Bretta & Co wine tasting: My picks of the reds and whites

bretta & co wine website

You’ve got to admire someone who follows their dream.  A few years ago Gary Adlen was on a business trip and found himself in a  New York bar which not only served food, but also had its own deli.

He dreamed of doing the same in his home town of Liverpool – and now he has,  together with his sister, Bretta. Now we can all enjoy the results of their shared enthusiasm at Bretta & Co (we can see what they did there).

Their latest step is selling wine online, and I was pleased to  be invited for a tipple taste test. It was a challenge, I know.

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Some whites from the Bretta tasting
  • We kicked off with a zippy white, a  verdejo from Bodegas Viore, with grapes from the  Toro region (which was definitely new to me).  A perfect zingy start to an evening, tropical, fresh, and mouth-watering.  (Find it in the Six Spanish Wines choice, £95)
  • The quality continued with the mineral, crisp, Klein Pinot Gris (£14.95) Now I’m always a pushover for a German grauburgunder (yes, it’s the same  – a pinot gris) and this had beautiful aromas of lychee and lemons with flavours that lasted and lasted.
  • Rene Mire Gewurtztraminer (£13.45) Wow, I’m pushed over again. Two of my favourite wines in one tasting.  There were clouds of rose petals rising from the glass, but with a little spicy spike of ginger in the background in this wine from Alsace. It wasn’t too sweet and had nice clean acidity.

bretta & co red wines liverpool

A couple of reds from the Bretta tasting
  • Old School Chateau-Maris Minervois (£13.95) is a blend of syrah (90 per cent) and grenache – both grown biodynamically. Neither grapes are known for being shy; they’re full on flavoursome and proud. Here they combine to create a peppery, fresh juicy nose with a “what IS that in the background” question from me. I decided it was sage. This wine is fruit, fruit, fruit all the way.

  •  Camino Terra Remota (£14.99) is Spanish and flamencos with flavours. It’s no surprise, as its a blend of four bold grapes; garnacha, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo, each bringing their own character and personality.  There’s vanilla-edged cherry aromas – there’s white pepper too – and wet leaves. It tasted (I thought) of an earthy hot pot of  red fruits, with the mix of flavours reminding me of a red from the Rhone Valley.
Bretta & Co is on Heathfield Street, just off Bold Street, in Liverpool. It has an extensive deli and range of wines in store, as well as on line, and regularly holds tastings.  Click here to check out their events

Wine Press: German pinot gris is perfection as food partner

Salwey Pinot Gris wine

Bacon and onion tart may not sound like a culinary dream – but with a glass of superb German pinot gris wine it can feel like luxury.

I fancied some German pinot gris and came across a recommendation to drink it with Zwiebelkuchen, which is a traditional German baked dish of dough covered with onion and bacon,  and egg and creme fraiche.

So I did.

I Googled and found a recipe easily enough and even with making dough from scratch this golden-topped open pie was rustled up in less than 40 minutes.Salwey Pinot Gris wine

With it, a glass of Salwey Pinot Gris 2011 from Baden (£13.20 www.tanners-wines.co.uk) was perfection.

Now this pinot gris is miles apart from its flavour-thin mass produced pinot grigio cousin from Italy.

If you’re browsing German labels, you’ll see grauburgunder (a dry wine) or ruländer (a sweeter version).

I met Konrad Salwey, the producer of my pinot gris, some months ago and he enthused about his wine which was born out of the volcanic soils in Baden.

It has nectarines, pears and lemons on the nose and an excitable scythe-like acidity tremors and teases your tastebuds long after the last drop of wine has slipped down your throat.

There’s a rich, fulsome spiciness which perfectly complemented the creamy, peppery pie topping.

Konrad told me that his own preference was to have the wine with mushroom risotto or creamy pasta.

I hunted around for a couple of other German pinot gris.

Palataia Pinot Grigio 2012 (Marks & Spencer, £8.49) is from the Pfalz and blends pinot gris with 15% pinot blanc. It is a bright, crisp, mountain-fresh trickle of apples lemons and pears.

Klein Pinot Gris 2012 (www.nakedwines.com,  £11.99 or £8.99 if you’re an investing Angel) lacks the creamy depth of the Salwey but has fresh citrus and stone fruits on the nose and a good, balanced zesty finish with tickly spice.

For more information on German wines you can go to www.winesofgermany.co.uk

Also in my glass… medal-winning Trivento Reserve Malbec 2012 (Tesco, £8.99) was a plummy, datey, mouthful with a nose like a walk through a warm, autumn forest. It  came into its own with a hearty chorizo-laced pasta and suits powerful flavours superbly.

Published in the saturday extra magazine November 9, 2013

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express