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Monthly Archives: July 2018

  • Alvarinho - a Truly Celebrated Wine!

    It's International Alvarinho Day on 2 August! And because Alvarinho is such a popular wine, each year the wine festival Fiesta del Albariño, takes place in Cambados, Spain! This year, the festival will run from 1 to 5 August.

    If you are unfamiliar with Alvarinho (also called Albariño), it is a light-bodied dry white wine grown mostly in Spain and Portugal. Best known for high acidity, citrus flavours and a touch of saltiness, it is often compared to Viognier and Gerwurztraminer,  with its botanical aromas and stone fruits, Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc.

    Where Alvarinho Grows

    Alvarinho is traditionally grown in Portugal and Spain. Spanish Alvarinho wines are usually labeled Rias Baixas and in Portugal, Alvarinho is often blended into Vinho Verde wines. Alvarinho is spreading internationally and can now be found growing in California, Argentina, New Zealand and as far away as Brazil and Uruguay.

    Hard To Find Wines stocks Alvarinho from Quinta Do Ermizio in Portugal. For available wines, read on!

    Alvarinho Tasting Notes

    Served cold, Alvarinho has aromas of citrus (lemon, lime and grapefruit), pear, honeysuckle, nectarine and beeswax, held together with subtle minerality. The taste offers acidity, saltiness and a subtle bitterness.

    As the temperature increases in the glass, the flavours evolve to apricot, apple and pear notes.

    Many Alvarinho wines can age for up to 7 years but it is usually best enjoyed within 2 years  the vintage to maintain the acidity and fruity aromas.

    How to Serve Alvarinho Wines

    While Alvarinho is wonderful enjoyed as an aperitif, its high acidity and slight bitterness make it an ideal food pairing wine.

    Serve Alvarinho with seafood, white meats and light-coloured sauces. Alvarinho works particularly well with dishes enhanced with citrus flavours or aromatic herbs. Vietnamese, Thai and California-style Sushi pair well, as do ceviche, seafood pasta and shrimp.

    Quinta Do Ermizio
    Vinha Do Bouca 2016
    £12.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha da Bouca

    Gold Medal Albarinhos Al Monde

    A different and very mineral Alvarinho. Delicate bouquet combined with soft and fresh palate developing fruit and mineral hints. Good structure and mouth-filling with a long a clean finish. This is a wine with a refreshingly and harmonious aftertaste. Only 10,000 bottles produced.

    Quinta Do Ermizio
    Vinha Do Cuco 2016
    £10.99

    A bottle of Quinta Vinha du Coco

    A blend of Alvarinho (70%) and Loureiro (30%), this charming wine has an elegant and distinct nose.  The palate is round and intense, lovely fruit and fresh acidity, with a clean and mineral finish. The combination of a discrete nose with mouth feeling makes this wine very pleasant to drink. Only 10,000 bottles produced.

  • New Arrival: Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017

    Haute Cabriere's 2017 vintage of their very popular Chardonnay Pinot Noir has just arrived at Hard To Find Wines!

    "The 2017 vintage yielded grapes of outstanding quality, resulting in a beautiful balance of fruit and acidity." says Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim.


     

    Cellar Master's Reflections

    The two noble Burgundian cultivars of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir form the cornerstone of Haute Cabrière’s wine culture.

    Haute Cabrière, situated on the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, was the first winery in South Africa to produce a still wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - a blend traditionally used exclusively for Méthode Cap Classique and Champagne. Chardonnay contributes elegance, and Pinot Noir intensity and richness.

    This blend consists of predominantly unwooded Chardonnay, rounded off with Pinot Noir. Combined in perfect proportions, resulting in a white blend with an abundance of fruit on the nose and a slight creaminess on the palate.


     

    Haute Cabriere
    Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017
    From £9.99

    A bottle of Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017

    John Platter - 4 stars

    This enticing blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir shows elegant fruit and acidity, creating the perfect balance. You will find an abundance of zesty fruit - most notably white peach, pineapple, lime, followed by subtle red berry fruit - with a delectable full mouthfeel.

    Click here to order your bottles today!


     

    "This latest 2017 vintage has achieved one of its highest ratings in recent years and is a favourite at Hard to Find Wines HQ!

    An iconic wine from the Franschhoek valley, this unique blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir was pioneered by the estate in the early 90's. This vintage shows an incredible freshness yet maintains its signature balance of white stone fruit, peaches and lychee ending on a beautiful berry finish.

    A most versatile wine which can be enjoyed as much on its own as with food pairings."

    - Mark Davies, Hard to Find Wines


     

    Recommended pairings

    Seafood and chicken dishes as well as Mediterranean flavours.

    Click here to order your bottles today!

    Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017 with food

  • Food and Wine Pairing: Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017

    A big favourite at Hard to Find Wines HQ is Haute Cabrière’s Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Whilst it’s a perfect wine to drink on its own, Chardonnay Pinot Noir works very well with seafood.

    Here is the perfect complimentary recipe created by Haute Cabrière’s chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller.


     

    Grilled line fish with sauce vierge paired with Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir

     

    Ingredients
    Serves 4

    Fish

    4x200g fish fillets, we use hake most of the time or any Sassi green listed fish
    16 baby Nicola or red skin or fir potatoes (4 per person)
    *4 artichoke hearts cut in half

    Sauce Vierge

    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup canola oil
    80ml Raspberry vinegar
    Juice of one lemon
    1/2 red onion, chopped
    2 Tomatoes skinned and deseeded
    1 Tbs toasted crushed coriander seeds
    1 Tbs toasted crushed fennel seeds
    100g chopped parsley
    100g chopped basil
    100g spring onions
    Salt and pepper

    Method

    For the sauce

    Toast the spices and crush. Add the red onion and hot toasted spices to the vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, and infuse for 30 min. Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Finely dice the skinned tomato and chop the herbs. Whisk all the oil and vinegar mixture together, add the fresh herbs and tomato and season.

    For the rest of the dish

    Cook the baby potatoes with the skin on, in salted water till soft, remove and drain, cut in rounds and dress with some sauce vierge set aside.

    Grill the artichoke hearts on a griddle pan until nice and charred on the edges, set aside. Both these items are served at room temperature.

    For the fish

    Grill the fish until nice and brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side and finish in a hot oven if need be for 3 minutes.  Spoon some of the sauce verge on a room temperature plate and place the potatoes in the middle, place the fish on top of the potatoes and finish with the grilled artichokes make sure you have enough sauce on the plate, each bite should be able to soak up a good amount of sauce.

    *Seasonal. You can use good quality bottled artichokes. The ones in oil are best. Asparagus also works well as pictured.

  • La Couronne: the Crown of Franschhoek Part 2

    In Part 1 of our La Couronne blog post last month, we explored the history behind La Couronne and looked at some of their award-winning wines. In this, Part 2, we learn more about their wine and winemaking.

    The Team behind the Wines

    La Couronne maintains a small, tight-knit team at the farm that are led by Owner, Francois Smith; Wine Maker, Henk Swart; and General Manager, Eldorette Carinus.

    All three and the other team members working with them are passionate about wine and the wine industry.

    La Couronne maintains high standards of sustainable and ethical winemaking practices. One example is one of their water-saving exercises (a very important detail in the currently drought-stricken Western Cape area of South Africa): any run-off created during the winemaking process is used to irrigate the vineyards.

    The Grapes behind the Wines

    Shiraz Grapes at La Couronne

    La Couronne has over 23 hectares of vines, made up of 9 grape varietals: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Merlot, Malbec, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. All grapes are hand-picked and La Couronne's cellar has the capacity to process 200 tons of harvested grapes.

    Most of La Couronne's barrels are French Oak, with a smaller number of Hungarian and American Oak barrels. Stainless steel tanks are also used in the fermentation process. La Couronne uses Speidal Egg tanks to ferment and age some of their red wines to ensure an excellent outcome.

    Award-winning Wines

    In Part 1, we let you know that La Couronne has been awarded a Gold Medal and the IWC Franschhoek Chardonnay Trophy at the International Wine Challenge 2018 for their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2016. Their Limited Release Pinotage 2015 and Merlot Rose 2017 were both awarded a Bronze Medal, and their Malbec 2015 received a Commended at the IWC.

    A number of other awards received over the past year include:

    Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Chardonnay 2014

    Outstanding oak and fruit integration with a full rich creamy mouthfeel of almonds and vanilla. Light lingering aftertaste of peaches and hints of citrus. This is La Couronne's maiden vintage of this barrel fermented Chardonnay.

    • 2015 - Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2015 - John Platter Award – 4 Stars

    Malbec 2014
    £14.99

    A bottle of La Couronne Malbec 2014

    Decadent aromas of dark cocoa and Eastern spices. The palate offers ripened plums and crushed berries finishing with lingering creamy oak.

    • 2014 – Gold Wine Award – Gold
    • 2015 – Veritas Award – Silver
    • 2015 – Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2015 – Terrior Wine Award

    Merlot Rose 2017
    £8.99
    A bottle of La Couronne Merlot Rose

    100% Merlot goes into this quality rose. A deliciously delicate rose, with bright pink colouration and a subtle strawberry nose. The palate is surprisingly refreshing and dry, with soft berry flavours.

    • 2017 – The Global Rosé Masters 2018 – Silver
    • 2017 – Vitis Vinifera Award – Gold
    • 2017 – Michelangelo Award – Gold
    • 2017 – Rosé Rocks Award – Double Gold
    • 2017 – Gold Wine Award – Gold

    Upper Deck Red 2015
    £8.79

    A bottle of La Couronne Upper Deck Red

    A well rounded, medium bodied, easy drinking wine with spicy smoky aromas and soft tannins. it has an has an impressive smoothness and a long fruity finish.

    • 2015 – Gold Wine Award – Gold

    If you would like to broader sample of La Couronne's wines before deciding on your favourite, why not try our Taster Case?

    La Couronne Taster Case
    £54.99

    Taster case of La Couronne Wines

    Currently on offer at 12% off, this case contains a 6-bottle selection from the La Couronne range of wines. Included in this taster selection is their wonderful bordeaux-style blend, the Portside Red and one of only a handful of single varietal Malbecs being produced in SA at present. The mixed case includes a bottle each of:

    La Couronne Unwooded Chardonnay
    La Couronne Sauvignon Blanc
    La Couronne Merlot Rose
    La Couronne Portside Red
    La Couronne Pinotage
    La Couronne Malbec

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