a community of wine lovers


February 2010


Valentine's Day wines
Two completely contrasting wines for Valentine's Day (available for tasting this Saturday):

Bisol Jeio 'Desiderio' rosé - this new and delightful sparkling rosé wine is made by our friend Gianluca Bisol from Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes grown in the wine hills of the Veneto. This is a beautiful wine with a delicate pink colour, fine, persistent bubbles, soft, creamy fruit, and an elegant bouquet and flavour. This is a wine that is at once fun, sophisticated and romantic: perfect for Valentine's Day. Bisol Jeio 'Desiderio' introductory special price £11.50 (CV)

Cascina Fontana Barbaresco 2005 - Mario's Barbaresco is, believe it or not, even more muscular than his Barolo. So this is what I suggest for the perfect Valentine's meal (or at least my perfect Valentine's meal): pick up a couple of thick sirloin steaks from Arthur's, a couple of jacket potatoes and some salad from Richard's. Open the Barbaresco a good few hours before you plan to drink it. Taste it now so that you can appreciate how it improves with just a little time to breathe. Massage the steaks with some good extra virgin olive oil and coarsely crushed mixed peppercorns. Cook the jacket potatoes in a hot oven; prepare the mixed salad. Bring a griddle pan up to heat. Add the steaks and cook them for just a couple of minutes a side only. Remove and set aside to rest. Open the Bisol Jeio 'Desiderio' rosé as a pre-prandial aperitivo. When the steaks are cooked, de-glaze the griddle pan with a glass of Barbaresco (yes, it is worth it!), swirling in a knob of good Devon butter or two. Finish off the Bisol Desiderio rosé you started earlier. Serve the steaks with the pan juices poured over, with the jacket spuds bathed in butter, creme fraiche and chives, and with the lightly dressed salad on the side. Savour this simple meal with Mario's amazing Barbaresco. To finish? Why not a wedge of Montgomery extra mature cheddar to see off the remaining Barbaresco, if there is any. . . Cascina Fontana Barbaresco 2005 Valentine's Day weekend special £19 (CV)

Love Potion in the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar Feb 14th
No plans for Valentine's yet? Why not come along to the cellar to 'fill your glass with a love potion cocktail of music, poetry and prose' by the Estuary Players - £15 to include a glass of wine and a meat or cheese platter - tickets from the Pebblebed Tasting Cellar or Topsham Hospiscare shop - all proceeds in aid of Hospiscare.


Vino Kitchen Italian Table
The next Vino Kitchen dates are Wednesday February 24th (almost fully booked) and Wednesday March 24th.

What's cooking? We're still not sure what's on the menu. But if this cold weather keeps up, then for February it will have to be something deliciously warming and comforting . . .

The Vino Kitchen is by reservation only: 3 courses for £15 (current Club Vino or Friends of Pebblebed members) or £18.50 for non-members. If you haven't been to one of our evenings yet, you can find out more here.

To reserve, please email marc@vino.co.uk or telephone 01392 873778.


Tuscany-Devon Celebration Dinner at Michael Caines at ABode Exeter 3rd March

As many who follow Vino will know, we have been closely involved with an initiative to twin Tuscany and Devon as food regions. Working with Michael Caines and with Freddie Dudbridge of Slow Food Devon, we have now established close links with a beautiful corner of Tuscany just inland from Pisa known as the Valdera. We will soon be bringing in some stunning wines from one of the producers and there will be great opportunities for us all to visit some stunning agriturismo properties in the area.

For the past two years, a group from Valdera, led by Simone Brogi and Michela Passetti, have come over to be part of the Exeter Festival of South West England Food and Drink. They are coming over again in early April, and before that, they will be here for a very special Tuscany-Devon Celebration Dinner at Michael Caines at ABode Exeter on Wednesday March 3rd. Michela will be in the kitchens alongside Michael and Tom Williams-Hawkes, Michael's talented Executive Chef at ABode Exeter. There will be a fascinating range of wines from both Devon and Tuscany to accompany a meal that combines the tastes of our two regions. So it promises once again to be a very special evening and we would be delighted if you are able to join us.

Here's an invitation from Michael:

Michael Caines and The Board of the Exeter Festival of South West England Food & Drink is delighted to invite Club Vino members to join us for a very special Tuscany-Devon celebration gala dinner on the evening of March 3rd at ABode Exeter.

The evening is a unique celebration of our Devon food culture and of our growing links with one of the world’s most appetising and attractive food destinations, Tuscany. Over the past two years, we have been working to develop an informal twinning group, mainly through close contacts with Tuscans in and around Pisa, who have now twice come over to the Exeter Festival to share their food culture and superb food products with us. A return visit to Pisa in late 2009 helped to progress our warm and positive relationship and we are looking to develop this further on a number of fronts in 2010.

We are delighted that chef Michela Passetti is once again coming over for this special Tuscany-Devon celebration dinner to cook alongside Michael and Tom Williams-Hawkes. The menu that they will devise will be stunning, a unique and delicious expression that unites both our food traditions. To accompany, there will be an exciting selection of wines from both Devon and Tuscany.

The evening is very much about the enjoyment of great food and wine through the sharing of our food cultures. This is also an important opportunity to learn more about the twinning initiative. There will be Tuscan guests of honour joining us, as well as presentations to explain the vision of what this relationship can bring. It is our hope that the assembled guests will be inspired to get directly involved. We are looking to develop working groups to forge links between farmers and producers; chefs, hoteliers and others in the hospitality sector; those working in tourism; educators (catering college, Exeter University); and people involved in commerce and transport. There are clear opportunities to share knowledge, learning as well as friendship.

This special evening will start at 7.00pm in the Cathedral Room, before taking your seats for dinner in the Clarence Room at 7.30pm. The cost of the evening is £75.00 inclusive and places are strictly limited. To book your place, please telephone Lisa on 01392 223649 / 223625 or email pa2mc@michaelcaines.com


The Devon Wine School
We are fortunate indeed to have a wonderful wine school virtually on our doorstep (well, just a short drive away, at least). The Devon Wine School, located in Cheriton Fitzpaine, is the creation of Alastair and Carol Peebles, and offers residential wine weekends, including tutored tastings by Alastair, a Master of Wine, together with Carol's wonderful homecooked meals to accompany the selected wines. Accommodation for up to 10 (so no one has to drive!) is available in quite luxurious and superior five-star Gold Award rated bedrooms with wonderful views over the unspoiled, rural mid-Devon countryside.

We are in discussion with Alastair and Carol about an exclusive Club Vino wine weekend and will be announcing the date soon. In the meantime, Alastair and Carol may still have availability for some of their upcoming events:

Wednesday 17th February Beaujolais Villages – come and taste how good the wine is from villages like Saint Amour and Moulin-à-Vent, have supper and stay the night for £75 per person, including full English breakfast.
Saturday 6th March Chile and Argentina Tasting and Dinner
Saturday 3rd April The Rhône Valley, home to Syrah and Châteauneuf du Pape
Wednesday 7th April Sherry Midweek Supper, where you will taste some very surprising and delicious wines you won’t find down the supermarket

To find out more or to book, please visit the Devon Wine School web site http://www.devonwineschool.co.uk/

Club Vino renewals
Just a reminder that in order to take advantage of Club Vino special prices and events, please make sure your club membership is up to date.

Download the Vino/Pebblebed membership application/renewal form here.

We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you at our coming events.


Best to all,

Marc and Kim




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

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