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Monthly Archives: November 2015

  • Ridgeview wins prestigious Wine Guild award!

    Ridgeview Wine Estate’s Roberts family has been awarded the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom’s highest achievement award.

    At the Wine Guild Winter banquet at Vintners’ Hall last Wednesday in London, Chris Roberts and her daughter, second generation CEO Tamara Roberts (pictured), were presented with the award.

    The award is “in recognition of their setting and maintaining the highest international standards of quality and tradition in wine making”, according to the guild.

    Tamara Roberrts made reference to her father, the late Mike Roberts OBE who pioneered growing Chardonnay grapes in Ditchling, Sussex.

    She said: “For dad to have had the foresight to risk it all, and to see where we are now, it is really a privilege to have been a part of that journey.

    “Our wines have always had a sense of place and provenance, however the world of wine drinkers was yet to see the full potential of what England was able to produce.

    “Two decades and hundreds of awards later, Ridgeview, and our industry is in a place where our wines are not only understood, they are applauded. This award is a humbling reminder of how far we have come as a business, and as an industry,” said Roberts.

  • Independents: Make your mark

    Over the last few weeks we've been sending out some lovely little collections of stamps to our Independent Retail customers.  These stamps are designed to be used on neck tags and shelf talkers to highlight various food matches for consumers.

    After a lot of positive feedback on the stamps, we've decided to launch a new incentive in the run-up to Christmas.  All you need to do is post pictures of your wines, garbed up with necktags and stamps to our twitter page @enotriaindies, to be in with a chance of winning a delicious magnum of Artemis 2012, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars.

    The winner will then be chosen at random from all the posts, so the more pictures you post, the greater your chance of success. All posts between now and 18th December will be counted.

    If you like the sound of this, but don't have the stamps, please let your account manager know and we'll get some sent out to you as soon as possible.

    Happy stamping!

  • Winemaker Bio: Marcus Notaro - Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

    Marcus Notaro was named winemaker for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in May 2013, bringing with him close to two decades of expertise and passion for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. Marcus was most recently the winemaker for Col Solare, a prestigious winery located in the Red Mountain appellation of Washington State. Like Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Col Solare is a partnership between Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori of Italy.

    Marcus has been making red wines in Washington since 1995 and was drawn to the Col Solare vision of creating a top Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend from Washington’s finest fruit. Since 2003, Marcus has been honing a style of Cabernet Sauvignon that unites old world and new world traditions and innovations, much the way Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has always done. It is his understanding of the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars signature wine style – one of elegance and balance, ripeness and restraint – as well as his ability to express both the terroir of the vineyard and the true varietal character of the grape, that make him ideally suited for continuing the winemaking legacy at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

    “I am excited and honored to assume responsibility for creating wines from this historic property,” Marcus said. “The style of wine that I have been producing at Col Solare is in line with the tradition at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. It favors balance and complexity, richness and elegance and captures the unique characteristics of the vineyard.”

    Marcus is looking forward to working with the iconic estate vineyards at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars this harvest. “I’m keen to learn how Cabernet Sauvignon expresses itself in the unique microclimates on the FAY and S.L.V. estate vineyards,” Marcus commented. “Everything begins in the vineyard and then it all comes together in the cellar. You need to do what the vineyard and the vintage tell you.” As winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Marcus manages the winemaking process from grape to bottle, working with vineyard managers and growers, overseeing winemaking regimes and carrying out blending trials. He also works with Marchesi Antinori Chief Enologist Renzo Cotarella and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Senior Vice President of Winemaking and Vineyard Operations Doug Gore to evaluate final blends of each vintage.

    While working at Col Solare, Notaro developed a strong rapport with the Antinori vineyard and winemaking teams during frequent travels to the Antinori estates in Tuscany. That experience has helped him foster an international perspective that fuses both partners’ winemaking philosophies and will aid him in his new role at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

  • Irish vs. Japanese Whiskey

    Trade Spirits expert and Coe Vintners Head of Advocacy Alex Turner looks at Irish and Japanese whiskies - and makes some suggestions how you can add more depth and interest to your whiskey selection.

    Irish Whiskey

    Whisky is defined as spirit distilled from fermented grain. It is usually aged in wooden barrels which are mostly made from oak. The word whisky or whiskey comes from the Gaelic ‘uisce/uisge beatha’ meaning ‘water of life’ and the addition of the ‘e’ is found on Irish and American whiskies, whereas Scottish, Canadian and Japanese whisky leave it out.

    The Irish were the first people to distill whiskey in the 12th century (notice the e) around 200 years before the Scottish. It is likely that Irish monks learnt how to distil when travelling throughout the Middle East and Western Europe and they returned to Ireland and began to distil spirit for medicines. Barley is one of the main cereal crops in Ireland so it was with that the monks began to make a crude spirit which would be flavoured and sweetened to make it palatable, the spirit was not aged only stored and was consumed usually mixed with a little spring water.

    Soon the farmers were also distilling their barley to make a spirit, this made sense as any barley they harvested that was not used for bread or feed could be distilled and then consumed throughout the cold winter months, it could also be used for bartering as well as medicines. The spirit was often stored in wooden barrels for convenience and if it was left long enough it would slowly take on some of the character of the wood.

    Irish whiskey flourished in Ireland as well as having a huge market in the USA which led it to have bigger sales than Scotch or American whiskey, however there were a number of historically events that led to the decline of Irish whiskey sales around the world. Firstly, the Irish civil war and then partition of Ireland in the 1920’s led to import restrictions into Commonwealth countries and more importantly the introduction of Prohibition in America around the same time essentially removed Irish whiskies market overnight.

    The impact was so devastating that most of the distilleries closed down and the ones that were left consolidated into three main distilleries; Bushmills in Northern Ireland and Midleton and Cooley in the south with these producing a significant amount of whiskey between them. For approximately forty years Irish whiskey performed very badly (12 million cases in 1900 down to less than half a million by 1980) whilst Scotch and American went from strength to strength. There has been a massive rise in the interest in Irish whiskey over the last decade or so and this has led to new distilleries being built and new brands emerging. In fact there has been a 400% increase in consumption in the US since 2002 and a 22.5% increase in 2012 (Distilled spirits council of the USA)

    So what is the difference between Irish and the rest? Barley is the main grain used, although unlike Scotland it is not always malted and in most cases is dried using gas and not peat smoke, hence the lack of smoky character. The Irish produce three styles of whiskey; single malt whiskey (made from malted barley distilled in pot stills) single pot still whiskey (made from a blend of barley and malted barley and usually distilled three times) and blended whiskey (a blend of single pot still and continuously distilled grain whiskies). The triple distilled single pot still whiskey is the style most commonly associated with Irish whiskey and the process is unique to Ireland. However, blended whiskey is the most widely produced style

    Once it is distilled it has to be matured in Ireland for at least three years, the barrels used are always oak which has usually be used to store something else first (bourbon, sherry, wine etc), occasionally it is brand new oak that will be used.

    The sheer variety of spirits produced and different barrels used gives huge scope to the distiller and blender allowing them to create hundreds of different expressions of whiskey that will suit almost any palate.

    So it is safe to say that if you don’t already stock an Irish whiskey or only have the brand leader it is worth having another look at this fast growing and important spirit.

    Take a look at our product pages for our full range of Irish whiskies.

     

    Japanese whisky

    Whilst the Irish were making whisky first the Japanese are reasonably new to the game and only started to produce whisky commercially in the 1920’s. Much of the whisky produced in Japan is consumed domestically but in the last two decades or so it has started to gain a great reputation in the rest of the world. Blended whisky is the most popular style with brands like Hibiki being the biggest selling, however single malts such as Yamazaki and Yoichi are also very popular.

    Japanese whisky is dominated by two big producers; Suntory and Nikka. Suntory was founded by Shinjio Torri who built the Yamazaki distillery near Kyoto, he employed Masataka Taketsuru as his director of production. Masataka was sent to Scotland to learn about whisky making, he returned to Suntory where he worked producing whisky before leaving to set up a new Yoichi distillery and founded company that was to become Nikka!

    As they had learnt about whisky making in Scotland it is no surprise that Japanese whisky is made in a similar way to Scotch. However, unlike Scotch whisky the Japanese whisky makers do not trade with each other meaning that blended whiskies only contain liquid from one company and not a selection like in Scotland. As there is a limited supply the Japanese distilleries are at the cutting edge of innovation and are able to create many styles of whisky to create their blends.

    Malted barley from Scotland is imported either peated or not, this is then double distilled in pot stills before being aged in oak barrels which are usually imported from the USA and Europe. In recent years the trend has been to ‘finish’ the whiskey in other woods including Japanese Mizunara oak. The climate in Japan is closer to Kentucky than Scotland so the spirit tends to mature quicker and impart more wood flavour into the whisky.

    Blended whiskies are blended using single malt and grain whiskies, corn, wheat & un-malted barley are used, distilled using continuous stills, then matured.

     

    Take a look at our product pages for the full range of Japanese whiskies available.

  • What to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers - courtesy of Bogle Winery

    Bogle Winery's Turkey Pot Pie

    Everyone has a family recipe for cooking that great big bird! We thought we’d share a  family fave for what to do with those yummy leftovers after the celebration is over!

    Makes one 9” pie - Serves 6 -

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup diced onion

    1/2 cup diced celery

    1/2 cup diced carrot

    3 cups diced, cooked turkey

    1/4 cup flour

    1 1/2 cup chicken broth

    1 1/2 cup white wine

    2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, sage (all optional)

    1/4 cup heavy cream

    1 pie crust, homemade or pre-made, your call

    1 egg, lightly beaten

    Olive oil

    Salt & pepper

    Method:

    • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

    • On the stovetop, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot, and saute until veggies start to sweat. Add in turkey.

    • Add the flour and stir well. Allow to cook about 2 minutes. Add the wine and broth and mix well.

    • Add the fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another few minutes until all flavors have time to incorporate.

    • Add the cream and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the mixture gets nice and thick. Set aside to cool slightly.

    • In a oven safe pie dish, place the bottom crust and press into the pan and up the sides.

    • Pour the turkey mixture into the pie crust. Place the top crust on and crimp to the bottom crust, sealing in the filling. Using a knife, pierce the top crust to make vents.

    • With a pastry or bbq brush, coat the crust with the egg wash. Put the pie on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is deep brown and bubbling through.

    • Serve with leftover greens, a glass of Petite Sirah, sit back and enjoy!

  • Cachaça & Rye

    In his first Spirits newsletter, industry expert Alex Turner says Cachaça & Rye are the Spirits to watch in 2014 and beyond

    Cachaça

    2014 and 2016 are going to be big for Brazil with the World Cup and Rio Olympics and what do people drink in Brazil? We call it Cachaça but at home it is known as Pinga, agua de cana or caiana to name a few and we think it will be one of the hot spirits of the next few years.

    Currently Cachaça is the third largest spirit in world; bigger than vodka and whisky and last year the Brazilians produced 1.3 billion litres of Cachaça but only exported 1% of it. There are over 5000 brands in Brazil but we are more familiar with the major export brands like Pitu, Cachaça 51 or Velho Barreiro as very few make it to the UK.

    It is so precious to the people of Brazil that successive governments have fought to have Cachaça officially recognised by the World Trade Organisation as a distinctive and purely Brazilian spirit and therefore only be made in Brazil and nowhere else.

    Made from sugar cane juice rather than molasses it is more similar in taste to French rums or blanco tequila; grassy, earthy and pungent.

    How is it best consumed?

    The Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil and one of the easiest cocktails to make:

    The Perfect Caipirinha

    50ml Cachaça

    1 lime chopped into wedges

    2 bar spoons of white cane sugar

    Muddle the lime and sugar together in a tumbler, half fill the glass with crushed ice and then add the Cachaça, stir well and then fill the glass with crushed ice. Serve with two sip straws.

    Other drinks to try include the Batida; a combination of Cachaça, tropical fruit juices and sugar

    Carnival Batida

    50ml Cachaça

    25ml Mango purée

    75ml Pineapple juice

    1 bar spoon caster sugar

    Shake all with cubed ice and then strain into a large wine glass filled with cubed ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge

     

    Batida de Maracuja

    50ml Cachaça

    25ml Coconut cream

    50ml Passion fruit purée

    25ml Condensed milk

    Place all in a blender with crushed ice, blend until smooth. Serve in a large wine glass garnished with coconut shavings

     

    With its flavour similarities with blanco Tequila and French style rums there are many other types of drinks we can make with Cachaça. A Margarita made with Cachaça instead of Tequila adds a unique twist on this classic drink, substituting the rum in a rum punch gives an earthy and more pungent flavour to the punch.

     Rye whiskey

    The US whiskey market has been growing year on year for the last decade, driven by big brands like Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam that appeal to young adult drinkers and also by bartenders and connoisseurs looking for the smaller hard to find brands. Due to its easily accessible flavours; bourbon has been the go to US whiskey over the last thirty years or so but it is the less well known cousin of bourbon that is currently creating the buzz. Not only is Rye whiskey the less well known US whiskey style it was also the first to be commercially produced in the USA. Way back when the founding fathers landed in the new world, being of mostly farming stock they started to grow grain and make whiskey and due to the climate, soil and other factors in was discovered that rye was the most suitable for growing and distilling. In fact it was so widely used, pretty much every classic cocktail that used whiskey (notice the ‘e’) used rye and not bourbon and this is how it remained for quite a long time.

    There a number of factors that led to rye declining in popularity; prohibition was certainly a factor as very few rye distilleries were making whiskey whereas distillers in Kentucky were still allowed to make spirits for medicinal use, much of the whiskey that was available was Canadian rye smuggled over the border and although it contains rye grain it is not wholly a rye whiskey. After prohibition finished the American drinking public’s taste had changed, turning their backs on the ‘old mans’ drink and embracing the sweeter corn whiskey from the west.

    Originally produced in the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland by Irish and Scottish settlers rye whiskies tended to be dry, spicy and fruity in flavour. The most common of the rye styles was called Monongahela or Pennsylvania rye which has a sweeter and fruitier flavour than other ryes; in fact many of the brands available today are of this style. Straight rye whiskey follows the rules of American straight whiskey; notably it must have a mash bill of no less than 51% rye grain (barley and corn are often added too), be distilled to no higher than 80% abv (160 proof), begin the ageing process at no more than 62.5% (125 proof) be matured in a new charred oak barrel for a minimum of two years, finally nothing can be added to the finished whiskey apart from water.

    The most well-known of American whiskey cocktails; the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Sazerac etc where all originally made with rye whiskey, however there a number of drinks that are not as well known that also use rye:

    Red Hook

    50ml Rye whiskey

    10ml Punt e Mes

    10ml Maraschino liqueur

    Stir & strain over cubed ice and serve in a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist

     

     Scofflaw cocktail

    40ml Rye whiskey

    10ml Dry vermouth

    15ml Lemon juice

    15ml Grenadine

    Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist

     

     Green Point

    40ml Rye whiskey

    10ml Sweet vermouth

    10ml Yellow chartreuse

    Dash Angostura bitters

    Dash Orange bitters

    Stir & strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist

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