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Unlocking Prosecco DOC’s Potential

The Wine Tipster spent the week at the 37th London Wine Trade Fair, presenting an ‘Unlocking Prosecco’s Potential’ session, exploring the versatility of food and Prosecco pairings. He was joined by Italian Embassy chef, Danilo Cortellini, and together they entertained and educated a combination of bloggers, presenters, event organisers, wine educators, merchants and journalists.

The audience were treated to some fabulous canapes courtesy of Danilo, including Sicilian red prawn marinated with sweet red chilli and fresh burrata mousse, Beef Tartare with marinated egg yolk, and a goat cheese bonbon with beetroot powder and hazelnut. Accompanying the array of food, The Wine Tipster explained the background of Prosecco in terms of the Prosecco DOC regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia and the effect of minerality on the different styles of Prosecco. He also updated the audience on current and future vineyard plantings, as well as the huge success story of Prosecco in the UK at the moment, with 112.7 million bottles being sold last year alone.

Six carefully chosen wines were featured at this original session, including Zonin Cuvée 1821 Brut, La Jara Extra Dry, Fantinel Brut, Facchin Extra Dry, Raphael Dal Bol Extra Dry and Torresella Extra Dry. This diverse range of wines allowed The Wine Tipster to educate the audience on the importance of different Prosecco styles, as well as the method of production.

A key message that was appreciated and understood by the audience was the range of good Prosecco producers from both Veneto and Friuli, with the range of high quality wines that are available for over £10. All of the wines tasted were well received, leaving The Wine Tipster to highlight the versatility of Prosecco as a great pairing with the delicious dishes prepared by Danilo.

Danilo also talked about how Prosecco is a lovely pairing with Grana Padano, and how he uses this truly tasty cheese in his dishes. The Wine Tipster highly recommends Danilo’s debut book, 4 Grosvenor Square, published by Meze Publishing.

The Wine Tipster will be presenting more Prosecco DOC sessions paired with Grana Padano at Taste of London with Danilo, Foodies Festival, and the Cheltenham Food and Drink Festival.

A Fabulous QIPCO Guineas Festival 2017

This weekend saw the 2017 QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket: the first two features of the five Classics for the three year old racehorses. The Wine Tipster attended both the 2000 Guineas on Saturday for the colts, and the 1000 Guineas on Sunday for the fillies, and enjoyed, like the other spectators, the excitement around this festival and the chance to discover the talent of the three year olds. After a fabulous weekend of racing, we are sure to have true champions for the 2017 season.

Saturday 6th May: The first day of the festival highlighted that Churchill, trained by Aidan O’Brien, has carried on from his two year old days and justified favouritism by winning the 2000 Guineas in impressive style. There were also strong form lines from this race with Barney Roy, Al Wukair and Eminent chasing him home. This leaves Churchill 7-4 favourite for the Derby, and we’ll have to hope he takes his place at Epsom.

Sunday 7th May: This race saw the favourite, Rhododendron, have a troubled passage, and failing to collar her impressive stable mate, Winter, who travelled superbly throughout the race, showing the potential to be a real champion. Despite her difficult run, Rhododendron showed a fantastic turn of foot and will definitely be winning races in 2017. The Wine Tipster fancied her to win not only for her amazing performance at Newmarket last year, but because, as Alan Titchmarsh says, May is the best month for Rhododendrons. The 1000 Guineas race day also saw good performances from Frontiersman and race debutant, Way of Wisdom.

The Wine Tipster spent the weekend presenting in the Chez Roux Restaurant with fantastic dishes prepared by the legendary Albert Roux. Popular wines throughout the Guineas Festival included Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Pinot Gris, and Prophet’s Rock Dry Riesling.

The Wine Tipster also presented on the course TV, promoting the ‘racecourse experience’ featuring the Purely Prosecco Bar with high quality and stylish Proseccos from the famous producer Bisol. As well as enjoying some bubbles, there were some very tasty Powter Sausages from Newmarket, who were established in 1881 and have been associated with the racecourse for 50 years; A delicious way to celebrate the Guineas.


The other three Classics coming up are Oaks and the Derby at Epsom in June, and the final Classic, The St Leger at Doncaster in September. The Wine Tipster is looking forward to seeing how the runners from the Guineas perform in the coming months.

“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.

Whose Wine is it Anyway Success

On, Friday 10th March, Chadlington Village Memorial Hall welcomed back The Wine Tipster for an evening of tips, tasting and tipsiness, all in the name of charity.

After the success of his last Whose Wine is it Anyway event in Chadlington 4 years ago, The Wine Tipster returned to raise funds for the Village Hall Project and entertain in an evening of information and merriment. There was breath-taking yet comic Opera performed by Claire Bradshaw (mezzo-soprano) and Richard Coxon (tenor), advice on how to bet on horses at Cheltenham and to taste and choose the best wines, as well as a much better than average raffle, with prizes including hampers from Chadlington Quality Foods and a Moët Magnum.










As the host of the evening, The Wine Tipster led his audience through a taste exploration of 8 different wines, including Proseccos, rosés, whites and reds, much to everyone’s enjoyment. The insider knowledge shared on which wines to look out for and cheapest places to buy them was invaluable, and well received.

Throughout the evening, the audience were treated to delicious mini pizzas from Café de la Post, and chocolate tarts from Chadlington Quality Foods that went down well with the wines and San Pellegrino on offer. With the pouring of the Beronia Rioja Crianza from magnum came the donning of berets and fake moustaches by The Wine Tipster and his team, much to everyone’s amusement!

A 70th birthday was also celebrated on the evening, with a serenade from Claire and Richard and a delicious cake made by Susan Myatt which was shared around – what better way to celebrate a birthday than with The Wine Tipster in a beret and fake moustache.

As the evening progressed, so did the amount of alcohol consumed, which possibly contributed to the impressive total funds raised for the Village Hall Project: around £850. This wouldn’t have been possible without the sponsors of the evening, who kindly supplied the Hall with wine. Thanks go to Zonin for Prosecco Cuvée 1821 Brut and Prosecco Zonin Grey Edition Glera & Pinot Grigio Brut, Kleine Zalze from South Africa for Zalze Chenin Blanc , Esk Valley with their Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Rosé, Beronia (for the wine, berets and Rioja Crianza magnums), Château Léoube Rouge de Léoube from the Côtes de Provence  and Tim Adams for Clare Valley, Australia with The Fergus as well as San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna for keeping everyone hydrated throughout the night. Ticket sales and food from Chadlington Quality Foods and Café de la Post also made the night possible.









Once again, The Wine Tipster did not disappoint, and everyone who attended said what a wonderfully fun event it was, as well as a success in regards to the fundraising for such a worthy cause. Since the 10th, the Paulings who attended the evening had a success to celebrate at Cheltenham with Willoughby Court (14-1), who was trained by their son Ben Pauling winning on the Wednesday. There were other success stories thanks to The Wine Tipster’s advice and knowledge including Buveur D’Air, who would win the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday. Successes all round!


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.

Racing UK Club Day

Racing UK Club DayThe Racing UK Club Day took place on Saturday in the Ascot Pavilion with over 900 members travelling from far and wide to take part in their biggest day of the year.

As MC for the day, The Wine Tipster began by introducing Aidan Coleman wThe Wine Tipster at Racing UK Club Dayho talked through his 5 rides for the day. His least fancied ride was Forthefunofit in the 4.10pm race as he returned to hurdles for the first time in ages following a run of poor form. He not only won but returned at 20-1, the biggest price of the day! It also happened to be the Racing UK Club Day Today Handicap Hurdle.

The Wine Tipster also marked the card for the day along with Tom Stanley from Racing UK. They both highlighted Cue Card at 4-9 in the Betfair Ascot Chase who now heads to the Cheltenham Gold Cup with an outstanding chance following the sad defection of his stablemate Thistlecrack with a tendon injury. He also backed Tenor Nivernais in the 2.25 who won by 30 lengths which featured in his Racing Plus column. His nap of the day in Racing Plus was Divine Spear who finished 2nd in the 3pm race following a very exciting finish. Divine Spear was backed down from 12-1 on the day so he still paid each-way backers.

Racing UK Club MembersEarly in the day, the names of four members were picked out of a hat and given the chance to judge the best turned out horse in the Racing UK Club Day Today Handicap Hurdle and to present the winning team of Forthefunofit with their trophies



For the first time, professional wine and champagne expert and racing pundit, Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster presented two masterclasses featuring four different wines from Bibendum Wines. The first, after the first race, was a focus on Australia with highlights including Tim Adams Fairfield Semillon which was a great introduction to Semillon for many alongside his Riesling. The Diamond Valley Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley proved a great reminder of excellent Chardonnay from Australia.
The Rosé masterclass took place after the third race with the Operetto Garganega Pinot Grigio Blush a favourite as well as Château Leoube showing its perennial popularity. There were so many questions that the masterclass had to pause so that the members didn’t miss the 3pm race!

It was a fantastic and busy day. The Wine Tipster managed to fit in a piece for Ascot TV highlighting Yering Station Little Yering Shiraz Viognier and Château Leoube Rosé. He was also interviewed by racing broadcaster, Rupert Bell for Ascot TV and Tim Dellor and Sasha Thorbek-Hooper from BBC Berkshire.

The Racing UK Club Day was a great success blessed with fantastic weather and gripping racing. It also saw the launch of the new menu in the Parade Ring and Panoramic Restaurants as well as the new fine wine list.

The Champagne Academy AGM 2017 and Vintage Tasting

Champagne Academy logo, L'Academie du Champagne

As ever, it was an hKevin Skeet and Philip Ampsonour to join members of the Champagne Academy at The Law Society, London for their Annual General Meeting on the 6th February, where they elected a new Chairman, Kevin Skeet of Legacy Hotels and Resorts. Kevin takes over from Philip Amps, of Amps Fine Wines, who steps down having served his one year tenure. Champagne Pommery will act as Presidential House for the next twelve months, a role which rotates between the houses each year.

The Champagne Academy is a unique collaboration between sixteen Grande Marque Champagnes who wish to educate the brightest and best members of the wine and hospitality trades in the UK and Ireland on the subject of Champagne. They select sixteen candidates each year to attend an in-depth course which is unique in the industry, taking place over the course of a week spent in the region. The course provides unprecedented access to the people, places and wines of Champagne, as well as opportunities to build personal connections that last a lifetime.
The 2017 course has seen a record number of applications from across the wine and hospitality sectors, in a sign of the growing recognition of the importance of the Champagne Academy course.  The names of the sixteen 2017 Champagne Academy candidates will be released in the coming days.

Following the AGM, Champagne Academy members and their guests were treated to a rare tasting of vintage Champagnes from the sixteen Grandes Marques, many served in magnum.
The Chapagne Academy Tasting
Bollinger 2007, Charles Heidsieck 2005, Veuve Clicquot 2004, Krug 2003, Lanson 2005, Laurent- Perrier 2006, Moët & Chandon 2008, Heidsieck Monopole 2009, G.H.Mumm 2006, Perrier-Jouët 2007, Piper-Heidsieck 2006, Pol Roger 2006, Pommery 2006, Louis Roederer 2009, Taittinger 2009 and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.

For more details regarding the course contact Val Simpson


Photos courtesy of Mark Fagan and Glass of Bubbly.

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