Monthly Archives: March 2016

White from black earth

With the designation Santo Spirito this wine must be said to be quite appropriate in the so-called Holy Week we are in. Now I don’t always see the importance of chosing themes and content according to the season (there is always a reason for chosing a specific wine anyway). So we hereby leave the religious aspect.

The 25-60 year old grapes are grown in volcanic soil in the eastern corner of Sicilia, north of Catania. They are mostly carricante (about 65%), but a “field blend” of several others like inzolia, catarratto and grecanico constitutes the rest. The wine is made quite naturally, with malolactic fermentation too, that contributes to its roundness.

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Etna Bianco Santo Spirito 2014 (Tenuta delle Terre Nere)

Golden colour. The aroma is clearly tropical, with mango, apricot, cooked apple maybe, a bit lactic, and with a sensation of prolonged skin-contact. In the mouth it is unctuous, waxy, not very long and with moderate acidity. But nice drinking after all.

Price: Medium

Food: A full, round, and “tropical” wine, it was no big hit with yesterday’s varied cheese board. Next time I will try some Asian food, with some sweetness, maybe soy sauce. More safe suggestions would be fish and fowl, and why not a Sicilian style pasta dish with vegetables.

Remedy for the wet London weather

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I have understood that the Terroirs wine bar was something of a pioneer on London’s organic and natural wine scene. Some of the people who had formerly worked there opened in November 2013 The Remedy Wine Bar & Kitchen, located in the Fitzrovia area near Regent’s Park and the Euston train station. I was there in January (it’s just that I am well behind schedule regarding some posts), and it was like a remedy for the wet season that was about to set in. One night after having visited a nearby sax shop (yes, you heard right!) I popped in and had a standing tapas session because the locale was packed, so I thought I’d go back next day for a more relaxed lunch.

2016-01-08 14.09.41 Abel and his message on the wall

The Remedy is run by a group of friends with varied international background, among them Dany Teixeira (French-Portuguese), and newcomer in the team Abel Lamy Fernández (Spanish-French). Their aim is to create a cosy and relaxed place, something between an enoteca and a bistrot. The wine list is original, and the food is delicious. Their wine philosophy can be summed up in a few words, as they do themselves on their website: We like wine that tells a good story – about a place, a winemaker… That’s why we choose to work with small producers rather than mass-market wineries.

You will rarely find any famous wines among their selection. They are simply too curious, too obsessed to find obscure and rare oddities in this fascinating wine world.

No snobbery here, and their passion and enthousiasm is eagerly shared with all their satisfied customers – like me.

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Among the wines I savoured the first evening were a Muscadet sur lie 2013 from Delhommeau, on its own, before a developed fino from Sánchez Romate, to which Abel suggested a piquillo and anchovies toast. Then came an albariño, Cos Pés Fincas del Salnés 2013 (Forjas del Salnés with the collaboration with famous bearded wine maker Raúl Pérez, and macerated for a year on skins in used oak vats), orange or light mahoganny, with flowers, lychée and orange peel, accompanied by a “coppa” (meaning neck in Italian, a special type of cured ham). A great closing of the evening was the Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes 2006 (Dom. Fourrier), with lovely hints of cherry and stone-fruit, a very delicate taste with an eminently integrated acidity. To go with it: Some Spanish chorizo and handmade potato chips, and still more charcuterie, if I remember right… Sssh, don’t tell anyone! I was alone, and it was so noisy anyway…

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The whole first night I spent standing at this table. But I was in good company…

The day after I visited again with my new tenor sax as almost the only luggage. Renato Catgiu, the Sardegnan co-owner, was there with Dany and Abel – and I had another delicious meal. This time with wines like the Burgenland pinot gris 2013 from Andert Pamhogna, an orange wine with rays of red light in it, and with evident tannins, accompanied by duck on toast, with slighly fried onions, spinach, mint & dill, then a Faugère Binet-Jacquet 2014, a youngish and blueish wine, slightly spicy and very “quaffable”, as they say in this country, meaning one can drink a lot in a very short period of time. Then…

This:

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(Big silence…) Outside all winelists, and almost out of this world, Château Châlon 2007 (Dom. Macle), a vin jaune in the typical 62 cl. bottle, and with 14% alcohol: With respect for the designation (vin jaune): Yellow, with a flor- (sherrylike) aroma of almonds, a full taste with lovely acidity and a salty minerality, – and very aptly accompanied by a comté, the legendary cheese from the same region, Jura that is.

2016-01-07 20.50.45 Dany and Abel 

After this I was satisfied, and knowing Dany and Abel, they must have been too, because the customers’ satisfaction is what they apt for – in addition to their own.

And quite naturally, one has to visit that special room before going back to the wet London weather. And in a wine bar that serve wines as natural as possible, what else did I find on the toilet shelf…

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Was I surprised? I don’t know if it was the intention that I should reveal this, and if the owners of The Remedy don’t like it I will of course take it away. After all, I can’t risk being stopped in the door when trying to access this fantastic place again.

 

 

Beer and football

Sounds like a cliché, but it’s not that Saturday afternoon game, I am not sitting here in a football shirt with a ball under my boots, and there is no potato chips in sight.

We are in 2016, the football match is Champions League, and the beer is a terrific organic sour beer from one of the many artesan producers seen all over the world these days.

Herslev Bryghus is located in southeastern Jylland, Denmark. The beer is made from malted barley, with spontaneous fermentation. And it clocks in at 11% alcohol and 22 g/L sugar, and acidity… I don’t know, but I would suppose around 10.

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Mark Fadlagret (Herslev Bryghus)

Amber or medium brown colour. Fruity, with notes of cherry, orange peel, honey and a touch of the characteristic brettanomyces yeast. On the palate it’s full, with evident acidity and bitterness (I guess my beer expert friends would say moderate for the category).

Try it with grilled fish like mackerel, or grilled and tasty poultry.

And the match? After two games and 210 minutes of excellent defending and 0-0 Atlético beat PSV after having missed none of their 8 penalties.

Clos Espinous of Corbières

Rémi Jaillet, from a family of wine growers in Loire, is now one of the rising stars in Languedoc-Roussillon. The largest wine area here (almost half of the AOC production) is Corbières in the Aude département. Corbières is a varied area in terms of soil and climate, but it’s predominantly red wine land, and carignan is the most common grape variety.

Here Rémi has 7 hectars of vineyards that he tends organically. The Clos Espinous comes mostly from more than 80 year old carignan vines. This makes up for around 60% of the cuvée, while granache and syrah stand for the rest. The must underwent spontaneous fermentation, and the wine was matured for 9 months in used oak before release.

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Clos Espinous 2014 (Rémi Jaillet)

Dark red with blueish hue. Quite concentrated, slightly earthy aroma with hints of mature dark berries (morellos, blackberry), and some spiciness. In the mouth it’s full, but refreshing too. Maybe a bit on the rustic side, and reductive at opening, so airing is recommended.

Price: Low

 

Bernabé’s Tragolargo

Rafa Bernabé makes highly original wines in the Alicante province of Spain, and -as I have showed in earlier posts such as this one– is a Spanish authority on the use of clay vessels in winemaking.

Made from the Mediterranean grape monastrell (mourvèdre). Spontaneous fermentation.

last ned

Tragolargo 2013 (Bernabé Navarro)

Dark, deep red. Dark fruits, blackcurrant, blackberry, garden flowers. Luscious, yeasty, fresh, nicely acid, and with a slightly “funky” natural wine aftertaste. The 14% of alcohol was barely noticed.

Price: Low