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Wineseeker Blog

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 2:30pm by Michael Hutton

Wines of Northern Spain

April 2014 saw us hosting our 'Exploration Series' wine tasting featuring the wines of Northern Spain - from the stormy Atlantic, unusually green and lush "Green Spain", across the high plateaus and dry hills to the balmy Mediterranean.  While the wines of Rioja are the most famous wine exports from Spain, there is much more to taste.  

As in France, the wines of Spain are classified by their region rather than by their grape.  There are 65 different 'DO' (Denominación de Origen).  While Spain has the largest amount of land area growing grape vines, it is actually only the third higest crop grown after cereals and olives.  

Our tasting events in-store featured 9 different wines from across Northern Spain, starting with a sparkling Cava, an array of white wines from the North-West, the bright and juicy 'Garnacha' of Campo de Borja, the earthy and spicy wines made from Tempranillo and the brooding complexity of Priorat.    

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 - 1:00pm by Michael Hutton

This is an approximate recipe for the potato gnocchi dish served at our 'Amarone Tasting' - remember if anyone wants recipes for any of the dishes served instore I would be happy to type them out for you as I make them all myself.

Potato Gnocchi is quite easy to make and very tasty.  You can serve it with any number of different kinds of sauces, if you serve it plain by itself it will tend to stick together so needs at minimum a light butter sauce (like melted butter with a dash of dried sage and lemon zest) or like this version with a rich tomato base sauce.  If using a tomato sauce, make this first & very early as the best flavoured tomato sauces enjoy a long slow simmer & the gnocchi is very quick to make.  

Gnocchi is always best when served fresh.  The dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge but will discolour and will need more flour when rolling it out anyway.  More on that in a moment!

1 kg floury potatoes 

Monday, 7 April 2014 - 2:30pm by Michael Hutton

By special request I've posted up the rough recipe that I used for the "Mountain Stew" in our Northern Spain tasting - or as near as I can remember it!  Works very well with dense juicy Grenache wines.

It's an easy dish to make, but needs time to cook slowly to combine the flavours.  I used a "Wild Pork" bacon instead of a normal bacon or pork belly meat - the wild version is leaner so yields less fat when cooked down, this means using more olive oil than would otherwise be necessary.

250g Bacon cut into chunks

2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil

250g Choritzo sausage chopped into small chunks (mild or spicy to your tastes)

1 large onion, sliced thinly

1 large red capsicum, sliced thinly

3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

300ml tomato passata

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry white wine (I used a barrel fermented sauvignon blanc)

800g canned white beans (I used cannellini beans)

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 - 7:15pm by Katie Hutton

Michael and I last night celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary (and 15 years since I moved to New Zealand).   We celebrated with a wine that is 26 years old -- the Marc Bredif Vouvray Grande Annee 1988 and one that is probably my all-time-favourite wine (as is Michael's as you can see below).  

Vouvray makes arguably the best Chenin Blanc wines in the world, based in the heart of the Loire valley next to the city of Tours. Aged examples demonstrate exquisite texture, power and complexity. The Marc Bredif Grande Annee is made only in exceptional years and 1988 was obviously an amazing one.     

This wine was actually released for sale in 2012 -- there are not many wine producers who are willing to forgo 23 years of revenue in the interest of ensuring that the consumer does not drink the wine before it is ready.     

Friday, 7 March 2014 - 12:00pm by Michael Hutton

I make no secret that Riesling is one of my favourite grape varietals, who would I be if I didn't try to share this terrific wine with the rest of the world!?  Jancis Robinson (famous UK wine critic and writer) describes Riesling as: 

"Unbeatable quality, indisputably aristocratic, ludicrously unfashionable."  

An opinion I heartily agree with.  The magic of Riesling is its versatility, from bone dry to super-sweet and everywhere inbetween, its a grape that enjoys some extra age, and goes with a terrific array of different foods.

Thursday, 20 February 2014 - 10:30am by Katie Merrie

On 11 & 12 February we hosted tasting evenings exploring the wines of Southern Italy, more specifically the provinces of Campania, Puglia, and Sicily.  

Saturday, 1 February 2014 - 11:00am by Michael Hutton

As of today, our Wine-club changes kick in.  

Some will be aware that the government recently implemented changes to the law around the sale of booze with the 'Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.'  In their infinite wisdom, the lawmakers have made a number of specific changes about what can and can't be done.

Under our interpretation of the new law we are no longer able to offer "free" bottles of wine, or promote prizes/giveaways that are linked specifically to the purchase of alcohol.  This has a direct impact on the way that our wine club operates - up until now we have provided a discount on wine purchases, but also an an additional benefit whereby when you buy 12 bottles (accumulated over a period of time) we gave you a "13th bottle" for free based on the aggregate value of the previous 12.  

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 - 3:00pm by Michael Hutton

A familiar quandary in our household... what glass to use for which wine?  After Katie's Masterclass with Riedel glassware, we bit the bullet and bought ourselves a small array of different grape-specific wine glasses.  

Some of these choices are easy, we drink Pinot Noir from the Pinot glasses, and Chardonnay from the Chardonnay glasses.  But what about when the wine does not conveniently into one of the classic French grape varietals that they are designed for?  Last night my creation in the kitchen was an Italian style Pork and Mushroom Ragu, with a rich tomato based sauce.  

My chosen wine to match was a relatively inexpensive Sangiovese (Gran Sasso 'La Bella Addormentata' IGT @ $22.00) hoping to match a deeper fruity wine with the rich sauce and earthy mushrooms.  

Sunday, 12 January 2014 - 4:30pm by Katie Hutton

Last night, as part of the Wellington Summer City Festival, we went with our friends Dave & Amy White to the ASB Gardens Magic Concert event ‘Revolver: The Beatles Band’ held at the Wellington Botanic Gardens.  These events are free to the public and always a lot of fun.  It was a gorgeous evening and it was one of the most subscribed events I have ever seen at the Concerts.

We packed a Mediterranean style picnic dinner with some fine wines to match.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012 - 3:45pm by Katie Hutton

Our theme was ‘French’ at our last wine & food degustation dinner in cooperation again with the great team at Ti Kouka Café held on 24 July 2012.   The event again booked out within less than two weeks from first notice similar to what we experienced with the Spanish degustation in May.

The event opened in the bar where people were greeted with a glass of Billecart Salmon Brut Champagne and their first course of Ti Kouka cold smoked salmon w/ dill & preserved lemon crème fraiche to match before moving into the dining room for the next six courses.

All of the courses were amazing – the food divine, the wines excellent, and the wine matches extraordinary!   At the end when polled many had different favourites which tells you about the calibre of everything served that night.  One patron even asked to be pre-booked on all future events!  Thanks Noel.


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