A superb family owned and sustainably managed Champagne house

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Amathus Drinks is delighted to announce the partnership with Champagne Duval-Leroy. From April 2nd Amathus will be the exclusive UK distributor for this prestigious house. Family-owned since 1859, today Duval-Leroy is under the stewardship of Carol Duval-Leroy, ably supported by her three sons Julien, Charles and Louis. Located in Vertus in the Côte des Blancs, the house works with an unusually high proportion of their own 1er and Grand Cru vineyards, many of which are worked organically. Chardonnay is the dominant grape throughout the range and top quality rosé is also made alongside a selection of special cuvées from historic varieties. A combination of stainless steel, oak barrels and old reserve wines are used to create wines of great precision and complexity.

Duval-Leroy is a leader in promoting sustainability in both winery and vineyard, not only listing a fully organic wine but also certified completely vegan across the range. Widely carried by Michelin-starred restaurants, Relais et Châteaux and prestigious hotels across the globe, in addition Duval-Leroy has been awarded Best Champagne in the World by CSWC (Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships) for three consecutive years, confirming their reputation as a producer of the highest quality.

Jeremy Lithgow MW, Amathus Drinks’ Head of Wine said “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a prestigious house. The quality across the range is outstanding and we’re excited to be working with another family owned company which shares our desire for quality and ambitions for growth in the UK market.”

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Your Easter Drinks Menu Awaits…

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From England to Germany to America, everyone is drinking gin and tonic. When served correctly, gin and tonic sounds, looks, smells and tastes incredible. With the current gin craze taking over the world, you can forget about the simple gin and tonic with a splash of tonic and a slice of lime; as we see more of our favourite mixologists creating mad-hatter libations with liquid smoke and all sorts of weird and wonderful garnishes.

If you’re bored of the same old gin and tonic, we’ve come up with a few ways to spruce up this classic mixed drink, using fresh ingredients and substituting your choice of gin for a different type of spirit: turning it from your average tipple to a masterpiece in mere moments. With Easter weekend just around corner, what better excuse to try these concoctions out.

Beyond the G&T

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Contratto Vermouth Bianco & Tonic

Long tarred by the brush of the 1970s naffness, vermouth is now being recognised for the fine apéritif it is. Top 60ml of Contratto Vermouth Bianco with tonic and garnish with lemon peel.

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Cálem White & Dry & Tonic

Set to be the new drink of 2018, white port ticks the lower-alcohol trend box and is a wonderful alternative to gin. Serve over ice, with tonic, a slice of lemon, lemongrass and cucumber to garnish.

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Clément Créole Shrubb & Tonic

Unlike the vinegar and fruit macerations that share the same name, Clément Créole Shrubb from Martinique is a spiced orange liqueur; perfect with tonic, a slice of orange and a dash of grapefruit bitters (optional).

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Dolin Chambéryzette & Tonic

Dolin Chambéryzette is a blend of Vermouth de Chambéry and strawberry liqueur; ideal for the one with a slightly sweeter tooth. And yes you’ve guessed it… best served with tonic and strawberries and mint as your choice of garnish.

Four Bottles for Easter

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Bernard-Massard Brut Cuvée de L’Écusson NV

To kick off any gathering sparkling wine is essential. Bernard-Massard Brut Cuvée de L’Écusson NV ticks all the boxes with its elegant buttery nose and expressive aromas of fruit and citrus.

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Monte Pio Albariño 2016

Albariño is definitely one of Spain’s best kept secrets. This crisp, dry, aromatic Albariño by Monte Pio makes the ideal companion to your Easter fish course.

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Ochoa Gran Reserva 2009

The mighty red; the centrepiece of every Easter table. Opt for the Ochoa Gran Reserva 2009, a classic style of wine with glorious notes of black fruits.

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Nelstrop’s Pedro Ximenez

The ultimate after dinner delight, Nelstrop’s Pedro Ximenez; vintage Sherry and single malt whisky combined and aged for 2 years in oak… enough said!

Wishing you all a very happy Easter…

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A Tale of Two Shrubbs

Unlike the vinegar and fruit macerations that share the name, shrubb in Martinique is a spiced orange liqueur. Both Clément and Rhum J.M now have a shrubb, which share similarities but can be used in quite different ways.

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The base is a blend of white and aged rhum (J.M contains more aged, Clément more white) which is then combined with a blend of spices: nutmeg, cloves, orange zest, cinnamon and a little vanilla. The spices are individually macerated in white rhum to extract the flavour, and the resultant essences are blended into the base in different ratios – the exact difference is a secret, but in terms of flavour Clément tends to be a clearer orange, whereas J.M has more rounded spiciness. Cane sugar and bitters are the final additions, again in different amounts. Shrubb is the Christmas Punch of Martinique!

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When it comes to ways in which to drink them, less is more (in terms of ingredients): both taste fantastic served chilled on their own as an aperitif or after dinner drink. Clément Créole Shrubb is perfect with tonic and a dash of grapefruit bitters, for a great long drink in summertime (or while hoping for the summer to come).

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J.M lends itself perfectly to a Rhum Old Fashioned, with 60ml J.M V.S.O.P and 15ml Shrubb J.M stirred down for a late-night drink at any time of year.

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Shrubb is an extremely versatile liqueur, which means it works exceptionally well with an array of other spirits. Try it in a Reverse Margarita with 35ml shrubb and 25ml tequila (opt for a blanco tequila with Clément, and a reposado with J.M) and lime juice to taste.

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A Trip to Oaxaca

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“I think we may have to stop for a minute”. We’d been on the road from Oaxaca City for a little over an hour and a half, along winding, bumpy roads at an altitude notably higher than our natural habitat. It would be fair to say that we were beginning to appreciate the remoteness of our destination, the Sola de Vega region of Oaxaca and the family ranch of the brothers behind Los Siete Misterios, Julio and Eduardo Mestre. Eduardo kindly pulled over at the next suitable spot – a good twenty minutes later – and we got out to stretch our legs and have a few well-deserved deep breaths. Julio went on a mercy mission for some water, crisps and marshmallows, and I noticed a friendly stray dog. I stroked it, thinking about what a lovely man I am, when Eduardo opened the boot of the car, pulled out some dog food and popped a nice portion on the floor for our new friend. The brothers, it transpires, are dog lovers and always keep a pack handy in case they come across a stray. I need to up my game.

Once we’d regained our composure we piled back into the car for the final leg of the journey, gratefully pulling into the ranch a little over an hour later to receive an enthusiastic welcome from the 10 dogs – all from the same litter – who are also a part of the family. The brothers’ mother, Angela, and her husband Eduardo have lived here for two years now and have converted a former cattle ranch into a Palenque, an agave field and a nursery.

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There are around 200 known species of agave, most of which grow in Mexico, and roughly 45 of these are used in some form of distillation (estimates vary, but over 30 is certainly a safe bet). The Sola de Vega region is home to about 18 of these, cultivated and growing wild. Unlike in tequila production, where the blue agave is cultivated by means of hijuelos, and hence clones of the same plant, at the nursery the emphasis is on letting the quiote sprout from the agaves and gathering the seeds, which are then planted and nurtured. Some species of agave, particularly the ‘wild’ varieties (notably the legendary Tobala), are thought to not shoot hijuelos and can only be propagated in this way. In terms of sustainability this is becoming more essential: during our trip we heard several reports of hillsides being stripped of immature wild agave. Suspicion falls on the agave syrup industry – which requires a lower level of brix than mezcal – but in truth no-one is sure.

We took a stroll through the nursery, after applying a healthy layer of suncream, and cooed over the baby Tobala we found there. Antonio, the master palenquero, joined us as we continued into the field to see an impressive range of agave growing side by side: jabali, barril, mexicano, sierra negra, arroqueno, espadin, tobala and more, with a staggering range of size and appearance that contrasted sharply with the regimented lines of blue agave we’d seen in Jalisco. Somewhat overexcited I quickly became a self-declared expert in agave identification: sierra negra has black tipped teeth on the penca, hence its name (‘black saw’); tobala looks ‘like an angry cabbage’ (according to my personal botanical notes); barril has a small ‘trunk’ beneath the plant and looks a bit like a small yucca palm (in Sola de Vega barril tends to be used to refer to agave from the karwinski family so some of these were madrecuixe, tobasiche and others).

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At the ranch Antonio was preparing to cook a batch of barril agave, the thin, woody piñas arranged in a neat pile next to the oven, which holds three tons of agave per cook: enough for just 150 litres of the finished mezcal. After cooking the agave are smashed up in a hollowed-out log (a canoe, basically) with a large homemade mallet, which is great fun to wield. Antonio’s mezcal is distilled in traditional small clay pots (as are all the Siete Misterios Mezcals, with the exception of Doba-Yej) and he took a break from stacking the stones in the oven to taste some with us, while Eduardo talked us through the distillation.

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After this comprehensive tour everyone sat for a wonderful lunch of Angela’s Oaxacan food and enjoyed the warm Mexican hospitality, and we tasted the range. Julio and Eduardo work with a number of palenques in the Sola de Vega region, sourcing some of the finest traditional single agave varietal mezcals. The brothers first discovered mezcal when taking road trips from Mexico City: they would drive to the coast and pick up mezcal from the villages on their way. This was always popular with their friends, and after requests for more they began to take plastic jerry cans back to Mexico City; the best of these mezcals eventually became the Siete Misterios range. Over lunch we started with the ultra-rare, earthy mexicano, moved onto the fruitier coyote, the herbaceous arroqueno, and then the buttery barril: all with some of the nicest home-cooked food I’ve ever enjoyed. Oh, and some dried grasshoppers.

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After a long afternoon in this idyllic setting we left much later than we planned, meaning that the return journey was in darkness. This didn’t improve it much, but a bellyful of great food and mezcal and a soulful of hospitality certainly helped. Also, Eduardo drives fast. We finished with a couple of beers and mezcals in one of Oaxaca City’s nice bars and headed to bed.


 

Day 2 started with a quick quesadilla and hot chocolate in a local café before Misty and Gabe from Del Maguey picked us up and drove us to Teotitlan del Valle, where the bottling is done and some very special casks are resting. Del Maguey was my first real encounter with mezcal – the best part of a decade ago – so I spent the whole day in a perpetual near-dream state, starting as we tasted the now immense range with Misty – after she’d personalised our copitas for us. Sticking to the Del Maguey rule, of course: sip, don’t shoot.

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After a quick burrito stop (yep, a burrito in Mexico. I think Jon is still in shock.) we drove to the first of the two palenques of the day, in San Baltazar Chichicapam. When Ron Cooper started Del Maguey way back in 1995 Chichicapa was one of the first two he brought to the world, accompanied by San Luis del Rio. Correspondingly, this was also the first real mezcal I ever had the pleasure of tasting, and I still remember the feeling of a whole new world opening up as my taste buds tried and failed to find a suitable reference in the memory bank of spirit flavours. It would be fair to say I was excited to be here, and not a little overwhelmed. This was only compounded when Faustino joined us: it is always a privilege to drink with a producer, and to sit and enjoy a mezcal (okay, many mezcals) with him and his son Max was something of a dream realised for me.

Next stop was Santa Catarina Minas, where Minero is produced. If Faustino’s Chichicapa first drew me into mezcal, it was the clay pots of Minero which ensured I was hooked. Like the majority of the Siete Misterios range, Del Maguey Minero is made in the artisanal fashion, meaning that along with the use of clay stills the agave is smashed by hand, or rather with big bats: molinas (stone wheel mills) powered by horses or donkeys are the alternative (mezcal is ‘craft’ and ‘small batch’ long before those terms were invented, let alone desirable). We gave this a good go. I must confess I’ve wanted to try my hand at agave smashing ever since I heard about it, and I would have patted myself on the back were it not for the fact that both my hands were blistered to the point of bleeding after about 20 minutes. A batch takes around five hours, admittedly by someone with better technique than me.

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Luis Carlos and his wife Alejandrina sat and drank mezcal with us as we caught our breath (this took some time), and admired the view of the sunset, and attempted to make friends with the goats. Well, I did at least. We enjoyed the mezcal, the company and the view for some time before reluctantly having to take our leave.

We returned to Oaxaca City to meet with Michael, Steve and Jaime from Del Maguey for the evening; dinner followed by a visit to In Situ, a local mezcaleria, for some of the rarer agave and dasyrylion (sotol) distillates before retiring happily to our flat for a couple of rounds of backgammon. Mezcal, for all its virtues, doesn’t improve my technique.

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Day 3, our final full day, we met Jaime Munoz of Los Danzantes and Alipús. Jaime – who is incidentally one of the nicest characters in mezcal – drove us to their under-construction new distillery. For anyone with a geek-leaning temperament this was paradise. Tradition combined with science and sustainability, from the heat-conserving arrangement of the stills, to the use of different fuels, to the plans for a solar powered tahona, to the agave ‘museum’ and nursery in the grounds. Jon and I spent at least half an hour taking photos of the labelled agaves outside. Running a little late thanks to this over-enthusiastic agave snapping we moved to the original distillery that Jaime set up in the ‘90s. Los Danzantes was started by Jaime and his twin brother, Gustavo, as a restaurant in Mexico City with a focus on top-end Mexican food (at a time when ‘top-end’ and ‘Mexican food’ were unusual bedfellows); its success led to the second restaurant in Oaxaca City. The emphasis on cuisine led the brothers to bottle their own tequila early on, and it didn’t take long for them to move to mezcal, which continues to be Jaime’s passion.

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If the new distillery is a geek’s paradise, the original is a salve to those of us who like organisation (if you’ve ever arranged your spirits in the same order as the stock take sheet, or changed the bar setup to make people move more efficiently, then this is the distillery for you). The set up allows the agave to arrive at one end, where they are put into the traditional oven. The oven is on a raised level a little higher than the fermentation vats, which are on wheels for added ease. The stills are then on a slightly lower level. The whole production is in a line, working with gravity, and the cellar (more of a chai, in that it’s above ground) is at the end; the finished product leaves the distillery at the opposite end to which the agave arrives. There’s a deep beauty to this kind of organisation and whatever’s the opposite of your skin crawling, this does it to me.

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We tasted the Los Danzantes range with Jaime, and spent a long while talking in the cellar/chai, (which even shares characteristics with the equivalents in Cognac, such as gravel on the floor to regulate the humidity), before getting back in the car to head to San Baltazar to meet one of the Alipús producers.

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The Alipús project was started by Jaime to support the indigenous growers and distillers of the region. As with Del Maguey and Los Siete Misterios he works with a number of producers, with the mezcals bottled under the Alipús label. At San Baltazar we again encountered the mix of tradition and sustainability at the heart of Los Danzantes and Alipús: Don Cirilo and his family are close to completing the construction of their new distillery and home, built with the proceeds they have made from Alipús and using technical advice from Los Danzantes. Modern as this seems we are abruptly reminded of how remote we are by Jaime translating Spanish with Cirilo, who then had to translate into the indigenous Zapotec for his father, Don Cosme. By now we were accustomed to the kindness and hospitality of the people of Oaxaca, but no less thankful to be on the receiving end. The warmth between Cirilo and his family and Jaime was emotional to witness. Jaime treated us to a stunning dinner at the Los Danzantes restaurant that evening, and I may have over-indulged on some strong mezcal. My backgammon skills took a further dip.

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On our final morning Jaime and Sten, who is responsible for production and sustainability at Los Danzantes and Alipús, presented us some of their projects for the conservation of agave and the industry surrounding it; their passion and commitment is incredible.

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Quick guide: Del Maguey

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Del Maguey – the original Single Village mezcal – was started in 1995 by artist Ron Cooper, and is a firm bartender favourite the world over. The first four villages (Chichicapa, San Luis del Rio, Santo Domingo Albarradas and Minero) are still the core range, along with the house pour level Vida and the dangerously moreish Crema de Mezcal, but an impressive variety of different villages and agaves now form part of the range.

Quick guide: Los Siete Misterios

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Single agave mezcals from the Sola de Vega region, distilled in clay pots and bottled by Julio and Eduardo Mestre. Each bottle is numbered and has the name of the master palenquero who produced it. Doba-Yej (a local name for espadin) is a copper-pot distilled mezcal designed to be a house pour.

Quick guide: Alipús

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Mezcals from villages around Oaxaca, sourced by Jaime of Los Danzantes as part of a project to support the locals. Five villages form the core range: San Baltazar, San Andrés, San Juan, Santa Ana and San Luis.

Quick guide: Los Danzantes

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Owned by Jaime Munoz (a strong contender for nicest man in Oaxaca) and originally produced for the restaurant of the same name. A blanco, reposado and añejo are distilled at their distillery, soon to move to the newer site.


 

Glossary

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Quiote – The flowering stem of the agave, which shoots up from the mature plant. This is usually cut off in tequila production as it takes sugar from the plant. When they have flowered and gone to seed the plant dies.

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Hijuelos – Small clones of a plant that sprouts up around the main plant after the 4th year of its life (though at the Siete Misterios nursery they have witnessed it in agave as young as 1 year). The most common form of agave propagation is to take these and replant them.

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Palenque – Mezcal distillery

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Molina – Big volcanic stone wheel in a pit for milling agave (called a tahona in Jalisco)


 

By Phil Duffy (Amathus Head of Spirits) 

 

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Calvados and its Brandy

Do you like apples?

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Calvados is back. Well, ‘back’ is perhaps putting it a little strongly – it’s debatable whether there was ever a time when calvados was the apple (sorry) of the bar world’s eye – but there’s definitely something going on. Rather than sourcing one unconsidered bottle, destined for a life of gathering dust, bartenders are now paying attention, and restaurants may have a number of calvados options on the back bar covering different styles: Coupette in Bethnal Green boasts an impressive range and features a calvados of the month. It is no surprise that the definitive apple brandy is finding its way onto more and more cocktail menus throughout the country.

A short history of the Calvados region and its brandy

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Cider making has a long history in France, dating back at least to the Romans. In the 13th century it became the drink of choice for the lower classes in the Normandy region, and by the 14th century cider sales in the North were greater than wine. The first record we have of the distillation of cider is from 1553, when a nobleman called Gilles de Gouberville recorded the process of making eaux-de-vie in his diary.

During the 19th century, calvados and cider became very popular in Paris, partly due to the phylloxera crisis crippling the wine trade. ‘Café/Calva’ became a favourite with the working man and is a tradition that continues to this day.

Calvados Pays d’Auge was granted AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) status in 1942, along with 10 regions granted the looser AOR (appellation d’origine réglementée). These 10 were incorporated into the general AOC Calvados in 1984; the third and final AOC was added in 1997: AOC Calvados Domfrontais.

A castle and its apples

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Built in the early 16th century, the Château du Breuil is classified as an historical monument, reflecting the typical Pays d’Auge architecture. The two half-timbered towers of the castle are from the 16th century; the central part is from the 17th century. In 1954, Philippe Bizouard bought the castle to set up his own distillery and created the Calvados Château du Breuil.

Château du Breuil has around 22000 apple trees within two orchards (42 hectares) in the Pays d’Auge region, and also works with farmers from the neighbouring towns. The higher rainfall in the region combined with the shallow soil provide perfect growing conditions for apple trees. It takes around 27kg of apples to make one litre of calvados; each tree produces 50-200kg each harvest (depending on the age of the tree, the rootstock and a number of other factors!)

Harvesting takes place in October and November, with up to 40 varieties of apple arriving at the Château to be pressed. The blend between these varieties is the first step to creating the unique flavour profile of the ciders. Fermentation is 100% natural and takes at least 6 weeks (the legal minimum is 3 weeks), yielding a 4.5% cider.

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Distillation begins in the winter in Château du Breuil’s two copper pot stills. For Calvados Pays d’Auge the stills may be heated with a steam coil or naked flame; Château du Breuil uses flame. The first distillation produces les petites eaux at 28%, which are then returned to the still for the bonne chauffe, when the eaux-de-vie exits the still at 71% ABV, ready for its long slumber in oak that will yield the finished calvados.

The young spirit is put into 350 litre barrels, firstly in new wood for two months, during which time the spirit takes tannin and colour, before being transferred to older casks for maturation. Unusually (for calvados at least), Château de Breuil also have some cask finishes, where the spirit spends an extra few months in a sherry or sweet wine cask, adding extra layers of complexity.

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The Three Appellations of Calvados

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AOC Calvados (approximately 71% of production)

  • Geographical area in Normandy: the Calvados department and some parts of Mayenne, Sarthe and Oise
  • No distillation method specified, but most is column stills (to a maximum ABV of 72%)
  • Made of apples and/or pears (permitted varieties are specified in the AOC)
  • Minimum two years’ old

AOC Calvados Pays d’Auge (approximately 28% of production)

  • Geographical area mostly in the Calvados department, on clay and chalk slopes
  • Must be double-distilled in pot stills with a maximum size of 30hl, to a maximum ABV of 72% (similar to Cognac)
  • Made of apples (with a maximum of 30% pears permitted)
  • Minimum two years’ old

AOC Domfrontais (approximately 1% of production)

  • Geographical area in the Orne, Manche and Mayenne departments
  • Must be single distilled in column stills heated with naked flame, to a maximum ABV of 72% (similar to Armagnac)
  • Made of apples and pears (with a minimum of 30% pears)
  • Minimum three years’ old

For all the appellations the whole process must be carried out in the geographical area: harvest, fermentation, distillation and ageing.


Ages on the Label

VS, ‘trois étoiles’ or ‘trois pommes’ – 2 years’ minimum

‘Vieux’ or ‘reserve’ – 3 years’ minimum

V.S.O.P, VO or ‘vieille réserve’ – 4 years’ minimum

X.O, ‘hors d’age’, ‘très vieille réserve’, ‘très vieux, ‘extra’, ‘Napoléon’ – 6 years’ minimum


 

by Yves Calabre (Amathus Brand Sales Manager – Rums & French Agency Spirits) 

 

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The Amathus Times

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Plymouth Gin Botanical Lab Workshops – 7th & 9th June 2018

Get those lab coats and goggles at the ready, as we join forces with Plymouth Gin to host a series of botanical lab workshops at Amathus Soho, City and Shoreditch. During the sessions you’ll be taken on a journey through the history and production of Plymouth Gin, then put to the test as we challenge you to make your very own gin.

Sign up here


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Glenfarclas Masterclass – 24th May 2018

Satisfy your whisky cravings with our Glenfarclas Whisky masterclass on Thursday 24th May at Amathus Shoreditch 6.30pm. Limited tickets available so book now.


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Cálem Port Masterclass – 24th May 2018

SAVE THE DATE – on Thursday 24th May, Amathus City will be hosting a Cálem Port masterclass with Joao Belo from Cálem. The following will be on tasting for you to try:

Cálem White and Dry NV 
Cálem Fine Ruby NV 
Cálem LBV 2013 
Cálem 20yr Tawny Port 
Cálem Vintage 2015
Cálem Vintage 1985

What a line up… tickets on sale now


Tovaritch

Tovaritch! celebrates its 100th award and pushes itself towards new records

On April 3, 2018, Tovaritch! was awarded its 100th medal by the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago. It is a continuous testament to the brand’s superb quality.

Since 2007 Tovaritch! has regularly participated in some of the most authoritative, respected and influential spirits competitions in the world, including the Beverage Testing Institute, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, The Spirits Business competitions and the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

In blind tastings Tovaritch! is invariably rated highly by the finest palates in the spirits industry. Its five Consistence in Excellence awards from The Spirits Business convey the message loud and clear.

Says Eugenio Litta Modignani, CEO of Tovaritch! Spirits International SA, “For any single vodka to reap 100 awards, it’s an impressive feat. There are other vodkas in the market that may have as many or more awards but they are spread out over their many varieties. With Tovaritch!, it’s one and only variety, and it’s the winner. Hitting the 100 awards mark in the spirits business is not unlike climbing Everest. It’s a goal unattainable for most but those who make it join the winners’ club. What’s more important is that standing on the top of the mountain they get to see new horizons – and others peaks to be conquered. Within two weeks of our 100th award, we earned yet another – 101th – from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It’s fair to say that we are on our way to our next peak.”

In today’s increasingly environmentally-conscious marketplace, one of the key things that makes Tovaritch! a natural winner is its green philosophy. Tovaritch! selects all natural, non-GMO ingredients for its vodka. The spring wheat and rye come from the rich soil of the Volga region. Tovaritch! sends its quality assurance experts to the grain farms in order to buy the best grains free of chemical pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers and enzymes. The water used in the production is drawn from pristine underground wells and undergoes reverse osmosis treatment to remove unhealthy
substances while all the essential minerals are preserved.

From the fields Tovaritch! takes its green practices into the distillery, using only organic yeasts and natural nutrients. It blends the filtered spirit with natural ingredients, thus ensuring that its vodka has a smooth, clean taste that only a vodka free of artificial additives can boast.

About Tovaritch!

Tovaritch! is a grain vodka produced and bottled in Russia by Geneva-based Tovaritch Spirits International SA. It builds its success on Russian tradition and Swiss precision. Vodka Tovaritch! is distilled five times and filtered through a combination of birch charcoal and silver. With its unique combination of fine quality and attractive pricing, vodka Tovaritch! offers the best of two worlds in one bottle.


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New in – Spirit of Hven No. 6:1 Mizar 

Introducing Spirit of Hven No. 6:1 Mizar, the 6th single malt whisky in the ‘Seven Stars’ series; married on Quercus Petraea barriques that previously held Château Margaux Premier Grand Cru. A light smokiness with spicy notes of raisins,  cacoa and vanilla. Hints of chamomile backed by violet and banana.


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The English Whisky Masterclass – 23rd April 2018

To celebrate St George’s Day, we will be hosting a with The English Whisky Company at Amathus Soho, Monday 23rd April 6.30pm, hosted by our resident whisky specialist Marlowe Harris.

The English Whisky Company is England’s oldest registered whisky distiller. In 2005 the Nelstrop family designed and built the St George’s Distillery in Norfolk, with the express purpose of producing the very finest English single malt whisky… and that they have certainly done.

The following whiskies will be on tasting:

The English Whisky Chapter 17 (Triple Distilled) Single Malt Whisky
The Norfolk Parched Single Grain Whisky
The Norfolk Malt n Rye Single Grain Whisky
The English Original Single Malt Whisky
The English Smokey Single Malt Whisky
The English Whisky Chapter 15 (Heavily Smoked) Single Malt Whisky
The English Whisky Chapter 16 (Smokey PX Matured) Single Malt Whisky

Book here.


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A superb family owned and sustainably managed Champagne house

Amathus Drinks is delighted to announce the partnership with Champagne Duval-Leroy. From April 2nd Amathus will be the exclusive UK distributor for this prestigious house. Family-owned since 1859, today Duval-Leroy is under the stewardship of Carol Duval-Leroy, ably supported by her three sons Julien, Charles and Louis. Located in Vertus in the Côte des Blancs, the house works with an unusually high proportion of their own 1er and Grand Cru vineyards, many of which are worked organically. Chardonnay is the dominant grape throughout the range and top quality rosé is also made alongside a selection of special cuvées from historic varieties. A combination of stainless steel, oak barrels and old reserve wines are used to create wines of great precision and complexity.

Duval-Leroy is a leader in promoting sustainability in both winery and vineyard, not only listing a fully organic wine but also certified completely vegan across the range. Widely carried by Michelin-starred restaurants, Relais et Châteaux and prestigious hotels across the globe, in addition Duval-Leroy has been awarded Best Champagne in the World by CSWC (Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships) for three consecutive years, confirming their reputation as a producer of the highest quality.

Jeremy Lithgow MW, Amathus Drinks’ Head of Wine said “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a prestigious house. The quality across the range is outstanding and we’re excited to be working with another family owned company which shares our desire for quality and ambitions for growth in the UK market.”


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Northern Restaurant & Bar Show – 20th & 21st March 2018

Meet us at Northern Restaurant & Bar Show on the 20th & 21st March at Manchester Central, stand E68. We’ll be showcasing Bobby’s, Ferdinand’s, Spirit of HvenBarceló, Les Vergers Boiron and Rhum Clément… to name a few.

Register here.


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Calle 23 Tequila Masterclass – 13th March 2018

Amathus cordially invites you to the UK launch of Calle 23 Criollo. Sample the newest addition to the Calle 23 range with founder Sophie Decobecq. RSVP soho@amathusdrinks.com. Do not miss out!


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Casual Dining – 21st & 22nd February 2018

Meet us at this year’s Casual Dining Show on the 21st & 22nd February. We’ll be at stand M432 showcasing Barceló Rum, Les Vergers Borion Ambient Fruit Purées and Cartron Liqueurs.

Sign up here and we’ll see you there…


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‘A Taste of France’ Masterclass – 1st February 2018

Join us Amathus City on the 1st February for our ‘A Taste of France’ masterclass with our very own Frenchie and brand sales manager, Yves Calabre. On tasting will be a selection of French brandies including, Francois Voyer VSOP, Francois Voyer XO, Laubade XO, Laubade Hors d’Age, Laubade Blanche, Breuil VSOP and Breuil 15yr, with a few extra surprises to excite your taste buds. Which will be your favourite French brandy?

 

Book here.


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Introducing Les Vergers Boiron Ambient Fruit Purées

The fruit, the whole fruit and nothing but the fruit…

Les Vergers Boiron, a family adventure established in 1942 and today the brand of reference for professionals looking for that one-stop fruit solution, has launched their new range of ambient fruit purées, ready to use for instant, quick serve applications.

Ten absolutely must-taste flavours, 100% natural with unrivalled fruit content, no added flavourings, preservatives or artificial colourings. No need to freeze, just mix, serve up and enjoy; and what’s more, they last up to eight days once opened, with zero compromise and 100% taste perfection.

Choose your favourite fruit heaven from the following authentic tasting, utterly divine flavours – strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, pear, passion fruit, pineapple, apricot, mango, yellow peach and blood orange.

Delicious drinks in just a few seconds…


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The English Whisky Co. releases the first 10 year old English Single Malt Whisky

The English Whisky Co. is England’s oldest registered whisky distiller. In 2005 the Nelstrop family designed and built the St George’s Distillery in Norfolk with the express purpose of producing the very finest English single malt whisky.

Following a string of successful releases over the past few years, along with numerous awards, The English Whisky Co. are releasing a limited number of bottles of the first 10yr old English whisky available for over a century. Selected from exceptional ultra-rare casks of the Founders’ Private Cellar range it provides a promising glimpse of the whiskies we can expect to see from the distillery in the future. Each individually numbered bottle comes with its own certificate and is presented in a beautiful piano finished box.

Amathus Drinks Plc is delighted to be appointed the new UK distributor of The English Whisky Co. Phil Duffy, Head of Spirits for Amathus, commented, ‘The English Whisky Co. is an incredible addition to the Amathus portfolio and we feel honoured to have them on board. With the increasing popularity of whisky, it is inevitable the collection will be equally well received by our on-trade and off-trade customers. The release of their 10yr English Single Malt is an important landmark in the development of modern distillation in England, and having tasted the range of whiskies they are producing we’re looking forward to exciting times ahead.’


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New to Amathus Agency – Koval Organic Spirits 

Established in 2008, Koval is the first distillery in Chicago since the mid-1800s, is one of America’s largest artisan distilleries and has won over 50 international awards. Koval pioneered a new school of distilling in the US that focuses on the heart cut: the purest, most grain forward portion of the distillate, which gives Koval its signature clean, bright style. Koval is also known for its use of unique and interesting grains, such as millet, leading Wine Enthusiast to name the distillery a “leader of the alt-grain scene.” All of Koval’s whiskies are ‘single barrel’ and are aged in 30 gallon oak barrels; the contents of each bottle can be traced all the way back to the field on which the grain was grown.

While Koval is a vanguard of American independent whiskey, they also have a lot to offer gin fans: their Dry Gin – the most awarded domestic gin in the US in 2015 – has now been joined by the gold medal winning Barreled Gin (aged in Koval Rye barrels for 6 months).

All Koval products are certified organic and kosher, and are made from grain to bottle in Chicago.


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The Glenrothes Masterclass – 7th December 

The Glenrothes masterclass at Amathus Shoreditch, 7th December. Don’t miss out on your chance to taste some of the finest vintages, with heritage brands director Ronnie Cox. Book away


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Sipsmith Masterclass – 5th December

A Walk Down Gin Lane with Sipsmith

Join our friends from London Distillery Sipsmith for an evening of gin tasting at Amathus City. Enjoy a hot gin cocktail to kick things off while you learn all about the history of gin and where Sipsmith fits into this, followed by a full tutored tasting of the Sipsmith range.

The range of gin on tasting (after the Hot G&T as a greeting):
– Sipsmith London Dry Gin
– Sipsmith VJOP
– Sipsmith Sloe Gin
– Sipsmith London Cup

Book here.


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Perfect Provenance – Direct from the Estate

A rarity, very few bottles left in existence!

Porto Cálem, was founded in 1859 by António Alves Cálem with its first Vintage Port being released in 1870. Porto Cálem has an international reputation for being one of the Douro’s most celebrated Port producers. Cálem Colheita is an aged Tawny Port made with grapes from a single vintage which by law must be matured in wooden casks for at least seven years.

Cálem Colheita 1961, bottled in 2013, after 52 years in the barrel has just been awarded the top award at the IWSC annual awards, the gold IWSC Trophy 2017 for the Port wine category. (The IWSC Annual Awards celebrates excellence in wine and spirit making, and is recognised as setting the International benchmark for quality).

Judges tasting notes:

“Amber shading to green. Dried figs, caramel and raisins, with marmalade notes and candied lemons. The wine exhibits amazing youthfulness and purity and literally dances on the tongue. The balance of alcohol, wood ageing and fruit have come together in an incredible fusion of flavours and textures that is just purely sublime.” 


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New In – Shrubb J.M Liqueur d’Orange

The wait is finally over… Shrubb J.M est arrivé! A brilliant marriage of aged J.M rhum with bitter orange zest, natural sugarcane syrup and a maceration of locally sourced vanilla bean, cinnamon and nutmeg. Best served neat/on ice, or in a Agric’Old Fashioned… Oh yeah!


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Kilchoman Masterclass – 22nd November 

If you missed the one last month at Amathus City then join us at Amathus Soho for our second Kilchoman masterclass. As a reminder on tasting will be the Machir Bay, Loch Gorm, 100% Islay, Vintage 2009 and the Madeira Cask.

You know what to do – sign up here.


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BBC Good Food Show – 30th November – 3rd December 

Save the date! This year we will be making an appearance at the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham; a four day event with the best variety of food, drinks and cookery products from over 500 exhibitors… it’s the biggest and tastiest day out in the UK!

So come along and visit us at stand W230 to discover the exciting world of Jinro Soju from South Korea. We’ve also got a few surprises up our sleeves so make sure you don’t miss out. Register here.


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Kilchoman Masterclass – 24th October 2017

Please join us at Amathus City for a Kilchoman Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky masterclass on the 24th October at 7pm. On tasting will be the Machir Bay, Loch Gorm, 100% Islay, Vintage 2009 and the Madeira Cask.

Sign up now via our website, whilst there’s still tickets left.


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New In – A.v.Wees Three-Corner Dry Yuzu Gin

The latest addition from A.Van Wees Distillery de Ooievaar, Three-Corner Dry Yuzu Gin, made from a mix of 100% distilled yuzu from Japan and 100% distilled gin from the classic botanicals of juniper, lemon, coriander, angelica and a variety of other herbs. On the palate, dry, subtle, yet intense yuzu and mandarin citrus flavours. Utterly divine!


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The Ti’Punch Cup UK Final – The Winner is Announced…

This year we saw the return of the Ti’Punch Cup Competition after two whole years. If you’re not that familiar with the Ti’Punch Cup or even a Ti’Punch for that matter, then here’s what you need to know…

The Ti’Punch is a cocktail made up of three key ingredients: rhum agricole (white, gold or aged rhum), sugarcane syrup or raw sugar and fresh lime. The Ti’Punch is more than just a cocktail, it’s the heart of the culture in Martinique, traditionally served as an apéritif. Historically people used to have a Ti’Punch in the morning, to kick-start their day; better known as ‘décollage’ translated ‘take off’ in English.

So to celebrate the ‘Art of the Ti’Punch’, Rhum Clément launched the Ti’Punch Cup where bartenders from all over the world could enter. The idea of the competition is to create a twist on the classic Ti’Punch, by swapping out/adding in different ingredients to create your very own rendition. It’s a competition well worth entering, if for no other reason than that the national finalists win a 5-day trip to the French Caribbean island of Martinique for the global final, on the 12th-16th March 2018.

This year’s UK final took us to ECC in Chinatown, London. In total there were eight finalists competing for the winning spot, including Sam Boulton (The Bureau, Birmingham), Chris Tanner (The Vault, London), Zaneta Leszczynska (ECC Chinatown, London), Alex Taylor (Pennyroyal, Cardiff), Ashera Goonewardene (The Beachcomber, London), Remy Cousquer (Riverhut, Surbiton), Ben Todd (Home, London) and William Campbell (Alvinos, Newcastle).

The competition kick-started at 12pm sharp and each finalist had ten minutes to make four of their signature cocktail and present it to the judges. Our four lovely judges included Kiowa Bryan Rhum Clément US Brand Ambassador, Simon Difford founder of Difford’s Guide, Peter Holland from the Floating Rum Shack and Tiago Semblano, winner of the Ti’Punch Cup UK final in 2015.

The competition was extremely high, which made it a tad difficult for our judges to pick just the one winner. So without further ado, from third place to first place, our three lucky winners are as follows:

Third place – Alex Taylor from Pennyroyal in Cardiff with his Ti’Punch Power of 3.

Second place – William Campbell from Alvinos in Newcastle with his Historic Swizzle Ti’Punch addition.

So in first place, and the winner of the UK final was Ashera Goonewardene from The Beachcomber in London. Ashera stole the show with her cocktail, Retour Chez Moi, made with Clément Canne Bleue, canne syrup, lychee liqueur and guava juice; twizzle, twizzle, twizzled together then garnished with grapefruit peel… taste heaven. Congratulations Ashera, next stop Martinique!

After a Ti’Punch or two to toast Ashera’s success is was onto Trailer Happiness where the party continued well into the night.

Finally, a big thank you goes out to each of the finalists, our judges and of course ECC for letting us host the final at your fantastic bar.

A job well done!


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Bonpland Rum 

We are excited to reveal that Bonpland Rum Rouge VSOP is now available on all Lufthansa first class flights. Another great accolade for the brand, congratulations guys.

First class all the way…


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Meletti Amaro 

Recently featured in GQ Magazine, Meletti Amaro, the classy Italian digestivo!

Read the full article here


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Kings County Bottled-in-Bond

Just landed… Kings County Distillery Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Bottled-in-bond is a designation that refers to American whiskeys (and some brandies) that are distilled, aged, and bottled entirely at one distillery, from barrels filled in one season, by one distiller.

Kings County Bottled-in-Bond is aged for 4 years in oak barrels and bottled at 100 proof. Smooth, spicy and complex with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, and vanilla.


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RumFest 2017 – 14th & 15th October 

Calling all rum lovers of the world, join us at this year’s RumFest on the 14th & 15th October. For two days straight the ILEC Conference Centre will become home to the world’s largest rum festival, bringing trade and consumer experts together for a weekend of great food, entertainment and most importantly the finest rum around.

Joining in on the action with us and showcasing their exceptional rum collections are BarcelóRhum J.M and Rhum Clément. Come and visit us at stand 22 and see what it’s all about!

Register now at www.rumfest.co.uk.


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The Whisky Exchange Show 2017 – 30th September – 2nd October 

The Whisky Exchange Show is the UK’s most popular whisky festival, bringing together distillers and whisky fanatics from all over the world in the heart of London at the Old Billingsgate.

We want in on the action and will be there showcasing the outstanding Spirit of Hven and Kings County at stand 55.

Sign up now at www.whiskyshow.com.


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Champagne Pol Roger – 28th September 

Please join us on Thursday, 28th September at Amathus City for our Champagne Pol Roger masterclass, kicking starting at 7pm.

On tasting will be the Brut Reserve NV, Pure NV, Rich NV, Vintage 2008, Rosé 2008, Blanc de Blancs 2009 and the Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006. Tickets are £25 per person, to book please email city@amathusdrinks.com or call 0207 283 0638. Limited spaces available so hop to it!


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California Wine Fair 2017 – 27th September 

On Wednesday 27th September, California Wines will be hosting a portfolio tasting in central London. It will be a destination for California wines, with over 600 wines on tasting and over 40 exhibitors in attendance.

We will be part of the exhibitors list and will be showcasing our Californian agency brand, from Santa Barbara County – the wonderful Fess Parker. Alongside us will be Tim Snider, winemaker at Fess Parker Winery… so grab yourself a ticket at www.californiawinefair.co.uk… and we’ll see you there at table number 4!


Bonpland

The nominations have been announced…

Best of luck to Bonpland V.S.O.P Rouge and Otto’s Athens Vermouth who have been nominated for the Best New European Spirit or Bar Product at the 2018 Mixology Bar Awards.

We wait in anticipation for the results…


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The Ti’Punch Cup is back

Register at www.tipunchcup.com for a chance to take part in the UK heats and win a trip of a lifetime to Martinique.

Deadlines for entries is the 12th September 2017… don’t miss out!


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Three apples in every bottle… nothing else

Hoila Cider is a 100% premium apple Alpine cider from South Tyrol, Italy.

Hoila was born through an extensive research collaboration with the prestigious Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. They analysed and evaluated over 20 local apple varieties to create their premium blend. After years of hard work, countless trials and tests, and true dedication they established their own cider production facilities in Cortina.

Hoila is a refreshing cider made from the purest apples grown in South Tyrol. They combine the best British brewing tradition with Alpine authenticity, artisanship and absolute commitment to quality… it’s mouth-wateringly good.


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‘A Taste of Honey’ from Joseph Cartron 

Joseph Cartron intensely tickles our tastes buds with their latest heather flower honey liqueur, Cartron Miel; elaborated from pure alcohol and heather honey from the Landes region in the South West of France. Heather is a hardy plant that requires a lot of sunshine in order to produce the little pink flowers the bees forage between July and the autumn.

Reminiscent of spices and smoked peat, this artisanal heather honey liqueur is perfectly balanced to express its naturally sweet, aromatic characteristics.


 

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The Nils Oscar Way or the Highway 

Nils Oscar’s grandson opened the Nils Oscar microbrewery in Stockholm in 1996, experimenting with grain grown on the family farm nearby. The brewery quickly became a staple for quality Swedish craft beer and, after years of success, relocated and expanded. Still to this day, the second generation of the family focuses on producing traditional beer but with a modern twist.

Nils Oscar Sundberg was born in a small village in Sweden, in 1865. A pioneer in many respects, Nils Oscar personifies all the values that the brand stands for – honest, energetic, modern, respectful of nature, firmly grounded, a sense of craftsmanship and a little mischief of course. Each bottle is branded with Nils Oscar’s portrait as a seal of approval and to remind them to live up to his dedication to quality, honesty and forward-thinking…and they will continue to do this one bottle at a time.

Nils Oscar God Lager is their number one best seller that certainly lives up to its name, God, meaning ‘Tasty’ lager in Swedish.


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New In – World Class Burgundies, with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’

Right in the heart of the Burgundy region, south of Beaune, on a hillside vineyard located in the village of Santenay, stands the Château de Santenay. This magnificent castle, with roots dating back to the 11th century, was once the main residence of Philip the Bold (Philippe le Hardi), son of the King of France, John the Good (Jean le Bon); hence why the château is commonly called ‘Château Philippe le Hardi‘.

Philippe le Hardi was the most illustrious owner of Château de Santenay. A brilliant politician, Philippe was responsible for a magnificent chapter in the history of Burgundy, founding the ‘Valois of Burgundy’ dynasty, which would reign for over a century.

Château de Santenay, is one of the larger wine-producing estates in Burgundy. This prestigious property, consisting of the château with its remarkable glazed tile roof and vineyards, is the result of an ancient heritage intimately linked to the history of wine production in Burgundy.

The wine estate consists of 98 hectares of vineyards, where the ‘noble’ Burgundian grape varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are grown. The wines are aged in the classic Burgundian tradition within the castle cellars.

Gold medal winner at the International Wine Challenge 2017, the Mercurey 1er Cru ‘Les Puillets’ 2015, is rich with opulent raspberry fruit flavours, has a ripe and inviting body with a wonderful balance and aroma. A truly stunning example of a classic red Burgundy.


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Peruvian Perfection – the finest premium lager from Latin America

A very warm welcome to our newest agency beer from Peru. From the heart and heights of an ancient Andean civilisation, Cusqueña is a superior quality lager, brewed since 1908. On October 1st, 1908, a group of entrepreneurs led by Ernesto Günther founded Cervecera Alemana in the city of Cusco; it was here that the story of Cusqueña began.

Produced with only the finest natural ingredients near the mystical lost city of Machu Picchu in Peru; Cusqueña is crafted from the purest mountain water from a source at 18,000 feet in the Andes, with a combination of 100% barley malt, caramel malt and the finest aromatic Saaz hops. This gives it its exceptional golden quality, exquisite taste,
and distinctive flavour twist of caramel and citrus.

It’s crisp, pure and totally refreshing.


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Award-winning Sparkling Wines from Luxembourg

A huge congratulations to our outstanding sparking wine producers, Bernard-Massard, who received some cracking results at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards. The Bernard-Massard Brut Cuvée de L’Écusson NV was awarded Platinum – Best in Show and the Millésimé 2014, was awarded Platinum.

What’s coming up in 2017…

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Cuvelier Los Andes Masterclass – 3rd May, 2017

Not to be missed! Join us next Wednesday at our Soho shop for a very special Cuvelier Los Andes masterclass, hosted by Baptiste Cuvelier himself.

The origins of the Cuvelier family’s wine exploits began in Bordeaux, in the early 20th century, with the purchase of Château le Crock in St. Estèphe in 1903.

In the 1990’s, the family spread their wings, as they turned their attention to Mendoza in Argentina, working first with Michel Rolland on his Clos de la Siete project. But, by 1999, they had begun to plant their own vineyards – Cuvelier los Andes – and produced their first wine under this estate in 2003. Truly outstanding!


 

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Carramimbre Masterclass – 26th April, 2017

Join us on Wednesday, 26th April at Amathus Shoreditch for our Carramimbre masterclass.

Carramimbre, or ‘wicker path’ in ancient Spanish, is the name of one of the vineyards owned by Bodegas Pignon in the Ribera del Duero; situated at the bottom of a short hill, where an ancient castle still stands. Some of the vines here are as old as 50 years old.

The vineyards sit on the ‘Golden Mile’ of the Ribera del Duero (which is, in fact, 15km long) stretching along the Duero valley from the town of Peñafiel, down to Tudela de Duero. Here, the Bodegas rubs shoulders with many prestigious and iconic neighbours (Alion, Vega Sicilia etc).

 

Invite

Skinos Mediterranean Cocktails Challenge – Deadline 15th May, 2017

It’s that time of year again… 2 bartenders + 1 cocktail = The Skinos Mediterranean Cocktails Challenge 2017.

Choose your partner, submit your recipe and win a trip to Athens to compete in the Mediterranean Cocktails Challenge final!

Deadline for entries is the 15th May, apply now at www.myskinos.com/mcc.