Monday, 28 March 2011

Fine Beaunes in London

An invitation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Patriarche Wine Agencies (the UK division of this famous Beaune producer) in London last week was too tempting for Nigel to resist. We were offered dinner at Geales Restaurant in Chelsea where we were served some very upmarket fish and chips with a selection of the current Patriarche wines. On arrival some really classy de Castelnau Champagne  1985 from Magnums showed a teasy, nervy edge,  great depth and complexity. I don’t really enjoy Champagne but I can sure be objective enough to appreciate its finer points. Also on show was an interesting selection of library wines from the cellars in Beaune, again in magnums and all from the 1981 vintage. A couple of Grand Cru Cortons were starting to show their age a bit but star of the selection was definitely a Pommard Clos des Epenots. Some interesting characters from the wine trade were there and it was good to catch up with old Walter Hick’s adversary Xenia Irwin MW now happily ensconced as wine buyer for Spar.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Soup du jour

Yumsk....we are all patting our bellies in the office at the moment as we have just been sampling the delights of a new food company called Soup du Jour. Andy, who has just set up the business, popped in to the office with a tray of different soups & home made breads for us to try, all tasting lovely & fresh. Looking forward to our weekly visit and see what's on next weeks menu....

Now that's hopefully topped up everybodys' energy levels in the office as its all been quite busy here as we start to prepare for the start of the season. Lots of pubs & restaurants are starting to wake up so the boys have been busy catching up with clients & designing new menus, whilst Nigel got to pop up to London for a quick tasting of old and wonderful Burgundys with Patriarche Wines.

Jb has been as far as Bude and survived, but has been suffering from a little altitude sickness, after calling into Bodmin…he doesn’t often travel past Truro. Shiners is the new hip and happening joint for live music in Bodmin, enjoy a glass of Auction House Shiraz or Chardonnay whilst tapping your feet to the freshest local talent. Also this week he has finalized Alfresco’s wines for the season, with some exciting new additions: the gorgeously fresh organic Terret and Picpoul blend from the South of France; La P’Tit RoubiĆ©, its twist of citrus in the finish making it a fabulous wine to have with one of their many fresh seafood dishes. They have also added the sensationally smooth Para Dos, which will be the Manager Joy’s recommended tipple this year!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Catch us on Twitter

Well the world moves on apace. Having discovered the world of the blogosphere a few weeks back, Mike has been dipping his toes into the big Twitter pool and got round to setting up an account this week. If you are tweeters, please follow us @wineincornwall and we will get it moving as fast as we can! I would also appreciate any links to suitable wine tweets that you can forward. Thanks!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Tapas at Culdrose

Really successful evening at RNAS Culdrose last Thursday night– the old Maguire Logan partnership on fine form – old grumpy knickers in the kitchen, cheerful Ginger out front. Just like the old days!

An interesting reaction to the wines as well. The oh-so-supple Rioja Urgoiti Crianza went down a storm (again!) while the Casar de Burbia Mencia in some ways a more interesting and complex wine got only polite applause. As for the “sherries” (not allowed to use that word at tastings) they couldn’t really get their heads around the cut crystal La Gitana Manzanilla whereas, surprise –surprise, the Triana Pedro Jimenez with the ice cream was really lapped up.

The aromatic, russet apple tinged Alma Godello was also well received.

Old Grumpy Knickers here! After a day of toil in various kitchens we pitched up at Culdrose at 18.00 with all the food in various states of preparation to be finished off in a very makeshift kitchen behind the Ward Room. Young Sam Harding did a fantastic job as my assistant and kept the grumpy bit very much at bay! It all went really well and the food was much commented on. My favourite dish of the night was a simple concoction of chick peas, black pudding, onion, pine nuts and sultanas. Oh, and minted lamb meatballs......scrummy!Let me know if you want the recipes! 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Meet the Team - Dick

Dick Waterson is the man out & about on the Scillies, keeping all of our customers happy over there.
I came to be at WIC.....because I had got to know Mike and Nigel in the early days of the Food in Cornwall Association and through some wine and food writing work I was doing at the time. I’m delighted that they thought the WIC Adventure could not be complete without me.

My normal day/week is.....rather lacking in routine but is always busy in a Retired Old Man sort of way – helping look after a 3 acre garden, maintaining the house, singing in the choir, village life, plenty of cooking and a bit of wine selling!

My favourite tipple is...... Betty Stogs when I’m in a pub.  Otherwise wine, the choice of which will be dependent on the time, place, company and food, though good White Burgundy must be close to my overall favourite wine.

I grew up.....(some would say I haven’t!) but I was brought up in Coverack, where my love of food and wine developed through helping  my parents in their Village Grocery Shop.

When I was a child I wanted to be.......taller, but now I’m happy where I am.

I drive a....hire car when I go out of the county, or a fairly ancient Clio or my wife Barbara’s Smart locally.

The last concert I went to was......singing with St Buryan Male Voice Choir, with whom I spend many happy hours in practices, performances and pubs.

The last book I read...........  was ‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre, in which he joyfully debunks a lot of the pseudo-scientific rubbish that fills our newspapers and lives. For a one-time physicist it was a great read.

I’m looking forward after we manage to sell our present house, which hopefully will involve more travelling, less chores, more time to relax and a lot more time with our family and especially with the grandchildren.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Elsewhere in the office....

..... one of the more relaxed members of the team Fino, has been a bit down in the dumps as he is having to wear a collar...grr. So we cheered him up with his favourite nibble a shiny apple.

A morning with Mike...

What a day!

I was up until midnight last night making lamb balls! Really, I mean minted lamb meatballs. More on this later..............

Mike & Nigel hard at work
I was up at the crack of dawn to get to the other side of St Austell for a meeting at the Eden Project to discuss the final touches on the label design for a range of wines we have sourced for them in the South of France. More emails will be heating up the airways between us and our agent in the Languedoc. Will keep you updated on progress of this exciting project. Have to say driving through the school traffic at Truro and St Austell was fun! Can't be doing my blood pressure a lot of good.

Then it's back to the office, catch up on website development, bit of printing and just about to go home to load the car up with the late night meatballs along with a boot full of veg and cooking implements to do a Tapas Night at the local Naval base. I am doing the cooking, while Nigel spouts about and serves the wine. We have to borrow a friends commercial kitchen en route to prep the rest of the grub and then finish on site. Kick off is at 7.30 - I am getting a little bit nervous about the amount of work we need to do. We planned on around 20 -30 and numbers have gone up to 50...Ho Hum!!


Monday, 7 March 2011

Gourmet by the river

Last weekend saw us celebrating St Piran’s Day at the Budock Vean Hotel – the Helford’s famous “Hotel on the River”. On Friday night a five course gourmet dinner was served with accompanying wines and on these occasions we like to challenge the guests with at least a couple of wines which are a tad unusual. A very light Sentina Valpolicella kicked of with a juniper infused smoked venison starter followed by a minerally, clean cut St Veran from the Caves de Vinzelles with some meaty gurnard. The main event was definitely the Rioja Crianza 2005 from Urgoiti with beef fillet – a perfectly balanced, mellow but powerfully classic Rioja. Dessert was chocolate so it had to be the deeply gloopy Triana Pedro Jimenez – always a wine that polarises opinion and the cheese was well served by a glass of Dao, Barao de Nelas.

Bob and Annie Lindo iconic founders of Camel Valley vineyards were the guest speakers on Saturday and of course the dinner featured mainly the wines of North Cornwall’s famous vineyard including the last few bottles of the award winning 2009 Bacchus.

The 2010 Bacchus and Atlantic Dry will be released this week.