Oeno wins again at the IWC awards
We're all extremely pleased here at Oeno having won the Wine Retailer of the Year award for Central England South for the second year running. Nick is frantically embroidering a second star above the oeno logo on his pyjamas.
It was a great night, very well organised and we were very lucky to be sitting alongside Cherie Spriggs - the winemaker at our favourite English sparkling wine house - Nyetimber. She generously brought along an elegant sufficiency of her wines which were greatly enjoyed and we returned the favour with a few of our favourites - Colombette Chardonnay Demi Muid, Bricco Dani Barbera d'Asti, Dirler Cade Grand Cru Riesling and Clos Bellane Rouge.
Pflüger Buntsandstein Riesling 2013
Brilliant Riesling only £12 per bottle
Jun. 10-Just occasionally we come across a wine that epitomises everything that's good about a certain style of wine. We get very excited when this happens - particularly when the wine in question retails for only £12 per bottle. When our opinion is then reinforced by excellent reviews from the like of Matthew Jukes and Jancis Robinson we do feel a little smug.
The wine itself comes from the excellent Weingut Pflüger which is run organically and 80% biodynamically by Alexander Pflüger who took over from his father Bernd in 2012. The wine is made from young vines between 5 and 15 years old and the freshness and intensity of the wine is what impresses most. A pureness and clarity of Riesling character that will remind you why this grape is held in such high regard by so many.
Etoile du Midi - Sauvignon Blanc
House Favourite is Back!
Apr. 27-The new - 2013 - vintage of our ever popular Sauvignon Blanc is in stock. The new vintage probably surpasses that of last year, thanks no doubt to the hot summer. This wine is made for us in the Muscadet region by Laurent and Sylvie Perraud and is a fantastic wine. It's wonderful when drunk as an aperitif but also goes especially well with simply prepared, fresh seafood - and for a real treat try it with a young goats cheese.
The Latest Fattori Foursome Hit the Shelves
Veneto White Wine at it Very Best
May. 3-Antonio Fattori has long been regarded as one of the most reliable producers of really top wines in Veneto and his latest vintage shows that his powers continue to grow. We've been selling his Sauvignon Blanc - Vecchie Scuole (Old School) and the wonderful Soave Danieli for many years and both represent the very best expressions of these two styles. I give a little involutary shudder when I recall Soaves from the 90's and if that's the last time you had one I implore you to try the Danieli - you'll thank us.
Pinot Grigio has to be the most abused varietal of white grape in Italy. As with all abused wines if you put your prejudice to one side and try something of quality you'll usually be pleasantly surprised and Antonio's Valparadiso is a great place to start. A fleshy, full wine with a pleasing weight and great length. Wonderful.
Also worth a mention is Antonio's latest creation called Vino Senza Nome (The wine with no name). Here he's taken the little known Durella variety and married it with Trebbiano di Soave and other un-named aromatic varieties. The aim was to create something with a nod to the light, aromatic wines of Alto Adige and it really delivers. A rare wine this (only 2,400 bottles) and gloriously light and delicate, floral and mineral, and all only 9.5% alcohol. A lovely summer lunchtime wine.
More Beer Please!
The Latest Shipment from London
Jun. 11-As the world of British beer seems to continue to gain momentum the axis of the revolution is clearly London. After the tremendous success of Five Points and Pressure Drop we've now taken delivery of beer from four breweries new to Oeno.
The Kernel Brewery was the brewery that lead the way for the London beer scene. Evin O'Riordain produces beers based on traditional styles yet often tweaked to take account of modern tastes and ingredients. Their Pale Ale is a benchmark for the style with plenty of hopping and a great dry finish. The Table beer is remarkable not only for its low alcohol (2.9%) but also for its ability to deliver a full beer taste. It's much easier to make a good strong beer than a good weak beer.
The Moncada brewery is a bit different. Firstly it's in West London - Ladbroke Grove - but also it's run by an Argentinian. Julio Moncada brews very traditionally styled British beers and works with the community on all aspects of his work. The Notting Hill Blonde is a fantastic style of beer being ideally suited to summer drinking. The Notting Hill Amber adds a little more malt on the palate and works really well with a little food. Definitely an Argentinian to support during the World Cup.
The Partizan Brewery is located in Bermondsey - where else - and has drawn on the London beer scene by combining Andy Smith from Redemption brewery, James Garstang from Camden and Kernel's old brewing kit. Saison Grisette is an excellent, refreshing saison in a light style with bags of interesting flavours. The Pale Ale is another variation on a theme but distinctive and well made.
Brew by Numbers (known as BBNo) used to gypsy brew in the Kernel brewery but now they have a railway arch of their very own. The Saison uses the Motueka hop - famed for its fruity flavours - and combines it with lime zest to create an incredibly refreshing beer. The Session IPA is very well made and manages to keep the hops in check with the malt but also keeping the ABV down to 4.7%, which is no mean feat. I've tasted both of these on draft and from bottle and they are very similar however they are served.
And finally it's Gosnell's Mead. Now Nick has a favourite story where, when asked in the shop where a customer could find some mead, he suggested - the 12th Century. Well forget about the rather thick, sickly, flat meads you may have tried. This is a beautifully light, semi-sweet mead with a sparkle. At only 5.5% ABV it's also not going to have you signing up for a monastic existence the morning after. Very refreshing and a definite for the summer.
The Incredible Islay Tasting
30th October 2014 Featuring Bruichladdich Octomore
We've pulled out all the stops for the next whisky tasting at Oeno with Islay being the focus this time around. Come and join us as we embark on our most exciting tasting yet as we explore the cream of Islay whiskies. We will be serving 6 of the most exclusive whiskies available with a total retail price in excess of £500.
We’ll be starting at Kilchoman and the pure expression that is their 100% Islay. Made from barley grown and malted on the farm that houses the distillery, this is a lightly-peated malt. We then fly north to Bunnahabhain for their wonderful 18 year old which shows off the maritime character of Islay. Now it’s time for the three powerhouses of Islay whisky. First up is the Laphroaig 18 year old, generally accepted as their greatest expression - full of brooding power. Next Lagavulin in the form of their ever popular 16 year old but finished here in Pedro Ximenez casks to accentuate the sweet and smoky character. Now it’s Ardbeg with Uigeadail, a cask strength expression that is the very essence of Ardbeg. Finally it’s the legendary Bruichladdich behemoth that is Octomore - the most heavily peated whisky available with 167ppm of phenol.
We have only a very few spaces for this tasting so please book early.
Scotland Trip a great success
We (Nick and Giles) have been in Scotland visiting a few distilleries (six), sampling a few drams (we didn't keep track) and generally soaking up the essence of Scotch whisky. We were very well treated everywhere we visited and even the weather was pretty good.
We hit our first distillery - Glen Garioch - about 30 mins after landing at Aberdeen airport. Glen Garioch is a neat little distillery in Oldmeldrum, north east of Aberdeen and produces a very nice smooth style of whisky. Of most interest was the Virgin Oak expression matured in new French oak barrels which brought a tremendous vanilla oak hit that would be close to the heart of claret and oaky chardonnay drinkers.
After watching England humbled by Uruguay and being struck by the number of ethnic Uruguayans living in Aberdeen, we headed down to Brechin and the Glencadam distillery. Now Glencadam is not open to the public so we had a private tour with David the production manager. This is a real working distillery with most of its output being used in Angus Dundee's blend but there are plenty of gems quietly maturing in the dunnage warehouses and we got to try some stunners. I've never tasted a 1973 whisky which "wasn't quite there yet" but when we tasted the subsequent 1965, we had to agree. Absolute nectar.
Just up the road is Fettercairn, Whyte and Mackay's distillery producing malt whisky for their blends. Whyte and Mackay are rarely seen in the UK these days and that's because most of their product as sold abroad. Very little Fettercairn whisky is released as a distillery bottling but the Fior expression is their latest. A very attractive distillery and an excellent tour by Stuart the head brewer.
Glendronach distillery is tucked away in a beautiful valley near Huntly on the road from Aberdeen to Elgin. An independent distillery (together with Benriach) they produce a large number of expressions, particularly specialising in wood finishes such as PX and Moscatel. We were greatly impressed with the rich, heavy style of spirit in their 12 year old and you can expect it to hit our shelves soon.
Strathisla is a part of the Chivas empire and now wholly owned by Pernod Ricard. This is whisky tourism at its slickest with plenty of leather chairs and wood panelling. We got to try the Strathisla 12 year old and very pleasant it was too. We then tasted some Chivas Regal at 12 and 18 years. Considering the Chivas 18yo costs around £50 per bottle, the Strathisla 12yo offers better value in our opinion but I suspect the Germans, Romanians and Austrians touring with us may not agree.
And finally Benromach which is an interesting place. Bought, reequipped and opened by Gordon and MacPhail in 1998 it has been producing modest quantities of some extremely impressive whisky. Most Benromach expressions use their standard malt mix which includes a little peated malt (phenols of around 5ppm). This is how whisky would have tasted in the past, represents an old style of speside malt and it's great.
Cocktail Time is Coming!
Book now for our Cocktail Masterclass
May 11-Most of you will not realise that our very own Mr Nick Burton was a bit of a cocktail maestro back in the day and he's going to be dusting off his shaker, jigger and muddling stick to give a masterclass in the art of classic cocktail creation.
The evening will consist of 6 cocktails (with a few options for you to try) and we suggest that you attend in pairs if possible since 6 cocktails will probably affect your ability to walk! You will be instructed in the method of creation and given tips on serving. You'll also get a copy of the instructions and the opportunity to buy some of those hard to find ingredients that make cocktails come alive.
If you're interested in attending please contact Nick. Date TBD.
"A Wee Scottish Dream" a great Success
Apr. 20-Our first whisky tasting went very well with some excellent expressions showing very well. The Benromach 10 year old was probably the suprprise of the evening with its subtle smoky finish marking it a favourite.
However, the clear winner of the evening was the Springbank 15 year old - showing all its richness and power - quite different from everything else we tried. A surprise bonus whisky at the end was the Amrut Fusion Indian Malt - correctly identified by Lee Agent.