Showing posts with label wine tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine tasting. Show all posts

Monday, 2 May 2016

London, Shepherd Market Wine House

 Shepherd Market Wine House
 Shepherd Market Wine House

I haven't been to Shepherd Market for such a long time, and frankly  I can't remember last time I was in the area. I remember it was one of the first places I wondered around when I first arrived in London.  My dear friend and PR extraordinaire, Tracey invited me to visit her new client's venture, Shepherd Market Wine House. 

Shepherd Market's past is very colourful, full of famous and infamous stories and visitors. It's just hidden between Piccadilly and Curson Street. This small oasis in the middle of Mayfair is full of quaint pubs, independent shops and boutiques, and bijou restaurants. Walking around this part of town is pleasurable, and the architecture takes you back centuries.

Shepherd Market Wine House started its life as a successful pop-up end of last year for six weeks.  After refurbishment, it has now open as a firm neighbourhood spot to discover and enjoy wines from around the world. Try wines by the glass, which are very reasonably priced or buy bottles to drink at the venue or take away.  Also, the innovative Coravin system (see video below) enables customers to taste a small selection of fine and expensive wines by the glass, with wine list changing frequently.  This revolutionary new wine system enables the patrons to serve magnificent fine wines by the glass, so the customers can taste world’s most famous wines, without having to pay for a full bottle. Prices from £14 to £40/glass pending on the rare fine wine available at the time.

There are sittings at street level and basement - ideal for private tastings or small gatherings. The wine list with 20 wines, including sparkling and Champagne, are served by the glass with platters of cheese, olives, pate, terrines and charcuterie to share.
Tuesday Wine Club - wine tasting from £15

I visited the venue on a Tuesday when the first Tuesday Wine Club tasting 'Italian Island wines' presented by MW John Pepper took place. This place is seriously adorable and charming. Great wines for entry level and wine connoisseurs alike.  Outside tables will certainly be disputed over the Summer.  The charcuterie and cheese were of high quality. As for the service, it was very attentive. I am looking forward to return and discover more wines.  Prices: Bubbles from £8.75/glass (125ml), wines from £7/glass (175ml)
beautiful glasses at Shepherd Market Wine House

A video by Cooksister on How Coravin wine access system works:

Shepherd Market Wine House

Opening Times:
Monday–Saturday 11am–11pm  / Sundays 12noon–10pm

Address: 21-23 Shepherd Market, London, W1J 7PN 
Tel: 0207 499 8555                                                                               
Email:  (website under construction)
Closest tube station: Green Park

Twitter: @ShepMarketWine
Instagram: @shepherdmarketwinehouse 

Square Meal

Sunday, 24 April 2016

68 and Boston, Wines and Cocktails in London

About five years ago, I started this food and travel blog; the purpose was to put and keep online my mother's recipes as well as my experiences in food and travel around London and beyond. Along the way, I met lots of interesting people in food, travel, and many fabulous wine, lifestyle blogglers and so on... 

Since the inception of Hot & Chilli, through many food and drink bloggers, I heard many times about Denise.  Eventually, I met The Wine Sleuth, aka Denise Medrano,  at an event about two years ago.  Well, the rest is history, we became good friends. Through the same wine bloggers,  I started taking an interest in wine and drinks in general - mainly food pairing. I learned a lot. Especially with Denise, I  can't tell you how much I learned. Her appreciation and understanding about the grape tipple is inspiring.  Eventually,  I started blogging about of wine too.

I was not surprised when Denise was asked to be the face of 68 of 68 and Boston,  the wine bar just below Boston, the cocktail bar.  I believe her new position suits her to a 'T', a true calling.  Her enthusiasm and knowledge is the key to the venue success.  It's a mammoth task to choose the right wines to retail at £20/ bottle (plus service) in Soho, Central London W1 location. Brilliant idea wine bottles at £20/each! 

 I must point out that the wines are not your run-of-the-mill tipples. The well curated list includes wine, prosecco; with some excellent options, there's something for everyone on that list.   Wines are sold by the glass 175ml (£6.50), garrafe 500ml (£17).   If you are not a fan of wines, there's a small selection of 6 cocktails (£8/each), beers (£5/bottle), cider (£5.5/bottle) and non-alcoholic drinks too. The menu also has a small variety of bar food - nibbles from £3, delicious charcuterie and cheese boards at £18 for 2 people and £35 for 4 people. I love the sourdough toasties (£7/each) - my favourite is the n'duja and burrata- comes with a green salad - excellent dressing!

The wine and cocktail menus at 68 are ever changing - look out for the wine of the month.  If you ask nicely, they will let you taste before buying bottles. Last time I was there the early Spring menu had just started with an addition to the list: Lambrusco!  It was actually quite nice, if you like sweet and bubbles.

 If you are a wine connoisseur and after something special, 68 offers a  reserved wine list, just ask the staff, who by the way, are incredibly friendly, attentive and knowledgeable.   The prices from that list, not £20/bottle,  are very sensible for what is on offer - some excellent wines!
charcuterie and cheese platter

halloumi and red pepper toasties

making cocktails  at 68 - above Mama's margarita and Gerry's Gin & Juice

68 is divided in two:  ground floor and basement,  where there are two booths perfect for parties and big gatherings.
booth at 68

Behind the name:
"There are 67 wine-producing nations in the world.  We want to encourage people to choose their wines adventurously and try regions and grape varieties that are unfamiliar to them, and so 68 will stretch their horizons that bit further.  Upstairs, ‘Boston’ will be a loungy, late night destination with an authentic cocktail bar ambience”.

Boston is a gem of a bar- more about that later.... 

cocktails at Boston (68 and Boston)

Advice:  reserve a table on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays - thank me later!

68 - Wine Bar
Located on the ground floor and open from 5pm - till late, Monday to Saturday, our wine bar features a main list of quality wines, all priced at £20 per bottle. Bar food menu is available into the evening.
Boston - Cocktail bar
Open from 5pm- till late, located on the first floor, above 68 our late night cocktail bar offers classics and original serves from £10. They also have a food menu.

68 and Boston
5 Greek Street, Soho, London, W1D 4DD
t:020 7287 3713 |

Disclosure: I was a guest at 68 and Boston for review purposes. All views are my own
Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

68 and Boston Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal

Monday, 12 October 2015

Chocolate and wine pairing

chocolate and wine tasting at home
If chocolate and wine are two of your favourite things, chances are you have had the thought of combining the two into one spectacular tasting experience. The sad truth, however, is that chocolate can kill a wine faster than you can even imagine unless certain hard and fast rules are considered.

Chocolate is both bitter and sweet: the darker the chocolate, the more bitter it is. In this case, red wine is a possibility, with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and even Rioja being the hands-down best choices. These wines come with their own inherent bitterness in the form of tannins. You notice tannins in wine as a drying sensation in the mouth – much like what you would get if you steeped a tea bag for too long. In this case, matching bitter to bitter is the order of the day. A less bitter wine, such as Shiraz, would not do quite as well because of its low acidity and tannin. Tannin is part of the acid structure of a wine and is found in grape skins, seeds and stems. Although you might think that bitterness is not necessarily a desirable quality to impart to something you might eat or drink, it provides a layer of complexity that allows certain combinations to work better – such as would be the case with dark chocolate.

White wine would not generally be a good choice to pair with chocolate in any case because it lacks tannin. However, a sweet white wine would do very well, as long as it is sweeter than the chocolate itself. Choose a Sauternes, a late harvest dessert wine or an off-dry Champagne for best results. It is never recommended to pair milk chocolate with any type of champagne unless it (the wine) is on the sweet side. The romantic notion of a champagne and chocolate pairing is perhaps not as good in practice as it is in theory.

Milk chocolate is very sweet and creamy, and though it lacks the bitterness of dark chocolate, it is much harder to pair with wine. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the wine is sweeter than the chocolate. Pair a rich milk chocolate with a sweet dessert-style wine like a German Riesling-based dessert wine,   French sweet wine like Sauternes, or a sweet fortified wine like Tawny Port. With milk chocolate, the sweeter, the better!

 wine and chocolate tasting

Laurent Perrier Demi-sec (£38.99)  is soft and gentle champagne. It's bright; shining colour and somewhat dark golden hue. Intense on the nose this champagne has a range of aromas from toasted nuts and dried fruit, honey, and pine. On the palate has hints of peaches and cream. Its richness calls for sweet dessert such as chocolate, enhancing them with considerable depth. Perfect pairing with white chocolate truffles.
We also find out that it paired very well with breakfast pastries, in particular, pain raisin and pain chocolat due to the brioche notes in both food and wine.

Maury, a dark and concentrated fortified French wine.  The Seriously Plummy Grande Reserve (£10.99) is 100% Grenache Noir grapes, goes really well with the dark rich chocolate dessert, as this Brazilian Brigadeirao - a dessert form of the famous Brazilian brigadeiros truffle. The dessert wasn't as sweet as the truffles themselves, so it was a perfect match to Maury.
Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva
As strange as it may seem some red wines pair well with chocolate,  Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva (£12.49) is one of them. It's cherry coloured and complex aroma, medium intensity and tannins paired well with the chocolate nut torte.

For more inspirational chocolate and wine pairings head over to Waitrose Cellar and for recipes at Waitrose chocolate recipes

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

 Thanks to Waitrose Groceries and Waitrose Cellar for providing all the wines and ingredients for this tasting.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Wine: Stars of the Loire

Star of the Loire
In celebration of the Starts of the Loire festival that runs from 21st September to the 25th October, D&D London restaurants are offering a variety of different events, pop us around the capital.
The festival will be exploring the region of Loire, new and unsung heroes as well as tasting hidden gems from the area, from sparkling to sweet, to explore the diversity that the region has to offer. The events will be lead by wine personalities.
I was invited to try a selection of Loire Valley wines at the New Street Grill restaurant where they served three courses, enabling us to create our own food and wine matching recommendations.
That was a great way to try out and learn more about the scenic and charming Loire Valley wines.

Loire Valley Tasting included some delicious sparkling wines specially
Cremant de Loire, Domaine Penet, Chateau de La Presle NV - Chardonnay, Chenin and Arbois grapes.  It has a persistent effervescence, complex, nutty, gently honeyed nose with floral aromas  It was a great start of the tasting - perfect aperitif!

The Rose d'Anjou, Oliver Fardeau, Domaine des Essarts 2014. Dry wine, light and easy drinking with a very light sweet after taste. Strawberries, dark berries notes.  It is the perfect wine to accompany light meals and grilled vegetables, fish, seafood, and chicken. Even desserts!
Grape: Grolleau (70%) - Gamay (15%) - Cabernet (15%)

We sample quite a few interesting and off-the-beaten-track wines.

Savoring the wines of the Loire Valley with food at New St Grill

The Diner took place at the New Street Grill
Dressed Cornish crab - a light dish made of brown and white crabmeat The long, juicy and frayed strands were fresh and sweet while the brown meat as mushier and punchier flavour.

Succulent and melt in the mouth 300g English sirloin steak, confit garlic, triple cooked chips and a smooth and vibrantly coloured bearnaise sauce. An earthy and very tasty mushroom cooked in butter and garlic. 

The wine: 
 saumur champigny domaine des roches neuves 'terre chaudes'  2013 - blackcurrant and plum character on the nose and peppery aromas.Blackberry is  prominent on the palate with high  The tannins. This wine paired well with the steak.
Chinon Rouge - Cabernet Franc, velvety, firm and round. Black fruits and spicy to the nose. Full bodied wine. Again it, it went well with the red meat.


British cheese selection with exquisite sweet wine Coteaux du Layon Domaine Philippe Delesvaux
Eton Mess, with strawberry sorbet

Burnt Cambridge cream, shortbread biscuit
New Street Grill is located inside a historic 18th century warehouse near the city and Shoreditch. 

Stars of The Loire dates for your 2015 diary:

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

Disclosure: I was a guest at the wine tasting and New Street Grill by Loire Valley wines
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