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Friday 26 October 2012

Wine of the Month: Beringer Founders Estate Zinfandel 2010

Jacob Beringer left his home in Mainz, Germany, in 1868 to start a new life in the U.S. Jacob took up residence in a farmhouse in the California wine country built in 1848, now referred to as the “Hudson House.” Meticulously restored and expanded, the Hudson House serves today as Beringer Vineyards ' Culinary Arts Center . In 1883, Frederick permanently moved to the Napa Valley and began construction of a 17-room mansion that was to be his home. Beringer Vineyards is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley. In 2001, the estate was placed on the National Register for Historic Places as a Historic District.

Beringer Founders Estate Zinfandel 2010 is made from grapes harvested at the winery’s original location mentioned in the paragraph above. This is as close to the quintessential California Zinfandel - a wonderfully rich and intense wine – that you can come. It has notes of vanilla and nutmeg that are complimented by rich, blackberry flavors with a hint of black pepper in the finish. It showcases cloves, white pepper and jammy black fruit aromas that lead into a mouth full of black berries and sweet spice.
You’ll also get excellent value for your money!

This wine is very good to drink at once but if you have the patience to store it for 5-7 years it will become excellent. Enjoy this wine with lamb, beef or maybe some nice cured meats and some good cheese. It's also a perfect fit for grilled gourmet sausages, spareribs, or chicken with a zingy tomato sauce.

Here’s another fun fact about Beringer that just makes you like them:
In 2004 Beringer created the monster wine bottle Maximus. It is the world's largest bottle of wine, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The bottle contains 173 bottles of Beringer 2001 Private Reserve Cabernet and sold for $47,500 at a charity auction.

Nr Systembolaget: 6718
Cost in Sweden: 99 SEK
Cost in China: Approx. 180 RMB
Cost in US: Approx. 12 USD


Monday 22 October 2012

Benromach 10 Years (nr 472, 350 ml, 247 SEK)

Benromach Distillery was established by Duncan MacCallum, of Glen Nevis Distillery, Campbeltown, and FW Brickmann, spirit broker, of Leith, in 1898. The firm went bankrupt in October 1899 with liabilities exceeding £70,000 and they experienced great difficulties in finding buyers for the product and the distillery. Without having produced a single drop of whisky Benromach was acquired by Harvey McNair & Co of London in 1911 and the distillery remained in production up to the beginning of the First World War in 1914. After the war, in 1919, Benromach was bought by John Joseph Calder, who promptly sold it to the Benromach Distillery Ltd, a private company registered in late 1919 in Edinburgh. Several breweries held shares in the new company.

However the distillery was closed in 1925 and in 1938 it was sold to Associated Scottish Distilleries Ltd (ASD). ASD was bought by National Distillers, an American corporation. After a hiatus during World War II Benromach changes hands in 1953 when it was sold to the Distillers Company Limited of Edinburgh.  Benromach was then transferred to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd (SMD). Between 1966 and 1974 Benromach's still house was rebuilt and an oil-fired boiler was installed. Two years later the maltings was converted to a cask store, and in 1974 the mash house was rebuilt and the tunroom was modernized. The modernization didn’t quite do it because in 1983 the distiller was closed once again.

In 1993 Benromach Distillery purchased by Gordon & MacPhail. After many years of planning, the refurbishment of Benromach Distillery began with a major over-haul to re-equip the distillery with specially designed and commissioned new stills, a mash tun, remoulded wash backs. This was exactly what was needed and today the pretty white-washed buildings of Benromach Distillery, along with its iconic red brick chimney, stand testament to the vision of those determined to save the distillery from extinction and create an award winning range of Single Malt Whiskies.

Right now you can find Benromach 10 Years Old, Strength 43%, at Systembolaget.
Initially this whisky was matured in a mix of Bourbon and Sherry casks. It was then transferred to European oak Oloroso Sherry casks for a final period of maturation. The result is a beautifully balanced dram, displaying a rich Sherry character, summer fruit flavours, malt creaminess and a light peat smoke influence. It has a golden Golden colour, is well balanced and shows a  long and lingering finish with subtle Sherry and peat.

The aroma has a rich sherry scent with fruits, nuts, chocolate and delicate spices. There’s also a hint of fresh green apples, with a malty, digestive biscuit note and light peat smoke in the background. The taste has abundant notes of delicious forest fruits, raspberries and brambles. The sherry is easily to discern and gives the whisky a malt creaminess with a strong peat influence.

In 2010 Benromach 10 Years won gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition!

Written by Kristian Kull & Alexander Yü

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Article: ODDKA Vodka - A Space Odyssey

ODDKA by Wyborowa is an exciting new line of imaginatively flavored vodkas out of Poland. The vodka is said to be the brainchild of the imaginary quirky genius Wit Oddoski. I would bet that the name actually comes from the musical SONG OF THE FLAME (1925), with music by Herbert Stothart and George Gershwin and lyrics by Hammerstein and Harbach. It is set during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and one song from this score has had a life outside the show, fueled by many cabaret appearances over the years (including a hilarious take by Dorothy Loudon). The song is entitled “Vodka” and here are lyrics:

Of all the concoctions alcoholical,
I know but one that's diabolical.
I simply thrive on old Champagne,
And sparkling Burgundy.
Whiskey, Cointreau, Moselle, or Eau de Vie
Are just like tea,

Vodka, don't give me vodka,
For when I take a little drink
I forget to think
What a little drink can do to me

Vodka, don’t give me vodka,
For when I take a little nip, I begin to slip
And I start romancing with the man that I am dancing with
For vodka, makes me feel oddka
I go and grab a six foot two, anyone will do
If he's only wise enough to see
I'll not scream should he kiss me
Couldn't if I would, wouldn't if I could
Vodka, you ruin me!

Currently ODDKA Vodka is offered only in select markets but a wider release should be imminent. Since the parent company Wyborowa in turn is owned by the giant Pernod Ricard i expect a lush global launch.

ODDKA is available in the six exceptionally peculiar flavours Apple Pie, Electricity, Fresh Cut Grass, Original, Salted Caramel Popcorn and Wasabi. On the website ( you can find many fun and odd cocktails to mix with the separate flavours.

Look for ODDKA Vodka at Systembolaget or your local liquor store soon!

Written by Kristian Kull

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Article: Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival and Taste Experience 2012

This year’s Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival and Taste Experience are absolutely amazing with an excellent and exciting Danish section with many different micro breweries from Denmark. Most exhibitors also introduce new releases, vintages and exciting taste experiences in all categories. One in particular that we enjoyed was the new Swedish London Dry Gin Hernö gin flavoured with lingonberry. We also loved our 30 min tasting at their Gotlands Brewery bar.

The famous Swedish GQ restaurant prepared a spectacular press brunch were we got different kinds of amazing dishes. To complement the food different breweries presented their beers that really harmonized with this gastronomic experience. A beer that went particularly well with an excellent ham roast was Mohawk Oktober Unfiltered that we really recommend. It has “hoppy” nuanced flavour with hints of apricot, herbs, Earl Grey tea, and honey.

Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival and Taste Experience is a fair that we really enjoyed and it’s an event that keeps on getting bigger and better each year. The press had an impressive turn up with a full auditorium during the press conference. The impressive variations of breweries, distilleries, wine houses etc and all of you will be able to try a lot of things you never have before. In an age when other fairs tend to go down in number of exhibitors and attendees Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival just keeps getting bigger, better and more qualitative with the years.

Here are some quick recommendations from Western Taste that you can find at the fair this weekend:

Wisby Stout, Gotlands Brewery, Spendrups
The foam is very good, although it doesn't stay for long. It has an almost black body, with as said a nice creamy head. Light sweet roasted malty aroma but the dark malt notes are just as they should be. It has a well balanced flavour that is quite dry, light and sweet with hints of coffee and red berries. Wisby stout is not too heavy, easy drinking, with a relatively low ABV. There are no animal products in the beer of any kind.

Wisby Salmbic, Gotlands Brewery, Spendrups
This is a great wheat beer flavoured with the on Gotland much used dewberry (Salmbär). It is a cloudy golden grey beer with a small off white head. Salmbic has a rich banana aroma with a medium-full body and it is sweet and well rounded, the hefeweizen character dominates. The acidity is also very pleasurable.

Malmö Brygghus
Malmö Brygghus is the only local micro brewery in Malmö, Sweden. Since the opening in November 2010 they have produced high quality and creative beers. At the fair you should particularly try Malmö False Dmitriy, Malmö Amerikansk Pale Ale, Malmö Beersons Festival Amber Ale and Malmö Nordtysk Pilsner.

Cutthroat Porter, Odell Brewing Co
This is not quite a stout but definitely no lightweight. Cutthroat Porter is smooth, robust and inspired by the classic London porters. Dark roasted malts are used to create a deep, rich colour and flavour that hint at chocolate and coffee. It is named after the Colorado state fish – with its own rich heritage and unmistakable dark colouring.

90 Shilling Ale, Odell Brewing Co
90 Shilling Ale is Odell Brewing Companies flagship beer that was served at their opening party in 1989 in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is a lightened up version of the traditional Scottish ale. This produces smooth and delicious medium-bodied amber ale. The name 90 Shilling comes from the Scottish method of taxing beer. Only the highest quality beers were taxed 90 Shillings.

Champagne Bruno Michel Brut, Cuvee Blance
This is a superb champagne that comes from the villages of Pierry and Moussy in the sud-Epernay sub region of Champagne. This Champagne is composed of 53% Meunier and 47% Chardonnay. It is a very well balanced champagne. It has pleasant toast and spiced apple aromas and flavours and a crisp dry finish. It is dosed at a very light nine grams per litre.

“Whiskyspelet” and “Ett Vinspel” from Nicogame
“Ett Vinspel” and “Whiskyspelet” are two informative and entertaining quiz games that are almost pocket sized. They each contain over 400 questions in six categories that guarantees you many fact-filled evenings where you can challenge even the most annoying of all the self-proclaimed connoisseurs.

Best sure to visit Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival 2012 this weekend!

Written by Alexander Yü & Kristian Kull