High tea at the Lanesborough Hotel

Lovely walk down Rotten Row in Hyde Park to Hyde Park Corner.

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We met up for afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel with a dozen friends from the S&CA who we’d been sailing with on the transatlantic crossing on the Queen Elisabeth in January. It was a lovely affair: with good tea (Jasmine Green Pearls for me), sandwiches (including pink beetroot bread for the smoked salmon), scones with jam and clotted cream, lots of cakes! We stayed there about two and a half hours, which made the £40 a head (incl tip) seem not too bad. There was a pianist, lots of silver, lashings of hot tea and the hotel was rather swanky. I didn’t understand the two real-flame open fires in the entrance and lounge on a glorious day though.

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Nancy Spero at the Serpentine

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Hyde Park was buzzing today in the Spring sun. We walked through to the Serpentine Gallery from Lancaster Gate to see the Nancy Spero exhibition . I liked her antiwar series and the striking maypole of heads—all pretty dark. I was less keen on the hours if the night and manuscript-based pieces. However some very rich (colour and symbolism) collage prints were beautiful
but a bit impenetrable (a guide might have helped). Good exhibition.

Wine tour of Iberia

Michael and I were at at a Tour of Iberian Wine at Cambridge Wine in Cherry Hinton

  • Cava Brut NV Portaceli, Spain. Okay, quite brut indeed. Hint of apples. Probably not pay £7.50 a bottle though. Apparently will compliment suckling pig, which is handy!
  • Monte Alina, Verdejo / Viura, 2009, Rueda. Spanish £9.50 a bottle. Lemon on the nose, green notes (neroli?). Fresh summer wine. Not for £9.50 a bottle. Not very complex flavours, but a good nose.
  • Esporoa Duas Castas 2010 Portugal £10. Sherbet nose, and more interesting and lively in the mouth. Rounder. I prefer this a lot more to the previous wine. From the South of Portugal, made from verdehlo and govaio grapes.
  • R Lopez de Heredia Rioja Crianza Rosado 2000. Vina Tondonia. £15. Lovely pale, oxidised pink colour. Smell the oak on the nose, with some savory, salty coconut. Delicate sour flavour. 11 years old and rather sour. The pink colour is ‘onion skin’ old. A bit of sherry on the nose. Apparently four and a half years in oak. A bit of a shock, but it’s growing on us. Would be a treat Michael thinks. I’m not so sure…. Nice to try for sure.
  • Cien y Pico ‘Doble Pasta’ 2007 Castilla-La-Mancha. £12. Dizzyingly deep and seductive nose, lush and rich. Sweet mint? Prunes. Powerful, spicy bucket of tannin at the moment. Would age for a few years to knock that off and it could be super. Made with Granache Tintorea, a deep inky wine. Vines are treated like bushes and are very stressed by the intense heat: as a result get small bunches of thick-skinned grapes. The wine is fermented on the skins to get out the ‘ink’ and the flavours. Great match for the jamon serrano.
  • Cedro De Noval Douro Red 2007. Portugal. £16. Quite a cone down from the previous red, more balanced but seems thin after the last red. A good, well made wine but hard to see it as a £16 wine. Douro is typically a place for small producers working with local grapes. This wine is the second wine of the house. A blend of quite a few local grapes.
  • Beronia Rioja Gran Reserva, 2001. £18. Lovely, long, complex wine. Very well made and intense in the mouth, lots of life and excitement. Leather on the nose. Silky. This is a ‘top of the crop’ Gran Reserva. Taste some wood. Well structured and complex. Changes with time—expect the tertiary flavours to come through, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Henriques & Henriques 10 years old Malmsey. £19. Yum! We had this with Stilton and Manchego, dates and walnuts. Nutty and the 19% alcohol comes across strongly. Good with the Stilton, but the Manchego isn’t string enough to match. Good with dates too. Subtropical island, growing only six types if grapes on the island. On the nose dry fig and iodine (Joao’s description).

Tour of Iberia

These days, Spain is a major player in the world of wine. It has more land devoted to vine than any other and after years on the sidelines is really beginning to realise its potential. For a country that we associate with sunshine and package holidays, there is a surprising amount of climatic diversity. It rains in Galicia in the North west almost as much as it does in Manchester. So as well as producing some amazing rich, spicy reds, it is also capable of some of the most food friendly, thirst quenching white wines around, from grape varieties like Albarino, Viura and Verdejo. Portugal too has a treasure trove of its own grape varieties. We stock the delicious wines from Esporao which manage to combine Portugese character with new World modernity. All in all, Iberia is a pretty exciting place for wine these days and we’d like to share a few of our favourites with you.

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Tweets this Week (2011-04-03)

  • Meeting Greg at the Tivoli for their beer festival and to spend the last of our CAMRA 50p vouchers: that's x 10 pints! #
  • Graham just cycled 3.5 miles for the Cambridge Cycle Challenge 2011 http://t.co/Jz70nbD #
  • Good grief! Can this really be a pork ankle? It looks like a major bit of a pig! http://flic.kr/p/9v4c1T #
  • Two presents from Michael! http://flic.kr/p/9vdcv4 #
  • Lovely day to stroll through the colleges and see the wood anemones, bobbing in the breeze. http://flic.kr/p/9vwHGW #
  • Had a lovely skype video chat with my mum for Mothers' Day. She was visiting David and took her laptop! Now there's a new thing. #

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