alcohol

Christmas Drinks Guide

When it comes to Christmas Day, while the turkey is usually the star of the show, we think the wine should get top billing. So here’s our guide to wine pairings for Christmas lunch.

Aperitif

Whether you choose to enjoy while opening gifts or when guests arrive, nothing sets the tone for a fabulous lunch better than a glass of champagne. So let the corks pop, the bubbles flow and the good times roll with our Deutz Brut Classic Champagne.

Alternatively, if you fancy offering guests something a bit different our Forest Gin and Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry are bound to delight, while not over filling hungry tums.

The Main Event

Turkey

Turkey is a medium-weight poultry with a delicate flavour, so it’s important not to over power the turkey with the wine. For red wines, go for lighter wines, such as Pinot Noir, while a slightly fuller bodied white wine such a Chardonnay will also work well.

We recommend our Undurraga Sibaris Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2013 and Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay 2011.

Roast Beef

BodegasBeroniaReserva2010-2000x2000

If you’ve opted for a rich, rib of beef then our Beronia Reserva 2010 DOCa Rioja works a treat.

Venison

Montepulciano

Venison is a rich, lean gamey meat which works well with medium-bodied red wines. Our Cantina Zaccagnini Tralcetto Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2013 is a perfect pick.

Salmon

Chardonnay is an obvious pick for Salmon (see our Jackson Estate Shelter Belt Chardonnay 2011) but our Cantina Campagnola Bardolino Chiaretto Classico 2013 is an excellent rose alternative.

Digestif

Noval Silval 2005

Quite simply, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a Port. Our Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port is exquisite and the perfect way to round off a wonderful Christmas.

Cheers!

Advertisements

This Season It’s All About The Accessories!

As the party season gets into full swing, we know that it’s all about the accessories. We’re not talking bags and sparkly shoes – we’re talking decanters, stoppers and openers!

From our luxury, silver plated drip catcher to our lead crystal decanters we have all the accessories to make this season pop.

Silver Plated Drip Catcher

When the Christmas table is set, nothing spoils the scene more than wine stains on your linen. Helpfully, our luxury, silver plated drip catcher ensures your bottle looks fantastic, while also protecting your table and linens. The catcher is compatible with most standard wine bottles and the luxury red felt inner is the perfect seasonal adornment for your favourite bottle.

Deluxe Wing Corkscrew

BarcraftConnoisseurWingCorkscrew-2000x2000

This classic style, double-handled heavy duty wing corkscrew, with a mirror polished finish and a comfortable curved top handle is perfect for opening all types of cork bottle tops. The corkscrew is of a single cast design, so no broken toys on christmas day. This corkscrew is used in professional bars, so why not take the party home.

Silver Plated Wine Bottle Stopper

While we find it hard to leave a bottle of our fantastic wine unfinished, on the odd occasion when it happens, this stopper is the perfect solution. Not only does the rubber seal maintain the wine’s freshness, but the silver plated top is pure luxury.

Silver Plated Champagne Bottle Opener

While there are many ways to open a Champagne bottle, using this beautiful opener is certainly easier than attempting sabrage and has the advantage of avoiding flying corks a waste of good champagne spray!

Our Crystal Decanters (Square and Fluted)

The piece de resistance! Our beautiful 24% lead crystal decanters are the perfect addition to any drinks cabinet and make a wonderful gift for lovers of fine drinks.

We strongly suspect it’s going to be a very merry Christmas!

Give a better bottle this Christmas!

Ever since the wise men gave Jesus a bottle of Frankincense, the giving of a bottle of something lovely at Christmas can make the perfect gift.

However, the rise of cheaper and mass produced wines and spirits mean that finding something really special can be something of a lottery.

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.

All of our wines and spirits have been carefully chosen for their quality and individuality. We work hard with our suppliers to find great quality wines at the best possible price. Plus, when combined with our beautiful gift boxes, the lucky recipient knows they are receiving a carefully selected bottle that looks as special as the thought that went into choosing it (rather than just a supermarket special!)

If you are looking for wine gifts this Christmas time, but are unsure what to purchase, please check out our gift buying guide or feel free to email, tweet or connect with us on facebook and our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

So as we say, don’t just give a bottle, give a better bottle this Christmas!

Charles’ Ultimate Gift Buying Guide

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.

If you are unsure of what is the best choice for that special someone this Christmas, why not have a look at our suggestions for a very merry Christmas.

Dapper Dads (and Grandads)

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Noval 20

This delicious blend of ports is carefully matured in oak casks. The perfect way to round off a delicious Christmas lunch.

Marvellous Mums (and Grandmas)

The Mionetto Sergio Prosecco or Mionetto Rose Sergio Prosecco

 

Whether you opt for the White or the Rose prosecco, mum’s everywhere are bound to love these superb sparkling proseccos from the Veneto and Trentino areas of Italy.

Party Princesses

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

Deutz Rose

It’s party season and what better way for party princesses to celebrate than with a glass of fabulous pink champagne in hand.

Lovers of all things Vintage

Deutz Brut Vintage 2006 Champagne

Deutz Vintage.jpg

This champagne is a class act. Perfect for those who love the finer things in life.

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Noval Silval 2005

A superb vintage port, perfect to enjoy now.

Those who dare to be different

Quinta do Noval White Port

Noval White

Perfect for those who love to try new things.

Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry

Sherry

While Sherry used to be reserved for the Christmas trifle, this wine is not just for Christmas and is certainly on trend this year.

The Wine Aficionado

The Around the World Mixed Case

Case The Aroud The World

If you can’t decide between white or red, then our Around the World case will do the job for you. A great way for wine aficionado’s to sample a wide range of wines.

Organic Foodies/Gin Lover

Forest Gin, Premium London Gry Gin

Gin

This award winning gin is hand-crafted in small batches and is made with organic certified botanicals foraged from Macclesfield Forest.

If you would like any more help, please be sure to email, tweet or connect with us on facebook and our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

New Products Launched!!!

At Charles Rose Wines we work hard to bring you top quality wines at fantastic prices and, even if we do say so, we’ve done it again!

We are extremely proud to announce a whole range of fantastic new products. Please allow us to introduce you to them…

Gin

Forest Gin

An exceptional spirit distilled in small batches by husband and wife team, Lindsay and Karl Bond at their distillery in Macclesfield. This fantastic gin is produced using organic juniper berries, coriander seeds and botanicals foraged directly from Macclesfield Forest.

The gin comes in a beautiful screen-printed stoneware bottle with a design created by papercuts artist Suzy Taylor. Each bottle is individually made and is printed by hand. Plus, we’re not the only ones to fall in love with this wonderful gin; it recently scooped Silver in the Ultra Premium Gin category at the Global Gin Masters Competition 2015.

See here for further details.

Noval Silval 2005

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Quinta do Noval is one of the top Port houses in the World and produces the internationally renowned Nacionale. The Silval vintages are only declared in very good years and this is an excellent example. This wine also represents superb value for money compared to other vintage ports.

Snap it up here.

Sherry

Gonzalez Byass 12 Años Palo Cortado Sherry

This fantastic sherry comes from the Jerez D.O. in Spain and is made from handpicked Palomino grapes. The grapes are lightly pressed before being fermented in stainless steel vats, which are then aged for 12 years in North American Oak barrels. This sherry is for life, not just for Christmas!

Click here for more information.

Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie

Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie DOC

For seven generations the Bosca family have been producing wines in the Asti region of Piedmont, Italy. This prosecco is fun and refreshing and to the best of our knowledge, they are the only producer to create a bottle with a naval (see below)!

Get yourself a fizztastic time here.

Tosti Pinot Grigio Rose

Tosti Pinot Grigio Rose Sparkling Wine

Produced by the same Bosca family described above, this elegant and smooth sparkling wine is the perfect with chicken, white meats and fish. The bottle features the famous Tosti naval!

Available here.

For more details about these, and our other fantastic wines and spirits, please see our website. Happy drinking!

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Whisky

Ardberg Distillery sits on the south coast of the Isle of Islay in picturesque Argyll and Bute in Scotland. It’s a world away, quite literally, from the International Space Station (ISS), which travels at 17,000 mph at some 250 miles above the surface of the Earth, completing an orbit every 90 minutes.

In August 2011, these two unlikely partners were brought together by an experiment to see how the absence of gravity effects turpenes – organic compounds associated with flavour in spirits and wines. Micro-gravity environments are a fascination for companies looking for novel ways of producing products. Space-matured whisky is undoubtably a novelty!

Ardberg prepared a package of 6ml of whisky distillate (unmatured whisky) and shavings from oak maturation casks. This was sent to the ISS via a Soyuz rocket launched from Khazakstan. in January 2012 the whisky and wood shavings were mixed at the same time as identical quantities of whisky and shavings were mixed together on Earth. Both whiskys were matured for 971 days, after which the intergalactic sample was brought back to Earth and sent to Ardberg for comparison with its Earth-bound sample.

In case you are wondering why Ardberg didn’t simply send a cask into space, the cost of putting a kilogram of mass into orbit is currently around £5,000. Significantly cheaper than it used to be but still very expensive! For a 200 litre american oak barrel that would likely cost in excess of £1 million.

And what were the results of the experiment? Arberg published a detailed report, and noted that although the samples were very similar, the flavour profiles were different.

One of the most interesting results is that the sample matured in space did not take on as much of the oak characteristics as the sample matured on Earth. If this is due to the lack of gravity then it may be that in the future it would be possible to more accurately determine the age of whisky by analysing the concentration of oak characteristics. Perhaps this might also help prevent whisky fraud in the the future if nothing else.

Whisky and space, two of our favourite topics!

Image by “STS132 undocking iss2” by NASA – http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-23/hires/s132e012212.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Dalmore: You Won’t Believe How Eye-wateringly Expensive Whisky Can Be!

Sitting on the banks of the Cromarty Firth in Alness, some 20 miles North of Inverness, stands The Dalmore distillery. It was founded in 1839 by Alexander Matheson, who retired at the age of 36 having made a fortune with his uncle in Matheson & Company Ltd. They might have been running Opium from India to China… but peddling heroin was legal back then.

Alexander Matheson established the distillery as part of his £773,020 purchase of some 220,000 acres of the county of Ross – which in today’s money may have been around £2.5 billion – yes, billion.

It was run by the Sunderland family until 1859, then it was taken over by Alexander, Andrew and Charles Mackenzie. After Matheson’s death in 1886 the Mackenzies purchased it. Production was briefly interrupted in 1917 when the Royal Navy commandeered the distillery, weirdly to produce anti-ship mines. The navy left in 1920 after the distillery was badly damaged by an explosion and fire, which resulted in a court case against The Navy that was even debated in The House of Lords.

Today Dalmore is renowned around the world for producing eye-wateringly expensive whiskys. Here are three of them.

Dalmore 64 Trinitas: £120,000

After the success of the Dalmore 62 (see below) the distillery produced just three bottles of a blend of whiskys said to be amongst the oldest in the world, over 140 years old!

The first two bottles were sold in Glasgow on October 14th 2010 for £100,000.

The final bottle was sold in Harrods for £120,000 and amusingly it is still listed in the Harrod’s online shop with the comment “We’re sorry but this item has just sold out”.

Dalmore 62: £125,000

In 1943 the Dalmore Distillery in Inverness produced twelve bottles containing a mix from five casks from 1868, 1878, 1922, 1926 and 1939.

On Thursday 5th of December 2002, a bottle was purchased at McTear’s auction house in Glasgow for £25,877.50. At the time this was a world record.

Then on the 15th of April 2005, Denis Barthe the Bar Manager of the Ascot Bar at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot Surrey, sold a bottle of this extraordinary whisky for £32,000 to an anonymous buyer. Each of the twelve bottles was uniquely labelled. This bottle was the Matheson, named after the Dalmore Estate’s owner.

Fantastically, the story goes that the buyer shared the bottle with five of his friends, probably making them the only people in the world who have ever tasted this blend… along with the bar manager. He was lucky enough to be offered a glass of it and apparently said it was the “most beautiful thing” he had ever tasted.

Amusingly the buyer may have left a tip for the waiter as the bottle was not completely finished. The last drop of whisky in the bottle was estimated to be worth £1,000.

A bottle of Dalmore 62 was sold on the 20th of September 2011 to a Chinese buyer at Singapore’s Changi airport for £125,000.

The value of the Dalmore 62 is now thought to be over £250,000.

The Patterson Collection: £987,500 – yes really!

Not exactly a whisky… but never mind. Created in 2013 and named after Richard Patterson, Master Distiller at The Dalmore, this is a collection of 12 bottles in a presentation cabinet for, well, we might as well call it a million quid.

So, for an average spend of £82,000 a bottle you get:

  • one bottle of 1926 vintage
  • one bottle of 1939 vintage
  • two bottles of 1951 vintage
  • one bottle of 1964 vintage
  • one bottle of 1966 vintage
  • one bottle of 1969 vintage
  • one bottle of 1979 vintage
  • one bottle of 1985 vintage
  • two bottles of 1995 vintage
  • one bottle of 20 – 50 year old

Amusing for me, as two thirds of the collection is older than I am.

The 1926 and 1939 vintages must be a large part of the price tag as they surely must be some of the oldest whisky available to purchase in the world.

Still though… a million quid.

And just in case you don’t believe us, here’s the product page, note, also sadly but somewhat dubiously “just sold out”.

Image is “Cromarty Firth at Dalmore, Scotland” © Copyright Andrew Tryon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Who’s for 19th Century Whiskey?

Having driven across the picturesque Ruthven Bridge in years gone by we thought it unique. It carries the B970 across the River Spey and as lattice-truss bridges go it is unusually long.

Imagine our surprise then to read about the discovery of a time capsule buried deep within the structure. The metal box was found by workers from Morgan Sindall, executing a £622,000 project to replace the super structure of the bridge, leaving the stone piers but sadly replacing it’s graceful lattice work.

Inside the box was found a newspaper dated Saturday, September 29 1894, a scroll, and a bottle of coloured liquid presumed to be whiskey. These items have been handed over to The Highland Folk Museum.

Its remarkable to think that the box must have been placed there when the bridge was being built. At that time a new century was approaching that would bring with incredible transformations in transport, medicine and communications. A bridge built to carry horse-laden carriages finally being replaced after 121 years!

But what of the whiskey? We would love to know where that came from. The nearest distillery, famous for being in the Cairngorms is that of Dalwhinnie, one of our favourite mellow tipples. Dalwhinnie was founded as the Strathspey Distillery by John Grant, George Sellar and Alexander Mackenzie. However this momentous event occurred in 1897, so clearly it wasn’t Dalwhinnie.

What is it worth? Old bottles of whiskey sell well at auction. Scotland has some fabulously old distilleries,the Bowmore Distillery for example, established in 1779 by a local merchant, John P. Simpson on isle of Islay, an island of the Inner Hebrides. A bottle of single malt 1850 Bowmore was sold at McTear’s auctioneers in Glasgow for £29,400 to an anonymous telephone bidder. So, it could potentially be worth quite a lot.

It would be wonderful to discover who placed that box there and what might be in the bottle, but we suspect we may never know.

So the next time you drive over an ancient looking road bridge, just imagine, what was crossing it soon after it was built, and what might be buried beneath it?

Image is Ruthven Bridge © Copyright Andrew Wood and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

British Beer and Arctic Exploits

The British have a proud tradition of brewing beer and exploring the North and South Poles. These endeavours are linked through history in more ways than you might imagine, as shown by the recent auction of a beer brewed especially for an Arctic expedition.

Allsopp’s Artic Ale was brewed in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire for an expedition led by Sir George Strong Nares in 1875. This was not the first time this ale would accompany explorers travelling to the arctic.

Ale was instrumental to long sea voyages as it contains vitamin C and stores well. The Arctic Ale was brewed by Samuel Allsopp & Sons, founded in the early Eighteenth century by Benjamin Wilson. His son Benjamin sold the floundering business to his nephew, Samuel Allsopp in 1807.

This period was marked by an economic downturn in Britain caused by a blockade ordered by Napoléon Bonaparte. His Berlin Decree of 1806 forbade any continental trade with Britain, reducing British exports by over 50%. The blockade ended in 1814 when, after losing the Battle of Leipzeig, he was exiled to the tiny island of Elba, some 12 miles of the coast of Tuscany.

Arctic Ale was first brewed to accompany an expedition to the Arctic led by Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin. Franklin’s expedition left in 1845 and aimed to chart the famous North-west Passage, linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Unfortunately, this ended in failure and the ships and participants were lost. Franklin became a national hero and Queen Victoria ordered that the expedition party must be found.

Arctic Ale was brewed again to supply ships led by Sir Edward Belcher in 1851, seeking to discover what had befallen the Franklin expedition. A young George Nares served as Second Mate on one of the ships. Belcher failed to find anything and returned to England after three hard years of searching.

Arctic Ale was again brewed to accompany Leopold McClintock in 1857 in another failed attempt to discover the Franklin expedition. He returned with only a note detailing the fate of the expedition, discovered on an island close to where Franklin’s ships became icebound and foundered.

In 1875 Arctic Ale would accompany Nares to The North Pole.

Nares had already made a name for himself as something of a maverick. In November 1869 he took his survey ship, the Newport, into the Gulf of Suez via the newly opened Suez Canal. The French Imperial yacht L’Aigle was officially the first vessel to pass through the canal, however Nares’ ship was actually the first to do so. On the night before it was due to open he navigated Newport through the long queue of moored ships in total darkness and without lights. In the morning, the crew of L’Aigle were mortified to find that the Royal Navy had a ship in front of them and there was nothing they could do about it. Nares received an official reprimand from the Admiralty for causing a diplomatic incident. He was also promoted to Captain for his superb seamanship and for increasing Britain’s seafaring prestige.

Nares did not manage to reach the North Pole. However he became the first explorer to take his ships through the channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland to the Lincoln sea. This passage is now called the Nares Strait in his honour. His name also graces a small island in Northern Greenland called Nares Land, and Nares County in Australia’s Queensland state.

Some 140 years later, a bottle of beer from his final Arctic expedition was discovered by Trevanion and Dean auctioneer Aaron Dean in a box in the garage of a house in Gobowen, Shropshire. Nobody knows why it was there. On the 13th of June 2015 it was auctioned for £3,300! Quite a lot for beer perhaps but certainly one steeped in history.

However, this bottle was not the first sold at auction. As a final twist in this tale, in 2007 a bottle from Belcher’s 1851 expedition was listed on eBay. Unfortunately this bottle of Allsopp’s was listed as “Allsop’s Arctic Ale”, and fetched $304. The buyer then relisted it with the correct spelling and 76,464 views and 157 bids later it sold for $503,300 (£325,000).

As spelling mistakes go, thats pretty costly!

Image is “George Nares“. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Summer Drinks

Summer’s here! With heatwaves forecast for July, why not stock up your drinks cabinet ready to make some fabulous summer cocktails.

Here are our summer favourites. Perfect to sip around the pool, at a barbecue or while enjoying the sunshine in the garden.

Port Tonic

Ingredients

Simply fill a glass with ice. Add a measure of White Port and top with tonic water. Stir to mix. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy.

While Port is also fantastic on its own just poured over ice. For more information on White Port, check out our previous post here.

Kir Royale

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 6 tablespoons of Creme de Cassis
  • 1 Bottle of Champagne (we recommend Deutz Brut Classic Champagne)
  • Strips of tangerine or orange zest to garnish

Pour 1 tablespoon of Creme de Cassis into each glass. Fill with Champagne and garnish with zest. Serve immediately.

Summer Fruit Rose Sangria

Ingredients

  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of blackberries
  • Handful of hulled strawberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of Framboise
  • 1 bottle of chilled rose wine (we recommend Cantina Campagnola Bardolino Chiaretto Classico)
  • 10fl oz white cranberry juice

In a large jug, combine the fruit and stir in the sugar. Add the Framboise and allow to rest for 1 hour. Add in the wine and cranberry juice and serve chilled.

Classic Bellini

Ingredients

Add the peach puree to the bottom of a chilled champagne flute. Fill the glass halfway with prosecco and stir well. Allow the froth to settle and top up with prosecco.

Enjoy Your Summer!

Hope you enjoy your summer and these drinks recipes.

To help you do just that you can enjoy 10% off all orders placed through our online shop – just enter code SUMMER2015 at the checkout*.

* Offer applies to all orders (excluding delivery) placed before midnight on 31st July 2015.

Image by Evan Swigart from Chicago, USA (Sangria) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons