Skip links:

The Grapevine

  • GIN-TASTIC

    Gin. Twenty years ago, a drink that anyone under 40 would probably have sneered at, the tipple of the older generation, the least hip of all spirits. Vodka was the flavour of the day with rum also on the radar. Fast forward and gin is about as cool as it gets in the spirits world, with over 43 million bottles sold last year in the Uk, helping spirits overtake beer sales in the Uk, and a plethora of new distilleries popping up all over the Uk, double the number from 2010.

    I bucked the trend in my youth; I worked as brand manager for Smirnoff for a year in my early career, but never really got vodka. My spirit of choice was always gin, although in those days, choice was far more limited. But the scent, the botanicals, the flavours fascinated me, in a similar way to wine.

    The best news for me this month is that Great Western Wine, already well-known for their extensive range, have increased their number of gins to 101; gin lover’s heaven. But this in itself starts to make choosing a gin even more complicated than selecting a wine. With a plethora of styles from all over the world, from the big brands to tiny craft distilleries, where do you start? 101 gins is a bit of a challenge, even for me, so I decided to take things slowly and make a start on about a dozen of them.  Here are my top tips...

    As well as the myriad herb and spice botanicals that are used in gins all over the world, gins are now infused with fruit, leading to a totally different taste experience. If you like your gin fruity, in cocktails or even neat, then Brockmans Premium Gin with its intense aromas and sweet flavours of blackberries, blueberries and pink grapefruit would be the perfect Summer choice. Prefer the tropical style? Then try the super-hip Hoxton Gin, a sweeter style, dominated by coconut, pineapple and pink grapefruit.

    Personally, I’m a classic G&T girl, but, just like wine, I love the stories, and the difference in styles of every gin I taste.

    If you like your gin pure and simple, you won’t go far wrong with the memorably-named Death’s Door Gin, produced on the 22 square mile Washington Island, Wisconsin, named due to the reinvigoration of the island’s farming culture from 2005, after the island’s economical decline in the late nineties. With a local story at its heart, it’s a very pure style, savoury and clean with coriander and fennel at its core, and hints of citrus.

    Chase Elegant Gin, in its strikingly etched bottle, has been gracing the shelves of cocktail bars around the country for a while now, and is another soft, citrusy style, with hints of peach, grapefruit and angelica. Distilled from apples from Herefordshire orchards, and mingled with fragrant elderflower, it’s deliciously fruity, and silky smooth. Perfect for a martini.

    Staying with gins on the fragrant and fruity spectrum, Silent Pool gin, produced in the Surrey countryside, seduces with the bottle alone, and has a delightful fruity femininity, in tune with the eye-catching packaging. If you like your gin, fruity and fragrant, with a delicate edge, this is a very pretty one, full of citrus, kaffir lime, lavender and a gentle hint of honey. This one came into its own with Fevertree’s floral Mediterranean tonic, lemon and a sprig of thyme.

    Another gin with a lavender and citrus edge is the whistle-sharp Sipsmith London dry gin, super-clean and zesty, with a lip-smackingly fresh, bold citrus and wild herb aroma, with candied lemon and orange to the fore. A lovely classic.

    Gins cover botanicals and flavours from all over the spectrum. Whilst tangy and citrus-fresh styles are great Summer gins, as we approach Autumn, if more warming, spice-infused gins are more the order of the day, here are a couple, which could fit the bill.

    Bertha’s Revenge is a warm, soft, almost creamy style of gin distilled from whey in Ballyvolane, near Cork. With cardamom, cumin, orange peel and coriander at its heart, as well as local botanicals, it has hints of licorice, and clove, with a waft of vanilla and tonka bean. Try this with classic tonic, or in a warming, ginger-based cocktail.

    On a similarly spicy spectrum is Bathtub Gin, a robust navy strength at 57% alcohol, in its stubby, paper and twine-wrapped bottle. Despite the strength, it’s a remarkably fresh, crisp gin, with a strong juniper element and a herbal, almost salty tang, combining with the richer elements of coriander, clove, cinnamon and orange peel.

    Gin and food matching?  Well it’s not a mainstream idea yet, but when you look at the botanicals, a lot of it makes sense, particularly with spiced foods, such as Indian and Thai, with the warmth of coriander and cardamom to the fore in many. Try it. You won’t be disappointed. Or just explore; I’m constantly learning.

    By Angela Mount

  • Crumbs!

    Crispy Skinned Pork Belly With Apple And Onion Veloute

     

    Ingredients
    5 garlic cloves
    100ml pomice oil
    handful rosemary, chopped
    handful thyme, chopped
    pork belly (2kg), ribs off
    1/2 pint cider
    knob of butter
    4 shallots chopped
    3 apples, cored, peeled and sliced
    200ml double cream
    12 baby potatoes
    12 baby leeks

    Method
    1. Preheat the oven to 210C/415F/gas mark6
    2. Chop or crush the garlic and mix it with the oil before adding the chopped rosemary and thyme.
    3. Brush the pork belly all over with the mixture (apart from the skin) and season it with salt and pepper.
    4. Put it in the oven, skin side up, for 10 mins. Then pour the cider on the pork belly, put baking paper on the top of the skin, and cover the tray with foil. Turn down the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and let it cook for 90 mins.
    5. Once the pork is ready (the skin should be golden brown) remove from the oven and leave it to cool. Then, press the pork - use an oven tray with something heavy on top - and refridgerate for a minimum of 12 hours. The next day the pork belly is ready to get portioned.
    6. For the veloute, heat the butter in a pan and add shallots and the apples to sweet down until soft. This should take about 10 mins. When they are soft, add the cream. Take the pan off the heat and, using a food processor or a hand blender, puree the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    7. Chop the new potatoes in half and boil until they are soft. Heat some butter in a pan and fry the baby leeks. Just before they are ready, add the new potatoes and season.
    8. Once the veloute and vegetables are almost ready, heat some oil in a pan and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Salt the skin side of each portion of pork belly and place in the pan, skin side down. Fry for 5 mins before putting in the oven for 10 mins to warm the meat through.
    9. To serve, spread 1 tbsp of veloute across the plate, put the new potatoes and baby leeks on top and, when the pork belly is nice and crispy, put it on the top of the vegetables as the hero of the dish.

     

    A Grape Match...

    Ken Forrester's Reserve Chenin Blanc 2016

    Chenin blanc is always a great match for pork with apple, so opt for this multi award winner, which combines a creamy richness of flavour with bold apricot and baked apple character, balancing perfectly with the intensity of the veloute, and the fresh acidity of the apple and herbs.

  • Tasting with Trimbach

    Great Western Wine recently hosted a sell-out evening with Julien Trimbach at the Allium restaurant. Angela Mount went along to report...

     

    A tasting of Trimbach wines is not a bad way to spend an evening at the best of times, but teemed with not only some rare gems from old vintages, but also the exquisite cuisine of new Allium Restaurant chef, Rupert Taylor, it became a must do event in Bath’s social calendar.

    Trimbach is one of the most revered wine producers in Alsace.  Established in 1626, and with the young and urbane Julien Trimbach, the 13th generation of the family, hosting this spectacular evening, guests, many of whom have followed and enjoyed Trimbach wines for years, were in for a treat.

    Alsace, nestled in the foothills of the Vosges mountains, forms a long, narrow strip between northern France and Germany, and has a chequered history, having changed nationality several times between the two countries over the centuries and wars.  Trimbach are based in Ribeauville, a chocolate-box pretty town, with characteristic timber-fronted houses and steep flat clay tile roofs, in the heart of the vineyard region.  Using mainly Germanic grape varieties, Alsace has created a worldwide reputation for extraordinary wines with Riesling at its heart, but in a totally unique way.

    It’s always fun to break the rules; instead of a customary glass of fizz on arrival, we were greeted with a chilled Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve 2015, which surprised some and delighted many.  Pale ruby red in colour, fresh, bright and lively, this gentle, light red was packed with crunchy pomegranate and raspberry fruit, with a wild herb edge.  With its northern location, Alsace doesn’t produce much red wine, but the cool climate-loving Pinot Noir does perform well here, albeit producing far lighter styles than neighbouring and more southernly Burgundy.  Spot on with Chef Taylor’s irresistible canapes of tomato and smoked aubergine, sumptuous foie gras mousse spiced up with saffron and pink peppercorns, together with a tangy citrus cured morsel of salmon with ponzu jelly.

    Onto dinner; first up was a beautifully presented plate of plump, caramelised and pan-fried scallops, meltingly tender, with their luxurious, sweet texture; these were nestled on an intense creamy puree of cauliflower, and served alongside perfectly roasted and singed cauliflower florets, and a bright, tangy verjus to balance. Tom King, Great Western Wine’s Fine Wine Manager had worked closely with Chef Taylor to showcase the very best of Trimbach’s wines, and cleverly picked a grape variety, whose ripeness and more voluptuous style, would marry the indulgence and sweetness of the starter. Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2014 combined aromas of tuberoses and nutmeg, with a deliciously fresh, dry palate, with vibrant citrus to the fore, tinged with a hint of acacia honey.  This was served alongside Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve Personelle 2013, a masterpiece in the balance of richness and acidity, opulent and intense.

    The main event was inevitably going to be Riesling, accounting for over 50% of Trimbach’s production.  As Julien told us “Riesling is in our blood, it’s our heritage”. We were treated to a hedonistic quartet of Rieslings, with over 30 years between the youngest and oldest. Trimbach Riesling Reserve 2014 is but a baby, grown on the chalky, quartz and sandstone Gres des Vosges stone.  2014 was a fabulous vintage in Alsace and this little gem showed its promise, all nervy and fresh with candied lemon peel aromas and zippy acidity. If you have of this vintage, snuggle it up, and don’t touch till it’s at least a toddler, as it will blossom into a beautiful teenager and beyond.

    Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 2008 is Trimbach’s signature wine, produced from two grand crus vineyards, with vines averaging 45 years in age. This is an extraordinary wine from a vintage which produced wines of purity and precision.  This wine, despite its 9 years, is still in its youthful, nervy thoroughbred stage.  Intense, rich, creamy and incredibly complex, it has a gorgeous richness of fruit, interwoven with grapefruit peel, Manuka honey and a smattering of citrusy sumac.

    Matching a main course that isn’t fish, to white wines isn’t always easy, but Rupert Taylor and his brigade stepped up to the mark with a fillet of Rose Veal, glisteningly pink, tender and delicate, served with a creamy sweet langoustine puree, earthily pungent girolles mushrooms and tangy choucroute. A wealth of flavours on a plate, whose different textures and balance of flavours worked seamlessly with the wine.

    Still on Riesling, wizard Tom King then waved his magic wand and brought out two wines from the cellar collection – wines that have been slumbering in the cellars for years, and are now starting to emerge from their chrysalis into rare and stunningly beautiful butterflies.  Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2008 is Trimbach’s flagship wine, produced on limestone soils, from a single vineyard, and only in the very best of years. As Julien stated ‘if Riesling is in our blood, Sainte Hune is in our heart’. This wine is extraordinary – racy, nervy, taut as a tightly-wound violin string, bursting with a myriad flavours of marmalade, lime and those typical petrolly characteristics, all bound up with outstanding purity and minerality – if you have some, it’s another toddler to leave to develop a while longer.

    Proving the point, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Alsace, and in particular Trimbach makes wines that can last decades, Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendange Tardive 1983, a 34 year old, very rare wine, produced in tiny quantities, from botrytised grapes, which are very rare from this vineyard – the epitome of elegance, redolent of white flowers, roses, rosehips and honey; rich, intense, multi-layered, with marvellous depth – mature, but still with trademark steely acidity coursing through its veins. A rare treat.

    How to follow such a majestic wine?  Chef Taylor finished off the evening with a Peach Bavarois, wobbling in its creamy unctuousness, accompanied by a tangy, perfectly spiced Schezuan pepper and bay leaf ice cream.  Picking up on the delicate, floral notes in the dessert, our final wine was Gewurztraminer Selection des Grains Nobles ‘Hors Choix’ 2007, amber in colour and steeped with rich nectarine, honey and candied fruit flavours – exotic, decadent and supremely balanced.

    Four hundred years on, Trimbach is still proving why its iconic wines are revered all over the world.

  • SUMMERTIME SIPPING

    Barbecues, Beaches and Picnics…

    By Angela Mount

    With teachers all over Bath looking happier by the day as their summer sojourn approaches, parents considering the challenges of entertaining their little darlings for over six weeks, and residents braced for the next influx of tourists, it’s safe to say summer is truly upon us.

    Whatever the weather, we all love a bit of Alfresco, and new outdoor drinking spaces are popping up all over the city. With entertainment and escape at the top of the agenda, barbecues, picnics and day trips to the beach are often the order of the day, regardless of the weather.

    Barbecues and picnics have become an art form, far removed from the charred burger, or limp cheese and tomato sandwiches of old. Be it beach, outdoor concert, day by the river, or impromptu party in the garden, my job is to ensure that your vinous choices match up to the culinary delights that you will be enjoying.

    First up, a few tips; for barbecues, stock up on ice, fill a couple of large buckets, or plastic storage crates, and add water to keep everything chilled. For spirit-lovers, put a bottle in the freezer (it won’t freeze), to keep cocktails icy cold. For days on the beach invest in a wine cooler sleeve or two, and keep everything even colder in the cool bag. Impromptu picnic by the river? Take a ball of string! Yes, I mean it - if your wine or beer is too warm, tie the string round a tree or rock, tie the other end to the bottle and dangle in the dabbling brook –it’s tried and tested, and yes it works. And finally, screwcap is definitely easier.

    Onto the wine itself. Let’s start with fizz – this isn’t the time to bring out your vintage Champagne; keep things light and fresh. With the Prosecco craze in overdrive, try a similarly fresh, but more flavoursome fizz from the eastern side of northern Italy.  Cleto Chiarli Pignoletto brut NV is zesty and lively, with a welcome citrus and green apple tang.

    Sundowners in the garden?  You can’t go wrong with a thirst-quenching G&T – try Jensens Bermondsey gin, a classic London dry gin with floral and citrus verve; or, ahead of a seafood extravaganza, conjure up the spirit of Andalucia, with a searingly cold, super-fresh glass of tangy, salty La Guita Manzanilla, just perfect with olives and salted almonds.

    At this time of year, keep things light, in terms of both style and alcohol. Avoid heavily oaked wines, and opt for fruity, fresher styles.  Cotes de Provence is now a Summer staple, and Great Western Wine have an impressive array of these, but if you’re looking to drink pink with your barbecue, why not move a little further west from the Riviera and try the vibrantly fruity, and ridiculously good value Domaine du Donjon, Minervois 2016, stashed with red berry and citrus-licked fruit; bring on the seared tuna.

    For lunchtime picnics, Vinho Verde is the perfect choice, and rapidly coming back into fashion – forget the sweet fizzy stuff of old, today’s versions, are crisp, dry, and lemony-bright with the merest hint of spritz, and utterly refreshing both in taste and in lightness of alcohol. Vinho Verde Quinta da Lixa 2016 is ideal, at a mere 10.5% alcohol, and won’t have you dozing off after lunch. Enjoy with the freshest of salads.

    Staying with the bright and breezy theme, but veering into unchartered waters, the little-known Txakolina Adur 2015 would be a worthy addition to your summer wine collection.  From the wild and rugged hills of the Basque country, this dry white is as pinpoint–sharp as a laser beam, with mouth-watering green apple and lemon tones, and a lip-smacking zesty, bone dry finish – and crying out for grilled sardines, the freshest of prawns, or calamari.

    My final white is much closer to home – just down the road in Dorset; English sparkling wine now stands up to Champagne in international competitions, but still wines are less well-known. I recently discovered the appropriately-named Lyme Bay Shoreline 2016 – light and pretty with a citrus tang and floral notes. Perfect for a day by the sea, or a holiday BBQ, and a mean match with take away fish and chips, watching the sun set over the water.

    As far as reds are concerned, either opt for lighter, fresher styles, in which case chill them lightly, or go for bold, soft and spicy, the perfect partners for flavour-packed barbecues. In the former camp sits the rather delicious and award-winning, Austrian red, Hopler Blaufrankisch 2013 – ripe and juicy, with lashings of sweetly-spiced blackberry fruit, it’s delightfully soft and silky; spot on with sharing platters of prosciutto, salami, antipasti and also barbecued chicken. And finally, my choice of red for steak, minted lamb and spicy kebabs would be the Aussie Skillogalee Basket Pressed Shiraz 2013, a decadently rich, indulgent and velvety red, oozing with voluptuous dark fruit and spice, and perfect for sultry summer evenings (if we get them).

    Happy holidays!

  • Tristan Darby gets crafty with local beers

    Beer drinking culture in the UK has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Since 2007 the number of breweries in London has grown from ten to one hundred, and the overall number of breweries across the UK is at an eighty year high, with an 8% rise in the last year alone.

    We're fortunate to have some awesome breweries on our doorstep here in the south-west, and it's great to see numerous local pubs, restaurants, and shops supporting them by offering a wide range of local brews. This month I had the arduous task of tasting the brand new beer portfolio at Great Western Wine to seek out my favourites... It's a hard life.

    Bristol's Lost & Grounded have only been brewing since July of last year, but are already making waves. My pick is the quirkily-titled NO REST FOR DANCERS. A deeply coloured red ale that has an enticing hoppy/malty nose and a berry-like fruitiness with a touch of spice on the palate. Bestowed with just the right amount of sweetness and light malty caramel flavour to balance the underlying hoppy bitterness, before delivering a clean refreshing finish.

     

    Founded in 2007, Bristol's Arbor Ales are a busy forward-thinking outfit who have brewed over three hundred different beers to date. Their SHANGRI-LA is a generously hopped session IPA with crisp bright citrus notes complementing a well-judged touch of sweetness. Exotic tropical fruit flavours lead to a dry and slightly chalky finish. Gentle carbonation adds a lovely texture and helps underline the soft appeal of this rather brilliant and highly quaffable brew.

     

    Kettlesmith is a small independent micro-brewery based in Bradford on Avon. I'm a big fan of their beers for sheer quality, but an added pull is that they highlight food pairing options. RIDGELINE is a rich American Rye IPA with nutty peppery hints. It's a pretty full bodied beer, but superbly smooth, well balanced and utterly delicious. Kettlesmith suggests this beer 'plays nicely' with beef bourguignon, cassoulet, spicy bean burgers and firm, tangy cheese. I can't wait to get into the kitchen to investigate.

     

    Wiper & True started from humble beginnings as home brewers experimenting with raw ingredients on the kitchen stove. Based in the St Werburgh's area of Bristol, the operation has grown somewhat, picking up many followers along the way, whilst keeping innovation and the spirit of experimentation as a core principle. The excellent MILKSHAKE is a milk stout which includes a generous dollop of chocolate malts and vanilla pods to add an extra depth of flavour, along with a wonderful aroma. Milk stouts use lactose, which is the sugar made from cow's milk, to add sweetness and creaminess to the beer. As you would imagine, this is pretty rich, full and jam packed with seducing notes of toasty vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. However, there's a surprisingly refreshing balance here. If you drink this lightly chilled you'll retain the lovely rich notes and get enough mouth-watering lift to quaff it in the sun with smoky barbecued meats.

    Taste these beers for free at Great Western Wines "Best of the West Beer Tasting" on Saturday 19th August. Click here for more information >

    Happy supping!

  • The Team's Tasting Selections

    Lyme Bay Shoreline Bacchus 2016

    “My final white is much closer to home – just down the road in Dorset; English sparkling wine now stands up to Champagne in international competitions, but still wines are less well-known. I recently discovered the appropriately-named Lyme Bay Shoreline – light and pretty with a citrus tang and floral notes. Perfect for a day by the sea, or a holiday BBQ, and a mean match with take away fish and chips, watching the sun set over the water.” Angela Mount, Bath Life

    Rosé Pinot Noir, Long Meadow Ranch 2015


     

    Yealands Estate Gewurztraminer, Awatere Valley 2016

     

    2012 Thomas Goss Chardonnay

     

     

     

    Skillogalee Basket Pressed Shiraz 2013, Clare Valley

    “This is made by the Palmer family, which never puts a foot wrong with its wines. A regular in my 100 Best Australian Wines Report, it’s a powerful chocolate and plum-soaked wine with enormous charm.” Matthew Jukes - The Daily Mail Weekend Magazine 100 Best Value Summer Reds, 2017

     

    2012 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir

     

    2012 Winemakers Collection Cabernet Merlot, Crossroads

     

     

    2012 Saints Hills Sv. Roko, Croatia

  • Sipsmith Summer Spritzers

    Get in the spirit of summer this season, with these superb Sipsmith cocktails for you to try at home...

     

    London Cup Mule

    You need:
    50ml London Cup
    25ml Lime Juice
    10ml Sugar Syrup
    Dash Angostura Bitters
    Ginger beer
    Lime wedge to garnish

    Instructions:
    1. Add all ingredients to mug with ice and stir
    2. Top with Ginger Beer
    3. Garnish with lime wedge

     

    Daisy

    You need:
    50ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin
    25ml Lemon Juice
    10ml Pomegranate Syrup/ Grenadine
    Soda
    Seasonal Berries to garnish

    Instructions:
    1. Shake first three ingredients with ice
    2. Strain into an ice filled glass
    3. Top with soda
    4. Garnish with seasonal berries and serve with a straw

     

    The Navy Rose

    You need:
    40ml VJOP Gin
    20ml Rose Tea
    20ml Lemon Juice
    15ml Sugar Syrup
    3 Raspberries
    1 Egg White
    Dried rose buds to garnish

    Instructions:
    1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake
    2. Fill shaker with ice and shake again
    3. Fine strain into a chilled glass
    4. Garnish with some dried rose buds


    Morning Glory

    You need:
    35ml Sipsmith Sipping Vodka
    50ml Tomato Juice
    25ml Carrot Juice, Celery Juice, Beetroot Juice, Lemon Juice
    1 pinch Thai Chili
    10ml Soy Sauce
    1/2 a barspoon Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
    1 pinch of Cayenne Pepper
    20ml Plum Wine
    50ml Jax Coco Calamansi
    Thai Basil

    Instructions:
    1. Throw all ingredients into a shaker
    2. Double strain into a Hurricane glass
    3. Garnish with thai basil, a celery stick and dried beetroot rings

    All recipes from https://sipsmith.com/cocktail-recipes/

  • The Team's Tasting Selection

    It's that time of the week again when the team at Great Western Wine make a selection of delectable fine wines from around the world for you to taste for FREE.

    Come on by the Bath shop to sample the below mix of award winners, 'A taste of summer' offers and recent good reviews...

    Domaine Louis Michel, Chablis 1er Cru Montmain 2014

    *Decanter GOLD

     

    Domaine Louis Michel, Chablis 1er Cru Montmain 2014

    *SWA GOLD

    .

    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese 2014

    *SWA GOLD

    *Decanter Bronze

    .

    Urlar Pinot Noir 2014

    *SWA GOLD

    *IWC Bronze

    *Decanter Bronze

    .

    Caggiano Fiano di Avellino 'Bechar' 2016

    *Decanter Silver

     

    Bertani, Valpolicella Classico DOC 2016

     

     

    .
    Château Sainte Marguerite, Cuvée Symphonie, Cru Classé 2016

    The best Provence rosé wines: "Super-pale – far more so than the standard cuvée of Ste Marguerite. Delicate but also persistent. Brilliant. Made from old-vine grenache and cinsault that dates back to 1936."
    - Victoria Moore | The Telegraph
    .
    .

    Domaine de la Janasse, Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2015

    This is a rich and expressive wine that has notes of elderberry, honeysuckle and lime all in evidence. The finish is creamy and textured, nicely topped off with a dash of pear compote. It’s a well-judged and unforced style. 90/100 - Decanter Magazine | August 2017

  • Stylus Vinyl

    May: What's in the box?

    Our friends at Stylus Vinyl, who send out monthly subscription boxes of classic albums on vinyl paired with a great bottle of wine chosen by us, have nailed it once again.

    For the May edition, Stylus have hit the summer switch with New Order’s Power Corruption and Lies. Breaking away from their Joy Division roots, New Order made a real statement with this album, marrying the rockier elements of their past to a more electro-synth style to create this timeless classic.

    We’ve paired this masterpiece with a wine that also makes a real statement. The Mas Amor Rosado made by Franck Massard packs a real punch. Bolder in colour and flavour than many trendy pale rosés, its richer character is a winner with food. The album's cover of roses is a fitting match to the name of the wine: Mas Amor (meaning more love) as well as both wine label and album cover being derived from pieces of graffiti.

  • SUMMER LIFE THROUGH ROSÉ-TINTED GLASSES

    Chilled pretty pink wine is a summer staple according to Angela Mount. Here are a few of her favourite suggestions...

     

    There are things in life that evoke a strong sense of place and season; for Summer, near the top of the list must be the salty, ozone-fresh tang of the sea, the soothing sound of waves lapping a sun-drenched beach, the incessant chirping of crickets on a warm Mediterranean evening, the exhilarating, cooling splash of a clean dive into a glitteringly azure pool – the list goes on. We’ll ignore the smell of diesel and hot tarmac on the M5 to Cornwall for the purposes of this piece. Memories, perceptions, associations – all buried for eternity in our brains and senses.  And for me, and many, the sight of a chilled glass of tremulously pale pink wine, with tiny beads of condensation shimmering down the sides – and of course the aroma and taste, as you take that first, welcome sip - immediately conjures up the thought of holidays and downtime.

    Is the scene now set in your mind?  Regardless of where you’re reading this, and even if our lovely city is downcast beneath leaden skies, in a familiar deluge of rain, let me transport you to sunshine and relaxation for just a few minutes, and encourage you to pick up a few bottles of wine, of the pink variety, to enjoy this evening, whatever our maverick weather pattern may throw at us.  We wine writers harp on about how rosé isn’t just for Summer, and I’m one of them (I happen to think that Rosé is about as good as it gets with Middle Eastern food, and also a great deal of Asian food, all year round) – but, you can’t get away from the fact, that it always seems to taste just that bit better in the sunshine.

    Enough of mindfulness exercises, now that I’ve hopefully transported you to a happy place, here’s what will be chilling in my fridge, of the pink vinous variety, this Summer….

    Whilst there are some fabulous rose wines from the New World, I’m sticking to a European theme this month. Firstly, let’s talk about the contentious subject of which shade of pink.  Rose wine has been done no favours by the presence of lurid, neon-pink hued, cloyingly sweet wines from big brands, which dominate supermarket shelves – and therefore the perception is that, the deeper the colour, the sweeter the wine. That’s not strictly true, as the colour is all down to how long the winemaker leaves the grape juice on the grape skins to soak up the colour. But the style ‘du jour’ is definitely pale, driven primarily, by the recent phenomenal success of ‘Riviera Rosé’, more properly known as Cotes de Provence. Last year, in the UK, we drank over 12 million cases of pretty pink wines, with Provence Rosé at the top of the pile.

    Chateau Gassier ‘Le Pas du Moine’ Cotes de Provence 2016, is the wine that transports me back to the lavender fields, sleepy villages, and chic beach restaurants of Provence, although Great Western Wine have an enviably wide selection of other options also.  With its ethereal pale peach colour, and entrancingly gentle flavours of wild strawberries, pomegranates, and wild provencal herbs, this award-winning wine from a family-run estate, pretty much sums up Summer in a bottle; and even more so in an impressive magnum ( big bottle) for £29.50, which can’t fail to impress guests and imbue the feel-good factor. Simply add tuna nicoise, and you have the Riviera on your doorstep.

    Staying with the ethereally pale, onion-skin theme, one of my long-standing favourites is a delicately- scented pink from Sicily, Planeta Rose 2016, from the island’s leading wine producer. Gossamer-pale in hue, with a pretty floral label, it epitomises the perfect Summer aperitif. The colour and lightness of this wine belies its origin and proves that, with care, the hot, southern Mediterranean isn’t all about rich, voluptuous reds. Fresh, fragrant, with pink grapefruit, lemon peel, and gentle red berry flavours, chill it right down and enjoy with a platter of antipasti, or the freshest of seafood. It’s my go-to picnic pink.

    Moving on to Spain, I recently discovered the deliciously fruity Sierra Cantabria Rioja Rosado 2016. Bone dry, and seductively perfumed, it has a similarly pale colour, but a bit more oomph and weight than many. I recently had the enviable task of matching wines to the delicately spiced and fragrant dishes created by local Iranian cookery school teacher Simi Rezzai-Ghassemi, and this emerged the star. The bright, raspberry and wild herb-stashed, super-fresh style makes it a brilliant food wine with juicy prawns, grilled salmon, middle-eastern dishes, and tapas.

    And finally, to prove my point about colour, a dry rose with a much bolder pink colour, and an equally bold, funky, graffiti-inspired label.  The appropriately named Mas Amor Rosado 2016 (meaning more love), is bright and breezy, packed to the brim with succulent raspberry and all manner of red berry fruits. Bursting with character, this one’s the pink of choice for barbecues, chargrilled prawns and piri-piri chicken.

    And there you have it - your Summer Rose collection has arrived. Enjoy.

Items 11 to 20 of 489 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. ...
  7. 49

You are here:

Search Site