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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Trimbach Masala

    Our roving buying reporter Edgar reviews an unsual flavour fusion...

    On Tuesday evening, this week, around 100 members of the Wine Society converged on Café Spice Namaste in the City to experience the joys of matching Alsace wines and Indian fine dining.  Some of the matches sang and some were revelations, but not necessarily in the original pairings!  The first course worked very well, with the plumpness of the Pinot Gris complementing the sweetness of the prawn and chutney, whilst the developing mushroomy notes of the wines went very well with the incredibly good snails in garlic chilli (the best dish of the evening, many thought). 

    On their own, the Rieslings were both delicious and thought-provoking: Beyer’s ’09 was ripe and plush in the style of the vintage, whereas the Cuvée Frédéric Emile ’07 was classic, mineral, and still in the linear phase of its youth.  However, despite the citrus notes of the salad, the combination with the wine was sub-optimal – the dryness of the croquette seemed to heighten the dryness of the wines.  The unexpected surprise came for those who kept some Riesling back for the next course, where the limey acidity was a great foil for the fattiness of the lamb – there is also something which works at the aromatic level too.  David Ling of Hugel admitted to drinking Riesling with roast spring lamb and that made a lot of sense. 

    The wines which were originally paired with the lamb worked very well indeed.  The Trimbach Gewurz ’11 is exceptionally good by the way: beautifully intense aromatics with refreshing fruity body and just the right Gewurz spiciness to match the cumin.  However, the one caveat was temperature: this was the dish with the most chilli heat of the evening, so the wines worked better when cooler.  Cyrus Todiwala, Chef at Café Spice, commented that the Pinots, in particular, need to be chilled down to around C12 or below to match his food.  A glittering gastronomic experience! 

    And just to make your mouth water even more, here is the menu:

    Aperitif

    Pinot Blanc, Trimbach 2011

    1st Course

    Pinot Gris Jubeilee, Hugel 2011

    Pinot Gris, Leon Beyer 2011

    Prawn and egg salad with mustard and rhubarb chutney with snails in garlic, chilli and crushed coriander

    2nd Course

    Riesling Les Escaillers, Leon Beyer 2009

    Riesling Frederic Emile, Trimbach 2007

    Croquette of Norfolk black turkey on cassia flavoured tomato sauce and salad of fresh greens and cuitrus in lemon, honey and ginger dressing                                                                                               

    3rd Course

    Gewurztraminer, Trimbach 2011

    Pinot Noir, Leon Beyer 2011

    Pinot Noir, Trimbach 2010

    Hunza apricot infused lamb palav, spiced lentil puree flavoured with tamarind and cane molasses with cumin flavoured potato

    Dessert

    Gewurztraminer Vendage Tardive, Hugel 2005

    Warm lemon and cardamom sponge with cinnamon infused pineapple and clotted cream

  • Gastronomical!

    Earlier in the week Kent, Patrick, JP and Kate hosted a 'Gastro Evening' at The Talbot Inn, which is a traditional coaching inn located in the heart of the village of Mells in Somerset, and invited the cream of the crop from the local area. Despite the terrible weather it was a great success it was even reported that Rob Greacen (Director from The River Cottage) said 'we should start a regulars club'. 

     The night almost backfired when Martin Still, owner of the Methuen Arms, realised the chef at the Talbot used to work for him and was doing a much better job in his new place of work, but fortunately the wine and food won him over.  And how couldn’t it when the highlights of the menu were veal carpaccio, asparagus with shaved fennel and ewe's curd and loin of venison with garlic mash and bone marrow?

    Along with all the fantastic food, Enotria provided the following wines:

     Sartori Marani Bianco

    Trimbach Cuvée Fredric Emile

    Colterenzio La Foa Sauvignon Blanc

    Vino Nobile Montepulicano Polizano                         

    Mount Langhi Langhi Shiraz                                            

    Morgenster Estate Red 2001

     All in all it turned out to be a very interesting and insightful way to get to know the regions customers better.  And with a regulars night on the cards, there will hopefully be many similar evenings to come.

  • Sommelier Wine Awards 2013

    Results time again, and it’s happy days for Enotria and our suppliers hauling in a catch of 7 gold, 18 silver and 21 bronze medals from our list.  If that wasn’t enough, we have also just been awarded “Sparkling Wine Merchant of the Year” and they had this to say of us:

    “The sparkling wine section of this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards was one of the most hotly contested, with some very strong performances from individual houses. But what set Enotria apart was not just its medal count in the fizz category – though a Gold, four Silvers and five Bronze sparklers was an impressive haul – but the variety which it represented.

    Gold for the UK’s Ridgeview was not unexpected given the producer’s record in this competition.  And as well as a Gold, there were four Silvers for three different Champagne producers (non vintage, vintage and rosé) and a range of Bronzes that included a Saumur, a Blanquette de Limoux and a sparkling Italian red.

    It was a genuinely wide-ranging and stimulating effort for one of the UK’s biggest importers.”

     Our gold awards were certainly worthy winners. Domaine de Belle MareLes Granges de Felinés provided an exciting take on the increasingly fashionable Picpoul grape, Marani Bianco Veronese from Sartori represented our Italian wines and Clos La Roquète, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc our French. Franck Massard's Humilitat Priorat deservedly picked up a gold for its expression of terroir, minerality and freshness and Ken Forrester's T Noble Late Harvest stood out as a winner along with Directors' Cut Shiraz from Heartland Wines and Ridgeview’s Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs.

    For the full list of Enotria's Awards, click the link below:

    Wine Sommelier Awards 2013

  • Cannonball - Dive into the wines!

    Harriet is just back from visiting our latest US partners

    Our new Cannonball Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Sonoma/Mendocino area of California  most definitely look the part with their quirky, bold packaging and they also display outstanding quality for the price-point, so my mission when I visited team Cannonball earlier this month was to uncover who and what Cannonball is all about.

    So who is Cannonball?

    Cannonball exists because of 2 founding partners – Yoav Gilat and Dennis Hill.  Visionary Yoav brims with more energy than a speeding hummingbird as he oversees the entire Cannonball operation. He brings 20 years of experience in consumer goods and beverages and fell in love with Sonoma and Mendocino when providing strategy/marketing to Blackstone Winery. Fed up with the over-priced, stuffy wine scene, Yoav made it his mission to produce a range of “serious wines that don’t take themselves too seriously”. I like it. He wants you to enjoy the expertly crafted wines whilst being transported back to a time when the only point in life was to have fun. “Dive in and share a splash”. This explains the concept behind the packaging and brand.

    Dennis Hill, all modesty and ‘behind the scenes’, is Cannonball’s secret weapon, and one of Sonoma county’s most respected winemakers. Dennis says he was “born in the right place at the right time, just in time for the renaissance of winemaking in California!” He became infatuated with winemaking after accepting a harvest position at his landlord’s winery, Seghesio Family Winery in the early 70s, and has never looked back. With chemistry and oenology degrees under his belt he began making wine for various local family wineries including Seghesio, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Mill Creek, and later he became chief winemaker at the well-known Blackstone Winery. After many years at Blackstone Dennis began searching for a new challenge, and 7 years ago Cannonball was born. Dennis manages his family’s vineyards at the northern edge of the Russian River Valley near Healdsburg which provide grapes for the Cannonball wines. We visited one of his Chardonnay vineyards, “Adam and Eve,” where there was a notable cool breeze from the Pacific influence – perfect, he tells me, for producing racy Chardonnay grapes. The vineyard was immaculate and the healthy vines were just starting to form clusters.

    Here's Dennis talking to us about the philosophy behind Cannonball:

    Who needs a winery anyway!

    A different set-up: The winemaking facility for Cannonball is called “Rack and Riddle”. Dennis and Yoav decided to produce the wines at the Rack and Riddle facility in Hopland just outside Healdsburg in Mendocino county - a state of the art facility, and Dennis with his 37 years of winemaking experience has never been happier: “I feel really fortunate to be able to make wines here with all the latest technology and systems a winemaker could dream of. It makes my life easy, success is assured and I know I have the tools to make the best possible wine.”

    What about the wines?

     Chardonnay 2010 Sonoma County

    Fruit comes mainly from two areas, Carneros in the Southern Sonoma Valley not far from the north area of the San Francisco bay, very mild, cool climate in the summer time and also from Dennis’s vineyards in the Russian River Valley which gets its cooling effect directly from the Pacific Ocean. This vineyard is situated in the northern end of the Russian River Valley - a little more protected from intense fog, but still with lingering fog in summertime mornings, grapes ripen fairly slowly, one of the later whites to be harvested in Southern Sonoma County. Getting nice melon and tropical fruit. They do a blend of partly barrel fermented with malolactic and partly stainless steel (50/50) which gives a much wider spectrum of flavours from that vanilla, buttery, nutty character from the barrel fermentation to the bright citrus, tropical fruit and floral character from the stainless steel that preserves the natural fruit flavours of the grape must. Those are later blended into a final blend displaying a complex range of flavours. Barrel fermentation, aside from the buttery note adds a great silky texture in the finish that gives the wine a long and flavourful finish. 

    Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 California

    The 2009 was an exceptional vintage in California says Dennis. The fruit for the 09 is predominantly from Mendocino County with a small portion of fruit from Napa and Dry Creek where it ripened completely and very easily displaying great concentration of dark fruit. Half of the blend spent nine months in French Oak, while the other 50% spent eleven months in American Oak. After barrel-ageing it becomes more complex and chocolaty, showing spiced red apple and blueberry fruit. The key characteristics to the Cannonball Cabernet is that it’s not astringent, it’s really smooth in texture and in Dennis words: “it’s big enough to have with a grilled steak, smooth enough you could enjoy a glass by itself.” The wine is drinking beautifully right now and we see it lasting several more years.

     Posted by Harriet

     

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