Whilst there’s growing talk of four day weeks and their impact on productivity, the real question is what about four day weekends? Four days of gluttony and excess, four days to eat as many sausage rolls as humanly possible, and four days worth of wonderfully meandering conversation - who’s with me?!
🍇 Uncorking Wine 🍇
Chances are you may have opened a bottle of champagne this weekend. There’s also a chance that you may have noticed the phrase “NV” on the front of the bottle, or perhaps if you were pushing the boat out, a year (eg. 2002). Ever wondered what that’s all about?
Today we’re talking about the difference between vintage and non-vintage wines, using champagne as the example. First thing to know is that whilst the term “vintage” may sound grand, it simply denotes the year in which the grapes were harvested.
Vintages can vary enormously and this is almost always down to the growing conditions (weather) during the season. Grapes need sunlight and warmth (amongst other things) to ripen, so if a growing period has been characterised by cool weather, rain, hail and / or frosts, chances are the grapes won’t have had the best shot at living their best lives. The same would be true if the weather was too hot, causing the grapes to ripen too quickly, but that’s less of a problem when it comes to something like champagne (grown and produced in northern France).
Bottle ageing in the cellars of a champagne house
Coming back to the phrase “NV”, this simply means that the bottle contains wines blended from different years. Whilst vintages are praised for their uniqueness and their quirks, non-vintage wines are characterised by their familiarity. If you’ve spent years building a reputation for a certain quality or style of wine, being able to consistently produce what people have come to love is important for producers. As you might imagine, vintage champagnes only account for 5% of total champagne production and are produced, on average, in three out of every ten years.
So next time someone offers you some vintage champagne, feel free to decline and tell them you’ll stick to what you know, thank you very much.
🥭 Palate Cleansers 🥭
- West Sussex’s vineyards lay claim to some of the best staycations in the country.
- Before changing your name to “salmon”, best to check you can change it back.
- Fancy seeing Annie Mac on the decks and being in bed by 1AM? Well now you can.
🍝 Your Favourite Restaurant You’ve Never Been To… 🍝
Most of the spots covered in this section have long held an outsized place in my heart. That’s almost true of today’s focal point, the only difference being that I only found out about it a few days ago and that already feels like a lifetime of longing.
La Barra in Elephant and Castle is a family-run Colombian restaurant that churns out home-cooked classics for the South American diaspora that populates the area. Not one to be confined to the Colombian dishes of her homeland, Maria-Luisa Riacos Solis has tweaked and tuned a number of different recipes from across the continent, achieving quietly whispered international acclaim for her pica pollo, a Dominican fried chicken dish.
Blink and you'll miss the entrance to La Barra
Whilst the flavours are one thing - “The pica pollo is Dominican but the seasoning…is Colombian” - it’s the portions that seem to occupy the bulk of the column inches dedicated to this place. One recent Google review appears to hit the nail on the head when saying, “Reminder about the portion sizes: these are made for hungry families. Come with takeaway containers. The leftovers will be the best you’ve had.”
Hats off to Maria-Luisa, her family and her team, it seems they’ve created that most magical of things in a restaurant - somewhere that is instantly familiar for both returning regulars and tentative first-timers. See you there.
🍷 What News From Wednesday’s Domaine? 🍷
They say you should celebrate the small wins and last week saw our first piece of press coverage, with a beautiful image of the wines taking centre stage in an industry round-up.
It’s amazing to begin showcasing the brilliant branding work done by Kuba & Friends and highlights what can be done when you hand over the reins to the people who really know what they’re doing.
So whilst I’ve got my head down fundraising to fuel the next chapter of Wednesday’s Domaine, it’s a pleasure to know that we’ve got the beginnings of a brilliant team propelling the business forward.
Long may it continue,
PS. Don’t want to wait a week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine).