Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Doctor creates 'world's healthiest wine'

It sounds too good to be true. An Australian doctor claims to have created the world’s healthiest wine.

The drink purports to clean blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart attack with each glass.

Developed by Sydney doctor and wine historian Dr Philip Norrie, each bottle contains up to 100 times the amount of resveratrol - a naturally occurring anti-oxidant found in grapes - than a standard drop.

Resveratrol helps to maintain blood flow by keeping arteries free of fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaque.

Dr Norrie said a wine infused with high levels of the odourless, tasteless anti-oxidant would act as a “vascular pipe-cleaner”.

“While the positive effects of moderate wine consumption have long been documented, the inclusion of such large quantities of this beneficial anti-oxidant is very good news for wine drinkers,” he told Australian Associated Press.

“What we’ve been able to do is boost the amount of resveratrol in wine and you wont even know its there ... you’re effectively clearing your arteries while you drink.

“Getting people to stop smoking, exercise and lose weight, is a nice idea but in reality it doesn’t happen. Drinking two glasses of wine is realistic, enjoyable and also good for you and I’ve made it even healthier,” he said.

Dr Norrie is now producing his own range of wine, including a chardonnay and a shiraz, each containing 100mg/L of resveratrol per bottle.

He said this was as much as is contained in 70 to 100 bottles of standard white wine or 15 to 20 bottles of standard red.

“I stress that these benefits are best realised with moderate drinking,” Dr Norrie said in a warning to any connoisseurs planning a wine-based health kick.

University of Queensland cardiologist Associate Professor David Colquhoun also stressed the need for “moderate” consumption as he said the benefits of resveratrol were well known.

“Studies have strongly suggested that consumption of wine rich in resveratrol can lessen cardio-vascular disease, heart attack and stroke, he said.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Weekends in France

Sue has had a tummy bug for the last three days. The French endearingly call any stomach complaint a 'gastro'. I always find this ironic as the Brits are so fond of Gastropubs!
Anyway it has meant full on child care for a few days....which is always great fun. Max and Jasper are developing strong and interesting characters. They are great with each other which is very important. They are also competitive! Max can now gallop on his pony and Jasper has mastered a steady trot. We have spent the last two evenings trying to be quiet around the house (which has never been our strong point). We have been gathering firewood from old vineyards that have been grubbed up and walking the dogs in the hills and forests. We have been playing chess and drafts. We even experimented with a 'cooperative' rather than 'competitive' game at breakfast this morning after I went to a fascinating talk last night about 'Jeux cooperatifs'. Tomorrow we are planning to go and see a special theatre show of Aladdin in Montpellier. Sue should be better by then, which is great. My only concern is that I will have to endure a trip to 'Old' McDonalds Restaurant. Maybe its time for a gastro?

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Lagerfeld, Dom Perignon pay homage to Claudia Schiffer's breasts

Karl Lagerfeld has frequently used Claudia Schiffer as a muse. But this recent article in Decanter
caught my eye.
I had never realized that the original Champagne coupe was based on the breasts of Marie Antoinette. It will certainly make me enjoy my Champagne more this Christmas.
The Dom Perignon website is also quite fun for more weird stuff about Lagerfeld and pretty people supping very expensive Champagne.

We have some magnums of Dom Perignon 2000 @£1050 per 6 magnums ex vat,
and also some bottles available:

Dom Perignon 1996 @ £795 per 6 bottles ex vat
Dom Perignon 1990 @ £895 per 6 bottles ex vat

telephone us or email to reserve your stock.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Cork, Forest in a bottle on TV tonight

Fascinating TV program on BBC2 at 8pm tonight.
An exploration of the use and abuse of cork.
Every time we weigh up which bottle of wine to buy, we hold the fate of nightingales, rare black storks, secretive wild cats and one of the world's most remarkable trees in our hands. Cork producer and wildlife enthusiast, Francisco Garrett explains what will be lost if cork stoppers are replaced by plastic or screwtops.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Logan Apple Tree Flat Merlot 2006 review

Surely this must be the most fun review for a wine from the lovely people at Reserve Wines (click on their name to see the review)in Manchester.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Languedoc Roussillon Wines

Here are some stats:
In 2006 the Languedoc Roussillon had 268000 hectares under vine.

The total volume produced was 16,044,000 hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres= 133 standard bottles (75cl)) Therefore the total production was 2,139,146,520 (that is 2.1 billion bottles!!!)

The split for this is:
69 % Red
18 % Rose
13% White

Of the total production:
19 % is Appellation Controlee.....meant to be the best.
54% is Vin de Pays....literally 'Country Wine' where you can mention the grape varieties on the label.
27% is Vin de Table...the rest.

The principal grape varieties planted:
Carignan 52000 hectares(ha)
Grenache 45000 ha
Syrah 44000ha
Merlot 31000ha
Cabernet Sauvignon 19000ha
Cinsault 14000ha
Total red:205000 hectares.
Carignan is still the most extensively planted grape variety. Although it is regarded as a bit of a weed and usually blended with other grapes it can still produce stunning wines...as long as the vines are old.

Chardonnay 12000 hectares (ha)
Muscat(s) 8000 ha
Sauvignon Blanc 6000 ha
Grenache Blanc 4000 ha
Total white:30000 hectares.

I believe that Chardonnay was only introduced to the Languedoc area in 1978. Its global domination is continuing!

The producers:
72% Cave Cooperatives
26% Independent Winemakers
2% Negociants.

The wine world is constantly changing and evolving. This is especially relevant in the Languedoc Roussillon where the volume of production has reduced significantly in the last few years. There have been generous incentives to grub up vineyards and stop producing wine. There have also been significant changes in demand for different styles of wines. The Rose revolution continues at pace. It will be interesting to see a similar set of statistics in 5 or 10 years time.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Best value wines of the world?

The Sud de France must surely have the largest diversity and greatest value wines of any wine producing region in the World.
Where can you get fantastic value Sparkling wine, elegant crisp fresh whites, fruity reds, classic oak aged reds, amazing dessert wines and much more???
The big swathe of land between Marseilles and the Spanish border has always been recognized for bulk production. But the quality growers are emerging and gradually gaining strong reputations. You do not have to pay crazy money to enjoy great value wines.
Many independent wine merchants in the UK such as Vin Neuf Wines in Stratford upon Avon have incredible selections of well chosen wines. They offer a personal, family service and they have pride in their quality wines. When the wine world can seem quite confusing and the bigger wine brands seem to take over every supermarket shelf it is well worth contacting a proper merchant such as Vin Neuf to tailor your Christmas needs.
The only problem is the enormous selection! This chap called Nigel is ready to pounce(notice the Visa card at the ready).