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Wines By the Glass served in 125ml measures

White wine:

2016  Trebbiano, Caldora   4.00

Abruzzo, Italy

Fresh and citrusy with aromas of stone fruit and orange blossom.

2016 Sao Miguel Blanco  4.25

Alentejo, Portugal

Aromas of tropical fruit and flowers balanced with good minerality.

2016 Albarino, Quinta de la Erre  4.75

Rias Baixas , Spain

Full and rounded packed full of stone fruit, herbs and citrus.

Red wine:

2016 Rosso Piceno, Ciu Ciu  4.00

Abruzzo, Italy

Notes of strawberry, morello cherry & liquorice root creating a juicy, well balanced wine

2016 Mencia, Alodio  4.25

Ribeira Sacra, Spain

Vibrant & luscious with red berry fruit and a distinctive underlying minerality.

2016 Pinotage, Sirkel  4.75

Paardberg, South Africa

Fresh, ripe red fruit with a hint of sweet and smoky herb.

Rose :

2015 Ciconia Rose  3.75

Alentejo, Portugal

Fresh and fruity with lovely hints of strawberry and white flower.

Sparkling Wine:

Le Dolci Colline Prosecco Spumante Brut (200ml bottle)   5.00

Venezia Giulia, Italy

Light and Creamy with delicate notes of lemon citrus, apple and peach

Sherry served in 100ml

Manzanilla, Las Medallas – 4.00

Amontillado, Lustau – 5.00

If you would like to choose any bottle of wine from our range –  

to drink here we charge £6 corkage on top of the retail price.

We have a selection of beers too –

predominantly from the many new and exciting breweries that are springing up around the city  

– we charge £1 corkage

We also have a couple of whiskeys (currently from Japan and USA), a number of Rums,

and a single grape Grappa made using Merlot grapes.

it may surprise you!

Nibbles: Crisps  – £1.90

Sep 22
Galicia

In the North West corner of Spain lies the magical land of Galicia. Green and rugged it is a beautiful mix of mountains, rivers, rolling hills and a stunning coastline.

As breathtaking is the scenery, so are the wines. We have just returned from a tour across the region taking in Rais Biaxas, Ribeiro, Ribeiro Sacra and Valdeorras visiting the tiny artisinal producers that lavish our shelves and represent so much of what Galicia is about.

Albarino is most well known variety of Galicia and key to the Rias Biaxas region. Trico was our first stop, a four plot domain specializing in Albarino with a capacity to age. From 2009 vintage to the 2015 we tasted through citrus, apple, tropical, saline, mineral, honey and beeswax in these beautifully structured and lengthy wines.

Our other Albarino hails from large terraced vineyards on the banks of the Minho river, Quinta de la Erre. Whilst their Albarino is sold young they are also protagonists of aging Albarino and tasting back through four vintages shows just how this grape develops much more weight and complexity with age.

The idea of ageing Albarino is alien to many consumers and other winemakers in the region but with good vineyard practice low yield and minimum intervention in the winery wonders can happen.

With the climate in the region producing much rain and humidity another alien practice is biodynamics. Luckily there are always crazy individuals ready to challenge what many think is impossible and create something stunning. In the Ribeiro region we visited two such individuals. Bernardo has a variety of plots on terraces steep up the hillside. A mix of 30 or so varieties, we lost count whilst trying. He follows a mix off biodynamic practice with the ethos of permaculture. Making the wine in his garage with absolutely astonishing results.

Chan se Lus Blanco 2015 is textured with perfumed layers of peach, apricot, nettle and dry honey – just stunning!

The 2015 Tinto is bottled with no sulphur and is an extraordinary wine, vibrant and spiky at first, settling in the glass quickly with amazing depth and elegance.

Look out for these in the near future.

Juan tends his grandmothers old vineyard at the side of the house he now lives in.  Beautiful pergolas of Brancelleo, Caina Longo, Souson and Espedeiro provide cover for the chickens to run under.  Again, a protagonist of biodynamics and minimal intervention, Juan is challenging the boundaries of what can be produced in this region with stunning results,  His wine As Furnias is funky yet elegant with gorgeous depth of gentle bramble, figs and plums.  The 2015 will be arriving with us very soon.

This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the wines of Bioca in Valdeorras.  This domain is the retirement passion of Maria Teresa and Celestino Naveira.  The winery is nestled in an ampitheatre their Godello grapes looking out to the slopes of Mencia.  They were the only winery we visited to have picked and the juice sitting in the tanks ready for fermentation was beautifully vibrant and zesty.  Over a long lunch we had the 2016 Godello that had a weight of stone fruit balanced by lime zest and a saline edge, brilliant.  It was paired with a local aged and tangy sheep’s cheese and the match was perfect.  We continued with the 2015 Mencia which is juicy bramble laced with herbs and spice – a superb accompaniment to a lush shoulder of pork.  Needless to say we didn’t want to leave.

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Not long ago, Portugal was only known for its beautifully crafted fortified wines (Ports) and less so for the easy, quaffable white wines of the north (Minho) or juicy reds of the Dao, Bairrada or the Alentejo. Nowadays this has been rectified, most of wine drinkers having met with the delicious Vinho Verde or similar white wines of the Minho and neighbouring Douro valley. With indigenous grape varieties that abound in the Portuguese vineyards there are certainly some great examples to try, and today we are focusing on 3 summery, fresh , inviting wines that you’ll love to try.

First comes from Minho, the greater area in the north of the Douro that encompasses the Vinho Verde too.

Leira Seca, Fernando da Rosa 2016 is a beautifully crafted blend of Alvarinho and Trajadura, crisp and balanced citrussy notes with a warm stone fruit feel on the nose , approaching the palate with gorgeous ripe fruit and continuing with a lemony vibe that just springs Summer into mind. Paired with some seafood risotto and it will make your day!

The second wine we thought about today is the well known Vinho Verde , but today there are so many to choose from, luckily we have a pretty special example in Clip, Vinho Verde 2015  which is a 100% Loureiro  wine. This grape variety, although found in many Vinho Verde examples, is seldom seen on its own, so it is no surprise that the flavour is bolder, richer, full of melon, touch of grapefruit and bursting with a citrus oil that keeps bringing you to try more. Both the nose and the palate are dominated by the ripe melon feel and it does not disappoint on the freshness level too. Less spritzy than its “greener” cousins, a delight it is nonetheless ! Pair this with your garden, sunshine provided!

The third and final suggestion is coming from revered Douro, where once only Port was the master, now there is plenty of room for more of the local, sometimes obscure grape varieties that grow together , fighting for every sand , stone and drop of water on the steep slopes of the valley.

Quinta de la Rosa, La Rosa Reserva 2015 is a craft of the land, the demanding castas (grapes) and the rewarding winemaker. A blend of mainly Viosinho, accompanied by Rabigato, Arinto and Gouveio alongside many other white varieties it brings to nose flavours of white blossom, pear, fragrant apple, green herb and a juicy lemony spritz. More body than the previous two but with lots of freshness, derived also from its mineral core, it continues on the palate with juicy pear and stone fruit, enveloped in an almost spicy citrus blend and green herb. Textured and fresh in the same time, it is a rewarding example to any kind of dish that is aromatic but also requires both body and freshness. Have this one paired with grilled Mozambique gambas (large prawns, from a once colony of Portugal) !

Enjoy the summer days while they last, come in and help yourselves with these gorgeous wines!

 

Raz

Last night we indulged (alongside our customers) into a superb tasting hosted at The Kensington Arms, Redland featuring some fantastic wines from Quinta do Vale Meao.The tasting was presented by Francisco Javier de Olazabal , winemaker at this esteemed estate that sits atop a granite outcrop in the Douro Superior region of Portugal.

We started the evening with a vertical tasting of 3 vintages of the Quinta do Vale Meao , 2002, 2007 and 2012. Jumping 5 years apart , the wines showed not only the potential of aging such beautifully crafted wine but also the minute differences in how the field blends were selected. The 2007 vintage was yours truly’s favourite, showing some great elements of the Douro reds (spicy and minty dark cherry and bramble ) alongside game, leather, pepper and a good solid structure. 2002 was the more developed vintage, showing some exquisite soft tannin and a very vibrant fresh fruit, still a young wine I would say, capable of aging much more. The 2012 was a rich and full bodied , still young vintage that was just peeking through the vibrant tannin and fruit structure.

Following up to the vertical tasting we had a food and wine pairing that featured  Meandro Branco, a fresh and juicy white Douro style with 2 distinct vineyards blended, one planted with Arinto and the other with Rabigato. This was paired with a starter of Beetroot Cured Salmon and Salmon Mousse, and it proved to be a great match. The main course of Braised Short Rib, Onion and Carrot was accompanied by 2 different reds , Meandro Tinto, a typical Douro red with a much younger vine in its makeup, showing lots of freshness, red cherry fruit and velvety tannin (this was served slightly chilled) and also Monte Meao, a single vineyard and single grape variety (Touriga National ), style, that was elegant, poised, mineral and full to the brim of the classic dark cherry and mulberry with a hint of mint that Touriga is known for. The eagerly awaited dessert was accompanied by Vale de Meao 2001 Vintage Port, served around the table in a typical portuguese manner, where each participant would pour for themselves and then pass along the bottle/carafe. The Port was a stunner, aromatic, almost juicy but showing some great structure of fruit and spicy tones. A young Vintage port still, that can continue to develop for a couple of decades.

 

Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the tasting and we wish to thank Francisco, Raymond from RaymondReynolds and all the staff at The Kensington Arms for a wonderful evening !

 

Raz

Italy is a treasure trove for native and sometimes obscure grape varieties, although Trebbiano is not really obscure, it is certainly Italian. Trebbiano is also known as Ugni Blanc or Colombard in neighbouring France, where it is mostly used for creating the base wine for Cognac and Armagnac, with little presence as a wine varietal in Gascony and Pays D’Oc.

In it’s ancestral home, Italy, Trebbiano is grown for the great yield it possesses, though some producers, using active pruning and methods that keep the vine output at a consistent level, have managed to bring out the best from this workhorse grape variety. We have always stocked a few examples of it, mostly from Italy, sometimes a regional French Colombard making its way to our shelves too.

Currently , our offering includes Trebbiano Rubicone, Vinvita, Italy , which is the example that has most freshness , starting off on the nose with clean, crisp lime and apple notes, continuing on the palate with a fresh citrus balanced by a touch of apple and stone fruits. The finish is zesty, inviting the drinker continuously for another sip of this well balanced wine.

Another producer, Trebbiano D’Abruzzo, Caldora, Italy  has chosen to go even further with the pruning in order to keep the yields lower, creating a slightly richer, juicier varietal, where persimmon fruit, pear and a touch of spicy lime intersperse on the nose. Palate is somewhat richer too, slightly creamy, showcasing the citrus fruit on a medium-long finish.A good pairing for white pasta and delicious with grilled oily fish.

The last example, one of my favourites, coming from sunny Sicily, Tendoni di Trebbiano, Centopassi, Italy  is a completely different style than the previous two. Using very old vines, perhaps the oldest in central Sicily, and putting it to rest in barrels, creating a superb, slightly oxidative wine. Full of dried fruits and nutty notes, aromatic cooking herbs and honeyed truffle, releasing its pleasurable flavours layer upon layer. Quite rich on the palate, it delivers a sherry like experience from a fresh, almost full fruity palate and finishing off with a bold nutty edge. Walnuts, almonds, pecan and even a touch of smoke all create an everlasting finish. Have this one with smoked trout or some good Asiago and kalamata olives!

Visit our stores for these wines and we hope you enjoyed reading about them.

 

Raz

Earlier this week we were invited to host a tasting for the Bristol Wine Circle,  a lovely group who meet frequently to share their passion for wine.

They tasked us to show them a range of ‘interesting wines’, always like a challenge!

First was to narrow this down to just ten.  We choose all our wines for interest and purpose, however some are just a little more obscure and unusual.  This is what we chose:

2015 Emmenz-moi Au Bout du Terret, Clos du Gravillas

Unusual to find a single varietal Terret Gris but here it is from the dynamic couple at Clos du Gravillas in the Cote du Brian, Languedoc.  Dry, elegant and savoury, a perfect aperitif or partner to shellfish.  Use as you would Muscadet.

2015 Reto, Ponce

Spain is such a fascinating wine producing country that we featured three wines from it.  This Albillo de Albacete is the work of Juan Ponce in Manchuelo.  Organic farming and minimal intervention add to complexity of this weighty, textured white with a nervy citrus edge.

2016 Gumpoldskirchner Tradition, Johanneshof Reinisch

Now into Austria, Thermenregion just south of Vienna and one of our favourite producers Johanneshof Reinisch.  This is a terrific blend of Zierflander and Rotgifler, both native to this region and not really found elsewhere.  A rich start of ripe fruit gives way to more honeyed and savoury notes with a dry finish.  Great with rich, fatty foods.

2012 Ribolla Gialla, Ronchi di Cialla

Ribolla Gialla is an ancient variety found here in Friuli, NE Italy and across the border in Slovenia.  I find it racing with acidity in youth but, with some age, the fruit fills out and perfume notes are enhanced. Stunning wine!

2014 Roussanne, Stolpman

This fickle variety can make some of the world’s most stunning wines however it is stubborn in the vineyard and winery so few are made!  Here it is transported from it’s home in the Rhone Valley to the Central Coast of California with stunning results.  The oak is beautifully balanced but ever present, layered with tropical, green apple and lime citrus fruit.

On to the reds…..

2015 Zweigelt, Johanneshof Reinisch

A crossing of Blaufrankisch and St Laurent by Fritz Zweigelt, this is Austria’s most planted red variety.  It is a great introduction to this country’s wines capable of producing a wide range of styles.  Here it is full of juicy, dark fruits, touch of spice and fine tannins, a very versatile wine.

2015 Adiado, Casal Figueira

Casteleo in it’s funkiest form! From the lovely Marta of Casal Figueira, a tiny estate in the hills of Lisbao producing this brilliant and an outstanding white Vital. Expect crunch, herbs and farmyard!

2014 7 Fuentes, Suertes del Marques

We are now whisked off to the island of Tenerife to taste the native Listran Negro blended with a touch of Tintilla (Trousseau) cultivated on volcanic soils.  Deep brooding fruit with a touch of smoke!

2010 Schioppettino, Ronchi di Cialla

Once thought to be extinct, Paolo and Dina from Ronchi di Cialla fought for the recognition of this ancient variety from Fruili.  Thank goodness they did, it is just wonderful in a delicate and elegant way.  Light cherries and truffle, mushroom and perfumed violet.

2014 T. Amarela, Envinate

Tinta Amarela or Trincadeira to give it it’s proper name is native Portuguese and usually found there.  This little beauty, however, hails from a tiny vineyard plot just over the border in Extremadura, Spain.  Wonderfully perfumed nose leads to a dense yet vibrant palate that is layered and long.  Only a few hundred bottles made, be sure to grab one whilst you can (and before we do!).

 

All these wines are produced organically or biodynamically with minimal intervention in the winery.  It is not why we chose them, even though they are practices we believe are important, we chose them because they taste damn fine!

 

 

 

 

PORTUGUESE ICONS

QUINTA DO VALE MEAO

WINE DINNER

 

Wednesday 10th May – 7.30pm

The Kensington Arms, 35-37 Stanley Road, BS6 6NP

£45

In the upper reaches of the Douro Valley, on the rivers most dramatic meander, sits an iconic estate.

Quinta do Vale de Meao produces some of the world’s most stylish wines

from its rugged surroundings.

Bought and established by the legendary lady of Port, Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira,

in 1877, it has been the stage for many pioneering feats of winemaking and viticulture in the Douro.

It is now the 6th generation of the family, Xito Olazabal, that will be with us to host the tasting.

He will feature 3 vintages of the Quinta do Vale Meao legendary estate wine

together with his Meandro and Monte Meao wines.

A three course dinner from the fabulous team at The Kensington Arms will be served alongside.

This is a truly exciting opportunity try these most sought after wines.

Reservation is by payment prior to the event at;

Cotham 0117 973 1620; North Street 0117 963 3331: Cargo 0117 302 0038

www.corksofbristol.com

www.thekensingtonarms.co.uk

www.quintadovalemeao.pt

 

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WINE DINNER

DANIEL RAMOS

DISTINCTIVE TASTE OF SPAIN

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Wednesday 29th March – 7.30pm

The Kensington Arms, 35-37 Stanley Road, BS6 6NP

£45

Based in the Gredos Mountains, west of Madrid, Daniel Ramos is utilising Garnacha with some astonishing results.

He’s brought to life abandoned vineyards; combines ancient and modern winemaking techniques and makes wines with minimal intervention.

Thus giving his wines multiple threads of flavour and amazing depth.

It is an honour to have Daniel here to host the evening and the team at the Kensington Arms (recently included in the Top 50 Gastropub Awards) have created a tasting menu to compliment these extraordinary wines.

Spain is producing such exciting and distinctive wine at present, especially from this part of the country.

This is a great opportunity to try it at its best!

Reservation is by payment prior to the event at;

Cotham 0117 973 1620; North Street 0117 963 3331: Cargo 0117 302 0038

www.corksofbristol.com

www.thekensingtonarms.co.uk

www.daniel-ramos.es

Since Roman times, Madrid and its mountainous surroundings have been cultivated with grapes. The climate is continental, quite hot summers, equally cold winters and it is this stressful succession of seasons that makes the area a good spot for wine grape-growing. The growers here adapted to these slightly harsher conditions by bringing in the sturdy Garnacha, the lesser known Albillo or the ubiquitous Tempranillo, Airen and even the Syrah. The key to success here is altitude and soil. Enough height so that the hot summers get that cool breeze, good heat retention in the soil so that the cold nights give some warmth back to the vines.

We recently got on our shelves a few of the wines from this up and coming area , and would love for you to try some. The white, Daniel Ramos, Albillo Real 2014 comes from the Serra de Gredos, high up in the mountains south of Madrid. It is hand harvested from 90 year old vines, macerated for 3 days and then naturally fermented in french oak barrels. Rich and slight funky, retains a lovely balance of acidity and fruit to suit food matching but also to be drunk on its own. Lots of roasted white fruits, lemon preserve and a dry herb lingering through. Again from Daniel Ramos, Kappi Amphorae, Garnacha 2015 is harvested from 60 year old vines and then is traditionally fermented in very large clay amphorae, as probably the Romans did millennia ago.It goes through a very slow fermentation, which is key here in bringing out the flavors. The vibrant red & black forest fruits are complemented by a mixture of slight funky herbs, endemic spices and its complexity is only outmatched by the long, swirling finish. Daniel Gomez Jimenez-Landi,Las Uvas de la Ira,2014 is another stunning example from the Serra de Gredos, this one being harvested from parcels of old vine Garnacha at altitudes above 800m, a true mountain-climber. The Garnacha here is almost unrecognisable from the general characteristics of the grape. We get a beautiful, elegant wine, full of roasty red fruits, aromatic yet still subdued, complex yet direct and complemented by a just right acidity. There is still a slight rusticity, perhaps it comes with the terroir of the region, but its elegance is providing you with an almost sinful experience (of finishing the bottle in one go ). Last but not least, we have Bodega Maranones, Treintamil Maravedies, 2014 . This stunning example of Garnacha (90%) and a few other local varieties is coming through with a bold red & bramble fruit, rustic elements of spice and an aromatic herb reminiscent of the kitchens in Roman times. With a backbone of vibrant acidity and a somewhat elegant finish, it will match a great variety of meat platters or even something like a rich paella.

We recommend these wines wholeheartedly , bringing with them the flavors and even textures of perhaps millennia ago.

Come in and chat with us about them at any point in our shops .

 

Raz

The last few days have seen a sudden temperature drop – not wholly unexpected – which has brought with it that slight feeling of need for warmth. Being more specific, it’s that time of the year when you transition from the citrusy white wines  and bone dry rose of the summer to warmer reds. And there is no better transition red than the ubiquitous Pinot Noir.

It takes many forms, from very light and fruity to more serious and possibly quite chunky styles. We stock the full spectrum and invite you to try some.

We start off with a bright, juicy fresh style, Le Fou, Pinot Noir from the Pays D’Oc in France. It vibrates with fresh red cherries and a strawberry perfume, aromatic but with a propensity to deliver lots of fruit and dry soft spice.

Continuing on those lines of lighter, softer styles comes one of my all-time favourites, Marsannay, En Ouzeloy by Rene Bouvier. It is a gorgeous Pinot Noir coming from the northern part of the Cotes de Nuits in the village of Marsannay. Bright garnet in colour with a supple and silky texture that delivers all that is expected from Burgundy. Redcurrant fruit, soft cherry and aromatic berries wrapped around a cocoon of forest undergrowth that just adds to the complexity. There is a little  spice too, almost dainty, but enough to get that warming process going for you, the discerning drinker.

In our third offering, the grape is taking the form of a chameleon, stemming from the slightly cooler region of the Loire Valley, Sancerre Rouge, Domaine Jean-Paul Balland. It is on the mineral laden slopes of Sancerre that this beautiful Pinot Noir takes it’s clean, crisp almost savoury elements from. This wine shows a little more body with some savoury mushroom and earthy spices yet still maintains freshness. The cherries have dried a bit, the raspberry has become wild and there is a soft mulberry perfume embedded too. You’ll definitely want to pour another glass!

As the days turn slowly into foggy, overcast times of Autumn harvest and sometimes solitude, so our next offering changes its delivery of fruit and spice to you. Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir, Nalle  is a superb example of how there is (good) life for Pinot Noir outside of its comfort zone in Burgundy. The Russian River Valley is a region of America synonymous with Pinot Noir and this particular winery does a tremendous job with the grape. Bags of red and dark forest berries, supple tannins and a plethora of spices swirling around – yet never straying away from – the marvellous fruit at its core.

Jetting half way around the globe, we make a stop in the Southern Hemisphere to one of its most southern vineyard areas: The Central Otago, New Zealand. So much and so quickly has this region changed that 20 years ago it was barely a novelty. Wild Earth, Pinot Noir is our offering from this new world marvel and it is a big one too. It delivers in terms of body and weight, displaying some desired richness of fruit alongside spices, mushrooms, forest dry leafs and all the other elements of complexity one would expect. It comes packed with dark cherry, dark raspberry and some beautifully integrated wood spice.

We could not finish our small trip into the Pinot Noir world without visiting one of the world’s great vineyards, Volnay by Comte Armand is our last stop and it is one that amazes at every sip. Cotes de Beaune where Volnay is located has a great reputation for Burgundy’s other stellar grape, Chardonnay, but this Volnay would easily change your mind when it comes to what a richer style of Pinot Noir could be. Picked just at the right moment to deliver all the right terroir, it has a great depth, supple tannins and acidity, a minerality that prickles the fruit almost like a drop of rain on a dusty summer day. Oh and the fruits! Wild dark cherries, with their sweet bitter aftertaste, chewy raspberries with a cranberry middle, all revolving around those beautiful tannins and minerality. Spices abound in the form of wood, herb and mushroom and the finish is long, complex and mesmerizing. This is a wine which may move you to grab some logs and start stoking up your fireplace.

All of the above wines are available in our shops, where we would love to introduce them to you and chat some more.

Happy Drinking!

 

Raz