Most Read Blog Posts - May 2011Artisan and Vine - Take Two
It's been about two years since I last headed up St Johns Hill in Battersea to the Artisan and Vine and much has changed at this award winning London wine bar, famous for its unusual selection of natural wines. I made a date to catch up with the owner, Kathryn O'Mara, via Twitter last weekend and so, good to my word, turned up, pen and paper at the ready to try her new range of Italian wines by the glass.
There are several super reasons for any serious wine fan to take a trip to the Artisan and Vine, firstly, the natural wines contain no sulphites and so ensure no headache in the morning, secondly, they've got some great hot food on the menu now including some delicious vegetarian options and thirdly, the wines by the glass change on a regular basis so there is always something new and interesting to sample. Many of the wines on the list are the direct result of Kathryns visits to vineyards all over the world, and I, as well as most of you I'm sure, are frankly jealous of this lifestyle and, due to this, I shall knock a point off every wine I review.
Now, on top of flying the flag for natural wines, Kathryn also does her bit promoting and selling English wines which continue their stratospheric rise in popularity and are among the best selling wines at the Artisan and Vine. The reason for my visit was to taste through the range of Italian wines by the glass but I did wander off my path, not discouraged by Miss O'Mara, into the world of Wiltshire wines and then for no good reason at all onto a Pouilly Fuissé, which turned out to be the best wine of the evening.
So George Dawes, what are the scores? (All these wines are between £4-£7 a glass)
Ca 'd' Gal Lumine Moscato di Asti
Notes of apricot, orange and elderflower on the nose but very faint, on the palate the wine reminds me of Orange Lockets... but in a good way, a lovely fresh wine and a great appetizer, exceptionally easy drinking if a little over sweet even for my sweet tooth. 84 Points
Cantina Ericina Integra (Orange Wine) 2009
Sicily's most common grape doesn't make its way over to the UK often so this was a real treat. Dark caramel orange colour with a nose a little like Cointreau with a sweet alcoholic note. A really fresh and vibrant wine on the palate with a long sour under ripe orange finish. Doesn't sound appealing but this is an interesting wine that should be tried. 85 Points
AA Roncus - Collio Bianco 2009
Straw yellow wine with lime hues. Not quick to give on the nose but there are hints of pineapple and elderflower on this Fruili white blend. The palate has an interesting mineral quality and good acidity. It's not a wine that I could sit and drink watching a movie, certainly a wine for food but of high quality with good balance and a decent length on the finish. 88 Points
Cantina Ericina - Nero d'Avola 2009
This wine was giving a good show of itself on the nose with a mixture of red fruits, raspberry and strawberry notes as well as a touch of rose. Soft, young tannins with a nice finish make this a real glugger of a wine. Not sure I'd pick this as a Nero d'Avola, as it doesn't display those characteristics in a strong way but it is a pleasant every day drinking wine. 85 Points
It would be unfair of me to score the Wiltshire Seyval Blanc as my knowledge of Wiltshire wine is limited to this one glass, however a nose of pear drops and apples was pleasant but a watery finish was a let down. The outstanding wine of the night was the Domaine Combier Pouilley Fuisse with an exuberant pink grapefruit/honeyed nose and a well balanced, fruity palate with good length on the finish.
All in all, a great night, with some interesting wines and most importantly, I could still touch my toes in the morning with no ill effects. Kathryn is always on hand to offer wine/food pairing tips and is a helpful, enthusiastic guide to the wines she has chosen, so for that, I'll add the point back on.
Most Read Blog Posts - May 2011