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05 July 2021

Belgian beer of the moment: Duvel Blond


Admittedly it's a big brand, relatively, but this smooth and serious Blond(e) beer is a long-time favourite and still offers more quality and flavour than many other bottled beers, even in the welcome days of trendy craft beers (I think the Belgians may have done 'craft' for some time already). Definitely a sipping or foodie beer in moderate amounts due to its powerful 8.5% abv, I love its irresistible combination of refreshing hoppy bite and full fruity flavour.

01 July 2021

Chile review 2021 masterclass

Valle de Elqui

Two tasting sessions featuring very diverse wines were held live via Zoom at the end of May, hosted by Wines of Chile UK, Tim Atkin MW and several leading Chilean winemakers also online commenting on their wines as we sampled from home. Tim picked sixteen whites, reds and a rosé to showcase the latest developments on the ground in Chile, enhanced by lots of up-to-date information on vineyards, grape varieties and wine regions. Atkin produces a substantial report every year on the Chilean wine scene, which can be purchased from this website here. Wine geek warning: this post is quite long and 'serious' (but does contain some great wines to look out for)...

03 June 2021

'Apples of the moment': Aspall Cyder and Boulard Calvados

 Aspall is an almost 300 year-old cider house (hence ye olde spelling of cyder on the label), as the website tells us: "In 1728, Clement Chevallier planted the first large-scale cyder orchards in Suffolk (England)." Their modestly named Premier Cru Cyder (with serious 6.8% abv) is described as "the first cyder produced by Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild when they joined the business - seven years in creation - and still their favourite drink." I wouldn't argue with that, cider-wise at least.

20 May 2021

Miscellaneous wines of the moment

An enticing mixed half-a-dozen of whites, red and rosés sourced from big supermarkets and one-store independents priced at £7 to £10 in the UK.

Vara Rosé 2020 Cramele Recas Estate, Romania (12% abv) - Good-value dry and zingy rosé made from 65% Merlot and 35% Feteasca Neagra, which develops creamy straw-raspberry flavours followed by crisper cranberry type crunchiness. £7 Marks & Spencer (image copied from their site). Versatile with food.

16 May 2021

South of France: Pays d'Oc IGP part two.


The second instalment of a mini-feature on Pays d'Oc IGP wines from the Languedoc (see Part 1 for more about terminology, rationale etc.) focuses on half-a-dozen varietal wines, this time including well-known grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon blanc) and relatively new arrivals to the region or discoveries (Albariño, Marselan). Last time, my notes were mainly centred on a few different styles of Syrah, Carignan, Grenache (and combinations) and Viognier.

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