Gin Corner: Greenall’s Bloom — The Slug’s Choice

… is a big ol’ herbaceous gin. How will it fare in the Old Parn test-lab? G&Terrific or G&Terrible?

Macro photo of a bottle of Greenall's Bloom, with logo in focus

Oh. The leafy, herby, juicy green aroma of corriander. Heck. It’s like you’re a slug munching your way through a herb garden. (You are such a slug.)

Greenall’s Bloom is, I suppose, aptly enough named. It is a big ol’ herbaceous gin.

Here at Old Parn labs, we put Greenall’s Bloom through a rigorous and scientific testing procedure. I made a gin and tonic with it, and I made a martini with it. Then I repeated these tests several times (purely for scientific purposes, natch). Here’s what the results sheets said.

The Greenall’s Bloom Gin and Tonic

Yeah, it’s all about the corriander, here. In tonic-wedded form, Greenall’s Bloom isn’t as punchy as some (loyal readers will know that I like my G&Ts like I like my women: punchy and bitey*). When I made a Greenall’s Bloom and Tonic with my usual proportions of gin:tonic (don’t ask me what they are; I just feel it, y’know?), the result was a little bit lacking. A tad sweet, even.

But, next time round, perhaps my hand slipped. You know what I’m saying? MY HAND SLIPPED. And I ended up with a higher proportion of gin. And that, a bit like taking the path less travelled, made all the difference.

Suddenly, I was drinking an assertive, confident bastard of a G&T. One that’d just had a massive Thai stir-fry piled with obscene amounts of corriander, I guess.

Pretty nice.

The Greenall’s Bloom Martini

No surprises here, given what I’ve said already: the Bloom Martini is as green and herbaceous as you’d expect. Lighter, more hippyish than your usual Martini. And, yeah, nice for the novelty value. But I’ve not been tempted to make them for non-experimental purposes. Greenall’s Bloom strikes me as more of a G&T-friendly kind of gin; it doesn’t really gel in the context of the Martini. That magical masculine-feminine chemistry isn’t there; it’s all a bit too verdant, too lush, too goddamn fertile.

The verdict

So long as you atone for its slightly less bolshy character by adjusting your gin:tonic ratio, this is a pretty nice G&T gin. I like the grassy, herby ebullience of it — though probably more as an occasional curveball to the palate than as an everyday highball-filler.

I’d recommend putting it with a lighter tonic (something like Fever Tree Naturally Light) — or, if you want to sample the hippy Bloom Martini, try using The Wine Society’s Chambery as your vermouth, and go for a twist rather than an olive.

* That’s not even remotely true. But didn’t it sound cool?

Picco del Sole Falanghina 2009 review

… will give you jelly babies, aniseed and bolognese sauce — but only if you manage to decork the blighter

A bottle of Falanghina, an Italian white wine. Simple black and yellow label. The bottle, fresh from the fridge, is misted with condensation

So — bottle 4 of my six-bottle taster case from Naked Wines (previous Naked reviews: Mistral Sauvignon Blanc, Tor del Colle Montepulciano and Burgo Viejo Rioja). How will this little Falanghina fare?

Crack the blighter open (may I mention, en passant, that this is the third Naked bottle I’ve had that’s been an absolute rotter to uncork? A proper strenuous veins-standing-out-from-your-temples rotter) and you’re greeted by a delicious aroma. Cut grass, lemon sherbets, exotic fruits.

Yum McYum.

At a waft of this (if you’re anything like me), you’ll be slopping wine on the table in your eagerness to slosh it into your glass.

And, yes, in the gob it’s lively, too. I have to say, it doesn’t quite live up to the fizzing promise of its smell, but it’s still good. That lemon sherbert carries through, along with smidgins of other confectionery (green jelly babies, mayhap, and a good dose of aniseed). There’s a plump helping of mango there, too.

It’s tempered with a hint of bitterness (a pleasant quality in a white like this, I always think) — and, most interestingly, it has a pronounced savoury quality that puts me in the mind of a bolognese sauce. Sounds a bit quirky, eh? Well, don’t get me wrong: it’s not powerfully meaty. But I’d say the flavour is quite noticeably there.

It’s certainly not your usual mass-market Italian white.

There is, though, a little bit of mouthshrivel at the end, so (if you’re not drinking with supper) have it with some crisps, salted nuts or what have you. If this quality were eliminated (as in the delicious Contesa Pecorino I reviewed the other day), I’d like it even more.

Verdict

In my Mistral review, I raised a small doubt about the Naked Wines price model, and, yeah, my words broadly hold true for this wine, too: at Naked member price (£6), it’s a friggin’ steal; at full price (£9), it’s certainly not a rip-off, but I reckon I could find better.

But if you’re Naked? Get in there with Falanghina, I say. Just be prepared for a bit of wrestling and heaving beforehand.

Rating ★★ (2 stars)
ABV
Price £8.99 from Naked Wines (members receive 33% off). Link is to the new 2010 vintage.

The Wine Society’s Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne

… is worth knocking over a couple of old ladies for, should you happen to see it at a party

Closeup of the label of a bottle of Cotes de Gascogne from The Wine Society. The label has a picture of a row of sunflowers.

Wine served at post-concert receptions. Not necessarily the most pre-possessing of notions.

I found myself in the Cathedral of Christ Church College on Saturday — for an evening of sacred English choral polyphony from the 16th century, courtesy of I Dedicati, an all-male vocal ensemble directed by Greg Skidmore.

(Now, you may think that sounds niche. However, according to the programme, it offered an opportunity to combine undiscovered gems with ‘very well known’ items of repertoire. There are few places in the world besides Oxford, I humbly submit, in which any piece of sacred English choral polyphony from the 16th century could conceivably be described as ‘well known’.)

Anyhow, yes. I digress. The concert (since you were wondering) was excellent.

… and the post-concert drinks were excellent, too. Not only because they gave me a chance to catch up with the fine old bass who’d invited me, but also because our hosts were serving The Wine Society’s Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne.

As soon as I saw the label, I realised the aforementioned how to buy cialis on line fine old bass wasn’t going to be the only dear friend with whom I’d be reunited that night. Indeed, in my enthusiasm to snaffle a glass I may have knocked over an old lady or two. Never mind. See, I’ve had this wine before. And it’s very, very good.

And the kicker? It’s £5.50. Let me spell that out. FIVE AND A HALF OF YOUR BRITISH POUNDS.

Being relatively low in alcohol (10.5%) it’s perfect for convivial quaffing. It’s clean and verdant. A snap of spring in your mouth. Like crunching raw fresh peas straight from the pod.

And it goes down a treat, let me tell you. Whilst not perhaps quite as swooningly polyphonic as the repertoire of I Dedicati, it is a delight to drink. And is, I daresay, destined to appeal to a rather broader audience.

So should you find yourself throwing a party — for Oxonian polyphonists or otherwise — look no further.

Rating ????
ABV 10.5%
Price £5.50 from The Wine Society