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Gin, Glorious Gin!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we are now stocking the award winning, Forest Gin.

This fantastic gin is family produced and hand distilled in small batches using botanicals sourced from Macclesfield Forest. The gin uses organic grain spirit, organic certified juniper berries and coriander seeds along with wild bilberries, gorse flowers, raspberries and moss. To this magical mix, the spirit is added, before being distilled through a copper condenser. To give the final flourish, pure spring water is added resulting in a flavour packed Premium London Dry Gin.

The gin comes in the most exquisite hand screen-printed stoneware bottles complete with a one of a kind commissioned design by papercut artist, Suzy Taylor. Not only is the bottle extremely beautiful, the stoneware means that the gin will not be affected by direct sunlight and is better safeguarded against temperature variations.

We’re not the only fans of Forest Gin. Forest Gin was awarded a Silver Medal in the Ultra Premium category at The Global Gin Masters competition this year.

For more details, check out our website.

Anyone want to join a wine club?

A new private members’ club is set to open in Pall Mall this summer. But this is not just any private members’ club; this is a wine lover’s paradise.

Set over 3 floors in a Grade II listed former bank, 67 Pall Mall is set to be a “candy shop for wine lovers”. With six sommeliers, hundreds of fine wines by the glass and 5,000 wines by the bottle, wine lovers will have their work cut out choosing where to start. Which is why the wine lists can be perused on iPads. The club also houses a members’ lounge, a wine shop, a wine storage facility and a 12-seater private dining room. Sounds fantastic.

The only downside to enjoying all of this “candy” – the fees. To be a member one has to part company with a one off joining fee of £1,000 (or £500 for those under 27) and the annual membership rate of £1,000. It is said that over 1,000 wine lovers have already joined the club and the remaining 200 places are likely to disappear fast.

If however, you don’t live in London, are aged over 27 and don’t have £1,000 to join and £1,000 per year to stay a member – perhaps you might like to check out our fantastic range of reasonably priced fine wines.

Image is “Wiens Winery” by miheco is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How much would you pay for Thomas Jefferson’s Wine?

Thomas Jefferson is famous for many things: for being the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the third President of the United States, an architect, a philosopher and fluent in six languages. He is also regarded as America’s first great wine connoisseur.

Jefferson served as Minister to France from 1785 until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1787. It is this posting that became instrumental in one of the most notorious alleged wine frauds the world ever saw.

At 2:30pm on December the 5th, 1985, at Christie’s Auction House in London, bidding opened on a bottle of wine. Expectations were high. The bottle had been hand blown and was inscribed simply with a year; 1787, a name; Lafitte, and the initials Th J.

It was believed that this bottle of bordeaux was acquired by Thomas Jefferson, presumably during his posting to France, from Chateaux Lafitte.

This estate is now Chateaux Lafite Rotheschild, one of the four wine producing Chateaux of Bordeaux originally awarded first growth status in the 1855 classification. Wines from this estate demand exceptionally high prices. A case of 1982 might set you back around £30,000.

So, on that December afternoon Christopher Forbes, of the family that own Forbes Magazine, paid £105,000 for this single bottle. This is still the highest price a bottle of wine has ever fetched at auction.

Other bottles from the “Thomas Jefferson Collection” went on to be sold at auction. Unfortunately however, the authenticity of the bottles was questioned. One of the purchasers, US billionaire Bill Koch was told by the Jefferson estate that they had no record of those bottles ever being owned by Thomas Jefferson.

The subsequent investigation into alleged wine fraud became the subject of a book, “The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine”, by Benjamin Wallace. This is now being adapted into a film starring Matthew McConaughey.

The authenticity of the wines of the Thomas Jefferson Collection is still in doubt and divides experts. Some claim the wines taste far younger than they should, and show no sign of appropriate oxidation. Others claim that the engraving on the bottle is more reminiscent of modern engraving tools than those available in the 18th Century.

This mystery rumbles on. Full story in The Guardian.

Image is “Thomas Jefferson” by Rembrandt Peale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons