NEWSLETTER IX MMXVII
As London has begun to feel autumnal we thought it would be a good time for a newsletter. We have all returned from our summer holidays, having spent some of it together in Tuscany hosting our annual Fête du Vin (or more aptly Festa del Vino this year) with our friends from Pacina. It was a wonderful long weekend and we cannot thank Giovanna, Stefano and the whole family at Pacina enough for their generosity.
The words on everyone's lips, however, were frost and hail. Most of the winemakers at the tasting, and many more besides, have suffered the wrath of the weather in varying degrees. The vines of our friends François Dhumes, Jean Maupertuis and Simon Busser have been absolutely devastated. Here's hoping 2018 brings kinder skies.
Just before summer we received a couple of pallets from Michel Guignier, who makes wine outside Vauxrenard in Beaujolais. He made his first trip to the UK for our Spring Tasting in May, and his wines and personality were clear stand-outs both for us and for visitors.
Michel's family have been making wine here for four generations, and farming the land for much longer. The domaine sits on the edge of the Massif Central, 500m above sea-level (significantly higher than a lot of Cru Beaujolais), looking down on the appellations of Chiroubles, Chénas, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent. Michel is a firm believer in the importance of biodiversity and polyculture in farming. The seclusion of his vineyards and the surrounding forest helps promote this, as does his herd of Charolais and his horse Bistère. He only grows Gamay, there is neither fining nor filtration, no added yeast, enzymes, sugar or sulphites and all vineyard work is done by hand (or hoof). Working in this way allows Michel to take full advantage of his terroir.
FROM THE KITCHEN
September seems to us to be a surprisingly splendid month for summer produce from the British Isles. We returned to a kitchen full of tomatoes, sweetcorn, peppers and, for the first time, chillies! The truth of it is produce takes longer to ripen here than in southern Europe, which is why it is almost autumn and we are rabbiting on about tomatoes. This is quite the reminder of how temperate these islands are, and of the volatility of the seasons.
Choose a few ripe tomatoes, score their skins and blanch quickly in boiling water. Peel off their now compliant skins and cut into quarters or eighths depending on their size. Fill an oven proof dish with the tomatoes, a generous spoon or two of double Jersey cream, a generous amount of salt and some marjoram. Bake for half an hour at 180°C, or until the cream has reduced and the tomatoes are yielding to the sauce. Serve with fresh marjoram.
Another hit at the Spring Tasting this year were the wines of Vittorio Graziano. He farms 5 hectares of vines just outside Modena, planted with cuttings from old vineyards of mostly forgotten regional varieties.
Ripa Di Sopravento 2015
Fontana Dei Boschi 2015
(Lambrusco di Modena, Grasparossa, etc...)
It is always a pleasure to spend time with the Klinec family, and this summer at Pacina was no different. Their whites from 2012 which we are currently selling show without a doubt why we believe them to be among the best maceration wines available.
OUR PICKS THIS MONTh
Marie & Vincent Tricot, Jour de Fête 2016
2016 was a bit of a tough year for most of our Auvergnat winemakers, as 2017 is proving to be, but in spite of this Vincent managed to make some fantastic wines. The Jour de Fête is made from Gamay d'Auvergne with a slight maceration and bottled before the fermentation is finished, resulting in a pink, off-dry, fine bubbled sparkler.
Vittorio Graziano, Fontana dei Boschi 2015
This is Vittorio's Lambrusco, made from Grasparossa, Lambrusco di Modena and a plethora of other old Lambrusco varieties. As the name suggests, it is super ripe, savoury and full of forest fruits with dence bubbles.
La Sorga, French Wine is Not Dead 2014
Anthony Tortul's whites are always fascinating, partly because they are so varied. The French Wine is Not Dead is made from Terret Bourret and Mauzac Jaune from plots that he works in Limoux and Hérault. It has such a pure taste of the South, full of herbaceous and spicy notes, along with a freshness that stops it from overwhelming.
Aleks Klinec, Malvazija 2012
Situated on the Slovenian-Italian border, the soil here is marl (mudstone made from marine deposits), and the Malvazija shows its salinity and freshness especially well. The grapes are macerated on their skins for five days before spending a couple of years on lees in local acacia barrels.
Michel Guignier, Petite Oseille 2014
This is Michel's Moulin à Vent, 40-year-old Gamay from a plot facing North near Chénas. As with most of his vineyards, the soil is granite and this has clay and manganese as well. The bunches are left whole for maceration and then the wine goes into old foudres for two years. This is typical of Michel's style; bright and elegant, without the concentration and ripe fruit one expects of Beaujolais.
Daniele Piccinin, Pinot Nero 2015
While Pinot Nero is a bit of a rarity in the Veneto, it has found a welcome home among Daniele's indigenous grapes. It somehow manages to remain distinctly pinot while also expressive of Daniele's style. It has a rich backbone with a freshness that makes it thoroughly drinkable.
ORDERS & DELIVERY
You can buy our wines to take away from our bar and warehouse at 40 Maltby Street.
We offer a 10% discount on cases of 6 and above, and can deliver within London and beyond.
Call us on 020 7237 9247
OR email email@example.com