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The BWT in Harpers

When I read the first few lines of Emily O’Hare’s review of the Boutique Wineries Tasting I was slightly disconcerted, but as I got through the ‘pushy parents’ comparison, and after-school polo club visits the tasting seemed to gain her approval.

The word “boutique” makes me shudder as it conjures up images of eggs and fragile baskets, cooks and badbroth. Boutique wine makers often seem to me like pushy parents, creating a product that looks to have all the credentials, but is utterly charmless and not worth the high price paid.

Although it seems I was wrong. Perhaps the after-school polo club and the Mandarin lessons were worth it, because the wines on offer at Tuesday’s tasting were truly outstanding and positively premium.

I started at Maisons Marques et Domaines and I sampled the Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV. I know this wine back to front, but I needed to start strong. It smells oft he caramelised nuts sold on Waterloo Bridge, but is as fresh on the palate as lemon verbena tea, with the most gentle, creamy mousse.

My mood lifted and the Pinot Gris Kitterle 2007 from Domaines Schlumberger glowed in the glass. It tasted of papaya. I love a wine that heralds from the northern hemisphere but offers hope of more exotic climes.

My morning continued to improve with the wines from Swig. They have some fantastic Roman whites, I thoroughly enjoyed the Greco Moro/Greco Giallo 2008 blend from Marco Carpineti. The acidity was a little lacking, but it was so robust on the palate that I got carried away with thoughts of deep-fried zucchini flowers and salty carbonara.

My favourite white was undoubtedly the Lismore Estate Viognier aoo8, from South Africa. I usually struggle with Viognier – too fruity, too alcoholic, too fat – but this wine straddled the Old World and the New. On the palate sweet and savoury flavours mingled delicately and lingered while I scribbled.

Staying with Swig, the Barbera 2006 from Renato Corino, was a joy. It reminded me of Madonna’s video for Like A Prayer – starts off dignified and holy (a nose of cold stone and incense) but then turns into something intensely sexy with flavours of Amedei ,chocolate, baked plums, rose and violet.

Lastly, a wine I have long been a fan of, the wonderful Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello 2004 from Ellis of Richmond. A strong frame of tannin, with taut acidity and robust flavours, woven together by an all female team. A rather formidable wine to finish an unexpectedly exceptional tasting.

Emily O’Hare
Sommelier at the River Cafe
Boutique Wineries Tasting

Facebook is free market research

The future is already here with regards to new media, and it’s very easy to promote businesses freely online, said media consultant Ryan Opaz at the Social Media in Action seminar, held at the Boutique Wineries Tasting.

Opaz, who writes wine blog CataVino and lectures in internet marketing, conducted the seminar on September 22nd at BMA House and advised businesses to “get on to Facebook as it’s changing very quickly”.

“It’s very easy to create a fan page for a product and share a huge amount of information” he added. “Plus without them really knowing what’s going on, you’re collecting everything you need from addresses to demographics. It’s free market research,” he said.

“Today’s media is all about reaching out to people and having them reach out to you,” he added. Opaz also recommended Twitter as “the most powerful tool on the web today” and a valuable marketing strategy with live wine tastings already taking place online.

Wine blogging is also changing and expanding, said Opaz and there are currently 1000 wine blogs in 12 different languages. He said one of the main advantages of blogs are that they are “naturally bouyant” and rise to the top of Google.

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