Kilchoman Sanaig

IN: CYCLINGMALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNTRAVELSWHISKY

Perfect time for a Malt of the Month column having just returned from a three day cycle adventure around Kintyre, Islay and Arran visiting many of the great distilleries. Having visited ten distilleries and tasting around forty whiskies the tricky thing now is to pick my number one from the trip. A Bowmore 18yo Single Sherry Cask was pretty special, as was the Cask Strength Lagavulin 12yo but it was from the tiny family owned farm distillery at Kilchoman that had the resounding winner. After visiting six distilleries on day 1 and plenty more drams in the Port Charlotte hotel that evening the next morning involved a gentle peddle over the hill from Bruichladdich to Kilchoman where we were greeted with the greatest bacon roll I’ve ever had followed shortly by a sensational tour and a glass of new make spirit. Everything about this place makes me smile and it wasn’t the whisky that left me with a warm fuzzy...
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Redman Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

IN: WINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

I’ve been to many wine regions around the world and most in Australia however the Coonawarra region in South Australia close to the border with Victoria is one of the few that I have not made it to. We were very close during our adventures in 2000/01 but back then all we cared about was surfing and beer. Some Aussie pals of mine in North Berwick introduced me to the Redman Wines a few years back but it was only until recently that they were made available with in the UK. The Redmans have been making wine in this special little area for over 100 years, second only to John Riddoch who first planted vines here in 1890. When you say Coonawarra, you automatically think Cabernet Sauvignon, it really is a region that is synonymous with Cabernet and in Redman Wines you’re really looking at some of the best in the world. Wouldn’t it be cool if Daniel Redman, the...
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Lukas Van Loggerenberg ‘Break a Leg’ Rosé 2016

IN: WINEWINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

This particular wine should in fact be titled ‘Wine of the Year’ in my book. For us this is one of the most eagerly anticipated wines in a HECK of a long time. The winemaker’s name is Lukas Van Loggerenberg, a name that will mean nothing to anyone but murmurings are already spreading and quotes from one particular journalist describes him as South Africa’s new superstar and the most exciting discovery of 2017. So imagine our excitement when we have an appointment with him on our travels through South Africa in January. After getting lost in the back roads around Stellenbosch we eventually stumbled across Lukas and his shed on top of a remote hill. This instantly likeable, humble winemaker (with a grape press made out of parts of a vacuum cleaner) has thrown all he has in the world to start up on his own with this 2016 vintage being his first release. His wines are compelling, pure, precise,...
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DeMorgenzon Garden Rosé

IN: WINEWINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

My wine choice for this week is a Rosé and the grapes (Syrah and Grenache) for this wine have received some slightly unusual attention. The lovely owners Wendy and Hilton Applebaum have strategically placed speakers throughout the vineyards and cellars believe that the effects of sound and music have positive effects on plant growth. Seriously, I’m not joking around, it was only a few weeks ago that we were wandering around the property on our visit to DeMorgenzon in Stellenbosch and yes, sure enough we were enjoying the sounds of Mozart, Bach and Handel. Well, whatever you think about this eccentric idea in viticulture, you’ve got to admire their quirkiness and conviction in this technique. I love it and I’m sold on the idea. It certainly makes me smile every time I think about it or taste it. The colour is perfectly beautiful bright pale pink. The nose is soft and gently voluminous with delicate aroma of stonefruits, red berryfruits and...
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Benromach 10yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNWHISKY

Located in Forres on the western fringes of the Speyside region lies one of our favourite and treasured little distilleries. The Benromach distillery – like many others – was mothballed in the whisky crisis of the early 1980’s. In 1993 it was picked up by one of the most renowned independent bottlers, Gordon & MacPhail. Production restarted some five years later. Since then they’ve been working hard on branding and promotion, with good-looking bottles and interesting releases. While the distillery is still not running on its maximum capacity, there’s a clear progression and lots of expressions are available: this Benromach 10 Year Old, a few oldies, a peated version, an organic version and several wine finishes. They’ve really hit their straps now and are now the most important Speyside distillers of choice for us. This might seem like a strange call with the abundance of heavyweights coming out of this region but trust me, consider this, you won’t be disappointed. Benromach 10 matures in a...
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Tom and the Peloton Ventoux Rouge

IN: CYCLINGWINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

I doesn’t take much to get me excited about good wine but with such an abundance of good wine it’s important to come up with something clever and innovative (and perhaps with a link to cycling) to get me really going. So a small producer in the Ventoux called Domaine des Anges have not only created a brilliant wine but also a brilliant label paying homage to one of Britain’s greatest ever professional cyclists, Tommy Simpon who died a kilometre from the summit of Mont Ventoux on the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France. He was only 29 years old and this special and very limited release coincides with the 50th anniversary of his death. ‘Tom and the Peloton’ is a blend of 90 percent Syrah and 10 percent Grenache and offers lots of white pepper, cured meats, resinous herbs and sweet red and black fruits.  A memorial on the roadside close to where he died near the...
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Domaine de Corbillieres Sauvignon Blanc

IN: WINEWINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

The quality of Sauvignon Blanc coming out of the Touraine region of the Loire Valley continues to impress me, considerably more so than it’s rich neighbours up river in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Founded in 1905, Domaine de Corbillieres has been in the Barbou family for four generations and is now run by Dominique and Véronique Barbou, who have 16 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc. In the words of Robert Parker, they have a ‘long-run track record for generating some of the consistently finest – not to mention best-value – Sauvignon Blancs on the planet’. A big call but actually one I would agree with after having followed closely the quality coming out of this Domaine for over ten years. The Domaine des Corbillières Sauvignon de Touraine (£12) is continually highly rated and shows exactly how good Loire Sauvignon Blanc can be, from both a quality and value point of view. A meticulous approach in the vineyard, low yields and full ripeness results in...
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Logan Weemala Pinot Noir

IN: EVENTSWINE OF THE WEEK COLUMN

I’ve genuinely lost count of the amount of times our Aussie winemaker friend Peter Logan has visited North Berwick, he just can’t get enough of it. This might actually be his tenth visit, but hey, what’s there not to love about East Lothian and North Berwick. He loves hanging out in the shop and chatting to customers who’ve enjoyed many of his wines over the years. So we’ll be adopting the usual format of opening loads of the Logan Wines and giving people the opportunity to taste the range and chat the man who put them together. One of those little beauties will be the Logan Weemala Pinot Noir 2015. The Weemala range is a little bit quirky and has attracted a loyal following for its restrained, elegant and excellent value for money wines. All of the wines in the Weemala series are comprised of fruit grown in Mudgee and Orange in Australia’s Central Ranges – like all Logan wines – they are...
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Kwaremont Beer

IN: CYCLINGNEWSTRAVELS

This is the first occasion that I’ve done a piece on a beer, strange seeing as we’re as enthusiastic about them as we are wine and whisky. We have an area dedicated craft producers, granted most are Scottish, however this piece is being allocated to one from the country whose name epitomizes beer production; Belgium. The Kwaremont is famous for being one of the most iconic stretches of road in world cycling. A steep 2.2km section of cobbles that comes towards the end of the 265km race of The Tour of Flanders. Imagine the excitement when I find myself on the Kwaremont for this year’s edition of the Tour of Flanders slurping on none other than Kwaremont beer watching the pros race past. So after weeks of messing around, a shipment of this brilliant Belgian beer has just arrived. Would it taste as good as on that wonderful spring day in the Flemish Ardennes?? OH YES!! It’s been a week and I...
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Carn Mor Stricly Limited Caol Ila 7yo

IN: MALT OF THE MONTH COLUMNWHISKY

Fans of good single malt whisky and visitors to the shop will be well aware of the quality of the Carn Mor Strictly Limited independent bottlings from Morrison and Mackay Whisky Merchants. The quality of their bottlings are always exceptionally high and it’s one of their latest releases that has got us all giggling with excitement and become a default recommendation for anyone looking for an interesting bottle of whisky- Carn Mor Strictly Limited Caol Ila 7yo (£40). You’re not dreaming, I promise this is for real. A Caol Ila bottling from only two bourbon hogsheads and for only £40!!! Another reason why you might not want to hang around is that this is a small batch bottling of which we received less than 50 bottles. Classic peaty Islay nose which I can guarantee will make you grin from ear to ear, however it’s on the palate where the real fun begins. Despite being packed with big bonfire smoke, it’s got the...
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