Marcus Bennett and his business partner Jonathan Hall, who together run Muse and Cena in Yarm, and the Bay Horse in Hurworth, have launched new signature wines as part of Muse’s anniversary celebrations, although the wines will be available in all three Teesside premises.
“Wine is a passion of mine, and I’ve always wanted my own label. Since my early days in the restaurant industry, I’ve learned all I can about the grapes, districts and processes involved in its production,” says Marcus
Marcus and Jonathan were sampling wines with the help of master of wine, Richard Kelley – more commonly known as ‘The Liberator’ for his mission to seek out and liberate rare wines – when they settled upon the idea of creating their own wine story.
“We wanted to create a wine that reflected the quality of our food; we wanted the wine to demonstrate our company ethos of excellence throughout all three restaurants, and tell a real story,” explains Jonathan.
Seeing this as an opportunity to develop and grow the brand, having worked with Richard to select their limited-edition wines straight from the cask, Marcus and Jonathan set about working with Gallerina in Darlington to design a label to fit with the ambience of all three restaurants.
The result, artwork by James Paterson, includes a chenin blanc; Voodoo Vixen, and a red made from Touriga Nacional grapes called Smouldering Siren. Both are from South Africa.
“South Africa produces exceptional wines, and we felt these names match our chosen flavours and characteristics,” says Marcus.
“Chenin blanc is a popular and versatile grape, great alone, but it also works incredibly well with many dishes on our menus. And Touriga Nacional, which is most revered in Portugal and used in the production of port, is concentrated and perfumed, robust and vigorous, with a complex depth of flavour which will match many dishes.”
The design for each of these new wines has been inspired by the idea of the chapters of a murder mystery novel, to be continued into the future of the partnership.
Jonathan added: “We wanted wines that were exclusive to us, providing exceptional value to our customers while complementing our food. And we’re looking forward to beginning the next chapter.”
The Bay Horse will be hosting a wine dinner on November 10th to showcase the new wines and teach discerning connoisseurs a little more about the selection and matching process. For more information, contact [email protected]