Chateau Mukhrani Wines

Wines from Georgia – Chateau Mukhrani

Chateau Mukhrani is located in the village of Mukhrani some 35 km from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. This historic wine estate is situated inbetween the Caucasus and Trialeti mountain ranges in the basin of the Ksani and Araqvi Rivers. Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of Europe and lays claim to being the birthplace of wine from which it derives its nickname “the cradle of wine”. The very fertile valleys of the South Caucasus are believed, by some archaeologists, to be the source of the first cultivated vines for wine production over 8000 years ago.


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Chateau Mukhrani (Mukhrani means “decorated with oak trees”) dates back to 1512  when it was governed by the Bagrationi royal family. The cultivation of vines at the estate, for the production of wine, dates from 1876 when a representative of the royal family, Ivan Mukhranbatoni, returned from a visit to France with knowledge and concepts of how to produce wine. Wine-making continued at the estate until the Soviet Era when the estate was abandoned and fell into disrepair. The estate remained abandoned until 2003 when an international drinks group, Marussia Beverages, formed the Chateau Mukhrani Company, with Georgian partners, and set to restoring the estate to its former glory. Through a combination of modern wine-making and traditional methods, along with an ultramodern new winery (built in 2007) and a new barrel hall, Chateau Mukhrani is well on the road developing an international reputation. Chief Winemaker is Lado Uzunashvili who joined the company in 2007.

Grapes grown at Chateau Mukhrani are mostly indigenous Georgian grape varieties but there are some international grape varieties too. These include,

Red Grape Varieties – Saperavi, Tavkveri (for Rosé), Alexandrouli and Mujuretuli for the semi sweet Khvanchkara and Cabernet Sauvignon

White Grape Varieties - Goruli Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat for dessert wine. Goruli Mtsvane is, in fact, different from “normal” Mtsvane which is actually called Mtsvane Kakhuri. Mtsvane Kakhuri comes from the Kakheti region whilst the genetically distinct Mtsvane Goruli comes from the Kartli region in Southern Georgia.

Interesting fun fact – Rkatsiteli is so widely planted in Eastern and Central Europe that it ranks third in the world for hectares grown!

All grapes are sourced from Chateau Mukhrani’s own vineyards which are adjacent to winery – they pride themselves on the grapes taking only 15 minutes from being harvested in the vineyard to arriving at the winery. The vineyards comprise some 100 hectares over 23 parcels of vines. The fertile soils of this river basin are made up of layers of alluvial and diluvial loam and the region has fairly warm to hot summers with a long growing season.

Chateau Mukhrani Goruli Mtsvane 2011 (White)

Unfortunately the sample we had was corked. Mtsvane is the second most important white grape variety in Georgia after Rkatsiteli. Mtsvane means “green”. Goruli Mtsvane is a particular type of Mtsvane.

Chateau Mukhrani Rkatsiteli Georgian Dry White WineChateau Mukhrani Rkatsiteli 2010 (White)

This wine has a good light golden colour with slight green tinges. The nose is very deep and fruity with lots of ripe, plummy notes and some spicy, almost citrus / bergamot notes. The wine has a viscous feel in the mouth, the palate is quite full but a little flabby in the middle before coming to a dry finish with some good acidity. A very round white wine with a slight almond / marzipan aftertaste.

 

 

Chateau Mukhrani Tavkveri 2011 (Rosé)

Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi Georgian Dry Red WineGood deep, strawberry coloured rosé. Plenty of red fruit and strawberries on the nose. The palate is mid-weight with more strawberry and red cherry flavours. Dry with some minerality and a good, clean finish. Perhaps a little one dimensional.

 

Chateau Mukhrani Saperavi 2010 (Red)

Good, clear, dark ruby in colour. The wine has spicy, floral and red fruit notes (mulberry, cherry) in the nose, perhaps some blackcurrant Chewits (see Alan Partridge) with blackberries and black cherries. The palate is round and dry without being drying. There are plenty of red fruit notes and a hint of oak from oak ageing (20% of the wine goes into a mix of French , American and Caucasian oak barrels). Quite rich and spicy finish and decent length.

 Fareham Wine Cellar’s Georgian Wine Range

Palliser Estate

Martinborough Wine

Palliser Estate is one of the New Zealand wines estates that was at the forefront of the New Zealand wine invasion into the UK in the 1990s. The estate is located in the wine-growing region of Martinborough in the South Wairarapa, the southernmost wine growing region of the North Island. Martinborough Sauvignon Blanc is not as famous as Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc but there are a number of fine wines from this region that are arguably better (and better value) than many of those in Marlborough. Martinborough, however, is probably most famous as a producer of Pinot Noir made famous by producers such as Ata Rangi, Craggy Range, Big Sky Wines, Murdoch James and Palliser Estate. Wineries here (only 2% of total NZ wine production) are typically small, family owned estates that focus on quality rather than quantity.

The geology of Martinborough owes its character to the Ruamahanga River which has carved out cliffs and escarpments over 20,000 years to produce mineral-laden, stony sub-soils whilst distributing silty river loam across the landscape. Martinborough is a cool climate wine-growing region with long, hot, dry summers, warm autumns, cool nights and crisp, frosty winters. This heats and cools the stony subsoil and helps to create free-draining gravels in an area that that has low rainfall anyway. The region also has cooling winds and low humidity which helps to keep levels of disease low. This combination of geology and climate means that vines tend to be low-yielding and the long ripening season, warm days and cool nights help to bring out the complexity and aromatics in the wines. Read more about Martinborough at the Wines from Martinborough Website.

Palliser Estate

Palliser Estate is actually located in the small village of Martinborough and is named after the local geographical landmark of Cape Palliser which was, in turn, named after a British Naval Officer by Captain James Cook. The first grapes were planted at Palliser Estate in 1984 with the first commercial wines were released in 1989 and first exports in 1991.

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Buy Palliser Estate and Pencarrow wines at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Today, the estate comprises some 92 hectares (around 228 acres) of vineyards planted with mainly Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc along with some Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The Palliser Estate range of wines consists of single varietal bottlings of the grape varieties mentioned above as well as a Palliser Estate Methode Traditionelle (a sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blend). All of the individual vineyards – Palliser, Pencarrow, Om Santi, Pinnacles and Clouston – are situated on the most desirable part of Martinborough, the Martinborough Terrace is a strip of land which is about 1km by 5km, In 1991 it was named “The Martinborough Terrace Appellation” to distinguish it from other local areas in the region. Palliser Estate own 90% of their own vineyards and invest heavily in viticulture and spends almost twice as much as other producer ensuring that grapes are given full exposure to the sun and can ripen perfectly. Palliser Estate have been rewarded with many domestic and international wine awards and much their success can be attributed to Chief Winemaker and Viticulturist Allan Johnson. Johnson joined the company in 1991 and his dual role allows him great control all aspects of wine production at the estate. He was named as New Zealand Winemaker of the year in 2002. There is also a second label called Pencarrow which is a range of wines made with some bought in fruit. The Pencarrow Sauvignon Blanc well worth seeking out as an alternative to Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc.

Sustainability at Palliser Estate

Palliser Estate is very serious about sustainable wine-making and, in 1998, was the first winery in the world to be awarded ISO 14001-2004 Certification, which is effectively means they adhere to a substainable environmental management system. Over a number of years the estate has lowered carbon emissions, water and electricity usage by a significant amounts. Diesel consumption is minimised by the use of sheep as natural mowers and leaf pluckers, the winery’s waste water is re-used for irrigation, all wines are packaged in reusable packaging and use of sprays is kept to an absolute minimum. Palliser is also the first CEMARS (Certified Emissions Measurement And Reduction Scheme) certified winery on the world, awarded this status in 2009 for measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Visit the Palliser Estate Website for more information.

Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc Wine Boxes

Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port

Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port – Limited Edition

Taylors Port have one of the largest holdings of very old cask aged Ports in the Douro, a supply that was no doubt increased substantially when their parent company, the Fladgate Partnership, acquired Wiese and Krohn Port in 2013. These old Ports are single vintage Ports aged in seasoned oak casks, i.e they are Tawny Ports. Taylors Port have just started releasing some of these old Ports and plan to release a limited quantity of 50 year old Port each year – the first of these is the Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port, which will obviously make a very nice 50th birthday or anniversary present in 2014. They plan to release a 1965 in 2015. Frankly I am surprised more Port houses haven’t caught on to this before.Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Vintage Port Bottle and Box

Taylors 1964 therefore is made from grapes harvested in 1964 and has spent many years quietly aging away in oak cask in Taylors cellars. As this will only have been bottled recently (most likely in 2014, I won’t know until I get my hands on a bottle) the wine will not need decanting and is ready to drink now (it will have been filtered at bottling). The bottle is presented in the classic frosted Taylors Port bottle, in a high quality beech wood box and there are only 2000 bottles available worldwide.

Buy Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port at Fareham Wine Cellar

Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port Tasting Notes
(From Taylors website)

Pale mahogany in colour, with olive amber highlights, this complex, spicy and nutty 50 year old wood aged Port has a warm mellow background of butterscotch and molasses on the nose, with a smooth velvety palate. Despite its great age, it has crisp acidity which gives it attractive freshness. It has an immensely long finish with rich, spicy, black pepper  flavours which linger on the palate.

Looking for something else from 1964? Why not try and 1964 Vintage Armagnac?

 

 

Gin Mare

Gin Mare, the Mediterranean Gin

Gin Mare is a made in a 19th century chapel in the small Spanish fishing town of Vilanova i la Geltrú on the Costa Dorada (“the gold coast” in English) which is an area located on the coast of Catalonia next to the Mediterranean Sea. Gin Mare is marketed as “the Mediterranean Gin”. When you read the list of botanicals, it is easy to see why, they sound more like a the ingredients for the recipe from a dish one might have had on one’s summer hols! Gin Mare was developed and created by the Giro Ribot family, who have been making cordials and selling wine since 1835, and Global Premium Brands (also owners of G’Vine Gin, U’Luvka Vodka and 1724 Tonic Water) in 2007. It was launched for sale in 2008 but is still relatively unknown in the UK.

What are the Botanicals in Gin Mare?Gin Mare Label

The Mediterranean botanicals include,

Arbequina Olives – Catalonia, Spain
Thyme – Turkey
Rosemary – Greece
Basil – Italy
Cardamom – Sri Lanka
Coriander Seed – Morocco
Juniper Berries (of course) – Spain

There are also some more traditional botanicals in Gin Mare such as bitter orange peel, seville orange peel and lemon peel. The really unusual ones are the Arbequina Olives, Thyme, Rosemary and Basil. The botanicals are sourced from the around the Meditteranean and all of the botanicals apart from the citrus peels are macerated for around 36 hours in neutral grain alcohol prior to distillation in a specially designed copper pot still. All of the botanicals are macerated and distilled separately and then finally blended together afterwards to create Gin Mare. The citrus peels are macerated for even longer, for three hundred days in special clay jars.

Gin Mare Tasting Notes

Nose: The nose is deep and herbaceous with aromas of rosemary, black olives and subtle, tangy, salty marine notes.

Palate: The palate is pretty full flavoured but is well-balanced and has initial flavours of juniper, and coriander leading to the more herbaceous rosemary, basil and thyme notes before a spicy, peppery note comes in at the end. There are also olive flavours present throughout.

It is a completely different style of gin and whilst the botanicals are quite powerful, the juniper flavours are not dominated (and juniper is what gin is all about, after all).

Buy Gin Mare at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Serving Gin Mare

I love this more savoury style of Gin, the coriander notes remind me of Cold River Gin, which prefer to more floral styles – this is, of course, just my personal taste. So how should you serve this Gin? Personally I would keep the Gin Mare in the freezer and serve it ice cold in a Martini glass garnished with a couple of black olives.. If you are into Gin and Tonic then serve over ice with Fever Tree tonic and garnish with a stick of rosemary, or some basil leaves, but it is recommended to leave out the lemon or lime and they overpower the character of the gin. This is a gin that is really pushing the boundaries of what some might consider the “classic” gin botanicals which means that it lends itself to all sorts of unexpected cocktails, and there are plenty of cocktails recipes at the Gin Mare Website.

Vintage Wine and Spirit Gifts for 2014

30th, 40th, 50th or 60th Birthday or Anniversary in 2014?

Vintages Wine and Spirit Ideas for 2014

Why not try a bottle of Vintage Armagnac from a Birth Year or Anniversary? Or an old Port or Madeira? Please follow the links below for more information on the various vintages we have.

1984 – 30 Years Old – Pearl Wedding Anniversay

 

1984 Baron de Lustrac Vintage Armagnac

Grahams 30 Year Old Tawny Port

Grahams 30 Year Old Tawny Port

Blandys 1984 Verdelho Vintage Madeira (Bottled in 2011)

A characteristic and complex Madeira bouquet, with notes of toffee, wood, vanilla, spices and dried fruits. Full bodied, smooth and medium sweet. Long and warm aftertaste with dried fruits.

Grahams 30 Year Old Tawny Port

Grahams 30 Years Old Tawny Port is a light, orange-tinted amber colour with magnificent perfumed nose with great class showing an array of dried fruits. Outstanding mature concentrated palate with full honeyed fruit, gorgeously mellowed. Simply delicious with an aftertaste that lasts and lasts. An excellent alternative to Vintage Port at less formal occasions. Will keep for some weeks after opening.

 

1974 – 40 Years Old – Ruby Wedding AnniversaryBaron de Lustrac 1974 Vintage Armagnac Label

1974 Baron de Lustrac Vintage Armagnac

1974 Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac

Amber colour with orange highlights and a Fresh and powerful nose. Aromas of white peaches and William pears. Full and fresh in the mouth with aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. Fruity with a long finish of roasted almonds.

Grahams 40 Year Old Tawny Port

“The judges simply raved about this incredible, subtle, long, intense and opulent wine. Almost amber-gold in colour, it shows a mature complexity of fruitcake, toffees and cream, and a balanced concentration.” Gold Medal, WINE Magazine, October 2000.

Read More

 

1964 – 50 Years Old- Golden Wedding AnniversaryBaron de Lustrac 1964 Vintage Armagnac and Box

1964 Baron de Lustrac Vintage Armagnac

1964 Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac

Baron de Sigognac 50 Year Old in Decanter Wooden Case

After half a century in oak the nose is one of creamy richness, power and harmony with wood, raisins and vanilla and hints of cedar. Fat, yet somehow elegant in the mouth, and exhibiting flavours of fruitcake and mocha, it has a very long and well-developed finish, maintaining a balance between the undertones of oaky structure and fruit.

Read more

Are you looking for a 1964 Port? We also currently stock the Limited Edition Taylors 1964 Very Old Single Harvest Port.

 

1954 – 60 Years Old – Diamond Wedding Anniversary

1954 Baron de Lustrac Vintage Armagnac

Baron de Lustrac 1954 Vintage Armagnac is 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.

 

1954 Cossart Gordon Sercial Vintage Madeira (Bottled in 1994)

What is the White Paint on a Port Bottle?

At Fareham Wine Cellar we sell quite a bit of Port from Ruby all the way up to Vintage, old Colheitas and Tawnies. One of the things I am often asked about is as to why is there a blob of white paint on the Port bottle. Indeed, some customers have refused to buy a bottle with white paint on it. So what is it there for?

White Paint On Port BottlesWhite Paint on Port Bottles

Quite simply the white paint on the Port bottle is a dash of white paint or chalk so that one can tell which way “up” the bottle is when it is laying down in the in the Port House’s cellar. Port bottles are only labelled when they sold by the producer and the white mark or “splash mark” tells the cellar master which way up the bottle has been cellared. Vintage Port did not legally have to be labelled for sale until it became law with the 1977 Port vintage, so there was often no label to see which way up the bottle was (the vintage and name of the Port would be on the capsule and the cork). Therefore, if the bottle is left one one side the sediment will all collect on one side. Sometimes it is a neat blob of white paint, other times it is a real splash – and it seems to vary from Port house to Port House and, no doubt, depends who was working in the cellar on particular day.

Wine Cradle Patent Drawing

Wine Cradle Patent Drawing

This is, or should I say was, useful information when decanting a bottle of Port. If the bottle is handle carefully with the white paint mark uppermost, there is less chance of the sediment being disturbed. I say “was useful information ” because I think that the splash mark on a bottle of vintage Port is a bit of a throw back to the old days, perhaps when a bottle of Port would be taken straight from a cellar, decanted and served straight a way (perhaps using a Port cradle). Today, for most people who drink vintage Port, it is somewhat of an occasion which allows the person serving the Port to leave the bottle upright for four or five days (as I recommend) before they serve it which allows all the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle and means the Port can be much more successfully decanted. When a consumer has a bottle of Port now, it will invariably have a label on the bottle, so there is no reason for the splash mark anymore, however some Ports still come with the white mark on it. Some producers, like Niepoort, stone fire their bottles.

Read more about Decanting Port.

Titchfield Vineyard

Titchfield Vineyard Wines

As well as the fantastic Sparkling wines from Meonhill near Droxford and Hambledon Vineyard (from Hambledon, naturally) we also stock some other local Hampshire wines from Titchfield Vineyard.

Titchfield Vineyard is a small English vineyard located near the village of Titchfield situated near the Solent between Portsmouth and Southampton. It has been owned by Colin and Nicky Baker for a number of years and they produce a range of wines including red, white, sparkling and, when conditions allow, a dessert wine. Their first wines were released in 1996. We currently stock their Pinot Noir and their Bacchus.

Titchfield Vineyard Location

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The first vines were planted in 1991 and are mainly Germanic grape white grape varieties including Bacchus, Reichensteiner and Faber and the red grape varieties Rondo, Dunkelfelder and Regent. There are have French varieties such as Chardonnay, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.. The grape varieties were chosen for there early ripening and ability to withstand the glorious English climate. However, with climate change and warming temperatures these grape varieties are a little old-fashioned – most English vineyards now plant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the classic sparkling wine varieties. One has to remember that when the Titchfield Vineyard was planted Colin really was one of earliest vineyards in the area and that the English wine industry was a very different place to what it is today. Titchfield Vineyard Pinot Noir always sells out and, to keep up with demand, more plantings of Pinot Noir were made in 2011.

Titchfield Vineyard has a very special location quite close to the Solent and the maritime climate has quite an influence on the local conditions. The south of England location and warming maritime climate mean that Titchfield Vineyard has good growing conditions for allowing their grapes to ripen fully, indeed, at least once they have had the ripest (highest sugar levels) Pinot Noir grapes in the UK. This microclimate means they can produce round, fruity and balanced wines. Titchfield Vineyard’s wines have won numerous awards in competition, most recently the 2009 Pinot Noir won the Bernard Theobald Trophy for Best Red Wine in the UK from the UK Vineyard Associations.

 

 

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Pernod Absinthe

Pernod Absinthe Recette Traditionnelle

Pernod Absinthe was relaunched a  few years ago, complying with the legislation of the time, as Pernod aux Extraits de Plantes d’Absinthe. It was said to be “inspired” by the original Pernod Absinthe recipe – this lead to some discussion, certainly amongst my customers, as to how authentic it was and as to whether it was a “proper” Absinthe. The Pernod aux Extraits de Plantes d’Absinthe was based upon a nineteenth century Swiss recipe.

In October 2013 Pernod announced a return to their original recipe with the release of the Pernod Absinthe Recette Traditionnelle (traditional recipe). This meant that there was a move away from the grain based spirits used previously and a return to a grape brandy (un-aged brandy or eau de vie) from the Languedoc region in the South of France. The wormwood, one of the key ingredients, is sourced from Pontarlier, a commune in the Franche-Comté region near the Swiss border in eastern France. It was at Pontarliet that a young Henri-Louis Pernod founded the first commercial Absinthe distiller in 1805. The colour is now completely natural, previously a green dye was added, and any green colouring derives from the natural herbs used the chlorophyll they contain. The use of traditional methods, grape spirit, careful maceration of a secret recipe of aromatic herbs and plants brings a subtlety and complexity to the final product that many other Absinthes simply don’t have. The release of the new recipe was concurrent with the renovation and opening of Pernod’s new distillery in the historic Maison Pernod at Thuir, near Perpignan in the South of France.

Pernod AbsintheBuy Pernod Absinthe at Fareham Wine Cellar

There is still the romantic, traditional image of Absinthe and its supposed Absinthe Spoonpsychedelic effect produced by thujone, a chemical in wormwood, which was so beloved by Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec et al. Most people will vaguely know about the traditional the method of serving.  In the French method, a special, metal Absinthe spoon would be placed over the top of a glass of Absinthe and a sugar cube placed on it. Water would then be poured into the glass over the sugar cube and the water would slowly dissolve the sugar cube into the drink. The ratio of water to Absinthe should be around 3 to 5 parts to 1. The Bohemian method (now the Czech Republic) involves putting a sugar cube soaked in Absinthe on the Absinthe spoon setting fire to it, allowing it to caramelise a little, and then dropping it into the glass igniting the Absinthe. This would then be put out by the addition of water.

On the addition of water, Pernod Absinthe, like Anise based drinks such as Pastis, Ouzo or Raki, goes cloudy on the addition. This milky, cloudy opalescence is known as the louche. You read more about at my blog post about Ouzo Pelagos. However, today Absinthe is more and more used as a cocktail ingredient. One can find plenty of cocktail recipes such as Death in the Afternoon and The Green Beast at the Pernod Absinthe website.

From the Pernod Absinthe website, for all the Hemingway fans, developed by the man himself,

Death in the Afternoon

30ml Pernod Absinthe
150ml Champagne
1 Lemon Peel

Pour the ingredients and chilled Champagne into a chilled Champagne glass and garnish with the lemon peel.

We also stock Absinthe Francois Guy from Distillerie Guy made from a recipe from 1914.

 

6 Litre Belvedere Vodka Bottle

6 Litre Belvedere Vodka

Do you know anyone who likes vodka? I mean, do you know anyone who really likes vodka? Well perhaps the 6 Litre Belvedere Vodka Bottle is what you need! A Methuselah of vodka.

6 Litre Belvedere Vodka next to a Standard Bottle

6 Litre Belvedere Vodka BottleI have no idea who drinks 6 litres of vodka. It is the sort of thing you only really read about when pop stars, footballers and city boys hit the newspaper headlines for spending obscene amounts of money in nightclubs. Having said that the 6 litre Belvedere Vodka Bottle is extremely impressive. It is over eight and a half standard bottles of Belvedere vodka and comes in a behemoth of a bottle that is 67cm tall. The bottle also has a little trick up its sleeve – courtesy of a small battery pack and a couple of LEDs in the punt of the bottle, the whole bottle lights up.

6 Litre Belvedere Vodka Bottle with light 2Ignoring the fact that this is a really big bottle of vodka, Belvedere Vodka is actually one of my favourite European vodkas. This premium Polish vodka is made from Dan´kowskie Gold Rye and is quadruple distilled to attain purity whilst not stripping away flavours and aromas were it to be distilled five times.

Tasting Notes: Belvedere Pure Vodka has a a faint hint of vanilla on the nose along with some gentle, soft cream characteristics. The palate is full and round with a medium bodied weight and rich, velvety texture. There is some vanilla swaying between sweet and savoury with a hint of white pepper and spice. Good length with notes of almond, clotted cream and some faint almond and brazil nut characteristics.

The 6 Litre Belvedere Vodka is available at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Please email for availability of the 6 Litre Belvedere Vodka. Belvedere also do a really good Bloody Mary Vodka which is well worth checking out – serve it from the freezer with smoked salmon.

Wine Ideas for Valentines Day

10 Wine (and Spirits) Ideas for Valentines Day

Wine and romance seem to go hand in hand and Valentines Day is a great opportunity to open a great bottle of wine or give one as a gift. So whether you are looking for a Valentine’s Dinner wine or something to give as a gift, here are a few ideas – Rosé, Hampshire Sparkling wine, Beaujolais and Rosé Champagne, amongst others, plus a couple of tongue in cheek alternative from Some Young Punks. There is also a very large bottle of vodka!

Along with, particularly, pink wine Valentines Day seems to be a time for giving chocolates. With this is mind, there is a good article from Erica Dent at Enjoy Discovering Wine about pairing wine and chocolate.

Please follow the links for more information.

 

1. Top Notch RoséDomaines Ott Clos Mireille Couer de Grain Rose, Cotes de Provence

Domaines Ott Clos Mireille Couer de Grain Rose, Cotes de Provence

@ £27.99 per bottle

Perhaps the best rosé in the world! It has a peachy colour with crystalline highlights. The nose is elegant with notes of white-fleshed fruits including peach. The palate is full and rich in structure. The palate is perfectly balanced between fresh, fruitiness and a more generous richness. There are more lingering notes of peach, and nectarine, on the clean, mineral and elegant finish.

 

2. Pink Champagne

A very traditional Valentines Day Gift

Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé Brut NV

Champagne Gosset is the oldest Champagne House and was founded in Ay in 1584. Superbe

“Complex aromas and flavors of yeast, apple and dried flowers mark this effusive, fresh rosé. Nice weight and balance, with everything in the right proportion.” 90 Points, Wine Spectator

Champagne Forget Brimont 1er Cru Rose NV

Champagne Forget-Brimont 1er Cru Rosé

Fine Champagne from a small, independent and family-owned Champagne House. Read more about Champagne Forget Brimont.

“This is deep and sappy, showing more dried fruit than fresh. Cherry, strawberry, orange and almond combined with the creamy texture and fine mousse for an harmonious impression. Excellent length.” 91 Points, Wine Spectator

3. BLING, BLING!!

Champagne Armand de Brignac Brut Gold NV in wooden box “Ace of Spades”

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades ChampagneRated the Number 1 Champagne in the World in a blind-tasting of 1,000 brands, scored 98 points by Jose Penin (the highest-ever rating for a Champagne) and praised by Jancis Robinson, among many others.

Champagne Armand de Brignac Brut Gold “Ace of Spades” NV is complex and fullbodied, with light floral notes, a racy fruit character, and subtle brioche accents on the palate. Lovely density and depth tight bead, creamy texture, and long finish. A complex yet sharply focused brut.

 

4. Say It With Flowers! Flowers Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir

Flowers Vineyard Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast 2009

Flowers Vineyard Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir is a deep vibrant red color. It has delicate floral notes of rose petal and lilac which give way to rich aromas of raspberry compote. Flavours emerge on the palate with pomegranate, cranberry and hints of graphite and other minerals. The wine’s texture is elegant and smooth across the palate with an enduring finish. Ready to drink upon release or cellar through 2016.

 

5. Say It With A Label!

Torres Perpetual Priorat.

Torres Perpetual Priorat

Perpetual has two meanings. Take your pick as to which one is suitable for Valentine’s Day!!! Superb Spanish red wine.

Perpetual: adjective

1. never ending or changing.

Synonyms: everlasting, never-ending, eternal, permanent, unending, endless, without end, lasting, long-lasting, constant, abiding, enduring, perennial, timeless, ageless, deathless, undying, immortal

2. occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted

Synonyms: interminable, incessant, ceaseless, endless, without respite, relentless, unrelenting, persistent, frequent, continual, continuous, non-stop, never-ending, recurrent, repeated, unremitting, sustained, round-the-clock, habitual, chronic, unabating

 

6. Go Fizzy and GreenHambledon Vineyard Mill Down Brut 2010

Great Sparkling Wines from Hampshire. Declare your undying love whilst saving the planet. Meonhill Wines and Hambledon Vineyard make fine Hampshire Sparkling wine and they are just on our doorstep.

Hambledon Vineyard Mill Down Brut 2010

Hambledon Vineyard Mill Down Brut 2010 is a light, pale straw colour with some green hints and lots of small, fine bubbles. The nose aromas of floral aromas, red apples, some strawberry / red fruit notes and a chalky minerality or stone character. The palate is dominated by citrus / lemon flavours and is very fresh, clean and well-balance with fine mineral character and zingy, refreshing acidity. Good long finish. A superb aperitif and also makes a great match to lobster, oysters or strawberries and cream.

Meonhill Reserve Brut NVMeonhill Wine Brut NV Hampshire Sparkling Wine

Pale golden colour, with a fine bead and good mousse. The full and soft nose show aromas of apricot, red fruit (strawberries), white blossom along with slightly autolytic, nutty, yeasty and honeyed characteristics. On the palate there are quite green flavours including, lime and green apple and hints of caramel leading to a nutty, biscuit, brioche-like finish.

Meonhill Chardonnay Brut (Blanc de Blancs) NV

“So ‘blanc de blanc’, but Pierson wants to keep it English (though ‘blanc de blanc’ is mentioned on the back label). Three years on lees. Citrus creamy nose, with perky palate attack, toasted lemons, and good intensity of rich sweet-lees/brioche thing on the palate. Fine, persistent mousse. Fresh, and with some roundness/plushness on the citrus-led mid palate. Good.” Sally Easton MW www.winewisdom.co.uk

 

7. St Amour Les Cru des Amoureux Saint Amour Les Cru des Amoureux Beaujolais

St Amour Les Cru des Amoureux
Domaine de la Porte du Paradise, Boutinot

A Beaujolais for lovers! I suppose this could be (very) loosely translated as St Love Lover’s Cru!

The Saint Amour Les Cru des Amoureux has aromas of red fruits; cherries, as well as floral hints and light spice on the nose. The palate is delicate, with sweet fresh fruit, a wonderful minerality and a silky mouthfeel. A good lighter style wine that can be served lightly chilled.

 

8. Fair Trade Pink Fizz

Miguel Torres Chile Santa Digna Estelada Sparkling Rosé

Torres Chile Santa Digna Estelado RoséTraditional Method (Fair Trade) Torres Family Wines 2012

Get into the whole pink and sparkly Valentine’s vibe whilst

knowing that you are helping out farmers in Chile growing the rare grape variety Pais.

This is the world’s first sparkling wine made from the “País” grape, which has a personality all of its own. It has a pale rose colour, with fine and persistent bubbles. The nose has dominant aromas of fruit (red fruits and citrics) whilst the palate is fresh, lively, and shows genuine characteristics of the ancient Pais grape variety. Fresh, clean and elegant.

 

9. They Say That Size Doesn’t Matter, But…….Belvedere 6 Litre Bottle

In this case size matters!

Do you know anyone who loves vodka? A lot?

This 6 Litre bottle of Belvedere Vodka (that is over eight and a half standard bottles) also lights up from the bottom. The picture shows the 6 Litre bottle on the left next to a standard bottle.

Belvedere Pure Vodka has a a faint hint of vanilla on the nose along with some gentle, soft cream characteristics. The palate is full and round with a medium bodied weight and rich, velvety texture. There is some vanilla swaying between sweet and savoury with a hint of white pepper and spice. Good length with notes of almond, clotted cream and some faint almond and brazil nut characteristics.

Belvedere also make a very interesting Bloody Mary Vodka.

 

10. For The Brave Valentine

If you are willing to risk a slap round the face, this could be the wine for you this Valentines Day.

Some Young Punks Quickie Sauvignon Blanc LabelSome Young Punks Quickie Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills 2013

Ignoring the funky Some Young Punks label (which is hard to do!), this is a great Australian Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes they can be a bit flabby, but this is crisp, dry and really refeshing.

Some Young Punks Quickie Sauvignon Blanc has a very pale straw colour with a faint greenish tinge. The nose is floral (blossom), with a slightly green herbaceous note and a background confectionery note. The palate is full and rounded and is reminiscent of a tropical fruit salad, packed with definite passion fruit, lychee and mango flavours. The palate is dry and crisp but this is deceptive because there is a good burst of natural sweetness at the front of the palate as well. A great, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc with a good mineral backbone.