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The Moët and Chandon July Festival 2017

Three days of top class racing, luxury dining and Champagne: it must be Newmarket. This year’s racing culminated in the July Cup on the Saturday – won by Harry Angel who was given a great ride by Adam Kirby, beating the favourite, Caravaggio.

The Wine Tipster spent the festival presenting on Newmarket Course TV and ITV, as well as showcasing some wonderful wines in the Summer House Restaurant and at the daily Moët and Chandon Champagne paired lunches alongside a fabulous menu.

The 2017 Festival marked the launch of this Champagne and Dining experience by The Jockey Club, which was a huge success. It was a great example of how well Champagne can be paired, with dishes such as the Fish Duo of Trout Mousse and Lemon Cured Salmon.

It was great to see so many familiar faces in the Summer House this year, as well as amazing support for English Wines, especially Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris, Nyetimber Classic Cuvée MV and Chapel Down English Rosé.

The Wine Tipster also did well on the tipping front this year, with Tangled at 8:1 on the Friday, and Medahim at 12:1 on the Saturday, both trained by Richard Hannon.

Overall, the 2017 Moët and Chandon July festival was a massive success, with attendances up on last year. The Wine Tipster will be returning next year – don’t miss him!

Luxury SPAR Prosecco DOC – Perfect for Summer

With Summer in full swing, what better way to relax and enjoy the sun than with a cool glass of Prosecco. Luckily, SPAR is currently stocking two fabulous and well-priced bottles: SPAR Extra Dry Treviso DOC Prosecco (£9.00) and SPAR Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco (£12.00).

The Wine Tipster does not seem to be alone in his love of Prosecco, as the UK currently accounts for 33% of Prosecco exports, making the UK the largest global importer. Following record exports to the UK in 2016, Prosecco DOC continues to grow across key markets – led by the UK returning an average of 30-40% growth over the past few years alone.

Production of DOC (designated area of origin) wines has risen from 1.5 million hl in 2011 to a huge 3.5 million in 2016. You’ll be pleased to hear that o ur thirst for quality Proseccos has led to the Prosecco DOC Consorzio increasing the area under vine. As of July 2009 Prosecco can only be produced in the regions of Veneto and Fruili-Venezia-Giulia in North-East Italy, but thankfully, there are lots of suitable vineyards areas across the nine provinces in the Prosecco region.

It should also be noted that Prosecco is never produced on tap, only in bottle, with the driest style being brut, then extra dry and dry. Prosecco DOC is also a perfect summer pairing with Grana Padano PDO (protected designation of origin) cheese from the North-West and North-East of Italy, as well as complimenting sushi and shell fish.

The two Proseccos available at SPAR are both easy-drinking and elegant, with the DOC Extra Dry excelling in its citrus fruit character and crisp acidity, and the DOCG Valdobbiadene (which is a famous town in the hills of the Prosecco region) has wonderful floral notes. Both are excellent pairings with Grana Padano cheese.

These SPAR stocked bottles are a must this summer, and next time you pop into a SPAR why not have a look at the rest of their wine selection too!

What a Week: Royal Ascot 2017

The Wine Tipster had a fantastic Royal Ascot 2017, presenting for Racing UK, BBC Berkshire and Ascot Racecourse. Over four and a half thousand people per day worked tirelessly throughout the week to make it another unforgettable year, which was made even more special with the spontaneous three cheers for the Queen everyday. Nearly 300,000 people attended this year’s Royal Ascot 2017 and the media coverage has never been stronger across the world.

As the official Champagne of Ascot this year, Champagne Bollinger was certainly flowing throughout the week, as was the official cocktail of the Flat season: The Royal Blush. The beautiful pink concoction is a mix of Beefeater London dry gin and rhubarb syrup, with chilled lemonade and fresh raspberries – making the perfect summer drink to enjoy at the racecourse.ITV’s James Tanner’s Queen Anne Kitchen was a new feature for the Racecourse, and was a particular favourite of The Wine Tipster, especially the Salt and Pepper Squid and the West Country Crab Salad, which paired beautifully with the Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Spy Valley from Marlborough, New Zealand. Tom Stanley my wonderful colleague from Racing UK enjoyed ‘going in’.

Other new features of Ascot this year included the 1768 Restaurant for lunch and afternoon tea, as well as The Village in the centre of the course which provided a more relaxed racing experience and was home to some stunning food stalls. The Wine Tipster tucked into Eggs Benedict from the wonderful Hotbox, who appear at music festivals across the country with their delicious delights.The Wine Tipster’s highlights of the week included tasting with Rishi Persad such dishes as Raymond Blanc’s Cornish Crab Salad with Coconut Bisque which was beautifully paired with the award-winning Bolney Estate Bacchus 2016 from Sussex. In regards to racing, however, The Wine Tipster enjoyed Gold Cup Day, especially with the 2 ½ mile feature won by his big tip of the week, Big Orange, who gallantly just managed to hold off the favourite Order of St George. Ribchester breaking the course record in the Jersey Stakes in the first race of Royal Ascot 2017 was also an unforgettable Ascot moment, as was Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup for the all conquering Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.   

All in all, another memorable and exciting Royal Ascot, for both the racing and fine dining experiences.

“Mixing the Best of History” with Veuve Clicquot

At South Bank Tower on April 10th, The Wine Tipster had the privilege of attending the international launch of Veuve Clicquot’s Extra Brut Extra Old. This new low-dosage double-aged Cuvée is blended exclusively from the Maison’s famed collection of reserve wines, and was unveiled in a spectacular evening of fine food and company.

The infamous Cellar Master, Dominique Demarville, has selected wines he deems to be most representative of the Veuve Clicquot style to create Extra Brut Extra Old – the first release being an assemblage of 47% Pinot Noir, 27% Chardonnay and 26% Meunier from the 1988, 1996, 2006, 2008 and 2010 vintages.

“Veuve Clicquot’s reserve wines selection has long been at the heart of the House’s identity,” comments President Jean-Marc Gallot. “Extra Brut Extra Old is an exploration of these, born from Demarville’s desire to isolate the very essence of Yellow Label.  By delving into Veuve Clicquot’s abundant heritage, and assembling six years of its finest reserve wines spanning over three decades, he has singled out the properties that make Yellow Label unique, and arrived at Extra Brut Extra Old: a wine unparalleled in purity of taste, intensity and silkiness.”

This exciting new Champagne was perfectly matched with a stunning menu curated by Lee Westcott, Executive Chef at Typing Room, and served to the banquet of 80 guests on Monday. Each course was expertly paired with the Extra Brut Extra Old, Vintage Rosé 2008 or Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec, giving guests a full Veuve Clicquot experience. The Wine Tipster was particularly intrigued with Demarville’s choice to decant the Demi-Sec – an interesting but enjoyable way to taste this wine. A surprising and original pairing was the Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke, Hazelnut and Blackcurrant with the Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old, which was also a beautiful match with Scallop, Fennel, Smoked Lardo and Apple.

Overall, the evening was a huge success, with informative and engaging talks from Demarville, who The Wine Tipster greatly admires and has the upmost respect for this wonderful Chef de Cave.


Veuve Clicquot Extra Brut Extra Old NV is now available to the UK On and Off-Trades via Moët Hennessy UK, with an RRP of £69.00 – tel: 020 7808 4390.

Sun’s Out, Prosecco’s Out…

With the recent warm weather teasing us into summer, it’s the perfect time to relax with a glass of cool Prosecco.  Luckily, The Wine Tipster is already getting ready to entertain and educate punters about this classic summer beverage at this year’s Foodies Festival, and Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.

Prosecco has been known and enjoyed since the Roman times, made from the Glera grape which gives the wine a fresh and light flavour. The DOC (Origin Controlled Designation) production covers two regions of North-Eastern Italy: Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, including nine provinces, Treviso, Venezia, Padova, Vicenza, Belluno, Pordenone, Udine, Gorizia and Trieste. The DOCG notates the more challenging growing regions within Prosecco DOC, giving its wines a rarity and speciality. It seems only fitting that such a delightful wine comes from what is considered one of the most beautiful areas of the whole Italian peninsula.

As you will learn if you attend one of The Wine Tipster’s events, Prosecco can be either “spumante” (sparkling), “frizzante” (semi-sparkling) or “tranquillo” (still), but all, nonetheless delicious!

Although it’s common to ask for a glass of Prosecco rather than a brand, the huge variety in producers is not to be overlooked. Here are a few of The Wine Tipster’s favourite Prosecco DOC producers at the moment:


La Marca

La Marca represents nine different wineries, 7 within the Prosecco DOC region, and 2 within the Prosecco DOCG region. With knowledge handed down through generations, La Marca is one of the most representative wineries in the Prosecco region.

La Marca’s Prosecco DOC Millage Extra Dry, originating in Treviso, is recommended by The Wine Tipster for its smooth and balanced flavour, with delicate citrus notes and a lovely fresh fruit character making it a perfect pairing with nibbles and starters.

You can find La Marca wines in Majestic:



CABERT, established in 1960, is an acronym that identifies the Cantina di Bertiolo winery, with vineyards that have covered the land since ancient times, now renowned as one of the most renowned grape-growing zones of the DOC.

Another favourite of The Wine Tipster’s is CABERT’s Spumante Prosecco Extra Dry with its notes of red apples and white flowers, elegant, refreshing and creamy flavour making it an excellent aperitif, or paired with Grana Padano.

Cabert Spumante and Frizzante are available from South Downs Cellars:



Found in the heart of the Treviso region, Cantina Montelliana is a cooperative of growers associated with Prosecco DOC and DOCG, dedicated to making the best wines from their favourable growing conditions.

The Wine Tipster recommends Montelliana’s Prosecco Spumante DOC Treviso Extra Dry for its delicious rounded appley and stone-fruit notes with a lovely length of finish.

Available from their website.


Cantina Progettidivini

“The yellow-gold canteen” has been produced in the ancient Brandolinin d’Adda Villa by the Masiero family since 2008. Harvesting the grapes exclusively by hand ensures the certified quality the Masiero’s are so dedicated to providing for their customers.

Cantina Progettidivini’s Prosecco DOC Millesimato 2015 Brut is a favourite of The Wine Tipster, renowned for its elegant and harmonious aroma, with a hint of lemon and pear notes. This smooth and well-made wine is creamy and citrusy in flavour. An excellent Prosecco!

Available from their website.


So next time you fancy a glass of Prosecco, perhaps retrain your brain and your taste buds to appreciate exactly which Prosecco you really want.

Cheltenham Countdown….part 2

Cheltenham Racecourse GatesAs the countdown to Cheltenham continues, The Wine Tipster is keeping an eye on who to look out for at the highlight of the jump season which takes place between 14th and 17th March.

They include Cole Harden in the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle on Thursday which provides him with a good chance to regain his crown from the 2015 race as long as the ground softens over the week following a great performance at Festival Trials Day at the end of January. In terms of one of the handicaps, Singlefarmpayment who is an excellent jumper and has proven form at Cheltenham has a tremendous chance of scoring another success in Prestbury in the Ultima Handicap Chase on March 14th.

In the Neptune Investment Management Novices Race, look out for Willoughby Court, a horse trained by Ben Pauling, who is certainly one of the trainers to watch at The Festival. We also know Ben is very patient with his string and very shrewd at placing his horses. The Wine Tipster selected Willoughby Court on his last start when he won at Warwick in convincing fashion whilst certainly giving the impression that he is highly progressive and improving every time from the racecourse experience. He still looks a little inexperienced but he is a great traveller and if he can cope with the hustle and bustle of the Neptune, he has a really good each way chance.

Starchitect is trained by David Pipe and has multiple entries at Cheltenham but look out to see whether he runs over hurdles or fences. Whichever race he ends up being declared for, he has a tremendous chance. He is a fantastic traveller and has certainly relaxed more as he gets older in his racing and big fields are certainly not a negative for him. He showed the other week at Ayr that he can certainly jump larger obstacle with ease and he could really have a really bright future. Now is the time to prove himself.

Ballyandy who won the Champion Bumper at Kempton last season, even though he had been beaten on his couple of starts over hurdles, showed all his ability last time out when winning the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in great style and certainly showed that aiming at the Supreme Novices Hurdle or Neptune Novices Hurdle make perfect sense and he must have a great chance for the popular Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. They can look forward to celebrating in the pub in Guiting Power.

In the build up to The Cheltenham Festival, you can follow Neil’s top racing tips in his Racing Plus column and daily during Festival week. Enjoy all the action on ITV Racing and Racing UK.


Two Weeks to Cheltenham

With less than 2 weeks until this year’s Cheltenham Festival begins, there are many races that are providing us with indications as to who to look out for at the highlight of the jump season which takes place between 14th and 17th March.
In addition to a great day at Newbury on Saturday and the forthcoming Greatwood Raceday on 4th March, there are an increasing number of events where some of the great and the good of racing will provide you with their top tips. On Monday 6th March you can attend The Cheltenham Festival Preview at The Costwold Club with a fantastic panel of experts including Chairman Richard Phillips, the legendary John Francome, Simon Clare of Corals, and BHA senior handicapper Phil Smith, Gordon Clarkson of SIS and Rick ‘Statto’ Allen. The Wine Tipster will be in action on Friday 10th March at Chadlington Memorial Hall near Chipping Norton at 7.30pm for an evening of wine tasting and horse racing tips as well as the latest news on the chances of local trainers, Charlie Longsdon and Ben Pauling. Wines included in the tasting are Tim Adams, Zalze, Esk Valley and Prosecco Zonin. For more information about, “Whose Wine is it Anyway”, and to book tickets, visit the website.

The Wine Tipster has a few horses and jockeys that he is keeping an eye on. Following an excellent win in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices Hurdle at Kempton on Saturday, River Wylde is really improving. Despite looking a little green and inexperienced, he was won 3 times over hurdles in 3 outings and under the watchful eye of Nicky Henderson will no doubt put in a great performance if he runs at Cheltenham. He looks possible for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on day 1, and as long as he can cope with the big crowds at The Festival, he is definitely worth an each way bet.

Pilgrims Bay also won at Kempton on Saturday in the BetBright Handicap Chase ridden by James Best, a relatively unknown jockey, who had the race of his career almost kidding his ride into winning, and I can only hope that he gets a look in at Cheltenham.

Another of Nicky Henderson’s horses, Top Notch is one of many horses with multiple entries but looks possible for The Arkle Trophy. He’s not a big horse but is a very good hurdler who takes the fences well providing a very good each way bet at the moment.

In the feature race, The Gold Cup, it is hard to ignore Champagne West who has always had class and his last performance was excellent winning in Ireland in the Thyestes Chase. He is a high price at present but based on his recent performance, it would be worth taking the price now and is hard to keep out of the frame.

There are a few more horses to keep an eye on including Cole Harden in the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle on Thursday which provides him with a good chance to regain his crown from the 2015 race as long as the ground softens over the week following a great performance at Festival Trials Day at the end of January. In terms of one of the handicaps, Singlefarmpayment who is an excellent jumper and has proven form at Cheltenham has a tremendous chance of scoring another success in Prestbury in the Ultima Handicap Chase on March 14th.

In the build up to The Cheltenham Festival, you can follow Neil’s top racing tips in his Racing Plus column and daily during Festival week.

Jockey Club Catering Showcase Day 2017

Jockey Club Catering ShowcaseJockey Club Catering spent the day illustrating the diversity and quality of its offering at the fifteen Jockey Club racecourses around England at their Showcase Day held at Epsom Racecourse last week. The day aims to promote and educate, highlighting new innovations in all aspects of the racecourses to members of the Jockey Club Racecourses and sponsors and guests.

Moet et Chandon FountainThe Jockey Club Catering teams from each of the racecourses presented their wares showcasing wonderful concepts including the Sensory Garden, the local larder including cheeses from producers all near to a local racecourse and the new exciting retail concepts. This included a new Prosecco Bar in conjunction with Bisol and Bibendum with the following Proseccos on taste: Belstar Prosecco DOC Brut, Jeio Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG Brut and Cru Vigneti del Fol Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene DOCG Extra Dry. In addition, there was a stunning fountain filled by Magnums of Moët et Chandon at the evening event.

As MC for the day, The Wine Tipster presented the Jockey Club Catering Wine List, which highlights the best of British in addition to a stunning selection of New and Old World Wines.

There was an intense and exciting Ready, Steady Cook Competition between the four Jockey Club teams of London, East, West and North. In the half an hour allotted the teams produced a broad array of beautifully produced dishes, with no previous knowledge of the ingredients available. The London team just came out on top in a very tight and entertaining competition.

One of the highlights of the day was the College Chefs Competition where 3 teams of 6 young chefs from South Thames Catering College were challenged to create a grazing menu consisting of 2 starters (1 veggie), 2 mains (1 veggie), 1 dessert, to serve a total of 50 guests. The winners were invited up on stage to receive a voucher each as well as a copy of Michel Roux Jr’s latest book, The French Kitchen. These young stars will also have the opportunity to work at Epsom in the near future.AcademiciansAlbert and Michel Roux Jr have a long standing association with Jockey Club Catering and The Wine Tipster was given the opportunity to chat with them after the competition. He posed many questions delving into their interest in racing as well as top advice for aspiring chefs and trends in the food they are cooking both at the racecourse restaurants, their own restaurants and at home. The Wine Tipster was hoping for an invitation to Sunday lunch! Albert & Michel Roux Jr with The Wine TipsterIt was wonderful to part of such a collaborative and exciting day reinforcing the joys of a day out at the races. You can enjoy a flavour of the day in this fantastic video

Jockey Club Catering Offering

Christmas & New Year Racing

Kempton Racecourse, King George

Over the festive season, there was plenty of exciting racing to enjoy. The 32Red Kempton Park Winter Festival on Boxing Day and 27th December featured in the King George VI Chase the Thistlecrack v Cue Card contest, who were both trained by Colin Tizzard, in the most hotly anticipated jump-racing encounter of the season so far. The crowds turned out to see the fascinating contest with Thistlecrack taking breathtaking leaps, which was reminiscent of the mighty Desert Orchid, to secure victory. Tom Scudamore, Thistlecrack’s jockey, enjoyed a spectacular ride to his first victory in the feature event of the Christmas racing programme, a race his grandfather Michael won as a jockey in 1956 but always eluded his father Peter. As a result, Thistlecrack is now a very short priced 4-5 favourite for Cheltenham Gold Cup in just 2 months’ time, with the next in the market another Colin Tizzard horse Native River at 8/1. There was also a good performance by Yanworth in the Christmas Hurdle and it will be interesting to see if Yanworth runs in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival for which is currently priced at 5/1. As well as marking the card The Wine Tipster was presenting top wines from the Jockey Club wine list with Sancerre Les Chasseignes, Domaine Fouassier, Macôn Rouge, Domaine Dupré and Nyetimber Classic Cuvée NV proving very popular at this particular meeting.

At Warwick on New Year’s Eve a massive crowd of over 6,000 people came racing and General Manager, Andre Klein and his team are doing a top job here with more exciting plans for the future. The Wine Tipster had great fun on the mic marking the card as well as seeing lots of familiar faces in the 1707 and Kingmaker Restaurants. The winning wines here were Catena Appellation Vista Flores Malbec, Voltolino Gavi and Château Léoube Rosé de Léoube. Look out for bumper winner Marten trained by Ben Pauling.

Despite the bad weather Cheltenham welcomed over 30,000 on the gate on New Year’s Day, with the victory of Whisper the most eye-catching performance of the day. This also marked the first day of coverage by ITV where Ed Chamberlin and the team came straight out of the gates with pace, passion, diversity, banter, humour and important horse racing education, which really set a really nice tone. Everyone did a top job and most importantly, horseracing welcomed lots of new fans who will be back next Saturday on ITV 4 for The Morning Show and the afternoon coverage from a cracking card at Sandown and Wincanton.

Warwick Racecourse New Years Day

Christmas Wines

As the year draws to close, The Wine Tipster has reflected on some of his favourite wines and in particular those he feels would be ideal over the festive season. Here is his selection;

Champagne and Sparkling
Prosecco Masottina DOC Brut Treviso – BBR, £13.95
Masottina make a seriously fine range of Prosecco and their Brut is a crowd-pleasing Prosecco with fine bubbles and intense, fruity aromas of apple, lemon and grapefruit with a lovely hint of spice and ginger.

Canard-Duchêne Authentic Brut – Waitrose, on offer at £25.49

Completely underrated Champagne house who make excellent fruity and complex bubbles that offer great value. Their fresh Authentic Brut has lovely balance  of citrus fruit, white flowers and red fruits. Look out for their Charles V11 range too, which are very refined.

Gauchezco Sparkling Pinot NoirGauchezco Vineyard Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé Extra Brut– Ocado, £14.99
Gauchezco represents the traditional Gaucho culture from Argentina. This is a producer which is a name to watch and their 100% Pinot Noir sparkler is full flavoured, well balanced, stylish with attractive cherry fruit flavours and zingy acidity.




Zalze Chenin Blanc 2015 Vineyard Reserve – Co-op, £8.99
The Co-op have really stepped up their wine selection in the last few years and this South African Chenin Blanc from Zalze is an excellent recent recruit. This is the perfect dry easy drinking white to be enjoyed over the festive season with tropical, ripe pineapple and peach aromas, balanced fruit and crisp acidity.

Yalumba Viognier 2015 – Waitrose, £12.99
Australian producer Yalumba pioneered a renaissance of this rare, exotic and alluring variety. Devotion and hard work have seen Yalumba become internationally recognised as one of the world’s most accomplished Viognier winemakers. This is a Grade One performer made by a Grade One producer who bring this grape variety to life and capture the attractive peach and apricot flavours. Top wine.

If you’re looking for a perfect pairing for your Christmas turkey, then Jackson Estate ‘Vintage Widow’ Pinot Noir 2013 from Marlborough, New Zealand would be ideal. Currently on offer at £16.99 at Majestic when bought as a case of 6 bottles or save 25% at Ocado(RRP £19.49 – available from Majestic Wine & Ocado). ‘Vintage Widow’ is named in recognition of the partners and families of those who are overlooked during vintage. This 2013 is a wonderful and delicious combination of cherries, plums. spice and herbaceous character and ‘Vintage Widow’ 2013 will benefit from decanting a couple of hours before serving.

Les Dauphins Cotes du RhoneLes Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Villages 2015 – Waitrose, down to £6.74 from £8.00
This popular and versatile Rhône is a must for the Christmas basket. Great with lamb or ideal if you like a glass of red with character. For the fuller style to match with beef then try their Les Dauphins Vinsobres 2013 Côtes du Rhône which is great value at £11.99 from Waitrose.





Elysium, Black Muscat 2014, Andrew Quady,
Majestic – £9.99 per half bottle
Elysium is Greek for Heaven, a fitting association for this excellent wine made by Andrew Quady. Virtually black in colour, with a rose-like aroma, very intense on the palate and full of fantastic rich velvety fruit, yet has great balance and is not too cloying.One of the few wines that can stand up to chocolate puddings. Or try it poured over ice cream for the ultimate after-dinner treat!

Sandeman 20 Year Old Aged Tawny PortSandeman 20 year old Tawny Port
, Waitrose, £29.99 down from £37.40
Sandeman are globally recognised for the quality of their tawny ports and the 20-year-old should be part of the cast of any Christmas lunch. A wonderful rich and elegant combination of flavours of dried apricots, honey, nuts, spices, vanilla creates an endlessly complex wine that has a brilliant length of finish which goes on and on. Great with nuts, mince pies and hard cheeses like Grana Padano. The Wine Tipster features Sandeman Tawny Port on a regular basis because they are so versatile and not just a port for Christmas!


Here are a couple of good reads for the Festive period.

For those of planning your trip to Venice then The Wine Tipster can highly recommend this excellent guide; Venice an entire world by Mario Anton Orefice published by Marcianum Press at £9.35

Corkscrew by Peter Stafford-Bow, published by I_AM Self Publishing, 2016,£9.99 from all good bookshops.

Settle down, grab a glass of fizz and have a good laugh at an improbable tale of a professional wine buyer. Mark my words, you will enjoy!

Cheers to a Happy Christmas and New Year.