Take it home: the dark arts of beer and a great value Pinot Noir
Every Friday John Wilson selects a great wine and a great beer to try right now. This week it's Palataia Pinot Noir 2013 from Germany and Dark Arts Porter from Trouble Brewing
Mark Nixon of Trouble Brewing
Palataia Pinot Noir 2013, Pfalz, Germany
13.5% €14.79 Available from Marks & Spencer
I have been singing the praises of German Pinot Noir (or Spätburgunder as it is usually called in Germany) for some time now. These are delicate and perfumed wines with wonderful piquant dark cherry fruits. The only downside is the price; they usually cost more than €20, often straying over €30. The Palataia may not reach quite the same heights, but costing less than €15, it constitutes great value for money. Made by Gerd Stepp, who used to work as M&S winemaker, this is light and tangy with lifted sweet fruits. Very yummy, my tasting note says and that just about describes it.
Dark Arts Porter, Trouble Brewing
4.4% €2.99 for a 500ml bottle Widely available
"It's not about the hops. It is all about the malts", says Paul O’Connor of Trouble Brewing. "We use six different kinds of malt in the brew alongside some flaked barley." The Dark Arts beers always have enough flavour to please the beer nuts while still appealing to the rest of us. "Dark Arts was the second beer we did, six months after we started. It arrived fully-formed. We have never tweaked the recipe since that first batch. We intended it to be a one-off special but people raved about it and it quickly became our second core beer. It's never been the best-selling beer (that would be the Deception Golden Ale) but we have always got great reviews." This is great porter, one of my go-to beers when I need something to sip slowly on a midweek evening. Medium-bodied with chocolate and roasted coffee, and a light hoppy freshness.