What’s on my list 1st Feb – 31st Oct 2017?

Yes, ‘Dry January’ is finally over (for me it was 27 long days v 15 last year!).  So liver rested, a few pounds lighter and a few pounds saved, I am now looking forward to treating my taste buds to some new drinks in 2017….and I will be doing ‘Dry November’ this year as ‘Dry January’ is just too hard….

1/  Wines from Rioja – Tonight we are tasting 9 red wines from the Rioja region at our monthly wine club.  Until I discovered the Baron de Ley 2010 in December 2016, I was not convinced I liked Rioja …. but if you are keen to explore more – WATCH THIS SPACE!

2/  The Negroni Cocktail – named after Count Camillo Negroni in the early 1900’s, first mixed in Florence, the Negroni originally started out as an Americano – until the bartender swapped the soda water for gin.

Made from one part Gin, one part Campari, and one part sweet Vermouth (Martini Rosso)  with a strip of orange peel over some ice.  Or, you can add 2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters.

This is my favourite cocktail and in 2017, I plan to play around with it a bit – and try it HOT – yes HOT!!!

3/  Fino Sherry – When Jo Fattorini, presenter of ITV’s The Wine Show was on Mastermind recently (I think it was him!) – asked what his favourite wine tip was – he replied “You can’t beat fish and chips with a drop of Fino Sherry”!.  On the list.

4/  The Skinny Bitch – the skinny girls in my yoga classes all drink this – Grey Goose Vodka with Soda….got to be done!

5/  Rum, coconut water, mint and lime – will wait for the summer for this one.  I was interested to watch on this week’s Food Unwrapped how Rum is made – pure sugar cane and water mainly!

6/  Coffee from Guatemala – Sainsbury’s do a nice one – Modern Standard Momentum Blend whole beans @ £4.50;  and also fresh Jasmine tea leaves – I hate Green tea!

7/  Cava – yes more Cava – I spent 2016 trying to move my friends away from the sickly sweet Prosecco’s to Cava – the best one I have found so far is Cordoniu which is widely available – Majestic stock it for £6.99.

8/  I can’t remember why I put this on my list to try – it’s from Waitrose, it’s organic and it is from Puglia.   Terrie de Faiano Primitivo 2015 @ £9.49.   When I have tried it, maybe I will remember the reason….and I promise I will report back!

I need to stop at 8.   9 & 10 should be white wines but I am debating cutting down on my consumption of white wines and am going to try and stick with reds and the above for a while…..

Please let me know if you discover any fabulous new wines.  Here’s to a happy, sunny and healthy 2017!

Next blog – What is trending in spa and wellness in 2017?



Bored of Prosecco?

I finally decided that I was bored of drinking Prosecco when at a party just before Christmas, this was all that was on offer and after drinking about six glasses all from different bottles I presume to have been brought by different guests, I decided that I didn’t actually enjoy any of them and that it was time to move on…..

So what are the alternatives?

  1. Cremant  – (made in regions outside of Champagne – amongst the most well known – ‘de Bourgogne’, ‘de Limoux’, ‘d’Alsace’, ‘du Jura’, ‘de Loire’) – these are delicious sparkling wines made using the same method as used to make Champagne but from local grapes.

Although I try to stay clear of the ones that are two Chardonnay-esque,  two that I have enjoyed recently:

Cremant de Loire Cuvee 1864 Brut – Gratien & Meyer Saumer £14.95 from The Wine Society (this is actually made in a lesser known wine growing region of Anjou-Saumur in the Loire Valley) and

Cremant de Loire Brut – Prince Alexandra – £12.99 from Waitrose Cellar – this one has the aroma of Chardonnay but tastes typically of the local Chenin Blanc grape.

2.  Cava – I am going to make 2016 the year of ‘Come-back Cava’.  I drank alot of Cava when I was 16 years old – getting a taste for it on my first ever holiday to North East Spain (which is where most of it comes from).  To me, Cava tastes more ‘fruity’ than Prosecco.

Sainsbury’s do an easy drinking vintage Cava in their Taste the Difference range and it’s currently on offer at only £7.00 a bottle (and 11% alcohol).  I wouldn’t be embarrassed to take this zesty wine along to any summer parties – best served really cold.

3.  English sparking wines – with hundreds of vineyards springing up all over the UK (including the North of England), sales of English sparkling wines have been increasing massively over the past couple of years.  I am lucky enough to live within close range of some of the best suppliers and have most recently enjoyed a vineyard tour and a tasting of these two sparkling numbers:

Jenkyn Place Brut 2010 – around the £24.00 mark check here  for you local stockist and secondly, close to the renowned Nyetimber Vineyards in Sussex –

Upperton Vineyard Nebula 2011 – £24.50 – I am loving the purple label and also, the view from The Vineyard is stunning.  Just off the A272 near Petworth if you fancy a visit.  Upperton Vineyards

Finally, one which has recently come to my attention in that Kate Moss and other super skinny celebrities have been seen drinking it – a ‘low calorie Champagne’ which claims to have only 60 calories a glass (1/3 of the calories of regular Champagne) and sticking with the theme…..however, it comes at a price Thomson and Scott do a version as do Laurent-Perrier which retail @ £50.00 a bottle!  Only for the serious (and rich) dieter!

Have you found any good alternatives to Prosecco?

Let’s give them a try this summer and at least give ‘Cava a Come-Back’!