Negozio Classica, boutique Italian wine (and food)

May 15, 13 Negozio Classica, boutique Italian wine (and food)

Posted by in All, Food and Wine, Italy, restaurants, wine bars

Walking along Regent’s Park Road near Chalk Farm, with it’s myriad of cute little shops, there sits a charming Italian enoteca, Negozio Classica. A North London outpost of it’s Notting Hill namesake, Negozio is owned by the Italian winery Avignonesi and specializes in not only importing their wines but also wines from other boutique producers. As a matter of fact, they boast a wine list from which fully 60% of all the wines are only available by them here in the UK. I was invited by Negozio to not only try the wines but also the food to go along with it. Entering the place, the walls are lined with bottles, all of which you are offered at retail prices to take home. For a corkage fee of £8.50, you also have the option of having the wine there at one of the tables near the windows or at the short bar that leads into small back dining room in the back of the restaurant. There is also a larger dining room upstairs. The restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine, naturally, with a selection of Italian bistro fair (antipasti, salads, meats) as well as traditional Tuscan pasta specialities. The evening I went,  I had a few dishes paired with the house wines. As they have Enomatic machines, the wines are always fresh and always available. A starter of mozzarella, avocado, tomato salad was deliciously fresh- the tomatoes juicy and tasty and the  mozzarella, creamy with just the right denseness to it. And, the avocado was perfectly ripe! Often times, I find when I order this salad the avocado is disappointingly hard and watery. A peachy, fleshy, fruity vermentino (2012) produced by Fattoria Sardi (Toscana) was a good choice for this light salad. One of my favourite dishes was the smoked swordfish carpaccio – intensely smoky, delicately fishy (in a good way) paired with an Etna Rosso, the Masseria Ceteporte 2010, was 100% Nerello Mascalese and reflected its volcanic roots with a smoke tinged, red cherry...

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Castello Banfi Brunello and a long Friday lunch

My infatuation with Italian wine continues. A is for Amarone. B is for Brunello di Montelcino, bodalicious, complex, tasty, lipsmackingly satisfying (ok,so I’m skipping around the alphabet and making up words) you get the point, I do love those Italians. Growing up with only the familiar wicker covered funnily shaped bottles of Chianti, that was my only exposure to Italian wine, that and the cheap dross I encountered when I first came to London as a student. The good old days. Why do they call them the good old days? I’d much rather be in the now and the fabulous wines I had the other day at lunch. A typical wet, dreary London afternoon found me on Savile Row on my way to the smart Italian restaurant, Sartoria, for lunch with Bibendum and Cristina Mariani-May (the next generation and co-CEO of the company) and Dante Cecchini (regional manager) of Castello Banfi . Bibendum is now importing the Castello Banfi range into the UK so this was our opportunity to sample their wares. Castello Banfi orginally started out importing Italian wines to America early in the 20th century and built up a very successful import business but in 1978 they decided to head back to their native land and founded the Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate. Once there they spent a considerable amount of time and money on research and are now one of the leaders of classifying sangiovese from Tuscany.  They’ve spent over 30 years on research and catalogued over 160 clones which they’ve narrowed that down to the 15 best clones for their wines. And Castello Banfi has generously shared their research with the world because they believe ..”all ships will rise when the tide comes in…” and their research can only benefit all of Montalcino. Castello Banfi were also one of the first to plant international varieties in Tuscany, creating the “super-Tuscans” and we got to sample one during lunch. Nothing more civilized then a 5 course meal with matching wines for lunch, now is there? The food was fantastic but the real stars of the...

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