In their first book, Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew - the duo behind Noble Rot - shed light on an industry that can be mystifying to the uninitiated. Thus, they take us on a journey into the landscapes and personalities behind Europe's most famous (and lesser known) wines.
Open Wine from another galaxy, and one of the first things you'll see is a graphic illustration of a bottle of Burgundy, with an anatomical heart locked inside. The only clue that tells us that it is a Burgundy is a handwritten label looped around the neck of the bottle. The illustration strikes a poignant note for me: beyond the appeal of prestigious rankings, it reminds us of the real human stories that are hidden in each bottle of wine.
Combine creativity and gastronomy
The 350 pages that follow bring these stories to life with a touch of imagination. Charming and irreverent illustrations are interspersed with black and white photographs in a style that is both authentic and glamorous. Add to that a spread of Noble Rot's celebrity clientele - from Yotam Ottolenghi to Keira Knightley - and a special image emerges of a wine bar inextricably rooted in creative and food culture.
Noble Rot, as a concept, marries Dan Keeling's background in the music industry and his love for record design with the expertise of Mark Andrew as Master of Wine. It was conceived in 2013 as a design-driven wine magazine, a few years before it established its restaurant and wine bar on Lamb's Conduit Street in 2015. Then, in 2020, they acquired the legendary Gay Hussar on Greek Street - the legendary haunt of left-wing politicians from Clement Attlee to Gordon Brown, and rumored to be where Thatcher's downfall was planned. In short, the duo have become “the guardians of a precious piece of Soho heritage”. Rooted in the arts and heritage, Noble Rot's unique brand is as much a celebration of creativity and shared ideas as it is wine.
The influence of music in Wine from another galaxy is obvious from the start. The title itself evokes a glam-rock spirit: a suggestion of the daring and technicolor immersion that awaits in its pages. In his allusion to a trip, he also subtly echoes Kermit Lynch's 1988 book Adventures on the wine route - an important source of inspiration behind Noble Rot's own book. References to Lynch are scattered around and he gets his own spotlight on page 91: an interview in the cellars of historic Parisian restaurant La Tour d'Argent, where he highlights bottles of personal importance.
A Noble Rot adventure across Europe
In the first half of the book you will find a series of instructions intended for novices: how to judge wine, how to order in a restaurant without fear, how wine is made; a brief and digestible breakdown of the most common red and white grape varieties; and a "usefulness lexicon", defining words often used to describe the qualities of wine. But there are also parts that are of more interest to experienced wine drinkers, like how to start a 21st century wine cellar.
In the spirit of Lynch's adventure, the second half of the book takes us on a road trip through the landscapes and personalities behind some of Europe's most famous (and lesser known) wines - from Champagne and Chablis. in Santorini and Sicily. These profiles, beautifully made in stylized photography, appear to have been taken from a music magazine.
The scenes from La Dive Bouteille, an annual natural wine fair in the Ackerman Cellars in Saumur, are particularly evocative: crowds of people dressed in winter clothes, enjoying a glass (or bottle) of wine together in the little cellars. illuminated. In these times of isolation, that is enough to make you want to be surrounded by people enjoying the pleasures of life - an integral part of the world of wine and the hotel industry in general.
If I had to judge Wine from another galaxy according to its own lexicon of utility, the words that come to mind are: energy, vitality and originality. Behind its imaginative design, stunning photographs and musical allusions, this is a book that celebrates the true human stories within the wine industry.
We would recommend either Wineworks Premium or Wineworks Superior as your first 30 Bottle Kit Wine. Both of these ranges are designed to produce a good quality wine that is ready to drink within 2-4 weeks but will benefit if left up to 6-8 weeks. Furthermore, they also have a great selection of wines to choose from.
If you’ve never made wine before or you simply don’t have any of the equipment or ingredients any longer then you could purchase one of our bundles. These bundles combine all the required equipment along with your prefered wine coffret so that you can have everything delivered to your door and just get started. The Wineworks Superior Starter Bundles are a great choice if you want to keep the equipment budget down but still choose the quality of wine you’d like to go for. Whereas, the Wineworks Luxury Starter Bundles offer a better quality equipment pack and still let you choose from a great choice of wine packs.
The two most important critères of making wine are Cleanliness and Temperature. Firstly remember everything that comes into contact with the wine should be cleaned and sterilised ( see below ). Secondly maintain a constant temperature between 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ). It is much better to be on the cool side and constant than hot one minute and cold the next. Airing cupboards are definitely no, no’s. ( See below )
Clean and sterilise all equipment. Here’s a selection of Sterilisers you can use and if you not quite sure which steriliser to go for then you can take a look at our Beginners Wine Making Part 1 - Cleaning, Sterlising
Wineworks Superior wines : These usually take 10-15 days to ferment, and a further week to clear. Again the wine can be drunk immediately but we recommend ageing it 4 weeks but you can leave it up to 12 months. The time you will leave it will depend very much on your stocks. So get plenty built up. The reds benefit more than the whites with ageing. Certain packs ( see the list below ) are suited more to the experienced wine maker and take around 4 weeks to ferment and then left for a further 2 weeks. These products does really benefit from ageing. All the kits we list in this section require little ageing.
As it’s new to you it will probably take in all 2 hours for your first batch. However, once you are used to it 1 hour is about the maximum amount of time needed. We would also point out bar the bottling side; it takes just as long to make 6 bottles as it does to make 30 bottles, so we strongly recommend you make the larger quantity. After all 6 bottles doesn’t go very far as we said before !
From our experience it is much better to maintain a constant temperature than a fluctuating one. We suggest 21-26°C ( 69-79°F ), although if it is cooler than this, it is not a problem, it just takes slightly longer to ferment. If you can’t maintain this then we supply three different forms of heating equipment : Brew Belt / Heat BeltThis is a simple insulated electric cable that wraps round your container and provides a gentle heat. It is very flexible and extremely easy to use. Heat Tray ( 4 demi/5 Gallon Fermenter ) This is like a flat tray that provides a gentle continuous heat that goes under the fermenter. Immersion HeaterThis drops into the conteneur, through the bung and can be thermostatically controlled to maintain the exact temperature. Similar to a fish tank heater. All these can be added to our starter pack packages. See our video showing the variétés of heating equipment available for your fermentation.
It is important to clean
If you’ve made it this far, hopefully understanding a bit of what we’ve said, then you’ll want to know how much it will cost to get started ! As you may have noticed, we’ve put together a couple of equipment packs which include everything you need, and take the confusion out of buying. You can make your first 30 bottles of Wine for approximately £65. 00. That’s all in ( Equipment