Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Blue Sky Thinking

Me & my sister at Camp Bestival. 
It might be pissing down with rain now but here's proof that we did have blue skies this summer. Gone in a flash, though. Well, it might have seemed ENDLESS sometime in the middle but we're now less than a week away before they go back to school. And Eldest Boy is off to a new (secondary) school; Middle Boy and Youngest Girl go into Years Three and Two respectively at theirs. We're off to do the obligatory school shoe shop tomorrow morning (if only I had that excuse to spend that much money on a pair of shoes because they are a necessity), followed by one last weekend of late nights and lie-ins. There might be a back to school feeling in the air but happily, we're sun-kissed. Albeit briefly.

Current white in the fridge: Terre Siciliane Bianco, £6.50, M&S
One of my favourite fridge door whites at the moment, it's an unoaked blend of local grapes from Sicily. Basically, an unpretentious sunny white with lots of lemony flavours. And that, at the end of more than six long weeks of summer holidays, is exactly what we need. And besides, my sister and I already drank all the rose (see pic above). 

Current red in the rack: De Bortoli Pinot Noir 2013, £8.49 if you buy 2, Majestic
Such a good late summery red, full of squashed red fruit flavours. Juicy, jammy and a really good (inexpensive) way to enjoy the delights of the Pinot Noir grape. Made in Australia's Victoria region, it's silky smooth. Unlike my legs, now that September's almost here. 

Chin chin x

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Wine, Women & Song

The Scummy Mummies perform
their song - for us!
I've got all three for you this week. First up, listen to this podcast by the Scummy Mummies. Recorded at Camp Bestival last month, we talk about wine, stalking Cheryl and play Celebrity Wines (clue: Cava Delevigne was one of the answers). At the end of the podcast there's a song written just for us by the Scummy Mummies - it's absolutely brilliant. So that's women and song covered; now for the wine. And *FREE WINE KLAXON* there's a case worth £173 up for grabs! The people behind WineTrust have put it together for us, just follow this link to enter and you'll find details there. Run by a team of three Masters of Wine (one of whom I know, we're both wine judges at the International Wine Challenge), WineTrust is an online wine shop with a range of 100 wines all selected for their quality and value for money. Here's what to expect from three of them:

Champagne Lallier Grand Cru Reserve Brut NV, £23.95, WineTrust
Made from mostly Pinot Noir with some Chardonnay - the two smarty pants grapes of Champagne - this is a wine of two halves. It smells fresh and floral but once it gets hold of the taste buds, there's a lot more to it. Biscuity and rich - and tastes more expensive than it is, IMHO. 

Les Volcans Cotes d'Auvergne Rose 2014, £9.50, WineTrust
From a remote area in the middle of France, this is a simple, moreish rose made from a blend of Gamay (the grape behind Beaujolais) and Pinot Noir (the grape behind red Burgundy and some champagnes, including the one above). This one's bright pink with juicy raspberry fruits. A brilliantly left-field rose. 

Falo Malvasia Nera 2013, £11.95, WineTrust
From Puglia, this is made from the local Malvasia Nero grape. It's a big red with some real earthiness to it - and I don't mean it tastes like mud. Rather, it's got grip and texture. Something to get your teeth into. Talking of which, serve it with anything meaty or tomato-y - preferably both. 

Chin chin x

Nb. This is not a sponsored post but WineTrust sent me some wines to try for the competition case. They were all really good, so make sure you enter now. T&Cs are on their website and you've got until the 31st August to enter.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Happy Camper

This is me, at the Knackered Mother's Wine Club tasting at Camp Bestival last Saturday. We had a brilliant crowd, including a gorgeous lady who'd got married that day at Camp Bestival's inflatable church (not making this up) and another on her hen night. There was a performance by the brilliant Scummy Mummies, Ellie & Helen, of a song written for the occasion - in gold onesies, obviously. It was called... actually, I can't tell you the name of the song. You have to see it. I'll post it here as soon as my sister sends me the recording she took on her phone. In the meantime, thanks to all those who tasted, laughed, bought the book and joined in with the chorus. I loved every minute.

Current white in the fridge: Croix de Bezard Picpoul de Pinet 2013, £6 (currently on offer), Tesco.com
One of the favourite whites of the tasting on Saturday, this is a smart-looking Picpoul with gorgeous, citrusy flavours. Lip-smackingly fresh, it's from the Languedoc region in the southern France, where vineyards lie within a proverbial stone's throw from the sea. Like sea air, this wine has rejuvenating properties. At least for the taste buds, anyway. 

Current red in the rack: Catena Malbec 2013, £12.99, Waitrose & Majestic
Ridiculously smooth red from Argentina, this had people making the best noises when tasting it on Saturday. Along the lines of oooooohhh, mostly. Made from grapes grown in four separate vineyard sites across Mendoza, all at relatively high altitude. Cooler temperatures help the grapes ripen slowly, concentrating the blackcurrant-y flavours. Which, along with the oak and spice, explain the oooooohhh-ing. Needs food - anything meaty, preferably barbecued will do. 

Chin chin x

Special thanks to the following people for providing brilliant wines for Saturday's tasting: Aldi, Asda, Berry's, Bibendum & Wiston. Without you, it would have been a very dry do. And thanks to Annie for the photos x


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Rose Tinted Glasses

If I ever get my arse into gear and write the fiction book that floats around in my head from time to time, this would be the title. But for now, with the nightmare juggle that is school holidays, work and trying to not let the house go to ruin, this just relates to my current state: working late, with glasses on and a glass of rose by my side. And it's the rose that I mentioned last week, the one I found whilst trying to locate a good quality bag in box rose wine to take camping this weekend. The search (online, seeing as none of the supermarkets had what I was looking for) took me to St John's wine shop in London. They deliver, happily. Now I've just got to work out how to keep it chilled on site. That and how not to finish it all by Friday.

Current rose in the fridge: St John's Rose 3l, £28.50, St John (Smithfield, Bread & Wine, Bakery)
If you can't pick this up from one of the above outlets, you can order it online but there is a delivery charge unless you order three boxes of it. They kindly sent me one to try so I just paid the normal price for a 3l box but will be buying more. This is what's known as vin de soif: basically, a thirst quencher. It's a classic southern French blend of red grapes including syrah and cinsault and is, most importantly, fresh, bright and just-right fruity. And with a bit more colour than some of its Provence neighbours and a lower equivalent price per bottle to boot, it's a brilliant summer rose in camping-friendly format. Love. 

Current red in the rack: The Interlude Pinot Noir 2014, £5.49 (normally £6.49), Co-op
A simple but lovely Pinot from Australia, like raspberries with a bit of black pepper on the top. If you're in the mood for chilling your red for twenty minutes and serving it with something easy - antipasti, bowl of spicy crisps - this'll do nicely. Otherwise, sip at room temperature whilst ignoring the washing basket. 

Chin chin x