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A Night With Butlers Wine Cellar

All the Gresham Blake bespoke tailors recently invited some of their best & local clientele to an evening of frivolity in our Brighton store.  A Wine Tasting with Henry & Cassie of Butlers Wine Cellar

One of the very first Gresham Blake customers; Henry Butler and his partner Cassie own and run the well loved & established Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton. (Henry & Cassie have been know to feature in our fashion films)

Butlers was first founded in 1979, now in its fourth decade, and with two Brighton outlets, Butlers hold the title of Brighton’s Oldest Independent Wine Retailer and ship great wines worldwide.

Butlers Wine Cellar | Gresham Blake
Henry Butler & Gresham Blake
Butlers Wine Cellar | Gresham Blake
Butlers Wine Tasting at Gresham Blake

Henry kept all of us entertained whilst educating us on the below wines, a great selection from Henry & Cassie. For those not in attendance on the evening, Cassie tells you more about the wines we tasted (and drank), all of which are available at Butlers….

Oliver Zeter Sparkling SauvignonBlanc (Germany) – £20.49

This is dry, crisp and clean, full of fruit and a lovely clean finish. A perfect aperitif wine

Zeter is one of the rising stars of the Pfalz in Germany & Butlers have been enjoying all of his wines. They have modernised German styles and are organic and excellent. We chose to show this as a sparkling as sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is unusual, and this is delicious! I felt the label story ties in with art and design.

The drinking bear that adorns the label comes from the quill of a well known Pfalz artist named Otto Dill, a friend of Oliver’s great grandfather Walter Baer (German for bear). On one occasion in 1933 Walter was unable to meet his friends for a regular ‘glass of wine or two’ and the artist sent the sketch on a postcard to his friend Walter the ‘bear’, and the postcard was signed by all the friends present that day. Oliver has the postcard in his kitchen. He declared that the bear had been with him all his life and when he made wine he would go on the label.

Rag and Bone Riesling (Australia) – £12.99 – The palate is bright, zingy, singing with natural acidity and really textural.

Rag & Bone Riesling | Butlers Wine Cellar
Rag & Bone Riesling

The rationale behind this label is a quirky one! Due to the tiny production of a particular wine, half the vineyard fruit was to be discarded….so the wine makers took this other half given the quality of the wine over previous years. This lead to thinking about up-cycling the near-discarded, how one man’s trash is another man’s treasure etc. The label reflects a collection of discarded items which together make up an eclectic assortment greater than the sum of its parts.

The nose classically expresses the vineyard… it’s like having a fresh lime in your hand that you crush gently over minerals… literally lime on the rocks!! The palate is bright, zingy, singing with natural acidity and really textural. It reflects the vineyard with its fine sandy texture with really bright, white pithy fruit. Just a cracking Eden Valley Riesling.

We chose to show this as Gresham make a LOT of clothes for Rag and Bone man who comes from Uckfield like Cassie!

Alfaiate (Portugal) – £21.99

We specialise in Portuguese wines and this is a hidden gem in our huge range. Alfaiate means tailor in Portuguese and it reflects the tailor-made care with which this wine is crafted and blended, much like the clothes at Gresham Blake.

The grapes are only harvested by female pickers since the wine maker considers their approach more careful and sympathetic to each individual vine. They following biodynamic principles and focus on attention to detail. The grape varieties combine perfectly for a gourmet wine of unique quality. We find it not dissimilar to a Chablis in style, we like it a lot and think it delivers great value for money.

Wild Boy (California) – £27.50

Vendimia Rioja (Spain) – £13.99When I looked at the label of this wine it made me think of Wild Boy Gresham, and the wine maker looks like Henry (if he had hair).

Wild Boy | Butlers Wine Cellar | Gresham Blake
Wild Boy

Jim Clendenon makes top class white wines from Chardonnay fruit in Santa Barbara California. He began in 1982 and quickly established himself as a fine wine maker. The Wild Boy has been oak aged, but it has been made to be really fresh and juicy, with lots of peach flavours coming through. This isn’t an in your face style of wine, it has leanings towards more of a Burgundian style of wine. Its one of my favourites!

Vendimia Rioja (Spain) – £13.99

I chose this wine to pair with the Gresham Blake illuminated flower shirt. This is a juicy bright style of Rioja with just a lick of oak. Made by one of the top producers in Spain this is a seriously easy drinking wine. Wine maker Alvaro is from a family of wine legends, much like Gresham Blake and Henry Butler in their own fields and has even won best wine maker in the world a couple of years ago.

Fresh, fruity and great value, much like Gresham Blake. 

Blank Bottle It is what is is (South Africa) – £22.00

This is an exciting wine for us! This was made and labelled exclusively for us by one of our favourite producers, Blank Bottle in South Africa.

Pieter Walser, the wine maker, makes many limited edition wines, from tiny parcels of interesting grapes. He is keen for people to ignore grape varieties on the label, and just try the wines and buy the wines you like. This is a combination of Nebbiolo (the grape variety used in Barolo), Tempranillo (more common in Rioja) and Carignan which makes up part of many Chateauneuf du Pape wines. The blend has been aged in oak, to soften it and give it a creamy texture.

It Is What it Is | Butlers Wine Cellar | Gresham Blake
Blank Bottle It Is What It Is & Vendimia Rioja. 

When Pieter designed the label, he took an image of Henry form a photo I’d taken of him in the Gresham shop, standing holding a machine gun, with nail varnish on. This was the original label, but perhaps sales would not have soared. This label is the new version without the gun. The white we also had made has a hand drawn West Pier on it. I love everything about this wine and wine maker, also very minimal intervention and this wine can never be made again as the owner of the grapes has ripped up the vineyard since making it, therefore it is what it is

Since the evening at our Brighton store, Cassie has been having a great time pairing up tipples with our signature Gresham Blake printed shirts, make sure you hit their Instagram!

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