Glenfarclas – Whiskies of Distinction

28 April 2009 12:07 pm | Posted by siteadmin

Still a family owned, independent concern Glenfarclas produces, what I believe to be some of the most consistent and value for money malts currently on the market. The distillery ( has been owned by the Grant family since 1865, and has always maintained a traditional Speyside style with a pronounced sherry influence. Glenfarclas twice distils its whisky in the largest copper-pot stills on Speyside, and each of the different malts in the range all express subtle variations in style and taste.

Two of my favourite whiskies from the Glenfarclas stable are:

Glenfarclas 10 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (£26.16)

glenfarclas-10yrs3The ten year old Glenfarclas is a deceptively smooth malt, suggestive of a much older whisky. It has a lightly malty palate with hints of cloves and cinnamon, smoke and sugar rich barley. On the finish there is a big sweet sherry influence, balanced by an explosion of dry spices. For me this is one of the best value, well rounded malts on the market and is a great introduction to the distillery style.

 Glenfarclas 105 Single Malt Scotch Whisky (£37.50)

glenfarclas-105Robust with a substantial sherry influence, this has a palate of dried fruits and plenty of spice, with a sweet nutty finish. Throughout there are some lingering smoky textures, which give this an impeccable balance and subtlety. Although a bold cask strength at 60%, the sweetness of the sherry means that this is still an excellent dram with or without water.


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New Zealand Wines…Pinot Noir

12:06 pm | Posted by siteadmin


Pinot Noir is one of the more difficult grapes to grow and make into a fine wine, not only must the climate and soil characteristics must be right, the winemaker or oenologist’s skills also have a major part to play as do the forces of nature.  This wine at its best will leave a lasting impression on the palate and in the memory and a desire for more My passion comes with the appealing qualities of Pinot Noir – its soft, velvety texture, almost like imagining sensual liquid silk, it is unique and definitely my first love.
Its aroma is often one of the most complex of all varietals and can be intense with a ripe-grape or black cherry aroma, frequently accented by a pronounced spiciness that suggests cinnamon, sassafras, or mint. Ripe sweet tomato is also a common description for identifying Pinot Noir. It is full-bodied and rich but not heavy, high in alcohol, yet neither acidic nor tannic, with substantial flavour despite its delicacy.

One of my favourite Pinot Noirs has to be from Hunter’s Wines, Marlborough, New Zealand. I have known Jane Hunter for over 20 years and have always followed and sold her wines. She is the most acclaimed and awarded woman in New Zealand’s wine industry and was made OBE in 1993 for her services to the wine industry, recipient of a CNZM in the 2009 New Zealand New Year Honours List and most recently  World Class New Zealand 2009 Award. Jane is acknowledged as one of the first to capture international attention for Marlborough as an influential wine growing region. Her wines have won innumerable international medals, awards and accolades.  

hunters-pinotnoir1I have recently re-tasted Hunters Pinot Noir 2006 (16.50). This is an easy drinking wine with light, delicate cherry fruit. Savoury flavours mix with spicy characters on the palate.

Hunters Pinot Noir 2007 is wonderfully smooth and generous with ripe cherry, plum and raspberry fruit combined with a touch of sweet spice which is so characteristic of Pinot and then there is a soft clean finish. This wine will be available as from May/ June this year.

For the record, Jane Hunter also produces the following superb wines :

Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (14.57)
A classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc  with intense tropical/gooseberry flavours dominating the palate leaving a lingering finish

Kaho Roa Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (15.91)
hunters-kaho-roa2A subtle twist of oak blended with very ripe, slightly less overt gooseberry fruit character of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. A very soft approachable wine

Chardonnay 2006 (15.91)
Rich and elegant with characteristically ripe fruit flavour, superbly balanced following maturation in French oak.

I can highly recommend Jane Hunter’s fine wines, they easily match other New Zealand wines that cost considerably more – I will mention no names

My perfect food match that also brings fond memories of New Zealand to mind, would be grilled snapper and Hunter’s Pinot Noir but for help in matching Pinot Noirs with food please click on which takes you to our websites specialist section on “MATCHING WINES WITH FOOD”, then just type in Pinot Noir in the box located under “TYPE IN WINE”


Happy Pinot Noir Days



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Rums of Distinction…Zacapa Rum

24 April 2009 3:57 pm | Posted by siteadmin

ZACAPA RUM         Zacapa are a rum producer from the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and produce their rums from ‘sugar cane honey’ (the juice of the cane with most of the water removed), as opposed to molasses. The rums are then developed as blends from different ages of the spirit. Their rums have all won numerous awards, and received an outstanding rating award from Wine Enthusiast magazine, obtaining 98/100. (
Their rums are known as the Centenario range and are all highly sought after and hard to come by, and are considered ‘the Cognacs of rum’. The relatively recently produced Zacapa Centenario Rum XO is one that we have managed to locate a limited parcel of, and is perhaps one of the finest rums currently on the market.

img_5961Zacapa Centenario Rum XO is a blend of old rums which are aged using the solera system process. The rum is then matured in selected bourbon and pedro ximenez barrels, and is then given a final ageing in French oak to acquire elegance and sophistication.
The result is a rum which is dark mahogany in colour, and has an astonishing nose of wood, spice, vanilla, almond and chocolate. These flavours are replicated on a beautifully sweet yet concentrated palate, along with a thick, viscous and very smooth finish.
Although there is no age statement to this rum, it is claimed that it is blended from rums aged for more than 25 years. It also comes in a stunningly packaged Cognac style bottle, and although not inexpensive, will stand up to any other spirit currently on the market in terms of quality, refinement and price. Zacapa Centenario Rum XO (£93.10) certainly comes highly recommended.




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Wines of Chablis and the Tremblay Family

3:23 pm | Posted by siteadmin

In the sixties wine was drunk considerably less in the UK than what is consumed today, from so long ago only a few wines on restaurant wine lists now come to mind. They were of course Blue Nun, Black Tower, Liebfraumilch, Hirondelle, Mateus Rose, Claret ( how times have changed ) and nearly always the two wines of quality were Nuits St George and of course Chablis. Being a student in those far off days I would have struggled to afford a glass of house wine like Hirondelle let alone a bottle of fine Chablis. Yet the wine from Chablis was probably the first wine I can remember and definately the first French wine I could proudly pronounce with distinction mainly to impress the unfortunate girl I may have been with at the time, since just one half of best bitter was all they would have secured from my poor and limited funds. On saying that, I am sure Chablis for innumerable reasons will still stay etched on my mind for many more years to come.

The term Chablis in a generic sense is probably the most recognized wine of any type to man, copied and abused over decades by many other countries. We all know the real product comes from around the town of  the same name Chablis and the genuine wine is most sought after for its unique and distinctive green fresh and crisp chardonnay flavours. These flavours are captured by each of the four designations Petit Chablis, Chablis, Chablis Premier Cru, and Chablis Grand Cru, although when you taste a majestic Grand Cru you in addition experience more intense long lasting flavours, deeper and more refined and yes a lot more expensive, but these class wines will keep and improve and provide much pleasue.

The beautiful scenery of green rolling hills and valleys of the Yonne region are mixtures of chalk, prehistoricimg_07753 limestone and clay, this results in a style of chardonnay wine profoundly unique and special and certainly much different in character to the fine chardonnay wines of the Cote d’Or and most definitely cannot be compared with the cheap copies by the same name found in parts of California. Its within these quiet and relaxing surroundings that the Tremblay family ( reside and produce their famed Chablis wine.  Alexander Hadleigh are proud to be associated with the Tremblay family, a relationship which has spanned well over fifteen years with a family whose deep routes are from Chablis and the Yonne, their wine skills consistently famille_12much higher than average producing great wines year in year out from all the four designations they own and maintain.

The Tremblay family are committed guardians of tradition with a reputation of high standing within the wider wine community for only producing wines which are always a cut above the rest. The family vineyards of over 34ha  have been in the hands of four generations of Tremblay’s, the vines are between 30 and 35 years old which  helps considerably in producing wines of substance and complexity and production is around  20,000 cases per year, with only 300 to 350 cases of their most elegant and sophisticated Chablis Grand Cru-Vaudesir being produced.

Alexander Hadleigh import and distribute the following five Gerard cuves_inox2Tremblay wines and each wine on our website has its own individual tasting notes:
Petit ChablisChablis, Chablis Premier Cru-Montmain, Chablis Premier Cru-Fourchaume and Chablis Grand Cru-Vaudesir.

Chablis matched with fresh fish or shellfish is a marriage made in heaven, for help in matching the different Tremblay Chablis wines with food please click on, which takes you to our websites specialist section on MATCHING WINES WITH FOOD “, then just type in chablis in the box located under “ TYPE IN WINE ”


Happy Chablis Days

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