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"Roll out those
Lazy HAZY Crazy
Days of summer"


Sorry I couldn't resist..... anyway if the current weather patterns are a little depressing just remember summer is almost around the corner.  I'm looking forward to some wine tasting opportunities in Europe.  Here are more options depending on your destination:

Due to KL’s proximity to Perth, WA, I assume many of you are familiar with the very professional tasting rooms attached to the wineries of Margaret River, many of which also offer very good quality restaurants and child-friendly activities within the grounds; the makings for a very happy holiday.  The same can be said for other wine-growing areas in Australia and New Zealand. As some of you know I am very much a Francophile but I am sorry to say that some French vineyards are, in comparison, a tad laid back and really need to try a little harder. 

Outside of the very established Bordeaux and Champagne winemaking regions, and perhaps parts of Burgundy, there hasn't until now really been many other options from a wine tourism point of view. Things may be changing.  As a fan of the Rhone Valley I am very pleased to find that www.vins-rhone.com have details of 13 "route des vins" to follow this summer and very helpful listings of vineyards with tasting rooms and even those that offer accommodation. I hope the same can be said for other regions.   This reminded me that last year I visited a regional tasting room in the Cotes-du-Rhone village of Beaumes de Venise showcasing wines and local produce.  I also persuaded the family to visit a nearby winery within a 12th Century castle, Chartreuse de Bonpas, (now owned by Louis Bernard) the video treasure trail within the various buildings was very entertaining and educational with it, even my teenage children had to admit it was “OK” and it was days before I heard "oh not another vineyard, Mum".  Smaller wineries are offering other delights such as tours of their grounds after a tasting or a weekly picnic to include local fayre to match their wines.

English vineyards although often small operations are offering tours and tastings, some have accommodation such as Three-choirs in Gloucestershire, Camel Valley in Cornwall and  Valley Farm in Suffolk to name a few.

There are of course wine holiday specialists who can offer numerous wine trip combinations (www.winerist.com) include family-friendly breaks and even wine with golf, now that sounds like a nice combination.

On my personal list for this summer is a trip to renowned Northern Rhone wine producer Michel Chapoutier who offers educational wine days or food and wine matching dinners. Another educational option in France is La Madelene, a 12th Century Priory in the foothills of Mount Ventoux that offers 1 to 3 night wine courses by a WSET instructor (www.rhonewineholidays.com). 
For a very informative newsletter and details of their personally-guided wine tours take a look at www.BKWine.com and finally my favourite website name www.grapeescapes.net. Have a grape summer!     Joanne


"You'll wish that summer would always be here" Nat King Cole

Offer of the
Month
:

Mixed Case
from Chile




Great Value Summer Selection, 12 bottles: Whites, a Rosé & Reds from a quality producer. 

MYR595 While Stocks Last


Recipe of the Month:

Lemon
Mascarpone
Tart with
Summer Fruits




I searched long and hard for the perfect recipe to use a jar of M&S Lemon Curd.  I think this is it.  My Food & Wine Club awarded it 11/10 recently and they are not easily impressed!  I think it is the perfect summer dessert and who cares which wine it goes with (although I do mention a possible pairing).



Sommeliers in
Malaysia

In February I posted in my blog  about wine service levels and training of Sommeliers here in Malaysia. I am pleased to announce that the Malaysia Best Sommelier Competition is taking place this weekend in KL.  There are 14 eager and well trained candidates this year. The winner and runner-up will earn places in the South East Asia Best Sommelier Competition to be held later in the year in Singapore.  I am lucky to have been invited to sit in on the service element of the exam and then to watch the Grand Final.  I will of course let you know how it goes.  This is another excellent initiative by Somlay, the Malaysian Sommelier Society, which should only improve the service levels in our restaurants.
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