31 May 2010 3:00 pm | Posted by siteadmin

Domaine Dupont is situated in the heart of the Pays d’Auge Calvados. This is a region which has long been considered as to adding a little extra to the finesse and delicacy of the calvados because it only permits the use of apples and insists on double pot distillation.

In 1980 Etienne Dupont took over from his father and has worked hard to improve the orchards and distillation methods.The orchard is now a mixture of old taller trees as well as small standard trees. Varieties such as Saint Martin, Doux Normandie and Noel des Champs have been specially cultivated to provide the maximum aromatic qualities from their small fruits.

Etienne studied the methods of distillation from Cognac. These techniques and his inherited knowledge combine to produce a spirit that represents the flavour and ripeness of the apple alongside the mellowness and warmth of a well aged spirit. He has also experimented with ageing in different cask sizes and oak types to ensure that the flavour extracted through distillation is further enhanced during maceration.

Domaine Dupont uses three types of apples in a set formula : 30% sweet, 30% bitter and 40% are apples with high acidity, this gives the correct balance of flavour.The apples are cropped manually and stored in open wooden crates to allow them to rest and mature for up to a month before fermentation.

We list these fine calvados from this prestigious producer.

calvados-dupont-vsop_edited-2Calvados Pays d’Auge VSOP
Aged for around six years in 400 litre oak casks. This oak comes from the Loire Valley and is lightly toasted to help the capture the subtle vanilla aroma.The nose has fine oaky spice , touch of vanilla and balsam with an abundance of fresh apple and touch of butterscotch on the palate finishing with a little kick from the spirit.


Calvados Hors d’Auge
This is aged for 12 years. A fresh and elegant nose with intense vanilla apple, some floral notes of jasmine and rose and touches of sturdy oak and dried fruit. A smooth palate with good persistence, fine fruit with complex oaky flavour showing baked apples, vanilla, spiced fruit and good structure with a long finish and some mouth-tingling grip. 

calvados-dupont-half_edited-1Calvados Vintage 1989 Half Bottle
A nose of dried fruits, apple and vanilla, preserved oranges and a little hint of rosewater. These aromas come back on the palate, baked apples and tarte tartin, a touch of raisins and spice with some classic oak structure and a fine layered finish.


Also Calvados Pays d’Auge, Vintage 1989 700ml and Calvados Reserve Pays d’Auge 1500ml



Written by (click for further articles)


11 May 2010 11:29 am | Posted by siteadmin

FOOD and WINE PAIRING–SMOKED FOODS (continuation from blog ” Food and Wine Pairing ” dated 3rd April 2010

INTRODUCTION:—This blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.


CHALLENGES:—It is important that strong smoked foods are not fighting against the wine and vice versa . Fish and meat which have been smoked do have the same initial smoky taste and influence, but when moving further into the taste experience, the type of fish or meat you are eating should come through even though the overall smoky influence will still be there – this similar smoky taste generally allows you to choose similar wines for both fish and meat.

RECOMMENDATIONS:—Heavily oaked white wines can sometimes be a little overbearing, but they do have one good and most loyal friend, that being smoked fish. Good examples would be Wakefield Chardonnay from Australia or Hunter’s Chardonnay from New Zealand.

Smoked meats also go well with the two above mentioned Chardonnay’s and red wines well oaked with lots of vanilla flavours well support smoked meats, wines from  Riojas and Ribera del Duero such as Rioja Anares Tinto Crianza, Bodega Olarra and Portia Ribera del Duero Bodegas Portia do a grand job in matching smoked meats. These red wines also make an alternative and agreeable match with some fish dishes which include traditionally smoked eel and mackerel.

A very dry sherry like  Dry Sac Fino,Williams & Humbert  or a dry white port such as Sandeman White Apitiv  make a different and very interesting marriage and will certainly suit and match most smoked meats, fish and shellfish.

MAIN DIRECTORY:—click on The Marriage of Food and Wine to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters,soups,main courses and desserts. Also Great Friends-Cheese and Wine for cheese and wine pairing.

NEXT ARTICLE:—Tuna, Marlin and Swordfish




Graham D 

Written by (click for further articles)

Cognac Ragnaud-Sabourin

5 May 2010 8:59 am | Posted by siteadmin

” For many cognac connoisseurs,the Ragnaud-Sabourin estate is the mecca of the whole cognac region.The family’s fruity and well-balanced brandies remain a yardstick with which to judge the best products of the Grande Champagne” , Nicholas Faith, Classic Brandy

The Ragnaud-Sabourin family owns one of the most prestigious private estates in Grande Champagne and certainly have a grand history.The estate was established in 1850 by Gaston Briand, one of the first in the region to push for an establishment of recognised crus. In 1941 a spilt took place in the Ragnaud family and one brother,Raymond Ragnaud,set off on his own. The other brother, Marcel Ragnaud,went on to develop Ragnaud-Sabourin and establish the house as one of the finest in Cognac.

Today the Domain La Voute is run by three descendants, from grandmother to granddaughter: Denise, Annie and Patricia Ragnaud-Sabourin.Together they oversee the vines, which stretch across the chalky slopes of Ambleville in the heart of Cognac’s premier cru region, Grande Champagne.They are also wholly responsible for all aspects of production and ageing, always determined to produce limited quantities of the highest quality.

All their cognacs are matured as vintages;there is no blending between years,no sweetening and no colouring. The name of each in the Alliance range illustrates the minimum age of the cognac contained in the bottle.

Our selection includes 


  XO Decanter which has an elegant finish with much finesse and just a tickle of spirit


Florilege with complex dried fruit character with a sweet spiciness and slightly dry but very long finish.



 Fontvieille No35 has a quintessential Grande Champagne cognac   nose, delicate  and elegant with a subtle  mix of oak spice and balsam, complex finish.


   Vintage 1990 , double distilled and matured in Limousin cask, rich oily unctuous notes and the famed rancio charentais clearly discernible



Alliance No20 Special Reserve has a deep, golden amber colour with spice, vanilla, citrus oil and a little  expresso coffee on the nose,light toffee undertones, oak and a dry long finish.



Others in the selection are Alliance No10 VSOP, Alliance No 4,Ragnaud-Sabourin VSOP



Written by (click for further articles)


3 April 2010 4:20 pm | Posted by siteadmin

FOOD and WINE PAIRING—SHELLFISH (continuation from blog 

 “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 4th February 2010 )


INTRODUCTION:—–this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.



CHALLENGES:—–Delicate shellfish need due care and attention, beware and stay away from strongly oaked wines. You should seek out crisp dry white wines, new world sauvignon blancs, dry champagne or a quality sparkling wine will do the job very well. Shellfish cooked with, cheese, cream or herbs do support a much broader range of wines.

RECOMMENDATIONS:—–When eating live shellfish try a very dry and crisp Muscadet  or a more up market Pouilly-Fume, both from the Loire Valley.

When enjoying rich dishes like Devilled Crab, Lobster Newburgh or Lobster Thermidor, then you could choose from all three colours and good recommendations would be a light red from the Loire—Saumur Champigny, a fine and sturdy rose from Australia—Willowglen Rose  or a buttery Chardonnay from New Zealand— Hunter’s of Marlborough.

Lightly cooked Scallops, Clams or Mussels in a white wine sauce go exceedingly well with New World Sauvignon Blancs or a Mortitx Blanc from the island of Mallorca.

Prawns, Shrimp and Langostine dishes cooked in richer style sauces (not curry spices) are very well suited to more full bodied whites like Chateaunuef du Pape  from the Rhone Valley and a rich Chilean Chardonnay from Millaman.


MAIN DIRECTORY:—–click on The Marriage of Food and Wine  to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also  Great Friends-Cheese and Wine  for cheese and wine pairing.


NEXT ARTICLE:—–Smoked food including,  smoked trout, smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, smoked eel, smoked halibut, smoked ham, smoked chicken , smoked duck and smoked goose.

Graham D

Written by (click for further articles)


15 February 2010 3:34 pm | Posted by siteadmin

A little story about a very big  champagne born out of passion and imagination, handmade in the traditional way by the Cattier family and now voted the world’s number one champagne. brignac11

 First a little about the champagne itself and secondly some important comments on its recent status as the world’s number one.

This great champagne uses only the first pressing of harvested grapes and is thus classified as a ‘Prestige Cuvee’. A prestige cuvee contains only the richest wine from each harvest, enabling the champagne to become much more complex and delicate as it ages. Armand de Brignac owes its light, racy effervescence to the quality of its chardonnay grapes, these grapes come only from villages rated Grand Cru and Premier Cru. The berry driven pinot noir adds strength and boldness and is responsible for the depth of the Armand de Brignac palate and Pinot Meunier brings to the  champagne roundness, nuance and fruitiness to the bouquet and taste.

After the grapes are pressed, the Chateau’s oenologues Jean-Jacques and Alexander Cattier create the signature cuvee blend that embodies the quality and uncompromised individuality of Amand de Brignac. A percentage of the finest harvests stored from prior years is added to the newly harvested juice to ensure consistency between bottlings. This blending of top vintages preserves the Chateau’s character and brings the vivacity and excellence of the champagne art to the front.

When the champagne has been bottled and sealed the bottles are stored over 30 metres underground in cellars considered among the deepest in Champagne, these cellars maintain a constant cool temperature conducive to the slow natural aging process that enhances the classical character of Armand de Brignac. The remuage and degorgement process is again traditional, every operation is done by hand with no use of mechanized riddling devices—-uncompromised quality can only be guaranteed by time-honored techniques

Following remuage and degorgement, the blend of wine ia augmented with a special liqueur de dosage, a liqueur made from a secret formula passed down through the family. The liqueur is created from fine cane sugar and a blend of the very best still wines from prior harvests and is aged in oaken casks, which impart subtle accents to the champagne. This step is especially important in maintaining the unique nature of Armand de Brignac, as no other wine in the world includes the same combination of meticulously selected wine vintages from the Chateau’s private terroir. The end result of this long drawn out process is a cuvee of great distinction, a singular example of French Champagne Tradition.

This marvellously complex and full bodied champagne has a bouquet that is both fresh and lively, with light floral notes. On the palate Armand de Brignac has a sumptuous, racy fruit character that is perfectly integrated with the wine’s subtle brioche accents. The champagne’s texture is deliciously creamy, pairing rich depth with a long silky finish.


Yes the world’s number one—-2009 saw the world’s most respected wine critics and sommeliers conduct a rigorous blind tasting of more than 1000 brands of champagne. The results were published in ‘Fine Champagne Magazine’, the only international publication devoted to champagne and an authority on the industry.

Each champagne was rated on a 100 point scale. The process was so strict that, if judges’ scores were more than four points apart, the champagne would be re-tested and re-assessed. When the final results were presented, Armand de Brignac was ranked number one among the world’s best champagnes.brignac15



1.   96 points—Armand de Brignac Brut Gold
2.   95 points—2000 Dom Perignon
3.   94 points—1998 Mumm R. Lalou
4.   94 points—2002 Roederer Cristal
5.   94 points—2000 Egerier de Pannier
6.   94 points—1998 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill
7.   93 points—1998 Dom Perignon Rose
8.   93 points—1999 Jacquart Blanc de Blancs
9.   93 points—2002 Roederer Cristal Rose
10. 93 points—Chartogne-Taillet Fiacre

             The world is now aware of Armand de Brignac


Written by (click for further articles)


4 February 2010 10:40 am | Posted by siteadmin

FOOD and WINE PAIRING—WILD GAME (continuation from blog  “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 9th January  2010)

 INTRODUCTION:—–this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.


CHALLENGES:—–Wild game varies in taste quite a bit, one has the light and flavoursome meats of partridge and pheasant, middle of the range in taste would be rabbit, pigeon and mallard and the strongest tasting meats would be venison, wild boar and especially hare. The challenge is selecting wines to match all three different groups

  RECOMMENDATIONS:—–Big or robust red wines of quality will go well with all three categories of feathered or furred game mentioned above and classic matches would be a full bodied Crozes Hermitage from the Northern Rhone or a well matured Barossa Shiraz from Australia.

If we focus on the lighter meats like pheasant and partridge then there a number of  white or rose wines that would hold their own if the meat is roasted or served with light sauces. Try a full flavoured Chablis Premier Cru such as  from the estate of Tremblay or a Gisborne Viognier from New Zealand. For a rose go for the highly recommended Whispering Angel. A light bodied red wine suited to this particular category would be a juicy red Chinon from the Loire Valley.

Rabbit, pigeon and mallard  all love medium to full bodied red  ranging from Pinot Noirs like those from Oregan and Volnay and Pommard  from Burgundy, to a fruity Hawkes Bay Merlot from the Southern Hemisphere’s New Zealand. These same four red wines are well suited to Rabbit Stew or Pie and also Cold Game Pie.

Venison, Wild Boar and Hare do prefer complex and more full bodied red wines of character and style. Two big boys that immediately come to mind are of course Chateaunuef-du-Pape from the lower Rhone region of France and a quality red from Ribera del Duero from the north east of Spain. If you are brave and considering the famed game dish of Jugged Hare, then the intense and fruity wines from Gigondas and Vacqueyras will the perfect match.

MAIN DIRECTORY:—–click on The Marriage of Food and Wine  to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also Great Friends-Cheese and Wine  for cheese and wine pairing.

 NEXT ARTICLE:—–Shellfish dishes, including prawns, langostine, clams, mussels, scallops, crab and lobster

Graham D

Written by (click for further articles)

RL Seale and Doorly’s Fine Rum

13 January 2010 3:25 pm | Posted by siteadmin

RL Seale is one of Barbados’s oldest trading houses, a family owned business whose involvement in rum-making extends from father-to-son since 1820. Current head distiller, Richard Seale, is one of the region’s most innovative distillers and blenders and has a passion for producing perfect with lots of great flavour.

The Foursquare Distillery occupies the site of a former sugar factory that dates back to 1636 and as one of the most modern and efficient rum distilleries in the world, is designed to be both highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The distillery produces light rums in a three-column vacuum still and their much heavier rums in a modern pot still.

The company’s major domestic brand E.S.A. Fields, the Island’s number one selling white rum and for export the Martin Doorly range. They also produce other famous rums, including: Alleyne Arthur, Old Brigand and Foursquare Spiced Rum.

Rum has been produced on the Island of Barbados for more than 300 years, but it was not until the 1906 Rum Duty Act was passed that the industry began to develop as we know it today. Prior to this , distillation took place on many of the plantations, but the new law meant the distilleries had to obtain a licence and could sell only in bulk. Hence many of the Bridgetown trading companies became bottlers, including Martin Doorly and the growth of branded names began.

Martin Doorly evolved into Doorly’s Macaw Rum and became the first bottled rum to be exported from the Island. Doorly’s rums are still famous throughout the world and are made at one of the world’s most modern rum distilleries, Foursquare Distillery.

Doorly’s Macaw white Barbados rum doorleys-white-rum_edited-1is a most refreshing rum and blends well to make some of the worlds finest cocktails.


Doorly’s 5 year old amber rum has age and beauty on its side, well balanced fruits with long lingering vanilla aftertastes.

                             To produce the unique character of img_1129_edited-1Doorly’s XO, very old rums are selected by the master blender and matured for a second time in Spanish oloroso sherry casks, producing a delicious fusing of the complex flavours from the cask and the well-aged rums.






Written by (click for further articles)


2:51 pm | Posted by siteadmin

(continuation from blog  “ Food and Wine pairing”  dated 26th November  2009)


INTRODUCTION:—–this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.


CHALLENGES:—–Poultry is an enjoyable challenge, mainly because most red , white and rose wines match most poultry dishes if we put to one side hot and spicy dishes like chicken curry. People who prefer white wines should stay with their favourite white wine and the same advise would be valid for red, rose and  sparkling wine lovers. My only no go area would be dessert or fortified wines.

RECOMMENDATIONS:—–grilled or roast chicken, for a white wine enthusiast  try a Viognier style wine like The Black Chook, no pun intended.  A cheese and chicken dish like Chicken Kiev goes very well with a Reserve Chardonnay or a light to medium red Beaujolias Cru such as Moulin-a-Vent.  Moving on to the slightly darker meat of guinea Fowl, Goose and farmed Duck, these will pair up well with a full bodied white wine from the Rhone or you can try a subtle red Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc in France, also either wine would pair well with Canard a l’ Orange.

Turkey normally associated with Christmas is now eaten all the year round and again well suited to a good Rose from Sancerre or Provence, a medium bodied Merlot from Chile or a fine sparkling Saumur from the Loire, France. The same three wines are also a perfect match for Quail and one of Portugal’s favourite chicken dishes Piri Piri.


MAIN DIRECTORY:—–click on the Marriage of Food and Wine to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and deserts. Also Great Friends Cheese and Wine for cheese and wine pairing.


NEXT ARTICLE:—–Wild game dishes, including pheasant, partridge, wild mallard and venison


Graham D

Written by (click for further articles)


6 December 2009 6:40 pm | Posted by siteadmin

The Nikka Whisky Company was founded by Masataka Taketsura, who is widely acknowledged as the father of Japanese whisky. The company has two large distilleries and several blending and bottling plants and is now part of the Asahi Group.

Masataka Taketsuru’s family owned a sake brewery that dated back to 1733. Taught early that sake-making is a painstakingly fine art, Masataka studied diligently and trained as a chemist, preparing to carry on the family trade. However, Scotch Whisky captured the young man’s imagination and he decided to dedicate his life to it.

In 1918, Masataka Taketsuru travelled to Scotland, where he learnt the secrets of whisky-making and met the woman who would become his bride, Jessie Roberta (Rita).

In 1920 Masataka returned to Japan with his new bride and worked with a company to produce Japan’s first whisky. It soon became apparent that to produce whisky the way he felt it should be made, Masataka would have to become independent. In 1934 Masataka established Nikka Whisky and built its first distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido, which he had always considered to be the ideal whisky-making site in Japan. In the decades since Nikka has become a fixture in Japan, Known for its passion for fine quality and flavour.

 Of Nikka’s two malt whisky distilleries, Yoichi produces rich, peaty and masculine malts.

              img_4941                   “Yoichi 10 Years Old”  gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal-the traditional method that is rarely used today, not even in Scotland.

In Yoichi, Masataka Taketsura saw numerous reminders of Scotland, and this convinced him that this should be the home of Japanese whisky. Yoichi was selected because of its clean air, perfect humidity for storage and abundant underground water supply filtered through a layer of peat. Additionally, its location only a kilometre from the sea gives its whiskies a light salty note.


Our range of fine whiskies from Nikka include their top quality blends as well as the many world renoun single malts as follows:

img_1307_edited-1 Nikka Single Malt “Miyagikyou” 10 Yrs Old

  img_6384Nikka Single Malt “Yoichi” 15 Yrs Old

  img_1314_edited-1Nikka Single Malt “Taketsuru” 17 Yrs Old







 img_1306_edited-1Nikka All Malt

  img_6386Nikka from the Barrel

  img_63881Nikka Pure Malt, Black Label

  img_1312_edited-11Nikka Pure Malt, Red Label

 img_7659Nikka Pure Malt,White Label




Written by (click for further articles)


26 November 2009 3:01 pm | Posted by siteadmin

-(continuation from blog  Food and Wine pairing  dated 10th November  2009)



 INTRODUCTION:—–this blog and the many more following will examine the pleasurable and often complex relationship between good food and wine, with the ultimate aim to assist our many discerning customers evolve the convivial bonding of good food and wine.




 CHALLENGES:—–Good beef dishes are the main stay of so many different countries and the dishes can range from simply grilled Entrecote Steak to a substantial Casserole such as Brasato al Barolo (Beef in Barolo wine). The wine challenges are not too difficult since most people opt for and enjoy red wines with beef and preferably full bodied wines. On saying that, whether lightly grilled  beef steak or a big big winter beef stew most styles red wines will suffice, with Cabernet Sauvignon being a favourite of many.


RECOMMENDATIONS:—–Simply grilled beef with light sauces but no mustard can make good friends with light bodied reds such as a fruit driven Fleurie or Brouilly from Beaujolias, simarilly from Italy a good quality Valpolicella will hit the right mark.  If we move to upmarket dishes like Beef en Crout  then wines of fine pedigree should come into play like an aged St. Emilion or a smooth full bodied  Margaux from the Medoc.


The big beefy dishes such as Boeuf Bourguignon  or a traditional British slow cooked Braised Beef do enjoy the company of big and weighty wines like a Shiraz from Clare Valley Australia, a Zinfandel from Chile, or an oaky Rioja Gran Reserva from Spain. Two other favourites of mine to match most beef dishes are from Italy, one being a Chianti Classico Reserva, the other a full bodied red from Montepulciano. Both these Italian wines would also make a superb match with a firm old favourite—Beef Stroganoff.


MAIN DIRECTORY:—–click on The Marriage of Food and Wine to access our quick search facility to locate hundreds of other food/wine/food pairing options, including hors-d’oeuvres, starters, soups, main courses and desserts. Also Great Friends – Cheese and Wine for cheese and wine pairing.




NEXT ARTICLE:—–Poultry dishes, including chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, goose and farmed duck.





Graham D



Written by (click for further articles)
« Older PostsNewer Posts »