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April 2009

French Wine Odyssey

Photographer Mick Rock has carved a reputation as one of the world's greatest and most sympathetic wine photographers over 20 years, his images appearing in countless publications. He has recently released the first in a planned series of DVDs, where hundreds of his images have been set to specially composed music by Andy Harsant. Title 1 in the series is French Wine Odyssey, a 25 minute loop of evocative and beatiful images of the vineyards of France. Mick says he expects the audience for the DVD to include not only wine and photography lovers who want a soothing and inspiring half hour of relaxation (the music is a dreamy soundscape in and out of which the images drift) but also has commercial
  
applications as the perfect thing to brighten up a dull waiting room or even a wine shop. Personal copies cost £18.98, but if you quote "WP1" when ordering you will save £5.00. See wine-odysseys.com which has contact and ordering details.

Fill Your Own Wine Bottle

Zelas Wines, located on London's Highgate, specialises in 'natural wines' made with low or no sulphur and no other chemicals. At a time when many people are conscious of their 'carbon footprint', Zelas are now offering customers the option to buy their wine straight from the barrel, filled into thier own wine bottle in the ultimate act of recycling. The wine on offer is a natural wine, and with self-fill costing 8.50 as against a commercially bottled version of the same wine which would be £13.50, Zelas say it is "a nice way to look after the pennies and the environment." Zelas Wine is at 216 Archway Road, telephone 020 8347 9006. Their website is zelas.co.uk
  

White House Wines

UK importer Fells were thrilled when Kendall-Jackson's Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay got Barack Obama's vote in November 2008. In an interview in People Magazine, the President said this wine was a staple in his Chicago home. Now it's one of their other agencies - Hugel - in the spotlight, as the Hugel Pinot Gris Tradition 2005 was served to 28 'Head of State' spouses, including Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Sarah Brown at the recent Nato Summit gala dinner prepared by Strasbourg's most celebrated chef, Emile Jung of the Crocodile restaurant. It's not the first time Hugel wine has been enjoyed by world leaders. To celebrate the end of the war, Jean Hugel sent a case of Hugel Gewurztraminer S.G.N 1934 to Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill expressed his thanks in a personal letter, stating: "I thank you very much for this most acceptable gift, which I am indeed enjoying. And which I appreciate all the more for the goodwill and friendship it represents." Right: Etienne Hugel and... who's that with him?
  

Extreme Wine

Those looking for a holiday that will immerse them in wine knowledge this summer might find the offering at 'Extreme Wine Experience' of interest. Based in the boutique hotel and wine estate of La Verrière in Provence, the first extreme wine experience took place last year and the estate say it was "an overwhelming success." A small group of international wine lovers will spend five dayswith lectures and workshops, tastings of "exceptional wines," hands-on activities in the winery and vineyard, and wine games. Accommodation is in La Verrière's medieval priory which has been recently restored, and they will enjoy "superb cooking by a renowned Provençal chef." Tutors include proprietor Nicole Rolet and Master of Wine Clive Barlow. Those who complete the course will be awarded with the WSET Intermediate Certificatie. For more information visit chenebleuextremewine.com.   

Chateau King's Cross?

One day, could this be London's first Grand Cru? An old piece of wasteland just behind Kings Cross is a role model for Londoners, encouraging them to consider the possibilities of turning wasteland into food and wine producing areas. Alara, a leading producer of organic muesli was the first food company in the UK to go 'zero waste', and having taken advice from the Urban Wine Company, Alara has planted a small vineyard on a southerly facing slope on their edge of their land. The vines went in at the end of March and Alara say they "hope this could be the beginning of wine revolution within Kings Cross, and across London."