We’ve had a busy weekend with exciting website developments in progress, planning wine tastings and preparing for our trip to Portugal to attend the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference #EWBC. However we managed to tear ourselves away from whirring computers to drive to Greenwich for some jazz on Saturday evening and to walk along the Regent’s Canal on Sunday for an open day in an excellent wine shop.
Eager for some live music I scoured Time Out and discovered that Peter de Wit’s Café offered ‘Sausage and Mash and Jazz’ every Saturday evening in the autumn. We booked, managed to park nearby and discovered this tiny café shoehorned in a row of shops on Greenwich Church Street.
With just enough room for 18 diners the musicians were squeezed in by the piano: Branco Stoysin, guitar, accompanied by Leslee Booth, on 6-string contra bass. This splendid instrument, we learnt later, was built (too grand to have just been ‘made’) by Branco.They played their own music, mostly composed by Branco. Indeed, when a diner requested a ‘standard’ he was told they don’t do standards, nor requests!
The menu is as tiny as the room, offering sausages, either Cumberland or vegetarian, and mash or a vegetarian quiche and salad. The wine list was equally concise with a Barbera di Piemonte and Le Bosq white; beers are from the local Meantime Brewery. There are a couple of robust puddings and a cheese plate, all very pleasantly served by a keen young lad.
We both had the Cumberland sausages, so filling that there was no room for a pud, and the Barbera was decent too. It was an interesting experience and a bit different. Keep an eye open for the Branco Stoysin duo or trio – have a look at Branco’s website for details of his music and forthcoming gigs.
Sunday dawned bright and we walked along the canal to Victoria Park Village, Hackney to participate in the open day at the Bottle Apostle, the wine shop run by our friend and colleague, Tom Jarvis.
The last time we’d been to see the shop was just before it opened in July, so it was a pleasure to see how smart it looked in its black livery with the shelves of wines cradling the enomatic wine dispensers.
There was a steady stream of people, some just to have a look, tasters using the Enomatic machines with knowledgeable familiarity, shoppers buying wine (to go with the Sunday joint of meat from the Ginger Pig butcher nearby?) as well as tasting wine from a couple of supportive suppliers in front of the shop.
We were intrigued by the clever colour coded wine categories which will certainly help people with their wine discoveries. Every wine on the shelves has a pithy description, as well as the wines in the four Enomatics, with 16 whites and 16 reds available to try in 30cl, 60cl and 90cl measures.
Tom gave us a taste of a red: Montefalco Sagrantino 2004, Paolo Bea
Lovely rusty colour with rustic cooked black fruits. Big fruity, herby concentration, long rich finish.
We also tried three more wines.
An unusual pink Prosecco; from just outside the new DOCG area, the addition of 15% Marzemino makes the colour and enhances the flavour. Prosecco/Marzemino Rosato Spumante nv, Cantina Beato Bartolomeo
Red fruits on nose, off dry. Fruity gentle acidity lovely red fruits. Med bodied, medium finish.
From a new producer in Marlborough, New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc, Stanley Estate 2009
Crisp dry gentle acidity, good minerality, lush herby with a long finish.
And, finally, ‘why pay for Barolo’ when you can enjoy this Nebbiolo d’Alba 2005, Marziano Abbone
Ruby. Red misty fruits. Dry good acidity soft tannins. Red fruity plump ripe.
With a last glance at the green wine display,
and a lingering look at the Gosset Champagne collection,
we set off for a pleasant walk home, admiring the autumn foliage in Victoria Park, returning to the whirr of our computers and the joys of the internet.