The BEAT Society Takes Refuge In Manchester


The Pernod Ricard BEAT Society rolled into Manchester this week with its 6 strong team of some of the UK’s influential and engaging industry figures taking over the new Refuge bar and restaurant in the city centre.

Concentrating on seven categories, the likes of Phil Huckle (UK Brand Ambassador Chivas Regal), Liam Sparks (Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Megs Miller (UK House of Tequila Ambassador), Matthias Lataille (UK Brand Ambassador Martell), Michael Foster (UK Brand Ambassador Havana Club) and special guest Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London showed off their respective brand and category, but with a twist that offered an insight ‘outside the box’.

With only two more cities out of the initial seven to visit, I thought I’d offer an insight into what you can expect for the day as the BEAT team head to Newcastle (31/01/2017) and Liverpool (28/02/2017).

Prepare to demystify the style of Irish Whiskey and the impact that Jameson and Midleton Distillery have created within the whiskey market as Liam Sparks talks through the process of creation. From both column and pot distillation, to the wood styles within ageing, Liam engages with his knowledge and stories over a couple of drams, including distillates from the column and pot stills, as well as the likes of Redbreast 12yr and Jameson Caskmates.

Following the Irish closely are the Scots, championed by Phil Huckle with his focus on the luxury blend of Chivas Regal. Promoting towards the history of the whisky cocktails and how Chivas Regal have been at the forefront of some of the most iconic classics, experience the styles and profiles of such forgotten gems as the Morning Glory Fizz, as well as last years Chivas Masters winning drink by Chelsey Bailey. You can also hear how you can enter the 2017 edition of the Chivas Masters, as well as experience The Huckster!

Heading to the grape side of the spirit categories, Matthias Lataille shows his insight into Martell by bringing it to the forefront of your mind when modifying your cocktail creations. Sample classic cognac drinks such as the Sidecar using the VSOP expression, as well as twists on staples including the Pierre Collins as Matthias shows his creativity and knowledge on cognac and tips of how to invite your customers to experience.

Special guest star Jake O’Brien Murphy of Callooh Callay in London is on hand for the tour to offer an honest insight into the world of cocktail competitions, using his own experiences of entering competitions, including Jameson and Havana Club, in his career that includes positions within famed bars in Liverpool such as 81LTD. The do’s and dont’s of performance etiquette, how to approach those all important judges, understanding the brief set out, and adapting yourself to the live situation with confidence, Jake goes through the motions of before, during and after as you set out to highlight yourself to your peers and industry figures.

Demystifying tequila is Megs Miller, one of the latest additions to the BEAT Society family, as she focuses on Olmeca and how agave is riding the trend of the bartenders inquisitive. Serving up samples of Blanco, Reposado and Anejo, she’ll guide you through the tequila process, how Olmeca has grown over the years to accommodate changing tastes and attitudes towards the category, as well as her own agave experiences and stories when visiting Mexico and teaching across the world.

You can listen to Michael Foster’s stories too as he talks about Havana Club, with an emphasis on Cuba itself. Diving into how Havana Club has impacted the island in regards to cocktails such as the Mojito, Cuba Libra, Daiquiri and El Presidente, the enjoyment of the traditional recipes of such too, plus an understanding of how these classics have been devised through the stalwart bar scene within Cuba itself.

Mr Jake O’Brien Murphy also talks candidly on the vodka category, with the focus on Absolut and twisting the pre-conception that vodka is a ‘dying category’. He talks about the iconic Pornstar Martini and Cosmopolitan whilst giving his own views on how vodka can be best utilised in any bar through some simple changes.

Of course, no day of learning would be complete without a tipple of Mumm Champagne, with Matthias Lataille guiding you through the brand as you finish off the BEAT Society experience.

If you’re anything like me, having the opportunity to listen to one iconic figure in the industry is amazing, but to have seven in one room, offering their slant on their chosen category, is beyond an experience. Get yourselves signed up to Newcastle and Liverpool, immerse within the BEAT and take it all in.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. 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.

Piper-Heidsieck Rare Launches First Rose Champagne


Today, the House of PIPER-HEIDSIECK launches its first ever prestige cuveé rosé – The Rare Rosé Millésime 2007 – exclusive to Harrods and Hedonism in the UK.

The Rare Rosé Millésime 2007 is the latest creation from PIPER-HEIDSIECK’s Cellar Master, Régis Camus and explodes with aromas of lychee, berries and smoked tea and elegant flavours of exotic herbs, pomegranate, vanilla, passion fruit and a dash of paprika to exceed tasting expectations.

The exceptional Champagne is the marriage between 56% Chardonnay wines, mainly from the Montaigne de Reims area, selected carefully for their freshness and elegance and 44% Pinot Noir for structure. A blend of 17 grape varieties, it has been left to mature for at least eight years.

2007 was an unusual year for the vineyard, with extremely early growth which then suffered a period of cold weather – this year gave rise to very few vintage Champagnes. However, nature rewarded the few growers who showed devotion and carefully tended to the vines, resulting in perfectly ripe, crisp grapes.

According to Régis Camus, Cellar Master at PIPER-HEIDSIECK, “2007 was perfectly atypical, producing the first vintage Cuvée Rare Rosé. We spent several years reflecting on the selection of grape varieties that would be best suited to the Rosé version of our prestige cuvée. Rare Rosé Millésime 2007 enjoyed 8 years ageing time in the cellars.”

It’s not just the liquid that is special, the Rare Rosé 2007 will be presented in a special, numbered box made of lacquered black wood and rose gold metal.

The Rare Rosé Millésime 2007 is available from Harrods and Hedonism from 1st October at a RRP of £325.00. Only 150 bottles of this exclusive Champagne are available in the UK.

Global Lifestyle Experience Comes To London: L’Eden By Perrier-Jouet

L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët is an immersive experience around a completely new vision of nature and an unexpected contrast in the urban city of London.

From 16th – 25th September, spanning the duration of both London Fashion Week and London Design Festival, L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët will celebrate the creative effervescence of two of the biggest cultural weeks, with an installation from leading Parisian designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance and the world’s first bio-responsive garden by Bompas & Parr.

Found at 147 Wardour Street the two story L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët is named after the exclusive Eden cellar in Epernay, the home town of Maison Perrier-Jouët where it’s rarest and most prestigious Champagnes are kept. L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët is inspired by the beauty of nature and the space will echo the Art Nouveau inspiration behind Emile Galle’s iconic Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque bottle which she designed in 1902.

The ground floor lounge has been curated by internationally renowned French designer Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, alongside beautifully designed chairs and tables hangs an interactive installation, which links nature to the city creating an unexpected contrast of calm in an urban landscape. Noé has chosen to use Bernhardt furniture for the space as each speaks the language of simplicity and graceful lines that are the trademark of Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance.

The installation includes a vertical system of 3D-printed elements suspended from the ceiling on a network of brass tubes which grow down from the ceiling, like branches from a pergola. Noé creates a link between nature and the city, as there is little green space in London, particularly in Soho, the installation gives the sensation and reinterprets green space in this urban environment. Noé dramatises the approach in which the champagne is served, as visitors extract the flutes from the ‘tree,’ in a new tasting ritual, to be filled up with Perrier-Jouët Champagne.

What’s more growing downstairs will be the world’s first bio-responsive garden, an installation bursting with plants that mimic the movements of visitors, complete with a hidden Eden cellar, for those who know.

L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët will play host to various experiences including design talks, fashion presentations, Perrier-Jouët tastings, masterclasses and star-studded parties. Consumers can experience L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September. All other dates will be invitation only.

For more information and to buy tickets go to

William Grant & Sons Named Official Spirits & Champagne Tournament Provider Of Rugby World Cup 2015


William Grant & Sons is proud to announce it is the Official Spirits & Champagne Tournament Provider of Rugby World Cup 2015. This partnership will mean William Grant & Sons’ UK portfolio of premium brands including Grant’s, Piper-Heidsieck, Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s, Sailor Jerry and Zubrowka will have exclusive pouring rights at all Rugby World Cup 2015 stadiums. William Grant & Sons will also have access to highly coveted tickets to every match.

This is the first time that family owned, independent distiller William Grant & Sons has partnered with Rugby’s showcase event, due to take place between September 18th and October 31st 2015. The Tournament brings together 20 nations, participating in 48 matches, across 13 stadiums.

During Rugby World Cup 2015, William Grant & Sons brands will be undertaking a range of activities to engage fans and will be offering once in a lifetime opportunities to attend matches.

Gary Keogh, Marketing Director, William Grant & Sons UK said: “We are incredibly excited about our association with Rugby World Cup 2015. This Tournament is one of the world’s greatest sporting events and we’re looking forward to engaging millions of rugby fans with our portfolio of brands in and around match venues, at a bar or at home.”

This partnership allows William Grant & Sons the opportunity to reach a discerning audience who appreciate premium spirits and value memorable experiences.

With England 2015 on track to be the biggest and most viewed Rugby World Cup to date, engaging new and existing audiences, this showcase event is set to deliver an unparalleled platform to project the sport, its unifying values and is a perfect fit for William Grant & Sons’ portfolio of brands.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “We are delighted to welcome another brand sector leader to the international family of Rugby World Cup 2015 commercial partners. The appointment of a company with strong values and globally-renowned brands as Official Spirits and Champagne Provider further underscores the prestige of our showcase event.

“With 78 days to go, we are confident that England 2015 will be a wonderful and truly global celebration of rugby and friendship and we look forward to welcoming the world to Rugby World Cup 2015.”

Selfridges Unveils New-Look Wine Shop

Selfridges Wine Shop

Selfridges Exchange Square, Manchester has unveiled a luxurious new-look to its first floor Wine Shop with 50% more space and an extensive increase in its selection of fine wines and exclusive high-end spirits.

Weekly spirits tastings will take place from mid-September with a large selection of new brands on offer. Selfridges is doubling its vodka range, introducing new top of the range tequilas and mescals and bolstering its already vast offering of gin and whisky significantly.

With Christmas fast approaching there is also a focus on gifting with in-house experts on hand to advise on rare and exotic beverages from around the globe guaranteed to please the man or woman who has everything. In the run-up to the festive season there will also be bespoke personalisation services including Bombay Sapphire bottle engraving.

In addition the Wine Shop will exclusively stock the exquisite Moet Ice Imperial Party pack, Australian vermouth brand Regal Rouge, 86 Company and Cambridge Gin.

Australasia Late Lounge Review


Australasia is bang in the middle of Manchester’s Spinningfields, the elite area full of businesses, retailers and residential folk. I’ve worked with them in the past as it is seen as one of the places to, well, be seen, which has been great to attract consumers towards a variety of brands that I work alongside. A concept that has started to enjoy a revival now the nights are drawing longer, is the Australasia Late Lounge, where ‘the lights go down and guest DJ’s set the mood for a sultry, sophisticated evening.’ What more could you ask for? A place to be seen, where you can relax the whole evening with a cocktail or glass of fizz, in the surroundings of one of the more sophisticated venues in the city.

The Late Lounge kicks off Thursday to Saturday every week from 11:30pm, with tables available to hire. But before then, perhaps hit the sister bar and canopied outdoor garden Grand Pacific. Joined in the middle by a staircase, you hardly need to walk far as you can enjoy a glass of sparkling Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut close to the guest DJ who likes to be situated outside, come rain or shine. The enclosed garden does give you the feel of being, quite literally, on the continent of Australasia.

Smoking Bundy Punch
Smoking Bundy Punch

Once the time arrives to head down to Australasia, you can succumb to the sounds, whilst grabbing yourself a comfy booth with an Australasia creation Smoking Bundy Punch in hand. Of course, a Gin Martini has to be the order of the day if you want to go classical. Tanqueray a recommended favourite, alongside a Grey Goose if you wish to feel a little James Bond.

The Late Lounge is also great for groups, with sharer vessels available with the extensive bottle serve list including the likes of Chase, Tanqueray No.10 and Beefeater with mixers of Fever Tree tonic, orange and cranberry juice, and Red Bull and soda water to create your own concoctions as and when you wish.

With a new cocktail menu being launched very soon, you may want to experience now the delights before the summer changes come into force, although I’ve been assured that if you do take the plunge this weekend, you have to be sure to return in June to give your rating on their new concoctions!

Suit up, dress on. Australasia Late Lounge is the place to unwind, mingle and enjoy till the early morning.

© 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.

Annies Review


Who likes a hidden gem? A place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of Manchester? Somewhere where you can relax with a menu that’s eye-catching in a chair that you’ll want to take home with you. Sound good? Welcome to Annies.

The new venture by the couple of Chris Farr of Smith’s of Eccles fame and Coronation Street’s own Fiz Stape, or Jennie McAlpine to quote her real name, have acquired a two-floor plot located on Old Bank Street just off St Anne’s Square. It might not look much from the outside but the explorer within us all will thank you when you step through the doors.

Greeted by arm chairs on either side of the room, and a long curved bar on the back wall, this well-lit area gives off an instant homely feel. With a mix of chandeliers and lamp shades, cream walls and wooden panels, you could easily mistake this for a sitting room – it just has a few square tables dotted around for there Modern English cuisine servings. It’s downstairs though that is the real charm.

Make your way downstairs and you have a choice of directions. One way takes you to an open corner full of alluring chairs, coffee tables and bowler hat lampshades, another takes you to their second bar housing delights of wine, Champagne and spirits. Their third way shows you the main dining area, holding approximately 150 covers (over the two floors but the main bulk located downstairs), with elegant red drapes hanging from the back wall, Marilyn Monroe stills mixing with prints of musical advertisements and the cream coloured walls working well with the dark wooden flooring. If you carry on round though you come to an extra room.

Used as part of the restaurant or as a private function room, you can easily be transformed into a simplistic yet elegant dining room. Complete with a rather spongy carpet, arm chairs and even a glass cabinet in the corner, you’ll be finding any excuse to dine in this part. The best part though is that if you do, you’re in prime position once you’ve finished your meal, to enter the sitting room. A long stretch that finishes back where you started at the main stairs full of arm chairs and low-level tables in an environment perfect for sipping a whisky or finishing your bottle of wine in comfort and style.

Speaking of the drinks, they’ve put together a rather good selection. Highlights noticed whilst browsing their menu include bottles of Pamapas del sur Alto Malbec from Argentina (£19.95), Kate Radburnd Pinot Noir from New Zealand (£34.50) and Waters Edge White Zinfandel from the USA (£19.95). As mentioned, Prosecco and Champagne are also available with the usual suspects listed as well as Pol Roger Brut Reserve (£70) and Ayala Rose (£57). There’s nothing on draught but they compensate by offering Peroni Red and Nastro Azzurro, Timothy Taylor and Rekordelig (all around the £4 mark) as well as a range of soft drinks, coffees and teas.

Spirits wise they’ve a fairly standard variety including Grey Goose, Chase and Belvedere for vodka, Havana 7 and Myers for rum, Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire for gin and Laphroaig 10yr, Woodford Reserve and Glenlivet 21yr for your whisky collection. Your house pours aren’t too bad either – Absolut, Jack Daniels, Beefeater and Bacardi amongst a list of eight ‘standards’.

Annies has also rolled out a cocktail list too (£6.95 each) with well-known names featuring. Tom Collins, Margarita, Bellini, Vodka Martini and Daiquiri follow Annies Fizz (Champagne and Cherry Brandy) in the rather short page, although they do mention that you can ask your bartender to create you something else. Also doesn’t mention what the branded ingredients are. A bold move possibly.

Now although I went primarily to check out the venue and drinks, I did take a look at the food menu and have to mention that any menu where you could choose several dishes at once is a huge plus for me. The pan-fried breast of chicken stuffed with garlic and thyme mousse looked very inviting, as did the slow braised lamb shank and the choice between five pies. The mini bite of sausage roll laced with chopped tomato and seasoning being handed round only confirmed my taste buds for what could be in store if I choose to dine here in the future. And to dine here I will.

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.

Neighbourhood Review


As with any big city, there’s aways something new and exciting to check out. Round every corner there’s scaffolding popping up, huge signs with the words ‘coming soon!’ and a buzz on social media of the venue working its magic. With no exception would be Neighbourhood. An American styled bar and restaurant located on Avenue North, behind Oasthouse, by the same guys who brought you Southern Eleven. Apparently taking its inspiration from iconic New York restaurants and housing around 200 covers, it produced a media frenzy (well social media) on its opening night last Thursday, but a Manchester Confidential invite on the Friday meant I had to wait to see what all the fuss was about.

Down what I can only describe as a posh looking back alley you will find multi coloured metal framed tables and chairs. Intriguing more than anything but I can imagine them being taken full advantage of when summer hits for a week in 2013. Friendly door staff showed me the way to my ticket where I could choose my drink for the evening. As a Drinks Enthusiast, I opted for the cocktail offering – Basil Grande.

A good dose of Absolut, raspberry puree, cranberry and lemon juice served in a Martini glass and fresh strawberry garnish went down a treat with me. Unbelievably smooth with a velvet texture hit the spot, and despite not being the first cocktail of the night to be created by the bartender, nothing was too much trouble. I have to point out that for a night like this, customer service could not be faulted, and there were plenty of them to serve you.

Basil Grande
Basil Grande

Although busy, the atmosphere was rather relaxed. No stressful vibes were being omitted from the invitees as they scattered between the long bar and tall tables. Separating us from the main restaurant though was a magnificent looking lit up organ pipe work connecting itself to see-through cabinets full of weird and wonderful items. A large circular booth dominated the room, which looks perfect for holding large parties, being overlooked by an open-hatched kitchen and mezzanine level which you can apparently hire out. The layout also extends down the back of the venue and to the side, so there’s ample space to enjoy and areas to also have a quiet, relaxed meal away from the hustle and bustle of the bar.

The music also had a good selection. Although maybe a little too loud, the beat heavy tracks of Blondie, Police and Soft Cell do make you realise that it’s not your average restaurant with an iPod on shuffle. When was the last time you heard these artists in the same night at 6pm??

The night wasn’t just for Manchester Confidential though, it was open to the public too with orders flying around for Manhattan’s, Old Fashioned’s, Pornstar Martini’s and Tom Collins galore, mixed with calls for wine and Champagne. There offering on the bar isn’t too bad, with Samuel Adams and Asahi on draught and bottles of Heineken, Cusquena, Moretti and Saint completing the range. Spirit selection is rather varied too, with Beefeater 24, Zubrowka, Olmeca, Hendrick’s, Woodford Reserve, Tanqueray 10, Chase Marmalade and the Plymouth range some of the highlights. The back bar comes complete with a back wall. A noughts and crosses style shelving housing delights such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot and Belle Epoque – a rather impressive sight.

You may have noticed that I’m yet to mention anything about the food. Truth is, I missed out. Not that they ran out or anything, I unfortunately had to leave earlier than intended however I will say this – some of the smells and aromas coming from that kitchen were absolutely fantastic. No word of a lie.

So Neighbourhood is a rather interesting addition to the Manchester scene, and to Spinningfields which breaks up the Living Ventures monopoly so-to-speak, and I will be back to see what it’s like in a few weeks, see if it can carry on its impressive start, and to try out the food. Oh and the cocktails – they don’t seem to be too much trouble to create.

Check out the rest of the photos from the evening 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.

Corks Out Summer Tasting – Manchester

Last week was the inaugural start of something that has been proving popular in recent years – the Corks Out tasting evenings. Only this time, instead of the usual Warrington and Chester locations, they’ve branched out into Manchester and brought along with them a host of brands in both wine, Champagne and spirits. With the promise of a wide selection from producers including Morton, Franschhoek and Cattier as well as spirits that included El Dorado rum, Hayman’s gin and Auchentoshan whisky, you’d think there would be plenty to go around. Oh no. To cap off the selection, both Robinson’s brewery and Wrenbury cider were at the Castlefield Room’s to shed a bit of local prestige to the afternoon’s proceedings. With the Corks Out team on hand to lend their expertise to the public, and joined by the ever popular Stevens Garnier and Wines of Portugal, an afternoon turned quickly into an evening of not only being given the chance to try bottles that ranged from £6.99 to £39.99, but also the opportunity to win a free Magnum of Champagne and to learn the trade by signing up to their collaboration with Manchester Wine School. With much to experience, I tried to keep to brands and styles that I had either never come across or had not previously had the chance to sample, so below I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Morton White Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand – 13.5%

Lots of passionfruit and citrus on the nose that developed into soft, well-balanced offering on the palate.

Cypress White Label Syrah 2009, New Zealand 

Instant sweetness with ripe berry and plum notes on the nose. Contrasting flavours on the palate though with slow hints of chocolate and herbs.

Cypress Terraces Syrah 2008, New Zealand 

Strong dark berry aromas on the nose mix well with dark chocolate and liquorice on the palate. Slight spice on the end.

Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2010, Australia – 14.5%

A blend of blackcurrant and mint on the nose that punches its way onto the palate.

Terrunyo Syrah 2007, Chile

On the nose, strong raspberries and white pepper that evolves into liquorice flavours on the palate. A dry finish.

Concha y Toro Late Harvest Dessert 2008, Chile

Fresh peach and honey notes come through on the nose, with the honey creating a light, long finish on the palate.

Steenberg Chardonnay Brut NV, South Africa – 11.5%

Fresh apples and crumble found on the nose, with a fresh, creamy palate offering with a crisp finish.

Matetic EQ Chardonnay 2009, Chile

Instant peach and honey blend well as it develops from the nose to the palate. Well-balanced and creamy.

Le Difese Tenuta San Guido (3rd Sassicaia) 2010, Italy

Dark berry aromas hit the nose instantly, with delicious spice on the palate to counter its richness.

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand

Apricot and lime balance well on the nose, with juicy fruit and a citrus edge hitting the palate well.

Ciconia Branco Alentejo 2011, Portugal

Lots of passionfruit and melon balancing nicely on both the nose and palate.

Drink Me Tinto Niepoort 2010, Portugal

Bold dark berry fruits  that dive deeper as it hits the palate to create a smooth finish.

Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007, Portugal

Blackberries and plums blend well on the nose, becoming soft and silky once on the palate. Long finish.

Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Le Paradis 2010, France – 13%

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

Cotes du Rhone Rose Clos Bellane Altitude 2011, France – 12%

Peach and strawberries combine gently on the nose and becomes light and fruity upon hitting the palate.

Cattier NV Brut Champagne

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 Glamour Demi Sec Rose Champagne

A blend of red berries and ripe fruit  are present on the nose and palate, with a hint of sweetness to finish.

Cattier Antique Rose Champagne

Fresh and well-rounded with crisp red berries dominating both the nose and palate.

Robinson’s Brewery

Portia Ebeia Ribera del Duero 2004, Spain

Incredibly fresh on the nose, with hints of vanilla and raspberry making its way through on the nose and palate. Enjoys a finish of sweetness.

An incredible selection that covers a host of countries including Italy, Chile, New Zealand and Australia, as well as a Portuguese port, South African sparkling wine, Chilean dessert wine and a variety of Champagnes from well-known houses. I was also lucky enough to sample the range from Robinson’s brewery as well as the El Dorado 12 and 15yr rums and Patron XO Cafe tequila. The spirits will be featured on my site in the near future as their own seperate article, as will the Robinson’s range (although you can check out previous notes on their Old Tom and ‘build a rocket boys’ offerings).

The event was a great chance to not only try something different in a variety of categories, but also the opportunity to talk to both the ladies and gentleman behind the brands and Ruth Yates herself who was more than willing to chat to anyone and everyone about her favourite hobby.

The Corks Out Winter Tastings will be next on the agenda, and I strongly suggest you get yourself down. Get involved!

© 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.




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.