a community of wine lovers


November 2009


Old year, new year
It’s November. The grapes have all been harvested – in the Pebblebed vineyards at Ebford, at Mario’s hilltop sites in the lofty and majestic Barolo wine region, across Giuditta’s beautiful Castelli di Jesi countryside above Ancona, in Donatella’s vineyards at Trequanda and Montalcino, and elsewhere too. The juice from the pressed grapes , through the action of yeast feeding on natural grape sugars, has has been transformed during the first or tumultuous fermentation into an alcoholic beverage that is now almost potable. .Indeed, for our October Italian Table bagna cauda evening, we tasted the first of this year’s ‘wine’ when Mario Fontana brought over with him unlabelled bottles of a precocious new Dolcetto, drawn direct from the vats, far too young, tooth-stainingly purple, raspingly rich in acid, yet a vivid and magical taste of the new year!

The Vino Kitchen
Our Vino Kitchen evenings in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar have been a wonderful success and we now have a waiting list for most of our monthly get-togethers. Our ‘formula’ is very basic and straightforward: homecooked, mainly Italian 2-course meals prepared by Marc and Kim (with a little help from friends and family!) and served in the convivial atmosphere of Geoff’s wonderful Pebblebed Tasting Cellar across the road from us, accompanied of course by the range of Vino Italian as well as Pebblebed wines.

We’re never quite sure what we’ll be cooking each month as it depends on what is available and in-season as well as what we’re fancying at the time.

Here's the menu for our next Italian Table on November 18th.

'Pasta e fasoi'
Venetian style pasta and beans in a rich duck broth


Pollo alle cacciatore
Chicken 'hunter style' braised with wild mushrooms, pancetta, wine and tomatoes

Insalata mista


Optional course

Pecorino cheese with Tuscan honey


£12.50 for 2 courses (£10 for Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed members) plus £3.50 for optional cheese or pudding.

STOP PRESS November Italian Table Fully Booked

December Festive Italian Table
On December 16th, we’ll celebrate in the Cellar with a special “Festive Italian Table” . The evening will kick off with a Bellini cocktail and we’ll then serve a special festive 3 course meal with suggested wines to accompany. £25 for 3 courses and Bellini cocktail (£20 for CV and FoP members). A few places still available.

Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed renewals
The annual renewals for membership of Club Vino and Friends of Pebblebed are now due, with the new year's membership starting from November 1. Geoff and I hope that you value the benefits of being part of our wine communities. The modest membership fee will quickly be recouped with wine purchases over the coming holidays, and with the members' costs to events such as our Vino Kitchen Italian Table events. Other advantages are the private members tasting and parties that we do from time to time, happenings in the Pebblebed vineyard, and a possible trip in 2010 to the wine country. It has been a few years now since we last made a Club Vino trip to Italy, and should there be sufficient interest, we will be looking to do this in the coming year.

Download the Vino/Pebblebed membership application/renewal form here.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our coming events.

Note: For anyone who has joined Club Vino or Friends of Pebblebed in 2009, your membership will be extended until November 2010.

Town Mill Bakery: Great locally baked artisan bread available at Route 2
Some very exciting news: at last Topsham will have great bread. Town Mill Bakery, originally from Lyme Regis, has now opened a very impressive wholesale bakery on the edge of Topsham at Odhams Wharf. There, on a nightly basis (baking until 2am) the bakers are hand-producing a quite wonderful range of breads made with organic flour from Shipton Mill: San Francisco style sourdough, bloomers, walnut bread, NY deli rye, foccaccia, spelt, workers white, cob, wholemeal and white crowns, and much more. Most of this is destined for Riverford Organics, where it is distributed nationally within Riverford's vegetable box scheme.

Town Mill Bakery breads are now also available in Route 2 Cafe Bar on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Please drop to sample the breads, and support this exciting initiative. Well done, Liz!

For further information about Town Mill Bakery see: http://www.townmillbakery.com/

Vino Recipe

Risotto al Barbera

As the nights draw in, this simple risotto al Barbera is a sublimely comforting dish, and absolutely fabulous accompanied by a glass (or two or three) of Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba.
(serves 6)

Heat olive oil with a little butter in a large saucepan, and gently sauté the chopped onion and garlic until soft. Add the rice, stir well to coat with the oil, and continue to toast for a few minutes, until the grains of rice are hot to the touch.

Add the Barbera and allow to simmer and evaporate. Then add, a ladle or two at a time, the boiling hot chicken stock, stirring frequently, while the rice absorbs the liquid. Continue to add the stock in this manner until the rice is just al dente (about 18-20 minutes).

Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a generous knob of butter and a couple of heaping spoonfuls of freshly ground parmigiano reggiano, beating it in to the risotto with a wooden spoon.

Serve immediately as a first course, accompanied by Mario Fontana’s exquisite Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2005.


Best to all,

Marc and Kim




Copyright Marc Millon 2005-2009 All rights reserved
Images copyright Kim Millon 2005-2009 All rights reserved

Quay Press