David Moore does Franciacorta

David Moore has spent the last 4 or 5 days in Lomardia , Northern Italy experiencing the fruits of the Franciacorta region. In a nutshell, as Champagne is to France and Cava is to Spain, so Franciacorta is to Italy. This incredible sparkling wine is a relatively new kid on the block but is made with a passion and expertise that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Made in the bottle in a process that can take anything from 24 – 72 months with the familiar grapes of Chardonnay, Pinot noir (nero) and Pinot Blanc (Bianco), the wine is often pure and very modern in style. Many young wine makers are experimenting alongside some seasoned vintners to produce stunning results. It’s not cheap, and we don’t mention Prosecco in the same sentence as this wine is seriously top drawer. Watch out for our listing from Azienda Agricola Ferghettina very soon. Some perfect bubbles for the Italian Americas Cup crew to celebrate coming in as runners up to Ben Ainslies British crew in the forthcoming July races here in Portsmouth!

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David Moore on Wine: Celebrate

David Moore looks at the perfect wines to toast sunny days and balmy warm evenings.

Champagne and strawberries have always gone hand in glove with sunshine and al fresco living.An indulgence for the rich? Well it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Yes, Champagne is expensive but there are cheaper alternatives, so think outside the box and look no further than the delightfully light and fizzy Prosecco from Piedmont, in Northern Italy.

It’s a wonderful low-in-alcohol alternative and is the prime ingredient of the classic Venetian peach cocktail Bellini, which is simply peach puree and Prosecco.

Or why not try strawberry or raspberry puree, which is absolutely luscious. Perfect for picnics, summer events – or just for enjoying sunshine in your garden.

We are, it seems, becoming more and more likely to drink pink or rosé wine, which has seen an extraordinary growth recently – up 139 per cent over the past decade and up around 20 per cent in the past year alone – in pubs and restaurants to around 12 per cent of wine consumed in the UK.

This is against a backdrop of declining sales generally in bars so it is even more striking, but deservedly so.

Rosé de Provence is an icon from the world’s largest rosé producing region in the southeast of France.

It has a beautiful delicate pink colour and a wine that will pair with almost any food. In fact, it is proving so popular French rosé now outsells white wine in France.

We, in the UK, have the luxury of a global input to our market and I implore you to try some amazing value quality rosés from South Africa. These are often made by French wine makers plying their trade in a better climate.

Circumstance Rosé from Waterkloof Estate, in Stellenbosch, is made with the Mourvèdre grape and is a steal at £8.75. Its French equivalent would be in the region of £12 a bottle.

My summer drinking is set to revolve around South African varietals. Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Sauvignon blanc all thrive here and are up there with the best in the world.

The difference of course is in the price. A South African Sauvignon Blanc can be half the cost of its New Zealand equivalent without compromising on quality.

My current recommendations are: Koopmanskloof Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (£7) – A soft wine with hints of asparagus, lime and peach. Percheron Chenin Blanc Viognier (£6.50) – From the Western Cape this wine is richly aromatic with vibrant white stone fruit flavours.

David Moore has been a restaurateur for 30 years and is owner of abarbistro, Old Portsmouth www.abarbistro.co.uk and Camber Wines www.camberwines.co.uk

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David Moore on wine: Wine O’Clock (October 2012)

David Moore, from Camber Wines in Portsmouth, adds to Great Britain’s long list of medals.

We Brits have been raking in Olympic medals all summer and I would like to add to those by dishing out a few of my own, in fact three gold medals to local wine producers.

My first goes to Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Sparkling wine. Based in West Chiltington, West Sussex, this estate was planted in 1988 by Stuart and Sandy Moss, from Chicago, and has won worldwide sparkling wine awards ahead of 13 Champagnes.

It is made from the same grapes as Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and the estate, owned by Dutchman Eric Heerema, has grown from 35 acres to more than 400 acres, making it England’s largest vineyard.

In fact it’s so good, I recently had a customer buy some to take over to Paris for the England v France rugby game. He wanted to show his French friends that not only could we beat them at rugby but we can also beat them at Champagne making.

My second medal goes to Meonhill English Sparkling wine.This vineyard is based in Hambledon, Hampshire, and the wine is blended by a Frenchman, Didier Pierson Champenois.

Didier is from Epernay and has transported his Champagne-making skills to the chalky hills in the MeonValley with amazing results. This wine also stands up comfortably on the global stage.

My third and final medal I award to Stopham Estate, based in Pulborough,West Sussex. Today the wines world’s main artery of cash flow comes from the sales of Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris), and Simon Woodhead, vineyard director and winemaker, has produced a Pinot Gris on this estate to compete anywhere in the world.

Sadly, because of the atrocious British weather, low temperatures and rain, the vineyard has lost 80 per cent of its crop in this only its third year.

While it’s still summertime in the US and Europe, the wine is in barrels in the southern hemisphere showing reduced yields, down 18 per cent in New Zealand and up to 50 per cent in Stellenbosch South Africa compared to its 2011 harvest.

We can expect to see price rises to reflect this by the time the wine hits our shelves.

I still rate South African wines as being the best value for money in the current economic climate. The South African Rand gives a good return on sterling, unlike the Aussie dollar and, to a somewhat lesser extent these days, the Euro.

Try Koopmanskloof Sauvignon/Semillon 2011, £8. It has a beautiful structure and a long succulent finish… and it’s fairtrade too.

I’ve been lucky enough to taste a tank sample of 2012 Viognier from this estate and it is stunning. It should be on our shelves by early autumn.

If the sun persists into a late summer, look out for Percheron Grenache Rose 2011, £5.50.A wonderful pale rose with a grapefruit punch.

David Moore has been a restaurateur for 30 years and is owner of abarbistro, White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth www.abarbistro.co.uk and Camber Wines www.camberwines.co.uk

Article published in the October 2012 edition of etc magazine.



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