At Fareham Wine Cellar, we specialise in Vintage Armagnacs. We mainly supply Armagnacs from Baron de Lustrac and Baron de Sigognac but occasionally we have some from other producers. At the moment we have some of the very good Janneau 1975 Vintage Armagnac – obviously, this is a 40 year old Armagnac in 2015 fantastic 40th birthday present or 40th anniversary gift in 2015.
Janneau 1975 Vintage Armagnac is made from solely from grapes harvested, vinified and distilled in 1975. Armagnac is produced using the double distillation method at the Janneau distillery located in Condom, Gers in Gascony. Janneau is one of the most prestigious Armagnac houses and was founded by Pierre Etienne Janneau in 1851. Janneau Armagnac has been through some ownership changes since then – it was bought by Cognac Martell in the 1970s, which was eventually bought out by Seagram, before the Giovinetti family bought it in 1993 with the intention of returning the business to a family-run concern.
After distillation the Armagnac is put into 450 litre French Limousine oak barrels oak barrels and left in cellars to quietly age until it is ready to be bottled and released. Quite often these single vintage bottlings will consist of only one single cask. It is the interaction of the spirit and the oak during the aging process which produces a fine and mellow spirit. In barrel, the Armagnac leaches vanillins and tannins from the toasted oak which lend the spirit colour and flavours – without barrel ageing the spirit is just a colourless liquid. The depth of colour and complexity of flavours increase all the time the spirit is aged in cask and the colour becomes darker with age ranging from pale straw to rich amber. As well as becoming darker in colour as Armagnac ages it also becomes softer, smoother and more elegant on the palate whilst aromas and flavours of prunes, violets, fig, honey, butterscotch and rancio develop.
Bottled at 43% abv and is presented in an individual wooden box. Each bottle also displays the date of bottling.
Shakespeare’s Birthday, St George’s Day, World Book Day and now English Sparkling Day. April 23rd is a busy day for bibliophiles, patriotic types and now English oenophiles. This year, Thursday 23rd April saw the inaugural celebration of English Sparkling Day 2015 with a series of wine events in the UK.
At Fareham Wine Cellar we celebrated by hosting a wine tasting with Champenoise Didier Pierson, of Meonhill Wines and Hambledon Vineyard, who just so happened to have a French Film Crew in tow. Didier is both the co-owner and winemaker at Meonhill Wines, whose vineyard is located on Old Winchester Hill near Droxford. Didier also has a consultancy role at Hambledon Vineyard where, with a state of the art gravity-fed winery, future Meonhill cuvées will be made. We are very lucky to have two of the best Hampshire Sparkling wine producers on our doorstep. So armed with wines from both Hampshire Sparkling Wine producers, we had a great tasting, all of the wines were very well-received – and those that didn’t know about English sparkling wine were very pleasantly surprised, which is what it is all about, spreading the word!
Please see my photographs of the English Sparkling Day wine tasting below. It was quite a feat fitting 7 customers (thank you for your time!), Didier, Phil Kellett from Hambledon Vineyard, a three person film crew and assorted equipment, tripods etc. into our tiny shop, but we managed it with no mis-haps!
English Sparkling Day
Now for the moody photos!
After our wine tasting Didier Pierson and the film crew were going to visit Danebury Vineyard near Stockbridge, Hampshire for some more filming and then heading to Oxford host an English Sparkling Day dinner at The Oxford Kitchen. Let’s hope there are more events next year. English Sparkling Wine is a great product, a world class sparkling wine right on our doorstep which easily competes with sparkling wines from other wine-producing countries. Now it is up to producers, restaurateurs and retailers, like myself, to really promote and sell these fantastic wines to the British public. Just remember to pick up a bottle for your next celebration!
The 1965 Port Vintage was not an exceptional Vintage though some Port houses did make a declaration. Port vintages in the 60s, 70s and 80s tended to be limited to about 3, or maybe 4, declarations per decade. Today it almost seems as if the Port houses make a declaration every other year, I guess things have changed an awful lot since then. 1965 was a very dry vintage, there was some rain in March, but the vines became very stressed and dried up as no more rain was forthcoming during the rest of the year. It was therefore a difficult vintage. This combined with a bit of an abundance of Vintage Port in the early 1960s with 1960, 1963 (a classic) and 1966 being declared meant only a handful of Port houses declared 1965 Vintage Port.
However, 1965 was a very significant vintage for Wiese and Krohn as it was their centenary vintage. It was a small vintage and only 2600 bottles have ever been released and then only directly from the Krohn’s cellars.
This year, 2015, there has been a very small amount of this Port released to celebrate Krohn’s 150th Anniversary. Krohn 1965 Vintage Port will make an excellent 50th birthday present or 50th anniversary present in 2015.
Krohn 1965 Vintage Port is not the only 1965 Vintage Port that was released. There are only a handful of other Vintage Ports from 1965 but most others that I have seen have been Single Quinta Ports or similar, such as Fonseca Guimaraens 1965. These should not be confused with with with 1965 Colheita Port. A Colheita Port is a Tawny Port made from grapes from a single harvest (like Vintage Port) that has to be aged for at least 7 years in oak casks and, in practice, much longer. These are a different style of Port.
Krohn 1965 Vintage Port Tasting Notes
(from Wiese and Krohn) An attractive pale, brick red colour. Krohn 1965 has a very fine, mature nose dispalying rich, opulent aromas of coffee and butterscotch overlaid with hints of apricot and tobacco. On the palate the Port shows exceptional elegance without the slightest heaviness. Rich, mocha flavours flow into the long warming mellow finish. A beautifully mature, Vintage Port, complex and seductive, showing great poise and finesse.
Each bottle of Krohn 1965 Vintage Port was hend-stencilled with the words “Vintage 1965″ at time of bottling. The bottle also features modern front and back labels and the Port is presented in a smart, wooden gift box.
Wiese and Krohn was founded in 1865 by two young Norwegians, Theodor Wiese & Dankert Krohn. Edmundo Falcão Carneiro acquired the company in the 1930s and Wiese and Krohn was run by the second and third generations of the Falcão Carneiro family until 2013. Krohn Port was acquired by the Fladgate Partnership (owners of Taylor, Croft and Fonseca) in 2013. Krohn’s stocks of Port reach over 5 million litres and are stored in six cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia and one cellar in the Douro Region. They have exceptional stocks of aged tawny Port and colheita Port dating back to 1863.
Are you looking for 1965 Vintage Armagnac? Read my article here about Baron de Lustrac and Baron de Sigognac Armagnac.
Did you know that April the 17th is Malbec World Day?
Well it is, and to celebrate all things Malbec-ian we are holding a Malbec World Day Wine tasting on Friday 17th. We will be showing a selection of Malbecs at different price points. There will be 6 wines in total including 3 wines from Trapiche, one from Terrazas de Los Andes and a couple of new wines, one each from Zohar (made by the world-famous Susana Balbo) and one from Puro (don’t tell anyone, but this has some Cabernet in it too!). More information below.
The tasting is free of charge at our shop between 5.00pm and 7.30pm. It is the usual drill for tastings at our shop. As you know we are short on space so I will divide the session up into half hour slots – please let me know if you wish to attend and let me know which time slot you would like to book in for.
Read more about Malbec World Day at last year’s blog post and at the Wines of Argentina website and don’t forget to check out my Chimichurri Sauce Recipe to go with your steak washed down with a glass of malbec! Don’t forget to follow the #malbecworldday on Twitter.
Whisky Tasting With Scott Paine from Marussia Beverages
A tutored whisky tasting of fabulous whiskies from small producers and from countries that one might perhaps might not immediately think of when it comes to whisky production!
Craft Whisky Tasting
Tuesday 26th May 2015 @ 7.30pm
Lysses House Hotel
51 High Street
PO16 7BQ Maplink
Tickets £10.00 in advance only
Tickets for the Craft Whisky Tasting must be purchased in advance and are non-refundable – however, each ticket will entitle the attendee of the whisky tasting to a £5.00 refund off any orders placed on the evening.
Please purchase your tickets in advance from Fareham Wine Cellar.
Scott Paine, Marussia Beverages, will be showing Irish Whiskey from small independent producer Teeling as well as Dutch Whisky from Millstone and Mackmyra Swedish Whisky. I will confirm the exact details of the whiskies as soon as I have them but think it will be three whiskies from each distillery. This will be a formal seated whisky tasting with a short informational talk about each distillery and whisky as we proceed through the tasting. If you attended the Compass Box Whisky tasting in 2014, it will be the same format as that.
Tickets must be purchased in advance and are non-refundable – however, each ticket will entitle the attendee to a £5.00 refund off any orders placed on the evening of the whisky tasting.
Please find more information about the items we will trying at the whisky tasting below. More details to follow.
Teeling Irish Whiskey
The Teeling Irish Whiskey brand is a newcomer to the Irish Whiskey scene. However the Teeling family have been a large part of the Irish Whiskey world for many years, as far back as 1782. The Teeling family founded and owned the famous Cooley Distillery in 1987. If you are into Irish Whiskey you will probably have tried one of their whiskies before, they include Millar’s, Tyrconnell, Connemara, Kilbeggan and Greenore. The family sold out to Bean Inc (now Beam Suntory) in 2012.
Teeling are currently building a brand new distillery in Dublin, which will be the first new build distillery in Dublin for 125 years. Currently they produce four different whiskies, from stocks they have secured from their old distillery – a blended, a grain, a newly releases single malt (best Irish Single Malt at the World Whisky Awards 2015) and a 21 year old.
Millstone Dutch Whisky is a handcrafted whisky from the Netherlands and the only distillery on the world that mills its malted barley using wind power in a windmills! This traditional way of milling causes almost no increase in the temperature of the grain and thus helps preserve the aromas and flavours of the grain.
Millstone Whisky is double distilled in handcrafted copper stills. These are small stills but with a large copper surface – extra contact between the alcohol vapours and the copper helps to eliminate any unwanted substances and also stimulates the formation of the complex and fruity esters. The small stills thus produce a very delicate and fruity new spirit.
Millstone produce a range of whiskies including single malts with various wood finishes and the superb Millstone 100 Rye Whisky – 100% Rye, aged for 100 months in barrel and then bottled at 100% US proof (50% ABV). It won the Best European Rye at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards.
Millstone is owned and produced by the Zuidam family who have over 50 years experience distilling exclusive spirits. They are probably most famous, at the moment, as producers of the fantastic Zuidam Genever.
Another relative newcomer to the whisky scene. Mackmyra Whisky was founded by eight classmates from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in Mackmyra Bruk, Sweden. Their first commercial release of whisky was in 2002.
They produce a range of very interesting whiskies aged in Swedish oak with some more experimental wood finishes, including casks that have held silver birch wine for the Mackmyra Midnattsol or casks seasoned with gluhwine (along with French Bordeaux and Sherry cask) for their Midvinter whisky.
Rubis Chocolate Wine – For serious chocoholics only! An eccentric drink that shouldn’t work, but it does!
What’s in a name?
First of all I should say that this is not actually a wine. Rubis Chocolate is actually a blend of fortified Tempranillo wine and premium chocolate essence flavourings, so I think the best description for it is probably Rubis Chocolate liqueur. However, a liqueur is usually made by adding flavourings (herbs, spices, fruits etc.) to a spirit and this is a fortified wine with flavourings added, so I am going to go with the term Rubis Chocolate Wine Liqueur! Although, in light of the supermarket shenanigans this week with wine and wine based drinks, perhaps it should be called a wine based drink!
As mentioned above, Rubis Chocolate Wine Liqueur is made by flavouring fortified Tempranillo wine with chocolate essence. The red wine base is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes sourced from the wine growing region of La Mancha in central Spain. The wine is made in the usual way: grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented and then the wine is “fortified” with a neutral alcohol spirit (a very basic grape brandy). This addition of alcohol stops fermentation whilst there is still a high sugar content leaving a natural sweetness in the wine – this is the method used to make all the great fortified wines such as Port, Madeira, Marsala and Sherry (although they differ with more unusual ageing processes). The fortified red wine is finally blended with chocolate essences and the producers of Rubis seem to have got the recipe just right!
The label pretty much sums it up – Chocolate + Velvet + Ruby!
Rubis Chocolate Wine has a good clear, ruby red colour much like a ruby Port. The nose is a combination of red fruit notes, particularly red cherries, orange / citrus and, of course, lots of warming chocolate aromas. The palate is quite complex and has more red fruit and rich, dark, chocolate flavours with is a touch of spice at the back of the palate. The texture is similar to a Port wine, it is not at all gloopy or viscous, and has a sweet, velvety finish. It is a warming 15% ABV, so not too alcoholic. All in all, an unusual drink, but a good balance of wine and chocolate, neither really dominates the other.
Rubis Chocolate Wine Serving Suggestions
Rubis Chocolate Wine is most often served on its own as a digestive or liqueur, most usually as an after dinner drink, or as a dessert wine. It can be served at room temperature or over ice.
Rubis Chocolate Wine Liqueur is a good partner to chocolates (experiment with milk or dark chocolates) and any chocolate-based desserts, puddings or cakes. it is also superb poured over ice cream for a rather super-charged chocolate and red fruit kick. It can also be used as a cooking ingredient and could be substituted for Port or Sherry in recipes – I can imagine it in a chocolate trifle of some sort. Unlike Port though, I can’t quite imagine it would work with cheeses. Braver souls might like to experiment with spicy game dishes, venison, casseroles or even a chili.
It can also be used in cocktails. At the Rubis Facebook Page you can find their recipe for a Chocolate Pimms Cocktail (not sure why they call it this as there is no Pimms in it!). But the recipe for this summery cocktail is,
50 ml Cranberry Juice50ml Soda
Squeeze of lime juice
Shake all the ingredients together with plenty of ice and serve with a wedge of lime.
You can also try Rubis in a Chocolate Manhattan with some Bourbon or Rye, some sweet vermouth and cherry bitters. Or try a good glug of Rubis in hot chocolate or coffee. Anyway you want it really!
This year Hatch Mansfield ran a Valentine’s Day competition for the wine shop with the best looking Valentine’s Day window. This was a competition for the followers of @HatchMansfield on Twitter. We thought we would enter. So, armed with some various Rosé wines and some card hearts, fashioned by my colleague’s daughter, to dangle from the ceiling and some heart-shaped sequins we came up with this.
All there was to do then was to take a picture and get tweeting using the hashtag #valentinesvino.
Louis Latour Agencies is the UK subsidiary of one of the one of the best known producers of Burgundy, Maison Louis Latour. The Louis Latour Agency business was founded in 1990 purely as a company for selling Louis Latour’s Burgundies to the UK wine market. Other producers, first from France, and also from New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Australia have gradually been added to the portfolio of wines they represent. These include Simonnet-Febvre in Chablis which was acquired by Louis Latour in 2003 and Henry Fessy Beaujolais acquired in 2008. From the new world they currently represent Wakefield Wines, Craggy Range, Isonto, Vui Manent and various others.
So on a very chilly February day I found myself at The Hospital Club. The venue itself was light, airy and the perfect size for tasting (and co-owned by Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, as I later found out).
Here are some of the highlights, although I did not manage to take extensive notes!
Maison Louis Latour
It was good to catch up on some old favourites, wines that we stock that have changed vintage or haven’t tried for a while. The Louis Latour Grande Ardeche Chardonnay is always a favourite and the 2012 was very good as always, it had really stony, granitic minerality and a citrus-y freshness with dollop of oak. Other wines that really stood out for me were the Montagny 1er Cru La Grande Roche 2012 which I always find takes some beating as an affordable white Burgundy. Moving up a step, in terms of price and quality, the Meursault 1er Cru Chateau de Blagny 2010, a Louis Latour Monopole with buttery, citrus character, great elegance, poise and balance. The Louis Latour Batard Montrachet 2008 was stunning too, but it should be really shouldn’t it?
There were some great red Burgundies including the Volnay 1er Cru En Chevret 2010, a 1er Cru from Louis Latour I had not tried before, which was soft and round with bags of really pure red fruit.
The most interesting part of the Louis Latour tasting however, was a vertical tasting of Chambertin Cuvee Heritiers Latour from 2007 through to 2012. It was very interesting to see how the wines had developed with age and also how the vintage variation comes into play. If I had to pick to favourites it would have to be the oldest and the youngest, the 2007 and the 2012. I wonder if this due to the fact many people say that Burgundy “closes down” between 3 and 5 years old – there is a very interesting article about wine “going to sleep” at Decanter.com. The Chambertin Cuvee Heritiers Latour 2012 was a vibrant red colour with smoky, dark red fruit on the nose with more pure red fruit and creaminess on a very long palate. The 2007 was developing more secondary characteristics so, along with the red fruit, there were leathery, waxy and farmyard nuances creeping in. I also rated the 2011 very highly. For me, the only weak vintage was the 2010 which I found a little bit thin. They all had fantastic colours in the glass ranging from younger bright ruby red to slightly orange-y red with age. A very interesting comparative tasting.
Wakefield Wines, Clare Valley
The Wakefield Wines Estate range of wines is always great value for money and were good across the board. The Wakefield Estate Riesling was my favourite, the 2014 was very refreshing, packed full of lime and citrus fruit with a hint of sweetness on the mid-palate but finishing crisp and dry. Of the red wines, the Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was a good old-fashioned Aussie Cab with lots of blackcurrant / cassis notes but with really a lively, invigorating menthol, mint chocolate nose. Wakefield’s flagship wine The Wakefield Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 was a really well structured and balance, but the tannins are a bit firm at present. If it softens up to be anything like the 2009 (tasted in December 2014) it will be a great wine. Wakefield Wines Export Manager, Neil Hadley MW, mentioned that there will be an equivalent Shiraz available very soon, which I greatly look forward to.
I struggled with the Craggy Range Sauvignon Blancs (and the Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc which they make in conjunction with Compagnie Baron de Edmond de Rothschild). For me they are too “souped up” with too much sweetness and concentration. This is just personal taste though, I know that some people love their NZ Sauvignon like this and it is a very popular style. The Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was edging towards my preferred style and was more mineral and restrained than the Avery Vineyard. It is not just Craggy Range, when we needed to find a new supplier for NZ Sauvignon Blanc recently we found many of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs just too much and we actually ended up with some Palliser Estate wines from Martinborough!
The two stars for me were the Craggy Range Aroha 2012 and the Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Te Kahu 2011, their top Pinot Noir and a Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec blend respectively. Both are amazing wines. The problem I have as a retailer is that I don’t have too many customers who would splash out £50 or £60 on a bottle of New Zealand wine even though the wines comfortably warrant these prices. In fact, I think they are very good value for money for what they are. By the way, if you are ever in need of the heaviest wine bottle you can find with the deepest punt, look no further than Craggy Range’s top wines. Persnally, I thought that there was a trend away from such heavy bottles, but it seems that there are some still out there!
Thanks to Louis Latour Agencies UK for a great tasting.
At Fareham Wine Cellar we sell Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda a frizzante Prosecco sealed with a normal cork and secured a bit of string. I quite often get asked questions by customers wanting to know what frizzante Prosecco is and what spago means. Put simply a frizzante Prosecco is semi-sparkling wine – the wine is bottled at a lower pressure than fully sparkling wines. Therefore, traditionally, the bottle would be sealed with a normal cork, secured with a bit of string – the Corda or Spago (these both mean string in Italian). Fully sparkling Prosecco wines are normally secured with a mushroom type Champagne cork held in place with a wire retainer. Frizzante is most commonly sealed either under screwcap (Stelvin closure) or crown cap whilst some producers, like Villa Domiziano still use cork and spago.
What is Frizzante Prosecco?
There are three basic types of Prosecco
1. Spumante – Sparkling, the most common and probably what everyone knows as Prosecco
2. Frizzante Prosecco – Semi-Sparkling, not quite as common – also known as gentile, pétillant or perlant in French
3. Tranquillo (or Calmo) – Still, quite a rare style, accounting for only 5% of Prosecco production. I have never seen any for sale in the UK and it is rarely exported outside of Italy.
Most Prosecco is made using the Charmat method. This means that, unlike Champagne or Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines, the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in tank rather than in the bottle. This is a much cheaper method of sparkling wine production. Prosecco Spumante, the fully sparkling version, is made with with secondary fermentation in the bottle and is thus usually the most expensive wine.
The duty on wine in the UK is higher for sparkling wine than still wines. In the UK a wine is considered sparkling if it is bottled with an internal pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) of over 3 bars measured at 20C at sea level. A wine is said to be Frizzante or semi-sparkling if it has a pressure of between 1 and 2.5 bars.
Interestingly, even if your have a frizzante Prosecco / semi-sparkling wine and it is closed with a mushroom-shaped, Champagne-type cork, or if it is secured a spago / corda (string), or wire closure, the wine is still liable for sparkling duty.
The duty on still wine is £2.05 per 75cl bottle and sparkling wine is £2.63 per 75cl bottle (correct at time of writing 22/01/15).
Wine or made-wine is chargeable at the sparkling rate
a) if the pressure in the container measured at 20)C is not less than 3 bars in excess of atmospheric pressure
b) if the container has a mushroom stopper held in place by a tie or fastening – regardless of the pressure “Mushroom stopper” means a mushroom shaped stopper made of cork, artificial or plastic material (solid or hollow).
The Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda is a frizzante Prosecco and is closed with a standard, i.e. not mushroom, cork so it attracts still wine duty.
Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda Colla Trevigiani is vinified from 100% Prosecco grapes (also known as Glera) harvested from selected hillside vineyards in the Veneto region. It undergoes soft pressing and fermentation at controlled temperature. Villa Domiziano Prosecco has a straw yellow colour with fine perlage. The bouquet is intense with notes of citrus and apples. It is a fresh, light and refreshing wine.
The means that the list of Private Edition releases now looks like this,
Sonnalta PX – finished in old Pedro Ximenez (dessert) Sherry casks Artein – finished in ex- Sassicaia casks (one of the first Super-Tuscans) Finealta – a recreation of the Glenmorangie blend from the early 1900s with a small amount of peated malt Ealanta – a 19 Year Old whisky aged in virgin American white oak casks sourced from trees grown in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri Companta – no-age statement whiskey finished or “extra-matured” in casks that have previously held wine from the Burgundy Grand Cru, Clos de Tart (Pinot Noir), and casks that previously held a “lusciously sweet fortified wine from the Côtes du Rhône” Tusail – made with Maris Otter “rare grain” barley
Glenmorangie Tusail is a single malt Highland whisky made from a very rare, but legendary, winter barley called Maris Otter. This strain of barley was bred by Dr G D H Bell and his team of plant breeders in Cambridge with the express purpose of producing give consistently high quality malt for the cask-conditioned ale market. Maris Otter was introduced to the market in 1966 (or 1965 depending on what you read) and was popular for many years until cross-pollination, the use of uncertified seed and the introduction of much higher yielding varieties saw its popularity decline significantly.
However, there was still demand for Maris Otter from high-quality brewers and much work was done in the 1990s by the seed-merchant owners of the Maris Otter barley strain to clean up the genetics of the strain. Today, after a risk of the strain being consigned to history, it is used to make many fine English beers such as Maris Otter Vintage Ale from Stroud Brewery, many of the beers at the Otter Brewery in Devon and at Brecon Brewing in Powys.
All the while Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling and whisky creation, had remembered about this grain and ordered a batch of Maris Otter winter barley and arranged for it to be traditionally floor malted, distilling a batch of new make spirit and laying it away into a handful of carefully selected designer casks. Bottled at 46% ABV with no age statement and non chill filtered. And the name? Tùsail is the Scots Gaelic for originary, an homage to the Maris Otter barley variety.
Of Glenmorangie Tusail Dr Bill Lumsden says, “When we heard the story of those determined to preserve such a flavoursome grain, their ethos – and the barley itself – seemed the perfect match for a Glenmorangie single malt. I knew its deep flavour profile would provide an intriguing contrast to Glenmorangie’s more delicate house style, creating a whisky to enchant connoisseurs.”