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December 2010

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Hello to all Club Vino members and followers

We hope this finds you well, enjoying this spell of bright, cold weather, a proper winter, just like in the old days! This is the time of year (I'm sure you're not surprised to hear me say) for big, rich, warming red wines, for slow-cooked braises, and for sitting in front of a wood fire.

Another year has come and gone: another cycle of grape growing and winemaking has been completed and the new wines are in the cellar - at Mario's Cascina Fontana, at the Badia di Morrona in Tuscany, at Az Ag Fratelli Politi, source of Loretello, and of course in Geoff's cellar here in Topsham, too.

All in all, it seems that 2010 has been a very good year. From a wine point of view, we're confident that this will prove to be an excellent vintage, in Piedmont, Tuscany, in Le Marche as well as here in Devon (Geoff harvested more than 30 tonnes of healthy grapes, a huge improvement on the previous two years).

Meanwhile for us, our monthly Vino Kitchen Italian Table dinners have continued to prove extremely popular, with most months now having a waiting list. What we are doing is very simple: serving authentic, regional, usually fairly rustic 3-course Italian meals to accompany the range of Vino wines that we import and which are available in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar. The Cellar itself is part of the reason for the success of our evenings: what a congenial, authentic, and warm venue in which to sit down together to share wine, food and friendship.

Wine, food and friendship: that is what Vino is really about - it's what interests us most and it's why we continue to do what we do. We hope to see you soon.

Best

Marc and Kim

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Cascina Fontana update
We have been out to visit Mario and Luisa a couple of times this year in their Cascina Fontana home in the beautiful wine hills of Barolo. We began Vino out of a belief in these wonderful, natural, unfiltered wines and that belief grows stronger every year. These are very special wines, made with the greatest integrity, passion and dedication to tradition. Mario's Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Barolo just get better and better each year, as many Club Vino members already appreciate. Please drop in over the coming Saturdays and taste the new vintages and rediscover how very special these wines are:

Cascina Fontana Gavi 2009 - Fresh, steely minerality, compact with a very clean, lingering finish - to accompany Devon fish and shellfish. £11.99 per bottle (Club Vino)

Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 - Fresh, vivid, fruit driven, ideal wine to accompany lunch, antipasti platters, or pasta. £9.90 per bottle (Club Vino)

Cascina Fontana Barbera d'Alba 2008 - Mario's Barbera is iconic. Each vintage is different, but the family characteristic always remains - Barbera is the perfect food wine because it combines concentrated fruit, acidity and tannin in just the right, harmonious balance so that it positively enhances any meal that it accompanies, without dominating. We think that Mario's Barbera is the ideal Christmas lunch wine - it is man enough to stand up to the competing flavours of this annual meal while the balance of acidity and tannin means that it helps to cut through the richness of the meal. 2008, our current vintage, is drinking beautifully now. We also have limited stocks of older vintages for those who appreciate that Mario's wines continue to evolve and gain in complexity with age in the bottle. £11.90 per bottle (Club Vino)

Cascina Fontana Nebbiolo 'vigna il Castello' 2007 - This single vineyard estate wine, produced from Nebbiolo grapes grown at the Castello di Sinio (visited by Club Vino members a few years ago), demonstrates the personality and majesty of this very special grape but in a form that is somewhat lighter and more approachable than Barolo. Though relatively light in colour, as Nebbiolo always is, it has an intense and concentrated bouquet - think plums and spices - and is full and well-balanced, with elegant, slightly bitter persistent finish. A sort of younger brother to Barolo, but no less for that - serve Nebbiolo at special meals, elegant dinner parties -- or with pizza in front of the fire. £16.90 per bottle (Club Vino)

Cascina Fontana Barolo 2005 - Mario's Barolo is, well, Barolo, an austere, uncompromising, traditional wine that is intense and full flavoured, with a concentration of fruit, tannin and acidity. It is a wine that you don't just knock back - it's too expensive for that! - rather, its complexity is only revealed to those who take the time to taste thoughtfully and patiently (to understand Mario's philosophy to Barolo please read http://www.cascinafontana.com/ilmiobarolo.html ). Barolo 2005 is an excellent vintage - though still very young, the fruit is notable and the wine can be enjoyed now (open overnight or at least a few hours before serving and decant if possible), or else cellared for upwards of decade. Serve with rich beef stews (the classic brasato al Barolo), game such as Devon venison, or with aged cheese. We have limited stocks of older vintages available. £24.90 (Club Vino)

For further information about Cascina Fontana, Mario and his approach to wines, please visit www.cascinafontana.com (Kim and I spent some time with Mario and Luisa this year to research, write, photograph and design this site - our aim has been to give as full a picture as possible not just about Mario's wines but about his approach to winemaking, life in general, and the culture and beauty of Alba and Le Langhe).

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Vino Christmas wines and gifts
In addition to Mario's wines, we can offer a varied selection of wines to have on hand for Christmas, including Prosecco Bisol Jeio (£10.90 CV also available in a delightful rosato version at £11.90 CV), our excellent house wines from Abruzzo (white and red £5.99 per bottle CV), and new wines from Tuscany which will be on offer for tasting in the coming weeks. We have gift boxes available as well as a very limited allocation of wines in magnum for very special gifts. Also plain glass decanters, Drop Stops and the famous Vino corkscrew.

Free deliveries in Topsham and surrounds.

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Vino Kitchen dates

Festive Vino Kitchen Italian Table - Wednesday December 15th - Sorry fully booked

Vino Kitchen provisional dates for Italian Table 2011

Winter Vino Kitchen Italian Table - Wednesday January 26th
February Vino Kitchen Italian Table - Wednesday February 16th

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Club Vino 2011 membership renewals
Just a reminder that Club Vino membership renewals are now due for membership in 2011. If you have recently joined, don't worry, your membership will be carried over through 2011. Please renew now to benefit from priority booking and members prices for Vino Kitchen evenings as well as Club Vino prices for all wine purchases from Vino. It is our intention to offer a Club Vino trip to Piedmont in the autumn. Membership is just £15 per family per annum - please send or drop in a cheque payable to Vino Ltd, Quay Cottage, Ferry Road, Topsham EX3 0JJ. Many thanks for your continued support!

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Recipe - Arista di maiale al latte
Here's a stunning recipe for loin of pork cooked in milk from our last Vino Kitchen Italian Table. Believe me, this dish was a real hit and is much better than it sounds - the milk gently cooks the pork and in so doing caramelises to a nut brown, making the most delicious creamy sauce to accompany the succulent meat.

1.5 - 2 kg loin of pork, skin off (we go to the Kenniford Farm shop in Clyst St George which has fantastic free-range pork)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pints whole milk
1 head of smoked garlic (use regular garlic if smoked not available), cloves peeled but left whole
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

Pre-heat oven to 160 C.

Season the pork all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large casserole or roasting tray, and brown the pork thoroughly on all sides. Add the garlic cloves and fry gently.

Add the milk and bring to simmer. Place in the pre-heated oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is easily pierced by a fork, basting from time to time. If it dries out, add a little more milk.

Remove the meat from the roasting tray and allow to rest. The milk should have caramelised to a nut brown, with some milk solids. Defat as much as possible, reduce to the consistency of cream, then blend the milk and garlic together with a stick blender to make a sauce.

Cut the pork into thick slices and serve bathed with the sauce.

Suggested wine: Chianti Badia di Morrona 2008 (£8.90 CV)

 
 
 

 

 
 

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

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