Rocky Head Pale Ale

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We’ve been people watching this week…

We watched as Australian PM Julia Gillard showed the leader of the opposition the perils of choosing the wrong battleground. 

We watched as The Rolling Stones (a band that’s had even more birthdays than Wayne) released their first single in seven years. (Thought it sounded pretty good too!)

We watched as the USADA unveiled their case against Lance Armstrong (and it seems pretty damning to us). It’s tough to lose seven titles I’m sure, but you know what, I guess it really wasn’t about the bike.

We watched as Steve, the man with the keys at Rocky Head Brewery brought us our first shipment of…

Rocky Head Pale Ale 6.5% – £3.00

A truly handmade (hand bottled and labelled for that matter!) beer, packed with an enormous amount of New Zealand and North American hops giving it a beautiful floral character. Unfiltered and bottle conditioned, it is a really satisfying brew, exuberant and fully flavoured. We feel pretty honoured with this, being the first people outside the brewery to taste it and now one of the first to sell it.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the brewery is only about a mile from the shop. You couldn’t get much more local than that unless Alex starts with his barley wine in the cellar!

Keep your Spirits Up

We know the nights are drawing in and the sharper eyed amongst you will have noticed our spirits section has got a little more crowded. We’ve added Maxime Trijol VSOP Grande Champagne Cognac (£45) which has a character more akin to most houses XO. Indeed it won the Cognac Trophy at the 2003 Wine & Spirits Competition beating all the XO’s in the process. We’re fairly sure it comes down to the large portion of older matured cognacs in the blend (some is 40 years aged) adding a rich, mellow complexity.

We’ve also added Salizá Amaretto (£24.99) which is distilled from only the finest peach kernels by Bepi Tosolini, probably Italy’s finest distiller. It’s a little drier than some, which we find makes it seriously moreish.

There are other delicious post prandial delights too, so come and have a browse.

Taste This Weekend

We’re still droning on about the Rhône (sorry couldn’t resist it) so will kick off this week with a glass of Domaine les Chenêts Crozes-Hermitage (£17.99) a family run estate in the northern part of the Rhône who, until 1993, used to sell their grapes to other more famous estates.

The grape here is Syrah and, when we tried it, we were bowled over with its lightly spiced red berry fruits and touch of pepper in the finish. Food matching I’d say it’s a delicious partner to Sunday’s roast pork, but if you’re feeling more adventurous give Mark Hix’s pigeon tagine a go, it is game season after all.

Often we find a fantastic bedfellow to a good red Rhône is a crisp and zingy white from the Loire Valley.  We see no reason to upset good bedfellows, so the white on tasting will be the Val de Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (£8.99). This Sauvignon Blanc is from the vineyards of Valencay, which are about 80 km south-west of Sancerre, and thus share similar soil types.  Crisp and dry with elegant, grassy fruit character and a seam of precise minerality, we think of it as one of those must have wines that are always in the fridge.  Food match?  Goats cheese, goats cheese and perhaps goats cheese!

So come on over and sample some French wine pleasures, it’s what weekends were invented for!

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