Already a customer?

Monthly Archives: August 2015

  • Vodka: the unloved spirit?

    In his summer newsletter bar and spirits expert Alex Turner wonders how bartenders fell out of love with vodka, when their customers still order this over most other category drinks...

    Last year I presented a number of seminars at the Berlin Bar Convent, one of which was one on vodka. For those of you have not been to the show I implore you to go; it’s a bigger version of Imbibe and has a first class list of speakers (I’m not including myself in this!!), lots of brands and lots on engaging talks, demonstrations and people to chat to. Also, Berlin is a great city to spend some time in. Anyway back to my vodka presentation, it really stood out as the most poorly attended of all four sessions I ran in fact it there about a tenth of the people who came to the US whiskey sessions!! Most of the people who did attend they were not vodka fans and found it an unchallenging spirit that was drunk by the unenlightened, although many of did admit to drinking it themselves!?

    This disinterest is quite widespread with a number of bars around the world no longer serving vodka and bartenders being dismissive of the spirit and its drinkers. The main issue bartenders and their acolytes have with vodka is what the makers of vodkas have been trying to strive for over the last century; purity. By its very definition purity free of impurities or contaminants in a substance, this basically means no colour, aroma or flavour. This is perfect for creating a base spirit for adding flavour to in the case of a cocktail and for a very long time that is what bartenders and in particular their guests wanted.

    Not only has the need to achieve a higher level of purity put bartenders off vodka it’s also the packing, branding and marketing. The last three have made vodka a highly desirable consumer brand, with the brand owners investing millions in pushing their brand into the publics’ consciousness through endorsement, sponsorship and of course large listing fees to ensure they are the brand listed in the cocktail menus of the cool bars and clubs.

    In fact vodka and nightclubs was a match made in heaven; highly marketed brands with high consumer awareness that mixed well and enhanced the experience of the evening. Along with champagne, vodka is the must ordered bottle in the top night clubs around the world and there is usually a bidding war amongst the brands to be the one that the club will promote and therefore the one that gets consumed.

    Consumers like vodka for a number of reasons; it doesn’t taste strong like gin, tequila and other spirits do, you can drink it as a shot, it gets you intoxicated quicker than wine or beer (you can drink more, quicker). To most consumers in the UK, vodka is branded to appeal to a younger adult market than whisky, brandy, rum etc. so it’s a lifestyle choice and above all it’s designed to mix.

    The antipathy towards vodka has started to effect on sales with some of large brands seeing declines in sales over the last 12 months (Drinks International vodka 2015), although the declines are mostly east European brands who have quite a lot of other stresses to deal with other than picky bartenders!!

    The big brands continue their growth with much coming from the premiumisation of the mainstream market, however the faster growth is coming from the small producers with a back story and in many cases a really stand out liquid.

    Vintage vodkas are emerging (vintage as in a specific year not an old label), if you can have great years for grapes, why not for wheat or potatoes? Single estate vodkas are also interesting bartenders, everything grown, distilled, diluted, bottled all in one place.

    There is of course the vodka from France with a small dash of cognac added as well as vodkas with wormwood and other ingredients.

    Vodka is certainly going through a bit of a sticky patch at the moment especially is the top end of the market where spirits are more revered than they are in other parts. It is worth considering the amount of time that gin spent out in the wilderness, pretty much for the whole of the second part of the 20th century gin was a spirit out of favour until the revolution of the 2000’s*. With the big brands now starting to gain momentum in the untapped markets of China, Korea, Africa and South America there will be no repeat of what happened to gin but that doesn’t mean that vodka will fare any better in the traditional/established markets in the US, Australia and Europe.

    *there was not a revolution in 2000, it’s just when lots of people started to take notice of gin again.



    Vodka cannot really claim too many ‘vintage’ cocktails but there are loads of ‘must know’ vodka drinks for any bartender. And as we are heading into a long hot summer what better way to cool down with some clean, dry and crisp vodka?


    Russian Spring Punch

    35ml Russian vodka

    15ml Crème de cassis

    15ml lemon juice

    Dash sugar syrup



    Build over cracked ice and stir well, top with champagne, garnish with lemon slices and mint


    Sea Breeze

    50ml Vodka

    100ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

    50ml Cranberry juice

    Build over lots of cubed ice and stir well. Garnish with a lime twist



    Super Flying Grasshopper

    25ml Vodka

    15ml Green crème de menthe

    10ml White crème de cacao

    75ml Milk

    Dash egg white

    Dash soda water

    Dry shake, add the soda and then shake again over cubed ice and strain into a large pre-chilled wine glass. Garnish with a mint sprig


    Harvey Dry Wall Banger

    35ml Vodka

    15ml Galliano

    150ml freshly squeezed orange juice

    Dash Campari

    Build over cubed ice in a large bar glass, stir well and garnish with an orange

  • Bérenger's Bank Holiday Burgundies

    We caught up with Bérenger Piras, our French Buyer, to talk (among other things) about Burgundy.

    A little about Bérenger...

    Country: France

    Region: Rhone (Northern!)

    ABV: 13% (I was born on the 13th June)

    What is your favourite wine outside of France and why?

    “Barolo. Because Piedmont shares many similarities with Burgundy. Barolo is terroir-driven and made by farmers. The area also produces some beautifully perfumed and long-lived wines. Or it might just be because Piedmont was French under Napoleon!”

    Best French food experience?

    “There is a restaurant called Chartron in the Northern Rhone which specialises in truffle dishes (Perigord not Alba) during the winter months.  The below dishes are particularly spectacular:

    La raviole de foie gras et noix de Saint-Jacques aux truffes








    La galette de pommes de terre et pieds de porc au lard fumé et aux truffes, pétales de mâche.








    If you had to go and spend the rest of your life in one our producers vineyards, which would it be and why?

    “Probably Il Poggione, there are worse places to be than Tuscany when it comes to food, wine, climate, landscapes and cultural life.”

    Bérenger's Best of Burgundy

    2011 Morey-Saint-Denis, Dom. des Beaumont A782

    “Classic Morey, showing dense strawberry fruit with a warm wrap of vanilla oak, and just the right amount of grip.”

    2010 Pommard 1er Cru Les Bertins, Dom. Chantal Lescure

    “Lescure’s goal is to obtain wines which truly reflect the specificities of each terroir.”

    2012 Mercurey Rouge, Dom. Michel Juillot A563

    “Laurent Juillot brings a cosmopolitan twist to a domaine which remains true to its Chalonnaise origins.”

    2013 Hautes-Cotes de Beaune Dom. Henri Delagrange A556

    Didier Delagrange makes precise aromatics and pure fruit with a sparing use of oak.

    2011 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Aux Champs-Perdrix, A.Michelot A813

    “Alain and daughter Elodie’s great skill is to harmonise the elements into compellingly fragrant wines”

    2012 Chassagne Montrachet, Chateau de la Maltroye A767

    “Jean-Pierre Cournut makes wines that are vibrant, minerally, and light on their feet.”

  • Yealands in the Press

    Yealands Estate have scooped up some great reviews from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator for their Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc and two Awatere Valley Pinot Noirs.

    Considering conventional wisdom said you weren't supposed to be able to plant vineyards in the rugged foothills of the Awatere Valley, these accolades become even greater achievements - a nod to the long hours and unstinting determination that transformed the landscape into one of the greenest and highest quality vineyards in New Zealand.

    2014 Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc

    “For such a large-production wine, this is admirably complex, featuring delicate herbal shadings accenting hints of nectarine and citrus…balanced by a long, mouthwatering finish.”

    89 Points

    Wine Enthusiast, September 2015

    2013 Peter Yealands Pinot Noir

    “There’s a pronounced herbal, resiny note alongside lovely floral aromatics and bright red-fruit flavors of strawberries and raspberries. It’s light in body, yet lingers crisply on the finish, echoing berry herbal tea.”

    88 Points

    Wine Enthusiast July 2015

    2013 Yealands Estate Awatere Valley Single Vineyard Pinot Noir

    “A plush and supple red, brimming with flavors of raspberry coulis, cherry, rosemary, dried rose petal, forest floor and smoky black tea. Harmonious, focused and pure, with nice persistence on the finish, where pepper and citrus peel hints chime in.”

    92 Points

    Wine Spectator September 2015


  • Visit Taittinger's Ancient Cellars

    If you're planning a visit to Champagne this year, look no further than Taittinger.  And if you don't believe us, believe the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, who name it one of their top five Champagne houses.

    "The best of the big-name houses takes you through endless cellars quarried for chalk by the Romans.  Now millions of bottles undergo second fermentation here, then age - as the first-class tour guides explain. This is the silk-glove end of the Champers spectrum (don't spare your praise - houses such as Taittinger run on superlatives) and the tastings are brilliant.  The priciest (£18) gets you a glass of Comtes de Champagne, Taittinger's star and one of the finest bubbles around (think 100+ a bottle)."

    Sunday Times Travel Magazine, 01 September 2015

    More about Taittinger

    Taittinger oversees approximately 640 hectares of premium quality vineyards, and employs all its skill and experience in blending first pressings of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay for the definitive expression of the House of Taittinger; Taittinger Brut Réserve Non-Vintage.

    Beyond the non-vintage blend, Taittinger also offers a fantastic range of premium Champagnes, from the carefully selected vintage cuvées through to single vineyard Les Folies de la Marquetterie, not forgetting the iconic Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs.

  • Get ready for Enotria's Seasonal Showcase!

    At Enotria, our love of food and wine is at the heart of everything we do, and we want to share that with you and our producers.  We are proud to offer a curated selection of the best estates from the world of wine.  Our ever-evolving list encapsulates the great and the good - the small artisan producers, iconic names and wineries that are true pioneers in their regions.

    Our Seasonal Showcase is a great opportunity to meet some of the people behind these pioneering names, and to immerse yourself in an exploration of their wines and the stories behind them.

    Sitting alongside the producers and their wines will be Enotria Selects: a hand-picked range of wines, chosen especially by our team to pair perfectly with the mouth-watering food you will find at each of our venues along the way; a perfect opportunity to experiment with food and flavour.

    If, like us, you have an avid interest in the captivating partnership between food and wine, you can't afford to miss it!

    Please email your account manager for further details.


    Tuesday 8th September 2015

    11:00 - 17:00

    5th View at Waterstone's, 203-205 Piccadilly, London


    Wednesday 9th September 2015

    11:00 - 16:00

    The Salt Room, 106 King's Road, Brighton

    Thursday 10th September


    11:00 - 16:00

    Urban Cookhouse, 54 Princess Street, Manchester

  • Holiday Heroes

    As the weather begins to grey, its the perfect opportunity to catch your customers fresh from their holidays with wine that will take them straight back to their favourite summer hot-spots.


    2014 Sincronia Blanc, Mesquida Mora 

    Organic. Sulphite-free. Best consumed outdoors (but only if it's not raining).







    2014 Symphonie Chateau Ste Marguerite (150cl) 

    It’s a magnum of cru classé Provençal Rose.  Need we say more?







    2013 Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Planeta

    The Godfather’s own wine.  Must be consumed with Arancine, else it simply won’t be worth it.







    2013 Pinot Gris, Omero

    Spontaneous and wild ferment, spending 4-5 months in neutral French oak before making its way to the bottle.







    2014 Souson, Ailala

    New to our portfolio, this is a fresh, robust red that is best served chilled.







    2010 Aleatico di Puglia, Candido 

    Of our Imbibe Live stand's Prosecco Slushie fame - Aleatico di Puglia added the much-needed sweetness and flavour to our Prosecco Fiol slushie cocktail.


Items 1 to 6 of 10 total

  1. 1
  2. 2