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7:00am Saturday 18th May 2013 in Lifestyle
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris celebrates the 100th year of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with some fragrant tipples.
Floral notes from the vine
A national treasure that has reached its 100th anniversary, petal power will be out in force to toast the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (May 21 to 25) centenary celebrations.
During Flower Show week, newcomers Cloudy Bay and Marks & Spencer will be enticing green fingers into their spectacular gardens, and thirsty spectators may even be rewarded with a taste of the terroir.
And for a shot of colour from Down Under, Trailfinders will be highlighting the Aussie landscape and planting itself among the 15 Show Gardens, 11 Fresh Gardens and eight Artisan Gardens.
To chime with the explosion of colour, scent and imaginative flower power, here are some fragrant bouquets to evoke the glorious greenery.
The taste of freshly picked berries can surge in a fruity cocktail and Belvedere Black Raspberry Vodka, Poland (£34.65 70cl, www.thewhiskyexchange.com) is tightly packed with succulent berries, enhanced by unctuous notes of raspberries.
With this in mind, here's a summer cocktail to showcase this silky smooth spirit.
:: Black Raspberry Julep
50ml Belvedere Black Raspberry, six fresh raspberries, 15ml simple syrup, handful of fresh mint
Half fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the vodka, raspberries, syrup and mint, then stir. Strain into a highball glass half-filled with crushed ice. Top with crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint and a raspberry.
The creative team behind Spanish cava brand Codorniu have introduced a limited edition Codorniu Brut NV, Spain (£6.99 from £8.99 until May 22, Tesco) with a pretty pastel mosaic design.
Inspired by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, it's a lovely bubbly for tipplers impressed by the artistry and flair on view.
And for a floral twist, a dash of L'Esprit De June, France (£36.95, 70cl, www.harrods.com) in the cava will create a decadent concoction.
A French liqueur made from a bouquet of vine flowers such as ugni blanc, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, the sweet, sensory explosion unites white stone fruits with cherry-blossom, strawberries and violet for a compelling finish.
Fittingly decorated with anemones, Champagne Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose, France (£42.20 while offer lasts, www.ocado.com) will inspire horticulturists with a penchant for Japanese gardens.
The colour of cherry blossom, Blason Rose has delicious depth of flavour with a delicate rose scented nose and a seductive balance of red berry fruits on the finish... a sophisticated sparkler to enjoy with your significant other in a quiet, peaceful place.
Floriculture and impressive sprays of blooms are all part of the charm of the Great Pavilion and a pretty little white such as Saleta Moscatel-Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Spain (£6.75, www.thewinesociety.com) captures the vitality inside the marquee. Soft and fragrant with succulent peachy fruit, hints of orange blossom and refreshing grassy notes from the splash of sauvignon blanc give the wine a lively, crisp finish.
Making its debut, Marks & Spencer will be among the exhibitors in the Grand Pavilion hoping the reconstruction of its cut flower farms in Kenya will leave a lasting impression.
To wish them well, Giardini Veneto Tai Pinot Grigio 2012, Italy (£6.49, Marks & Spencer) is a surprisingly interesting light white wine at 9.5% abv. The perfect lunchtime tipple, it doesn't scrimp on flavour despite the lower alcohol level and the lively fruits of the loom are apple dominant with a limey finish and subtle, spicy aromas.
With its outstanding soils, sunny climate and diverse range of shiraz, what better way to toast Australian travel specialists Trailfinders than with a full-bodied red from fourth generation winemakers, McGuigan.
Trailfinders will be hoping its collaboration with long-term partner Fleming's Nurseries will bring home another medal and McGuigan Handmade Shiraz 2008, Langhorne Creek, South Australia (£19.99, Majestic) is a fitting choice.
A gold medal winner at the International Wine Challenge 2010, this silky soft shiraz is bursting with ripe, black cherries, a generous bouquet of wild fruits of the forest and hints of plum and subtle spice on the lingering finish. Tempting now, this beautifully crafted wine can be cellared for more than ten years.
Synonymous with Marlborough sauvignon blanc, Cloudy Bay introduced a whole new generation of wine lovers to its pungent, nettly style and The Cloudy Bay Discovery Garden will be recreating a slice of the famous terroir that produces these vines.
However, for a tropical contrast, why not embrace the 'Discovery' theme and try Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand (£19.99, Tesco)?
A rich and exotic fruit basket with a wealth of flavour and hints of hazelnuts on the subtle, oaky finish, it flows from the glass nearly as fast as the Wairau River - the inspiration behind the Discovery Garden's streams.
:: Best buy
Summer soft drink ... If you're counting the calories, slimmers have a lot to be grateful for with alcohol-free wine-styles such as Sorelle Sauvignon Blanc (£3.59, Tesco) and Sorelle Rose (£3.59, Tesco). Light and refreshing with 30 calories per standard 125ml glass, Sorelle promises a guilt-free indulgence with its zingy sauvignon blanc, along with a floral rose to imbibe the summer spirit.
:: Liquid news
Rum delicious, from Mauritius... Named after a rare bird that flies above the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, Pink Pigeon Vanilla Infused Mauritian Rum (£29.95, 70cl, 40% abv, www.bbr.com) offers an intriguing taste of this tropical paradise. A shimmering pale gold, this single estate rum is infused with Bourbon vanilla, and made from sugar grown on the Medine Estate, the oldest distillery on the island. Delicately spiced, the smooth, sweet flavours can be enjoyed over ice, in a cocktail, or drizzled over a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
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