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How To

Some helpful tips and useful information to guide you on your wine adventure. From the very basics of tasting wine, to focus on wine regions around the world , we aim to share our years of experience and knowledge of wine with you.

  • Spirit of the week

    For those that would like to keep cool during these warm summer days, we have the perfect gin cocktail recipes to inspire you…

    Forest Gateau Martini

    Ingredients
    35ml Brockmans Gin
    35ml Dark Chocolate liquor
    25ml crème de Fraise des Bois
    3 fresh raspberries

    Add all ingredients into a shaker and hard shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with freshly grated dark chocolate shavings.

     

    Brockmans Berry Tea

    Ingredients
    50ml Brockmans Gin
    25ml Elderflower Cordial
    35ml Red Berry Puree
    20ml Lemon Juice
    Chilled Red Berry Tea

    Shake all ingredients apart from the tea with ice. Strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Top with tea and stir. Garnish with crushed ice, a long thin slice of cucumber, a blackberry and a small sprig of mint.

    Brockmans and Tonic

    Ingredients
    50ml Brockmans Gin
    25ml premium tonic
    A peel of pink grapefruit
    A couple of blueberries

    Fill your chill glass of big ice cubes. Add a double measure of your favorite gin. Pour the tonic gently on a swizzle spoon to keep the fizz. Twist the pink grapefruit peel before watching it sink into your drink. Garnish with a couple of fresh blueberries.

     

  • World Malbec Day

    Why is Malbec World Day celebrated on 17th April?

    The origin of Malbec can be found in the southwest of France. Here they’ve been cultivating the grape and making wines with the appellation of Cahors since the days of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, this wine grew in popularity, and this has only increased in modern times.

    Malbec arrived in Argentina in 1853 in the hands of Michel Aimé Pouget, a French agronomist who was hired by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento to carry out the management of the Agricultural Quinta de Mendoza.

    Modelled on France, the initiative proposed adding new grape varieties as a means to enhancing the national wine industry. On 17th April, 1853, with the support of the governor of Mendoza, a project was presented to the Provincial Legislature, with a view to establishing a Quinta Normal and Agricultural School. This project was approved by the House of Representatives on 6th September that year.

    In the late nineteenth century, with the help of Italian and French immigrants, the wine industry grew exponentially and with it, Malbec, which quickly adapted to the various terroirs, and developed with even better results than in its region of origin. Over time, and with a lot of hard work, Malbec emerged as the flagship grape of Argentina.

    For Wines of Argentina, 17th April was not only a symbol of the transformation of Argentina's wine industry, but also the starting point for the development of this grape, an emblem the country worldwide.

    According to Wines of Argentine, “Malbec is not just a wine. It is a fruit that generates work, individuality, culture and development. Each bottle is a declaration of what sets Argentina apart. Each bottle speaks of the hands, the dexterity and the soul of our men. This varietal expresses a way of doing things, a way of life; it involves technique, originality and passion. The deepest wines are born of the deepest longings of their peoples, those who reside in the heart. Malbec is the heart of our industry and continues to be our global ambassador.”

    It’s common knowledge that a glass of Malbec is perfectly accompanied by a hearty steak, but did you know the versatilty of this soulful wine extends far beyond red meat. To celebrate Malbec World Day, we bring you two surprising recipes to pair with Malbec... 

    Veggies + Malbec

     

    Porcini Mushroom Pasta

    1 cup dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 1 ½ cups of hot water for 1 hour
    400 gr pappardelle or fettucini (the egg-based varieties are best)
    2 garlic clove
    1 tbsp butter
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup red wine
    2 tbsp grated Parmesan
    3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring some water to the boil and then pour it over your dried porcini mushrooms. This will make them nice and tender and bring out the full flavour of the mushrooms. Let them sit for at least an hour.

    Time cooking your pasta to be ready at the same time the sauce is – you’ll add it to the pan that you're making the sauce to saute together when it's ready. Put the water on to boil for the pasta, then get started on the sauce.

    Once the porcini mushrooms have soaked, drain them and save the water. In a deep sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and heat on medium. Crush the garlic and sauté with the butter and olive oil until fragrant. Add the red wine and let the liquid absorb. Then add the porcini mushroom water and simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Now you can add the pasta to boiling water.

    Once the pasta is in the water, stir the cream into the porcini mushroom sauce and add your salt and pepper. Let it simmer and thicken until the pasta is cooked. Drain the pasta and rinse delicately in cold water to stop the cooking process. Now add the pasta to the sauce and toss or fold the pasta into the porcini mushroom sauce.

    Sprinkle with the Italian parsley and freshly grated Parmesan to serve.

    Chocolate + Malbec

     

    Dark Chocolate and Malbec Ice Cream

    160g dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids)
    300ml double cream
    1/2 can condensed milk (approx~198ml)
    400ml of Malbec

    In a saucepan reduce the 400ml of Malbec on a medium heat until there's approximately 6-8 tbsps left, then set it aside to cool down.

    Break the dark chocolate up and melt it until it's runny and smooth. You can do this however you want, in a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the double cream and condensed milk until you reach stiff peaks. Then fold in the chocolate and the reduced Malbec until it's all mixed in.

    Pour the mixture into a 500ml freezable container, you can buy disposable pots online, use a tupperware box or just pour it into a cake tin a la moi. Make sure you cover the ice cream with a lid or tightly wrap it in clingfilm, then put it in the freezer for 6 hours.

    Before you serve the ice cream take it out of the freezer for about 15 minutes to loosen up.

    Receive up to 20% off all Malbec in celebration of Malbec World Day | ends midnight Monday 17th April >

  • Introducing NOYA's Kitchen

    We love any excuse to taste delicious food, and even more so when we have the challenge of matching up wines to challenging dishes. We also love working with local people, because that's what we're all about. So we're thrilled to have teamed up with Bath's vietnamese cookery school guru, Noya Pawlyn, who runs one of the most successful weekly pop up supper clubs in the city.

    Every month, we'll be sharing one of Noya's mouthwatering, and easy-to-make recipes with you, to bring the unique flavours of Vietnam to your table!  And, with all good dishes, you need a good wine, so we've asked food and wine matching expert Angela Mount to pick the ideal wine to accompany each recipe.

    Enjoy…

    Ginger and Chilli Chicken with Green Peppercorn

    Ga Xao Gung | serves 4 people

    Chicken Marinade
    500g chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
    ½ tsp chilli flakes
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp brown sugar

    Ingredients
    50g ginger, cut into matchsticks
    2 tbsp fresh green pepper corns (substitute for 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper if none available)
    3 cloves of chopped garlic
    1 onion, finely sliced
    3 fresh whole chillies (use less if you like it less spicy)
    1 tsp sesame oil
    1 tsp toasted sesame

    Sauce
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    1 tbsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp oyster sauce
    1 tsp dark soya sauce (optional for darker colour)
    ½ tsp corn flour
    90ml of water or coconut water

    Marinate
    In a large bowl, combine the chicken and ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Cover for 30 minutes, or if you have time place in the fridge over night.

    Cooking
    1. In a hot wok, add the oil and stir fry the ginger until it's fragrant. Move the ginger to the side of the wok and add the sliced onion and whole chillies, frying until fragrant. Move all the ingredients to the side.
    2. Add the chicken to the wok, browning on both sides. Mix the ginger and onion together with the chicken. Then add the garlic, green pepper corn and mix well.
    3. Mix the sauce ingredients together and add to the wok, stirring for a few minutes. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins on a low heat.
    4. Remove the lid and increase the heat to reduce the sauce for about 5-10 mins, or to the constancy you like. Stir in the sesame oil and transfer to a dish.
    5. Garnish with the sesame seeds, coriander and serve with Jasmine rice.

    Come along to Noya’s Kitchen's cooking classes to learn more about this wonderful aromatic cuisine.

    Click here to book your classes >

     

    Wine Match

    I love Noya’s clever sleight of hand with her dishes; from the most delicately flavoured of Summer rolls, to strong, punchy, assertive curries like this one, all of which are also stunningly presented. In the interest of research, I felt obliged to try making this one myself last week, and was delighted at how straightforward it was. I know I fell far short of Noya’s legendary presentation, but my guests certainly didn’t complain, and it was utterly delicious – perfect for this time of year, when we’re between seasons.

    So, what to serve? There’s a long-held myth that chunky red wines don’t go with spicy food, but the fact is that they do work, as long as you choose carefully.  It’s all about balance; whilst an aromatic Riesling would go well, sometimes with a rich, flavoursome, warming curry, a bold, velvety red is what’s needed...

    Vina Falernia Carmenere Reserva 2014 | £13.75 

    is my wine of choice for this dish – there’s a riot of different flavours in Noya’s curry – the heat of chillies and green peppercorns, the sweetness of soya, oyster sauce and brown sugar, and the sweet and sour pungency of ginger and fish sauce. All mingle seamlessly to create this sumptuous dish, but make wine matching a challenge. Chilean Carmenere is generally a good match with curry, with its bold, warm, cardamom and spicy character, and this one goes one step further. Produced at high altitude in the rocky hills of the Elqui valley, Vina Falernia are the most northern vineyards in Chile, perched on the edge of the desert. Why does this wine work, with this barrage of sweetness and heat?  Partly because the wine is made in an ‘Amarone’ style, where a proportion of the grapes are dried before they are fermented – this makes for a richer, more intense, more voluptuous red, which has the power and character to match the dish. With its welcoming scents of dark berries, bitter chocolate and warm spice, and its rich, brooding, yet incredibly soft flavours, this ticks all the boxes.

     

    By Angela Mount

  • Perfect Gins, The Perfect Pour

    Celebrate Mother's day with these gorgeous cocktails, perfect for the sunny days ahead...

    PINK & TONIC

    Why not try a refreshing Pink and Tonic. All you need is Pink Pepper Gin served with a deserving tonic over ice. Garnish with a spring of lavender, a grapefruit wedge and voila!

    A very round and aromatic gin - Pink Pepper is perfectly served neat or over ice, gradually revealing an intense freshness.

    Pink Pepper Gin - £45.00

     

    BLOOM PEAR BELLINI

    A true party pleaser. All you need is 25ml Bloom london Dry Gin shaken together with 10ml pear juice over crushed ice. Topped with chilled prosseco.

    A light, delicate and floral gin with a totally unique, slightly sweet taste created by a bespoke blend of 3 botanicals: honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo.

    Bloom Gin - £28.00

     

     

    GIN FIZZ

    Add Monkey 47 Gin, 30ml lemon juice and 10ml sugar syrup to the shaker, fill with ice cubes and shake vigorously for around 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled fizz glass or over ice into a highball glass and top up with 20ml of fresh soda water. We're sure this easy to make, refreshing cocktail will soon be one of your favorites!

    A curious gin from the Black Forest in Germany. Made with 47 (yes, really) botanicals and bottled at 47%.

    Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin - £38.00

     

    APPLE & BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE

    Forget baking! This delicious dessert cocktail showcases sweet and tart spring delights with a delicious crumble finish.

    Rim the martini glass with oat crumble. Muddle 8 blackberries in the shaker, fill with ice and add 45ml Cotswolds Dry Gin, 15ml cinnamon liqueur, 10ml lime juice, 50ml apple juice and 8ml almond syrup. Shake well and strain into a martini glass and embelish with apple & blackberry!

    A classic well-balanced juniper-led gin with crisp citrus and spice.

    Cotswolds Dry Gin - £34.00

     

  • Our wines in the press

    A Grape Match...

     

    MALVASIA DEL SALENTO | £10.75

    "The main flavours of this dish are smoked fish, so it needs a wine with just as much punch and power. Stick with white wine here, and stay in the Italian homeland. I've recently discovered this versatile Italian white; gentle, soft and packed with melon and peach character, it has an edge of spice which is a perfect complement to the smokey, powerful flavours of the salmon and mackerel."

    - Angela Mount, Crumbs Magazine -

     

    The Avonmouth Angler Pizza

    Makes 1
    INGREDIENTS
    For the dough:
    4g sachet dried yeast
    1/2 tbsp sugar
    150ml lukewarm water
    250g strong white bread flour
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    For the Sauce:
    Olive oil
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    Small bunch basil, finely chopped
    250ml bottle of pasata

    Toppings:
    50g spinach
    90g smoked mackerel
    80g smoked salmon
    60g mozzarella, grated
    Small handful parsley, chopped
    1/4 lemon

    METHOD
    1. Start by making the dough. Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water, stir, then leave for a few minutes.
    2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Slowly add the liquid to the flour and stir with a fork; it will start to get sticky. When you get to this stage, flour your hands and knead the dough until all the ingredients come together.
    3. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it for approx. 10 minutes, unitl it starts to become more elastic.
    4. Place back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size - this will take approx. 45 minutes.
    5. Add the pasata and allow to simmer for around 20 minutes over a low heat. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Put to one side to cool.
    6. When ready to assemble your pizza, preheat your oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9.
    7. Roll the dough out into a circle, until it's around 12 inches in diameter. Then spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce over the top and cover with an even layer of spinach.
    8. Scatter over the makerel and salmon, and then the mozzarella, making sure all the toppings are evenly distributed.
    9. Transfer to the hot oven tray or stone and cook on the top shelf of the oven. Once the mozzarella has melted, and the crust turned golden and crisp, it's ready!
    10. Scatter over the chopped parsley, and serve with the lemon wedge.

    - Crumbs Magazine -

  • A Grape Match...

    Adas Bhamod | Spinach Soup

    (Serves 5-6)

    INGREDIENTS
    4 large garlic cloves
    6 tbsp sunflower oil
    30g fresh coriander, washed
    150g green lentils
    100g white long-grain rice
    1 large potato (about 150g), peeled and diced
    450g-500g baby spinach
    3 lemons, juice only

     

     

     

    METHOD
    1. In a wide and deep frying pan, add the garlic and 3-4 tbsp sunflower oil. Gently fry until the garlic starts to become a light golden colour.
    2. Roughly chop the coriander and add to the pan. Keep turning for 5 minutes until it's wilted. Set the mix aside.
    3. In a sieve, rinse the lentils, and cook in 1 ltr water for 10 minutes, until soft. Rinse the rice with warm water.
    4. When lentils are almost cooked, add the rice, potato and 2 ltrs water, and heat for about 10 minutes, until the potato and rice are cooked.
    5. Add the spinach, coriander mix, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts.
    6. Add 2 tbsp oil to the pan and turn the heat off after a few minutes, adding water, if needed, for consistency.
    7. Serve with bread and olives.

     

    Ixsir Altitudes White 2015 | £16.95

    Look no further than Lebanon itself for the perfect match. This wine is zesty fresh with a blend of Sauvignon and Semillon, with hints of exotic fruit and spice from a dollop of Viognier and Muscat. It picks up the citrus liveliness of the soup but is rich enough to cope with the chunky lentils and rice.

    - Angela Mount, Crumbs Magazine -

  • Delicious mulled wine you can make at home

    Festive Mulled Wine recipe

    Nothing best describes Christmas in a glass, like mulled wine. Steeped in tradition, this seasonal staple has origins stretching as far back to the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Now hallmarks of this classic treat, herbs and spices were originally added to mask the taste of unpalatable wine. Luckily, as winemakers have perfected their art, wines these days don’t need their flavours masked with a gamut of spices. However, the tradition of mulled wine has withstood the test of time – something we’re incredibly thankful for.

    So loved is mulled wine, that the tradition permeates across a raft of countries and cultures around the world. In Germany it's called Glühwein and is occasionally made with fruit wine; head north to Scandinavia and you'll find Glögg, which is usually served with a homemade spiced biscuit or cake; and in Quebec they mix in maple syrup and hard liquor and call it Caribou. Now a global phenomenon, iterations of mulled wine can include everything from red and white wines, to sangria blends and those calling for vermouth and port.

    Remember, when you’re shopping for plonk for your scrumptious holiday treat, look for a big, bold, and full-bodied red – think Syrah and Malbec. Delicate wines with nuanced flavours, such as Pinot Noir and Tempranillo, will be overpowered by the punchy spices in the mulling process.

    So, now you’ve got the background, it’s time to whip yourself up a steaming mug of mulled wine.

    Ingredients
    2 bottles of red wine
    2 shots of port
    2 oranges cut into 5 segments and stuffed with cloves
    1 lemon (peel only)
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 teaspoon of nutmeg
    5 cloves
    5 cardamom pods
    2-5 tablespoons of brown sugar

    Method
    Heat all the ingredients in a pan on a gentle heat for 20 minutes. This will allow the spices to infuse into the wine; but remember, don’t let the liquid come to a boil as this will leave behind a bitter taste. Plus, it’ll mean the alcohol in the wine will boil away. Slow and steady is the way to go.

    Once the mulled wine is warm – not piping hot – strain the mixture and pour it into a jug ready to serve.

  • Make it at home with Botromagno

    Botromagno recipe

    Ingredients (four people)

    - 500g orecchiette (the traditional ear-shaped pasta of Puglia)
    - 1kg washed turnip greens without the stems
    - Garlic
    - 1 anchovy fillet
    - Salt
    - Chili pepper
    - Breadcrumbs

    Procedure

    Gently boil the turnip greens in salted water. When cooked, take out, keeping the water to cook the orecchiette in. In a large frying pan, gently brown the garlic in a little olive oil and then add the turnip greens and the anchovy fillet. Mix well and leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile cook the orecchiette in the turnip green water until al dente. Drain, add to the frying pan and mix well for a couple of minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs and a little chili pepper.

  • Perfect Pair

    Once we understand the wine style, we can start to pair it with food. The perfect pairing will enable us to taste both the food and wine equally without one overpowering the other. Of course wines are lovely on their own, but when you get that perfect pairing it can be a memorable moment. The key to food and wine pairing is balance.

    Perfect Pair

  • Wine Style Guide

    To accompany our previous post on how to taste wine, we've put together a handy style guide for you to use when tasting.  The printable guide below can help when choosing what style of wine to buy too, based on your likes/dislikes in flavour.

    Wine Style Guide

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