a community of wine lovers


September 2010

Harvest time!
It's that most wonderful and magical time of the year: the moment when the year's labour and toil is brought to fruition with the bringing in of the grapes. Geoff's harvest in the Pebblebed vineyards started this past week with the early-ripening Rondo and will continue through much of October (check the Pebblebed web site for harvest dates and come along and lend a hand).

In Piedmont, Mario Fontana completed the harvest of Dolcetto grapes last week. The grapes were in superb condition and Mario is hopeful that 2010 will be a successful vintage. But much depends on the weather in the coming weeks. In about another week, the Barbera grapes will be ready to be harvested; then Nebbiolo from Sinio will follow for Nebbiolo delle Langhe. Finally, Nebbiolo grapes from Mario's most prized vineyards in Castiglione Falletto will be brought in sometime in late October, perhaps even into November. These are the grapes that will be utilised to produce his greatest wine, Cascina Fontana Barolo.

Here are some photos of the Dolcetto 2010 harvest:

Dolcetto harvest

Dolcetto grapes at Cascina Fontana, harvested in small crates to ensure they reach the cantina in optimum condition
Zio Armando

Zio Armando helps with the harvest in the vineyards of the Castello di Sinio. Armando, who is more than 90 years old, has been working in these vineyards for most of his life.
Dolcetto mosto

Not yet wine, but by the end of October the fermentation will have been completed and the young, new Dolcetto will be enjoyed straight from the vat for the annual bagna cauda feast.

Next Vino Kitchen dates
As we move into autumn, we're looking forward to the next Vino Kitchen on Wednesday October 13th. This is the time of year for warming autumnal foods with deeper, richer flavours, perfectly accompanied by Mario's warming wines such as Barbera d'Alba.

What's on the menu for October? Mmnn, not sure yet - depends on what the weather is doing. But I'm beginning to think mushrooms - maybe a warming zuppa di funghi, maybe risotto . . .

The November Vino Kitchen will take place on Wednesday November 10th.

There will be a special December Vino Kitchen on Wednesday December 15th.

To find out more, visit www.vino.co.uk/vinokitchen.html

To reserve your places please email marc@vino.co.uk

Oxford Gastronomica – ‘The Language of Wine’
This event took place successfully in September at Hertford College, Oxford, as part of a programme of short courses run by Oxford Gastronomica, the important new centre for food, drink and culture studies. Oxford Gastronomica provides a framework in which subjects such as wine can be approached from the context of civilisation, culture and society, while tasting and learning along the way. I was delighted to prepare and present the course, covering topics such as the history of wine, wine and literature, wine and cinema, the language of taste, wine and food, wine tourism and wine and society. Guest lecturers included Dr Damian Robinson of the Institute of Archaeology, who gave a fascinating overview of the Roman wine trade, the concept of terroir and the Roman connoisseur. Alastair Peebles of the Devon Wine School joined us to give a masterclass on the language of wine together with a blind tasting. And food and wine expert Fiona Beckett gave an interactive taste workshop matching historic wines and foods. It was amazing to discover how the tastes of Georgians and Victorians were so very different from ours. We also visited the wine cellars of Pembroke College which boasts no less than 9500 bottles, mainly of fine claret, Burgundy and port.

Approaching wine in the context of its place in our culture and society is something that fascinates me. If you are interested in this approach and would like to take part in other such events or activities, please email me for further information marc@vino.co.uk

Geoff's Pebblebed Partnership Vineyards
Following Geoff's appearance on the Dragon's Den, Pebblebed Partnership Vineyard has now been successfully launched, with the support of Dragon Duncan Bannatyne as one of the Founder members. This is an exciting new venture that will enable participants to have a real and direct interest in Geoff's vineyard, all year round, as well as to be able to drink the liquid assets of their investment. It's a great idea, Geoff, even if Deborah Meaden didn't quite get it. Well done - and hats off for braving the Den!

For more information about Pebblebed Partnership Vineyards click here.

Café Lingua at Route 2
Topsham really is a remarkable place and all sorts of things are happening here all the time. Liz's latest imaginative venture is the creation of Café Lingua, in partnership with St Peter's Language College. Café Lingua starts on October 7th and will take place each Thursday in Route 2 from 6.30-8.30pm. It is a free language club where everyone is invited to come along to speak in and practise the various languages that will be offered on a rotation basis. At the same time, students from St Peter's will devise a simple menu, help to prepare the foods, and take orders in that language.

1st  Thurs of month  French (7th Oct 2010)
2nd Thurs of month  German  (14th Oct 2010)
3rd Thurs of month   Spanish  (21st Oct 2010)
Other Thurs of month, guest language Italian, Dutch, Mandarin, Arabic etc

What a great idea, Liz! We're certainly looking forward to coming along. For further information, see Liz at The Globe or email sales@globehotel.com

Autumn, it's always been my favorite season. The weather is usually surprisingly good even though we can't escape the fact that the nights are drawing in. Summer is over. Time to get back to work. Perhaps, too, it's a back-to-school ethos, but autumn always seems to me a time of year to start new things, to look ahead, to plan and to learn. And of course, it is the season when the grapes come in, when wine is made, the tumultuous fermentation in the vats bubbling and gurgling away, like new ideas, new projects . . .

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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