Category Archives: Wine and Spirits

Alan’s Summer Wine Suggestions

glassesinarow - 580 x 288When it comes to summer, we immediately think of kicking back on the terrace, with a chilled glass of rosé while we enjoy barbecues and light dishes. However, here are a selection of wines to relax and enjoy on those (hopefully) balmy summer evenings….

Sparkling

Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and many New world alternatives make great summer drinking and are guaranteed to get any party going, but for me at this time of year it’s a perfect occasion to drink English fizz. Estates like Nyetimber, Camel Valley, Sugrue Pierre and Ridgeview are snapping at the heels of the Champenois with their classy, elegant bubblys.

My favourite has got to be Blanc de Blancs from Nyetimber in West Sussex, as the elegance, racy acidity and ability to mature is remarkable, often showing flavours of orchard fruits balanced by toasted brioche.

White

Sauvignon Blanc has long been a favourite of many people as a first introduction to wine since chardonnay became a little over blown, but even now many regulars are moving to cool and trendy grapes, like Grüner Veltliner, Viognier and Picpoul. But for me there is nothing better than a glass of cold Albarino from Rias Baixas in North West Spain. This grape has taken the market by storm and is now being planted in New Zealand, California and South Africa with great results, however it is in the cool, verdant Atlantic influenced zone of Galicia that it shows its purest form. Pazo Senorans produce one of the cleanest, freshest versions and this works beautifully when sitting down to fresh crab salad or a plateau de fruits de mer, delicious, but always try to go for the youngest vintage available.

Rosé

Who wasn’t first introduced to rosé wines with Mateus from Portugal? I admit I have drunk (and enjoyed) this in the past, especially ice cold in the Algarve with a plate of locally caught sardines, but back in the UK I would tend to look to France for a great rosé wine. Provence and the Mediterranean coast makes some of the most delicious, delicately coloured wines available, often from Carignan, Syrah, Grenache or other grapes that you would rarely see. First started by running off some of the first pressed juice as a way of improving the body of red wines, they are now usually made as a rosé from the start and can handle many of the rich Mediterranean sauces and flavours used in regional dishes. I particularly enjoy well chilled glass of Chateau Vignelaure rose from Aix-en-Provence with grilled lamb cutlet and a herby ratatouille side dish.

Red

Pinot Noir for me sums up the flavours of summer, bursting with red fruits that are reminiscent of strawberries, raspberries and currants, its almost like you’re getting a glass full of summer pudding!

Don’t be frightened of serving a good New World Pinot slightly chilled either, as this can express more of that fruit character without the heaviness of any oak or excess alcohol. When it comes to Californian Pinot Noir for me it has to be Sonoma, with Russian River being a firm favourite for its balance, elegance and softness of character, Benovia Estates single vineyard range from Pommeraie or Cohn Vineyard are my top picks, that work beautifully with lamb and pork but equally well with a meaty fish like turbot with wild mushrooms and a red wine jus.

Sweet

When it comes to summer desserts I prefer fresh berries, straight from the garden with clotted cream or a little crème fraiche, and so for this pairing a delicate fruity style of dessert wine is called for that will balance the wonderful fragrance of fresh berries without over powering it. A delightful Moscato makes a great choice be it Moscato d’Asti from Italy with its ripe, grapey fruit and soft mousse or from Australia perhaps a Pink Moscato, try Mrs Wiggly by Wirra Wirra, its great on its own but can equally make some great summer cocktails using gin or Pimms as a base!

Cheers

Alan Holmes
Restaurant and Wine Director

A Memorable Trip to Bordeaux

20140520_154840
By Antonino Ciaccio (one of our sommeliers)

Last month I was lucky enough to spend two days in Bordeaux visiting one of the top, highly regarded wine estates, ‘Chateau Haut Brion’ and the more recent ‘La Mission Haut Brion’.

20140520_160827Accompanied by five other people on the trip, we were welcomed by the very friendly Sales Manager, Clément Marcotte de Quivières, who drove us to visit the two estates. It was fantastic to see the cellars and the work behind the wineries, and I was impressed by the handmade copper barrels, which the barrel maker spends six months on site making three barrels a day.

My favourite wine has to be ‘Haut Brion 1999′, which has a deep intense ruby colour, plum and dark cherry nose with a leathery character. It has a round intense, silky tannin, balanced acidity and long finish with a touch of spiciness.

Next we visited the tasting room where together with the guide where we had the chance to taste six of the wines ‘en primeur’ (the ones which have been made from the last harvest). The quality of these wines were fantastic even though the barrel ageing wasn’t complete.

20140520_151746After the tasting, we were driven to our lovely guest house, which was an impressive house, traditional in style and furnished with early 20th century furniture. That evening we had a lovely informal food and wine matching dinner with white, rose and red Clarendelle wines, hosted by the Managing Director, Gérard Blanloeil who told us all about how the estate is now so renowned that they sell their wine in over 50 countries and is becoming more popular now in Asian countries.

The next day, after a tasty classic breakfast and a good hot cup of French coffee, we went for an extensive wine tasting hosted by Clément Marcotte de Quivières who showed a range of La Clarendelle wines; a white 2012, a red 2008, and surprisingly a rose. To finish, we tasted a fantastic dessert wine from the estate.

20140521_122334Our trip came to an end with a memorable lunch hosted by Hospitality Manager Séverine Luke-Paris. We ate in a big old-fashioned style “salle a manger” with a Champagne aperitif and a great classic French lunch served with outstanding matching wines from the estate.

Our first course of green asparagus and vinaigrette sauce was served with two white wines; ‘la mission haut brion ‘ and ‘haut brion white’ with our second course of Cote de boeuf with vegetables and potatoes matched with ‘la mission haut brion 2003′ red and ‘haut brion 1999′. Next followed the delicious cheese course, which was matched with ‘le clarance de haut brion’. To finish we enjoyed a lovely ‘La Clarendelle’ sweet white wine matched with homemade strawberry cake.

Personally, this trip was an experience that has shown me how deep the root of the French gastronomic culture is, and how brilliantly able (not easily) the French maintain the balance between the old wine region wine techniques and tradition and the contemporary world of wine that is a necessity of a 21st century generation.

We have a wine dinner hosted by Haut Brion and Clarendelle on Thursday 25th September at The Vineyard so pop the date in your diaries. More details will be posted on our website shortly.

The Resurgence of Sherry

Our Restaurant and Wine Director, Alan Holmes, was lucky enough to take a trip to Jerez de la Frontera for an opportunity to see Sherry production first hand. He tells us all about the revitalised industry, the infamous cellars, what makes ‘En Rama’ is so special and finally Sherry that tastes like Christmas pudding!

When I was first invited to Jerez de la Frontera for an opportunity to see Sherry production firsthand, I thought it would be interesting from an educational point of view, after all a sip of sherry at Christmas was my first opportunity to taste wines at a young age!

Now a modern thinking industry
However, what I didn’t realise was the shock and enlightenment of a revitalised, energised and very modern thinking industry the Sherry industry has become. We were hosted by Gonzalez Byass, famed for their dry Fino sherry, Tio Pepe, which in itself is a legend in this area, a reportedly 700,000 bottles are drunk in the Feria (festival week) in Jerez alone and 1.5 million in Sevilles Feria week (This accounts for 36% of the total Spanish annual sales!)

A welcome dinner and the spectacular Feria
Our first evening dinner started with an ice cold glass of Tio Pepe and a selection of charcuterie and seafood, which was a welcome refresher after our flight. The first thing that struck our group was how cleansing, refreshing and a perfect match with the array of salted and savoury dishes the wine was. Our expert host Jeremy, stated that unfortunately we often keep Fino sherry too long and serve it too warm; the best way to drink it is young and well chilled, that way it slips down a treat! Dish after dish followed, each one matching beautifully with the cold, fresh Fino sherry.

After dinner, we were taken to the main park in Jerez where the festival of the horses is staged for the week long Feria. An amazing onslaught of the senses ensued with lights, colourful costumes, sights, sounds and aromas from all sides, the Spanish certainly know how to throw a party! We were taken to the central stage, a private entertaining area for the International guests of Gonzalez Byass who come from all corners of the globe for this particular week. Here, we met representatives from China, USA and South America, all big markets for Sherry.

One of the original cellarsA tour of the infamous cellars
The following morning, feeling surprisingly fresh… we departed for the cellars, however Gonzalez Byass is more like a village within a city. It has its own streets, its own train service, its own ageing cellar built by a certain Monsieur Eiffel and its own cathedral (all be it a massive wine ageing cathedral). It was here that we were introduced to Antonio Flores, a man with Sherry for blood who was not only born in the cellar, but reportedly conceived there too!

The secrets behind the Palomino grape
He is Mr Gonzalez Byass, with an inside knowledge and experience above most. He explained the special relationship between the Palomino grape, the highly absorbent chalky Albariza soil of Jerez and the cooling, moist Atlantic breeze that makes quality grape growing possible. Cool damp winds blow in off the Atlantic depositing heavy rains in a short period of time in the winter, more so than London in some years. This is soaked up by the porous chalky white soils known as Albariza.

The Palomino grape variety grows well on these soils and is able to get to this moisture throughout even the hottest summers, giving fresh, high acid fruit perfect for dry sherry production. This is then pressed and fermented, before being fortified to 15.5% and placed into barrels (but only to 4/5 full) to age in what is known as a solera system. It is while in these barrels a yeast, known as flor, grows on top of the wine gradually eating up any remaining sugar and preventing oxidation of the wine, making it completely bone dry.

Blending for the final product occurs by the removal of 1/3 from the lower level, which is refilled from 1/3 younger wine/ which is refilled from 1/3 even younger wine until over time you end up with a consistent high quality wine. This is clarified and filtered to remove any sediment before bottling.

En Rama is taking Sherry drinkers by storm
Occasionally certain barrels will produce an exceptional expression of high quality wine, these barrels are then separated and used for a very recent and innovative style of Fino sherry that is taking sherry drinkers by storm. Known as En Rama or in its raw state, it is bottled unfiltered and unrefined, and best drunk within months of release, showing all the delicacy, intensity and varying nuances that come with tasting the wine straight from the barrel! To prove his point he poured us some wine straight from one of the barrels using a traditional Venenciador, the wine was delicious with a fresh baked bready aroma and zingy fresh palate. Next on our tour were the cellars. Cool and humid areas that are important to allow the flor to grow well while the sherry ages.

Winston Churchill barrelFor a company like Gonzalez Byass that has been at the heart of sherry production for so many years there is a wealth of history from the Royal cellars where each King or Queen of Spain is dedicated a barrel of sherry, to the many famous people who have visited and signed a barrel. Other famous dignitaries like Sir Winston Churchill and every recent Pope have also been presented with their own barrel.

Tio Pepe girlsChristmas pudding Sherry…yum
At the end of the tour we were given a complete masterclass on the production, styles and variety of different aged sherries available. Fino being the driest, Oloroso being a dry sherry that has not been allowed to grow any flor, Palo Cortado which is a longer aged Fino or Oloroso with wonderful nutty aromas, and then a selection of 30 year old sherries that used some Pedro Ximenez grapes and tasted like liquid Christmas pudding! This visit and masterclass certainly opened up my eyes to the variety of Sherry and versatility as a food and wine match for many difficult dishes, so look out for some appearing by the glass at The Vineyard soon, then you too can be a part of the Sherry revival.

 Cheers!

Alan Holmes
Restaurant and Wine Director

 

Chocolate and Wine – A Delicate Pairing

WineChoc_emailWe thought you might like to discover more about some of the wines that were tasted at our wine and chocolate hedonism masterclass on Wednesday evening. Wine and chocolate can be a tricky pairing so it’s worth remembering to avoid Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and other high acid or drying whites. And for red wines, again avoid acidic grapes or cooler regions like Pinot Noir and Gamay or drying reds with bitter or dry tannins, like Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.

Why not join our Chocolate and Wine Matching Dinner on Friday 25th April and discover even more about this delicate pairing?

Schramsberg Blanc de Noir, Calistoga, California 2008

Schramsberg’s best selling wine is almost 100% Pinot Noir and consistently out classes Champagne in blind tastings around the world. Full bodied with rich toasty brioche notes and firm acidity. Our favourite fizz at the moment who’s quality has been consistent since its first vintage in 1965. It has lively aromas of apricot and persimmon, which gracefully lead to nuances of honey and lemon. The fruitful nose is complemented by vanilla spice and candied almond. The palate offers crisp and tart flavors of orange and lime rind, supported by a touch of roasted coffee. The finish is long and lingering

£25.26 per bottle – buy online


Juan Gil Monastrell 4, Jumilla, Spain 2012

A hugely intense nose with fresh juicy blackberry and plum fruit, delicate vanilla spice and cedar. The palate mirrors the nose with layers of lush spicy plum and cherry fruit, more sweet spice, minerality and gentle tannins to the finish.

£8.05 per bottle – buy online


Ferrari-Carano Black Muscat Eldorado Noir, Sonoma, California 2010

Luscious, mouth watering black Muscat with just enough acidity to keep each mouthful crisp and refreshing. Black Muscat is a very popular style in California and we are delighted to represent this one.

£22 per half bottle  – buy online


Holden Manz Good sPort, Franschoek, South Africa 2009

Smooth, soft entry with rich vanilla, coconut and raisin fruit exudes on the palate. This wine is rich and warm and has a long finish. With time, the balance between spirit and wine will harmonise creating a wonderfully complex offering.

£27.50 per bottle – buy online

 

Discover more about Californian Wineries

Vin-de-Cal is the international sales representative for select small family-owned wineries in California; Schramsberg, Ferrari-Carano, Benovia and Talley. Taste wines from all these wineries on Saturday 15th March at The Vineyard from 11am to 5pm and attend masterclasses throughout the day for just £40 for two tickets. Discover more

Schram - old imageSchramsberg was originally founded in 1862 by Joseph Schram, who made still wine. When he died the winery lay dormant until Jack and Jamie Davies bought it in 1965. The Davies’ plan was to make sparkling wine the same way that Champagne is made as no one in the U.S. was doing this. In 1972 President Nixon chose their Blanc de Blancs to toast Premier Zhou Enlai when the U.S. re-opened relations with China.

Schram - bottle displaySince that day Schramsberg has been poured by every President at the White House. The wines are frequently mistaken for Champagne in blind tastings. The wines are all vintage dated. The J Schram is Schramsberg’s signature wine and is the perfect balance of acidity and richness. The Blanc de Blancs is the most popular wine and works well as an aperitif and as an accompaniment to food. The winery is now in the hands of the Davies’ youngest son, Hugh.

bottle display - FCFerrari-Carano was founded by Don and Rhonda Carano in 1981. Both Caranos are of Italian descent and the rolling hills of Alexander Valley reminded them of Italy. They chose to add Don’s grandmother’s name, Ferrari, to the name of their winery as a tribute to her. Ferrari-Carano began by making Chardonnay and Fume Blanc. They established a highly acclaimed reputation for these wines. They added their red wines a few years later and are now known for both red and white wines.

FC - coupleThe Fume Blanc continues to be one of their best loved wines. A well rounded, flavourful wine that is highly regarded by consumers and restaurants, and often served as a wine-by-the glass. On the red side, the Merlot is a favorite having rich berry fruit with firm structure, able to have as a glass,but perfect with duck or beef.

Benovia owners - hi resBenovia is a small winery owned by the couple, Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, and the winemaker, Mike Sullivan. They founded the winery in 2007 when they bought the land in Russian River. They now also own a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Mike Sullivan built a reputation for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay before joining Jo and Mary in this venture.

Benovia offers Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as several vineyard select Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. The wines are consistently regarded highly by well-respected critics year after year Although the winery is small its reputation is growing for the balance of fruit and texture the wines provide. The Russian River Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are bright, full-flavoured wines on their own, but a great accompaniment to meals. The individual vineyard select wines are distinct in each case, reflecting the terroir where they are grown. Enjoy a vineyard designated Pinot Noir with fowl or heartier fish and the combination proves that the marriage of wine and food makes both better.

Talley coupleTalley began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing specialty vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. During the 1970s extensive planting of wine grapes began in the neighbouring Edna Valley and Santa Barbara County areas. After observation and extensive analysis, Oliver’s son, Don Talley, was convinced of the potential to grow high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms. Don planted a small test plot in 1982. Over time the varietal and clonal selections were refined and planting expanded to a total of 165 acres in the Arroyo Grande and Edna Valleys.

Talley Vineyards produced its first wine in 1986 with the production of 450 cases. Today the third generation, Brian and Johnine Talley, own and operate Talley Vineyards. Producing only Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays fromtheir vineyards, the Talleys have put Arroyo Grande on the wine map. Their goal is to produce distinctive wines of consistently high quality that best express the unique character of each of the Talley family’s six vineyard sites in the two valleys.

Talley’s wines are highly regarded for their character and balance. The vineyard specific Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are frequently singled out by wine writers for their reflection of the vineyard where they were grown. The wines are full-bodied, rich in fruit and exceptional in their pairing with food.

How the Wine World has Changed

Over the last few months I have been working alongside James Hocking of The Vineyard Cellars on the new Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses that we are able to offer. It was while studying and preparing for this, when it struck me how much has changed in the 15 years or so since I originally started in the wine industry.

When the old world was dominant
Back then France was still the dominant country, with Spain and Italy close behind. Germany was having real problems shaking their cheap, sweet wine image and Austria was still suffering from the disastrous effects of the anti freeze scandal. Meanwhile in the New World, Australia was just seeing its gutsy Shiraz and Oaked Chardonnays gather momentum, New Zealand was on the rising tide of Cloudy Bay and its gooseberry laden Sauvignon Blancs, South Africa was stuck with Apartheid, California was overpriced and difficult to source, while South America couldn’t quite work out what it was producing!

We now have so much choice
Now though, the wine industry, and particularly the choice available in the UK, is booming! The choice from Europe has grown massively with new wines from old areas, but also increased competition arriving from the east, with Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgarian wines improving immensely. Particularly at The Vineyard we have seen a dramatic increase in Austrian wines with Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch being of great excitement. Germany has seen a massive increase as their style of wines has become more commonly bone dry in style, with the sharp zesty citrus fruit appeal that works beautifully with Oriental influenced sashimi style seafood.
As for the New World… well we certainly weren’t seeing as many wines from China, Japan and India on our wine lists as we do now! New Zealand has moved on, to produce top quality Central Otago Pinot Noirs and Gimblett Gravel Cab blends. South Africa now offers some of the best value and most interesting wines around, especially from the burgeoning Swartland District, then we come to California…

How California has changed
It is quite easily apparent the huge steps that have been taken to not only improve quality but also value for money. Cooler areas like Sonoma coast, Monterey and the hillsides above and around Napa instead of the valley floor are providing some excellent examples of varietal wine making. Meanwhile a touch of delicate acidity from this mountain fruit has added balance to many of the hottest Cabernet blends around.

Of course, the best way to notice these changes and improvements is to taste it yourself, so why not join us for our Californian Wine Weekend on 14th and 15th March. There’s something for everyone. So whether you’re wanting to try as many wonderful Californian wines as you can, or are looking for a really special evening where you’ll have the rare opportunity to try some of the Peter Michael Winery best and highly sought after wines, you won’t be disappointed. Discover more – www.the-vineyard.co.uk/CalifornianWineWeekend.asp

What I’m really looking forward to is the Les Pavots vertical tasting at 4.30pm on 15th March where you’ll get the chance to try some of the more recent vintages. Be sure to sign up soon as I know this will be the most popular of them all.

Cheers

Alan

Best of Britsh – February 2014

pinkster gin

This month we introduce:  Pinkster Gin

Pinkster gin is said to be ‘agreeably British gin’ and is a mix of 5 carefully selected botanicals at the Thames distillery in London. Stephen Marsh, the gins founder then takes the gin and infuses the spirit with fresh raspberries which gives this gin its distinctive pink colour and fresh taste.

Stephen stumbled upon this recipe and his love for gin after finding out he had developed an allergy to yeast which meant he could no longer enjoy his vast wine cellar so he turned from grape to grain and fell in love with gin.

We love our gin here at The Vineyard just as much as Stephen and Pinkster fits perfectly into our selection. The raspberries give it a slight sweetness, but the heavy juniper notes of the original spirit help to retain a dry and distinctive gin character that works well in both cocktails and mixed with tonic.

We have twisted two very classic cocktails with this gin; The Cosmopolitan and The Martini, and our team have also created a ‘Perfect Serve’ gin & tonic that you can find on page 10 of our Bar List.

Pinkster is the perfect gin to enjoy in the springtime with and we hope you enjoy it as much as us.

Pink Cosmo
Pinkster gin shaken with lime, Cointreau and cranberry juice

Rhubarb Martini
Pinkster gin stirred with Chase rhubarb liqueur

Perfect Serve
Pinkster gin with Fever-tree Mediterranean, juniper berries and a twist of lemon

Cheers

David Coveney
Head Barman

My Trip to Bordeaux

Bordeaux blogI had the great opportunity to travel to Bordeaux for the first time this year, at the end of October. I think most of us have this idea of Bordeaux wines being expensive and with reason; most of the wines we see on wine list are, but are mainly Grand Cru Classe (Great Growth) and they only represent less than 5% of the total production in Bordeaux.

The goal of this wonderful trip was for us to discover smaller and lesser known areas of this fabulous wine region as such as Saint Emilion satellites (like Montagne Saint Emilion, Saint Georges Saint Emilion…)

It started with a course at the Bordeaux Wine School for a tutorial covering history, geography, the different varietals and the Controlled Appellation areas.This followed with a walking tour of this amazing city; and a lunch at a local restaurant with a tasting of dry white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

We then drove to Chateau Le Grand Verdus (Bordeaux AC) for a visit and tasting. A beautiful, family owned estate producing exceptional wines around £10.00, their Grande Reserve (best cuvee) is around £15.00. After this interesting discovery we went to Cadillac to an estate owned by a Lebanese family, Chateau Biac. We started with a presentation of the Cotes de Bordeaux AC followed by a sweet wine presentation.

We later went to their cellar and to dinner. Starting with an aperitif and canapés (the highlight being a toast of peanut and dried apricot) on their terrace with a view on the Garonne river and a beautiful sunset. At the dinner we had the chance to taste some incredible wines as well as some lovely food mixing French and Lebanese cuisine.

The next day, we drove to Pomerol to visit one of the greatest estates of the area, Chateau Gazin (one of the first top Bordeaux wines I tasted was Chateau Gazin 1988) where we tasted 2005 and 2011 vintages. We also had the opportunity to see some of the best Chateau like Petrus and Lafleur Petrus.

On the way to Saint Emilion we also saw Evangile, Cheval Blanc, Figeac and Angelus before arriving at Chateau La Couspaude where another surprising tasting awaited us. After a very good lunch there and a quick, but wet visit of Saint Emilion we left for one of its satellites, Puisseguin Saint Emilion.

We arrived at a 55 hectares organic estate called Chateau Guibeau where again the quality was impressive and yet again the prices of wines were around £10 to £12. The rest of the day was spent in Pessac-Leognan, in the Graves region (named after the very gravelly soil of the vineyard) at Chateau La Louviere, property of Andre Lurton. The visit started with a little explanation of the Chateau followed by a tour of the winery and the impressive cellar. We moved to a great tasting showcasing about 20 different dry white and red wines with a fantastic dinner later (where we tasted a Chateau La Louviere white from 1994, incredible!).

For the last day we drove up to Chateau la Lagune, in the Medoc district were again we drove past Latour, Pichon Comtesse de Lalande and Margaux to arrive to this beautiful old Chateau. There we again tasted about 10 different red wines from several areas. We enjoyed our best lunch of the stay there cooked by a great young Chef, she specially cooked Joel Robuchon’s special mash potatoes, just delicious!

After four amazing days in this fantastic area, we had the chance to visit and taste a great panel of wines normally ranging between £5.00 to £15.00 and really understand that Bordeaux is not only about expensive Great Growth, but that small, less known estates or region doesn’t mean less in term of quality, I think it means the complete opposite. The smaller estates are fighting to produce amazing wines that worth knowing and should be drunk. This trip was fantastic and I look forward to go back very soon!

Romain Bourger
Head Sommelier

Best of British – December 2013 – Bruichladdich Distillery

Bruichladdich Distillery                                       There is such an abundance of exceptional distilleries and producers cropping up in the UK now, that here at The Vineyard we wanted to give you the opportunity to taste the best of them. Each month throughout 2013 we’ve been with a different distillery to showcase the best of what Britain has to offer. This month we introduce Bruichladdich Distillery.

Close up of dram in glassThe people of the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, Scotland have always been the mavericks of the Scotch whisky world. The founders have a background in the wine trade and because of this their way of thinking has always been a little different.

They produce a number of different styles & expressions at their distillery on the southern coast of Islay. We have chosen to focus our cocktails on just a couple. Their Islay malt & The Botanist gin.

Along with this we have sourced two of their most sought-after expressions; Octomore, which is renowned for being the peatiest whisky in existence and the newest edition of Black Art, which is a very special secret bottling from their master blender taken from the depths of their ageing house. This is a closely guarded secret and an exceptional whisky, every time.

Jim with Port Charlotte casks (2)Many people enjoy whisky on its own, sometimes with ice and sometimes with water, but we have made a fantastic winter warmer from their magnificent Islay Malt; the Islay Flip. We have some of the rest of the range to sample on our display so please do let us know if you would like a taste.  Alternatively, please see page 10 of our Bar List for The Botanico – a great twist on a gin & tonic.

Islay Flip
Bruichladdich Islay Malt, Frangelico, plum infused Sake and yogurt liqueur

The Botanico
The Botanists gin stirred with lime, mint, sugar and ginger ale

Cheers

David Coveney
Head Barman

Master Sommeliers dinner on 24th November

Discover more about the Master Sommeliers hosting our dinner on 24th November

With just over a week to go before our Master Sommelier Dinner, we thought we’d share a bit more about the Master Sommeliers who will be joining us for what will be a very exciting wine fuelled evening. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see all five Master Sommeliers in one place and quiz them on their wine knowledge

Discover more about the menu and wines

Please call us on 01635 589407 to reserve your place

Dimitri Mesnard MS

Dimitri is a leading wine expert for Jackson Family Wines and their Prestige Account Manager for Europe. Prior to working for the Jackson Family, Dimitri worked at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and was for several years, Head Sommelier of Hotel du Vin, Tunbridge Wells.

Nigel Wilkinson MS

Nigel is the Fine Dining Account Manager for Boutinot Wines. Nigel became a Master Sommelier in 2005 and is now the Assistant Secretary for the Court of Master Sommeliers European Chapter. Before entering the wine trade, Nigel was twice runner-up in the UK Sommelier of the Year Competition and was named ‘Young Wine Server of the Year’ in 1999. Nigel lives in North Wales with his wife Joy and his two sons Owain and Aled.

Matt Wilkin MS

Originally from Adelaide, Australia’s 1st Master Sommelier Matt Wilkin arrived in the UK December 1998 following a number of years learning his trade in Australia and France.

Matt has held a variety of prestigious roles including Executive Sommelier at the Michelin two-starred Capital Restaurant and Hotel Group Knightsbridge, where he oversaw wine purchasing, liaising with suppliers, staff training, private wine tastings and cellar management for 6 operations. He now jointly owns and runs London-based wine company H2Vin ltd specialising in the Loire and Rhône Valleys whilst successfully building a serious collection of great Burgundy.

Gearoid Devaney MS

In 2010, Gearoid joined Flint Wines and  is one of the most well-known and qualified sommeliers in the country, having passed his Master Sommelier qualification in 2009 and having worked in some of the top restaurants across Europe. Food is as much his passion as wine so he’ll happily answer any questions regarding matching the two together. Previously Gearoid was Head Sommelier at the famous London restaurant, Tom Aikens.

Claire Thevenot MS

Claire was born and raised in Besancon, Franche Comte like Daniel Galmiche! She worked a bit in France, Germany and Switzerland before moving to Brighton 10 years ago for the opening of Hotel du Vin there. She also worked here at The Vineyard for a number of months.After 5 years, she took on the wine training role for both Hotel du Vin and Malmaison. She currently works for Enotria, a specialist wine supplier, where she gets to meet so many people and taste nice wines with the best sommeliers in London.

Discover more about the Master Sommeliers Dinner