Fortnightly wine spot (08/06/12)

Marlborough Gewurztraminer 2010 Allan Scott Family Winemakers

I really enjoyed this  New Zealand white wine. It has a multi-layered taste that changes from sweet to not too dry and a fresh citrus taste without minerality. Really nice indeed. I tried this wine with chicken and stilton (a strong-tasting cheese) and it went well. This wine retails at £15.

Clefs du Pontif 2009 Grenache Syrah

This French red wine is smooth, fruity, tasting of cherry. It’s evenly balanced in terms of Grenache and Syrah and goes well with cheese and meat dishes. It retails at £12 and is good value – every year I buy a few cases of this wine.

Chips, Fidel and Che

Pellegrino’s chip shop, 17 Christmas Steps, Bristol, BS1 5BT

Chips and fried sausage with curry sauce

Fidel and Che accompany your chips (unfortunately the photo’s a bit blurred)

A few days ago, after drinks at the German BeerFest, I found myself sozzled and hungry in the city-centre. It was  too late for a ‘sit-in’ meal so I went along with friends to what I call the Cuban chip shop (photos of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara hang on the wall).  They have the usual choice of food you would expect from a chip shop, including haddock, cod, plaice, mushy peas and faggots (minced meat offal with herbs). We ate chips, fried battered sausages with curry sauce and this went down well. All freshly cooked and tasty.

Fortnightly wine spot (15/05/12)

Kayena Vineyard Tamar Ridge Gewurztraminer 2008

I really enjoyed this Tasmanian white wine made from grapes grown in the Tamar Valley. It has a fresh, citrus, and lychee taste with a long finish. Very nice indeed. I tried this wine with roasted sea bream and it went very well. It retails at £10.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Autumn Riesling 2008

This Australian dry white wine I thought was nice with a taste that reminded me of marzipan (in a good way). It retails at £10 and goes well with fish and chicken.

Fortnightly wine spot (21/04/12)

Yalumba Octavius Old Vine Shiraz 1994

This Australian dry red wine made from grapes grown in the Barossa Valley has quite a blackcurrant taste. I preferred it’s aroma which is wonderful and ‘full on’ and which reminds me of really good sherry, in comparison to it’s taste which I found to be disappointing. This wine retails at £90 and goes well with red meats.

Invivo Pinot Noir 2009

This New Zealand red wine made from grapes grown in Central Otago is ‘unfiltered’ and appears cloudy which is a bit startling at first sight. It has a ripe cherry taste and was nice and not too aggressive in taste. It retails at £17 and goes well with red meats.

Fortnightly wine spot (07/04/12)

Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Jesuitengarten Beerenauslese 1992

This vintage German white wine was dry, flowery and spicy in taste with a caramel end-taste. It was really lovely to drink and retails at £108. This wine goes well with meat as well as seafood.

Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling QbA Trocken 2009

This German dry, white  wine is multi-layered and full in flavour tasting of apricots – delicious! This wine goes well with meat, cheese and seafood dishes and retails at only £11 which is extraordinary.

Fortnightly wine spot (23/03/12)

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 20 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009

This New Zealand white wine is nice, dry with a citrus/lime taste. Bought at just under £17 which I thought was a bit over-priced for this wine.  This wine goes well with seafood.

Serre Alte Barolo Riserva 2004

This Italian red wine I thought was alright but nothing special, in fact it was a bit disappointing. A very dry wine with no real substance to it – a bit of a light-weight for a red wine. Bought at just over £21 which is very over-priced. This wine goes well with cheese and red meat dishes.

Fortnightly wine spot (10/03/12)

Amarone Della Valpolicella 2008 Pietro Sartori

This Italian red wine is full-bodied and I found it to be too dry for my taste. Bought at nearly £15.  This wine goes well with strong cheeses.

Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Daniel Schuster

This New Zealand white wine has a delicious blackcurrant taste with minerality and a smooth, dry finish. Bought at £15, a must try as it has an ‘expensive’ taste. It goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Fortnightly wine spot (25/02/12)

Dom Perignon Vintage 2002 Champagne

Dom Perignon Vintage 2002 Champagne

I know this is a champagne rather than a wine but as I was lucky enough to recently try it, I thought it was worth reviewing. It is lovely, smooth, multi-layered, with a hint of vanilla. Worth drinking and needs no food to accompany it.


Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 Domaine du Grand Tintel

This delicious full-bodied French red wine has a taste of deep sweet cherries with peppery overtones. This wine goes well with meat and game dishes.

Fortnightly wine spot (11/02/12)

Chateauneuf du Pape 2009 Domaine de Valori

This French red wine I liked but found it to be too dry for my taste. Bought at just over £23.  This wine goes well with strong cheeses.

Chateauneuf du Pape 2009 Domaine Des Senechaux

This is a delicious French red wine. It has a distinct delicious almost caramel-like taste with a smooth and velvet finish and it’s not too dry. Bought at just over £28, a must try. This wine goes well with meat and game dishes.

Fortnightly wine spot (27/01/12)

Wilson Creek Almond Champagne, Temecula Valley, California

A champagne some might argue is not strictly a wine, however this is so delicious that I felt it should be included. I was lucky enough to try this on New Years’ Eve as friends brought this along from their travels.  This is a ‘must buy’ and is so, so lovely it’s worth drinking without any food. It has what I can only describe as a taste similar to that of the dessert a bakewell tart, although this description really does not do it any justice as it has such a great taste.

Wilson Creek Almond Champagne

http://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/

 

Bardolino Classico 2010 Zeni

This Italian red wine I liked as a lighter red wine that is a perfect to drink with a lunchtime meal. Bought at just over £8, this is great value.  This wine goes well with meat as well as pasta dishes.

Weekly wine spot (02/01/12)

Domaine La Cabotte 2009 Massif d’ Uchaux Garance

This French red wine I like a lot – it is almost caramel-like and has a great multi-layered taste. Definitely worth a try. Bought for just over £10 which is astounding as it has such a great taste. I plan to add this wine to my ‘must buy’ list. This wine goes well with blue cheeses.

 

Marlborough Riesling 2009 Allan Scott Family Winemakers

This New Zealand wine I found to be too dry for my liking, however it does have fruitiness. Bought at just over £16. This wine goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Weekly wine spot (15/12/11)

Chateauneuf du Pape 2006 Chateau des Fines Roches

This is a great French wine – different as it’s a white Chateau neuf du Pape. Has a clean finish and is not too dry. Bought at just over £25, a must try. This wine goes well with chicken and seafood dishes.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Another great New Zealand white wine from the Marlborough estate. It has minerality and a delicious blackcurrant taste and it’s not too dry. Bought for £13. Well-worth trying. This wine goes well with chicken and fish dishes.

Weekly wine spot (23/11/11)

Chateauneuf du Pape Bosquet 2005 Des Papes 2005

Delicious, this French red wine is multi-layered in its taste. To start, it has a sweeter taste and follows with a very dry finish. Bought at just over £20, a true bargain for such a delicious taste. Well worth drinking. This wine goes well with red meat and game dishes.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 3 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010

What a truly great New Zealand white wine. It has minerality and a delicious gooseberry and passion fruit taste and it’s dry yet fruity, with bite to it. Bought for £15. A wine you should try. This wine goes well with chicken as well as pasta dishes.

Weekly wine spot (13/11/11)

Morillon Blanc (2009) by Jeff Carrel

A Chardonnay from France with a delicate honey aroma and a delicious rich, buttery texture. A dry white wine that is well balanced and not too dry. Well worth drinking. I advise that the price of this wine does not match its delicious taste as I bought it at £11.49 – a true bargain for such an exquisite wine.

This wine goes wonderfully with fish, chicken or pork dishes.

 

Allegrini Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico (2008)

This is a very full-bodied Italian red wine. It has an aroma and taste of ripe cherries and chocolate and is silky smooth – delicious!

Bought at just under £15, it beats a lot of the French contenders in higher price ranges and I keep going back to it. This wine goes well with hearty red meat and game dishes. Enjoy!

Two Day Coffee Roasters, 135 St Michaels Hill, Bristol, BS2 8BS

My friend Blenchly, who used to live in this area of Bristol, introduced me to this place. They sell ethically-traded speciality coffees (as coffee beans or ground coffee to take home, or to drink in the shop) and their name – Two Day Coffee Roasters – points to the fact that none of their coffees are kept for more than two days after roasting. They have a broad and ever-changing range of coffees available, many of which have been awarded ‘the Cup of Excellence’ mark, an award that is said to be the highest accolade that may be given to coffee.  The Cup of Excellence website (2011) states that it “is a strict competition that selects the very best coffee produced in that country for that particular year”.

A selection of coffee beans ready to take home

The owners, Petra and Frank, first came across a ‘coffee roaster’ selling freshly roasted coffee ten years ago in Japan, where they were living at the time. The owner did not speak English and this, as Petra told me, “made communication with him difficult, however they could immediately taste the difference of freshly roasted coffee”.

A chance to smell the coffee grains before hot water was added

As well as coffee, Two Day Coffee Roasters sell equipment and wares for you to enjoy your coffee and they have a mail order delivery service too. They also organise tastings of coffees, and a couple of days ago I visited for a tasting.

Petra and Frank selected six different coffees, giving a range of taste, for me to try. First of all, we went through smelling what Petra called the “fragrance” of each of the freshly-ground coffee beans. She then added hot water, creating a froth and “locking-in an aroma”. Petra showed me the act of breaking the seal with a spoon to release the aroma and how, by breathing in deeply, you can gain an insight into the coffee. We then tasted the coffee by spreading the spoon across the coffee, slurping from it immediately to make sure the coffee spread quickly around the mouth. As the coffee grains remain in the cup, the coffee is constantly ‘extracting’ so that if you leave it for more than three or four minutes it can become ‘over-extracted’ and bitter. There is, in fact, a “golden period” during which the flavour will be at its best, although this depends on the amount of coffee and water used. I had never tasted coffee in this way before and it gave me a whole new outlook.

Petra smelling and tasting the coffees

The coffees I sampled were (with tasting notes):

Musasa (from Rwanda) — raisin, sundried tomatoes and chocolate.

Abakundakawa Rusashi (from Rwanda; this coffee has a ‘cup of Excellence mark’) — a well-rounded, jasmine tasting, medium-dark roasted coffee.

Gethumbwini Peaberry (from Kenya) — a fruity, vibrant, sharp yet smooth coffee, with a slight blackcurrant tang.

El Borbollon (from El Salvador) — my favourite in this tasting! A mellow, smooth, dark-roasted coffee.

Finca San Francisco Tecuamburro (from Guatemala) — a fruity, easy-drinking, medium-roasted, microlot coffee. Microlot means that it is growing in a particular part of the plantation and it is therefore processed differently. In the case of this specific coffee it is growing at the highest point of the plantation.

Fazenda Rodomunho (from Brazil) — a nutty, biscuity, well-rounded flavour. A medium-dark roasted coffee.

The coffee roaster

Petra advised me that coffee loses a lot of its flavour after seven days, so it is worth buying in small amounts, and for a fresh taste it is worth grinding the coffee beans just before you want to drink the coffee.

Unroasted coffee beans

Unroasted coffee beans

From the tasting, I found that I prefer darker roasted coffees, although one can of course develop a wider taste by regularly sampling other varieties.

Interestingly, Petra pointed out that the darker the roast, the less complex the taste of the coffee, is likely to be. They can even create a blend of coffee specifically for your own taste.

Two Day Coffee Roasters is well-worth a visit. It will change your perspective on drinking coffee for the better!

www.twodaycoffee.co.uk/

www.cupofexcellence.org/

Reference: The Cup Of Excellence website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.cupofexcellence.org/WhatisCOE/tabid/184/Default.aspx [Accessed 14th September 2011].

A Review – KaDeWe Berlin, Kaufhaus des Westens, Tauentzienstraße 21-24, D-10789 Berlin

  • 12th August 2011 (part 8 of the Berlin Posts)

According to their website (2011) this store was opened in March 1907. On my visit, I found it has a nice selection of chocolate, a gourmet floor on the sixth floor currently with an international delicatessen, four champagne bars as well as several gourmet bars such as the chocolate bar, Le Buffet and the Leysieffer Café.

This is really worth visiting.

www.kadewe.de

The KaDeWe store

 

Fruits at the KaDeWe

 

Selection of eggs at the KaDeWe

Reference: KaDeWe Berlin website (2011) [Online]. Available from: http://www.kadewe.de/de/das_kadewe/unser_haus_historie/[Accessed 23rd August 2011].