London Living with an Alternative Twist!

Summer Wine & Drinks for the Warm Weather; A Tutored Tasting at The Hop Inn

If you’re a wine lover, like myself, then you will know that white wine isn’t just just for drinking in summer with fish and red wine doesn’t need to be drunk in front of an open fire with a hearty meat based meal (although that is nice!). Wine can 100% be drunk anytime of the year, depending on the grapes availability, you just need to do your research!

Joining my good pal, Natalie, as usual, we embarked on a summer wine journey through a tasting at our favourite place to be on a Monday night; The Hop Inn, Hornchurch. Come along for the ride research…

The Aperitivi Hour: Choose your own Spritz

To create the perfect Aperol Spritz, it’s 3 parts Prosecco, 2 parts Aperol to 1 part soda water.  But did you know there are plenty of other styles of Spritz you can create in the same way?

At the start of this event, we were not only offered an Aperol (a bitter orange flavour), oh no, we were also offered those made from Italicus (bergamot flavour), Uolare (limoncello flavour), Cocchi Americano (quinine flavored), Antica Formula (vanilla flavour) and the one I went for, Cynar, which is artichoke flavour! Who knew there were so many options?!

Matic Wines, Pet Nat Mea 2018, Podravje, Stajerska, Slovenia

A Pet Nat is a naturally bubbly wine that usually made in the Method Ancestrale meaning Champagne Method, and will usually have a crown top like a bottle of beer. They contain natural yeasts so are bound to be a little hazy due to the lack of filtration and have moderate alcohol levels.

This particular Pet Nat from Slovenia is from a fairly small vineyard of 9 hectares where there is minimal interference with the grapes and zero additives making it suitable for Organic classification. On the nose, I can only describe the scent as ‘farmy’ which is expected of such natural wines. On the palate, lots of citrus notes in the form of lemon, grapefruit and orange.

Ameztoi, Txakoli Blanco 2020, Spain

As a lover of Spanish wine, I do always really enjoy being introduced to new styles and grape varieties, such as this Txakoli Blanco. Hailing from the Basque Country, there are only 3 areas that are allowed to produce this style as a lot of flavours come from the location; the sea salt, the sunshine etc.

There’s plenty of green apple and pear on the nose making it almost cider like with a mix of citrus (lemon and lime on the palate. The slight froth and fizz to the wine give it a great mouthfeel too.

According to Vivino, the wine rating app, this is one of the top rated wines for its year.

Sov’ran, Ortega, Worthing, England

We all know I LOVE an English wine so was dead chuffed to see one had made this line up as it was produced in rather small capacity! Sov’ran are known for their small batch production wines, with a focus on quality, sustainability and provenance.

Created with the Ortega German grape variety, and part aged in stainless steel, and part aged in oak barrels this wine has such a unique flavouring. I’d go so far as saying amongst the creaminess, the honeysuckle and lemon, there’s a slight nutty bite too! There was an unexpected long finish and a longing for another sip!

Domaine de la Zouina, Volubilia Gris 2020, Morocco

I do believe that I’d never drunk a Moroccan wine up until this point, so this was a very welcomed tasting!

Domaine de la Zouina is, in fact, French owned so it’s no shock that this rosé is stylistically quite southern French in character. You could even say rather typically ‘Provence’ to look at with its pale colouring. Made from a blend of Caladoc, Mourvèdre and Marselan and farmed according to organic classification this is a very smooth earthy wine.

Moulin de Gassac, Reserve de Gassac 2021, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Often labelled as the ‘Gran Cru’ of the Languedoc this organic, vegan and almost biodynamic, wine is incredibly good value at under £13.

This style can, once again, only be grown in certain locations due to relying on the Mistral Wind. A strong, cold, northwesterly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean. The flavours the wine throws out is quite a mix; you’ve got your summer fruits of strawberry and raspberry, there’s tree fruits such a peach and even a very slight earthy note too! It’s eclectic but divine.

Eschenhof Holzer Wagram Zweigelt 2018, Grossreindthal, Wagram, Austria

Fun fact, Zweigelt is the most-planted red grape in Austria and it’s been around since 1922 so Happy 100th Birthday Zweigelt!

It has a light body, with a raspberry and cherry fruity first taste, followed by an earth aftertaste. It’s such an easy wine to drink that I can almost imagine it being paired with your everyday meals. Favourites like burger and chips, pizza and, of course, a cheese platter in the summer sunshine!

Since this tasting, I’ve actually ordered a slightly chilled bottle of this on a warm Sunday afternoon in the Hop Inn. It was simply perfect for the mood and setting!

Coola Hills, Pinot Noir 2021, Mount Gambier, South Australia

Our final wine of the evening, and it had to be a Pinot Noir as no summer wine tasting is complete without one!

Hailing from the tiny Coola Hills vineyard of only 2 hectares in Southern Australia this super fresh, juicy and light wine is also one for the chilling before enjoying in the sun. There’s very low intervention with the grapes when growing so this is a very natural wine that comes in a wonderfully colourful bottle.

If you’re a cider or gin fan, you can check out the other tastings I’ve taken part in here:

Exploring Modern Cider; A Cider Tasting At The Hop Inn

A Juniper Journey; A Gin Tasting At The Hop Inn

I'm Squibb Vicious, better known as Haydy!
Happiest with a craft beer in hand, eating til my heart is content or exploring somewhere new.
Here you can read about my adventures!