Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Chateaux Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Angelus & Pavie

En primeur 2015 has made it to the home straight this week as the last remaining wines of the vintage are finally released.  Of particular note is Chateau Montrose, an estate whose claim to be the finest in St Estephe is now firmly established.  The incredible levels of investment at this property are paying off with wines of ever greater precision, intensity and complexity, and Montrose continues to be priced below neighbour and rival Cos d’Estournel.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A bit more Bordeaux

The En Primeur wheels have finally creaked into motion over the last couple of days with a flurry of big name releases – out prior to the big Bordeaux wine fair in Hong Kong next week.

Chateau d’Armailhac marks the first major Pauillac and the first of the Mouton-Rothschild stable to offer their 2015.  A crisp and red-fruited claret, we have stock available at £310/cs.  Chateau Clerc Milon – the other Mouton-owned Pauillac – joined it’s sister property in releasing this morning.  Very little stock seems to have been released but we expect to have some available – in 6-packs – at £240 very soon.  Clerc is a far bigger, richer wine than d’Armailhac, markedly Pauillac in style and a success of the vintage.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bordeaux 2015 - More and more releases...

Whilst we’re still waiting for the Cru Classe estates to break ranks in a meaningful way the last few days have seen a number of releases, including wines from the Chateaux Pichon Baron, Leoville Barton and Lynch Bages stables – suggesting more significant releases may be imminent. In addition, we have sold out of Chateau Angludet and a number of other wines, such as Gazin and Coutet are moving into a low stock situation.

Chateau Liot has long provided the Sauternes entry point into our range, with great value wines and consistent quality. 2015 is an outstanding sweet wine vintage and we’re delighted to be offering Liot at the same en primeur price as the 2013 release - £80 per 12 halves.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

4 more releases have been added to our offer of 2015 Bordeaux En Primeur

Chateau Gazin - £480/cs (12) – is one of the biggest names thus far to release its 2015 to the market. In recent years, Gazin’s winemaking team have been refining the style at this famous Pomerol chateau and I’ve noticed the difference as the wine has been quietly out-performing itself and moving up the rankings at our annual blind tasting in Southwold. The wine is far less rustic than vintages of old and the tannins have a much greater degree of polish and finesse. 2015 is a year that favours Pomerol and Gazin is shot through with a delicious seam of mineral freshness. There are only a few cases available, though, so please don’t sit on your hands it you’re keen to have some in the cellar.

From St Estephe’s famous 2nd growth Calon Segur, Chateau Capbern is thoroughly delicious, a screaming success of the vintage and sure to be one of its best value wines. The sweet, ripe, blackcurrant characters really capture the fruit purity and succulence that define 2015 Bordeaux. This is an enormous amount of wine for £140/cs (12).

Wine Advisor Masterclass - Saturday 23rd April

On Saturday April 23rd we welcomed 40 guests into our Bristol cellars for our second ‘Wine Advisor Masterclass’. The aim of the event was to dig deeper into the world of wine, in a fun and engaging manner. We had four of our most knowledgeable wine advisors on hand to give presentations on wine topics of their choosing. We also welcomed our friends at the Arch House Deli in Clifton, who provided us with their usual fantastic selection of cheeses.

For Adam Simpson, our lead account manager, the decision of which region he wanted to discuss was an easy one, he’s been a fan of the Rhone Valley in France since he can remember! He opened up with a creamy, rich, mouth-filling Rhone Valley white, from his favourite estate in the Rhone, Domaine Mourchon, an estate he has visited on numerous occasions. Moving on to the reds, he opened the Domaine Andre Aubert Le Devoy, from Grignan-les-Adhemar, the appellation formerly known as the Coteaux-du-Tricastin. Returning to his favourite estate, we tasted the Domaine de Mourchon Cotes du Rhone Villages Seguret Grande Reserve 2012, a rich, full-bodied, southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Saving the best for last we tasted the Domaine Rostaing Cote Rotie Ampodium 2011, this was possibly my favourite wine of the afternoon, and at £45 per bottle, so it should be!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur - Release Update

The en primeur releases are starting to gather pace this week as familiar names and old favourites are beginning to be released to the market.

Margaux is an undeniable star of the 2015 vintage and we’re pleased to be offering one of the appellation’s most stylish Cru Bourgeois in Chateau Labegorce. The svelte texture and sweet blackberry fruit give a modern but classy rendition of the vintage at £200/cs. Alongside this we have one of the UK’s favourite Margaux wines in Chateau Angludet. The estate seem to be following a wider theme amongst the chateaux in reducing the number of cases they release en primeur. We are still trying to buy additional stock but please contact us if you’re keen to add Angludet to your 2015 purchases. Angludet’s 2015 gets an impressive 17-/20 from Jancis Robinson MW and the price is £215/cs (12).

Fronsac seems to have been coming up the inside track in recent years, quietly over-achieving and providing claret lovers with some serious wines at very fair prices. This year our top pick is Chateau Dalem, a particularly richly-structured example, full-bodied, with succulent fruit and a lifted, juicy finish. Unlike many Fronsacs this year, this is clearly built with the ambition to age, and I’d recommend stashing it in the cellar for 3-4 years from release. Dalem 2015 delivers a lot of wine for £145/cs (12).

Joining the ever popular Chateau Cissac (£100/cs), Chateau Chasse Spleen was released earlier this morning. The 2015 vintage of this wine has a greater degree of polish than we’ve seen in previous releases and is much less rustic in character. The price is £215/cs (12).

Finally, one of the best sweet wines I tasted other than Chateau d’Yquem has been released. 2015 delivered near-perfect conditions for noble rot and Chateau Coutet is blossom-scented and elegant, with a citric edge and a scintillating balance. A wine of delicacy and poise, I rated it 18/20 and will find it extremely hard not to hand over £150 for a case of 12 halves – world class wine and great value.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bordeaux 2015 Vintage Report

A complex set of wines that, at their best, are entirely seductive and from a similar mould to the delicious 1985s.

Last week’s tasting of 2015 marked my 10th consecutive year of en primeur tasting in Bordeaux so, after 5 days and 400+ wines, you might expect some sort of authoritative opinion on the vintage. However, one thing I’ve learned from a decade of barrel tastings is that 5 day’s of sipping and slurping is far too little time to pass any sort of judgement on the product of a year’s work by a vigneron. These are wines we aspire to tuck away in our cellars for upwards of a decade; to expect to understand them after less than 6 months in barrel rather misses the point.

The wisest comment I’ve heard about 2015 is that it is not like tasting a single vintage and more like two or three that happen to have fallen within the same 12 month period. I wish I was clever enough to have said that myself! 2015 has produced a complex yet fascinating set of wines, the best of which I found utterly charming and which I’m entirely prepared to believe share much in common with the delightful 1985s. As ’85 has been a favourite vintage for claret lovers for as long as I’ve been drinking Bordeaux, the 2015s seem to be well worth your attention.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

Casa Silva Tasting – Thursday 17th February 2016

Last night we welcomed Johnny Bingham from Casa Silva wines into our cellars for a fantastic tasting of 11 wines from the current Casa Silva range, including a few that we’ve never stocked before!

Most importantly, we welcomed 47 guests into our cellars for a sold-out tasting in the first of our new style of supplier tastings (look out for the Chapoutier tasting on Wednesday March 16th). Everyone had a fantastic time and remarked about how knowledgeable Johnny was, how complex and interesting the wines were, and how delicious the food was.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Burgundy 2014 Vintage Report - Matthew Hemming MW

In 2015 I twice visited the Cote d’Or to taste the 2014 vintage.  In mid-September our arrival coincided with an opening of the heavens that saw those pickers late to bring in the last of the crop soaked to their skins and labouring in soil that quickly turned to mud.  Visit number two, started with crisp Autumn sunshine but finished cold, grey and miserable and I was glad of my coat and hat.  All that said, I left with the impression that the sun is finally starting to shine once again on the golden slopes.  After a run of decidedly dismal luck, things might just be looking up for the Burgundians and the dawn began to break with the 2014 vintage.

Since 2009, Burgundy has seen an outstanding harvest in 2010, an extremely good year in 2012 and very impressive – if less uniform – vintages in 2011 and 2013.  Quality aside, however, volumes have been shockingly low, Mother Nature has delivered blow after blow to producers, even as they were reeling from the previous ‘weather event’, and the mood in many a cellar has been black to say the least.  As soon as I walked into certain cellars, particularly in Volnay and Pommard, it was obvious that there were very few barrels to be tasted.  The statistic that drove it home was that many estates lost the equivalent of an entire year’s crop – which means income - within 4 short vintages.