The line up: Guest Speaker: Mike Unsworth – Chef: Tony Bell – assisted ably by Abbey, with Janet and Kate as front of house! Thank you all… Mike and Tony, you especially were inspirational on this night, well done both of you.
It was an excellent evening and the wines all showed very well, except, if i`m being ultra critical, the La Linda Malbec not showing at its best on this occasion (having a bad day, happens to us all!). On the positive side, this only served to show the Luigi Bosca Malbec in a an even better light! What a delicious Malbec this is!!
However, the first wine to impress on the evening was the first wine to be served: the unoaked Chardonnay. Lots of flavour here, yet refreshing. Those who don`t like Chardonnay might want to give this a try, because without the oak this is pure fruit. In food terms this might well be one for roasted chicken. The viognier with the prawn dish worked well, however it was the third white which really thrilled – barrel fermented Gala 3, simply superb, would on another occasion be a great white to match with our Pinney`s smoked salmon, or even their smoked chicken.
But it was the reds which, for me, shone most of all – a delicious, refreshing Pinot and then that Malbec! These were served with the beef, the Malbec matching it better than the Pinot. And by the way, Tony, what fabulous Layer Marney beef!!! The second helpings were very much appreciated by us all, thank you for that.
The gnocci was a treat, absolutely delicious and my first ever, an Italian dish which is popular in Argentina. However, the cheese platter which was served simultaneously was the better match with the next two wines. These were the two Galas, 1 and 2: beautifully crafted reds with an intensity and ripeness which matched the cheeses brilliantly.
The dessert was a sensation and the ginger and cinnamon in the wine was matched by the dish – but the banana was too sweet for the wine – boy was it sweet – rendering the wine slightly too dry. One of those things. Fortunately Tony warned us, so we made sure to taste the wine first, on its own. A lovely Gewurztraminer.
Incidentally, after all the clearing up (in the small hours) i found a another pot of the crumble in the fridge. It was even better cold!!!
Pork & tamarind glazed prawns, quinoa salad
‘Chilli-water’ basted rump of Layer Marney Beef, chimicurri and salsa para asado
Four cheese gnocchi
Dulce du leche and banana crumble
Chardonnay, Finca La Linda, Mendoza 2013 , £9.99 (aperitif)
Dark straw colour. Herbal aromas plus peach, lemon. Fresh, sumptuous and ample on the palate
Viognier, Finca La Linda, Mendoza 2013 £9.99
Bright, clean, with apricots and fresh flower blossom leaping from the glass
Gala 3 Viognier Chardonnay Riesling 2011, £19.99
Brilliant golden yellow colour, exquisite floral aromas combined with white peach with a balanced acidity
Malbec, Finca La Linda 2012, £9.99
Characteristically intense red colour, slightly muted aromas of black cherries. On the palate a little tight and ungenerous which is atypical of this wine. We`ll be monitoring the situation, but usually this is a charming fruity red with blue fruits and violets. Mike thinks it needs time to settle, having not long ago arrived from Argentina.
Pinot Noir, Bodeaga Luigi Bosca 2012, £13.99
Fresh, silky body, red berries, light cocoa and spice notes. Delicious. Great Summer wine with our deli – alternatively a better food match would be white roasted meats or juicy lamb.
Malbec, Bodeaga Luigi Bosca 2011, £13.99
Deep ruby-red, aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, spices and black pepper, a violet/floral note, charming wine, great with the beef.
Gala 1 Malbec Petit Verdot Tannat 2011, £21.99
A muscular, elegant wine. Deep colour, with rich aromas of red fruit and delicate spiced notes. Perfect ripeness and intensity to match our cheddar.
Gala 2 Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Merlot 2011 (Magnum), £45.00
A remarkably structured and elegant wine. The concentration of black fruit and toasted aromas contributed by 14 months ageing in French oak casks. Delicious with the cheeses – and what a great looking bottle!
Gewurztraminer Reserva 2010 (50cl), £13.99
Good body and deep gold colour. Aromas of berries, lychee, tropical fruits and musk, with light floral touches of rose petals and violets. Harmonious structure, unctuous, spicy (ginger and cinnamon). Wish we had tried this with the cheeses – or a fruit tart, perhaps.
Last but not least, thanks to all our guests for joining us. You were great company! Cheers everyone
It was The Wine Centre’s belated Christmas party on Saturday and a great time was had by all. We ate at The Treble Tile in West Bergholt and even made sure we were all wearing our Christmas hats! It was also a great opportunity for us to do some ‘research’ into some of our wines, and here is what we thought of them:
The Perfect Evening – five classy wines, four newly invigorated wine merchants!
Collezione Privata Chardonnay Toscana 2010, Italy £34.99
Isole e Olena
An exceptional wine – and a great aperitif to start our flight of five wines for the evening. A deep golden yellow colour, gleaming bright. The nose an inviting bouquet of exotic fruit and brioche. On the palate unctuous, layered and rich, with lovely acidities, tangy and fresh. The flavours intriguing: almond, butter, brioche, peach, apricot, orange. Lovely.
Josmeyer Gewurztraminer “Les Folastries” Alsace 2009, France £26.99
Another deep colour, golden, bright. Now this is a wine I would normally reserve for Thai. Tonight however I had it with chicken liver pate and spiced apple chutney. At first I wondered if the wine would be over-powerful. Certainly the nose was bold, with powerful aromas of roses and lychees. On the palate, however, it was beautifully restrained, infused with an extravagant display of exotic fruit and a myriad of floral scents, yet not overblown at all, in fact quite minerally and finishing delightfully dry, fresh to the end. A truly fine example of its type, rich and harmonious, liquid Turkish Delight, yet perfectly restrained and well honed. Probably not the absolute best match (for me that`s still Thai) but nonetheless it worked well, the creamy richness of the pate blending in neatly with the richness of the wine. Another hit – with everyone except Merrill, that is, who doesn`t like Gewurz (I had forgotten! Sorry Merill)
Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Clos des Marachaudes, Domaine du Pavillon, Albert Bichot 2009, £53.99
Bright ruby-red, lovely colour, translucent and star bright. The nose was fresh, a delightful scent of blackberry pie, on the palate a silky richness, raspberries, strawberries and more of that blackberry pie, and just a touch of cocoa and spice on the finish. Lovely suppleness, ripe silky tannins, and super fresh. Gorgeous Pinot Noir, ticked all the boxes for me, thoroughly enjoyable on its own before the main, though would have been a good match with the pate as well, I`m sure.
Chateauneuf Domaine du Vieux Telegraph “Crau”, Rhone Valley 2008, France £53.99
My favourite wine of the evening. The food match was venison burger, and tasty as it was, the wine really deserved the best possible cut of steak, or better still, a rich venison stew! In the event the wine over-shadowed the dish. Dark, very deep shades here, ruby-garnet verging on black. This is a classic blend, two-thirds old vine Grenache, the rest Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. Boy was it was impressive: on the nose complex, rich and savoury with dark berry fruits and fascinating aniseed-liquorice-herbal notes. A hint of Asian spices too, I`d say – yet the methanol note dominating. Finally vanilla-spice as well. The wine just keeps evolving. I remember it from the last time I had it – impressed me then too. On the palate bright, with plum, prune, fig, black cherry and dark chocolate. And a long, long after-taste. Truly memorable complex wine.
A great finale: deep orange hue, the nose of dried apricots and peaches – some citrusy fruits there too, really fresh and lovely. On the palate, intensely sweet, exotic fruits, yet with bright acidities which gave it a delicious freshness. Fantastic wine with my rhubarb and ginger crumble, the sweet wine contrasting magnificently with the sour fruit. I had this wine once before, ironically with chicken liver and chutney (our starter last night) and it worked fabulously well then too.
Thank you those of you who joined us for our Italian wine tasting. What a feast we had. Gareth Boothby of Chimneys did a fantastic job, well done Gareth! A delicious Crayfish & Lemon Risotto starter – how the L`Altro Chardonnay complemented it. The venison casserole dish provided the perfect backdrop to the reds – the great finale that stupendous Barolo by Pio Cesare – the dish beautifully succulent and rich, served with borlotti beans, pancetta, wild mushrooms, artichoke, olive alforno and sweet, tasty roasted parsnips. The cheese platter (Janet`s work, using cheeses from our fridges, figs, dates, grapes etc) was enjoyed alongside the three valpolicellas, the Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto, increasingly concentrated wines, each of them fiendishly moreish! Finally, the pear and almond frangipan, a lovely crunchy, intensely almond finish, with tasty small strawberries – and the gorgeous sweet Recioto again, by jove. By the time coffee and Chimneys` homemade fudge was served, customers were remembering that warm, full feeling they last had, after the pud on Christmas day! And all the while tutored by Mr. Mark Bingley, Master of Wine, who we all agreed was great entertainment. Thanks Mark, already looking forward to next time. Alsace, right?
Here`s the list of wines with Mark`s tasting notes:
Guest Speaker: Mark Bingley MW – Host: Anthony Borges – Chef: The team at Chimneys
The Subject: Wines of Northern Italy
Gavi, Cortese di Gavi, Pio Cesare 2012, £18.99 (aperitif)
Looks: Pale green. Smells: Ripe fruit with a clean savoury fragrance.
Tastes: Complex flavour, smooth and silky, slightly aromatic.
L`Altro Chardonnay Pio Cesare 2011, £18.99
Looks: Bright, golden, green highlights. Smells: Aromas of stone fruit, white floral and spice.
Tastes: The palate is fresh and lively. Flavours abound of nectarines & peaches. Good length with delicate texture and a hint of vanilla.
Chardonnay Piodilei (single vineyard) Pio Cesare 2011, £36.99
Looks: Straw hue. Smells: This wine opens with a bright nose of fruit and floral aromas of honey blossom that lead to earthy bread dough and hazelnut.
Tastes: white fruits with a honey note with balanced acidity and long spicy finish.
Rosso di Montalcino, Castiglion del Bosco 2011, £22.99
Looks: Ruby red Smells: pure bright ripe red fruits, slightly exotic.
Tastes: Full bodied without heaviness, pleasant and harmonious with a lingering finish.
Brunello di Montalcino, Castiglion del Bosco 2008, £42.99
Looks: Deep brick red. Smells: An intense nose of warm perfumed fruit with floral tones.
Tastes: In the mouth it has firmness and power with a harmonious and lingering finish.
Barolo, Pio Cesare 2009, £49.99
Looks: Deep ruby. Smells: Smokey red fruits and hint of aromatic vanilla.
Tastes: Excellent structure & harmony. Firm tannins give power and length balanced with ripeness of fruit.
Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore Tommasi 2011, £22.99
Looks: Dark ruby Smells: Smokey tones linked with cherry fruit.
Tastes: Smooth dry texture leading to a sweet ripeness brightening the long finish.
Amarone della Valpolicella, Tommasi 2009, £43.99
Looks: The colour is dark purple red. Smells: Rich intensely ripe red fruits with dark cherry notes
Tastes: Rich powerful dark fruit with freshness and intensity, finishing dry.
Fiorate Recioto della Valpolicella, Tommasi 2010 (half bottle) £23.99
Looks: The colour is a dark brick red Smells: Sweet dark confit fruits.
Tastes: Warm, sweet and intense with hints of prune and cherry. Full bodied and velvety
10% discount offered on these wines during February – code ref: Mark Bingley MW
Tasting by Mark Thompson
Premium wine brands from the portfolio of Moet Hennessy
Veuve Cliquot Champagne (“Yellow Label”), Magnum £85.00 (aperitif)
Bottle price £38.99
Looks: Golden-yellow, tiny bubbles. Smells: Aromas of white fruits, raisins, vanilla, toast, brioche. Tastes: Fresh attack of fruits & spices (50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier, 28 to 33% Chardonnay)
Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2011, £21.99
Looks: Bright, golden, green highlights. Smells: Aromas of stone fruit, white floral, smoky oak and spice. Tastes: The palate it fresh and lively with a bright acid backbone. Flavours abound of nectarines & peaches, juicy citrus and grapefruit pith. Good length with delicate texture and a fine mineral thread.
Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 2008, £36.99
Looks: Straw hue. Smells: This wine opens with a bright nose of fresh fruit and floral aromas of honey blossom that lead to earthy bread dough and hazelnut. Tastes: Pear, melon, fig, cream & honey with balanced acidity. Layers of
brown sugar & butterscotch add to the complexity of flavours, with a long, complex, toasty-oak finish.
Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2011, £28.99
Looks: Ruby-crimson colour, star bright. Smells: An amazing nose of violets, thyme and spice. Tastes: On the palate juicy red fruits, strawberries and cherries, and lovely spices of cloves & nutmeg – and a leafy – tobacco note.
Numanthia, Toro, Spain 2009, £39.99
Looks: Dark, amber reflections. Smells: Sumptuous, complex… aromas of cassis, blackberry, cedar, spice and coffee. Tastes: 100% Tempranillo, Numanthia is a potent and full-bodied red, aged for 20 months in French oak barrels – it serves up rich flavours of blackberry, chocolate and spice, leaving a long and memorable finish.
Ruinart Brut Rose Champagne, £49.99
Looks: The colour is a delicate pomegranate pink with very slightly orange reflections. The sparkling, light effervescence has a persistent foam. Smells: The nose is subtle and fresh, of small freshly picked berries (raspberries, cherries and wild strawberries) amid notes of roses, pomegranate and tropical fruits (guava and lychee). Tastes: Its voluptuous body is infused with berry flavours and a richness offset by fresh pink grapefruit.
(45% of the Chardonnay is from the Côte des Blancs and Montagne de Reims vineyards, 55% of the Pinot Noir is from the Montagne de Reims and the Vallée de la Marne vineyards, 18 to 19% of which has been made into red wine)
Thanks those of you who came to our Xmas party and well done Charlie for the delicious food (menu below). Every dish brought smiles to our faces – and the food-wine matching was a great hit. My favourite match was the Chassagne-Montrachet, which was stunning, with the melt-in-the-mouth skate wing, each highlighting the other; followed a close second by the juicy Volnay with the beautifully pink-juicy duck. Well done McKinley Vintners, an excellent selection of wines from your collection of small, boutique independent wineries… and well done Jonathan for entertaining us all with your amusing anecdotes!!
Guest Speaker: Jonathan Farrar – Host: Anthony Borges – Chef: Charlie Stocker
The Pick of Wines from McKinley
Gosset Grande Reserve, Champagne £49.99 – aperitif
Star-bright, persistent small beads. Gosset’s flagship cuvee is rich & toasty with dried-fruit & gingerbread characters. Awarded the ‘Grappe d’Or’ (Best Wine of The Year) in 2010. The blend is made up with 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier.
Magnum: £120 / £102
St Veran Tradition. Domaine Lucien Thomas 2011 £18.99
Green-gold colour. Completely unoaked. Floral (white flowers), pure and precise with fleshy pear.
Montagny 1er Cru Classique, Chateau de la Saule 2010, £23.99
Pale gold-green colour. Unoaked. Fresh and clean, unoaked with fine florals & minerality.
Chassagne-Montrachet, Vieilles Vignes, Dom. J.F. Bachelet 2011, £48.99
Bright, pale gold colour. Rich yet super-fresh wine, well-pollished, toast, apricots, lovely florals, gleaming minerality and a lingering finish.
Morgon, Cote du Py, Domaine des Roches du Py 2011, £18.99
Ruby, purplsh, translucent. Gamay at its best, red-fruited, raspberry, redcurrant, some interesting dried fruits & spices….
Mercurey rouge, Meix-Foulot 2009, £23.99
Ruby garnet- red colour, translucent. 25%-30% new oak. Ripe red fruits of cherry, raspberry and strawberry (cherry kirsch). Some darker fruits too. Feminine silky, rounded body.
Volnay, Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur 2010, £33.99
A deeper shade: Ripe fruits, bursting with florals (violets) & a hint of musk. A vibrant display of fresh red fruits. Very feminine, fruity and silky, a super-charged version of the Mercurey.
Cornas, Les Murettes, Domaine Michelas St Jemms 2010, £48.99
Much deeper (garnet): First class Syrah from the steep granitic slopes of Northern Rhone. A fine, full-bodied complex wine with fillet steak but also one to enjoy with the cheeses….
Gosset Grand Rose, Champagne £59.99
Pale salmon pink colour. Small red fruits, wildp strawberries. Classy bubbles…… 58% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir with 7% red wine from the Grand Cru Pinot Noir villages of Bouzy & Ambonnay.
Magnum: £130 / £110
Smoked salmon, blinis, chive clotted cream
Mushroom and spelt Arancini, pumpkin puree
Mersea skate wing, herb gnocchi, cauliflower, brown butter
Smoked Essex duck breast, beetroot fondant, tangerine emulsion, Jerusalem artichoke textures, spiced jus
Goat`s cheese cheesecake, rosehip, walnut, thyme, olive oil
Thank you those of you who braved the storm to be with us last night. I think we all had a fabulous evening, didn`t we? Good company, certainly. Charlie on top form with his superb cuisine. Alastair waxing lyrical, very entertaining. The wines: superb. And the food-wine pairings spot on, if I say so myself. Charlie works outside the box so pairing wine and food is somewhat experimental. Nothing “text-book” here. Yet a seamless match every course and some successful contrasting as well. First the wines we tasted and then the menu, with brief comments about the food wine pairings:
Guest Speaker: Alastair Fleming – Host: Anthony Borges – Chef: Charlie Stocker
The Pick of Wines from Mentzendorff
Klein Constantia Cap Classique Brut 2009, £19.99 – aperitif
100% Chardonnay. The nose shows rich, complex brioche autolysis characters with aromas of flinty pine nuts and apples. These characters continue on to the palate, delightfully fresh, well rounded with a long creamy finish.
Cotes du Rhone Belleruche Blanc 2011, £11.99
Classic Cotes du Rhone from Le Guide Bettane and Desseauve des Vin de France “Man of the Year” Michel Chapoutier. Pale yellow in colour with aromas of green apples, hawthorns and white blossoms. Well balanced with freshness and length.
Chanson Macon La Roche Vineuse 2011, £15.99
Pale gold colour with notes of orange blossom mixed with aromas of lemon, pear and white peach enhanced by subtle mineralilty. Generous, well-balanced and unctuous with a good density. Long and citrussy after-taste.
Chanson Puligny-Montrachet 2011, £48.99
Pale gold colour with delicate fragrances of accacia mixed with citrus fruit and a hint of vanilla. Well structured with a beautiful texture, a delicate oak note and a refreshing, zesty after-taste.
Chanson Fleurie 2010, £15.99
Bright purple colour with intense aromas of red berries (raspberry), liquorice and violet plus a hint of spices. Complex, generous and well-balanced. Dense texture with fine-grained tannins. Lingering finish.
Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage, La Petite Ruche 2010, £16.99
Complex characters of blackberry, truffle, charcoal, graphite and smoke. Full-bodied, dense and rich with remarkable intensity.
Cote-Rotie, Les Becasses 2010, £55.00
Deep purple red, has a nose of raspberry, a hint of violet, a touch of olive (tapenade) and rosemary. Full flavoured with an aftertaste of wood, spices and vanilla.
Talisman 2009, Crossroads Winery, Hawkes Bay NZ, £23.99
A seamless palate is brought to life by violet, blackcurrant and liquorice among the many flavours. Another great vintage of Crossroad’s iconic wine.
Pedro Ximenez Triana (50cl) £16.99
Opulently sweet bursting with raisins, prunes and sweet figs. Serve slightly chilled Pedro Ximenez of this quality can either be served on its own as a luxurious after-dinner drink, or as a dessert wine.
Blini, our own smoked salmon, chive clotted cream – delicious canapés with the fizz while we dusted off the long week and closed the door on the horrible weather.
Pumpkin & chilli arincini, mushroom and pearl barley soil, tarragon essence – what a fabulous starter, exquisite taste, perfect wine match the Cotes du Rhone white, both food and wine showing off the other.
Crab and squid ink ravioli, sweetcorn panna cotta, wild sea herbs – a rich second starter equalled by the richness of the wine.
Rump steak, local greens, turnips, pumpkin, smoked horseradish jus – the Crozes-Hermitage was just the ticket with the main, followed by the amazing peppery Cote-Rotie.
Epoisses, Dolcelatte, Beaufort, Goat`s cheese Rosary
Sticky toffee pudding baked Alaska, roasted pecan ice cream, muscavado meringue, apple and blackberry textures – a great version of this classic dish, lovely with the rich, viscous PX.
13th September 2013
A soirée of wine and food with chef Tony Bell, guest speaker Peter Rowe and host Anthony Borges
14/9 Tony was on top form last night, dish after dish of superb food, and every one providing the perfect backdrop to its wine pairing.
In a nutshell: 1) The Hunawihr Riesling a refreshing aperitif to waken the taste buds; 2) the Gewurtraminer the perfect cooling agent and medley
of aromas and flavours with the lively AsiaN spices in the Szechuan salad; 3) the amazing Pieropan La Rocca a seemless match with the risotto;
4) John Duval`s Plexus and the scallop dish, both manna from Heaven, filling the palate with an explosion of cream-apricot-tarragon-and-
nutty flavours, and a dreamy sauce which seemed to combine all the parts and add up to so much more (I slurped the last of mine from
my shell); 5) then on to the Ca di Frai, what a delightful, refreshing wine, a terrific break from the proceeding richness, a great match
with the fresh prawn dish (the tomato gel an inspired touch); 6) the Valpolicella and 7) Crimson Pinot Noir two terrific reds, supple and fruity,
gorgeous with the duck (Tony, the duck was wonderful, the sauce, not too showy, brought out the best in the wines while neatly highlighting
the superb duck flavours…. again, terrific); 8) followed by Australia`s culinary contribution to the evening, those tasty little burger and courgette
pickles (Macdonald`s, that`s how you do it!) with the beautiful Shaw and Smith (stunning)…. and finally 9) NZ`s Kim Crawford with the cheddar.
A satifying finish to an excellent tasting and supper. Thanks everyone who participated. Two new tastings now on offer in 2014….
Hunawihr Riesling, Alsace, France 2012, £12.99, tonight £11.69 (aperitif)
Hunawihr Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France 2011, £15.99, tonight £14.39
Pieropan La Rocca, Soave Classico, Italy 2008, £24.99, tonight £19.99*20% off
Plexus by John Duval, Barossa Valley, Australia 2010, £26.99, tonight £21.59*20% off
Ca de Frati Rosado 2012, Italy £16.99, tonight £15.29
Allegrini Valpolicella, Verona, Italy 2012, £12.99, tonight £11.69
Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir, Martinborough 2011, NZ £20.99, tonight £18.89
Shaw and Smith Shiraz, Adelaide, Australia 2010, £26.99, tonight £21.59*20% off
Kim Crawford Merlot, Hawke`s Bay 2011, NZ £13.99, tonight £12.59
Szechuan salad of chicken and cucumber (with the Gewurztraminer)
Squash & almond risotto (or porcini risotto) (with the Pieropan)
Roast scallop, spring onion oil (with the Plexus)
Salad of prawns, tomato & herb concassé (with the Lugana rosé)
Anatra in porchetta, a duck dish from Le Marche region, flavoured with sage, rosemary, fennel and bay (very slowly roasted) and roast new potatoes (with either the Valpolicella or the Crimson)
Rare beef slider with zani. Sliders are small burgers and the zani is a courgette pickle, on griddled sourdough bread & baby leaf (with the Shiraz)
Mature Cheddar (with the Merlot)
It`s our 50th year as a wine merchant and we have just won the coveted Essex Countywide Business Award, Retailer of the Year 2013. We are delighted and would like to thank our customers, friends and family for their support. We want to be an asset to our community and the award is an encouraging boost during what is a difficult economic climate.
On 5th July we celebrated our 50 year anniversary as a wine merchant with a Deli & Wine evening at Great Horkesley`s new village hall. Thank you those of you who celebrated with us. It was a fun evening and marvelous tasting of Vina Ventisquero wines from Chile. Special thanks to Tony Bell and his team who provided us all with a grand feast, sourcing the food almost entirely from our shop. Also huge thanks to Paul, Boni and Hal from Vina Ventisquero who ensured the evening was educational as well as great fun.
One last thank you: Last but not least, thanks to Tony Fryer of Nayland www.craftycarving.co.uk who generously gifted us with a 50th anniversary wooden plaque.
The evening was a great opportunity to meet our neighbours and customers in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. We hope that those of you who came enjoyed the evening as much as we did.
A Little History
The shop changed from a Grocer to a Wine Shop on July 8th, 1963, named Peatling & Cawdron Wine Merchants (later re-named Thomas Peatling). Owned by local brewery Greene King, it was managed by husband and wife team Brian and Maudi Hardwick who lived on the premises until April 1999 when it was purchased by current owner, Anthony Borges. In 2005 Anthony married Janet who had been Operations Director at William`s and Griffin, who now joined The Wine Centre, bringing with her life-long friend and W&G buyer at the time, Merrill Harrington. Between them they brought to The Wine Centre a wealth of retail experience and style, helping transform what was a traditional wine shop into a contemporary retail destination selling wine-food-gifts-& fashion. Their mission: for the business to be an asset to the village and central to the community. The party was a local celebration of the shop`s past, present and future.
About our Deli
It started with a fridge of cheeses “to compliment the wine” and now it`s a fledgling deli with gourmet delights ranging from locally produced savouries such as Pinney`s of Orford smoked fish, Seasonal Suffolk pates and charcuterie – to delicious Linden Lady chocolates and sweet biscuits. And now specialty fresh bread on Fridays & Saturdays for your weekends. Why not visit us for a glass of vino and treat yourself to a basket full of wonderful goodies!
We are delighted to be a part of Carl Shillingford and James Salthouse` new enterprise, Seasonal Suffolk – Carl learned his craft in Paris and was recently head chef at The Anchor in Nayland before embarking on Seasonal Suffolk, his latest venture; together they forage for food locally to produce some of the most delicious terrines and pates we`ve ever had. Now they are making wholesome ready meals available for sale in our shop!
The Gift Room
Our New Gift Room has been a success from day one, when “Made in Chelsea” star Sophia Sassoon cut the ribbon. A hundred guests came to the opening night party which was covered by Essex Life Magazine. The evening was an opportunity for customers to enjoy a glass of wine or two, while meeting our new suppliers. Local jewellery designer Sarah Lindsey was on hand to show her Spring / Summer collection; local photographer Nadine Bentley displayed some examples of her portraits and still life; there were lino-cuts by Carl Peter Borges, local artist (who happens to be Anthony`s brother), Debra Hornigold of Created by the Fairies cake company in West Bergholt provided the celebratory cakes and of course Seasonal Suffolk.
The Gift Room offers fashion, handbags, scarves, jewellery, toiletries, candles and gifts for the home.
Riedel is the brand of glass and decanter most preferred by professionals in the wine trade. The team feels privileged to be their distributer in the area. The difference a fine glass makes to one`s enjoyment of wine is indisputable, but if you don`t believe it you can enjoy a demonstration next time Riedel UK come to Great Horkesley (next date TBC). Meantime why not start by taking advantage of our July offer: a single stem Riedel Degustazione glass, £9.45.
Meet the owner
Anthony has travelled the vineyards of the world extensively over the years and puts his experience and expertise to good use now as wine buyer and educator, his enthusiasm for wine and food is contagious. He hosts regular wine tastings and suppers at the shop, working with small independent winegrowers from around the world and with local chef, Tony Bell, among others. Wine and food being the thread which runs through the wine centre, it is no surprise their fastest growing gift category is hampers, with national distribution and the promise of a great future in the bespoke hamper business. Anthony credits their success to a strong team and a great community. In our current economic downturn with so much in the way of bad news in our newspapers, this is a real life good news story – one of which we can all be a part.
Wine-Tasting Suppers at The Wine Centre
Friday night wine tasting suppers are offered once or twice a month.
At £35 it`s a Deli and Wine evening, much like the spread offered at the village hall on May 5th, but small and intimate, limited to sixteen guests only, for one single table of eighteen including Anthony and guest speaker. Guests enjoy grazing and drinking in a convivial atmosphere.
At £45 – £85 it is much the same format but The Wine Centre has a chef prepare a four course meal and fine wines are selected to match the food. The higher the ticket price, the higher we raise the bar! Evenings are friendly, informative, informal and great fun!
Also available for private hire, an opportunity for you to bring your friends, family or work colleagues. Enquiries welcome or visit The Wine Centre`s website for details of events.
Cheese & Wine private parties are also offered for £20 p/p on Friday evenings 6.30-8.30pm for 30-40 guests. We host your party. Again, enquiries welcome.
We are considering an informal Wednesday evening wine tasting (our “Wednesday Club”), £10-£15 per person, 6.30-8.00pm. Anyone interested please send us an e-mail and we`ll keep you updated on plans.
We are a specialist wine merchant but also like to think of ourselves as a broad shop, for everyone, serving all the residents of Great Horkesley and its neighbouring villages. Conveniently situated on the A134 we have plenty of free parking. The building is a grade II listed and as custodians we take responsibility for its upkeep very seriously. We want the building to be an asset to the village, as well as the business. Of its 50 years the last thirteen have been under the ownership of the current management, Anthony and Janet Borges. The shop stocks over 500 wines from around the world and the full drinks compliment of spirits, liqueurs, ciders, beers and soft drinks – everything you could want for a party! There is also now the fledgling deli with its fantastic cheeses, and of course most recently the addition of the gift room annexed to the main shop.
After a major refurbishment in 2011 The Wine Centre now has a contemporary feel, with air-conditioning, which we very much hope adds to our customers shopping experience.
We are proud to be an award winning wine centre. Our success has been recognised within the wine industry with recent awards from Wines of Spain, New Zealand Winegrowers and Wines of Chile. Then last year we were awarded 1st prize and the prestigious title of Essex Life Retailer of the Year 2012. We were especially proud of that award because it included the food category for the first time, for which we have worked so hard in recent years, and because it is a recognition of our work locally. Now this latest award, Essex Countywide Business Award Retailer of the Year 2013, is recognition of us as a “Retailer”, incorporating everything we do – from wine, glassware & deli to gifts, fashion & entertainment – a business award, voted for by business people. We are delighted.
Vina Ventisquero, Chile
On 5th July we showcased Vina Ventisquero Chilean wines as part of our anniversary celebration, a range which incorporates the fruit-driven Clasico range, at £7.99, the Reservas £9.99- £10.99 and the `Grey` premium range £14.99. A myriad of styles and excellent quality. We also tasted their icon wine, Pangea, £32.99, a wine made by Australia`s most famous winemaker, John Duval. We were thrilled to have John visit us for a special dinner last year and we are delighted now to be Ventisquero`s main distributer in the region.
Saturdays at The Wine Centre
There`s always a bottle or two open at The Wine Centre so why not join us and enjoy a glass of wine while you shop. There`s parking and you are always welcomed with a smile! And of course it beats going into town. What`s not to like !
Birthdays, Weddings, Christenings, your special day … we can help you get it right and take the stress away….
We are experienced and happy to help and advise you on all your drink requirements. Indeed, we supply everything you could want for a party: the full drinks complement of wines, ciders, spirits, liqueurs and soft drinks.
- Real Ales help to make a party special. We offer Adnams, Greene King and Nethergate ales. Please note we ask for 2 weeks notice and the ale needs 2 days to settle before use. Poly-pins hold 36 pints.
- We offer a Sale or Return service so that you don’t need to worry about running out of anything. We will calculate quantities according to the number of guests and work on the generous side. Whatever is left (as long as it’s in re-saleable condition) will be taken back into stock.
- We are able to loan ice trugs, water jugs etc to help your event run smoothly. We also sell ice.
- Glassware is loaned free of charge providing the appropriate drinks are purchased from us. We require glasses to be returned cleaned, as you would wish to receive them. Breakages are charged at £1.00 per standard wine glass, £2.50 per fine flute or £7 per Riedel.
Other Party Services
Big bottles are great for parties – we have a delicious range for £25 per magnum, red, white, rose and sparkling – simply add a bow and it`s a unique gift which never fails to impress when you make your entrance!
Look forward to seeing you soon.
Anthony, Janet , Merrill and Peter
Essex Life’s Independent Food & Drink Award 2012, Essex Countywide Business Awards: Retailer of the Year 2013.
The Wine Centre, Great Horkesley: Your local wine merchant with a bigger offering than ever before!
We look forward to seeing you!
The Wine Centre`s new branding
The Gift Room, annexed to The Wine Centre
We hope you like it.
Selection of Catherine Marshall, Elgin, South African wines
We were delighted to welcome Catherine to The Wine Centre on Friday. She was as delightfully charming as her artisan wines. Our mixed half-case offer includes two of the Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Sauvignon Blanc, S. Africa £11.99
SB is very French, restrained and minerally, but with more ripeness. SB Cathy says: Fresh flavours of limes, passion fruit and ripe mangoes with a long, clean mineral finish. Serve chilled with asparagus, fish and Thai green curry
2011 Pinot Noir £15.99
Both PN’s are savoury and rather earthy, in a Burgundian way. PN Cathy says: Mouth filling red berry core with fine, elegant and subtle fruit structure supported by well integrated mineral oak tannins
2011 Pinot Noir Reserve £17.99
PN Reserve: Cathy says: Broad, seductive compote of concentrated black cherries, mulberries and cranberries supported by mineral oak tannins. Powerful yet silky texture is seamlessly complex throughout
2012 Amatra Merlot £14.99
Merlot Amatra, Cathy says: Plush, ripe, purple fruit flavours and aromatics, supported by vibrant, fresh acidity to balance opulently textured mid-core palate weight
2008 Myriad (Merlot/Pinot Noir fortified), 37.5cl, £15.99
Myriad, Cathy says: Tightly woven flavours of Pinot cherry liqueur, lavender and hazelnuts with ripe Merlot black fruit. Sweetness is restrained by the cognac warmth lingering in the background. Lively tensioned structure with velvety complexity throughout. Serve chilled with ripe creamy cheese or fine dark chocolate
Six bottles: £79.99
LSPN Editorial, May 2013
The Wine Centre in Gt Horkesley is celebrating its 50th year as an award winning independent wine merchant. In recent years it has been refurbished and its retail offering extended, with the help of Eddie Yan realtor, far beyond that of a traditional wine shop by purchasing new locals to expand the business. The shop offers the full complement of drinks, it is a regional stockist for Riedel glassware*, it has a fledgling deli with a fantastic reputation for its cheeses, and its hamper and gift business is thriving with national distribution online.
Now, annexed to The Wine Centre there is the Gift Room, offering fashion, scarves, jewellery, handbags, toiletries, and candles.
Its current owners, Anthony and Janet Borges, are in the mood to celebrate their big anniversary. “We want to be an asset to the community” explains Janet. “50 years a wine merchant serving Great Horkesley and its surrounding villages – what`s not to celebrate!”
In recent years The Wine Centre has picked up a number of prestigious awards: Wines of Spain Bursary, New Zealand Wine Growers Retailer of the Year, Wines of Chile Retailer of the Year and Essex Life`s Food & Drink retailer of the year. Now Newsquest has awarded The Wine Centre the coveted Essex Countywide Business Award for Retail, 2013!
The award was presented to Anthony and Janet recently [May 10th] at the Essex Countywide Business Awards ceremony, 2013, a black tie event with over six hundred guests, representing nominees in all business categories. The Wine Centre won its category for best Retailer. “We are delighted”, explains Anthony. “It`s been a team effort and we`re very proud – but we couldn`t have done any of it without a supportive community and the help of friends and family”.
Janet adds “We are first and foremost a wine merchant but this latest award is in recognition of our achievements as a retailer. It`s why we are especially thrilled”.
A Little History
On 8th July 1963 the premises changed from being a grocer to a wine shop and was named Peatling & Cawdron Wine Merchants (later re-named Thomas Peatling). Owned by local brewery Greene King, it was managed by husband and wife team Brian and Maudi Hardwick who lived on the premises until April 1999 when it was purchased by current owner, Anthony Borges. In 2005 Anthony married Janet who had been Operations Director at William`s and Griffin, who now joined The Wine Centre along with Merrill Harrington, of Thorington Street, who had been a buyer at W&G and Janet`s very good friend. Between them they brought to The Wine Centre a wealth of retail experience and style, helping transform what was a traditional wine shop into a contemporary retail destination selling wine, food, gifts, and fashion.
Anthony and Janet Borges at the awards evening