Italian Wines - Back on the Map for 2017?

One of our suppliers introduced me to the producer Guerrieri Rizzardi and after doing some preliminary research what piqued my curiosity was the level of care from the family in their winemaking processes.

We stock the Valpolicella and the Amarone and whilst the Valpolicella is more recognised, the labour behind the making of Amarone is often ignored. Wine consumers are increasingly demanding, and rightly so, more information about the origin and the history behind a wine.

The Amarone made by the Guerrieri Rizzardi is full of this history. The grapes are handpicked and carefully selected off each vine (most over twenty years old) to ensure they make the cut.  The chosen grapes are then dried in specially designed rooms on straw mats for three and a half months, thus evaporating the water content in them and concentrating all the flavour.

The first fermentation takes place over a month whilst the second fermentation is malolactic, which adds to its full body and richness. The wine then spends three years in oak allowing all its components to blend harmoniously with each other and the sweet spice from the oak to integrate into the finished wine.

Most red wines we consume are produced in much shorter periods and the production processes are increasingly mechanised to save time and costs. It is therefore unusual to see the level of care that the production of a delicious Amarone requires. 

Although this does mean that these wines tend to be a little dearer, I think this bottle of velvet textures and an explosion of dried fruit and berry flavours is worth every penny.

Buy them from our Online Shop

New Additions to our Wine List

This week we decided to start tasting again so we could add a few more special bottles to our wine list.

One of the first more obvious choices was the Apolonia Verdejo which comes from the Belondrade winery near Valladolid in Spain. This wine is in fact the second wine of the winery (the first being the Belondrade y Lurton) and is made from the younger vines as well as some of the wine that doesn’t end up getting used for the Belondrade y Lurton -meaning that around 30% of Apolonia is barrel aged. Although similar in many characteristics to our Bornos Verdejo, the oak lends it honey notes, and the elderflower and grass notes are more dominant in its primary flavours. This family-run producer has a personal touch which is apparent in its labels (Apolonia is named after Didier Belondrade’s daughter) but also because Didier the founder has an extremely original approach to the techniques he uses when treating the Verdejo grapes.

We had been meaning to add a Pouilly Fumé to our wine list but wanted to make sure we were completely happy with our choice as there are so many on the market. We tried several but ultimately decided on the Joseph Mellot ‘Le Troncsec’.  Pouilly fumé -  100% oaked Sauvignon blanc from the Loire in this case – is of a very high quality as this appellation consists almost entirely of limestone soils which give the wines a particularly smoky aroma – a flinty minerality that makes it crisp and sharp. This crispness is emphasised by the orange and lemon flavours which go so well with seafood and summer.

Kate and Maria x

Spring and Rose

Spring is here and with it comes a great excuse to try new rosé wines.  We find that we prefer to drink them lighter at lunchtime and then slightly fuller bodied when evening falls and we can pretend to be on the French Riviera watching the sun set. Hence here at The Continental Pantry we have decided to offer two rosés which, although both from Provence, are quite different in style.

The Miraval rosé is so light (both in colour and texture) it is quite easy to forget it is not water. The acidity emphasises its freshness and all the flavours are of delicious summer fruits.  From a purely aesthetic point of view, the shape of the bottle makes it the perfect present for any occasion. We like a glass of Miraval with ice and most often without food (a few Marcona almonds and olives aside…).

For those who prefer rosés with more body we have the Terrebrune from the mecca of all rosé - Bandol . A no-nonsense wine, the aromas are slightly more complex. Here the citrus fruit flavours are layered with ripe apricot and other tropical scents.  We enjoy this too without a big meal but it works extremely well with summer salads and seafood dishes.

So, with the sun starting to show, choose which one of these rosés suits your mood…

Kate and Maria x

CVNE Red Wines

After tasting the Cvne wines we had no doubt that we wanted them to be part of our selection.  Their reds are made mainly from the well-known Tempranillo grape which dominates in most of the Rioja wines we all love.  It makes these wines an explosion of red fruit in which cherry is the most powerful.  The combination of this grape with Garnacha and Graciano gives Cvne wines a unique character and elegance. These grapes bring some slightly spicy – almost peppery – notes which give the wines a longer lasting finish.

Both the Cvne Imperial and the Reserva feel silky in the mouth as their tannins are smooth so making for very easy drinking which do not need to be accompanied by heavy food. They do marry well with Spanish hams and in particular Iberico ham as the saltiness of the latter is reinforced by the red fruit personality behind Cvne wines.


Kate and Maria x

A Brief Introduction

We met in the South of Spain when we were only ten but even that summer is full of memories of us bonding over our love of ice-cream and the 'aperitivos' before long Spanish suppers. And for the twenty years since then most of our long catch ups have happened over a glass of wine and nibbles - mostly, cheese, fuet and a lot of it.  

We embarked on our different career paths post university and, although with a lot less time available, these food and wine gatherings continued.  In the last couple of years it became clearer to both of us that we wanted to start a business which involved our passion and now finally the time is right.

We are extremely excited to be opening The Continental Pantry in London this coming summer. We hope that you will all enjoy our favourite foods and wine which we have personally selected from Italy, France and Spain.

Kate and Maria x