Williams Chase Gin

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin vs. Williams Chase Elegant Gin

Recently I had a conversation with a customer about the various merits of the two gins from Chase Distillery and, I have to admit, it was a very long time since I had tried either of them. When I mentioned this to Fred Barton at Chase, he very kindly sent me some samples of both gins (and some of their other products) so I could refresh my taste buds! My tasting notes are towards the bottom of this post.

Willams Chase Elegant and Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin Samples

What are the main differences between Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin and Williams Chase Elegant Gin?

I have broken this down into three key areas, the botanicals, the base spirit and the alcohol by volume. I am sure there are other key differences but, to me, these seem like the main three. However like most things it is all about the balance of these three key areas as well as other more technical factors (temperature of distillation, for example).

The Botanicals

The botanicals are the most obvious thing for most people. Gin is basically a vodka (or neutral spirit of some sort) which is flavoured with a selection of botanicals (fruits, barks, seeds, spices, plants, roots etc.). These give different gins their unique aromas and flavours.

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin Williams Chase Elegant Gin
Juniper (buds and berries)
















Fuggles Hops


Bramley Apple

+ 37 secret wild foraged botanicals from Chase’s River Meadow

If you compare the two sets of botanicals, although the two gins share some key botanicals, I think most would agree that the GB Extra Dry Gin botanicals err to the more spicy side of things whilst the Elegant Gin botanicals tend more towards the floral and aromatic end (hops, elderflower, apple etc.). Naturally, the expression of these two different sets of botanicals give the two gins their two different distinctive styles.

The Base Spirit

The base spirit for gin is quite important, it can produce different styles of gin. Most gin producers use a neutral grain spirit as the base to which the botanical flavourings are added. However, other base spirits that can be used. For example, Chilgrove Gin and G’Vine both use a neutral grape spirit base which is said to produce a lighter style of gin.

The two Williams Chase Gins use two different spirit bases. Most distilleries will buy in a base spirit but at Chase they actually distill the two different spirits from scratch.

Williams GB – made from a potato-based spirit base, which is essentially Chase Original Vodka. The potato base is smooth with a creamy texture and mouthfeel and a soft and round style.

Williams Elegant – made from an apple-based spirit base, which is basically Chase Naked Vodka. The apple base spirit is distilled 5 times for a pure, fine spirit. It is lighter and crisper in style with a citric character.

The Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

The alcohol by volume (ABV) also plays a key part, not only in how it affects the flavours and aromas, but also texturally. Two spirit bottled at different cask strengths will taste and feel quite different in the mouth.

As will all things, the best ABV is a trade off. Too low (and gin has to be 37.5% ABV by law in the UK) and the gin might be rather watery and insipid. Too high and one will get too much fiery, warming, burn from the spirit which could be quite unenjoyable. A lower ABV spirit will feel lighter in the mouth whereas a higher ABV spirit will seem a bit heavier and a little more viscous.

Alcohol is basically a carrier for flavour (in this case the essentials oils and aromatic compounds in the botanicals). You could think of it as the higher ABV spirit being able to absorb and “hold” more flavours and aromas than a lower ABV spirit. When you dilute a gin with tonic water the gin releases some of these aromatic compounds thus helping to deliver the aromas and the flavours to the consumer. It is similar to how a few drops of water added to a good single malt whisky will help release aromas and “open up” the flavours of the whisky.

Williams Chase Elegant Gin, which is bottled at a high 48% ABV, certainly feels rounder and richer than the Williams GB Extra Dry Gin, bottled at 40%, which feels much lighter and cleaner in the mouth. The Elegant Gin has many more botanicals (and more complexity) than the GB Extra Dry Gin which fits in with the idea of a higher ABV spirit being able to “hold on” to more aromas and flavours.

Willams Chase Elegant and Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin Tasting Notes

Williams GB Extra Dry Gin has aromas of dry juniper. There is a big hit of ginger with hints of spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) and zesty lemon citrus. There is also a sweet baked goods note (I can’t work out what!) and light vanilla aromas. It is quite full in the mouth, there are more juniper flavours followed by the spice components leading to a nice warming, peppery, ginger kick. The palate has a slightly creamy mouthfeel and finish is good, clean, crisp and very dry. A very good well-balanced gin.

Serve – gin and tonic garnished with lemon and slice of ginger.

Williams Chase Elegant Gin Tasting Notes

Williams Chase Elegant Gin has a complex fruity, nose. There are spicy notes, dominated by coriander, apple, floral, hoppy notes and a slight smoky character. On the palate there are more green fruit and fresh apple notes with orange / lemon citrus notes coming though quite strongly. There are also some vanilla and faint burnt sugar notes. On the very end of the palate there are floral, almost rose petal notes with a hint of herbaceousness. It finishes with warming spicy notes and a slight peppery burn at the back of the throat. A full-bodied, complex gin with very long, lingering finish.

Serve – in a gin and tonic or a Dry Martini, both garnished with a slice of apple.

There are plenty of cocktails at the Williams Chase Website.


Hampshire Sparkling Wine Tasting

7.30 pm Wednesday 13th July 2016

On the terrace @ Lysses House Hotel

51 High Street, Fareham, PO16 7BQ

Please book tickets in advance with Lysses House Hotel T: 01329 822622

Tickets £12.50 per person, in advance only, from Lysses House Hotel

Numbers are quite limited.

Hampshire Sparkling Wine & Canapes

As part of the inaugural Hampshire Wine Week, which culminates with the Vineyards of Hampshire Festival at Hattingley Valley on July 17th, Fareham Wine Cellar, in conjuction with Hambledon Vineyard and Cottonworth Wines, are hosting a Hampshire Sparkling Wine Tasting at Lysses House Hotel on 13th July 2016.

We will be showing local sparkling wines from Hambledon Vineyard and Cottonworth and Chef Clive Wright from Lysses House Hotel will be providing a selection of canapes.

This will be an informal tasting on the outside terrace at Lysses House Hotel weather permitting (we can decamp inside if necessary).

Hambledon Vineyard

We are very lucky that some of the best English, and indeed, Hampshire Sparkling Wine producers seem to be on our doorstep. Most of our customers will be aware of Hambledon Vineyard and their wines as we have been championing them since they launched their first sparkling wines in 2014. You can read more about Hambledon Vineyard here and about the wine tasting in December 2015 in which they beat some rather big names.

Steve Lowrie, who works in both the vineyard and in sales, will be showing two white sparkling wines from Hambledon Vineyard, their Classic Cuvee and their Premiere Cuvee.

Cottonworth Wines

Cottonworth, who are based in the Test Valley to the north of Stockbridge, are relative new-comers to Fareham Wine Cellar. but they planted their first vines in 2005 and how been producing Hampshire Sparkling Wine and steadily expanding since then. They eventually outgrew their winery and the wine is now made at Hattingley Valley’s nearby state of the art winery.

They produce an excellent Classic Cuvee Brut and a Sparkling Rose which we will be showing at this tasting. Read more about Cottonworth here. These will be presented by Laurent Bergman who works for their agents in the UK, Berkmann Wine Cellars.


Edit: 14/07/16

A Few Thoughts and Some Photographs

First of all, a big thank you to Laurent and Steve for a very informative evening and for showing us some fantastic Hampshire Sparkling Wines from Cottonworth and Hambledon Vineyard respectively. Thank you to Chef Clive Wright of Lysses House Hotel for some fantastic savoury, and sweet, canapés which were a great match for the wines. We were very lucky with the weather, it did look as if we would have to go inside at one point, but the rain held off.

It was very interesting to see people’s reactions and speak to them about their favourite wines. Everyone seemed genuinely interested and impressed by the wines. There seemed to be a bit of a spread of favourites. There was no scientific survey done but, it seemed to me, that the favourite of the evening was the Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvee. Some preferred the slightly more fruity and floral notes of the Hambledon Classic Cuvee whilst some people preferred the slighty leaner more racy style of the Cottonworth Brut. My favourite was probably the Hambledon Premier Cuvee. It is a much more serious wine with a bit more weight and good, yeasty, autolytic character, mainly due to 37 months on the lees. It does, of course come with a much higher price tag, a fair reminder of the old adage that “you get what you pay for”. We served the Cottonworth Sparkling Rosé Brut with a couple of sweet canapés and it was a great match for the strawberry and cream canapé that was served. The Cottonworth Rosé has a very delicate, very pale pink colour and is a fantastic dry and refreshing sparkling wine. I’ll say it again, we are lucky to have two such quality Hampshire Sparkling Wine producers on our doorstep.


Fareham Wine Cellar Portfolio Wine Tasting 2016

Fareham Wine Cellar is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016 and, rather fortunately, this coincides with our biennial Fareham Wine Cellar Portfolio Wine Tasting!

All of our key wine and spirit suppliers will be in attendance and there will be well over 150+ wines and spirits available for tasting.

Fareham Wine Cellar Portfolio Wine Tasting 2016

Wednesday 19th October 2016

2pm until 7.30pm

@ Lysses House Hotel
51 High Street, Fareham PO16 7BQ

Tickets £12.50 per person – now available from Fareham Wine Cellar

In advance only.

If you are feeling a bit hungry after trying all these wines, Chef Clive Wright from Lysses House Hotel has prepared a special menu for anyone who want to have a meal afterwards. You will find the menu at the bottom of this post.

If you wish to book a table in the restaurant afterwards, please do so with Lysses House Hotel T: 01329 822622


Our Portfolio Wine Tasting is a great opportunity to try all sorts of wines and spirits as well as meet some of the winemakers and producers that we work closely with.

List of Exhibitors (confirmed as of 28/08/16).

Awin Barrett Siegel – Andrea Bulcock will be in attendance and showing wines from Jordan Estate (South Africa), Simon Hackett’s fantastic wines from Australia and Dr Loosen amongst others.

Berkmann Wine Cellar – Laurent Bergmann will be showing wines from Lapostolle Chile, a selection of Italian wines and Cottonworth Hampshire Sparkling Wines.

Bodegas UrbinaPedro Urbina of Bodegas Urbina will be in attendance with his UK agents, Burridges (see below) – superb, family-owned, traditional Riojas.

Burridges of Arlington StreetEdward Burridge and his sister Teresa are specialist Spanish Wine importers. As well as Pedro Urbina’s wines, they will be showing some other fantastic Spanish wines from various wine regions.

Champagne Henriot – the UK Brand Manager for Champagne Henriot will be showing their range of Champagnes.

Chateau Caroline and Chateau Lestage – Caroline Chanfreau-Philippon owns and manages two fantastic Chateaux in Bordeaux with her brother Jean Chanfreau-Fonréaud. Caroline will be showing wines from their two estates, Chateau Caroline in Moulis and Chateau Lestage in Listrac.

Domaine Jones – owner and winemaker Katie Jones will be showing some of her fantastic southern French red and white wines

Eaux de Vie (Marussia Beverages) – Scott Paine and Gareth Lewis will be showing a range excellent spirits from small, artisanal producers including gin, brandy, vodka, rum et al.

Hambledon Vineyard – Hambledon Vineyard will be presenting some of Hampshire’s finest sparkling wines including their Classic Cuvée, Premiere Cuvée and, hopefully by then, their new Rosé.

Hatch Mansfield – James Wilson of Hatch represents wineries including Champagne Taittinger, Louis Jadot, Siefried and Esk Valley from New Zealand, Robert Oatley Vineyards, Caliterra and Errazuriz.

Jean Baptiste Audy – Nadège Sabras represents, Bordeaux negociant and Chateau owner, J B Audy in the UK. She will be showing a range of their wines including Chateau de Courlat, Chateau La Rose de Palenne, Chateau David Beaulieu and Chateau La Croix de Duc amongst others.

John E Fells –  Matthew Nutt will be showing wines from Torres Spain, Miguel Torres, Marimar Estate, Symington Family wines and Ports and many more.

Louis Latour Agenices – Guy Nightingale will be showing not just Louis Latour wines but wines from Viu Manent, Seresin (fingers crossed), Champagne Gosset and Cognac Frapin.

Moet Hennessy UK – Derek Langton will be showing various wines and spirits owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) including Terrazas de los Andes, Cape Mentelle, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg and possibly some new wines from China.

Orion Wines – Elena Ciurletti is the export manager for Orion wines and she will be presenting a range of Italian wines from across Italy including Tannu, Zensa, Castello della Rosa and Pehhcora.

Lysses Dinner Menu

Wednesday 19th October 2016

£27.95 per person

Please book with Lysses House Hotel

To Start

Roasted butternut squash soup served with crispy croutons

A red onion and mushroom tartlet glazed with  lightly smoked cheese
served warm with a selection of lettuce leaves

Niçoise salad with tuna pan fried until pink finished with an olive oil dressing

To Follow

A leek, mushroom and ricotta cheese strudel served with a
lemon and dill butter sauce

Pan fried fillet of salmon set on base of cauliflower purée, red onion
confit and dauphinoise potatoes finished with a chive and white wine sauce

Lamb rump cooked until pink served with potato rosti, roasted shallots, red
and yellow pepper finished with a rich red wine sauce

Served with a selection of freshly cooked vegetables

To Finish

A dark chocolate tart with a layer of butterscotch served
with a whirl of whipped cream and raspberry sauce

A choux ring crammed with passion fruit curd, whipped cream and strawberries

A raspberry and whiskey flavoured crème brulee topped
with brown sugar and glazed under a hot grill

A selection of cheese and biscuits

Coffee and Petit Fours

If you have an allergy or special dietary requirement
please speak to a member of staff before placing your order.

Cottonworth Wines

Cottonworth Wines is an English Sparkling Wine (Hampshire Sparkling Wine to be precise) producer located in the Test Valley in Hampshire. Cottonworth itself is a small village situated between the towns of Andover and Stockbridge and the vineyards are on the outskirts of the village. Cottonworth is owned by the Liddell family who have been farming the land for five generations first as a mixed farm, more recently as a crayfish farm and now as an arable farm and vineyards.

Hugh Liddell is the winemaker at Cottonworth Wines who spent two years learning about all apsects of wine-making whilst working and studying wine in Burgundy. As an aside, when the family sold some 93 acres of land (to another English sparkling wine producer) they were able to invest in vineyards in Chassagne Montrachet and St Aubin 1er Cru . These are also sold under the Cottonworth label. Hugh started off in the wine trade in retail and as a broker and was instrumental in planting the first vines on the family farm. He has also worked vintages in New Zealand and South Africa as well as studying Viticulture and Oenology at Plumpton College.

The first vineyards at Cottonworth were planted in 2005 and comprised of two acres of German and French grape varieties. Of course, the English wine landscape has changed quite rapidly since 2005 and most quality wine producers have realised the potential of English Sparkling Wine. The onus has now moved to planting the main sparkling wine grape varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier rather than Germanic varieties. In 2012 Cottonworth planted a further 10 acres of vineyards with these three grape varieties. Two thirds of this was Pinot Noir which adds fruit and body to the final cuvee, as well as colour to the Sparkling Rosé. The vines are planted on half way up a south facing slope (at around 40 to 70 metres above sea level) which means they avoid the cold air that accumulates at the bottom. The vines at Meonhill Wines on Old Winchester Hill near Droxford are planted in a similar manner which was described to me as “air-drainage”, which means the cold air rolls down the slopes and sits below the level of the vineyard thus helping to prevent frost in the vineyards.

The vineyards at Cottonworth are planted on soils 40cm deep over pure chalk and are of poor quality, which means the vines work hard to send their roots far down in the chalk. This allows for a certain expression of purity and minerality in the final wine.The soils are also well-draining but retain enough water to keep the vines healthy. There are three different types of soil in the vineyards – very chalky, chalky and not chalky. These are best suited to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier respectively.

As wine production at Cottonworth increased, they soon outgrew their own, tiny wine-making facilities (in the old dairy) and therefore joined forces with another Hampshire Sparkling Wine producer, Hattingley Valley Wines. Hattingley Valley Wines is located at Lower Wield near Arlesford, some 20 miles away, and have a modern, state-of-the-art winery and, more importantly, excess capacity. Cottonworth Wines are now made at at Hattingley Valley winery. The wines are made using the Methode Traditionelle i.e. the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle to introduce the fizz in exactly the same way as Champagne, and most quality sparkling wine, is produced. Grapes are gently basket-pressed and the wine is fermented in a combination of temperature controlled stainless steel and oak barriques. After fermentation the wine is blended and bottle for the second fermentation in the bottle. It is at this stage that the red Pinot Noir component is added for the Sparkling Rosé. The wine is aged for several years on the lees prior to disgorgement.

Cottonworth makes two sparkling wines, a Classic Cuvée and a Rosé. I had always tried their wines at the annual Vineyards of Hampshire Wine Tasting and they were always very impressive. It is great to be able to stock these fantastic wines and I was very pleased to see that they have a very smart new presentation for 2016 too.


Cottonworth Classic Cuvée is a classic sparkling wine blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It has a pale golden colour and is a floral, aromatic wine with hints of brioche, bready notes and some citrus / lemon notes on the the nose. It has a good mousse and is fresh and clean on the palate with good, chalky minerality. It has a clean, dry and persistent finish. Dosage 7g/L.

Cottonworth Sparkling Rosé is also a blend of Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier but with a higher proportion of Pinot Noir than the Classic Cuvée. It is a very pale pink colour and a very fine bead. The nose has aromas of red summer fruits (strawberry, cherry) and hint of apple. There are more red fruit flavours on the palate with good minerality and acidity. An excellent clean and fresh Rosé with a refreshing finish. Dosage 8g/L.

Visit the Cottonworth Wines website.

Edit 02/06/16 – Good to see that Cottonworth Classic Cuvee came second in the Judgement of Hampshire. Hambledon Classis Cuvee came first beating four very famous Champagnes in the process!

Pussers and Botran Rum Masterclass

Wednesday 18th May 2016

7.30pm at Lysses House Hotel

A tutored Rum Masterclass and Rum tasting with Pusser’s Rum Brand Advocate George Phillips and Ian Robinson of Cellar Trends Ltd.

Cellar Trends are the UK agents for Pusser’s Rum and Botran Rum in the UK and we were very luck to have the opportunity to hold a Rum Masterclass and Tasting which included a tasting of all 4 Pussers and all 3 Botran Rums available in the UK.

Pussers Botran Tasting Sheet

Pussers and Botran Rum Tasting (8)
Pussers Rum Brand Advocate George Phillips

Pussers Rum

George Phillips, as Pusser’s Brand Advocate, was in charge of the first part of the evening and proved to be very entertaining, interactive and be good at throwing chocolates around (if one answered a questions correctly!). I did not make copious notes as I have already written about Pussers Rums and there is more information about the various rums at these links – Pussers Rum Spiced, Pussers Gunpowder Proof 54.5% and Pussers Rum Blue Label 40% – but I did make some notes of interest.

Pussers and Botran Rum Tasting (7)

  1. We learned about the “Duppy Share”. As spirits are quietly ageing away in barrel quite a lot is lost to evaporation. Pussers Rum is aged in the British Virgin Islands in the tropics. As one can imagine, the rate of evaporation of rum ageing barrel in the hot, tropics is much higher than an equivalent barrel of Scotch Whisky aged in the Scottish Highland. The amount of spirit lost to evaporation is known as as “The Angel’s Share” in Scotland and elsewhere. In the Carribean it is known as “The Duppy Share”. Duppy is a Jamaican Patois word for the ghosts or spirits that are said to live near the base of cotton trees and have a taste for rum. They are said to visit rum barrels and steal the best part of the rum.
  2. The rate of spirit lost to evaporation is around 2% per year in Scotland and Cognac, in the Carribean is around 10%. Thus, when all the evaporation is taken into account, one single bottle of Pusser’s superb 15 year old rum is produced from the equivalent of 8 bottles of the Pussers Blue Label.
  3. Pussers 15 Year Old is a small batch straight 15 Year Old Rum i.e. it is made unblended from only 15 year old rum, nothing older and nothing younger.
  4. Pusser Rum Spiced, bottled at 35% abv. is not technically allowed to be called a Rum in the UK. In the UK a rum has to be 37.5% or over. This will soon be rectified and Pusser will be bottling their Spiced Rum at a higher abv. for the UK market. It still remains one of my favourite Spice Rums. It is made in a very natural way and is not as sweet as many of the dark and treacle-y spiced rums available. It is made by macerating natural spices etc. (including, and this is a guess, cloves, cinammon, nutmeg, vanilla and ginger) in a young Barbados rum for up to 14 days prior to filtering and bottling.
  5. Pussers Rum Overproof Green Label bottled at 75% abv and which is currently only available in Germany may get a limited release in the UK in due course.

Pussers and Botran Rum Tasting (4)

Botran Rum

After a quick break, Ian Robinson took over for the second part of the evening to tell us all about Botran Rum from Guatemala. Unlike Pussers Rum, which is made from molasses, Botran Rum is made from virgin sugar cane spirit. This combined with a complicated barrel ageing process, which Ian did a valiant job of explaining, produces a very different style of rum.

  1. Guatemalan Rum has its own Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) which is both a designation of quality and geographical limitation. It means than certain processes, fermentation, distillation, ageing in the solera system etc. have to be adhered to.
  2. Unlike more tropical Caribbean rums, Botran Rums are aged in a cooler, high altitude mountainous region. This means that the rate of evaporation is slower and allows the rum to mellow of a number of years. This gives the rums a different taste profile. This would not be properly feasible (or economic) in hotter rum producing countries.
  3. The Solera ageing system, initially developed in Jerez for Sherry production, is a complex system of fractional ageing. To simplify, if one imagines 3 layers of barrels with the oldest rum in the bottom and the newest rum at the top. The oldest rum is drawn off at the bottom and is continually replaced with new rum from the barrels above, which is in turn topped up from the top layer above that . The top layer of barrels is topped up with youngest rums. This is a very simplified idea of the Botran Solera process. There are different off-shoots of the solera and re-blending of the rum along the way.
  4. Because Rum is continually mixed in the solera, Botran cannot put the age of the rum on their labels. The labels state that the rums are Solera 12 or Solera 18. This is a rough average of the age of the rums in these bottlings. There will be rums older and younger than 12 or 18 year old in the Solera 12 or Solera 18 respectively.
  5. The oak barrels used for ageing Botran Rum in this solera system is a mix of four different types of barrel – fresh and charred ex-Bourbon Whiskey Cask, ex-Sherry casks and ex-Port casks – I think I am right in saying they are the only Rum producer who use four different cask types.
  6. Botran Reserva Blanca is a three year old rum that has the colour filtered out of it using charcoal filters. As it is aged for 3 years in American white oak barrels it has a lot more character, as well as being mellower and smoother than cheap white rums. I think this was the biggest surprise for people who attended the tasting.
  7. Ron Zacapa is also made at the Botran distillery!

Once again, a big thank you to George Phillips and Ian Robinson for a thoroughly enjoyable and informative evening. Roll on the next one.

Williams Chase Rose 2015

We have just taken delivery of the new vintage of Williams Chase Rosé, the 2015. I think this is the third vintage for this rosé wine in the strikingly square-shouldered bottle closed with the glass Vinolok closure. I really like the Vinolok closure I am not sure why more producers don’t use it for their white and rosé wines that should be drunk young. It was trendy in the 1990s, particularly in Austrian Gruner Veltliner wines, but I don’t know of any other producers, other than Chase, using Vinolok at the moment. There must be some!

Each vintage of Williams Chases Rosé has been a bit different from the previous, and the 2015 is no exception, this is in part due to a change in the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d’Origine) Appellation rules for Luberon Appellation d’origine controlee (AOC) and Appellation d’origine protégée (AOP). In March 2014 the INAO rules were updated to allow Luberon Rosé to be made with up to 20% wine from white grapes, something that their neighbours in Cotes de Provence are allowed to do to. Therefore Luberon Rosé can be made from the red grape varieties Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan with up to 20% comprised of white grape varieties Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Bourboulenc, Marsanne and Roussanne.

Williams Chase Rose 2015

Williams Chase Rose 2015

Williams Chase Rose 2015 is made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and, now, Vermentino. The wine is made at the family’s property Chateau Constantin just north of Aix-en-Provence. It is aged on its lees with regularly lees stirring which lends a certain creaminess and complexity to the wine. The addition of vermentino certainly lightens the wine, in fact this is one of the palest rosé wines I have come across. There is a picture of a bottle of the 2014 vintage next to the 2015 vintage for comparison below (2014 on left, 2015 on the right). For me the the vermentino brings lots more peach and apricot character to the wine which wasn’t in the previous vintages. I do wonder about the colour being a little light. A lot of consumers perceive the palest rosé wines as being the most austere and dry, which is not the case here.

Tasting Notes

Williams Chase Rose 2015 is a very pale, delicate clam shell pink with just a hints of orange colour. The nose aromatic with white peach and apricot being the most dominant aromas. However, delve a little deeper and there are ripe red berry fruit (strawberry), floral and blossom notes. There are also hints of herbaceousness and a touch of wet stone minerality. The palate is clean and pure with a good viscous mouthfeel. There are flavours of more ripe, red berry fruits, floral character, red apples and a hint of grapefruit zest. As the wine warms up the palate became more expansive and with developing creamy flavours from the lees ageing. The finish is dry, but not bone dry, there is a touch of natural sweetness. Very good, clean and refreshing rosé. Don’t serve too cold! Perhaps take it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes or so before drinking, you will find the wine so much better for it. 29/04/16


Caermory Single Malt Scotch Whisky

As I am sure all whisky aficionados know, there is only one Scotch Whisky distillery located on Isle of Mull and that is Tobermory. The distillery was established in 1798 and is one of the oldest commercial whisky distilleries in the world. They make two different brands of whisky, Tobermory and a peated whisky called Ledaig. Why I am telling you this? Well, put simply, Caermory Whisky is a third part bottling of Tobermory, with a rather interesting origin.

Caermory Whisky is the only whisky made under a Business Expansion Scheme (BES), namely The Tobermory Malt Scotch Whisky BES – The Spirit of 1992 PLC. This BES, like many others offered at the time, offered investors full marginal tax relief on their investment provided the money was kept in the company for five years. Business Expansion Scheme expansions schemes were scrapped by the Chancellor the following year and replaced with the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) in 1994. At the time, this must have been a very good deal, a great chance to invest in a tax-free dram. Under this BES, The Spirit of 1992 Plc. produced some 150,000 litres of spirit, the company was eventually wound up and the investors made a handsome tax free profit. However some of the whisky was acquired by private individuals, with the aim of releasing it at a much later date, one of whom, Derek Hewson, created Caermory Whisky.

Caermory 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The goal of this small whisky company is to release a series of very limited, single cask bottlings of this rare Isle of Mull whisky and to showcase what the very best whisky from the Isle of Mull can be like. There are plans, amongst other things for a 25 year old bottling. The BES batch of whisky was distilled in 1992 and has been quietly maturing in ex-Bourbon American oak barrels since then. The current release, the Caermory 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is from cask #238. This bottling is bottled at a cask strength of 48.2% abv. It takes its name from the old Welsh for stronghold, fortress or citadel and the ending of Tobermory. No such place exists, but it sounds pretty good!

Available at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Caermory 21 Year Old Tasting Notes

Good, clear, light golden colour. The nose has good fruity and woody aromas. There are hints of lifted lemon / citrus, some floral (perhaps geranium) and minty notes. There is also a touch of green apple aroma. Alongside these fresher aromas there are also some creamy, vanilla notes with a hint of milk chocolate. There is also a note that reminds me of new rope or cereal (bran or malt). The palate is viscous with a good mouthfeel. It is fruity with baked fruit and slightly nutty flavours. It has a sweet attack and is very soft and smooth with spicy, clove flavours. The finish is clean and pure with a touch of sweetness, a final flourish of grassy notes and a good length. A drop of water reveals more fruity, baked fruit aromas, peach, orange and leathery notes. This is a very clean and pure, rich whisky with good mature character but with very elegant freshness. Very good value for money for a 21 year old from the Isle of Mull.

Read more about the Caermory Whisky story at their website.

Taylors 1966 Single Harvest Port

Taylors 1966 Very Old Single Harvest Port is the third release in a series of limited edition Tawny Ports released by Taylors when they are 50 years old.

Taylor’s Port is arguably one of the most famous Port Houses and they have one of the largest holdings of very old cask aged Ports in the Douro. A lot of these old Ports are single vintage Ports aged in seasoned oak casks, i.e single vintage Tawny Ports or Colheita. Taylor’s first started releasing some of these older Tawny Port at 50 years old in 2014 with the 1964 Vintage.

This year, 2016, Taylor’s have released the Taylors 1966 Very Old Single Harvest Port. This limited edition will make a superb 50th birthday or 50th anniversary present in 2016. The great thing about this Port is that for a 50 year old beverage that is still going to be okay to drink (most wines at this age have had it) it is very good value for money. Compare this with the price of a 50 year old whisky, you will be surprised.

Available at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Taylors 1966 Very Old Single Harvest Port

Taylors 1966 Very Old Single Harvest Port Limited Edition

This 50 year old Port is made from grapes harvested and vinified in 1966 and since then the Port has spent many years quietly aging away in oak casks in the Taylor’s cellars at Vilanova de Gaia. It is this prolonged period of oak ageing that gives this Port its characteristic amber / tawny colour, smooth palate, complex, mellow flavours, rich aromas of dried fruits, nutty character and caramel nuances. This Port was only bottled recently (most likely in late 2015 / early 2016) and not need decanting (it was filtered at bottling). It is absolutely ready to drink now. Each bottle is presented in a classic frosted Taylor’s Port bottle, in a high quality beech wood box and there are only a very limited number of bottles available worldwide.

Taylor’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, comments “A 50th birthday or anniversary is a landmark occasion. Taylor’s Single Harvest Ports offer a unique opportunity to celebrate with an extraordinary 50 year old wine in perfect condition.”

Tasting Notes from Taylor’s website,

“Medium golden mahogany, with a hint of olive green on the meniscus. The nose is complex with aromas of walnut, macadamia, brown sugar and a warm spicy background of molasses and caramel. The palate is smooth and honeyed, with rich spice, figs, mocha and confit apricot. The acidity is marked and the finish long with beautiful balance.”

96 Points – Wine Spectator
95 Points – Wine & Spirits
95 Points – Wine Enthusiast
94 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

1975 Vintage Armagnac

Are you looking for a 40th Birthday Present or 40th Anniversary present in 2015? 1975 Vintage Armagnac would make a superb present. At Fareham Wine Celler we supply vintage Armagnacs from many years dating back to the early 1900s. There are vintage Armagnacs from most years as, unlike wine or Port production, the quality of brandy is less vintage dependent. Obviously the vintage does have an effect on the starting product, a fairly basic white wine, but the ageing of the brandy in oak barrels, and the time the brandy is aged, arguably has more effect on the finished product.

Why not see if we have one from your birth year here?

At Fareham Wine Cellar we sell Armagnac from two producers who specialise in the production of single vintage Armagnac – Baron de Lustrac and Baron de Sigognac.

Edit 28/04/15 We also some some Janneau 1975 Vintage Armagnac at present.

Baron de Lustrac 1975 Vintage Armagnac

Baron de Lustrac 1975 Vintage Armagnac Label

Baron de Lustrac works with a number of small producers and growers and oversees production and ageing of their spirit – this allows them full control over their Armagnac. Only the finest eaux de vie from the best terroirs are used in the production of Lustrac’s vintage Armagnacs. Once distilled the colourless spirit is aged in 420 litre oak barrels. It is here, in barrel, that the Armagnac leaches vanillins and tannins from the toasted oak which lend the spirit colour and flavour. The depth of colour and complexity of flavour increase all the time the spirit is aged in cask, the colour can range from pale straw to rich amber. As Armagnac ages it becomes darker in colour and softer, smoother and more elegant on the palate whilst aromas and flavours of prunes, violets, fig, honey, butterscotch and rancio develop.

Their brandies are presented in an old-fashioned Armagnac bottle and wooden box, these rare vintage Armagnacs are available in strictly limited quantities. Each label is inscribed with the year of distillation, the name of the Domain of production, the bottle number and, where relevant, the grape variety. Baron de Lustrac 1975 Vintage Armagnac is presented in a wooden gift box with a hinged lid.

Buy Baron de Lustrac 1975 Vintage Armagnac.

Baron de Sigognac 1975 Vintage Armagnac

Baron de Sigognac 1975 Vintage ArmagnacThe Owners of Baron de Sigognac, The Guasch family, have been in Gascony since the 12th century. They have owned the Château at Bordeneuve since 1974 and are one of the region’s largest courtier and negociant operations. Today the father-and-son team of Jean-Claude and Thomas look after viticulture, vinification and distillation. The Domaine is almost unique in the region as all its production is distilled into Armagnac instead of wine. There is one short column still at the Domaine (almost 100 years old), which produces up to 50 to 60 casks of new spirit annually. The wine is distilled on its lees, and drawn off at 55 to 58%, depending on the harvest. Distillation is continuous through day and night and manually controlled to account for temperature and humidity changes. Once distilled the colourless spirit is aged in 420 litre oak barrels. It is here, in barrel, that the Armagnac leaches vanillins and tannins from the toasted oak which lend the spirit colour and flavour. The depth of colour and complexity of flavour increase all the time the spirit is aged in cask, the colour can range from pale straw to rich amber.

Baron de Sigognac 1975 Vintage Armagnac has a amber colour with mahogany highlights and a fine nose with aromas of cinnamon and raisins. Fine and elegant in the mouth, well balanced with aromas of dried fruit and a lightly spicy finish. Presented in a smart wooden box with a sliding lid.

Buy Baron de Sigognac 1975 Vintage Armagnac or see how the vintage Armagnac from your birth year compares here.

If you are looking to an alternative to Armagnac we also have Grahams 40 Year Old Tawny Port.

Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac Chart

Baron de Sigognac are one of the top suppliers of Armagnac and specialise in older Vintage Armagnacs. We supply a wide range of their Armagnacs dating back to the early 1900s.

Thierry Beaumont from Baron de Sigognac gave me permission to post this Armagnac Vintage Chart which they have created to show how the various vintages compare in terms of their various main characteristics. You can cross reference the 5 main tastes – spices, fruits, bakery, floral and green – with three different weights ranging from fine, light and easy to drink to classic, rich and well-balanced up to the more powerful and expressive vintages.

Follow the link below to open the PDF file and check what the main characteristics of the Vintage Armagnac from your birth year are.

Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac Chart

Armagnac is arguably France’s second most famous brandy, after Cognac, and tends to be richer, fuller-bodied and more powerful than the often more delicate, floral Cognacs. However, with age, Armagnacs become very soft, smooth and mellow indeed and often offer much better value for money than their rather more fashionable cousin.

Baron de Sigognac Armagnac Label

Baron de Sigognac has been owned by the Guasch family since 1974 and the family can trace their roots in Gascony all the way back to the 12th Century. They are now one of the region’s largest courtier and negociant operations and specialise in sourcing and bottling older vintage Armagnacs. The Domaine is unusual in the Armagnac region as all of its own production is used to distil Armagnac – they do not produce any wines at all. The distilling is done using a 100 year old short column still which produces around 50 to 60 casks of new Armagnac per year. The spirit is then left to quietly age in their cellars until the father-and-son team of Jean-Claude and Thomas either decide to bottle the Armagnac as single vintage Armagnac or use it one one of their fantastic blends – they do 10, 20, 25, and 50 year old blends, as well as a fantastic Platinum XO. Read more at the Baron de Sigognac website.

See all of our vintage Armagnacs, including those from Baron de Lustrac, here.