Last orders / gift vouchers Top offers Simon says…. Argentina Australia Chile Blaggers guide to France - Simon France Intrepidly in Italy - John Italy Romania Mexico & USA New Zealand Portugal Winter EVENTS The Indomitable Lady May- Clare South Africa Rocking Rioja- Simon Spain Uruguay Rose Champagne Cynic - Richard Champagne Sparkling wine Fortified & ancient– John Fortified & Sweet Wine Mixed Cases* Xmas Cases* Biodynamic?- Clare Fine Wine - Clare Gin
= screwcap WINES ON OFFER IN RED THROUGHOUT THE LIST Disclaimer- all vintages / prices / alc levels correct at time of print. These may change over the next 3 months. Any Duty rises announced at the Budget 29th October will be applied from 1st November. **Mixed cases: we will substitute any wine out of stock with a lovely replacement of at least equal value. 2
Last order dates / Opening times For delivery UK wide via courier Monday 17th December For delivery to Glasgow Wednesday 19th December For delivery in Edinburgh Saturday 22nd December These are the suggested last order dates to ensure we can get your wine to you before Christmas.
The warehouse is open 10am to 5.30pm, Mon-Sat We are open 12-4 on Sunday in December gb black to blackthe 30th.
Shut 25th, 26th December & 1st, 2nd January. Why not pop in and see us for some personal Grog service? We love to chat wine and usually have chocolate.
Gift Vouchers We have some lovely, jazzy new gift vouchers which would be a fantastic gift, loved by all! They can be used in either our Dalkeith Road shop, warehouse or online. Delivery is free UK wide on orders over £70. Buy online or give us a bell on 0131 555 0222.
Top offers Here is a hand picked selection of our best and favourite Christmas offers. There are loads more marked in red through the list or check out our website which also has an amazing selection of limited bin ends. River Retreat Brut NV, Australia Fresh, zesty, green apples and a touch of cream. 9.79 was 10.99 The Curator White, South Africa Peach, apricot & spice kept fresh with zesty citrus. 8.15 was 9.49
Colina Piatra White, Romania Fruit bomb with tangerines and stone fruit. Lush. 7.99 was 8.75 Tabali Pedrogosa Viognier, Chile Citrus, orange, pears, peach, soft and pure. 9.39 was 10.39 Primitivo Monte Pietroso, Italy Rich plums, and chocolate spice.with of fresh acidity. 6.79 was 8.05 Esporao Colheita Red, Portugal Creamy ripe berries, plums and blueberry. Elegant. 9.39 was 11.19 Patria Nueva Cabernet, Chile Ripe strawberries, anise and caramel notes. Classy. 8.65 was 9.39 Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz, Australia Big, vibrant, rich, sweet berries and coconut oak. 12.99 was 14.99
Krohn Lagrima White Port, Portugal Complex, nutty, rich, honeyed with a tangy finish. 12.25 was 14.59 4
Simon Says….. Warm Cockles Welcome Groggers! It’s that time again where cockles need warming, turkeys get increasingly anxious, devils start saddling up, pigs get the bedding out, green things sprout, Granny gets the carrots on (mid-November usually), nuts become chesty, kids become manic, TV becomes Strictly, wine becomes mulled, stockings become full, offices become parties, mangers become cribs, Port becomes gluggy, somebody actually has a Baileys, Auntie B gets the fino sherry out that’s been open and in the cupboard for 10 years…. amazingly nobody likes it….butter becomes brandied, your mum who claims to hate oaked whites drinks all your Kaapzicht 1947 Chenin…. Your dad falls asleep before Doctor Who….various cavities become stuffed with sausage meat and sage, jokes become groany, the bah-humbugs get moany, pies get mincey (john our shop manager ate 312 in December last year, he claims), baubles get buffed, tinsel get untangled, wise men get wander-y… OK….enough, enough All that makes me a little thirsty– what will I be asking Santa to throw down my wine chimney (or ‘throat’ as it’s better known) this year? PS nobody gets me wine at Christmas...hint...hint
Cremant de Limoux Salasar Extra-Dry Languedoc, France
Rioja Vega Tempranillo Blanco 2016, Rioja, Spain
A wine I go back to time and again– a rare example of albino white-skinned Tempranillo grapes, barrel-fermented and full of creamy tropical fruit flavours. It is fantastic with food (try with white asparagus and mayonnaise). Gorgeous!!!!!!!
Simply the best wine from Navarra; a 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, aged for 21 months in French oak. It’s one of those dark, intense, sexy reds that demands a little breathing and to be sipped with fine friends and fast food, or fast friends and fine food….
Albret La Vina de Mi Madre Reserva 2013, Navarra, Spain
Go back to the start of fizz to an example of the first recorded sparkler– a lovely crisp, creamy, champagne-method wine made up from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Chenin, from the town of Limoux, just a wee bit south from Carcassonne...
FRESH AS A DAISY QUARA TORRONTES 2017
Argentina/ white 9.69
CAFAYATE. Text-book Torrontes! In-your-face elderflower fruit attack. Floral, full-bodied and luscious.
SEMI SKIMMED LOS HAROLDOS UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2014
MENDOZA. Soft, mellow Chard. Pineapple, banana, buttered toast and a touch of yummy honey.
LOS HAROLDOS CHACABUCO VIOGNIER 2017
MENDOZA. A peach of a wine. Bursting with fruit & juicyness with a zing of refreshing high-altitude acidity.
QUARA VIOGNIER 2017
CAFAYATE. A cunning blend (by Richard) of fruity, lush Viognier and a splash of crisp unoaked Chardonnay.
FULL FAT LOS HAROLDOS OAKED-ROBLE CHARDONNAY 2015
MENDOZA. Big, ripe and soft fleshy, fulfilling wine
LIGHT & FRUITY VERUM PINOT NOIR 2017
PATAGONIA. Cool climate Pinot from the deep-South of Argentina. Wild raspberries and subtle wood smoke,
SOFT AND RIPE TESORO DE LOS ANDES MALBEC/BONARDA 2017
MENDOZA. Brooding dark damson and bramble fruit with a twist of gentle spice. Great value.
LOS HAROLDOS CHACABUCO MALBEC 2017
MENDOZA. Pale looking for a Malbec, but don't be fooled. a juicy monster waiting to nibble.
QUARA MALBEC 2017
CAFAYETE. Lightly oaked, intense ruby-red, then very fruity with notes of plum, pepper and spices.
NIETO MALBEC 2017
MENDOZA. Tremendous favours of plums, figs, and dried fruit with a smoky vanilla character.
LOS HAROLDOS OAK MALBEC 2016 *OFFER* 11.15
MENDOZA. Gorgeous fruit with mellow spice from oak maturation. From a family producer in the Uco Valley.
BELHARA MALBEC 2015
MENDOZA. Beautifully made, balance of an Olympic gymnast, may well grace the Xmas table of a few Groggers!
LANGHORNE CREEK. Jumps out of the glass with rich, peppery berryfruit, hints of sweetness and coconut oak.
THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE SHIRAZ 2014
BAROSSA VALLEY. Full bodied, complex and textured with sweet blackberry, plum, cinnamon and clove.
CORIOLE ESTATE SHIRAZ 2013
MCLAREN VALE. Spicy with persistent fruit but balanced by fine, grippy tannins. Really elegant fine, young Shiraz.
14.5 TRENTHAM HEATHCOTE SHIRAZ 2014/15 18.25 HEATHCOTE Bloody marvellous stuff. Rich ripe & supple, pepper, sweet plum, dark cherry and chocolate wrapped in toasty oak.
Austria/ white SEMI SKIMMED GRUNER VELTLINER-SEPP MOSER 2017
Dry & aromatic white wine, touch of white pepper atop of a pile of white peach and just ripe pear flavour.
Chile/ white FRESH AS A DAISY CONDORITO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
FULL FAT TABALI PEDREGOSO GR RESERVA VIOGNIER 2016 *OFFER* 10.39
12.0 CENTRAL VALLEY.Excellent value. Fresh, tropical, citrus. Exactly why the Brits drink so much Chilean wine. SANTA ALBA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 6.79 13.0 CURICO VALLEY. Gooseberry, wild herbs & ripe citrus fruits. Perfectly decent Sauvignon and reasonabley priced. SANTIAGO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 6.99 13.0 CURICO VALLEY. Bright as a button and clean as a whistle with bags of lemon and lime on the nose. SIERRA GRANDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017/18 7.10 12.5 CENTRAL VALLEY. Crisp, refreshing. Green apples, limes, citrus & drier than is usual in an entry level Chilean SB. NOVAS GRAN RESERVA RIESLING 2016 9.95 12.0 BIO BIO. Fresh lime, steely minerality and gentle honeysuckle. Mid-weight and off-dry.
13.5 LIMARI VALLEY. Aromatic, honeyed and citrus flavours mingle with a soft rounded texture and great purity
LIGHT & FRUITY CONDORITO MERLOT 2017
Chile/ red 6.45
CENTRAL VALLEY. A mellow, friendly, good-value red. Medium-bodied with good fruit.
SANTA ALBA MERLOT 2017 CURICO VALLEY. Racy little red from a family-owned winery. Soft & juicy.
13.5 CURICO VALLEY. Stainless steel tank fermented Pinot with lovely character. He ain't heavy, but he is very, tasty. SIERRA GRANDE MERLOT 2017 7.10 12.5 CENTRAL VALLEY. Soft and fresh, plums, blackcurrant and cranberry. SIERRA GRANDE CABERNET 2017 7.10 13.0 CENTRAL VALLEY. Rich, ripe and blackcurranty. Slips down a treat! SIERRA GRANDE PINOT NOIR 2017 7.55 13.0 CENTRAL VALLEY. Light-coloured, delicately aromatic red, serve on the cool side for maximum refreshing impact. SANTIAGO PINOT NOIR 2017
SOFT & RIPE SANTA ALBA RESERVE CARMENERE 2017
8.05 13.0 CURICO VALLEY. Like merlot with knobs on, rich, velvety plummy, dark & luscious with a dark chocolate bar finish. SANTA ALBA RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2017 8.05 13.5 MAULE VALLEY. Cherries, wild berries and cinnamon, dark cherries covered in chocolate and vanilla ice cream. SANTA ALBA RESERVE CABERNET 2017 8.05 13.0 CURICO VALLEY. Mellow for a Cabernet. Nice, juicy, plum fruit, good balance of tannins & fruit. Great value. ECHEVERRIA CARMENERE RESERVA 2015/16 9.25 14.0 CURICO VALLEY. Kind of like Merlot with an intonation of spice & green pepper - the embodiment of deliciousness. ECHEVERRIA MERLOT RESERVA 2017 9.25 13.0 CURICO VALLEY. Plums, leather and ripe tannins with strawberries, blackberries and spice. PATRIA NUEVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016 *OFFER* 9.39 8.65 13.5 CURICO VALLEY. Amazing Cabernet. Ripe strawberries, anise and caramel notes lead to a firm and robust palate. ECHEVERRIA GRAN RES MERLOT 2014 11.10 14.0 ACONCAGUA. Brill. Intense cherries & plums combine nicely with notes of bitter chocolate, leather & spice. MARLON BRANDO ARAUCANO RESERVA CARMENERE 2015
COLCHAGUA VALLEY. The purest, freshly crushed blackcurrant fruit, very smooth and complete.
ECHEVERRIA GRAN RES SYRAH 2014
ACONCAGUA VALLEY. Pitched perfectly between Old World rusticity and New World intensity. Very classy & moreish.
TORO DE PIEDRA GRAN RES CAB/CARM 2016
13.5 MAULE VALLEY. Complex, dark fruits, spice & leather. Bitter chocolate, roasting coffee & dark intense fruits. VIU MANENT SINGLE VINEYARD LA CAPILLA CAB SAUVI 2013 20.59 13.5 COLCHAGUA. Intense, complex red fruits, blackcurrants & cherries, herbal notes, fresh leather, cedar & cigar box. VIU MANENT SAN CARLOS SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2015 20.59 13.5 COLCHAGUA. Plums, blackcurrants, & violets. Delicate, fresh, crisp, with tremendous structure & vivacity.
A Blaggers guide to French wine regions Champagne – Chardonnay , Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier 2nd fermentation in bottle to get the bubbles! Classic: Gobillard Premier Cru Grande Reserve 24.49 Pretender: Cava Santa Monica Brut , ESP 9.59
Loire -- Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon (Sancerre, Pou’ Fume), Cab Franc Classic: Sancerre Pre Semele 2017 18.05 Pretender: Handmade Sauvignon 2018, SA 8.99
PAYS D'OC. Delicious, tastes like high-end Rhone. Slightly savoury with ripe fruit, dark chocolate and spice.
CHATEAU MAYNE VIEIL, FRONSAC 2015
BORDEAUX. Lots of dark fruit with earthy, stoney, sort of rustic flavours, mediumish body, very drinkable
COTES DU RHONE SEGURET 2014
RHONE. Deep, dark fruit, cracked black pepper, exotic spice and vanilla. As sexy as red wine gets.
PLAN DE L'HOMME X CARIGNAN 2016
TERRASSES DE LARZAC. Bold black brew. Black olive, black fruit, very full & smooth in the mouth. No oak
ST EMILION GRAND CRU TERRASSAS 2014
ST EMILION. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Cedery, soft, complex, mellow, smooth and stunning value.
CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE HAUTS DE BARVILLE 2015
RHONE. Wild, ripe red berries, passion fruit and incense with smoky mineral flourishes. Juicy and smooth.
VACQUEYRAS VIDAL-FLEURY 2016
RHONE. Blackberry, heather, rosemary, violet. Silky tannins, black fruits and spicy notes.
BADINE DE LA PATACHE, POMEROL 2015
BORDEAUX. A plump, bold wine with rich fruit, dark chocolate and mocha, and fine-grained tannins.
CHATEAU LALANDE, ST JULIEN 2014
BORDEAUX. Dense, concentrated and cassis-laden with lashing of new French oak.
GEVREY CHAMBERTIN VALLET FRERES 2014 BURGUNDY. Superb quality Pinot Noir from the best spot for Pinot on the planet.
Intrepidly in Italy John Penley & friends
The lovely Piedmonte hills covered with the Cascione vineyards
With the Festival finished for another year and the sun still shining with warmth, Italy was the destination for a wee customer trip. It’s always a step into the unknown going away for a couple of nights with people you know through the job, but who don’t necessarily know each other – will they all get on, will anyone lose a passport…who are the troublemakers? (To be fair, we had a good idea who the trouble makers were likely to be before we left and by and large there were no surprises.)
Barbera: ages well, from an excellent year, much like myself!
The wines of Piedmont vary greatly, and come in all styles and colours, from the well known Barolo, Gavi and Moscato to the more unusual Brachetto. Barbera though was the stand out red wine. It’s easy to pass off Barbera as a simple pizza wine - not that there is anything wrong with that - but this is a variety that can achieve great results with the right handling. This is typically a middle weight wine with juicy fruit flavours of dark cherries and plums but when it comes as Cascione’s Barbera with 12 months in oak it becomes a much more versatile wine. At the other end comes the Barbera D’Annona, a single estate wine with fantastic intensity of cherry fruit, supple tannins and a lingering herbal, savoury finish to go nicely with duck. (Available special order)
Gavi is all about white wine. Made from the Cortese grape and nothing else. Allegedly not the easiest grape to work with but when it comes from Battistina it leads to a wonderful crisp fresh stylish wine. This is an ideal accompaniment to smoked salmon or, as this wine is vegan friendly try with grilled asparagus on sour dough melba toast and scrambled tofu.
Keith: the fall guy
Cortese grapes, ripe and ready to harvest.
And so, for a trade trip, the couple of days we had in Piedmont were a blast. Our guests had just survived another busy Festival, pulling double shifts and being rushed off their feet indoors whilst everyone else got to enjoy our unusually warm, bright and sunny summer. They certainly enjoyed being the ones getting the benefit of being looked after and the novelty of getting their food served instead of having to serve but it took them a wee while to get their heads 14 round this change of position.
Italy/ white FRESH AS A DAISY SOAVE LUNARDI 2017
VENETO. Delightfully fruity with a hint of minerality. Modern wine with a classic reputation.
CA' DI PONTI CATARRATTO 2017
SICILY. Medium bodied, aromatic nose of almond and floral notes, peachy and honeyed.
PINOT GRIGIO LUNARDI 2017
VENETO. Excellent version that shines out amongst its bland bretheren. Lively, peachy & lovely.
GPG GARGANEGA/PINOT GRIGIO 2017
VENETO. Very good, clean, peachy white. Gargenega grapes give the Pinot Grigio grapes a bit more fun.
PINOT GRIGIO ANCORA 2017
PAVIA. Our top selling PG - soft peach, zingy lemon zest and superbly clean. Amazing stuff!
MARLBOROUGH The nose exhibits aromas of black cherry, truffle and chocolate. The palate is concentrated and full, with a dense core of rich fruit, poised yet powerful wine.
SERESIN RAUPO CREEK PINOT NOIR 2012
MARLBOROUGH Single vineyard willd fermented pinot noir from a very impressive winery. Ripe dark berry fruit, hints of savoury forest floor, rosemary and leather.
Portugal/ white FRESH AS A DAISY PE BRANCO 2017
ALENTEJO A blend of local grapes (Antao Vaz, Perrum & Arinto since you ask), unoaked floral fruit, crisp, clean and fresh.
VINHO VERDE VILA NOVA 2017
VINHO VERDE Floral, citrus aromas then sherbet lemon acidity, a touch of mango and a bright mineral finish.
SEMI SKIMMED OPTA WHITE 2016
DAO Grapefruit & pear with a touch of spice. Utterly brilliant.
ESPORAO DUAS CASTAS 2016
ALENTEJO A duo of Semillon & Viosinho. Almost waxy limes and honeydew melon flavours, with a slick, clean vein of acidity. Invigorating
ESPORAO VERDELHO 2016
ALENTEJO A load of flavour without being clunky. A classy wine with tropical passion fruit, tangerine and a long cleansing finish.
FULL FAT ESPORAO RESERVE BRANCO 2017
ALENTEJO full of ripe fruit flavours, yet zippy and clean; barrel fermented, yet light and pure; full bodied yet not cloying and moreish. Superb
ESPORAO PRIVATE SELECTION SEMILLON 2016
ALENTEJO Balanced and complex, notes of grapefruit and apricots + discrete toasty notes.
Portugal/ red LIGHT AND FRUITY PE TINTO 2017
ALENTEJO Bright ruby red blend (Moreto, Castelao & Trincadeira), ripe red fruits- great "house" wine.
SOFT AND RIPE OPTA RED 2014/16
DAO Unoaked, smooth and medium bodied with bright red berry fruit and a fresh finish. Touriga Nacional (Port grape) is the main ingredient - fabulous.
ESPORAO COLHEITA 2015 *OFFER* 11.19
ALENTEJO 1st fully organic red- medium-weight, brambly concoction of Touriga Franca & Cab Sauv.
ESPORAO QUATRO CASTAS 2015
ALENTEJO A blend of four different grapes which change every year. Complex and elegant wine with rich fruiT.
MARLON BRANDO ESPORAO RESERVE RED 2015
ALENTEJO Fantastic wine. Silky, full flavoured and rich, red berry fruit with a floral edge and lovely smooth oak. "Ticks all my boxes," Richard
Winter Events Rioja Vega Dinner Wed,14 November 2018 Fishers in the City Thistle St, Edinburgh £60 per person/ 4 courses + wines Luis Marceleta (Vega) and our Simon to host
8.15 to late Book via Great Grog on 0131 5550222
Great Grog Christmas Wine Fair Fri,16 November 2018 Merchants Hall Hanover St, Edinburgh £20 per person (becomes a voucher on night) 100 wines/ informal wander-around style!
6.00-8.30 Book via Great Grog on 0131 5550222
Champagne & Sparkling Wine Wed, 28 November 2018 Royal Scots Club Abercromby Place, Edinburgh £20 per person (becomes a voucher on night) 8 wines/ Richard to wax lyrical!
7.00-8.30 Book via Great Grog on 0131 5550222
Fine Wine Tasting Thurs, 6 December 2018 Spoon Bistro Nicholson St, Edinburgh £25 per person (becomes a voucher on night) 8 wines/ Rebecca from Louis Latour to host w Clare!
7.00-8.30 Book via Great Grog on 0131 5550222 21
The indomitable Lady May The statue pictured on Glenelly’s flagship wine, Lady May, is of Mme May-Elaine De Lencquesaing herself, a gift for her wedding, 60 years before the first vintage of this fantastic wine was produced. Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is one of the key ‘Super Second’ 2ieme Cru Classé estates of Pauillac and it was to this family she born in 1925. She grew up on the estate where from a young age she showed a huge interest in the estate and it’s wines. During WW2 alongside her father she became part of the resistance and hid two Italian-Jewish families in one of their properties with only a single wall separating them from the Germans who were occupying the property. Many of their holdings were confiscated during this time with only some of them given back. After the war she married and moved to Kansas of all places due to her husband’s military posting and then spent much of the next three decades moving all around the world During this time the estate was run by her father until his death in 1959 but various family feuds between her brothers meant the chateau was run by a neighbour until the estate was finally divided in 1978 when Lady May inherited 55% and came back permanently to run the estate (she acquired the remaining shares in the following years). In her time as owner and consultant winemaker she modernised the cellars and worked tirelessly to both improve the quality of the wine and became a global ambassador for Bordeaux wines. She oversaw the definitive vintages of 1982 and 1983, widely seen as the finest ever produced at the Chateau. Her three main passions are wine, travel and glass which she began collecting in her travels. She now boasts one of the largest private collections in the world including pieces dating back to the 1st Century. When asked why she had such a passion she explained that “Both wine and glass are produce of the earth, simple and inexpensive in origin and produced from the poorest soils. Both need heat to come to life and require the intervention of man to be moulded into something of value, beauty and refinement”
One of the 480 pieces of hand blown glass in Lady May;s collection
In 2003 at the age of 79 she decided on Stellenbosch for the next chapter of her life and bought the Glenelly Estate. Not only did she see the potential in the site for winemaking but she wanted to be involved in a process that would truly have an impact on the economic development of the region she settled in. 22
*Glenelly’s state of the art gravity flow winery constructed in 2009
Using her thirty plus years experience as a winemaker, estate manager and brand ambassador she set about making the estate hers; modernising the winery and employing an expert winemaker, Luke O’Cuinneagain, a South African who had learnt his trade in some of top wineries in France before staring his career at the equally fantastic Rustenberg Estate Together they established a vision what they wanted to achieve. To make truly New World wines with Old World roots – a Bordeaux-inspired structure with fine South African richness. She moved between Bordeaux and Stellenbosch as well as plenty of other places around the world (the world’s oldest flying winemaker perhaps) until she finally sold her estate in France in 2007. In 2008 the first vintage of ‘The Lady May’ was produced. A single vineyard, cool site Cabernet Sauvignon with 24 months in oak to embody everything that she is - elegant, venerable and distinguished - so impressive that when tasted blind it was assumed to be a top end Bordeaux, despite the terrible vintage they’d had that year. The logo that was decided on for the winery I think perfectly sums up her spirit and character: A rather distinguished lady, holding a glass of wine, on a rhino.
OUR TOP GLENELLY DEALS FOR CHRISTMAS Glenelly Glass Cabernet Franc 2016 9.99 Very, very good indeed Cab Franc. Up there with the best we have ever tasted
Glenelly Glass Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 9.99 Very complex nose with flavours of blackcurrant, cherry, a touch of spices and chocolate. Big and rich in the mouth with sweet cassis and firm but rounded tannins.
Glenelly Glass Merlot 2015 9.99 Soft and concentrated with rich plum fruit and a backbone of chocolatiness.
South Africa/ white FRESH AS A DAISY FORGE MILL CHENIN BLANC 2018
COASTAL REGION An excellent easy-drinking, very, very fruity dry white. Great everyday wine.
CAPEMAN Sauvignon Blanc 2017/18 DARLING REGION Give it a few moments to blossom in the glass & it opens up nicly into a tropical, passion-filled little number.
GRAND CAPE SAUVIGNON 2017 WESTERN CAPE Bright and zingy with fresh, ripe tropical fruit and lime.
INDABA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016 *OFFER* 8.36 WESTERN CAPE One of those really mouthwateringly fruity Sauv's. Lovely and tangy, tropical too with pineapple and mango.
HANDMADE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2018 STELLENBOSCH Fruit driven, clean and ripe. Grog home brew!!!
BOUCHARD FINLAYSON BLANC DE MER 2016 HERMANUS Super-fruity, not-too-dry white. A bit of a mad blend of A blend of 61% Riesling, 17% Viognier, 12% Chardonnay, 8% Sauvignon Blanc and 2% Semillon. Works though!!
PAUL CLUVER DRY ENCOUNTER RIESLING 2015-Delisted ELGIN One of SA's best- lime/lemon citrus, cool climate minerals - a precious gem of a wine
ERNIE ELS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 STELLENBOSCH There is terrific balance of tropical fruit, cool climate elegance and a mineral structure. Blasts of gooseberries, guava, passionfruit a
PAUL CLUVER ESTATE RIESLING 2017-due August ELGIN A meticulously made, perfectly balance, off dry Riesling. Spankingly clean and taut as fiddle string.
BOUCHARD FINLAYSON SAUVIGNON 2017 HERMANUS Lively and aromatic with rich guava, lime and grapefruit.
SEMI SKIMMED CAPE HEIGHTS VIOGNIER 2017 WESTERN CAPE Rich, vibrant and textured with fresh apricot fruit and citrus.
CAPE HEIGHTS CHENIN BLANC 2017 WESTERN CAPE Quite how they can cram so much fruit into a bottle at this price is a bit of a mystery to me. Soft, baked apple fruit and zippy citrus
THE CURATOR WHITE BLEND 2015 *OFFER* 9.49 SWARTLAND Total dude Adi Badenhorst comes up top trumps with this Chenin/ Chardonnay/ Viognier, slowly & naturally fermented, giving a wine with real backbone & personality.
INDABA CHENIN BLANC 2017 WESTERN CAPE Light, fresh and clean with soft citrus & honey notes. Incredibly tasty
South Africa/ white KAAPZICHT CHENIN BLANC 2017
STELLENBOSCH Ripe quince, pineapple and stone fruit, with a hint of sweetness and balancing crunchy acid.
ERNIE ELS BIG EASY WHITE 2017 STELLENBOSCH Super lush and fruity, plenty to tickle the senses. Apples, grapefruit, spice and lime all wrapped up in a soft bubble.
GLENELLY GLASS UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2016/17 STELLENBOSCH Citrus peel, pear drop, stem ginger and honeysuckle. Intense, rounded and soft.
FULL FAT AQUIFER SEMILLON 2016 RRP £12 SWARTLAND Creamy old vine, wild yeast, textured loveliness.
DEMORGENZON CHARDONNAY 2016 STELLENBOSCH Rich, full and lovely with grapefruit zing, apricot, peach, vanilla and almond.
PAUL CLUVER GEWURZTRAMINER 2016 ELGIN A surprisingly delicious combination of rose petal, lychee, cucumber, summer melon and mango. It is really fresh on the palate with a lovely lime and lemongrass finish.
LEMBERG LADY 2015 TULBAGH 59% Viognier, 33% Hárslevelu, 4% Sauvignon Blanc and 4% Semillon. Naturally fermented,
RUSTENBERG CHARDONNAY 2017
STELLENBOSCH Rich, ripe and fleshy (oo-er) with apricot and mango fruit cut with apple and citrus. Multi award winner - a staple for any chardonnay lover?
MORGENHOF CHARDONNAY 2015 STELLENBOSCH Like an incredibly classy pina colada it manages to get the balance between tropical fruit, acidity and creaminess just right. More please.
LEMBERG HARSLEVELU 2015*limited+NO 2016 vintage* TULBAGH Better known as a variety in the great wines of Tokaji, at Lemberg Hárslevelü produces a dry white wine.
BOUCHARD FINLAYSON CROCODILE'S LAIR CHARD 2015/16 HERMANUS The Crocodile vineyard has some really snappy views of the Southern Oceans. Fresh apple and lime with peach fruit and some nutty characters
PAUL CLUVER CHARDONNAY 2016 ELGIN Rich, generous, tropical, oaky - like in the old days
DEMORGENZON MAESTRO WHITE 2014 STELLENBOSCH Orange and yellow stone fruit with spice and zesty citrus,wrapped in coconutty oak. Roussanne/Chenin/Viognier/Chardonnay blend.
LUDDITE SABOTEUR WHITE 2017 BOT RIVER Palate: Rich, mouth filling entry with yellow peach, melons, raisins and spice.
BOUCHARD FINLAYSON MISSIONVALE CHARD 2015 HERMANUS Mango, pear, vanilla and yeasty notes...like adding a bit more fuel to white burgundy.
LUDDITE CHENIN BLANC 2015 BOT RIVER Tiny production. Amazingly concentrated oaked Chenin from fantastic producer
KAAPZICHT THE 1947 CHENIN BLANC 2016 STELLENBOSCH Superlative. Extraordinarily complex: Production amounting to just 900 bottles, Platter 5* 25
South Africa/ red LIGHT AND FRUITY FORGE MILL SHIRAZ/CINSAULT 2015
5.85 14.0 COASTAL REGION Cinsault gives this wine a bit more of a twist than a standard Shiraz. Full of smooth, juicy red berry fruit and a touch of spice. PERCHERON OLD VINE CINSAULT 2016/17
WESTERN CAPE Red fruits, cherry and spice w a gently creamy, refreshing finish.
HANDMADE RED BLEND 2017
SOFT AND RIPE CAPEMAN Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2015/17
14.0 STELLENBOSCH The return of our very own red. This time it is a beautiful well balanced Cinsaut-led blend.
DARLING REGION Great value, lingeringly tasty, quality booze with a fair wack of flavour
CAPE HEIGHTS MERLOT 2017 WESTERN CAPE Lush and juicy with plenty of ripe plums and hints of chocolate.
PERCHERON SHIRAZ/MOURVEDRE 2017
WESTERN CAPE Rich and dark with warm dark berry fruit, chocolate and savoury spice.
14.5 WESTERN CAPE Bordeaux Blend comprising mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot, a splash of Malbec and Petit Verdot. A complex wine for your money. INDABA MOSAIC 2017
INDABA MERLOT 2016
14.0 DARLING A blend of 60% Cinsaut, 34% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre. This is a beautifully soft red wine.
WESTERN CAPE Rounded & soft with plummy mocha & a twist of smoky spice
ROAN RANGER CINSAUT/GREN/MOURV. 2015
14.5 STELLENBOSCH About the most approachable (drinkable now) reds in their range. Intense dark fruit aromas and spicy plums with touches of spearmint. GLENELLY GLASS MERLOT 2013*Offer**
13.5 DARLING It's all in the name. Surprisingly elegant, ripe and soft with toasty oak, plum and of course, chocolate! DARLING CELLARS CHOCOHOLIC PINOTAGE 2016
DEMORGENZON SYRAH 2014
STELLENBOSCH Full and youthful with layers of berry fruit, violet, pepper, vanilla and clove
CATHERINE MARSHALL Creads AMATRA MERLOT 2016
ELGIN Intense, full bodied and velvety red with bags of dark ripe fruit and mediterranean spice.
CATHERINE MARSHALL PINOT NOIR SANDSTONE SOIL 2017
13.5 ELGIN Consistently highly rated, we're one of a handful of merchants worldwide to get a small allocation.
ERNIE ELS BIG EASY RED 2016
14.0 STELLENBOSCH Silky , ripe & rich brimming with sweet red cherry fruit, cassis, mulberry and redcurrant
13.5 ELGIN Sublime, smooth, delicate, cool-breeze-washed red. Delicate earthy aromas w red & dark berry flavours PAUL CLUVER PINOT NOIR 2015
LEMBERG SPENCER PINOTAGE 2014
LUDDITE SHIRAZ 2013
15.0 TULBAGH Described as 'a Pinotage for Pinot Noir lovers' by Tim Atkin, this is an exciting 100% Pinotage cuvée which is elegant and accessible with genuine charm. 15.0 BOT RIVER Gentle spice, plums, dark cherries with a long elegant finish with balanced tannins and a hint of wood. Rather yummy and decadent.
South Africa/ red MARLON BRANDO SILVERMYN ARGENTUM 2016/17
8.15 14.5 STELLENBOSCH Quite chunky, full-bodied red, dark, crunchy and blackcurranty. Merlot / Cabernet / Petit Verdot blend. FALSE BAY PINOTAGE 2016 7.59 13.5 WESTERN CAPE Not your average Pinotage! Mediumish in body, hints of mulberry, spice and juicy plum. Really terrific stuff. THE CURATOR RED BLEND 2016 9.49 13.5 SWARTLAND Minimal interventionist wine making from Adi Badenhorst. Hearty red with a wide spectrum of flavours! KAAPZICHT BIN 3 CAB/MERLOT 2015 12.59 14.5 STELLENBOSCH Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinotage and Malbec. Beatifully elegant red with pure, clean dark fruit flavours softened by almost 2 years in oak. GLENELLY GLASS CABERNET FRANC 2016 9.99 14.5 STELLENBOSCH World Class Cab Franc– intense red fruit, silky smooth. juicy GLENELLY GLASS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 9.99 14.5 STELLENBOSCH An art form of a Cabernet, slightly French-style. Cassis, blackcurrant, cherry, a touch of spices and chocolate; good tannin structure, perfect balance and length. RUSTENBERG JOHN X MERRIMAN 2015 14.09 14.5 STELLENBOSCH This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc & Petit Verdot is unashamedly Old World in stylistic aspiration. ZORGVLIET PETIT VERDOT 2015 14.99 14.5 STELLENBOSCH PV is one of my favourite grapes. Never ceases to amaze me why they don't plant more. KAAPZICHT PINOTAGE 2015 16.49 14.5 STELLENBOSCH Ripe layers of mulberry, plums, blackcherry and dark chocolate/mocha tones, a trace of minerality and forward oak aromatics add more complexity. LUDDITE SABOTEUR RED 2015
BOT RIVER Dark, almost black appearance with purple edges. Spice-driven dark fruit with hints of liquorice, cinnamon, plum, violets and toasty wood.
20.39 14.0 HERMANUS Due to its paler than usual colour, Peter decided to he could not put the Galpin Peak name to this vintage but the flavour is still there in spades. Bargain of the list? Probably! BOUCHARD FINLAYSON HANNIBAL 2015 23.39 14.0 HERMANUS Extraordinary wine. A crazy Sangiovese based blend. Very, very interesting as Inspector Cluseau used to say. BOUCHARD FINLAYSON GALPIN PEAK PINOT NOIR 2015 27.15 14.5 HERMANUS Medium dark with an explosive nose of red fruits and infused cherry, the palate projects cranberry and plum with smoky strawberry high tones. Awesome. MORGENHOF ESTATE RED 2012 30.10 14.5 STELLENBOSCH Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec BOUCHARD FINLAYSON WALKER BAY PINOT NR 2014 *NOT 27.15*
Rocking Rioja & Navarra, 9-12 September 2018 Simon + 6 restaurant gastronauts Host: Luis of Rioja Vega/ Principe de Viana The Logrono (capital of Rioja) challenge: 80 wee narrow tapas bars in 2 streets– nibble and a glass of wine in each- easy peasy. They specialise so there’s a mushroom one, an octopus one, a prawn one, a patatas bravas one, one that does amazing flashgrilled skewers of wine-dark Iberico pork sirloin, one that does “Ferrero Rocher” nutcrusted Morcilla balls– (mmm, interesting), one that does tortilla, one that does pigs ears, etc, etc….all washed down with a small glass of tasty Tempranillo or ripe Ribeira. Culture shock #1: Leaving a deserted, dark, sleepy, wet Edinburgh at 5am on a Sunday morning, through tiny Bilbao airport then getting out of a minibus at lunch time in San Sebastian into a mad maelstrom of colour, rude chanting, drinking, singing, passion, purple smoke, brass bands, crowds, heat and helicopters– it was the final of the regatta– a local derby-type rowing race out of La Concha Bay– teams of 12 in wooden whaling boats racing out to sea. We had to take shelter in a Pintxo (wot tapas is called up north) bar, eat and drink Txakoli– the bruisingly acidic, spritzy white which must be poured from several feet above the glass. Comparisons: Where Rioja is bumpy, Navarra is flat. Navarra land is half as valuable, grapes half the price. Scores of Griffon Vultures soar in thermals above Principe de Viana– didn’t see one at Rioja Vega! Vega has 70 hectares with Tempranillo as king, P de Viana has 700 and sources from up to 1200, with Garnacha leading the way. Both cultivate wild yeast found in the vineyards, referred to by Luis, rather winningly, as “Yeasties”. La Vuelta: The bank Caja Rural own almost half of Rioja Vega (still mostly owned & run by 3 families) but also share a passion for cycling, being long time sponsors of a professional team. This led to backstage passes to the start of stage 17 at Getxo, getting up close to the tiny riders and all that shiny carbon fibre. Wine & bikes: my two favourite things!!! Er.. After my kids…..of course…..
Restaurante Taberna Herrerías Logroño, La Rioja, About the only sit-down eats that we managed and a great example of less-is-more. A calm room with a statement floor-to– high ceiling wine cabinet, the tables spot lit as if a stage, the dinners in cosy crepuscular gloom. Perfect melty iberico jamon and rudely red chunks of tomato made to pop with crystals of sea salt—a triumph of shopping and serving temperature perhaps- made for total umami mouth-joy. No foam or micro-herbs in sight! A perfect carpaccio of beef, w/ sesame, balsamic & parmesan so smooth your could eat it with a straw. The main event– a 1.5 kilo T-bone for the table literally brought meaty tears to the eyes of my companion opposite! Glasses of peaches & cream Rioja Vega Tempranillo Blanco and mellow Crianza set things off perfectly. A cuddle of a Bread and Butter pud w/ Dulce de Leche ice cream, PX dribbled over for fun, sent us happy into the night. Go, go, go! 28
Steak to make grown men cry
Pintxos in San Sebastian
Old Vine Tempranillo, Rioja
Old Rioja Vega label for Oddbins 1976
Rioja Vega in the sun
Museum stock, Rioja Vega
Ewan (Fishers Bistro, Leith) @ Rioja Vega
29 Lots of Vega barrels
Tapas mural in Logrono
Pablo Pavez, winemaker (Left)
Oak Barrel for Albret
Town Hall, Pamplona
Barrels, Principe de Viana
2 Simons at La Vuelta
Cultivating Wild Yeasties
Graciano grapes, Navarra
Spain/ white FRESH AS A DAISY LOS AVELLANOS VIURA 2017
NAVARRA Clean, fresh, fruity, juicy un-oaked. What's not to like?
CAMINA VERDEJO 2017
LA MANCHA Fresh'n'light modern white that would appeal to Sauvignon drinkers, melon, citrus and honeysuckle.
BORSAO MACABEO 2016
CAMPO DE BORJA Good value dry with with a soft, clean-flavoured, fruity palate
RIOJA VEGA WHITE 2017
RIOJA Yes, yes. Great value Rioja from the "top" rated producer. Clean, un-oaked, fruity, light & really tasty
VERMADOR AIREN/MACABEO 2017 ORGANIC/VEGAN
ALICANTE Big Co-op, little price for organic wine. Nice and crisp; free run juice; belies its warm origin.
VERGEL AIREN/SAUVIGNON 2017 ORGANIC/VEGAN
ALICANTE Old vine Airen and zippy Sauvignon marry well; lots of lees ageing; ripe peachy style; no oak.
DIEZ SIGLOS VERDEJO 2017
RUEDA A dry white w character. Tasty & minerally, stone fruit, tangerine & citrus, notes of grass, fennel and aniseed.
ALBARINO ALBA VEGA 2017
RIAS BAIXAS Superb version of this amazing grape. Dry, light, zingy, FRESH 'n' fruity. A delight
SEMI SKIMMED DIAPIRO WHITE 2017
ALICANTE 100% Merseguera, a new one on us. Grapefruit, fennel, mint and peach and very subtle wood.
FULL FAT RIOJA VEGA TEMPRANILLO BLANCO 2016
RIOJA Gorgeous peaches-and-cream ripe, rich white made from albino Tempranillo grapes. Fermanted & aged oak for 6 months.
NAIADES BOGEDAS NAIA VERDEJO 2013
RUEDA Oh my god, seriously, extraordinary wine from 19th century ungrafted Verdejo vines. Like the best white Burdgundy
Spain/ red REDS LIGHT AND FRUITY LOS AVELLANOS TEMPRANILLO 2017
NAVARRA A really good robust, fruity red. Excellent value.
CAMINA TEMPRANILLO 2017
LA MANCHA Clean, bright and lively wine with attractive cherry red color. Varietal aromas of red and black fruits.
BORSAO GARNACHA 2016
CAMPO DE BORJA Jolly juicy fruit, plum, blackberry and bramble. Good swigging Spanish red.
RIOJA VEGA RED 2017
RIOJA A scrummy Joven (young & un-oaked) type of Rioja. The fruit is immense & yet it is smooth & has lovely depth of flavour.
VERMADOR MONASTRELL/PETIT VERDOT 2016 ORGANIC/VEGAN ALICANTE Big flavour, little price! No oak, organic grapes- big, purple-y and juicy.
SOFT AND RIPE PRINCIPE DE VIANA GARNACHA 2016
NAVARRA This is a great example of how juicy, smooth, tasty and red -fruited Grenache can be. Spain’s 100 Best Wines Prowein 2018.
JUAN GIL HONORO VERA ORGANIC MONASTRELL 2016/17
JUMILLA An absolutely miniscule amount of rainfall & tiny bush vines produce grapes completely jam packed w flavour .
RIOJA VEGA DEL RAYO SELECCIONADA 2016
RIOJA Soft, squooshy, mellow relaxer. Warmly spicy, plums, cherries and a smokey hint. 6 Months in oak.
RIOJA VEGA CRIANZA 2015
RIOJA Exceptionally smooth and complex, 18 months in oak.
RIOJA VEGA DEL RAYO RESERVA 2012
RIOJA Richly flavoured & spicy, this classic Rioja combines ripe plum & dried fruit characters with cinnamon & vanilla.
RIOJA VEGA TEMPRANILLO COLLECCION red 2016
RIOJA Pretty chunky say Richard, presumably describing the wine....Awesome, top-quality, limited edition.
MARLON BRANDO PINOSO OLD VINE MONASTRELL CEPA 50 2016 ORGANIC
ALICANTE Unoaked style with cooler ferment to preserve the expressive young fruit from 50 year old vines- blinding value.
DIAPIRO RED 2017
ALICANTE Monastrell & Tempranillo & Merlot; oak-aged for 4 months in new French oak- coffee, cacao, raisin, toast, herb, vanilla.
VERGEL MONASTRELL/MERLOT 2017 ORGANIC/VEGAN
ALICANTE A liquid M&M with a splash of Alicante Bouschet for colour. A vivid, soft youthful red of no inconsiderable charm.
JUAN GIL 4 MESES MONASTRELL 2016
JUMILLA Dark, chunky and full of blackberry and plum fruit with hints of vanilla spice and coffee.
RIOJA RESERVA ONDARRE 2014
RIOJA Super smooth strawberries and vanilla ice cream with gentle tannins and spice.
URBAN RIBERA DEL DUERO 2014
RIBERA DEL DUERO Luxurious, juicy black cherry fruit coats the palate with a line of perfect freshness lifting the finish admirably.
RIOJA VEGA RESERVA 2012
RIOJA Unctuous, spicy, soft Rioja that has more medals than Mr T.
ALBRET LA VINA DE MI MADRE RESERVA 2013
NAVARRA Super-quality Cabernet Merlot. "wine of my mother". I'm afraid we never drank wine this good in my house when I was younger!
RIOJA VEGA GRAN RESERVA 2011-LIMITED
RIOJA Super-smooth mature and mellow. Growing old gracefully. Powerful. well balanced and expressive, black fruit and spice.
CLUNIA MALBEC 2015-back October
RIBERA DEL DUERO-ish: Humungous and yet very, very fine Malbec from a small, high altitude, arid vineyard.
FRESH AS A DAISY ESTIVAL GEWURZ/CHARD/MOSCATO 2016
Early-picked Chardonnay gives a lemony freshness to the weightier aromatic varieties, clean, citrussy and very interesting
SEMI-SKIMMED BODEGONES DEL SUR SELECT VIOGNIER 2015
CANELONES Melon, peach, apricot with fine floral notes of honeysuckle and magnolia. Fresh, unctuous and full bodied
Uruguay/ red SOFT AND RIPE BODEGONES DEL SUR VINEYARD SELECT TANNAT 2016
CANELONES Notes of ripe figs enriched with notes of ink and spices, robust tannins and subtle notes of chocolate and coffee.
BODEGONES DEL SUR CABERNET FRANC 2015
CANELONES brilliantly balanced flavours of plums, raisins and blackberries with notes of spice, pepper and eucalyptus. Oooh!
BODEGONES DEL SUR MARSELAN 2015
CANELONES Fantastic, interesting new grape variety made by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Oak aged for 3 months..
Another one of Pablo's leftfield blends. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Barbera, 20% Tannat. We say toffee aromas, black fruit, toast, cherry, meat.
ANARKIA TANNAT 2017
Tannat is a black-skinned, tannic grape. Natural, no-added-sulphur, wild yeast . Bold, meaty but well-defined black fruit and good acidity.
Rosé LOS AVELLANOS GRENACHE ROSE 2017
NAVARRA, SPAIN Dry Rose, vibrantly coloured and bursting with flavour.
CAMINA TEMPRANILLO ROSADA 2017 LA MANCHA, SPAIN Gorgeous dry Rose, bright and cheery
PE ROSE 2017 ALENTEJO, PORTUGAL Lovely fruity little Portuguese number
BORSAO ROSE 2017
CAMPO DE BORJA, SPAIN So So juicy. This will not necessarily be everyone's cup of tea due to the levels of fruit massive!
ANCORA CHIARETTO ROSE 2017
PIEMONTE, ITALY Barbera rose! Fresh, succulent strawberries, as crisp and clean as they come.
BRISE DE FRANCE GRENACHE-SYRAH ROSE 2017
VIN DE FRANCE Jolly good value rose from UCCOAR on the outskirts of Carcassonne in the deep South of France
RIOJA VEGA ROSE 2017
RIOJA, SPAIN Totally yummy in my tummy. Strawberry & raspberry jam & yet it is dry! How do they do that?
PINOT GRIGIO ROSATO ANCORA 2017
PAVIA, ITALY Light, dry and frisky with loads of sumptuous fruit
BIG TOP WHITE ZINFANDEL ROSE 2016/17
CALIFORNIA, USA Medium-dry, but crucial balancing freshness make it a total glugger. Reminiscent of raspberry ripple ice cream.
FALSE BAY WHOLE BUNCH ROSE 2018
SOUTH AFRICA Old bush vine Cinsault forms the backbone of this 'proper' rosé. Pale & spicy
DOMAINE DE L'OLIBET ROSE 2017
LANGUEDOC, FRANCE Like taking a stroll in a spring meadow, abundant ripe fruit, lifted by a natural zing.
COTES DU RHONE ROSE CERISIERS 2017
RHONE, FRANCE Elegant, textured dry salmon hued pink from the Southern Rhone. Delicate and berry filled with raspberry freshness.
COTES DU RHONE ROSE CLAVEL "Regulus" 2016
RHONE Very Pale delicate rose. Best served chilled in large glasses, no company needed.
TROUT VALLEY ROSE 2016
NELSON Lovely dry rose, slamon pink in colour with creamy strawberry fruit and a touch of spice.
LEMBERG BLANC DE NOIR 2017/18 TULBAGH, SOUTH AFRICA A vibrant, elegant blend of 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache.
CHATEAU L'ERMITAGE TRADITION ROSE 2017
COSTIERES DE NIMES, FRANCE A meaty, rich and appealing rose which is excellent for food and packed with cranberry flavours.
Champagne cynic October 2018 I started my wine journey many years before I could afford to buy anything that was famous. I think I had one bottle of Champagne my entire life before age 25 (it was Moet, needless to say). Champagne is probably the most famous wine on the planet, but it is running into a little difficulty. The problem with being on top of the tree is that there is only one way to go from there. The last import figures for the UK for Champagne show a 5% decline in volume and a 2% decline in value. In the same period Prosecco grew by 33% and 24% respectively. These figures may account for the fact that Champagne producers are no longer going to be declaring their volume figures but are going to concentrate on value figures instead. There is only a finite amount of land in Champagne and hence a finite amount of grapes, so volumes are never going to rise anyway. We may be drinking more fizz in the world, but sure as heck it isn’t going to be more Champagne. The UK is the second biggest market after France itself. We buy about 27 million bottles a year. Enough to give every one of us Taittinger Cellars about 2 glasses (I’ll have yours if you don’t want it, thanks). We drink slightly more than the Americans (no news there) in total, and way more per head. They only drink about half a glass a head per year (hardly worth bothering, I would say). “Cheap Champagne anyone?” is not something you shout across the room to your guests. I just wonder where all the 2nd pressed juice goes in Champagne wineries. The 2nd pressed grapes produce quite a bitter, rough, tannic juice best suited to having lots of sugar added to it before bottling. This is how you find “discount supermarket” bargains. Only, in this case, they aren’t really bargains. I wonder sometimes who these people are that gave them the awards when they refer to “our award-winning Champagne”! The inexorable rise of Prosecco is a thorn in the side of humble priced Champagne as it shows it up for what it is – cheap and often nasty. The big brands in Champagne are trying hard to get us to spend more money on their product. Moet have brought out Imperial Ice which is a Champagne to be served on, you guessed it, ice. Because it is on ice it has to have more flavour and body so that you can taste it and hence they have released it in a sweeter style (40 g of sugar per litre). An ideal style if you want to break into new markets such as Asia. Indeed, this is where all the value growth is. Call me a cynic, but £45 for a sweeter version of Moet in a fancier bottle doesn’t really appeal, even to a younger version of myself. But then again, maybe it would, as I too was an emerging drinker back then, were I to have had the cash, obviously. There is a third way between cheap and the branded options, and that is growers-own labels. Strange that Great Grog sells Thierry Gobillard’s Champagne isn’t it! Competent chaps and chapesses like Thierry are the future of growth in the region, because they are worth it. They concentrate on quality and that is where the future lies. There you go, the optimism of youth again.
Thierry Gobillard, July 2018
AY On-trade only exclusive; 3 years on lees, 5 grams of sugar per litre only. Yummy, zesty, elegant style.
GOSSET BRUT EXCELLENCE
AY Full bodied, quite an intense drinking experience, tinged with crisp citrus giving it a refreshing edge
GOSSET GRANDE RESERVE BRUT
AY Full bodied with added creamy lees ageing
GOSSET BLANC DE NOIRS EXTRA-BRUT AY Refreshing zingy fruit, minerally notes plus surprising intensity.
GOSSET GRAND ROSE BRUT
AY Simon says this delightful little pink drop is the elixir of beauty...by the looks of things he's never touched a drop
GOSSET CELEBRIS ROSE 2007 EXTRA-BRUT
ST THOMAS BRUT
HAUTVILLERS Gobillards entry level fizz. More Pinot Meunier than his "house" wine = more fruit
GOBILLARD BRUT TRADITION BRUT
HAUTVILLERS Even Champagne can sometimes surprise you with how good it is. This is one of those wines.
GOBILLARD BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT
HAUTVILLERS 100% Chardonnay. Light and crunchy green apple fruit makes for a great aperitif...
GOBILLARD BLANC DE NOIRS BRUT
HAUTVILLERS 100% black grapes - white champagne! Fruity & soft, soft redcurrant notes with raspberry leaf.
GOBILLARD GRAND RESERVE BRUT
HAUTVILLERS Absolutely first rate 1er cru fizz... lip licking citrus pazzaz, soft ripe cox pippin duffle and toast
GOBILLARD CUVEE PRESTIGE 2011 BRUT
HAUTVILLERS Taut, lithe and adroit - a gymnast of lemon peel, granny smith and tense minerality - sensational
GOBILLARD ROSE BRUT
HAUTVILLERS Great raspberry and red berry scented fizz, a firm Grog favourite.
GOBILLARD CUVEE PRESTIGE ROSE 2012 BRUT HAUTVILLERS
OTHER FORMATS FROM GOBILLARD GOBILLARD BRUT TRADITION NV *HALF BOTTLE* HAUTVILLERS Miniaturised Tradition...half the size yet all the pleasure of a big bottle
GOBILLARD ROSE PRESTIGE *HALF BOTTLE* HAUTVILLERS A delicate river trout colour, fruity, expressive and full of flavour.
GOBILLARD GRAND RESERVE *MAGNUM*
HAUTVILLERS 2 Bottle size...the ideal format...it actually tastes better from magnum, no word of a lie!
GOBILLARD VINTAGE 2010 *MAGNUM*
HAUTVILLERS Gorgeous Champagne & even more so for being larger.
GOBILLARD VINTAGE ROSE 2009 *MAGNUM* HAUTVILLERS
GOBILLARD GRAND RESERVE *JEROBOAM* HAUTVILLERS 4 bottle size...a termite mound of bubbling joy.
REIMS One of the best Champagne "grand marques" (big brands). Incredibly it is still family-owned. 36
CHAMPAGNE METHOD CAVA SANTA MONICA
Sparkling wine 9.59
PENEDES, SPAIN I've been selling this wine for years & it is still as good as ever. Great value Champagne-a-like.
RIVER RETREAT BRUT BY TRENTHAM ESTATE *OFFER* 10.79
AUSTRALIA Chardonnay/Pinot noir making a brilliant fresh friendly fizz
CREMANT DE LIMOUX SALASAR EXTRA-DRY *OFFER* 10.99
LIMOUX, FRANCE A mouthful of generosity & creamy fruit. 90% Chardonnay, 5% Chenin & 5% Pinot Noir..
CREMANT DE LOIRE BRUT SAUVION BRUT
SAUMUR, LOIRE Lighter than Champagne but still with yeasty, brioche flavours. 15 months ageing "
CREMANT D'ALSACE MAYERLING BRUT *OFFER* 15.19
ALSACE, FRANCE Made from 100% Pinot Blanc, light, friendly and very pure.
GRAHAM BECK BRUT
SOUTH AFRICA The best Southern Hemishpere Fizz? Portion is oaked, Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend.
HENNERS BRUT 2011
EAST SUSSEX Classy English sparkler. Sweet pastry, ripe pear and white flower on the nose.
RED FIZZ HOLLICK SPARKLING MERLOT 2014- will be delisted
COONAWARRA, AUSTRALIA Oooft - ripe plums, bit herby with a smidge of chocolate too. Chill it!
PINK FIZZ DOLCI COLLINE SPUMANTE ROSE BRUT
VENETO, ITALY An artist formerly known as "Prosecco" - you can't call "Rose" Prosecco that anymore
ZONIN ROSE SPUMANTE BRUT
VENETO, ITALY Pretty in pink, bright strawberry fruit
GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSE BRUT
SOUTH AFRICA Pinot Noir-dominated champers-alike, nice & delicate yet w a little punch of New World fruitiness
PROSECCO PROSECCO CA BOLANI BRUT (200ml)
VENETO, ITALY A bottle just big enough to share, but then again, maybe not.
BURTI SPUMANTE EXTRA-DRY
VENETO, ITALY Made by Riondo, one of the biggest Prosecco producers, excellent fruit with a crisp finish.
PROSECCO SPAGO NERO FRIZZANTE
VENETO, ITALY Gently Sparkling (frothy rather than fizzy) Prosecco. "Far too easy to drink" style.
PROSECCO CA' BOLANI FRIZZANTE
VENETO, ITALY Gently sparkling white from the North of Italy. Ripe peach and citrus.
PROSECCO RIONDO COLLEZIONE SPUMANTE EXTRA-DRY
VENETO, ITALY Exceptionally good Prosecco from an excellent producer in a great looking package.
PROSECCO CA' BOLANI SPUMANTE BRUT
VENETO, ITALY Fizzier than a frizzante with ripe apple and citrus fruit. Jolly nice.
PROSECCO LE DOLCI SPUMANTE BRUT VENETO, ITALY Ripe, grapey and zesty fizz from the north east of Italy.
Fortified & Ancient Fortification is the process of adding spirit to a wine in order to stabilise it and prevent any spoilage or further fermentation. In the days before refrigeration and understanding hygiene, this allowed for the transportation of wine over greater distances. Thus many of the fortified wines that we know about today are steeped in history; Port was one of the very first demarcated wine areas, Madeira was used to toast the signing of the US Declaration of Independence and Sherry is one of granny’s favourite tipples! Port and Christmas have a long and happy relationship, and no wonder, as this is a wine that goes nicely with mince pies, pudding, a cheese board with rich and creamy cheeses or just a drink to warm the toes on a cold and frosty day. Krohn LBV, 13.30 Krohn White Port, 12.25 Port is fortified with a grape spirit at 77% unlike all other fortified wines which use spirit at a sturdy 95%. However there is more spirit added to Port, up to 20%, to get it’s ABV to at least 15%. All Fortified wines have to have an ABV of at least 15%. Another classic dusted off at this time of year is sherry. The area that produces Sherry has a wine making history that goes back at least to the Phoenicians, who established Cadiz in 1110BC. The main grape used in production of the drier styles of Sherry Fino, Amontillado, Manzanilla and Oloroso - is Palomino. These make a fantastic aperitif and can keep for a week or so in the fridge once opened. These are fermented completely before being fortified, unlike other fortified wines where the spirit is added half way through fermentation in order to maintain sweetness. The process of fortifying is called mutage. (see our fortified page for our selection) The super rich, unctuous PX uses the Pedro Ximenez grapes which are mostly grown in neighbouring MontillaMoriles. This style is a dessert in itself, rich like sticky Special Christmas Treat … Antique Pedro Ximenez - 31.79 toffee pudding sauce and not really one of your five-a-day. The Vin Doux Naturel category of fortified wines is possibly the least known but arguably the most funky. Domaine Coyeux Muscat Beumes de Venise (£11.20 / 375ml) is a lovely option from Southern Rhone. It’s fresh, grapey sweetness drinks a little bit lighter than most dessert wines and wouldn’t be out of place with a trifle or fruit based desserts. Elysium Black Muscat (£13.10 / 375ml) from California matches beautifully with dark chocolate desserts; soft, creamy and laden with perfumed forest fruits We’ve been selling Rustenberg wines right from the start and this Red Muscadel (£9.65 / 375ml) is one of the reasons we still like them. This is an example of what is called a Mistelles, where spirit is added to grape must before any fermentation has started. This is a very fresh and youthful wine with flavours of Turkish 38 delight and ripe red fruit.
KROHN RUBY *OFFER* 11.69
DUORO Rich, full and soft with fresh plum and cherry fruit.
KROHN LAGRIMA WHITE PORT *OFFER* 14.59
DUORO Complex and nutty, rich and honeyed with a long tangy finish. Try with soda and a slice of orange!
KROHN LBV 2012 *OFFER* 15.49
DUORO spicy black fruit aromas. vibrant plum & blackberry characters layered with spice, fresh acidity & firm tannins.
KROHN COLHEITA 2004 *OFFER* 19.85
DUORO Aromas of dried fruit and nuts - typical of Christmas pudding! plum, prune, raisin, fig layers of spice, fresh acidity.
FERNANDO CLASSIC FINO
JEREZ, SPAIN Dry as a bone- chill well and pour a big glass- keep in the fridge!!!
FERNANDO CLASSIC MANZANILLA
JEREZ, SPAIN Fino made in the port of Sanlucar de Barrameda - saltier, tangier and a bit more nutty.
FERNANDO CLASSIC OLOROSO
JEREZ, SPAIN Earthy, dry and aromatic with loads of walnut, spice and orange peel notes.
FERNANDO CLASSIC AMONTILLADO
JEREZ, SPAIN Dryish style with a slightly sweet finish. One of the best food wines on the planet - try with mushroom soup
FERNANDO CLASSIC CREAM
JEREZ, SPAIN Rich and sweet with dried fruit and nuts
FERNANDO CLASSIC PX 750ML
JEREZ, SPAIN All the dried raisins and fig flavours you'd ever want. Rich and concentrated
FERNANDO ANTIQUE PX 500ML
JEREZ, SPAIN 30 years in solera system, incredibly sweet, incredibly tasty- coffee, fig, raisin, molasses, yum, yum, yum.
Sweet wine RUSTENBERG RED MUSCADEL 2015 375ML
STELLENBOSCH Aromatic lychee, pomegranate & elderflowery muscat juice fortified with spirit; Pale red colour.
ELYSIUM BLACK MUSCAT 2016 375ML
CALIFORNIA, USA Made for chocolate - soft, creamy black forest fruits with a gentle wiff of milk chocolate.
MOSCATO PASSITO PALAZZINA 2014 375ML
PIEMONTE, ITALY The classic passito wine made from dried Moscato grapes...simple and immense, nectarine, apricots and a touch of honey.
TRENTHAM NOBLE TAMINGA 2013 375ML
MILDURA, AUSTRALIA Taminga grapes are a crossing of Sultana and Gewurztraminer; super-tangy orange, apricot and toffee.
BEAUMES DE VENISE DOMAINE COYEUX 2009 375ML
RHONE VALLEY, FRANCE A white dessert wine that packs a punch, made by fortifying with a touch of spirit.
MONBAZILLAC DOMAINE GRANGE NEUVE 2013 500ML
BERGERAC, FRANCE Along the river from Sauternes comes this great little wine...tangerines, marmalade and candied peaches.
ESCARPMENT HINEMOA RIESLING 2016 375ML
MARTINBOROUGH NZ Luscious tropical peachy fruit, a twist of lime, sweet but fresh.
HOLLICK NECTAR RIESLING 2015 375ML-will be delisted
COONAWARRA, AUSTRALIA Botrytis-affected Riesling- super tangy, zesty, marmalade flavours.
Mixed Cases This is just a taster or our pre mixed case options, there are loads more on our website. We can also put together bespoke cases based on your tastes and budget. Anything over £70 can be sent free to a mainland UK address of your choice.
Great as a gift, to top up your wine rack or as a wee treat just for you! Top New Wines of 2018 - 115 Cremant de Limoux, France Kotuku Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand Vergel Airen / Sauvignon, Spain Cline Viognier, USA Thomas Goss Riesling, Australia Cotes du Rhone Blanc Clavel, France Amayan Cabernet Sauvignon, Arg Ortola Organic Red, France Valpolicella Ripasso Castleforte, Italy Esporao Colheita Red, Portugal Glenelly Petit Verdot, South Africa Colina Piatra Alba Red, Romania
Fizz - 70 1 Champagne St Thomas, France 1 Cava Santa Monica, Spain 1 Cremant de Loire Sauvion, France 1 Prosecco Riondo Spumante, Itaky 1 x Prosecco Spago Frizzante, Italy 1 1River Retreat Brut, Australia
Glugger - 72 2 Los Avellanos Viura, Spain 2 Forge Mill Chenin Blanc, South Africa 2 Condorito Sauvignon Blanc, Chile 2 Los Avellanos Tempranillo, Spain 2 Forge Mill Shiraz/Cinsault, S. Africa 2 Condorito Merlot, Chile
France Fine Wine - 150 1 Gosset Extra Brut Champagne 1 Chablis Domaine de la Motte 1 Pouilly Fume La Moynerie 1 Videl Fleury Vaqueyras 1 St Emilion Grand Cru Terrasses 1 Gevrey Chambertin Vallet Freres
Light & Fresh - 88 2 Pinot Grigio Lunardi - Italy 2 Santiago Sauvignon Blanc, Chile 2 Indaba Chenin Blanc, S. Africa 2 Les Oliviers Grenache, France 2 Corvina Castleforte, Italy 2 Paparuda Pinot Noir, Romania
Staff Favourites - 100 Cremant de Limoux, France Colina Piatra Alba White, Romania Dom. L’Orangerie Pinot Gris, France Indaba Chenin Blanc, South Africa Diez Siglos Verdejop. Spain Kotuku Sauvignon, New Zealand Handmade Red, South Africa Showdown Cabernet, USA Rioja Vega Crianza, Spain Murphy’s Shiraz, Australia St Martin Pinot Noir, France Santa Alba Carmenere, Chile
Full & Fruity - 88 2 Capeman Sauvignon Blanc, S. Africa 2 Garganega Castleforte, Itaky 2 Vedilhan Viognier, France 2 Soldiers Block Shiraz, Australia Primitivo Monte Pietroso, Italy Cape Heights Merlot, South Africa 40
Xmas Case + Food Match Fine Wine Christmas Day Case - 135 (6 bottles) 1 Gobillard 1er Cru Vintage Champagne 2011 Taut, lithe and adroit - a gymnast of lemon peel, granny smith and tense minerality. Aperitif, canapés, smoked salmon.
1 Pouilly Fume La Moynerie 2016, France Green apple, lime and wet stone with a hint of gooseberry and smoky flintiness. Daytime drinking (!), smoked salmon, fish pates
1 Bouchard Finlayson Walker Bay Pinot Noir 2014, South Africa Galpin Peak in all but name (and price tag!) Elegant and intense. Turkey, Goose, nut roast
1 Vidal Fleury Vaqueyras 2016, France Bags of dark berry fruit, blackberry, heather and rosemary. Silky Cotes du Rhone. Pate, Venison, Rib of Beef
1 Krohn Colheita Tawny Port 2004, Portugal Rich, mouth coating with plum, prune, raisin, fig and nuts, spice and fresh acidity. Christmas Pudding, chocolate, cheese
Christmas Case - 120 (12 bottles) 2 Cremant de Loire Sauvion NV, France In the style of champagne, lovely fresh, crisp apple flavours with a clean zesty lemon. Aperitif, canapés, smoked salmon.
2 Kotuku Sauvignon Blanc 2018, New Zealand Brilliant wine from Allan Scott. Bright passionfruit and citrus. Daytime drinking (!), smoked salmon, fish pates
2 Macon Solutre Pouilly Domaine Romanin 2017, France Chablis-esque in style with a brilliant clean, citrusy quality and creamy texture. Turkey, Goose, Shellfish
2 Paparuda Pinot Noir 2017, Chile Juicy, light and positively bursting with berry fruit and violet. Turkey, Goose, nut roast
2 Cotes du Rhone Les Coteaux 2015, France Layers of ripe red fruits underpinned by subtle, smoothing oak. Pate, Venison, Rib of Beef
1 Moscato Passito 2014, Italy Simple and immense, nectarine, apricots and a touch of honey. Sweet wine. Trifle, fruity desserts, cheese
1 Krohn LBV 2012, Portugal Deep and spicy black fruit aromas. vibrant plum, blackberry, creamy nuts & fresh acidity Christmas Pudding, chocolate, cheese 41
What on earth are biodynamic, organic and natural wines and why should I care? Digging the dirt…. In 1924 an Austrian Philosopher named Rudolph Steiner gave a series of lectures called ‘Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture’. Steiner himself had absolutely no background in farming or agriculture, but never the less a movement was born that has been growing ever since. Organic farming is seen as an agricultural choice which involves eschewing the use of fertilisers and encouraging biodiversity. Biodynamic farming is a kind of turbo charged, holistic form of organics or, as some might say, cult. More the adoption of a philosophical practice that not only treats the soil as a living organism, but also incorporates the metaphysical aspects of farming. Where, as well as paying attention to earthly needs, the cosmic ones such as the lunar cycle are also adhered to. Understandably there is a fair amount of scepticism around a practice which bases it’s pruning schedule on the lunar cycle and includes the use of eight specific preparations to fertilise the soil (flower heads of yarrow fermented in a stag’s bladder is just one example) and so far there isn’t a huge amount of science to back it up. The results (although anecdotal) can be hard to argue with. Famously in 1997 Domaine Leflaive (also of Burgundy fame) brought over the directors of Corney and Barrow and asked them to taste two wines blind. Even though 12 out of the 13 tasters preferred one wine to the other, they were, in fact, technically the same wine, a Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru. However, one was from a parcel of land that had been Biodynamically farmed and the other organically. Almost unanimously, they thought biodynamic wine had more of a sense of ‘terroir’ about it. When you see the impressive list of names of those who are proponents (Domaine de Romanee Conti being the most famous) the argument becomes even more nuanced. To complicate things further although no fertilisers or weedkillers are permitted, Bordeaux mixture is. Unlike many crops, vines are in the ground year on year and so are essentially growing on their own faeces. This makes them more susceptible to powdery mildew, something that can wipe out entire crops. It is a very contentious issue though, as Bordeaux mixture (made up of cupper sulphate and slaked lime) is pretty nasty stuff, more so than many synthetic weed killers. However, there is currently no other option.
We then move into the winery and the realm of ‘natural’ wine…. There is currently no legal definition of a ‘natural’ wine, although the generally accepted principle is that it is wine made from organic or biodynamically farmed grapes which are fermented as naturally as possible. This means using yeasts that occur naturally in the winery to start the fermentation process (not inoculated from a packet). Many wineries who are not organic also do this, as it tends to produce more interesting, complex flavours but it takes longer and is much more unpredictable. Acidification or chapitilization (adding a grape concentrate to increase the sugar levels) is not permitted and the wines are not clarified, filtered or fined which can give them a cloudy appearance. The wines can sometimes be incredibly interesting (see below) but are inherently less stable and so are much more prone to spoiling. I have tried a fair few over the years, and while a few are really fantastic, many of them tend to taste not so much of wine, but more like off cider, or even just slightly fizzy, farmyardy grape juice. Here in the warehouse we have very many different opinions about wines and what makes them great but one thing we are all pretty adamant about is that our wines should taste of wine and so that’s what we will keep up on selling!
Catarsis Red Blend 2016, Canalones, Uruguay, 12.75 Another one of Pablo's leftfield blends. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Barbera, 20% Tannat. We say toffee aromas, black fruit, toast, cherry, meat. They say "Full bodied wine, with strong notes of cherries, delicate vanilla and smokiness, and a hint of eucalyptus. Great complexity and long lasting finish."
Domaine de Tourelles White 2017, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, 11.99 A blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Obeidi (indigenous Lebanese grape) and Muscat d'Alexandrie. Fresh, elegant and perfumed with spiced which peach fruit, all creamy honey and lemons. 43
Fine Wine A question we are asked here at Grog on a fairly regular basis is, what makes a ‘fine wine’. The question itself is a fairly tricky one, as it is such a subjective thing. Back in 2003 Robert Parker had a very public falling out with Jancis Robinson over her tasting notes of the en Primeur Chateau Pavie 1er Cru. She described it as an ‘utterly ridiculous wine’ more akin to a Zinfandel, and gave it a rather damning 12/20. Infuriated by what he saw as total bias and unfair treatment, Robert Parker very publicly and vehemently disagreed with her assessment of the wine. He retaliated with his own tasting note, which was several hundreds of words long, and took aim at her opinion. Jancis insisted (and still does) that the wine was tasted blind so she had no way of knowing which wine she was commenting on. It goes to show, that if even the experts can’t agree on what makes a fantastic wine, what hope is there for the rest of us? Stylistically, people will always prefer certain wine styles to others (Heather and I are both completely barmy about rich, oaky whites), but here in the warehouse, when choosing wines to sell to you lovely folk, we look for certain qualities.
RIOJA VEGA GRAN RESERVA 2011 - 18.69 INTENSITY - Is there concentration in the aroma and flavour of the wine? Impressive, powerful nose which is the same on the palate. Bags of flavour.
COMPLEXITY - Does the wine have a flavour profile that is complex and that continues to develop? At first you can taste fresh blackberries but this moves through to black plums, dried fruits, leather, vanilla, toast and sweet spice. Each individual flavour distinguishable as you sip it.
BALANCE - Are all the parts of the wine (acidity, sweetness, tannins, oak etc) all nicely intergrated with nothing jutting out too much? Plenty of tannins, but they have mellowed out after two years in oak and then seven in the bottle. Plenty of stuff going on here but it all marries beautifully
TYPICITY - Does the wine exhibit specific characteristics of it’s grape variety (ies) and/or region? Gran Reservas are known for being powerful, expressive and super smooth and this wine has it all in spades
LENGTH - Can I still taste the wine for a while after I have swallowed it? It goes on. And on. And on.
Wines that display these characteristics are what you can loosely define as ‘fine’ wines and (with a few notable exceptions) are suitable for cellaring. Whether you like them or not is of course a matter of personal taste. 44
The Hairs on my Ginny, Gin, Gin Gorse Gin:
Distilled and bottled over in Fife, this uses 18 botanicals in all, one of which is (obviously) locally foraged gorse. Others include Italian and Macedonian junipers, orange, cinnamon, and chamomile. Smooth enough to be drunk with or without tonic, see if you notice a hint of Irn-bru!
William Kerr’s Borders Gin:
Next we’re off to Hawick town centre where the Borders Distillery, the first in the Borders since 1837, is producing this beauty. In tribute to the eponymous 19th Century adventurous botanist, it uses eleven local and Asian botanicals. The result is a juicy, spicy classic.
One of my all time favourite “go to” gins. Made in North Berwick by a husband and wife team, this is a crisp and insanely refreshing gin, just as gin should be. 8 botanicals including lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, and cardamom. It’s even had royal approval featuring in the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration, and Harry and Megan’s wedding album!
Sacred Tree – Isle of Colonsay:
A truly wonderful gin this, and one I recently enjoyed far to much of with a friend into the wee small hours of the morning. A very fruit driven gin, with the dominant fruit being bramble harvested from the hedgerows of Colonsay every September. The beautifully designed bottle is well worth keeping after the gin’s been drunk.
Another brilliantly packaged new gin, with the Cairngorm Mountains, where it’s distilled, beautifully portrayed on the bottle. The individually numbered bottles give the sense of a small scale, boutique production. It’s a floral juniper led gin, with a wee bit of orange zest. Put an orange garnish with it to make it particularly scrumptious.
Produced in Torrisdale Castle Estate not far from Campbeltown, this full-flavoured big gin is jolly special. Made from
All available at our Dalkeith Rd shop or online at 45 www.greatgrogshop.co.uk
Tom’s Top Ales 2018 2018 has been a whirlwind of a year for beer! We’ve seen Hazy IPA’s and fruit forward beers rise to the top of the demand list, with Scotlands love for sour beers growing steadily during our hottest summer yet. All in all, the industry isn’t slowing down, very few gripes this year has allowed a plethora of new breweries to come to the shop and Scottish breweries upping their game again has led to one of the most interesting and diverse selection we’ve ever had. For our List this year, I’ve dialled it down to what I’ll be taking home for Christmas. Beers that’ll be pretty sessionable for everyone to enjoy (even for Grandpa & Grandma). Cross Borders Wee Braw, 2.99 The absolute pinnacle of session beers in the Scottish beer scene. Cross Borders have been good mates since their inception, but this year they have gone above and beyond. Wee Braw is a testament to this by taking the stellar drinking pale and making it even more sessionable. Expect a lot of tropical notes with a nice mellow malt backbone and a great time. Magic Rock Dancing Bear, 2.15 When I found out Magic Rock were dipping their toes into the Lager game, I was a sceptic. Lagers are extremely difficult to get right, fewer breweries attempt this cornerstone style as it is a lot of work for what some would deem little reward. This beer is modelled off the traditional beers of Germany and it lives up to it’s cousins across the water. Its clean and crisp with a great balance of light hops and malt, making this truly one of the nicer Lagers on the market, more to it than the normal macros, but not so far that it becomes something else. Tempest Modern Helles, 2.80 Again, I got big back into lager this summer. Sometimes big IPA’s don’t cut it when you want to sit in the garden and enjoy the sun. Modern Helles from Tempest is now in cans and i’ll be taking some back for the ‘non craft’ members of my family, in an attempt to show them that Scotland is making some world class lager. It’s clean and crisp and has an incredibly good level of carbonation, making it not too fizzy and adds a layer of smoothness to the beer overall. Tiny Rebel Stay Puft Marshmallow Porter, 2.60 One of the most accessible stouts out there. Tiny Rebel make this all year and I’m looking forward to curling up by the fire with a couple. It’s a Marshmallow Stout but these aren’t for making smores with. The mallow brings a layer of vanilla and a slight hint of strawberry to the whole beer, whilst it’s not overly heavy so you can enjoy a couple over the evening without feeling like you’ve had an extra Christmas dinner. Wiper and True Milk Shake Milk Stout, 2.85 I bumped into the guys from Wiper & True a couple of times over the year and there was always a variant of Milk Shake involved in one way or another. These are some of Bristol’s Finest Brewers and they are always welcoming and beyond kind. Milk Shake has been around for a while, in a world where new beers are released weekly it’s hard to go back to your favourites. This classic never fails to impress, it’s silky and smooth with loads of chocolate, soft and creamy malts with a light hint of roasted coffee trickling through. 46
Saint Bernardus Tynt Meadows, 2.90 The first ever UK Trappist Ale, a historic moment in the beer community and one that i’ve been glad to be apart of. Tynt was a lot easier drinking than I initially anticipated. If you’ve ever had Rochefort 10 it's similar, but like a diet version. Loads of dark stone fruits like plums and dates wash around with some caramel to balance everything out. It’s fairly boozy at 7.4% but it’s not even noticeable and you’d be able to put a couple away before realising. A great little stocking filler for any beer geek and it can be put away for a while to see how it ages. Black Isle/ Poppels System Theory, 4.25 We were lucky enough to get all three variants of system theory and boy do they deliver. The non barrel variant is a beast on its own. Loads of chocolate and coffee with a hint of booze which will make this a nightcap to remember. Both East/ West coast whisky barrel editions bring a little extra to the table; the East being slightly sweeter and boozy, whilst the west adds a bit more smokiness to the mix. Pleasure to see Black Isle taking their beers a bit further and trying out new experiments, to great success. Brooklyn Brewery Naranjito, 2.60 This year saw the release of probably one of my favourite beers of all time. Naranjito is an orange pale that isn’t too far down the fruit spectrum to become juice. It still has a nice level of hoppiness with the orange adding a touch of sweet to coincide with the pale malt backbone. Brooklyn got me into the job I love so I’ve them to thank for being able to bring you this incredible selection of beers.
Merry Christmas and Cheers, Tom
These beers plus 400 more are available from our retail shop at 2 Dalkeith Road. Order beer for free home delivery via
www.greatgrogshop.co.uk with minimum order a mere £35