Covent Garden launches a three-week Rosé Festival

Rosé season is here and to celebrate all things pink, Covent Garden [London] is hosting its first-ever three-week rosé festival which runs from May 17th to 6th June 6th.

Over 20 restaurants participating with over 30 varieties of rosé wine, rosé cocktails, rosé themed menus, as well as 9 pop-ups from Mirabeau, Amie Wine, HUN Wine, Dirty Martini, Chez Antoinette x AIX-en-Provence, Magners, The Bubble Bros, Fiona Fleur and The Oystermen x Pol Roger which will be taking over Covent Garden’s Piazza.

With the return of indoor dining, restaurants across Covent Garden will also reopen over 2,500 additional dining spots. The area will remain at the heart of outdoor dining with the botanical pocket garden seating area on the East Piazza remaining open for takeaway drinking and dining.

 

For visitors wanting to join in the blush celebrations but preferring non-alcoholic options Ladurée will host a rosé-inspired afternoon tea, Shake Shack will offer a limited-edition cherry blossom pink shake, Amorino will be serving their very instagramable rose-shaped ice-creams in a multitude of flavours and Bubble Wrap will sell an exclusive Covent Garden Rosé and Strawberry Blossom combo. For tea connoisseurs, Whittard and Mariage Freres will also be offering over 40 rose blend teas.

I would say it’s time for a glass of rosé and some retail therapy!

For more information and details about the Rosé Festival, indoor and outdoor dining and shopping log into coventgarden.london

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Celebrating Wines of Italy: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

From Alto Adige down to Sicily, a few countries can boast the variety, quality and history as Italy. I enjoyed an online Master Class on Vino Nobile di Montepulciano a few weeks ago to learn more about Tuscany’s noblest red wine.  The masterclass and tasting was organized by the Italian Trade Commission, Consorzio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and hosted by Ms. Lauren Power.

Nobile became D.O.C in 1966 and D.O.C.G. in 1980. These Sangiovese-based red wines are named after the town Montepulciano.

Throughout history, these wines were favored amongst Italian Kings, Popes, Presidents and celebrated as wine of the nobles, hence its name “Nobile”. Thomas Jefferson, a renowned wine aficionado, fell under its spell, stating: “For the present I confine myself to the physical want of some good Montepulciano…this being a very favorite wine and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines of a necessary of life with me. It was most superlatively good.”

There are 1,300 hectares currently under vine for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  The vineyards are situated between 250 and 600 meters above sea level. By law, these wines are made up of (minimum 70%) Sangiovese (‘Prugnolo Gentile’) with the balance of 30% of other varieties also authorized by the region. Other legal requirements include that both vinification and ageing must take place in the municipal area of Montepulciano and must be aged for two years (three for Riserva) before being sold.

We tasted both 2016 and 2017 vintages.

The 2016 as a “classic vintage”; it had nice intense colour, with pronounced aromas, good structure and tannic texture, with medium acidity and alcohol – overall a year with high quality, elegant and refined.

The 2017 vintage is considered outstanding – there was extreme hot and dry weather conditions that impacted vine growth which resulted in smaller yields and excellent quality wines. The 2017 wines have intense colour, are more concentrated, some darker notes; are well-balanced both in alcohol and acidy, and complex with significant tannins.

Here are eight wines tasted as part of this Master Class, which showcased 2016 and 2017 vintages:

 

Cantina Del Giusto San Claudio II D.O.C.G. 2017

85% Sangiovese, 10% Canaiolo Nero, 5% Mammolo

Six months in stainless steel, 24 months in large Slavonian Oak and eight months in the bottle. Cantina del Giusto is a small size farm at the the foot of Montepulciano, in Acquaviva.

Tasting Notes:
Ruby red with a slight orange tint; a bit high on alcohol; precise and defined sensory profile of raspberry, cherry, plum with hints of lemon zest, some smoke and earthiness; medium body perfectly ripe tannins and with a long finish

www.cantinadelgiusto.it

 

Fattoria del Cerro Silineo D.O.C.G. 2017

100% Sangiovese

Eighteen months aging.

This the largest private estate producing Vino Nobile, which also invests in indigenous varietals and biodiversity.

Tasting Notes:
Vivid ruby red; elegant and bold with a smooth and strong body showing cherry, raspberry, chocolate and earthy notes both on the nose and comes through to the palate; malolactic fermentation comes through with hints of cream and butter; a savoury wine with a nice long finish.

www.fattoriadelcerro.it

 

Il Molinaccio La Spinosa D.O.C.G. 2017

100% Sangiovese

Il Molinaccio is close to the town of Montepulciano, is currently transitioning to certified organic and has a strong green philosophy.

After Malolactic fermentation, wine ages for twelve months in French Allier oak and 12 months in bottle.

Il Molinaccio states: ‘the porcupine is a shy and feared animal but La Spinosa, on the contrary, shows itself with an elegant dress’.

Tasting Notes:
Ruby red, graceful, elegant on the nose of raspberry, cherry currant; hints of pepper, mushroom and coffee – all present through to the taste – well-balanced, medium body, soft tannins and a round finish.

www.ilmolinaccio.com

 

Salcheto D.O.C.G. 2017

100% Sangiovese

70% large barrels/30% tonneau for eighteen months, with six months in bottle.

Salcheto is organic, biodynamic and committed to environmental sustainability. Their wines are sulfite-free and use indigenous yeasts.

Tasting Notes:
This wine displays notes of flowers and red berry aromas, red plums, rose petals; medium-full body; notes of red fruits, spice; fine tannins very well blended in the matrix; creamy rich with a long finish.

www.salcheto.it


Tenuta Valdipiatta D.O.C.G. 2017

95% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo

Family-owned winery founded in 1960; is certified organic and has sustainability and environmentally sensitive practices.

Aging period of 15-18 months, partly in French oak barriques and partly in Slavonian oak barrels of 30 and 50 hl

Tasting Notes:
Ruby red with hints of orange; opens up on the palate showing notes of flowers, plums, with some hints of smoke; medium-full body, soft and mature tannins – well-balanced finish.

www.valdipiatta.it

 

Podere Casanova D.O.C.G. 2016

 97% Sangiovese

Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel and subsequent transfer in barriques, casks, and 1000 l barrels for 18 months; followed by 6 months in the bottle.

Podere Casanova, is located in the heart of Tuscany on the borders of Val d’Orcia near Lake Trasimeno and Montepulciano.

Tasting Notes:
Intense ruby red color; aromas of red fruits, currants and black cherry, with subnotes of cocoa, tobacco and coffee; the palate it is confirmed by vivid freshness and flavor, dynamic, juicy, presents a strong body and fleshy tannins; pleasant ending.

www.poderecasanovavini.com

 

Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano D.O.C.G. 2016 

Mostly Sangiovese

18 months in large 35-85 hl Slavonian durmast barrels, with a short time in the bottle.

Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano is the oldest cooperative in Tuscany with around 400 member estates with a total of 1,000 hectares.  The vineyards are cultivated using the espalier system, with spurred cordon vine training, Guyot, double Guyot and G.D.C.

Tasting Notes

Bright ruby in colour; cherry, blackberry and wet-earth aromas and flavors, with notes of spice and smoke; medium to full body; round with soft tannins; long finish with some lingering chocolate and wood flavours.

www.vecchiacantinadimontepulciano.com

 

Carpineto Riserva D.O.C.G. 2016

70% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile), 30% Canaiolo and other authorized grape varietals.

Carpineto was founded in 1967 in Dudda, just outside of Greve, in Chianti by Giancarlo Sacchet and Antonio Mario Zaccheo with the purpose of making great Sangiovese.

Best decant for 1-2 hours before tasting.

Tasting Notes:
Intense ruby red; is wonderfully fleshy and expressive, has plenty of structural underpinnings; dark cherry, plum, spice, menthol, licorice and mocha; The balance of fruit depth allied to a mid-weight sense of structure is compelling; well-balanced and elegant with tons of character.

www.carpineto.com

Gordon Ramsay launches his own brand of California Wines

Gordon Ramsay has built his reputation on being exuberantly critical of other people’s cooking—but pleasing the celebrity chef with your wine pairings just became a whole lot easier – he launched his own wine brand.

“Gordon Ramsay Signature Wines” are crafted by their namesake chef in collaboration with winemaker and Master Sommelier Chris Miller at Seabold Cellars in Monterey, California, where the wines are produced. The online shop at GordonRamsay.wine – which is the only way to purchase bottles outside of at Ramsay’s U.S. restaurants – launched March 10 with eight offerings: 2019 Rosé, 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Chardonnay, and 2018 Pinot Noir, all from Monterey (priced at $20, $25, $30, and $35 respectively), a 2018 Chardonnay Reserve from Sonoma County ($45), and three 2018 Cabernet Sauvignons from California ($28), from Santa Cruz Mountains ($45), and a Reserve from Napa ($60). Bottles can also be purchased in three seasonal shipments as part of “The Ramsay Wine Club” which features additional discounts and other perks.

Ramsay partnered with Miller in 2018, aiming to make high-quality, old-world-style wines he could serve to complement the food at his restaurants. “It’s a little surreal for our humble little winery to be working with someone as prominent as Gordon,” Miller told Food & Wine. “We’re excited to share these wines with both his fan base and wine enthusiasts alike. We hope the introduction of this project creates an opportunity for more people to experience or be introduced to California wines, and that it will yield a greater appreciation for the quality and diversity of the wines produced here.”

Only a few hundred cases of each bottling are being made, with total production pegged at a mere 2,000 cases. The brand says they “source our grapes from sustainable and organic-practicing vineyards” and use minimal intervention winemaking: “native yeast fermentations, no ‘adjustments,’ restrained use of oak, little-to-no fining or filtration, and responsibly minimal sulfur usage” for final products that are “balanced, complimentary with food, and always 100 percent vegan.”

“Passionate winemakers in California’s cooler climate regions are producing delicious, balanced wines, and my time in California has convinced me that Californian wines stand with the best in the world. Christopher Miller is a master of his craft, so working with him has been amazing,” Ramsay told us via email. “Wine is a complex marriage of art, science, and tradition all captured together in a glass, and I am very excited to join in that tradition with Gordon Ramsay Californian wines. Until now the wine has been served exclusively at my restaurants in Las Vegas and Tahoe, so I’m very excited it’s now available to anyone to enjoy with a delicious meal or on its own with friends and family.”

Beyond additional winemaking details and tasting notes, the Gordon Ramsay Wines website also features at least three complementary recipes for every bottle, from options like truffle

The World of Pinot Noir announces March 2021 will be ‘WOPN Wine Month’ 

This year, the largest annual gathering of Pinot Noir producers and fans is going virtual it’s going to be bigger and longer.

During the month of March every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday will feature a series of virtual tasting seminars, events, auctions, and winemaker happy hours via Zoom, Instagram Live and Facebook Live.

“Each year, our 3,000-plus attendees often say they’d love even more content and more opportunities for intimate experiences with winemakers,” says Laura Booras, president of the World of Pinot Noir Board of Directors. “This year, we actually have an opportunity to grow those opportunities.”

New this year is the “WOPN Wine Case Experience.” Each guest will receive a carefully selected case of hard-to-find pinot noirs handpicked by our esteemed World of Pinot Sommelier Team. Then, each Wednesday (beginning March 3), David Glancy, Master Sommelier and Founder of the San Francisco Wine School, will host an exclusive winemaker seminar and discussion featuring three of the 12 wines.

Every Thursday (beginning March 4), WOPN will present a different deep-dive tasting seminar. These winemaker panel discussions will feature esteemed personalities in the winemaking community and delve into sites such as Bien Nacido, the terroirs of the Santa Lucia Highlands and explore the rugged elegance of the Sonoma Coast. Each tasting seminar will feature a collection of wines for purchase.

In addition to the eight tasting seminars, WOPN will host a series of free live Facebook and Instagram winemaker discussions and Happy Hours every Wednesday at noon (PST) and Friday at 5 p.m. (PST), respectively.

WOPN’s popular annual silent auction also goes virtual. Bid throughout the month on large-format bottles, exclusive library wines, and one-of-a-kind experiences from scores of producers from around the world.

For further information please visit the World of Pinot Noir website

Great Italian Wines Masterclass – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties – The “Noble” Nebbiolo and Valpolicella Varieties

I attended an amazing Masterclass last week: “Great Italian Wines – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties.”  The seminar was led by the knowledgeable Sandra Colosimo, a member of the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers. Sandra led us to explore and learn about the “Noble” Nebbiolo and Valpolicella varieties, their qualities, traceability, terroir and unique characteristics.

Here are details on the two wines tasted:

2016 “Rocolo” Valpolicella DOC Superiore (Agricola Piccoli Daniella S.S.)

Grape varieties: Corvina 40%, Corvinone 25%, Rondinella 30%, Oseleta, Molinara and Croatina 5%
Alcohol:14.5% vol.

Notes:
Ruby red hue with hints of purple; elegant yet complex nose with floral notes and berries evolving to eucalyptus, and slight touches of smokiness and balsamic; very well-balanced wine, some flavours of cherry and raspberry with hints of vanilla – long elegant finish

Food pairings: red meat, game dishes and strong hard cheeses

2018 Oddero Langhe Nebbiolo DOC

Grape Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo
Alcohol: 14% vol.

Notes:
typical Nebbiolo with a ruby-red hue, perfumed bouquet of violets and red fruits, with dusty chalky tannins – lovely long finish.

Food Pairings: Aged cheeses, Meat or mushroom-based pasta and rice dishes

To enhance the tasting experience, the wines were paired with and appetizer plate of Italian specialty foods: Prosciutto di Parma DOP, Grana Padano DOP, Salame Finocchiona Toscano IGP, Piave DOP, Olive Taggiasche, and Olive Baresane, Taralli.

This masterclass series is organized in collaboration with Cavinona, Terroni’s exclusive wine agency.

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