Summer Sippin’ Happens So Fast

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As often happens around about 5pm on a Thursday evening, flat panic engulfed us as we realised that we didn’t have a clue what to write in the email for Friday.

In the absence of further fines for Boris, in the absence of Carrie, in the absence of a verdict in the Wagatha court case and in the absence of the much anticipated Sue Gray report, what on earth were we going to write about?

The one glimmer on the horizon was the news that an ordinary couple from Gloucester won an extraordinary £184 million on a lucky dip lottery ticket – lucky them.  This windfall apparently doesn’t make them as rich as Rishi Sunak (£200 million) but richer than Adele (£153 million), Wayne Rooney (£136 million) and Jamie Vardy (£10 million) – not sure why this information is useful, perhaps another titbit for this weekend’s dinner party small talk but also a timely reminder that ‘it could be you!’

So, with the mainstream news sites failing to deliver, we had to delve into the dark world of trade publications and this week Drinks Retailing News (Championing the Off-trade since 1863) has been our champion.  An article written this week, ‘The scoop on summer drinks’, piqued our interest as the journalist instructed us on what should be in our glasses this summer and happily we concurred with many of her suggestions.

First suggestion: sour beer.  We’ve been championing the sour beers for years, particularly the lambic beers from Belgium but very few people have listened.  In fairness, we haven’t shouted too loudly because we really like them but there are often supply issues which means they regularly go out of stock.  However, currently we have two sour beers in situ, one Belgian and one from Wandsworth: Lindemans Gueuze and Belleville Spring Break Gose.  The Gueuze is a delicious drop in a wee 25cl bottle – lots of texture on the palate and an almost cider like malic character on the finish.  The Spring Break on the other hand, is all about tangy grapefruit – if you’ve ever been a fan of lager and lime then this should be your beer of choice.

Second suggestion: cloudy cider.  We’ve been selling the litre bottles of Kerisac Cidre Breton ever since Wayne was in short trousers and certainly we have seen a noticeable uplift in its popularity in the last 6 months.  A traditional French cider at the lighter end of cloudiness, this has a richer mouthfeel than some of the tarter English versions and is an excellent foil to anything pork.

Third suggestion: Vermouth and Aperitivo.  Oh my god,  another area we’ve been banging on about whilst you looked at us with a ‘yeah, right, if you like’ look on your faces.  As discussed, we all love a Negroni but if you just fancy a cheeky quick pre-dinner lift, then these are your boys.  Bodegas Martinez Lacuesta Vermouth Reserva is a white vermouth, aged in Acacia barrels and even works nicely as a digestivo – it’s made by some very good Rioja producers who Alex visited a few years ago and has been a regular on our shelves since.  Antica Distilleria Quaglia Berto Bitter Liquore Amaro is a mouthful to say and bit of a palate pleaser too.  Bitter, dry but with a tinge of sweetness and a nice stopping point between the bitterness of a Campari and the stickiness of an Aperol!  Finally, Mondino Aperitivo is Alex’s absolute #1 tipple.  The Diffords Guide describe it thus “Made to an original Italian recipe, this German organic bitter aperitif is made in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps.  Ingredients include bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb and alpine spring water”.  Try it, we think you’ll like it!

Next up we have Tequila.  We’ve definitely seen a resurgence in interest in the Mexican firewater.  Casa Noble Tequila Reposado is definitely not firewater.  Made from organic blue agave grown in Jalisco, aged in french oak for 364 days, the maximum allowed for a Reposado.  This really is a fine sipping Tequila, really smooth with agave, citrus, cinnamon and almond notes and a wonderful clean finish.  Not the same thing at all, but worth mentioning, is our newly listed Amores Verde Mezcal.  Organically grown 8 year old Espadin agave is cooked over 3 different woods giving us a real complexity.  Naturally fermented with its own yeast and then double distilled this is a new favourite, the smokiness adds texture to the clean, fresh spirit.

At this point our pal at Drinks Retailing News realises she has been a little too esoteric in her suggestions for summer and, realising who her paymasters are, recommends Rosé wine and canned cocktails.  I think you already know that rosé is a summery drink and canned cocktails are not an area we have dug into too deeply – however, if one of our chaps were to come up with a posh G & T in a tin, we’d be all over it!

So, as I draw towards the end of an email focused on summer drinking and the rain continues to teem down, our focus moves more towards what we’re going to taste tonight and tomorrow.

Wayne has made the selections this week and suggests Dog Point Chardonnay 2018 – £27.99 as our white option.  From Marlborough, New Zealand this is a classic rich style with stonefruits, citrus character and a nutty touch of oak.  The palate is crisp, with layers of orchard and citrus fruits balanced with the oak notes providing a great mouthfeel.  Really quite long in the finish and really quite delicious.

His red option comes from closer to home, northern Spain to be precise.  Celler de Capçanes Mas Collet 2019 – £16.49 is the wine we have in mind.  Once you’ve crossed the French Border, skirted around Barcelona and hit the outskirts of Tarragona, take a hard right into the hills and you will hit the region of Montsant after about 20 minutes.  Its relative proximity to the French border means that Syrah and Grenache are still very much in charge here but not without a fine showing from Cabernet Sauvignon.  Aged for 9 months in barrique this is deliciously rich, smooth, balanced, polished and frankly, totally moreish.

So do come and join us for a taste, perhaps treat yourselves to an aperitivo or at least borrow an umbrella! 

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