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PEAKY BLINDER!

One of my very good friends is a chap called Jamie – I’ll omit his surname for reasons of discretion…Jamie is a past master of many things – some better / funnier than others but one of his best attributes is his ability to bring like-thinking people together and, a bit like the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, so many of my close friends have all got a link back to Jamie.

Jamie is a self proclaimed world authority on whisky and I’m sure that’s true: he has a great collection and owns entire years’ production from certain distilleries but by his own admission he doesn’t know that much about wine.

Our first harvest of note, in 2013, produced a lot of Rondo and the decision we had to make was what to do with it. The multi-award winning Emma Rice, who makes our wine at Hattingley, sat down and said: “Why don’t you make a sparkling red?” I can’t remember if I spat my coffee out in front of her Galapagos iguana style or was dumbfounded as my slow brain tried to work out if I had really heard Emma correctly. The pretty quick response though was “No way! I’m not launching All Angels with a sparkling red – this is a serious brand!” or something like that. Emma was pretty sure of the idea though so we reached an agreement that Emma would produce it for free, Hattingley would keep some of the wine as payment and I would take the rest. Fair enough.

So I had a lot of bottles without label or branding which clearly I couldn’t sell and didn’t want to. If you have wine that you can’t sell, what do you do: drink it and give it away and that’s what I did.

Now to my palate this stuff wasn’t bad: had an interesting flavour, kind of vegetal but in a very pleasant way and that was the feed back I got from my friends and other “beneficiaries” of the sparkling red. Apart from Jamie who couldn’t get enough of the stuff and was always raving and asking for more – to the point that on one occasion we stacked the back of his wife’s Discovery so full it was almost dragging its back end.

Tasting notes are always important and this was Jamie’s assessment: “Mate, mate, we have lots of friends round to binge on Peaky Blinders and curry and the sparkling red is absolutely perfect for that – we love it …” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. But he must know a bit more about his wine than he says as meanwhile Hattingley were selling the wine under the Red Admiral brand and it was recommended by The Daily Mail as one of the wines to try for Christmas. Most recently a couple of critics I respect have come to me, having managed to get hold of a bottle or two, and said it would have been an award winner in their eyes if I’d ever put it into competitions…

That brings us to today…

We have at Hattingley some more sparkling red from 2013 and 2015 that Emma produced for us – and it has just been sitting there, so now we are going to release it in late autumn.

The 2013 has a high residual sugar content - probably the kind you need after a heavy night before – while the 2015 is definitely “Brut”. This will be a very limited release: just over 100 bottles of the 2013 and 340 bottles of the 2015 so you’ll need to be quick to snatch them up and they will be offered to All Angels Club members first of course.

Both these wines are definitely (in my view) ones to drink with food and not on their own. What to pair it with – yes, Christmas / Thanksgiving turkey for sure, but think comfort food: curry, pasta, lasagne, cheese, game pie, chocolate. They are both full flavoured wines so no need to hold back. When to drink it: when watching Peaky Blinders of course!