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Monthly Archives: July 2012

  • Wine Cocktails - the Final

    A brisk and breezy day dawned in Edinburgh for the final of the first ever Enotria Wine Cocktails competition. Teams from St Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh converged on the Sky Bar of the Point Hotel, in the shadow of the castle, to each create three cocktails (based on the same three wines) which they hoped would bring them the ultimate prize - a trip for the team to Sicily!



    First up were the team from Tiki Bar in Glasgow. From the first drink prepared, it was clear this was going to be a contest with very high standards indeed. A Niagara Ice Fall (in homage to the Peller Ice Cuvee Rosé which formed the wine element), it featured Dry Gin, St Germain Liqueur, fresh lemon and jasmine essence. Tiki's other drinks were an Ulmo Vecchia Fiamme (old flame) which featured bourbon, chocolate bitters and a fantastic reduction of Planeta's Plumbago Nero d'Avola, and featuring fresh plums and fresh rosemary; then a Margaret River Cobbler featuring fresh peach, creme de peche and the 2010 Cane Cut Semillon Sauvignon from Xanadu.

    Next Matt, Maria and Eddie from the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews took to the bar. Following a peach Caipirinha, their standout creation was the showstopping Maria di Medici. This featured a main ingredient of pancetta-infused vodka. That's right, pancetta-infused. Apparently they fried 1lb of pancetta, drain the oil, pour over the vodka and freeze the whole mixture. The fat can then be separated off leaving the vodka. Then add basil, garlic and tomato juice, and a healthy dose of Plumbago, and voila! The ultimate Bloody Mary!

    Bond Number 9 from Leith were next up. Byron, Joe and Shona offered the judges a Chocolate Flip #9, a D'orcia (some kind of American bicycle apparently) which had their brilliant home made tonic (see picture) featuring cardomom and lemongrass, and finally 'the smoking gun' which had smoked gum, burned tea, Kigo Japanese shochu and... the Peller Ice wine. The creativity continued to dazzle the assembled spectators and judges.

    Finally Iain and Jo from Bramble stepped up to the bar. "We're all about cocktails and hip-hop," said Iain and proceeded to produce Drink number one which they call the Wu-Tang Punch, made from • a grapefruit oleosachrum (zest rested in sugar) • vanilla tea with milk powder • strawberry infused Armagnac (amazing) • Peller Ice Cuvee rosé This very gluggable punch was an instant hit with the room. Drink number two, the Benita Aperol (in homage to Tribe Called Quest’s Benita Applebaum) featured Rhubarb and vanilla puree (two spoons), Xanadu Cane Cut Semillon / Sauvignon, Elijah Craig 12 yo Bourbon and the Aperol (A bitter Italian rhubarb liqueur).


    The final cocktail of the whole competition was a ‘shorty bean naughty’, an intoxicating mix of Coffee beans, Luxado, Rye whiskey, Lagavulin spray and of course the Planeta Plumbago Nero d’Avola. The judges totted up their scores, and finally the winning team was revealed: Bramble's blend of cocktails and hip-hop had won the day! So Iain and Jo will be flying out to Sicily soon to enjoy some southern Italian hospitality.

    The judges also chose a best cocktail of the day overall - and the Old Course Hotel's Maria di Medici took the title, pancetta-infused vodka and all.

    Here's a 4 minute 'highlights' video of the day featuring some clips of the participants.

    Congratulations to Bramble, to the Old Course, and to all the finalists; each was impressive, each individual, and the judges and spectators were wowed by the overall level of commitment and imagination shown throughout.

  • Godello & Mencia

    To satisfy the almost insatiable thirst amongst customers for exciting Spanish wines, we’re thrilled to introduce two more brand new wines from the north west of the country. With the help of generic body “Wines from Spain” we organised a tasting with 37 different wines to try and find the best Godello/Mencia pair. And expert opinions suggests we chose quite well...

    Alma de Blanco is a Godello which has just been nominated as one of Jane MacQuitty’s Top 50 wines of summer.

    She says "I was bowled over by the quality of the cool, elegant Alma duo... made exclusively from 25 year old Godello vines grown in lush, green Galicia in Spain's north western corner, what you get here is oodles of bracing, elegant, musk peach, pear and dried apricot fruit. Serve either as an aperitif or with creamy summer white meat and fish dishes."

    Meanwhile, Alma de Tinto Mencia is native to this rather rugged part of the world and the wines often have a certain rusticity about them. The Alma de Tinto is bright and brambly with bags of fresh fruit alongside hints of developed, dried fruit nuances. Both wines are in screwcap and ready to go!

    Read more about the producer and the region here.

  • New Director of Buying

    We are very pleased to announce that Joan Torrents will be joining Enotria as Director of Buying, heading up the 5-strong Enotria Buying team. Joan joins us from Mitchells and Butlers where he has been Head of Wine Buying for the past 3 years, overseeing a wine category with a sales turnover of £200million across the whole M&B estate of 1600 restaurants and bars. Enotria Commercial Director Mark Kermode says “We are delighted to welcome Joan as the new head of the Enotria buying team. He has fantastic wine roots and heritage through his family wine business in Spain, and a wealth of experience in UK buying positions. He is multi lingual, a huge asset as a buyer, and crucially Joan has considerable On Trade experience thanks to his time at Mitchells & Butlers ; this expertise will be of enormous benefit to Enotria as we continue to grow and refine our wine offering for the future. Joan joins an experienced, varied and dynamic team at a time when Enotria’s horizons are very broad indeed.” Joan says “In the past few years I have dealt with numerous wine companies and Enotria has always been in my list of outstanding suppliers. Their commitment, engagement, know-how and portfolio are highly regarded in the wine trade and I am thrilled to join them as Director of Buying. There is a bright future ahead of Enotria and I want to take their talented and experienced buying team on the journey of excelling at creative thinking, commercial acumen and unlimited passion. “ Joan joins Enotria on 23 July 2012.

  • Wine Cocktail Comp - the finalists

    Enotria's own master mixologist, Paul O'Donoghue, reports from a stunning regional heat in our first ever Wine Cocktail Competition at Edinburgh's The Bon Vivant's Companion.

    As of yesterday, we are through the regional heats of the first Enotria Wine Cocktail Competition and have seen some exciting and innovative processes, along with bar-raising drinks along the way. There have been large serve wine punches, flips, coolers, slings, fizzes, stirred drinks both long and fresh and short and punchy along with nearly every other imaginable style of cocktail on offer. We have had Mortloch Nero d’Avola-finished whisky ice cream, and Peller sparkling snows added to drinks, we have seen people infuse their drinks with the smoke from burning teas, and one vodka component infused with cured Italian meats! There have been cocktails served with canapés and food matching notes and others that have had the constituent parts that would make for a fully fledged meal by themselves!

    The drinks alone have not been the only cleverly conceived idea on show, we have had teams with different selections of music to accompany their drinks and presentation, setting different moods to further enhance their libations.

    We have our Teams through from our heats with them lining up as follows: Bramble Bar (Edinburgh), Bond No 9 (Edinburgh), The Old Course Hotel (St Andrews) (pictured right with their cocktail entries), The Bon Vivant (Edinburgh), Dakota Eurocentral (Glasgow) and Tiki Bar (Glasgow). No Aberdeen team made it through to the finals as their heat was combined with the Glasgow heat, although there were some fantastic entrants the six top teams have been scrupulously debated and selected. Often the judges were split on their preferred drinks but never on the level of commitment and the enthusiasm from all of the entrants.

    We are now poised for an extremely exciting finals taking place in Edinburgh at the Sky Bar, Point Hotel, Edinburgh on July 17th. We're looking forward to even more confidence in the teams' presentation; they will now have to steady their nerves and push for a first place finish.

  • How your wine display can help you sell more wine

    How your wine display can win you a trip to Champagne Jacquart The look and feel of a venue is a huge influencing factor on how customers interact with wine, and how much they are prepared to spend on it. Restaurants, pubs and bars who put thought and effort into their wine presentation will sell better wine and more of it – thus increasing profits. We wanted to see how you present wine to your customers.

    So we asked you to send us a photo of your wine displays, the best of which in our judgement winning a fabulous trip to Champagne Jacquart. Here's a selection of entries...




    We had some very interesting and creative entries, but the judges were most impressed with this brilliant chalkboard. Dom Pom at the Don Hand drawn by Assistant Manager at the Don, Baptiste Bernard, the judges felt it presented wine in a captivating and creative way, and proves that a strong visual sense doesn't need a huge marketing budget to make it effective. Congratulations to Baptiste and the whole team at the Don - we look forward to seeing more of your artwork in the future!

  • Henschke - 150 not out

    As the Australian cricket team again experience a once-unusual sensation for them - losing a series to England - it must be some reassurance to see that in wine, at least, they have some reliable big hitters who go on year after year. This pic from the Adelaide Oval pays tribute to Henschke's most revered Shiraz vineyards.

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