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Open THAT bottle night and more
February 05, 2007

In this issue

Wine Grape Variety Table, Albarino to Zinfandel food pairing guide, women wine writers squidoo, open THAT bottle night, mapping wine regions, walking in France, a couple of bargains.

Happy new year, a belated greeting to my loyal readers and a welcome to those who have joined up recently. I have been busy and I just didn't notice that January has disappeared off the calendar. Life gets very hectic when you retire, I'm busier than ever. See how it happened here.

I am still hanging out for the delivery of some Wine Grape Varietal Tables. I'm sorry for the delay to those folk who have ordered them, but I am assured that they are on the water somewhere.

The Albarino to Zinfandel website is going along nicely, it is starting to look like a reasonable collection of recipes and wine pairing ideas. British wine writer Fiona Beckett recently contributed a suggestion for a rigatoni dish to accompany Zinfandel, so we have the alphabet straddled. Fiona also features on my Women Wine Writers Squidoo. What's that? you say. Well you can see for yourself here.

Open That Bottle Night

Have you got a special bottle of wine stashed away? Maybe for an undefined special occasion some time in the future. BEWARE! by the time you get around to open it the wine might be undrinkable. Even worse, you might shuffle off and the wine might pass on to less appreciative palates.

What to do about it? The Americans have an idea called Open That Bottle Night. I like it, especially the it about an amnesty on corkage for the night.

The date is the last Saturday in February; this year it's the 24th. If you would like to share impressions of a special bottle, or even the wine itself just reply or leave a comment on the blog.

Is your favourite winery on the Map?

Some of you may be familiar with Google Earth, zoomable satellite images showing incredible images of all of the planet. Simply stunning stuff. You can see what washing was on your neighbours' Hills Hoist. You can superimpose an accurate map to show what's what.

But these things also have an immense practical use. My friend Matt Hayward has developed a wonderful application using Google to map the wine regions of Australia. See

This tool is just the thing for planning your next wine tour. Wineries are steadily being added to the map, so if you have a winery make sure you are on the map. Listing is free and you can use it to link to your own website.

A Stroll in France

The significant other and my good self are planning a nice walk in the Tarn Gorges in the Languedoc region of France. As porters are hard to come these days by we have booked an inn-to-inn walk. The idea is you are given a good French brekky each morning and then you get a cut lunch and a map. You walk 15-20km to the next hotel and lo and behold your baggage has already arrived. Marvelous.

Afterwards we will use more conventional means of travel (a horseless carriage, fitted with auto transmission; the woman thinks I am to old to recover from a hangover, read a map, navigate a roundabout while driving on the wrong side of the road, and change gears all at the same time; she might be on to something there). We will visit some wine regions such as Madiran (home of Tannat and Petit Manseng) Rioja and Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo) and Bordeaux - I think they have wine there too. We planned it all on the net using, easy-peasy.

Some wine to buy

There is still some excellent wine at bargain prices available at our wholesalers store. I am on to my third dozen of the Petit Verdot. The Verdelho is also a bargain. These wines show what can be achieved in warm climates with sensible varietal selection.

That's all folks. If you think any of this would be of interest to a friend just forward it on. Just hit the reply button if you have any comments.

Next month, read how the great cauliflower glut of 1971 changed the culinary landscape of Australia.

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