• Charlotte Kristensen

MONTHLY DIGEST: Valentines #1

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

It's been a busy month of trade tastings and events - from attending a GQ dinner hosted by David Beckham and Les Dauphins wines - to the Flavours of New Zealand trade tasting. I also continue my WSET Wine Diploma studies this term with fortified wines, so I've been tasting lots of Sherry, Port and Madeira!


♥ VALENTINE'S SPARKLERS ♥

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are my sparkling wine recommendations:


SAVE

Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV |  Majestic £15.99  |  This sparkling South African number offers excellent value for money.  It’s packed with notes of fresh strawberries and has a crisp acidity with fine bubbles. Enjoy as an aperitif or with light food dishes.

SPEND

Champagne Castelnau Rosé NV | Amazon £35.00 | This stylish, contemporary Champagne gift box is ideal for a Valentine's treat. On the eye, the champagne is an elegant shade of pink and has notes of raspberries and cherry intertwined with subtle toasted almonds.

SPLURGE

2011 Agrapart & Fils, Mineral, Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Grand Cru Champagne | Hedonism Wines £96.40 | A top Champagne that will electrify the room! It has beautiful complex notes of baked honeyed apples, ripe lemon, marmalade and brioche with lively acidity and a long finish.



BOOZY FOODIE:

GIN CURED SALMON

I love food that contains wine or spirits, so "Boozy Foodie" will share some of my favourite recipes that have that extra edge. This month, I've got an easy but visually magnificent recipe for a beetroot and gin cured salmon, which will pair perfectly with all of my Valentine's Sparklers ♥


INGREDIENTS

* 1/2 a side of quality salmon

* 200g  of fresh peeled beetroot

* 50ml gin

* Juice of 3 limes

* Thumb sized piece of grated horseradish 

* 4 tbsps of brown sugar

* 2 juniper berries, crushed


METHOD

Step 1:  For the cure, put all of the ingredients apart from the salmon in a blender and whizz  to a thick consistency Step 2:  Pour half of the cure onto a large plate and place the side of salmon on top of the cure  Step 3:  Pour the other half of the cure on top of the salmon, cover with cling foil and place in the fridge Step 4: After 24 hours turn the salmon over in the cure so it soaks up extra juices Step 5: After 48 hours, wash the salmon under a gently running cold tap to remove the cure

To serve:  either slice the salmon into wafer-thin slices or thicker slices like sashimi. Enjoy as a delicious canapé on a blini, as a starter or even with a salad for a light main course...and don't forget to serve with bubbles!


LONDON SIPPING

Earlier this month I headed down to Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, Seven Dials (CVS) - a chic French-inspired wine bar with a cult following set in the heart of Covent Garden. CVS has a large range of thoughtful, hand-picked wines, with over 30 offered by the glass.  I had a glass of "grower champagne" from Chartogne-Taillet, Ste-Anne. To pair with your wine, CVS has a selection of delicious charcuterie, cheeses and small Parisian-influenced plates. Delish!  Pop in for a sophisticated catch-up with friends or for date night.   Wines by the glass from £6 | 8-10 Neal's Yard, London


GADGET: WINE SAVER

If you're looking to invest in an affordable and reliable gadget to keep that cheeky bottle of wine opened on Wednesday evening fresh until Saturday (!) then the Vacu Vin "Wine Saver" might just be your next best friend. It has a stopper and a pump system which removes air from an open bottle, reducing oxidation (oxygen causes a wine to lose its aromas and flavours). In my experience, the Wine Saver is good at keeping red and white wines fresh for 4-5 days after opening. After using your Wine Saver, store your white wines in the fridge and your red wines in a cool and dark place.  Vacu Vin Wine Saver | £9.95 on Amazon.

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