Friday, 28 March 2014

The World Relative to Averys : Part One - Napoleon

* Averys, founded in 1793, was already 11 years old when Napoleon came to power in 1804.

* Often considered a short man, he was actually 5’6” - the average height of that time.

* This painting, by Jacques-Louis David, shows the crossing of the Alps in 1800 on his way to war.

* A fan of the fizz, Napoleon is believed to have said: "Champagne! In victory one deserves it; in defeat one needs it" ... and quite right too!

* Napoleon often visited Champagne. It's no surprise to think that the many victories his troops enjoyed were toasted with the region's finest.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Top 5 Wine Regions to Visit : #1 - Dynamite Douro Valley

By Sarah Turner

There was a time not so long ago when if you pulled up at a winery wanting to taste wine, you’d receive a shrug and a point in the direction of the local wine shop. These days, wineries are much more welcoming (especially the ones we work with!) and often you can drink, eat and even sleep there to fully immerse yourself in the wine experience. Topping my list of favourite wine regions to visit is the beautiful Douro Valley.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

From the Tasting Room : Vondeling Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Today's wine is a South African Sauvignon Blanc. Normally when thoughts turn to New World Sauvignons, it's all about New Zealand, but there are definitely others out there that are worth a look.

This is a wine that we've had our eyes on for a while now due to the producer's reputation. Any winery that comes recommended from the Roux brothers has to be good! In fact, they're such big fans that a number of wines sold at Le Gavroche are from Vondeling - very high praise indeed - and Averys have been stocking these wines since 2008. With that level of acclaim and fan-following, we simply had to open a bottle.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 3 : The Legend of Pedro Ximénez

By Rupert Millar

17th century musketeer
Remaining in the Low Countries after the last installment, this is a tale clouded in myth.

It concerns a grape variety and possibly a man too – the name? Pedro Ximénez…or maybe Siemens…or Ximen; one immediately senses trouble with the story’s veracity.

Having not indulged the Shiraz/Syrah Roman myth let us indulge two possibilities here, particularly as both involve tales of military conquest and some of Europe’s most interesting dynastic wrangling.

The most far-fetched story holds that the grape originated in the Canary Islands, made its way to the Rhine by means largely unexplained and was then brought back to Spain by either a Spanish soldier or a sailor – we shall imagine he was a soldier. All in all, an extremely fortuitous circle of events.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

From the Tasting Room : Averys Special Cuvée NV Champagne

Christophe Roques Boizel working
away in the cellars in the 1960's
It's been a while since we had a Champagne to try so we thought we'd give our very own label fizz a try. The last one we tried was actually our first review, the Louis Roederer NV, so it'll be fun to see how our Averys label measures up!

We have stocked this product for 60 years now - a truly remarkable feat. Considering that most of the UK's wine merchants aren't even that old themselves, for us to have a product perform so consistently is a testament to the wine, the blend and the producers behind the label.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

From the Tasting Room : d'Arenburg 'The Cadenzia' 2008

“(D’Arenberg) has kept its almost 100-year-old heritage while moving into the 21st century with flair and elan … The quality of the wines is unimpeachable.” - James Halliday Wine Companion 2013

If you're looking for a winery with heritage and history in Australia, this is one of the first places you turn to. Situated in McLaren Vale, the initial 25 hectare vineyard was purchased in 1912 by Joseph Osborn. By 1928 they had moved from growing and selling grapes to others by creating their own cellar for production. It wasn't until 1959 that the name we have come to know and love graced the labels when Francis Osborn decided to launch a new brand in honour of his mother, Francis Helena d'Arenburg. d'Arenburg wines have won multiple awards over the years and they are one of the most respected producers and families in Australian wine - which is no mean feat!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

It's not just our wines that win awards!

Last week Matt (Eggens) and I attended an awards ceremony hosted by the His Excellency the Portuguese Ambassador João de Vallera and the Association of Portuguese Wine Importers, at the Ambassador’s residence, where Averys were runners up in the Mail Order / Online category for the quality of our Portuguese range.

Cheers, Jennie Perry

P.S Remember to look up our fantastic range of Portugese wines at or drop into the Bristol Cellars and treat yourself to a few bottles.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 2 : Gin and 'Dutch Courage'

by Rupert Millar

Warfare in the 17th century. The Battle of Honnecourt in 1642
where the French Army of Champagne was destroyed by the Spanish.
Field Marshal Haig remarked once that, “men are not naturally brave”. There are many things that prepare men to face the possibility of death. Drill, discipline and the unit cohesion and morale it creates are what armies chiefly rely on but, just in case, a tot of rum works wonders too.

The historians John Keegan and Richard Holmes in their book: “Soldiers: The History of Men in Battle”, describe the onset of combat thus:

“As contact with the enemy draws nearer, anticipation

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

From the Tasting Room : Steinfeld Grüner Veltliner 2012

Grapes were grown in Austria before the Romans turned up so they must have learnt a trick or two about good winemaking and production techniques. Demand for these wines is definitely growing thanks to reviews from critics such as Hugh Johnson who said they possess "the fieriness and high flavour of the Danube”.

Austrian wines have a reputation and desirability that pushes their prices up - and quite right too! While they are a country that produces quite a lot, especially given its size, relatively little actually escapes to be enjoyed elsewhere. Riesling is still the main white grape of the country but Grüner Veltliner is rapidly forcing itself onto the scene.