Corks Out Champagne and Canapé Tasting

The annual Corks Out Champagne and Canapé night made its way to the prestige 3 rosette Alderley Edge Hotel & Restaurant last week accompanied by a host of well-known and famous Champagne houses to tantalize the taste buds of a bustling, and aptly named, Lauren Perrier suite.

I’m going to dive straight into the tasting notes of each Champagne I tried, with hopefully some interesting side notes on each.

Canard Duchene Cuvee Leonie NV – 12%

More than ten million bottles are ageing in the chalk cellars of Canard-Duchêne, which were dug by hand in the 19th century.
A good mix of tropical fruits and dried flowers on the nose that opens up beautifully once it hits the palate. Very fresh.

Thienot Rose – 12.5%

A favourite of Raymond Blancs restaurant – lively cherry and blackcurrant aromas swirl on the nose that develops into some fantastic flavours of red berries on the palate.

Cattier White Label Brut NV – 12.5%

Served best with white meat – fresh white fruit of apples and pears subtly surround the nose, with a lively, fresh dose of tropical and floral flavours on the palate.

Cattier Premier Cru Antique Rose NV

Perfect with fruit desserts – fresh and well-rounded with crisp red berries dominating both the nose and palate.

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades NV – 12.5%

Found in many a Champagne bar, including The Circle 360 – very light floral notes on the nose with hints of fruit nearing the end. Creamy on the palate with a distinctive brioche flavour coming through with a long finish.

Taittinger Vintage Millésimé 2005

Floral on the nose to begin, but moves onto ripe fruit and raisin. A fresh palate dominated with caramalised fruits produces a long finish.

Ruinart Rose NV – 12.5%

Ripe cherry and red berries on the nose with a little spice at the end. Silky as it hits the palate, with fresh mint and grapefruit flavours.

Moet & Chandon Grande Vintage 2002

Toasted notes of almonds on the nose with ripe fruits following and maturing onto the palate. A complimenting mix of rhubarb, citrus and pink grapefruit go well together for a long finish.

Dom Perignon Vintage 2003 – 12.5%

Incredibly soft, sweet floral notes on the nose with a hint of spice near the end. Delicate on the palate to begin with, but develops well with a creamy texture and a slight tang finish.

Krug Grande Cuvee NV – 12%

A blend of around 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages – a mix of floral, ginger bread and citrus blend well on the nose, whilst flavours of hazelnuts, almonds and honey dominate the palate.

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV – 12.5%

A good marriage of cream and fruit on the nose, with rich peach and a subtle butter flavour on the palate that produces a long finish.

Bollinger Rose NV – 12%

A soft aroma of red fruit on the nose becomes more dominant as it reaches the palate as strawberries and raspberries stand out. Long, creamy finish.

Bollinger Grande Annee Vintage 2002 – 12%

Pears, toffee and spice are present on the nose, with a rich balance of citrus and apple on the palate.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier – 12%

Toasted almonds dominate the nose, moving to become lively yet creamy on the palate.

Louis Roederer Carte Blanche – 12%

Intense honey and ripe, sweet notes on the nose, with rich, creamy texture on the palate with apricots coming through. Long finish.

Louis Roederer Rose Vintage – 12.5%

Pairing well with a variety of food – lots of fruits on the nose, with blackberries and blueberries coming through noticeably. Rich fruit and cream blend well on the palate.

Louis Roederer Cristal Vintage 2004 – 12%

Intense white fruit and citrus hits the nose well, with a hint of sweetness nearing the end. Peach and apricot burst on the palate into a soft, silky and creamy end.

Laurent Perrier Brut – 12%

Delicate aroma of citrus on the nose, fruity and crisp on the palate with a long finish.

Laurent Perrier Vintage 2002 – 12%

Dried fruits and citrus bounce off each other on the nose, with a lively palate of lemon and dark fruit combining for a long finish.

Laurent Perrier Brut Rose – 12%

Crisp aroma of red fruits on the nose that follows onto the palate and intensifies. Lots of strawberries and blackcurrant mixing well for a rounded finish.

After having a tipple or two of the Champagne, Bob of Corks Out in Stockton Heath was on hand with some Champagne cocktails including a Bellini using Briottet Creme de Peche, a Rhubarb Royale involving Briottet Rhubarb, a French 75 with -ish Gin and the surprisingly good mixture of Martin Millers gin, Kwai Feh lychee liqueur and Champagne to create a Shanghai Fizz.

With discounts on all the Champagnes available, and even the chance to own a bottle of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Jeroboam 1995 presented in a stunning gift box, that had a price tag of £2200 for the night (a saving of £1000), there were orders flying left right and centre as I left Alderley Edge with a fair few favourites stuck in my mind (personal highlights include Dom Perignon, Cattier Glamour Rose, Laurent Perrier Vintage 2002 and Bollinger Special Cuvee).

All the above are available via the Corks Out website, with stores also across the North West.

Check out the rest of the photos 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.

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Corks Out Christmas Poptastic Champagne Tasting

Corks Out in Timperley held their monthly tasting session last Thursday and with the run up to Christmas in full swing, store manager Karim Ghazanfar introduced to us all 10 sparkling wines to sample and enjoy.

So without delay, let’s crack on with the tasting notes from each wine!

 

The range of Prosecco & Champagne on offer

Primo Prosecco – Italy

A nose of peach and apricot with floral hints lingering softly afterwards. The palate enjoys an elegant yet lively sensation to create a crisp, smooth finish. A slight dryness on the after-taste.
Hailing from the Veneto region in Northern Italy, the producer of Primo Prosecco, Cavit, has been named ‘European Producer of the Year’ twice in its history so far.
Recommended to go with smoked salmon and is a great starting Prosecco.

Prosecco Sergio – Italy

Honey and fresh apple notes mix well on the nose, both being emphasised once hitting the palate with citrus and green apples being the dominant flavours. A long finish, although slightly dry. More delicate on the taste buds due to the wine being matured more slowly.
Produced by the biggest Prosecco company, Mionetto.

Morton Mimi Sparkling Wine – New Zealand

Consisting of Hawkes Bay grapes (Pinot Noir 49%, Chardonnay 48%, Pinot Meunier 3%), a heavy sweetness on the nose with a rich yeast flavour of fresh bread being particularly dominant. It’s smooth and sweet on the palate, with the sugar masking the flavour of acidity well.
Recommended as more a celebratory sparkling wine.

Steenberg Brut – South Africa

Using 100% Chardonnay grapes, a fresh green apple aroma is dominant on the nose, with limes and soft biscuit following slowly. Flavours of rich yeast and a light, creamy yet dry rest easy on the palate.

Morton Blanc de Blanc 2000 – New Zealand

Morton’s top sparkling wine in their range and produced with 100% Chardonnay grapes), instant strawberry notes are detected on the nose whilst raisins, caramel, and toffee blend well lightly on the palate. Virtually no bubbles are present.

Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut – France

Produced using 70% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier grapes, a rich tone of citrus and cake hit the nose in an instant, but the palate enjoys a delicate mix of green apple and fresh fruits that slowly turn into vanilla flavours. Light, fresh and crisp.

Bollinger Ayala Brut Majeur – France

Pinot Noir dominated (48% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Meunier), with rich, fresh stewed strawberries on the nose and a slight vanilla flavour giving the palate a short, clean after-taste.
 
Cattier Rose Red Kiss – France
 
Red grape dominated (only 4% Chardonnay), peach and raspberry notes mix well with scents of biscuits to create a slightly dry, yet delicate finish on the palate with strawberry, plum and cherry flavours.
Recommended with strawberry cheesecake.
 
Billecart-Salmon Rose – France
Subtle fresh bread aromas combine well with ripe strawberries and raspberries on the nose, in turn creating a light, fresh palate ending with a long, dry finish.
 
Billecart-Salmon 2004 – France
 
Very fresh on the nose with a great combination of citrus and lime with a small hint of dried fruits. A light, soft and savoury mix of fruits and apple creates a long finish for a Champagne that can only get better with age.
 
 
A fantastic night resulting in a good mix of both Prosecco and Champagne, with great stories and facts from our host and a bottle of Primo Prosecco is now safely chilling in my fridge. It’s amazing what a simple tasting will do to your palate and wallet!
 
All 10 sparkling wines are available on the Corks Out website here.
For more photos of the tasting, click here.
 
 
 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. 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.

 

 

The Circle 360 Review

Theres a new champagne and cocktail bar located in the Italian area of the Trafford Centre’s Orient food hall. I’ve watched this bar grow from day one as it’s location is opposite to where i work and i’ve been itching to try it out ever since its grand opening less than a week ago.

I took along a friend and arrived at about 3pm. As you can see the back bar automatically grabs your attention, the large circle with a magnum of champagne in the middle! A good layout of spirits surrounded underneath it including Jack Daniel Single Barrel, Belvedere, Patron and Martin Millers as well as display ice buckets with several bottles of Moet & Chandon poking out the top. Cake stands were also visible for there Afternoon Tea promotion (more about that later).

Speciality 360

Sitting ourselves on white leather bar stools which despite looking like salon chairs, went surprisingly well with the white decor, we were greeted by the bartender on duty with a smile and a drinks menu. I had already previously asked The Circle Club (the company behind the bar) on there Twitter feed which cocktails they recommend with the replies of ‘Pornstar Martini and the speciality 360’, so with curiosity getting the better of me i plumped for the 360 while a French Martini was ordered as well. Now i don’t know if this is me but if you make a cocktail, you make it in front of the customer, not halfway down the bar. It would have been nice to see what ingredients he was putting in to this speciality cocktail (i glimpsed Hendricks gin being used) but i gave the man his dues once he presented me with the finished item.A dark blackcurrant colour with a fresh blackcurrant and cucumber fold as a garnish made a good first impression. It had a smooth velvety taste to it with the constant aroma of cucumber coming from both the garnish as well as the Hendricks gin. Slightly overpowering it sometimes but the blackberry taste counteracted it nicely and made it a very nice mouth-watering signature cocktail.We were a bit confused with what our other drink was as we originally ordered a French Martini however a champagne flute was handed to us which eventually turned out to be a French 75. Obviously thinking the French Martini would be served in the Martini glass and the signature cocktail served in a champagne flute, it turned out we were drinking the drink the other one had ordered. A mistake on the bartenders part but non-the-less the French 75 was a beautiful lemon zest cocktail with the Moet & Chandon champagne top not overpowering the overall complexity at all. After a few sips i also noticed it started to go down very smoothly, as if the drink had settled and it allowed you to enjoy it that little bit more. The glass itself helped, an elegant yet simple thinly stemmed champagne flute that curved at the top to reduce the amount of gasses being released.

A Parisian Re-fashioned followed next for me with an absinthe take on the Old Fashioned classic.

Parisian Re-fashioned

Made with coating the inside of a tumbler glass with Le Fee Parisian Absinthe and igniting for a few seconds, blowing out and starting the 7 minute process of an Old Fashioned. The use of Woodford Reserve bourbon was a particularly good choice and vanilla sugar made my day as the sweet tooth guy I am. To be fair it wasn’t 7 minutes in the making but the drink itself was a well-balanced affair. The vanilla sugar took the edge off a drink which can sometimes come on a bit strong if not enough Demerara is used and it worked well. The burnt orange zest gave some interesting aromas as it mixed with the coating of absinthe and the Woodford Reserve but it didn’t over come you which made it a very drinkable drink.

My friend is a lover of Tanqueray 10 and asked the barman for a recommendation that involved fruit juices. The result was Tanq 10 with both fresh and puree strawberries with a top of champagne served in a Martini Glass. This had a zest tingly sensation to it, possibly due to the champagne top but also to the fresh strawberries used. The gin was hard to tell it was there sometimes but you got the odd taste of the Tanq once you made your way through the layer of fruit.

The Circle 360 bar menu is a simple yet well set out design with a ‘champagne story’ on the inside cover to highlight the bars purpose.

Now i will say this, the prices that the drinks are being sold for are worth it.

Champagne cocktails (Bellini’s, French 75’s) for £6.95

Signature cocktails (Pornstar Martini, Jack Daniels Single Barrel over ice) for £5.95

Classic cocktails (Mojito, Margarita, Long Island) £4.95

Contemporary cocktails (8yr Itch, Grey Goose Le Fizz) £5.45

Martinis (Cosmopolitan, French Martini) £5.45

French 75

Compared to the rest of the Trafford Centre’s bar/cocktails offerings as well as the reputation of The Circle Club i did expect to be paying a lot more for these drinks, especially when they use premium spirits and champagne! This could be a winning formula for them and i hope they stick at these prices for a while to come.

Now as you’d expect there are offerings for wine with what looks like a very good and varied selection in each category (a bottle of Sangiovese, Ceravalo Estate caught my eye for £29.50). The usual suspects of champagne are there with glasses of Castell Lord Cava at £3.50 to £7.95 for a Moet & Chandon Imperial Rose and topping to a bottle of Krug Clos D’Ambonnay Vintage 1996 at £3295. Theres Bollinger, Dom Perignon, Laurent Perrier, Veuve Clicquot and Louis Roederer thrown in there for good measure too.

Soft drinks are available too with the offering of juices, milkshakes, smoothies and tea and coffee as well as fresh cake slices including victoria sponge, cupcakes, scones and lollicakes (cakes on a stick, – popular with celebrities apparently!). They also do a Afternoon Tea priced at £15.50 where you receive a pot of Darjeeling tea, choice of 2 sandwiches, scone, elderflower cake, chocolate choux pastry and fresh fruit tart!

Nearing the end of our visit we were both genuinly impressed with the offerings that The Circle 360 give you in the case of drinks as well as surroundings. The stunning bar set-up is a thing to see and you don’t always feel like your in the middle of a food court when your sat there, something which i thought would put me off.

You’ll be seeing me here again that’s for sure, theres plenty more drinks for me to try!