Thursday, 25 June 2015

Edited Highlights

I went to a big blogging conference in London last Friday, BritMums Live, to speak on a panel. Along with English Mum and Honest Mum, we were asked to talk to an audience of bloggers about our stories and how we've gone about building our blogs. And I got to meet Ella Woodward from Deliciously Ella - she was the BritMums keynote speaker on the day - and was thrilled, not least because we share an editor (the editor of my book went on to do Ella's) but she's absolutely gorgeous in real life. She actually, properly GLOWS. She doesn't really drink but eats lots of avocados. I'm upping my avocado intake immediately. And happily, they go with the white wine below very nicely indeed.

Current white in the fridge: Grecula Greco 2014, £6.99, Co-op
This has got the maddest label I've seen on a bottle of wine for a while, all spooky and Hammer Horror-ish. Pale, white and haunting, it says on the label. But for me, it's more friendly monster. Made from the Greco grape (also known as Grecula locally) in southern Italy's Campania region, it's nutty and big on flavour, with peaches and lemons all trying to grab your attention. The smartest take on Greco is from the DOCG (meaning smart) region of Greco di Tufo but this is a great way to find out if you think Greco is heavenly - or a horror show. I'm with heavenly. 

Current red in the rack: Beaujolais Villages Château de la Terrière 2012, £8.49 when you buy 2, Majestic
The brilliant thing about Beaujolais is that it's one of the sprightliest, most summery grapes around. Being made from the thin-skinned Gamay grape, it makes red wines that are typically lightish in colour and juicy in flavour. This one, made from vineyards classified as slightly smarter-than-your-average, are not far from the cru-rated village of Brouilly apparently. Whatever, the wine is great value with really gorgeous berry fruit flavours. 

Chin chin x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Fete Accompli

Last Saturday, we went to a local fete in the grounds of a nearby stately. It's one of my favourites, complete with dog show (including a dogs-who-look-like-their-owners round), a Punch & Judy show and a myriad of stalls including cake, plant and bottle. I won a bottle of Amaretto on the latter, which was a bit coals to Newcastle but I'm not complaining, obviously. Anyway, it was the first of a run of local fetes; next up is the school fete on Saturday. This year, I'm on cream teas. I've never been on cream teas before and I think it basically means I'm one of the Older Mums. It was only a matter of time, I know.

Current white in the fridge: Nekora Verdejo 2014, £9, M&S
I went to a big wine tasting today at the M&S head office of all their new wines. Again, not complaining. This one's from Spain's Rueda region and is made from the lemony Verdejo grape (also known as Verdelho in Portugal and Australia). It's had a bit of lees ageing, where the wine's left on the dead yeasts after fermentation for a short while, which adds a bit of texture and flavour to the wine. Deliciously fresh with a whiff of nectarines.

Current red in the rack: Marques de Casa Concha Syrah, £7.99 on offer, Tesco
If you're in the mood for a big red, this is one such. Made by Chilean giants Concha Y Toro from Syrah grapes grown on a single estate in the Maipo Valley. It's got a ton of bramble fruits, loads of spice and smooth vanilla flavours. Really, really smart wine for the money but as mentioned, it's not a shy wine. Rather more shouty, actually. Think Punch rather than Judy.

Chin chin x

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Chin Up

Last night was Book Club and no, I hadn't read the book (it was a medical-themed book with really tiny print - double whammy). I took a bottle of English white wine in the hope it would act as a diversion - it sort of worked - and as ever the chat was 10% book, 90% other stuff. Phew. Actually, it was lovely to be out last night after last week. It was officially One Of Those Weeks: two new puppies + two out of three children off school with a tummy bug = mayhem. Luckily, this week's been a little more normal. Apart from the wine, that is. Earlier tonight I did a wine tasting for a gorgeous group of women at one of my favourite hotels, Lime Wood, in the New Forest. From a pretty Provence rose to an Italian Nebbiolo from Langhe (bit like a baby-Barolo), the wines were anything but normal. Thanks to Juliet for the photo.

Current white in the fridge: Le Stelle Vermentino, £6.69 (normally £8.99), Waitrose
From Sardinia, this is a really great Italian white made from the Vermentino grape. I love this grape but there's not that much around on our shelves here - yet. There's lots of it planted in Sardinia and here, it makes lovely, crisp whites with fresh lemony flavours. This one's really summery - and getting me in the mood for our short trip to Italy in a few weeks' time. Be warned, I am going to go on and on about it.  

Current red in the rack: Good Ordinary Claret 2012, £9, Berry Brothers
Most of the things written about Bordeaux wines covers the expensive stuff. Which is a shame because there is some really good value to be found - you've just got to know where to look. And Berry's know exactly where to go for their Good Ordinary Claret: this tastes far more expensive than it is. Classic Claret with black fruits, spice and a whiff of coffee. Sent to me by their team to try, this is brilliantly done - and definitely not normal.  

Chin chins x

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Carry On Camping

In the last few years, I've been lucky enough to do wine tastings at festivals all over the place. And one of the highlights was at Camp Bestival last year, a pop-up tasting for fifty fellow knackered mothers and wine lovers. So I'm really happy to have been asked back again this year as part of the Feast Collective, where they'll be a KMWC bar (I know!). It runs from the 30th July - 2nd August and I think the festival organisers plan to announce details of the wine tasting via their facebook page here. Follow for updates and in the meantime, I'll start getting the wines sorted. Plenty of it.

Current sparkling in the fridge: Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose, £7.99 on offer, Tesco
From Chile, this is made from one of the three classic Champagne grapes, Pinot Noir. And because it's a red grape, it can make pink wine (it's the skins that add colour to grape juice). This one's like a sherbet fizz-bomb, with soft strawberry fruit flavours. Made by a great producer, it's properly good value for money. Very pink, perky label too. 

Current red in the rack: Reggiano Rosso 2013, £6, M&S
A soft, juicy Italian red made from Lambrusco grapes grown in the Emilia-Romagna region (think Bologna). It smells of cherries, tastes of cranberries and best of all, it's cheap as chips and brilliantly drinkable. Just the right sort of red to have on the go when there's the promise of warmer weather ahead. I feel almost summery sipping it. Which reminds me: fake tan. 

Chin chin x