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.




AFWS Wines of Portugal Tasting

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.

Some of the wines on offer

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 –

São Domingos 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 and Callabriga Dão for 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!

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.