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Dear Santa,

Thank you for taking the time to read my last letter found here and thank you for reading this one too!

As you know, I have the family coming this Christmas and I need help with presents and what to drink over the festive period. I went to the Winscombe Late Night Opening last night and really got in to the festive spirit, the whole village was out.

I visited the Wine Shop and they had some lovely apple aperitifs, from Somerset Cider Brandy, two different apples making two different drinks for the sweet and dry lover. Kingston Black £13.99 is the sweeter one ideal for apple desserts and I’m thinking this will suit my great cousin Hilary, whereas the the drier style would be perfect for her husband, Pomona £13.99 aged in barrel and delicious with cheese. The Wine Shop can put them in a double gift box £2.50 which means no wrapping, they have got that covered.

The other essential tipple for after Christmas dinner is of course Port, which was also on taste last night, The cheeky little pair of Ruby Dum £15.99 and Tawny Dee £15.99. I can’t decide and not sure what everyone’s tastes are, so thinking I may just go both. Tawny Dee has, dried fruits with figs and caramel notes, yummy with a box of Christophers Chocolates (£6.99 – £24.99) whereas the Ruby Dum has that big red fruits and a great match with stilton.

I noticed they had a range of Tawny Ports aged 10yrs through to 40yrs – One of these will be perfect for my Father in law… whereas the Mother in law, that is a whole different kettle of fish, one that needs some serious thought we need to make sure we stay in her good books. She loves gin, and there is huge variety of gins, and gin gifts, including glass wear, different botanicals to enhance the gin and of course not forgetting a gift voucher for the up coming gin tastings. I think I need to pop back to The Wine Shop to get more advice on selecting her gift.

Uncle Sam, is coming which I’m really excited about, he is seen as the reprobate of the family, but I think he is great, always got a good story to tell of his adventures and travels which is why he needs something a bit different. He loves Rum and along with a range of Rums they have Bonpland Blanc Rum and the Bonpland Rouge Rum £36.99 they are both made from a blend of five different Caribbean countries then matured in Ex Bourbon casks. The Blanc is finished off in Chardonnay barrels, smooth creamy texture, vanilla fruit peach depth of flavour and long length and the Rouge is ex Pinot Noir Casks a complex richness style with layers of chocolate and red berries.

I’m very much aware we haven’t touched on wines to enjoy throughout the day, but here is a link to the Wine Shops Top 20 to have a think about and not forgetting their ready made Christmas case.

Must dash for now, I need to order the turkey crown from Clive at Winscombe’s butchers!

Thanks again and I’ll be in touch soon to sort out Christmas wines and Fizz!

xxx

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Come and enjoy the beauty of gin… We taste through eight different gins exploring style and provenance. Learn about the colourful history of gin, how it was the cleanest thing to drink and also gave soldiers Dutch Courage.

Along side learning and siping through the gins, you will have plenty of time to try the gins with tonic and a variety of different garnishes to enhance your gin.

Date Friday 1st February 2019

Time 7pm – 9pm

Ticket £30

Book 01934 70839

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Come and enjoy the beauty of gin… We taste through eight different gins exploring style and provenance. Learn about the colourful history of gin, how it was the cleanest thing to drink and also gave soldiers Dutch Courage.

Along side learning and siping through the gins, you will have plenty of time to try the gins with tonic and a variety of different garnishes to enhance your gin.

Date Friday 4th January 2019

Time 7pm – 9pm

Ticket £30

Book 01934 70839

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Dear Santa,

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, I have the whole family coming to us this year and I need help! I’ve been to the The Wine Shop and they have some great gift ideas as well as making sure we have all the drinks covered.

I feel we need to start big and they have a great range of magnums.

Getting the party started with a Magnum of Prosecco £24.99, that will keep Aunty Morag happy, Senorial Rioja £27.99 will be perfect with the classic turkey Christmas dinner and match the nut roast for my youngest niece who is going through the vegan stage. I thought I’d give the Museum Magnum £37.99to my older brother as a gift. I really love Portuguese wines too, so very tempted by the “Drink Me” Tinto by Dirk Niepoort, but do I go magnum £27.99 or just go straight for the big beauty 5L at £125.00?

My nieces new boyfriend is coming, so thinking three bottle Cheddar Ale gift pack £9.95, while my eldest niece would love the 6 0’Clock triple mini gift pack at £16.99.

Nana Vera is partial to a Port, but never sure what style she likes which makes these stylish Port triple gift packs £31.99perfect, as they include white, tawny and ruby.

After last years mishap with the sister in law I have to redeem myself so I need to pull out all the stops! Being a gin lover the Tarquin double gift pack which includes the Tarquins Classic Cornish dry and his Blackberry Gin £40 will be her perfect gift and I’d better complete it with a box of Ginfuision’s £21.99and I’ll get the single Ginfusion £5.99 for a stocking filler.

This is my list so far Santa, I know I need more as we haven’t even started on what to enjoy Christmas morning and I never know whether to go Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blanc, £39.99 or a cheeky white Port £15.99 and Tonic? Not to mention the rest of the gifts for the family, I’m tempted by Wine Shop gift vouchers they are great and can be used for wine and events.

They also have a ready made Christmas Case £130, that includes all the essentials maybe that would be the way to go?!

As you can see I need help.

Until my next letter… Thanks Santa x

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Written By Diana Lyalle

Have you noticed that gin tastings seem to be everywhere, but whisky tastings are like hen’s teeth?  So there was no way I was missing out on this tasty treat……especially knowing that Luke is a walking whisky encyclopaedia.  I learnt loads – so here is a roundup for those who couldn’t make it.

Handy tips:

  • Keep mouth ajar slightly when inhaling the nose to get more “draw through”;
  • Lighter styles are in vogue as aperitifs just now
  • Whether to add water or ice depends on the whisky in question, and those of lower strength i.e. 43% or less might be better neat.  So experiment with your favourite drams to find out what suits it best.
  • Avoid chlorine infused tap water.
  • Whisky goes well with cheese and charcuterie!

Benromach Organic 43%

Light and pure expression from G&McP’s very own distillery – despite its size it produces 9 styles.  This one is aged in virgin oak so without flavour influences from other beverages.  The distillery shuts down for 2 weeks each year to make it, due to strict organic requirements.  Medium gold with straw, vanilla and cracked pepper aromas and flavours and a medium finish.  No one else mentioned it but I got bacon!  Better neat – with water it tasted a wee bit too sweet.  £42.99 a great price given its organic credentials.

Loch Lomond Single Grain 46%

Like a single malt, it is made from malted barley in a single distillery, but this dram has to be called grain because it is distilled in a column still, not a pot still.  This makes it lighter in character.  Medium yellow with sweet fruit aromas such as banana, pear drop and baked apple.  The palate had a herbal bite and the alcohol was quite harsh – but with water this disappeared leaving a smooth mouthfeel and flavours akin to viognier white wine with apricot and honeysuckle coming through.  Good value at £29.99.

Tullibardine Sauternes finish 43%

Pale gold, with an appealing nose of sultanas, freesias, sawdust, marmalade and boot polish – the latter elements almost certainly emanating from remnants of the botrytised sweet wine previously aged in the same 225 litre cask.  The palate was mellow and smooth with a hint of smoke and a long honeysuckle finish.  This disappeared before I even thought about adding water, so it is very approachable neat.  A mellow yellow £43.99.

Tullibardine Burgundy finish 43%

Finished in 228 litre red wine casks, this was medium gold in colour with an intense broad aroma profile of honey, chocolate, candied orange, ginger, and farmyard (a nod to Pinot Noir perhaps?) and a lingering finish.   Dry, but very mellow.  Again, it vanished neat.  I enjoyed nibbling cheddar with it – this lifted both the cheese and the whisky.  Very pleasant indeed.  Alot in this bottle for £43.99.

Benromach Sassicaia 45%

This distinctive orange coloured dram (see photo above, No. 5 ) was aged in red wine casks from revered super Tuscan Sassicaia and had 12 ppm of peat smoke (as against 44 ppm for Laphroaig).  Neat, the alcohol was a little harsh, and I did not detect the red fruits and chocolate Luke promised.  BUT I then added water which released red fruity richness, leather, and a long smouldering bonfire finish.  I craved chorizo with this – luckily this was provided – bonfire season bliss.  £45.99 – you won’t see that with the word “Sassicaia” associated with it anywhere else!

Benromach 10 year old 43%

Aged in 70/30% Bourbon/oloroso sherry casks.  I had much to write about this.  Medium amber colour, aromas of nuts, raisins, marmalade, popcorn, ginger nuts, Christmas cake, marmite and smoky bacon fat.  Smooth, warming and powerful with lifted floral aromatics and a generous evolving sweet and savoury palate.  A great all rounder and amazing value at £37.99.

Loch Lomond Inchmoan 12 year old 46%

Non chill filtered (so it might go hazy if water or ice is added, especially at cool temperatures – mine didn’t) and aged in Bourbon refill and American re-charred casks, with 45ppm peat smoke.  No space here to debate whether chill filtered whiskies are better than non chill filtered…..!  Medium amber-orange in colour with a nose bursting with character.  Think rain on tarmac, the vanilla and wood smell of a sauna,  creosote and smoky toasty notes presumably from the re-char.  I found it too harsh neat, but with water it amazed; full bodied, with toffee and baked apple coming through to balance it and a very long evolving finish.  Salami tasted lovely with it!  £48.49 is fair for a dram of this character.

Benromach Peat Smoke 46%

This 9 year old was very popular.  A deceptive pale lemon in colour, this appetising dram would make an excellent aperitif paired with meaty canapés.  A light fresh nose of lavender, straw and baked lemon.  The palate was impeccably balanced and water was not needed, despite its bottling strength.  The finish was sweet, smokey and very long, and a great match with cheddar cheese – after which the finish carried on and on!  At £42.99 I suspect quite a bit of this was sold.

We then enjoyed a couple of whisky cocktails with a Somerset twist – the Whirlygig became the Winscombe y Gig, and the Whisky Manhattan, both of which included Somerset made spirits.  Recipes are a Wine Shop secret so tap them up if you want to know more.  Many thanks to Winscombe’s favourite mixologist Matthew Coxhead and his assistant Armando for those!

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It is that time of year when we want festive gatherings and food matches to go smoothly. On this tasting we will be showing wines that will see you through Christmas with ease, looking at food and wine pairings along with the perfect Christmas morning tipple.

Christmas can often be a stressful time and we want to make it tasty with whatever maybe going on a round you.

Come and join us.

Friday 23rdNovember

Time 7pm-9pm

Ticket £15

Book 01934 708312

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