The Wine Cellar, Ferry Road, Topsham open 10.30-1pm Saturdays
Pebblebed white and
Sparkling wines for
the holidays: Prosecco and Champagne!
Great reds for Christmas:
Nebbiolo and Rosso di Montalcino
(plus any other Vino wines that Mark Lane* and
Geoff feel like opening for tasting)
and New Year's Vino opening
Vino @ The Wine Cellar
is open usual hours over the next two Saturdays before Christmas.
I will be here first thing this Saturday (until about 11am), then
Mark Lane* and Geoff will be looking after the
Vino side of the Wine Cellar (Italian wines, Champagne and wine
gifts) for the rest of the morning as well as Saturday the 23rd.
If you have any special
requests, or would like to pick up wines outside of these hours,
can you either make arrangements with me before this Saturday, or
else, during the week of Dec 16-23, please email Geoff email@example.com
or telephone him on 01392 875908.
I will be back on the afternoon of Sat Dec 23 and am very happy
to make any local deliveries on Christmas eve. Vino @ The Wine Cellar
will of course be open on Saturday 30 December and also possibly
the 31st for collection of wines for New Year's Eve celebrations.
Lane, who is looking after Vino this week, is a good friend, a former
Senior Wine Taster at the prestigious International Wine Challenge,
a wine columnist for magazines such as Wine Magazine, an intelligent
wine educator and spirited wine entertainer. In the real world,
he is currently Project Manager of Devon's £1.2m Discover
Devon Naturally Sustainable Tourism Project. Mark has been a big
supporter of Vino; I value his judgements on wine and really appreciate
him giving up his time to help me out this week. Please drop in,
meet Mark and taste some wines with him. He's good fun!
Pebblebed rose 2005 is now completely
sold out and remaining stocks of Pebblebed white 2005 are very low
- so if you'd like to have everyone's favourite award-winning Devon
wine in for Christmas drinking, please contact Geoff as soon as
possible or make your way to the Wine Cellar this Saturday.
Geoff reports that
the new vintage Pebblebed 2006 wines - rose, white and, yes, even
some red - are already tasting well! The rose and white will be
available from April 2007. The red will spend some time in French
oak before release, while the Pebblebed sparkling will not be released
Winter pruning has
already begun so if you would like to assist Geoff, then please
contact him. A future Club Vino/Friends of Pebblebed event: a spot
of winter pruning followed by a lunch of steaks cooked 'aux sarments'
- over a fire of vineshoots!
Prosecco Bisol 'Jeio' n/v (CV £8.99) and Champagne Rene Geoffroy
Cuvee Empreinte n/v (CV £18.75) are two utterly different
sparkling wines. Drop in and sample them over the next Saturdays
and you will immediately understand what they are both about.
Prosecco Bisol 'Jeio' is all soft, creamy, green apple fruit, a
beautiful wine that is just so easy to drink, any time of day or
night (the perfect breakfast wine?). Moreover, it's a sparkler that
is not trying in any way to be a Champagne. Everyone who tastes
it absolutely loves it!
When you sample our
Champagne Rene Geoffroy alongside, by contrast, you are immediately
aware of a wine that is richer, more complex and mature (80% Pinot
Noir/20% Chardonnay fermented in part in wood), with fine persistent
bubbles, long, concentrated, a very classy and elegant wine indeed.
This is a great example of why Champagne still deserves to be considered
the finest sparkling wine in the world.
Incidentally, in addition to both the Prosecco 'Jeio' and Champagne
Rene Geoffroy 'Cuvee Empreinte', we also offer two deluxe bottles
from these same producers. Prosecco Bisol 'Crede' costs a couple
of quid more than 'Jeio' but at £10.99 is still excellent
value for such a classy wine, firmer, more citrussy, with a longer
finish. Rene Geoffroy's top Champagne is 'Cuvee Volupte', a special
deluxe cuvee wine produced from 80% Chardonnay/20% Pinot Noir, fermented
and aged in wood for a longer period, with deep, biscuity, flavours
combined with marvellous lightness and finesse. At £24.90,
it's not cheap, but it is a very special Champagne to enjoy on special
Both Prosecco Bisol 'Crede' and Champagne Rene Geoffroy 'Cuvee Empreinte'
are available in magnum. Big bottles are a great way to kick off
a special celebration or holiday meal, so 'go large'!
House and party wines
Our new house Vino wines have been flying out
of the Wine Cellar, I'm happy to report. Our Statua white from Sicily,
and our Casa Castel del Monte rosato and red from Puglia are good
examples of southern Italian wines that display regional character
and attitude at an everyday price (CV £4.75 case bottle price).
These screwtop house wines may not claim to be wines to write home
or books about, however they are nonetheless ridiculously easy to
open and quaff - enjoyable as well as useful to have on hand when
unexpected guests drop in, for parties, and for easy everyday drinking.
please! Christmas Vino gifts
Our Vino wine gift boxes are presents that anyone will enjoy receiving
(and giving, provided recipient shares with you). If you are looking
for a special present, why not treat someone to a bottle of Mario's
Barolo 2002 with a special plain glass Italian decanter? Or how
about our 'Olive oil sampler' which includes a bottle each of our
stunning single estate oils from Le Marche and Tuscany. Or any of
our suggested wine selections, or a bespoke gift box made up with
your favourites. It would be helpful to have your orders in advance
so that we can prepare your boxes for pick up from The Wine Cellar.
Alternatively, I am happy to deliver anywhere around Topsham on
holiday gift boxes
events in 2007
Following our very successful Club Vino Christmas tasting and party
at The Globe (the pasta and risotti were brilliant, Liz!), we are
looking in 2007 to put in place a series of regular Club Vino tastings
in association with the Globe, provided there is sufficient interest
(15-20 is the ideal number, we've found). The format will normally
be a themed wine tasting (topics include 'An introduction to wine
tasting', 'Nebbiolo masterclass', 'Great grapes from around the
world', 'Italian wines: a journey in a bottle' and other topics
and wines that you would like to taste and discover) followed by
either a simple buffet of local cheeses and breads, or occasionally
a full meal to make an evening of it. Cost will depend on wines
and food, but we'll aim normally for somewhere between £15-25
per person for Club Vino members. If you are interested in joining
us, please email to register your interest.
It's hard to find the time these days to homebake Christmas treats
and gifts. However, if you're looking to make something a little
different this year, then do have a go at Kim's version of the famous
panforte di Siena. This nutty, chewy, utterly delicious honey-and-spiced
Tuscan speciality is just the sort of thing to have around during
the holiday season. Once baked and dusted with powdered sugar, wrap
in foil, then in cellophane with a pretty ribbon to make a really
lovely food gift. The recipe comes from our first book 'The Wine
and Food of Europe'.
100 g shelled almonds
100 g shelled hazelnuts
50 g plain flour
25 g cocoa
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
Generous grating of fresh nutmeg
100 g honey
4 tbsp sugar
250 g candied fruit, finely chopped
2 tbsp grated orange rind
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
Juice of 1 lemon
Pre-heat oven to 150
degrees C. Put almonds and hazelnuts in a greased shallow pan, and
bake until toasted about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, sift flour
together with the cocoa, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Mix well.
Put honey and sugar in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for about
10-15 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and mix
into the flour mixture. Then add the candied fruit, orange and lemon
rind and juice, and toasted nuts, stirring to combine everything
together well. It should be quite a stiff mixture. Add a little
more juice if too stiff.
Grease a round baking
tin and turn the mixture into it. Bake in a slow oven, 140 degrees
C, until it is firm, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven,
turn out, and sprinkle liberally with icing sugar.
Suggested wine: Cascina
Fontana Moscato del Piemonte
Happy holidays to all and see you soon!
Marc and Kim