Wednesday, 26 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Château Vrai Caillou 2009

As you may have seen in our February catalogue, we only had 80 cases of this wine available and therefore you had to be one of the lucky few to snap it up. Fortunately for us in the office, we were able to grab a bottle amidst the rush of customers wanting to give it a try. We're sorry to report that all 80 cases have gone - and in record time! Even though we don't have any more around the cellars we still thought we'd share our thoughts on the wine and hopefully you were one of the lucky few to get your hands on a case.

From a very exclusive and limited release comes the Château Vrai Caillou from the Butte de Launay in Entre-deux-Mers, Bordeaux. This area is the highest around and produces a number of wines superior to those from the surrounding lower districts.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 1 : The Romans

by Rupert Millar

Veni, vidi, vinum
- the Romans on campaign
Life as a Roman legionary was tough. You served for a minimum of 25 years on the outer edges of empire and against violent barbarians who wished you ill. Discipline was harsh, life was cheap and the chances of surviving your full term far from guaranteed, so it’s a good thing there was wine to be had.

Everybody in the wine trade knows that it was the Roman legions that helped make European viticulture what it is today. Well, sort of anyway. Viticulture was not at all alien to the Celtic tribes of Gaul, Iberia and Helvetia and wine drinking was well established before the arrival of the legions.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Crown Estates Dry Tokaji 2011

The producer here, Crown Estates, dates back over 350 years and was once owned by the Hungarian Royal Family. Over this period they have specialised in making one of the world's most famous and sought after wine styles.

Tokaji is one of those wines that everyone needs to try at least once in their life. It's rich, decadent, delicious, luxurious and just plain fantastic - really, the superlatives can go on forever. It's a style of dessert wine that has sated the palates of kings, popes and emperors for centuries... But as the name suggests, this is the 'dry' version. It's made in the same region, from the same grape, but there is one key difference: the dessert wines have been afflicted with botrytis. Also known as noble rot, botrytis is a mould that attacks the grapes, weakening the skin, allowing the water to be evaporated out of the grapes. While this may sound bad it's helps to produce the very intense flavours of Tokaji and other rich and wonderful dessert wines around the world.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Some thoughts on Pinot Noir

By Madeline Mehalko

I had a bottle of some unusually rich and ripe Alsatian Pinot Noir the other evening from Caves Hunawihr (who make our Averys Selection Alsace) – it very much reminded me of some of the better examples of the grape coming out of Romania these days with its sweet cherry fruit, smooth tannins and bright acidity. It got me thinking about this oft revered variety, precocious and finicky by nature, and how it can show such a wide array of different expressions around the world while always remaining unmistakably Pinot. Given a glass of Vosne-Romanée, say, from a cool vintage and a glass of plush, voluptuous Kiwi Pinot they would be markedly different in colour, aromas, weight and mouthfeel, and yet still bear the trademark stamp of Pinot Noir.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Los Vascos

I could not resist being a pioneer in Chile and giving a challenge
to my team. We chose the place for its unique location and land
- Baron Eric de Rothschild

Baron Eric de Rothschild
Today was a bit of a treat for us as we got to try two wines from the Viña Los Vascos range. We often feature Chilean wines in our catalogues and our buyers are always telling us how great they are, so we thought it was time to try some of them ourselves!

Now, these wines don't come from any ordinary estate on the other side of the world. Owned by Domaine Barons de Rothschild [Lafite] (DBR) since 1988, Viña Los Vascos had a reputation for fine wine (long before the new owners stepped in) that dates back their 18th century foundations. The wines produced by DBR in Bordeaux are among the finest in the world boasting the highly acclaimed labels of Château Duhart-Milon, Château L’Evangile and Château Lafite Rothschild on their extensive CV. With that level of quality and expectation behind their Chilean stable, these wines can't fail to be good!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Wine and Warfare : An Introduction

by Rupert Millar

US soldiers sample in the Pacific Theatre. Soldiers
on campaign can proficient in finding home comforts.
Through the ages, soldiers on campaign, whoever they were, wherever they were, whenever they fought, have tended to alleviate the boring bits with the ubiquitous pastimes of: sleeping, sex, thinking of home and loved ones and drinking. Over the next few weeks and months we'll bring you another article on the inextricable history of alcohol and how it has been employed as a cause, comrade and cure for war.

Just like their aquatic and even revolutionary counterparts, every army has its drinking traditions and due to their proximity to its source, alcohol plays a much more prominent role in army life than it does in the navy.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

From the Tasting Room: Burgundy En Primeur 2012 - Part Two

So here we are, part two of our run through of some picks from Burgundy's 2012 vintage.

As discussed in last week's post, Burgundy's 2012 vintage really didn't start out too well due to the terrible weather destroying large swathes of grapes. However, the weather miraculously turned around mid-July and the region enjoyed some great weather - much to the relief of the suffering growers! Had it not been for the overdue sun there wouldn't be anything for us to try. Fortunately for all concerned, these samples turned up in the office and we had the pleasure of tasting them.