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A Tasting at The Hide

A Tasting at The Hide

Last night we made our way over to bustling Bermondsey St to give two hour-long tastings to an excited group of bloggers, sommeliers and The Hide customers to celebrate London Wine Week 2016. The Hide proved the perfect setting for an intimate introduction to London Cru, with funky decor, a buzzing atmosphere and tasty small plates to satiate post-tasting hunger pangs. Being right next to the wine industry’s education HQ (The Wine and Spirit Education Trust), we felt completely at home.

Gavin Monery, winemaker, led an in-depth introduction to London Cru wines, supported by Lindsey and Emma from London Cru and Zainab, from sister company Roberson Wine. Zainab’s on-trade experience as a sommelier certainly came in handy when pouring the wines around!

Gavin talked the group through the various processes of winemaking, from hand-harvesting the grapes in Europe and the grape reception in London, to pressing, fermenting and ageing. This was all followed by a tutored tasting of the full 2014 range, with a sneaky peak of the yet-to-be-labelled 2015 Albariño.

Many thanks to Paolo from The Hide for being such a wonderful host, despite nervously waiting for his overdue first baby to arrive. Also a big thanks must go to the The Hide’s bar team and to marketing manager Fiona for helping to organise the event.

The Hide have ripped up their usual wine list and are only serving London Cru wines this week – by the glass and the bottle - so if you couldn’t make yesterday’s tasting, pop down any time this week to give London Cru a try.

London Wine Week at The Hide

London Wine Week at The Hide

Bermondsey St's The Hide are tearing up their usual wine list for one week only and keeping it local, serving only London Cru wines at the bar. It's a great chance to try a range of London Cru wines by the glass, and choose a new favourite. The Hide Bar will be serving up the following London Cru wines:

  • 2014 Bacchus "The bacchus 2014 might just be the best I've tasted." Victoria Moore
  • 2014 Barbera "Extraordinary fragrance and expression – full of astonishing and bright floral character." Richard Hemming
  • 2014 Chardonnay "Lovely complex nose of toast, spice and citrus, with some creaminess in the mouth, as well as nuts and toast." Jamie Goode
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon "Lovely pure sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with some blackcurrant leaf. So classic and expressive." Jamie Goode
  • 2013 Syrah "Perfumed, violet, great clarity, really dry and delicate, with just enough tannin. Juicy and fragrant and really subtly done." JancisRobinson.com

So head down to this funky, warehouse venue from the 24 - 28 May and taste wines the critics are raving about.

Free tasting!

During this week, for one night only, talented London Cru winemaker Gavin Monery will be hosting a free tasting of London Cru's 2013 and 2014 vintages at The Hide.

It's a unique opportunity to learn more about one of Europe's most innovative wineries and get an exclusive introduction to the different wines made in the heart of London, by the winemaker himself.

Day: Tuesday 24 May Time: 8-9pm Location: The Hide, 39-45 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3XF

Spaces for the tasting are limited. RSVP to mail@londoncru.co.uk

After the Storm

After the Storm

After the madness of the 2015 harvest the month of December in the winery is relatively relaxed. All the wines (except Albariño) are in barrel, and for the most part they'll happily stay there until the new year. This month I'll spend a lot of time in our onsite laboratory, analysing the wines regularly to make sure they're on track.

All our red wines, as well as our Chardonnay are going through malolactic fermentation, when specific bacteria convert the tart malic acid to softer tasting Lactic acid. The vast majority of red wines around the world will undergo this process, as well as a good proportion of full bodied whites. The bacteria that make this conversion are happiest at 20˚C, however so are the bacteria that turn wine into vinegar, so it's a risky few months.

Of course the lab analyses can give us numbers and tell us what's going on inside the wine, but it can't tell us the most important thing - how does it taste..? For that we have to get stuck in ourselves and have a glass. Or two..

Another big part of the holiday season for us is showing off the winery through our tours, tastings and events. We try and do things differently at London Cru, so visitors are taken directly into the production area of the winery, rather than being received in a typical cellar door.

We’re a small, boutique, but very much working winery and we like to show people the equipment and explain the processes while they taste. Our equipment is simple, low tech and labour intensive, however we feel it’s the best available to bring out the true characters of each wine. During tours we can teach as much or as little as you might want to know about wine, but we steer clear of wine snobbery; our philosophy is if a glass is half full then there’s room for more..

Hitting the Road

Hitting the Road

Spring is here and soon we’ll be bottling our 2013’s, so we thought it was time to get out there and let the public get their hands on London’s first wines. We’ve decided our first trip outside the safe confines of London Cru HQ will be to Wine Car Boot in Kings Cross on Sunday 8th June in what we are now calling internally ‘Operation Wine Forklift’. We’ll be joining some of London’s top wine merchants to celebrate the end of London Wine Week and to try and convince customers that trading up from fake discounts and three for a tenner offers will change your drinking experience in a massive way. And if you like what you try we’ll be taking advance orders on the day (the wines will be bottled in the next few months and we’ll then let them rest for a couple of months, so deliveries are likely to start in September).

Tickets for Wine Car Boot include your first five samples and a tasting glass, so what are you waiting for – get your ticket and prepare to fill your (car) boots.

Be a Winemaker for a Day

Be a Winemaker for a Day

One of our main goals here at London Cru is to make wine approachable to everybody. You can, of course, come down and take one of our Saturday afternoon tours. On the tour, we give you a behind the scenes look at what we do around here as well as some of the cracking wines we made this year. However, if you’ve ever harboured dreams of getting into the nitty-gritty of what it’s like to be a part of the actual winemaking process, you might want to look into our Winemaker for a Day sessions.

We recently had our first WMFAD session and it was not only sold out but a lot of fun! Guests were first given a rundown of the fundamentals of wine tastings, the components of wine, a tiny bit of wine science and the art of wine blending before being let loose to create their very own wine blend.

Two members of London Cru were on hand to help out with any questions or to give advice on how to achieve just the right blend. Once the blends were done, guests were led on a tutored tasting of London Cru’s wine (which were still in barrel at the time) before being presented with their very own blended wine to take home.

You can really work up an appetite doing all that blending so we include a two course lunch break with wine at The Atlas pub halfway through the day to keep you going.

Our First Tours

Our First Tours

We’ve been open to the public for little over a month now and it’s been quite exciting here at the winery. We kicked off with our bi-monthly Saturday winery tours on November 9th and it proved to be a popular event. Gavin, our winemaker, happily took our guests around the winery, explaining the wine processes and all the equipment in a fun and informative way.

After a brief talk about the winery’s goings-on, we got down to the fun part where Gavin pulled out his pipette (not what you’re thinking, it’s a long thin glass pipe to withdraw wine from the barrels) and guests were able to sample the wine direct from the barrel. If you’ve never done it before, I can tell you, it’s a unique experience  to taste young wine. We weren’t able to sample all the wines from the barrel as we have to be careful we don’t open the barrels too often but there were other samples from the stainless steel tanks to try.

Adam Talks About the Winery
Adam Talks About the Winery

As well as the kick-off of our Saturday tours, we also inaugurated our first Winemaker For a Day class on November 25th. The class was full and great fun. Participants learned about the components of wine as well as the basics of blending before getting stuck in with their own single variety wines to blend them into a classic Bordeaux blend. At the end of the day, we took everyone’s recipe, blended them up in our lab, returned them to their rightful owners and sent everyone happily home to enjoy the fruits of that day’s labours.

We will be continuing with our tours in 2014 as well as the Winemaker For A Day classes and other such themed events. For more information, pop over to the events page or give us a call, 0207 381 7873.

Where We Are Now

Where We Are Now

Last Monday, our last load of grapes, Barbera from Piemonte, arrived at the winery and we got to work. The Barbera was a last minute replacement for the unfortunate loss of Sauvingon Blanc and Merlot we were supposed to be getting from Bordeaux.

Despite that, the Italian grapes were more than up to the task, coming in looking beautiful and sailing through the sorting table in the winery. After triage, the grapes were quickly put into the stainless steel tanks and within a day or so we had added our yeast and let them start fermenting. The Barbera is still fermenting as we, er, type, but we expect it to be done soon and going into barrel. Gavin has also filled 2 integral barrels with the Barbera grapes to see how they ferment in the oak.

We had some juice left from the 4.6 tonnes of grapes so Gavin decided to make a rosé! Exciting stuff! The rosé is already in tank and  we’re hoping it will be ready in time for our launch party. As there was so little of it we’ll probably save it for in-house events, so if you get a space on one of our first public tours in November you might be lucky enough to try it!

Gavin at Work in the Winery
Gavin at Work in the Winery

We’re really busy right now getting ready for our grand opening in a few weeks. We’ll be giving tours of the winery everySaturday, starting on Nov 9th. Tours will cost £15 including a tasting of some of our wines, and afterwards you can have a drink and something to eat from our pop up bar.

If you want a bit more in-depth experience in the winery, we’ll also be offering “Winemaker for a Day” sessions, where you will learn what’s in a winery, how wine is made, and even blend your own bottle to take home.

We'll also be holding regular Supper Clubs on the second Monday of each month, starting with Nathan Green, head chef at Michelin star restaurant “Restaurant Story”, on the 11th of November. Be warned, we think that one’s going to sell out very quickly, but if you don’t get tickets, December will bring another exciting chef to London Cru.

Be sure to join our mailing list if you haven’t already. This way you’ll be the first to hear about events at London Cru and when tickets go on sale. We’ll also be offering some free tours once we open to the people on our mailing list, but you didn’t hear that from me!