Sunday, March 25, 2018

Catfish and Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion at the Half Moon

Putney, London. Sunday 25-March-2018.

We have wanted to see Catfish again since since we saw them at the Great British Rock and Blues Festival 2017. But their tours dates and our peregrinations never seemed to coincide until now. Quick! Tickets booked and table reserved for pre-gig dining.

I was visiting Mum that afternoon and arriving just in time. The joys of modern technology: Mary texted me a photo of the menu so I could choose while I was still on the train and she could order so that my food was ready as I was walking in the door.

The format was an hour from each band. Catfish were as excellent as last time.

Then Zoe Schwarz and her band on for the second set.

Matt Long, lead guitarist with Catfish, joined Blue Commotion for a couple of songs before the venue's curfew kicked in.

As ever at this venue I am amazed that you can get two hours of excellent live music for a tenner. I tell you I don't get the economics of being a musician. The venue is small and I doubt there were 60 people in the room. Subtract the overheads, room hire, etc. then divided by the number of musicians it can scarcely be a living wage.

Maybe they get a percentage of the bar takings? Unlike New Orleans, not even a tip jar. However they do sell a fair few CD's so that must help. We bought Catfish's CD, we could have bought it online but we prefer to buy direct from up and coming bands like this.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

North Italy Wine and Food at Philglas and Swiggot

Battersea, London. Wednesday 07-March-2018.

A more modest food and wine tasting after the previous night's tasting. The fourth Italian tasting in three weeks. In our rush to get the bus home I left my tasting notes and pen in the shop. When I realised literally a couple of minutes later and ran back the shop it was already shut up and by the next morning both notes and pen were gone! Fortunately Mary still had the list even if not with tasting notes; the stars indicate Mary's rankings.

Presented by Michelle Cherutti-Kowal, a Mistress of Wine, this was an excellent tasting that gave us a chance to try a number of new-to-us grape varieties and wines. Here is what I remember of the wines:

  • The Fratelli Berlucchi was a very pleasant sparkling.
  • Pieropan is an old favourite that we always enjoy, this was no exception.
  • The two nebbiolo based wines showed well.
  • The Tommasi Amarone was nectar in a glass, delicious.

The food was antipasti of salumi and cheeses followed by a pasta with rabbit ragu from Osteria - Antica Bologna next door. A good hearty winter meal.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Fontodi Chianti Classico Wine Dinner at Planet of the Grapes

Bow Lane, London. Tuesday 06-March-2018

Sometime you go to a wine tasting event and lose your notes. That happened twice to me this week; this is the first. So all I am left with is a hazy recollection of a splendid meal present by the suave Signore Manetti himself, all Italian charm and a fund of stories about the estate and his family. Much more interesting than what you read on the back label.

Update 25-April-2018: found my tasting notes. C=colour,  A=aroma, P=Palate. Not worth transcribing. They are really only memory joggers for me and this long after the event not of much use. I would only highlight the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ 2014 as the wine of the evening for me. It also does show the prices these wines can command.

Below is the blurb provided by POTG and the menu.

2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the year that the Manetti family purchased the derelict estate in Panzano's Conca d'Oro (or golden shell); a natural amphitheater in the heart of Chianti's original 'Classico' zone. In that time Fontodi has risen to become one of the undisputed stars of the region, and Fontodi's wines are considered benchmarks for all of Tuscany.

Fontodi's owner; the legendary Giovanni Manetti, will be at Planet of the Grapes Bow Lane to talk us through the history and philosophy of his estate, and to guide us through a stunning line-up of his wines; including two vintages of his flagship Flaccianello.


On Arrival
Crispy Clams & Arancini with lemon & chilli
‘Meriggio’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016

1st Course
Pasta fresca, porcini & tartufo nero
Chianti Classico 2014
Chianti Classico ‘Filetta di Lamole’ 2014

2nd Course
Rabbit, fennel salami, lentils & caramelised carrot
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione ‘Vigna del Sorbo’ 2014

3rd Course
Char grilled sirloin ‘Fiorentina’, rosemary potatoes & greens
‘Flaccianello della Pieve’ 2013 (from magnum)
'Flaccianello della Pieve’ 2014

Dessert Course
Stef’s world famous Paris Brest
Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2007

Now that is what I called a meal - fantastic food and matching wines. Hic!