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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.

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.

http://www.lamarca.it/PROSECCOWINE/proseccoDOCspumantiMillage/Prosecco-DOC-Millage.aspx

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: https://www.majestic.co.uk/Prosecco-La-Marca-Treviso-Extra-Dry-zid23305

 

CABERT

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.

http://www.cabert.it/en/component/content/article/26-cabert-wines/sparkling/92-prosecco-spumante

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: http://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/shop_detail/Sparkling+Wine+%3B+Champagne/Prosecco+Spumante/A50P5026

http://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/shop_detail/Sparkling+Wine+%3B+Champagne/Prosecco+Violino+Frizzante/A50P1219

 

Montelliana

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.

http://www.montelliana.it/eng/products/prosecco-montelliana/spumanti/prosecco-spumante-doc-treviso-extradry.html

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.

http://www.progettidivini.it/en/prosecco-d-o-c-treviso-brut/

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.