Wine Blog: The K.I.S.S. Principle and the W.O.W factor
They say you should always start as you intend to continue…
Who is is they you ask? Well, it’s a good question and I’m not quite sure the answer but in the spirit of “the best of intentions” and all that welcome to our very first Hole in the Wall Wine Blog. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with clever topics and witty anecdotes for the last few days and in all the confusion I stumbled across and kept coming back to a couple clever acronyms which will be my guide for this maiden voyage and hopefully a good start for this space. I’ll leave the comedy to the professionals.
I’ll A.S.S.U.M.E.(and hope to avoid the associated embarrassment of this acronym for all of us) that everyone has heard of K.I.S.S.
Interestingly enough it originated as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960. The principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design, and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided. With that in mind and the winds of change blowing at The Hole in the Wall I thought that will suffice as the basis for our first blog and I will simply deliver the news as it is happening and we can build on that and hopefully have some fun along the way.
I’ve been tasked with developing the wine part of things here at H.I.W. and I’m looking forward to meeting you all over the coming months either in the shop or at one of our themed tastings, wine dinners or wine courses. We are looking at adding even more sizzle to go with your steak and are in the midst of re-evaluating the wine range. This has already benefitted the many who have been only too happy to take advantage of our White Sticker Wine Sale which has saved the savvy shoppers 20% off selected wines for take home. I’ll admit I’ve suffered from some jealousy the past couple of weeks watching some of the best stuff disappear from the shelves with a few of you already planning for Christmas while others simply know a bargain when they see one and are drinking well to close out the summer. We’re very happy to oblige and all the space we make will be filled come Back to School time with some shiny new wines for the Autumnal season which is fast approaching.
The wine shop has a lovely history of providing interesting and high quality wines which you won’t find just anywhere and I am very excited about keeping that tradition and making sure there is something for everyone within the range. There is lots of up and coming countries and exciting new regions producing classy vino these days and I’ll be looking to delve into that as well as answering the call for more organic and minimalist intervention (read lower sulphur among other things) offerings. We will expand the restaurant wine list as well to help bring the out the best in an exciting new menu which is also on the cards.
The blog is new as well of course and in addition to shameless self promotion we will try and address the many legends, myths and stigmas associated with our favourite fruit driven beverage. For those that want to accelerate the program and learn a bit more too, we are starting our new wine courses in September of which you will find information on the site. This will be a lovely excuse to meet every Tuesday for some vinous treats and nibbles and a chance to examine the basics of wine while doing what we all love most about wine – tasting it.
We will dig into the basics of new regions and styles each week and look to taste things that will impress that are maybe new to you. The course offers great value and in order to avoid scaring anyone way we will be making it as interactive as possible while hopefully giving everyone involved more scope and confidence to pick out their favourite vino. We’ll examine what value is and how to find it and do it smiling with a glass in our hand.
This bring me to the W.O.W. factor.
Our “Wine of the Week” – told you we were clever! 😉
We are looking to make it easy for everyone who follows here to join us on the journey so we will be offering a different wine each week on our “Click and Collect” promotion. This will give people a chance to get some great value on wines which they might not normally choose and help expand the options for relaxed imbibery. We will have a bit of info and some juicy savings on our choices so that no one is forced to forced to listen to me wax poetic about the weekly winning drop. Keep your eyes peeled for these and then simply click and collect – we will have your bottle waiting for you to take home – at a discount. Easy as.
This weeks inaugural W.O.W. proved to be a pleasant surprise to me. I’ve always been a big fan of Spanish wines (as are many of you judging by the shelves depleting!) and while everyone knows their most famous D.O.C.a (maybe more on that in the course!) Rioja, I’ve always been a huge fan of their other top region for reds, Priorat. This area in Catalunya makes some very special and exciting wines using traditional grapes other than the Tempranillo which dominates most of the rest of a huge countryside. The only downside being that these exceptional wines are never cheap and the best examples can be downright pricy.
I wanted to go with style I know like to start (remembering K.I.S.S. !) though and with that in mind we had a wine on the shelf that intrigued me. The Sa Natura Crianca 2013 by Celler Pinol in Terra Alta was completely unknown to me and with my curiosity eating away at me I managed to cajole a bottle to take home. The winery described the wine as “The little brother” and that resonated with me immediately as it would with anyone else who had ever been outshone by a younger sibling. The wine was apparently the first organic wine to appear in Terra Alta and was also listed by Wine Enthuisiast as the best value in Catalunya. Impressive stuff for the little guy.
Terra Alta offers a lot of the benefits of my favoured Priorat wines with a more easily digestible price tag. I was still a bit sceptical but in the name of research decided to explore my curiosity. The wine was dark and dense in the glass with some savoury meaty aromas coming to the fore and hints of fresh minty notes and peppery spice. This is a great example of a wine where the grapes in the blend gives you a bit of complexity.
The wine is medium to full bodied but with a really soft, silky texture that shows some savoury notes alongside the blackberry fruit. Carignan is a favourite of mine when done well with clean fruit flavours and that makes 50% of the blend here. Grenache, Merlot and Syrah round out the blend and the Syrah is especially noticeable even though it only makes up 10% showing a distinct peppery character. There is a bit of heat for sure with heavyweights like Grenache and Merlot but it’s not an issue with ample fruit and that supple silky texture. This would be a great shout with BBQ or even a Sunday roast but has a lovely freshness that made it great on its own. The fine tannins gave a nice structure and the dry finish left me wanting another sip.
It’s also a great alternative to the New World – maybe a transition wine for those of you who love your Malbec (dark fruit) or Shiraz (spicy pepper). This to me was what really linked it all together – that’s what I have always loved about the best in Priorat. The wines show a lovely purity of fruit that the new world is so known for while still maintaining the structure and complexity many associate with the old world. I don’t want to be accused of pushing “gateway drugs” but this wine will definitely appeal to many and ask some questions along the way.
A great value alternative and slight introduction to Priorat – definitely some W.O.W. factor for sure!!!