Feature Wine

Agustí Torelló Mata
Cava Kripta DO Gran Reserva
Spain, Penedes, Cava
$83.50 / bottle

Feature Restaurant

Bertoldi's
London, Central
Italian

TWC Blog

Here we'll provide you with information to help you discover incredible wines from around the world. Join us on our travels and learn more about our latest finds. We'll also share with you tips and tricks for selecting, storing, and enjoying your wine.

Archive for the ‘Food & Dining’ Category
Everyone is talking about Mencia
Sunday, January 18th, 2015

LosadaYou may have recently noticed some buzz around a little Spanish grape called Mencia (pronounced men-thee-a). This varietal is not new, in fact, it’s been planted in the Bierzo region of northwestern Spain for centuries and is thought to be a long-lost relative of France’s Cabernet Franc (see below). The reason for the recent buzz is that this grape is now being turned into some top quality wines. Mencia has a fruity and delicate tasting profile with great ageability. We also find it is a really versatile food wine.

According to Jancis Robinson et al (Wine Grapes, 2012, Harper Collins) Mencia probably came from Salamanca (in Bierzo) but it was not mentioned in the area until the late nineteenth century, after the arrival of phylloxera. It has been discovered (by DNA profiling) to be genetically identical to a grape called Jaen that is cultivated in Portugal in Dao, and considered native to that region.  The theory is that pilgrims on their return trip from Santiago de Compostela would have taken Mencia cuttings back to Dao.

The suggestion that Mencia is related to Cabernet Franc — that French pilgrims brought cuttings from France on their trip to Santiago de Compostela — has been ruled out by DNA studies. It makes agood story, but not a true one.

You can find Mencia from other regions in Spain such as Ribiera Sacra, Monterrei, and Valdeorras, and it is also authorized in Rias Baixas. However we find the best examples come from the old vine sites in Bierzo. Here the vines are planted on deep schist soils and yields are naturally low and the resulting wines more dense and concentrated.  We currently work with a high-quality producer of old-vine Mencia from the Bierzo DO — Finca Losada. The 2010 Losada Bierzo just returned to stock as part of our Consignment Program, and we now have an entry-level Bierzo called El Pajaro Rojo. Both come from old vines; the 2013 El Pajaro Rojo has spent less time in barrel.  The 2009 Altos de Losada again in the fall, and by early Spring the rare La Bienquerida.




Mmmm…Burgers!
Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Burger PhotoWe thought we would give you an amazing recipe we found for — get this — Mocha Burgers. We use our outdoor grill all year round so it’s always a perfect time to grill some up.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef, or mix of ground beef and ground pork (better)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
  • 1 tbsp finely ground espresso or coffee
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin seed, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together, form into four large patties, and let rest in fridge for about one hour before grilling. Grill until meat is cooked through, then top with caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, herbed mayo, and your favourite toppings.

As for the wine match, look for something not too tannic (the meat is cooked through) with darker fruit notes (think cherry or plum) and smoky/chocolate notes. The Finca Losda wines from Spain’s Bierzo region (El Pajaro Rojo in particular) would be great matches, as well as Tribolo from Poggio Stenti or the Geoff Merrill SGM. If beer is your preferred choice, look for something darker, like a Porter. I just tried some interesting beer from Collingwood’s Northwinds Brewhouse, if you are in the area.




Grechetto’s Coming Out Party
Friday, April 16th, 2010

Grechetto (pronounced greh-KEH-toh) is an Italian white-wine grape of (likely) Greek origins. The grape is planted throughout central Italy, particularly in the Umbria region where it is used in the region’s most important Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine Orvieto.

Todini-BiancoDelCavaliere[1]As is often the case with indigenous Italian varietals, Grechetto is also known as, among other names, Greghetto, Greco Spoletino, Stroppa Volpe, Greco Bianco di Perugia, and, in Emilia-Romagna, Pignoletto. However despite having a synonym with a similar name, we are told that Grechetto is not related to the Greco Bianco grape of the Calabria region in the south, (where it made into the amazing Greco di Tufo). You would think there’s a link if they both have Greek origins, but there is research so suggest Grechetto is more closely related to Pignoletto than previously thought, and perhaps Ribolla Riminese, which would suggest Slavic roots.

There is consensus that it was brought to Italy, from Greece, by Etruscan traders some 3,000 years ago, but record keeping seems to end there. We’ll have to wait for more conclusive ampelographic research to confirm Grechetto’s origins.

What we do know is the Grechetto vine is low yielding and able to produce grapes with concentrated aromas and flavours. It is also a hearty vine and the grape’s thick skin provides good resistance to downy mildew, a fungal disease which can attack the vines late in the growing season. On a more positive note, this thick skin also makes Grechetto a suitable grape for the production of late harvest dessert wines, and in particular the famous Tuscan vin santo. In making this heavenly nectar (vin santo literally means “wine of saints” or holy wine), the grapes have to be air dried for 3-5 months to increase sugar levels, and grapes with thicker skins are prized for this purpose as there’s less risk of loss due to rot. But we digress.

In the past, Grechetto was primarily used as a blending grape for making dry table wines, often with Malvasia and/or Trebbiano, where it adds richness and structure to the wines. But because of the higher proportions of Trebbiano, Orvieto DOC was usually considered a somewhat bland wine, and popularity was dropping. By increasing the proportions of Grechetto in the blend, wines like Orvieto seemed more interesting, and therefore more marketable.

As winemakers began to see the potential for the grape on its own, more varietal-labeled Grechetto wines are now being produced in Umbria. The DOC of Colli Martani, for example, allows, and is often made from 100% Grechetto grapes. The key for the grape seems to be (low) temperature-controlled fermentation to enhance the unique aromatics of the wine.

Straw-yellow colour, with greenish tinges, typically, the aromas and flavours of Grechetto are reminiscent of apples, pears, white peaches, wild flowers, and lime citrus, with notes of almonds. Usually made in a medium- to full-bodied style, there’s sufficient acidity to make Grechetto a very good food wine – with seafood, chicken, Asian-style dishes, and mild hard cheese like Pecorino. Simple pasta with olive oil, garlic, and peppers is classic Umbria, and a perfect match for Grechetto.

Grechetto is certainly deserving of the attention it’s getting, and if you want to join its coming out party we have Todini’s Bianco del Cavaliere DOC back in stock: from the winery’s own clone of the grape (Grechetto di Todi) and one of the best versions of 100% Grechetto we’ve tasted.




Does wine go with Chocolate?
Saturday, June 20th, 2009

freeimages.co.uk food imagesMmmm, yes. Try sweet Muscat wine (Italy, Greece, Hungary), late-bottled vintage or tawny port (Portugal) or Banyuls from the south of France. Cabernet Sauvignon and dark chocolate brownies are also a good match – contact us if you want a great recipe!




Red wine and fish
Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Looking for a red wine to match with fish?  Try a wine that is lighter-bodied, with good acidity, and low in tannins. Acidity in the wine acts like a squeeze of lemon with the fish. Low tannins avoid the nasty metallic aftertaste you get when components in the fish clash with highly tannic wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. A cool climate Pinot Noir (Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand, Canada), Gamay (from Beaujolais), or a Cabernet Franc from the Loire would all make a better match.