Category Archives: Reviews

Organic wine is table art… Tour de Belfort

Have you ever tasted Love, when you taste wine?  A glass of Tour de Belfort is a taste of love. But like any true Love, the more time you spend getting to know each other, the more in Love you fall.  And fall hard, I did.

Organic wine is table art… it’s a centre piece of  conversation and admired for its inner beauty.

Every year, the staff at Tour de Belfort hand prune (cut) their 50,000 vines,
harvest 350,000 bunches of grapes, and meticulously sort (discard the bad ones) 21,000,000 grapes.

Their organic methods protect the very nature of the grape all the way from the flowers pollinated by their bees to the contents of the bottle. It’s an award-winning wine, receiving high marks from judges and barbecuers alike.

On average, most vineyards prune the vine to around 40 bunches of grapes, leaving the resulting juice bulkier and with less concentrated flavours.  However, at Tour de Belfort, each vine is left with only four to six bunches to ripen and harvest.

This young vineyard is planted with a high density of vines, but they are anything but greedy.  They cut and discard around 150,000 bunches of green grapes, red grapes before they ripen, from the vines to keep the harvest yields low and the wine tasty.

For every vine, they can squeeze only one half bottle of wine
 – it’s surprising that the wine is  under £10 per bottle!

Where is it? and why is it special?

The winery’s vineyard, Domaine de Belfort, located in the South West of France’s Causses du Quercy, is part of the Natura 2000 European (EEC) protected territory. This program focuses on protecting biodiversity, habitats, and species dependent on these lands. The vineyard began with the Ecocert certification program in 2009, which will give them organic certification after three years of inspections.

What is the EEC inspecting?
Herbicides or pesticides used on the vines? NO way! This is quite a feat, if you consider how many things like to eat grapes besides people.

What else makes it Natural Wine?

They don’t add any ingredients to preserve aroma, correct flavours, or alter the wine experience – no bones about it, natural wine is the naked grape.  With so many natural imperfections, great care goes into making sure every grape they use must be absolutely perfect.

The Taste

We had the pleasure of tasting their organic red at several of our tastings. There was mixed opinions about the wine – which is normal with natural wine.  In my opinion, those with more sophisticated palates were big fans of the clean, yet earthy tasting red made from a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah.  The varietal mix in the red we tried results in a complex wine with real length on the palate and high emphasis on fruit with soft accompanying tannins. As a tribute to this wine’s gentle character, Tour de Belfort actually recommends their red with white meat in addition to more typical grilled accompaniments, and I whole heartily agree.

I love the modern purple and gold label. It bears a picture of the Chateau as well as the +nature© seal stating that the grapes used are organic and that there will be no pesticide or other residues included with their wine.

Where can I buy it?

Tour de Belfort delivers to the UK, directly from the Vineyard, free of charge… be warned, you may fall in love too.
Follow the owner’s daughter on Twitter  @MurielLismonde

Fiji Knows their water, do you?


Tastour is pleased to announce an exciting new partnership with Fiji water!

Although I wouldn’t classify myself as a bottled water drinker (frankly, I can’t tell the difference between tap and most bottle waters), the experience of Fiji bottled water is a cut above the rest.

Fiji’s water is somehow creamier than other bottle waters. By “creamier”, I mean, the difference between normal bottled water and Fiji is like comparing a skim milk to a full fat milk. I’m also a fan of the geometric bottle design and the label, which is adorned by the beautiful Hibiscus flower.

In Philadelphia, where I dined and worked in some of the best restaurants in the world, Fiji water was served in its own special silver-plated square holder. One felt like royalty when ordering a bottle.

First up, I know what you’re thinking… “Fiji water probably isn’t even from Fiji!”

In accordance with the brand’s name, Fiji water really does come from the Fijian islands. The “artesian aquifer”, as it’s called, is located deep in the earth under Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu, the largest island in the republic of Fiji.

Wait, wait, wait… an artesian what?!

The aquifer that Fiji draws their water from is encased in hundreds of layers of mineral-rich stone and sediment. As rain water trickles down through the ground, it becames enriched with the minerals of the area.

When enough water pressure was created under the ground, it became a mammoth deposit of delicious fresh water. This pressurized deposit of water is known as an artesian aquifer. It’s clean, delicious…and completely natural.

Dirt in my water? Gross. How is that good for me?

No, no, not dirt; minerals! They help keep your body healthy by replenishing its own mineral resources.

Destined for greatness, as the water journeys into and out of the groundit absorbes a mineral that happens to be incredibly beneficial to humans: silica. This helps keep your hair, nails and skin healthy, and is also responsible for the signature silky texture of Fiji’s water.


Isn’t rain water usually dirty, though?

Usually it is. However, the air in Fiji is incredibly clean due to air currents that don’t carry the pollutants found in other parts of the world (some islands have this trait, as they are so far removed from heavily civilized areas).

In turn, the rain water is not acidic and is as pure as the air it falls through. The pure rain water is the only water that collects in the aquifer.

Beyond that point, the water never comes into contact with human hands. The purity is preserved right until you open the bottle.

So now you might see why we’re ecstatic to be partnering with Fiji water, and why I’m looking forward to giving you all the exclusive silky-smooth Fiji water experience.