Shop Ho – Ho – Ho-pening times.

Because we have not yet perfected the technology to have 24×7 wine retailing robots looking after the shop, we are going to be having some down time over Christmas.

Therefore the Christmas opening times will be:

Tuesday 20th – Friday 23rd    11am – 7pm

Saturday 24th (Christmas Eve) – 9am – 5pm

Sunday 25th – Tuesday 27th – CLOSED

Wednesday 28th – Friday 30th – 11am – 6pm

New Year’s Eve – 10am – 5pm

And because we will be going on a well deserved post-Christmas-rush holiday the shop will be closed following new year for a week

Sunday 1st – Friday 6th – CLOSED

Saturday 7th Jan 2017 – 10am – 7pm

Sunday 8th – Monday 9th – Closed

Back to Normal from Tuesday 10th Jan

Customer’s Choice tasting – the winners (part 1)

Customer Choice winners - reds

Just over a month ago a group of our trusted customers (I’m excluding you – man who commented only on the cheese….) sat down with six brand new red wines and decided which ones would become a permanent part of the Toscanaccio range.

In the end they picked four reds, chosen for their fruit character, drinkability (with and without the cheese!), structure, and of course their value for money.

The favourite of the evening was Louis M Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon at £13.70, it was described, oddly, as “like being embraced in a huge rabbit’s armpit (in a good way)” erm, ok. Moving on swiftly to what everyone else thought…. Sloe and Damson fruit on the nose, hints of clove and vanilla with a peppery note. The palate is rich and meaty with ripe, dark berry fruit, spicy oak, definitely one for some food.

Masseria Surani Ares Rosso at £10.20 was next – highly praised for its quality at the price. A highly expressive nose reminiscient of black forest gateaux with a bold palate of smooth hedgerow fruit with a structured finish (let it breathe) “right up my alley, get me 2!”

Bodegas Arraez Vivir Sin Dormir at £10.80 was the next hit, the name translates as ‘to live without sleep’ – it seemed apt that a customer had written “(I’d enjoy this) late night (at a) festival around a fire”. Aromas a-plenty of cherry, blackberry and raspberry. The palate is warming and spicy with rich, dark berry fruit and a note of vanilla on the finish.

Last but by no means least (there was a difference of only five points between this and the winner, it was still a full 10 points ahead of the wines which didn’t make it through) we have Rapaura Springs Pinot Noir at £14.50 – broad aromas of liqueur cherry, blackberry and liquorice with a fresh, cherry-laden palate “tons of fruit” and a delicious, baked fruit ripeness.

All of the wines are in stock – click on the product names to be taken to their pages for more info.

Our next wine tasting is Thursday 5th May and we’ll be trying some more new wines – so get over to our booking page now and be the first to try them!

Christmas Opening Hours 2015

Christmas and New Year Opening

Until 23rd December:

Monday-Saturday – 10am-7pm

Sunday – 11am-4pm

 

Christmas Eve – 9am-5pm

Christmas Day-28th December – Closed

29th/30th December – 11am-6pm

New Year’s Eve – 10am-5pm

New Year’s day – 8th Jan – Closed

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all our customers and friends. Thanks for all your custom and support!

Opening Hours – Toscanaccio Summer Break

With August now upon us (where is the year going?!) it is time for us to take a short break to recharge the batteries!

We’ll be closed from 9th – 13th August inclusive, you’ll be able to browse the range online and buy tasting tickets but no orders will be shipped out until Tuesday 18th August – apologies for any inconvenience.

Opening Hours 3rd – 9th August

Monday 3rd: CLOSED

Tuesday 4th -Saturday 8th: 10am – 7pm

Sunday 9th: CLOSED

Opening Hours 10th – 16th August

Monday 10th -Thursday 13th: CLOSED

Friday 14th – Saturday 15th: 10am – 7pm

Sunday 16th: CLOSED

Normal opening hours resume from 17th August

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Recipe – Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is one of my go-to dishes for a quick supper – comforting, simple to prepare and always well received.

Carbonara has to be one of the simplest dishes and yet it’s the cause of much debate – cream or not? The full egg or just the yolk? One thing seems certain to me – Italians do not use cream in their recipe so ditch it from your dinner and try the real Italian Carbonara!

Over the years I’ve tested many different methods and I’ve finally settled on this, my definitive recipe.

A few notes;

– I use spaghetti by default but any long, thin shape will do.

– It’s worth investigating guanciale (pig cheek, we sell a lovely peppered version) – the fat renders down during cooking giving lovely flavour to the sauce.

Guanciale al pepe

– Eggs, use fresh and free range. I use only the yolk but feel free to use the whites too (I save them to make meringues). I find I get creamier results my way with a lower tendency for it to scramble.

– Truffle pecorino will turn this dish into something very special!

Recipe (feeds two)

200g spaghetti

a dash of olive oil

50g guanciale or pancetta

2 egg yolks

50g gran pecorino (or truffle pecorino), grated

Method:

Put a large pan of salted water on the boil, once at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, chop the guanciale or pancetta into small pieces and fry in a dash of olive oil on a medium heat. Once golden in colour take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate dish with half the grated pecorino.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain (reserving a ladle of the cooking water) and add the pasta to the guanciale pan and mix. Let this cool for about a minute and stir through the egg mixture (DO NOT apply any further heat or you will scramble the eggs). At this stage, add a dash of the pasta water to loosen the sauce then tip out onto warmed plates and garnish with the remaining gran pecorino and a dash of pepper.

The wine match? For me, it’s got to be the fresh vitality of Gavi, try our Gavi Conchetta at £9.60, crunchy green apple and limey fruit with a wonderfully dry, mineral finish.

Buon Appetito!

Spaghetti alla carbonara

 

 

 

New Arrivals – reds

New Arrivals - Reds

Last week, our trusted customer tasting panel sat down with six brand new red wines (almost, but let’s not delve into the mysteries of missing stock). The fate of these wines was in their hands – would they survive to become part of the permanent range?

There were four lucky survivors – praised for their structure, fruit character, drinkability and of course – well priced.

The favourite of the evening, inching into pole position by one point was Vesevo Aglianico at £12 liked for its smooth, jammy plum fruit, hints of spice mingling with winter fruit coulis. As one customer put it “I could drink a lot of this wine. Quickly”

Tufarello Nero di Troia, also at £12 was the next hit. Labelled as “interesting” and “like a box of chocolates” the sweet, ripe fruit with savoury, earthy undertones was an instant hit.

Cantina Goccia’s Nodo at £15.90 was the next hit – though the room became a little more divided over this one as it had a lot more poise and tannic structure which not everyone was a fan of. Spicy plum fruit on the nose and noticeably older then the other wines the palate had ripe cherry fruit and a touch of leather. Definitely a food wine – the general consensus was that it would be great with a roast. My favourite customer comment has to be “my mouth is happy”!

We had a little bit of a debate over Hecula Monastrell £9.50, it didn’t score as high as the others but it was felt that it had been rated unfairly originally. It has “more legs than a spider” and is rich and oaky with complex layers of rustic blackberry fruit, olives and black pepper.

Stock of all these wines is now available in store or online – click the name links to be taken directly to the product pages for more information.

If you’re interested in being on the panel for our Customer Choice – Whites tasting on 30th April then book your place now!

Winter Warmers Wine Tasting

Last Thursday we resumed our fortnightly tastings by delving into a selection of Winter Warming reds. Even though they’re easy to love when it’s cold outside we were surprised at just *how* well they went down!

The three sell outs of the evening were;

Guelbenzu Azul, Ribera del Queiles, Spain £11.80 – this is one of Thom’s favourite wines so we had to show it! An oaked Tempranillo blend this is ripe, rich and toasty, well liked for having a wonderful balance between old world style and new world body.

Varvaglione Negroamaro, Puglia, Italy £11 – proving rather popular at the moment with its super smooth, silky berry fruit. This caught many people out – assuming that it was new world! A great one to try to ease yourself into Italian reds.

Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa Shiraz, Australia £12.70 – a seriously good old vine Shiraz with concentrated fruit and fine tannic structure. New world but with lots of class were the comments from our tasters!

More stock of these wines will be in next week, get your pre-orders in now as we don’t expect them to stick around for long!

Click here for tickets to our next tasting on 5th March – six brand new reds, you decide if we stock them!

Twisted Nose vermouth is here!

The latest release from the local Winchester Distillery under their Twisted Nose brand is a dry twist on vermouth. Using wine sourced from Hampshire Vineyard Danebury Paul is keeping the secret blend of herbs and roots he’s using close to his chest! There’s no mistaking the wormwood in there though – after an initial hit of rose it provides a long bitter hit through the mid palate which softens to a moreish finish of herbs with just a hint of sweetness.

We found that we had to drag ourselves away from just drinking it over ice (deliciously refreshing), after all, you’ll be wanting to try your hand at some cocktails!

We tried:

– Gin Martini – using Twisted Nose gin in the ratio of 1/3 vermouth to 2/3 gin. We’re normally dry martini drinkers so it was great to find a vermouth which didn’t ‘water down’ our drink. Add a dash of grapefruit bitters if you like and of course, a twist of grapefruit!

– Manhattan – 1/3 vermouth to 2/3 whisky. Add a drop of bitters and a maraschino cherry. This was my surprise favourite of the evening, I’m a whisky straight up kinda gal but the vermouth accentuated the sweeter aspects of the whisky.

– Negroni – equal parts gin, vermouth and campari. Need I say more? Your summer is sorted!

All three Twisted Nose products, including the wasabi vodka are available now in-store and online

Christmas and New Year opening 2014

Christmas and New Year Opening
Tuesday 23rd Dec – 10-7
Christmas Eve – 9-5
Christmas Day – CLOSED
Boxing Day – CLOSED
Saturday 27th Dec – 1-7
Sunday 28th Dec – 11-4
Monday 29th Dec – 11-6
Tuesday 30th Dec – 11-6
New Year’s Eve – 10-5
New Year’s Day – 8th Jan – CLOSED

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our customers, and thank you all so much for your custom and friendship through 2014.

More Congratulations!

Thom has just received distinction in his Masters (in archaeology). Join us in congratulating him, he’ll be starting his PhD soon, we wish him good luck though he clearly won’t need it!