The Artisan and Vine wine bar in Battersea is a pleasant place to while away a Sunday evening. A sling shot from my London pad it's amazing I hadn't discovered the Artisan and Vine before. Not only are there 120+ high quality wines on the list, (several by the glass) but they're also big friends to English winegrowers stocking some very good fizz, whites and even passable reds. The best thing about the Artisan and Vine is that you aren't going to wake up the next morning with a tongue like a badgers wotnots or a thick head because the Artisan and Vine specialise in natural wines. Dropping all those sulphites and dodgy yeasts that go into so many wines not only means you can taste more without the hangover but these well made wines are also easy drinking with a great deal of smoothness.
Situated between Clapham and Wandsworth the bar wasn't exactly jumping on a chilly March evening, there's plenty of seating as well as passionate and knowledgeable staff. This is a brilliant place to come and try the best of natural wines in an informal environment. What you must not miss, especially if you're English, are the English wines. This weekend I spent some time in Brighton and noticed many of the bars were also stocking English whites and fizz. English wines are everywhere at the moment and us Brits should really be drinking the best of them.
The Artisan and Vine is also very fairly priced. You will not find your 300-500% mark up on wines here. A very modest mark up per bottle is added and if you decide you like a wine or want to try some of the other natural wines on offer you can buy bottles to take home some 30% cheaper than the prices on the wine list. I took full advantage of this purchasing a Frog Leaps Zinfandel. As if all this wasn't reason enough to take a trip to Battersea the food here is also first class providing great accompaniments to wine. Winner winner chicken dinner. Get yourself down there for a glass of top drawer natural Rioja, they even stock the Ostertag wine I reviewed last week. G'wan. Treat yourself.
SARAH NEWTON IN WINE DRINKING SHOCKER. READ ALL ABOUT IT. BELOW.
Oliveir Rivière Rayos Uva Rioja 2007 - BUY - €8 (Spanish)
A dark brooding purple in the glass. The nose is a delight. Whilst still being recognisable Tempranillo you are not bombarded with oak instead fresh aromas of dark fruits, chocolate and spices with the vanilla playing fourth fiddle. On the palate the wine is very tannic but not overly dry and chewy, favourable tannins create the structure within a raisined fruity and luscious mouth feel. When talking about the finish on these wines you are reminded that these are natural wines without the throat stripping finish, this wine had a mid length to the finish. 91 Points+
Biddenden Ortega 2006 - BUY - €8 (English)
A light straw colour the wine was offering some interesting mineral notes. On the palate the wine has very good acidity and a pleasant sweetness. Apple fruits but very basic, mid bodied, off dry. Not a complex or particularly interesting wine but really easy drinking and just tasty. Super aperitif wine. No world beater, it is what it is and I enjoyed it. 83 Points
Bookers Vineyard Blackbird Merlot 2006 - PASS - €13 (English)
Dark ruby red, a gorgeous colour followed by a pretty nose of cherry and plums. The promise is short lived as on the palate the wine is light bodied, insipid and lacking in fruit and overly acidic, unbalanced wine that started so well but tastes really quite average. 79 Points
AA Cos Rami Bianco 2006 - BUY - €11.50 (Italian)
Dark golden straw colour in the glass. A highly aromatic blend of 50/50 Inzolia and Grecanico with notes of creamy pineapple and melons. Great acidity on the palate the wine is so on point here that you would not be guessing such a warm terroir as Sicily. Gentle and rounded on the palate, mid bodied with a seductive finish. Well made. 89 Points
Joining me on my night at the Artisan and Vine was fellow wine blogger, The Wine Sleuth. I presume she will blog these up and have a completely different take on all these wines! We shall see. We also tried a Loire Chenin Blanc that threw me, Denise describing it as "voluptuous" with my take on the wine being "flabby". They sound very similar but our meanings were very different.
Where can I buy this wine? (The Rioja)
Americans - Goose Egg. Sorry.
Europeans - Wijnfolie - €8
Brits - Zelas - £14.99
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English Wines. Natural Wines. Your opinions?