Tuscany wine map

Wines of Tuscany

A deatiled map of the wines of Tuscany by production zone.  There is no more detailed and accurate map available. soon on sale on Etsy.

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Bordeaux Wine Map

Bordeaux Wine MapBordeaux Wine Map

What a wonderful Christmas gift for someone who has enough corkscrews, wine coolers and decanters. Beautiful Bordeaux wine map clearly depicting all of Bordeaux wine AOCS. Size A2 available from etsy at the link below:



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The Food Pyramid

Recent changes to the recommended diet known as “The Food Pyramid” have been challenged in Ireland where thousands of travelling football fans at Euro 2016 sustained themselves on a long proven diet in Ireland based on a healthy balance of Guinnizine and Taytolites.

Faced with the alternatives of snails or frogs legs, many fans opted to stock up camper vans with their own familiar dietary essentials. Though yet unproven beyond the last 16 this diet kept energy levels high and promoted a super-positive sense of well being.

The Irish food pyramid

The Irish Food Pyramid



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The World’s Coolest Wine Gadget!

The Wine Bra Flask!

It’s the usual; corporate conglomerate buys the exclusive rights to sell you overpriced drinks at your favourite festival or game. This ingenious product has formalised something girls that I know have been doing for decades. Smuggle your favourite wine in on your person. Every girl knows that you find the busiest section of the security queue knowing that during frisking, the security “man” is never going to touch you “there”. You bring your own drinks along in your bra! Yes, a bra that claims to turn an A cup into a DD and you can simply blow into it after all your wine is gone to resize the bra. It holds the equivalent of one bottle of wine. A faucet line serves wine at a “room” temperature of a room most men would like to be in! The perfect gift for both him and her!Wine Bra Flask

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Sound Advice on Buying Wine for Christmas!

 ” Avoid buying your wine from the wine merchant  who has a face that  looks like they are undergoing a colonoscopy, instead buy your wine from the merchant who has a face that looks like they could tell you a good story about having a colonoscopy”

Winephantom’s Aunt.

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A French Producer clearly with his sights set on the English speaking Export Market!!

DSC_0803                                                   Fire the  marketing manager!

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Six steps for Novices to get the best out of Wine Tasting Events

Many years ago, after my first wine tasting evening. I arrived home and my husband looked at me and asked me if I had been paintballing in a liquor store.

I have moved of course on, but everybody has to start somewhere! so following requests here is the Winephantoms guide to advanced wine tasting for beginners!

You are only going to get a very brief few moments to try each desired wine, it won’t be by the fire, with food or good company so you should treat a tasting occasion as speed dating for wines!

If you are new to this “wine thing” don’t worry, a little preparation and no one will know you’re a rookie. Your enjoyment of each wine is personal and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

1.      To Consider Beforehand

The English language uses the word “taste” both objectively and subjectively thus people often quickly decide that if they don’t like the wine it must be bad. Hence you sometimes get poor or one dimensional wine lists in restaurants based on one person’s opinions. Remember the wine can be good but you may not like it! The idea is to try to assess the wine for its’ intrinsic qualities.Wine cheat sheet jpeg (2)

Almost everyone I know is equipped with a nose, a mouth and a brain.  Visit a website like www.aromaster.com and jot down some of the familiar aromas listed on the outside of the aroma wheel.  www.aromadictionary.com has the no longer used tongue taste map diagram (see above),  it lists the sensations detected by the tongue and these are worth noting.  Fruit, herbs and other tastes are actually aromas that rise up from the mouth via the back of the throat to the olfactory bulb in the top of your nose. Generally white wines will taste of white, green or yellow fruit, red wines will taste of red, blue of dark fruit. It’s all just a question of practice.

2.      Preparation

Do not wear white, cream or indeed any plain, light pastel shades. I’m convinced there are disgruntled former sommeliers frequenting these events and maliciously spitting Merlot onto unsuspecting tasters. I invariably return home with speckles of red on parts of my clothing that I can’t reach with my hand let alone my mouth! I have witnessed some catastrophic misguided spitting incidents and destroyed linen suits.

Shower but don’t apply aftershave or cologne, smelling like the inside of a beautician’s handbag is only going to distort your perception of wines aromas and annoy others around you.

Avoid mouthwash or gum, and leave the cigar until afterwards.



3.      Departure

Bring your bus fare!

Leave the car at home, if a close friend is coming along don’t let them bring their car either, bring an acquaintance to do the driving! Even if you spit every sample you will still absorb minute amounts of alcohol each time that will mount up throughout the day.

Another thing to be left at home is all prejudices and attitudes, approach the event with no preconceptions of varietals, brands or names. Allow yourself be charmed and surprised.

4.      Arrival

Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated, I have worked at tastings for many years, most people only have limited wine knowledge but know what they like.

Get you bearings, look at the room and the catalogue or guide and decide what you want to try. I struggle to effectively taste a maximum 50 wines in a full day with a generous lunch break in between. Wooziness and palate fatigue will inevitably kick in by 4 pm.

It might be prudent to limit yourself to 25-30 samples. Make sure to try some wines you wouldn’t normally buy.

5.      Tasting the Wines.

Look professional-hold you tasting glass by the foot or the stem.

Don’t rush to the first winery or table and sample everything.

 Just remember when you were a teenager, was the first boy or girl you danced with at the disco the one you walked home with at the end of the night? – -No! I think not.

Taste young, dry, unwooded white wines first, they generally look more translucent and lighter in colour. Then deeper coloured older whites afterwards – you will not encounter many of these.

Reds: Start on lighter ruby coloured with lower alcohol then to heavier more opaque and older wines showing a more brick red tone.

Make sure to spit as often as possible, otherwise you will get drunk, however, the most enjoyable tastings I have ever attended were the ones with empty spittoons!

Be selective, you probably won’t need to taste every single wine on show, talk to producers about the wines as if you were interviewing the wine for a job. Ask about what they don’t volunteer to tell you. I find this useful for ascertaining to whom I am speaking; the drone from the marketing department or the passionate producer/ winemaker. Allow yourself to be lead a little. Listen to their honest suggestions.

Look at the colour and consistency, swirl and sniff, how intense is it, does it smell ok? What does it remind you of? Sip and aerate the wine, suck in air over the wine and coat the inside of your mouth with it. What do you get? Don’t worry about making slurping noises.

This will help you remember the important components while tasting wine:

So think of the types of men you met on your last holiday; DRY ones, INTENSE ones, BALANCED ones, FRUITY ones and LINGERING ones that just would’t leave you alone! These are the qualities you might appreciate in a wine.

When you taste, check through your little list. It may help you recognise some components of the wine.

Have a conversation with the wine. If it doesn’t talk to you, move on!

The beauty of wine is that it can be a multisensory experience. What does it remind you of? Every time I close my eyes and drink big Australian Shiraz I think of Samantha from Sex and the City. When I drink good Californian Cabernet I hear motorbikes and heavy metal music playing in the left side of my head!

Don’t let anyone tell you how it tastes, you really have to decide that for yourself, your perception of tastes is as individual as your fingerprint and price can be an indication of scarcity rather than quality.

If you are inexperienced at spitting, lower your head over the spittoon and let gravity take the wine. Keep a kerchief with you just in case. Never attempt long range disgorgement. You will be lucky if you miss, unlucky if you hit the back of the Mayors favourite linen jacket!

You are not insulting a winemaker by spitting out his wine, but you are complimenting him by swallowing it.

Riesling is pronounced; REEZ- ling, try some if you can!

Make notes, even if it’s only for the wines you really like. After a long days’ tasting you are unlikely to remember individual wines.

6.      Finally!

When palate fatigue kicks in, stop trying to be serious. Your official business for the day is now concluded.

Don’t start buying at the end of the day. The Amygdala and cortex are affected by alcohol which loosens the ability to resist temptation, now you know why they give you a lousy Chardonnay when you’re looking at overpriced handbags!

Enjoy yourself! Wine tasting is great fun and can be a good opportunity to meet likeminded prospective companions.  Remember that; wine stimulates romance and lubricates procreation while simultaneously lubricating romance thus stimulating procreation.

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5 Remedies for Removing Bothersome Red Wine Stains from your Teeth!

Ok, so you joke about the full moon and howl like a wolf yet deep down having crimson stained teeth really bothers you.  You could be one of a large percentage of wine drinkers who quickly look like a character Bram Stoker thought up after a single glass of Merlot.

Here are 5 possible remedies, one of which will surely work for you.

1. Chew, but don’t swallow some loft insulation.Gerry

2. Pout and look like a quasi-creative person, (even if you work in insurance) it helps to wear black. But remember if you do smile you will really look scary!

3. Drink white wine only! can be problematic at one of those awful Pinot Grigio parties.

4. Kiss a man with an unkempt moustache! not advisable if you are a man with an unkempt moustache!

5. Attempt to suck a lime juice soaked table tennis ball through a tea-strainer

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Australian Shiraz-Beware the Danger Within!

Australian Shiraz! Be warnedMay was Australian Wine Month; One evening,Wolf Blass Yellow Shiraz, Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz, Lisa McGuigan Cab Shiraz, easy drinking..strong wines! too much consumed too much said, regrets!! Be warned!

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McLaren Vale Shiraz Tasting note

This month in honor of “Aussie Wine Month ” I have limited myself to drinking Australian wines only.

Mclaren Vale Shiraz, a remarkably symmetrical wine whose approach and finish are completely harmonious. The black plum and apple fruit are ripe and could have ended sweet and syrupy; instead you’re left with an elegant, dry kiss good-bye. Pour a glass alongside the nicely balanced sweet and sour accents in a dish like Korean-Style Grilled Beef Short Ribs and Scallions

This translated into non-vinous English means;

This wine’s sweety jam flavors cleverly hide the impact of a juggernaut of alcohol. Mouth puckering tannins so dry, you will involuntarily suck in all four cheeks simultaneously while it finishes with the smoothness and balance of a well spanked arse!

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