Wine news December 2011

Brix Fix

chocolateUK wine accessories specialist The Wine Gift Centre has just become the UK importer for the fascinating Brix Chocolates for Wine. I have got hold of a range of these to try and after Christmas will publish a full report on the smooth dark chocolate Brix “pairs with Champagne, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Vintage Port,” the Extra Dark Chocolate “pairs with Bordeaux, Cabernet, Zinfandel and Syrah” and others. A nibble of the choc on its own shows it is high quality stuff (with between 40% and 70% cocoa). Dr. Nick Proia, an Ohio pulmonologist, developed Brix when he could find no chocolate on the market that really paired well with wine. After “a good deal of trial and error,” Dr. Proia crafted the three blends of a single origin Ghanaian chocolate, known for its red fruit tones, mixed with the highest quality confectionary chocolate, each pitched to match certain wine styles. The Wine Gift Centre has a range of chocolate bars and gift packs, and as last orders for Christmas delivery are not until midnight Wednesday 22nd December, there’s still time for a chocaholic and wine loving stocking filler or two.

Sirieix Gets Ready to Rumble

boxersIs that a glint of fear in the eye of Fred Sirieix, the well-known sommelier at London restaurant Galvin at Windows? (left of picture). Fred, who appeared in the TV series Michel Roux’s Service, along with Simon Vincent, Hilton Worldwide President for Europe, have just taken on former (undefeated) British and European welterweight boxing champion, Clinton Mckenzie, in a charity boxing match (Simon, centre; Clinton, right). The result was not in as this article went to press, but every penny raised from the event will go to Galvin’s Chance, a charity that gives vulnerable young Londoners a second chance in life through an into work apprenticeship scheme. There’s still time to donate via Fred’s page at

Wine Rack Racks Up

managerFollowing last month’s news that the resurrected Oddbins had relauched with 37 stores, there’s more good news for another popular wine retail name from the past too as the new Wine Rack chain opened its 21st Store in Radlett, Hertfordshire. From their initial 13 stores (The trading name “Wine Rack” was purchased in December 2009 by LCL Entreprises Ltd along with the thirteen stores) the group has expanded outside the London area into surrounding counties and says that more store openings will be announced soon. The new store carries 500 wines, 200 spirits and over 150 beers, ales and ciders and offers free tastings every weekend. Manager of the new store, Paul Ewington, is pictured right.

Atlas of Viticulture

atlasA series of new wine maps/atlases has been launched, with the first three atlases covering The World, Europe and Germany. The atlases have been published by Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust of Kalimedia, who caused a stir when the published their ‘Atlas of True Names’ which substitued the names of world countries and cities for the etymological root of their names, so for example Chicago became ‘Stink Onion’ and Cameroon became ‘Land of Shrimps.’ The new wine maps are more conventional, but pinpoint every winemaking region and centre in great detail. They can be purchased and viewed at Maps Online.

And finally… Love That Wine

Thierry TomasinThis man may or may not look like a sex god to you (answers on a postcard), but he knows a thing or two about wine – and women apparently. In fact he is Thierry Tomasin, a highly experienced sommelier (Le Gavroche, Aubergine), and on 7th February – exactly one week before St Valentine’s day 2012 – he will be leading an exclusive men-only evening at Angelus restaurant in London. The evening is aimed at helping men navigate over the first stumbling block of the dinner date – the wine list. Thierry will “uncork his secrets of choosing the best wine at the best price,” over a three course dinner with wines in the private dining room of Angelus. He says: “Over the years I have seen so many diners panic when presented with a wine menu. Not wanting to disappoint, many spend far more than they need to in order to impress.One of the most important things on a date is to feel confident and comfortable. I am delighted to share a little of what I know and make the task of choosing wine an enjoyable experience; a chance to shine, woo and delight those at your table.” Tickets cost £75, and can be booked on 020 7402 0083.