Monthly Archives November 2020

Recently closed Bay Area pub Albatross shares mulled wine recipe

What does a hot mug filled with the scent of cloves, cinnamon and a hint of citrus remind you of? Perhaps a Christmas fair filled with sights and sounds of Victorian London. Or your mom’s kitchen on Thanksgiving, the happy sound of your parents chuckling in the background. Maybe even sitting in your cozy local pub in the dead of winter, surrounded by friends for a happy hour.

Well, in 2020 we can’t have beautiful things so you won’t be enjoying them this holiday season. But here’s the good news: you can still have mulled wine, that fragrant, sweet and spicy alcoholic beverage that you may also know as glögg, mulled wine, candola, or vino caliente.

With the pandemic forcing restaurants to eat alfresco and take out only, many have reduced their menus, making mulled wine a difficult find this year. However, you can still order it on Speisekammer, a German restaurant in Alameda, or a version of it called “Bad Santa” in Pacific Cocktail Haven’s Holiday-themed Miracle pop-up.

But if you’re forced to celebrate Thanksgiving on your own or just your immediate family this year and want to fill the house with the most heartwarming and festive scent imaginable, you’ll probably want to do it yourself. It’s easy, I promise. And I know you have time to waste.

Personally, mulled wine brings me back to December evenings spent playing board games with friends at Albatross, one of Berkeley’s oldest pubs that recently closed for good. We may have tragically lost the Albatross, but we don’t have to lose their mulled wine: I asked owner Andrew McGee for his recipe.

“People have always asked about the recipe, but we’ve always had to make it in such large quantities that it’s impossible for people to make it at home,” McGee said via text message. “I can certainly tell you what I would say to our customers, and that our ingredients were red table wine, hot spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, star anise), fresh citrus juice squeezed (we used a mixture of orange and lemon), brandy and a little sugar depending on the sweetness of the orange juice. People can experiment with different red wines, but I wouldn’t use anything too expensive, because all the spices and brandy crush all the nuances of expensive wine. “

At Albatross, mulled wine has always been a favorite, the bar serving it for over 20 years. When I called McGee to see if I could get him to apply poetic wax to the drink, he delivered.

“When the weather changes and it’s cold outside at night, once the sun goes down and it goes down into the 40s or less, we have a fireplace, and there’s wood everywhere, so that fits. sort of to our whole vibe, ”he said. “You will have a few glasses of mulled wine and sit by the fireplace. I also think there is something about the cloves, cinnamon and allspice, these are all used. in many holiday kitchens.… People got really passionate about it. Some people wanted us to keep serving it until the summer. “

The pub only served the drink a few months a year, and, seen among the holiday decor and cheerful atmosphere of the bar, it was a hot commodity. In November and December there were always a few huge mulled wine coffee urns, so of course it smelled good in there.

If you’re looking to bring a little Albatross home with you this season, here’s a recipe adapted from the Recipe Blog. Give me oven to look more like the pub recipe, which I have tried several times with great success.

You can’t sit in a bar this year, but you can make Albatross Pub mulled wine at home.

Getty Images


1 (750 ml) bottle of dry red wine
1 orange
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 stars anise
optional: 3-4 allspice berries, grated fresh nutmeg
2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste
1/4 cup brandy
optional toppings: citrus slices (orange, lemon and / or lime), additional cinnamon sticks, additional star anise

Using a vegetable peeler, cut large ribbons of orange zest, then squeeze it. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and stir to combine (McGee recommends putting all of your whole spices in a tea scoop for easy removal). Barely let it simmer over medium-high heat, but don’t let it boil (or you’ll boil the alcohol!). Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer the wine for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Filter the whole spices and orange zest before serving (or just remove the tea ball). Enjoy!

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Calabria acquires three brands of wine from Henkell Freixenet

Through Lisa riley

Posted: November 12, 2020

Calabria Family Wines has acquired a trio of Australian wine brands – Deakin Estate, La La Land and Azahara, from Wingara Wine Group [part of Henkell Freixenet], for an undisclosed amount.

The deal, signed late last week, is a ‘brand-only’ sale and transfers ownership of all three brands to Calabria, which will now produce all wines from each of its Griffith vineyard’s brand portfolios, in New South Wales, as well as to manage marketing in all markets.

Each of the brands brought something “new to the table” for the Calabria team as the company continued to “diversify and expand” its wine offering, said Michael Calabria, third generation general manager.

“Deakin Estate, with over 50 years of winemaking history behind it, has achieved exceptional distribution, especially in tough export markets where many haven’t. This can only happen with a good quality product and a dedicated team behind it, ”he said.

While “newer to the market,” La La Land and Azahara, were “unique brands with well-established portfolios and market presence, both domestically and internationally,” he said. added.

“We look forward to savoring La La Land’s dedication to emerging wine styles with our own Italian alternatives, and celebrating the effervescent sparkle and sophistication of Azaharas.”

Sean Shortt, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Wingara, said: “Henkell Freixenet sees Australia as an important market with great potential, and our strategic focus is the development of our brands Global Icon, Henkell, Freixenet & Mionetto .

“We are delighted that the Deakin Estate, Azahara and La La Land brands are moving to a family business that has the resources and the drive to take brands to the next level. ”

Calabria said it will continue its long-standing distribution partnership with Berkmann Wine Cellars in the UK for Deakin Estate and La La Land.

“We know the value of having a family team behind a brand, and we’re excited to see these top performing brands continue to grow under new owners at Calabria Family Wines,” said Rupert Berkmann, Importer CEO Berkmann. Wine cellars.

The changes will take effect today, November 12.

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Battle of the Giants: blind tasting of the world’s greatest wine brands

How would Changyu’s Noble Dragon stack up against some of the world’s most popular mass wine brands? Patrick Schmitt MW and a team of experts put it to the test during a recent blind tasting in London.

The blind tasting of the world’s top wine brands took place at Asia House in London on October 14

Measuring success in the wine world is generally done in two ways: by looking at the level of praise of criticism, or by the scale of demand. And while both are valid ways of doing things, one approach is about collection status, the other is about the amounts of wine consumed.

In a series of tastings at Asia House in London last month, we looked at wines that had reached the pinnacle in each measure of success. The first concerned the question of critical acclaim, focusing on a collection of wines so sought after that they were chosen when the heads of state came. The second tasting, the subject of this report, focused on wine brands so great that they are distributed all over the world and consumed by the millions.

These names will all be known to you, from Antinori to Jacob’s Creek, from Gallo to Mouton Cadet, but one of them, as big as those leviathans of the wine trade, comes from China. The question we wanted to answer was whether this large-scale label was as good as its competitors in other parts of the world, or even better. And if so, he would surely have just as much the right to be on the shelves of major brands around the world?

To test its quality and style, we organized a special tasting for professionals: a blind sampling of the world’s leading brands of high volume wines. The idea was to see if the style and quality of Chinese wine – Noble Dragon from Changyu – were similar to long-respected global names.

After testing it with some of the world’s most admired palaces, it turned out yes it does. Indeed, for many, it was in the top three of the best global brands, beating a string of labels of respected brands (see box of results opposite), and arriving in first place with Jacob’s Creek and Antinori.

It was important for two reasons. It has shown that Chinese Changyu can produce wine in attractive style at an affordable price, and it has also shown that he can do something good quality on a large scale.

But there was something else that was particularly important in this result. For many people in China, their first taste of wine will be Noble Dragon. This means that this unique label has an extremely important role to play: it recruits new drinkers in the wine category.

If the wine is not sweet, ripe, appealing, and refreshing, it could fail in this endeavor. Fortunately, it was all of those things. And, with that in mind, its quality is key to China’s rapid emergence as a wine market – a development that everyone in the wine world should benefit from, including the brands that it enhanced during our tasting. blindly.

Results with scores on a 100 point scale

Changyu Noble Dragon Reserve – 90
Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – 90
Villa Antinori Rosso – 90
Mouton Cadet by Mouton Rothschild – 89
Casillero de Diablo de Concha y Toro – 89
Torres Sangre de Toro – 89
Trivento Malbec – 89
JP Chenet Merlot – 89
Rawson’s Retreat Private Tour by
Penfolds – 88
Canti Vino Rosso – 88
Woodbridge by Mondavi – 87
Smooth Black Red Tour – 86
Merlot from the Gallo family vineyard – 86

Judges’ comments on Noble Dragon Reserve

Eric Zwiebel MS
“It’s a good wine, well made, fruity, with a bit of structure, and it was one of my two favorites.”
Beverley Blanning MW
“It has a very attractive raspberry nose, and it’s easy to drink, smooth, forward – a decent wine.”
David Rond MW
“I really liked the wine 1 [Changyu Noble Dragon Reserve]; it was open, with ripe and expressive fruit on the nose, and
it was quite smooth and fleshy on the palate, with a little smoothness there, a good intensity; he was very
accessible, without edges. It was one of the strongest wines.

About Noble Dragon

Noble Dragon is China’s largest wine brand and originated from producer Changyu in Shandong. It was launched in 1931 and sells for over 30 million
bottles around the world every year.
It was the first Chinese wine to be stocked by UK supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and it is sold in 30 countries. The Changyu Noble Dragon Reserve Dry Red from this tasting included 80% Cabernet Gernischt, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2018 vintage. Cabernet Gernischt is independently grown in Changyu, China. The grapes come from the Yantai wine region in Shandong, and the chief winemaker is Dr. Li Jiming. It spends over six months in fine-grained oak barrels with medium heating.

The tasters

Patrick Schmitt MW
David Rond MW
Simon Field MW
Patricia Stefanowicz MW
Beverley Blanning MW
Isa Bal MS
Eric Zwiebel MS
Svetoslav Manolev MS

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