Whisky Taster Kate Wright | Not your stereotypical single malt drinker

Whisky Taster Kate Wright | Not your stereotypical single malt drinker

Kate Wright, travels around the globe educating people about whisky as part of her job at Springbank distillery in Campbeltown

A Taste Of Success – Whisky Taster Kate Wright – Not your stereotypical single malt drinker

Not your stereotypical single malt drinker, Kate Wright, 28, travels around the globe educating people about whisky as part of her job at Springbank distillery in Campbeltown. Kate reflects on the various stages that have led to her current post as sales and marketing executive which incorporates the role of ‘whisky taster’.

“Having studied languages at university, I wanted a job that involved travel and would allow me to use the language skills I had gained. When I began at Springbank distillery five years ago I was working in exporting, and was in charge of Southern Europe as I had studied French and Hispanic studies. After my first year at the distillery, the sales manager left and I took on new markets, becoming jointly responsible for all sales and marketing activities.”

On joining the distillery, Kate gained practical experience as part of her training to understand the whole process of whisky production, working in the malt barns and still house, which she found extremely useful. Kate explains, “Gaining the practical experience provided me with a valuable understanding of the entire distilling process, and has helped me in my current role. As sales and marketing executive, my job entails travelling to whisky festivals and fairs around the world. In February of this year I was in Japan for five days and then New Zealand, which was hosting its first ever whisky festival where I offered specialist whisky tastings.

“The audience for tastings can range from 15 to 150 people, and I usually bring along 5 or 6 different whiskies to sample. I begin by talking about Springbank, giving a brief history of the distillery and promoting what makes the Springbank malt so distinctive. I then move on the tasting, talking through the stages of nosing, tasting and explaining the varying aromas.

“The other aspect of my job is based in Campbeltown, showing people around the distillery. I am originally from Campbeltown, and find it very rewarding to promote my home town, telling visitors about its heritage and history. They are not just buying whisky, but are taking in the whole Scottish experience and all that accompanies it, as the whisky industry is so specific to Scotland.

“What I also enjoy about my role is that working in a small company, the job has a lot of variety and I get involved in several areas at the distillery. I particularly enjoy travelling and meeting a broad range of people, although sitting around at airports is one of the drawbacks!”

Kate’s describes her future aspirations, “I want to keep doing what I am doing as I enjoy my job and find it very rewarding. I want to continue to promote Campbeltown as a whisky producing region, and with the opening of the new Glengyle distillery in 2004 and its first bottling scheduled for 2012, it is an exciting time. There will be more choice to offer and promote, which I am very much looking forward to.”

The whisky industry is often perceived as a male dominated industry. Kate believes that in certain ways this is still the case, but that there have been noticeable changes, both in terms of women working in the industry and those attending the tastings.

She comments,

“Overall, whisky is still a male dominated industry, particularly in terms of men working within the sector. However, there are more and more women appearing at tastings and whisky festivals – and not just with their husbands or boyfriends! They still only ever make up a maximum of a quarter of the audience though. It is also a widely held belief that women prefer lighter tasting whiskies due to their feminine pallet. However, I have found quite the opposite during tasting sessions with many women preferring smoother, more heavily peated malts. Whether male or female, it all comes down to personal taste.

“When I started out in the industry as a female of 23, I think some men thought it was a bit of a novelty, and would sometimes try to catch me out with a tricky question during my tasting sessions. On the plus side though, what better way to immediately tackle all the stereotypes that whisky is an old man’s drink, than a tasting hosted by a woman. It makes people question their perceptions before the tasting has even begun. I would say that during my five years at Springbank distillery however, the industry is definitely changing and more and more women are working in the industry – both tasting and making whisky.”

The Whisky Coast is a company formed through collaboration between sixteen distilleries, three tour companies, eighteen hotels, restaurants, golf courses and attractions on the West Coast of Scotland. The Whisky Coast aims to raise the profile of the West Coast as an area blessed with a high concentration of distilleries against the backdrop of a dramatic rugged coastline.

For more information regarding The Whisky Coast visit www.whiskycoast.co.uk

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Good Food Guide 2008 | Top Restaurants Offering Informal, Moderately Priced Dining

No jacket required at award-winning restaurants

The increase in top restaurants offering informal, moderately priced dining means that this year’s new-look Good Food Guide 2008 has ditched all mention of dress codes and handed out a raft of awards* to restaurants that have a distinctly relaxed style.

In previous years the Guide – which reviews the best 1,200 restaurants in the UK – indicated which restaurants required ‘jacket and tie’, but this year the references have been dropped as so few restaurants impose a code.

Gastropubs and restaurants such as Arbutus and Canteen have set a trend for great quality, informal dining at modest prices. Children are now generally welcomed in restaurants, even at the most famous establishments; for example, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons now offers an £18 menu for children.

Elizabeth Carter, editor, The Good Food Guide, says:

“There’s no need to dress up for dinner any more. People want fresh, seasonal food served in a relaxed setting, and The Good Food Guide has recognised the best of this new breed of restaurant in this year’s awards.

“Up-and-coming restaurants like Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Fowey, The Felin Fach Griffin in Wales and The Bildeston Crown in Suffolk achieve a relaxed style without any compromise on excellence.”

* Award winners in The Good Food Guide 2008

Restaurant newcomer of the year – Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall“The arrival of Nathan Outlaw has transformed the Marina Villa Hotel. Often succinct and always vibrant, the cooking uses elegantly matched ingredients to achieve wonderful flavours.”

Pub newcomer of the year – Highwayman, Lancashire
“The quality of food and terrific value for money more than merit a journey by those who live further afield. Prominence given to provenance can make the menu read a little like a family tree, but the kitchen knows how to get the best out of its scrupulously sourced ingredients.”

Wine list of the year – The Square, London
“Wine is the passionate hobby of owner Nigel Platts-Martin, a man with a nose for the finest burgundy and champagne from the best growers. Christopher Delalonde, The Square’s outstanding sommelier, also deserves real credit for what is an exceptional list. Alsace has a whole page, Germany gets two, with the splendid Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Kabinett 1998 at £45, a good buy.”

Best chef – Jason Atherton, Maze, London
“The focus of Jason Atherton’s menu is tapas-sized portions. Just about everything on the menu sounds fascinating, the combinations are unusual but sensible and the kitchen delivers some exquisite treats.”

Up-and-coming chef/s (joint award)

1. Peter and Jonray Sanchez Iglesias at Casamia, Bristol
“Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias recently returned home to cook at their parents’ Italian restaurant. The menu reveals daring variations on classics and wholly contemporary Italian dishes. Produce is sourced from the surrounding area and Milan market, with herbs and exotic fruit grown in the courtyard.”

2. Chris Lee, The Bildeston Crown, Suffolk
“Chris Lee is an ambitious, self-taught chef. His ‘intricate cuisine gastronomique’ is definitely showy, but backed up by sound technique. Subtle flavours, complementary textures and dish combinations are analytically thought out.

Most improved restaurant – West Stoke House, West Sussex
“Darren Brown cooks bang up-to-date modern British dishes with a few French influences thrown in for excellent measure. One reporter felt a dish of English asparagus with hen’s egg and hollandaise reached new highs, thanks to well-sourced ingredients handled with style and simplicity.”

Best fish restaurant – Cellar, Anstruther, Scotland
“Little seems to have changed during the 26 years that Peter Jukes has been serving up fresh fish at his stone-built restaurant by the harbour. Seafood has its seasons and this gives a sound structure to the menus. Combinations are well-considered and perfectly balanced.”

Best value for money – Ottolenghi, London
“Queues often stretch out of this inventive café/deli at weekends, but this isn’t a chore – it’s an opportunity to eye up the fresh salads, breads and cakes on display in the shop (takeaway if you don’t fancy the wait). Big, bold, fresh flavours prevail.”

Best family restaurant – The Felin Fach Griffin, Wales
“The Felin Fach Griffin does relaxed, modern-rustic style to devastatingly good effect and welcomes children of all ages. It is pub enough to have excellent, well-kept ales on tap, but restaurant enough to deliver excellent service and cooking that is hearty but reliably exact.”

Best use of local produce – Sutherland House, Suffolk
“Chef Alan Paton’s food is indulgent, forward-thinking and generally restrained. Food miles are listed by each dish and if the boats can’t leave the harbour, don’t expect fresh fish for supper. An obsessive focus on doorstep produce means a foodie trail around Suffolk on the appetising menu.”

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Eat Britain! Flying the flag for Great British food

Eat Britain! Flying the flag for Great British food

Eat Britain

Flying the flag for great British food!

From haggis to hotpot and teacakes to toad-in-the-hole, Eat Britain is a glorious celebration of the very best of British food and drink. Covering 101 dishes and drinks, each entry is affectionately reviewed and discussed, with beautiful colour photos and recipes to make your mouth water.

So get yourself a cup of tea and a crumpet, and be proud to Eat Britain!

We don’t care what they say – you can’t beat British food and drink in all its lovely stodgy sumptuousness.

Nothing says Sunday like a magnificent Roast with all the Trimmings; or evokes childhood seaside holidays like salt-and-vinegar-soaked Fish and Chips; or relaxes us as much as a nice cup of tea.

Published on 21st September, in time for British Food Fortnight (22nd September – 7th October), Andrew Wheeler’s lavishly illustrated, no-nonsense league table celebrates the very best of British cuisine.

From haggis to hotpot and teacakes to toad-in-the-hole, each entry is discussed, reviewed, and accompanied by a mouth-watering photo by Stephen Conroy.

The list covers breakfast, main meals, snacks and treats, puddings, sauces and seasonings, dairy, beverages, fruit and veg, meat and fish and teatime food. There’s one item in the list that transcends all categories, but you’ll have to read it to find out what it is.

All drawn from the author’s livejournal http://anw.livejournal.com this is a personal and idiosyncratic list: perhaps controversially there is no place for such specialities as black pudding, oysters or steak and kidney pie. However, the choice will inspire debate and rumbling stomachs. With useful tried and tested recipes, and handy serving suggestions, this book is a real treat for food lovers.

About the Author
Andrew Wheeler is a journalist, writer and blogger from East Sussex. A passionate foodie and amateur cook, he has over thirty years’ experience as an eater, and likes to eat on a daily basis, often repeatedly and for extended periods. He is a proud defender of Britain’s much-maligned cuisine, and was inspired to write this book as a celebration of the best of British food.

After failing in his attempt to become an international football star, Stephen Conroy finally accepted his skills lay in taking delicious photographs of food. He has an extensive client list which includes major supermarkets, cookery books and magazines.

Eat Britain!
By
Andrew Wheeler
Hardback Published by The Friday Project
21st September 2007
Price: £9.99

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Fat Duck Restaurant Tops the Good Food Guide | Best restaurant in the UK

Fat Duck flies to the top of the chart

Heston Blumenthal has beaten off fierce competition from rival superchefs and made The Fat Duck the best restaurant in the UK, says The Good Food Guide 2008.

The new-look Good Food Guide has for the first time ranked the best UK restaurants to produce a gastronomic top 40*. Gordon Ramsay’s Chelsea restaurant is at number 2, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons at number 3.

All top-three establishments score nine out of ten, awarded for cooking that “reaches a pinnacle of achievement”. But Heston Blumenthal pipped the opposition by producing “white-hot gastronomic alchemy”. The Guide’s review is peppered with superlatives: “Astonishing curiosity, daring and consummate technique… sets the senses racing… the kitchen works miracles”.

Heston Blumenthal, chef, The Fat Duck, says:

“The Fat Duck has received huge worldwide acclaim but being voted the Best in Britain is of special significance to us personally. The Good Food Guide is the longest serving UK restaurant guide and we are really privileged to have received this award from their readers – our diners.”

The highest new entry is Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall in at number 12, which demonstrates “refined, beautifully crafted cooking” in a relaxed setting. Other newcomers include Gidleigh Park, Devon (“exemplary country-house dining”) at number 18 and Edinburgh’s Kitchin (“classy cooking in a converted warehouse”) at 38.

The Good Food Guide is extremely thorough, as you might expect of a book produced by Which?** The rankings are not just based on expert inspections but also reader feedback, so the evaluations are based on several meals rather than one.

Elizabeth Carter, editor of The Good Food Guide, says:

“Both Gordon Ramsay and Raymond Blanc’s restaurants are unmissable experiences, but The Fat Duck has produced truly stunning food this year. Congratulations to Heston Blumenthal for daring to push at the boundaries of modern cooking and pulling it off spectacularly.”

The Good Food Guide 2008 can be ordered on 01903 828557 (£16.99, p&p free) or at www.which.co.uk or bought from bookshops.

* The Good Food Guide 2008 Restaurant Top 40 (cooking scores in brackets)

1 Fat Duck, Bray (9)/ 2 Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road, London (9) / 3 Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Great Milton (9) / 4 Winteringham Fields, Winteringham (8) / 5 Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham(8) / 6 Le Gavroche, London (8) / 7 Pétrus, London (8) / 8 Waterside Inn, Bray (8) / 9 Vineyard, Stockross (8) / 10 Square, London (8) / 11 Pied à Terre, London (8) / 12 Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall (8) / 13 L’Enclume, Cumbria (8) / 14 Tom Aikens, London (8) / 15 Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh (8) / 16 The Capital, London (7) / 17 Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham (7) / 18 Gidleigh Park (7), Devon / 19 Anthony’s, Leeds (7) / 20 Juniper, Leeds (7) / 21 Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, Perthshire (7) / 22 Hambleton Hall, Rutland (7) / 23 Holbeck Ghyll, Cumbria (7) / 24 Fischer’s Baslow Hall, Derbyshire (7) / 25 Tyddyn Llan, Wales (7) / 26 Harry’s Place, Lincolnshire (7) / 27 The Creel, Highlands (7) / 28 Mr Underhill’s, Shropshire (7) / 29 Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey(7) / 30 Castle Hotel, Taunton (7) / 31 Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire (7) / 32 Old Vicarage, Ridgeway, Derdyshire (7) / 33 Midsummer House, Cambridge (6) / 34 Maze, London (6) / 35 Club Gascon, London (6) / 36 Simpsons, West Midlands (6) / 37 Bath Priory, Somerset (6) / 38 Kitchin, Edinburgh (6) / 39 The Greenhouse (6), London / 40 Ledbury, London (6).
Cooking scores

9/10 At the moment, this is the highest mark in The Guide and is not given lightly. This mark is for cooking that has reached a pinnacle for achievement, making it a memorable experience for the diner.

8/10 A kitchen cooking close to or at the top of its game – highly individual, showing faultless technique and impressive artistry in dishes that are perfectly balanced for flavour, combination and texture.

7/10 High level of ambition and individuality, attention to the smallest detail, accurate and vibrant dishes.

6/10 Exemplary cooking skills, innovative ideas, impeccable ingredients and an element of excitement.

** Now in its 56th edition, The Good Food Guide is completely rewritten every year. It accepts no advertising, sponsorship or fees for inclusion, and all of the inspections are entirely anonymous. Contributors include ex-chefs, restaurateurs and experienced food critics who have undertaken a series of tests to demonstrate their foodie credentials. Reader feedback from real consumers is also essential. Thousands of recommendations are received throughout the year via post and the dedicated online feedback form.

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Ashoka | Premier Indian Restaurant Sheffield

SHEFFIELD CURRY HOTSPOT WOWS CRITICS AND CUSTOMERS

Ashoka | Premier Indian Restaurant Sheffield

Sheffield’s premier Indian restaurant, Ashoka, has cooked its way up the curry ladder, emerging as an A-list entry in the 2007 Good Curry Guide. Published every two or three years, the book lists just the top 100 of the 9,000-plus curry hotspots in the country. Ashoka was classed among the top 60, an improvement from Ashoka’s listing in the last edition. The list is compiled through reader recommendations and inspections by the Guide’s team.

Earlier this year, Ashoka was awarded the Indian Restaurant of the Year prize by Westside magazine and was also nominated as one of the top five Indian restaurants of the year by Menu magazine as part of the annual Curry Capital of Britain competition.

The triple honours coincide with the boutique restaurant’s 40th birthday in 2007. Founded in 1967 by Bangladeshi immigrant Kamal Ahmed, it was taken over by budding Sheffield restaurateur Rahul Amin three years ago. Since then, although sticking to the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, the Sheffield lad born to Gujarati immigrant parents has taken the eatery from strength to strength.

The varied menu includes old favourites like kebabs, tikka masalas and ghost dishes, as well as some more unusual dishes like traditional Farsi dansak and Ceylon-style chicken curry. Prices range from £1 to £14.

“Ashoka is one of the oldest restaurants on Ecclesall Road and one of South Yorkshire’s oldest Asian restaurants. It has a fantastic reputation in Sheffield and enjoys a high quality loyal clientele. This area attracts foodies, and Ashoka has done well competing with bigger establishments,” says Rahul. “We have added a few new dishes to the menu since taking over, like the fresh coriander chicken tikka, but by and large we have kept things as they were because that’s the way the customers like it.”

Rahul does have a few tricks up his sleeve for the future though, including a grand 40th birthday celebration. “It’s in the planning stages and will be unveiled soon,” promises Rahul.

REF: ASH001 – Ashoka Good Curry Guide 2007

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The Bombay Brasserie Courtfield Close, London | Silver Jubilee

The Bombay brasserie celebrates its silver jubilee

What happened in 1982? The world took its first sip of Diet Coke; the UK went to war over the Falklands; ET tried to phone home and on the 10th of December the Bombay Brasserie ushered in a new era for Indian restaurants. Gone was the flock wallpaper and the cooking by numbers (one sauce fits all) that sadly still characterises many local neighbourhood Indian restaurants.

The Bombay Brasserie set new standards, and was the first home with the concept of Indian fine dining, Now on the 10th of December 2007, for one night only, the anniversary will be celebrated by offering customers the exact same menu from 25 years previously and more importantly at the exact same prices!

Today’s diners will be familiar with many of the dishes on the original menu, but in 1982 with its emphasis on regionality, the menu was a complete revelation. Even more surprising were the prices. £5 50 for Tandoori Poussin or £4 95 for Goan fish curry and rice may be low by today’s standards, but 25 years ago such a price point reflected The Bombay Brasserie’s unique offering – that of plucking Indian cuisine from the neighbourhood high street and elevating it to cordon bleu status.

The restaurant has remained at the cutting edge of Indian cuisine in London and was recently the only restaurant to be included in the Evening Standard’s list of 14 eateries that made the most indelible impression on their famous critic over the last 30 years.

The Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Close, London SW7 4QH

E-mail: bombay1brasserie@aol.com
Website: www.bombaybrasserielondon.com
Reservations: 020 7370 4040
Read Clifford Mould’s review: www.dine-online.co.uk/bombayb.htm

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Awana | Contemporary fine dining Malaysian Restaurant

Streets Ahead at Awana

Hawkers peddling their wares through the streets of Malaysia is a definitive image of this nation’s culinary heritage and a stark contrast to the fine dining experience to be found on Chelsea’s Sloane Avenue, that is until now.

Awana, the contemporary fine dining Malaysian restaurant is bringing authentic Malay street cuisine to the heart of Chelsea with their Street Food Festival throughout September, reflecting the multicultural ‘flavour’ of the country with skewers of tender satay, traditional breads, succulent lamb and fresh seafood.

Executive Chef Mark Read and Head Chef Lee Chin Soon have collaborated on this street food menu to encompass the very best dishes from a variety of regions. Influences range from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Taiping which is famous for its delicious street food and Penang, often nicknamed as the ‘food capital of Malaysia,’ to create menu which evokes the real flavour of Malaysia.

Starters (£6.50)
Satay Bebola Daging from Kuala Lumpur
Beef skewer served with Awana’s signature spicy peanut sauce

Roti Bom from Taiping
Malaysian thick bread made from a traditional family recipe served with red curry sauce

Main course (£14.00)
Sambal Udang from Penang
Tiger prawn tail with onion, coriander, sweet pepper in sambal chilli

Pasembur from Taiping
Yam bean, cucumber, bean sprout, flour fritters with spicy sweet potato sauce

Kari Kambing from Kedah
Slow cooked tender lamb curry with coconut milk and awana blended herbs

Nasi Putih from Perlis
Fragrant rice

Dessert (£5.00)
Ais Kacang from Penang
Pistachio ice cream served with cinnamon topped shaved ice, kidney beans, jelly and sweet milk

Awana, perfectly introduces willing taste buds to the true culinary diversity of Malaysia while sommelier Li Ya Nan has carefully selected wines list to complement each dish.

Surrounded by beautiful teakwood, traditional batik silk and luscious dark red leather, you can enjoy the Street Food Festival menu in the finest surroundings. A chic bar area hosts an extensive cocktail list concentrating on delectable whisky blends and exotic aromatic mixes.

Open for lunch and dinner everyday, awana brings the streets of Malaysia straight to the heart of Chelsea.
The Street Food Festival menu is only available from the 1st Sept – 30th Sept 07.

Awana
85 Sloane Avenue
London
SW3 3DX

020 7584 8880
www.awana.co.uk

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Great Australians, Kosta Browne and Petrus From The Benchmark Wine Group

Great Australians, Kosta Browne, and Petrus From The Benchmark Wine Group

Australia
Clarendon Hills Grenache Blewitt Springs Vineyard Old Vines 1999 ~ 1 @ $57 RP92
Clarendon Hills Grenache Blewitt Springs Vineyard Old Vines 2001 ~ 3 @ $55 RP95
Clarendon Hills Grenache Hickinbotham Vineyard Old Vines 2002 ~ 2 @ $42 RP92-94
Clarendon Hills Shiraz Brookman`s 2002 ~ 2 @ $59 RP96
Clarendon Hills Shiraz Hickinbotham Vineyard 2002 ~ 1 @ $79
Clarendon Hills Shiraz Liandra`s 1998 ~ 3 @ $43 RP91
Clarendon Hills Shiraz Liandra`s 2001 ~ 1 @ $42 RP93
Clarendon Hills Shiraz Moritz 2002 ~ 2 @ $55 RP95, WS93
d`Arenberg Shiraz Dead Arm McLaren Vale 2002 ~ 3 @ $49 RP93, WS92
d`Arenberg Shiraz Ironstone Pressings 1998 ~ 2 @ $46 RP92, ST90
d`Arenberg Shiraz Ironstone Pressings 2000 ~ 2 @ $42
d`Arenberg Shiraz Ironstone Pressings 2002 ~ 4 @ $51 RP93, ST90
Elderton Shiraz Command 1996 ~ 1 @ $64 RP93, WS93
Greenock Creek Grenache Cornerstone 2003 ~ 3 @ $60 RP94
Greenock Creek Grenache Cornerstone 2004 ~ 3 @ $49 RP91
Grosset Riesling Polish Hill 2004 ~ 3 @ $30 WS92, ST91
Kaesler Shiraz Old Bastard 2001 ~ 1 @ $115 RP96, WS96
Kaesler Shiraz Old Bastard 2002 ~ 5 @ $115 RP96, WS94 “The flagship offering, the 2002 Shiraz Old Bastard was fashioned from a vineyard planted in 1896, and was cropped at one ton of fruit per acre. It spent 22 months in French oak before being bottled with neither fining nor filtration. A spectacular perfume of raspberries, plums, blackberries, espresso, vanilla, and charcoal is followed by a tannic Shiraz with a huge palate, massive concentration, tremendous richness, and a multidimensional flavor profile. Less alcoholic (15.2%) than The Bogan, it should be cellared for 4-6 years, and consumed over the following 20-25.” -Robert Parker
Mitolo Cabernet Sauvignon Serpico 2003 ~ 5 @ $39 RP92, ST91
Mitolo Shiraz Reiver 2004 ~ 6 @ $30
Torbreck Shiraz Factor 2002 ~ 4 @ $125 RP99 “Remarkably, the 2002 The Factor may be even more awesome than the 2001. It boasts a blackberry liqueur-like intensity with chocolatey richness intermixed with blackberries, raspberries, and cherries. The unctuous texture, refreshing acidity, and sweet tannin frame-up this magnificent wine. It should drink well for 15+ years. Interestingly, the 2002 The Factor did not have the Cote Rotie-like roasted element found in the 2001, no doubt because 2002 was a much cooler growing year than the record heat experienced in 2001.” -Robert Parker

Rhone
Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape 1985 ~ 1 @ $109 RP93
Chapoutier Hermitage Le Meal 2001 ~ 3 @ $152 RP92-95, ST93
Chapoutier Hermitage Le Meal 2001 ~ 1 @ $99 RP92-95, ST93 signs of seepage
Chapoutier Hermitage Pavillon 1990 ~ 1 @ $529 RP100 “The 1990 Le Pavilion is as compelling as the 1989. It exhibits slightly less opulence, but more power and weight. Black colored, with an extraordinary perfume of licorice, sweet blackcurrants, smoke, and minerals, it coats the palate with layer upon layer of decadently rich, superconcentrated, nearly viscous Syrah flavors. There is amazing glycerin, a chewy, unctuous texture, and phenomenal length. The tannins, which are considerable when analyzed, are virtually obscured by the massive quantities of fruit. I hope I live to see the day when Chapoutier’s 1990 Ermitage Le Pavilion, Chave’s 1990 Hermitage, and Jaboulet’s 1990 Hermitage La Chapelle are fully mature! What a trio of wines these three producers have produced from this historic appellation! My best guess for the aging potential of the Ermitage Le Pavilion is that it is more forward than both the Chave and Jaboulet Hermitages, but should you have the good fortune to find a bottle or two, do not open it for at least 7-10 years. It should last for 30-40 years.” -Robert Parker
Chapoutier Hermitage Pavillon 2000 ~ 2 @ $199 RP98
Chateau Rayas Pignan Chateauneuf du Pape 1989 ~ 1 @ $174 RP93 “Similar to the 1990, although slightly less port-like and without the color saturation of that wine, the full-throttle, robust, intense, rich 1989 Pignan coats the palate with layers of viscous fruit flavors, high alcohol, and an impressive velvety sweetness. This high-octane wine exhibits no signs of going into a closed stage; it should continue to drink splendidly well for another 12-15 + years.” -Robert Parker

Bordeaux
La Gaffeliere 1990 ~ 1 @ $125 RP90
La Mission Haut Brion 1988 ~ 2 @ $175 RP90
Pavie 1989 ~ 1 @ $145 WS90
Pavie 1990 ~ 1 @ $159 RP92, WS94
Petrus 1990 ~ 1 @ $3975 RP100, WS100 “The phenomenally rich, well-endowed 1990 Petrus has been magical from the first time I tasted it in cask. The color is a dense, jammy plum/purple. The wine possesses a knock-out nose of black fruits intertwined with aromas of toasty new oak, caramel, and flowers. Massively rich and full-bodied, with slightly lower acidity and sweeter tannin than its older sibling, the 1989, the 1990 is an extraordinarily rich, seamless wine with layers of flavor, and a finish that lasts for nearly 45 seconds. Although it is remarkably accessible because of its voluptuous texture, this wine has not begun to develop secondary nuances. It should hit its peak in 10-15 years, and last for three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035.” -Robert Parker
Petrus 1994 ~ 1 @ $825 RP93, WS93
Petrus 2000 ~ 1 @ $3850 RP100 “A magical effort from Petrus, the 2000 has continued to gain weight and stature. From the bottle, it is a perfect wine, much like the 1998. The color is inky plum/purple to the rim and the nose, which starts slowly, begins to roar after several minutes, offering up scents of smoke, blackberries, cherries, licorice, and an unmistakable truffle/underbrush element. On the palate, this enormous effort is reminiscent of dry vintage port, with fabulous ripeness, a huge, unctuous texture, enormous body, and a colossal 65-second finish.” -Robert Parker

Burgundy
Leroy Meursault les Perrieres 1973 ~ 1 @ $199

Italy
Fanti Brunello di Montalcino 1999 ~ 2 @ $91 WS98
Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Bricco 1998 ~ 18 @ $99 WS92, ST91 original wood “Luscious, almost decadent red, with leather, plum and cedar aromas. Full-bodied, with ripe and round tannins and a generous, rich aftertaste. Up-front and exotic. Best after 2006.” -Wine Spectator

Portugal
Gould Campbell Port 1977 ~ 3 @ $75 WS93
Gould Campbell Port 1977 ~ 2 @ $55 WS93 signs of seepage
Gould Campbell Port 1977 375ml ~ 3 @ $28 WS93
Gould Campbell Port 1977 375ml ~ 2 @ $21 WS93 2.5cm
Quinta do Noval Port 1970 ~ 1 @ $87
Sandeman Port 1967 ~ 1 @ $95 WS90 cracked wax capsule, exposed cork
Sandeman Port 1975 ~ 1 @ $59 cracked wax capsule, exposed cork
Taylor Port 1966 ~ 6 @ $195 MB***/* cracked wax capsule, exposed cork

California Cabernet Blends
Long Shadows Cabernet Sauvignon Pirouette 2004 ~ 1 @ $53 WE91, CG91, WS90
Merryvale Vineyards Profile 1994 ~ 1 @ $85 RP92, WS91, ST92
Opus One 1983 ~ 5 @ $199 oxidized capsule, tissue adhered to label
Opus One 1984 ~ 5 @ $165 WS94 oxidized capsule, sdc
Opus One 1985 ~ 4 @ $219 WS95 oxidized capsule
Opus One 1986 ~ 4 @ $255 WS95 oxidized capsule
Opus One 1987 ~ 3 @ $189 WS97 ts or better, sdc, oxidized capsule
Opus One 1987 ~ 2 @ $155 WS97 past sos
Opus One 1988 ~ 5 @ $209 oxidized capsule
Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2002 ~ 1 @ $29 W&S93
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1985 ~ 12 @ $75 oxidized capsule
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1986 ~ 3 @ $55 WS95 slight oxidized capsule, vts
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1986 ~ 2 @ $49 WS95 past sos, ts, oxidized capsule.
Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1988 ~ 6 @ $47 WS91

California Pinot Noir
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River 2003 ~ 1 @ $129 WS93
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River 2003 375ml ~ 5 @ $75 WS93 “Wonderful intensity, structure and depth of ripe fruit built around a core of intense plum, blackberry and wild berry fruit flavors. Keeps a tight focus through the finish, where the flavors gain complexity and nuance, adding a dash of fresh earth flavors. Drink now through 2009.” -Wine Spectator
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2003 ~ 2 @ $95 WS93
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2003 ~ 2 @ $149 WS95 “This tremendously complex young Pinot gains amplitude, starting out with a delicate band of spice, vanilla, black cherry and wild berry and slowly unfolding to reveal extra layers of depth and dimension. Finishes with a rich, supple aftertaste that caresses the palate. Drink now through 2009.” -Wine Spectator
Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2005 ~ 1 @ $90 WS93

California Syrah
Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Estate 2003 ~ 1 @ $158 RP98, WS96 “The sensational 2003 Syrah Reva Vineyard may be the finest example of this cuvee Alban has yet produced. Nearly endless depth as well as an extraordinarily flamboyant bouquet of blackberries, truffles, acacia flowers, and sweet tar emerge from this broad, opulent, full-bodied, incredibly rich Syrah. It is a stunning wine to drink over the next 12-15 years.” -Robert Parker
Red Car Wine Company Syrah Sugar Daddy 2002 ~ 1 @ $69 RP94

Cheers, Kari/Whitney, Benchmark Wine Group, 707-255-3500, sales@benchmarkwine.com

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