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Monthly Archives: February 2018

  • In Celebration of Champagne

    February, the month of romance and love, is in full swing. Valentine’s Day, chocolate and Champagne have been featured everywhere this month.

    In the world of wine however, Champagne is only one type of sparkling wine. It’s probably the best known but definitely not the only one. But great Champagne is most often less than affordable. There are however, many affordable options from all around the world that will certainly leave your pocket feeling less strained but still are of good quality!

    Much of the bubbly from outside of Champagne is produced using the same methods and often with the same grape varietals.

    Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of bubbles.

    Tip 1: French Champagne-style Alternatives

    Champagne is not the only region of France producing great bubbly. France has a total of 23 other wine regions producing fabulous sparkling wines such as Crémant d'Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Anjou mousseux AOC and Blanquette de Limoux AOC.

    Tip 2: International Champagne-style Alternatives

    Keep your eyes open for international alternatives. Here is a list of names of non-French wines made using the same traditional methods used to create Champagne around the world:

    - South Africa: Methode Cap Classique

    - Spain: Cava or Espumoso

    - Portugal and Argentina: Espumante

    - Italy: Metodo Classico

    - Germany and Austria: Sekt

    - USA, Australia, etc: Traditional Method or Méthode Champenoise

    There are other sparkling wines such as Prosecco, but this is not made using the same method as Champagne.

    Tip 3: Serve your bubbly at the right temperature

    All sparkling wines should be served between 6 and 8°C. Anything warmer could cause the wine to lose flavour and bubbles too quickly.

    Tip 4: How to open the bottle correctly

    To avoid unnecessary wastage or an F1-style shower, opening the bottle of bubbly correctly is essential. Whilst some, like Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere are masters in the art of sabrage (opening the bottle using a sabre!), most of us need to use more simple methods to extract a cork!

    A photo of Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere doing sabotage

    To avoid injury to yourself and your guests, it is necessary to control the release of the cork. There are two ways to do this. The first involves grasping the cork firmly and twisting the bottle slowly. The cork travel upwards as the bottle twists, but you still retain a good deal of control when the cork separates from the bottle. The second method involves loosening the wire cap but not removing it entirely. This aids in keeping additional control.

    Both methods, as long as they are done slowly and with control, will ensure that bubbles are preserved.

    Tip 5: Pouring and serving sparkling wines to preserve bubbles

    In order to maintain effervescence, bubbly should be served in a long flute. It is also very importance to trickle the wine down the side of the glass while tilting at an angle. This ensures more carbon dioxide remains in the wine, enhancing the taste and mouth-feel of the wine.

    Tip 6: Pairing bubbly with food

    The best thing about bubbly is that it is so very versatile. It is no longer primarily a celebratory drink. It can be enjoyed with many different meals. Some ideas include:

    - Brie and other creamy cheeses

    - Salami and prosciutto

    - Seafood such as shellfish, smoked salmon, caviar and calamari.

    - Duck or beef

    - Fruit-based desserts such as tarts and crepes

    - Buttered popcorn

    - Pizza

    Hard To Find Wines stocks a wide range of bubbly. Take a look at our website and make a selection for your next celebration!

    Next week we will take a look at Le Lude, an exquisite Methode Cap Classique producer from Franschhoek in South Africa.

  • Meet the Winemaker: Takuan von Arnim - March 2018

    You are invited to join Takuan von Arnim,
    Cellar Master of Haute Cabriere,
    for two exclusive evenings hosted by
    Hard To Find Wines
    in London and Shropshire in March 2018

    Meet the Cellar Master:

    Thursday, 8 March at High Timber Restaurant in London, EC4V 3PA from 6.30pm.
    For more information and your FREE ticket, CLICK HERE.

    An Evening of Food and Wine with Haute Cabriere:

    Saturday, 10 March at 7.00pm in Shropshire.
    For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

    Takuan von Arnim

    A photo of Takuan von Arnim, Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere doing sabotage

    As Cellar Master at Haute Cabriere, Takuan forges an innovative path in an age-old industry, a path pioneered by his father, Achim von Arnim under the philosophy of Sun Soil Vine Man.

    The understanding that sun and soil, work together with the vine to produce great wine, with man gently and respectfully orchestrating these elements as they create the eventual outcome and expression of the vintage, is best summed up by Haute Cabriere's statement "Great wines are grown."

    For more information on Haute Cabriere's wines, follow this link.


    Meet the Cellar Master
    Thursday, 8 March 2018 at 6.30pm in London

    An evening of wine tasting and canapés hosted by Takuan, showcasing the full range of Haute Cabriere wines.

    The evening will be held at High Timber Restaurant, 8 High Timber Street, London EC4V 3PA starting at 6.30pm.

    For more information and complimentary tickets, CLICK HERE.

    An Evening of Food and Wine with Haute Cabriere
    Saturday, 10 March 2018 at 7.00pm in Shropshire

    High Grosvenor, our beautiful, newly-renovated, 16th Century Tudor

    Starting at 7.00pm, Takuan will introduce Haute Cabriere's wines paired with a carefully planned and prepared seven-course meal, designed by Fresh & Lush.

    The evening will be held at Hard To Find Wines' Tasting Room with accommodation available in our beautiful, recently renovated 16th Century Tudor house, High Grosvenor, for those who would like the option of accommodation on-site or at nearby Davenport House's cottages.

    Transfers to and from the function for those staying overnight will be offered.

    For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

    Hard To Find Wines tasting room at High Grosvenor


    Fresh and Lush Ltd have created an exquisite seven-course menu that perfectly complements Haute Cabriere's wines

    On arrival
    Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs

    Freshly baked bread with accompaniments
    Pierre Jourdan Brut NV

    French onion soup with smoked pancetta and a comté crust
    Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016

    Twice baked cheese soufflé on a bed of grilled vegetables served with a slow roasted tomato vinaigrette
    Pierre Jourdan Tranquille NV

    Chimichurri sea bass with preserved lemon rice and spiced vegetable broth
    Haute Cabriere Unwooded Pinot Noir 2016

    Herb crusted rack of local lamb with thyme and garlic fondant potatoes and orange and redcurrant sauce.
    Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir 2013

    Melktert with Ratafia poached pear and salt caramel shard
    Pierre Jourdan Ratafia NV

    Petit fours
    Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose


    Meet the Cellar Master
    Thursday, 8 March 2018 - London
    For your free ticket, CLICK HERE.

    An Evening of Food and Wine with Haute Cabriere
    Saturday, 10 March 2018 - Shropshire
    For tickets and more information CLICK HERE.

    Food and Wine Package - £90
    Food and Wine with B&B Accommodation at High Grosvenor - £185 per person
    Food and Wine with Accommodation only at Davenport Cottages -  £185 per person or £160 per person if 2 couples sharing a cottage
    Transfers to and from the function for those staying overnight will be offered


    For tickets and enquiries, please email

    Do not delay! Spaces are limited.

    High Grosvenor House logo

    Fresh & Lush logo


  • GlenWood: Bottling their 2017 Merlot

    We had the privilege of observing the bottling of GlenWood's 2017 Merlot on Friday, 2 February 2018. What an exciting morning! Here are some photos of the process.

    A photo of Merlot being pumped from the tank

    Merlot being pumped from the tank to the bottling plant

    A photo of the bottling trailer

    The wine is pumped to the bottling trailer

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