As I write this, the rain is lashing on my window and the wind
is howling: proper November weather! Well, let it howl. This is
the time of year to light wood fires, put a slow braise in the
oven (see stracotto recipe below), and open some deliciously warming
wines for winter.
The grapes have all been harvested, the wines are safely in the
cellar, slowly fermenting away, undergoing the annual miraculous
transformation from juice to wine. Geoff is satisfied with this
year's Pebblebed harvest and Mario in Barolo is equally confident
that 2011's wines will bring pleasure to us in years to come.
I will be in the Pebblebed Cellar on most Saturdays in November
and December offering wines for tasting and sales. And we look
forward to seeing old and new friends at our next Vino Kitchen
Italian Table evenings and at the Festive Indulgence evening at
For those who love these special wines, there
will be a Cascina Fontana Nebbiolo and Barolo vertical wine tasting
with a steak dinner at Route 2 on Friday December 2nd. This is
limited in number, so if you’d like to join us, please
email me as soon as possible (details below).
Vino Kitchen Italian Table dates for November and December
Our last two Vino Kitchen Italian Table evenings
for 2011 will take place on Wed November 23rd and Wed December
had some great evenings of food, wine and friendship over the past
year and I hope that all of those who have come along have enjoyed
the very special wine cellar ambience of Geoff and Anna’s
Pebblebed Tasting Cellar.
Our November evening will be a “Menu for Autumn” -
price for 3-course meal is £15 for current Club Vino members
and £18.50 for non-members.
In December we will once again have a special “Festive Italian
Table” - price £20 for CV members or £25 for
For more information about our evenings, see www.vino.co.uk/vinokitchen.html
To reserve, telephone Marc or Kim on 01392 873778 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to seeing you!
Tastings in the Pebblebed Cellar
Over the coming Saturdays, I’ll be setting up in the Pebblebed
Cellar from 11am until 1pm for tastings and sales of our range
of wines. Our excellent Madregale house wines from Abruzzo start
at £6.99 (Club Vino price, £6.65 per mixed case price).
In the lead up to Christmas we’ll also be opening for tasting
some very special wines such as Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolo.
If Saturdays are not a convenient time to visit, please email
email@example.com to arrange a suitable alternative time. We deliver
Geoff has recently sent out a Pebblebed harvest report. His verdict
is that 2011 will prove to be a year of excellent quality but rather
low quantity. The red grapes looked particularly promising and
I am really looking forward to trying the Pebblebed Pinot Noir/Rondo
blend sometime in the coming year. With new vineyard plantings
through the Pebblebed Partnership Vineyard and a new winery to
come in 2012, these are clearly exciting times for Geoff and Anna!
Turning to Italy, Mario Fontana is quietly
confident that 2011 will be an excellent vintage for Dolcetto,
Barbera, Nebbiolo and Barolo. The year started with early flowering
and a very hot, dry summer which meant the grapes were much more
forward than normal. However, some judicious rains at critical
moments in August and September helped to balance things out
and Mario is confident that the wines will be particularly rich
and forward. The earliest of Mario’s 2011s will be the Dolcetto, released to us in about
12-18 months. We look forward to enjoying Barbera 2011 sometime
in late 2013. Mario’s wines always benefit from ageing to
reach their optimum drinking. Fortunately we have a selection of
current and mature vintages of his full range wines in the Vino
cellar which are drinking beautifully now.
You can keep up to date with Mario’s
latest news from the wine country here:
Nebbiolo, Barolo and Steak Night with Vino @ Route 2 - Friday
We’ve been promising to have a definitive Cascina Fontana
Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolo vertical tasting with a steak dinner
cooked by Liz Hodge’s excellent chef James Clark. This will
now take place on Friday December 2nd in the Route 2 Cafe Bar in
Topsham. This will be a great opportunity to taste different vintages
of Nebbiolo and Barolo and to discover how these truly great wines
evolve and mature with age. The tasting will be limited in number
to no more than 12. Cost is £20 for wine tasting for current
Club Vino members or £25 for non-members and £15 for
the steak dinner (payable to Route 2). Please book with me as soon
as possible if you’d like to attend.
Vino @ Darts Farm
We are delighted that Mario’s Cascina Fontana wines are
available at Darts Farm and we look forward to the Festive Indulgence
evening on December 7th. There will be so many good things to sample
and enjoy on the evening; please come along - we'll be there offering
tastings of Barbera and Moscato ‘Dorato’. Darts Farm
also have an exclusive but limited amount of Cascina Fontana Barbera
d’Alba in magnums from the exceptional 2003 vintage as well
as magnums of Cascina Fontana Barolo (the ultimate Christmas gift!).
Stracotto al Chianti
A warming recipe that is perfect for autumn
weather (we served this at last month’s Vino Kitchen Italian
2kg stewing beef cut into cubes (use shin from Arthurs or top
rib from Gerald David)
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
3 sticks of celery, cut into pieces
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tsp crushed chilli
Large bunch of fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
1 bottle of Badia di Morrona I Sodi del Paretaio Chianti 2008
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
750g button mushrooms
Place the trimmed and cubed beef in a large roasting bag. Add
all the ingredients except the mushrooms. Tie securely and place
in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or preferably overnight. Remove
and place in a large casserole. Put in a pre-heated 120 deg C oven
and slow-braise for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and almost
falling apart. An hour before serving, fry the mushrooms in a little
olive oil to release their liquid, then add to the casserole.
Serve with polenta or mash potatoes and braised cavolo nero.
Suggested wine: Badia di Morrona I Sodi del Paretaio Chianti 2008
Marc and Kim