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Showing posts from 2016

LUX Magazine award

I had not heard of this publication until I was told that I had been nominated for one of their 2016 Food & Drink Awards. Apparently, LUX is a 'monthly magazine giving you a glamorous glimpse into the world of all things luxurious'.

So, it is official, our wines are luxurious. 

I'm not sure that I am entirely comfortable with this moniker though. Cambridge Dictionary defines 'luxurious' as 'very comfortable and expensive' and 'giving great pleasure'. I'm on board with the second of these and, whilst 'comfortable' is not a word I would normally associate with wine, I can work with that too. However, I do take issue with the word 'expensive'. 

If someone can tell me where I could go (in the UK or anywhere with similar taxes) to find a wine of the quality of, say, Chateau Juvenal's extremely pleasurable and, possibly even very comfortable, 2015 Ventoux Blanc 'Ribes de Vallat' for under £12, please let me know and I will…

En Primeur - is there still a market in the UK?

It's EP season, the time when merchants send out offers for wines which, in the main, have not yet been bottled. Prices are a little confusing to novices, priced without duty or VAT so the trick is to add £25 then divide by ten to reach the per bottle price (although an allowance should be made for onward delivery).

I had thought that Bordeaux had killed off much of the EP market. The outrageous opening prices demanded by some chateaux certainly slowed things down; I know The Big Red Wine Company is not a reliable gauge, given that I work with just one Claret producer, but in 2009, pre-shipment sales of Cahors estate Chateau du Cedre were more impressive than those of Chateau Teyssier.

So why should anyone buy EP? Traditionally, price and availability were the reasons. If you want a particular wine in a particular vintage at the best price, your best bet is to throw your hat in the ring at the earliest opportunity. Wine prices tend to go only in one direction and, as availability …

Herts wine society tasting

An interesting brief: a selection of big red wines with a couple of whites thrown in for good measure. What does that mean? With a generous budget, I decided to interpret it as special occasion wines and took along a Champagne, a couple of whites (Rhone and Burgundy) and pairs of red wines (Rhone, Italy, South-West France) finishing off with a magnum of Mourvedre.

The Michel Rocourt Champagne got things off to a good start: quite mature and very soft. The Raymond Usseglio Cotes du Rhone Blanc (2014) was received with more mixed reviews, a couple of people admitting they simply do not 'get' white Rhones. The Joblot Givry En Veau (2010) was more popular: classic white Burgundy which was compared with Meursault except, inevitably, this one was better priced.

The first red pair saw a wave of enthusiasm for Chateau Juvenal Ventoux 'Ribes de Vallat' (2014) which showed that this vintage, tricky for some, was capable of producing some delicious and very drinkable wines. There…

Monte Rosola - a testament to good wine making

How does a bottle of wine made from vines of only four years old taste twelve years on? It's a geeky sort of question to ask and one which only real wine nuts would be (or should be) remotely interested in examining but, last night, having sold a couple of cases recently, I decided to try Monte Rosola's2004 Crescendo, a pure Sangiovese wine made at a tiny estate between Volterra and San Gimignano.

This is an estate that owes its existence to Gottfried Schmitt, a retired executive who wanted a place in the sun and he chose a truly idyllic spot in the Tuscan hills just outside Volterra, eventually persuading Alberto Antonini, the renowned oenologist, to work with him. However, I'm getting ahead of things: that wasn't until 2008. In 2004, the vines had been planted only four years, an age when vines are deemed capable of producing wine but quality is rarely a word that would come into the same sentence. However, there were only two hectares planted in total at that time s…

Serradenari 2006 Barolo

At almost ten years' old, it was to be hoped that, at last, this classic Barolo would be fit to drink. I can't remember how long ago the last bottle was opened but that certainly wasn't ready with tannins effectively masking the fruit.

That's all to be expected, of course. This is Barolo, of course, but not just any Barolo. It's from the classic, backward, ultra long-lived 2006 vintage and wines from parts of La Morra (Roggeri is another sub-zone to be included in this generalisation) were fantastically tannic. Abrasion in youth can, of course, mellow if the upbringing is handled well.

Now the wine tells a different story. From the outset, the nose is more revealing. Classic Nebbiolo aromas but, finally, rich and giving. This all follows through to the palate where the tannins are undeniable but no longer bullying the fruit into submission.

A review from 2012 reads: "This elegant Barolo delivers both intensity and complexity thanks to its pure berry aromas a…

One more EP offer: Bordeaux

Bordeaux 2015Don't let anyone tell you anything different: 2015 was a fabulous vintage in Bordeaux (also, the Rhone, Burgundy, Piedmont…). Indeed, unlike these other regions, it was realistically the only great vintage for red wines since 2010 which is why we haven't offered anything since then. Of course, plenty of good wines have been made in the interim but with the market how it is these days, there has been little incentive to buy and no reason to offer these wines. Not so 2015; if you like Bordeaux then this is a vintage to buy, subject to personal preferences and prices.The Maltus empireWe have been working with Jonathan Maltus since 1998 and have some experience of his earlier vintages so it has been fascinating to watch this workaholic develop one of the most stunning portfolios of the right bank. Many will know that I am not a big lover of Bordeaux but I always find room for Jonathan's wines which are softer and fleshier than many, always …

Italian wine offers - En Primeur Part II

Italy - mostly PiedmontOur recent trip to Piedmont was highly successful. The new wines from Nada Giuseppe and Fabrizio Battaglino were, as expected, wines we wanted to buy by the car load (there was little room for air in the car coming back!) but we also visited Filippo Broccardo whose 2012s are extremely drinkable and, new to us, Andrea Bosco of Bosco Agostino.Fabrizio BATTAGLINOFollowing his trip to the UK last year, there was an understandable surge of interest in Fabrizio's wines and some vintages are now sold out or have just a few bottles remaining. Fortunately, the next vintage to come along is 2013 which is fabulous (we already have some stocks of the 2013 Nebbiolo d'Alba which has been very well received). However, for Fabrizio, 2012 was also a great year, so much so that he decided to make a Roero Riserva which is a richer, fuller wine than the fruit-driven 2012, one for ageing.WineCase size£/case IBEquivalent per bottle DPList price per bot…