Revelstoke’s Outrageously HOT Chile Offer!
Posted by richard on 3 July 2012
As many of you will know we used to be a little dismissive of many Chilean wines, accusing them of being not much more than alcoholic fruit juice. The wines tended to be rather simple and were sold in huge volumes to our rather sim…, no I’m not saying it, American friends. How things have changed! We are not too proud to hold our hands up and admit we are now very wrong. It only takes a few wonderful wines to show us the error of our ways and these two (and a half) stunning estates sum up everything that is superb about modern Chilean winemaking. Why is Chile so good? Well it works a bit like this: Chile’s vineyards are flanked by the Andes to the East and the Pacific Ocean to the West. This creates a magical climate for wine growing – cooling influences from the Ocean and a soothing wind off the mountains to keep Summer temperatures down and reduce the risk of disease. This creates near perfect conditions for gentle, slow ripening top quality grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Chile has over 100,000 hectares under vine (about the same size as Bordeaux) and is Phylloxera free. This means there is no need to graft the wine bearing vines to non wine bearing roots.
So if you thought Chile was only great for everyday drinking wines, then think again. We certainly have!!
Hacienda Araucano, Francois Lurton
Founded by the Lurton brothers in 1997 and named Araucano after Chile’s last indigenous people. Francois bought a further 200ha in the Colchagua Valley to turn this winery into one of Chile’s finest, premium operations. I love the wines – there’s something about the pure fruit flavours with finesse and elegance from the climate and terroir that makes them utterly delicious. Francois gets very excited about the different micro climates in the valley, which allows him to craft wines of great complexity. The reds are sublime and the Sauvignon fresh but for those Burgundy fans amongst you, try the Chardonnay. You’ll be amazed.
Vinedos Terra Noble
Although founded in 1993 by the Elguetta family it is only (from our point of view) since the arrival of major investment from the von Appen family in 2006 that this beautiful estate in the Maule Valley really started to flourish. With parcels in the Colchagua and Casablanca this is another stunning winery marrying new world fruit with old world finesse – a combination we get very excited about. The Carmenere is outstanding.
Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with English Wines
Posted by mark on 28 May 2012
With the Jubilee fast approaching and as we prepare to indulge in an orgy of patriotism, there is no reason not to include wine in the whole English brouhaha.
Two recent events brought this to mind. On Monday, I attended a tasting of "Natural" wines where I bumped into Virginie Joly, winemaker at one of the Loire’s greatest estates, Clos de la Coulee de Serrant. Her 2010 Savennieres was typically intense, rich and delicious but when I wickedly swallowed (some things being too good to spit out), there was a noticeable alcohol burn at the back of the throat. A quick glance at the label revealed a quite mind-boggling 15.5% alcohol. For a white wine? From the Loire?!! Maybe there’s more to this global warming lark than I had thought. Virginie had seen the shock on my face and with a Gallic shrug of resignation said "Perhaps we will have to make wine in England from now on."
Get in line, Sweetheart! New wineries are mushrooming up all over Southern England. And one of the very first was the Biddenden Vineyard in Kent which was planted by a Mr. Barnes in 1969. (Remember, at this time climate scientists were predicting the next ice age.) His loved ones, rather than do the obvious thing, which would have been to immediately cart him off to the Twilight Home for the Terminally Confused, decided to indulge his lunacy and now, 40 odd years later, they are producing award winning wines.
Indeed, the second event that brought English wines to mind was the fact that Sommelier Wine Awards this year gave a gold medal to a still English wine for the first time, and it was one from Biddenden, their Gribble Bridge 2010 Ortega (£9.95). Here’s what they had to say:
"Bright fruit flavours on a keenly priced palate gave the Sommelier Wine Awards its first English Gold. And it’s Ortega, the Germanic varietal, in the hands of Ortega specialists, Biddenden. Llight to medium in intensity on both nose and palate, this shows a "keen minerality on the nose", with "subtle almondy notes", said Marco Feraldi, Galvin la Chapelle. "Add in zesty limes, gooseberries, green apple and a touch of residual sugar and you have a perky white of note."
In addition, we also stock their Gribble Bridge 2009 Dornfelder (£9.95), a light red that can be chilled down as an alternative to rose, and their Gribble Bridge 2004 Sparkling wine (£19.95).
If you are skeptical about the joys of English wine, do come along to our Summer Tasting next Wednesday 30th at Cannizaro House where you can try them for yourself. Call me on 0208-879-1810 for more details.
If you are having a street party for the Jubilee, remember we can help out with glass loan, ice buckets and so on.
Nabygelegen, ‘Snow Mountain’ Merlot Rosé, South Africa, 2009
Posted by cecile on 01 May 2012
I was extremely fortunate to meet the delightful James McKenzie, owner of the Nabygelegen Wine Estate, in person at our Revelstoke stand during the Three Wine Men Exhibition in London last year. We had his entire portfolio of wines on show that weekend, and that’s when I fell in love with his sunny personality and his glorious range of wines. He told me that he only bought the 35ha farm (19,5ha under vine) ten years ago, but his dedication to quality and his passion for wine are obvious to all who would listen to him. He is an extremely hands-on wine producer; harvesting, marketing, receiving journalists, wine-making, organising the use of the guest-house, and planning the use of the old stables as a wine-tasting facility and restaurant. I’m tired just thinking of it.
He describes his wines as “handcrafted”, which says it all! And as you realise that his mission in life is “to create wines of character and concentration which reflect vineyard-specific terroir, to using environmentally sound techniques, to subscribe to ethical labour practices and to enthusiastically pursue upliftment in the valley”, you simply want to open a bottle and taste the result of this contagious enthusiasm for yourself.
His ‘Snow Mountain’ range was launched in 2010, out of a need for a more pronounceable name for the English market, and it was named after Sneeukop, the highest mountain peak in Wellington. The grapes are bought in from other Wellington farms, which are higher up, and therefore grow in a ‘continental climate’ and not a Mediterranean one, as do most other local wines.
And this ‘Snow Mountain’ Merlot Rosé is a perfect example of a wine from this area. There is plenty of red fruit on the nose, especially strawberries, making it a superb garden or picnic wine, but these attributes are underpinned by a lovely smoky rusticity. As you might imagine, coming from a country with such a long standing tradition of food cooked over fire in the open air, this really is ideal with barbeques, chargrilled meats and fish of all types, as well as vegetables of all descriptions, as it is not sweet. It is a Rosé made in the old French style, compared to the New World style of making wines using ripe fruits and thus creating a sweeter, fruitier, more powerful wine. This Rosé therefore remains fresh and crisp. The racy acidity adds to the freshness which makes this wine an attractive apéritif indeed. Yummy! All we need now is a little sunshine to start on that barbeque …
Available from us at Revelstoke with 10% off in a mixed case (DOWN FROM £8.75 TO £7.88!)
Domaine Clos des Rocs, Pouilly-Loché, Burgundy, 2009
Posted by cecile on 26 April 2012
The Domaine Clos des Rocs is a small but beautiful wine estate in the Burgundy area of France (7.5 hectares), located across the AOC villages of Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Loché (in the ‘Les Mûres’ area, which gives the highest quality wines). The Domaine has some great plots of 60-year-old vines and in 2002, Olivier Giroux jumped at the chance to buy it. In a short space of time, he has established himself as one of the most exciting growers in the area.
Born into a family of passionate winemakers for more than 7 generations, Olivier is now in the process of turning the soil organic and creating intense and pure wines with oak very judiciously used. This young winemaker spends all his time and energy producing wines with character and a real identity, truly showcasing what the ‘terroir’ is all about.
Olivier’s Pouilly-Loché ‘Les Mûres’ 2009 is a perfect example of his dedication to quality. The character of this wine is unique, with a lemon and mineral nose, well balanced with good complexity and a lovely long finish. Wonderfully aromatic with citrus, melon and vanilla notes. The palate is just as juicy and full, with perfectly balanced oak spice to back up the delicate tropical fruit flavours. Excellently made and well crafted wine. This stunning Chardonnay shows great ageing potential. Served at 14°C, this light golden elixir will accompany shellfish and fish in sauce as well as goat cheese to perfection. Bronze medal winner at the IWC. This is a domaine to follow very closely in the coming years. Yours for £17.95, or £16.16 in a mixed case, with free local delivery.
Serving wine at the right temperature
Posted by cecile on 11 April 2012
Most people worry about getting fat. Me, I worry about the temperature of wine. Sad I know. Don’t get me wrong, I also worry about putting on weight, but then again when you know that a glass of champagne is less than 80 calories, you quickly stop worrying! My main concern is thus at which temperature wine is served. The problem is that too often we serve white wines too cold and reds not cool enough.
When you serve wine too cold, you are masking most smells and flavours, as well as altering the wine’s texture. Similarly, serve a wine too warm, and you’ll notice that the alcohol becomes far too obvious and will throw your wine out of balance. The fastest way to chill a wine is to place your bottle for 20 minutes in an half-filled bucket with ice, topped up with cold water; otherwise, to leave your bottle for 2 hours in the fridge will do the trick too. However, please please please, do not EVER place it in the freezer! Wines do not like drastic fluctuations in temperature, and you would most definitely kill those lovely flavours and aromas, and that would be a real shame. Besides, over-chilling wine makes the cork difficult to remove because the wax on a cork adheres to the bottle. However, not chilling a bottle of fizz enough and you risk the cork popping too soon … it’s literally a matter of health and safety here, as the cold temperature helps lowering the immense pressure inside a bottle of bubbly and makes it safe enough to open. Too warm? Too cold? I warned you this temperature business was mind-boggling!
While there are no strict rules about temperature, this is pretty much what seems to work:
• Well chilled, but still warmer than expected: non-vintage champagne, sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, rosé, many Spanish and Italian whites, unwooded white blends and manzanilla and fino sherry should all be served chilled between between 8° and 10°C (46°-50°F), and not colder!
• Cold-ish: vintage champagne, full-body whites such as Chardonnay, Semillon, Viognier, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, reds such as Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, and most sweet wines will all benefit from being served around 11°-15° (52°-59°F).
• “Room temperature”, or least what it used to be a century or so ago before central heating, ie 16°C-18°C (59°-64°F), which is actually a lot cooler than expected: medium to full-bodied reds and fortified wines.
Now try it for yourselves. And if you do not own a wine thermometer already, then why not treat yourselves or someone you love to our luxury sommelier set? Prepare the bottle, open the wine and check the temperature with this beautiful (and truly useful) gift set from Screwpull. A real bargain at only £25.
Bodegas Malumbres, Tinto Criado en Roble 2007, Navarra
Posted by cecile on 19 March 2012
That Spain could achieve such a swift turn around in quality of its wines can be put down to the concerted efforts of its wine producers to get out of the bulk-wine market. A good example of this new philosophy can be found in the Bodegas Malumbres from the lower Navarra region of Spain.
Bodegas Vicente Malumbres is a second generation family business and is indeed a specialist winery with strong work ethics: they will not produce in large quantities, nor will they make lower-range wines. Quality comes before yield. The yields have been providing a low average of 25 hectos per hectare over the last 25 years, thus giving top quality grapes. They own 75 hectares of prime vineyards, which are mainly planted with Tempranillo, Garnacha and Vidao, plus seven hectares of Chardonnay which were planted in 1990. Like in France (read my latest blog on labels), the emphasis here is on the ‘terroir’: Javier Malumbres, son of founder Vicente, very much believes that “the key to a good wine is first the vineyard and afterwards the vinification in the winery”.
Their Tinto Criado en Roble wine is, in my opinion, a little gem showing off to perfection their passion for quality. All Malumbres wines contain at least 80% Garnacha, with the aim to keeping their local Navarra character, and this wine is no exception. Fermented in old American oak barrels for six months, this Tinto is the right middle point between their Tinto Joven (Sin Crianza – no time in barrel) and their Crianza variety (12 months in barrels), and thus perfect to try first if you are a novice. It is showing a lovely medium structure and a long, pleasant after-taste. Its intense fruit aromas, spiced tones and toffee flavours make this wine very appetising and easy drinking, especially alongside some home-made tapas. Yummy!