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Posts in Category "Event Report"

Susana Esteban: Adventures in Alentejo

Once regarded as an area for commercial wine in Portugal, the region of Alentejo has attracted some of Portugal's rising winemaking stars to the area. We met up with 2012 Portuguese Winemaker of the Year, Susana Esteban at Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields to taste her wines alongside delicious Portuguese food.

 

On Susana Esteban’s wine labels, there is always a drawing of a woman looking through binoculars. On her wine label for Aventura, the woman is flying a biplane. On her premium white wine, Procura, she is navigating a hot air balloon. It's not too far from what Susana Esteban is like in real life. 

 

Originally from Galicia, she studied in Rioja and started her winemaking career in the Duoro. In 2007, she ventured south to work as a consultant and set up her own project in the sparsely-populated Alentejo.

 

The Alentejo Region 

 

Alentejo is a large region covering almost one third of Portugal. Drive up from the Algarve and into the hot region of southern Alentejo until the São Mamede mountain rises up on the border of Spain. Known as Portugal’s ‘bread basket’ - with vineyards alongside cereal fields and cork oaks - only relatively recently have winemakers moved here with the view to making quality wine. 

 

Susana’s vineyards are scattered around the mountains (“I have a helicopter, to see all the vineyards”), including a small vineyard in Portalegre with 60-year old vines at 700m altitude. The cooler conditions, and higher rainfall, is what gives wines from here complexity and freshness.

 

Susana explains, “Before I moved to Alentejo I had a different idea, (and I thought it was a) very commercial area, But I have found it’s an amazing area. I wanted to make something different, a very small project.”

 

She spent two years looking across Alentejo for the perfect vineyards and had to wait until 2011 before finding exactly what she wanted. She even put it out on Facebook, where someone contacted her about her grandfather’s vineyard he wanted to sell. 

 

“There are some special old vineyards here with old field blends.”

 

What's so special about a ‘field blend’?

 

What makes her wines unique, and what gives the wines complexity and depth, is the ‘field blend’ in the vineyard. This is where different grape varieties are grown together, harvested together, and co-fermented at the same time. It’s a traditional way of making wine where the grapes have often not even been identified. 

 

"Within a half hectare, there can be up to 20 different grapes in the vineyard. Each vineyards is different."

 

"You have to know the vineyard. Taste the grapes. We know the grapes are Portuguese, but we don't know what. The most difficult thing is to pick the grapes at the right time. It gives the wine complexity."

 

With all this hands-on winemaking, the output is small with an average of 25,000 bottles in total produced per year. “To control everything,” says Susanna, “you have to be small.”

 

 

The Wines 

 

The whites

Aventura Branco

7000 bottles made, from 30-year-old vineyards in Serra de São Mamede with a blend of hand-picked indigenous grapes where Arinto is the main variety. Traditional vinification in lagares.

Taste profile: Zesty citrus characters of lemon and kaffir lime with good texture and excellent weight on the palate. Very refreshing, this is a wine to drink before or with meals. 

Food match: Green bean fritters and bulhaō pato at Taberna do Mercado

 

 

Procura Branco 

2,300 bottles made. From a field blend of traditional Portuguese varieties. Began fermentation in stainless steel and finished in oak. Aged in 5 year old French oak barrels from Burgundy.

Taste profile: From a cooler vintage (and area) than the Aventura Branco, the colour is lighter despite more use of oak. This has a saline (olive), floral and herbal character with great depth to the stoney, mineral finish. An elegant wine that develops beautifully in the glass.

Food match: Cachaço 5 month cured chestnut-fed pork neck 

 

The reds

Aventura Tinto 

15,000 bottles made. A hand-picked blend of 40% Aragonês (Tempranillo), 40%Touriga Nacional with 20% traditional varieties of Portalegre. Open fermentation in lagares. This wine was made for easy drinking. 

Taste profile: A light to medium bodied wine with floral and herbal notes with delicious red fruit and crunchy fresh tannins. This was a great wine with the line caught squid at lunch. As Susana says, "I make wine that I love to drink."

Food match: Prawn rissóis at Taberna do Mercado; (it also works well with the dessert, olive oil and runny egg sponge cake).

 

Procura Tinto

5,000 bottles made. 55% Alicante Bouschet with 45% from a traditional mixed vineyard in Portalegre. Hand picked grapes with traditional vinification in lagares. 

Taste profile: An incredible dark purple colour with fruit of the forest characters and a concentrated, velvety finish. 

Food match: Line caught Portuguese squid and potatoes (pictured)

 

Sidecar

The Sidecar is a collaboration wine. A winemaker is invited to the winery to interpret the vineyard in a wine. Each year its different. The 2014 was a collaboration with Dirk Niepoort. In 2015, Filipa Pato and sommelier, William Wouters. 

The wines are very different and show how important the decisions in the winery affect the final wine. Where Dirk Niepoort chose to create a supremely elegant wine, and who even brought a tonneaux barrel from Mosel, Filipa Pato brought with her amphora to create a blend of 50% Baga from Bairrada and 50% traditional grape varieties from Serra de São Mamede. Two very different styles of wine, all very different styles of winemakers working together to explore the possibilities of Alentejo. 

 

See all of Susana Esteban's wines at Bottle Apostle 

 

by Juel Mahoney

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Posted in Event Report

Press Release: Bottle Apostle opens highly anticipated fifth shop in Primrose Hill

For Immediate Release

Bottle Apostle opens highly anticipated fifth shop in Primrose Hill

Date: 9th July, 2015

 

BEGINS

Independent wine merchant Bottle Apostle completes its 2015 expansion with the opening of their fifth shop (and potentially final) in Primrose Hill. This highly anticipated shop is due to open its doors on Saturday 18th July.

With their previous shop opening just a two months ago in East Village, it’s certainly been a busy 2015 for this independent wine merchant. Through its growth Bottle Apostle’s collection of five shops has managed to avoid the common portrayal of becoming a “chain” by sticking to its independent roots while opening in noticeably distinct areas of London.

“The last six months has been absolutely incredible. Rarely does an independent wine merchant get the opportunity to open two distinctive shops within two months of each other. I think it’s a confirmation that we’re offering something unique to wine drinkers across the city while allowing each shop to maintain its own personality.” says owner Andrew Eakin.

Following the success of their previous shops, Primrose Hill will offer a range of over 550 wines, a distinctive spirits range, craft beers and premium sakes. The new store will be equipped with 16 wines to try at any time using their unique Enomatic® tasting machines which allows visitors to sample from various regions, styles and grape varieties. Bottle Apostle’s emphasis on “trying before you buy” creates a low-risk approach to wine buying and provides customers with a chance to explore wines at their own pace. Supporting this is an eclectic range of wines, all of which are colour-coded, food-matched and concisely described with the additional support of highly knowledgeable staff. 

Primrose Hill will also be home to Bottle Apostle’s craft beer and cider spin-off, The Brew Testament. This side-arm gives craft beers and ciders their own space to shine in a quickly growing category for independent merchants. The opening of this shop provides Primrose Hill with its most comprehensive offering of craft beers & ciders yet; and visitors will have access to the most popular London craft breweries available at the moment.

For those seeking some wine education or a more formal approach to wine; Primrose Hill will also house in-store tutored tastings, themed events and Bottle Apostle’s signature in-store “Free Friday Tastings” each week.

To celebrate the opening day, Bottle Apostle, will be hosting a generous prize giveaway to its first 50 customers. Prizes include generous donations from local businesses such as premium butcher Jack O’Shea, luxury kitchenware shop Richard Dare, and boutique bakery Sweet Things. On the wine front, big ticket prizes include a jeroboam of Paul Dethune Champagne, an array of magnums and a bottle of 10 year old Armagnac to name a few.

ENDS

 

CONTACT

For further information on this press release and Bottle Apostle, please contact Miranda Fong at miranda@bottleapostle.com or 020 8985 1549.

 

Bottle Apostle

95 Lauriston Road

Hackney

London

E9 7HJ

 

Website: www.bottleapostle.com

Twitter/Instagram: @bottleapostle

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FREE Sake tasting with Asami Tasaka

Continuing our series of SAKE 101 tastings across all our shops, it's finally time for Clapham to open a few bottles! Asami Tasaka joins us from World Sake Imports to taste you through 6 different styles of sake. You'll walk away knowing your junmai from your ginjo, and be able to approach our sake fridge with confidence! Drop-in anytime between 1-5pm on Saturday 8th November for a free taste!

 

Hoyo "Kura no Hana" Daiginjo sake

Uchigasaki Brewery

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Masumi "Okuden Kantsukuri" Junmai sake

Miyasaka Brewery

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Akitabare "Koshiki Junzukuri" Junmai sake

Akita Brewery

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Dewazakura Oka Ginjo sake

Dewazakura Brewery

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Kamoizumi KomeKome sake

Kamoizumi Brewery

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Kamoizumi Nigori Ginjo sake

Kamoizumi Brewery

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Free Friday Tasting w/ Indigo Wines

We're ramping up tonight's FREE FRIDAY TASTING with a visit from Indigo Wines. Although Indigo has a special focus on Spanish wines, they've got their hands on some very unique parcels from cool-climate Australia, South Africa among others. Alvaro Ribalto joins us in Victoria Park from 5-8pm TONIGHT to pour a few of these Hackney favourites. Drop by for a free taste from this killer line-up...

 

Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2012

Luke Lambert

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Ivory Blend - Coastal Region 2012

Johan Meyer

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Altaroses D'A 2012

Joan d'Anguera de Darmos

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Black Slate 2011

La Conreriad d'Scala Dei

 

 

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FEAST at Abbeville Kitchen

 

A sneak peek at our upcoming FEAST dinner with neigbours Abbeville Kitchen on Tuesday 23rd September. Join us as we shut the place down for an evening and fill the restaurant will fellow feasters! Tickets are a mere £45 which fills your table with five courses, each selectively paired with a wine by us! 

Bookings can be made in person in the restaurant or by calling 020 8772 1110. Seats are limited so be sure to book early!

 

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An evening of Cheeseporn

Our autumn calendar was filled with some memorable events this year. How can we forget the sea of prams lining our shops during our Mum tastings? The sold-out (in just a few days) Filipa Pato/Leandro Carreira winemaker supper that stunned guests with the quality and revitalisation of the Baga grape? Or our October Blue cheese event that we're sure all of Hackney could smell. We always hit our stride in December and have a little less time to host events, so we wanted to make our last BIG ticketed event of the year fun, casual and delicious. Raclette seemed like a natural choice for us considering the success of all our cheese events with O Toma O Morte this autumn. 

So last night we cleared the wine cases, turned on the grills and opened some fantastic wines/beers for over 60 cheese-starved guests. It's pretty safe to say thhat Ian and Gian (O Toma O Morte) made sure they left bellies stuffed with saucisson, potatotes, conichons and a melted melange of Swiss Aarewasser, French Morbier, and Italian Toma Biellese. (Just typing that makes me want more!). It's always natural to pair wines with the cheeses of the region, so it really was a breeze choosing our wines for the evening. On the wine front we opened the deliciously crisp Frangy Roussette de Savoie 2012 and Valle d'Aosta Petit Rouge 2012. Both showing great acidity to help cut through the richness of the cheese. Beer lovers enjoyed our new Five Points Pale that we can't seem to keep on the shelves for very long!

We'll be having a few free pre-Christmas tasting over the coming weeks, but make sure to check for our upcoming events in the New Year!

 

 

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Wine C4R Boot, Round 2

 

Ok, we didn't sneak in an icebox of beers this time around, but a double bed VW was well worth the substitution! We were very excited to be part of Wine C4R Boot's second round of wine pouring independents on Sat Nov 16th. Lucky visitors got to sample over 50 wines from 10 renowned London indies...and trust us, they were spoilt for choice! 

 

Given the chilly environment down in Great Suffolk St, we decided to choose a few wines that we knew would show well in fingernumbing condidtions. The elegance & balance of the Ma Maison Pinot Noir, and sheer wow-factor of our Adoro Natural Sweet Mourvedre proved to be winners on the day! And we can't forget about the white Nero di Troia....a white wine made from red grapes? Say what!? If you happened to miss us on Saturday, here's a quick refresher on the wines we poured.

 

THE LINE UP

Informal - Baga da Vinha Pan 2011, Luis Pato | £18

Come d'Incantro 2012, Cantine Carpentiere | £15

Pardusco 2012, Anselmo Mendes | £12.50

Ma Maison Pinot Noir  2011, Leung Estate | £25

Natural Sweet Mourvedre, Adoro | £13

 

Keep up to date with future Wine C4R Boot events by following @winecarboot or checking http://www.winecarboot.com/

 
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Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe w/ Daniel Brunier

 

Last night we played host to one of Chateauneuf-du-Pape's greatest. Winemaker Daniel Brunier was present to talk us through the wines of Le Pigeoulet, Domaines Les Pallieres, second-wine Vinobles Brunier's Telegramme, and of course Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe's La Crau.

All the wines poured were showing very well, particularly the Chateauneaf-du-Pape Blanc 2011 which impressed many. Daniel managed to truely illustrate the unique differences in each vintage and its reflection in the glass, making for some lively conversation amongst eager DVT fans. We even managed to sneak open a bit of library stock to finish off the evening! Take a look at what the lucky 14 drank last night...

 

Whites

Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2011, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe | £48

 

Reds

Le Pigeoulet des Brunier 2011, Vignobles Brunier | £14.50

Gigondas Les Racines 2011, Domaine Les Pallieres | £31

Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape  2011, Vignobles Brunier | £33

Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape  2009, Vignobles Brunier | £31

Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2009, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe | £51

Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2008, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe | £46

Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2005, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe | £70

Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 1999, Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe | not available for sale

 

*We have a VERY LIMIITED supply of the wines listed above. Please contact us at 020 8985 1549 or info@bottleapostle.com for details. 

 

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Back-to-back suppers

 

We welcomed chefs Ben Morgan and Edoardo Pellicano last week for two evenings of creativity, entertainment and some incredible dishes. Both sold out evenings saw guests arrive to a complete blind tasting menu with wine pairings provided by yours truly. Currently refining their talents at East London’s Michelin-starred Viajante Restaurant, Ben & Eddy really played with texture, varying cooking methods and more importantly showed us that evenings like this can simply be fun! Other than full stomachs, each guest left with a memorable poloroid with one dish from the evening with a hand-written menu by the chefs...a great touch to remember the night!

We were all wowed by the level of detail and breadth of skill Ben and Eddie brought to the evenings, and so glad these two could join our ever-growing series of supper clubs. Here's an quick look at what we tasted/poured:

 

Snacks

Chicken and ramen

Salsify cream

Salsify with lemon and sorrel

Cigar smoked Sourdough with whisky butter

Mains

Bowl of Cereal

Vouvray Petillant Brut 2007, Domaine Huet | Loire Vally, France

 

Mackerel with watercress and plums

Vermentinu Clos Culombu 2012, Etienne Suzzoni  Corsica, France

 

Pumpkin, pine and cookies

Nero di Lupo 2012, COS | Sicily, Italy

 

Bream with sour cherries and green apple

Von blauem Schiefer Reserve 2010, Weingut Heymann-Lowenstein | Mosel Valley, Germany

 

Kale and nori (snack)

 

Lamb belly, peanut mole and turnips

Red 2010, Donovan Rall | Swartland, South Africa

 

Dessert

Root beer and white bean

Burgenland Auslese 2009, Umathum | Burgenland, Austria

Vanilla and beetroot 

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We parked, we poured, and we (one of us) burned…

 

On Sunday, 7 enthusiastic independent wine merchants rolled into to Netil Market, hit the parking brake and joined to help put on London's first ever WINE C4R BOOT. 

 

Calling this event a success is an understatement. For six straight hours, visitors (from all across London) crowded to sample unique wines, eat at some of East London’s top foodstalls, as well as buy their favourite wines of the day. It was non-stop and just the way we like it.

 

Standing in-front of our unofficial Bottle Apostle car, we were swamped from the start until the very last beer (don’t tell anyone) was sold. Rumours of our ever-popular Contacto Alvarinho, Sequillo Red and cheeky red Lambrusco quickly spread around the market. Of course this meant that we spent the next 6 hrs stuffing our cooler with Contacto, and popping corks to ensure all the out-stretched arms were getting a sample of “that killer red sparkling my friend told me about”. A great day for Lambruscos everywhere!

 

Of course those weren’t the only wines we opened that day. We had a comprehensive line-up of wines with an obvious Portuguese focus. Lucky Wine C4R Boot visitors got to sample:

 

Contacto Alvarinho 2012 (£17)

Maias Dão Branco 2012 (£11)

Vinha dos Santos Douro 2011 (£12.50)

Sequillo Malmesbury Red 2010 (£22)

Lambrusco Pruno Nero (£14)

 

We hope that everyone had as much fun as we did on Sunday. The event got so much press that even the sun decided to make an appearance! Hopefully there will be many more WINE C4R BOOTs to come, and you better we sure we’ll be parked and ready to pour for each one!

 

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