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.

1724 Tasting Notes


There’s a growing demand for tonic water these days. I touched on the stigma of the category a while back, and since then a new boy on the block has taken the reigns and positioned itself as a top runner for bars to use. I give to you 1724.

1724 I hear you say? 1724 is the number of metres above sea level in the Andes, Argentina. It’s here that quinnine was discovered along the Inca trail and became the starting point of the tonic water craze.  It’s exclusively made from natural ingredients including Chinchona bark, which is harvested by hand in Peru, and the world’s purest water from Patagonia.

But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –


Gentle with a slight floral quinine aroma on the nose. Very smooth on the palate with subtle flavours of sweetner and citrus blended with a very low carbonation. Refreshing with a lingering finish.

The most common partner with tonic is gin, but vodka works just as well –

1724 Vodka and Tonic

Glass – 


Ingredients –

1 twist of lemon peel
4 Green cardamon pods
200 ml 1724 Tonic Water
50 ml Premium Vodka (U’luvka, Ciroc, Grey Goose or Chase are recommended)

Method –

Combine vodka, 1724 tonic water, a long twist of lemon peel and 5 green caradamon pods in an ice filled glass.

Not a bad tonic at all, and rather versatile too. It’s always good to come across a tonic water that can complement some great brands of vodka, gin, aperitif and even cachaça. Make sure you ask for the brand if you come across it in your local bar, and it’s perfect to have in your fridge at home too.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.

Isla Ñ Tasting Notes

Isla Ñ

Isla Ñ Rum is a new breed of rums coming from countries you don’t usually expect this Caribbean based category to originate from. Isla Ñ is created and produced in Tucuman, a subtropical sugar-producing area in the northern region of Argentina. The brand was founded to re-create old-time distilling techniques with world-class raw materials. Appropriate then that Tucuman is in the heart of  the sugar producing area in Argentina.

The distillery has been designed to produce rum in a very slow and defined process to create a higher quality rum where they can control and choose the perfect rum. Isla Ñ also use traditional copper stills instead of the usual stainless steel that the larger distilleries use. The copper is said to give the rum a ‘discernible better flavour’, despite being more expensive and difficult to maintain.

Isla Ñ is produced in batch distilling, maturing the heart of the cut in fresh, new French oak barrels.

There are currently two expressions out in the UK, so below I give to you my tasting notes –

isla nisla Ñ White – 40%

Lots of powerful aromas of vanilla on the nose, but does smooth off as it reaches the palate. Vanilla is the dominant flavour with a surprisingly long offering of bittersweet coconut.

isla Ñ Gold Reserve – 40%

Mix of toffee and fudge on the nose that does smooth out nicely near the end. A slight burn on the tongue to begin with and has a thin water texture to it. Honey flavours appear but it’s a rather short offering.

isla Ñ Dulce de Leche Liqueur – 15%

Bringing rum and Dulche de Leche together by simmering milk, sugar and vanilla then blending with isla Ñ gold. Rich on the nose with plenty of cream and coconut aromas coming through. Velvet smooth on the palate with citrus rum coming through slowly. Coconut makes an appearance with over-proof rum notes dicing a little. Short.

A little different to your average rums, but how would it compare in a cocktail?

A Lady With No Name
A Lady With No Name

A Lady With No Name

Glass –


Ingredients –

40 ml isla Ñ Gold Reserve
12.5 ml Liquor 43
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
5 Cardamon pods

Method –

Dissolve the sugar in a small amount (15ml) of Isla Ñ Gold Reserve. Add ice to mixing glass then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir, sieve and serve straight up with a zest of orange.

Not a bad idea for a cocktail. Possibly one to look out for when Isla Ñ starts to hit the back bars of your favourite cocktail venue. Give it a go!

Check out more photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.

Stevens Garnier Trade Tasting Roadshow

A few weeks back, Castlefield in Manchester was the base for the Oxford wine agency of Stevens Garnier to showcase their very best offerings in their latest trade tasting roadshow. Attracting wine makers from countries including Austria, Portugual, California and France, as well as industry folk like Ruth Yates of Corks Out and Chris Green of the Manchester Wine School, you just know your going to be in for a treat! But before we get onto the wines, who are Stevens Garnier?

It all started in 1976 by two gentleman named Edward Garnier and Alastair Stevens, and carried on by Alastair after the early departure of Edward for the next 32 years. The relatively small team invested themselves into ground breaking imports from Argentina, Chile, Australia and Canada in the early eighties – something of an unknown territory back then. Stevens Garnier were also amongst the first to bring Bag in Box wines to the UK and one of the first to form a winery/agency joint venture when Sogrape of Portugal took a stake in the company in 1986.

So with a little Stevens Garnier knowledge brought to the table, the event was set in the Castlefield Rooms next to Dukes 92, where a horseshoe of wines (105 to be precise, with 5 Champagnes and 10 ports also making the grade) were presented to us, with the wine makers waiting with a wealth of information as we prepared to sip and swirl through the delights! Now I have to admit, I didn’t try all 120 offerings, but below I give to you a selection with my thoughts and tasting notes on each –

Champagne Bernard Remy Carte Blanche – 12%

Light honey and citrus on the nose that develops into an intense freshness once it hits the palate. Lots of mint flavours mixing well with the lively bubbles.

Champagne Bernard Remy Blanc de Blancs – 12%

Bright and lively nose with no significant aroma, but soft offerings of citrus are present on the palate.

Champagne Bernard Remy Grand Cru – 12%

Soft citrus aromas swirl on the nose and hit hard on the palate and gives a long after-taste.

Champagne Bernard Remy Rose – 12%

Lots of fresh fruit on the nose dance well, with significant dark red fruits coming through on the palate to create an intense finish.

Champagne Bernard Remy Vintage – 12%

Light aromas of vanilla lie on the nose, with a good hit of floral flavours hitting the palate.

Cave de Kientzheim-Kayesersberg Pinot Gris 2010, France – 13%

Bold hit of fresh, ripe fruits on the nose that leads straight onto the palate. Short, sharp and crisp.

TYDY Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays de Loire 2011, France – 12.5%

Herbal and floral aromas mix well on the nose, with a good blast of grapefruit. Fresh fruit flavours on the palate, with a fantastic crisp finish.

Domaine Joel Delauney Les Cabotines Rose 2010, France – 13%

Lots of fresh fruits that become masked with a subtle flow of spice on the nose. Soft offerings of fruit on the palate sooth down the aromas that leads to a refreshing end.

Vacheron Sancerre Blanc ‘Le Paradis’ 2009, France – 13%

Incredible ripe green fruits on the nose that leads to a well-rounded sharp flavour on the palate.

Domaine Corsin Pouily Fuisse 2009 France

Elegant mix of citrus and floral on the nose, with a good balance on the palate that has a soft ending.

Domaine L’Arnesque Cotes du Rhone Rouge ‘Fleur de Garrigues’ 2010, France

Black pepper with hints of liquorice on the nose and then combines well on the palate. Very smooth.

Domaine L’Arnesque Chateauneuf du Pape ‘Capelane’ 2010, France

Lots of intense berry aromas on the nose, with hints of figs and prunes as it makes its way to the palate.

Domaine Rose Dieu Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010, France – 14.5%

Almonds and fresh fruits dominate the nose, with the fruit becoming bolder as it hits the palate. Long finish.

Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Blanc 2010, France – 13.5%

Ripe grapefruit mixes well with fresh exotic fruits on the nose. Very lively and fresh on the palate.

Clos Bellane Cotes du Rhone Villages Valreas Rouge 2010, France – 14.5%

On the nose there is a good mix of blackcurrant and pepper, with the tannins on the palate emphasising the aromas. A long, fruity finish.

Jeaninne Boutin Cote Rotie ‘Bonnevaux’ 2009, France – 13.5%

Rich blackberry aromas are complimented by floral notes on the nose. Soft fruit offerings on the palate that leads to a good, fresh finish.

Chateau Genisson Blanc, AOC Cadillac 2003, France – 13%

Aromas of floral and peach combine with almond on the nose. Bold fruit flavours on the palate with a fantastic long sweetness.

Canapi Pinot Grigio 2011, Italy – 12.2%

Lots of citrus and tropical notes on the nose that combine well on the palate too. Well-balanced and refreshing.

Canapi Nero d’Avola 2010, Italy – 13.4%

A blast of red cherries hits the nose before hints of spice follows it onto the palate. Raspberry flavours follow nicely.

Perfume de Sonsierra 2009

Sonsierra Perfume de Sonsierra 2009, Spain – 14.5%

Fantastic mix of strawberry and liquorice mixing well on the nose, with subtle hints of roasted coffee greeting the palate. An incredibly long and smooth offering.

Duque de Viseu Dao Branco, Portugal 13%

Ripe fruit aromas of grapefruit and pear combine on the nose, which become heavy once it hits the palate.

Herdade do Peso Reserva, Portugal – 14.5%

Intense mixture of blackberries and raspberries on the nose with subtle aromas of spice and pepper coming through. Soft and well-balanced on the palate.

Los Boldos Momentos Chardonnay 2011, Chile – 13.5%

Aromas of green fruit blend nicely, with tropical fruits developing nicely on the palate.

Finca Flichman Tanguero Chardonnay 2011, Argentina – 13%

Light white fruits combine with floral notes on the nose, with a long offering of pineapple and peach on the palate finish.

Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec 2011, Argentina – 13.3%

Lots of deep aromas of black plums on the nose. Blackberry notes on the palate that creates a subtle finish.

Finca Flichman Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon, Argentina – 13.5%

Deep aromas of blackcurrant and pepper on the nose, developing into a spice offering on the palate with red fruits and hints of chocolate.

Finca Flichman Paisaje Tupungato, Argentina – 15%

Lively nose of ripe cherry aromas that are also present on the palate. Long, delicate finish.

McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2010, California – 14.5%

Bold aromas of cassis on the nose mixes well with sweet hazelnut. Ripe black fruit flavours on the palate that creates a long lingering finish.

A fantastic varied selection, with both the Chateau Genisson Blanc, AOC Cadillac 2003 and Canapi Pinot Grigio 2011 being personal highlights for me. I’ve decided to keep the tasting notes of the two port selections separate, with the full range of both Offley and Sandeman tried and tested. This will be going live in the near future!

All of the above wines are available via the Stevens Garnier website, and the majority that you have read come in at a reasonable price.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. 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.