• Harry Crowther’s Top 10 from Boutinot’s Roundhouse tasting

    The Roundhouse has seen its fair share of talent from the edgier side of life. As one of London’s most iconic and popular live venues for bands from the more alternative side of the music scene, it also proved to be the ideal setting for Boutinot’s latest portfolio tasting that was very much focused on what it is doing to shake up its own range and offer more left field wine solutions for its broad church of on-trade customers. As Harry Crowther discovered…

    The Roundhouse has seen its fair share of talent from the edgier side of life. As one of London’s most iconic and popular live venues for bands from the more alternative side of the music scene, it also proved to be the ideal setting for Boutinot’s latest portfolio tasting that was very much focused on what it is doing to shake up its own range and offer more left field wine solutions for its broad church of on-trade customers. As Harry Crowther discovered…

    mm By February 19, 2019

    Old World, New Wave. Here Comes the Sun. The Great American Road Trip. Pop. These were just a few of the quirky themes that Boutinot divided their recent 2019 portfolio tasting down int, says Harry Crowther. 

    Set in The Roundhouse in Camden, one should expect nothing less than a bit more of an unusual, edgier tasting from Boutinot. I got off a stop early at Camden Town underground to take in the wanders of the one of London’s most iconic tourist attractions – the Market, of course.

    As I crossed the canal heading up to Chalk Farm, I noticed a slightly (understatement) weather beaten man with a 12-inch neon pink Mohawk donning a ‘help the punk get drunk’ card board plaque in one hand, and bottle of god knows what in the other. I thought this is going to be a good day.

    Not to be disappointed, a great tasting and selection of wines on show from the team at Boutinot. A bit of a struggle to narrow down to just 10, but here goes…

    Boutinot’s Nigel Wilkinson MS on the spot…via Twitter

    Vila Nova, Loureiro, 2017, Vinho Verde, Portugal. £7.00

    All three wines on show from Vila Nova were showing well. The Vinho Verde with a slight touch of spirtz, a straight Alvarinho with its focus a precision. But the Loureiro pips it. Minerality, bruised apple. Med-full bodied and saltiness that transfers faithfully over to the palate. A dry wine with bags of ripeness and fruit sweetness, wrapped up in a blanket of weighty viscosity. Fantastic stuff and a firm favourite at the SWA this past year.   

    Giornata, Barbera, 2017, Paso Robles, California, USA. £14.50

    Gotta’ love an Italian varietal from Cali! This wine delivers a loyal and familiar Barbera drinking experience. Notes of black truffle, leather up top. Zippy, tart sour cherry on the palate carried by crisp oozing acidity. Great stuff.

    Circumstance, Cabernet Franc, 2015, Stellenbosch, South Africa. £11.55

    A Cab Franc from coastal vines that delivers a playfully serious tipple. Next to no chemical additions (outside of sulphur), indigenous ferment and rested for almost two years in barrel. Charred tomato leaf, graphite on the nose. Firm tannins, lean acidity and body with a finish that comes and goes in waves of black fruit.

    Circumstance, Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa. £8.35

    These guys put everything into barrel, including this naturally fermented Sauvignon Blanc. The result is thought provoking and proved to be a first for me, from South Africa, anyway. A green, Savvy’ nose with notes of bracken and wild herbs underpin nuances of barrel fermentation and ageing on lees.

    Characteristic varietal freshness with chalky grip. A textured and weighty wine, gastronomic. At £8.35 cost, an absolute steal. Must try!

    Fondo Filara, Etna Bianco, 2017, Sicily, Italy. £11.75

    High altitude vines from the slopes of Etna. Peachy, stony and tropical. A wine with mass, power and finesse at the same time. Fatty, oily texture with backbone and a pithy focus through the center of the palate.

    Vallone, Susumaniello, 2016, Puglia, Italy. £8.70

    I’m a really big fan of Susumaniello. For me, a varietal that encompasses so much of what I love about Italian red wine and comparable in many ways to Sangiovese- possibly a distant relative?

    Bright red fruit, cherry and raspberry. Shades of brown, truffle and cows hide. Wonderful balance and breadth. Oozing acidity that grabs a grainy tannic structure by the horns and waltzes away into a bittersweet, Italian sunset. Wow how romantic was that? 

    San Felice, Il Grigio, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2015, Tuscany, Italy

    £13.10

    Dark fruits, cassis, tar. A Chianti from the hyped 2015 vintage that delivers in power and focus. Silky, with a rich, meaty finish. Wonderful freshness that makes this wine a no brainer with a range of foods. A fabulous by the glass warrior for any wine list.   

    El Hombre Bala, Old Vine Garnacha, 2015, Madrid DO, Spain

    £16.85

    Off to Madrid! From old vines cultivated at altitude. Ribena notes, inky liquorices, purple Starburst comes to mind and lines up next to subtle herbal tones.

    In the mouth this wine delivers black plumb, cherry with a crisp, mouth-watering finish. ‘If this doesn’t shout personality, I don’t know what does’ according to Tom Curvis of Boutinot – well said sir!   

    Quinta do Pinto, Estate Collection Branco, 2016, Lisbon, Portugal. £10.30

    A touch of reduction from stainless steel batonage soon gives way to enticing, floral aromatics. Natural fermentation lends a funk to this wine. A dose of Chardonnay; Rhone varietals, Marsanne and Roussane help to deliver on a beautifully round, unctuous drinking experience. Soft, seamless and seductive with a subtle, almond finish.

    Fernando de Castilla, Antique Oloroso, NV, Jerez, Spain

    £22.15

    A 24 year old solera Oloroso. Not much to say outside of; this is an assault on the senses. Smoked, salted almond and cashew intensity that circulates through the nose and mouth long after I chose not to spit. An award winning wine and for good reason.

    Cheers to Boutinot for giving me a headache in trying to narrow down to just these 10 wines. A very strong showing across the board, in particular from the Great American Road Trip (North and South America) and Here Comes the Sun (mostly warm climate Europe) categories.

    For any further information please contact Tom Curvis at Boutinot Wines: Tomc@boutinot.com

    • You can read more from Harry Crowther at his website, grapetimes.co.uk, as well as check out his consulting and wine and spirit training for trade professionals and bar staff – Grain to Grape. 

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