- Food & Drink
Sister Number One emails Merry Widows while drinking their fine wine
I was walking home on Friday – I know, how healthy am I? – when I walked past the Slow Food Marketon the South Bank, behind the Royal Festival Hall. I can’t resist a food market, and as I was going to Sister Number One’s flat for dinner that night, I thought I’d have a nose round in case there was something I could bring, in spite of her strict instructions not to bring anything.
I spent a significant amount of time staring at the William Curley chocolate stall considering the merits of a slab of cinnamon milk chocolate or a bar filled with sea salt caramel but other people were dithering over their purchases too, so I abandoned that, skirted a few cheese stalls and then was drawn irresistibly in by a wine stall with shiny black bottles.
The stand was run by Merry Widows, who sell Austrian wines – Austrian! – in shiny black bottles. Better than that, they sell Austrian wines in different sized shiny black bottles, including 750ml, 500ml, 375ml and little pop cap 250ml bottles for wine on the run.
SN1 has an abiding fondness for rosé wine, so I picked up a half bottle of their Pinot Noir rosé and, after an excellent Manchego, Almond and Quince Salad (thanks SN1), we set about tasting it.
Is the bottle nice? It’s shiny and black – what more could you want?
What does it smell like? SN1 thought it smelt like cheese, specifically Pecorino. I thought it smelt like orchards.
What does it taste like if you knock it back like there is no tomorrow? Like every rosé wine in the history of humankind, it tastes of strawberries and bubblegum when you chug it.
And if you swill it around your mouth and make slurping noises? SN1 thought it tasted like cherry skins at the start and then cheese on the finish. To me, it still tasted of strawberries with a sweetish hint of vanilla, but there was also an almondy, marzipan edge to it. The wine was much more complex than the initial swill and swallow suggested and I found myself thinking: ‘This is a rosé wine I can actually respect.’ I gave myself a slap, but the thought still lingered so maybe there is something in Merry Widows’ claim that it is the rosé you have always wanted.
Serve it with food? Well, is there any wine that isn’t good by itself? Merry Widows give the usual ‘try it with a salad or appetisers’ recommendation, but we tried it with a few squares of chocolate SN1 had in for dessert. It’s possible I was completely plastered by the time we got to this off-piste pairing, but I think it went well. The milk chocolate sweetness brought out the bitter cherry stone/almond flavours, and the white chocolate made it taste grassy and herby. I wouldn’t pair it with a dark chocolate mousse, but it might be worth trying with a Bakewell tart.
Price? £7 for a half bottle. SN1 emailed them for listings and Merry Widows sell from a couple of small shops, but the easiest way is to order from them direct or keep walking past the South Bank in the hope that a Slow Food Market will be on and they will be there.