The Great New Zealand Wine Tasting 2017!!! (16th January 2017)

A Land Like No Other

New Zealand wine continues to perform strongly in the UK wine Market especially at premium price points.

The event, ‘The Great New Zealand Wine Tasting’ at Lindley Hall, London, on 16th January (the largest tasting of New Zealand Wines outside of New Zealand) was as expected, excellent, and a great way to escape the winter blues.

This event is a great way to discover what makes New Zealand stand out from the rest, with an amazing selection of Sauvignon Blanc’s, Chardonnay’s, Aromatics (Pinos Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer), Pinor Noir, as well as Red Blends (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends) which turned out to taste wonderful, to say the least.

An extraordinary journey of discovery, with over 450+ wines from over 75 top producers, where you can taste your way around the diverse regions (Auckland, Central Otago, Gisborne, Marlborough, etc) and styles (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc, etc) that New Zealand’s world-renowned wine country has to offer.

Brief History
New Zealand’s wine producing history extends back to the founding of the nation in the 1800’s.

#wine #winetasting #nzwine #newzealandwine #newzealandwines #grapevarieties #riedel #sauvignonblanc #chardonnay #pinotgris #riesling #gewurztraminer #pinotnoir #merlot #cabernetsauvignon #syrah

About the Organiser

New Zealand Winegrowers is the national organisation for New Zealand’s grape and wine sector. The organisation currently has approximately 1000 grower members and 700 winery members.


The Start of a New Year!!!

2017!!! A New Year!!!

January and February


  • The Great New Zealand Wine Tasting
  • Tosa Brewery Sake Seminar & Tasting (Sake & Food Pairings)
  • Hello Baijiu: Raising a New Year Toast
  • Gekkeikan Sake Brewery Seminar & Tasting (Sake & Food Pairings)


  • Sake@UK Walkaround Sake Tasting

After coming back from my Christmas Holidays and New year in Goa in January, where I also tried Fenni (or Fenny)*, I attended a few food and drink events around London, which will be detailed below. However first i shall provide an overview.

I first started of with The Great New Zealand Wine Tasting (16th January), followed by the Tosa Sake Brewery  (17th January) at Sakagura London, with some delicious dishes and sake’s and lastly to celebrate Chinese New Year, there was a Baijiu (China’s alcoholic spirit) Tasting to toast.

More recently, at the end of January leading to February, there was another amazing event at Sakagura London, the Gekkeikan Sake Brewery Tasting, with some amazing sake and food pairings, followed by the Sake@UK at Vagabond Wines in February, where they held a walkaround sake tasting , which was held from 4th-7th February 2017, with a selection of sake to taste.

*Goa’s alcoholic spirit (42.8% abv) – 2 types: –

  • Cashew Fenny; and
  • Coconut Fenny

Wine, Spirits, Sake & Food Events of 2016!!! – (OUTLINE)

List of events attended in 2016: (Summary is to follow)



WSET Evening Tastings

  • Vine to Glass
  • Sicilian Delights,
  • Prosecco Masterclass,
  • The Greek Odyssey– A Further Voyage
  • Canadian Wine Tasting; and
  • Port Tasting – The Duoro-Port by the Symington Family
  • Masi – Oseleta Masterclass

Natural, Organic & Biodynamic – Wines of the World

  • Real Wine Fair
  • RAW Wine Fair

Events focused on Countries:


  • The London Greek Wine Festival
  • Cyprus Wine Tasting and Masterclass
  • The Greek Odyssey Tasting at WSET (as above)


  • The New Duoro: Taste Along the River
  • Port Tasting (as above)


  • The BellaVita Expo
  • Gusto Italia Showroom


  • Mercado Chileno


  • Sake & Sushi Tasting at Sushi&Robata London
  • Narutotai Sake Tasting at Hedonism Wines
  • Sake Tasting at Victualler
  • London Sake Fair at Baglioni Hotel
  • Sake Tasting: Discover the Quality of Okayama at Yashin Ocean House
  • Dassai Sake Tasting at Hedonism Wines
  • International Sake Day at Hedonism Wines
  • Sake & Spice Tasting Evening at Kiri Restaurant – Kiri Sake Club

Events focused on Grape Varieties:


  • Great Riesling Revolution


  • International Grenache Day


  • Fine Cider Tasting



  • Glenrothes Masterclass by Ronnie Cox


  • The Great Sherry Tasting


  • Port Tasting (as above)
  • The New Duoro (as above)


  • Ocho Tequila Tasting


  • Macchu Pisco Tasting


  • The Bitter Truth Masterclass


  • Sole (Italy)
  • Pedras Salgadas (Portugal)
  • Smeraldina (Italy)


  • The Chocolate Show
  • Oenosthesia – Wine & Music
  • The RhoneTouch Exhibition – Wine and Art
  • Annual Tasting – Chambers of Commerce


  • International Cool Climate Wine Symposium

Sake & Spice Tasting Evening @ Kiri – Kiri Sake Club (23rd November 2016)

Kiri Sake Club presented their first sake tasting on Wednesday evening, entitled:

Sake and Spice Tasting Evening!!!

An evening dedicated to Japanese spice!

On Wednesday evening (23rd November), there was a pairing of 6 sakes with 6 different spicy dishes from Japan and Korea. The aim of the evening is to show how versatile sake can be when it comes to more robust flavours.

There were some unusual pairings where they matched, including: chilli, sansho pepper, seven spice and shishito, which were really nice.

This interesting event was hosted by Asami Tasaka, Managing Director of World Sake Imports UK and was organised by Mark McCafferty. An amazingly presented and organised event!!!

The Food and Sake are highly recommended at Kiri and worth the visit. A lovely setting alongside delicious sake and food.

Details of the next Sake event, part of Kiri Sake Club are tbc, but will be in January!!!

Kampai!!! 🙂

#sake #nihonshu #saketasting #food #japanesefood #foodpairings #sakeandfood #spicy #spicyfoods #sakeandspicyfood #kiri #kirirestaurant #worldsakeimports

Sake and Food Pairings:

1st Course:
Padron peppers with salt
Sake: Akitabare “Shunsetsu” (cold)

2nd Course:
Tako Carpaccio with kizami wasabi
Sake: Kamoizumi “Nigori Ginjo” (cold)

3rd Course
Wagyu skewer with pepper sauce
Sake: Junmai Kamoizumi “Shusen” (room temperature)

4th Course:
Japanese curry and chips
Sake: Junmai Tamagawa “Tokubetsu Junmai” (room temperature)

5th Course:
Korean fried chicken kara-age
Sake: Tamagawa “Time Machine” (room temperature)

6th Course:
Kimchee rice with quail egg
Sake: Daiginjo Tamagawa “Kinsho” (cold)

Dassai Sake Tasting (12 November 2016)

On Saturday 12th November 2016 (between 4-7pm), at Hedonism Wines, a sake tasting had taken place where a full range of Dassai sake was available to taste (Dassai 23, 39, 50 & Beyond), and Ms Kaoru Iida, Dassai Representative of Europe, came to talk about the range of Dassai Sake available that day.

The Full range of Dassai Sake to sample that day included:

-Dassai 23 (With its rice milling of 23% which is the highest milling of all commercial sake has been received very well around the world. Gorgeous aroma of melons and peaches, and elegant long finish);

-Dassai 39 (With its rice milling of 39%, it is a second best quality defined by its rice milling after 23%. It has smooth and mellow taste with refreshing finish);

-Dassai 50 (Even though this is the lowest grade in the DASSAI lineup, the DASSAI 50 still meets our quality standards. The rice is milled down to 50%); and

-Dassai Beyond (“The idea of a sake “beyond” became the touchstone for their work. Crafting a sake of such transcendent excellence meant going beyond polishing numbers and the provenance of rice and water. It demanded going beyond normal flavor profiles to coax levels of depth, complexity and smoothness from rice that had never been tasted before in a sake.”)

At Asahi Shuzo, one of the most unique breweries in Japan, they brew only premium Junmai Daiginjo sake.

DASSAI sake is created using a careful combination of tradition and cutting edge technology. Their brewery is a medley of ancient tools and innovative equipment and uses what works, both in the old world and the new.

DASSAI sake is all about quality, and not quantity, both in how they brew it, as well as in how they hope you enjoy it.

This beautiful event was organised by Honami Matsumoto, Founder of House of Sake. It was also a pleasure to meet Ms Kaoru Iida.

#sake #saketasting #nihonshu #dassai #dassaisake #hedonismwines #houseofsake

Short History of Dassai

“The name of our sake, DASSAI, means “otter festival,” and the origins convey much of what we are about. Apart from the fact that part of the name referred to the ancient name for the region in the Yamaguchi Prefecture, a long time ago, there used to be many otters frolicking in the nearby rivers. Otters would lay out the fish that they catch on the shore, almost as if they are showing them off in a festival. This led to references to “otter festivals” in ancient poems.”

“A famous haiku poet named Masaoka Shiki that lived about a century ago referred to himself as DASSAI, because of his propensity to scatter his reading material all over the floor of his room in much the same way as otter spread out their fish.” Masaoka created a revolution in Japanese literature during his time.

Dassai wants to convey that nuance too, as part of our philosophy of sake brewing. The theme underlying DASSAI sake is “Making sake is making dreams: opening a new era of sake.”

The New Duoro – Taste along the River (7th November 2016)


On the 7th November, between 5-9 in the evening, a tasting-show was held in the basement of the Vinyl Factory with the best producers and young creatives from Oporto and of the vibrant Douro valley present in the UK.

An opportunity to taste more than 150 different still Douro wines and Ports available to taste in a relaxed atmosphere from 26 of the Douro’s most exciting wineries.

Some of the many local grape Varieties used included: Malvasia, Rabigato, Viosinho, Folgazao for the whites and Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barca for reds.

This was a great opportunity to meet the winemakers and learn more about the Douro wine region and their wine styles.

Apart from Wine, there were other attractions and exhibitors present, representing Food, Design & Travel in the Duoro, including: (a list of exhibitors will be detailed in the first picture)

– Exciting food artisans who brought their hand crafted Portuguese specialities to nibble on. London based chef Leo Carreira (former Glimpson’s Arch) serving Portuguese tapas (Petiscos);

– A chance to experience Portuguese design and crafts (discovering the most stunning Portuguese ceramics and design produce);

– Portuguese DJ playing the sound of THE NEW DOURO; and

– Insider travel information and tips for Oporto and the Douro valley with wine and foodie tours and outstanding accommodation.

Interesting Facts
– The Douro River is a river in Portugal.
– It takes 2,044 kilometres to get there.

Water Facts
– Pedras Water Sparkling Natural MIneral Water (from Portugal) was used at the New Duoro Tasting from Region ‘Região Norte’ in Pedras Salgadas.
– Água das Pedras – “water from stones”
– Pedras is a member of the Fine Water Society. (
– In 2010, Pedras was awarded ‘Superior Taste Award’ with three stars by International Taste & Quality Institute.
– It has a Very High Minerality Content and a TDS* of 2,807 mg/l.

*TDS is the Total Dissolved Solids. It measures the mineral composition of any given water, which results in creating its own specific flavor profile and character. In this case, it is Acidic.

Overall, an amazing work by the Organisers and Exhibitors presenting the wines, as well as other exhibitors presenting Food, Design and Fashion in the Duoro and Travel Information. João Cunha Francisco Spratley Ferreira

#thenewduoro #thenewduoro2016 #duoro #duorovalley #vinylfactory #winetasting #wine #food #water #music #design #travel #portugal #port #porto #soho

Gusto Italia Showroom!!! (7th November 2016)

Gusto Italia Showroom Event – a walk through the Italian enogastronomical excellence !!!

On the 7th November 2016, in the grandeur of the Sheraton Hotel Grand Park Lane, the Italian catering industry hosted two days of festivities in the heart of London’s Mayfair, where the APCI-UK (Association of Professional Italian Chefs – UK) in collaboration with the AIS Sicily (Italian Sommelier Association, Sicily) with the support of the Italian Trade Agency, London presented the event “GUSTO ITALIA” (now in its third edition).

On the following day, celebrity chefs and other experts attended in which an award ceremony/Gala was held at the Millenium Hotel, where a number of awards* were given, the Prize of Italian Catering in the UK to the best Italian gourmet chefs and sommeliers in town, and were crowned this year’s winners.

*There are five Award Categories which include: Best Chef, best barman/sommelier, best Restaurateur, best promising young talent and a press award.

Show Cooking was done by various Celebrity Chefs such as Giancarlo Caldesi, Carmelo Carnevale, Giuseppe Silvestri and Danilo Cortellini,

More than 40 delegates from Italy’s Friuli, Abruzzo, Marche and Sicily regions were welcomed to its Gusto Italia Showroom. And with them had come thousands of bottles of wine and the best of local authentic food products especially for the occasion.

Guests were able to enjoy six masterclasses on topics including Italian extra virgin olive oil and Sicilian wines from the slopes of Mount Etna.

Brilliantly Organised by Carmelo Carnevale (president of the professional Italian chef alliance in the UK, APCI-UK) and team as well as AIS Sicily along with the Italian Trade Agency. Additionally, an amazing job by all the exhibitors.

A must attend event for those interested in exploring Italian Food & Wine from across Italy.

Note: This event was broadcasted live by Philip Baglini Olland, London One Radio (in Italian) at the event and can be accessed on their website.

#gustoitalia #gustoitalia2016 #gustoitaliashowroom2016 #italy #italianwines #italianfood #italiancheese #italiansalami #oliveoil #sheratongrandparklane

Water Fact

Smeraldina Water was used. (TDS = 133mg/l)

Italian Grape Varieties

Some of the many grape varieties used in Sicily include Nero D’Avola and Frappato and in Sardinia includes Sardinian Bovale, Cannonau, Monica, Muristellu, Cagnulari, Vermintino and other native types.

Aim of the event

The aim of the event is to build bridges between the UK and Italy and make sure the best Italian products are reaching the UK market.

The event organizer, Carmelo Carnevale, president of the professional Italian chef alliance in the UK APCI-UK says, ‘It’s vital to value locally sourced produce if the quality of Italian cuisine is to survive. That’s why an event such as the Gusto Italia awards is so important in London, the hub of international commerce and trade.’


The primary objective of APCI-UK is to protect and enhance the real “Made in Italy” on British soil and to help young Italian chefs make their way into the British job environment. These are the ingredients of the family of the chefs of APCI-UK, which opened on 22 April 2013 at the Sheraton Park Lane in London.