THE STORY OF A RENEGADE IN THE WORLD OF WINE

There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s called the urban winery. There are no panoramas of lush green vines to gush over, no rolling hills to serve as the backdrop of a smug selfie with wine glass in hand, no rays of sunshine at that magic hour of the morning where different corners of […]

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GRAYS & FEATHER: UNLOCKING THE KINGDOM OF WINE

I am always thrilled about a new wine bar springing up in London, but there’s something about Grays & Feather in Covent Garden that is even more exciting than most. Self-described as a ‘mischievous wine parlour’, the two-storey venue pricks the senses as soon as you walk in: in your direct eye-line is an elaborate […]

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What a fantastic weekend of BBQ, blues and bohemia at @blackdeerfest! I can’t say enough nice things about this festival - it’s so lovely, the bands are awesome and the food is 👌 The camping is so close to the festival site that you can always amble back to camp for a re-group with your festival buddies and crack out the beers and the vino, while you plan tactics! No glass permitted so we did our best with this boxed organic Tempranillo from @vinaalbali, which was just the ticket, really 👍🍷 Juicy red fruits, uncomplicated with sweet notes of freedom and hedonism 🤪
Cheers to Friday! Here I am at @ipastini slurping on their signature Spumante Brut 🥂 One of I Pastini’s primary goals was to recover and promote native grape varieties, and this spumante is made solely from the verdeca grape. Grown exclusively in the northern and central regions of Puglia, verdeca is high in acidity and is famed for its flinty character, making it feel very clean on the palate. Citrus and green fruit flavours provide a refreshing zingy-ness, just perfect for aperitivo time. Or breakfast time. Or any time of the day, really, especially on a Friday 😜
Knock, knock - IT’S ROSÉ TIME!! 💖 (Yes, that IS a Provence-pink door you’re looking at). The sunshine just about seems to be making an appearance (fingers and toes crossed it will stay for the weekend as I’m going to be camping at a festival!!🤞) and what better way to celebrate than with some gorgeous Provence rosé! Last night I was invited to a rosé paired dinner by @vinsdeprovenceuk. We made our way through 14 different rosés from Provence and each one was expertly matched with an incredible dish. Provence rosé isn’t generally thought of as a food wine, but actually it is fantastic with some hard to pair foods, like goats cheese and truffle; prawn toast and Provence is an absolute dream! Also, there are so many different styles and flavour profiles within this category of wine - some wines were more savoury and herbaceous; some were fruity and frivolous. Stay tuned in the next coming days for a rundown of the wines I tasted 😘✌️In the meantime, say oui to rosé!
So, Puglia was a huge success! When we weren’t cooking and barbecuing in the beautiful house we were staying in, we were dining and wining in some splendid restaurants. Read about this place here 👇 . . . I’d heard great things about the food in southern Italy and I took the opportunity to eat as much fresh seafood as humanly possible (but did opt out of eating a still moving clam though! 😖😆). One fantastic restaurant for seafood was @ristoranteantichemura in Polignano a Mare, a jaw-droppingly beautiful seaside town. We were superbly looked after by Fabio, who lead us through the wine list with some excellent local recommendations, starting with d’Arapri Metodo Classico - Tavoliere’s answer to Champagne 🥂👌 My favourite of the selection of wines we drank was a Pugliese Falanghina (fast becoming my favourite white grape variety, not least because it is really fun to say) called Le Fossette from Alberto Longo. It was fresh, aromatic, all white peach and florals, with an edge of salinity which made it perfetto with seafood. Ah, man - take me back to Italia! 🙏 (PS: The dessert at the end was called Tette delle Monache - see my Insta stories for the translation 😂)
I miss aperitivo time! 😭
Lady of the vines! Ladies are very important to the winemakers at I Pastini - and I’ll wonder if you can guess why? Scroll down to find out!👇 . . . Everything at I Pastini is done organically (they get their official certification next year) - even the roses you can see in the background here are planted for organic purposes. If a pest attacks, they’ll go for the roses first, informing the grape grower that the vines are at risk. Organic also means that no chemicals can be used during the harvest, so the grapes must be handled with the utmost care - if they get bruised or damaged, fermentation will start prematurely. So, there are twenty grape pickers at harvest - three of them are men and seventeen are women because women have smaller hands and are more delicate when hand harvesting the grapes! Sometimes you just need a lady’s touch 🖐☺️
I’m really enjoying trying the wines of southern Italy while hanging out in Puglia. This one is a Fiano di Avellino, a DOCG from Campania. Medium to full bodied, it’s all stone fruits, melon and mango, showing hints of honey and wax, which come with ageing. For the Chardonnay fans who like it ripe with some weight and texture! 👌
I’m going to Puglia today! This photo was taken at an Italian restaurant in Bath called @sottosottobath, not Puglia, but I imagine this will be my face most of the time, as I plan to eat amazing food and drink delicious wine non stop for five days. Got a visit to @ipastini booked, recommended by @wineman147, where I’m going to taste and learn about some gorgeous wines - can’t wait, get me on that plane! ✈️ 🇮🇹
I had a fantastic dinner last night with @guyawoodward at @gezelligldn, a new restaurant in Holborn. Pronounced ‘che-zel-ich’, gezellig means ‘an atmosphere, which allows good times to happen’ - and it’s true, it’s got an awesome vibe about it. We chatted to @Wieteket about what she, Graham and James wanted to create and it’s all about enjoying great food and great wine in relaxed, unintimidating pub-like surroundings. The wine list looked amazing and we asked Wieteke if she would recommend a pairing for each course. We enjoyed Jean-Baptiste Souillard Marsanne 2017 with the Jersey Royal Mousse, Soft Leeks, Seaweed Powder and Egg Yolk; Máquina Tabla Laderas de Leonila 2016 with the Brandade Raviolo, Octopus Ragù, Red Pepper and Aioli; Sucèss La Cuca de Llum with Pecorino Gnocchi, Fresh Peas, Girolles, English Asparagus and Wild Garlic; David Aristargos 2015 with Roast Cod Loin, Crisp Polenta, Sweetcorn, Crevettes, Dill and Sorrel; Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese Riesling 2012 with a raspberry millefeuille and the Chateau Pierre-Bise Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu 2014 with the cheese plate. The discovery of the night was the Spätlese Riesling, which Wieteke has put on the by the glass section as well as on the desserts list because it can be enjoyed at any point throughout the meal and she would hate for people to miss out on it. I’m glad I didn’t - it was gorgeous! This is a place for people who love food and wine but hate snobbery and stiffness - I thought it was excellent 👌