Friday, 17 September 2010
Friday, 10 September 2010
Other award winners included Marks & Spencer for Supermarket of the Year, Sainbury's for Environmental Initiative of the Year, and Majestic Wine Warehouses for High Street Chain of the Year.
Artisan & Vine were also shortlisted for English Wine Specialist of the Year, which was won by Waitrose, and Innovator of the Year.
Click here to see the full list of Merchant Award Winners at the International Wine Challenge.
Image: me receiving the incredible trophy from Tim Atkin MW.
Friday, 3 September 2010
We’re also doing a St John’s Hill Community Raffle. The prize will be drawn on the festival day, 12 September at 4pm outside of the Beehive Pub. All of the businesses on the street will be selling raffle tickets from now up until the draw.
There are around 20 prizes, all donated from businesses on the street including: Helicopter ride around London for 4 people, multi course meals at various St John’s Hill restaurants, beauty treatments and vouchers, wine tasting sessions (at artisan & vine) and more! Tickets are only £1 each and all proceeds go to the St John’s Hill Community Project, aimed at maintaining and enhancing safety, aesthetics and spirit of St John’s Hill.
Click here for more information.
Friday, 27 August 2010
As of next week, 31 August, we’ll be serving lunch, from £5, Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon – 3pm, at artisan & vine. Here’s what’s cooking:
Mussels in a white wine sauceSalad Lyonnaise: poached egg, bacon, croutons
Omelette – with ham, cheese and/or mushroom with a side salad
Tomato, mozarella and pesto on toasted ciabatta with a side salad (V)
Goats cheese tart with French dressed salad (V)
Dolcelatté stuffed mushrooms with garlic mayonnaise (V)
Croque monsieur – cheddar, béchamel and ham with a side salad
Smooth chicken liver pate with toasted bread with a side salad Bruscetta with fresh tomato, basil with a side salad (V)
Plus daily specials
10oz gourmet beef burger
Classic chicken Caesar salad
Salmon fishcake with poached egg, hollandaise sauce & side salad
Seasoned lamb kofta with tzatzki, pita bread and side salad
Vegetable pasta with creamy tomato sauce
Our full dinner, snacks and sweets menus will also be available during lunch time opening hours.
Friday, 20 August 2010
Wines stoppered under screw caps will not be “corked”, that musty effect that occurs when chlorine, mould and cork meet to ruin an otherwise lovely beverage. Screw caps have their own, if less common, flaws. Because screw caps offer a tighter closure than cork, there is a greater chance of a wine being “reduced”, ie, not having enough oxygen in the bottle. A reduced wine can smell of cabbage or rubber, not great for enjoying!
That said, there have been enough studies now that seem to point to screw caps as a superior preservative of wine, both over time and as a resistance to shorter term faults (see Jamie Goode’s Wine Anorak site for more). On account of the newness of screw caps, we don’t have anything other than laboratory simulation of very long term bottle ageing under caps, though premium wine producers like Bonny Doon in California are optimistic and pleased with early results.
The largest complaints against screw caps seem to be customer perception, followed by adherence to tradition. Personally, I’d rather increase the chances that my wine comes without stopper fault, and to that end my preference must be for screw caps. In the least case, it is worth noting that, increasingly, screw caps are not necessarily a sign of a lower quality wine.
Friday, 13 August 2010
Here are a few of the things going on:
· Live music at the BeeHive pub and a Real Ale festival, which will be running in the pub throughout the weekend
· Children's pizza making classes at Tutti Tucci
· Wine making workshop at Artisan & Vine
· The Gold Fish Gala at the Fish Club
· Village Stocks at Potter Perrin
· Books and prints at Regent House Gallery
· BBQ at YumYum and ACE Fusion
· Instant, outdoor spray tans at Facial Attraction
· 'Guess the weight of the Cake' at Lollipop
· Launch of the "Blow Bar" at Alan Foster's hair salon
· The Human Fruit machine at Admiral Carpets
· Face painting at Doodlebug
· A troupe of stilt walking characters
· Huge selection of fresh food & drinks from cuisines around the world, provided by the delicious collection of eateries on the hill.
We also have St John's Hill Festival Raffle - the list of prizes is enormous and tickets are just £1 each - buy yours at any of the shops and businesses on the Hill, in the weeks running up to the festival and on the day itself. Full list of prizes will be published HERE and the draw will take place at 4pm on the festival day, outside the Beehive pub.
Thursday, 5 August 2010
1. A Spanish ice wine was given official Denominacions (DO) status for the first time ever. This is particularly scandalous because it is the first European ice wine to allow artificial freezing of grapes. The traditional ice wine regions – Germany, Austria and Canada – only allow natural freezing of grapes on the vines. As you may guess, artisan & vine will be boycotting artificied Spanish ice wine.
Friday, 23 July 2010
Celebrations will start as soon as we open, at 6pm and continue on till late.
Thursday, 15 July 2010
· Innovator of the Year; and,
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Bloody Mary, Classic Champagne Cocktail, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Pimms Cocktail
Monday, 12 July 2010
from Chateau La Coste. A pleasing blend of 55% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 20% Cabernet.
This is a gorgeous, delicate rose wine. Provence is famous for rose wines for a reason: this wine demonstrates exactly what that is. Forget ideas of sweetness or elementary flavours; this wine is as divine as any high end white – a triumph in natural wine making.
You can buy it, with all of our other wines, on the artisan & vine online shop. This classic Provence rose sells on artisan & vine online for £17.90.
Image: me at Chateau La Coste, with my first wonderful encounter with Bellugue
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Kaitlyn was lucky to live in a city where magic bottles were shipped in from places as far as Australia and as foreign as France. Although she was a curious girl, she'd left it until the very day on which this story begins to first taste wine. Kaitlyn knew from her dictionary that wine was “an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice”, which pleased her because it sounded like a healthy fruit-based way to consume alcohol.
Kaitlyn was curious but not rash and was nervous about spending too much money on something she might not like. So she bought three bottles of wine for £10 and went home. To her dismay the three bottles all tasted very much the same despite their different origins. “Why write the name of a place on a bottle if what is inside doesn’t give a sense of that place?” Kaitlyn wondered in frustration.
For thirty two times thirty two days following Kaitlyn drank only cocktails or alcho-pops – which also came in magic looking bottles – whenever she wanted a magic drink. At least these drinks described what flavours they were meant to have, rather than listing different countries or regions on a bottle while tasting very non-different inside.
One day more than that, Kaitlyn was walking down the street and up a hill when a terrible storm broke out. She ran for cover into what she quickly realised was another of these wine shops. “Oh drat and bother” she frowned.
The wall of the wine shop was lined with one hundred different bottles and on the counter sat two fishbowls. A silver herring swam around the fishbowl on the left and a red herring swam around the fishbowl on the right.
“But there’s no such thing as a red herring” Kaitlyn petitioned, wondering if the world of wine could seem any more implausible.
“There’s no such thing as talking herring either” the Silver Herring replied, “but here you have both”
The little wine shop Kaitlyn entered. Images of the herrings are absent because the talking herrings are not real.
“Would you like to try my wine?” cooed the Red Herring
“Or would you like to try my wine?” perked the Silver Herring
Kaitlyn yearned for a cocktail bar where good looking people rather than talking non-existent fish might serve her.
She looked at the bottles lined up behind the Silver Herring.
“Contadino?” questioned Kaitlyn, reading the label of an odd clear bottle with an even odder bright red liquid inside.
“It means ‘farmer’ in Italian” said the Silver Herring “It’s from a grape farm on the slopes of Mt Etna in Sicily”
Kaitlyn opened the bottle and took a drink of the Contadino.
Instantly Kaitlyn was transported to Mt Etna. She appeared to be in the grassy backyard of someone’s home. The sky was dark and the air had a slight chill to it. In front of her were nearly a dozen large plastic tubs with bright red grapes bobbing inside.
“Ciao!” beamed a bearded man with electric eyes, emerging from his home behind her “I’m Frank Cornelissen, welcome to my winery!”
I, Kathryn, stand in for Kaitlyn in photos with wine makers because she is not real. Here Frank Cornelissen shows me his fabulous grapes fermenting in giant plastic tubs.
“A winery?” questioned Kaitlyn, looking around the backyard.
“Yes! This is where we take those beautiful Mt Etna grapes and ferment them to create wine!” He scooped a wine glass into the vibrant plastic tub and handed it to Kaitlyn to taste, “Try some!”
Kaitlyn swished the wine around her mouth and tried to describe what she tasted, “intense red berry flavours, something minerally, like the wine was sprung from stone."
"Hardened magma to be precise" Frank smiled, “you taste that I’ve added nothing to the wine – this is 100% pure Mt Etna fruit”
It tasted delicious and not at all like those wines she’d had thirty two times thirty two days earlier.
Before she knew it, Kaitlyn had drunk all of the wine in her glass and was transported back to the wine shop.
Curiosity overcame confusion. She looked at the wines behind the Red Herring. Rather than describing a specific address or village, the Red Herring’s wines described large regions like ‘Central Valley’.
“Surely a wine made from a wider region must encompass even more flavours!” Kaitlyn remarked and eagerly took a drink from one of the Red Herring’s wines.
Again, she was instantly transported, this time, to what seemed like a factory. She gazed up at a massive steel tank that towered above her.
A winery I went to with tanks that dwarf people. This is not the worst thing that can happen to a person but dwarfing is not generally considered to be favourable.
"Where are we?" she asked the tidily dressed man standing beside her.
"In the winery" he replied, looking up from his clipboard.
Kaitlyn looked around her, seeking clues of where in the world she was. "Where are the grapes from?"
"All over” the winery man smiled proudly, "It doesn’t matter too much, we have the technology to acidify, de-acidify, chapetalise, micro-oxidise or extract as required."
Kaitlyn reflected on the dictionary definition of wine and her only other winery experience, “Don’t you only need to leave grapes bobbing in their juices to ferment and make wine?”
“Well you could – but that’s quite risky!” laughed the man, as if Kaitlyn had suggested something completely ludicrous, “Using modern technology we can produce consistent flavours, for a competitive price, on a mass-scale, year after year.”
Kaitlyn tasted the wine, “it tastes very woody”, she said hesitantly; confused about how something that comes from fruit, in a room full of steel, could taste like wood.
“Yes. For this wine we added tannin syrup and woodchips. This way we can make a very young wine taste like a great aged wine without the cost of oak aging or risky grape ripening.” The winery man explained enthusiastically.
Kaitlyn didn’t much like this additive-laden wine. She poured the drink out on to the sterile winery floor and was transported again back to the little wine shop.
She looked at the wines behind the Silver Herring and the Red Herring and blinked. There was nothing obvious to distinguish the two groups of wines.
“All wines are ‘made’, Kaitlyn. There is no wine plant, there are only grape vines.” Said the Silver Herring, “the difference is whether a wine tastes like it comes from somewhere or something.”
Kaitlyn felt betrayed and confused, “These manufactured wines seem to have more in common with my alcho-pops than fermented grape juice.”
“And they can be priced as good as alcho-pops too!” chirped the Red Herring
“I don’t know.” Kaitlyn said, remaining curious but not rash, “Let me try again”, Kaitlyn reached for another bottle behind the Silver Herring and took a sip.
Instantly she was transported to a beautiful sun kissed field. She could smell lavender and thyme and hear bees buzzing and birds singing. Ahead of her lay a vineyard, and beside it, a lovely two storey house, upon the balcony of which stood a man, singing out to his vines:
“I love you! I love you all!” he was saying to his vines. Kaitlyn walked to below the balcony.
“Bonjour!” the man gave a lively smile, “I’m Henri Milan, welcome to my beautiful vineyards of St Remy de Provence!”
Henri came downstairs and took her out amongst the vines. There were a wide range of colourful plants and insects living in the vineyard.
I stand in for Kaitlyn again, with Henri Milan, showing me is fantastically healthy biodynamic vineyard in Provence.
“The vines cannot live alone. They are part of an ecosystem, with lots of other plants and animals, they keep each other strong.” explained Henri “The flavour in the wines comes from the life in the vineyard and the soils. Because everything in the vineyard is natural, I make minimal intervention in the winery. What you taste is 100% Provencal fruit!”
Kaitlyn drank some more of Henri’s wine; “it tastes like lavender and thyme” she smiled contently.
“Of course – you are in Provence! These flavours are everywhere!” Henri exclaimed.
All too quickly Kaitlyn again had drunk all of the wine in her glass and was transported back to the little wine shop.
“It’s true! These magic bottles do have the potential to give a sense of the place that they’re from. But how do I find the magic wines from amongst these manufactured wines?” Kaitlyn questioned.
“The great dilemma of today’s wine world is not that there are so many ways of getting from fruit to wine but that the consumer has no reliable means of knowing which way a given wine maker has chosen” said the Silver Herring wisely.
Kaitlyn felt frustrated that all of the bottles in front of her were denying her the ability to make an informed choice about what she tasted and consumed. She turned scornfully to the Red Herring, “I do believe that your wines are as produced and preserved as an actual red herring and as distracting from the truth as the ideological red herring!”
She turned to the Silver Herring “The wines you’ve shown me…”
“We call them ‘natural wines’” interjected the Silver Herring helpfully.
“These natural wines are so very different to one another and so very like where they’re from. I do believe that each time I drink them I’m transported to where their grapes are grown.”
Kaitlyn felt resolve growing, “I may not have the ability to instantly change all bottle labelling to be more transparent, but I could help people find a lovely wine shop like this where there is transparency about what is being sold.”
The Silver Herring smiled, “There are no natural wine shops in our lucky city, but it needs only a beast with arms greater than a fish’s to open our first natural wine bar and shop.”
Kaitlyn looked down at her arms. They were a little lanky, but certainly capable of opening a shop “I could do it!” declared Kaitlyn excitedly, “But how will we let people to know that natural wine even exists as a choice?”
“32 days is a good start…”
Thursday, 8 July 2010
At artisan & vine, all of our wines are either local (English) wines or natural (only the Davenport wines are both). “Natural wines” are not yet legally defined within the EU.
HERE'S MY SINGLE SENTENCE TAKE ON THE NATURAL WINE DEFINITION:
At artisan & vine, a natural wine is one made in a biodynamically or organically farmed vineyard, with indigenous (wild) yeasts, and minimal or no added sulphites or flavour enhancers.
Why are organic wines not enough? Organic wines are not what they seem. Within the EU, a certified “organic wine” only guarantees you organically grown grapes; the winemaker may add flavours (such as wood chips or caramel), stabilisers (such as sulphur dioxide), and preservatives during the wine making production. This is how mass produced cheaper wines can be created.
Natural wines are wines created with minimal intervention from the wine maker. Natural wine making requires the artisan to carefully attend to all steps of the growing, fermenting, and blending processes, knowing that additives cannot be used to correct the imperfections of nature. As Tim Atkin MW concluded in his May 2010 article in The Times, “Natural wines are the opposite of mass-produced wines, of “spoofulated”, personality-free beverages that could come from almost anywhere. These are hand-crafted products”. Often this makes natural wines commercially unviable on a mass, low cost scale. Vintages can vary significantly from year to year based on climate conditions, and personal attention means very low yielding vineyards. I reckon you’ll taste this difference.
Image: Pierre Breton's fantastically healthy natural vineyards in Bourgueil, Loire Valley.
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
Thur 8 - Speed Dating, usually 12-18 dates per person, £14.95/person
Sun 11 - Speed Dating, a Sunday session for busy professionals, £10/person
Wed 14 - Wine Tasting: Introduction to Southwest France, £20/person includes 5 wines and matched canapés
Sun 18 - Speed Dating, meet someone or come again free, £10/person
Wed 21 - Wine Tasting: How to taste wine, £10/person includes 5 wines +canapes
Thur 22 - Speed Dating, 4 minutes per date, meet lots of people, £14.95/person
Sat 24 - 1 Day Wine Workshop, Wine Unearthed Introduction to World of Wine
Sun 25 - Speed Dating, meet someone or come again free, £10/person
Wed 28 - Wine Tasting: Where wine flavour comes from, £10/person
Click here for more information on any of these great events.
Monday, 5 July 2010
If you’re drink red wine from Burgundy, you’re probably drinking 100% Pinot Noir. If you’re drinking white wine from Burgundy, you’re most likely drinking 100% Chardonnay. If at some point in your life you’d decided to become an “ABC” drinker (Anything But Chardonnay), please consider reversing the decision, you may have made a mistake. Burgundian Chardonnay is one of the best things that any wine glass will ever have the honour of carrying.
So, now I’ve made my absolute lack of bias clear… clearly absent… let’s talk names and geography.
The Cote d’Or is the North-South stretch of land where the most important Burgundian vineyards are located. It is divided in two: the Cote de Beaune, which roughly stretches from Beaune south to Chagny and the Cote de Nuits, which stretches from Beaune north to Dijon. The other important Burgundy regions are Chablis, producing fresh Chardonnay way up north; Maconnais, producing more buttery Chardonnay down south; and Beaujolais, producing fresh Gamay wines even further south than Maconnais, near Lyon.
Burgundy is a star studded line up of regions and wines. Despite that, it maintains a much more rustic, homely feel than other similarly famous regions such as Bordeaux or Champagne. Off the back of my love for Burgundy, we’re getting some exciting new Burgundian wines in with our 2010-11 wine list. Get ready to fall in love.
Friday, 2 July 2010
Thursday, 1 July 2010
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Let’s start with talking about why it makes a difference to serve wine at the right temperature and why the right temperature is different for different wines.
Friday, 25 June 2010
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Of the 100 wines on the artisan & vine wine list only one is both Local and Natural. This is the Limney Sparkling wine from Will Davenport. Ideally I would have two wines on the list but as usual, Mr Davenport is completely sold out of his outstanding still white wine… back in stock and on our lists in a few weeks (I hope!) His wines are in such hot demand that when the artisan & vine team and I went to visit his gorgeous vineyards in Kent last week, we had to help label bottles ourselves just to get them on the shelves!
Monday, 21 June 2010
Take a swig and swish.
Friday, 18 June 2010
You’ve probably already consumed whatever wine you were working with yesterday, so, we start again: First, pour a small amount of wine into the glass – around 50 – 75mls, or a quarter full. This is not pretentious custom. We need room in the glass for swivelling (aeration), and also so that we can keep precious aroma molecules in the glass.
Before we swivel, take a sniff of the wine fresh poured. Older wines are unlikely to give off too much aroma without agitation. Ironically, more mass produced wines are likely to give an intense aroma from the outset. After your first sniff, swivel the glass. The aim is to let air into the wine and aromas out. Swivel for a few seconds and take another sniff. The character of the wine should now start to show itself.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
‘Not all vineyard sites are created equal. Not all vineyard sites are good for grapes!’
There are three elements to tasting wine: seeing, smelling and tasting. Counterintuitive but true. Today I’m going to address assessing a wine’s appearance; we’ll cover nose and palate over the next days blog entries.
Firstly, pour a small amount of wine into the glass – around 50 – 75mls, or a quarter full. This is not pretentious custom. We need room in the glass for swivelling (aeration), and also so that we can keep precious aroma molecules in the glass.
Under normal circumstances, you will know the grape, region and vintage of the wine you’re drinking. That all the case, there are wines who lose their fruit quickly (age fast) or show characteristics atypical of their region or grape. We can judge some of these elements by sight.
Look at the colour of your wine: white wine becomes deeper with age; red wine becomes paler. All wines become browner with age. When you tilt your wine glass at an angle, older reds will be almost completely transparent at the rim: it’s not a lack of quality… it’s just age J Depth of colour – in red or white wine – will indicate how thick the skins of the grapes were and/or how long the grape juices were left in contact with their skins during maceration.
When your glass is tilted to the side: wines with a single, consistent colour gradient, are general “drink now” wines that are unlikely to evolve. Wines with a glossy appearance and subtle gradations in the wine colour are superstars – you must be drinking an artisan & vine wine J
Image: last July I tasted Catherine Massioneuve’s outstanding Cahor Malbecs across vintages and cuvees. The rich berry darkness of the wines a certain indicator of the rich flavours and aging potential.
Friday, 11 June 2010
· More Italian wines including Barolo, Chianti, Brunello and Barbaresco
· Some classic premium New World wines including New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Australian Shiraz and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
· Twelve English vineyards and twenty English wines
· Ten wines under £20
· Maps, icons and explanations of key world wine regions
· A printed off-licence price list, available whenever we’re open
Sunday, 6 June 2010
So, if you’ve been looking at our Thursday night speed dating but not been able to get here after a day at your high powered job, we have just the avenue of adventure for you!
New to the London dating scene is Sunday afternoon speed dating.
Click here to find out more and book your place. At only £10 / person, it’s time to give it a go!
Speed dating is fun, and it works. Here's an excerpt from an email the Original Dating guys (who run the events at artisan & vine) received last week regarding our Thurs night speed dating:
"Hi there, I just wanted to email some feedback that I met someone at one of your events, at the Artisan and Vine pub in November of last year, and that we have been seeing each other ever since. So thank you! I had come along with friends to try something different and never expected anything serious to come out of it, so was pleasantly surprised, and would recommend it to friends!"
Image: yeah, that's the front door to the bar.
Saturday, 5 June 2010
We’ve also introduced a few special promotions… here’s the deal:
Friday, 4 June 2010
Sunday, 30 May 2010
Limney Sparkling, Davenport Vineyards, Kent
Sirius Rose, Bolney Wine Estate, East Sussex
Classic Cuvee, Nyetimber Wine Estate, West Sussex
Knightsbridge, Ridgeview Wine Estate, West Sussex
Warden Abbot, Warden Abbey, Bedfordshire
Coleridge Hill, Three Choirs Vineyard, Gloucestershire
Organic Orion, Quoins Organic Vineyard, Wiltshire
Bacchus Dry, Camel Valley Vineyards, Cornwall
Rose, a'Becketts Vineyards, Wiltshire
Gamay, Biddenden Vineyards, Kent
Oxford Regatta, Brightwell Vineyards, Oxfordshire
Tyrannosaurus Red, Furleigh Estate, Dorset
Saturday, 29 May 2010
In order to bring the English wine experience into artisan & vine, I insisted on only working with winemakers who would deal with me directly – no distributors or wholesalers. I visited a wide range of English vineyards and tasted over 300 English wines to come to the 25 or so we have on our list at any one time. The wines are generally fresh, low alcohol and easy drinking – and they’re getting better with every vintage! English wine making may be in something of an infancy - I view this as an exciting thing.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Vineyards on show will include: Davenport Vineyards (Kent), Camel Valley Vineyards (Cornwall), Nyetimber Wine Estate (West Sussex), Biddenden Vineyards (Kent), Brightwell Vineyards (Oxfordshire), Bolney Wine Estate (East Sussex), Ridgeview Wine Estate (West Sussex), Three Choirs Vineyards (Gloucestershire), a’Becketts Vinetard (Wiltshire), Warden Abbey (Bedfordshire), Quoins Organic Vineyard, (Wiltshire) and Furleigh Estate (Dorset)
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Monday, 24 May 2010
In general, wines that are designed to be enjoyed for freshness and youthful fruitiness should be drunk young. Include within this category most white and rose wines and any lighter style reds, Beaujolais for example. These are wines whose fresh fruit flavours are likely to die within 2-4 years of bottling and which do not have the tannins or structure within the bottle to develop further.
Wines that taste better with aging are wines where a more complex combination of acids, sugars, minerals, pigments, tannins and flavour compounds need longer to integrate. High quality reds and whites will fall into this category.
As a general - if crude - rule, the more expensive a wine is, the more likely it is to improve with age.
The unlucky truth is that even the wine maker cannot know when exactly is the best time to drink any one wine. The best we can do is ask the person selling us a wine; they should know the story of a given wine in their shop and should taste it regularly enough to know it’s current condition.
Saturday, 22 May 2010
from Bonny Doon Vineyard, California for One Night Only...
Randall Grahm Unplugged
Join us for a great evening with Randall, the Wines, the Book (and good food for good measure!)
Randall Grahm is the visionary, irreverent winemaker and President-for-Life of Bonny Doon Vineyard. His goal is to produce wines in a natural, un-manipulated manner, imbued with life force! Cosmic wines for Cosmic times. Often described in the same breath as a genius, madman, and philosopher, the original Rhone Deranger has been at the vanguard of all that has been exciting (and controversial) in the American wine world in the last 2 decades. A champion of screwcaps , a convert to Biodynamics, he has now taken the bold step to list all of his ingredients on the back labels of his wines and is now experimenting with ageing his wines in amphorae and glass jars.
The Wine Tasting
To kick things off we'll start the evening with an apéritif and some canapes (hopefully outside if the weather is good!) before moving onto the main event.
In his own inimitable way Randall will take you on a guided tour of his new streamlined range of wines. On his quest to make only ‘Vins de terroir’ I am sure Randall hopes that the wines will speak for themselves, but never short of a word or five Randall will be on hand to talk about his wines, the universe and everything in between. Food will be served throughout the event.
If you have ever read the back label of a bottle of Bonny Doon, you will realise that Randall likes to write ! His first book, or ‘Vinthology’ Been Doon So Long won the 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for best drinks book, and takes readers on a rollercoaster ride from wine to philosophy to rock opera to literary parody and back again.
How often do you get the chance to meet a man who has an asteroid named after him?
You’d be mad to miss it, but don’t just take our word for it, here’s what Jancis Robinson has to say:“Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon in California is truly an exception in almost every way. His wine names, labels, packaging and news[?]letters [aka streams of consciousness] have injected more fun into the self-conscious world of wine than all other wine producers put together..”
Friday, 21 May 2010
Some big boys arrived at artisan & vine this week and they’ve certainly made their presence felt. 3ft high Peroni and Erdinger beer taps now tower above our bar; as if to challenge the rows of little artisan wine bottles lined up across the way on our back-bar.
We tried working with organic English beer at artisan & vine, in keeping with the theme for wines. I come to the conclusion that one can only be niche when one offers choice within a niche. We can be niche in local and natural wines because we have over 100 of them for you to choose from. I conclude that when there are only 1 or 2 options, best make it something that most people are likely to know and like. Enter the big beer brands. With Peroni, Erdinger and Moretti, we’ve maintained our commitment to quality and taste.
These new beer taps are more shrines to their hop-fathers than simple drink dispensers. According to beer lovers (of which I apologetically cannot confess to be one), these beers taste as good as the aesthetically outstanding taps and glassware look. Maybe these new beers will even convert me.
Peroni and Erdinger are available on tap at artisan & vine from today. Birra Moretti will be available on tap from Tuesday.
We still have 1 keg of Freedom lager which we’ll be serving on tap all week end if you’d like to have one last taste of England!
Image: our new very ornate pieces of bar equipment
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Alice’s expertise is in blending precious metals with water gilding and painting techniques to create incredible landscape paintings. All of Alice’s work on show at artisan & vine is for sale, please ask at the bar for pricing.
Monday, 17 May 2010
Seems as simple as travelling North… the art is navigating the traffic jams, road works and then optimising lovely scenery and local peculiarities along the way!
Friday, 14 May 2010
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Tim Atkin MW, renowned wine writer and TV presenter, put together his thoughts on Natural Wine, published in today's issue of The Times. The article, entitled "Let the grapes express themselves naturally" summarises some of the commercial issues facing natural wines, commenting that "Natural wines are the opposite of mass-produced wines, of “spoofulated”, personality-free beverages that could come from almost anywhere".
At artisan & vine, we couldn't agree with Tim more!
The article also included a selection of Tim's six top Natural Wines. Among these were two that are available from artisan & vine. Here are Tim's picks, as well as his insightful tasting notes:
2009 Verd Albera, Emporda (£9.90, 13 per cent, http://www.artisanandvine.com/) From the area of Emporda in northern Catalonia, this is a very Mediterranean blend of garnacha blanca, garnacha gris and muscat. It’s perfumed and unoaked with citrus and orange peel flavours and crisp acidity.
2008 Clos Ouvert Huasa, Maule (£23, 14 per cent, http://www.artisanandvine.com/) It doesn’t happen very often, but once or twice a year, I taste a wine that blows my mind. This old vine, unirrigated Chilean red, made from the local país grape by a Burgundian ex-pat is silky and fine with incredible complexity.
It doesn't get much better than that!
Come by to taste Tim's picks. I've put together a special mixed case based on some of the other wines he particularly enjoyed while at artisan & vine here.
Image: the good old fashioned Times newspaper article; click the image to see the online version
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
Maggie: ‘I loved the restaurant; the food was simply delicious, and a good range of different range of wines. I loved the fact we were encouraged to guess the right wine. This taught me quite a lot. Great afternoon, all round’
Stephanie: 'A fantastic way to have Sunday lunch. Meeting new people over good food and wine. It was well organised and was well planned to help everyone mingle.’
Michael: ‘Really excellent event! Terrific wines, great food and really good company!’
Amanda: ‘Great food, interesting wines and a chance to meet new people with similar interests, perfect!’
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Can we call this a Love Potion? As things have panned out, I'd say yes. Can I guarantee it will win the heart of the one you're courting? As I a former Management Consultant, I'm not in the habit of guaranteeing a lot :)
Saturday, 8 May 2010
Wed, 19 May New World Wine (Australia, New Zealand, USA) £20 / person
Wed, 26 May Italian Wine £20 / person
Wed, 2 June English Wine Week: Open Bottle Session £10 / person
Wed, 9 June Food and wine matching £20 / person
A wonderful night out for catching up with friends or a different kind of date.
Click here for more information or email email@example.com or call 0207 228 4997 to book your place now!
Image: me tasting at Comte Lafon in Burgundy. Researching to bring you guys the best wines and information is tough tough work.