Foods for the Summer Months

July 29, 2012 6:42 pm | Posted by Graham D

FOOD and WINE PAIRING—FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS
(continuation from blog  “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 7 July 2012)

INTRODUCTION:—--this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.

FOOD BEING FEATURED:—–FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS - that can be enjoyed either hot, warm or cold.
A few examples of alfresco dishes would be : Quiche Lorraine, Onion and Tomato Flan, Stuffed Big Beef  Tomatoes, Chicken and Savoury Pies , Mushroom and Ham Tarts, Meat Loaves, Tapas style dishes and Picnic food.
(See a previous Blog for Pairing Summer Barbeque foods with Wine)

CHALLENGES:—–Another interesting and challenging bridge to cross, but if we group the foods into categories that represent similarity in strength of taste and textures, we then strike a good chance of pleasing most people :

- foods with an egg influence and creamy textures such as quiches and savoury tarts
- vegetable based dishes including green salads
- cold meat dishes with pickles and chutney
- cold seafood dishes including smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, soused herring and prawn/lobster cocktail

RECOMMENDATIONS:—–

- COLD SEAFOOD DISHES - a sparkling wine such as Saumur Brut Ackerman served as cold as possible would be a perfect match. For white wine lovers, another recommendation that would be most appealing is a crisp and dry Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard of high standing in both hemispheres of the world.

- VEGETABLES AND SALADS - here a Pinot Grigio would work well or even a Frascati from the Lazio region of Italy. The Italians eat huge amounts of vegetables in the summer months, hence two Italian wines

- EGG BASED DISHES - try a creamy style Chardonnay from Simon Hackett Wines in McLaren Valley, Australia which matches well with this array of foods. If you prefer a wine with a little texture and body then check out a fine Viognier from Babich Vineyard in New Zealand.

- COLD MEAT DISHES - lots of scope although my preference would be light bodied reds such as Fleurie from Domaine du Penlois  or  Pinot Noir from  Hunter’s Vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand . Either wine will stand alone for its own enjoyment and will not in any way diminish the taste and flavours of the dishes in question.

MAIN DIRECTORY:—--click on THE MARRIAGE OF FOOD AND WINE to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also view GREAT FRIENDS – CHEESE AND WINE for cheese and wine pairing.

NEXT ARTICLE:—–SUMMER DESSERTS

HAPPY FOODS FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS PAIRING DAYS

Graham D

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Hayman’s London Dry Gin

July 8, 2012 2:50 pm | Posted by Del

HAYMAN’S LONDON DRY GIN

haymans-london-dry-ginThe original company of Haymans Distillers was founded in the 1800s by James Burrough, the great grandfather of the current Chairman, Christopher Hayman. James Burrough created the world renowned Beefeater Gin. Although Beefeater Gin and James Burrough Limited were sold to Whitbread in 1987, the Hayman family retained part of the business and continued the tradition of distilling and blending Gin and other white spirits.

BOTANICALS that make this fine gin – Christopher Hayman believes it is the careful and consistent balance of Juniper, Coriander, Orange and Lemon Peel which is vital in crafting a classic style of London Dry Gin. The Hayman’s Gin recipe consists of ten natural botanicals handpicked from around the world which creates a fresh crisp and fragrant flavour.

* The best Juniper provides the predominate flavour of Gin and is therefore the most essential ingredient.
* The finest Angelica Roots are harvested in France and give Gin its dry character.
* CorianderSeeds are imported from France which together with Liquorice gives Gin its complexity.
* Orris Root, sourced from Italy, has a scented flavour and is an essential part of the blend as it holds the other flavours together.
* Orange and Lemon Peel is sourced from Spain where the fruit is usually hand-peeled and left to dry in the Spanish sunshine to capture the oils and give Haymans London Dry Gin its crisp,balanced and unique flavour.

The important process of STEEPING and DISTILLATION

- Prior to the distillation process, the botanicals are steeped in the pot still for 24 hours which is the first part of the infusion process. After steeping, the gin undergoes the distillation process. During the distillation process, the still is heated at a gentle temperature so each botanical releases its flavour at a different stage of the process. The result is a premium London Dry Gin of consistently exceptional quality. Christopher believes Premium Gin should be created in a traditional Pot still to enable the flavours of the carefully selected botanicals to develop to their full potential and allow the Master Distiller to handcraft a uniquely flavoured premium gin with care and attention.

GIMLET- a highly recommended cocktail

* 2 shots of Hayman’s London Dry Gin
* 2 shots Roses Lime Cordial
* 1/2 shot water
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass.

HAPPY HAYMAN’S LONDON DRY GIN DAYS

Graham D


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Bodegas Williams & Humbert Sherries

March 14, 2012 1:09 pm | Posted by Del

Bodegas Williams & Humbert

The history of Bodegas Williams & Humbert goes back nearly 130 years. They participated in the creation of the Jerez-Xeres-Brandy Quality Demarcation and are now considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious wine producers.

The winery was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, a great admirer and connoisseur of sherry products and Arthur Humbert, a specialist in international relations. Since then they have preserved part of the original wines and brandies (soleras) in high quality oak casks. These soleras are the base of the development and ageing of every sherry and brandy produced at Bodegas Williams & Humbert.

The following are summaries and tasting notes of many of the Sherries that Williams & Humbert are world famous for :

DRY SAC FINO SHERRY

img_7439This is a very dry Fino Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still fermentation at 22C. Then they go through early filtering and classification by quality. The best wine distillations are fortified at 15c to be racked in clean casks. They are then put into the traditional system of dynamic ageing employed in Jerez – Criaderas y Soleras- in the 6th criadera cask, where the biological ageing under a layer of yeast takes place in the traditional oak casks, preferably of American oak. The ageing is minimum five years while the wine passes from one criadera to another until it reaches the solera, from which it is drawn out for consumption.

Tasting Notes : A wine of brilliant, pale gold colours. Intense, complex aromas reminiscent of the yeast layer with a hint of almond. Delicate yet full-bodied, with character and elegance. A long aftertaste and nose.

Suggestions with Food : Ideal for aperitifs accompanied by a high quality cheese, ham and seafood dishes. Also excellent with almonds.

DRY SAC MEDIUM SHERRY

img_7437This a blended Oloroso or Medium Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine up to 19.5 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked into clean casks while waiting to enter the Criaderas y Soleras system. Physical-chemical ageing through oxidation for at least six years, obtaining a slightly sweetened oloroso or medium sherry.

Tasting Notes: An amber-coloured wine of intense aromas suggesting dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with little acid and slightly sweet .

Suggestions with Food: It can be drunk neat or with ice. It is recommended as an aperitif or to accompany pasta and rice dishes.

CANASTA SHERRY

canasta-cream_edited-1A sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. An elegant blend of Palomino and Pedro Ximenez before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A unique sweet Oloroso or “Cream” Sherry.

Tasting Notes: Sweet Oloroso. Mahogany colour and aromas of dried nuts with a hint of raisins and brown sugar. Smooth, velvety palate with warm alcohol flavours and a persistent aftertaste.

Suggestions for Food : It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing early evening drink.

WALNUT BROWN SHERRY

img_7441This is a very Sweet Oloroso or Cream Sherry produced from Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel grapes. Bud musts undergo controlled fermentation and fortified at 19.5 degrees. Palomino, Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel are blended and racked into clean casks before entering the Criaderas y Solera system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least four years.

Tasting Notes: Very sweet oloroso.Dark mahogany, almost ebony. On the nose, dried nuts and faint aroma of raisins, muscatel and toasted sugar. Smooth and velvety with a warm palate owing to its alcohol content. A long finish.

Suggestions for Food: It can be consumed very cold by itself and with desserts, or on ice as a refreshing long drink.

WINTER’S TALE SHERRY

img_7443This a slightly sweetened Amontillado or “Medium Sweet” Sherry produced from Palomino and Pedro Ximenez grapes. The bud must undergoes controlled fermentation and fortified with alcohol distilled from wine at 28 degrees. Palomino and Pedro Ximenez are racked before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. Aged for at least six years. A slightly sweetened oloroso, or “medium sweet” sherry.

Tasting Notes: Brillant amber. Intense aroma of dried nuts. Full bodied and balanced, with low acidity. Sweet and persistent.

Suggestions for Food: To be drunk neat or on ice. Ideal as an aperitif or with pasta and rice dishes.

JALIFA AMONTILLADO 30 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-30yrs_edited-2This a dry Amontillado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtering, classification by quality and fortified at 15 degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the classical Jerez Criaderas y Soleras system of dynamic ageing at the 15th criadera, where the biological ageing takes place under a layer of yeast. Aged in traditional oak casks , preferably American for at least 8 years, after which it is transferred to the 6th criadera for an additional 22 years of natural ageing by oxidation until it reaches the solera. It is then removed for consumption.

Tasting Notes: Bright hues of very old gold and amber. Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of  fino sherry and a hint of dried nuts and filbert. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full bodied and elegant palate. A delightfully expressive and unforgettable finish.

Suggestions with Food: An excellent aperitif served with a fine cheese, ham or seafood dishes.

DOS CORTADOS 20 YEARS SHERRY

dos-cortados-20yrs_edited-1A fortified wine, this rare and peculiar dry Pale Cortado Sherry produced from Palomino grapes is halfway between an Amontillado and an Oloroso. Bud musts from the best vineyards undergo cold, still decanting and fermentation at 22c. Early filtration, classification by quality and then the must is fortified at 15degrees with the best distilled wines to obtain the traditional racks. Put into the Criaderas y Soleras system in fino sherry casks for biological ageing. Sporadically, circumstances cause the contents of some casks to behave differently than it is expected – they will not become fino sherry. These casks are “cut” (hence the term “cortado”) with one or two jugs of alcohol to form the base of the palo cortado solera system. The wine is then aged for 20 years until it reaches the solera.

Tasting Notes : Bright hues of very old gold and amber . Pungent, intense and complex on the nose, with a subtle note of filberts and dried fruits. Dry with excellent acidity, a long, full-bodied and elegant palate. An incredibly expressive and unforgettable finish. Sherry with an amontillado nose and an oloroso palate.

Suggestions with Food: Excellent as an aperitif for those long evenings or in short drinks with tapas.

DRY OLOROSO 12 YEARS

dry-oloroso12yrs_edited-1This is a dry Oloroso produced from Palomino grapes. The bud musts undergo controlled fermentation at 28c, then fortified with distilled wine alcohol at up to 19.5degrees. The Palomino enters the racks before entering the Criaderas y Soleras system for physical-chemical ageing through oxidation in oak casks. It is aged for at least 12 years. This is a unique dry Oloroso.

Tasting Notes: Bright amber. Intense aromas characteristic of this type of wine and a hint of dried nuts and fruits. Dry, rich, with smooth tannins, it is luscious and balanced with a long finish.

Suggestions for Food: As an aperitif with mature cheese, at meals with red meats and even as an after-dinner drink.

HAPPY WILLIAMS & HUMBERT SHERRY DAYS

DEL

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ARMAND DE BRIGNAC BRUT GOLD CHAMPAGNE

February 15, 2010 3:34 pm | Posted by Graham D

THE WORLD’S GREATEST CHAMPAGNE  
A little story about a very big  champagne born out of passion and imagination, handmade in the traditional way by the Cattier family and now voted the world’s number one champagne. brignac11

 First a little about the champagne itself and secondly some important comments on its recent status as the world’s number one.

This great champagne uses only the first pressing of harvested grapes and is thus classified as a ‘Prestige Cuvee’. A prestige cuvee contains only the richest wine from each harvest, enabling the champagne to become much more complex and delicate as it ages. Armand de Brignac owes its light, racy effervescence to the quality of its chardonnay grapes, these grapes come only from villages rated Grand Cru and Premier Cru. The berry driven pinot noir adds strength and boldness and is responsible for the depth of the Armand de Brignac palate and Pinot Meunier brings to the  champagne roundness, nuance and fruitiness to the bouquet and taste.

After the grapes are pressed, the Chateau’s oenologues Jean-Jacques and Alexander Cattier create the signature cuvee blend that embodies the quality and uncompromised individuality of Amand de Brignac. A percentage of the finest harvests stored from prior years is added to the newly harvested juice to ensure consistency between bottlings. This blending of top vintages preserves the Chateau’s character and brings the vivacity and excellence of the champagne art to the front.

When the champagne has been bottled and sealed the bottles are stored over 30 metres underground in cellars considered among the deepest in Champagne, these cellars maintain a constant cool temperature conducive to the slow natural aging process that enhances the classical character of Armand de Brignac. The remuage and degorgement process is again traditional, every operation is done by hand with no use of mechanized riddling devices—-uncompromised quality can only be guaranteed by time-honored techniques

Following remuage and degorgement, the blend of wine ia augmented with a special liqueur de dosage, a liqueur made from a secret formula passed down through the family. The liqueur is created from fine cane sugar and a blend of the very best still wines from prior harvests and is aged in oaken casks, which impart subtle accents to the champagne. This step is especially important in maintaining the unique nature of Armand de Brignac, as no other wine in the world includes the same combination of meticulously selected wine vintages from the Chateau’s private terroir. The end result of this long drawn out process is a cuvee of great distinction, a singular example of French Champagne Tradition.

This marvellously complex and full bodied champagne has a bouquet that is both fresh and lively, with light floral notes. On the palate Armand de Brignac has a sumptuous, racy fruit character that is perfectly integrated with the wine’s subtle brioche accents. The champagne’s texture is deliciously creamy, pairing rich depth with a long silky finish.

                   

Yes the world’s number one—-2009 saw the world’s most respected wine critics and sommeliers conduct a rigorous blind tasting of more than 1000 brands of champagne. The results were published in ‘Fine Champagne Magazine’, the only international publication devoted to champagne and an authority on the industry.

Each champagne was rated on a 100 point scale. The process was so strict that, if judges’ scores were more than four points apart, the champagne would be re-tested and re-assessed. When the final results were presented, Armand de Brignac was ranked number one among the world’s best champagnes.brignac15

 

THE WORLD’S BEST CHAMPAGNES   

1.   96 points—Armand de Brignac Brut Gold
2.   95 points—2000 Dom Perignon
3.   94 points—1998 Mumm R. Lalou
4.   94 points—2002 Roederer Cristal
5.   94 points—2000 Egerier de Pannier
6.   94 points—1998 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill
7.   93 points—1998 Dom Perignon Rose
8.   93 points—1999 Jacquart Blanc de Blancs
9.   93 points—2002 Roederer Cristal Rose
10. 93 points—Chartogne-Taillet Fiacre

             The world is now aware of Armand de Brignac

                    

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