I don’t feature wine often on this site. No particular reason other than the lack of opportunities I’d say. I do drink wine, and I’ve even worked in an independent wine shop for several months to gain the experience from within the grapes. I think that may be it though; the lack of experience, the doubt to dive in and explore the flavours, the aromas, the history and back-bone of a good tipple. Then again, I was in the same boat with spirits, beers and mixers, and I grew to appreciate them a lot more once I took the initiative and dove in glass first.
So it’s with my head held high that I can say that this is my second wine feature of the week. I know, doesn’t sound much, but the ratio is slipping dangerously when compared to the spirit features available for your viewing pleasure. So without delay, I intend to take a view on what to me is a well-known Argentinian brand, and who incidentally come to the front of the queue due to their release of the UK’s 1st mini Argentinian Malbec.

Before I look more closely (pun fully intended) at the miniature release, I think it’s best to see what Trivento is all about.

Trivento Bodegas y Viñedos was founded back in 1996, with a vision of producing brand-name wines distinguished for preserving the character of the winds. ‘Trivento’ itself means ‘Three Winds’ and is tribute to the Polar winds from the South, the Zonda winds from the Andes mountain range and the Sudestada winds from the South East. These winds travel over the 1,289 hectares, wherein lies eight vineyards (Los Zorros, Los Vientos, Cruz del Alto, Los Ponchos, Los Sauces, Tres Porteñas, Los Portones and Los Indios) which are equipped with drip irrigation systems and situated in the winegrowing areas of Mendoza. Winemakers Germán Di Césare and Victoria Prandina oversee the range of white and reds produced, including the 4000 French and American oak barrels that are used to age their wines.

So to the Trivento Malbec, the expression that put the brand on the New World map so-to-speak. Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Trivento Malbec Reserve, 2013 – 14%

Aged in French oak barrels for 6 months. Lots of sweet spice on the nose with vanilla and fresh oak coming through. Incredibly soft on the palate, with the vanilla and caramel flavours combining well with juicy red fruits, dry spice and sweet crème brûlée. A little dry on the finish, but remains fresh,

I can see why it’s award-winning. A robust kick of Argentinian red wine here, and the miniature now makes it perfect for that one glass of wine at dinner. Don’t stop there though, with the miniature now available to buy, they are perfect for travelling or attending an outdoor event, or even as an adult stocking filler for something a little bit different at Christmas.

I do like South American wines, and with liquids like this being produced, I think I need to venture a little further.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



When it comes to wine I’ll admit, I don’t know too much compared to my experiences with spirits and beer. I’ve covered various tastings within the site and tried my fair share of wines over the years, but it’s rare I get the chance to try a selection of the same brand in one go. With this, I’ve decided to feature a brand I put as part of my ‘Christmas Selection’ within the festive issue of VIVA Lifestyle magazine. Welcome to the Chilean delights of Frontera.

With vineyards found in earth’s southernmost frontier where the central valley is located within a fertile basin, Frontera are seen as a new-world wine, a category of wines produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe and the Middle East. 2014 saw Chile’s biggest wine brand re-launched and focused on the new packaging and labels. Going back to the roots of ‘Lira Popular’, a traditional Chilean way of visual storytelling, each expression of Frontera now tells its influence on the grapes used, flavours gained and experiences created.

With this, I’m going to dive straight into an expression from each of the sub-categories; red, white and rose. Below, I give to you my tasting notes alongside the Lira Popular –

Frontera Pinot Grigio, 2013 – 11.5%

Soft green fruits on the nose, apple and pear dominating. Crisp with fresh notes of the green apples coming through on the palate. Small bursts of floral near the lingering, light and slightly dry finish.

My name means pineapple in French / My last name makes me worthy / Of a lineage from the Middle Ages / I was Charles IV of Luxembourg’s favourite variety / Due to my tropical flavours and floral aromas . . . grapes with magical roots

Frontera Rose, 2014 – 12%

A Cabernet Sauvignon Blush. Light aromatic nose of strawberries and sweet cherries. Rich sweetness on the palate, smooth with strawberry dominating. Creamy with a slightly dry finish.

In the glass I stand out for my colour and elegance / I amaze with my floral aromas and I enchant with my delicate flavour / I’m joyful, smooth & bright . . . grapes with magical roots

Frontera Merlot, 2013 – 12.5%

Deep velvet aromas of stalked cherry and oak. Smooth on the palate with dry cracked black pepper, aromatic cherry and raspberries. Creates a dry lingering finish.

It was a little blackbird / That gave me my name / Mirlo they called it / Beautiful and dark / Two things we share / Along with a joyful song . . . grapes with magical roots

A great trio, and as you can imagine, all serve well either on its own or with food. The Merlot is perfect for pasta, cheese, meat and chicken, whilst the Pinot Grigio is great for fresh salads. The Rose is seen as your second wine of the meal, striking up a combination with sweet treats and seafood.

For a no hassle approach to your wine selection, the Frontera range should be a name to look out for no matter what time of the year it is. Give them a go, they’re available nationwide in your local supermarket.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Design My Night Manchester Award Winners Announced!

The results are in for the Design My Night Awards here in Manchester. So without delay, lets see who made some good vibrations in the city –

Best Bar 2014 – Kosmonaut, Northern Quarter

Exposed brick, leather seats, banging drinks…dentist chairs; the Northern Quarter’s Kosmonaut has everything a great bar should have, and some. Multi-faceted Kosmonaut serves up food, parties and plenty of good times, helping it to scoop the Best Bar gong in this year’s awards!

Best Club 2014 – Joshua Brooks, Oxford Road

A full blown party palace, the award for Best Club in Manchester this year goes to the one and only, Joshua Brooks! A popular choice with party kids all over the city, this relatively small club packs one helluva punch with banging DJs and acts on show week in, week out. Here’s to you, Mr Brooks!

Best Pub 2014 – The Marble Arch, Ancoats

Traditional, historic, and let’s face it, pretty damned lovable; The Marble Arch was our runaway winner scooping the Best Pub award this year. Featuring local ales, gorgeous food and an old-school friendly ambience, The Marble Arch is a Manchester institution.

Best Pop Up 2014 – Long Bar, Spinningfields

If you thought pop ups were just for the summertime, you sir, are wrong. Long Bar was previously only intended to stick around for the summer months but down to public demand, is with us for the winter too. Spacious and sleek, this Spinningfield nugget wins the Best Pop Up accolade.

Dusk til Pawn


The ‘Hidden Gem’ Award 2014 – Dusk til Pawn, Northern Quarter

Is there a better place to hide a bar, than in a pawn shop? Doubt it. Dusk til Pawn wins this year’s Hidden Gem award for being the most covert operation in Manchester. Once you actually find the place, you’ll be happy to hear the tunes a’playing, the cocktails a’pouring and the good times rolling.

Best Interior Design 2014 – Terrace, Northern Quarter

Vintage school furniture, low hanging lights and an alpine lodge bar? No wonder Terrace NQ was voted the Best Interior Design. Though gorgeous, with live music, tasty drinks and lively DJ nights as part of their offering too, Terrace NQ is more than just a pretty face.

Best Live Music Venue 2014 – Soup Kitchen, Northern Quarter

Soup, sandwiches and awesome live music? Yes please! The Soup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter is a bustling cafe by day, but their weekend live music prowess is nothing short of legendary. From big acts to local talent, The Soup Kitchen is a deserved winner of the Best Live Music Venue Award.

Best Beer Garden 2014 – The Oast House, Spinningfields

Come rain or shine, the Oast House is a popular choice in Manchester for a drink or two. Their beer garden is lit with lanterns and enjoys an authentically cool ambience in the face of some of its more stuffier neighbours. Best Beer Garden 2014 goes to the Oast House.

Best Cocktail Bar 2014 – Elixir Tonic & Treats, Deansgate

Deansgate’s wonderfully quirky Elixir Tonics & Treats has won your hearts and minds to take the Best Cocktail Bar award. Retro-tastic, Elixir is a relative newcomer to the scene but its forward thinking hosting and delectable drinks, have paved the way to victory!



Best Cocktail Menu 2014 – Under New Management, Deansgate

Formerly Corridor, Under New Management is a secretive cocktail haunt in the Salford area with a drinks offering that’s helped it to win the Best Cocktail Menu award. Offering both signature and bespoke beauties, if you can find it, Under New Management is the cocktail connoisseurs’ first choice.

Best Late Night Bar 2014 – The Liars Club, Deansgate

Who would have ever guessed a tiki bar would go down so well in Manchester? The Liars Club is a solid party bar that stays open way past our bed times and if the voting is anything to go by, it’s safe to say we all love its wild ways! Grab a Zombie cocktail and dance the night away; you can worry about the hangover when you’re getting up for work. The Liars Club wins the Best Late Night Bar Award!

Best Fun Time Party Bar 2014 – The Deaf Institute, Oxford Road

Raucous, fun-loving and wild, Deaf Institute takes the Best Fun Time Party Bar award. Drink, laugh and dance at this Manchester favourite, which has not 1, not 2, but 3 different bar areas! PARTY ON.

Best Experience 2014 – The Warehouse Project, Trafford Park

Unless you live under a rock, you might have heard of this small little gathering. Warehouse Project is at the forefront of the UK rave scene, and 2013 was another big year. You spoke, and we listened. The Warehouse Project wins The Best Experience this year.

Best New Bar 2014 – Rosylee Tea Rooms, Northern Quarter

The competition in this category was fierce, but after the votes were counted, Rosylee Tea Rooms scooped the Best New Bar Award. A cutesy tea room with the added arsenal of a fully fledged cocktail bar makes this little urban hub one bar not to mess with. Glam, chic and let’s face it, adorable, The Rosylee Tea Rooms is a deserved winner.

Best All-in-One Venue 2014 – Gorilla, Oxford Road

No monkeying around, Gorilla is a venue on a mission. Boasting club nights, tasty hot dogs and slamming cocktails, there’s not much this wonder-bar can’t do. With that in mind, it’s no wonder Gorilla was voted the best All-In-One Venue this year. Make sure you visit for a dance, bite to eat, drink, gig, the list goes on…



A brand I’ve known of for a while determines itself as “Once you’ve tasted a Vestal Vodka you’ll probably never want to drink a commercial vodka again”. A rather bold statement their, but is it true?

Let’s take a look.

The Vestal Vodka Company is a father and son team, John and William. Wanting to create a vodka the traditional way, away from the commercial aspects which they say effectively ‘strips’ down the vodka until its virtually unrecognisable, they looked into how vintages and harvest of wine can create different styles for the same brand. With this knowledge, they opted to apply this to the use of potatoes and looked into the effects that the growing of potatoes has, as well as an artisinal approach to distillation. Under the guidance of distillery owner Tadeuz Dorda, they produced four different vintages from potatoes grown in different parts of Poland. With this, they understood that potato variety, terroir and the way you distill it all make a huge difference to the aroma and taste.

With this in mind then, how does Vestal, named after Vesta, the Roman Goddess of the Hearth and Purity, fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Vestal Rye Vodka, 2013 – 40%

Made from Polish grains and water from eastern Poland. Very light notes of aniseed and citrus on the nose with an instant hit of soft spice onto the palate. A blend of vanilla and pepper are present, with clean finish that lingers.

Vestal Pomorze Vodka, 2013 – 40%

Walnut and soft blueberry aromas on the nose, with a lively, rich flavour of sherbet creating a soft, short finish.

Vestal Kaszeba Vodka, 2010 – 40%

Kaszebe in northern Poland is a land of forest, lakes and small family farms where horses still work the fields and Vineta potatoes grown specially for Vestal vodka. A fresh herbal scent on the nose, with lots of vanilla also present. A creamy texture on the palate with a sweet potato, chocolate and vanilla mix that develops a slight spice on the finish.

Vestal Kaszeba Vodka, 2011 – 40%

A slight spice blending with smoke on the nose. A rich potato flavour upon the palate alongside a slight tropical fruit creating a lingering creamy sweetness.

Vestal Aged Kaszeba Vodka, 2013 – 40%

Light aromatic fruits of raspberries and apricots on the nose, with a starched potato scent coming through. A dry aromatic flavour of pepper and citrus on the palate creating a smooth, long finish.

Vestal Aged Kaszeba Vodka, 2013 – 40%

Soft potato with a slight earthy aroma on the nose. Toasted potato and slight cherry flavours are present on the palate, creating a long, smooth finish.

Vestal Podlasie Vodka, 2009 – 40%

A special small-batch vintage made from young potatoes cultivated in the Podlasie region of eastern Poland. Lots of green apple scent on the nose with a sweet yet dry flavour of spice and pear on the palate. Lingering freshness.

Vestal Amber Black Elderberry Liqueur, 2013 – 25%

Made from our Vestal vodka and the syrup of handpicked elderberry flowers. Fresh on the nose with plenty of elderberry and sweetness. Rather thick on the palate, with a gentle flavour of perfumed elderberry and hints of the potato vodka. Lingers.

The Vestal range is to be truly appreciated by “pouring a couple of fingers of Vestal Vodka into a bulbous Cognac-type glass, swirl the Vodka around and then bury your nose in the glass.” Or maybe ask your bartender to create you one of these –

Nuts About Vestal

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

40 ml Vestal Podlasie
10 ml Frangelico
20 ml Apple juice
10 ml Lemon juice
12.5 ml Orgeat Syrup

Method –

Add all the other ingredients in to Boston glass, add ice and shake. Strain in to a Frozen Martini Glass. Garnish with spiral of lemon zest.

This is a great range of vodka’s to savour and appreciate. Becoming popular in many a bar, so expect to see it grace your glass in the very near future. Or of course, pick one up for you own drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.