17 December 2015

Oh My Gin. A Spanish Gin?

I'm a bit of a creature of habit when it comes to gin. I nearly always buy Bombay Sapphire as I like the clean, crisp taste and there is also a distillery near where I live so I feel like I am buying local. If there isn't any Bombay, then I'll always try to choose a London Dry Gin like Tanqueray

So, when the Naked Wines Christmas case included a bottle of gin from Spain, I was intrigued. Had I ever tried a gin from Spain? I don't think so.

The Rambla 41 Mediterranean Dry Gin is made in a small, artisan distillery in Spain by Stefan Lismond and Philippe Geeraert and is made just for Naked Wines. 

According to the blurb, all the ingredients come from the Catalan region near Barcelona. The base spirit is made from Grenache and Carignan wine lees (the left overs from the bottom of red wine tanks). It is then infused with botanicals like Almonds, Juniper and Angelica which are apparently gathered by hand from the hills around Priorat. They then add orange and lemon peel and some special water from the gin makers' well. All impressive stuff.

I've never really looked at the ingredients of gin before, but much of the base ingredients seem similar to others I've tried. For example, Bombay Sapphire is made with Juniper, Angelica, Almonds and lemon peel. So although the method of production is more artisan, it shares many of the common ingredients to gins I've tried before.

However, the biggest difference in production seems to be the filtering method. Rambla 41 is non-chill filtered whereas most big brands chill-filter their gins as a cosmetic procedure in order to make the spirit clear.

Because Rambla 41 is non-chill filtered, it is slightly cloudy as the botanicals have not been stripped out. 

Ok, so enough about the ingredients. What was it like?

Well, the bits floating around in the gin didn't bother me at all. I mean, once you've squished some lime in your gin, it always ends up slightly foggy anyway.

If you look carefully, you'll see
the botanicals floating about
But I have to say, it does have a unique taste. It is very aromatic and fruity and quite unlike any gin I've ever tried. It is also very smooth and not at all harsh. 

But at £34.99 (£24.99 Angel Prices), it's not cheap. So is it worth it? Oh My Gin, I loved it. A really delicious treat that I will definitely buy again. On the Naked website, Angels can review things they've bought. And 98% of the 224 people who have reviewed this gin say they will buy it again. Which is a pretty strong accolade IMHO.

The gin makers recommend serving it with Fever Tree tonic, lime, a grape cut in two (presumably because a whole one would be a choking hazard - jokes) and some orange zest. I'll give that a go next time I buy some.

The bottle is also very beautiful (label below) if you like that sort of thing.

4 December 2015

Back on the Baron hunt! Mini-me style!

Look out for the stickers in
Shop windows
On the Baron Trail you say? Didn't you write about this in the Summer? Ended in September no? Well, it's back! Mini-me style! 

That's right, there's currently a Christmas Baby Baron trail in Salisbury. My dog, Baxter, is slightly less excited about being dragged on this trail because it involves visiting a whole load of shops in Salisbury town centre. Whereas last time it was all outside so he got extra walkies while I searched for the Barons.

There are 27 Baby Barons in total to be found. And, if you find them all, you're in with a chance of winning a £50 shopping voucher and a Baby Baron! 

Here's the rules:

- There are 27 Baby Barons in shop windows around Salisbury. Some of them are easy to find and some of them are in disguise or hidden!
- Most of the participating retailers have a sticker in their window which lets you know they are participating. 
- Next to or near to each of the Baby Barons is a card with a letter next to a corresponding number.
- Pick up a leaflet from one of the participating retailers and enter all the letters into the puzzle to complete a phrase. 
- Once you've found them all and found the phrase, put your email address on the back of the leaflet and hand it into any participating retailer. Bingo Bango!

Pick up one of these leaflets
Once again, I could use the map to help me find the Baby Barons. But where's the fun in that? I'm hoping to stumble across them all whilst wandering around Salisbury. It's a great way to see Salisbury at Christmas and all the lovely window displays in the various independent shops in Salisbury city centre.

I'm giving away one of the locations but... The GREAT news is that one of the participating retailers is Cambridge Wine merchants so you can stop off for a bottle of your favourite festive tipple while you search for Barons. Win, win. 

2 December 2015

What I'll be drinking this Christmas

If it lasts that long! 

Every year, I order a case of wine at the start of December, with the intention of it seeing me though until the New Year. It never does and I doubt my purchase this year will be any different!

In the past, I've bought cases from different companies. I like to buy a mixed case as it gives me the opportunity to try different wines that I otherwise might not have bought. And, Christmas mixed cases often come with some little freebies. Win win! 

Without a doubt, the best value Christmas mixed case I've found has been from Naked Wines. I've bought it for the last three years and have been delighted. 
My 2015 Naked Wines Christmas case

In 2013, I bought the case which should have been £296 and I got it for the Angel price of £164. I received a free wine aerator that I still use today and a pair of Schott wine glasses (which my husband smashed!). Plus 20 bottles which included two bottles of fizz and a port.

In 2014, the Naked Wines Christmas case brought me 18 bottles (including a port and two bottles of fizz), a Schott wine decanter, some Naked coffee and some olive oil. All for the Angel price of £159 rather than £306.

I've just received my 2015 Naked Wines Christmas Case. It went on sale last week and has already sold out, which shows you what great value it is! 

I tried to take a photo of the package and I'm not sure it does it justice! It contains 18 bottles (again, a port and two fizz), a bottle of the new Naked Wines gin, some Naked coffee, two Schott wine glasses and some quality olive oil. All for the Angel price of £169 rather than £326.

As usual, I've already tucked into my case, so it won't last until Christmas, let alone New Year! So far, my favourite wine is the Carlos Rodriguez Seleccion de Barrica 2011 (pictured). Full of ripe fruits and oaky tobacco and a bargain at £14.99 a bottle.
My favourrite wine to date. With my 2014
free decanter and one of my 2015 glasses

I'm also really looking forward to trying the bottle of gin that came with the case. The Rambla 41 Mediterranean Dry Gin is the first Naked Wines funded gin. The read-up says it is non chilled filtered which apparently leaves it slightly cloudy but leaves a better taste. I'll let you know what I think.

If you're thinking about getting the Naked Wine Christmas case in 2016, then get in early as it always disappears.

** If you're wondering what Angel prices are, then read my earlier article on Naked Wines. Happy drinking. Do it sensibly and all that.