It isn’t often that I head into the City so when you spy me around those parts, you know it’s for an Occasion. And this particular occasion was a wonderful evening spent vino typing at Humble Grape with a handful of bloggers and two talented winemakers.
Humble Grape is a wine bar and restaurant hybrid, knocking out any presumption of pretentiousness and skilfully bringing mates and dates together with handcrafted wines imported from smaller, sustainable vineyards. I’m partial to a glass of red yet I have no prior knowledge about wines (“This tastes good” is about as good as it gets with me!), so I was excited to sit down and learn about five wines, be ‘vino typed’ and just hang out with the makers for a slightly bold midweek outing.
To start, I was offered a glass of pink prosecco, the Ghisolana Prosecco La Divina Rosato Spumante from Veneto, Italy. As an aperitif, I found it to be light and refreshing with captivating fruity notes unlike any other prosecco I’ve tried before. It’s very rare that I’ll willingly savour a prosecco but with this, I did just that. It's described as a rebellious pink, grown organically and fermented with natural yeasts, encapsulating strawberry, peach, shortbread and honey with a redcurrant and pink grapefruit finish.
The lovely girls from KK Communications took me for a little tour of the establishment. The wine cellar can be booked out for an intimate event - seriously, imagine a wine cellar lock-in?! - and there are several areas that can be booked for private events.
This circular canvas is everything.
Once settled at our table, we were introduced to the winemakers. Andreas introduced us to our first wine of the evening, the Dr Deinhard Grauer Burgunder from Germany. I’m not the hugest fan of white white but this, this I liked. It’s described as an ‘off-dry with juicy citrus fruit, peach, flowers, dried herbs and spice’ and whilst several of these I couldn’t taste, I did find it to be peachy and citrus-ey with a rounded edge. Just lovely.
The next wine was another white, but this time I really felt like it upped the game. Seriously. Was I beginning to *like* whites?! The Weingut von Winning Forster Ungeheuer Reisling GG is a complex, aromatic and age-worthy beverage, outrageously sexy and almost ringing with tangy citrus flavours, notably amped up by spice, peach and green apple. It felt much warmer than the frankly stark opening to our wine menu and I certainly could see myself indulging in a bottle or two of this over a light summer lunch with my girls!
I began to feel solidly impressed as the diversity and stories behind each wine, and even more so that I could begin to visualise 'settings' and pairings for each bottle. I suppose that’s the true beauty of Humble Grape, to introduce unique wines for absolutely every tastebud and personality!
Once the food servings began, wine flowed and conversation picked up. I remain thoroughly impressed by the Vegetable Platter (spiced beetroot, roast butternut squash, skin-on baba ganoush and salsa) and their Chargrilled Tenderstem Broccoli, served with feta, pine nuts and pomegranate. Both dishes hail from Humble Grape’s summer menu and you needn't worry about how they pair and fare with various wines - the winemakers both reassured me that it really is all down to your vinotype.
Next, my favourite white wine that I've *ever* tasted by a long mile. The Dutton Goldfield Ranch Chardonnay. A Californian vision of a classic Russian River Valley Chardonnay, realised in delicately and deliciously intense waves.
‘Grapes are picked from five or their eighty little plots, scattered through the region, most of the vines are over 30 years old.’
I thoroughly enjoyed this sweetly sexy white, punctuated with lemon, lime, peach, apricot, tropical fruit, ginger biscuit, pear and cream. The more notable flavours for me were the apricot, ginger biscuit, pear and cream, creating a blissfully smooth and creamy flavour that I could easily knock down a few bottles of!
So, let’s get back (briefly) to the food! Humble Grape’s summer menu is ever so broad and richly caters to vegetarians. Designed to be shared, the dishes arrived on sharing platters and I really enjoyed the Chargrilled Leeks and Triple-cooked New Potatoes (served with Galician-style Octopus). There was a delicious Italian Stallion Tricolour Salad too that went surprisingly well with the fourth wine, an achingly delicious red.
Wine 4 was the Weingut von Winning Pinot Noir II, a 2013 corkage from Pfalz, Germany. I knew already that this might be my favourite and it was! A breathtakingly sophisticated red, ringing true of violets, toasty coffee, dark chocolate, raspberry, plum, black cherry, seashore pebbles and cream. I mean, just read that description! I’m a sucker for a good description! I could happily set up camp with a few books, a fireplace, my puppy and two bottles of this. Definitely one to look out for!
To wrap up the evening, we were served Rosemary and Garlic Camembert and Focaccia Toast, truly the way to win my heart. Cheese!! It served as the perfect off setter to the final red, the smokey Hacienda de Susar from Spain. This was a little too much for me, a bit too tobacco and wood for me, but delicious nonetheless with baked Camembert.
A huge thank you must go to the team at Humble Grape and to the ever-accommodating winemakers for having us bloggers in for the evening. I couldn’t recommend HG enough for a special occasion! There are several dining options available, from winemaker dinners to conference wine tastings, bespoke dining experiences to personalised vinotyping evenings like the one I tried.
Find out more on Humble Grape’s website here and discover their summer events here.