Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Our trawl this month

On our September trawl across Europe, more discoveries! Will they ever end?

Paris, 2/3.9.09

Cavistes have depleted stocks at this time of year but Julien (Rue Charlot) tempted us with two unauthorised organic Loire red blends; La Guerrerie (Cot/Gamay), 12.5%
La Grapperie “Le Gravot” (Pineau d’aunis, Gamay, Cot) Touraine NV 13%

and an modern organic German Riesling he swore was dry as a bone:
Tesch Riesling Kabinett ‘unplugged’ 2007 11.5% (Nahe).

Edinburgh 5/6.9.09

Needing emergency sustainance, we dived into "Giuliano's" restaurant opposite the Playhouse on Leith Walk near the junction with Broughton Street.
The walls are covered with enlarged photos of vineyards, cellars and barrels etc., so we were interested to see the wine list. It was clear that this had been assembled by someone who was not only passionate about wine but knew a great deal about it too. Not difficult to deduce - where else in the UK can one find Mancini's "Il Blu"? Readers of Slotovino will know we mentioned this wine back in June 2008. In fact it is not available here and had to be imported. Congratulating the padrone, we became embroiled in the most pleasant wine discussion imaginable, for it was he Giuliano, partner in 3 Edinburgh restaurants bearing his name and extreme wine enthusiast. We traded information in rapid fire and it emerged that Giuliano is also an Edinburgh vigneron garagiste. No, he doesn't grow his grapes in Scotland but buys them from pallets imported by the UK Italian community. He told us in detail how he really does make his private wine in his garage. He says the results are variable depending on the grapes (he has to take whatever is available). He immediately invited us back to his house to taste his wine. We would have been delighted to take him up on this but the International Festival called. He gave us his card. Next time we are in Edinburgh we will definitely be in contact; rarely can you find such a passion for wine. His Melanzane Parmigiana was great too.

While researching wine merchants in Glasgow we kept finding interesting shops in Edinburgh so on this visit we took a look at Raeburns Fine Wines of 21/23 Comely Bank Road where we found a delicious Tocco Magliocco (or Maglioppo) from L'Acino (Campagnia)

13.5% - similar to Gaglioppo but a different grape altogether and certainly one to remember.
We also bought a Bonarda; Castello di Luzzano, Carlino, Oltrepo Pavese 2004 13.5% which was not as delicious as we had hoped following good experiences with Italian (as opposed to Argentinian) Bonarda.
Comely Bank Road morphs into Raeburn Place. At 30b is to be found Edinburgh Wine Merchants (an offshoot of Cambridge Wine Merchants) with a small but eclectic selection and on the same side, other shops selling wine. We also made a return visit to Villeneuve Wines, 49a Broughton St. where we missed the Slovenian wines which had bee a feature last time. We had to bypass our favourite Valvona and Crolla in Leith Walk due to the tight schedule. Edinburgh is well served and can claim to have an all year round Wine Festival which Glasgow cannot as far as we can tell.

Lisbon 10.9.09

We made straight for Vini Portugal following our wonderful experience at the Porto branch in June. On tasting, thanks to the gracious and well-informed Marta Galamba was Alentejo, Dao and Bairrada/Beiras. The big discovery was Mouras de Arraiolos Reserva Branco 2008, 13% (made with 100% Antao Vaz) from Bairrada.

It seems that indiginous Portuguese white grapes are every bit as good as the red ones. So now we can count Antao Vaz together with Encruzado, Loueiro and Trajadura. Our samples of Dao containing a majority of Afrocheiro were disappointing
but the widely available Grao Vasco Dao 2006 (13%?) made from Jaen, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Roriz was nicely soft and rounded with a hint of violets and deep ruby colour. Note: must try a 100% Jaen one day.

Then on the advice of Francisco Figueiredo of Colares Arenae (see our visit to Colares in October 2008) we made for El Corte Ingles where he had told us we could find wines of Colares.
What he didn't say was that his own wines were not among them. How typically altruistic. We were determined to buy bottles which had not been standing on a shelf for years on end and these looked in good nick with robust shoulder levels; Colares Chitas 2003, Visconde de Salreu 1994, Viuva Jose Gomes da Silva & Filhos, 1997, ALL 11%. We found a Fundacao Oriente 2004 at Adivinho, Travessa do Almada 24, but others did not stock Colares even though it is one of Lisbon's local wines so it was heartening to find it at the Hipercor of El Corte Ingles even if it was not in evidence in the 'Club del Gourmet' there.

Our business took us to Belem where in a nice shop with a reasonable selection, 'Coisas do arco do vinho' in the Belem Cultural Centre
we found the Mouras de Arraiolos Reserva Branco 2008 (13%) we had tasted at Vini Portugal
and the Carm Douro white we had so enjoyed in Porto.
The Enoteca do Belem is still closed.

Amsterdam, 11.9.09

In search of Dutch wine, we were sent to Gall & Gall near the Royal Palace but they had sold out. They normally stock wines by Hoeve Nekum (Riesling, Auxerrois, Rivaner and Pinot Noir) Needless to say no Dutch wines are available at Schiphol despite all other kinds of Dutch produce being prominent. Could English wine mean more to the British than Dutch wine in the Netherlands? Could Dutch wine be less good?