We love the diversity of the offering at the Billingsgate market. Here at Drinks Lover, we like to indulge our senses on a early morning visit.
What’s not to love, there are lots of fresh fish and shellfish to choose from, a chance to get tea in a real greasy spoon and mingle with some of the real Eastenders.
All images ©Katrina Hutchinson
— Riki Hutchinson - The Drinks Lover
Image from the Telegraph
The 11th of November, Remembrance Day and the All Blacks face the Scots at Murrayfield. It’s a beautiful game with a brave performance of attacking Scottish rugby and a masterclass in the depth of New Zealand power rugby - fast, precise, relentless.
Image of Piper at Murrayfield care of Traveling Simile
A group of 20, mainly, Black adorned Kiwi’s, sat at the Rob Roy tasting 5 Malt Whisky’s from Diageo’s impressive range of 29 Distilleries through out Scotland. The presenter outlined the paradigm Diageo were proposing to understand Scotch flavours.
Tradtionally we would talk about the importance of the Region to how the Spirit tastes. Now a flavour driven ‘map’ is being promoted to define how to describe Single Malt Whisky. A grid reference based on Smoky to Delicate flavours and Rich to Light flavour. I like it, not about simplicity more a way to describe a set of scotchs that suit your palate.
The Five Scotch’s we tried really did highlight how remarkably diverse these flavours are.
Glenkichie 12 year, a light fresh whisky from the lowlands. Noted as an aperitif style.
Royal Lochnagar 12 year, delicious medium weight and characterful style from the highlands.
The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year, delicious deep coloured with layers of flavour. Medium bodied but richer than you would expect from Speyside.
Oban 14 year, a big powerful scotch heady and full. When instructed to add a touch of water it was a joy to watch the frangrance explode.
Talisker 10 year of Skye, a rich massive peaty expression.
For me the range proved the premise. Everyone preferred a style, for me Islands are the most interesting, but the medium styled Royal Lochnagar and Singleton are the perfect sippers. I would expect that a scotch drinker would be encouraged to spread their spending by giving them a real handle on what they truly like and why!
Styles (By Diageo)
Light & Floral - Crisp and Fragrant. Great as an aperitif with a clean, fresh aftertaste
Fruity & spicy - Medium-bodied Soft fruit with honey. Good balance of sweetness and spice.
Rich & Rounded - Rich whiskies with deep, sweet flavours. Dried fruits and nuts, even sherry notes
Full bodied & Smoky - Generally intense and powerful, with a strong smoky flavour.
Regions - Islands, Highlands, Speyside & Lowlands.
It is always great to stand at the Penthouse a top New Zealand house in central SW1. The shrouding mist gave a gothic air to London’s landmarks at our feet.
Arrayed were 173 wines from New Zealand producers from their latest releases. This was the tough 2012 vintage for most of the white varieties (Chardonnay the main exception most were from earlier vintages) and 2011/2010 for the reds (dominated by Pinot Noirs).
2011/2012 growing season was pretty tough (kiwi’s harvest around March/April - Fall there is the Norths’ Spring). My experience of the Kiwi industry is bounty followed by bust. Though 2012 will be recorded as the 4th largest crush in it’s history, it will be remembered as a small vintage where buyers and sellers hunted to find wine to fulfill the every growing international demand.
My view, controversially? is the 2012 wines (particularly Sauvignon Blanc) have struggled. The wine makers have been forced to make the best with the little they had.
Bizarrely of the commercial 2012 Sauvignons it was a wine that has been a benchmark of the New Zealand industry that impressed me. Stoneleigh from Marlborough is one of the Corbans family wines, bought by Montana who eventually were globalised with Pernod Ricard the latest Patrons. The style is still consistent herbal, grassy with a rich palate of green capsicum without the searing acidity of most of the too young Savvies.
Brick Bats and Praise for New Zealand Pinot Gris. As an industry the demise of the Corbans and Montana duopoly had a major effect on styles and programmes for defining taste. Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio to the Friday night drinker) is a wine that will continue to struggle. One thousand miles of lattitude 34 deg to 47 deg South helped. Different regional climates and soils this Grape variety that really hasn’t been through the rigour of MAF testing to be prepared for growers and winemakers. Basically, unlike Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, it’s a bit of a free for all with style. Like Riesling, Gewurztraminer this vacuum of leadership is not a good thing.
Pinot Gris then one company that commercially have a winning formula for me were Spy Valley 2011. The Marlborough producer, have made a style that works. A touch of residual sugar to balance the acidity, careful not to over extract flavours from the skins. The result is rich stonefruit and great drinking. I look forward to texture with Age.
One Pinot Gris does not make a summer though, so here is hopeing we soon see a style to define kiwi Pinot Gris.
Pinot Noir has become the defining commercial Red wine from New Zealand. It was surprising how few of the traditional North Island Reds were shown. The great gems were in this range. Missions’ Hawkes Bay Reserve Syrah 2010 is the real deal from New Zealands Oldest Winery. Imagine White pepper, brambles, lush tannins… Crozes Hermitage from the Northern Rhone, but really really good.
My other standout was from a new comer on the Hawkes Bay scene with a Bordeaux Blend to watch out for. Alluviale Merlot Cabernet Franc 2010 is sophisticated, beyond need of descriptors. A proof to the building of Classed growth level wines that could so easily be mistaken for a Chateau wine. Aue, the price is high but I think I will be talking to these farmers.
Big ups to Babich’s Red Patriarch, Lawsons Dry Hills Pinot Noir and Esk Valleys 2009 Bordeaux blend from Hawkes Bay.
Stickies ( I dislike the category Pudding wine - far to limiting for a drink as good with breakfast as at the end of dinner) Alluviale Anobli Sauvignon based dessert wine showed the beauty of Sauterne wine from NZ. Fresh, uncloying, scented apricots and sweet…heaven via a long moment of pleasure.
Amazing varieties of seemingly endless mushrooms all to be had at the fabulous Borough Food Market
I love cheese, I could eat it all day.
There are some of the best examples from the UK and abroad all at Borough market. If you get a chance check out the amazing selection.
Just a few pictures from my birthday brunch at Formans resturant/ Smoke house overlooking the olympic stadium. The food was amazing, sharing platters and smoked delights, and brunch staples but we were especially impressed at the chunks of salt which they grated at the table. This will be a great place to hang out at during the olympics, if you can get in its so close to the action.
All images ©Katrina Hutchinson