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wine news, January 2010

Scotland does Tuscany

Tom Cannavan doesn't do many food and wine dinners since he presented a series at Michelin-starred Braidwoods restaurant a few years ago, but he has been tempted out of retirement to present the wines at the Lake hotel in Menteith, Perthshire, on Friday February 5th. The dinner features wines from Italy with special guest Chef Denio Bruci flying over from the Poggio ai Santi restaurant in Tuscany to cook. The menu is: Pear & Scampi Ravioli with White Pepper and Muffato Wine matched to a Gewürztraminer from Trentino; Scottish Langoustines on Zucchni with Colonnata Fat with a Vernaccia from Tuscany; Spaghette Zafferano Cacio e Pepe matched to a Rosso di Montalcino; Loin of Ochil Boar Sangiovese with Spring Onion and Black Olive  
along with Serre Nuove from Ornallaia in Tuscany and, finally, Caramelised Navel Oranges with Olio Novo Ice Cream and Black Salt served with a Moscato d'Asti. There are only a few places left (but no rooms at the hotel unfortunately) but it you'd like to come along tickets are 75 to include food and wine. Please contact The Lake Hotel.

Scotland does Margaux!

And there's another treat in store for Scottish wine and food lovers or anyone who fancies a weekend in one of the most beautiful parts of the highlands: an ambitious plan by Scottish hotelier Steven Warrack to bring a series of top-notch wine dinners to his Dunalastair hotel near Pitlochry kicks off with a magnificent Château Margaux dinner. Six vintages of Margaux
 
spanning 1983 to 2003 will be tasted in what must be one of the finest Bordeaux dinners seen in Scotland. The event is being hosted by Charles Metcalfe, and the tasting will be followed by a six course dinner served with specially matched wines. The price of the B&B accommodation, wine and dinner package is 495.00 per person. Contact dunalastair.co.uk.

UK Vineyards Guide 2010

Well, 'staycations' were all the rage in 2009, so if you are planning a stay at home holiday in the UK in 2010 you might still be able to get your wine country and vineyard visiting fixing exploring some of our national vineyards. Stephen Skelton MW has just released a comprehensive update of his UK Vineyards Guide for 2010, including a more or less definitive list of vineyards in England, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Islands - extensively researched and featuring useful information on each. Additional lists identifying the organic and biodynamic vineyards, vineyards of four hectares and above and a breakdown of vineyards by country and size. The book is available exclusively from www.lulu.com priced 22.95   

The year of the Tiger

The Year of the Tiger is set to be a roaring success according to fine wine merchant Bordeaux Index, which claims to be receiving orders from Asia worth 500,000 a day. Demand is said to be surging in the run-up to Chinese New Year on February 14, with first growths proving most popular among Asian clients. Gary Boom, managing director, said: "Giving top end wines as gifts has really taken off in Asia. We recently received an individual order for the ever-popular Chateau Lafite worth 200,000. This is now our busiest time of year outside of en primeur." Persistent demand from the Far East contributed to the fine wine market's strong recovery towards the end of 2009. Boom said: "The market in Asia and the Far East now accounts for more than half of all our sales, and last year our office in Hong Kong almost doubled its turnover." Boom also suggests the 2009 Bordeaux en primeur campaign may see heightened interest from Asia: "The Far East has never bought sizeable quantities of en primeur, but thanks to their increasingly keen interest in Bordeaux, and with 2009 tipped as the 'Vintage of the Century', this may be their year."
  

Viva El Vino

South London Spanish restaurant Rebato's and leading Rioja wine brand Campo Viejo are "set to turn the traditional restaurant experience of ordering food and selecting wine to accompany it upside down" with the launch of 'Viva el Vino' from 18th January 2010 to 15th February 2010. 'Viva El Vino' is an initiative where diners choose their wine from a menu without selecting their food - and are then presented with a selection of food, matched to their wine to create a truly unique dining experience. The 'Viva el Vino' campaign was devised by Campo Viejo who say it "involves matching specific food and wine nuances in order to enhance a diner's culinary experience." Rebato's will be the second restaurant to host the 'Viva El Vino' campaign, following its initial launch in central London Spanish restaurant PINCHITOtapas. The campaign will then continue its planned tour to a more Spanish restaurants in the UK. Marco Rebato, owner of Rebato's, comments: "We're delighted to be partnering with Campo Viejo to encourage our diners to add an air of mystery to their dining experience."
  

PizzaExpress goes low

PizzaExpress has introduced lower calorie, lower alcohol wine to its 'Leggera' (Italian for 'light') range, allowing customers to enjoy a pizza and glass of wine for around 600 calories in total. Following the success of its Leggera pizzas (each around 500 calories), PizzaExpress has developed Leggera wines, which contain 25% fewer calories and 25% less sugar than an average wine from its wine list, meaning that a 175ml glass is just 87 calories. PizzaExpress is the first restaurant on the high street to specifically develop a wine which is lower in both calories and alcohol, with the Leggera Pinot Bianco at 9% alcohol and the Leggera Sangiovese is 9.5% ABV. The 'secret' behind the wines is said to be "the early harvesting of the grapes, while sugar levels are still low. The Leggera Sangiovese is blended with super-ripe Sicilian Merlot to fill out the fruit profile."