided which positions in the winery they are going to manage when older and have chosen their studies accordingly.

So just what makes the Rioja’s so special?

All of their vines are between 60-100 years old and thus produce wonderfully concentrated flavours and characterful wine. The Garcias also do everything by hand, despite the extra costs and time involved. This ensures grapes of only the highest quality go into their wine and that they reflect ‘terroir’ in their style. Aiming to ‘retain the best of the region’s tradition, but with a distinctly contemporary twist’, Rafel uses French Oak to age his wines. Traditionally Riojas are aged in American oak, which gives an aromatic, smokey wine. French oak gives the wine different characteristics, with hints of vanilla coming through at the finish. Unlike most producers, who choose to replace their oak barrels every 15 years, Rafel replaces his every 5th year. Hence every vintage had those wonderful characteristics from the wood. Using these techniques, Bodegas Perica produces four very different, but equally wonderful, styles of Rioja.

Modern-style6cepas6 white rioja

Producing a mere 9000 bottles a year of each variety, the 6cepas6 Riojas are truly special. Marked by their quirky, distinctive branding (perfect for gifts), the red bottles depict Spanish traditions whilst the white has things commonly associated with Spanish holidays. These wines, like their unique packaging, are outstanding and have already been picked up by Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe. The Bodegas Perica 6cepas6 White Rioja 2013 is my all-time favourite wine from our entire portfolio. To taste, it’s very fruity on first sip, with hints of vanilla and perhaps fennel coming through and a wonderful buttery finish from that French oak. The Bodegas Perica 6cepas6 Red Rioja 2011 is (almost!) as good, but more is best paired with food and is excellent with Spanish delights such as cured meats and Manchego cheese. Aged for 6 months, it has great oaky structure giving hints of spice that perfectly balance the black-current and berry goodness.

Mi Villa Rosé RiojaYoung

Un-oaked, i.e. not aged, these Riojas are more simplistic, but very enjoyable to drink. The lovely Bodegas Perica Mi Villa White Rioja 2012 is so crisp, fresh and fruity that it’s particularly easy to drink. The Bodegas Perica Mi Villa Red Rioja 2012 is unusually light with lovely berry and cherry flavours. It might horrify you, but I would even advise trying this slightly chilled on a hot (i.e. not English) summer’s day, it’s refreshing. Or  if you cannot face chilling a red. Why not try a Rosado from one of the world’s top rosé producers? 100% Garnacha, the Bodegas Perica Mi Villa Rosé Rioja 2012 is savoury and dry and will go perfectly with garlicy prawns!

 

 

Traditional

These Riojas are smokey, oaky and traditional. Christened the ‘Olagosa’ range, due to a lake, or ‘lago’ in the middle of it’s vineyards, they are classified by how long they are aged, with Crianza, meaning 2 years and at least 6 months in oak, Reserva for 3 years with at least 1 year in oak and Gran Reserva spends 5 years aging, with at least 2 years in oak. Generally speaking, the more the Rioja is aged, the more it will carry the characteristics of the oak. The Bodegas Perica Olagosa Crianza, Rioja 2009 has won best Crianza Rioja in the world 2 years running at the International Wine Rotary club.

Vintageperica-oro-2004

The Perica Oro, is made from only the finest of vintages and translates as ‘the family’s gold’. Using only their best vines the Garcias age this wine for 24-28 months in oak and then for a further 18 months in the bottle, with a mouth-watering result. Limited edition this wine is 95% Tempranillo, with a hint of Graciano to add depth. With beautiful aromas of black fruits and herbs, the smell alone is enough to get one salivating. Perfectly balanced, it’s ripe and flesh and has wonderful length in the mouth (after you swallow). Perfect for big meaty dishes that need a big, characterful wine to hold up against their strong flavour. So whichever style you choose do me a favour and drink it with thought, remembering just how much care and work has gone into it; look for interesting flavours and taste the superb Riojan climate. Hasta Pronto! Felicity

Experience a fine dining tasting menu with matching wines

TPC__HIX_wineParing_footerWith such exciting events happening just around the corner we
can’t help but rave about them.

We have partnered with the fantastic Hix Oyster and Chop House, a venture by renown chef Mark Hix, for a fine dining tasting menu of food and wine events to run throughout Clerkenwell Design Week, 20-22 May. Come and join us at The Clerkenwell Collection for just £15 (and a £1.55 booking fee).

DSC_3992.jpgWorking closely with Hix and his team we have partnered some of the classic dishes from Hix Oyster and Chop House with some of our favorite wines. Having worked through numerous tastings, testing the food and wine matches we believe we have come up with a selection that showcases the finest of food and wine matches. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!

The food and wine matches we have created represent fine British food and French classics. Hix has created a beautiful Smoked salmon dish that matches our Petit Chablis and an Asparagus dish that represents the diversity of the wine. Followed by a delicious beef beauty that work a treat with our Petit Mars. Both succulent and juicy you will find these are a match made in heaven.

DSC_4056.jpgLast, but certainly not least, you will experience totally indulgent chocolate truffles and our Mas Amiel 15 year old. This combination has to be my ultimate favorite, it is so rich and decedent, yet refreshing, leaving you wanting more.

It is a real privilege to work with Hix and his team on an event that we feel is what wine and food is all about. Great quality, elegant and simple flavours that just work.

Each tasting will last 45 minutes so you can even squeeze one into your lunch break! Book now by clicking here. Attendees will receive a voucher for a  25% reduction on their food bill at Hix Oyster & Chop House, Clerkenwell valid until May 31st and discounts on the wines.

I look forward to seeing you,
Lydia, The Perfect Cellar Team