Not a typical Saturday for Fuseblower by any means but, in the company of @londonfare, it gave me the chance to explore some of the great venues in Bermondsey that I’ve hankered after visiting for ages. There was also the small matter of a football match in between all the browsing and sluicing but it was the wine and food which bookended our day
We kicked-off with a wine tasting at Dynamic Wines – the UK’s leading (and first) importer of premium biodynamic and organic wines www.dynamicvines.com– where we were in the capable hands of co-owner Raphael Thierry. The wines they stock are fascinating and they’re really pushing the envelope in some exciting new regions around Europe. The wines Raphael was keenest for us to try were:
- Fanny Sabre’s Bourgogne Blanc 2015
Fanny has established herself as a leading producer of quality natural Burgundy wines and her 100% Chardonnay is elegant, fresh with perfectly integrated oak
- Domaine de Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Talented Loire newcomer Jérôme Bretaudeau ages this VDF organic wine in large aged oak barrels and this sauvignon blanc has a thrilling minerality that screams out to be paired with oysters
- Domaine Causses Marine’s Du Rat des Paquerettes 2014
A juicy Duras from SW France made under biodynamic priciples by Patrice Lescarret, and Virginie Maignien, lovely spicy overtones and tart cherry flavours abound and this was my pick of the wines tasted
- Montesecondo Chianti Classico 2017
Silvio Messana wants his naturally cultivated Sangiovese wines to be the ultimate expression of his Tuscan terroir and this cherry-scented Classico is complemented by floral notes with hints of violet and an earthy finish
We moved on from Dynamic to 40 Maltby Street http://www.40maltbystreet.com
Another purveyor of wines committed to minimal intervention production methods that let the land and the grape speak for themselves. Starting off with a sparkling red Gamay from Festejar, to get us in the mood for some appetising small plates, we ordered asparagus fritters, chicken liver parfait and a selection of artisan cheeses. The asparagus spears were dipped in a tempura batter and delivered a great crunch and snap and disappeared in seconds! We paired the other plates with a light Loire Valley Gamay Aunis and a more full-bodied Tannat from Simon Busser. The exemplary sourdough bread they serve here is from The Little Bread Pedlar http://lbpedlar.com and worth the trip to Bermondsey alone!
After enduring almost all four seasons of weather in the space of our lunch, we manned up against the hail and headed off to the London Stadium to see the mighty Hammers beat Southampton 3 – 0. Buoyed by this success and in need of further sustenance we gravitated back to Bermondsey and the warm embrace of Bon Vino. This enoteca has an extensive range of hand-picked Italian wines, wondrous salumi and superb formaggi. This was all presided over by Luca, a charismatic Venetian, with a great knowledge (borderline obsession) of the treasures he is charged with dispensing. And boy, could he dispense!
The use of a Coravin here means you can drink a vast array of the wines BTG and that’s exactly how we got underway. Negroamaro from Puglia; an intense Amarone; a Sicilian Pignatello all served as a sensible base before moving on to some full bottles from more unconventional regions. A Torre Del Piano Riserva from Casale Della Ioria made from Cesanese di Affile grapes grown on volcanic soils in Lazio which delivered lots of red cherries, blackberries and is a rich, ripe wine from the great 2015 vintage. Fiilippo Mangione’s artisan winery on the slopes of the Etna volcano makes a rosso called Ayunta Navigabile 2013 which comprises 90% Nerello Mascarese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio grapes and combine to deliver a delightful strawberry and cherry package with bright acidity, structure and fruit all wrapped up in a fresh, balanced volcanic wine
We grazed on some great salami, infused with fennel seeds, coppa and prosciutto together with pecorino, taleggio and castelmagno cheeses. The wines here are very reasonably priced, with minimal corkage fees and the range is incredibly comprehensive for such a modest, bijou, enoteca. It is an enigma to me why, as happened several times during our residence, people came in and, eschewing all the other amazing wines on offer, opted instead to home in on just the barolo’s. Bon Vino is a gem. It has a very laid-back and convivial vibe and provides an opportunity to take an affordable wine trail around Italy in the company of a very knowledgeable guide – Luca, Optimo!