Drinks Enthusiast: Corks Out staggers into Manchester city centre to offer wines, whisky and more

By David Marsland, Drinks Enthusiast

MM columnist and Drinks Enthusiast, David Marsland, moves out of the suburbs and into the city as an evening of adventurous alcohol awaits any entriped explorer…

Last week was the start of something that has been proving popular in recent years – the Corks Out tasting evenings.

Only this time, instead of the usual Warrington and Chester locations, they’ve staggered into Manchester and brought along a host of brands in both wine, Champagne and spirits.

With the promise of a wide selection from producers including Morton, Franschhoek and Cattier as well as spirits that included El Dorado rum, Hayman’s gin and Auchentoshan whisky, you’d think there would be plenty to go around.

Oh no. To cap off the selection, both Robinson’s brewery and Wrenbury cider were at the Castlefield Room to shed a bit of local prestige to the afternoon’s proceedings.

With the Corks Out team on hand to lend their expertise to the public, and joined by the ever prevalent Stevens Garnier and Wines of Portugal, an afternoon turned quickly into an evening.

Not only we were given the chance to try bottles that ranged from £6.99 to £39.99, but also offered the opportunity to win a free Magnum of Champagne and to learn the trade by signing up to their collaboration with Manchester Wine School.

With much to experience, I tried to keep to brands and styles that I had either never come across or had not previously had the chance to sample.

Below I give to you my tasting notes on each:

Morton White Label Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand –13.5%

Lots of passion fruit and citrus on the nose that developed into soft, well-balanced offering on the palate.


Cypress White Label Syrah 2009, New Zealand 

Instant sweetness with ripe berry and plum notes on the nose. Contrasting flavours on the palate though with slow hints of chocolate and herbs.


Cypress Terraces Syrah 2008, New Zealand 

Strong dark berry aromas on the nose mix well with dark chocolate and liquorice on the palate. Slight spice on the end.


Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz 2010, Australia – 14.5%

A blend of blackcurrant and mint on the nose that punches its way onto the palate.


Terrunyo Syrah 2007, Chile

On the nose, strong raspberries and white pepper that evolves into liquorice flavours on the palate. A dry finish.


Concha y Toro Late Harvest Dessert 2008, Chile

Fresh peach and honey notes come through on the nose, with the honey creating a light, long finish on the palate.


Steenberg Chardonnay Brut NV, South Africa – 11.5%

Fresh apples and crumble found on the nose, with a fresh, creamy palate offering with a crisp finish.


Matetic EQ Chardonnay 2009, Chile

Instant peach and honey blend well as it develops from the nose to the palate. Well-balanced and creamy.


Le Difese Tenuta San Guido (3rd Sassicaia) 2010, Italy

Dark berry aromas hit the nose instantly, with delicious spice on the palate to counter its richness.


Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand

Apricot and lime balance well on the nose, with juicy fruit and a citrus edge hitting the palate well.


Ciconia Branco Alentejo 2011, Portugal

Lots of passion fruit and melon balancing nicely on both the nose and palate.


Drink Me Tinto Niepoort 2010, Portugal

Bold dark berry fruits that dive deeper as it hits the palate to create a smooth finish.


Niepoort Late Bottled Vintage Port 2007, Portugal

Blackberries and plums blend well on the nose, becoming soft and silky once on the palate. Long finish.


Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Le Paradis 2010, France – 13%

Incredible ripe green fruits on the nose that leads to a well-rounded sharp flavour on the palate.


Cotes du Rhone Rose Clos Bellane Altitude 2011, France – 12%

Peach and strawberries combine gently on the nose and becomes light and fruity upon hitting the palate.


Cattier NV Brut Champagne

Fresh white fruit of apples and pears subtly surround the nose, with a lively, fresh dose of tropical and floral flavours on the palate.


Cattier Glamour Demi Sec Rose Champagne

A blend of red berries and ripe fruit  are present on the nose and palate, with a hint of sweetness to finish.


Cattier Antique Rose Champagne

Fresh and well-rounded with crisp red berries dominating both the nose and palate.


Portia Ebeia Ribera del Duero 2004, Spain

Incredibly fresh on the nose, with hints of vanilla and raspberry making its way through on the nose and palate. Enjoys a finish of sweetness.


An incredible selection that covers a host of countries including Italy, Chile, New Zealand and Australia, as well as a Portuguese port, South African sparkling wine, Chilean dessert wine and a variety of Champagnes from well-known houses.

I was also lucky enough to sample the range from Robinson’s brewery as well as the El Dorado 12 and 15 year rums and Patron XO Cafe tequila.

The spirits will be featured on MM in the near future as their own separate adventure, as will the Robinson’s range.

The event was a great chance to not only try something different in a variety of categories, but also the opportunity to talk to both the ladies and gentleman behind the brands and Ruth Yates herself who was more than willing to chat to anyone and everyone about her favourite hobby.

The Corks Out Winter Tastings will be next on the agenda, and I strongly suggest you get yourself down. Get involved!

You can find an extensive range of reviews at the Drinks Enthusiast blog.

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