Join us in a share of a Hospices de Beaune barrel of 2016 red Burgundy, which when bottled will have your name, your newborn's name, your company logo, or your favorite quote, etc, on the label.
The 2016 vintage in Burgundy was really a game of two halves. When we visited in June 2016 growers all seemed to have long faces. Some had been hit by hail, some by frost (or both), and many were now fighting moisture and heat-induced disease pressure in their vineyards. But the second half was a reminder why the Burgundians remain so stoic as they do. Perseverance through the difficulties of spring and early summer were repaid with clearer, fine weather in late summer and autumn.
The Hospices de Beaune tasting the morning before the auction in mid-November is for most (including us) the very first chance to try a new vintage – at just a few weeks of age. It’s a very difficult time to taste wines so young, but in doing this same tasting, of the same cuvées, every year on the same Saturday, you start to build up some experience in doing it.
We have another really awesome selection of New Arrivals for you to consider. As always, these lists get picked over pretty quickly, so I would urge you to at least make a quick scan of the list for things that might appeal. There are plenty of fine wine staples, but some once-only rarities – and you will kick yourself if you look at this list too late.
We begin with an unusual selection of rare old Australian wines. Ordinarily a problem area – not because Australian wines don’t age, but because it is really tricky to buy with good provenance. These have come out of a great UK cellar, so this is you chance. From the same cellar, 1945 Clos de Tart, and 1961 Chateau Petrus are worth mentioning, as it is very rare nowadays to see these with the assurance of long term proper cellarage.
Rare & small collection from Domaine Audiffred
Henri Audiffred runs a 5-hectare estate in Vosne-Romanée. He took up the reins in 2003, and began working full time at his own estate in 2007 after 14 years working at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. He has since applied what he learned at The Domaine in vineyard cultivation to apply to his own estate. Vinification is quite different however – his search for the natural expression of the terroir has led him to adopt 100% de-stemming, fermentation with natural yeasts following a brief cold soak, and then only used barrels are used for elevage. The result is wines with a kind of direct authenticity, and no make up.
A small collection of Denis Bachelet which you shouldn't miss
Although Burgundy is not big, there are many wine producer and some remain hidden. It is simply because of their small production and the limits of distribution. Sometimes they just don’t have enough wines to show the whole world. On the other hand, it is very exciting to taste a bottle that you may not know about it, and then you just fall in love with it!
I am very lucky that I got the chance to visit the Domaine Denis Bachelet during my last visit to Burgundy. His wines are so pure, so elegant. It reminds me the feeling of first love. It is simply pure and sweet…
A hidden gem in Burgundy
To celebrate the Bourgogne week ( BIVB ) in the coming month, I am delighted to introduce one of my favourite wines, Chateau de la Maltroye - Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Blanc 'Clos du Chateau' Monopole, to you.
“The Château de Maltroye is a wonderfully restored bourgeois house. Built in the 18th century over the burnt-out ruin of a previous (15th century) building; the beautiful vaulted cellars date from that older house. The only parallels in Burgundy to such a house – immaculately and artistically presented – would be the ‘statement’ headquarters of Jadot or Bouchard Père. It is a real compliment to the current owner, Jean-Pierre Cornut.” According to Bill Nanson’s excellent Burgundy-Report.
Joh. Jos. Prüm estate (often just called “J.J.”) is situated in the Middle Mosel valley, around the 50th latitude, i.e. in one of the most northern wine-growing areas of the world. The estate today encompasses around 22 hectares (about 55 acres) and their vineyards are planted with 100 % Riesling - mostly ungrafted, old vines.
J.J.Prüm estate aims to express the soil and climate conditions in its wines as authentic as possible, every vintage. Ideal harvest time, as little treatment in the cellar as possible, use of wild yeast and a rather late bottling characterize their wines which need their time to open up, but then show a unique interplay between fruitiness, minerality and acidity and are rather low in alcohol.
And couldn’t we all use some of that!
We are quite enamoured by the quality and style of boutique maison Champagne Ellner. There is increased zip and transparency in the wines due to no malolactic fermentation.
Quality was affirmed just this month by the Wine Spectator, who rated 350 Champagnes, and put examples of Champagne Ellner in both their Vintage and non-Vintage Recommendation short lists. Every other Champagne on the recommendation lists is more expensive than Ellner!
This doesn’t surprise us. We chose to work with them because we were impressed by the quality of their wine, and the reason you may not have heard of them is that they are not spending your money on slick marketing or sponsorship. Nice.
2015 Burgundy En Primeur
2015 was something of a textbook vintage for the reds. Tasting in Burgundy cellars in June and November 2016, the ‘15s were a real pleasure, often difficult to spit out, they offer so much pleasure. Stylistically I would say they are somewhere between the opulence of 2009, and the minerality, precision and freshness of the 2010. They are rather grand, fruit-laden wines, but their opulence has not tipped them over into simplicity. Their complexity – tasting in barrel – is generally open and fragrant. The reds will have broad appeal, to hardcore Burgundy enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike. This is a must year for laying down serious top level wines, but it is also a year to in which to stock up on lower level wines for everyday drinking.
Denis Mortet Gevrey Chambertin 'Mes Cinq Terroirs'
Why did I choose this wine? Because I have had it so many times, I know it so well, and it has never disappointed me.
It’s a safe choice for lunch with clients, or a drink with friends. The price is affordable, and when you taste it, you understand it easily.
Gevrey-Chambertin 'Mes Cinq Terroirs' from Domaine Denis Mortet – made from five different plots in Gevrey-Chambertin, has only been made in four vintages – 2004, 2005, 2013 and 2014.
Mature Leroy offer
Today we offer you a superb selection of mature wines from ‘Leroy’. We often use this illustrious name when describing wines that really come from two different sources. Maison Leroy is perhaps the greatest négocient in Burgundy in terms of the extraordinary quality of its sourcing over the decades. Wines are often released on their anniversary – 30, 40, 50 years after vintage. In many cases they have been the source of some of the very best mature Burgundies I have tasted.
Domaine Leroy debuted with the 1988 vintage, Lalou-Bize Leroy’s eponymous biodynamic estate. The style here is pure with low-yield intensity, with a luxurious texture derived from her meticulous approach.
Riesling crème de la crème - the auction wines
Imagine going to Burgundy, tasting from every barrel of your favourite top grower’s grand cru, and saying “okay, that one. It’s the best barrel of the lot. Bottle that one for me.” Let’s say in fact that it is just a half barrel, selected away for separate bottling – Roumier’s best little piece of Bonnes-Mares, made from a small patch of old vines that every year seem to yield something particularly special.
Would that appeal? How much more do you think that would cost you?
An exceptional and large parcel of wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
It is not often that we have the opportunity to offer a single-owner parcel like this one of wines from the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. All have been stored in ideal conditions at Crown Wine Cellars, and inspected by us prior to this offer. There is something here for everybody, including whole pristine original wooden cases, loose bottles, large formats, mature drinking vintages, and a good selection of Montrachet too.
A recent trip to New Zealand was a salient reminder of how rewarding and interesting it is to taste fine expressions of grape varieties from ‘new’ regions outside the variety’s classic roots. With that thought in mind today I went through our list to find examples of syrah, pinot noir, and cabernet ‘by another mother’ than Rhone, Burgundy or Bordeaux.
These examples, I feel, exceed the concept of mimicking the classics, and offer something new, something different, at the same quality level as their varietal forebears.
Carl von Schubert New Release
We are delighted to present to you the latest release of wines from Carl von Schubert at the Maximin Grünhaus estate in the Mosel (Ruwer), Germany, shipped by us directly from their cellars.
This estate is right at the front rank of fine German Riesling – one of the leading estates for the last century, and the vineyards here are well known back to the Middle Ages.
Note that they make a superb Pinot Noir (in German Spätburgunder). Our last stock of this (2012 vintage) sold out quickly.
Also note that for Riesling 2015 is receiving wide critical praise with many putting it in the league of 2005 and other absolute top vintages. Definitely one to buy.