11 April 2012

I’m really excited about the reaction to my Verjus since it's launch last winter. I always wanted to make one, to use in my own kitchen and cooking, and to share with others. (I love the idea of using everything in the vineyard and wasting nothing. I use old chunks of vine wood, cut off in pruning or when laying down new arms, in the fireplace and to fire up the pizza oven. And feed household scraps to the chickens, using their waste in the compost we make for the vineyard. )

Verjus is made of unripe Roussanne grapes. Lightening the load of just a small amount, just after veraison, means the rest will ripen nicely, particularly in a cool year. I always thought Roussanne, with its crisp acidity and delicate hints of pear and apple, would lend itself well to the style. It adds such lovely flavours to roasting chicken or a steaming bowl of fresh mussels.

It’s wonderful to see how well it’s been embraced by some of the city’s leading chefs, wine writers and providores

The revered Ben Shewry who weaves his magic at Attica in Rippon Lea came out of the kitchen one day when I called, to tell me how much he likes it and what dishes he finds it really works well in! Nicolas Poelart at Embrasse Restaurant , emerged from his kitchen one afternoon and kissed me (three times for family and friends!) and said the delicate flavours make it terrific in poaching and fish dishes.

Similarly I recently received a very enthusiastic email from Cumulus Inc in the city the other day saying ” …..I tried your Verjus too and was awesome, really alive and singing with great acidity”. Andrew McConnell’s group of restaurants, of which Cumulus Inc is part, are a very vibrant part of the inner city.

And I loved the fact that wine writer, Max Allen, encouraged his readers to “splash it into a gin and tonic!" Adding, “ Yes, I know you’re meant to cook with Verjus or use it in salad dressings, but I’d prefer to drink it …”!

We are just about to bottle the Verjus from this vintage. After all it is just handpicked, crushed, settled and filtered juice! And just in the nick of time, as we are down to the last layer in the pallet in the cellar!

I’ll let you know when the new vintage is ready for release.