Cava is Spain’s iconic sparkling wine style, and the Iberian Peninsula’s answer to Champagne. Its name comes not from a place, grape variety or winemaking technique, but from the stone cellars (cavas) in which the wine is matured. The style was first produced in the 1870’s, by a Josep Raventós, on his return to Catalonia after a visit to France where he studied the ‘method traditionnelle’.
Appropriately named after the Greek God of the grape harvest, this Cava is very aromatic with distinct notes of jasmine and white fruits, specifically pear and banana. Fresh, fruity and easily drinkable with fine bubbles, citric notes and a mild dryness this organic Cava is ideal for the sunny days ahead of us. 75cl // 12% ABV // £9.99
In 1890, Enrique, Luis, and Carolina, the children of a French entrepreneur born in Lorraine, founded Hijos de Casimiro Mahou in Madrid. Their French surname was to become the flagship name of one of Spain’s most famous beers, Mahou, which they still produce alongside San Miguel, Mezquita and the Alhambra range of beers, including the 1925 Reserva Especial.
Slightly darker than most Pilsners this beer pours dark gold, with a frothy white head. Medium bodied, this pils has notes of honey and caramel, buttered toast and grain on the nose. Malts, light bitterness and a slight sweetness balance against metallic hints on the taste. It is also deceptively strong! 33cl // 6.4%ABV // £1.97
Produced in the heartland of Aix En Provence, an area that produces truly delectable wines in this variety, and in some views the best rosé to be had. This region is on the South-East coast, benefiting from two key elements; long hours of sunshine that cultivates and number of grape varieties and a thermal buffer created by the sea, allowing for greater ambient heat allowing an earlier harvest.
This rosé is classic, pale salmon pink in colour and incredibly delicate. To the nose it provides strawberries, apples and fragrant herbs whilst the palate begins with a gentle fruity acidity, leading to long, rich finish definitive of Provence, spice and sea air reminiscent of that Mediterranean freshness. A lovely bottle that would compliment shellfish, anti-pasti and grilled chicken. 75cl // 12.5% ABV // £10.99
Grupo Modelo is a rather large brewery in Mexico, who produce beer for export (not to America due to some legal issues regarding monopoloies) as well as for the domestic market. Their brands Estrella, Leon and Montejo can only be found locally, and account for 63% of beer sales in Mexico alone, a figure helped considerably by the brewery also owning one of the biggest convenience store chains in Mexico too. Which is really very convenient when you think about it.
This beer is light amber in colour, slightly carbonated with a minimalist head there are distinct aromas of grain and corn with a light, fruity note apparent too. Chalk and grass are notable to the taste, with a hint of honey which brings a gentle sweetness to the palette. A light bodied, easy-drinking pils ideal for lazy, sunny days in the garden. 33cl // 4.5% ABV // £1.89.
Riso, is a vineyard in the municipality of Beja in the parish of Quintos, located along the Guadiana river. The vineyard’s name, Riso, translates as ‘laugh’, an important factor for the winemakers as they have purposefully associated themselves with the concepts of relentless joy and friendship in an effort to give personality and approachability to their wines, note that the winemaker, Sousa Otto, gives credit not only to himself but also to his friends who helped produce the wine on the bottle’s label.
Produced from Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Alfrocheiro and Sonsao grape varieties, the latter being the first time this variety has been planted in the region. This wine is ruby red in colour with good depth, with a nose of tobacco, cedar, black pepper cloves and ripe red fruits, which is plentifully apparent on the palette too. A notable taste of scorched earth and good tannins is apparent too, that makes for a lovely, medium bodied, supple and well-rounded wine. 750ml // 13.5% ABV // £9.99.
Deugniet, which translates as scoundrel, knave or naughty boy in English is a Belgian beer produced by Brasserie du Bocq, founded in 1858 by Martin Belot. At first, the brewery was only active during the winter months as farming took priority during the summer, though shortly after the 1st World War the brewery began to produce La Gauloise, their primary beer, which gained immediate success and to satisfy demand for this beer they began brewing full-time.
This beer is a hazy, golden amber in colour and has a nose of honey, coriander and earthy yeast complimented by a hint of apple, the latter of which carries through to the taste. Spicey and sweet with a mild bitterness it has a medium to full body with a big, white head. A traditional Belgian ale that is not quite a tripel, nor exactly a blonde but rather sits on the fence between these two styles. 33cl // 7.5% ABV // £2.85.
Framingham produce wines from parcels grown exclusively in the Wairu Valley, located in the North East of New Zealand’s Southern Island. A small batch producer founded by Rex Brooke-Taylor, Framingham released their first wine, a Reisling, in 1994 and in addition to this produce Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, Viognier and Montepulciano grape varieties. Though subsequently they have also produced Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage, Merlot, Malbec and Chenin Blanc varieties to great success too.
This Pinot Noir is really very close to the Burgundy style, mid-garnet in colour, supple and elegant the wine has a complex nose of ripe black cherries, raspberry liquor and a distinctly floral note of violets. The dark fruits carry through to the palate, with a distinct taste of smoked oak and spice, a hint of game, a fresh, vibrant acidity and light tannins. Light bodied this is an outstanding wine from a fantastic small producer. 750ml // 13.5% ABV // £17.99
It may be summer but Stout can slake a thirst even in this weather. Lymestone is a ‘micro-brewery’ based in Stone, Staffordshire. Based in the old brewery of Montgomery and Company, who built the site in 1889. Lymestonse produce 7 beers; 2 dark beers, 2 bitters and 3 pales. Classic and traditional, they have picked up a number of awards, notably collecting three at the 2014 SIBA festival.
This imperial stout is a dark, opaque and mahogany like in colour, rich in roasted malts with a small, lightly beige head. There are distinct notes of coffee, toasted bread and dark chocolate, almost as if it were a bottled pain au chocolat with black fruits. NOMNOM. Vicious, leathery and luscious this stout really is the devil’s work, particularly when you consider the alcohol percentage! 500ml // 6.66% ABV // £2.69
The Gewürztraminer variety has high natural sugar and the wines are white and usually off-dry, with an intense, aromatic bouquet. The name Gewürztraminer literally means “Spice Traminer” or “Perfumed Traminer”, and originally hails from the Alsace region in France, though the grape is now grown in various areas of Germany as well as Australia, New Zealand and North America.
A small 7-hectare estate that is situated in the village of Husseren produce this is a lovely, delicate and subtle wine with clear notes of rose water, spice, flora akin to Turkish delight on the nose. There is a touch of residual sugar here, that brings a honey like quality to the wine, though this is more than offset by a charming acidity in the mouth. 750ml // 12.5% ABV // £13.50
Seven Brothers Brewery have been producing beer since 2013, distributing commercially since 2014. As the name suggests, the brewery is run by the seven McAvoy brothers (and two sisters) who accredit much of their inspiration to brew beer to their father, himself a keen home brewer. They produce a lovely delicate stout, an IPA, EPA and have recently released their session ale.
In a similar vein to their other ales this beer has a bittersweet quality, hints of pineapple and elderflower on the nose, the later of which carries through to taste. Light and refreshing with a very melon like end taste this is well balanced, a perfect accompaniment to these halcyon days of spring and summer. A snippet at this price. 330ML // 3.8% ABV // £1.89