Rescue Mission. Palari Faro, a Sicilian Icon

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Palari Faro

Rescue Mission. Palari Faro, DOC Faro, Sicily. 2009. 13.5% This fabulous wine comes from north-east coastal Sicily, on steep volcanic slopes between the towns of Messina and Taormina. It is called Faro after the lighthouse that guards the entrance to Messina’s harbour. Beyond are the narrow, dangerous straights of Messina separating Sicily from mainland Italy. Faro is a shining light …

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Breaking Glass – which fizz glasses are best?

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Breaking Glass

Breaking Glass – which fizz glasses are best? One rainy Sunday afternoon I tested the suitability of various stemware for fizz in an experiment called Breaking Glass. What works best for bubbly? Admittedly my Breaking Glass test was conducted without much scientific rigour. Different glasses were hand-washed beforehand to ensure there were no lingering traces of detergent, which kills bubbles …

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It’s time to make Creme de Cassis

Paul Howard Articles, Blog, Wine Reviews 21 Comments

Creme de Cassis

Creme de Cassis What to do with Black Currants? In Britain, they just tend to end up as Ribena. France created an altogether better solution – Creme de Cassis. France took its Black Currants from England and Holland centuries ago. Their best come from Burgundy, called “Noir de Bourgogne”. The woods and hills above the vines are full of them. A few …

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Coffele Castel Cerino Soave Classico

Paul Howard Blog, Italy, Organic, Wine Reviews 1 Comment

Coffele Castel Cerino

Coffele Castel Cerino Soave Classico DOC, Veneto, Italy. Soave is a famous Italian white wine region. The town of Soave, in the heart of the Classico zone, lends it its name. Here a magnificent walled fortress dominates the landscape. From its swallow-tailed vantage points, you can see far and wide. It seems besieged by rolling limestone and volcanic hills. On these …

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Mosnel EBB – White Gold for the 180th Birthday

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Mosnel EBB White Gold

Mosnel EBB – White Gold for the 180th Birthday Recently, Franciacorta winery Mosnel celebrated its 180th Birthday, and I was privileged to be invited to take part. In the course of their celebrations, they had a very special treat. It was an opportunity to taste every release of their vintage Franciacorta called Mosnel EBB, back to the very first vintage of …

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English Fizz comes of age

Paul Howard Articles, Blog, Wine Reviews 2 Comments

English Fizz comes of age

English Fizz comes of age For English Fizz, this is the year that a step change happened. In years to come, we’ll look back at 2016 as the year that everything seemed to come together. Climate change, professional winemaking, maturing vines, grape varieties, site selection, business and investment skills, media recognition, coveted awards and sheer self-confidence mean that English Sparkling …

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Friday Night Fizz Night

Paul Howard Articles, Blog, Wine Reviews 2 Comments

Friday Night Fizz Night

Friday Night Fizz Night What a week for the UK! Huge divisions have been opened up over Brexit, with politicians of all hues and financial markets in turmoil, while Iceland thrashed England at Euro 2016. Take your pick about what’s gloomy for you. But just because we are living in turbulent times it doesn’t mean that we can’t still have …

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I’m forever making Bubbles

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Bubbles

I’m forever making Bubbles A popular Wine Alchemy event is called Making Bubbles; how different ways create sparkling wines. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Wine comes from the alcoholic fermentation of freshly picked grape juice. We regard this chemistry is straightforward, but for centuries, it was not understood. We know now that yeast digests the sugar in the grapes, producing alcohol and …

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Ca La Bionda Casal Vegri is one excellent Valpolicella

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Ca La Bionda Casal Vegri

Ca La Bionda Casal Vegri is one excellent Valpolicella Recently, I returned from an inspirational trip to Valpolicella. Amarone has firmly re-established the reputation of this region. But what of Valpolicella itself, a lighter red wine made from the same grape varieties as Amarone? If you want an excellent example, try Ca La Bionda Casal Vegri. The Valpolicella challenge Valpolicella can …

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What is terroir and does it matter?

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Terroir

What is terroir and does it matter? Terroir is a French word without a simple English translation. The Oxford Companion to Wine devotes a couple of pages to it. However, my favourite explanation is from literature: “For nitrates are not the land, nor phosphates, and the length of fibre in the cotton is not the land. Carbon is not a man, nor …

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