Find the wines here:
Fiano Zohar, Susana Balbo, Dominio del Plata
Zohar Tannat, Susana Balbo, Dominio del Plata
Crios Pinot Noir, Susana Balbo, Dominio del Plata
I recently spent a Saturday working in our shop in Ottery, which coincided with the inaugural Ottery Food Festival. The event was a great success, aided by some excellent weather, and the good burghers of Ottery had their food horizons expanded. I don’t know how many of them had tried cuttlefish dumplings before but Vietnamese restaurants are not that common in ruralDevon! The great, lustily throbbing metropolitan areas of Exeter, Torquay and MegaCity 1 aka Plymouth, will cater for all sorts of ‘exotic’ cuisine (deep fried panda and chips anybody?) but you don’t find Nam Pla Prik in many Devon kitchens. I’m probably going to have to flee the country for a month whilst a mob of outraged foodies, from Lynton to Salcombe, descend on the shop with flaming torches (old copies of the Masterchef recipes) and sharpened barbeque tongs in hand, chanting “Death to the food infidel” or somesuch tosh.
Anyway, as we anticipated lots of ‘footfall’ (as the supermarkets would say) into the shop, I took the precaution of putting bottles of the lovely Gros Manseng from Domaine Cassagnoles in the frigo and popping the cork out of a wonderful new red, the Beret Noir from Producteurs Plaimont. Both of these wines hail fromGasconyand show how good the young regional wine makers inFranceare nowadays. Both wines are packed full of fruit, use indigenous grape varieties (the Beret is 100% Tannat), show great ‘terroir’, are extremely well made and sell at a very competitive price…what more do you want, eh?
I expected the glasses to be snatched out of my hand by a thirsty, inquisitive and grateful public but, upon being offered a miniscule sample of the wines, I seem to have been offering them bubbling tinctures of fermented yak’s genitalia. Either I resemble a mass poisoner (highly unlikely when so many people have commented that I have the mad-eyed stare and soul of a drooling axe murderer) or there is a highly specific Darwinian adaption in Ottery that allows the locals to consume gallons of Yellowhammer or Otter ales with impunity but which will smite them speechless to the floor if so much a milligram of wine passes their lips?
I would never ask that somebody imbibed alcohol when they did not want to (“no” is a strong and powerful word except when children try to use it at mealtimes) and I’m not fond of pushy shop or restaurant staff either but I might have had a better response if I’d gone to the RSPCA, rescued a beagle and then shoved a pack of Capstan Full Strength in its mouth. I’m sure the Police are not going to snatch you off the streets and send you to Guantanamobay for a tiny tasting sample…but people react as if they are.
On reflection (like a budgie smashing its head against a mirror), it’s driven by two factors:
i) most of us now have an autonomic reaction against drinking alcohol if we are driving…and that’s good. Many of our customers live outside Ottery and may well have driven into town, which leads me on to
ii) the fear of liability tourism, legal retribution and the Damoclean sword of financial ruin hanging over our heads whenever anything goes wrong. The fear of ‘cause and effect’ being distorted so badly is all-pervasive and we are inhibited at stage one when any responsible adult would see things go pear-shaped at, say, stage thirteen.
Anyway, thank you to everybody who took the time and trouble to come into the shop as it was lovely to see you (and I had several very interesting conversations about all manner of topics), many thanks to those of you who did try the wines (you all liked them!) and thank you to the organising committee of the Ottery Food Festival who put in so much hard work into making the event such a memorable occasion.
Our latest new arrival. Quite an amusing video, useful too, especially if you’ve got goats in your kitchen…
Find Il Medaglione here:
Find Nuits St Georges Les Charmottes from Domaine Chicotot here
In 2012 Kathy Jordan announced the launch of the Jordan Wine Estate, Women in Wine Initiative with the creation of a programme to sponsor and mentor women in the Wine Industry, both in the UK and in South Africa.”“When I first started making wine in 1993 at Jordan, there were only a handful of women winemakers in this male-dominated industry. But things have changed rapidly in the past 20 years. According to recent stats from the University of Stellenbosch Enology Dept, over the past 5 years there has been an equal intake of men to women with some years even more women applicants. This is very encouraging.”
Producing a web page entirely focused on women winemakers took rather longer than expected due to the large number that was revealed by looking in more depth into the origins of the CPW range of wines. These winemakers have a huge wealth of experience and between them produce a consistent and complex number of whites and reds. Several, at least, have been crowned Winemaker of the Year in their specific country and here are a few quotes from ‘renowned’ wine critics.
“Mas Carlot continues to produce superb wines at moderate prices to which consumers should look given the overall increase in prices.”
“What ever the Next Big Thing turns out to be, Louisa Rose will probably be the one who makes it.” Max Allen, The Weekend Australian magazine
Robert Parker “Château d’Oupia has produced the ideal bistro wine. Dark, ruby-colored, the wine is wonderfully clean and pure, with an exuberant personality, and gobs of rich, peppery, red and black fruit…”.