Wow! Summer has arrived with a bang and it’s a genuine delight to see some of our summer regulars as well as meeting some new faces who’ve found their way to our door. Welcome to you one and all!
We’ve been getting loads of questions about our opening hours lately – specifically why we close at 9pm and how we could be so cruel as to throw guests out into the cold night air when there is still so much of the evening left to enjoy! It’s not a limitation imposed by our licence but there are a few good reasons that I thought I’d explain quickly.
1. This is the biggie really – we do it out of consideration for our neighbours. Although it may not be obvious, there’s a B&B above us and a couple of holiday lets just across the road. Even our chilled out cafe culture vibe creates a wee bit of noise so closing up at a reasonable hour feels like the thoughtful thing to do.
2. Something magical happens at 9pm. Up until that point there’s a buzzy atmosphere, everyone’s on top form and very jolly. The whole place feels very convivial and it’s almost like we’re hosting a private drinks party because you all muck in and get along so darned well. I love it…we all love it…that’s the kind of place we want to be. After 9pm is when people who’ve been with us for a lovely evening can start slithering down the dark slopes from tiddily to bit bladdered. You’ll have to trust us on this – we’ve seen it all and at that time of the night we are definitely the best judges in the room! It’s commercial madness I know – I should keep serving you until you think it’s a grand idea to go skinny dipping in the harbour – my boys could be in private school and I could finance some form of personal mid-life crisis. But actually I think it’s more important that we don’t try to have too much of a good thing and that we preserve that lovely BinTwo vibe that we, and you too, seem to like.
3. There’s a natural fizzle at around 9pm. Things often go a little quiet with some folk having had their pre-dinner drinks and headed off to their restaurant. Families have corralled bleary-eyed, beach-exhausted children back to their holiday cottages. Romantic young couples have drifted away gazing happily into each other’s eyes after an evening of whispering sweet nothings. Devotees of Strictly Come Dancing have charged home clutching a bottle of their favourite wine. After the 9pm lull we see the arrival of well-fed, rosy-cheeked guests popping in for a final post-dinner drink…or two…and already merry people looking for somewhere to carry on their party. I refer you back to point number 2.
4. We’re pooped! We’ve been looking after you since 10am and, love you all though we do, great fun though you all are (genuinely!) we want to get home so that we can be well enough rested to welcome you back the next day.
So that’s it in a nutshell folks. Bottom line is that the 9pm closing time is a matter of choice for us and we hope the rationale makes some sort of sense. Now very, very, very occasionally the rationale doesn’t make sense when we’re trying to explain it to a disappointed customer at closing time. We have seen the following strategies employed to try and coerce us into submission.
a. Pleading “Pleeeease! We’ll be really quick. We promise!” Very occasionally effective and I nearly always regret it because you were fibbing weren’t you you naughty things. You’ll be quick my eye!
b. Disappointment “But we’ve come here especially. We’ll be really quick. We promise!” I refer you to a. above (you’ll see a theme emerging here).
c. Flattery “This place looks amazing. It’s just what we’ve been looking for. We’ve read great things about you on TripAdvisor. We’ll be really quick. We promise!” You know where I’m going with this by now.
d. Name dropping (sometimes combined with disappointment) “So and So recommended you”. Nice try…but no.
e. Outrage “Why are you closing! You’re losing out on a fortune here! I’d happily stay here drinking until midnight”. I refer you to point 2. in our explanation of our opening hours above. Thankfully this sort of aggressive refrain is very rare but it never works and it’s a pretty good indicator that we’re not the right sort of place for that kind of customer.
The first three strategies are worth a pop. They’re not likely to work frankly but sometimes guests are quite amusing with the angles they employ and we all like a laugh. I’ve found laughter often greases the wheels of commerce!
Riana van der Merwe from Seven Springs Vineyards, South Africa continues where Mark Hellyar from Chateau Civrac left off in last month’s winemaker guest blog. It’s almost like they’re trying to convince us that there’s some hard graft that goes into producing wine! You’re fooling no-one guys…we know you’re living the dream!
Thanks to Riana for taking the time out to contribute to our little newsletter. We’re huge fans of her work. My personal favourite you ask? For me it’s got to be her luscious Pinot Noir… NO WAIT! Her Sauvignon Blanc… Hang on…nope – it’s definitely the Pinot Noir…I think. You don’t make this easy Riana…
It’s time to put those sandals and sunscreen in the closet and take out the wellies and woolies, because they don’t call it the Cape of Storms for nothing. Having a bout of heavy rains and snow, yes, snow in South Africa, granted nothing as severe as in the Northern hemisphere, but ask any South African; it’s cold at the moment. We as people might not like it, but this is vital for the vineyards, and any fruit really. Cold units are needed during this time, called dormancy, for the vines to properly rest in this period, kind of like hibernation, so it can start the whole cycle again in spring. If it’s not sufficiently cold you could get uneven or early budding, and uneven flowering etc., meaning the whole vintage would be out of balance and the final product would suffer for it. So curl up with a nice glass of red wine and appreciate the cold.
While it’s a quiet time of year in the cellar, lots are still happening quietly. The reds are maturing oak barrels and the whites are awaiting bottling in Spring. At the moment, it’s more topping up of barrels, getting ready to take a bit of leave and rest ourselves before the whole vintage starts over again. Getting to all the things that had to wait because of busier times. And then of course, marketing and selling of the glorious nectar of the gods. It’s not just enough to make it anymore, now it’s a tough business out there and selling is a 24/7/365 job. Just ask the guys at BinTwo!
Noble Savage Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Bartinney Estate, South Africa
2 bottles £10.50
Situated on the high steep slopes of the Helshgoote Pass in Stellenbosch the Bartinney Estate produce a carefully tailored small range of wines thanks to the passion and driving force of husband and wife team Michael and Rose Jordaan. Their Noble Savage Sauvignon is a classic crowd-pleaser, fresh and citrusy with the expected tropical fruit flavours and finishing with delicate minerality. This zippy , mid-weight Sauvignon would be a treat with your barbecued mackerel.
Price with wine club discount: £9.45
Domaine Les Grandes Presbytères Muscadet Sèvre & Maine sur Lie 2014, France 2 bottles £9.00
At the moment I can’t think of anything better than sipping a chilled glass of this characterful Muscadet whilst enjoying some locally caught fruits de mer. The Domaine lies at the mouth of the Loire River in the star of the region celebrated for its Muscadet or Melon de Bourgogne . This delicious dry white combines juicy green apples and yeasty notes from the lees stirring and has an appealing flinty edge.
Price with wine club discount: £8.10
Castello Di Luzzano Colli Piacentini Malvasia 2012, Italy
1 bottle £13.00
A delightful wine from a unique Italian estate which straddles the boundaries of Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna and is run by the inspiring Fugazza sisters who successfully uphold the wine-making history of the impressive hilltop estate and vineyards (dating back as far as 1000AD). Bursting with lusciousness: honey, white stone fruits and cream, it has a succulent sweetness and a fine spritz. With just 7% Abv it is the perfect afternoon treat and an excuse to tuck in to a strawberry pavlova or other fruity sweet of choice…try it with cake – it’s a revelation!
Price with wine club discount: £11.70
Pasión de Bobal 2012, Utiel-Requena, Spain 2 bottles £10.50
Bodegas Sierra Norte use grapes from the oldest, low-yielding Bobal vines in the Fuenteseca Estate for their Pasión de Bobal. A full-flavoured medium-weight red where cherry, plum and sweet spice flavours prevail. An organically produced wine thanks to the hot, dry summers and cold nights combined with the poor limestone soils of the high plateau of Utiel-Requena. A red to warm us on any cool summer evening or to enjoy with some tasty charcuterie in the sunshine.
Price with wine club discount: £9.45
Tabali Merlot Reserva 2013, Limari Valley, Chile
2 bottles £10.50
A long-standing staple at BinTwo, this Merlot has shown consistency vintage after vintage. This is a concentrated merlot with character and depth. The unique location and climate in the Limari Valley including morning fog and coastal breezes slow the ripening process and develop the fruit flavours whilst the 12 months in French oak add complexity. This is soft, juicy yet muscular, a wine to sup with good cheese.
Price with wine club discount: £9.45
Rimauresq Cru Classé 2014, Côtes de Provence, France
2 bottles £13.00
This is my perfect summer rosé, it conjures up memories of sun-drenched terraces in Côtes de Provence and my first encounter with Rimauresq wines. A balanced blend of Grenache, Cinsualt and Syrah with a full and complex flavour. Red currants, wild berries and fleshy peach fill the palate with a little sweet spice and gentle herbaceousness. Dry and elegant, a rosé to take to the beach to enjoy pre-barbie .
Price with wine club discount: £11.70
Prosecco Di Paolo Frizzante NV, Italy
1 bottle £10.00
Fresh as a daisy! This is a delicate appley Prosecco with light floral notes. A great aperitif with a gentle spritz. A fizz made by the 100 year old Di Paolo company who strive to produce wines with a purity of fruit and freshness of which this Prosecco is a fine example.
Price with wine club discount: £9.00
Cost of wines before discount: £130 – Bin Delivered price £110
(£120 delivered nationally)
Great to have Jen back with us after her African excursion and what a great pick for July!
Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2014, Washington State, USA
Calling all Riesling lovers this summer! Let binTwo introduce you to this classy lady and add a little American sass to your beach BBQ. I could wax lyrical for pages about the versatility of Riesling with traditional examples of course from Alsace and Germany but this more modern contender from Washington State, USA evokes all the floral vibrancy you would expect but brings a more punchy upfront approach with superior depth and persistent fruit including apricot, kumquat and nectarine neatly rounded off with notes of lime leaves.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling is designed to be drunk in her youth; the inspirational team behind the label are super passionate about their slice of vineyard set high above the Columbia River and the opportunities ahead. When it comes to spice and all things nice, Kung Fu Girl Riesling pairs perfectly with aromatic dishes, think spicy sticky chicken on the BBQ or fragrant Thai curries, the gentle acidity and cool fruit characters smartly cut through the heat and delivers a wonderfully unctuous mouthfeel … the most delicious summer elixir set to impress.
A must-try, if you haven’t already, at £14.50 a bottle or £13.05 to Wine Club members.
Leisurely Lunch at The Old Mill House Bistro
Friday 24th July @ 12.30pm
Luckily for us Adrian Oliver (aka Margot’s Bistro) hasn’t strayed too far-a-field with his new ventures, partnering with Adam Tomlinson at The Old Mill House, Little Petherick.
On Friday 24th July (yes next week!) Adrian and Adam will be cooking up a leisurely 3-course lunch for our first Old Mill House Wine Club event. BinTwo will be carefully choosing a handful of summer wines to present and pair with the dishes, so lots of tasting between now and next Friday…it’s a tough job!
Just to get your tastebuds tingling here’s a little preview of the menu: Sea Trout Fish Cakes, Crab Linguine and a summer Pannacotta. What a great way to start the summer and for those of you heading to Party in the Park this will gently ease you in to the festivities. Tickets are £40 each, to reserve email firstname.lastname@example.org, please let us know of any dietary requirements.