Corks Out Summer Classics Tasting

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.

Corks Out Summer Classics

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!

© 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.

Wines of Austria – Corks Out Tasting

Last Thursday I took part in one of Corks Out monthly wine tasting events, and this month their Timperley store focused on Austria.

Our hosts for the evening were Karim and Alan, two highly knowledgeable gentleman who would guide us through seven different Austrian wines, as well as touching on the history of the wine market in Austria.

So what makes Austrian wine so impressive? Well here’s a little background history to feast upon.

Approximately 1BC, the Romans started extensively planting grape vines after the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus lifted the ban on growing grapes north of the Alps. However soon after the fall of the Roman Empire, viticulture suffered with the invasions of Bavarians, Slavs and Avars, but from 788 the rule of Charlemagne saw considerable reconstruction of vineyards and introduction of new grape presses. In 955, Austrian viticulture was nurtured by the Church and encouraged among the populace at large.The first vineyard names recorded are Kremser Sandgrube in 1208, and Steiner Pfaffenberg in 1230, and Rudolf IV introduced the first wine tax, Ungeld, in 1359, as Vienna established itself as a centre for wine trading on the Danube.

The wine business boomed in the 16th century, but the Thirty Years War and others of the 17th century took their toll, as much due to the heavy taxation of the period as the direct disruption of war. Various drink taxes were unified in 1780, as part of a drive by Maria Theresa and Joseph II to encourage viticulture. An imperial decree of 17 August 1784 gave birth to the distinctive Austrian tradition of inns called Heurigen. Derived from the German for ‘new wine’, the decree allowed all wine makers to sell home-grown food with their wine all year round.

The 19th century saw the arrival of all sorts of biological invaders. First there was powdery mildew and downy mildew. One response to these fungal diseases from North America was the founding in 1860 of what became the Federal Institute for Viticulture and Pomology at Klosterneuburg. Then the phylloxera root aphid arrived in 1872 and wiped out most of the vineyards of central Europe. Although it took several decades for the industry to recover, it allowed lower quality grapes to be replaced with better varieties, particularly Grüner Veltliner. After World War I, Austria was the third biggest wine producer in the world, much being exported in bulk for blending with wine from Germany and other countries.

However that intensification of viticulture sowed the seeds of its own destruction. During the twentieth century Austrian wine became a high-volume, industrialised business, with much of it being sold in bulk to Germany. A run of favourable years in the early 1980s saw massive yields of wines that were light, dilute and acidic, that nobody wanted. Wine brokers discovered that these wines could be made saleable by the addition of a little diethylene glycol, more commonly found in antifreeze, which imparted sweetness and body to the wine. The adulteration was difficult to detect chemically – the ‘antifreeze scandal’ broke when one of them tried to claim for the cost of the chemical on his tax return.Although the amounts of glycol were less dangerous than the alcohol in the wine, and only a few middlemen were involved, exports collapsed and some countries banned Austrian wine altogether. Strict new regulations restricted yields among other things, most importantly, there was a massive change in the culture of wine production in Austria towards an emphasis on quality, as opposed to the low standards that permitted the scandal to happen in the first place.

The Austrian Wine Marketing Board was created in 1986 as a response to the scandal, and Austria’s membership of the European Union has prompted further revisions of her wine laws. Today Austria lies 17th in the list of wine-producing countries by volume, but the wines are now of a quality that can take on the best in the world.

So with a diverse history in wine making, how would the seven on offer to us compare? Well below I offer you my tasting notes on each –

Gruner Veltliner Strasse Hasel 2010

Soft, fresh and fruity on the nose with subtle peaches, stone fruits and white pepper. Short on the palate however, but a clean mix of flavours from the peaches and pepper create a refreshing and very drinkable offering with a long finish.

Gruner Veltliner Terrassen Smaragd 2009

Very sweet on the nose with bold aromas of malt, pepper and fruit. A fresh, rich and full-bodied palate with only a slight sweetness and a soft, dry finish. Would be great with a meaty fish dish.

Riesling Reid Loibenberg Smaragd 2007

Only 5 bottles available in the country, and awarded 95% in Wine Spectator. Very light with a deep aroma of citrus, pepper and honey on the nose. A smooth, well-balanced offering on the palate with white pepper and a slight tang which leads to a bone-dry finish that lingers. Very drinkable.

Little J Zweigelt 2007

On the nose it gave off rich, velvet aromas of spice fruit, a touch of oak and light cherry and raspberry fruits. A delicate flavour of cinnamon and fresh fruits on the palate, with a sharp, acidic tone which leads to a lively drinkable offering.

Blauer Zweigelt Terrassen 2009

A clean yet strong aroma of raspberry with a mix of heavy burn sugar and pear drops on the nose. Very dry on the tongue with soft fruit flavours.

Heinrich Burgenland Blaufrankisch

Lively mix of dark fruits, blackcurrant and liquorice on the nose that leads to soft, rich tanning flavours on the palate with lots of liquorice, caramel and hints of vegetable. Would go well with dark cheese, lamb or beef.

Heinrich Burgenland St. Laurent 2009

Fresh cherry, red currant and dark chocolate mix very well with violets and bitter cherry on the nose, whilst a soft palate flavour of cherries and blueberries with notes of bitter chocolate that leads to a very long finish. Serves well with lamb.

A fantastic insight into Austrian wine, something that many in our group had never experienced (myself included) and to have such a variety on offer was fantastic. Highlights include the Heinrich Burgenland St. Laurent and Gruner Veltliner Strasse Hasel whilst the chance to sample such a rarity in Riesling Reid Loibenberg Smaragd was an honour.

Next on the Corks Out event calendar will be entitled ‘Summer Classics’ where we will try fresh aromatic whites and light easy drinking reds to go with the BBQ summer!

To purchase all of the wines above, check out the Corks Out website.

For more photos of the event, take a look at 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 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.



Corks Out Review

Corks Out is an independent wine and spirit merchants who base themselves in the North West. A couple of years ago they opened a store in Timperley and I use to frequent there to purchase that something special. Both wines and spirits have been bought including Licor 43, Goslings Navy Seal rum and Martin Millers gin, Old Tom ales and various wines from different countries.

Me and my flat-mate made a recent trip there a few days ago to purchase for him a bottle of gin for a friend’s birthday. As ever the staff were very knowledgable and helpful in choosing the best gin for our price range (he opted for Martin Millers London Dry), a selection that also included Chase Williams, Blackwoods and Haymans.

Montes Pinot Noir 2009

We had also heard about Corks Out new seating areas that they have recently introduced where you can have a glass of wine or champagne. We decided to go for their corkage deal where you can purchase any bottle of wine for over £10 and pay only £3.50 corkage! We opted for a Chilean Montes Pinot Noir 2009. An easy drinking medium-bodied red wine that had wonderful red berry and raspberry aromas. On the palate, it gave off an intense flavour of strawberries and vanilla with a savoury character which gave it a long lingering after-taste. At only £9.95, this was a bargain, and to be able to drink it surrounded by what literally can only be described as a wine cellar on street level, it can even beat having a glass of wine in a local bar.

Theres stores in Alderley Edge, Chester, Stockton Heath and Heswall so if you’re near, pop in and take a look at what I can safely say is one hell of a good range! I may even see you there myself!

Check out their website at for deals and details of there wine tasting sessions that they offer every month. Don’t forget to sign-up to my drinks blog (available at my home page) for reviews of the upcoming tasting sessions as and when they happen.