Friday, 31 October 2008

New Wines for Christmas – M de Malle

M de Malle is one of Nick's recent discoveries – it is a dry White Graves wine originating in the Graves appellation vineyards of Château de Malle. It's a brilliant green tinted gold and is fresh, fine and elegant with hints of white blossoms, exotic fruits, spice and good lemon acidity. Château de Malle is a classified historic monument and is an exquisite residence surrounded by magnificent Italian style gardens. It produces a Second Growth (2ème Cru) Sauternes and has remained in the same family without ever changing hands. If you would like to know more check out Nick's Blog: Discovering M de Malle.

Château de Malle was built at the beginning of the 17th century by Jacques de Malle, a descendant of an old Preignac family and President of the Parliament of Bordeaux. Jacques de Malle is the direct ancestor of the family of the Counts of Bournazel.

The Italian gardens of Château de Malle have been classified an historic monument in the same way as the Château itself. These gardens extend over 14 acres and are modelled on the Florentine parks. The gardens are aligned onto two terraces bordered by sculptures by Italian artists brought to Guyenne at the beginning of the 17th Century by the Duke of Epernon who was at the same time building his own château at Cadillac on the opposite bank of the Garonne. The stone sculptures represent figures taken from Greek and Roman mythology, Cephale and Aurora, Cupid or even Zephyr, as well as Flora, the Italic goddess of flowers and gardens. Also Venus regarding her lover Adonis. There are also a group of figures inspired by regional influences, such as the work in the vineyards, the pleasures of hunting and fishing as well as representations of wine themes and of inebriation!

M de Malle is ideal with sea food and grilled meats - why not visit the Recipes at Bordeaux-Undiscovered to discover some great food and wine pairing ideas for this wine?

Thursday, 30 October 2008

New Wines for Christmas – Château Pessan

Château Pessan 2005 will be arriving at Bordeaux-Undiscovered's wine shop in the first week of November and this is the first time this super red from Graves will be sold in the UK. Château Pessan is made from 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and ages very well indeed – if you can resist the urge to drink it straight away! It is a velvety wine, deep and dense, perfectly balanced with hints of black fruits, spice, coffee, smoke, eucalyptus, pepper and oak. The wine is a superb buy and is starting to attract attention on the world market. If you would like to know more check out Nick's Blog: Discovering Château Pessan.

The history of the stronghold of Château Pessan through the centuries is closely linked to the small town of Portets on the left bank of the River Garonne. Portets was settled by the Romans who established vineyards and river trading ports there and is home to Château Mongenan and its famous botanical gardens inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the 16th century Henri IV ordered a watch tower to be built at Château Pessan due to its proximity to the properties of the Baron de Gascq in order to keep an eye on his vassal. Today the watch tower guards the vineyards.

In 1999 the Comtes de Bournazel of Château de Malle bought Château Pessan and embarked on intensive restoration of the ruined Château dating from the time of Louis XIV. Paul-Henry Bournazel took over in 2006 and renovated the chai and cellars built in the 18th century. At the same time Paul-Henry concentrated his efforts on improving the wine and vineyards. The wine was not marketed until 2002 until Paul-Henry was satisfied of its quality – this paid off and the Château has won several awards for its wines since its release.

Paul-Henry suggests that Château Pessan will accompany pheasant, partridge and guinea fowl, lamb and steak as well as stuffed oysters, crystallized fruits and cheese - why not visit the Recipes at Bordeaux-Undiscovered to discover some great food and wine pairing ideas for this wine?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

New Wines for Christmas – Le Roc du Château Pellebouc

Nick has discovered some fantastic new wines for Christmas when he was last in Bordeaux and they are arriving the first week in November. Le Roc du Château Pellebouc is a real find! He came across this smooth, rounded wine whilst at the 2007 tastings in Bordeaux and was determined to bring some back to the UK. Little did he know that he had chosen a wine that had been awarded the Gold Medal in Paris! I am not surprised – it's a superb wine. If you would like to know more check out Nick's Blog: Discovering Le Roc du Château Pellebouc.

Le Roc du Château Pellebouc is a red wine principally made from the merlot grape (90%) for its roundness and balance, with a hint of cabernet sauvignon (10%) to add to the body. It has a deep, intense purple colour, with a scent of red fruits and spicier notes. In the mouth, it is quite powerful in terms of both roundness and balance. It will delight the palates of wine-lovers looking for a heavy, balanced, fruity wine.

Château Pellebouc is owned by Pascale and Baudouin Thienpont who bought the château in 2006 on the recommendation of Nicolas Thienpont. The Thienpont family have 5 generations of Bordealise wine making tradition behind them. They came to Bordeaux from Eastern Flanders in 1842 and have been in the wine business for centuries as both château owners and negotiants. They own Château Vieux Certan and Le Pin are in Thienpont family's hand today and Nicholas Thienpont manages several other top flight châteaux in Bordeaux – amongst them are Châteaux Pavie Macquin and Bellvue.

Le Roc du Château Pellebouc goes well with both beef and lamb as well as pork and chicken – why not visit the Recipes at Bordeaux-Undiscovered to discover some great food and wine pairing ideas for this wine?

Paranormal Potions for Halloween

If you fancy brewing up a punch or a potion then try using a Rosé Wine or a Clairet for a striking colour! You will need a fruity wine so Domaine de Ricaud Bordeaux Clairet or Clairet de Château des Lisennes are a good choice. If you want to add an extra kick I'd suggest a splash of Cointreau for the Phantom's Punch and one of White Rum for the Spellbinding Sangria!

Spellbinding Sangria

1 bottle of Clairet or Rosé
1 cup cranberry juice
1 punnet of strawberries cut into halves
1 watermelon scooped into balls

Phantoms Punch

1 bottle of Clairet or Rosé
1 orange studded with cloves
1 cinnamon stick
allspice berries
juniper berries

Simmer and serve!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Pumpkin Wine for Halloween

You can always try your hand at making Pumpkin Wine to use up all the flesh of those scooped out pumpkins. It will be ready just in time for next year's Halloween. If you want to make a Spiced Pumpkin Wine you can add 1 cinnamon stick, 1 inch of fresh ginger root, 1 whole nutmeg, 1 tsp whole cloves or/and 1 tsp cardamom seeds.

Pumpkin Wine

1 pumpkin
5 cups sugar
1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
1 lb raisins
1 package wine yeast
1 gallon water, boiling

Take the pumpkin flesh and place in a sterilised bucket. Add raisins and boiling water. Let sit overnight. Add all the other ingredients except yeast. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture and stir. Stir daily for three to five days.

Strain the must and squeeze out as much juice as you can. Siphon into demi johns. You can make up to volume with water if necessary. Attach the airlock.

For a dry wine, rack in three weeks, and every three months for one year. Bottle. For a sweet wine, rack at three weeks. Add 1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup wine. Stir gently, and place back into demi john. Repeat process every six weeks until fermentation does not restart with the addition of sugar. Rack every three months until one year old. Bottle.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Creepy Halloween Goodies

Why not try these ideas for Halloween?

Fly and Spider Ice Cubes

You can make ice cubes with plastic flies and spiders inside (you can normally find them in joke shops).

Dead Man's Hand

You can make a frozen dead man's hand by filling a rubber glove full of raspberries and cranberry juice and freezing it. When it's party time, run warm water over the gloves very briefly - just long enough to loosen the gloves from the ice - and carefully peel them off the frozen hand. The ice fingers break off easily, but don't worry - that's okay - the disembodied digits just add to the "zombie" effect.

Don't use the hand in a bowl of punch or let anyone eat it as some people are allergic to latex!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Halloween Recipe: Bloody Eye Balls

Quite an "eye opening" recipe for Hallween (sorry!)

Bloody Eye Balls

12 radishes
jar of olives stuffed with pimento
1 ice cube tray
tomato juice

Peel the radishes, leaving thin streaks of red on them for blood vessels. Using the tip of a vegetable peeler or small knife carefully scoop out a small hole in each radish to fir the stuffed olive. Put an olive, red pimento side out, into each hole. Pop them in the ice cube tray with water and freeze over night. Pour the tomato juice into a large bowl, add the ice cube eye balls and you have a truly ghastly dish!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Frozen Orange & Ice Cream Halloween Jack O' Lanterns

Frozen Jack O'Lanterns are easy to make for Halloween and taste delicious:

24 oranges
1 tub of dark chocolate or fudge ice cream
24 whole cinnamon sticks

Cut off the top of the oranges and gently hollow out the pulp, leaving a thick shell; hollow pulp out of cut-off tops too. Carefully cut Jack-O'Lantern faces into each orange. Freeze hollowed shells for at least 1 hour.

Place scoops of ice cream into frozen shells, avoiding letting the ice cream ooze out of eyes or mouth. Cut a small hole in the top of each orange. Set tops back on over the ice cream and insert a cinnamon-stick stem through the hole. Freeze for at least 3 hours or until serving time.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Halloween Recipes - Spooky Spider Web Dip Platter

This recipe is great for Halloween parties: spread a layer of Mexican bean dip over a large round plate. Carefully spread a layer of guacamole over this. Put sour cream in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and pipe concentric circles on the guacamole. Take a toothpick or wooden skewer and drag it through the sour cream from the centre outward to make spider web design.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Halloween Wines for the Witching Hour

There are two powerful potions that Nick has unearthed from the grave yard to add to the cauldron:

Chateau Chadeuil (£4.85) and Château Les Graves de Barrau (£4.99). Chateau Chadeuil is a blood red wine with the flavour of ripe black fruit flavours with a hint of pepper – ideal for pairing with the Ghoulish Goulash.

Château Les Graves de Barrau is a silky wine with the flavour of cherries and vanilla – great for fortifying your spirits when the clock chimes midnight.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Ghoulish Goulash for Halloween

Halloween is upon us once again and everyone is preparing for a night of ghouls, ghosts and long-legged beasties. Nick has some good suggestions on his Blog: Halloween Wines and I have dug up some more to help with your spooky soirée.

Ghoulish Goulash

Goulash is an ancient Hungarian dish which uses Paprika and Garlic – it should warm you up if you are suffering from a deathly chill and the garlic will keep the vampires at bay:

olive oil
2 onions
1 red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 lb beef (braised or stewing)
2 tbsp paprika (Hungarian smoked paprika if you can find it)
¼ tsp crushed black pepper
½ caraway seeds
1 can of tomatoes
2 bay leaves
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan or casserole dish. Add the onions and the red pepper, cover and sweat onions until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté. Add the meat, stir together and season with salt. Cover and let sweat gently for several minutes. Add the paprika, caraway seeds, the pepper and the bay leaves, stir all together, cover and let cook on a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until meat has picked up the flavour of the seasonings. Add the tomatoes, stir and cover and return to a simmer. Simmer for about one hour.

You can serve this in a hollowed out pumpkin for extra effect.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Save £40 on Wine at Bordeaux-Undiscovered

The credit crunch is hurting everyone's pocket at the moment so Nick has decided to hold a sale where you can get some real bargains before Christmas. We buy our wines at wholesale prices and pass this price on to our customers. It means Bordeaux-Undiscovered's margins are very small but our principles are that once you have tasted the wines you will come back for more. Indeed this is true of most of our customers. The wines that we choose to sell are exclusively from small production châteaux who use traditional methods. This way we can promote some superb small producers and introduce people to excellent wines who will hopefully fall in love with them.

The Autumn Savers include:

SAVE £40 on Bin End Cases - cases of selected wines £30 less than recommended retail price PLUS £10 Discount Voucher. This offer applies only to full cases (12 bottles) of Château Au Berton, Château Saint Thibeaud and Clos Bernasse. Voucher number BU40

£10 Discount Voucher on ALL orders (excluding those already discounted). Voucher Number BU10

FREE DELIVERY on selected wines.
This offer applies to only full cases (12 bottles) of Marquis de Perissac and Château Graves de Barrau. Voucher number BUFD

SPECIAL OFFER £20 for 12 bottles of white Bordeaux suitable for cooking

To use your discount vouchers all you need to do is add the voucher code into the specified "voucher redeem” area and the discount will be applied upon completing your order at the checkout!

You will also find a selection of Autumn Cases which are reduced by up to 30%:

Autumn Warmers Case £55.92 – 30% (£24) off RRP
Selection of Bordeaux red wines

Bordeaux Autumn Berries Case £60.99 – 26% (£21) off RRP
Selection of Bordeaux red wines, rosés and clairets

Bordeaux Autumn Cheers Case £82.40 – 30% (£35) off RRP
Selection of Bordeaux red and white wines

One of the lowest priced wines at Bordeaux-Undiscovered is Prince de Prieur at £3.25 – it is a delicious wine and several wine critics have commented on its quality at such a cheap price:

Paula Goddard, wine columnist for livingit.com, has this to say:
Prince De Prieur Vin de Table Français Rouge, France. (11.5%) £3.25
The matching red wine from the range makes a nonsense of many ‘cheap’ £4.99 supermarket own-label quaffing wines. Why pay more, when you can get a very acceptable fruity red for £3.25?”

Jonathan Ray at the Daily Telegraph has recommended our Château Chadeuil(£4.85) as being incredible value for money:
“I've no idea why this is so cheap, but cheap it is and well worth snapping up. A blend of 60 per cent Merlot, 20 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 20 per cent Cabernet Franc from a fine vintage, this AC Bordeaux could give far better-known clarets a run for their money. Serve with confidence at dinner parties; nobody need know how little you paid.”

Andrew Barrow, of Spittoon, had this to say about our Montagnac Range (£4.75):
"Judging an independent wine merchant on its cheapest wines is a great indication of the overall care the merchant puts into its overall range. It is relatively easy to list great wines at the £10/£20/£30 price range but much harder to find something exclusive at under a fiver that is not one of the huge brands available from everywhere else. If consideration has been given to the most basic of wines you should trust the choices at higher prices too. These wines come in at under five pounds a bottle. All are available from Bordeaux-Undiscovered.co.uk run by the able hands, and discerning palate, of Nick Stephens.”

Bordeaux-Undiscovered aims to get the wines to you within 48 hours (excluding weekends) and we use special carriers so there is no waiting around for your wines to be delivered. There is no need to worry if you have to dash out shopping as you can leave instructions as to where the wines can be left if you are out.

This year we are giving 3 free Wine Pourers away with each case. If you haven't seen one before they are a metallic disc that you curl round to fit in the neck of the bottle to avoid spilling any wine. They're sometimes called Drop Stops and have become so popular that millions are sold globally. They're ideal as a stocking filler but also make a nice extra if you are giving a bottle of wine as a Christmas present.

Cheers!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Ghost Wine

There are a few wines in the USA whose labels have been inspired by ghosts - Gray Ghost Gewurztraminer from a winery in Virginia, Bogle Phantom Petite Sirah from California (Bogle is a Scottish term for "goblin," incidentally) and Savannah-Chanelle Pierre's Ghost Red Table Wine from California's Central Ghost, sorry, Central Coast.

Australia has its own quota of supernatural activity amongst the vines and Cockfighter's Ghost Pinot Noir 2001 from Western Australia commemorates the vineyard's ghost. The story goes that 175 years ago, while exploring an overland route to the Hunter Valley, the lead horse, called Cockfighter fell into quicksand and drowned in the Wollombi Brook. His ghost is said to haunt the vineyard near the site.

There is also Hermitage Hideaway Estate Ghost Riders Vineyard Shiraz in the Hunter Valley , but that takes it name partly from the winemakers love of horses, partly from the Country and Western Song Ghost Riders in the Sky and partly from the movie The Legend of the Ghost Rider. Incidentally the first Ghost Rider was a cowboy who rode a horse, wearing a hat and mask and it wasn't until the 1970s that the Ghost Rider became associated with a motorbike rather than a horse.

Crete boasts a haunted winery - Boutari's Fantaxometoho Estate Winery near Heraklion. The name translates as "Haunted Cottage". In about the 1880s, the story goes, a local farmer began reporting strange sounds and visions around his cottage at night. Sceptics believe he was just trying to drive off young men who were raiding his farm as a convenient source of free food; others claim it was the ghosts of ancient Minoans.

But in support of the legend, the fields don't seem to have been believed to be haunted, only the 300-year-old cottage. If this was just a negative public relations campaign to scare off raiders, it seems that it would have made more sense to spread the story that the surrounding fields were haunted as well.

Boutari itself has an ambivalent attitude toward its supernatural status. While it mentions the legends in its promotional materials, and has applied the name to its estate and a special vintage, individual employees may or may not know the tales. But the Boutari Fantaxometocho winery is definitely the home to another type of "ghost" - the vintners of Boutari are growing a number of endangered native Greek grape vines which have almost been wiped out as many growers have switched to better-known, internationally-profitable varieties. Some of these grapes have thrived for thousands of years on Greek soil, only to nearly vanish in the 20th century.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Haunted Vineyards

Having read Nick's Blog From Wags to Riches and discovered that Victoria Beckham is too petrified to enter her own vineyard at her holiday home in Bargemon in Provence due to the resident ghost, I decided to see if there were any other wine related hauntings out there!
The USA seems to abound with them – but given the Halloween festivities that Americans love that doesn't surprise me. There are Wineries in the States that open their doors for Halloween celebrations and there was even a themed Haunted Vineyard (now defunct) where people could enjoy(?) the horror.

There is a Niagara Wine Trail that advertises the ghosts as well as the wineries (Ghosts and Grapes) and The Winery at Marjim Manor is one of these. The Winery specialises in fruit wines and the house there was built in 1834 and is home to 6 ghosts, 5 human and 1 dog. One of the ghosts, Shubal Merritt, died on a Thursday at 3 o'clock and they have named their white grape and peach fruit wine Thursday Afternoon at 3. There's also a dry red Lord of the Manor wine, and the sweet red Lady of the Manor. The Trail hosts monthly events such as the Hallowine Murder Mystery, where you pick up a clue at each winery.

Well, if I saw a ghost on the Trail I would definitely need a drink so perhaps they have got their heads screwed on after all.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Celebrity Winemakers – Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott, director of A Good Year, (starring Russell Crowe) and long time owner of a vineyard in Luberon in Provence does not want to get involved in making his own wine – which is quite an unusual move considering how many celebrities jump on the bandwagon (check out wine and celebrities). Scott told Details magazine:

"I have someone else run the vineyard. I know what I should make and what I should consume. That's it. Coppola started his winery and label, but he also almost gave up movies, didn't he? I want to be known as the guy who makes good movies, not good wine."

Scott came up with the idea for Peter Mayle's 2004 novel A Good Year after reading an article in the business section of the Times in 1996 about a vineyard in France that was selling garage wine for over £30,000 a case. Scott apparently still keeps a clipping of the article in his files in London. The Times article, by Ben Macintyre, told the story of Hugh Ryman, who moved to France when his father sold the family’s high-street stationery business. He had studied winemaking in Bordeaux and in the French châteaux of Yquem and Latour before attending the leading wine school in Australia, near Adelaide.

Much to the dismay of his neighbours, and using his know how and the latest technology, Mr Ryman began to create a range of wines that appealed strongly to the average consumer, mirroring the successes of the wines from the Antipodes, South America and the United States, and driving home — this time on their own soil — what the old guard of French viticulture had never wanted to acknowledge: that you do not need a recognised name to make and sell fine wine.

Scott's vineyard spans 27 acres in the sub-appellation Cotes du Luberon (where A Good Year was filmed). Its dominated by red grape varieties and most of the vintners (some 80%, including Scott) grow grapes and sell them to cooperatives to produce the local table wine (vin de pays) named for the appellation.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Celebrity Vineyards – Italian Style

Vineyards are also a favourite investment for celebrities, with Robert de Niro and Francis Ford Coppola rumoured to be buying estates in Italy, according to the Hollywood Reporter. These Italo-American movie legends are looking to ride a US boom in Italian cuisine by picking up prime wine interests in the old country.

Coppola, a long-time Napa Valley winemaker who says his vineyards helped him complete his Godfather saga, is reportedly eager to snap up the famed Florio vineyards in Sicily, where one of the world's greatest Marsala wines is made. According to the Hollywood Star, Coppola's daughter Sofia aims to make a film about the Florios' most glamorous figure, Donna Franca, a belle epoque diva who charmed kings, emperors and czars.

De Niro, who has already made his name in the USA with trendy restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, is apparently interested in one of the finest producers of Brunello di Montalcino wine, Fattoria Dei Barbi. Although he is commonly referred to as an Italian-American actor, De Niro is actually ¼ Italian in ancestry. His father was half-Irish and half-Italian. His mother was of French, Dutch and German ancestry.

Even British director Ridley Scott has been rumoured to have been inspecting top vineyards on Mt Etna and American rock legend Bruce Springsteen - of Irish, Italian and Dutch ancestry - is seeking land in Chianti and Emilia-Romagna.

Making wine in Italy has already attracted a number of foreign personalities from the worlds of business and entertainment. Time-Warner CEO Richard Parsons recently acquired the Tenuta Il Palazzone vineyard in Montalcino where he produces Brunello, mostly for his own use. Musicians Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and Jim Kerr of Simple Minds both have vineyards on Sicily, while French actress Carole Bouquet has a vineyard on the island of Pantelleria where she produces the island's famous dessert wine 'passito'.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

It's A Miracle! Water Turns Into Wine in Italy

Every year the town of Marino holds a festival to commemorate the return of Admiral Marcantonio Colonna following his victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571. This year a miracle happened – well, sort of.

The marble fountain in the town square is set to spurt forth with sparkling white wine piped directly from the local vineyard in celebration of the safe return of the 250 sailors from the battle all those centuries ago. When the Mayor Adriano Palozzi, the parish priest and locals gathered round the fountain, with glasses at the ready for a drop of crisp dry white, they were left disappointed as the everyday water poured out.

However minutes later householders were shouting “it's a miracle” as wine flowed from their kitchen taps. A plumbing mishap had diverted the wine to the domestic houses and word quickly spread. Soon everyone was filling up bottles and plastic containers with the wine.

Mayor Palozzi said: 'It was a surprise and completely unexpected - workmen are fixing the problem which obviously came about through a technical error. . . I don't think it dampened the enthusiasm of people at the festival though, and everyone still had a good time.'

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Winter Warmers

Nick has had an awful cold this week which hasn't been helped by this cold, dank weather that seems to have settled on us. I thought it would be a good idea to unearth some old folk remedies and discovered that there are some strange names for the drinks out there – reaching back into antiquity:

Grog, glogg, baerenfang (literally, bear catcher, an East Prussian honey liqueur that's frequently added to hot tea), hot buttered rum, gluhwein (glow wine), hoppelpoppel, (a coffee, egg yolk and cream drink) and lambs wool.

Lamb’s Wool, made of Cider or Ale, was used to wassail the Orchards as a thanksgiving for the harvest. They blessed the Apple trees by pouring a libation on them. It takes its name from the frothing white of the cooked apples but my Grandfather used to make it froth up by sticking a red hot poker in it!

Lamb's Wool

6 Apples, baking; cored

2 tbsp Sugar, brown

up to 1/2 cup
2 qt Cider (can be sweet or dry Cider, or a mixture of Cider & Ale)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger; ground

Roast the Apples in a baking pan at 450F for about an hour, or until they are very soft and begin to burst. (An alternative - and quicker procedure is to peel and boil the Apples until they are very soft and flaky.) You may leave the apples whole, or break them up. In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar a few tablespoons at a time in the Cider or Ale, tasting for sweetness. Add the spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the liquid over the Apples in a large punch bowl, or serve in a large heat resistant mug.

Note: Nuts make a nice accompaniment to Lamb's Wool (they were originally roasted in with the Apples.)

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com