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Another Glass, Please - no. 4

 

Vouvray-Sec-2016 main


Richard Dudley Craig declares this Vouvray Sec to be a "smashing summer wine". 


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Another Glass, Please - no. 3

 

ca-de-frati


Cà dei Frati

 

I had lunch the other day with a fellow wine importer at the Brackenbury in Hammersmith (a lovely local restaurant) and, most generously, he brought three wines with him for us to taste.  All were excellent.  However, the stand-out bottle was the Lugana 2016 from Cà dei Frati, an estate located in the north-west of Italy, a tiny area between Lombardy and the Veneto.

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A new series by Richard Dudley Craig

 
Another Glass, Please - no. 2

 

Court Garden


Court Garden

 

 It wasn’t my intention to review another sparkling wine quite so soon but when something so special, so impressive and, frankly, so much of the moment comes along it would be a crime to let it pass....

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A new series by Richard Dudley Craig

 
Food Acupuncture: Vitamin B6

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Food Acupuncture: Vitamins & Minerals

Small but significant: Tiny amounts big results Structuring/building/connecting/energizing/repairing/healing…

The power of vitamins comes from the power of real food

 

Vitamin B6 – water soluble

Pyridoxine, vitamin B6, is a water-soluble vitamin that was first isolated in 1930s. It is found naturally in many foods. The term vitamin B6 refers to six common forms.

Sources of vitamin B6:

Vitamin B6 is predominantly found in plant foods. The best sources of vitamin B6 are avocados, potatoes, spinach, plums and hazelnuts, but salmon and poultry are also good sources. It is found in other fish, meats, nuts, whole grains, legumes, bananas and is added to certain foods such as fortified cereals.

B6_sources_s 

Cooking, food processing and storage can reduce vitamin B6 availability by 10 to 50 percent. 

Functions:

Our bodies need vitamin B6 to break down protein and build red blood cells. Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in the function of over 100 enzymes, mostly involved in protein metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also involved in brain development during pregnancy and infancy, as well as the immune function. Together with vitamin B9 and vitamin B12, vitamin B6 can effectively reduce homocysteine levels, but subjects’ cardiovascular events—high levels associated with an increase risk of cardiovascular disease—do not reduce.

Recent clinical research supports the use of vitamin B6 to treat morning sickness and suggests a possible benefit in the management of premenstrual syndrome.

Fruit-divider

Vitamin B6 deficiency:

Cases of severe deficiency of vitamin B6 are rare. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin B6. People with many inflammations due to chronic diseases may have impaired vitamin B6 metabolism, such as people with autoimmune disorders and people with alcohol dependence. Also, many people over 60 do not meet their recommended daily amount. Older adults are recommended to take a multivitamin supplement which provides at least 2.0 mg of vitamin B6 daily.

Neurological symptoms observed in severe vitamin B6 deficiency include irritability, depression and confusion. Other symptoms include inflammation of the tongue, and sores or ulcers of the mouth.

Those who follow a very restricted vegetarian diet might need to increase their vitamin B6 intake by eating food fortified with vitamin B6 or by taking a supplement.

Toxicity:

Long term supplementation with very high doses of pyridoxine may result in painful neurological symptoms. The recommended upper daily intake level is 100 mg.

Return to the list of B vitamins.

Return to the overall list of vitamins and minerals.

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Related material

Read the first article in the series, on what vitamins are and why we need them.

Read the second article in the series on how vitamins work.

Read the third article in the series on supplements.

Read the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamins and minerals

Read how supplements are regulated.

In A ticking bomb, Professor Alpar discussed the critical situation in antibiotics with the late Professor Vivian Moses.

A brief biography of Professor Alpar can be found here.

 
Food Acupuncture: Vitamin B9

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Food Acupuncture: Vitamins & Minerals

Small but significant: Tiny amounts big results Structuring/building/connecting/energizing/repairing/healing…

The power of vitamins comes from the power of real food

 

Vitamin B9 – water soluble

Folate, a water-soluble vitamin, is the natural form of vitamin B9. Folate is also a generic term for a family of compounds.

Sources of vitamin B9:

Folate is found in a range of food sources. It was named after green foliage, and its principle source is dark leafy green vegetables, such as asparagus, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, peas, cauliflower, beets, citrus, dried beans and other legumes. However, wheat bran, whole grain foods, seeds and nuts are also good sources, as are poultry, liver and fortified foods.

green-vegetables-heart 

Functions:

Folate is essential for brain development and function and plays a role in the synthesis, repair, and function of DNA, RNA (the genetic material found in all cells). The vitamin also plays an important role in preventing neural damage to a developing foetus, and is therefore essential for women who are, or are aiming to get pregnant.

Clinical trials have shown that when individuals take the three vitamins folate, B6 and B12, their homocysteine levels are lowered; however, cardiovascular events do not reduce. On the other hand, this regimen lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration in these individuals i.e. protects the eyes.

Fruit-divider

Vitamin B9 deficiency:

People who eat poorly or drink too much alcohol may have folate deficiency. It is the most common vitamin deficiency—even in developed countries, such as the USA—and in the UK one in five young women are deficient in the vitamin B9 folate.

A deficiency in folate will affect every cell that divides, especially those that replicate rapidly, such as red blood cells, the immune system and the digestive tract. This can cause anaemia, a diminishing immune system and digestive dysfunction, respectively. Gross folate deficiency, which impairs DNA replication, leads to megaloblastic anaemia. It also affects the neurological system, particularly in developing babies.

If a woman has insufficient levels of folate just before, and during the early stages of, pregnancy the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTD) increases significantly. NTD is a serious malformation of the spine, skull or brain, such as spina bifida or anencephaly—a devastating birth defect, where the baby develops without a brain. In fact, on average two women in Britain will terminate their pregnancy every day, and two women will give birth to an affected child every week due to NTDs.

Folate supplements and folic acid:

To address the problems related to folate deficiency, folic acid has been added to breads, cereals, flours, corn meal, pastas, rice, and other grain products since 1998 in many countries including the USA. In the UK this is still under consideration. As a result, the average intake of folic acid has risen, and the incidence of NTDs has fallen by up to 50% in countries where folic acid fortification is mandatory.

Folic acid is the main synthetic form of vitamin B9, and is included in supplements and food fortification. Folic acid has no biological activity unless it is converted into folates, and though it has many of the same biological effects as folate, it is more absorbable and is therefore more effective, dose for dose. Folate deficiency may therefore be treated using folic acid formulations, which are available for injection as well as oral use.

Important to note:

We must bear in mind, however, that nutrients added to foods are not as effective as those found naturally in them. As folate leaches out when food is prepared in boiling water and degrades when foods are heated, a diet containing fresh or undercooked vegetables is recommended.

Some evidence suggests that the metabolism of folic acid differs from folate, and may have toxicities under certain circumstances. High levels of folate is, however, well tolerated in the body, but a major consequence of too much folate is that you may not notice that you actually have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Folic acid has been studied for reduction in the prevalence of a number of diseases. The only well-established benefit of folic acid supplementation is the reduction in the prevalence of NTDs, probably because folate is required for cell division. This has been shown in multiple observational studies and confirmed by randomized trials. Folate, or folic acid, should therefore be routinely recommended to all women of childbearing age.

Read about vitamin B12

Return to the list of B vitamins.

Return to the overall list of vitamins and minerals.

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Related material

Read the first article in the series, on what vitamins are and why we need them.

Read the second article in the series on how vitamins work.

Read the third article in the series on supplements.

Read the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamins and minerals

Read how supplements are regulated.

In A ticking bomb, Professor Alpar discussed the critical situation in antibiotics with the late Professor Vivian Moses.

A brief biography of Professor Alpar can be found here.

 
Food Acupuncture: Vitamin B12

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Food Acupuncture: Vitamins & Minerals

Small but significant: Tiny amounts big results Structuring/building/connecting/energizing/repairing/healing…

The power of vitamins comes from the power of real food

 

Vitamin B12 – water soluble

 

Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, has the most complex chemical structure of all the vitamins, as seen in this figure.cobalamin

Vitamin B12

In the centre of this pretty structure lies the mineral cobalt. Cobalamin is a collective term for a group of cobalt containing compounds.

Sources of vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is synthesised solely by microorganisms. Major sources of naturally occurring B12 are animal products such as liver, brain, kidneys, eggs, poultry, fish, mussels, beef, yogurt and cheese, where it is attached to a protein.

B12 sources

Functions:

Vitamin B12 is essential for good health, primarily due to its role in producing red blood cells, and as, together with vitamin B9, it assists the synthesis and preservation of the DNA and RNA. In teaming up with vitamins B6 and B9 it controls the levels of homocysteine in the blood, thus avoiding an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and blood clots, which are associated with elevated levels of homocysteine. Vitamin B12 also has a separate biochemical role unrelated to folate. It is essential in maintaining the sheath that surrounds nerve cells, preserving and maintaining the integrity of the neurones and the synthesis of neurotransmitters, thereby keeping the nervous system healthy. Also it plays an essential role in folate (B9) metabolism. Food sources: Vitamin B12 is synthesised solely by microorganisms. Major sources of naturally occurring B12 are animal products such as liver, brain, kidneys, eggs, poultry, fish, mussels, beef, yogurt and cheese, where it is attached to a protein.

Absorption:

Vitamin B12 is a tough one to absorb. When the food you eat reaches your stomach the protein-digesting enzymes and stomach acid split off the protein, freeing the vitamin B12.

Once the vitamin B12 is freed, a protein called intrinsic factor (IF) is needed for its absorption, which we make in our bodies. Its role is to attach the vitamin to the wall of the intestines. Only at this point can the vitamin B12 be absorbed and transported into the blood. Once it is taken in, it binds to another special protein and then gets circulated through the blood.

When vitamin B12 is used in the body, it is returned to the liver and then gets into the bile. With the bile, it will return to the intestines where it is reabsorbed, hence it is re-circulated through the body in a continuous loop. This loop provides a daily turnover of the vitamin in the body, and coupled with a good digestion many people have managed not to be vitamin B12 deficient. Because of this continuous loop, vitamin B12 deficiency normally takes many years to show up.

Fruit-divider

Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Before the discovery and medicinal use of vitamin B12 in the 1930s and 1940s, deficiency could be fatal. Fortunately, as our understanding of this vitamin has increased, debilitating or deadly vitamin B12 deficiency is relatively rare today.

In healthy adults, having a well-balanced diet, vitamin B12 deficiency is uncommon, as they will get the recommended 2.4 micrograms per day from their regular diet, in addition to the amount stored in the body.

Although levels of vitamin B12 are almost always questioned, the prevalence of B12 deficiency is thought to be around 20% in the general population. The cause may be a poor diet, or a diet low on animal products. For example, as vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, vegans and vegetarians are particularly at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

At the same time, it is also possible that people on a diet containing animal products may not get sufficient vitamin B12, because vitamin B12 from food is tough to absorb and requires the normal function of the stomach, pancreas and small intestine. In fact, most vitamin B12 deficiency issues stem from low levels or the absence of the intrinsic factor protein, without which absorption will not happen. This may occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the protein producing cells, or as a result of genetic or inherited defects.

Limited production or absence of intrinsic factor causes vitamin B12 deficiency, which manifests itself in the form of anaemia known as pernicious anaemia (PA). Pernicious anaemia is the most common form of disease caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, and was fatal before treatment became available.

This is particularly true in the elderly population, as the normal function of the digestive system is commonly impaired in individuals over 60 years of age. They may therefore experience an inability to absorb the food-protein-B12 complex in the stomach. Low levels or the absence of stomach acid may contribute to the deficiency, as that is also required to absorb vitamin B12 from food. Up to 30% of the population of over 60s may have atrophic gastritis (low levels of stomach acid), increased growth of intestinal bacteria and thus limited absorption of vitamin B12 from food.

The reduction of stomach acid can be experienced through the chronic use of certain medications, such as for heartburn. The risk of deficiency can also be increased through drugs, e.g. metformin, and certain conditions that interfere with B12 absorption, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, pancreatic disease and diabetes. Other causes of B12 deficiency include surgical resection of the stomach or portions of small intestine.

Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency

Deficiency mainly results in anaemia, due to not having enough functioning blood cells, and many different types of damage to the nervous system.

Symptoms due to low levels of vitamin B12, attributed to malabsorption, include loss of appetite, weight loss, pale skin, fatigue, headache, tinnitus, shortness of breath and nervousness. Common neurological symptoms include confusion, depression, memory loss, dizziness, numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, or soreness in the mouth and tongue.

Serious, long-term deficiency may lead to more severe issues, such as complex neurological conditions, e.g. loss of mobility or sensation, disorientation and dementia, and other neuro-psychological complications (psychosis) as well as serious hematological abnormalities and diseases. Neurological changes may precede hematological i.e. blood related changes.

Haematological changes mainly manifest in the progression of severe vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia from the impaired production of blood cells, as vitamin B12 is essential to the formation of new red blood cells.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be confirmed through blood tests, including a blood count to identify the vitamin B12 level, specifically in cases of pernicious anaemia.

Critical

Vitamin B12 cooperates with folate in the rapid synthesis of DNA during cell division which is essential in the normal cell formation. A deficiency of either compound lead to impared DNA replication in the bone marrow resulting in the production of red blood cells that are larger and deformed (megablasts) and less numerous than normal, causing megaloblastic anemia and other hematological abnormalities.

Vitamin B12 also has a separate biochemical role, unrelated to folate, causing damage to the nervous system and leading to neurologic disorders in deficient subjects. Supplementation with folic acid will provide enough folate to restore normal red blood cell formation.

However, if vitamin B12 deficiency is the cause, it will persist despite the resolution of the anemia. Thus, megaloblastic anemia should not be treated with folic acid until the underlying cause has been determined. If large doses of folic acid are given to an individual with an undiagnosed B12 deficiency, anemia associated with the vitamin B12 deficiency may be reversed but neurological complications due to the deficiency can not be corrected, leaving the individual at risk of developing irreversible neurological damage.

Vitamin B12 treatment and supplements:

To treat B12 deficiency, it is helpful to examine your diet, medication or alcohol intake. If sources of B12 are not a part of your regular diet, or if your body has difficulty absorbing sufficient levels, supplementation will help, for example with fortified breakfast cereals enriched with vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 in supplements is easy to absorb, as it is not bound to a protein and does not require stomach acid.

Deficiency can also be corrected with vitamin B12 injections to bypass intestinal absorption, or a high dose of 1 mg per day as an oral supplement. Oral vitamin B12 formulations can be in the form of sublingual tablets, sprays or liquids. The principal form of synthetic vitamin B12 used in oral supplements is known as Cyanocobalamin, which readily metabolises into the forms of B12 used in the human body.

Fruit-divider

The link between vitamin B12 and B9:

Food contains a mixture of nutrients that work together in each mouthful, therefore should be eaten together.

When discussing B12, we cannot avoid talking about B9, or folate. Like vitamin D and calcium, these two B vitamins form one of the best nutrient couples. They are linked in a number of processes within our bodies, such as the essential role vitamin B12 plays in folate metabolism, and helping the body absorb folate. Vitamin B12 co-operates with folate in the synthesis of DNA.

In order to carry out its cellular tasks, folate is turned into useful forms in a complicated cycle. While in this cycle, vitamin B12 is required for folate to get into the cells. Indeed, you can have all the folate in the world but it gets stuck in the “folate trap” and cannot move forward to accomplish its tasks unless vitamin B12 is present. Therefore, these two vitamins work together to support cell division and replication, which allow the body to replace cells that die.

This process is particularly important during time of growth in childhood, but also throughout the body of adults. For example, cells that line the stomach and cells of the hair follicle divide and replicate often.

The link between the two vitamins also becomes clear when discussing deficiency. When there is a B12 deficiency, folate is trapped in a form that is not usable by the body, which results in symptoms of folate deficiency, even in the presence of adequate folate levels. Hence, in both folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies, folate remains unavailable to participate in synthesis and preservation of DNA integrity.

The availability of folate and vitamin B12 at the same time also affects the rapidly dividing cells in the bone marrow. Deficiency will lead to the impairment of DNA sythesis, resulting in the production of haemoglobin-poor, not fully functioning, red blood cells, which leads to megaloblastic anaemia.

Low levels of vitamin B12, as well as B9, during pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), which is described further in our discussion of vitamin B9.

Fact: Pernicious anaemia was a fatal illness before the 1920s. This changed after Whipple suggested eating raw liver as a treatment.

Read about vitamin B9.

Return to the list of B vitamins.

Return to the overall list of vitamins and minerals.

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Related material

Read the first article in the series, on what vitamins are and why we need them.

Read the second article in the series on how vitamins work.

Read the third article in the series on supplements.

Read the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamins and minerals

Read how supplements are regulated.

In A ticking bomb, Professor Alpar discussed the critical situation in antibiotics with the late Professor Vivian Moses.

A brief biography of Professor Alpar can be found here.

 
Food Acupuncture: The B Vitamins

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Food Acupuncture: Vitamins & Minerals

Small but significant: Tiny amounts big results Structuring/building/connecting/energizing/repairing/healing…

The power of vitamins comes from the power of real food

 

The B Vitamins

The B vitamins are amongst the most important vitamins. Like the A vitamins, there are eight different B vitamins, each with its own chemistry and function in the body. These are:

The B vitamins perform a wide range of important functions throughout our bodies, such as maintaining the immune system, nervous system and brain, as well as keeping our blood cells and skin healthy. Furthermore:

  • vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B7 participate in releasing the energy found in the food (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) you eat;
  • vitamin B6 helps the body break down proteins and converts amino acids;
  • vitamins B9 and B12 are most involved in helping cells multiply.

All B vitamins are water soluble and, apart from vitamin B12, are generally easily absorbed and excreted. Since they are not extensively stored in tissues we seldom have concerns about accumulating toxic levels. Vitamin B12 is primarily stored in the liver and excreted when the store is adequate.

Whole grains are a source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. However, when making white flour, the milling process strips off the outer coat of the grains, where the vitamins are found. For example, only 13% of B6 remains in white flour. To counter the low levels remaining in the flour, many countries add synthetic vitamins B1, B2 and B3 to produce enriched flour (fortification) but do not add vitamins B5 and B6. In the UK, only vitamins B1 and B3 are added to white flour.

The low levels of vitamins B5 and B6 in white flour products may limit the ability to make energy in the cells.

Many people do not meet the recommended daily allowances for vitamins B6, B9 and B12. In fact, a recent study found that 30% of people over the age of 67 lack adequate folate (B9), 20% do not get sufficient B6, and 25% do not get enough B12. We will start our discussion with these three B vitamins.

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Related material

Read the first article in the series, on what vitamins are and why we need them.

Read the second article in the series on how vitamins work.

Read the third article in the series on supplements.

Read the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamins and minerals

Read how supplements are regulated.

Return to the list of vitamins and minerals.

In A ticking bomb, Professor Alpar discussed the critical situation in antibiotics with the late Professor Vivian Moses.

A brief biography of Professor Alpar can be found here.

 
Food Acupuncture: Vitamin A

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Food Acupuncture: Vitamins & Minerals

Small but significant: Tiny amounts big results Structuring/building/connecting/energizing/repairing/healing…

The power of vitamins comes from the power of real food

 

Vitamin A – fat soluble/antioxidant

Vitamin A is a little complicated. There are two main forms of vitamin A: provitamin A—carotenoids, beta-carotene and others—and preformed vitamin A, or retinoids.

Provitamin A, carotenoids, are found in plants. Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments that give carrots their orange colour and make tomatoes red. There are many forms of provitamin A, but beta-carotene is the only one that is metabolised by mammals into vitamin A as needed. Other important carotenoids include lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene.

Preformed vitamin A, which comes in three sub-forms of retinol, retinal and retinoic acid, is the most active form of vitamin A and is mostly found in animal sources of food. This is also the form supplied by most supplements. Some supplements provide a combination of provitamin A (beta-carotene) and preformed vitamin A. Vitamin A is fat soluble and stored in the body, and can build up to toxic levels if consumed in too large quantities. About 50 to 85 percent of the body’s total retinol is stored in the liver. It is also found in many other tissues in smaller concentrations. From the liver, vitamin A reaches its target cells/tissues with a carrier molecule. The eyes also require adequate vitamin A intake and store it.

There are two sources from which we can get vitamin A. If we get it from an animal source, we get the vitamin A in the active form called retinol. The liver has the highest amounts of vitamin A. It is also found in fish oil, dairy products, and fortified cereals.

However, if we eat leafy green vegetables we get a provitamin A called beta-carotene. This is in all the brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. The advantage of the plant-based beta-carotene is that it is not toxic at high levels because it is not stored in the liver in the same way that active vitamin A is.

The structure of beta-carotene is interesting. It is actually two different vitamin A molecules connected. Our bodies break apart beta-carotene into two pieces and convert it into active vitamin A (retinol). Retinol then can be transformed into other forms of active vitamin A.

Beta-carotene is found in deep orange and dark green vegetables, like carrots and spinach, and those eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day will get this in their regular diet.

Fruits-and-vegetables-1920

Functions:

Vitamin A is arguably the most multifunctional vitamin in the human body and is essential for human survival at every stage of life. The list of major functions of vitamin A is quite long, but vision and visual acuity is a major one. It also helps genes turn on and off, helps cells develop normally, and helps with bone growth. It keeps tissues, body lining and skin healthy, and protects against infections. Vitamin A plays an important role in cellular differentiation, in the immune function and reproduction. Vitamin A escorts excess calcium out of the body. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant. Foods rich in the carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach and kale) may protect against cataracts, while lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Dietary carotenoids seem to lessen the likelihood of age-related macular degeneration. An amazing number of activities …

How does vitamin A function?

Retinol and retinyl esters are pre-formed active vitamin A. Retinol can be converted by the body to retinal, which can, in turn, be converted to retinoic acid. Retinoic acid regulates gene transcription. Retinol, retinal, retinoic acid and related compounds are known as retinoids. Beta-carotene and other food carotenoids can be converted into retinol by the body.
Fat soluble vitamin A compounds, retinoids, are predominantly stored in the liver in the retinol form. When appropriate, they are released into the bloodstream to be delivered to other tissues, for example to the retina at the back of the eye for storage. From here, retinol, where it converted to retinal when needed and is shuttled to the cells which are specialised for vision in low-light conditions and for the detection of motion.
Vitamin A is also essential for mammalian eye development. Retinoic acids act as hormones to affect gene expression and thereby influence numerous physiological processes.

Sources of vitamin A:

Animal sources of vitamin A:

Vitamin A is packed into the oily/fatty parts of food from animal sources. When we eat animal products, like liver, kidney, eggs, shrimp, fish, fish oil, fortified milk and other dairy products we get vitamin A already in the active form.

When ingested, vitamin A is broken free from the food with the aid of pancreatic enzymes and bile, and is converted into retinol in the small intestine, is absorbed into the plasma and lymphatics from blood and taken up into the liver and stored within lipid globules. From there vitamin A reaches its target cells and tissues with a carrier molecule.

Plant sources of beta-carotene:

When we eat dark green, leafy vegetables, especially spinach, turnip greens, deep yellow and orange fruits and vegetable, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, yellow squash, tomatoes, apricots and mangoes, we get a provitamin A called beta-carotene.

Fruit-divider

Vitamin A deficiency:

Vitamin A deficiency usually results from insufficient intake of vitamin A from animal products and fruits and vegetables. If you have less vitamin A than is optimal, you will have decreased cell division, which has profound effects on the visual system and is the major cause of preventable blindness worldwide, mainly in developing countries. It is most prevalent among children and women of child-bearing age. Worldwide, vitamin A deficiency is particularly devastating for children and usually they develop a kind of night blindness and can go on to full blindness and to childhood mortality, due to decreased cell division and deficient development. In countries where people and children are given extra vitamin A as a supplement, a significant reduction in childhood blindness and mortality has been achieved.

Other individuals at risk of deficiency are those with poor absorption of lipids and those with inflammatory bowel disease.
Vitamin A helps with infections, and therefore deficiency is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections, as well as thyroid and skin disorders.

Conversely, if you have too much vitamin A you will then have somewhat over stimulated cell division which may lead to organ dysfunction and problems resulting from that. For example, over-consumption of pre-formed vitamin A can be highly toxic and is especially contraindicated prior to and during pregnancy as it can result in severe birth defects. The tolerable upper intake level (UL) for vitamin A in adults is set at 3mg per day. The UL does not apply to vitamin A derived from carotenoids, i.e. from plants.

Vitamin A prophylaxis appears to significantly reduce childhood mortality in regions at high risk of vitamin A deficiency. Further, high-dose vitamin A supplementation is widely recommended for children over six months of age when they are infected with measles while malnourished, immunodeficient or are at risk of measles complications.

Fortunately, in developed countries, we have very little vitamin A deficiency.

There is no indication that the vitamin A requirement of healthy elderly individuals differs from those of other adults. It should be remembered, however, that diseases impede vitamin A absorption, storage and transport, and therefore deficiency might be more common in the elderly than in other age groups.

Important notes:

Since vitamin A is fat soluble, it is important to ensure the necessary fat intake in our diets.
Many people get too much preformed vitamin A from food and supplements. Large amounts of supplemental vitamin A, but not beta carotene, can be harmful to bones and may give rise to birth defects.

Toxicity:

Over-stimulated cell division and organ dysfunction (abdominal pain, blurred vision, headache). The majority of vitamin A toxicity cases are due to the chronic ingestion of large amounts of synthetic (or pre-formed) vitamin A. Too much vitamin A harms bones and may give rise to birth defects. Water-miscible, emulsified, and solid forms of retinol supplements, which include those in candy-like supplements marketed for children, are more toxic than oil-based preparations.

By contrast, the metabolism of provitamin A, beta-carotene from plant sources, is highly regulated, so excessive ingestion of this form of vitamin A is unlikely to cause toxicity, only skin yellowing.

Supplements:

Many supplements provide a combination of retinol and beta-carotene. Because retinol intakes of 1.5mg RAE may be associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis in older adults, some companies have reduced the retinol content in their multivitamin supplements to 0.75mg RAE.

Therapeutic uses:

Retinoic acid (or derivatives) is used at pharmacological doses in the treatment of various skin disorders such as acne.
Note: use of retinoids by pregnant women causes birth defects and is therefore contraindicated prior to and during pregnancy.

Return to the list of vitamins and minerals.

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Related material

Read the first article in the series, on what vitamins are and why we need them.

Read the second article in the series on how vitamins work.

Read the third article in the series on supplements.

Read the Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamins and minerals

Read how supplements are regulated.

In A ticking bomb, Professor Alpar discussed the critical situation in antibiotics with the late Professor Vivian Moses.

A brief biography of Professor Alpar can be found here.

 
Food Acupuncture: the vitamins

The next articles in our series on vitamins, minerals and supplements by Professor Oya Alpar will be on the vitamins.

Professor Alpar introduces the series in the video below.

 

 

Read about the various vitamins, their functions, and sources etc. To date, Professor Alpar has covered Vitamin A and Vitamins B6, B9 and B12.

Read a brief biography of Professor Alpar here.

 

 
Another Glass, Please - a new series from Richard Dudley Craig

Champagne Marie-Noëlle Ledru Cuvée du Goulté Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs 2011 £64.99

Marie-Noelle Ledru

This is a rarity and an amazing find, as landing Goulté in any quantity has become well-nigh impossible. Well done David Motion at The Winery in Maida Vale for his persistence.

A gift for serious wine lovers, this is viticultrice Marie-Noëlle Ladru’s top cuvée, 100% Pinot Noir, 100% Grand Cru, hand-harvested, hand-riddled, hand-degorged and made in miniscule quantities; a frivolous Monday night wine it certainly is not.

Despite being pressed exclusively from famously fruity Pinot Noir, this wine is clean, bright and citrussy, with a thrilling backbone of chalk and steel and a seductive creamy finish - although oak is not used in its production. Fine, dry and firm, it’s a true expression of her tiny 3 hectare vineyard in Ambonnay and its mineral-rich soil.

A champagne of this quality can be drunk on its own, but this one really shines when paired with food. Try it with white fish and a gentle, foamy butter sauce to experience the depth, flavour and crisp acidity at its very best.

Available from The Winery, 4 Clifton Road, London W9 1SS, 020 7286 6475, www.thewineryuk.com

 

Richard Dudley Craig, Wine Consultant and Importer


 

 
Food Acupuncture: article 3

Welcome to the third article of our series on vitamins, minerals and supplements by Professor Oya Alpar. This article is on supplements.
Professor Alpar introduces the series in the video below.

 

 

Read the third article in the "Food Acupuncture" series here.

Read a brief biography of Professor Alpar here.

 

 
Regulation of supplements

How are supplements regulated?

Dietary supplements are products taken by mouth which contain a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the diet. In the UK many supplements are considered to be foods, not a type of medicine or pharmaceutical, and so they are regulated under general food laws by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Department of Health. These laws are not as stringent as those for medicines.

Before a medicine can be marketed it must be approved by the Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which makes its decisions based on a product’s safety, quality and efficacy … how well it works.

The Department of Health sets Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for the UK population. DRVs provide information on the amount of energy and nutrition, including vitamins and minerals, that groups of people of certain age range, and sex if appropriate, need for good health. Dietary supplements and certain foods, therefore, carry labels denoting the percentage of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) contained in the product.

Since vitamins and minerals are viewed as food, not medicines, they do not get tested and proved that they ‘work’ or that they are safe before they are put on the market. Some of the supplements on the market can be a little bit questionable, and preferably the MHRA should ultimately get involved in regulating them.

So it is a pretty much “buyer beware” market. Things are now turning around and some new manufacturing standards are being put forward. But whether they are “safe” or whether “they work” are not yet mandatory requirements.

Vitamin supplements should not be used as substitute for a balanced diet if you do take them, and you should make sure you do not exceed your daily requirement.

Return to the article on supplements.

 
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

RDA for vitamins and minerals: the amount of vitamins and minerals that healthy people need for a good daily diet

  

 Vitamins     RDA     Minerals     RDA   
Vitamin A 800 µg Calcium 800 mg
Vitamin D 5 µg Magnesium 375 mg
Vitamin E 12 mg α-TE Iron 14 mg
Vitamin K 75 µg Copper 1 mg
Vitamin B1 1.1 mg Iodine 150 µg
Vitamin B2 1.4 mg Zinc 10 mg
Niacin 16 mg Manganese 2 mg
 Pantothenic acid  6 mg Potassium 2000 mg
Vitamin B6 1.4 mg Selenium 55 µg
Folic acid 200 µg Chromium 40 µg
Vitamin B12 2.5 µg Molybdenum 50 µg
Biotin 50 µg Fluoride 3.5 mg
Vitamin C 80 mg Chloride 800 mg
    Phosphorus 700 mg

EU RDA for vitamins and minerals


Read the third article in the series on supplements.

 
Food Acupuncture: article 2

Welcome to the second article of our series on vitamins, minerals and supplements by Professor Oya Alpar. This article is on how vitamins work.
Professor Alpar introduces the series in the video below.

 

 

Read the second article in the "Food Acupuncture" series here.

Read a brief biography of Professor Alpar here.

 

 
Food Acupuncture: article 1

Welcome to the first article of a major series on vitamins, minerals and supplements by Professor Oya Alpar. The aim is to clarify the roles of different vitamins in regard to health, how they work, why we need them and where we can find them.
Professor Alpar introduces the series in the video below.

 

 

Read the first article in the "Food Acupuncture" series here.

Read a brief biography of Professor Alpar here.

 

 
Food Acupuncture

In "Food Acupuncture", Professor Oya Alpar begins a series in which she writes about the vitamins that are essential to us, and where we get them from.

 

 Read the introduction to the series here.

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Cock-a-leekie


chicken soup right

A Year in Chicken Soup


Cock-a-leekie 2


COCK-A-LEEKIE

 

Join Hattie Garlick for the final instalment of A Year in Chicken Soup. After twelve months of culinary globetrotting via soups from Cambodia to Syria, Mexico to Nigeria, she returns to these shores for a final get-together with friends old and new round a soothing bowl of cock-a-leekie.

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Hassan's Shakriya


Shakriya 5

A Year in Chicken Soup

chicken soup right

A series by Hattie Garlick


HASSAN'S SHAKRIYA

 

Have you read Only in London, by Hanan Al Shaykh? There’s a passage in it that describes one of the main characters, freshly arrived in the UK, making a to-do list.

‘This is going to become my country’ she writes, ‘I’ve stopped living a temporary life’. And so, she must learn to speak English properly, look for a job and.... read on

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Bengali Chicken Curry

bangladeshchicken soup


A Year in Chicken Soup


A series by Hattie Garlick


JAHEEDA'S MUM'S BENGALI CHICKEN CURRY

 

 

Eid Mubarak! As I type, the smell of toasted spices and marinated meat sinews through the window, open to the cold air just a fraction of a gap. Below, small groups gather excitedly on doorsteps before disappearing within, behind warm lit windows that glow enticingly in the darkness.  (read on)

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Ghanaian Nkatenkwan

chicken soup right

A Year in Chicken Soup

Ghanaian Soup 2

 

GHANAIAN NKATENKWAN


Join Hattie Garlick at Hackney's Ridley Road market to find the ingredients for her latest recipe, a soup so substantial that, as you can see above, it was served with knife and fork... (read on)

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Mexican Pozole

 

mexican pozole

Hattie Garlick

 

A Year in Chicken Soup

MEXICAN POZOLE

with La Jacana

I’ve had to source some difficult ingredients for previous chicken soups – a kosher boiler chicken, memorably, and pepper from a particular province of Cambodia. This has to rank as the trickiest, though. For Mexico’s contribution to The Year in Chicken Soup I had to find a baby of less than 40 days old. .... (read on)chicken soup

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Da's Cambodian Chicken Soup

 

 

cambodian soup 8s

chicken soupA Year in Chicken Soup

 

A new series by

Hattie Garlick


DA'S CAMBODIAN CHICKEN SOUP


 

 

As Cambodians wake and shake their dreams from their slumbering limbs, they face a real working day that is likely to revolve around rice. According to a recent report by the New York Times, 80 per cent of the population work on the paddies. Which explains why Da, a Cambodian now transplanted to the urban fringes of London, says that Chicken Rice Soup — or borbo sach moan — runs in her veins. … (read on)

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Jewish Penicillin

Jewish soup ingredientschicken soup


A Year in Chicken Soup


A new series by Hattie Garlick


JEWISH PENICILLIN

 

 

A friend’s grandmother, a holocaust survivor, recently turned ninety-five. Surveying her life, she gave the following advice to young women: “be happy every day, eat, wear a scarf and don’t marry a schmendrick.”

It seemed like a good idea to heed her tip-off, and make Jewish chicken soup the second ‘chicken soup from around the globe’ to be cooked in our Comfort Food Cafe. ... (read on)

 

 
A Year in Chicken Soup - Avgolemono

chicken soup rightHattie  Garlick 1

 

A Year in Chicken Soup


A new series by Hattie Garlick


AVGOLEMONO

 

The first lesson of chicken soup club is this: you do not choose your chicken soup, your chicken soup chooses you.


As soon as I announce my plans to cook a different incarnation of the classic comfort food every month for a year, the Chicken Soup Conflict erupts. “My grandmother's Jewish penicillin is THE best!!!” emails a vague acquaintance. “Mexican chicken soup! Which other country actively encourages you to take both chocolate and tequila with your cure?” texts a friend.  (read on)


 
A Year in Chicken Soup

chicken soup right

 2015


A Year in Chicken Soup


A new series by Hattie Garlick

 

I am deep within the annual existential crisis otherwise know as The January Spring Clean. Literally so: I’m up to my knees in books, flung from their roosts on the book shelves in a desperate attempt to Get Rid Of This Infernal Clutter. I lift one at random and blow a film of dust from its decorative cover... (read on)

 
This Week's Wine - No.7

Chilean Dessert Wine

Chilean Dessert Wine


Sainsbury's Mayu Reserva Syrah 2009

Despite being on the southern edge of the Atacama, 530km north of Santiago,  the Valle de Elqui is a refreshingly “cool climate” region, benefitting from the steep slopes of the Andes and the cooling Pacific breezes.  They say on the Wines of Chile website, the region is perfect for Syrah and on this evidence,  I concur.
Sainsbury’s MAYU RESERVA SYRAH 2009 is packed with vibrant damson fruit that is spicy, peppery and rich. It has freshness, length and some bottle age complexity. A lot of bang for your peso!

Vital statistics

Alcohol 14%
Price  £10.00 on offer £8.50
Value  9
RDC rating 8.5


 

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.6

Rudolph's Red

Petri Pinot Noir

Petri Pinot Noir

 

A light and bright in colour German Pinot Noir, initially with an attractive slight spritz. Vibrant, fresh and balanced red fruits and acidity. A lovely alternative to red burgundy for Christmas Fayre and as I was drinking it, I was thinking how great this would be with left overs, always the best part of Christmas!

 

£10.95 Lea & Sandeman.

 

Other reviews in This Week's Wine series here.

 

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.5

Walter 2012 Riesling Trocken

Walter Riesling

Reasons for Riesling

In the UK, despite numerous promotions, tastings and festivals, Riesling, from where ever it originates, is still a tough sell.  

The pioneer and still the best source of dry German Rieslings is The Winery, 4 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W91SS whence this wine originates.

This 2012 Walter Mosel Riesling Trocken  is vibrant, zesty, citrussy and pure.  Slightly atypical of Mosel Riesling, in that it packs quite a punch making it suitable for a variety of oily fish and creamy dishes. Gratin Dauphinoise with a green salad a la Rick Stein appeals to me right now!  

Vital Statistics
Price £9.99
Alcohol  12%
RDC rating
Quality 8
Value 9


Other reviews in This Week's Wine series here.

 

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.4

La Gitana Manzanilla from Waitrose

La Gitana

LA GITANA MANZANILLA - Waitrose 15% abv £8.50

Those of us of a certain age may remember the slogan for a certain low alcohol beverage being “so light, so dry, so buy some!"
Waitrose are offering 75cl of La Gitana Manzanilla at a spankingly good £8.50 from £10 and I recommend that you do!

Manzanilla is a Fino Sherry that comes from the village of Sanlucar de Barrameda.  It has a fresh apple skin, salty aroma, clean as a whistle, dry and sappy.  At 15% abv, low for a sherry, don’t think of it as only an aperitif. Though it does that job admirably, try drinking it throughout the meal with some poached fish or chicken.


QUALITY  8
VALUE 9


 

Other reviews in the This Week's Wine series here

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.3

Manz Platonico from Oddbins

Manz

Portuguese MANZ PLATONICO - Oddbins  13% alc. £10.00

A WINE OF TWO HALVES

On opening, crunchy, vibrant cherry fruit , tangy, blood orange mouth watering fruit.  Returning to it an hour later softer aromas of mulberries, violets and cocoa, warm, rich and elegant on the palate. Take your pick, but either way, very good indeed.

Refreshingly, exactly £10, certainly an excellent autumn buy.

QUALITY  8
VALUE 9


 

Other reviews in the This Week's Wine series here

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.2

Waitrose Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013

Waitrose Sauvignon Blanc

Waitrose Chilean Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013 £7.99

Distinctly indistinctive  

If I had tasted this wine blind, I think I would have been able to pick it out as Sauvignon Blanc, but only just.  Formulaic, green apples, clean with a gentle tropical, sugary finish, therefore, easy to drink well chilled. Nothing for New Zealand to worry about here!

Score out of 10

Quality  5
Value  6.5

 

Other reviews in the This Week's Wine series here.


 

 

 
This Week's Wine - No.1

Le Fleur Bleu from M&S

Wine 1

Le Fleur Bleu 1.5L 12% abv  £11  Bag

The packaging, simplicity of use and convenience of this product, for that is what it is, is to be commended. Light and easy to carry for picnics, festivals and the Tour de France!

The contents are however less exciting. A blend of Grenache Blanc and Clairette, it is low on fruit, acidity and freshness, in fact it has no discernible character and should be consumed exceedingly well chilled.

Should one do this, it is acceptable plonk, not for the discerning, my recommendation would be to add cassis!

STAR RATING out of 10

Quality  3     Value 5

 

Other reviews in This Week's Wine series here.

 

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 1

A Landlady's Diary

 

Zara G. moved from a two bedroom flat to a large house in the summer of 2005.  For four years she has been landlady to students from all over the world.

"...Food is the pivotal factor, it helps break the ice and around the kitchen table is where the most meaningful and engaging conversations have taken place..."

Read the first episode of A Landlady's Diary

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 2

A Landlady's Diary

 

 

The second episode of A Landlady's Diary:

 

Henry, a carnivore from Colombia...

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 3

a_landladys_diary_2

 

 

The third episode of  Zara G.'s

A Landlady's Diary:

 

Yozo, a football fanatic from Japan...

 

If you've missed Parts 1 and 2 you'll find them in READ

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 4

a_landladys_diary_2

 

 

Katya, a size 0 from Moscow, is the subject of Zara G.'s observations in the latest episode of

A Landlady's Diary

 

Earlier entries featuring Henry, a carnivore from Colombia and Yozo, a football fanatic from Japan can be found in READ

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 5

landladys_diary_picnic

 

 

Katya has returned to Moscow so our Landlady is free to take a holiday... first stop India.

Zara G.'s latest episode of

A Landlady's Diary

 

 

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 6

landladys diary picnic

It's been a while since we've had an entry in 

A Landlady's Diary  

In Zara G.'s latest episode,  a period of recuperation leads to memories of home remedies from the kitchen.

Parts 1 -5,  featuring Henry, a carnivore from Colombia and Yozo, a football fanatic from Japan, and more can be found in READ

 

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 7

landladys_diary

 

In Zara G.'s latest diary entry, a lady from Turin is not quite what was expected...

Parts 1 -6,  featuring Henry, a carnivore from Colombia and Yozo, a football fanatic from Japan, and more can be found in READ

 

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 8

 

a landladys diary 2

 

 

Business isn't brisk for our Landlady, Zara G, so she has time to expand on an episode from her childhood.


 

 

 
A Landlady’s Diary - Part 9

landladys diary

 

 

In the latest entry in A Landlady's Diary, Zara G meets Yoshi and intoduces some spice into his culinary life!

 

 

 

 
Cling Film Noir

cling_film_noir_200Kazuo Ishiguro, prize winning author of Remains Of The Day, has just voiced his sympathy and support for the disdained cliche.

With this in mind, plus our national obsession with food, here is a short piece which might have been conceived by Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett had they been alive today.

Read on..

 
Tobi

Tobi

Tobi, alias Paul Tobias, is our resident food cartoonist.  He started drawing cartoons when he was five. By eight he was drawing on the walls and signing them (the first indication of a high I.Q.).

We tried to interview Paul's teachers but they wouldn't return our calls. With artistic talent like that there was only one career path ideal for him - he became a solicitor.

There followed 30 odd (very odd) years as a lawyer practising in the High Street ( he could never seem to afford an office) but Paul never let his cartooning fade and in his spare time (of which there was precious little given the Law Practice to run and wife and three children to support) continued drawing with commissions to illustrate books, and free lance publication in the National Dailies (even once having a cartoon accepted by The National Enquirer in America).

Paul has retired from  full time practice but continues in the Law as an occasional lecturer and consultant - and yes he's still drawing.

Here's what the critics say:-
"Paul is fantastic" His Mom
"Paul's drawings are to art what Marmite is to the Space Programme" Barak Obama
"Who?" David Cameron

 

See his cartoons in Gallery

 
Fyne Time

Loch_fyne

 

 

There are 3 million oysters in Loch Fyne . That's a fact. At least that's what Andy Lynes was told when he travelled to the Highlands to find out exactly what lies below the crystal clear waters of Scotland's largest sea loch.

Read on...

Watch video

 

 
Four Course Lunatics

four_course_lunatics

 

 

Four Course Compost anyone?  Melon skin, steak bones, red peppers and pasta on the menu for some of California's best fed vines.

Richard Craig discovers how natural winemaking is completing the green loop:  from the farm to the restaurant kitchen and from the kitchen back to the vineyard that produces the wine that goes back to the restaurant!


 
Wine Titbits

wine_titbits

Is wine made for tasting or drinking?

Would you want to drink more than a glass?

This was a discussion I had with Tim Johnston at the infamous Juveniles Wine Bar in Paris, which has an excellent wine list that is based on the premise that you would like to order another glass!

He is obviously of the opinion that an extra glass is good for business and buys wine accordingly, yet still interestingly!

Richard Craig on Californian Chardonnay...


 
Richard's Beef

bull

richards_beef

 

Richard Craig on misleading wine label terminology.

Vielles Vignes, Reserve Wine, Cuvée.  Do they have any real meaning?

 

 

 
Richard Craig's Wine of the Week - No.1

Two from the independent Jeroboams

wine_01

Chateau Lalande-Borie 2007 Saint-Julien £22.95
This estate was bought by the Borie family, owners of Ducru Beaucaillou in 1970. This does not guarantee a fine existence! However in this case, in a difficult, cool and wet vintage, this wine is seductive and pure. Definitely Bordelais, medium bodied, fragrant and gentle tannins. It shows truly superb and flexible winemaking, producing a wine "of the year" rather than throwing money and wood at unsuitable raw materials. It would make a great accompanyment for lamb, veal and cocks.

 

wine_03_200

Sancerre 2007 Cuvee Reserve "Silex" Domaine Serge Laloue £17.50
This is top draw Sancerre. Great depth and beautiful balance. Crisp and lively but more than just rasping. A gentle softening, due to the low yields and bottle age, of the often searingly acidic Sauvignon Blanc that can be produced in these Northern climes makes this wine a great match for seafood and also light meats and vegetables.

 

 
Richard Craig's Wine of the Week - No.2

Two Classics from the anything but "classic" The Winery, Maida Vale  020 7286 6475 

amyot

Champagne Carte d'Or NV, Amyot. £18.99


This Champagne is a "GROWER CHAMPAGNE" made from grapes grown and vinified by the name of the producer on the bottle. The Winery specialise in these. No Grande Marque multi, mega blends here! The current shipment of Amyot  is fresh, crisp and lively with attractive red current fruit acidity and a lingering gentle finish. It is 100% Pinot Noir, a true blanc de Noir!  This is in contrast to the previous shipment, which had a delicious creaminess with depth and complexity but without the raciness.  That is what you get with these very individual grower Champagnes, produced to the best quality possible, but with a little variation more often or not to do with the time/date of degorgement when the sediment created by the secondary fermentation is expelled and a wine and sugar solution is added. The more recently that this is done, the fresher, more lively the Champagne is the normal rule of thumb. Anyway, this is a delicious drinking physio suitable for many outdoor pursuits.

 

chablis_2

Chablis 2008 Mosnier £15.99

This is top class minerally, dry, dry Chablis, no oak , fresh acidity balanced with restrained and pure fruit.  Stephanie Mosnier gave up her job in logistics to take over her father's domaine in the small village of Beine. Unlike many a modern Chablis, this one actually goes well with seafood and makes a bracing aperitif.

 

 
Richard Craig's Wine of the Week - No.3
rippon_sauvignon_blanc

Rippon 2009 Lake Wanaka Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc  75cl £14.95 Lea and Sandeman. www.leaandsandeman.co.uk

I have to admit to being a bit fed up with a succession of blowsy, over sweet and vegetal NZ Sauvignon Blancs and some at high prices. Rippon 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, however is poised and focussed, with tight blackcurrant leaf aromas, excellent intensity and a racy mouthfeel. 40% of the cuvee was vinified in oak and this just adds to the complexity - it is not oaky!

riseccoli_vin_santo

Tenuta di Riseccoli 2000 Vin Santo 37.5cl  £34 www.wineaux.co.uk

This is tippy toppy sweet, complex, unctuous and rare. On the face of it, expensive, but when one considers the yields that are obtained not only for this vin santo but for many, top quality desert wines, an absolute maximum of 15hl/ha.  This can be compared with the yields achieved by the great Chateau of Bordeaux, where often as much as 40hl/ha are achieved, plus the probability of making second and third wines,  one can then see that these are not overpriced at all. Often they are made as a hobby or as a means of maintaining the traditional viticulture of an area and are non-profit making.

 

 
Richard Craig's Wine of the Week - No.4
touraine_amboise

Touraine Amboise Sec 2002  Domaine de la Perdrielle 12%  £9.50 Bordeaux et Beyond

This wine is still fresh and lively, very classic Chenin Blanc, complex, rich and gracefully ageing. Chenin Blanc is a very noble grape variety in the Loire. It is just a shame that most people come across it in fairly bland South African Whites!

domaine_des_rocailles

Domaine des Rocailles Apremont 2009 Savoie

DRINK IT NOW! and for the summer with strawberries!

White wines of the Savoie do not often find their way out of the region. Like Swiss wines, they are true local wines, drunk by locals in the locale!  Often dull and uninteresting, the wines that is!  I can whole heartedly recommend this for early Summer drinking at the very refreshing price of £6.07 Waitrose.  Made from the usually high yielding Jacquere grape, this wine is not for cellaring, it has an attractive slight spritz, which enlivens the relatively neutral and soft mouthfeel. It has a gentle, pleasing citrus finish and slips down very easily.

 
Richard Craig's Wine of the Week - No.5
*Wine of the Year - so far!!
le_cousin_150

Grolleau "Le Cousin" Vielle Vignes 2007 Domaine Cousin-Leduc, Anjou AC. Les Cave de Pyrene,  www.lescaves.co.uk  tel. 01483 554750

This wine was consumed at Terroir Wine Bar tel. 020 7036 0660 £30, with a companion who like me wanted something "wacky! " Grolleau is a variety now virtually only encountered as a component  in Rose d"Anjou, bland and insipid! The name Grolleau is derived from the old French word "Grolle" means Raven, a bird with plumage as black as the grapes from this vine. Old vines, carbonic maceration, non filtration and biodynamic practises produce a wine that is cloudy, purple-violet-red, has aromas of farmyards and horse manure, is red current juicy with vibrant, long acidity and considerable depth . Give me more!!

chateau_pierre-bise_150

Chateau Pierre-Bise L'Anclaie 2007 Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu 50cl. Lea & Sandeman  £16.99

2007 was not the best vintage for Loire sweeties, but Claude and Joelle Papin of Chateau Pierre-Bise manage superb consistency. This is achieved by tirelessly picking trie after trie only the most botrytised grapes for there cuvees. This, from one of his more exposed vineyards, hence less susceptible to the positive mists necessary for the noble rot to infect the grapes is a case in point. It has ripe, golden, flower honey aromas,  creamy and elegant with appropriate balanced acidity. It would be and in fact was, delicious with baked apples and custard!