As a Father’s Day present I decided to take my Dad for a rare grapes wine tasting at Ten Green Bottles in Brighton. The venue is part wine bar, part wine merchants located in the heart of Brighton. Becky and I have been a few times before, and saw in the New Year there in 2015. As well as wine, they serve small plates of food, charcuterie and cheeses that make perfect accompaniments.
All the rare grape wines in the tasting were imported by Red Squirrel Wines. The Managing Director Nik Darlington presented expertly, and showed great passion and personal interest in all the wines. Unlike some stuffy formal wine tasting, there was no lecture on what “flavour notes” you should be detecting in the wines. Nik focused on the history of each of the wines, how they came to be, and the winemakers that produce them. This made the experience far more interesting, and entertaining. All the wines we tried had been fermented using natural yeast, and with very few additives. Red Squirrel Wines import unique and interesting wines from around the world, that reflect the current trend for organic, biodynamic, rare varietal, and/or low sulphur wines. I notice that they also stock orange wine, which is predicted to become more popular. (Orange is the new white – Independent Newspaper)
The following is a rundown of the rare grape wines we tasted with a few tasting notes. To buy, visit either Ten Green Bottles or Red Squirrel directly. All the wines were food friendly, being not particularly fruit-forward, with good acidity and structure.
Chez Rocailleux Far from the Eye 2015
Grape: Len de l’El Region: France
Notes: A bright, fresh white, with a little minerality. Perhaps a little sulphurous on the nose (green cabbage), but I suspect this would pass given time to breathe. Tasted relatively light in alcohol similar to a Vino Verde, however it actually packs 12.5% alcohol.
Sepo Pansa Blanca 2015
Grape: Pansa Blanca Region: Spain (Catalunya)
Notes: This wine had a real zing, with hints of grapefruit, with a mild astringency to the finish. I also thought I could detect a little oak (but I might be wrong!). Interestingly many compared it to still Cava, as the grape variety (also known as Xarel·lo) is often used in its production.
Pasaeli Calckarasi Blush 2015
Grape: Calckarasi Region: Turkey
Notes: Made from a red grape, this blush (pale rose if you prefer) showed minimal red fruit and some soft tannins. I’m personally not a massive fan of rose wine, but this wine was very pleasant.
Pasaeli 6N Karasakiz/Merlot 2014
Grape: Karasakiz/Merlot (18%) Region: Turkey
Notes: Pale burgundy coloured, this wine had a complex nose, with hints of cherry, tobacco and spice. The glass showed strong legs, confirmed by the 14% alcohol. This wine had bright tannins, and a slight sour cherry flavour. For a young wine, it showed considerable sophistication and it was our favourite wine of the afternoon. Apparently this wine has scored a very respectable 17 from JancisRobinson.com
Angoris Schioppettino 2013
Grape: Schioppettino Region: Italy
Notes: A darker, more full bodied classic styled red (If I hadn’t have been told, I would have guessed it was a French Bordeaux). It had a slight purple, inky hue and showed darker fruit profiles (blackberry, blueberry) with a hint of spice.
Colline de I’Hirondelle Cocolico 2011
Grape: Chenançon Grenache, and Syrah Region: France
Notes: This is a big wine – not for the faint-hearted. Packing 15% alcohol, this modern organic wine certainly packs a punch. A dark red, with purple hue, this wine had a smokey and also grassy nose. On the palate, this wine had jammy/cooked red fruit flavours, as well as some similarities to port. A very enjoyable wine to savour.
Tickets to the wine tasting were £20 per head which I booked online in advance, with the tasting taking place on Sunday 10 July 16.