Wine of the Week: Orovela Cuvee Chandrebi Mtsvane Rkatsiteli

Orovela Cuvee Chandrebi Mtsvane RkatsiteliGeorgia is said to be the original birthplace, or cradle, of wine as it is believed that the practise of wine-making has been taking place in the region for more than 7000 years.  During this time it has been renowned for its wine, counting the royal, rich and famous across Eastern Europe as its most loyal fans.  However, with interest in wine and wine production increasing, Georgian wines are beginning to gain recognition in the UK.  The Georgian Wine Society, makes the enjoyment of these Eastern luxuries more possible than ever before.  Extending its range since its incredibly successful inception, The Georgian Wine Society has now added wines from Orovela to its range.

The Orovela Cuvee Chandrebi Mtsvane Rkatsiteli is a rich, golden white wine.  Rich and buttery, not unlike Chardonnay but with a greater mineral taste, it is a superb alternative white to enjoy with poultry, seafood or salad dishes.  The blend of 85% mtsvane with 15% rkatsiteli produces a particularly smooth, but very clean and crisp wine.  In fact, it even boasts a slight hint of juicy apples, under an aroma of strong tropical fruits.  This wine is simply summer in a bottle.  Its aroma and flavour instantly transport one back to the bustling streets of Tbilisi during an intense summer heat, with the smell and tastes of natural and delicious local foods wafting from cafes and restaurants on a very slight breeze.  However, instead of waiting to enjoy this while on one’s travels, purchase a bottle to enjoy at home and introduce friends and family to the joys of Georgian wine.

The Orovela Mtsvane Rkatsiteli 2007 – £12.99 – 13% ABV

To purchase Georgian wine or find out more visit The Georgian Wine Society.

10% of all the society’s profits go to the charity EveryChild’s – childcare programs in Georgia.

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Win 2 Tickets to the Ljubljana Beer Festival

One lucky winner and a friend could be watching the start of the World Cup from BeerFest Slovenia courtesy of the Slovenian Tourist Board.  BeerFest Slovenia is the largest beer festival in central Europe and will be showcasing 30 different beers, numerous of bands from Slovenia and neighbouring countries and the World Cup football on big screens in the centre of the capital, Ljubljana.

Visitors to BeerFest can cheer on the Slovenian team during their first World Cup match is against the USA, which takes place on June 18th 2010.  The prize consists of two return flights to Ljubljana and two nights accommodation in Hotel Antiq, to be taken between June 16th – 20th 2010.

To enter visit www.slovenia.info/worldcup

For more information about BeerFest visit www.beerfestslovenia.si

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Russian Standard Vodka Originals Launch

NoisettesThis week Russian Standard Vodka announce the launch of Russian Standard Vodka Originals, a revolutionary and unique programme designed to provide people unrivalled access to a world of real music and film.  Russian Standard Vodka is steeped in Russian heritage; it is based on the vodka formula created by illustrious scientist Dmitri Mendeleev and is produced with premium Russian ingredients which are distilled at Russian Standard Vodka’s state-of-the-art distillery in St Petersburg.  And thanks to Russian Standard Vodka, this year people will experience the first ever truly credible brand offering with authentic, free ticketed, live music and film events across the year, courtesy of Russia’s number one premium vodka.

Russian Standard Vodka Originals kicks off with a bang with two intimate live music experiences in iconic music venues on the 19th and 20th May at the HMV Picture House in Edinburgh and the HMV Forum in London, respectively – featuring the British, Gold selling band The Noisettes. Described as ‘the best live band in Britain’ by The Guardian, the Noisettes bring with them an exciting and alternative sleek pop sound.

Loyal Russian Standard Vodka fans and new customers have the amazing opportunity to attend this free ticketed event and share it with a friend by entering the draw and registering for a pair of tickets at www.rsvoriginals.co.uk, the online hub containing all exclusive content for the campaign.

The hottest new breakthrough act Chew Lips will be supporting on both nights and each gig will culminate in a celebrity packed aftershow party with a DJ set from some of the coolest names on the scene. Each venue will be bespoke themed to bring to life the world of Russian Standard Vodka and people will be immersed in an unrivalled premium brand experience and atmosphere that brings the best of real music and film direct to them.  For those unable to attend the Noisettes concerts, the gigs will be filmed exclusively for Channel 4 and shown later in the year.

At the events consumers will be given the opportunity to receive Russian Standard Vodka privilege cards. By interacting with the brand, re-visiting the website and entering codes gained on purchase of a Russian Standard Vodka bottle, the card will give priority access to unlock a world of Russian Standard Vodka assets throughout the year.

Anyone who would like to attend any of the Russian Standard Vodka Originals events will need to visit www.rsvoriginals.co.uk and enter the draw to be in with a chance of winning a pair of the free tickets!

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Wine of the Week: Croatian Plavac Mali 2007

Plavac Mali Croatian Red WineYet another East European find in Waitrose, this time a bottle of Croatian red wine!  Croatia is renowned for its wine, particularly its red which is hearty, rich and intense in flavour and colour.

Plavac Mali is produced at the Svirče Winery on the island of Hvar, located on the Adriatic.  The vineyard is noted for its quality wines.  This particular bottle is a ripe, smooth red, from the Plavac Mali grape.  This grape variety, indigenous to Hvar, is closely related to Zinfandel and so the wine has a very similar style.

The Plavac Mali is soft enough to drink one its own but makes an ideal pairing to beef dishes such as cevapi served with ajvar.  Alternatively serve with a delicious Sunday lamb roast.  Packed with notes of punchy berry fruits this bottle is simply delicious and would not be a poor accompaniment to an abundant cheese board.

Plavac Mali Hvar 2007

750 ml

13% vol.

£9.79

Available at Waitrose

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Russian Easter Traditions at The Merchant’s Yard, London

Kulich at the Merchant's Yard
Kulich at the Merchant’s Yard

Triple kissing and the giving of eggs as presents are distinctive features of celebrating Easter in Russia. On the first day of Easter people marvel at sunrise early in the morning and predict weather for all of the summer. People put on new clothes as a symbol of new life, a tradition that goes back to the early Christians who were baptised at sunrise on the first Easter day. After the end of Lent, it is acceptable to wear bright and colourful clothes, especially red. It is believed that the gates to heaven are open during Easter week and everybody who dies during this time goes straight to heaven.

The Imperial Kulich is a traditional Russian Easter cake. You will need a lot of eggs, butter and sugar so that the cake remains fresh for a long time. A special 1-1.5 cubic litre, tall cylindrical form, made from aluminium is used for baking the kulich. Forms are washed over with butter and half-filled with dough. The finished Kulich is decorated with sugar frosting, candied peel, nuts and sugar, with a rose placed on top to add the final finishing touch.  Kulich, pashka and painted eggs can all be found at the Merchant’s Yard this Easter.

Easter Eggs at The Merchant's Yard
Easter Eggs at The Merchant’s Yard

The Easter breakfast is an important ritual in Russia, bringing all the family members together around a beautifully-decorated table for a sumptuous feast. The Lenten fast is broken by first eating the eggs bless in church. Kulich and pashka are then divided up and then the family can proceed on to other dishes.

The Merchant’s Place, 41 Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1NX

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Russian Zakuski Part IV: Vodka

Russian Standard Vodka & Shot Glasses
Russian Standard Vodka & Shot Glasses

In the 10th Century Prince Vladimir the Great of Kievan Rus’ wanted to abandon paganism in favour of a more modern religion.  In the Primary Chronicle it is said Vladimir sent emissaries out to investigate alternatives.  When the emissaries returned and relayed what they had found out about Judaism, Christianity and Islam it is believed Vladimir rejected the option of Islam saying, ‘Rus’ loves to drink, we cannot be without it.’

Mead, kvas and beer met the imbibing demands of the Kievan Rus’ until the late 14h Century when spirits became available, probably via the Baltic.  However, there is some confusion over what exactly was available, vino being used to describe sprits distilled only once (unlike vodka) and also wine.  According to one Soviet historian, there seemed a complete absence of information on drinks like present-day vodka and if one is to believe written sources, only spread to Russia in the 16th Century.

Read more…

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Enjoy Georgian Wine this Christmas

Georgian Wine SocietyThis week I came across a very exciting website, The Georgian Wine Society, which helps supply British consumers with the best Georgian wines.

It is widely believed that it was Georgia in which wine production first began, over 7000 years ago, with archaeological remains suggesting that grape juice was placed underground in clay jars to ferment during winter as early as 4000 BC.

Georgia is a land famed for its natural bounty. These days there are over 500 species of grape in Georgia, a greater diversity than anywhere else in the world, with around 40 of these grape varieties being used in commercial wine production. Conditions are well suited for viticulture: summers are rarely excessively hot, winters are mild and frost-free. In addition, the mountains around the vineyards are full of natural springs, and rivers drain mineral-rich waters into the valleys. All this means that Georgian wines have a reputation for being exceptionally pure.

Around 150 million litres of wine are produced each year in Georgia, with around 45 000 hectares of vineyards under cultivation. There are 18 Specific Viticulture Areas (a local analogy of the Controlled Appellations of Origin) where the grape variety, planting density and yield per hectare is controlled by Ministry of Agriculture, and where the grape yield per hectare is limited to 8 tons.

Read more…

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Matra Mountain Pinot Grigio

Matra Mountain Pinot Grigio 2009
Matra Mountain Pinot Grigio 2009

First Waitrose stocked Ewa’s Vineyard Hungarian wine and now I stumble upon yet another great find at the supermarket.  Matra Mountain, Pinot Grigio, 2008 is a crisp, dry white wine with a ripe apple and pear flavour.  The Matra vineyards are located on the southern slopes of the Matra mountains, benefiting from a unique microclimate, allowing the largest Pinot Grigio vineyard in Central Europe to produce exceptional grapes.

Under the watchful eye of winemaker Benjamin Bardos, selected grapes are hand-picked at optimum ripeness before being carefully fermented at cool temperatures thereby retaining their varied fruit and aromatic qualities.

This bottle is the perfect accompaniment to fish , chicken and delicate veal dishes but equally could be considered as a quoffing wine for a night in.

To find out more visit Ocado

£5.49

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Eva’s Vineyard

I post a lot about vineyards across Eastern Europe that are worth a visit but unfortunately, all too often, it is difficult to get hold of the produce in the UK.  However, Waitrose currently stock a wonderful, dry, crisp, white Hungarian wine.  It’s perfect for easy drinking, cooking or served with light meats, poultry etc. or fish.

evaWhat Waitrose Says:

Eva’s Vineyard Chenin Blanc / Pinot Grigio / Királyleányka 2008 Neszmély Region, Hungary

Easy drinking and fruity white from the Hungarian hills.

Made from some of Hungary’s best white varietals, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Királyleányka, and specially blended for an easy fruity style. The winemaker, Eva Keresztury, has given her name to this wine made especially for Waitrose.

Bottle: £3.79

Case of 12: £45.48

More information

Alcohol by volume: 12% vol

Award – IWSC medal: Bronze (2008 vintage)

Bottle size: 75cl

Closure type: Screwcap

Exclusive to Waitrose: Yes

Grape varieties: Pinot Grigio / Chenin Blanc / Királyleányka

Style: Dry white wine

Suitable for vegetarians & vegans: Yes

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