Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Blown away - or...nearly, at the King's Head!

Negotiating the lanes of the Roseland peninsula on the stormiest night of the year is not at all enticing. With a tasting supper booked at the Kings Head, Ruan Lanihorne at 7pm I boldly set off on a bleak Penryn  evening and duly arrived safely at this quaintest of Cornish pubs in plenty of time. Sausage and mash followed by mince pies and cheese was the order of the day and my job was to find affordable wines to match the mood of the evening with Christmas in mind. A glass of the grapey Cipriano Prosecco welcomed the guests and then it was straight down to tasting a couple of whites. As usual Quinta Hinojal Verdejo (not that one again I hear you say) blew everyone away for its sheer cheeky good value while the grassy, herb-infused Domaine Michaud Touraine Sauvignon please the traditionalists.

Two red wines were served next, first the bright, punchy elderberry delights of Epicuro Aglianico and then the more rounded, smokey, vanilla-packed Gravedad Toro with its haunting mature aromas. Everybody was impressed at the quality available at such a modest price point.

Finally we wowed and surprised them with the Mas de Mas Maury with the mince pies. This sweet, slightly unctuous and edgy Grenache from the Languedoc is a sort of cross between Port and Beaumes de Venise and it went down a storm (no pun intended!). It put the seal on a rollicking good evening and I slunk away into the windswept night and headed west into the eye of the storm filling my head with Radiohead’s Ok Computer album playing very, very loud.

Thanks to Nikki and Andrew for great food and their superb hospitality – it’s a great little pub!

Monday, 5 December 2011

How to pick your next House Wine!

An entertaining morning at the Trengilly Wartha Inn on Saturday coincided with the annual appearance of the Cury Foxhounds.  The event within the pub was primarily to raise funds for the Trengilly Cricketers, a team of reprobates who spend most Sundays through the summer playing visiting sides from all over the country on the lovely little ground at Trevassack at the top of the hill.

As well as a magnificent book stall and some wonderful cakes for sale, Wine in Cornwall were conducting a little trial tasting.  From blind samples, people were asked to compare 2 pairs of wine, a red pair and a white pair.  One of each pair was the current House wine at the Trengilly, the cherry bright and light Terre Allegre Sangiovese and the fruity and quite rich Terre Allegre Trebbiano.  The contenders were the Auction House Red & White from Australia. These house wines really impress us with their fruit driven blends which punch above their weight on all counts!

My observations from peeking over peoples’ shoulders during the event were that the Terre Allegre wines were emerging as clear favourites.  However, on analysis of the results, we discovered that votes were very evenly split.  On the white side 57% preferred the Auction House whereas on the red side 58% came down in favour of the Terre Allegre; certainly not an overwhelming result and proof that all four wines found favour.

The only conclusion I can draw from this deeply unscientific experiment is that it provides full justification for why we carry over 600 different wines on our list.  Everybody’s taste is different and what makes this business so fascinating is in trying to please everybody – a tricky call!

All entries for the tasting went in to the hat for a draw, which was drawn in the office here by Vicky. The lucky winner was Tricia the Trainer who wins a bottle of Terre Allegre Trebbiano which was her preference of the 2 white wines. (You can see a video the draw being done on our Facebook page! - if I can get Mike to load it for me!)

Henry Shaw

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A new colour of wine?

At our annual wine fair last week at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth, I started the evening looking after the Alexander Krossa table as there had been a delay in the arrival of the 'Languedoc Ladies'!
Alexander Krossa is our agent in the Languedoc and the delightful Fabienne Capello our day to day contact. She was accompanied by Irène Tolleret, the enigmatic winemaker at the tiny boutique winery of Mas d'Auxières. Irène caused the upset by having her travel arrangements thrown into disarray by her colleagues in the Pic St Loup area, where she is instrumental in setting up a new AC for this unique growing area. Poor Fabienne, having just experienced a grand tour of the Eden Project, including a hike up to the rainforest look-out, then had to dash back to Exeter Airport to collect Irène who had come from Montpelier via Paris.

As I was handing over the stewardship of their table, one of our customers said to Irène, as she was exhorting him to try the lovely 'Rires et Sourires' Syrah / Grenache rosé, that he did not drink pink wine in November! I was amazed and highly amused by her immediate response which marked her out as the ex-marketing person she really is! She came straight back and said, “but in November this is not a rosé wine, look at it now, it is a magenta wine”! And so a new word entered the wine vocabulary that evening and it was used extensively to punt this lovely wine!
So when you are considering what to drink with your fresh Cornish scallops in crème frâiche and ginger (I will let you have a recipe if you ask!) then look no further than the delightful Rires et Sourires Magenta from Mas d'Auxières.