Matching Wine with Pork Pie

Who doesn’t love pork pies? They are little parcels of porky, pastry loveliness and some of the best around are made by local pork pie specialist Jake’s Artisan Foods. I first managed to get my hands on some of Jake’s Pork Pies at the 2014 Vineyards of Hampshire Festival at Jenkyn Place near Bentley. This year the  2015 Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival was held at Hambledon Vineyard and I knew I had to make a bee-line for some of Jake’s Pork Pies as soon as I got there, because they always sell out very quickly.  Jon Kaye is the man behind the pies, an ex-journalist who started out making pork pies as a hobby 6 or 7 years ago. He is based near Petersfield and went full-time in 2013. I highly recommend looking out for his pies at one of the many farmers markets he regularly attends. Visit his website for a list of venues and dates.

Jake's Artisan Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival at Hambledon Vineyard (19)
Jon Kaye from Jake’s Artisan Foods at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015

What makes Jake’s Pork Pies so special? Well, everything is done by hand from butchering free-range pork shoulder, grinding spices and seasoning, making the hot water crust pasty, hand-raising the pies and adding (homemade) jelly. As someone who has recently made some pork pies, I know what a time consuming process this all is and the fact that this is all done by hand is amazing. And then you have to get the seasoning right! Jake’s Pork Pies are made with coarsely chopped pork, the seasoning is spot on (I am guessing salt, pepper, some mace or nutmeg and no doubt some secret ingredient!) and the pastry has just the right amount of crispness and flakiness. The filling is flavoursome, porky and succulent with a generous amount of jelly helping to keep it moist, but not too much which I don’t like (but that’s a personal thing).

Jake's Artisan Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival at Hambledon Vineyard (19)
Jake’s Pork Pies at Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015

Matching Wine with Pork Pie

Jon and I swapped a few emails and he suggested that I should make some suggestions for matching wine with pork pie, which I thought was a very good idea! In terms of matching wine with pork pie I think it is best not to think of pork as a white meat but think of these as something a bit richer. The main ingredients are of, of course, pork and pastry, and they do have quite a high fat content (but not in a bad way!). Considering the fat content of the pork pie, and this applies to pork in general, one needs to aim for a white wine with good acidity to cut through the fat content or a red wine low in tannin, also with good acidity, as tannins tend to clash with fat.

Matching White Wine with Pork Pie

There are two options here, one can either try a fresh and racy white wine to cut through the fat or a fuller, richer wine to complement the richness of flavours. For a fresher style I would perhaps suggest a riesling. Riesling comes in many different styles and they make excellent food wines. A drier, mineral style of Riesling from the Mosel would be a good match and I would recommend something like Dr Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling. This is a fuller, yet dry, style of Riesling with floral, blossom aromas and flavours of peach, pear and honey on the palate. Importantly it has very good, well-balanced acidity to cut through any fattiness. A good alternative wine match with Pork Pie would be a fresh, zingy wine like the Trapiche Estacion 1883 Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina with its grapefruit / citrus acidity and grape-y flavours.

As a fuller style of white wine, a good Chardonnay with a nice bit of oak would be a good wine match with Pork Pie. Rather than trying to cut through the fat, it is more about complementing the creamy, buttery character of the pork and pastry. My choice for this would be a rich, buttery barrel-aged Chardonnay such as the Louis Latour Grande Ardeche Chardonnay. This is a Burgundian-style wine made by a Burgundy negociant but in vineyards in the Ardeche, to the west of the Rhone valley. It is a full-bodied, rich white wine with aromas of tropical fruit, toasty oak notes and a full-bodied palate with pear and nutty flavours to complement the richness of a good pork pie. A good alternative to a white Burgundy at a bargain price. However, any good Chardonnay with a dollop of oak should do the trick!

Matching Red Wine with Pork PieCote de Brouilly Caves des Vigneron de Bel-Air

As mentioned above, a matching a red wine with pork pie requires a fruity wine with low tannins and good acidity. Think of some of the traditional natural matches for Charcuterie and cold meats like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, lighter Cote du Rhone or Bordeaux which all fit this profile. There are, of course, plenty of other alternatives from elsewhere around the world but I think it would be best to avoid the sweeter, jammier chewy styles. Unless this is what you like! Food / wine matching is ultimately a personal preference! As a traditional wine match for pork pie you won’t go much wrong with a Beaujolais and I would recommend the Cote de Brouilly from Caves des Vignerons de Bel-Air. This Gamay has plenty of raspberry, floral aromas and flavours with a soft, round and lively finish with nice acidity. Don’t be afraid to pop lighter, fruitier wines such as this in the fridge for 20 minutes or so in the hot, summer months. A good alternative to this would be a juicy, soft Valpolicella and the Masi Bonacosta Valpolicella Classico with its violet, mint, cherry flavours and low acidity would be a great match.

Matching Other Wine With Pork Pie

One other wine match that springs to mind for pork pie would be a Sherry or Madeira, not the sweeter styles, but something dry(ish) with a bit of richness. For a Sherry look for a dry Amontillado or a dry Oloroso such as the Don Jose Oloroso from Sanchez Romate. This is rich with walnut, spicy, okay flavours but has a dry finish and good acidity and will be a great wine match for pork pie without being overpowering.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Autumn 2015 Wine Course

Please find below the details for the Autumn 2015 Wine Course starting in September 2015.

Autumn 2015 Wine Course

With Daria Kenefeck

@ Lysses House Hotel

51 High Street Fareham Hampshire PO16 7BQ

Course Code: LHAU1512
Course Length: 12 weeks
Start date: Thursday 17th September 2015
Finish date: Thursday 10th December 2015
Mid term break: Thursday 29th October 2015

Cost: £156.00 per person including wine

Please note that this course is very popular, I advise booking ASAP if you wish to attend.

A message from Daria,

“Please could you let me know by the end of August / first week of September whether you would like to join the course.  Please also note that there is a strict limit of 25 people for the class, so please confirm with me before payment is made.
 
Payments should be made by BACS to Daria’s Wine Foundation (please email for further details) by 11th September, or cash on the first night.”

Wine Glasses
Daria Kenefeck works at Fareham Wine Cellar and has taught a wine course in the local area for a number of years. There are three wine courses per year running roughly during school term times on a Thursday evening. The wine course involves some wine education followed by a tasting. There are also various themed evenings, the occasional blind tasting and sometimes guest speakers (I have it on good authority there will be a Kendall Jackson Masterclass with Pierre-Marie Pattieu on October 15th).

The classes start at 7.00pm and finish at approximately 9.15pm. If you are interested in attending either the Spring or Summer course please contact Daria at Fareham Wine Cellar, telephone 01329 822733. Or email if you have any further questions.

Please note you will need to bring at least 5 wine tasting glasses and writing implements. Payment must be made at the beginning of the wine course. There is a car park behind the hotel, and should this be full for any reason, there is a public car park opposite which is free after 6.00 pm.The room used for the class is on the first floor, but there is a lift available.

Provisional Dates for the 2016 Wine Course

5 Week Winter Course – 14th January 2016 to 11th February 2016

10 Week Summer Course – 10th March 2016, with a 2-week break over Easter (31st March and 7th April) and finishing on 26th May 2016.

Vineyards of Hampshire

Wine Festival 2015

 

The Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival 2015 was held at Hambledon Vineyard on Sunday 12th July 2015. The Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Festival is a small, but perfectly formed, wine festival consisting of several Hampshire Wineries, all of whom are Hampshire Sparkling Wine Producers, and local Hampshire food producers. The food producers come together through the Hampshire Fare association. The festival moves location each year and it is shared between the various Hampshire wineries that take part. I was lucky enough to attend the inaugural Vineyards of Hampshire festival held in 2014 at Jenkyn Place Vineyard which was a fantastic day out and a great success. Hambledon Vineyard (and Meonhill Wines) is the closest venue to Fareham Wine Cellar so there was no question of not attending this year.

Unfortunately Sunday 12th July 2015 was a cloudy, drizzly and windy day which probably wasn’t the best weather for visiting a wine festival and drinking Hampshire Sparkling wine in a vineyard. I had visions of drinking wine in the glorious sunshine surrounded by vines but it was a typical wet English summer’s day. However, us Brits are made of sterner stuff and, considering the weather, I would say the turnout for the Vineyards of Hampshire Wines Festival was pretty good. Fortunately there was a good size marquee to keep everyone dry, but it did get a bit crowded at points. According to a recent article in the Daily Echo, there are currently 38 vineyards in Hampshire as of July 2015, although there seems to be some dispute over the actual number at the moment. The cream of the crop, pun intended, were represented at this year’s festival.

Vineyards of Hampshire Exhibitors

Cottonworth – from Cottonworth near Andover

Danebury Vineyards – near Stockbridge

Exton Park Wines – from Exton

Hambledon Vineyard – at Hambledon, venue of the 2015 festival

Hattingley Valley Wines – near Medstead, Alton

Jenkyn Place Vineyard – near Bentley

Meonhill Wines – the wine is now made at Hambledon Vineyard but the vineyards located at Old Winchester Hill near Droxford

 

I didn’t take any notes about the wines I tasted on the afternoon but I did make a few mental notes and observations.

It was good to see newcomers, Exton Park Wines, at the wine festival. I am sure they will be a welcome addition to this select group of Hampshire Sparkling wine producers This is the first year they have released any wine under their own label, having previously sold fruit to Coates and Seely (who seem to be getting a lot of press at the moment).

We already sell both Hambledon Vineyard and Meonhill Wines in our shop, so I am a little bit biased, but I think their wines still seem to be some of the best English sparkling wines available. We are lucky they are our most local vineyards. I am particularly fond of the Meonhill Reserve Brut NV. It is developing a rather lovely golden colour with deep and complex flavours. Of all the wines tasted it was the most “Champagne-like”. I suppose this comes from having a bit of a head start over some of the other new wineries at the show – Champenoise Didier Pierson has been making wine at Meonhill since 2007 and obviously has some good stocks of aged, reserved wine to put in the blend. The Hambledon Classic Cuvée Brut is another favourite of mine, it is always a very classy, very elegant wine. It was a pity we didn’t get to try the new Hambledon Premiere Cuvée, though there was a tantalising bottle on display.

It was good to meet Caroline Stephens from Danebury Vineyards again. I think Danebury were one of the very first English sparkling producers to approach us at Fareham Wine Cellar many years ago. I still struggle with their sparkling wine, the Cossack, which is an unusual blend of Auxerrois Blanc and Rulander (Pinot Gris) but I did enjoy their Madeleine Angevine, the only non-sparkling wine of the day. Madeleine Angevine is originally from the Loire and always reminds me of a elderflowery Riesling crossed with Pinot Gris. It is a refreshing white wine and one I think we may stock in due course.

Other mentions must go to Cottonworth and Hattingley Valley wines. Both of these producers ranges of wines are very strong the – Hattingley Valley Rosé may well have been the biggest surprise and my favourite wine of the afternoon. I know it received my colleague’s vote.

The Vineyards of Hampshire Wines Festival isn’t all about wine and there was also a range of local Hampshire food producers showing their products under the Hampshire Fare association. Hampshire Fare has been working with local farmers and producers across Hampshire for more than twenty years and are passionate about supporting all things local.

I knew Parsonage Farm Charcuterie and Jake’s Artisan Pies from the previous year’s festival. I was under instruction with pre-orders for some of Jake’s Pork Pies and made sure I got to both their stands early on because they always sell out. There was a selection of great charcuterie from Parsonage Farm and I bought various salamis, including a great Watercress and Gin salami made with Twisted Nose Winchester Dry Gin (which uses Hampshire watercress as one of it botanicals) and a Lonzino style air-cured piece of pork loin cured with an interesting spice blend. My colleague also bought some air-cured pork loin cured with orange and gin, Twisted Nose Gin I assume.

 

Also in attendance was Chris Attewell of the Winchester Cocoa Company who makes fantastic handmade chocolate with many local ingredients (Summerdown Mint, Twisted Nose Gin, Winchester Char Teas etc.). He had produced a special selection of 6 chocolates which were all picked to match well with Hampshire sparkling wines. If you are interested in learning more about Chris’s chocolates he is hosting a chocolate and sparkling wine matching evening in the Autumn at Hambledon Vineyard. You can read more about matching chocolate and wines at my previous blog post.

 

Other producers included Lyburn Cheese, great farmhouse cheeses which I know very well, who were also selling a fantastic blue cheese from the Isle of Wight Cheese Company. I also bumped into Will Dobson of Hill Farm Juice, near Swanmore, who make some fantastic apple juices. There was a brilliant apple juice with sloe and damson which, in my humble opinion, was crying out for the addition of a bit of gin! Although the apple juices were all great on their own, I was imagining the cocktails I could make with them!

 

Hambledon Vineyard did a brilliant job of putting on the festival. There was also a pop-up shop (I missed on out in the Vineyards of Hampshire T-shirts), ice cream stand, a Braai with some great boerwors and a hog roast. I heard a few grumbles about the parking situation and passed at least two people having to take a break on the walk up the hill. It was a long, steep walk from the car parking to the event and there did seem to be parking available nearer the event at top of the hill, perhaps this should have been filled first. My biggest grumble were the glasses. These were the same awful plastic tulips as the previous year. I had to return the first two which were cracked and leaky. If one is serious about wine tasting they are pretty useless. The design makes it impossible to swirl the wine in the glass or really get one’s nose into it  to allow one to appreciate the aromas, which is obviously a very important part of wine tasting. How about suggest purchasing some ISO tasting glasses for next year’s event so people can taste the wines properly? Give one away with each ticket. Factor them into the price. Have them personalised with a “Vineyards of Hampshire” name and logo, sell them and use them at future events just like beer festivals and other wine and food festivals do. Bought in bulk they are not expensive. Wines of this quality should be given the best chance to be appreciated. Just my two cents!

Well done to everyone organised exhibited and attended. Despite the weather it was a very good afternoon!

I thought it would be useful to show the locations of the wineries on the map below, they have red markers. Hampshire Fare food producers are marked with blue and Fareham Wine Cellar is marked with a yellow marker.

Grahams Vintage Port Bond

Grahams Vintage Port Bond

One of the things I am often asked about at Fareham Wine Cellar is supplying wine or Port for Christening or wedding gifts. This can be tricky thing to do when someone wants to actually buy wine or Port from the year of the wedding or Christening. A lot of people don’t appreciate that the wines or Ports from the current year will not be available straight away and they often want to give it as a present ASAP. A nice idea, but winemaking takes time.

Inquiries for Christening or wedding gifts can come throughout the viticultural year so I often have to explain, depending on the time of the year, that the vines haven’t flowered yet, the grapes are still on the vine, the grapes haven’t been harvested yet, the wine is quietly ageing away in oak barrels for many months etc. etc. – most good quality wines will spend a good 12 to 18 months in oak barrels and are then aged a certain amount of time in bottle prior to release from the producer and shipping to the UK.

What’s more, there is no guarantee that the wine or Port vintage will be a good one and with vintage Port there is no guarantee that it will be a even be a declared vintage at all. There is also nothing tangible to give as a present. For example, if 2015 is declared as a vintage year for Port, it wouldn’t be available in the UK until late 2016 or early 2017.

Of course for wine there is the Bordeaux en Primeur system (whether one thinks it is broken or not) and there are other wine producing countries and regions that sell En Primeur. However, Port has never really had as formalised En Primeur system like Bordeaux, but wine merchants, like ourselves, will send out offers when the prices of vintage Port are released. If we can get a few cask sample of vintage Ports we try and do a customer tasting so people can try before they buy. It is great to be able to offer this and we are going to be trying the Quinta do Vesuvio and Dow Quinta Senhora da Ribeira 2013 with some customers this Saturday.

So Grahams Port noticed is a gap in the market. Which is where the Grahams Vintage Port Bond comes in.

What is the Grahams Vintage Port Bond?

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond allows one to buy a case of Vintage Port in the year it is harvested rather than having to wait approximately 18 months before the Vintage Port is bottled, shipped and available in the UK. This makes it an ideal gift to a child in the year of their birth, or to a couple in the year of their marriage.

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond can then be redeemed when the Port is available in the UK, which as mentioned above, is usually around 18 months after the harvest of that particular year.

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond entitles the holder to 1 case (1 x 6 bottles) Grahams Vintage Port from the harvest of the year the bond is purchased or, if a main vintage is not declared in that year, 2 cases (2 x 6 bottles) Grahams Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port. In the unusual occurence that no vintage Port is made at all in a given year then a full refund will be guaranteed or an alternative year offered.

Please note, one can purchase Graham’s Vintage Port from the year we are currently in and the previous year, i.e. one can currently buy 2015 and 2014 Vintage Port (as 04/07/15).

The buyer receives a Grahams Vintage Port Bond on purchase and will be provided with a high quality presentation bond certificate personalised with handwritten calligraphy that can be presented to the recipient on the occasion being celebrated, such as a wedding or Christening.

The price includes,

1 case (6 bottles) of Grahams Vintage Port  or 2 cases (12 bottles) Grahams Quinta dos Malvedos Vintage Port

UK VAT and Duty

Delivery to a UK address

Beautifully presented and personalised Certificate in wax sealed envelope

Bespoke service, informing customer when their Port is ready for delivery

The Grahams Vintage Port Bond is only available from a select few UK wine merchants and retailers and Fareham Wine Cellar is please to be included.

Buy the Grahams Vintage Port Bond and read the full terms and conditions at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Grahams Vintage Port Bond 3 Grahams Vintage Port Bond

Tedeschi Winemaker’s Dinner Review

with Riccardo Tedeschi

Tuesday 16th June 2015 @ Lysses House Hotel

Last week we were very lucky to have a visit from Riccardo Tedeschi, winemaker from the world renowned Tedeschi Wines. I have written a bit more about Tedeschi Wines and you can see the full menu and wines at my previous blog post. I would like to thank Riccardo for his time and for showing a range his fabulous wines in an informative and humorous manner. This would also not have been possible without Matthew Nutt of John E Fells (Tedeschi’s UK agents).

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015
Riccardo Tedeschi

Before the dinner we had a tutored wine tasting of four red wines. Due to a slight pouring error, these ended up being the Tedeschi Lucchine Valpolicella DOC Classico, Corasco IGT Delle Venezie, Capitel Nicalo Valpolicella DOC Superiore and La Fabriseria Valpolicella DOC Superiore.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015

All of the Tedeschi wines showed very well and it was interesting to note the consistency of house style and the gradual increase in quality (in fact the quality across the tasting was extremely good). We already stock some of the Tedeschi wines, but having tasted most of the range, there will definitely be a couple more that we will be adding to the Fareham Wine Cellar’s Italian wine selection.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015

There were a couple of my personal favourite Tedeschi wines in the pre-dinner tasting, the Tedeschi Corasco and Tedeschi La Fabriseria Valpolicella. The Tedeschi Corasco is a COrvina, RAboso and RefoSCO, blend (get it?) and the only red wine of the tasting that was not a Valpolicella, it is, in fact an IGT delle Venezie. This is because although the Corvina comes from Moraine hills in the heart of Valpolicella the Raboso is grown in Oderzo (Treviso) and the Refosco is grown in Aquileia, both outside of the Valpolicella region. The grapes for the Corasco are dried for 1 month and lose about 10% of their weight in this time. It is a lot plummier and richer than the Valpolicellas and has loads of dark, spicy, damson fruit with dried fruit (raisined) and violet character creeping in. A superb wine. My other favourite was the top Tedeschi Valpolicella, La Fabriseria Valpolicella Classico DOC Superiore, a Super-Valpolicella if you will! This is from the Tedeschi family’s La Fabriseria vineyard, their top vineyard, and is a blend of 35% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella aged 5% Oseleta, cropped at a similar low-yield level as for Amarone and aged in Slavonian oak barrels. Tedeschi La Fabriseria Valpolicella has great floral, violet aromas with hints of cherry, sour cherry and dried fruit (prune). The palate is full and rich with superb balance and feel. There are sweet notes with more plummy, cherry flavours balanced with a lively acidity. Big, rich and chunky. Very nice. Honorable mention to the Lucchine and the Capitel Nicalo which are both very good wines. The Capitel Nicalo and the Corasco were the two most popular wines of the evening in terms of orders placed (see diagram below). The Capitel Nicalo is also one of the three best-selling wines that Tedeschi produce (alongside the Tedeschi Amarone and one other I can’t remember!).

The staff and chef Clive Wright at Lysses House Hotel did a great job serving food and wine to 40 people all at the same time, which is never the easiest of jobs. I managed to grab a couple of quick photographs of the fish starters and the vegetarian option (which had a rather nice tricolore theme) but I didn’t get round to taking any more.

Both starters matched very well with the chosen white wine which was the fanatastic Tedeschi Capitel Tenda Soave. This is 100% Garganega grown on volacanic soils and the grapes are late harvested, with some botrytis. This is a full, weighty Soave with good viscous mouthfeel and a dry finish. Nothing like the bad old Soaves of yesteryear. The main course was thinly sliced duck breast on a bed sweet potato purée, leeks and snow peas. This was matched with the Tedeschi Amarone which was rich and sweet enough to handle the duck and the sweetness of the sweet potato purée.  There was a small selection of Italian cheeses including Taleggio, Pecorino and a white Gorgonzola (which I hadn’t seen before. This was paired with the Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore and it seemed to work well with most of the cheeses, perhaps not the salty Pecorino, but definitely the Taleggio. The San Rocco undergoes a second fermentation on the skins of the Amarone wine from the previous vintage. This imparts some of the Amarone character into the wine. It is a very full-bodied, spicy red wine with coffee / mocha flavours. The last food wine match for the evening split the crowd somewhat. The dessert, a rich dark chocolate slice studded with raisin and macaroons served with a vanilla seed ice cream and tuille biscuit, was served with the Tedeschi Capitel Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG Classico. It was a very rich, dark chocolate and I think it might have been a bit too sweet for the Recioto. Some people loved the combination, some people didn’t. Personally, I couldn’t make up my mind, the flavours and wine combination seemed to change with every mouthful. If I repeated the excercise I would probably serve the Recioto on its own. The Recioto was not the sweetest of styles but it was packed with spicy, damson, confit aromas and flavours. A wine for contemplation.

Tedeschi Wines Dinner at Lysses House Hotel June 2015
Chef Clive Wright discusses the intricacies of the menu

Which was the favourite Tedeschi wine on the evening?

As a percentage of orders placed.

Tedeschi Winemaker's Dinner Pie Chart

Thank you again to everyone who attended and especially to Riccardo Tedeschi for spending a evening with us all at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Blomberg Beers

Blomberg Beers are made in Extremadura, Spain at the Artesana del Oeste Brewery. The Artesana del Oeste Brewery is a microbrewery that produces a relatively small quantity of quality, handmade craft beers. The brewery is located in the city of Plasencia, a walled market city in the province of Caceres located on the Jerte River – in fact, one of the ingredients on the beer labels is “Agua del Jerte”.

The brewermaster and co-founder is Dutch-born Jonathan Coosen, who was interested in brewing from an early age and has been experimenting and making homemade beer for many years. The brewery was founded, with two business partners,  in 2013 and the first commercially available beers were released in 2014.

Coosen had heard about the story of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who retired to the nearby Monastery of Yuste in 1556 after his abdication. Charles V was particularly fond of quality beer and brought with him his own brewers from Flanders. Flanders brewers were considered to be some of the best in the world and the imported brewmaster made a beer to a recipe including barley, wheat and oats. Inspired by this, the Cervezas Blomberg labels have “La Pasion de Carlos V” on them in tribute and most of the beers are made from barley, wheat and oats.

There are three beers in the Blomberg range – Blomberg Original Blonde (and an organic version, not imported to the UK), Blomberg Blanca Weissbier and Blomberg Caramel Dubbel.

Blomberg Original Blonde

Blomberg Orginal Blonde is a Belgian style beer made from hops, barley, wheat and oats. Bottled at 5% abv.

Blomberg Original Blonde Beer 2

Tasting NotesBlomberg Original Blonde has a good, clear, rich amber colour. It is fizzier than the other two beers and has a good foam. The nose is lightly hoppy, floral and has good fruity notes. It is full and round on the palate with citrus, fruity, elderflower, slight herbaceous notes and a sweetish, clean finish.

Drink with Extremaduran cheeses, meat stews (local ones would most likely be mutton or pork) or migas. It would equally be at home with cold meats and tapas. Serve in a Trappist glass, tulip or tumbler.

Buy here.

Blomberg Blanca Weissbeer

Blomberg Blanca is a Weissbeer or White Beer. This style of beer originated in Belgium and is made predominantly with wheat (although other grains can be added) and are usually pale and opaque with fruity citrus notes. Bottled at 4.8% abv.

Blomberg Blanca Wiessbier 4

Tasting NotesBlomberg Blanca Weissbeer is a light, golden brown colour with an opaque appearance. It has minimal fizz and small head. The nose is sweet, aromatic and malty. There are hints of roasted cereal, wheaty and fruity notes. It has a creamy and full mouthfeel and is medium bodied. There are hints apricot and citrus flavours.

Drink with trout, medium flavoured cheeses or mussels. Try with Zorongollo salad, an Extremaduran salad of roasted tomatoes and peppers served in their own juices with olive oil and garlic. Serve in a tumbler or weizen, a special Weissbeer glass.

Buy here.

Blomberg Caramel Dubbel

Blomberg Caramel is style of Belgian influenced dark beer known as Dubbel. Dubbel is a rich malty beer with plenty of spicy / phenolic characteristics and is strong, though not as strong as Belgian Dark Ale. Blomberg Caramel is flavoured with honey from the Las Hurdes region. There is also a more fizzy version, these notes are for the less fizzy, still version. Unlike the other Blomberg beers it is made from 100% Barley. Bottled at 6.9% abv.

Blomberg Caramel Dubbel Beer

Tasting NotesBlomberg Caramel Dubbel is a clear, dark, coppery brown colour. It has a fine foam and minimal head. The nose has strong caramel and honey aromas with chocolate / mocha notes. The palate is rich and complex with dark, rich, roasted barley flavours, rum and spicy liquorice notes. Good long, rich, finish. Not overly sweet.

Drink with cheeses, dried fruit and nuts or experiment with desserts, pralines or cherries. Serve in a Trappist glass or tulip.

Buy here.

Why is it called Cerveza Blomberg?

Barbara Blomberg was a lover of Charles V. She was born in Regensberg, then Austria, now in modern Germany in 1527. Blomberg was, by all accounts beautiful, free-willed and rebellious. She was a singer, a patron of the arts and a lover of beer, an interest (amongst other things) that she shared with Charles! She was his mistress for a short times in 1546. On the 24 February 1547 Blomberg gave birth to John of Austria, who was almost immediately taken from her and sent to be raised in Spain.

If you are ever in Extremadura you can arrange visits to the brewery, by appointment only, or take part in one of Jonathan Coosen’s brewing craft courses.

Craft Whisky Tasting Review

The Origins of Usige Beathe and The Emergence of European Whisky and Gold Medals….

Craft Whisky Tasting

@ Lysses House Hotel 27th May 2015

With Scott Paine of Marussia Beverages UK

A big thank you Scott Paine, who hosted our Craft Whisky Tasting and thank you to all our customers who attended. I think everyone who attended will agree that it was an informative, very interesting whisky tasting and I certainly learnt a few things I didn’t know! Trying Teeling’s take on Irish Whiskies (small batch with Rum and Wine cask finishes) and European whiskies from Mackmyra (Sweden) and Millstone Whisky (The Netherlands) was quite fascinating. Add to this the Compass Box GKS Glasgow blend and it was quite a tasting.

You can read my original blog post about the whisky tasting here. Here are some of my (brief) notes and photographs from the whisky tasting.

Whisky Tasting Mats

Teeling Single Malt Irish Whiskey 46% – lovely, clear golden colour. Aromatic, nutty nose. Chocolate, coffee and red fruit, citrus and spice on the palate. Long finish. 100% Malt barley whisky aged from 5 to 9 years old aged in 5 different casks – Sherry, Port, Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon. No chill filtration.

Teeling Irish Whiskey Blended 46% – Blend of Malt and Grain whisky, the Grain component from a very short 13m column still which gives lots of character. Finished in Nicaraguan Rum casks from Flor de Cana. Aromas of citrus, orange and vanilla spice. Fruity, spicy palate, sweet, rummy, caramel finish!

Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey 46% – 100% Grain whisky aged in ex Californian Cabernet Sauvignon Casks. Really aromatic with definite vinous notes of red berries, grapes. The palate is sweet and round, toffee and caramel but with Cabernet red berry fruit. Very good. Most popular of the whisky tasting.

Compass Box Great King Street Glasgow Blended Whisky 43% – 33% Lowland grain whisky and 67% Malt whisky from Islay, Highlands and Speyside – smoky hit from the Islay Malt and a good bit of Sherry cask influence too. Classic, smoky, peaty blend.

Craft Whisky Tasting with Scott Paine of Marussia Beverages UK (9)

Mackmyra Brukswhisky Swedish Single Malt 41% – Aged in very small 30 litre Pot Still and aged in specially made 30 litre casks for 5 or 6 years. Delicate, light, fruity, aromatic nose. Grassy and fresh, sweetish, fruity finish. Light peated. The peat is smoked with juniper twigs to add extra character.

Mackmyra First Edition Swedish Single Malt 46.1% – Distilled in Mackmyra’s new gravity fed distillers. Some aged in 100 liter virgin oak casks, some aged in Swedish oak casks. Around 5 years old. Aromas of orange-y citrus, toffee, spice and marshmallow(!). Lovely viscous mouthfeel. Gently spiced, apple-notes. Very long finish.

Millstone Single Malt Whisky 40% – Millstone mill their barley using windmills which means the grist is processed at a much lower temperature compared to more modern mechanical methods. This means maximum flavour. Distilled in a 300 litre pot still, aged 5 years in American Oak. Fantastic brown bread, bran flakes nose. Nutty, coconut notes. Malty and reminiscent of freshly ground cereal. Peanut notes, caramel, orange / citrus. Good vanilla, oak finish.

Millstone Peated Single Malt Whisky 40% – Aged for 5 and a half years in American oak. Bready, toasty nose. Oily and peaty on the palate with caramel hints. Not heavily peated, Slight salty tang. Very good.

Millstone 100 Rye Whisky 50% – a real love it or hate it whisky. Personally, I love it. 100 months old, 100% proof, 100% Rye etc. etc. Distilled in small pot still and aged in US oak.  Half of the rye is malted using Belgian beer yeast for 5 to 7 days (average for malting is 48 hours) which helps to create maximum flavours in the wort (beer). Big, rich, punchy and spicy. Sherry, marmalade and aldehyde notes.  Superb stuff.

What were my favourites? It is really difficult to pick a favourite, they were all good, all have different characteristics and would be great for different times and uses. If I had to narrow it down, my favourite four whiskies I tasted on the evening were the Teeling Grain, Millstone Malt, Millstone 100 Rye and Mackmyra First Edition.

Here is a breakdown of the most popular whiskies from the whisky tasting as percentage of sales made on the evening, Teeling Grain being the most popular!

Craft Whisky Tasting @ Fareham Wine Cellar

 

 

Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth

Paul Bowler at Winchester Distillery has been busy recently with the addition of Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka, a Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin and now Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth to their portfolio of handcrafted small-batch spirits.

Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth

Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth

Basically, a vermouth is a an “aromatized” wine which is then fortified. This means that the wine is flavoured (or aromatized) with various botanicals, and then fortified with Twisted Nose Gin to an ABV of 16%. In this case the white wine comes from Danebury Vineyards located near Stockbridge, Hampshire and it is flavoured with 18 botanicals. Obviously the exact botanicals are a trade secret but they include wormwood (the name Vermouth derives the French pronunciation of the German word for wormwood), rose petals and other roots, barks and herbs. I am not 100% certain but I assume that the botanicals are simply macerated in the wine with the addition of the gin. Even though this is an Extra Dry Vermouth, it is slightly sweetened with caramelised cane sugar, however it still has a very dry finish.

Buy online and at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth

Tasting Notes – Very nice, clear, golden colour. It has an aromatic, sweet, fruity nose with aromas of floral, rose petal notes, vinous notes and apricot aromas. There are also woody, herbaceous notes. The palate is fruity and delicate with good fruity notes in the mid-palate and desirable bitter notes on the lingering finish. Initially is seems quite sweet but does finish very dry.

Obviously this could can be used on occasion or in any cocktail recipe that a dry Vermouth is required for. Try it in in a Gin Martini using Twisted Nose Gin (naturally), in a Manhattan or in one of my favourites cocktails, the Negroni. In the summer months this would also make a fantastic long drink, over ice, topped up with tonic or soda water and garnished with a bit of pink grapefruit. Try the Hampshire Martini, recipe from Winchester Distillery,

  • 50ml Twisted Nose Gin
  • 10ml Twisted Nose Extra Dry Vermouth
  • Finely peeled pink grapefruit zest
  • Grapefruit Bitters

Pour the gin, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass with ice cubes, stir well and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the grapefruit zest after first twisting over the glass to spray the oils over the drink.

Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin

Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin is quite simply the standard Twisted Nose Gin bottled at 40% and aged in oak barrels. The gin is made in exactly the same way as normal by macerating the botanicals in a pure neutral grain spirit followed by redistillation. However, subsequent to this the gin is left to age in lightly toasted German oak barrels for several weeks prior to bottling. It is one of three new products released by Winchester Distillery this year including Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka and a Twisted Nose Vermouth.

Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Vodka

Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin 2

Of course barrel aged gin is nothing new. There are many other gin brands, Citadelle gin springs to mind as one we used to sell, that have aged their gin in oak. Indeed, in the Netherlands, they have been ageing Genever, the forerunner to gin, in oak for many years and gin would have been transported around the world in oak barrels.

The German oak used for ageing this gin has a very fine grain so, although there is some interaction between the oak and the spirit, there is not as much as there would be with more open grain (for example American) oak barrels. This could easily overpower the relatively delicate aromas and flavours of the gin. As with ageing any spirit in oak barrels, the barrels impart some oaky character to the spirit. So, the fine grain and relatively short barrel-ageing does not overpower the relatively delicate gin. In this case barrel-ageing gives the gin a richer, creamy mouthfeel, subtle vanilla and spice character and a very pale golden colour.

Buy online and at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin

Tasting notes – Twisted Nose Barrel Aged Gin is a delicate, clear and very pale golden colour. The nose has typical gin aromas with additional toasty, malty notes and a sweet vanilla edge. On the palate the gin is fuller, rounder and richer than the standard Twisted Nose Gin. There are definite oak, spice and vanilla characteristics as well as a hint of underlying smokiness. It has a clean, full, lingering finish with touch of sweetness

This fantastic Barrel Aged Gin can be served like an old grain Genever neat, or on the rocks, as an aperitif. it can also be substituted for whisky in classic whisky cocktails to make a Gin Old Fashioned.

Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka

Following the success of Twisted Nose Gin, it had to happen didn’t it? The Twisted Nose range of spirits has now grown to include a Barrel Aged Gin, a Wasabi Vodka and a Vermouth made with wine from Danebury Vineyards.

Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka

Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka

Buy online and in store at Fareham Wine Cellar.

This small batch handcrafted vodka is made using a pure grain natural spirit which is then infused by maceration of freshly grated wasabi and seven other complementary botanicals. The infused spirit is then redistilled in a traditional copper pot still to produce this clear, smooth vodka.

Wasabi

flickr photo shared by EverJean under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

Wasabi (Eutrema japonicum), also known as Japanese horseradish, is a member of the Brassica family which includes cabbages, horseradish and mustard. Traditionally the plant would grow alongside stream beds in nutrient-rich, quick flowing mountain river valleys in Japan. However, the wasabi for the Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka is a touch more local – it is cultivated in Hampshire and Dorset by The Wasabi Company who use a superior cultivar called “Sawa”. Wasabi is used as a condiment, famously for sushi in Japanese cuisine, but it now finding its way more and more into international cuisines.

Tasting Notes

As you might expect Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka has a pretty spicy character to it. It is a pure clear colourless vodka. The fragrant nose has a slightly sweet, salty tang with a hint of citrus, definitely erring on the savoury side. The palate is spicy with a pleasantly peppery kick and warming finish. It is spicy, but more gentle than fiery. The finish has a good length and is pure and clean. Quite subtle compared to some spicy vodkas. Bottled at 40%.

Paul Bowler of Winchester Distillery recommends substituting your normal vodka for Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka in a Bloody Mary Recipe. It would also make a fantastic drink on its own. Straight from the freezer I can imagine it being a great match for caviar or smoked dish fishes, maybe even beef carpaccio (after all beef is a natural partner to English horseradish). It would also be good in a Martini.

Wasabi Vodka Martini Cocktail Recipe

2 measure Twisted Nose Wasabi Vodka
¾ measure Lemon Juice
½ measure Simple Syrup

Add all the ingredients and some ice to a cocktail shaker, shake vigourously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel.