Tag Archives: Berkshire

Icon Wine of the Week: 2010 Sassicaia

The original “Super Tuscan”,  2010 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta from Bolgheri in Tuscany, Italy welcomes in the first weekend of advent. Warm, rich and lustrous, this is the ideal winter warmer by our fire. One of our wine team, Michael Meyers, tells us more.

_MG_3149 compressed

Sassicaia is the only single estate wine in Italy with its own appellation – Bolgheri Sassicaia. It was the original “Super Tuscan” and is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, aged for 24 months in French barriques, of which these days ony 20% are new.

Mario Incisa della Rochetta, part of a grand old Italian family who’s roots extend back to the Renaissance and beyond, and cousin of the Antinoris, married Clarice della Gherardesca in 1930 and with his wife came some land in Bolgheri. The story of Sassicaia was just beginning. Mario dreamed of making a wine like the grand vins of Bordeaux and, noticing a similarity between his Bolgheri vineyards and those of the Graves, decided to plant some Cabernet Sauvignon. In the early years the wine was just for consumption on the estate and was not always well appreciated. Fortunately, a few cases were put away to age with each vintage and, once time had worked its magic, it became clear that these were wines that only truly showed their majesty with a few years in bottle.

The first vintage released for commercial sale was the 1968 and it transformed Tuscan wine and has given rise to a host of imitators and rivals. Sassicaia is now revered, not only as one of the best wines in Italy, but as one of the best wines in the world.

The 2010 Sassicaia is intensely saline, savoury and energetic. Rosemary, sage, plums and black cherry notes meld into graphite, crushed rocks and a host of other more mineral-inflected nuances. This red is very aromatic with currant, dried berry, cocoa bean, and hints of wood. It’s full-bodied, with intense yet very polished tannins and a long finish. It’s very refined and beautiful with a tangy finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through here at the finish.

This is great with lamb and beef.

Mushrooms: A Seasonal Delight

‘Tis the season for richer game-flavoured dishes thanks to in-season game meats and woodland crops. Our forests are generous with a wealth of delights for us to choose from and we explore the seasonal delight of mushrooms.

There are hundreds of common mushroom varieties such as button and brown mushroom buts some of the tastiest include field mushrooms, morels, oyster mushrooms and blewits. Field mushrooms are delicious with sautéed butter and herbs and are found in summer and autumn in rich open manured grasslands grazed by horses or cows. Morels are best cooked with a touch of cream and chopped chives – they have a light honeycomb pattern and a delicate scent. Oyster mushrooms are found in later autumn and have a very mild flavour – they are delicious fricasseed or sautéed with garlic or finished with cream on a steak.

Mushrooms are so versatile and go well with many other ingredients such as shellfish, poultry and meat. Wild game (also in season) with wild mushrooms is an especially good match – they are made for each other. Mushrooms are also a great option for vegetarians.

The flavour texture and scent of wild mushrooms, available either dried or fresh are very distinct – cultivated mushrooms are more widely available but are no match for the unique appeal of their wild cousins!

Californian Wine Weekend – 8th to 9th May 2015

Californian wine weekendWell, we are getting ever closer to our Californian Wine Weekend on 8th and 9th May this year so I guess I should start to announce some of our visitors from across the water and the wines they will be showing…

At dinner, featuring Peter Michael Winery, we will be opening for the first time the 2013 L’Apres-Midi Sauvignon Blanc, a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc-based wine with a touch of Semillon added. Think white Bordeaux…but VERY good white Bordeaux. It goes without saying that the Les Pavots will be opened along with some of the family’s Pinot Noir. It promises to be a good night! View the menu with matching wines

At our Saturday tasting, these wines will be again open to taste, but joined with many others from our range of Californian bottles. Taste over 50 Californian wines that will be open to taste and purchase for just £30 per person. Maryann Bautovitch will be flying in from Talley Estate and pouring their Arroyo Grande Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Brent Shortridge, owner of our best sellers Waterstone, Mandolin and Amala Springs arrives on the same day and will be showcasing his entire range from the delicate Mandolin Riesling, to the deep, dense Waterstone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Joe Donelan joins us for the first time this year and will showcase some of the finest Syrah to emerge from the US, plus a beautiful Viogner from Sonoma County. Masterclasses will be in progress throughout the day to help you get the most out of every taste…

And if you’re really lucky, I might just open a bottle of Peter Michael Chardonnay…!

Discover more about the Californian Wine Weekend.

Cheers,

James Hocking
Director of Wine
The Vineyard Cellars

Another Successful Wine Festival Weekend

Masterclass_1 - compressed 1

Bottles in a row - WFW14 - compressedI know I may well say this every year, but this year’s wine festival at The Vineyard seemed to surpass all previous years in terms of just about everything…food, wine, and many masterclasses aimed at helping our customers get the very best out of a bottle of wine. Our suppliers stepped up to the mark and provided a selection of truly stunning wines really indicative of our list at The Vineyard.

First off was our annual wine festival dinner. Two matched wines per course hence groaning tables of wine glasses (all Riedel of course) ready to showcase the bottles. Hard to pinpoint specifics, however feedback that I received thought that the Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz (Schloss Gobelsburg) was the star white of the evening, whilst the Mac Forbes Pinot Noir from Australia and the venison course was the pairing of the evening. The Peter Michael L’Esprit des Pavots held its ground with the cheese course also, even up against Tawny Port! To buy these wines, please contact me, James Hocking, on 01635 589414 or email me: jameshocking@vineyardcellars.com

Following that, our Saturday tasting was well-subscribed, and with an ever expanding Wine tasting 1 - compressedgroup of suppliers, the room was full of wine. Newcomers to our tasting this year were Berkmann Wines, with a decent range of Italian and Argentinean bottles, plus Clark Foyster Wines, showing a solid range from Australia, France and Portugal. We had over 150 wines open, covering all the major viticultural regions of the world. All together, 10 of our top wine suppliers helped make this event a success.

And the wine, I most wanted to take home? Champagne Taittinger kindly gave us a couple of bottles of their flagship Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs. Pure hedonistic pleasure…frankly the customers were lucky to get a look in!!

We actually have a Taittinger Champagne dinner coming up on 5th December and there are still a few places left. Please see our website for the menu and more details. It’s sure to be a great evening. Our sparkling bubbles galore wine school is also taking place on 3rd December. We hope to see you at one of our up and coming events.

We also welcomed WSET who were talking to all our guests about our popular level 1 course, but also our new intensive level 2 course, which we’re running for the first time from 6th to 8th February.

Cheers

James Hocking
Director of Wine

Winter Skincare

FacialWith light fading sooner and colder nights it seems the great summer we have had may be drawing to a close. The change in weather can also signify a change in your skin caused by freezing temperatures, low humidity and heating, that can in some people cause their skin to become dry, red and itchy.

Dry skin can be treated by ensuring you are applying your cream morning to protect the skin from the harsh environment and at night to replenish. This is a good time of year to boost your night time cream by applying a couple of drops of a face oil on your skin before applying your cream, not forgetting as well that your skin is most active at 2am when it does its most repairing and rejuvenating so the more nourishment you give your skin at night time the better your skin will be. It is also important to keep your skin hydrated which is harder in winter as we tend to stick to hot drinks but having warm squash is a good way to keep your fluids up. A bowl of water by your radiator can also help to raise the humidity in the room.

For those of you whose skin tends to be red and itchy the best way to treat it is to wrap up as much as you can, wear a scarf and hat and use a skincare range designed for sensitive skin. Darphin’s Intral range has helped a lot of people and we would recommend using both the serum to help soothe and restructure skin deep down along with either the soothing cream if skin is itchy or redness relief cream for skin that is red. Our Darphin Extreme Hydration Facial is perfect for quenching dehydrated skin.

In our skincare we also must not forget our spf as even though you cant see the sun it is still there and as UV rays are a major contributor to skin ageing every little bit helps to slow it down. You can either get your spf protection from your cream such as Darphin’s Melaperfect Cream or from your foundation. I would recommend having an spf of at least 15.

Often forgotten, our poor hands can really suffer in winter, so now is the time to invest in a good warm pair of gloves and then make sure you are using them whenever you are going outside into the cold. Apply hand cream as often as you can. Treating your hands to a deluxe manicure where your hand will be wrapped in paraffin wax where the heat warms and soothes joints while the skin is deeply nourished.

Lastly on cold winter days and nights our spa is the perfect place to curl up and enjoy the warmth relaxing at your lounger with a cup of tea or soaking in the Jacuzzi or enjoying the deep heat of our steam and sauna room. If this sounds tempting check out our full range of spa days and spa evenings.

Kirsty Hughes
Spa Manager

Daniel’s guide to fish – his favourite subject in the kitchen

Vineyard-64 - 914 x 437The topic of fish and shellfish is almost as vast as the sea itself and one that I have a particular love for. It’s my favourite subject and section in the kitchen.

Pan fried sea bass, spaghetti rollWhen I was younger I remember local fisherman coming to the door every morning with a massive quantity of fish, the quality of which was unbelievable. One of the most popular was sea bass, a very meaty fish with firm flesh, which is equally delicious whether grilled, pan-fried, braised or baked. Versatility and tasty, they are available all year round, although it’s best to avoid them in March to June when they are spawning. Other favourites were sardines, nutritious oily fish, which will grilled or barbequed whole, or made in bouillabaisse and ling, which are perfect for fish pie. These days they are much in demand and therefore over fished, so I only buy them if they are line caught and have them occasionally as a treat.

The sustainability of fish is a big issue these days and one that we need to consider. At   TheScallops Vineyard, we try to make sure we buy from a sustainable source. It is very important that we find the right suppliers who will provide us with the best possible fish that is also sourced from sustainable stocks. It is all too easy to forget that most species are over fished, and therefore becoming not only expensive, but increasingly rare. So, for, example, we buy hand-dived scallops, not dredged ones, line-caught not net-caught fish, and farmed, but organically reared fish, where possible.

We currently have hand-dived scallops on the menu served with vegetables “à la grecque” and walnuts, and also many other fish dishes;  fillet of Cornish cod, Heirloom tomato, ratte potato, chive, fillet of Scottish salmon, aubergine, kumquat, lime  and South Coast turbot, girolles, rocket, chicken jus. View our current menu. Our food and wine matching dinners are also proving popular and I have included a particularly lovely turbot dish on the Clarendelle dinner menu on 25th September. Discover more about this dinner

I can’t stress how necessary it is to buy fresh, quality produce from a good source. A fish should be firm to the touch and its skin and eyes should look bright – dullness or discolouration denote it is past its best. And smell it – a fresh fish has clean, not overly ‘fishy’ odour, and sea fish often smell slightly salted or like seaweed. Lobsters and crabs should look undamaged and feel heavy for their size, while shellfish should have tightly closed shells.

Daniel Galmiche