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 fourth outing we’ll be focussing in on South Africa. We’ve been introduced to some fantastic South African wines over the last year or so and we feel we’ve strengthened this section of our little shop considerably! We’ve invited one of our newer suppliers, Ben Foster of Newton Wines, to share the best of our finds with you. Ben’s a one-man-band and committed South African specialist and he’s excelled at sourcing us high quality wines from smaller producers; wines with a bit of a story behind them. Sounds like our kind of thing right?
Ben will take us on a journey through the Western Cape most likely starting off with an intriguing white port based cocktail before tasting a range of wines most likely encompassing fresh and bright Sauvignon Blanc, rich and luscious Chenin Blanc, juicy fruit-packed Pinotage, rich, velvety Syrah and the simply stunning Saboteur – a Shiraz/Mouvedre/Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Luddite Wines (one of my favourite new wines of the year which I’ve written about extensively already!) We’ll finish off with a cheeky little sweet Viognier from Golden Lynx wines.
We’ll be needing some suitably South African food to match of course – these are wines that call for a bit of meat! We’ll be providing Biltong to keep you going before bringing out our usual sharing plates – this time featuring Boerewors (traditional spicy beef sausage) as the centre-piece alongside some other bits and bobs yet to be decided.
All this for a measly £30 per person. The event will be held at our Hub at Hawksfield between Wadebridge and Padstow between 7pm and 9pm (ish).
BOOK NOW and pay on line to confirm your places or email email@example.com. 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 Pré Baron Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Loire, France £9.50 2 bottles
A classic style Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, beautifully scented, fresh and ripe. Meticulous winemaker Jean-Luc Mardon is the fifth generation of winemakers at the family Domaine situated on the plateau of Touraine between rivers Loire and Cher. The 2015 vintage has an appealing richness, thanks to the fruits’ ripeness and lees ageing, combined with racy acidity and juiciness. Kick back and enjoy a glass or two in the sunshine!
Price with wine club discount: £8.55
Pra Soave Otto 2015, Veneto, Italy £12 2 bottles
We could wax-lyrical about Italian winemaker Graziano Pra, world-renowned for his skilled winemaking and his impact on the Soave wine region. ‘Otto’ is a fine and good value example of his classic Soave with a firm place among the family of Pra wines, you may well have met its red counterpart ‘Morandina’ or its big brother ‘Monte Grande’.
Made from 100% Garganega grapes, it is light yet richly flavoured, beautifully textured, with a crisp and mineral finish. All you need now is some delicious seafood!
Price with wine club discount: £10.80
Novas Gran Reserva Viognier 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile £10.50 1 bottle
A lovely luscious summertime white from Chile’s largest Organic wine producers, Emiliana. The Viognier grapes ripen nicely in the cool coastal climate of Casablanca where temperatures rarely drop below 14 degrees or rise above 25. This Novas has generous body, stone fruit and nutty characters and a taste of the exotic. A nice pairing for flavoursome barbecued fish.
Price with wine club discount: £9.45
Emiliana Late Harvest 2015, Casablanca Valley, Chile £7 1 bottle
Now for something sweet…With such humid and favourable ripening conditions in Casablanca Valley Emiliana have been able to produce a delicate and great value sweet. Made from Sauvignon Blanc and a little Gewuztraminer harvested late at optimum ripeness, this is a pretty pale golden wine with honeysuckle nose and sweet peach, orange peel and ripe melon palate. Elegance and a fresh finish makes this a great aperitif or a match for a creamy dessert.
Price with wine club discount: £6.30
Château Gairoird Rosé 2015, Côtes de Provence, France £11.50 2 bottles
A wine to whisk you off to the sun-drenched lavender fields of Provence. A beautiful rosé blending Cinsualt, Grenache and Rolle, with delicate floral aromas contrasted by a fleshy summer-fruit palate. No chemicals or pesticides in sight here, as down-to -earth winemaker and ‘Count’ Pierrefeu works hard to make organic, delicious wines and he succeeds! A versatile wine that can be enjoyed as much with food as on its own.
Price with wine club discount: £10.35
Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2014, Mendoza, Argentina £12.50 2 bottles
Mike’s August ‘love’ is not to be overlooked! If you like big, bold and easy-drinking reds, this Malbec (with a touch of cabernet sauvignon) from Mendoza will be right up your street. It has the makings for the perfect BBQ partner: rich fruits, strawberries, cherries, a hint of spice and velvety tannins… oh and vanilla of course. So moreish, you’ll definitely need the second bottle!
Price with wine club discount: £11.25
Tanagra Carah 2013, Breede River Valley, South Africa £11 2 bottles
A comforting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from the Western Cape region of South Africa. The Tanagra winery prides itself on its traditional winemaking methods such as natural yeast and whole berry fermentation to create unique wines which embody the ‘terroir’. After a year or more in oak this red has layers, juicy yet leathery, supple with soft vanilla and a long warming finish…Sigh!
Price with wine club discount: £9.90
Total price of wine: £130.50
Bin Delivered price: £110 (£120 delivered nationally)
In preparation for our Argentina Flight Club on 20th August (still a few tickets available folks – follow the link!) the lovely Charlotte has been helping us review our South American wines. I confess that we’ve not paid as much attention to this section as we perhaps should have, so when our very own Parisian wine-buff (who’s spent four years in Argentina) offered to help overhaul our Argentinian range there was only one answer.
Among the wines we tasted was this stand-out blend of Malbec (96%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (4%) from Mendoza. If you like big…if you like bold…if you like soft…if you like easy drinking then this approachable BBQ suitable red will be right up your street. Deep purple in colour, rich fruity aromas, lip-smacking flavours of strawberry and cherries, a hint of spice on the finish and really supple, soft tannins. Adding this to the range and selecting it as a wine to show at Flight Club was one of the easier decisions of the year. But the ace up its sleeve is the note of vanilla which hits you from first sip right through to the end of the finish. Very, very appealing and very, very moreish; I couldn’t put it down.
This vanilla element perfectly illustrates what can be achieved with judicious use of oak. After fermentation the Kaiken Reserve spends six months in French Oak barrels. 10% goes into new oak barrels and 90% into new. Why does this matter… I’m glad you asked. The tight grain of French oak (as compared to looser grained American oak) is good for longer ageing as it allows controlled interaction between the wine and a small amount of oxygen during the ageing process. French barrels are valued by wine-makers for adding flavour with more subtlety; American oak tends to add more flavour, more quickly (typically vanilla and nutty notes) which makes it suitable for shorter ageing of some big, bold, heavily-flavoured reds.
So as it’s the new oak that adds most flavour, wine-makers tend to use it carefully to ensure that it doesn’t over-power the wine (hence the 90/10 split with the ageing of the Kaiken). After three to four fills barrels have imparted all of their flavour and are then used for further ageing. It’s this ageing, and the continual controlled interaction with oxygen through the barrel, that helps tone down the tannins that might otherwise have you puckering up your lips and scrubbing that furry feeling from your teeth – it’s what makes a big red like the Kaiken feel oh-so-silky in the mouth.
So oak is what makes wine smooth and silky and is also what brings along those lovely vanilla flavours and toasty, spicy notes that make a wine more interesting. And just to prove that rules are made to be broken, you’ll have spotted that the pronounced vanilla notes I raved about in the Kaiken would normally be associated with American oak. How have they achieved that effect from French barrels? no idea I’m afraid! Let’s put it down to artisinal magic. And before we leave the topic of oak…that buttery mouth feel that you love your white Burgundies for – that’s oak at work too. But that’s a story for another time. Clever stuff indeed. Wine-makers in France will tell you that the properties of oak grown in different regions impart different characteristics into their wine – who are we to disagree.
Anyway – back to the Kaiken. It’s lovely and ridiculous value at £12.50 (just £11.25 to wine club members). It’s reminded me to dip into the South American section more often when I’m grabbing a bottle to enjoy at home and it’s reminded me that a well made Malbec can be so much more than just “BIG!” – Enjoy!
It has been a very exciting and busy time at BinTwo HQ in terms of events and getting out and about this summer!
It all started back at the beginning of June with the unforgettable ‘Vegging Out’ experience at Padstow Kitchen Garden (http://www.padstowkitchengarden.co.uk/) – incredible food, beautiful wines and fantastic weather teamed with the charming (and very knowledgeable!) Ross Geach and a lovely group of guests.
In the same week we were up at the Royal Cornwall Show with Stratton Creber and Country & Waterside celebrating the launch of their ‘Prestigious & Personal’ portfolio (http://www.countryandwaterside.co.uk/). You can’t celebrate without a bit of fizz!
Also in June was the launch of our ‘Flight Club’ – a series of informal tasting events where we combine a little education with a healthy dollop of fun. This made even more exciting by the opening of our brand new Hub up at Hawksfield where we will be hosting many of our upcoming tastings & events. Keep your eyes peeled for a little video of Flight Club #2 Bordeaux!
We (Mike) built a really cool bar too! It’s pretty funky, well, we think so and the lovely people from The Cornish Concierge (http://www.thecornishconcierge.co.uk/) liked it too. So much so in fact that they asked us to support them with an amazing private event they were planning up at Padstow Kitchen Garden (I’m noticing a pattern here!). The feedback we received from the event was “loved every minute”, “unforgettable” and “spectacular” – wow! The bar proved to be a great talking point and the wines recommended by our lovely Kate went down a treat. We can’t wait to see and share with you the pictures of our little bar in action. I’m not sure Mike will agree with me on this, but, I think it needs a name! Suggestions please…
Anyway, now you know what we’re up to, we would love to know what you think. If you are looking for a unique bar for a small event you’re holding, fancy doing a food/wine collaboration with us or have any ideas where you’d like to see BinTwo ‘pop up’ next, please get in touch and let us know.
Name suggestions and event enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org