Wednesday 30 March 2011

Wine trade, world's most competitive

A restauranteur of our acquaintance told us how he is beseiged by the wine trade trying to sell him wine for his restaurants. He reckons it must be the most competative business in the world. Maybe we'll stick with the day job.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Things looking up in West London

A new wine shop in Brompton Road! A fully-fledged independent called SIPP at No. 203, quite near Emporio Armani for those who know where that is. They are knowledgeable and nice young French people whose selection is eclectic and discerning. We bought a Brazilian red blend of Touriga Nacional, Afrocheiro, and Tinto Roriz which we had enjoyed from a previous source just to encourage them. Their website will soon be active:

Meanwhile, in our researches was the discovery not far away of another wonderful establishment, Troubadour Wines of 263 - 267 Old Brompton Road, SW5 which has been open for just over 2 years already.

There we found not only the same bottle of Brazilian as at Sipp for slightly less but also Bests Great Western Pinot Meunier which we used to buy from Harvey Nichols with much pleasure before they stopped carrying it.

This was actually Troubadour's last bottle but we hope they will order it again. Almost on our way out we were thunderstruck to find an Ancelotta by Familia Zuccardi from Argentina!

We were promised by the thoroughly well informed and bright young chap behind the counter that they were expectin a big consignment of new stock in mid-March. We will certainly scoot back to check that out as soon as possible.

Another result from our Googling - sorry, researching - we discovered that Harrods were the only stockists of our latest enthusiasm a Grignolino, so along we went to discover they have made their wine department over to excellent effect.

The staff there are enthusiastic almost to a fault. How good to see practically the entire former Pantry given over to what looks like a greatly enlarged selection of wines. Harrods is a strange place. Some departments have remained excellent while others...

Meanwhile over at Selfridges, we picked up a real rarity - one now with added poignancy - the first example we have seen of the indiginous Japanese grape Koshu.

Slotovino Hall of Fame has a new member: Casetta

Yes, a rare red grape from Trentino Alto Adige: Casetta has made a big impact on a recent fact-finding trip to the area. This is one of the ancient varieties to be found in this fascinating part of Italy. Other local varieties include Enantio (used in what is referred to as Lambrusco Trentino) and Pavana which we have not been able to find. A crossing of Teroldego and Merlot called Rebo after the great 20th century grape geneticist Rebo Rigotti

who created this and many other crossings is also a feature of the region. We have been able to source a Rebo and this will be put through our rigorous testing program very soon.

Nosiola is another variety native to Trentino but after thorough trials we have decided that although perfectly acceptable, it is not worthy of the high honour of inclusion. We have not tried the sweet version referred to as Nosiola Vin Santo. This may yet be Nosiola’s ultimate calling.

Moscato Rosa makes another sweet wine in Trentino. We did not taste this but a Moscato Rosa from Sicilia. Again the impression was positive but not up to our high criteria for inclusion in our Hall of Fame.

We have also yet to taste Schiava Grigia or the Malvasia Nera of the Südtirol/Alto Adige. We have managed to bring back local versions of Schiava and Portugieser however. Local expressions of Müller-Thurgau, Incrocio Manzoni Bianco and Pinot Bianco all shone.

The Trentino/Alto Adige/Südtirol region emerged as no less rich in diversity than the Val d’Aosta or Savoie. These mountain areas are hosts to many secret treasures.

The excellence of wines produced from these grapes is not due to them being grown on mountain sides but to the effect the mountains have in concentrating warmth on the growing areas in the valleys over the growing season when for example Bolzano in the Alto Adige can sometimes be the hottest city in Italy.