Good Afternoon Dear Customers
Most of us like the flavour of oak. It's why humans have been using oak barrels to store all those tasty fermented beverages we love to drink for thousands of years. This week's newsletter looks at beers, wines, and ciders which have all spent some time in oak.
We have the usual suspects, including some grand Cabernet Sauvignon and a selection of barrel aged beers, but we also have a couple of less likely candidates for barrel ageing, including a very fine Albariño.
You can find all of these featured bottles in our shop at 105 West Nile Street, and most of them at our outpost in the West End, 21 Clarence Drive.
You'll also find them all listed on our website, with options for local, national, or international delivery.
Finally, some news on the tasting front. Our first Virtual Wine Tasting will be scheduled for October. We've not yet picked the theme yet, so keep an eye on our Events page for updates. And if you fancy tasting some top notch beers in the comfort of your own home, check out our Hauf n Hauf tasting.
See you soon.
The Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer
These days the majority of wines are made in stainless steel tanks - it's cheaper, easier, and more controllable than using casks. But, as we've already mentioned, humans like the flavour of oak, so many producers are happy to take on the extra work and uncertainty. Here we share six fine examples with you.
Celler Cal Pla Mas d'En Compte 2016 (£23, 75cl/14.5%)
From Priorat, in the North East of Spain, this complex blend of indigenous grape varieties is a rich, full bodied, creamy wine. We've shown it in some of our tasting events and it's always a winner.
Palacio del Camino Real Blanco Barrica 2018 (£10.50, 75cl/12.5%)
Oak use is restrained in this traditional white Rioja, adding a light touch of vanilla to the fresh bright fruit flavours.
Martin Codax Organistrum Albariño 2016 (£22.60, 75cl/13%)
It's so unusual to age an Albariño in oak that producers Martin Codax have attached a sample of said oak to the bottle to alert you to the fact. Barrel ageing brings weight and complexity to the bright, zippy flavours of the Albariño grape.
Dandelion Vineyards Pride of the Fleurieu Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (£14.20, 75cl/14.5%)
The Fleurieu region of South Australia has a cooling maritime influence which means it boasts some of the best vineyards in the state. The Pride of the Fleurieu spends fourteen months in French Oak before bottling. It's a wine that ages beautifully and should be decanted ahead of time.
Avalon Napa County Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (£24.80, 75cl/14.5%)
A full bodied, bold Cab in the Napa Valley tradition, with lush cherry and blackberry flavours wrapped up in sweet tasty oak.
Osborne 10 Year Old Tawny Port (£24.50, 75cl/20%)
The silky texture of tawny port is achieved by repeatedly moving the wine between barrels, leaving behind some of the tannins at every stage, and exposing it to the oxygen which imparts those delicious nutty flavours. If you check out the range of Osborne wines that we stock, you'll see that we're huge fans of pretty much everything they do.
'Salvaje de Robles' (Wild of the Oak), is Barrelhouse Brewing Co.'s limited wild ferment programme.
Barrelhouse Salvaje de Robles Nuestra Piña Batch 1503 (£20.20, 50cl/6.5%)
Nuestra Pina is a 100% Brettanomyces blond ale that's been aged in French oak. It's packed with tart tropical fruit flavours.
Barrelhouse Salvaje de Robles Sweet Wild of Mine Batch 1504 (£20.20, 50cl/6.8%)
Brewed in the style of a Flemish Red Ale, with sweet dark fruit flavours over a sour beer base.
Firestone Walker's Barrelworks beers are limited edition brews featuring wild fermentations and barrel ageing.
Firestone Walker Lil' Opal Barrel Aged Saison (£14, 37.5cl/6.1%)
This saison has spent fourteen months in ex white wine barrels.
Firestone Walker Feral Vinifera (£16.30, 37.5cl/9.8%)
'Feral' is a complex co-fermented brew made with juice from three different grape varieties. One for the beer drinking wine lover AND the wine drinking beer lover.
Brekeriet are a Swedish brewery who specialise in fermenting only with wild yeasts and bacteria.
Brekeriet Viola-Vild Sour (£8.50, 37.5%/7%)
If you like Kriek (the traditional Belgian cherry beer), then you'll love this.
Brekeriet X Magic Rock Nick Z-Vild Sour Blond (£7.50, 37.5%/6%)
This collab brew with the mighty Magic Rock is a sour blond ale aged in barrel.
And finally, a couple of Scottish beers, one from new-ish kids on the block Dead End Brew Machine, and t'other from those old hands of the Scottish craft scene Tempest.
Dead End Brew Machine Dead Barn Barrel 1 Saison (£7.20, 37.5cl/8.1%)
A super-funky Bretted ale, aged for a year and than filled into Pinot Noir casks. Sour, wild, fruity - all the things we love.
Tempest Bourbon Barrel Aged Mexicake (£6.70, 33cl/11%)
This beer has been around for long enough that we feel justified in calling it a Scottish classic. If you don't yet know it, here's the key phrase: Chilli & Chocolate Imperial Stout.
Two Scottish ciders (both made using Scottish AND English apples), plus a limited bottling from our good friends at Little Pomona in Herefordshire.
Caledonian Cider North & South (£3, 33cl/5%)
An easy going, medium cider made in the Black Isle using both local and Somerset apples, fermented and matured in old oak.
Little Pomona Art of Darkness #2 2017 (£10.50, 75cl/7.2%)
Art of Darkness goes to the heart of what Little Pomona strive for: a still, wild fermented cider which reflects the apple varieties used and the orchards that fruit comes from. For the 2017 vintage they released three versions, with different proportions of Foxwhelp and Ellis Bitter. In #2 the ratio is 25% Foxwhelp and 75% Ellis Bitter. It's a tangy, beautifully textured cider with a real vinous character from the red wine barrels. The time in barrel has softened and rounded it, making it very food friendly.
Steilhead Capercaillie (£3.50, 50cl/6.5%)
Like Caledonian, Steilhead use both Scottish and English fruit (Galloway and Herefordshire in this case). Capercaillie follows the same path as Steilhead's other ciders to start with, but is then put into ex whisky barrels to add another layer of flavour.