Tag: #HOTGV

#HOTGV: On Château Angélus with Stephanie de Bouard

About a year and half ago, I went to Bordeaux for the first time. On a sunny afternoon in June we cycled through Saint Emillion and stopped at this really grand, palatial building to catch our breath.
That was Château Angélus.

Chateau Angelus, photo by Deepix

I can’t remember what time it was but the bells rang, reverberating through the air and over the lush green vines. With the sun just so over its sandy coloured walls, it was sort of magical.

Anyway, long story short, I tasted a small selection of their wines for the first time last month over lunch at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught – the Carillon d’Angelus 2012, Château Angelus 2008 and Château Angelus 2006.

Chateau Angelus wines

Basically, they were stunning. But then you wouldn’t expect anything less for more than £100 a bottle (well except for the Carillon, which is currently retailing at about £50).

My favourite was the 2008 – soft tannins, fruity and a bit of development already. Essentially, because it’s ready to drink right now and it’s stunning.

As well as enjoying some of their wines, the estate also launched their new book. Written by Jane Anson, the photo-heavy book traces the history and the family behind the estate.

Later, I sat down with Stephanie de Bouard for the eleventh episode of Heard on the Grape Vine.

Stephanie de Bouard, photo by Deepix

Stephanie is the eighth generation of the family to run the Premier Cru Classé estate and hasn’t been shy about making changes.

Join us now as we explore a little of what Château Angélus is all about.

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Additional photos and videos c/o Château Angélus and Deepix.

#HOTGV Episode Eight: On The Oxford Companion to Wine with Julia Harding MW

This episode of Heard on the Grape Vine is about one of the most well-known books in the world of wine – The Oxford Companion to Wine.

Oxford Companion to Wine

It’s a book that’s been described as the world’s most useful wine book and the greatest wine book that’s ever published.

It took Jancis Robinson OBE, MW, five years to pull together the first edition of the encyclopaedic tome, published in 1994. Since then, the book has grown enormously. The latest and fourth edition of the book, published on 17th September 2015, has close to 4,000 entries and 187 world-wide contributors.

Julia Harding

Julia Harding

An important addition came with the third edition of the OCW when Julia Harding joined Robinson on the editorial. For Julia, who had previously worked as a freelance book editor, it was the perfect project to combine her experience and passion.

Just before the fourth edition of this iconic book hit the shelves, I met with Julia at her east London home to talk about OCW and the world of wine.

Join us now as we reflect over this iconic work.

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Photographs c/o Oxford University Press

#HOTGV Episode Seven: On coffee with James Hoffmann

For this episode of Heard on the Grape Vine, I spoke to James Hoffmann, founder and CEO of Square Mile Coffee.

James Hoffmann Square Mile Coffee

I met James at the London Coffee Festival earlier this year where I attended one of his tutored tasting sessions. As a coffee enthusiast, I was excited to learn about the terroir potential of coffee.

Keen to learn more, I headed to their roastery in East London for this podcast. There, over a fresh brew of filtered coffee, we talked about this stimulating drink.

roasters Square Mile Coffee

I think what surprised me was that even amidst all the coffee geekery, James was impressively level-headed about the business side of things.

Yes, there are many interesting things we could learn and do with coffee but no matter how much we are in pursuit of a fine product, at the end of the day, it is a commercial entity.

So join us now as we discuss this business of coffee.

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Photographs C/O James Hoffmann

#HOTGV: On Vins Colombo with Laure Colombo

Last month, I met a young winemaker called Laure Colombo over dinner at 28:50 in London. She makes wines at the family vineyard, Vins Colombo, with her father Jean Luc Colombo. It’s a little domaine in Cornas, Northern Rhone, started by her parents in the 80s.

Jean Luc Colombo maison

It was just before the RAW Fair came to London and, knowing that I was going to make a podcast at RAW, I wanted to get her thoughts on natural wine. Unusually for someone so young (it didn’t seem polite to ask but I guessed at no more than 30), Laure had the confidence to speak about her wine as an extension of herself. The wine that she was making was about the way she feels and not about following trends or trying to conform to a certain cache. So she talked about that instead.

Laure Colombo in the vineyard

As a second generation winemaker, Colombo’s approach to wine is extremely food-centric and refreshingly non-commercial. She had an old world belief about wine as part of life and not as a commodity. Case in point, she has recently acquired her own domaine and, like that of her parents’, she’s keeping the “farm” busy with everything from chickens to fruit trees.

Anyway, I think you’ll get an idea of what she is like in this fifth episode of Heard on the Grape Vine where we talk about everything from making wine for food to living in a vineyard. And if you are interested in trying her wines, you can find some of these at Waitrose.

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#HOTGV: On Sciacchetrà with Terra di Bargòn

For the third episode of Heard on the Grape Vine podcast, I travelled to Liguria, in northern Italy, to learn more about Sciacchetrà, a passito wine unique to the Cinque Terre.

View out to sea from Terra di Bargòn, Cinque Terre

You’ve probably seen the word passito on bottles of sweet wine from all around Italy so let me begin by explaining what that is. Passito is the Italian name for a type of sweet wine made from the juice of grapes that have been allowed to dry before being pressed. The drying process concentrates the sugar in the grapes so that sweet wines can be produced. The residual sugar, left at the end of the fermentation process, is what you can taste on your palate.

In the Cinque Terre, a special type of passito is produced and it goes by the name of Sciacchetrà. It is made by fermenting the juice of the raisined grapes with the must (grape skin, pips and all) to produce a concentrated, tannic sweet wine.

In Riomaggiore, one of the villages of the Cinque Terre, I met Roberto Bonfiglio and Alessandra De Cugis. They are the husband and wife team behind Terra di Bargòn, a cantina which produces only Sciacchetrà. Alessandra and Roberto welcomed me to their home somewhere half way up the Ligurian hills. Surrounding it were gnarly vines of some 25 years, trained in a high pergola. There, looking out over the Cinque Terre, they talked about their Sciacchetrà.

Roberto Bonfiglio and Alessandra de Cugis at Terra di Bargòn, Cinque Terre

For me, it was incredibly awe-inspiring to learn that the couple, now in their 60s, are producing this passito wine which the younger generation has abandoned because they deemed it too hard. But I’ll let them explain their own wine.

The wine we tasted was the Terra di Bargòn Reserva 2009, a concentrated wine with notes of bruised apple, prune, dried apricots and a nutty tang. It’s far from the lusciousness typical of passito so if you’re not a big fan of sugar, this could be the sweet wine for you.

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#HOTGV: On fine teas with Jameel Lalani

It’s been a little over a month since the first episode of Heard on the Grape Vine went out and we’ve had great feedback – so thank you! If you’ve enjoyed the first episode, don’t forget to subscribe.

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Oh yes, and we’re also up on iTunes now so you can subscribe there too —> #HOTGV on iTunes <—

On fine teas with Jameel Lalani

For this second episode, we’ve gone zero alcohol. I met with Jameel Lalani, the founder of Lalani & Co, specialists in single batch teas, to discuss the world of fine teas.

Lalani_Winter_White_tea

The first time we met was perhaps five years ago to talk about the Japanese green tea matcha, a topic which we revisit here. We also talk about the ageing ability of teas, food and tea matching and Lalani’s tea projects in Hawaii and east Africa. And some other fine tea related stuff.

Listen in here:

Some notes of thanks

If you’ve followed the saga of my podcasting mistakes, you might be interested to know that this is the first full episode made with the Roland R05. See my additional podcasting notes here.

#HOTGV: On whisky with Sir Colin Hampden White

#HOTGV? What could this be? Why it’s a new drinks podcast, which, in long form, spells out Heard on the Grape Vine.

Heard on the Grape Vine, or #HOTGV

Heard on the Grape Vine will, I hope, be the audio version of Amateur Wine in that it seeks to both entertain and educate the amateur wine lover who wants to learn more. Although primarily focused on wine, it will also feature spirits and other drinks.

If you think you’ll already love it, subcribe here:

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On whisky with Sir Colin Hampden White

Sir Colin Hampden White

For this first podcast, I was joined by Sir Colin Hampden White, the launch editor of Whisky Quarterly, to talk and taste whisky. Expect thoughts on chilling whisky in Kenya, lipped glassware, kosher whisky and more.

(You can find out more about the podcasting process at qinxie.co.uk)

Some notes of thanks

As well as Sir Colin Hampden White who participated in this first podcast, thanks are also due to Roland, who kindly loaned me a Roland R05 to make the recording, and Cardhu, who sent some special releases for us to taste.

The Podcast

So finally, without further ado, here’s the first podcast:

The whiskies

In case you were interested in finding out more about the small flight of Cardhu whiskies we tasted, here are some details below:

Cardhu Gold Reserve Cardhu Gold Reserve: ABV 40%, released late 2014, aged in toasted oak casks. RRP£35 available online from Amazon
 Cardhu Amber Rock Cardhu Amber Rock: ABV40%, released early 2014, aged in ex-bourbon toasted barrels. RRP£41, available online from Amazon
 Cardhu 21 Year Old Cardhu 21 year old: ABV 54.2%, special release in 2013, distilled in 1991, aged in ex-bourbon American oak casks. RRP£160, available from The Whisky Exchange
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