The Definitive Italian Wine Tasting 2012

Posted on June 20th, 2012 by Robin Goldsmith in Drink, Wine

Definitive Italian Wine Tasting

The "Definitive Italian Wine Tasting" event at Lords Cricket Ground on 18th June was a great showcase for wine diversity. Few countries exhibit such a range of styles and grape varieties as Italy. Given the size and shape of the country, it is not surprising that the climate varies hugely from the Alpine glacial moraines in the north to the volcanic Sicilian slopes in the south. Many grape varieties planted there are well known, but there are others virtually unknown outside Italy which are capable of making some fantastic wine. I went in search of surprises and returned happy with my discoveries, some of which I will now share with you.

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The Real Ale Revolution Continues

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by Robin Goldsmith in Beer, Drink

So real ale used to be thought of as an old man’s drink (probably an old English man wearing a flat cap) and as far removed from youthful trends as Jeremy Clarkson’s dress sense. However, this is clearly no longer the case.

CAMRA reports increasing numbers of younger drinkers and new microbreweries opening up, despite increases in pub closures. In the USA, craft brewers are flourishing and in Italy, there is a growing appreciation of real ale with over 360 microbreweries and a consumer organisation similar to CAMRA, called MoBI (Movimiento Birrario Italiano) – Now Spain is moving in on the act, but surprisingly it’s wine that’s driving this forward.

Rioja is famous around the world as one of the premier wine-producing regions. Tempranilo, garnacha and viura are three of the quality grape varieties used to make wine in this area of Northern Spain. Now barrels previously used to mature wine made from these grapes are being used to mature beer. According to the Drinks Business, Mateo & Bernabé produce two kinds of beer – a wheat beer and a golden ale, using hops and wheat from England and Germany. It will be interesting to see now whether Spanish drinkers support this new venture, as cold lager still has a major hold over consumers’ beer tastes in the hot Mediterranean countries. What next – a real ale revolution in Germany ???

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