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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I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Aug 04, 12 I know this great little place in Covent Garden…Dalla Terra

Posted by in Food and Wine, Italy, wine bars

I know this great little place in Covent Garden, it’s called Dalla Terra. It’s easy to miss even though it is in the heart of Covent Garden, just off Long Acre as a matter of fact. Dodging my way past the throngs of shoppers and tourists, I turned off on to a sleek corridor of shops which ended in an open stone courtyard, surrounded on all sides by some very beautiful architecture. Dalla Terra’s glass fronted facade announces its presence in big white blocky letters. Stepping inside though, it’s very inviting, warmly lit with walls of wine lining both sides of the interior. One side of the room has individual tables  whilst the other side has a long communal table, ending with a table for two situated right next to the glass walled wine cellar. There’s also a long bar at the back of the bar if you just fancy a few bar snacks. It’s a wine bar that specializes in small Italian wine producers. They range from the big boys like Banfi and Gaja to small, natural wine producers. As many of you know, I am sceptical of natural wines but there are enough good ones to justify having them on a list and Dalla Terra has some winners. We were there for some wine and food matching. Dalla Terra has a full menu as well as cheese and charcuterie platters.  We tried  a fab dish of marinated hake before moving onto a “board” of meat as it’s termed at the restaurant. Dalla Terra sources as much of their food from Italy as possible and the charcuterie plate was a bonanza of salami! They offer a salami and cheese board paired with 5 different red and white wines and is available for only £20 – bargain and well worth it! The cheeses as well were all Italian. We picked a red wine to go with the cheeses, a Valpolicello, Kairos  from the producer, Zyme. A rich, textured wine, bursting with flavour, a succulent...

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Guest Post, Caroline Henry – La Fine Bulle a perfect place to relax and discover new Champagnes in Epernay

Guest Post – There are so many great wine blogs out there in the blogosphere. These guest posts are an effort to introduce you to my fellow wine bloggers, people who’s blogs I enjoy reading and who I’ve met up with over a glass or two. Cheers!  Epernay lies in the centre of the Champagne region and is considered to be the capital of this wine region. It is sleepy little town situated at the banks of the Marne River at the cross roads of the 3 of the 4 sub regions – La Vallée de la Marne, Les Montagnes de Reims and La Côte des Blancs. It has been the home of the major Champagne Negotiants since the early 19th Century and still today one can visit the famous Champagne Houses on the Avenue du Champagne. It is hence the perfect place to go and sample a few Champagnes in the recently opened Champagne bar/store, a cosy yet classy bar, located 17 Rue Gambetta.  The bar offers a choice of 5  growers Champagnes by the glass, and changes the selection on a weekly basis. They have partnered up with 25 growers representing the main subregions in Champagne including de Côte des Bar in the Aube. Their by the glass selection tries to reflect the different styles of Champagne and the focus ranges from showing off a single variety (eg Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir) to showing the characteristics of the different regions. And the selection always includes one rosé. Glass sizes are 10 ml (€5.50) and 14ml (€6.50). Alternatively one can opt for a flight – here one can either choose to taste the 4 whites or to include the rosé as well and have a tasting of the 5 featured Champagnes. The flights come in 2 sizes, 5 ml tasting (€12 or €14) or 10 ml tastings (€20 or €26).  The featured Growers Champagnes are also available by the bottle for the very reasonable price of €35. La Fine Bulle also offers...

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A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Feb 28, 12 A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Travel, wine bars

When I was in Paris last, I popped into Juveniles wine bar for a long leisurely lunch. Juveniles is a Paris institution. It was one of the first wine bar of it’s kind to open in Paris 25 years ago. At the time, the concept of  offering various wines by the glass was mostly unheard of in Paris. Scotsman Tim Johnson presides over the bar to this day and was there while I was and stopped to chat with me and my luncheon companion. The menu is French bistro and the wine list while not overly extensive is full of interesting wines from around the world as well as more esoteric French wines. If you’re looking for a non-French wine by the glass, this place is it. Always something interesting on the menu. The day we were in, there was a Chilean wine by the glass as well as Spanish! This is going to be a photo-blog because I neglected to take notes but took lots of pics! Juveniles is on a small street, very close to The Louvre but a  million miles away from the touristy hoards. Wine and Duck A few more bar interior pics. The place is small so be sure to get there either early or late, or better yet, make a reservation. Juveniles is also a wine shop, wines available at retail prices… they have a cricket club Yes, it was one of those long afternoon lunches… Juveniles 47 rue de Richelieu, 1er arrondissement M° Pyramides, tel: 01 42 97 46 49, closed Sundays Have a favourite wine bar in Paris? Leave your suggestion in the comments section Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Lunching at The 10 Cases, Covent Garden

Dec 21, 11 Lunching at The 10 Cases, Covent Garden

Posted by in Food and Wine, restaurants

At a dinner the other evening, one of the other diners mentioned this great little wine bar in Covent Garden, called appropriately enough, The 10 Cases,  which only ever  has 10 cases of 10 red and 10 white wines on hand. As an added incentive to visit, once the 10 cases are gone, they pick a different wine to take it’s place. The tantalizing prospect of a wine list with only 20 wines was something I couldn’t pass up. I was curious to see what they would offer, with some wine lists comprising hundreds of bins, a pared down list would make it easy to choose. Or would it? The wine list is not the only thing they’ve simplified, The chef, (ex-Coq d’Argent) Juette Shallow has only 3 starters, mains and desserts on his menu, changed daily. My friend Liz who was with me at lunch, commented that the concept is a bit like a “Bistrot Moderne,”common in France – daily menu with quality selection of food and wine, although they call themselves a “bistrot a vin.” They also have a small menu of bar snacks written above the counter. The food was hearty bistro fare. Stilton & spinach tart, duck salad, egg and foie gras to start, onglet, braised veal belly and trout for the mains. Uncomplicated but appetizing and appealing to the eye, we tucked into our meal with gusto. There was a small complaint about the foie gras toast being slightly burnt but in general, we pretty much ate in silence. And the wines? The list is well chosen and the prices are not over the top. Surprisingly, it was a a bit difficult to choose but I started with a reasonably priced 2008 Bouchard Gevry-Chambertin (£8 a glass). Full of ripe, red fruits, intense but subtle at the same time, I could have this with or without food.  Looking at the list, it was a primarily French with a few Italians in the mix – Barbera d’Asti, Cotes du Rhone,...

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