5 May 17
Tony Elvin: Springtime, Shakespeare & Spanish Cider
Each month our resident wine luminary Tony Elvin, General Manager of the Hotel du Vin Birmingham, shares his latest ponderings and recommendations.
As Shakespeare so eloquently said of the springtime “When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim, / Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing”
I think he was talking about the best wine to drink at this time of year. Well, that’s my take on it anyway! The sun is starting to share some warmth, the bees are buzzing in the trees and the cherry blossom is, well... blossoming, time for some fresh and youthful wines to sup, and put a smile on our faces as we wave goodbye to winter and welcome in the new season.
The springtime is all about fresh, young wines for me.
‘A bit of all-white’. First of all our light and fresh Grüner Veltliner by Rieden from Niederösterreich in Austria. Bright yellow with green reflections. In the nose clean, herbs, apple, some apricot, grapefruit, discreet white pepper. On the palate clean, juicy and fresh, good balance, citrus fruit, apple, slightly peppery spice, good density and length. Perfect with salads, fine fish dishes and light vegetable dishes.
Reaching for red it must be a Beaujolais and we have a cracker, it’s a Chenas from Chateau de Belleverne in Burgundy. Chenas is a small appellation for red wines produced in an area of northern Beaujolais that makes up one of the ten Beaujolais crus. It takes its name from the forests of oak trees (chênes in French) that once dotted the surrounding hillsides, an area that is now home to an ocean of Gamay grape vines. Ripe, plush, juicy and velvety. Great with light meats, dark fish and on its own.
Other great wines to recommend for the season can be enjoyed at Hotel du Vin or even in your local supermarket. Look out for Pinot Blanc from Alsace or Germany, a fresh, zippy and refreshing white wine that I’m really enjoying at the moment or perhaps consider slightly chilling down a bottle of red Cabernet Franc?
And if you really are into your wines, and that’s pretty likely as you’re reading a Hotel du Vin website, then please do look out for our wonderful Hotel du Vin Gourmet Wine Dinners, taking place across the country in every Hotel du Vin. There is something for everyone, Rioja dinners with Vivanco in Cheltenham, a New Zealand Wine Dinner in Poole and a Chablis and Cahors dinner in Glasgow to name but a few. Each one offers a unique gastronomic experience featuring a decadent Hotel du Vin dining experience with expertly paired wines. There is no expertise required on your part as we share our knowledge with you in a fun and interactive dining experience.
If you’re looking for something a little different at the bar or at home then why not try a dry Spanish cider? We serve a great example here at Hotel du Vin called Maeloc. Hand crafted in Galicia, all of the apples are locally picked and the style is made to an old Galician Gaelic recipe, it’s crisp, dry and refreshing.
Something that just seems to get more and more popular is Gin. No surprise then that our Afternoon Tea menu was crafted with a gin menu and is supported by our friends at Fever Tree tonic water. If you are going to splash out on a good gin then you have to make sure that your tonic is up to the job and Fever Tree really help to make the perfect gin and tonic. Here at HdV we serve literally dozens of different gins from Carounn a Speyside region gin of Scotland that we serve with crisp red apple slices to Monkey 47 a German gin from the Black Forest, we serve with fresh strawberries and lime, this really is our bar tenders favourite right now.
A drink that can be enjoyed in the Summer but for me brings back memories of Venice in the Spring time is the Aperol Spritz. Looks a bit like Campari and soda but don’t be fooled. Delicious Aperol, lightly sparkling prosecco, and a dash of soda poured over ice and a big wedge of fresh orange. Enjoyed in a large wine glass this is the perfect aperitif for a blue sky, fresh air and warming sun kinda day. I can just see the hundreds of orange filled wine glasses in the Campo Santa Margarita right now. Until next time . . Salut!