sparkling wine

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!

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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!

English Wine Week

If someone had suggested 20 years ago, that English Wine would be celebrated – you may well have thought they’d had one too many. However, English Wine Week has arrived and there’s a lot to celebrate!

The English and Welsh Wine industry has steadily been growing in both size and reputation. There are over 470 vineyards and 135 wineries in England and Wales producing both sparkling and still wines. In 2013, around 1,880 hectares of land were devoted to the growing of vines (the equivalent of 2,645 full size football pitches) producing 4.5 million bottles of wine (enough to fill the London Aquarium 3 times).

The UK wine industry is now recognised as a premium wine-producing region. English Sparkling Wines won three trophies and 14 Gold awards at the 2015 International Wine Awards.

Furthermore, a number of English and Welsh wines now boast EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographic Indication (PDI) status. These labels indicate that the product possess certain qualities or enjoys a certain reputation due to its geographical origin, such as Melton Mowbray pork pies. Wines carrying these special labels have passed certain taste and analytical parameters. The producers must also prove the geographical origins of the grapes. PDO wines comply with more stringent rules on the origin of their grapes than PGI wines.

English Wine Week runs between 23rd May and 31st May 2015. The English Wine Producers are organising a whole host of events to celebrate everything about English Wine. For more information and to join in the celebrations, see here!

Image courtesy of English Wine Producers.

Champagne From A Shipwreck Still Good After 170 Years

Sometime in the 1840s a two-masted schooner, possibly en route to St. Petersburg (nobody actually knows) sank off the coast of Föglö, an island next to Finland. It was travelling a route known to be used for Champagne deliveries to the Russian Imperial Court.

It lay there undisturbed in the calm, dark waters of the baltic for 170 years. Finally, it was found in 2003 by the Finnish Maritime Administration and explored by a group of Finnish and Swedish divers in 2010. After entering the hull through damage in the stern they found a number of items including 168 bottles of Champagne.

In 2011, a single bottle of this 200 year old Champagne sold at auction in Finland… for £26,700. Surely a bit steep for a bottle of wine thats been at the bottom of the sea for two centuries? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Old bottles of Champagne seem to have a habit of turning up.

At the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reims there is an 1893 bottle on display which was found, of all places, in a inside a sideboard in Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, in 2008.

The cargo recovered from the shipwreck included bottles from three of the oldest Champagne makers: Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar. But just how old are these bottles?

Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded the company that would become Veuve Clicquot in 1772. In 1798, Philippe’s son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin and died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in Frrench) the company. Under this formidable woman Veuve Clicquot became the Champagne power house it is today. Analysis of the corks from the Veuve Clicquot bottles recovered from the wreck show a logo with a comet, apparently added by Madame Clicquot in 1811. This was added to celebrate an unusually good crop, so the bottles recovered could be as old as 204 years.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Heidsieck Champagne house in 1785 in Reims. Legend has it that he presented wine to Queen Marie-Antoinette. After his death in 1828, his nephew Christian Heidsieck started a partnership with Henri-Guillaume Piper. Christian died in 1835, his widow married Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1838 marking the beginning of the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house. The Heidseick bottles recovered bear branding from the original company name so they are likely no younger than 177 years old.

The last maker Juglar, is the most interesting in that it ceased to exist in 1829 as it was absorbed into the Champagne House Jacquesson. Juglar bottles were recovered from the wreck meaning that the Champagne is likely somewhere between 186 and 204 years old!

In case you were wondering, the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, invented in 1531 by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne. This happened, possibly by accident initially, as bottling of the wine was carried out before the initial fermentation had ended.

Scientists from the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, France have now analysed samples of the champagne and were surprised by what they found.

The bottles recovered were remarkably well preserved, 55m down in waters of 2-4 degrees C, high pressure and low levels of light. The aromas and chemical features of the Champagne were preserved and it was drinkable.

The Champagne itself was remarkably similar to modern Champagne, but much sweeter with sugar levels of 14% – more like a modern desert wine. Modern tastes have driven the sugar levels in Champagne far lower than this. The levels of CO2 were vastly lower, 80% less than a modern bottle, probably because most of it had escaped through the cork. Finally, traces of arsenic hint at the use of arsenic salts as a pesticide in use at the time.

All of which goes to explain why these bottles can fetch such a high price at auction. Perfectly drinkable 200 year old Champagne, yours for around £25,000!

Image is of the Mary Camden, a two-masted schooner, by William Pierce Stubbs (1842 – 1909) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wine Recession

While we’re all familiar with the worldwide financial recession, did you know we’ve also been experiencing a wine recession? Well, fear not, apparently the wine recession is set to end this year.

Back in 2008, consumption of wine peaked at a level of 25 litres per person – the equivalent of 1.61 billion bottles of wine! However, since that time, wine consumption has fallen by around 10.5% per capita.

Vinexpo and the International Wine and Spirits Record have now predicted that wine consumption will start to increase over the next five years. However, consumption is not set to reach the 2008 levels ‘in the foreseeable future’. Instead, a slow recovery over the next 5 years is expected.

Guillaume Deglise, CEO of VINEXPO, says, “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over. While the UK market shed 9.6m cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.

It is noteworthy that the outstanding success since 2008 is sparkling wine. A large proportion of that success is down to Prosecco, which has seen a growth of 43% of UK imports. Between 2008 and 2018 UK drinkers are forecast to increase consumption of Prosecco to 2.2 litres per person, per annum.

So let’s raise a glass (of Prosecco) to the end of the wine recession!

Image is “Prosecco sparkling wine” by tracy ducasseFlickr: [1]. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Another Glass Of Sussex Please!

Sussex is famous for many things. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, the Long Man of Wilmington, and Bodiam Castle (pictured). Its is also (weirdly) where banoffee pie was first created in 1972. If these things are not enough to show Sussex as exemplary, then why not Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for it’s wines?

A few days ago Decanter Magazine reported that English wine producers are making a bid to obtain PDO status for wineries in Sussex. PDO would bring them the same protected status as wines from Champagne.

PDO is the most prestigious of the three geographical indications offered by the European Union for the protection and promotion of agricultural products. The other two are Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG).

PDO is the strictest designation. It states that a product has been entirely produced within a region that gives the product unique properties. For example, beef produced wholly on Orkney has PDO status and can be labelled as Orkney beef. Beef produced in Scotland, including from Orkney, has PGI status and is labelled Scotch beef. So If the beef comes from cows raised in Orkney, but is prepared in the Outer Hebrides, it can only have Scotch beef PGI status as it wasn’t wholly produced on Orkney.

The UK already has 65 products with protected status. Far less than Portugal (125), France (217) and Italy (267). If successful, Sussex wine would join PDO holders such as Native Shetland Wool, Jersey Royal Potatoes and our favourite cheese, Swaledale. Given that English wine has already been granted a PDO, what advantage does a Sussex PDO designation bring?

Well, English wine may be enjoying its most successful years, but presumably it’s easier to market Sussex sparkling wine rather than English sparkling wine. For example, ordering a bottle of Sussex in a restaurant sounds more pleasing than ordering a bottle of English…

And why not have a go! English sparkling wines have been racking up the awards. In the 2014 International Wine Challenge competition they were awarded 5 gold medals and two trophies. Obtaining PDO status would be another big boost to the reputation of wines produced in Sussex, and England in general.

It is perhaps debatable how the varying landscape of Sussex can be realistically expected to imbue the geographical characteristics a PDO is meant to guarantee. But with the English wine retail sector forecast to hit £100m this year, and the number of wineries in the UK at an all time high, this latest PDO is clear evidence of a confident market.

Interestingly Nyetimber, one of the most famous UK producers, has two thirds of its vineyards in Sussex and a third in Hampshire, and so would be excluded from applying the PDO designation to its’ products.

Image is “Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197” by WyrdLight.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Why do we celebrate with Champagne?

From the smashing of a bottle to launch a ship, the popping of corks at New Year or a wedding, or the spraying from the winners podium of a formula 1 race, champagne is the celebratory drink of choice.

But why do we celebrate with Champagne?

Following the development of sparkling wine in the Sixteenth century in the Languedoc region of France, it seems that Champagne was first produced in the Champagne region in the Eighteenth century. However, it was initially referred to as “the devil’s wine”, due to it’s propensity to explode or pop it’s cork thanks to pressure in the bottle.

Over time and thanks to the work of people such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and Andre Francois, Champagne production became more stable and the taste refined.

Despite that initial stigma, Champagne has long been associated with the anointing of French Kings and was fashionable at the Court of Henry IV.

While royal favour did much to encourage patronisation amongst the nobility, it was in the 19th century and the increasing rise of the middle classes, that Champagne took hold as the sign of celebration. As the new merchant classes rose in number and wealth, so did the purchase of Champagne. While merchants could not afford to drink Champagne every day, they would purchase bottles for special occasions.

So let’s raise a glass in celebration of celebrating with Champagne!

Interested in trying some? We’d love it if you glanced at our range of Champagne!

Image is “Champagne” by Jon Sullivan/PDPhoto.org – http://pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=pdef&pg=8346. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrate With A Champagne & Port Cocktail

Here at Charles Rose Wines we love Champagne and we love Port. IF you struggle to choose between them then thankfully, there’s a celebration drink which uses both!

Nelson’s Blood Champagne Cocktail is so named for the bitter-sweet victory of the British fleet over the Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21st 1805. Sweet as this prevented Napoleon Bonepart’s ships from breaking the British naval blockade. Bitter as it cost Admiral Horatio Nelson, who commanded the British fleet, his life.

It’s up to you whether or not you acknowledge the history behind this particular cocktail, although if you had no reason to celebrate on the 21st of October, now you do! Either way, its a great drink, and here is our spin on how to make it.

Ingredients

Optional – for frosting:

  • fruit juice or syrup
  • fine white sugar, brown sugar or icing sugar
  • tea plate or small shallow bowl (larger than the glass you want to use)
  • flat plate for the sugar

Frosting Preparation (Optional)

Rinse a glass of your choice in cold water and put it in a freezer for half an hour.

Whist your glass is cooling prep your frosting by cutting a slice of fruit if you are using fruit, and putting your chosen sugar onto a flat plate so you can press your glass into it when it is ready.

When the glass has frosted moisten the rim of it so that the sugar will stick. If you are using an actual fruit you can gentry run some cut fruit around the edge. If you are using actual juice of syrup then pour or squeeze a little onto a tea plate and gently place the glass into the liquid. Then press the glass into the sugar.

To twist or not to twist… often debated, do what you think works best. Twisting will add more coating.

Your glass is now frosted!

Drink Mixing

Carefully pour a shot (40ml or so) of Port into your glass. Top this off with Champagne and gently stir to mix but not release too much of the fizz. Pour carefully so as not to disturb your beautiful frosting!

That’s it! A perfect celebratory drink combining two of our favourites!

If you have a favourite cocktail then get in touch and let us know what it is!