Monthly Archives: July 2017


    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

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



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

    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

    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

    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

  • 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



    Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese 2014


    *Decanter Bronze


    Urlar Pinot Noir 2014


    *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

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