Event Review: Elwood Wines’ Summer Tasting

Elwood Wines Summer Tasting at Lighthouse

(c) Elwood Wines

Last month saw the showcase of Elwood Wines summer collection at Lighthouse. Wine-lovers and business folk from all over Brighton gathered to taste a fantastic range of 47 reds, whites, rosés, ports, sherries and cognacs – including some incredible home-grown wines from Sussex’s very own vineyards.

As well as a plethora of wines to suit every palate, La Cave au Fromage were there to showcase their sensational selection of cheeses; while the wonderful Hove-based Chocoholly brought a devilishly delicious table full of hand-made chocolate delights.

Adding an element of fun to proceedings – as if tasting almost 50 different wines wasn’t fun enough – Karl and Tracey organised the Vinolympics to inject a little healthy competition between attendees. Unfortunately this didn’t involve us performing gymnastics on the serving tables or swimming through pools of Pinot Grigio – instead we had to rank six wines out of 20 and guess which was the most popular of the evening.

Chocoholly

Chocoholly’s table of treats.

Alas I didn’t win the top prize, but did manage to pick out that the Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc 2010 – grown right here in Sussex – was well worthy of the gold. In fact, my personal picks of the evening were mainly English wines. Here are a few of the bottles which I enthusiastically circled on my list and ended up treating myself to:

Foxwood Dawn Picked Viognier, Languedoc 2010 (£7.95): Medium-bodied white with characters of summer flowers and citrus fruit – fantastic value at less than £8. Elderflowery and refreshing, I’m looking forward to cracking this one open.

Stopham Estate Pinot Blanc, West Sussex 2010 (£14.95): Served on board the Royal Barge during the Queen’s Jubilee flotilla, this is a wine deemed fit for royalty. Think pears, apples and crisp orchard fruits – perfect for summer picnics. Oh, and it was the Vinolympics winner!

Nutbourne Vineyards Bacchus, West Sussex 2010 (£13.75): If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you’ll LOVE this. With summery notes of cut grass and gooseberries combined with peaches and orchard fruits, this is a bottle well worth spending that little extra on.

Nutbourne Vineyards Sussex Reserve 2010, West Sussex, England

Nutbourne Vineyards Sussex Reserve 2010. My favourite!

Nutbourne Vineyards Sussex Reserve, West Sussex 2010 (£9.95): Blend of Bacchus, Huxelrebe and Schoenburger. Deliciously aromatic with zesty citrus notes on the nose, a supple creamy texture and racy acidity. Probably my favourite wine of the night.

The Exhibitionist Merlot, One Chain Vineyards, Western Australia 2008 (£9.00): Packed with super-ripe red berry flavours, this is one of the best Merlots I’ve tasted in a while. Easy-drinking and great value at less than a tenner, this is a red that benefits from being slightly chilled.

Mompertone, Prunotto 2008 (£12.95): Loved this wine from the second I tasted it. Great complexity on the nose with notes of plum, cherry, coffee and peppery spice with a deliciously plump taste. Will most likely be saving this for a tender, rare sirloin steak.

Lo Tengo Malbec, Mendoza, Bodegas Norton 2011 (£8.95): Being extremely partial to a good Malbec, this is a good value wine from one of Argentina’s most renowned producers. Full-bodied and spicy but still quite fresh, you can’t go wrong for this price.

Bookstock Event: Ghost Stories at The Grand, Brighton

What? Ghost Stories at The Grand Hotel with Rob Marks, author of The Ghosts of Brighton’s Lanes

When? Sunday 12th June 2011, 7pm

Where? The Grand Hotel, Kings Road, Brighton

Come along to the stunning candlelit Regency Room at The Grand Hotel for an evening of ghost stories with Rob Marks – actor, entertainer, storyteller and author of The Ghosts of Brighton’s Lanes.

For many years, Rob divided his time between teaching theatre studies and entertaining. For seven years he ran the popular ‘Ghost Cruise’ in York, which is reputed to be England’s most haunted city.

Always a big fan of Brighton, Rob moved to the city in 2008 after researching and scripting ‘The Ghost Walk of the Lanes’. A familiar face around the City, Rob performs the walk around Brighton’s most haunted quarter for eleven months of the year in the guise of the mysterious, yet endearing Victorian character, Silas the Ghost Walker.

Rob also writes regular features and reviews for the Brighton Visitor magazine and is an active member of the Brighton Tourism Alliance. Last year Rob’s book, The Ghosts of Brighton’s Lanes, was published. This modest tome elaborates on many of the haunted places, buildings and taverns in the Lanes and has proved a popular seller with locals and tourists alike.

Rob is now moving into performing in-house candlelit ghost nights, a Jack the Ripper night, Victorian days for primary school pupils and is currently working on a book of ghost stories from England’s most haunted cities…

Rob’s book, The Ghosts of Brighton’s Lanes will be available to buy on the evening.

All profits from this event will go to The Variety Club children’s charity.

Bookstock: the first ever Brighton Book Festival

(c) Sian Beeton

Along with a fantastic group of other Brighton-based book lovers, I’m very excited to be working on bringing to fruition the first ever Brighton Book Festival — ‘Bookstock’.

From Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th June 2011, we’ll be delivering a ton of book-themed events in venues throughout Brighton & Hove.

So why have we named it ‘Bookstock‘? Well, because we want to deliver a friendly, fun festival with a 60s Woodstock vibe, celebrating our love of the written word and bringing book lovers together to talk, listen and laugh. Our aim is to combine everything that’s wonderful about Brighton with all that people love about books.

The events already planned for Bookstock include quizzes, discussion groups and talks by authors covering children’s stories, arts and crafts, non-fiction, 21st century reading, poetry, ghost stories and much more.

We’ve got local authors including Claire Carpenter, Rob Marks and Isabel Losada coming along to entertain and impart their passion, enthusiasm and wisdom. As we confirm more events, we’ll add them to our events listing.

Want to get involved with Bookstock? Here’s how you can help out…

  • Volunteer – we need lots of help, from running individual events to general promotion
  • Sponsor Bookstock – we’ve got various sponsorship packages available at different levels
  • Come along to a Bookstock event… and tell your friends all about it!
  • Buy merchandise – mugs and badges coming soon…

Here’s what Ian Jones, our Overlord/Festival Director says:

The team behind Bookstock all have an amazing passion for reading, book discussions and for Brighton. At Bookstock, we want to see happy book people engaging with other happy book people and raising some money for worthwhile causes as well. You know that feeling that you get when you’ve had a really great conversation about a book? Your mind is just alive. If we can give more people the chance to have those experiences, and also meet others and find new books and authors… well that would be superb.

Visit our website at brightonbookfestival.com

Follow us on Twitter @btonbookfest

A new way to network: Fish Friday comes to Brighton

Fish Friday, a new business supper club, offers a different networking experience…

At this exclusive new event, we don’t want you to stand around sipping fizz and daintily picking at canapés.

We want you to have a good glass of wine (or three) and a proper old natter while you tuck in to a hearty fish and chip supper.

Held at one of Brighton’s most prestigious venues The Grand Hotel the traditional Friday night seaside meal is being brought bang up to date with friendly networking and a  chance to have a real conversation with some of your contemporaries.

So, what can you expect from Fish Friday?

Where? In the stunning Victoria Terrace at The Grand Hotel.

When? Join us for drinks and mingling at 6:30pm. Dinner will be served at 7pm.

Who? Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend, but we limit it to a total of 30 guests. This way you get more chance of meeting everyone, and building some meaningful relationships.

Cost: £20.00

What’s for dinner? Locally caught crispy mini battered fillets (3 types) hand cut chip shop chips, mushy peas, lemon and tartare sauce all beautifully presented with a glass of wine or beer.

Then what happens? When we’ve all got full bellies and have got to know each other a bit better, we’ll give a few of you the chance to stand up and introduce yourself to the room (don’t be scared, we’re all lovely).

Don’t want to stand up and talk in a room full of people? No problem. Drop the team an email and you could feature on our ‘Who’s Coming to Dinner?’ Blog, giving the other attendees the chance to get to know a bit more about who you are and what you do before you meet them.

*You will be sent a list of attendees before you arrive so that you have a chance to find out about everyone, and put faces to names on the night.

After dinner… Anyone who still wants to party will head off to a bar and carry on nattering into the night. After all, it is Friday night…

**Book now for the first event on Friday 15th April**

The Venue

The Grand is an iconic Victorian hotel on Brighton seafront with 201 en-suite bedrooms with free Internet and Satellite TV. The Grand boasts cosy Victorian-style classic rooms and beautiful suites with sea views, balconies and luxurious décor.

You can dine like royalty under the chandeliers in the King’s Restaurant or treat yourself to a Sussex Cream Tea in the Victoria Terrace. For a prime people-watching position, grab an armchair and a cocktail at the bar.

The Organisers

My Girl Friday

Almat Business Services

The Grand Hotel

Event Review: Elwood Wines Tasting at The Chimney House, Brighton

Here are some snaps from one of the fabulous tutored tastings by Karl Elwood from Elwood Wines at The Chimney House in Brighton.

Karl runs these tastings monthly, so if you fancy going along to one click here for upcoming dates. Or you can sign up to the Elwood Wines newsletter, Tales from the Vineyard, here.

The seven wines from Bordeaux on the tasting menu

Attempting to be a bit 'arty' with my camera

Flight 1: Quail's Eggs and Crayfish Tails with Rocket

Flight 3: Cheese, Biscuits and Olives

My copious notes, which began to tail off towards the 7th wine

I liked the chandelier in The Chimney House function room

Karl tells us about the wines

Great turnout, lovely atmosphere

Karl chatting about the wines

Qype Guru Event: a meal at Giraffe in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurants

Living in Brighton, it’s very easy to develop an aversion to chain restaurants as there are so many fabulous, quirky, independent places to eat. I usually find chains horrendously overpriced and poor value for money by comparison. For this reason, I had avoided going to Giraffe until I was invited there for a Qype Guru event. So, with an open mind and an empty belly, along I went.

On entrance, we were greeted by a wonderfully smiley and enthusiastic waitress who offered us a seat and had no hesitation in suggesting to us the best wine on the menu – a Sauvignon Blanc which I must say was absolutely delicious. Their wine list is good, but rather expensive by the glass so I would recommend getting a bottle with your meal.

Sitting down and perusing the menu I was surprised as there really is no way to classify what type of food Giraffe offers – the menu had everything from burgers to Mexican food to Oriental influenced dishes. Picking a starter that complemented the main was a bit of a challenge.

In the end I went for the chicken wings sharing starter, which was about the same price as the individual ones (around the £5 mark). The size of the starter was impressive – six enormous chicken wings coated in a tasty Asian-style marinade. Probably a bit too much for one person as an appetizer, but hey, I was feeling greedy.

For the main I went for the teriyaki salmon and wasabi rice because I thought it sounded like the most intriguing thing on the menu. The salmon fillet was beautiful and cooked to perfection – and for £12.95 it wasn’t bad value either. As for the rice, I’m still undecided. A brave and interesting idea but one I’m not sure quite worked the way I thought it would.

As far as chain restaurants go, Giraffe really isn’t half bad. The staff are great, the feel of the place is fun (even if the music was a bit loud) and the menu, wherever possible, is locally sourced in Kent and Sussex. The quality of the food is good and there are several deals on food and drink available throughout the week which make it even better value for money. Definitely worth a visit.

Check out my review of giraffe – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype Does Brighton!

Qype Does Brighton!

After enjoying huge success in London and all over Europe since it launched in Germany in 2006, international reviews site Qype is finally hitting Brighton. In style.

We’ve got three floors, yes THREE FLOORS of open-mic and open-house shenanigans at Lucky Voice, Brighton on 23rd June from 6pm. And the best bit? It’s TOTALLY free. Just make sure you RSVP to hartingale@qype.com so you don’t miss out.

The evening will feature live music from Brighton-based singer-songwriters Mike Wilton, Louis May and Gemma Williams, poetry from Tony Flynn and karaoke hosted by Brighton’s karaoke king Stephen Leppard. There’ll also be some thai-style nibbles (first come, first served), a free cocktail for ALL performers (even the terrible ones) and two-for-one cocktails for everyone else. Bargainous, eh?

If you feel like you’ve got far more to give than one karaoke number will allow, then get in touch with me on alicereeves86@gmail.com to be added to the main bill of performers.

There are also prizes to be won for the best performances and the best reviews of the venue and event – including dinner at new Vietnamese restaurant, Pho.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Add yourself to the Facebook Event

Read more at the Qype Blog