Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Very.co.uk's Valentines interview with the Head Sommelier from Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa



As it's nearly Valentines Day and I'm feeling a little loved up, I thought it would be nice to share with you some valentines tips from the Head Sommelier from Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa. Read his interview from Very.co.uk below...

I for one associate the celebration of Signor Valentino with a tendency to indulge. Indeed I sometimes forget about the contents of my wallet and let myself loose on some much-craved for delicacies that I would otherwise feel guilty about buying. So assuming this is the case for you too, perhaps we can hone in on what goodies you should have to hand when approaching this important date. Whether you’re cooking a romantic meal at home or looking for a Valentine’s gift for him or her, here are some special ideas for you.  

Making time for a drop of fizz every now and then is one of life’s holistic necessities and in the light of soaring Champagne prices I would urge everyone to look into alternative sparkling wines from France and indeed the rest of the world. Demi-sec sparkling wines are great fun; with that extra drop of residual sugar they have a luscious texture. Renardat-Fâche make a quirky sweet-fizzy rosé out in the obscure alpine region of Ain in France which I paired with a sumptuous oysters and beef combo whilst working on the Isle of Skye. This bubbly contains less alcohol than in most wines, allowing you to crack open other treats during the rest of the night. And if you are feeling flush, ask Raeburn wines in Edinburgh nicely and they will send you a case at around £15 a bottle! 

As we are splashing out - perhaps we should dig out a white to go with our Lobster. Yealands Estate in New Zealand is now bottling their take on the Austrian grape variety Grüner Veltliner. This wine encompasses the magical aromatic qualities of the grape, and its low acidity suitably enhances the natural richness and oiliness of the wine; making it a perfect accompaniment to bold dishes. Great Western Wines will let you have this one for a mere £11.95 a bottle.  

Not finishing the meal with a sticky wine is surely a crime in itself, and the dessert wines of the moment are the ever-popular Ice Wines of Canada. Using an intricate technique whereby the grapes are left on the vine until frozen, ice wines are tooth-rottingly sweet and showcase voluptuous tropical fruit and honey flavours. There really isn’t such thing as a cheap ice wine, but if the belt isn't too tight then Selfridge’s stock the stunning Peller Estate Vidal at £45.99 for a half bottle. Funnily enough this works best with an old-fashioned tub of Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra. 

My advice on Valentines; be adventurous and enjoy! 

Oscar J. Malek 





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