a community of wine lovers


December 2011


New vintages from Cascina Fontana now in!

Just in time for the holidays, we have just received the new vintages from Cascina Fontana! This is always a special moment of the year. We have been working with Mario now for long enough - and many of you have been enjoying Mario's wines for long enough - to come to appreciate the subtle differences and variations between the same wines from different years. Each is unique: Mario himself says that all his wines are like his children, each with different and individual personalities, yet you love them all for what they are. I look back now and remember some of the wines that we have enjoyed over the past years, the lighter yet elegant and approachable reds from the wet season of 2002 contrasting with the immense blockbuster power of the 2003s that came from that famous heatwave summer. Such extremes have been more rare in recent years and the Barolo zone has enjoyed an excellent run of vintages. Yet each is different, each is unique. We do keep try and keep stocks of the older wines, not least because these are wines that almost invariably improve and evolve with time and also because they make for such fascinating vertical tastings (like the recent Nebbiolo and Barolo tasting at Route 2). It is still always a special moment for me to taste for the first time wines that I had previously only encountered as youthful and immature samples tasted direct from the barrel or tank with Mario in the Barolo wine hills.

Please drop in to the cellar tomorrow to taste Mario's new wines: Gavi 2010, Dolcetto 2010, Barbera 2009 and, freshest and most invigorating of all, Dorato 2011.


Vino and Pebblebed Christmas gifts

Wine is one gift that is appreciated by just about everyone. Please consider a gift of wines from Vino or Pebblebed. We have gift boxes and also such wine related gift items as clear glass Italian decanters, perfect for decanting that bottle of Mario's Barolo. A packet of 2 drop stops makes a great stocking filler. Or why not give a gift of a year's membership to Club Vino to the wine lover in your life?

For your Christmas drinking, we offer free delivery in Topsham and surrounds.


Vino Kitchen and other events for 2012

We are in the process of putting together our programme for Vino events for the coming year. The first event will be a wine dinner and tasting of Mario's wines at the Michael Caines Café Bar hosted by me and Andy McLarin on January 18th (to reserve your places telephone Steph at ABode on 01392 223648). Our long awaited Club Vino trip to help inaugurate Mario and Luisa's new Barolo wine cantina will most definitely be taking place this year on a date to be agreed with Mario and Luisa. And we are looking forward to many more fun Vino Kitchen Italian Table evenings in the Pebblebed Cellar and also wine tastings and dinner at Route 2 Cafe Bar with Liz and James.

We hope to see you and thank you for your continued support.

Please note, subscriptions for Club Vino membership 2012 are now due.


Recipe: Bunet di Luisa

Last Wednesday's special festive Vino Kitchen Italian Table was "A taste of Le Langhe" in which we sought to bring the flavours and aromas of Mario and Luisa's special region to Topsham, with dishes such as carne cruda all'albese, peperoni con bagna cauda, brasato al Barbera and more. For dessert, Kim made bunet, which Luisa had demonstrated at the first Topsham Food Festival, and it was absolutely stunning. We've had a number of requests for the recipe so here it is. Enjoy this special, simple pud with a bottle of Mario's delightful 'Dorato' - a dessert wine that is always invigorating and which at only 5.5% alcohol is a perfect finish to any meal.


7 tablespoons of granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons of sweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of flour
1/2 litre of milk
12 small amaretti biscuits
3 tablespoons of rum and/or espresso coffee


Bunet is traditionally made in a circular ring mould. If you don't have one, then use a large heatproof dish or cake tin (a rectangular pâté terrine could be used). Place 3 tablespoons of sugar in the mould or tin and heat directly over the hob to melt and carmelise. As it melts, let it spread around the base to cover uniformly.

In a mixing bowl, add 4 tablespoons of sugar and 4 whole eggs. Beat well with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add the sweetened and unsweetened cocoa powder and the flour to make a mound. Add the milk, a little at a time, blending into the cocoa and flour.

Smash the amaretti biscotti into small pieces. Add these to the mixture together with the rum and/or espresso. Transfer the mixture into the prepared, caramelised mould or cake tin.

Place the bunet mould in a roasting tin, and add boiling water 3/4 to the top of the mould to make a bain marie. Place in a pre-heated 160 degree C oven for about 20 minutes. To test if done, insert a wooden skewer to see if it comes out clean. If not, then return to the oven for a few minutes more.

When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature for at least a couple of hours. When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the bunet, then place a plate over the top of the mould and turn over with a forceful shake. Hopefully the bunet should emerge on the plate intact! Cut into slices and serve.

Suggested wine: Cascina Fontana 'Dorato' (note - the new season Dorato is now available at Darts Farm)

Our very best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

Marc and Kim




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