The wine feastival that is Wilderness Festival

I just got back from the feastival that is Wilderness Festival. In its seventh year held at Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, not only is it a family friendly festival, it is an absolute food and drinks haven.
This was four days of serious food and drink indulgence. Not a greasy burger or pint of Brother’s perry in sight.

From Jose Cuevo margaritas to Orchard Pig cider. There was a Peacock tail cocktail truck, a Sipsmith gin bar, Pimm’s double decker bus complete with croquet lawn and a Veuve Clicquot tent (yes, really). The Ketel One Kitchen served vodka fans, and the twinkly Meantime bar and Heineken Hall kept those seeking a decent pint happy. Not that I tried them all, I hasten to add!

Then there was wine.

Picture this: Saturday evening. Wood smoke and folk in the air. Tired legs from dancing and piggy backs. Then taking a pew to share a bottle of Crianza at the Wines from Rioja terrace. Festi-bliss!
But that’s not all. There was more wine… and the food… the food…

If you weren’t organised enough to book Thomasina Mears or Yotam Ottolenghi or Angela Hartnett, or just not the kind to plan ahead, no fear.

For instance, if you’d missed a table at The Pig or Petersham Nurseries, takeaway was available.

Our preference was to head to The Dining Room where we gorged on gourmet Breddos tacos, top notch samphire pakoras from Kricket or soft, steamed Taiwanese Baos, washed down by a glass or two of Provençal rosé from The Cellar wine bar.

The wine may stop there, but the food was never ending. Gourmet street food lined the site at each and every turn. Favourites included Anna Mae’s mac ‘n’ cheese, more tacos, Chip Off The Block cheesy chips, Bubble Dogs (sans bubbles), burritos, gyoza and so much more. The Wholefood Heaven Buddha bowl went down a storm with my healthy CrossFit loving chum.

Some may say it’s all a bit corporate, but I felt the balance was about right and I certainly left feeling contentedly full, having done my bit for caterers big and small.
With early bird tickets for Wilderness 2018 being released today, I’m still recovering from this weekend so won’t be booking quite yet. But if you enjoyed Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park but just wish it had lasted longer, I’d totally recommend Wilderness Festival – just swap the wax jacket for sequins.

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Filed under food and drinks festivals, Home Counties

Tom Kerridge presents Pub in the Park. A Michelin-starred festival. In Marlow.

pub in the park marlow
Three days of gourmet food, cracking music and lush vibes you say?
Like the best pub garden maybe EVER? And not just gourmet food, but a whole festival of Michelin-starred gourmet food?
Well I’m in. I’m not sure there could be anything more up my alley.

With pop-up versions of both of Tom’s Marlow ‘pubs’ The Hand and Flowers and The Coach, this is a fantastic opportunity to feast on his delicious offerings without booking a year in advance OR chancing your luck on bagging a table.

Sharing the love with other ace local chefs who will not only have pop-ups of their own, but will be laying on live cooking demos, this is as far away from the usual packet of crisps and a pint of lager that you can imagine.

This family event will have rowing boats and games on the lawn (this is Marlow after all) and the riverside live music will continue into the evening. There will also be a chance to shop at an artisan food and drinks market where you can discover top quality local producers as you while away the afternoon.

And let’s not forget of course, the booze! Things are still very much TBC, but I’m expecting plenty of bars, all with a heavy presence of local brews, cider and of course wine. Without naming names at this stage, I trust Mr Kerridge to not disappoint.
Keep an eye on Facebook or Instagram to stay in the loop.

Tickets go on sale early February and I’d get in there quick.
Sign up to the mailing list to be the first to know when tickets come on sale.

To quote the big man himself “It’s gunna be lush.”

The Details:
What: Tom Kerridge Presents Pub in the Parkm
When: 19 – 21 May 2017
Where: Higginson Park, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2AE

See you there friends!

Disclaimer: Because I really liked the look of this event, I asked these guys if I could spread the word, and they agreed.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking Out, English Wine, food and drinks festivals, Local produce, Maidenhead

A new year, a new focus…

Perfect Friday WineToday, after 3 years of total brilliance, I gave back the keys to my Perfect Friday Wine ‘warehouse’.

Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t been storing my Perfect Friday Wine in my dining room. It has been kept safe and sound in a licensed warehouse unit, all part of my clunky (and legal) logistics process. Cool in the summer and temperate in the winter, the wine has been stored under lock and key, safely away from me and my corkscrew, awaiting for your orders.

Big up to the guys at A4 Self Store for taking in pallet after pallet of wine, bearing with me while I got my licensing up and running (which is a total ball ache), even putting Spongebob on the office TV to entertain children while I’ve tended to ‘just one more’ order. Without A4, my logistics wouldn’t have run half as smoothly.

Sadly though, this does mark the end of the retail side of Perfect Friday Wine. Just the retail bit mind, this is far from the last you’ve heard of me.

2016 was a year exploring how to grow PFW as a retail business, but it transpires that after investigating shops, importing, taking on staff, it’s the face-to-face chatter, writing and online social exchange that I love the most, not the selling.

So, as I turn my attention back to the blog, writing (for PFW and for others) and faffing about with my new love of Instagram, I’d just like to say what an amazing time I’ve had since December 2013. I’ve lugged boxes, frozen my fingers off, talked a lot, tasted, taught, talked some more, driven miles and, the best bit, I’ve met a whole load of fantastic people – many who I now call my friends. Thank you all so much for your ongoing support of me and Perfect Friday Wine, I couldn’t have got here without you, you thirsty lot! 

Now, please excuse me while I duck out for a bit and regroup, I promise I’ll be back asap to entertain you wine-wise, I just won’t be carrying any boxes.

Ciao for now and join me for an Insta-natter in the meantime.

Cheers and happy new year, Jo.

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Life really is too short to drink bad wine.

Life’s too short to drink bad wine.

Ever since the beginnings of Perfect Friday Wine, I’ve been harping on with the same message, that life’s too short to drink bad wine.

I have been right all along.

Drink up, drink well. Open that bottle you’ve been saving for an age. Treat those taste buds. Boycott the boring. Drink less but better. Choose quality not quantity.

Whatever you’ve been up to this week, it’s the weekend. Time to kick back and open a ‘proper’ bottle of wine.

 

Life's too short to drink bad wine

Here’s my perfect Friday wine on this crisp and cold November evening in front of the fire, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentinian wine producer, Tempus Alba. A bloody lovely wine and it’s not going to drink itself 🙂

My wine drinking has been a bit Cabernet Sauvignon light over the last few years but this autumn, Argentina reminded me just how good Cabernet can be. Often too heavy and tannic (Australia, I’m talking to you) or poor value (yes, you Bordeaux), alongside Malbec, Argentina is doing wonders with this international grape, making crisper, great value Cabernet Sauvignon full of the classic and savoury blackberry, blackcurrant and spice.

So, embrace the present this weekend. Happy Friday. Chin Chin.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, South America

Best Yet Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting

Nearly a month later and I’m only just getting round to reporting that this year’s Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting in Maidenhead was the most successful yet.

Huge thanks to all 80+ guests who came along, what a great afternoon!

I of course took about 3 photographs; always in my mind, a good indicator of a good do. Here’s the best one….

Wine Tasting Maidenhead

The third of its kind, this intimate yet informal annual wine tasting was held in Perfect Friday Wine’s home town of Maidenhead at the most suitable venue of the Council Chamber in the Town Hall.

Anyone familiar with the town will know that events like this don’t tend to happen – not that I know of anyway, or I’d be there!

With over 40 wines to taste, talk and mingle over during the course of an afternoon, five Perfect Friday Wine suppliers poured and talked through the wines, including wines from some of the UK’s top London-based wine importers.

maidenhead wine

 

Around half of the wines were new to the Perfect Friday Wine list, all available to order. Particularly well received was a new sparkling Calmel and Joseph Cremant de Limoux, South African wines from Black Elephant Vintners and a whole host of Argentinian reds.

I’m delighted to have given local folk a great excuse to leave the kids at home and enjoy an afternoon of great wine on their doorsteps and judging by the feedback, good fun was had by all.

If you do have photos of the day and haven’t yet shared, I’d love to see them on Facebook or Instagram.

Until next year!!

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Filed under Home Counties, Maidenhead, Wine and Food Pairing, Wine Tasting

Wine List Released for the Autumn Wine Tasting in Maidenhead 2016

With much anticipation, the biggest and best ever Wine Tasting Event in Maidenhead, certainly to my knowledge, is happening this coming Saturday afternoon.

Yes, from 1.30pm until 5pm on Saturday 8th October 2016, The Council Chamber in Maidenhead’s Town Hall will be transformed into a tasting room filled with around 80 wine loving folk from the locality, enjoying over 40 wines from 7 countries around the world.  Guests are welcome to arrive at any time during the afternoon since the format is very relaxed and of walk around format. Last pour will be at 5pm.

The Wine Tasting Brochure and Wine List  has now been confirmed and is now available to download for preview. You will receive a nice printed copy on arrival.

Maidenhead Wine Tasting

The last few remaining tickets are available to buy in advance. Further details and FAQs can be viewed here or drop me a line.

Correction: Entry to the event is via the MAIN door at the front of the Town Hall on St Ives Road.

Download the Wine List Brochure for the Perfect Friday Wine Autumn Wine Tasting 2016 now.

 

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking Out, Home Counties, Maidenhead, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting

Muscadet; it’s all the rage, don’t you know?

I wrote an article today on autumnal wines. It was 30 degrees and sweltering outside. Yesterday, I saw a photo of Phillip Schofield on Instagram or Twitter, I forget which, sitting, wearing a Christmas jumper, in front of a full Christmas spread, crackers and all. Let’s just say, my job of ‘getting in the mood’ was probably a little easier than Phil’s.

My Dorset tipple, all that was missing were the fresh mackerel!

My Dorset tipple, all that was missing were the fresh mackerel!

So while I wrote about enjoying a game pie alongside a big, earthy red, all that was really on my mind, and has been most sunny days this summer, is a big cold glass of deliciously refreshing Muscadet. Yep, that’s right folks, good old Muscadet – it’s all the rage, don’t you know and coming back with a vengeance.

To be honest, I don’t really get why it went out of style in the first place. It doesn’t have an offensive bone in its (light) body. It’s crisp, dry, unoaked with a delightful crunch of lemon sherbert fizz. Classically paired with Oysters and seafood, it’s inexpensive and up there with the Picpoul de Pinets and Albarinos of the wine world.

So this summer, I have mainly been drinking, Domaine de la Noe Muscadet Sevre et Maine ‘Sur Lie’ and at under £9, it’s an absolute wine of value. I suppose there in answers the question as to why Muscadet lost its edge. That there isn’t a very snappy, nor sexy title, and I guess once the new world started slapping grape varieties on the labels, the mystery of Muscadet became a bit too much and it disappeared into the vat of complicated French wine labels as we all began to drink overoaked Chardonnay.

Domaine de la Noe MuscadetI will therefore enlighten you about all you need to know about Muscadet and why it should never have been sidelined. First off, it’s from the Loire Valley in France, right out on the western seaboard nearby to Nantes. It’s made from the grape ‘Melon de Bourgogne’, if you’ve ever heard of it, it’s relatively low in alcohol and the better examples, such as this one, state the ‘sur lie’ on the label. This means that the wine has been left to develop for a while on the sediment (dead yeast cells known as ‘lees’ or ‘lie’) that are part of the fallout of fermentation (the other bit being the alcohol), thus giving the wine a little more body and depth, with a creamier, nuttier flavour. Also, importantly, Muscadet is dry, as dry as a bone, and doesn’t have anything to do with the grape variety Muscat, which is synonymous with sweet wine. Lastly, Muscadet is an absolute bargain, so give it a go!

Any other questions? I guess you’ll want to taste it? Lucky for you, I’ll have it open at Emmett’s Farm Shop on Saturday 24th September and of course, the Autumn Wine Tasting on 8th October, so come along and rediscover the retro fabulousness that is Muscadet. Continue reading

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Filed under France, Grape Varieties, Seasonal

Wine in Little Marlow at Emmett’s Farm, Buckinghamshire

Wine at Emmett's FarmEmmett’s Farm, where’s that? It’s a common question I’m asked when I mention my pop-up pitch outside a local Farm Shop. When I point out its location, between Marlow and Bourne End, not far from the A404, in rural Buckinghamshire’s Little Marlow, folk’s recognition is almost immediate.

But, there’s not just a Farm Shop, it’s a proper little destination. Many are familiar with Home Barn, a haven for all things vintage, reclaimed or antique. Then, better known by the ‘shooting set’, is the very manly Emmett and Stone Country Sports Store, or ‘the gun shop’ as I know it, which sits over in the corner, attracting folk driving the most eye catching cars from the filthiest Land Rover to the shiniest sports cars.

Putting Annie Sloan and tweed aside, we get to the foodie interest at Emmett’s Farm. First up, there’s the aforementioned Farm Shop selling local and seasonal vegetables grown right there on the farm. Think pumpkins, squashes and gourds in Autumn (great for cooking as well as Hallowe’en), sweetcorn in August, asparagus in May [calendar]. Then there’s all the other bits and bobs from small local producers; think baked goods, fresh bread and cakes, local honey, preserves, biscuits, cereals,  meat, cheese and pies.

Then, right next door sits Marlow’s longstanding Phil Bowditch Butchers and Fish Mongers. These guys not only serve up amazing quality meat, fish and seafood with a smile, they have their own smoker out the back, so this is the place to go for the best smoked salmon, bacon and sausages that I know of ’round these parts’.

Maidenhead Wine PopUp

All that seems to be missing, is wine! And that’s where I have been filling the gap now and again since May 2014, with the Perfect Friday Wine Pop-up Wine Stall and Wine Tasting. Amazingly, it has actually been sunny and warm for my last few pop-ups, the latest on 16th July, when I introduced the new-in, organic, robust, Spanish red, Quinta Milu Roble from Ribera del Duero. [Read more about Milu and Ribera del Duero].

Between Bowditch, the Farm Shop and I, we really do have all you’d need for a sunny BBQ/ cosy winter weekend at home, not only serving great quality provision with good old fashioned personal service, but leaving you with that feel good factor of shopping local and supporting small businesses. If you are remotely interested in good food and caring about where your food comes from, this really is a great place to find exceptional local and quality produce (an wine) in one place.

I’ll be back at Emmett’s Farm with wine on Saturday 24th September (plus the run up to Christmas 2016, TBA), where I’m looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and getting to meet many more local wine drinkers. I always have wines open to taste, there’s no minimum order, I take credit/ debit cards and I’ll even carry your wine to your car boot. If I don’t have the right wine there on the stall, I’ll deliver it later in the week or let me know ahead of time and I’ll have your wine there ready and waiting. I have everything covered, except guarantee of the weather!

So bring the dog, don those Dubarry’s and I’ll see you at Emmett’s on September 24th! If it helps, please do sign up to my newsletter and I’ll remind you nearer the time.

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Home Counties, Local produce, Maidenhead, Wine and Food Pairing

Quinta Milu, does what it says on the box.

Quinta Milu RobleAs it says, literally on the box; “Fine, artisan, village wines. Traditional, Organic and Sustainable Viticulture”.  I think this sums up the wines of  Ribera del Duero wine producer, Quinta Milu pretty well.  Add ‘robust’, ‘tasty’ and ‘great value’ in there too, and you get the idea even more. Continue reading

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking In, Spain

Best (non-alcoholic) beverage in Berkshire….

12718138_10153823935430399_8863558578712723717_nI remember sitting in the Two Brewers in Windsor once when I was pregnant with an equally pregnant friend, where we sat and nursed two lime and sodas for an entire evening. Don’t pity the landlord too much for our table hogging, as I’ve spent many a hard-earned £ over the years, pre and post-natal, in my favourite ‘no child zone’, on pints of Guinness, bottles of Champagne ‘because it’s better value than a bottle of white’ and dining (their Petit Chablis and Carignan are both worth a tipple btw). Plus, it was nothing more than enforced abstinence and I shared the soft drink consumption around the county, fair and square.

In fact, I found liquid intake during pregnancy terribly boring since I often joke that unless a drink contains alcohol or caffeine, then it’s not for me – obviously a little limited when ‘with child’. Water is the exception, or course, but it doesn’t go down well at a cafe or bar when you rock up and ask for a glass of tap water to sip whilst taking up space for hours. This concept also transfers to brandishing a laptop and working for an hour on the wifi, after all, there’s no such thing as free wifi.

If you follow my Instagram account, you may notice that my second liquid pleasure in life, after the grape or grain and before wine o’clock, is coffee. Not just any old coffee, but proper coffee. Since too much coffee incidentally sends me a bit loopy, I’m a strict one-cup-a-day kinda girl, so every cup has to be the real deal, or there’s no point. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert (I’d like to know more), but it’s not hard to taste the difference between Instant (a big fat decline), the stuff they serve in Costa or Starbucks (I will accept if need be) or proper, tasty coffee (yes please).

#flatwhite #hotchocolate #latteart #coffee @cooperscoffeebar #marlow #saturdaymorning #propercoffeebar

A post shared by Jo Randell (@perfectfridaywine) on

It has therefore become a decadent habit of mine, as a worker from home, that when I need a change of scenery or when I’m out and about on deliveries or need a spot of inspiration, I’ll seek out the delights of a local cafe with wifi and a decent roast (coffee bean, not Sunday), to work from.

My favourite spot local to Maidenhead for coffee? I’m open to suggestion, but Coopers Trading in Marlow HAS to win top award for coffee, atmosphere and best dog (great wine list too). Stubbings does a decent flat white and the cakes are very tempting, very popular with MIYP (Mums-in-yoga-pants) and today I thoroughly enjoyed a new-one-on-me-for-coffee, nostalgic, straight black coffee in the sunshine outside The Firestation in Windsor. So if you enjoy a spot of latte art as well as a decent glass of wine, pop over to my Instagram account and follow and let me know where else I should try for the best cup of coffee in Berkshire (or Bucks)!

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Filed under Eating/ Drinking Out, Home Counties, Maidenhead, Uncategorized