I have been a customer of Gordon’s bar for a while, always liked the atmosphere, hospitality and the great team work.
One day I decided to go and ask the general manager, Gerard Menan, who has an amazing knowledge and passion for wines, if I could work with him for a day to gain more experience. He didn’t even think twice, asking me to come back on the following Sunday where he would spend some time with me and answer all my curiosities about the business.
Arthur Gordon who set up the bar in 1890 was one of the few remaining “free vintners” who were able to set up and sell wine anywhere without applying for a license as a result of Edward III’s Charter to them in 1364 – granted as a result of his financial embarrassment at being unable to repay a loan made by the Vintners to him some years earlier! The current Gordon family who own the bar are not actually related to Arthur Gordon but it was a happy coincidence that Luis Gordon discovered the bar and took it over in 1975 so was able to maintain the Gordon name.
As soon as you get inside the bar you see old wooden walls and furniture with historical newspapers as a display.
Gordon’s bar offers over 60 options of wine and fortified wines.
The wine list contains:
Lighter bodied red wines, Full bodied red wines, More complex white wines, Champagne and Sparkling wines, Rose wines and fortified wines:
From the wood - Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso
Bottle - Dry Oloroso and Manzanilla Barbadillo
From the wood - Gordon’s Old Wood Tawny
Bottle - Gordon’s Ruby, Messias 10 years Old, dry white and sweet white.
From the wood - Gordon’s Madeira
Bottle - Blandy’s Sercial, Bual and Malmsey
The fortified wines selection you can buy in wood or bottles. Gerard does his own Madeira blended Madeira using 3 bottles of dry Madeira, 1 bottle of sweet and 1 bottle of medium for each barrel, resulting in a unique and lovely complex wine.
The wine list also offers a good range by the glass where gives you more option and opportunity to try more wines in a very good value for money.
I arrived at 12pm on a Sunday which is a quite, Gerard asked me to have a look on the wine list before, after we sat for half an hour for a chat and some more information about the wine bar.
Gerard also showed me the cellar, explained the way that he makes his owns Madeira blends and stores his wines.
After a quick tour in the bar I have started to work…selling wines and meeting great customers that definitely help for this magic environmental. The team work is fantastic, they have passion and hunger to develop, Gerard always employs people to work collecting glasses and then if they show more interest they start work behind the bar. So all the barmen at Gordon’s have started out this way, collecting glasses.
Also I met a few people that were previous employees of Gordon’s bar, they still come along to see their colleagues and purchase some wine.
I spent about two hours tasting the wines by the glass and the fortified wines, Gerard let me enjoy each moment of this experience. Gordon’s bar to me has the simplicity and quality that you always looking for as a Customer view.
Gordon’s offers a selection of cheese, breads and salads on the daily basis and from Monday to Saturday hot Tapas!
I finished my tasting around 5pm then I had some lunch and a glass of Tawny Port. This was one more of my “different experiences” that I will always keep in mind.
On Saturday 7th February, I had the greatest experience involving my first ever with Rugby match combined with some amazing wines!
I was invited along by Mark Henry, from Butler's Wine Cellar, and some Italians from Astrum wines, for a lunch before the England v Italy game. I wasn’t sure what to expect but went along to the heart of the St. Margaret’s community, at Brula Restaurant, where I found a welcoming and very professional service with some great French cuisine.
We had a special Grand ‘Crew’ Menu compiled by Kirsty, the person responsible for the private room on the second floor.
Foie gras and chicken liver parfait, Madeira jelly and toasted brioche
Braised shoulder of Berkshire Downs lamb, creamed potatoes, beetroot and mint
Buttermilk pudding, Yorkshire rhubarb and brandy snap
Selection of cheese from ‘La Fromagerie’
From left to right: Al, Simone, Mark, Henry, Stefano, Marco, Max and Dario.
To kick off the day, we had some magnums from the Italians at Astrum Wines:
Riesling am Berg, R & A Pfaffl 2006, Austria
A very exotic Riesling with wonderful opulent peach and apricot fruit, rich, powerful and off dry.
Nova Domus Terlaner DOC 2006
Altenberg St Laurent Pfaffl 2006, Austria
I am Brazilian and so I was very excited when the guys produced a wine form my home country:
Reserva Boscato, Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Rio Grande do Sul
A smooth wine, red fruits and soft tannin, it is a complex wine, rich in flavors, good length with strawberries and spicy on the finishing. www.boscato.com.br
In the mid ‘60s the wine industry in Brazil began to seriously expand. Families owning wineries began to send their children to universities to study oenology and viticulture. Today the country has nearly 30,000 acres under vine and produces about 45 million liters (5 million cases) of wine per year, fairly equally split between red and white varieties. The vast majority of that wine production (90+%) still takes place in an area known as Serra Gaúcha which is roughly parallel to Mendoza Argentina and sandwiched between Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean
By now I was feeling very happy with the way the day was turning out. Then to top it all, a wonderful French wine:
Chateau Simone, Grand Cru 2001, Provence
The Chateau Simone was beautiful surprise from Mark and it was a wine that I’ve never had before, and to be honest didn’t even know that I could find a Chateau with my name!
The wine has a light appearance, ruby red colour, with raspberry and dried herbs on the nose. It has pure and elegance on the palate with a good mix of red fruits and lavender. Keeps getting better and more and more effusive with air, has a long length and is well balanced. It could use some decanting. This is a wine that is all about its terroir.
I loved it and will seek out past and future vintages…
Chateau Simone is a wine that I consider a must-drink!!!
A dessert wine:
A Coteaux du Layon, Chenin Blanc
Vintage Port – Quinta de la Rosa 1999
After lunch we have made a move to Twickenham Stadium for the Rugby Union game.
On the way we had more drinks from some Hip Flasks...
Acquavita d’Uva, Most di Fragalino Bepi Tosolini
This high quality distilled spirits, is made from only the freshest and highest quality Friulian grapes that are carefully selected by the Tosolini family. The grapes are left to ferment in ash wood vats, its purity and transparent, white appearance. The distillation then takes place in copper stills in a discontinuous cycle, which was invented by Bepi Tosolini more than 50 years ago in order to guarantee the continuity of the flavours and aromas of the grape harvest. It is a delicate, aromatic bouquet that remains on the palate with perfumes and flavours.
Eau de vie – Poire Williams Capovilla, Veneto
Capovilla makes legendary eaux-de-vies near Bassano. He works with two 150-liter stills set up in a shed beside his house. One is for grape pumace that is the source of grappa and the other for the fruits that are distilled into eau-de-vie. Capovilla organically cultivates old-fashioned varieties of apples, pears, peaches and apricots on five acres of land. Even more remarkably, he scouts out wild or heirloom fruits* which he harvests with his family. Since he adds no sugar or alcohol to his brew, the amount of fruit that goes into a liter of distillate is determined by its sugar content. In 1998 he made 10,000 half-liter bottles of grappa and 8,500 bottles of eau-de-vie.
I was supporting Italy but England won!
England 36 – 11 Italy
It was the first time that I have spent watching Rugby in my entire life...
I can say that it was a good match ... thanks guys!