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Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • St David's Day

    St. David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) is the patron saint of Wales, and 1st March – his feast day – is celebrated as a patriotic and cultural festival by the Welsh in Wales and around the world. As the national flower of Wales, Welsh people the world over proudly wear the leek – either the stalk, flower, or leaf – on this day. The Welsh leek has a flower, much like a daffodil, which is quite a bit easier to find around the world in March, so many use daffodils instead.

    Why do the Welsh wear leeks?

    Legend has it that on the eve of the battle against the Saxons, St David advised the Britons to wear leeks in their caps so they could be easily distinguish from the enemy. They won the battle and leeks became a Welsh symbol.

    To celebrate and get you in the mood for this monumental day, we have a delicious Leek and Whiskey recipe, and Welsh-based cocktail for you to try.

    Leek and WhiskeyLeek and Whiskey

    • 6 leeks
    • 3 tbsp cream (or crème fraîche)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 24 scallops
    • 3 tbsp whiskey of choice
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method

    Wash the leeks and slice into thin rounds. Fry gently in a pan for 10 minutes, until soft. Remove and set aside. In the frying pan, heat 2tbsp olive oil. Cook the scallops for 2 minutes of each side (note: don't overcrowd the pan, you can do a few at a time and set aside to keep warm). Once all the scallops have been cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Pour 3 tbsp of your favourite whiskey into the frying pan and stir over the heat. Remove the pan from the hob and stir in the cream. Season to taste. Arrange the Leeks and scallops on a plate and drizzle with the sauce.

    The Red Dragon

    This Welsh-based cocktail is a concoction of Brecon Botanical Gin with blood orange, green tea and hibiscus, and teapot bitters, finished with a Snapdragon flower. A sweet, refreshing cocktail. Almost looks too good to drink – almost!

    reddragon

    Ingredients

    • 35ml Brecon Botanicals Welsh gin
    • 20ml The Vert Hibiscus Liqueur
    • 10ml Gomme Syrup
    • 5ml Monin Blood Orange Syrup
    • 2 dashes Teapot Bitters
    • 10ml lemon juice
    • 10ml egg white
    • 1 fresh raspberry
    • Edible snapdragon flower (to garnish)

    Instructions

    Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Top the ingredients with cubed ice, then top with a glass and give it a good shake. Double strain the mixture into a chilled Martini glass, garnish with the Snapdragon flower and serve immediately.

  • Pancake Day

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    Pancake Day – otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday – is here, and whether you're a sweet tooth, or have a hankering for the savoury, there's something to suit each and every tastebud. And what better way to enjoy these fluffy, flipped delicacies than with a glass of wine or two? To make sure you find the perfect match, our buyers have selected a bevy of wines from our portfolio that will make perfect partners for pancakes sweet and savoury.

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    Sweet tooth

    There's no holding back when it comes to sweet pancakes, with everything from the much-loved classic combination of lemon and sugar, through to a decadent and devilish variation with maple syrup and bacon.

    Maximum Brut, Ferrari

    From Italy's finest fizz people, Ferrari's Maximum Brut is characterised by its persistent and intense bubbles, the refreshing aroma of crisp apples and flowers, and delicate notes of yeast. This elegant blanc-de-blanc is a fresh food-focused, perfect with a side of pancakes.

    Giall'Oro, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Ruggeri

    One of the very finest wines from Ruggeri's portfolio, Giall’Oro is laced with delicate hints of golden apples and acacia flowers. The off-dry palate is fresh and light with an extremely smooth and well-balanced, fruity finish. Extremely versatile, this is a wine that can brighten up any hour of the day.

    I Capitelli IGT, Anselmi

    This heavenly dessert wine is right at home with delectable treats – think creme brulée, cheese cakes, sticky toffee puddings and, of course, pancakes. Stunningly rich and complex, it packs a punch with apricot, honey and pear flavours, and has a smooth and velvety finish.

    Moscato d'Asti, Moncucco DOCG, Fontanafredda

    This Moscato from Fontanafredda is easy on the eye and mouthwatering on the in the mouth – it's an attractive bright golden yellow in the glass, with an intensely aromatic nose of white petals, ripe peaches and lightly spiced pears. From one of Piedmont’s top estates that was founded in the 19th century, this dessert wine has pure, zingy, grapey aromas and is dangerously easy to drink.

     

    savoury

    The savoury bunch

    If sugar's not your thing, there's a raft of other ways to enjoy a pancake – think Breton-style pancakes with ham and cheese, versions with Asian-inspired crispy duck, or even a twist on the pancake with smoked salmon blinis.

    Fiano, Chalmers

    Hailing from Heathcote in Victoria, Australia, this Italian varietal wine has a rich nose of greengages and butter. The rounded, plush texture is cut across by vibrant acidity and a character strongly suggestive of minerals.  There's a dramatic tension between richness and bright tanginess, as the plush texture is cut across by vibrant acidity.

    Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Omero

    This is an elegant approach to the noble variety, with aromas of redcurrant, strawberry-rhubarb and elderflower, with a palate of raspberry and honeycomb with bright acidity and smooth, silky texture. From the tailing of Burgundy clones to Oregon terroir, this is a Pinot Noir of an attention to detail that borders on obsession

    Miamup Chardonnay, Howard Park

    This Margaret River Chardonnay from Western Australia is vibrant green/gold in colour, with delicate scents of white field flowers, pear drop essence and citrus oils enriched with minerals, nutmeg spice and caramel. We'll be whipping up a batch of smoked salmon blinis to enjoy with this one.

    Mohua Sauvignon Blanc, Peregrine Wines

    Fresh stonefruit, lemon zest and crunch snow pea flavours combine with tropical fruit, fresh cut line in this fresh and mouthwatering Sauvignon Blanc. An elegant expression of Marlborough terroir, this value-for-money white will appeal to wine drinkers who like good Sancerre or top New World Sauv Blanc.

    Beurrot Pinot Gris, Kooyong

    "Arguably one of Australia’s better known and loved pinot gris, by those that might call themselves pinot gris fanciers. Nothing fancy done here, just good grapes, smart winemaking, a know how with the variety. You could file this under pinot gris in the dictionary. Classic pear, pear drop, frangipani, honeycomb, candle wax scents, even a touch of oatmeal savouriness. The palate is deep in flavour but light on its feet. Soft and juicy, almost watery but let’s call it delicate, and with silkiness to texture that makes the wine feel refreshing and regal, in a way. It keeps you thinking it’s lush only to finish feathery and mouthwatering. It’s excellent, really." – Mike Bennie, Winefront.

    Ramón Bilbao Crianza

    As the best selling Rioja Crianza in the Spanish On Trade, we're thrilled to be introducing this fruit-driven Rioja into our portfolio. A deep cherry red, it has intense aromas of black berries and touches of coconut and liquorice. A glass of Crianza with a flavour-filled ham and cheese pancake would go down a treat.

  • Rioja Reimagined

    We are delighted to announce two new partnerships that will see our Rioja portfolio completely overhauled and reinvigorated, with the addition of producers Ramón Bilbao and Sierra Cantabria to the range.

    Enotria&Coe Buyer Harriet Kininmonth said, “Sourcing a new range from somewhere as notable as Rioja is every Buyer’s dream, and it was certainly a labour of love. Sourcing wines that offer customers an enviable Rioja range that over-delivers at every level is a hugely exciting opportunity. Ramón Bilbao is a premium, scale producer with history and winemaking heritage, a strong price model, fantastic packaging and an innovative approach – all factors in their leading position in their domestic market. In our blind tastings, their wines performed beautifully against their contemporaries and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them on board.”

    We'll be working with Ramón Bilbao’s UK & Ireland Manager Kirsty Loftus to take the portfolio to the UK off and on trade: including the ‘classic’ Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva trio, the Viñedos Altura and Rueda white ranges, plus the Edición Limitada and Mirto single vineyard blends, and the just-launched Lalomba Rosado - the first release from the “dream parcel” of vines high in the Yerga Mountain range in Rioja Baja purchased by Ramón Bilbao in 2015.

    Winemaker_RamonBilbao2

    “This exciting new partnership extends Ramón Bilbao’s coverage to all channels of Great Britain’s market,” comments Robert Eastham, Wine & Spirits Director, West and North Europe ZAMORA International (owners of Ramón Bilbao). “Enotria&Coe’s enviable reputation, broad expertise and brand-building capability in both the on and off trades will help us on to the next stage of our journey - to become a leading premium Rioja brand in the UK.”

    Kininmonth continued, “Sierra Cantabria offers us something different; they are a much-lauded family owned producer who craft wines of freshness and poise. Six generations of obsessive attention to detail and deep respect for the land has earned them a loyal UK following. Interestingly, Sierra Cantabria have never been represented the on trade, where, with Enotria&Coe’s strong distribution strategy, we’re convinced the brand will flourish and grow. Our two new, terroir-driven producers let us join the premium Rioja conversation and become part of Rioja’s quality revolution.”

    Marcos & MIguel

    Carlos Caraballo, Global Sales Director at Sierra Cantabria commented: "We’re looking forward to embarking on this journey with Enotria&Coe and developing a long-awaited presence in the UK on trade. With their focus on premium channels, we’re in a great position to bring our hand-crafted portfolio to market.”

    Troy Christensen, Enotria&Coe CEO commented, “Both brands are a great fit for us, and Rioja is an exciting category that we can now really champion. Spain is making some real strides through innovation and product quality. So, it is amazing that the country is only the 6th largest origin in the UK. We hope to help build the category, particularly at the premium level where these brands really deliver and where the consumer is shopping. We are excited to offer customers a Rioja portfolio that adds further quality and gravitas to our already impressive Spanish range.”

    The wines will be in the Enotria& Coe range from March 1st.

  • Vintage Down Under with d'Arenberg

    Earlier this year we bid farewell to our e-commerce superstar Olivia, as she set sail for the land Down Under and a once-in-a-lifetime vintage experience with d'Arenberg in McLaren Vale. Before harvest kicks-off, and her hands are well and truly dirty, we checked in with Liv to find out more about her exciting adventure.

     

    What made you want to apply for vintage work experience?

    After a couple of years working in the wine industry back in the UK – and coming from a non-wine background initially – I thought it was about time I took a not-so-small trip to get an understanding of what a real vintage is all about, and what exactly happens Friday at 5 glass of wine gets poured!

    Olivia-Chester

    What made you choose d’Arenberg?

    I’m a sucker for label design, and easily won over by a bit of sunshine!

    What are the top three things you’re hoping to get out of the experience?

    • Winemaking: I want to learn more about the winemaking process, and gain a better understanding of the time, effort and processes that go into a bottle (aka blood, sweat and tears?)
    • Tasting: Develop confidence in tasting; whether I learn this at work or not, SA has got to be a good place to start my wine education. McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, and Clare all in driving distance of one another – sounds like a pretty good way to spend a day off!
    • Knowledge: Better knowledge of varietals; what affects them in terms of viticulture and climate, and how this is reflected in the flavour profile and characteristics when I drink a glass of wine.

    I’m also looking forward to being part of a vintage team in general. I’ve been warned how much hard work it can be, but I’ve never met a person who hasn’t recommended doing it, so that has to be a good sign!

    liv What have you been up to so far?

    Tastings, watermelon catapults, kangaroo spying, confined space training, winery tours…so far so good!

    This is just the start of Olivia's vintage journey, and we're sure we'll be hearing more from her as the days roll on. You can follow Olivia’s travels on Instagram @darenbergwine or at @100daysaway. After McLaren Vale, she'll be setting off for New Zealand to lend a hand in the vineyard at Carrick Wines in Central Otago.

  • When East meets West

    “Food matching is all about taking risks and thinking outside the box,” says Enotria&Coe Wine Director, Direu Vianna Junior MW.

    Last Wednesday we were able to bring this sentiment to life, with an event for a select group of customers, pairing a prestigious line-up of sparkling and white wines from the North East of Italy, with the sophisticated, contemporary Japanese delicacies dished up at Sake no Hana.

    With an Italian portfolio and set of producers that are second to none – vibrant, interesting and classic in equal parts – we wanted to break down the pre-conceived idea that wines from the boot are best paired with Italian food.

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    Indeed, E&C’s Italian Director of Buying, Sergio De Luca, believes the freshness and diversity of Italian wines – in particular white varieties –  means they’re a perfect match for Japanese cuisine.

    “The fragrance and elegance of Japanese food, is extremely well complemented by Italian wines.

    “Rather than aromatic or spicy wines, this range of white wines from the North of Italy have a beautiful freshness and subtle fruit, which can be successfully explored through Sake no Hana’s dishes,” Sergio says.

    Wednesday’s tasting journey began with Ruggeri, one of our most historic suppliers and a quality benchmark in the area. The success of Prosecco has opened the door to other sparkling wines from Italy, and next up we explored the most recognised bottle-fermented Italian wines from Ferrari. As for the whites, guests delighted in a selection of wines from Bertani and Anselmi in Venteto, to Colterenzio in Alto Adige and Jermann in Friuli Venezia Giulia.

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    After tasting a bounty of impressive sparklers and whites – true expressions of their terroir and that capture the elegance of Italy – guests were treated to an array of inspired Japanese delicacies, including white miso soup with nameko mushrooms, sea bass sashimi, smoked duck breast, and tempura sushi.

    Interestingly, the concept of pairing Italian wines with Japanese food isn’t a foreign one for premium sparkling producer Ferrari.

    “Japan is a historic market for Ferrari, not only for the blanc de blanc, but also for the rosé. It works very well with sashimi, for example,” says Ferrari Export Manager Dean Lapthorne.

    “In Italy we don’t generally tend to pair our wines with Japanese food, but when it is done, people generally go for something like a Barolo, which is fine if you have a fish like salmon which is quite fatty, but if you’re having white sashimi these clean whites and sparklers are ideal.”

    Considering Ferrari’s President Matteo Lunelli’s favourite cuisine is Japanese – with a glass of bubbly on the side – it’s no surprise that Alfio Ghezzi, the chef at Ferrari’s two Michelin Star restaurant does experiment with some sashimi elements. 

    IMG_-mgvf5qTAKE FIVE: Tobias Brauweiler, Master Sommelier and General Manager at Sake no Hana

    What do you look for in a wine for your list at Sake no Hana?

    As with all of our restaurants around the globe, Asian food is very challenging to match, yet very exciting. We run a very selective wine program where all wines are challenged to the limits, and really need to perform on all levels in order to make it onto the wine list. At Sake no Hana we hold a monthly ‘Oshuban’ tasting, which identifies wines which do particularly well with sashimi. These wines have a special place on the wine list; they are unpredictable, follow no pattern, and surprise all of us every time.

    Why, as a Master Sommelier, do you believe intimate events with producers are important?

    It is always informative to attend a wine tasting in a big event space, but to get the best from the winemakers and their wines it needs to be intimate and almost one on one. These small, individual, focused tastings are important for the relationship between the customer or sommelier and the winemaker.

    Share with us the most rewarding part of your job.

    Being with people who appreciate the same good things in life. Good service, good food, and good wine.

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  • What to drink this Valentine's Day

    We all love an excuse to splurge on bottle of something special, and what better occasion than Valentine’s Day? Choosing the perfect tipple can be tricky, so to help you avoid the cluster of cliché drinks on offer, some of our talented wine and spirits buyers have selected a collection that are sure to spark the romance.

    Whether you’re all loved up, or foot-loose and fancy free, wine buyer Harriet Kininmonth has you sorted.

    The date – romantic, cosy dinner at home on a cold, winter’s night. I’m thinking roaring fire, candles, and all things hygge. Impress your loved one with a rich, silky and brooding Malbec, sure to warm the heart. The El Esteco Estate Malbec is the perfect choice – hailing from the oxygen-starved, high-altitude vineyards of the Cafayate Valley in Salta, Argentina, it’s packed with rich and concentrated flavours of coffee, blueberry and spice, but is as fresh as they come.

    The party – who says that only couples get to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Don’t sit at home feeling sorry for yourself, invite some mates over and celebrate in style with a delicious bottle of boutique fizz from Spain. Franck Massard’s Mas Sardanas Cava Brut Nature is not your average cheap plonk from Spain. A hand-crafted, stylish, and premium fizz, drier than a prosecco and ideally paired with food – a girl’s gotta eat!

    For something slightly left of centre, and to spice things up a touch, spirits buyer Paul Hunter, nominates (with a generous lashing of tongue in check, mind you), the infamous tonic wine, Buckfast. “I like to drink two bottles of Buckfast every Valentine’s Day – it sets the tone appropriately for my romantic misadventures.”

    For those of you not in the know, Buckfast was first concocted by Benedictine monks in Devon, and is regarded as an aphrodisiac in the West Indies. However, it’s also recently gained a reputation as the drink of choice for debaucherous youths.

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