The Real Wine Fair highlights wines which are made with respect for terroir and the provenance for the ingredient. We are therefore delighted to be working again this year with artisan food producers and restaurants who have a similar philosophy.
Most of the food will be located in one room adjacent to the wine tasting hall. Customers can try and buy, eat on the hoof, or take the food into the restaurant/bar next door and relax with a glass of wine, a beer or a coffee.
Duck Soup, the bohemian natural wine bar on Dean Street in Soho (and soon opening in Hackney), will be tempting customers with such dishes as lamb shoulder cooked in milk, broad beans & wild garlic and tarama and shaved kohlrabi and sesame salt on warm flatbreads. Donostia (the Basque name for San Sebastian, a city synonymous with culinary excellence) and a modern tapas bar in Marylebone, will be preparing simple, but tasty-sounding small plates such as slow-cooked pigs cheeks and arroz negro plus variations on a jamón theme. Award-winning restaurant Zucca specialises in homely, regional, well-executed Italian dishes including Cianfotta (a seasonal vegetable stew from southern Italy) and pork cooked in milk. Meanwhile, London's answer to River Cottage HQ, Handmade Food, is offering beetroot borani & feta with crispbread; marinated pigeon breast in flat bread with watercress and pickle, and Simnel cake.
Morito, sibling of Moro in Exmouth Market will be cooking lamb on the plancha with labneh, pickled chillies and green olives and serving grilled Tetilla cheese with membrillo and walnut bocadillo, whilst Real Wine first-timers Burro e Salvia, a pastificio in Shoreditch, will be making their signature fresh pasta from traditional family recipes. La Cour de Rémi, a small hotel with a fantastic natural wine bar in Bermicourt near Calais, are bringing the flavours of Normandy with them in their earthy bistro dishes including Pressed oxtail, mustard vinaigrette & roquette leaves; fried cuttlefish and pork belly ‘à la Ibaiona’ and Scallops, marinated with lemon infused olive oil
There's more. Androuet age and sell their artisan cheeses in Spitalfields and supply many of London's top restaurants. At the Real Wine Fair this year they will be presenting Androuet “Camembert de Normandie” (exclusively produced for them), ”Comte” 18 months, “1909″(ewe’s milk cheese they created for their 100 year anniversary) produced by Jean-François Dombre, and English cheeses like Westcombe. Customers can taste samples and buy a platter to eat at the fair.
And to drink? Workshop Coffee who have been sourcing, roasting and serving great coffee since 2009 and have two cafés, one in Clerkenwell and the other in Marylebone will be on espresso and cappuccino duty, whilst those seeking alcoholic refreshment can sip and sup at the stands of two small but beautiful artisan drinks producers based in North London. Camden Town Brewery is located in a couple of railway arches in Kentish Town. Their bottled beers include the crisp Hells Lager, the unfiltered American Hells, the complex Pale Ale and the Gentleman’s Wit Beer and a variety of ales on draught. Sacred Microdistillery is run from the kitchen of a house in the back streets of Highgate. They will show their award-winning London Dry Gin; London Dry Vodka made with numerous botanicals and their unique English Spiced Vermouth containing around 25 botanicals. New to the range are gins made from cardamom and pink grapefruit respectively and a delicious Rosehip Cup. Gin and tonics and English Negronis all round!
“The Real Wine Fair” is a two day wine event celebrating artisan growers who work with minimal intervention in the vineyard and the winery. 150 growers and winemakers will be pouring and presenting their wines to consumers, wine trade professionals and members of the press.
The 2014 event will be at London’s historic Tobacco Dock in Wapping, on .
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As we cruise into the last third of February, you don't have to be a meteorological magi to discern that we're not out of winter yet.
A friend recently trudged up to my office at around 6:30pm to find me opening a bottle of Romain Duvernay, 2011 from Côtes-du-Rhône. Anticipating pleasure he seized the bottle from my hands and inspected the label, nodding sage-like and exclaiming, "Nice… it is definitely Côtes-du-Rhône season!"
Ordinary Rhône wines night suffice if the conversation is established in flow and you are trying to hold distraction-by-pleasure at bay, but when we're damp, a little testy and tired, we want quality in bags! Thus I am pleased to say that the Romain Duvernay delivered a mouthful of pleasure that stopped us both in our tracks. After a sniff and sip, Ricardo paused for thought before exclaiming that he thought I was being extravagant with my choices but - and here's the tip - this bottle only costs a tenner.
Made from old grenache, syrah and mourvèdre vines, this wine has hints of rich dark fruits that are balanced with good tannin that cuts across the palate leaving it fresh and wanting another sip. Just how I like it! The blend ensures a combination of emergent flavours. I noticed liquorice and Ricardo picked out some spices before musing on a plate of roasted winter vegetables. The scene was set!
I was sent this to taste by Roberson Wine and asked to give a frank response. Well, frankly, it is delicious and a bargain! I would recommend it with pleasure. Buy a case or two, one to drink and one hide under the stairs… in the children's playpen, or wherever you choose, but bring out a bottle every six months or so, and see how it develops.
CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2011, ROMAIN DUVERNAY
Available from Romain Duvernay Cotes du Rhone
Bottle price £9.95
Bottle price when buying case of twelve £8.46
- Parent Category: Blogs
I have just returned from Devon where the roaring sea is literally munching on the coastline, absorbing it into its belly. The debris whistles around the dumbstruck onlookers faces aided by the oceans partner in storms, the wind. We stood on a rocky outcrop called Bolt Head and the wind topping 90mph several times dislodged my feet from their placement on the path. It was adrenal and cleansing to be mocked by nature in such away. Afterwards we headed back to Salcombe and basked in the exhaustion.
With such chaotic and still persisting weather conditions striking the isle of Briton, what on Earth am I doing drinking this lovely translucent, light, red-fruity Beaujolais Villages by benchmark producer Louis Jadot?
Gamay grapes from this part of France, south of Burgundy, usually make an appearance in my glass around spring and summertime. That must be a cause of habit. Supping this now and feeling my cheeks pukka with delight mean I need to be drinking it more often. As the worlds weather becomes consistently extreme and unseasonal, I think it is time my wine choices followed suit. This 2012 vintage was a tough one for producers as the weather was playing up then too, however, expertise has delivered us a fine drop to behold.
This wine is a delight for a wide variety of dishes including some fish and salads. It can also be drank alone as a refreshing, zesty aid to conversation with friends. I taste raspberries and red currents and fair bite of acidity that refreshes the mouth ready for the next forkful of food or sip from the glass.
Louis Jadot have produced another good example of how Beaujolais Village can titillate, so get some in before we're all taken alive by the elements. At least we'll be able to whistle along with with the howling wind!
Beaujolais Village 'Combe aux Jacques' 2012
RRP £10.49, available at Tesco, Waitrose and Booth’s
- Parent Category: Blogs
Gin and tonic, "supersonic", call it what you will, but this blend of fine clear alcohol and tonic water has been the age old bedfellow of the British psyche for as long as our fading memories will allow us to recall.
In Zurich recently, we drifted from different bar to restaurant to bar and back again, visiting the likes of the famous Cabaret Voltaire, the Old Fashioned Bar, the excellently adorned in flags Spanish Bodega, yet the bar of the town has to go to the Kronenhalle on Rämistrasse.
Kronenhalle is an understated speakeasy with liveried bartenders and artworks on the wall that include Miro, Picasso, Braque et al. The atmosphere is chic and relaxed with tabletops lamps made by Diego Giacometti (brother to the world famous sculptor, Alberto).
We sat at the bar and ordered a couple of Sipsmith G&T's to prepare the stomach for the night ahead. As it happened the bartender had a look of knowing and asked whether we'd like to try particular styles of gin. "Why not?" we replied and he started to pour…
The first I tasted was the Austrian Blue Gin, full of kick and juniper, it really set its own pace and was refreshing to a tee. My friend Ben looked over somewhat smugly holding his glass of Old Raj G&T. I tasted it and, wow, torpedo juice! At 55% alcohol strength, it is enough to awaken the ghosts of yesteryear. My grandmother was born in India, a child of the Raj to parents who were themselves second generation Anglo-Indian. The bright colours of the country stayed with her for the duration of her life and, I imagine, if she had one sniff of this fine elixir vitae, it would arouse a tapestry of dreams that every traveller to the East still desires to encounter.
With a change of tac, I followed suit with a glass of Deaths Door, an American number that promises no afterlife… yet there we were, grinning and sipping. It was quite delicious with extraordinary tastes of fennel that washed over the mouth leaving us smacking our lips for more!
The next gin served was Tanqueray Malacca and this is where the bartenders knowledge comes into play. He seized the tonic and put it out of our playful reach, insisting, calmly, that we must taste it neat. Wowx2, this is a great drop that really tickles the senses and can be supped continuously with ease and abandon, with nothing but the senses that are following suit.
We then tasted the Tanqueray Rangpur which has limes added during maceration giving it a fun tanginess that, accordingly to our all knowing bartender, is perfect for making gimlets.
Lastly as we were preparing to dive into the cool evening and meet our friends at the Cabaret Voltaire, he produces a "roady", this little snifter of K-Brock apple based gin. It was a little off the beaten gin track but great fun to wash around the mouth and get that hint of apple on the breath. The perfect end to a tour of gins that would put the spring back in Aunty's step, any day of the week!
Restaurant Bar Kronenhalle Zürich
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich
- Parent Category: Blogs
The Ghost Of Christmas Past… Wine That haunts The Imagination
I was wistfully staring at my cassoulet, at the Hope & Anchor Pub, on The Cut SE1, thinking what wine I would love to be served right then. We were discussing "end of world" scenarios, so a bottle of something spectacular, something that would echo a persons final request, before the ravages of man's self-consuming nature finished their feast, seemed appropriate.
I then thought of Christmas Day and the bottle of Chateau Branon 2000 that my brother-in-law* served us, sprung to mind. Thoughts of Rubenesque scenes, gardens of plenty and mouthwatering pleasure healed the moments of unease that the apocalypse can bring. Looking into my phone scribbles I found this note thumbed into the memory card:
"Delicate dark fruits of prune, slight anise, spice and general embodiment of Christmas. Delicious round tannins; pure longterm pleasure cramps in the cheeks."
Of course, such ecstasy does not come cheap. Winesearch.com informs me this little number is on sale for around £120 per bottle… but then, if people pay more for pleasure in other ways for less time. Why not with wine?
*Special thanks to Chris Eton for supplying such a good feast with this Chateua Branon and the Chateau Musar 2005 that followed!
By Nick Breeze