a community of wine lovers


December 2012


Once again, it seems, Christmas has snuck up and caught us almost by surprise. The unseasonable and dreary weather that we've experienced over the past weeks has been more autumnal than wintry but the recent bright, sunny and cold days and the prospect of the forecasted snow that could bring a white Christmas has most definitely brought a happier seasonal feel to the recent days and nights. Meanwhile, the dreary economic news (the prospect of austerity until, what, 2018?!) makes us frankly want to hunker down and open a bottle of something really good to cheer and warm us up. What else is there to do? I'm an optimist, and I strongly believe that whatever the external circumstances - happenings in Greece, Italy, the US, or the next banking crisis - life here is still far better than in most places, and that the friendship and community that we enjoy makes us all very fortunate. Kim and I would like to thank you all for your support this year, for enjoying Mario's special wines, for coming along to our monthly Vino Kitchen 'pop-up' Italian Table evenings, and to sharing our belief that a glass of good wine simply makes life and living better. We hope to see you in the coming weeks and in 2013.

Marc and Kim

Vino @ Pebblebed Cellar, Topsham - tastings and wine sales Saturday Dec 8, Dec 15 and Dec 22

We will be in the Pebblebed Cellar on Ferry Road, Topsham over the next three Saturdays from 11.30am until approximately 1pm offering wines for tasting and sales. Please do drop in, have a taste and a chat, and perhaps consider buying some of our wonderful Italian wines to enjoy over the holidays and to give as gifts.
8/12 Madregale Bianco and Rosso (our Vino 'house' wines from Abruzzo) £7.70 or Club Vino (CV) £6.99; Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d'Alba 2011 £11.90 CV £10.90
15/12 Cascina Fontana Gavi 2011 £12.90 CV £11.50; Cascina Fontana Barbera d'Alba 2010 £13.90 CV £12.50
22/12 Prosecco Bisol Jeio n/v £13.90 CV £12.90; Cascina Fontana selection

If there are times that are more convenient to order and collect wines, simply email me to arrange.

Vino wines to enjoy for the holidays
Some selections for gifts or to enjoy yourself

Classic duo - a great white and a great red
Our best-selling white and red, a welcome offering when invited to a special dinner or else to treat yourself over the holidays.
Cascina Fontana Gavi 2011 £12.90 CV £11.50
Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2010 £13.90 CV £12.50
£26 or CV £22 available in either a carry-box (FOC) or a Christmas gift box (£2 extra)

A quartet of Mario’s brilliant and classic red wines
Mario Fontana grows Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes to produce the classic wines of Le Langhe, the region centred around Alba and Barolo that is the source of some of Italy's greatest wines. The resulting wines have immense and distinct personality. This is a very special selection.
Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d’Alba 2011 £11.90 CV £10.90
Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2010 £13.90 CV £12.50
Cascina Fontana Langhe Nebbiolo 2010 £21 CV £18.90
Cascina Fontana Barolo 2008 £29 CV £25.90
£75 or CV £66 available in a 4-bottle carry-box (FOC)

The Vino Christmas half-dozen
Start your celebrations with a really superb bottle of Prosecco, made by our friend Gianluca Bisol - a wine to drink any time of day or night! This box also includes our outstandingly gluggable Vino 'house' white and red from Abruzzo, as well as our best-selling wines from Cascina Fontana.
Prosecco Bisol Jeio n/v £13.90 CV £12.90
Madregale Bianco Terre di Chieti IGT £7.70 CV £6.99
Cascina Fontana Gavi 2011 £12.90 CV £11.50
Madregale Rosso Terre di Chieti IGT £7.70 CV £6.99
Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d’Alba 2011 £11.90 CV £10.90
Cascina Fontana Barbera d’Alba 2010 £13.90 CV £12.50
£66 or CV £60 available in either 2 3-bottle carry-boxes (FOC) or in a 6 bottle Christmas gift box (£3 extra)

Mature Cascina Fontana Barolo - for the connoisseur or wine lover in your life
Barolo is considered the 'king of Italian wines' - a very special wine that is valued and appreciated for its concentration and sometimes austere complexity and elegance. It is a wine, above all, that requires patience for the majestic Nebbiolo only fully reveals itself through lengthy maturation in both cask and bottle. We have small stocks of mature Cascina Fontana Barolo that simply are not available from anywhere else. Both 2000 and 2001 are outstanding vintages indeed. These special bottles are for those who enjoy savouring such wines on the right occasion and with your best friends.
Cascina Fontana Barolo 2000 £49.50 CV £45 presented in a special wooden box
Cascina Fontana Barolo 2001 £52.50 CV £46.50 presented in a special wooden box
Cascina Fontana Barolo 2000 magnum £110 CV £110 presented in a special wooden box
(note: very limited quantities available)

Rossi plain glass decanter (if purchased with Barolo £12.50 - normal price £22)

If you would like to place an order for the above or any other wines, please email me so that I can have your order ready for collection.

Vino wine tasting dinner at Route 2

On Saturday January 26th, 2013, we will be teaming up with Liz and chef James Clark for a special evening of food and wines. James has cooked some brilliant tasting menus for us over the past years to accompany our range of Italian wines. For this occasion he will be creating an Italian-inspired 'Taste of Devon' 6-course tasting menu to accompany some very special wines (including older vintages). Cost is £45 (or £40 for Club Vino members). Why not give a voucher for this special evening as a Christmas present? Vouchers are available from either us or Liz at Route 2.

January 2013 Vino Kitchen Italian Table

We have enjoyed another great year of Vino Kitchen Italian Table evenings in Geoff's fabulous Pebblebed Cellar. Thanks to all who have come along and joined our informal evenings of rustic, regional Italian food and wine. Our final Festive Vino Kitchen on December 12 is now fully booked. The next Vino Kitchen evenings in 2013 will take place on:

Wed January 30th

Please email me to reserve your places.

Wine talk: La vendemmia di San Martino - the harvest of St Martin

Barolo is a zone that produces some of the greatest - and most expensive - wines in the world. Here Mario Fontana explains a wholly completely different country tradition:

"Today, 11 November, is the Festa di San Martino, the patron saint of vinegrowers. Here in the Langhe this day also signals a traditional happening that takes place less and less each year: la vendemmia di San Martino, or the harvest of St Martin. This late harvest doesn’t yield grapes to make a great wine like Barolo: rather it is a farmer’s harvest that produces something of a bonus wine from grapes that would otherwise have been wasted. This is the moment when grape growers pass through the vineyards again after the main harvest to gather in those grapes that had been left behind on the vine because they were not yet ripe. The wine that results is ‘un vinello’ - a little wine - much less strong in alcohol than Barolo, of course, but pleasing all the same, a simple beverage to enjoy with meals.

This year my cousin Giorgio passed through his vineyard at Castelletto to harvest the remaining Nebbiolo grapes while his father Giuseppe (known to all as ‘Gepe’) gathered in grapes from Gramonere, a small sub-zone. As there was a quite decent yield, Giorgio and ‘Gepe’ decided to make the wine ‘proprio come si faceva un tempo’ - exactly as it was always done in the past, in those days when nothing at all was ever wasted.

Yesterday, Edoardo, a young sommelier who helps me in the cellar, and I went along to lend a hand with, as they say here, the fungà - the breaking up by hand of the cap of grape skins in order to extract colour and tannin. In the photo below you can see Edoardo doing this task by hand in a vat that looks little bigger than a bath tub. Here is a link, too, to a little video that shows the process.

The vendemmia di San Martino may be an annual event that is dying out. Yet I believe that it is important to maintain such traditions, not only for the sake of tradition or because the wine that results is spectacular, but simply to remind us of where we have come from."
-- Mario Fontana

vendemmia di san martino




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