The Symington family hold one of the largest and most valuable stocks of Port ageing in seasoned oak, including barrels that date back to the 19th century. Charles Symington has used these beautifully mature wines to redefine the Dow 10, 20, 30 and 40-Year-Old Ports.
Charles has maintained a dry finish for these wines, the hallmark of Dow’s Vintage, but he and his team have evolved the Tawny Ports to give them additional concentration and structure, with darker hues of polished mahogany, by using wines that have been aged in small seasoned oak vats, as well as in cask.
The new Dow’s Tawny Ports are presented in a classic Port bottle and the new labels reflect the extraordinary skills required from the family’s tasters, coopers and lodge staff to produce these authentically hand-crafted wines.
Charles Symington says: “With increasing demand for Tawny Ports, I have spent many months working to redefine our Dow’s wines. I have selected those made from two of our finest vineyards: Quinta do Bomfim and Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira and in a departure from traditional practice, I have used Ports that were aged in small oak vats, as well those aged in traditional 550 litre casks.”
World-wide sales of Aged-Tawny Ports are valued at over €77 million and have grown by an astonishing €21 million since 2010 (+38%)*, belying the myth that today’s consumers are less interested in Port.
*Source: Total ex-cellar Port sales 2017, IVDP/Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture
Hamburg may not be the first place you think of for creating gin, but the rules have changed and Gin Sul has made its way to the UK from Hamburg’s only gin distillery!
Masterminded by Stephan Garbe, he was inspired by his time living in Costa Vicentina in south-west Portugal and decided to use the botanicals of the country, including lemons and Rockrose. Unable to create his idea in Portugal itself, he set up in Hamburg to produce a German version of his Portuguese idea, Gin Sul becoming the result.
Produced by hand, fresh lemons are sent over from Portugal, arriving at the distillery on an almost weekly basis. Peeled by hand, the fresh peels are combined with juniper berries, coriander, rosemary, peppers, lavender, cinnamon and gum rockrose (Cistus Ladanifer) amongst others. Small batches of just 100 litres are created each time.
Their distinctive white bottles are made from stoneware, then glazed and screen printed, before being filled by hand. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Gin Sul– 43%
Fresh zest of the lemons come through immediately upon the nose, followed by dry pepper and subtle lavender. Very soft upon the palate, offering up a waxy lemon peel, rosemary scent and dry pepper dusting. A lingering finish, with a slight heat on the tongue, and fresh juniper kick.
Join Super Bock for a night of celebration at BEAT London, the iconic private members club just off Oxford Street on Wednesday 24th May, 6-11pm!
In its 50+ years of opening, BEAT has housed some of the great music legends of our time including David Bowie, Jimmy Hendrix and The Sex Pistols and Super Bock is offering you a one off opportunity to experience it.
There will be live music from special guest, Portuguese DJ Moullinex who has performed in venues and festivals across the world and is now bringing his electronic vibes to BEAT London for the first time.
Drinks will be flowing, everyone will be dancing and we’d love for you to come and join the party!
Want to go? I’ve 5 pairs of tickets to give away! Head to my Twitter page and enter! Simple!
Terms and Conditions;
Open to people aged 18+ only and must be residing in the UK. Travel expenses are not covered for, and winning tickets cannot be swapped for monetary value. A single ticket is the prize, no extra tickets available for travelling partners. Competition closes midnight 23rd May 2017.
Port is one of those categories that gets overlooked a lot in many bars and restaurants. But I for one try to offer it to customers to let them into a new flavour, a new experience, which can get them hooked. Cockburn’s have established themselves as one of the leading brands of Port since 1815, and is the first port-of-call for many bars due to this. But why? And indeed why should we purchase it?
* Port is a fortified wine, meaning that its fermentation is interrupted through the addition of pure grape brandy in the proportion of 20% brandy to 80% wine, thus preserving some of the grapes’ natural sugars, so defining its full, rich character and ultimately its great longevity.
From 1808 to 1812, the Scottish Robert Cockburn served as a soldier in the Peninsular War under the Duke of Wellington. Whilst in Portugal, Robert Cockburn discovered the Douro region and its wines and vowed to return and dedicate himself to the region. In 1815, when hostilities ceased, he returned to the country and founded his own Port house – Cockburn’s.
As business developed through the 19th century, three other families joined the company: the Smithes, the Teages and the Cobbs. The families produced and ensured the consistent quality of Cockburn’s, as illustrated by the renowned Cockburn’s Vintage Ports of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1962, Cockburn’s was sold by the families to Harvey’s of Bristol. Forty-eight years later in 2010, Cockburn’s was once again in the sure hands of a family of Port producers – the Symingtons. This family has been making Port for five generations and is the largest vineyard owner in the Douro.
The 1st of September 1969 saw the launch of the landmark Reserve Port: Cockburn’s Special Reserve. This was a defining moment for Port. The first great Reserve Port bridged the quality gap between everyday Ruby Ports and the rare and expensive Vintage Ports. Premium quality Port was no longer bound to the formal dining rooms, Cockburn’s Special Reserve made Port accessible and enjoyable at many varied occasions, both formal and informal. Since the 1960’s, Cockburn’s Special Reserve has led the Reserve Port category. Its introduction was followed by many other Port producers who started to produce their own Reserves.
In 1971, a series of TV advertisements for Cockburn’s were released. These ground breaking advertisements were well received for their British tongue-in-cheek humour and they created renewed interest in Port and were instrumental in forming a new generation of Port consumers.
I’ve had the chance to try their Fine Ruby expression, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Cockburn’s Fine Ruby – 20%
A blend of full-bodied wines, matured for approximately two years in seasoned oak vats. Fresh berry aromas on the nose that pack a punch once onto the palate. A slight sweetness around the bramble fruit flavours and becomes rather light near the dry end.
As you can imagine, Cockburn’s is not one for traditionally being served within a cocktail. I’d go for a pairing with chocolate desserts and cheese to really get the full flavours.
With many expressions to choose from including Fine Tawny, Fine White and Vintage, I’d recommend one thing – TRY THEM. If you ever have the chance in a bar or restaurant, or you see it in your local spirit shop, give it a go. If you like red wine, you’ll love this. If you like cognac, you’ll love this. If you like trying something new, well, you get the picture.
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.
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.
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.
Last week, Corks Out in Timperley hosted their monthly wine tasting, this time looking at offerings suited for the BBQ summer weather. Hosted by Karim, we were to be delving into Prosecco, three white, a rose and two reds all from various old and new world countries.
So below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –
Le Dolci Colline Prosecco, Italy – 11.5%
Very fresh, light citrus and lively on the nose that follows onto the palate. Slightly dry to begin with, but flows into a creamy texture with a long tingle of peach and grapefruit.
Nostros Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Chile – 13%
Rather intense and aromatic on the nose, with grapefruit dominating. A sharp beginning on the palate, with long flavours of grass and fresh green fruits mixing well. Slightly dry and acidic at the end. Goes well with salmon.
Surani Fiano 2010, Italy– 13.5%
Slow, mellow hints of apple on the nose. Smooth and slightly creamy on the palate, but evolves into a rich and slightly sweet ending that is perfect for creamy pasta dishes.
Casa de Mouraz Branco 2008, Portugal– 13.5%
On the nose there are lots of honey and sherry aromas blending well with a sweetness at the end. A bold offering of apricot on the palate that gives a long and intense ride.
Gayda Rose, France– 12.5%
Intense on the nose with lots of fresh strawberries. A mouth-watering flavour of summer fruits hits the palate that continues into a long, fresh finish.
Chateau de Fleurie 2010, France – 13%
A soft cherry and pepper nose evolves into a sharp hit on the palate, but soon softens. A long finish with a slightly dry end.
Explorer Pinot Noir 2009, Chile – 14%
Lots of cherry, chocolate and raspberry flavours on the nose, with a slight gooseberry aroma creeping in at the end. On the palate, a fresh yet heavy dose of vanilla and plum mix well in this offering that is neither short or long.
A fantastic selection was on offer to us all, with Karim explaining well the origins and back-story of each wine. His hints and tips on food pairings and his insight into the correct temperature to enjoy were well received, with many of the group purchasing bottles there and then! I myself passed on the opportunity, but for the sole reason of saving the pennies for when I attend Corks Out next big extravaganza – The Summer Tasting at the Park Royal in Warrington. There will be around 200 wines, spirits and Champagnes on show, so I’m sure to come away with something good!
Last week, the Academy of Food and Wine hosted alongside Wines of Portugal a masterclass at Manchester’s Malmaison hotel, with the chance to try out a range of the New World wines that are slowly hitting our shores.
Hosted by Joe Wadsack, a freelance wine professional, former columnist for The Daily Express, presenter on Saturday Kitchen, Ladette to Lady, and Richard and Judy and an internationally respected wine judge, we were guided through various wine styles from across the Portuguese land of Vinho, Verde, Douro, Aletejo and Dão. But first, a little history of the Portuguese wine trade.
Portuguese wines were first shipped to England in the 12th century from the Entre Douro e Minho region (which today includes modern Portuguese wine regions such as the Douro and Vinho verde). In 1386, Portugal and England signed the Treaty of Windsor which fostered close diplomatic relations between the two countries and opened the door for extensive trade opportunities. The 1703 Methuen Treaty furthered advanced English economic interest in Portugal by reducing tariffs and give Portuguese wines preferential treatment in the British wine market over French wines. Around this time, the fortified wine known as Port was increasing in popularity in Britain. The lucrative trade in Port prompted the Portuguese authorities to establish one of the world’s first protected designation of origin when Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal established boundaries and regulations for the production of authentic Port from the Douro in 1756.
For centuries afterwards, Portuguese wines came to be associated with Port. In the mid-to-late 20th century, sweet, slightly sparkling rosé brands from Portugal became immensely popular across the globe-with the British wine market again leading the way. In the mid-1980s, Portugal’s introduction to the European Union brought a flood of financing and grants to the stagnant Portuguese wine industry. These new investments paved the way for upgrades in winemaking technology and facilities. Renewed interest in the abundance of unique Portuguese wine grape varieties shifted focus to more premium wine production with a portfolio of unique dry red and white wines being marketed on a global scale.
There are 14 wine regions in Portugal that incorporate 33 different grape varieties over 7 styles. I was lucky to try 7 different wines from 5 regions, so below I give to you my tasting notes –
SãoDomingos Sparkling Rose 2010 – 12%
Light, fresh and fruity on the nose with a soft strawberry and refreshing longevity on the palate that gives a slight tang on the end.
Terra D’Alter Verdelho 2010 – 14.4%
Slightly heavy on the nose, with a deep, bold honey aroma mixing with dry bananas to create a balanced sweetness. Smooth on the palate with mouth-watering flavours of mandarin. Rather short and dry from the beginning.
Morgadio Da Torre Alvarinho 2010 – 13%
Pear, melon and citrus notes mix well on the nose, with a big boost of honey and flavours of a fruit salad hitting the palate. A long finish with a slight sweetness.
Terra D’Alter Aragonez 2009 – 14.5%
A good hit of soft red fruit with some spice lingering on the nose. Very dry when it hits the palate, with rich tannins and a blend of strawberry and spice creating a long finish.
São Domingos Bairrada Red 2007 – 13%
Soft on the nose with a creamy, old oak aroma with hints of chocolate. Very soft on the palate, with lots of tannins and creating a short offering. Dry from the beginning.
Callabriga Dão Red 2009 – 13.5%
Lots of flavours with spice, floral and balsamic blending nicely on the nose. Fresh and light flavours of red fruit on the palate, but very short and dry.
Quinta do Portal 2009 – 14.5%
A hit of spice and oak with herbal aromas on the nose flowing into a spice hit on the palate. Very dry to begin with but mellows smoothly into a mouth-watering chocolate end.
A good balance of Portuguese wines were on offer with personal highlights being the Morgadio Da Torre Alvarinho for the white, and a tie between São Domingos Bairrada andCallabriga Dãofor the reds. The São Domingos Sparkling Rose was also a refreshing change from your usual Cava’s, Prosecco or Champagne.
I’m not a fussy man when it comes to choosing a wine, but I, like most of you, go for countries that have been well established in the wine sector for many years. The new world wines though have many a gem, and gems that can give its neighbours of Spain and France a run for its money. Give the Portuguese a try. Desfrutar!