A walk in the vineyards of Chignin

walk in the vineyards

Mont Granier seen from the Chignin vineyards

The weather was bright and warm, the vines were budding, the views were magnificent and, of course, the wines were delicious! We had been invited to Savoie to learn more about the walk in the vineyards of Chignin, La Balade Gourmande de Chignin, which will be held over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July 2016.

Three years ago, on a glorious sunny day, we enjoyed the Balade Gourmande in Abymes on the other side of the valley in the lee of Mont Granier.

walk in the vineyardsSt-Anselme tower, one of several ruined towers which are a dramatic feature in the Chignin vineyards

Walk in the vineyardsAnother tower and a handsome house in the vineyards with a backdrop of the  Belledonne mountain range in the south west. In July the vineyards will be verdant green but there may just be some snow on the mountain tops in the distance.

Now in its eighth year this event has always been popular and this year will be held over two days. Each day there will be an eight kilometre walk in the vineyards, punctuated by stops where the hikers can enjoy the local wine as well as Savoie food. It is a lovely way to explore wine country and get the feel of a particular region. Continue reading

The Wine Citizens

Wine CitizensLast month we attended the 20th Percée du Vin Jaune in the Jura. Amongst our group were The Wine Citizens, a young couple who have just embarked on a three year odyssey to travel the world to discover and learn all about wine.

Wine Citizens Continue reading

A December Day

This particular December day was busier than most with endings as well as beginnings.       .

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. Hal Borland

December day Continue reading

A Perfect Cellar in The Clock Tower

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerI’d arrived at St Pancras to find the Perfect Cellar in The Clock Tower. I could see the proud clock tower on this handsome Victorian building which has always delighted me whenever I was on the Euston Road, London.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock Tower I had been told that the entry was somewhat discreet so I walked into the station to search for the front door but was quickly distracted by the poet and writer, Sir John Betjeman, who was instrumental in saving St Pancras from demolition.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerBack outside I did find the correct entrance and was ushered up to the fifth floor and along a long, vaulted corridor to the east end of the building to the lofty room beneath the clock tower. Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerOriginally the winding room, when the building was refurbished at the turn of the century the clock was electrified releasing the grand, tall space which is now used as a party venue as well as a rather special suite to stay, known, unsurprisingly, as The Clock Tower.

The walls may have been stark but the welcome was warm from the Perfect Cellar team as well as colleagues from ThinkersPR. Principally an on-line wine merchant, The Perfect Cellar does have a shop in Clerkenwell, London.

There were just four wines on show, but what a show! Each of the wines was presented with an elegant display of fruit and spices indicative of the the aromas and flavours of each wine.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerTendil & Lombardi Champagne Brut Rosé
Mid rosé, red fruits, big red fruits, dry, good acidity, ascerbic acidity, weighty rich dark red fruit, chunky long. Pinot Noir

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerDecelle Villa Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2011
Pale greeny gold, gentle yellow fruits, dry, good acidity, stony minerality, biscuity with a crispness on the finish.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerTeso La Monja Victorino do Toro 2012
Deep ruby, dark black fruit, dry, maturing tannins, bags of red fruits, licorice, some toasty oak. Long, rich.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerMas Amiel Vintage Maury Rouge 2012
Deep ruby, with a bouquet of raspberries and cinnamon, lusciously sweet yet has sufficient acidity to not allow it to be cloying; as well as the red berry notes there are hints of ginger and candied peel.
A wine reminiscent of a good Port, it is a
real treat from Maury, Roussillon in the far south of France.

As we were tasting and talking we were offered small, plates of food, which complemented the wines well. They were prepared by a chef from La Belle Assiette, a specialist company who organise a service preparing meals in your home.

Perfect Cellar in The Clock Tower

From the small selection of wines on show and chatting to everyone involved with this wine merchant I can see how keen they are to encourage wine drinkers to discover good wines from small producers and different regions of France and, now, other countries.

Indeed, when you search the wines on the Perfect Cellar website, hover over the bottle picture to discover another image of the fruits and spices that describe the wines. A novel idea –  a sort of visual scratch and sniff…

Perfect Cellar in The Clock TowerGood night, St Pancras.

Second Day in Nelson

Second Day in NelsonSuitably rested we were eager and ready for our second day in Nelson where I was visiting with a small group of New Zealand wine writers for a couple of days.

Second Day in Nelson

Nelson wine map ©Wine Nelson

Our first day was an eye opener for me and I was enjoying learning about this small New Zealand wine region.

Second Day in NelsonWhat a bright start to our second day in Nelson. When the Impressionist artist Claude Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883 the piece of land sloping gently down from the house to the road was planted with an orchard and enclosed by high stone walls.

When Darryl and Tranja Fry settled on their property, Fossil Ridge, in Nelson in 1997 the piece of land was nothing but scrub, but they had a similar vision of creating not only a vineyard but a garden which would embody the tranquillity and beauty of Monet’s garden in Giverny.

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