ILauri produces wines of the highest quality by applying to their unique terroir the most sustainable techniques of production, to offer their most demanding customers true world-class wines. The name 'ILauri' stems from the ancient roots of their birthplace, Loreto Aprutino, which was once covered in laurel trees.
Loreto's wine production can incredibly trace its origin to pre-Roman civilisation. Estate vineyards are located in the central Italian region of Abruzzo at the foothill of the Gran Sasso mountain, 300 metres above sea level. Cool breezes from the Apennine mountain range extend the ripening of local grapes and create a natural temperature variation, which heightens flavours and aromas. This gives a natural acidity, granting their wines the perfect balance between elegance and concentration.
Walnut Block Wines is the vision of two brothers – Clyde and Nigel Sowman. In combining their experience in viticulture and the wine industry with their passion for and appreciation of fine wine, they have created a unique range of superbly crafted Marlborough wines. A boutique winery, Walnut Block offers some of the best wine buys in New Zealand.
First planted in 1996 the Walnut Block vineyard lies in the world-renowned Wairau Valley in Marlborough. Marlborough’s unique wine-growing conditions reflect a combination of alluvial soils, deposited over thousands of years from an ancient river bed that flowed between the mountainous borders of this valley, the region’s high sunshine hours and the temperate New Zealand climate.
Their decision to farm organically reflected their belief that they could grow grapes with a higher quality than those grown using conventional methods. As the vines have become more self-sufficient and naturally balanced they have seen a greater depth of flavour and improved mouthfeel in the wines. The vines themselves can adapt to seasonal variations, which result in consistently healthy, and well-balanced grapes.
Since 2002, Nigel Sowman, Walnut Block’s viticulturist, has studied and practised organics and has become a recognised authority on organic viticulture. Nigel is proud of the exceptional quality of fruit being produced using only organic practices. Walnut Block wines are certified organic with BioGro New Zealand.
Guerrieri Rizzardi, the historic house in Veneto, dates back to the unification of two ancient estates in 1913, when Carlo Rizzardi from Valpolicella married Guiseppina Guerrieri of Bardolino. From the 1950s Antonio Rizzardi managed and developed the estates, focusing on viticulture and in the 1970s he acquired the estate in Soave.
2011 saw the opening of the new winery on the hills of Bardolino. The result of a long-term plan to relocate and modernise the entire production process. Rizzardi's new winery is completely solar powered, combining the best that technology offers in a carbon-neutral way, with vineyards that have been in the family for centuries. With extensive holdings of "cru" acreage, the family is well known throughout Europe for their sensational, mineral-rich example of Soave Classico, the tension-driven Ripasso they produce from Pojega and, most importantly, for making one of the most classical and age-worthy examples of single vineyard Amarone in the region.
Owing to its privileged setting, Villa Sandi is celebrated most for its Prosecco, but the estate also produces a series of other premium wines. Now Villa Sandi is considered a landmark in the wine world for the quality of the wine it produces in a one-of-a-kind setting, with a respect for the environment.
Diva Moretti Polegato represents the fourth generation of Villa Sandi. “My great-grandfather began producing and selling wine to just a few people in the region,” she explains, “Then he went on to buy the historic villa and the family started to buy more land. The vineyards became bigger, and now we own around 165 hectares and export our wine to 92 countries. The winery continues to grow every year.” Proving its success, Villa Sandi continually wins awards for the wines within its portfolio.
“Valdobbiadene is at the heart of the Prosecco-producing region,” Diva continues, “And we’ve been here since Prosecco wasn’t yet known internationally. I grew up while the winery was growing, so my parents would come home every day and talk about the land they were buying and what grapes they were cultivating. But throughout this time my father always said it was the quality of our Prosecco, not the quantity, that was most important. That is what makes Villa Sandi different.”
Now Diva commits her time to introducing people around the world to the family’s wine with the ultimate goal that one day people will ask for a glass of Villa Sandi rather than simply asking for a glass of Prosecco. “Since people have started understanding Prosecco more,” she says, “they’re now beginning to recognise different brands; now people are looking for one that’s better quality.”
Peccavi Estate is a boutique family-run vineyard in the northern part of the Margaret River wine region. All of the Peccavi Wines are estate grown, hand picked, hand crafted and use only the ﬁnest French oak.
I have witnessed first hand their uncompromising approach to all aspects of vineyard management when I had the pleasure of driving around their vineyard with Jeremy, before his lovely wife Susannah treated us to nibbles – and wines of course – on their beautiful terrace.
The “No Regrets” labeled wines are a blend from their own vineyards and many other premier vineyards in the Margaret River region, designed to be more approachable at a younger age but also crafted to the same high standard by their team of winemakers using traditional techniques.
Silent Pool Gin
Drawn by a common passion for the precision and innovation of craft distilling, a group of friends came together to create a new kind of distillery producing hand-crafted, artisan spirits in a historic location in the Surrey Hills, just a stone's throw from Central London. They found an extraordinary location on the Albury Estate, and a site that comprised a number of dilapidated farm buildings right next to the legendary and mythical Silent Pool. These buildings, on the Duke of Northumberland's Estate, were especially renovated and re-built for them, and today they are the home of Silent Pool Distillers.
One of the key factors making their spirits so special is the copper still created for them by Arnold Holstein, who have been making traditional stills in the Lake Constance area of Germany for many years. In keeping with their vision for a sustainable business, a vintage wood-fired steam boiler was found in Kent, and was restored to power and burns locally sourced sustainable hard woods. The final piece of the jigsaw was the stainless steel tanking made by a small company in the Vipara Valley in Slovenia, that would hold and store the spirit.
Silent Pool Gin is the signature product created by their master distiller, Cory Mason. He says, "Silent Pool Gin is a classic gin at heart. It is full-bodied and fresh, with depth, clarity and, above all else, flavour. Produced with 24 unique botanicals, Silent Pool Gin is a rich and clean juniper-driven spirit with floral layers of lavender and chamomile. Fresh notes of citrus and kaffir lime are grounded with the subtle sweetness of local honey, creating a well-balanced gin that is both traditional and refreshingly individual."
In the land of the rising sun lies a forest of exceptional distinction and curiosity. It is here amongst the exclusive sights and smells and sounds that a man of infinite resource and sagacity – known most fondly as Uncle Nic – acquired a recurring taste for the Sansho berry. “Fortuitously pepperascial ...,” nibbled the words off his tongue. “...with a uniquely citronious note.” And it was these insatiable desirabilities that Uncle Nic knew would give his family gin – known most fondly as Kokoro – such an exquisitely unique flavouring.
Kokoro is a London Dry Gin distilled with eight botanicals and fresh Sansho berries, imported from sustainable sources in the Afan Woodland of Nagano prefecture, Japan. Sansho berries are used extensively in Japanese cuisine and have a distinctively earthy black pepper flavour with a piney citrus aftertaste.
Gin has always been something of an obsession for Steve and Viv Muir. When they started, their ambition was to create the ‘perfect’ gin. The London Dry process is recognised as being the most exacting and meticulous way to create great gin in small batches. So, naturally, they followed this process.
They began by experimenting in their home kitchen with a pressure cooker and some old central heating pipes! When they were confident of a possible recipe, they were granted a license and progressed to a glass, desktop lab still. Their kitchen became an official ginnery! They distilled, refined and distilled again – over hundreds of batches and thousands of hours – before finally they created the gin they believed was ‘perfect’.
It was time to move out of their kitchen and into their new distillery. Within two years, their gin won admirers from near and far and in 2015 was voted the Best London Dry Gin in the world. They achieved what they originally set out do: to create perfection that’s recognised globally. NB will always remain a small company, only ever using the London Dry process, believing in its people and their skills, and working as hard as ever.
Soft Drinks & Mixers
Following a 'tonic tasting' on the US market, Charles Rolls - who built his reputation running Plymouth Gin - joined forces with Tim Warrillow, who had a background in luxury food marketing, to analyse the composition of mixers. They discovered that the majority were preserved with sodium benzoate or similar substances, while cheap orange aromatics, such as decanal, and artificial sweeteners, like saccharin, were widespread.
And so started a 15-month journey. Days in the British Library researching quinine sources from as far back as 1620, trips to find the purest strains of this key ingredient and five iterations of the recipe were tasted before Charles and Tim were happy with the result and the first bottle of Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water was produced in 2005.
Their tonic is a stand-out drink that is also perfect to enjoy on its own; the quality of the ingredients in these mixers are truly second to none.
Double Dutch Tonics
Dutch twins Joyce and Raissa de Haas were raised in the Netherlands - the birthplace of gin. Frustrated by the poor quality of mixers and sodas, they decided to create Double Dutch (brilliant name!) as a fresh innovative line of drinks to accompany spirits or to be enjoyed on their own as a long, refreshing, non-alcoholic drink.
Read more about these innovative twins who are taking the beverage world by storm.
Black Cow Vodka, West Dorset, England
Situated on England’s West Dorset coast Black Cow produce the world’s only Pure Milk Vodka™ made entirely from the milk of grass-grazed cows and nothing else. Fresh whole milk makes an exceptionally smooth vodka with a unique creamy character. Pure Milk Vodka™ is the invention of West Dorset dairy farmer Jason Barber. His inspiration came from a desire to diversify the produce from his 250-strong dairy herd and his deep personal interest in vodka.
The milk is separated into curds and whey. The curds are used to make Black Cow Deluxe Cheddar Cheese, also available at Sasha’s Fine Foods, the whey is fermented into a beer using a special yeast that converts the milk sugar into alcohol. The vodka is then triple filtered and finished, before being hand bottled.