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July 2011


Summertime! But will it last?
Of course it won't. The sun is shining as I write this, but the forecast for the rest of the week is a return to blustery showers and the breezy, cool weather that has characterised most of the summer of 2011. To be honest, I don't really mind all that much. Endless days of sunshine are frankly overrated - in the depths of winter (or even English summer), we may dream of sunshine - but all too easily forget about the mosquitoes (which we rarely suffer from here). Far better to enjoy and celebrate the rare days of sunshine and summer when they come - such as this past weekend, when we had not only sunshine, but high spring tides - a rare and glorious combination. What did we do? We actually cooked on the grill outdoors for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And last night we floated down river to somewhere between Exmouth and Starcross to the new floating River Exe Café where all of Topsham seemed to be hanging out, enjoying glasses or bottles of Pebblebed rosé and bowls of Exe mussels while the sun went down. A wonderful new addition to the Exe - well done to Paul Craven.

This is certainly a time to enjoy light summer wines such as Geoff's new 2010 vintages of Pebblebed - including Pebblebed red! We ourselves have some great Italian wines for summer drinking too. Please drop in to the Pebblebed Cellar this Saturday July 9 from 11am until 12.30 for a taste of summer, Italian style.

'The Vino Cellar', Ferry Road, Topsham in the Pebblebed Cellar this Saturday 9 July 11am-12.30pm Tasting: Wines for summer!

Bisol Jeio rosato n/v - This delightful sparkling wine from the wine hills of the Veneto is made by Prosecco maestro and good friend Gianluca Bisol, from Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes cultivated in the classic heartland between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, just north of Treviso. It's a beautiful pink colour, fresh, with softly creamy strawberry and raspberry fruit. A perfect wine for summer. Club Vino £12.90 (non-club £13.90)

Cascina Fontana Gavi DOCG 2009 - Mario's white wine, from Cortese grapes grown on chalk soil at Monterotondo di Gavi, is a very classy and elegant white wine to enjoy for special summer meals such as line-caught local sea bass from David or Derek or gorgeous fat Lyme Bay scallops. Mario's Gavi is understated yet concentrated in flavour with a long and persistent minerally finish. Club Vino £11.60 (non-club £12.90)

Cascina Fontana 'Rosato di Barolo' 2009 - A true rarity - a rosato made from Nebbiolo grapes from Mario's cru Barolo vineyards. After maceration on the skins for 24 hours, the must is drawn off and cool fermented like white wine. Nebbiolo is never overly deep in colour, but believe me, this is a full rosato in every way: the wine displays the charm and the fruit of the Nebbiolo without a hint of its usually assertive tannin and has the forceful power and structure that comes from grapes grown in the elite cru vineyards of Barolo. 'Rosato di Barolo' is available in very limited quantity - Club Vino £11.90 (non-club £13.50)

I Sodi del Paretaio Chianti 2008 Badia di Morrona - Good Chianti is a perfect red wine for summer to enjoy with cold meats such as salami or prosciutto, with a simple bowl of pasta, or with meats char-grilled on the barbeque. This isn't just a good example - it's a great 'straight' Chianti, not overly serious or expensive, yet displaying the fruit and structure of Sangiovese softened with a touch of Merlot. Club Vino £9.90 (non-club £10.90)


Vino Kitchen Italian Table July and August
We love summer not just for easy drinking wines - the foods and produce of summer are equally attractive and delicious. This is the time for simple meals using the freshest seasonal ingredients. What's on the menu for the July and August Vino Kitchen Italian Table evenings? To be honest, we have no idea just yet. We'll be going across to Shillingford Organics to see what's growing in abundance at the moment so the menus will depend on what we find down at the farm - and also on what the weather is doing. If the sun continues to shine then we will have something lighter, possibly fish again from David Kerley's Fish Shed. But if it goes cooler and unseasonal, then we'll console ourselves with more warming foods. Keep an eye on the vino web site to see what's cooking.

We still have places left for both July and August Vino Kitchen Summer Italian Table - dates are:

Wed July 13th
Wed August 17th

Please email me marc@vino.co.uk as soon as possible to reserve your spaces. Cost for 3-course meal is £15 for Club Vino members (£18.50 for non-members). Find out more here (and peruse past menus).


Vino Kitchen recipe: Cuban-style pulled pork
Our June Vino Kitchen was a Topsham Table focusing on foods that were as local as possible. Cuban-style pulled pork doesn't sound that local but I was inspired to create this dish after meeting a lovely couple at the Exeter Festival of South West Food & Drink who have started a Caribbean sauce company called Smokey Joes based in Broadclyst. We are fortunate to have really good local sources for meat literally on the doorstep, from Arthurs, Gerald David at Darts Farm, and from the Kenniford Farm shop at Clyst St George. We generally go to Kenniford to buy our pork as it is always outstanding. 'Pulling' pork means cooking it slowly until the meat can be forked into shreds - to do so you have to allow the meat to reach an internal temperature of about 90 degrees C at which point the fibres of the meat begin to fall apart. Pulled pork is perfect for when you have a crowd coming around for an informal dinner. You can cook the pork in advance and then season it with the Cuban mojo - then it can be simply reheated and served piled into buns to eat in your hands. Great party food that everyone loves, I guarantee.

Whole shoulder of pork (about 3-4 kg)

Cuban mojo

Freshly squeezed juice of 10 oranges
Freshly squeezed juice of 10 limes
Freshly squeezed juice of 4 large lemons
Head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp coarsly crushed black pepper
4 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp piri piri chilli powder (or cayenne)
1 tbsp sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil

First make the mojo.

In a mortar, grind with a pestle the garlic, oregano, black pepper, ground cumin, sea salt and piri piri .Heat a splosh of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan and add this mixture. Sautée gently for about 10 minutes to release the aromas but do not let the garlic colour or burn.

Once cool, add this mixture to the freshly squeezed juices and taste. It should be quite sour. If not sour enough, add juice of a couple more limes.

Place the leg or shoulder of pork in a large roasting tin, add a cup of cider or apple juice, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and slow roast in a very low oven 120C for about 8 hours. The internal temperature of the pork should come to about 90C and it should be falling apart. At this point, remove, discard skin, excessive fat and gristle, and shred the meat with two forks to ‘pull’ the pork. Once the pork has been pulled, season it with most of the mojo. Either eat immediately or reheat in a hot oven.

This is delicious on its own or stuffed in buns. If stuffing into buns, serve with mayo, lettuce and tomato and have a little more of the Cuban mojo on hand to spice up the meat.

Suggested wine: Cascina Fontana Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 - Mario's Dolcetto is a fantastic match to Cuban style pulled pork - the wine is bursting with fruit yet has sufficient acidity to stand up to the richly flavoured and spicy meat.

Here's to summer - while it lasts! Enjoy.

Marc and Kim




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