What: Deutz Brut Classic Champagne
Where Out: The Hind’s Head, Bray, Berkshire £12 125ml glass/ £51 a bottle
Where In: Alfred the Grape, Marlow, Bucks, £35.99
Occasion: ‘Out’ for my birthday back in July, ‘In’ for Mr. PFW’s birthday last week.
Food match: Drank as an appetiser both times but it went very well with Monday’s poppadums!
Conclusion: A beautiful golden colour with a fresh dryness and crisp butteriness on the palate. An excellent non-vintage choice which made a nice change from the usual Moet or Perriet Jouet.
Bonus point: That The Hind’s Head really hasn’t changed much over the years since Heston Blumenthal has owned it. Unlike other local gastro pubs, you really can still pop in for a pint and not feel like you shouldn’t be there (I didn’t notice whether there were any crisps behind the bar). Plus my favourite Ribeye with bone marrow is still on the menu all this time on.
I’ll be honest here, my only knowledge of Jersey is that it’s near France, full of millionaires, they have cows and it looks pretty (from what I remember from ‘Bergerac‘). Although I don’t remember Jim (Bergerac of course), ever commenting on the local beverages, I can also add, that they can make rather tasty wine too.
The Sainte Marie 2010 is produced by La Mare Wine Estate, a destination, event venue and local produce champion. Looking at their website, there’s little mention of the wine specifics, which is a shame, as this off-dry Seyval Blanc and Orion blend was delightful. Golden in colour and a peachy palate, the creaminess and acidity of this wine stood up proudly to the spiciness of a home-made curry made by a friend of mine, fresh back from her Jersey holiday. This was also perfectly drinkable with just the poppadums and I can also imagine it would be pretty mean with Jersey Oysters.
Bought from Waitrose in Jersey somewhere in the region of £10.85.
Additional links: Delicious Magazine Article – Jersey
What: Kleine Zalze Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa 14.5%
Where Out: Hand and Flowers, Maidenhead, Berkshire £4.85 175ml glass/ £19 a bottle
Where In: Templar Wines, online, £7.99 (as part of a case of 12)
Occasion: Long overdue, Yummy Mummy mid-week catch up over pizza and wine
Food match: This fruity, medium bodied Pinotage stands up well to the SCRUMMY Taco Beef Pizza.
Conclusion: A warm and well rounded wine with good oak and pleasing chewy blackcurrant. Much better in comparision to anything that used to be on the wine list here before the previous owners took over. Back to being the best pub in town by far.
Bonus point: At last, the grown ups of Maidenhead have somewhere nice to go for a drink and a decent bite to eat in the centre of town! Not to be confused with the magnificent Marlow eatery of Tom Kerridge fame just up the road, but a lovely local all the same, and you’re more likely to get a table.
What: Fairtrade Organic Unwooded Chardonnay, Santa Florentina, Famatina Valley, Argentina 12.5%,
Where Out: Bel and The Dragon, Cookham, Berkshire £5.00 175ml glass/ £21 a bottle
Where In: Corney and Barrow, online, £8.50
Who: A date (A.K.A. my husband – someone I hadn’t spoken to for a number of weeks a) in a civilised setting b) using eye contact due to some kind of multi-tasking activity e.g. wiping tomato sauce from a small person’s face c) without referring to him directly but via one of the same small people as ‘Daddy’).
When: Last minute flogging of Kaiser Chief’s tickets, in favour of a quiet, local, Friday night out, drinking wine and eating curry (without regret – boring, I know, but soooo much easier).
Food match: Had I been eating and not heading down the road to the Spice Merchant Cookham Tandoori, the mussels would’ve gone down a treat.
Conclusion: A dry and soapy, citrus wine with a perfect acidity softened by the buttery creaminess reminiscent of popcorn flavoured Jelly Belly jelly beans. Bel and The Dragon doesn’t have the cheapest wine list in the vicinity but it’s very comprehensive and I look forward to heading back to trying more. Plus, if this wine was anything to go by, the quality of wine seems to fairly reflect the price (I tested some of their competitors just to be on the safe side).
Bonus point: For an ‘everyday’ drinker to take home or for any of your wine buying needs, pop next door to the lovely Old Butcher’s Wine Cellar (website currently under development) for a bottle of Paul Mas Chardonnay.
Links: Why Chardonnay is back in fashion, Dynamic Domaines Mas
What: Riva Leone, Barbera, Piedmont, Italy
Where Out: The Bull Hotel, East Street, Bridport, Dorset £5.20 175ml glass/ £19.50 a bottle
Where In: Spirited Wines, Marlow, £7.83 a bottle
Who: 1 ‘On-the-wagon-for-January’ Husband, 1 ice cream eating child
Wine for me + ice cream for the girl = family harmony
When: Post lunch coffee/ cake/ wine stop sheltering from the rain.
Food match: I drank it with a Victoria Sponge (just a slice, not a whole one) but would think it would be better matched to either the Venison or the Burger from The Bull’s menu (next time perhaps!!).
Conclusion: Spicy, eucalyptus, medium bodied with some deep redcurrant and raspberry fruit. Very easy drinking even on its own.
Bonus point: The Bull Hotel; Stylish, chilled, welcoming. Log fires in winter, sunny courtyard in the summer, great wine list…and they seem to like kids!!
Links: Riva Leone
Casa Brindisa, the perfect lunch destination for a museum day out, even sitting outside in December
What: Alameda Oloroso Abocado, Bodegas Hidalgo
Where Out: Casa Brindisa, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London £4.95 glass/ £34 a 50cl bottle
Where In: Highbury Vintners £10.50 50cl
Who: Husband plus 2 tired and hungry toddlers
When: Christmas family day out to the big smoke
Food match: Smoked spanish cheese Idiazabal with walnuts and quince jelly
Conclusion: Luscious, leggy medium sweet sherry, copper in colour, figgy undertones. Made a favourable alternative to a Rioja with tapas.
Bonus point: Numbed the pain of the eldest child refusing all but toasted corn and bread sticks for lunch in protest at the 90 minute queue for the Natural History Museum.
Links: BBR Oloroso Summary, Oloroso Sherry
What: Vega Douro Tinto 2009, Douro, Portugal
Where Out: The Two Brewers, Park Street, Windsor £15
Where In: The Wine Reserve £8.49
Who: Old bestest girl-chums
When: School night
Food match: Pork belly
Conclusion: Super value for a full bodied, savoury wine with dark cherry fruits.
Bonus point: It’s all in the location for my first flash recommendation; Chocolate labradors round our ankles and open fires in perhaps the cosiest pub in Berkshire.
Links: Wines of Portugal