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Varieties of Tequila

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Tequila is made from the Blue Agave plant. Only one of the 300+ species of agave is permitted by the Tequila Regulatory Council to produce tequila-agave azul tequilana ; this plant will grow for 5-7 years before being harvested. It can only be made made primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 kilometres northwest of Guadalajara and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco.

Mexican laws state that tequila can be produced only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. Mexico has claimed the exclusive international right to the word “tequila”.

There are two basic categories of tequila: mixtos and 100% agave. Mixtos use no less than 51% agave, with other sugars making up the remainder. Mixtos use both glucose and fructose sugars.

With 100% agave tequila, blanco or plata is harsher with the bold flavors of the distilled agave up front, while reposado and añejo are smoother, subtler, and more complex. As with other spirits that are aged in casks, tequila takes on the flavors of the wood, while the harshness of the alcohol mellows. The major flavor distinction with 100% agave tequila is the base ingredient, which is more vegetal than grain spirits (and often more complex).

Tequila is usually bottled in one of five categories:

* Blanco (“white”) or plata (“silver”): white spirit, un-aged and bottled or stored immediately after distillation, or aged less than two months in stainless steel or neutral oak barrels;

* Joven (“young”) or oro (“gold”): is the result of blending Silver Tequila with Reposado and/or Añejo and/or extra Añejo Tequila;

* Reposado (“rested”): aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels;

* Añejo (“aged” or “vintage”): aged a minimum of one year, but less than three years in oak barrels;

* Extra Añejo (“extra aged” or “ultra aged”): aged a minimum of three years in oak barrels.

Many Tequila brands are owned by multi-national companies such as Sauza, Jose Cuervo, Patron and Herradurra but there are still many family owned Tequilas with high quality Tequila produced on a small scale such as Tapatio, Corralejo.


Cognac regions

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Cognac is a distillate from a strictly controlled area in the Charente and Charente-Maritime départements of south-west France. Produced from white wine, which is double distilled in pot stills, to a strength not exceeding 72 % abv and aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years.

Terroir has a huge impact on cognac ; soils found nowhere else on earth, under a unique combination of micro and meso climates help explain why no other region can come close to producing a similar brandy. Vagaries of both the cool north and the warm south are frequently apparent, while the Atlantic exerts a maritime influence and the Massif Central ensures that the extremes of continental climes are felt too.

The Cognac Region

Based on the official decree of 1st May 1909, the region was divided into geographical crus :

Grande Champagne (17.8 %) Rich in Campanien chalk ; resulting in brandies of delicacy, elegance and finesse

Petite Champagne (20.7 %) Santonian chalk prevails here, which is earthier resulting in fruitier brandies, though still very elegant.

Borderies (5.4 %) High clay content with flint giving fatter, fuller-bodied brandies with dried fruit characteristics, very useful for blending.

Fins Bois (42 %) Chalk, sand and clay are all evident giving fuller brandies that are quicker to mature. The best vineyards offer floral, fragrant brandies with notes of sweet spice.

Bons Bois (12.6 %) and Bois Ordinaires/Bois

Communs (1.5 %) for blending.

Age Designations : VS/3 Star/Reserve, Minimum 2 years, VSOP Minimum 4 years, Napoleon/XO/Extra Minimum 6 years


A Tradition Dating Back to Roman Times

Monday, August 16th, 2010
Abrazo del Toro Content Image

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Abrazo de Toro is a project created by Axial, that we sell at present in the U.S.A. Their is enormous potential for the wines of Cariñena. The grape variety Garnacha has its origin in the region of Aragón, with a long tradition in the culture of wine elaboration that goes back to the Roman times.Founded in 1942 is managed by a good, young team. Covinca S. Coop. is supplied by 700 associated grape growers which own 3.000 hectares of vineyards.

Covinca S. Coop. disposes of 9.000 square meters to make wines with state of the art equipment such as stainless steel tanks with temperature control, pneumatic presses, and horizontal destalkers, a high tech bottle line with a capacity of 5.000 bottles per hour under the strictest hygienic conditions and a 1000 m2 warehouse for the finished goods.

D.O. Cariñena it is located at 46 km from Zaragoza in North Central Spain. The main grape varieties in the D.O. Cariñena are Garnacha (as it’s its birthplace) and Cariñena for red and rosé wines and Macabeo for white wines.

At the present time Covinca S. Coop. has new plantations of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.