Calling all wine lovers

6b136d96-7b7e-426f-9863-f97ee46b420dIf you haven’t already guessed this blog is dedicated to our love of wine. All different shades of wine have been drunk in the name of research. I am the first to admit that I am no expert when it comes to choosing or tasting wine, but I know what I like and if I like a wine it’s worth a mention.

It’s funny how my tastes have changed over the years. I used to love Australian and South African wines and while I don’t dislike them I much prefer a French or Spanish wine. However, during the course of my extensive research no wines have been ruled out until I’ve done the arduous chore of conducting a taste test.

I am more of a red wine person but I have had some great encounters with some white wines this year. Alma de Blanco Godello, Pazo das Tapias tasted really nice after a cultural tour of Barcelona. Dilemma; I do need to consider along the way, is it the wine that tastes great, or is it the location, the atmosphere or the great company that is making the wine taste so good?Alma White Wine

The Alma de Blanco is a bit like an Albariño, it is crisp, fruity and for under £10 it is great value for money. I’m sure there are many other retailers selling this wine but the first one I stumbled across is Oddbins. Pour Some More……………………..

Another white wine drunk quite a bit in 2019 has been the El Coto Blanco first sampled in Gordon’s Wine Bar, the oldest wine bar in London. Again I’m not sure if it was the atmosphere and the company of great friends that made the wine taste so good or whether it really is good?

El Coto Blanco 2017

Anyway the only way to find out was to order a box from Vinissimus online wine merchants. Having sampled a box of 12 bottles I can honesty say it is defiantly worth a mention on my favourites list. The more you order the cheaper it is, I ordered 12 bottles that worked out at just over £7 a bottle. This Rioja has a good acidity and great freshness with a pleasant crisp citrus character. A young white wine  12.5% volume with a pale bright colour. Warning: It MUST be drunk very cold to fully appreciate its quality! Pour Some More…………………………..

I off on holiday to France soon staying in a remote farm house near Aubeterre in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France. When in France it is the rule to drink red wine and eat cheese. Well, that’s what they taught me at school! More to follow……………………………



Birchall Virunga Earl Grey Tea

IMG_3171This week I have mostly been drinking Birchall Virunga Earl Gray anytime loose leaf tea. I’ve been trying to get the balance of quantities right as the tea has a distinct strong flavour and I over cooked it on my first pot as it was just too strong for my liking. After a bit of experimentation I have settled for one heaped tea spoon for two mugs of tea.

Now I have the balance right I can confirm it makes a great cuppa. The box is very elegant and the tea looks and smells wonderful. The brew can be taken with or without milk. Personally I prefer my Earl Grey with a splash of milk.

The tea is sourced from the finest tea gardens in Rwanda and the tea is individually picked and hand plucked. It is grown in lush volcanic soil and in perfect climatic conditions. The tea is blended with the Bergamont oil that gives a distinctive flavour of citrus and spicy floral notes.

I would recommend the use of  a tea caddy for storage as I had to fight my way into the sealed bag and made a bit of a hash and there is no resealable option. The tea retails at £7.50 for 250g of loose leaf. There are other options such as tea bags and prism bags. Visit the Birchall website for more details

Overall, a great brew and the sophistication of the loose leaf tea makes a really nice change. Due to the strength of the loose leaf tea I think I will be drink out of the same box for a long time to come. Thank you Birchall!

School Night


I find myself in Stratford on a school night on a short work excursion. There’s only one thing for it, pizza and beer.

After perusing the menu of two beers I settle for the no logo pale ale. A novel label which should keep the production overheads to a minimum.


I’m drinking from the bottle but if I am to do this beer any justice I suppose I should at least pour some more into a glass. Best neck the Peckham spring water to make way for some of the olde amber nectar. A simple no frills beer with a good colour with a slightly lively hoppy taste. I’m no expert by the way, but it sounds pretty good.

The beer is a craft pale ale 4% and is a Shepherd Neame beer from Kent. Not quite the Italian origins I had expected but it tastes bloody good with pizza!

188AB46E-4277-4A25-AFC4-30ADCE0888BDBrewer’s facts:

Best known for their Kentish beers such as Spitfire produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Another of its famous ales, Bishop’s Finger, was named according to folklore after a signpost that pointed the way to Thomas Becket’s tomb.

The Brewer produces in excess of 60 million pints annually, and exporting to more than 35 countries.

Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest Brewer. Located in Faversham Kent it has been brewing since 1698.

Pour Some More…

Nectar / Xmas in a bottle


Type: Pedro Ximenez

Denomination of Origin: DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry

Grape Variety: 100% Pedro Ximenez


Average 8 years in American oak casks following the traditional Solera system

Alcohol: 15% vol

PH: 4.6

Total Acidity: 2.9 g/l (tartaric acid) Volatile Acidity: 0.8 g/l (acetic acid) Residual Sugars: 370 g/l


The vineyards in Jerez are unique to the area. The soil in Jerez is majority Albariza, a white soil which contains up to 60% chalk and therefore has a large capacity for maintaining moisture, very important given the long, hot and dry summers as irrigation is prohibited. The area has a unique microclimate influenced by the surrounding Atlantic ocean and rivers Guadalquivir and Guadalete. The prevailing winds are moist and warm, and now and again dry and hot levante winds from north Africa. Temperatures are warm with 70% humidity and annual rainfall is 600 litres/m2. The harvest in Jerez begins mid August and generally lasts for 3 weeks maximum. The Pedro Ximenez grape, although a white grape, is treated slightly differently as it is destined for sweet wines. The grapes are collected from the vine slightly later and they are then sun dried in

a process called ‘soleo’ when the grapes bunches are laid out on esparto mats in the vineyard for up to two weeks. During this time the grape loses about 40% of its volume due to evaporation of water which causes concentration of sugars.


The Pedro Ximenez grape undergoes a strong press due to its dry state similar to the process used to make oliver oil. The must then begins to ferment although stops at around 7% alcohol due to sugar stress. At this time the wine is fortified to 15% alcohol and then enters into the Nectar solera. The wine remains in cask for an average of 8 years following the traditional Solera system.


Nectar shows an intense ebony colour with iodine tones and intense legs due to high sugar content. On the nose rich aromas of fruits such as raisins, figs and dates accompanied by honey, syrup and fruit preserve. On the palate velvety and smooth with good acidity which alleviates the sweetness. Long and flavourful finish.


Serve slightly chilled in small wine glass. Nectar is an ideal dessert wine, perfect poured over vanilla ice cream or with black chocolate desserts. Also perfect on its own.

CONTACT: Tel: 01707 274790 @GonzalezByassUK