David Moore on Wine: Celebrate

David Moore looks at the perfect wines to toast sunny days and balmy warm evenings.

Champagne and strawberries have always gone hand in glove with sunshine and al fresco living.An indulgence for the rich? Well it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Yes, Champagne is expensive but there are cheaper alternatives, so think outside the box and look no further than the delightfully light and fizzy Prosecco from Piedmont, in Northern Italy.

It’s a wonderful low-in-alcohol alternative and is the prime ingredient of the classic Venetian peach cocktail Bellini, which is simply peach puree and Prosecco.

Or why not try strawberry or raspberry puree, which is absolutely luscious. Perfect for picnics, summer events – or just for enjoying sunshine in your garden.

We are, it seems, becoming more and more likely to drink pink or rosé wine, which has seen an extraordinary growth recently – up 139 per cent over the past decade and up around 20 per cent in the past year alone – in pubs and restaurants to around 12 per cent of wine consumed in the UK.

This is against a backdrop of declining sales generally in bars so it is even more striking, but deservedly so.

Rosé de Provence is an icon from the world’s largest rosé producing region in the southeast of France.

It has a beautiful delicate pink colour and a wine that will pair with almost any food. In fact, it is proving so popular French rosé now outsells white wine in France.

We, in the UK, have the luxury of a global input to our market and I implore you to try some amazing value quality rosés from South Africa. These are often made by French wine makers plying their trade in a better climate.

Circumstance Rosé from Waterkloof Estate, in Stellenbosch, is made with the Mourvèdre grape and is a steal at £8.75. Its French equivalent would be in the region of £12 a bottle.

My summer drinking is set to revolve around South African varietals. Chenin Blanc, Viognier and Sauvignon blanc all thrive here and are up there with the best in the world.

The difference of course is in the price. A South African Sauvignon Blanc can be half the cost of its New Zealand equivalent without compromising on quality.

My current recommendations are: Koopmanskloof Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (£7) – A soft wine with hints of asparagus, lime and peach. Percheron Chenin Blanc Viognier (£6.50) – From the Western Cape this wine is richly aromatic with vibrant white stone fruit flavours.

David Moore has been a restaurateur for 30 years and is owner of abarbistro, Old Portsmouth www.abarbistro.co.uk and Camber Wines www.camberwines.co.uk

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David Moore on wine: Wine O’Clock (October 2012)

David Moore, from Camber Wines in Portsmouth, adds to Great Britain’s long list of medals.

We Brits have been raking in Olympic medals all summer and I would like to add to those by dishing out a few of my own, in fact three gold medals to local wine producers.

My first goes to Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Sparkling wine. Based in West Chiltington, West Sussex, this estate was planted in 1988 by Stuart and Sandy Moss, from Chicago, and has won worldwide sparkling wine awards ahead of 13 Champagnes.

It is made from the same grapes as Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, and the estate, owned by Dutchman Eric Heerema, has grown from 35 acres to more than 400 acres, making it England’s largest vineyard.

In fact it’s so good, I recently had a customer buy some to take over to Paris for the England v France rugby game. He wanted to show his French friends that not only could we beat them at rugby but we can also beat them at Champagne making.

My second medal goes to Meonhill English Sparkling wine.This vineyard is based in Hambledon, Hampshire, and the wine is blended by a Frenchman, Didier Pierson Champenois.

Didier is from Epernay and has transported his Champagne-making skills to the chalky hills in the MeonValley with amazing results. This wine also stands up comfortably on the global stage.

My third and final medal I award to Stopham Estate, based in Pulborough,West Sussex. Today the wines world’s main artery of cash flow comes from the sales of Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris), and Simon Woodhead, vineyard director and winemaker, has produced a Pinot Gris on this estate to compete anywhere in the world.

Sadly, because of the atrocious British weather, low temperatures and rain, the vineyard has lost 80 per cent of its crop in this only its third year.

While it’s still summertime in the US and Europe, the wine is in barrels in the southern hemisphere showing reduced yields, down 18 per cent in New Zealand and up to 50 per cent in Stellenbosch South Africa compared to its 2011 harvest.

We can expect to see price rises to reflect this by the time the wine hits our shelves.

I still rate South African wines as being the best value for money in the current economic climate. The South African Rand gives a good return on sterling, unlike the Aussie dollar and, to a somewhat lesser extent these days, the Euro.

Try Koopmanskloof Sauvignon/Semillon 2011, £8. It has a beautiful structure and a long succulent finish… and it’s fairtrade too.

I’ve been lucky enough to taste a tank sample of 2012 Viognier from this estate and it is stunning. It should be on our shelves by early autumn.

If the sun persists into a late summer, look out for Percheron Grenache Rose 2011, £5.50.A wonderful pale rose with a grapefruit punch.

David Moore has been a restaurateur for 30 years and is owner of abarbistro, White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth www.abarbistro.co.uk and Camber Wines www.camberwines.co.uk

Article published in the October 2012 edition of etc magazine.



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Red, white and rosé!

After 30 years serving wine to customers in his restaurants, DAVID MOORE set up a wine wholesale business Camber Wines which has grown rapidly and now supplies many of Hampshire’s leading venues.

It’s always been a dream to run an independent wine merchants and be able to sell wines at reasonable prices and at the same time be able to promote wines without all the snobbery that’s often attached, says David Moore.

‘Modern day wine drinkers don’t want to know about malolactic fermentation and whether it has been matured in American or French oak. It’s much simpler than that. It’s really “Is it red, white or rose” and “Do I like it?’’

David is no stranger to starting businesses – he and his wife Karen set up and ran the hugely successful Southsea wine bar Rosie’s for nearly 25 years before selling it in 2007 and the year after refurbished and expanded restaurant abarbistro in Old Portsmouth.

‘We sell a lot of wine in the restaurant so it made sense to also run a wine merchant and wholesale business from the same site – and so that’s what we did,’ he says. Four years down the line business is brisk.

‘We started our wine business from scratch and now on the wholesale side we sell to restaurants and supply leading local venues including the Portsmouth Guildhall and Spinnaker Tower as well as the Royal Navy. We have built up a strong customer base, both wholesale and retail, where customers just pop in for a bottle of wine for supper or to stock up their wine rack.

‘We’re based above abarbistro in Old Portsmouth and it is important to me that people can just use us as a wine shop. For me it’s about helping people find the right wine for them, whether they want a single bottle or a dozen cases for a major function.’

David says in the past buyingwine could be an intimidating experience. ‘That’s certainly not the case with us,’ he says. ‘We’re very happy to help whether you are a wine buff or you just know what you like.’

Although many of Camber Wines’ customers are local – and benefit from free local delivery – the internet means there’s much more of a level playing field, and the company often beats major supermarket chains on prices.

‘We keep our overheads low and that means we are able to offer good prices,’ he says. ‘We select our wine carefully and stock around 200 at any time and we make sure that there’s something for everyone.

‘We have everyday drinking wine that sells from as low £5 a bottle up to our spectacular range of Chateau d’Yquem vintages which retail at up at £1,000 a bottle! So there is something for everyone in our portfolio.

‘Another big advantage of coming to us over a supermarket is that you can actually try the wine before you buy it rather than just hoping you like it by simply looking at the label on the bottle.’

Camber Wines, which takes its name from Old Portsmouth’s historic Camber Dock, which the business overlooks, also does wine tasting evenings, which are very popular for birthdays and special occasions.

‘These are very informal and are all about enjoying wine in a relaxed atmosphere without feeling intimidated,’ says David. ‘The tastings give people the opportunity to try wines they’ve never had before, sometimes including some of our top end stuff,’ says David.

‘It’s great to introduce people to different wines that we have had the opportunity to source from our many agency portfolio tastings. We know the provenance of all of our wines and most of the winemakers themselves.

‘In addition, abarbistro now offers customers the full wine menu from Camber Wines so the restaurant has got a wine list consisting of more than 200 wines, which is fairly unique for a restaurant outside London.’

As the business grows, David is keen to make sure it doesn’t lose the personal touch. ‘Every wine we sell is personally chosen by myself or my colleague Jose – and that’s important because it means customers know it’s been picked by someone who is passionate about people enjoying good wine not just selling it to them.’

Article published in the Summer 2012 edition of The Business magazine.

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