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PRE-ORDER Marie Courtin -Efflorescence 2015 Champagne (A note from Katie)

Get yourself a special bottle of grower champagne to celebrate a Christmas where we’ll all be together again.

Last festive season Tom bought me a magnum of Efflorescence, with the promise that when we opened it, we’d be surrounded by people we love again.

Needless to say, Efflorescence by Marie Courtin, the champagne house mastered by Dominique Moreau in Polisot, Cotes des Bar, means a lot to the both of us.

But enough mushy stuff. What does it taste like? Smell like? Feel like?

Efflorescence in chemistry terms, is the name for a layer of salt and minerals — so as you might expect, this cuvée displays beautiful glimmering textures of minerality brought up from the limestone-clay soil; the same soil found in Chablis and Sancerre.

If you prefer your champagne to be packed with leesy brioche richness, this might be a turning point bottle for you. 100% Pinot Noir and aged in ex-Chablis oak barrels and with no added dosage, it’s got a lemony brightness and raspberry fizz. It’s extra-brut. It’s spritzy, playful and perfect with festive canapés like blinis with smoked trout.

Dominique Moreau prefers to use the name Efflorescence for a more romantic meaning, however. To the house of Marie Courtin, Efflorescence is a word that encompasses constant and gradual evolution, shifting and changing with time.

This champagne will age fantastically well. As Moreau says, the grapes used for this cuvée have “great power”, and this fuller body and tart burst-berry-like acidity will enjoy time to itself for the next 15-20 years.

If you can wait that long.

We say: pop that bottle.

Marie Courtin – Efflorescence 2015 is £60 per bottle from Corto on pre-order ONLY.

PRE-ORDERS ARE BEING TAKEN UNTIL MONDAY 20th DECEMBER

PLEASE MAKE AND PAY FOR YOUR ORDERS AT THE BAR, OR EMAIL US IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT IN: hello@cortobar.co.uk

We will not be posting orders. Collection only.

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Perfect Pairings for your Christmas Dinner

Sit a-while and listen to our tales of drinks pairing perfection, and learn how you too could eat and drink your way to merriment this Christmas.

Festive meals can be a bit stressful to plan. Cooking for a large group of folk when you’re not used to doing it seems like a big task, and after you add in all the special side dishes and deserts, cheese boards and post-dinner boardgame snacks, it’s beginning to look a lot like a nightmare. The last thing you want is to have to think about what drinks to pair with what on top of all that.

Or, maybe you’re a grateful guest, looking for the ideal selection of booze to bring with you. 

“Just bring something to drink!” you were told. But what??

Relax. It’s not that deep. Let us do the choosing for you, so that all you have to do is memorise a few deets from below and pour with confidence. An instant home sommelier and general all-round Christmas winner.

The Door-Opener, Festive-Greeter and Merriment-Beginner

Nothing feels better than opening the door with a glass of something fizzy and fancy for your newly-arriving guests. It’s about the only time we feel anything close to how we imagine it feels to be Nigella Lawson.

If you’re looking for something a little different (and a little more budget-friendly) then I heartily recommend choosing Little Pomona — First Waltz.

Yes, it’s a cider, but we promise you’ve never tried a cider like this one before. It’s a wild-fermented pét-nat (naturally fizzy, basically) cider, made with Ellis Bitter, Dabinett, cryo-conditioned Egremont Russet apples and perry pears and aged in bourbon barrels, giving it a beautiful aromatic lightness and peachy complexity. It is a joy. Serve in champagne flutes cool, but not too cold.

Starters: Here We Go

If you’re not having smoked salmon or prawn cocktail or a delicious veggie option made with asparagus — what on earth are you having? It is the law to be eating one of the above as your starter for Christmas dinner, and to put your paper cracker hat on before you eat it. 

With seafood or a light vegetable starter, we’d normally recommend a dry white wine to lift and brighten like a squeeze of lemon juice, and to cut through any lingering creaminess in your chosen sauces (be they hollandaise, marie rose or mayo — no judgements). 

We all agree that Mikaël Bouges — French Clara is Corto’s white wine of the year. A fresh, natural, minerally Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, it’s got a super-delightful aroma of bright berries; raspberries, maybe? Cranberries? Could be.

The Main Event

Whether you’re having turkey or goose, nut roast or wild mushroom wellington, beef, pork or salt-baked cod, we’re gonna be honest — it’s impossible to really pair a drink perfectly with a meal that has so many different elements.

What we suggest is choosing a star flavour from your meal and picking a drink to suit it.

Pair the best bits of Christmas dinner (roast potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce) with Judith Beck – Ink, an Austrian red with surprising subtle acidity and spicy tannins. It’s light body means it goes down easy, and won’t lay heavily on white meat, poultry and veg.

Are you having pudding? We’ll have pudding if you’re having pudding.

Everybody say “Ooh!” because the Christmas pud is being carried to the table, alight, regal, majestic.

We’d choose De Dolle Brouwerij — Stille Nacht for its festive spice and moreish sweetness to pair here. Belgian beer is often a perfect match for food, and Stille Nacht, while on the sweet side, has enough prickly, estery spice to sharpen it up.

Cheese, biscuits, Quality Street, Scrabble

Honestly you need some barleywine in that glass you’ve got there. Pass it over.

Rivington — Barley Wine 2021 is a beautiful accompaniment to an evening of snacks, cheese, sofa naps and board games. Forget Port (sorry Port.)

This is the very same barley wine as we’ve been enjoying pouring on tap the past week or so, presented in a beaut 750ml wax-dipped bottle, and we wholeheartledly love it.

Buy the Pack

Grab everything on this list in a super-convenient pack!

1 x Little Pomona — First Waltz
1 x Mikaël Bouges — French Clara
1 x Judith Beck — Ink
1 x De Dolle Brouwerij — Stille Nacht
1 x Rivington — Barley Wine 2021

All for £66 — a £16 saving on our regular take-out prices. WOW.

Something Special

If you’re looking for something really special to celebrate with around the table, we are taking pre-orders for Marie Courtin — Efflorescence, a truly special biodynamic champagne.

Naturally grown, made with as little intervention as possible, no sulphites added. A gorgeous representation of what natural champagne can really be.  It is £60 per bottle, and we think it’s worth every penny. Let us know if you want some and we’ll get it ordered for you.

Serve with oysters, smoked salmon blinis or in the bath.

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Corto Christmas Opening Times

Corto is run by two Capricorns, which means we’re always scheduling, planning and prepping. Blame the arbitrary alignments of the stars at the individual times of our births for what’s about to come next: WE ARE PLANNING FOR CHRISTMAS.

In all seriousness though guys, it’s November now. Christmas is coming. Plan now, relax later. Why get stressed about the festive season a week before it happens when you could get it all worked out now and then eat stollen bites for the next month and a bit?

Some of you are super organised, and have been asking us about our Christmas and New Year plans for a while now. Kudos. We meant it when we said we didn’t have a clue — but we do now! So without further ado, here are the Corto festive opening times, 2021.

Thursday 23rd December: 12-10

Christmas Eve: 12-6

Christmas Day: CLOSED

Boxing Day: CLOSED

Monday 27th December: CLOSED

Tuesday 28th December: CLOSED

Wednesday 29th December: CLOSED

Thursday 30th December: 12-10

New Year’s Eve: TICKETED EVENT – MORE INFO TBC

Sunday 2nd January 2022: CLOSED

Monday 3rd January 2022: CLOSED

Tuesday 4th January 2022: CLOSED

Wednesday 5th January 2022: CLOSED

Thursday 6th January 2022: 12-10

Book Your Christmas Party!

We’re now taking bookings for Christmas parties. Our diary is filling up, so if you’d like to host your own bash at Corto over the festive period, give us an email on hello@cortobar.co.uk

What we need to know:

  • How many folks you’re planning to invite (to a maximum of 30)
  • Whether you’ll require food
  • If you’d like to put on something a little different – a wine, cider or beer tasting perhaps? A quiz?
  • Your budget per person

FYI we normally do not take whole venue bookings on aFriday or Saturday as this is our busiest time of the week. If these are days you need to book on, please get in touch to find out hire rates for Corto on the date you had in mind.

Christmas Present Shopping

Make life a bit easier for yourself and let us choose your christmas presents for you!

We can offer personalised natural wine, craft beer and cider shopping so you can find the perfect gift for the choosiest people — and we’ll wrap it for you too. And throw in some stickers. God, we’re good to you.

If you’d rather treat them to a day at Corto somewhere down the line, we do sell gift cards in any amount you fancy. Just let us know what you’re planning to spend and we’ll take care of it. We can also post gift cards nationally, just ask!

So there it is, our tentative first steps towards the Big Christmas Season. Get those dates in your diary so you don’t pop down when we’re closed. See you soon x

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POURING AT CORTO ALL HALLOWEEN WEEKEND: Rivington x Chainhouse Evil Dead Trilogy Tap Takeover

This weekend, we’ll be pouring Rivington and Chainhouse’s collab Evil Dead Trilogy beers as part of their national tap takeover. And we can’t wait!

From 4pm on Friday 29th October 2021, Rivington Brew Co. and Chainhouse Brew Co. will be well and truly taking over our taps with their full Evil Dead Trilogy range. The Evil Dead Trilogy beers are:

THE EVIL DEAD: Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Sour – 5%

EVIL DEAD II: DIPA – 10%

ARMY OF DARKNESS: Imperial Stout – 10%

Each beer will be available all weekend, INCLUDING at our Halloween Pizza Party with Marley’s authentic Neapolitan pizza. Oh yes. Wood fired pizza and brand new beers. You can’t get better than that.

Corto x Marley’s Halloween Pizza Party

That’s right – we’re having a pizza party and you’re invited.

Just what is it about pizza that makes us feel all halloweeny? Maybe its all the fresh slices oozing mozzarella on our screens during the teen horror movies of the 90s we grew up with. Maybe we just love an excuse to throw a rager with an old-school house party vibe. Whatever it is, we can’t wait.

Rock up on Saturday 30th October 2021 from 3pm for a pizza the action!

Rivington Evil Dead Trilogy Take-Out Cans

Over the weekend you will also be able to take home your own cans of The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness in a special edition pack complete with its own limited ed. glass.

Glassware! You know you want it.

Grab all three beers and the glass for £20. What an absolute bargain.

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Fly In Your Dreams – Pouring at Corto this Sunday 17 October

The brand new beer from Duration Brewing in Norfolk is Fly In Your Dreams, a hedgerow Saison brewed with mugwort and blackberries. It was brewed in collaboration with Dark Times Apothecary, and it’s got a lot of really cool meanings behind the ingredients and the artwork.

Continue reading Fly In Your Dreams – Pouring at Corto this Sunday 17 October
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Mod Weekender comes to Corto – flamenco vibes, let’s go

IT’S BACK.

The Ribble Valley Mod Weekender is taking over Clitheroe this weekend after a year away and we’re super jazzed to be involved this time.

All weekend from Friday to Sunday we’ll be doing things a little differently:

No Reservations

This weekend we will not be taking bookings for tables or seats. It’s walk-ups only, friends! This includes Friday night when we’ll have some amazing live music (more on that in a bit.)

Can Bar

We’ll be expecting a lot more guests this weekend (hurray!) so we’ll have a second bar to take care of your rapid tinnies.

Biodegradeable Plastic Cups

Mod Weekender is a busy time and while we’d love to serve you all in proper glassware, we just don’t have that much of it. This weekend we’ll be serving beer, wine and cider in biodegradeable plastic cups for your safety and our speed.

Take-Out

Special event rules this weekend mean you’ll be welcome to take your drinks and snacks out of the bar to enjoy in the town centre. That’s right — take-out snacks, this weekend only!

Tom Metcalfe – Live Music

This Friday 24th September, Tom Metcalfe will be performing at Corto from 8.30pm as part of the Ribble Valley Mod Weekender.

We can’t wait to have his amazing flamenco guitar playing in our bar! We know what you’re thinking – what’s flamenco got to do with Mods? Well, we like it and we reckon Paul Weller would to, so we’re ‘avin it.

Get down early to avoid missing out — entry is free and it’ll be mostly standing room only with chairs for those of you who might need ‘em. Parka jackets and Lambrettas optional.

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Get your tickets to the Corto Natural Cider Tasting

That’s right! We’re hosting a cider tasting at Corto on Thursday 9th September from 7pm and you’re invited.

Natural cider is one of our favourite things. It’s made from apples grown on orchards free from pesticides by folks who are so passionate about cidermaking that they’re even doing their own apple and pear conservation work.

Did you know? Apple and pear orchards are being pulled up at a scary rate in Britain. According to Henry Johnson in The Traditional British Orchard: A Precious and Fragile Resource: “For the past 50 years the acreage of traditional orchards has been steadily decreasing, with an estimated loss in area of 60 per cent nationally since 1950, and with some counties, such as Devon, seeing losses of up to 90 per cent.”

That’s why it’s super important to support cider and perry makers who take good care of their orchards. They are precious natural resources for wildlife, biodiverse areas of our ancient countryside, and besides their importance within our landscape, they’re just excellent, beautiful places. And they are where cider comes from, which is also excellent.

Corto Cider Tasting — Thursday 9th September

At the first Corto cider tasting, you’ll taste four different natural ciders by four different producers. The aim will be to figure out the differences between different cider styles — but more importantly, it’s to help you fall in love with cider!

A few snacks will be provided to help you on your merry tasting way.

  • Learn about some of the top cidermakers in Britain
  • Find out what natural cider is and how it’s made
  • Discover the differences between cider styles
  • Learn about different cider apples and what their unique flavours lend to the ciders they make
  • Have a lovely time tasting cider

Join us on Thursday 9th September from 7pm!
Tickets are £25 and you can get yours here.

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Snacks! Eat delicious food at Corto – it’s not all about the booze

Peckishness isn’t allowed at Corto. We’ve got a delicious menu of tasty snacks that changes with the seasons and pairs super well with our extensive range of drinks.

Not sure what you fancy? Just ask! We love to recommend the tastiest pairings, and we’re all about taking time to chill. Don’t rush those snacks. Take your time. Grab a drink. Enjoy your afternoon.

Our Current Snack Menu

Breads and Butters – £3

Gorgeous bubbly sourdough with salted and miso dairy butters.

Bread with Oil + Balsamic (vg) – £3

Dip that sourdough and dig in.

Focaccia (vg) – £3

Sourdough focaccia, squishy with olive oil, salt, rosemary and olives.

Olives (vg) – £3

A bowl of herby olives.

Pan con Tomate – £6

With fresh purple garlic. (vg)

  • + Add 00 (the best) anchovies                               +£2

Grilled Cheese – £8

Tom’s magnum opus. Old Winchester 18+ month aged & Ogleshield West Country raclette on sourdough.

Dairy Cheese Plate – £10

Winslade – soft, delicate cow’s cheese wrapped in spruce bark. (v)

Killeen – goat’s gouda from Galway

Beenleigh Blue – sheep’s blue based on Roquefort. (v)

Summer Field – alpine-style cow’s milk Gruyère from Whitby (v)(un)

Vegan Cheese Plates

We aim to have a great selection of vegan and plant-based options on our menu. At the moment we are in-between vegan cheese suppliers, but we’re planning to have vegan cheese back on the menu very soon! Keep looking out on our Insta and in our newsletter for more info.

We don’t just want to provide a vegan option. We want it to be as delicious and perfect as our non-vegan option. This is why it’s taken a little while to find vegan cheeses we really love. We think we’ve done it!