Spirits and Eaux de Vie
Gone are the days when veteran vignerons would secrete Perrier bottles filled with their home-made hooch amongst their wine cartons to thank us for our custom and get one over on the douaniers. Probably no bad thing as it was pretty ferocious 'fire-water' that was definitely an acquired taste. These days we are fully customs-compliant and proud of our range of 'small batch' distillates.
The Bunan family's 'Blanche de Marc' is made in an antique copper wood-fired pot still and is a gin-clear palate-cleanser that should be served chilled like a grappa. Their 'Vieux Marc Égrappé' is the barrel-aged version with a deep amber robe, Provençal scrub scents and a long warming finish.
Maison Monteru is a pioneering distillery based in the town of Pons in the heart of the Charente. Here they cask age single varietal brandies to great effect. Their 'Folle Blanche' is double-distilled and matured in a French and American oak, giving a deep golden colour and long, smooth palate.
Maison Léon Beyer is of the great family wine firms in the gastronomic heartland of Alsace. Their Eaux de Vie de Mirabelle has a wealth of yellow plum scents and flavours and is the consummate after dinner digestif.
'With pear or not with pear' - that is question when investing in a bottle of Maison Joannes Colombier's peerless 'Poire William'. Rumours that Robin Yapp puts this on his cornflakes are unfounded, but we have listed it for many years and it is fragrantly uplifting.
The Manguin distillery is located on the Île de Barthelasse, France's largest river island, just above Avignon. Their Provençal Pastis is enlivened with the addition of pear brandy and makes for a wonderfully-refreshing 'sun-downer'.
The gin boom currently shows no sign of abating so we are delighted to have secured good stocks of our preferred Brighton Gin. Orange peel is a key component of its botanical blend so it should be served with a slice of orange rather than lime or lemon.
Julian Temperley's full and fruity 'Five Year-Old' Somerset Cider Brandy is gently-warming and redolent of autumn apples. It is ideal for hip-flasks and shooting hampers to banish winter chills.