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A few years ago, I was working at a wine shop and a colleague had to write a tasting note for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape we had just got into the shop. Trouble was, none of us had actually tasted the wine. Without wanting to invent a tasting note, my colleague instead used one written by a fairly well-known wine critic. The tasting note began with a verbless statement: "Lurid ruby in appearance." That was an interesting start to the note as lurid has no positive connotations at all; the dictionary definitions include "glaringly bright," "melodramatically sensational," "gloomily threatening," "pale or wan,"...

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The holiday season is upon us, which means lots of great food and lots of great wine. There's so much cuisine on the table that you need wines that are varied and versatile to fit each and every dish. Which is where I come in. The Holiday Wine Bundle includes 6 bottles that can stand up to the rich and weighty dishes that are so custom to our holiday feasts. I have picked wines high in acidity to cut through the food, while also taking into consideration salty appetizers and indulgent desserts. There's a world of possibilities in food and...

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This week marks International Sherry Week. Although sherry isn't an integral part of my wine club, I nevertheless always have some in stock—not least because it's one of my favorite drinks, but also for blind tastings as well as being the perfect holiday wine. Here are three very different types of sherry from one of my favorite producers, Fernando de Castilla, demonstrating the versatility of the region's wines. the producer Fernando de Castilla was established in the 1960s by shipper José Bustamente, and the emphasis was on selling grapes and wines to bigger producers. In 1999, Norwegian Jan Pettersen bought...

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california, carignan, grenache, mediterranean, mourvedre, rhône, syrah -

California is most famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, but the wines I often find most exciting are those made from Mediterranean varieties, such as Carignan, Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Syrah. It makes complete sense that these varieties work, because, after all, California has a Mediterranean climate in common with southern France and eastern Spain. These varieties have been planted since the nineteenth century, but went by the wayside when the trend for Bordeaux and Burgundy varieties made California so successful internationally. Due to the price of land and of varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, producers are returning to...

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greece -

The last few years have seen a rise in exports of Greek wine, particularly to the USA. Drinkers are attracted to the really good value of the wines, which are often of far higher quality than their price suggests. Until recently, Greek wines were a tough sell because of difficult to pronounce names and the dubious reputation of retsina (more detail on that below). At last, however, consumers around the world are appreciating the quality, value, and history of Greek wine, and I'm excited to be able to feature a couple in blackpoolmatt's wine club. greek wine history in a nutshell...

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