Going Pop Up: #WineWednesdays

Now Pop Ups are all the rage these days and despite being the sort of guy that you might expect to have his finger on their popping pulse, embarrassingly I have been to very few. Thankfully my Fiancée and I walked right past the aptly named WineWednesdays at the rooftop venue Skyroom near Tower Bridge. With this stunning weather our decision was made for us and after receiving our wristbands (the meaning of which will be come apparent) we dashed up the elevator to the 5th floor. WineWednesdays are the lovechild of Kiki & Laura who run A Grape Night In, a Pop Up wine business that’s not just a one hit wonder, whose aim is to enliven and demystify the sometimes murky world of wine.

The venue itself is cosy and has the feel of a upscale beachside bar. Much of the covered cushioned area was reserved so we took a small table out in the open.Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 13.19.23

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The Girls (as they seem to be called in much of their literature) decided on the theme of Summer Playlist for the month, drawing inspiration from the many famed festivals that take place on this hallowed Isle in the month of July. Kiki explained with much warmth and energy their concept behind their inventive short list of appropriately themed musical genre wines & accompanying optional nibbles.

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Growing up on Simon & Garfunkel and Gordon Lightfoot during my early childhood Track 1-Folk seemed the best way to start. Folk’s vinous equivalent being an floral aromatic 2012 Gewurztraminer “Adobe” from the organic & ethical Emiliana in Chile. Lively & clean, subtle mango moving into flinty stone and without the candied feel you sometimes get with Gewurz. It went beautifully with the delicious dukkah crusted hand rolled falafel nuts & thickest minty garlicky tzatziki this side of the Ionian Sea.

 

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My lady had Track 3-Classical which was a 2011 Circumstance “Cape Coral” Mourvedre Rose by Waterkloof in Stellenbosch. Biodynamic and made much in the restrained style of Provence Rose (your nod to classical right there) but with a glint of smokiness so typical of South African Red Varieties. It was paired with that most Provencal dishes of Pissalidiere, mini pastries of onion jam, black olives & anchovies. The rose &  savoury pastries wove a harmony worthy of great applause for the conductor indeed.

My companion decided to move onto Track 2-Reggae which was a crowd pleasing easy drinking 2012 Suikkerboisse Chenin Blanc/Viognier also from Stellenbosch. Rather unsurprisingly it came “Jungle” chicken fingers, homemade plantain chips & mango chutney. The chutney stood out, but the chicken which for me though perfectly cooked & crispy lacked seasoning and perhaps a little Marley Magic.

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Decided to go Track 4-Rock in an homage to my teen years from those bad boys of McClaren Vale, the very aptly named Some Young Punks. I found the  2011 “Passion has Red Lips” Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz  more Phil Collins than The Pixies. Now both could be called rock and I like some Phil Collins (not embarrassed to say so) with and without Genesis he crafted some solid 80’s “Soft” Rock songs. I am however a huge Pixies fan (which arguably are more Alt Rock if we are going to split hairs) so when I saw “Rock” I was thinking more Kim Deal than Mike Rutherford. But I digress… The wine was ripe concentrated and supple. Dark cassis blackberry fruit with relaxed tannins. I liked it, but it certainly wasn’t like getting stomped on in a mosh pit. It was paired with spicy meatballs of beef, chorizo & roast pepper stew that honestly did kick a bit of ass and wouldn’t have been out of place at a an early 90’s Lollapalooza concert.

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A total of 10 tracks (6 wines by the glass and a further B side of 4 by the bottle) there should be enough to keep you entertained by the New World leaning lineup. For those not into wine they had an offering from the mighty Kernel Brewery down the road as well as cider (I think). Lovely setting, warm knowledgeable staff, tasty food and very reasonable prices Laura & Kiki are onto a good thing. Hopefully the weather holds and despite going onto a new theme for next month #WineWednesdays is well worth a visit.

 

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Real Wine Fair 2013

The Real Wine Fair is an artisan growers’ event featuring small wine growers who work organically and/or biodynamically and intervene as little as possible in the winery to make wines that taste true to themselves, true to their grape varieties, and true to the vineyard and region. This year it was held at Tobacco Dock, a listed Victorian brick-built warehouse space in Wapping East London.

Bernard Jantarovy Lezak-Dunkel/Amber Lager

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I brought this bottle back from my recent trip to Prague. It was definitely the pick of the bunch.

Bernard make some excellent beers in Humpolec in the Czech Republic.
I popped the stopper and from the first sip I was smitten.
To the eye it’s lovely bright copper red w/ persistent fine bubbles.
Nose of caramel & chestnut
On the palate it’s clean fresh and crisp.
Hints of toasted hazelnut, marmite & cherry bark play hide and seek on your tongue.
An easy drinking but wonderfully crafted Czech Amber Lager. 4.7% abv
http://www.bernard.cz/en/beer/assortment/bottled-beer/2.shtml

Mitravelas Estate Lefkes Moschofilero 2011

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If you are looking for a white wine that’s off the beaten track but quite brilliant then head to M&S and grab a bottle of this fragrant, exotic but very dry Lefkes Moschofilero from the Greek Peloponnese.

Made by Mitravelas Estate this 2011 combines bracing mineral freshness with hints of green fruit.

If you want to impress a wine snob friend then bring a bottle of this stuff. About £8.99 a bottle. Sadly not listed online as I wrote this.

M&S

 

Santa Helena Pinot Noir 2010

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A very grown up Chilean Pinot from the Casablanca Valley in this here bottle. The nose gives up ripe strawberry, liquorice and kirsh. Palate is neither jammy or overdone. Nice lean mineral flavours of purple plum, dry green tobacco and shades of red berry. Tart tannins with a firm dry finish. Went wonderfully with roast chicken, marsala & porcini mushroom sauce. Definitely a food wine, 7/10.

£7.99 from the Co-Operative

Marble Brewery Organic Chocolate Stout

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Big fan of Marble’s beers and this dandy was no exception. A dense and long lasting mocha/root beer float head, nose that was deep nutty dark choc nibs whiffs of wet dog and aged oak. Palate was mocha rich & mouth coating but not overwhelmingly so. Hints of wet wool choc ganache and a long bitter choc finish. Cracking Stuff! 8/10

Available direct from Marble Beers

Casa Silva Reserva Viognier 2010

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Casa Silva Reserva Viognier 2010- Viognier for Grown Ups
From the Colchagua Valley in Chile, I had this bottle a few months back and only just found the tasting note in a pair of my jeans that had been washed. Thankfully I had written them on a Moose themed notecard of very sturdy fabrication. They read the following:Opaque
Ns-Unripe Mango & Almond blossom
Pal- Ultra lean dry mineral lime, white nectarine, almond. Quite fine. Green. Taught lime leaves. White.I imagine the “white” wasn’t simply stating the obvious and that I had simply become distracted by something at dinner.For me this is more serious Viognier, not just a peach and flower blossom punch in the mouth. It’s classy and well made as most Casa Silva wines are.  £10-12
Stockists Incl: www.caviste.co.uk/www.lockettbros.co.uk/

Storm Beer Bali & Mee Goreng

Last September I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s wedding on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali. Before that though I was hanging out in Seminyak and came across Storm Beer. I was very impressed with their Golden Ale and it went a treat with the Mee Goreng.
I shot this on my iPhone and the quality wasn’t too bad at all.

Goose Island “Lolita” Raspberry Belgian Style Ale

Rather special this oak aged Lassie.

Rust red and very still in the glass. Nose of autumn orchard & pickled cabbage. Sweet & sour raspberries on the palate. After opening up a bit hints of wood mushroom & dried raspberry emerge.

Beautifully balanced & complex. A serious beer that aches for simple roast chicken, sausages or stinky creamy cheese. 8.5/10

9% abv & available from Beers of Europe @ £14.99 per 650ml bottle