Just as Bottega on Walton St. closed to make room for a grocery store and student housing, Chris Murray, the proprietor, started work on his next project, The Oxford Blue in Iffley.
With partners, chef Mark Bradbury and Mark Ferris, they came up with a plan to keep the vibe of the local pub, but incorporate Bottega’s wine bar style and sophistication.
Liscious Interiors of Summertown decorated the pub.
The style is similar to New York’s East Village combined with Bodegas of Lyon, France.
Cabinets reclaimed from the Ashmolean show off vintages. Chris hopes to add climate control so he can use them to store wines.
The Oxford Blue is an Enterprise Inn, which allows its pubs to sell beer from members of the Society of Independent Brewers. This means they have local lovelies from Shotover Brewery and Oxfordshire Ales.
The “wines by the glass” list is similar to Bottega and the bottle list is still developing. I did see a Verdicchio San Lorenzo ‘Gino’ Biodynamic wine from Italy that I must try on my next visit.
While I was there, Tony Cloke, from Plantagenet Wines was talking to Chris and Mark Bradbury about the upcoming food and wine dinner, February 1.
“We don’t want people to get too caught up with the wine and the food,” Chef Mark said “we want them to experience it.”
I tasted two of the wines that will be served.
The first was an Omrah unoaked Chardonnay.
Lately Chardonnay has had an unfortunate reputation. Overly oaked Australian/American versions and classless celebrities drinking the cheaper wines have spoiled this grape.
However, this Omrah is crisp and fresh. It is a sur lie, which means it was left on the lees (the dead yeast cells, skins, pulp, stems and stuff found at the bottom of tanks and bottles) for a time. This gives it creaminess.
The second wine was the Omrah Pinot Noir. This has the classic flavours of berries and fruit entangled with tanginess and a bit of spice in the finish.
Plantagenet Wines work with smaller family run and boutique vineyards for tastier wines.
Both wines are cool climate from the Western part of Australia. They benefit from exposure to the southern ocean, which keeps the whites crisp and the reds acidic.
The wine tasting dinner will be £25 a person, but that includes your six different wines (almost a bottle each) and courses to match.
To book, ring Chris Murray- 01865 460215, email- firstname.lastname@example.org or pop by the Oxford Blue, 32 Marston Street, Oxford OX4 1JU.