Saturday 23rd July saw our first event at our new Hawksfield Hub and the first full test of our Flight Club format. Were we nervous…not much. At least not until our host for the night, Mark Hellyar from Chateau Civrac, told us that he would be travelling back from France at lunchtime on the day of the event. Thanks Mark – it’s always good to start these events with the adrenaline pumping!
By now I know you’re already kicking yourself for having missed out but fear not! Our media savvy friend Sean Gee was on hand to put out a live video broadcast of the event over Facebook. Thanks to the 150 or so viewers who dropped in on us on the night; we were staggered (and encouraged) by the interest! You can take a look at what you missed out on by clicking here.
We’ll mulling over ideas for what else we can do with this format – video tasting notes of wines we love – that sort of thing. All ideas welcome!
23 intrepid souls, completely unsighted about what to expect, jumped into our pre-arranged shuttle service and made their way by to our new store/office/event venue (you can see why I’m falling into the habit of calling it our Hub) between Padstow and Wadebridge. Courtesy of an epic makeover by Harriet and Mary, our little Hub did look rather appealing if I say so myself – French café meets wine cellar – that sort of feel. Stop in and see us next time you’re passing – were just behind Strong Adolfo’s.
Guests were rewarded for their faith with a glass of sparkling Cremant imported from France that very morning by Mark. It was also our way of gently challenging perceptions about Bordeaux – claret is undeniably the main show in town in France’s largest wine region but they’ve got a lot more to offer too.
Following a very dry introduction by Mike and a much more engaging talk by Mark, guests moved on to taste a rather lovely Bordeaux white wine Chateau de Cérons 2012, Graves; a stunning blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon to give body and texture to this refreshing little number. Mark then took us through a tour of some of the classic Bordeaux appellations introducing a range of belting clarets: Clos de la Cure St Emilion Grand Cru 2012 (very traditional, typically leathery St Emilion), Chateau Deyrem Valentin Margaux 2012 (very smooth, structured and complex – your second favourite judging by sales on the night), and his very own Civrac 2008 made in Bourg on the right bank of the Gironde. It’s already a firm favourite on our terrace menu and it paired nicely with our light supper of duck liver pâté, saucisson sec, Comte cheese, grapes and sourdough batons – all courtesy of our lovely friends at Relish in Wadebridge.
By way of a special treat we had opened and decanted a bottle of Chateau Bellegrave Pomerol 2008 as an extra taster (very, very special – very very velvety). It was certainly the hands down winner judging by the “oohs” and “ahhs” from the Flight Club. They thought it was all over…not yet dear friends! Mark introduced his own desert wine, Late White. A wine so good that when he allowed us to taste his first vintage we bought all 600 bottles of his production and became the sole retailer to stock it…sold it all pretty quickly too! He’d also brought back some delicious little Canelé cakes fresh from Bordeaux that morning – the perfect sweet treat to enjoy with the Late White. That and the blue cheese that we’d also put out to demonstrate what a versatile sweet wine Mark’s managed to produce; unctuous but a little lighter than your typical Sauternes.
So all in all it was a fabulous event. Lots of fun for us to run and those who attended have been incredibly generous with their feedback about the format of the evening and the venue too. Stand by for future events: Next up our Spanish Night collaboration with the Streetfood Cafe on 29th July followed by Flight Club # Argentina on Saturday 20th August at the BinTwo Hub, Hawksfield.
Have you been to Padstow’s newest, most exciting and only Street Food Café pop up restaurant yet? If yes then you’ll know exactly why we’re excited. If no, firstly, why on earth not?! Secondly, don’t panic, here’s the perfect opportunity to experience exactly what it is we’re raving about.
Streetfood_Cafe are hosting a Spanish Night on Friday 29th July and we were delighted to be asked to provide a bar for the evening. There will be a delicious offering of Lobster Paella, a range of Tapas and vegetarian options too. Well-travelled Chef Lee Easdon will work his magic on the Big Green Egg using local produce and a wealth of experience. By local we mean lobsters caught from the estuary and fresh veg grown right there on the farm by the talented Padstow Kitchen Garden team.
The restaurant is situated within the grounds of Trerethern Farm, over-looking the rolling countryside and breath taking Camel Estuary. Just outside Padstow, the dreamy landscape and peaceful surroundings provide a real haven away from the crowds. As if that wasn’t enough to entice you, on the night, there will be without doubt great food, great company and great wine.
We will be serving a selection of fantastic Wines, Sherry and Brandy, all Spanish of course, along with local Beer, Cider & Gin. Salud!
Soft drinks will also be available. Please note, it will be a cash only bar.
Friday 29th July
5.30pm – 8.00pm
Tickets £35 per person
This a ticket only event and they’re selling fast! You can get yours now at BinTwo, Padstow or from the Streetfood_Cafe, Trerethern Farm.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s Flight Club? I’m glad you asked… it’s a series of informal tasting events where we combine a little bit education with a healthy dollop of fun. You get to taste some lovely stuff in an ever so slightly structured way so that, if you wish to, you can learn a little bit more about wine. But we’ll keep things light so that if all you want to do is try some different bits and bobs, you won’t feel like you’ve been dropped into night school. We provide you with little crib cards with just enough information to cover the basics and a bit of room for your own notes so that, as Flight Club progresses, you can build a pocket sized compendium of wine facts.
In our third outing we’ll be focussing in on Argentina. To be perfectly honest since taking over BinTwo I’ve probably not given South America anywhere near the attention it deserves; a fact that our very own Charlotte has gently nagged me about since she joined us in April. Charlotte is a Parisian on a one woman mission to introduce South American wines to a sceptical French audience. She’s spending the summer with us to add to her already impressive knowledge of the wine world before she heads home to France to set up her own business importing and selling South American wines.
So it would be down right rude to not take advantage of her knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm. Be careful what you wish for Charlotte – Flight Club #3 is all yours to host!
Charlotte will be taking us on a journey through Argentina. Starting in the Salta Province of the North where Cafayate lies at up to 3111 metres above sea level; the highest vineyards in the world – ideal for growing distinctive Torrontes and Tannat grapes. She’ll then dive down South to Rio Negro, all the way to an altitude of a mere 250m, where conditions lend themselves to growing Pinot Noir. From there to Mendoza where 70% of all wine produced in Agentina is made. A vast area of 160,000 hectares dedicated to vineyards. Protected by the Andes in the West and the Argentine Pampas in the East, this is where the big boys hang out – Malbec bumping shoulders with Cabernet Franc and Bonarda.
Because she’s properly clever Charlotte will also be knocking up an “aroma kit” to help demonstrate how we taste with our noses (bear with us here…trust us) and as if there was no end to her talents she’ll also be knocking up some traditional Argentian empanadas which she learned to make (very well) during her time spent in the country. Phew! We’ll put those together with some other bits and bobs to match to the wines we’ll be tasting.
All this for a measly £25 per person. Sheer madness frankly. The event will be held at our Hub at Hawksfield between Wadebridge and Padstow between 7pm and 9pm (ish).
Email email@example.com to book your spaces. Let us know if you’d like transport (or if you have spaces in a car available) and we’ll co-ordinate taxis and/or car shares from Padstow.
Domaine Les Grands Presbytères Muscadet Vieilles Vignes, Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie, 2013.
Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Or perhaps my love of all things retro. It could be that I enjoy championing neglected underdogs. I’m sure all those things have influenced my wines we love choice this month, but it does help that this is such a darn fine wine. The fact that Muscadet has something of a naff 70s association makes it cracking value too. All of which means that smart cookies like you wine club members can bag yourself a delightful, versatile wine for not much money!
This very same Muscadet came oh so close to making it onto the terrace menu as a wine to enjoy by the glass this summer (narrowly pipped by the Italian Gavi which got the majority public vote on taste tests). It’s flinty character, lightly mineral edge, fresh apple fruit flavours and deep, savoury textured complexity make it a delightful summer white to enjoy on its own. But it really comes alive when you pair it with shellfish. A lot is written about food and wine pairing; and often the benefits of the matching are pretty borderline. But this is one of those classic pairings that has become a cliché for the very good reason that it just works so well. No debate. Fact!
Truth be known I wish I’d stuck my heels in and put it on the menu (democracy and customer surveys being much over-rated when they don’t produce the result I want) as a glass of this little belter with one of our dressed crabs from the Padstow Shellfish Co would be about as close to a heavenly experience as I could ever hope to promise you! Subscribers to our monthly club case will already be able to sample this wine as Kate wisely included it in her July selection. For the rest of you it already represents great value at £11.00 but becomes almost criminally well priced at only £9.90 to wine club members.
For those who like a bit more information:
Domaine les Grands Presbytères is based in St Fiâcre, southeast of Nantes, at the mouth of the beautiful River Loire and was established by Nelly Marzelleau’s grandfather in the 1950s. St Fiâcre is considered one of the best sites for Muscadet Sèvre et Maine due to its soil composition, mainly granitic gneiss with loose flints. Nelly Marzelleau runs the estate and is passionate about everything from vine to bottle.
Wines are made from vines close to 50 years in age – a rarity in the area as most are dug up after 40 years. Nelly qualified in vinification and winemaking top of her class and completed her first vinification in 1985, aged 18.
The vineyard lies on one of the best sites in Nantais at St Fiacre. Here the soils are layered with ‘orthogneiss’, a cracked mineral rich rock through which the vine roots weave and nourish the vine. ‘Vieilles Vignes’ is made from Nelly Marzellau’s oldest 45 year old vines – a rarity for Muscadet where most are dug up after 40 years.
Made traditionally at this small estate. The grapes were hand-picked, lightly pressed to keep all the delicacies and purity of flavour and fermented at cool temperatures to preserve aromas. The older vines need longer on their fine lees – five months in fact – and so are not bottled until a year after harvest in October.
Pasion de Bobal Rosado 2015, Utiel-Requena, Spain £9.50 2 bottles
This week summer has certainly arrived and a pale, pretty rosé has proved a more than welcome early evening refreshment. Made from the best organically grown Bobal grapes, a variety indigenous to South-East Spain which thrives in the hot, arid summers and cold nights ripening gradually. Bright raspberries and strawberries are balanced by minerality and an almost creamy finish.
Price with wine club discount: £8.55
Mas Macià Cava Brut Nature Reserva NV, Penedes, Spain £11.00 1 bottle
Moving up the Spanish coast we come to the home of Cava. Catalonia’s traditional fizz blends Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada grapes which is made to the Champagne method with a secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. This particular Cava undergoes a long period of maturation so alongside the baked apple and stone fruit flavours we find nutty and biscuity notes. The final product is a fresh and bone dry fizz (‘nature’ so no extra sugar added at the end) with complexity and a deliciously fluffy mousse. Time for salted almonds!
Price with wine club discount: £10.35
Domiane Les Grands Presbytères Muscadet Vielles Vignes 2013, Loire, France £11.00 2 bottles
New to our shelves we bring you another delight from the Nelly Marzellau estate based at St Fiâcre at the mouth of the Loire river. Nelly continues her family’s passion and flare for winemaking, producing beautiful Muscadet, this example being made from the grapes (Melon de bourgogne) from rare old vines growing on granite and flint soils for well over 40 years. This white has a lot to offer, flinty, textured and savoury, a great match for a dressed crab.
Price with wine club discount: £10.35
Bischofliche DOM Riesling 2015, Mosel, Germany £11.00 2 bottles
An expressive and appealing dry Riesling coming from the steep and slatey soils of the Mosel valley. Carefully hand-harvested and selected grapes once crushed and pressed are fermented and aged in traditional fuder oak vats and stainless steel tanks and later blended gaining depth and structure. An interesting white with typical Riesling aromas – spice, smoke, apple and citrus. The palate is mineral, crisp and almost salty.
Price with wine club discount: £10.35
Sileni Pinot Noir 2015, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand £11.50 2 bottles
This Pinot Noir comes from a sizey winemaking Estate (and one you may have met before) based in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand’s oldest established wine region. I love the open juicy style of this pinot noir with the expected savoury wrapper. The cheeky touch of merlot complements, adding softness and full black fruit to the cherries, berries and spice. This calls for a barbecue and a meaty fish steak.
Price with wine club discount: £10.35
Magpie Estate The Mixed Thing 2013, Barossa Valley, Australia £10.00 2 bottles
A gorgeous, comforting red from Magpie Estate. ‘ The Mixed Thing’ is a very interesting varietal blend including Cinsault, Cab Franc and Sangiovese as well as a few others, seriously mixed up, but it works so well! It’s an easy drinking but relatively full bodied red. Bright and young and bursting with rich and sweet fruits, finishing with a little spice that lingers on the palate. This wine can also take a slight chilling for those balmy summer nights.
Price with wine club discount: £9.00
Symphonie de Novembre Jurançon Doux 2011, France 1 37.5cl bottle £13.00
A little something for your Cornish blue or fruity summer sweet! A velvety nectar made from the Petit Manseng grape variety grown a stones throw from the Pyrenees at Domaine Cauhapé. The fruit is late-harvested in small quantities, drying to near raisins, then barrel-fermented and aged, producing a luscious wine with ripe exotic flavour.
Price with discount: £11.70
Total wine price: £130
Bin Delivered price: £110 (£120 Delivered Nationally)