‘Meet the Producer’ wine dinner - François Lurton
Posted by cecile on 18 March 2012
‘Meet the Producer’ Wine Dinner at Cannizaro House, Wimbledon, on Tuesday 20th March from 7pm
Come and join us for the most formidable wine dinner Revelstoke has ever organised, enjoy a delicious three-course dinner, served alsongside a stunning selection of award-winning wines from the worldwide François Lurton Estates and be entertained by François himself!
To book your place (priced at £60), simply call Mark on 0208 8879 1810
Born to create fine and interesting wines, France’s François Lurton has never found a vineyard region in the world that he didn’t like – I just wish I had his air miles!
Son of André Lurton (Château Bonnet, La Louvière, Dauzac, etc), François belongs to one of the great wine families. Spreading his wings, he established exciting new wine estates back home in France (Languedoc and Bordeaux), in Spain (Rueda and Toro), in Chile (Colchagua and Casablanca), Argentina (Mendoza) and Portugal (Douro), and he’s not even close to finished yet.
In the early days, he and his brother Jacques travelled far and wide, promoting the Lurton family wines and consulting to Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Hardy’s, Catena, Rémy Pannier, La Virginie and Ginestet. Along the way, they bought vineyards and built wineries, creating and selling their own wines. Jacques grew them, François sold them. Then, in 2007, François took over his brother’s stake and the firm became François Lurton SA. The Bordeaux company’s 80 wines generate $36 million sales, 90% abroad, with 200 employees, 10 oenologists and 400 hectares plus 400 under contract.
“We were young, liked to travel and were open to new challenges, and soon we discovered the regions with the strongest potential for quality and originality,” François explains. The brothers weren’t just looking for the best wine-growing conditions, they also wanted to connect with the people and their way of life. “We want our wines to express their own personalities and character, not just be part of a portfolio.”
The start was in the Languedoc, where François saw the potential for New World-style wines from Midi’s ancient vines and superb terroirs. The brothers created today’s racy style of Mediterranean whites from the region. But “if I were a vine, I’d want to be planted in Chile” is how François explains the later decision in 1992, to make wines there, starting with a pristine 200 ha estate in Colchagua to make high-end reds. In Argentina, the attraction was high-altitude virgin land, excellent climate and plentiful underground water in the Uco Valley. Production today is moving towards biodynamic in both locations. Lurton fell in love with Portugal’s rugged Douro Valley, first buying land beside the river and later a pre-phylloxera quinta of higher, terraced vines.
Here’s a sampling of the Lurton wines available at Revelstoke:
From France – ‘Les Terres Fumées’, ‘Les Salices’ ranges of wines. ‘Les Erles’ Fitou 2009, from a single vineyard in Corbières, in the Midi, a New World-style red, supple with mocha, toast and new oak on the nose, clean red and black berry fruit, and cracked black pepper (90) is also available from us for £11.95.
From Argentina – ‘Tierra de Luna’ and ‘Alta Collecion’ ranges of wines. The ‘Reserva’ Pinot Gris 2011 is our best-seller: a spicy treat of Bosc pear, lemon zest and white flowers, from the Uco Valley in Mendoza, pioneered by Lurton (89), priced at £9.75.
From Spain – ‘El Albar’ from Castilla & León in the North of Spain, range of wines is simply superb: his 100% Tempranillo 2008 (the Rioja grape), for example, is big and concentrated, ageable with intense fruit, supple tannins and new oak (93), and a bargain at £10.25.
From Portugal – ‘Pilheiros Alvarinho’, ‘Barco Negro’, ‘Quinta do Malho’ ranges of wines. Coming soon, we hope.
Corks popped at the world's largest Champagne tasting
Posted by cecile on 17 March 2012
On Wednesday 14th March, over 80 Champagne producers gathered at Whitehall’s historical Banqueting House for the Champagne Information Bureau (CIB) Annual Tasting. The Champagne Bureau represents the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, or CIVC, a body set up with the protection of the French government to coordinate the common interests of wine growers and producers in Champagne. The 2012 Annual Tasting is the largest on record, saw some 3,000 bottles uncorked, and 250 wines showcased, and is held exclusively for members of the press and the on-trade industry.
The order of the day was for celebration: despite the recession, the UK remains the world’s number one export market, with shipments steadily increasing every year. Françoise Peretti, Director of the CIB, comments, ‘Despite growing interest in Champagne coming from emerging markets such as China, Russia and India, the UK remains the unchallenged leading export market for Champagne, importing more than Spain, Japan and the US combined’.
The environment was a key factor in the 2012 Annual Champagne Tasting. And following deep belief that the environment and the importance of its preservation are key to the region, CIVC have been running many environmental programmes over the past 20 years. There are currently some 40 initiatives under way or in the pipeline to ensure the region is passed on to future generations and meets the consumers’ environmental expectations. The Champenois have indeed gone above and beyond the environmental standards set by the EU and plan to decrease their carbon footprint by 25% by 2020 and 75% by 2050!
Finally, value was something which everyone was talking about during the course of the day. More small growers than ever were represented this year (although they were still a tiny minority). In these straightened times, it is impossible not to compare the higher prices of the leader markets against the value-for-money offered by the small-grower champagnes. But striving for good value does not mean that quality has to be compromised. “We know we have to deliver great quality wine – we don’t get any complaints about our range of champagnes, on the contrary, so we must be doing something right and it’s not price driven” said Jean-Marc Charpentier of the award-winning J.Charpentier Champagnes (RM). So let’s raise our glasses to the small growers for their contribution to the champagne world, cheers!
French wine labels explained
Posted by cecile on 29 February 2012
A wine label is like a passport for wine. It should tell you what it is, who it’s from, what, where and when it’s from, too. However, distilling the information contained on a wine label can be a lot trickier than trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Especially French wine labels. Wine labels are designed to convince you to purchase the product, but some elements listed are mandatory in France to ensure the quality of the product, whilst some vital pieces of information seem to be omitted. Reading a French wine label can thus be very confusing. So here is a list of key points worth noticing and remembering the next time you pick a bottle of wine …
|Still wine labels: AOC and Vin de Pays||Champagne labels|
The main purpose of the label is to inform the consumer, before the wine is uncorked, about the contents of the bottle and the quality that can be expected. Some elements are mandatory and are regulated by French consumer protection services. The rest, such as the brand name or vineyard, are optional:
1 - Mandatory: Regional designation, either “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” or “Vin de Pays”, followed by the appellation name or the geographic area where the wine was produced. Example: “Appellation Bourgogne Contrôlée” or “Vin de Pays d’Oc”
2 - Mandatory: Name or company name of the bottler who is legally responsible for the wine and address of the corresponding head office. This information must be accompanied by the statement “Mis en bouteille par…” (“Bottled by…”) or “Société (Dupont) embouteilleur” (Dupont, bottling company). Example: “Mis en bouteille par (Dupont) à 33256 Carignan” (Bottled by Dupont in Carignan, 33256)
3 - Mandatory: Bottle volume in liters, centiliters or milliliters
4 - Mandatory: Degree of alcohol content, listed in % of total wine volume
Optional: brand name, Château (estate) picture, gold border on label, “Carte Noire” designation (indicates a wine has been aged several years), vintage, back label, “Vieilles Vignes” (Old Vines), “Mis en Bouteille à la propriété” (Estate Bottled).
In the Champagne region, the mandatory label elements are the same as for AOC wines, because Champagne is itself an appellation controlée. However, the process of making champagne, its residual sugar level and regional authorities often force producers to include more information on their labels.
1 - Mandatory: AOC designation, in this case just the word “Champagne”
2 - Mandatory: Brand name
3 - Mandatory: Bottle volume in liters, centiliters or milliliters
4 - Mandatory: Degree of alcohol content, listed in % of total wine volume
5 - Mandatory: Residual sugar levels, from the lowest (Brut Nature or Ultra-Brut) to the highest (Demi-Sec), with Extra Brut, Brut and Sec in between.
6 - Mandatory: The name or company name of the winemaker, the name of the village or town where production activities take place and the word “France”.
7 - Mandatory: The winemaker’s official registration number, preceded by the initials that signify the corresponding profession, including NM for Négociant Manipulant (Champagne house), RM for Récoltant Manipulant (winemaker that produces exclusively from his or her own grapes) and RC for Récoltant Coopérateur (a wine maker who has Champagne made by a cooperative) among others.
As you can see, a French wine label is very informative. It provides all kinds of information, except for one key item – the grape variety! The French focus on ‘terroir’ (the grape’s growing environment) dictates that an AOC wine label only provides information about the appellation and thus where the wine is from, not about the grape. You are expected to know what grape goes with what appellation. And that’s a fairly big assumption to make about wine consumers. Sorry. But then, that’s why I’m here … so don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about labels, grapes, AOCs or French wines in general. I look forward to hearing from you!
Carta Vieja, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and Merlot 2010, Chile
Posted by cecile on 16 February 2012
To speak of Carta Vieja is to speak of the history and tradition of Chilean wine. The winery dates to the early 19th century when Carlos Adolfo del Pedregal left his home in Asturias (Spain) and settled in the heart of the Loncomilla Valley. Here in these generous new lands, he embarked upon his mission to become one of the best wine producers of the New World.
After 180 years and seven generations in the hands of the del Pedregal family, Carta Vieja has successfully taken up the beautiful challenge of continuing the family traditions as well as adapting it to new trends in the wine-making world. Aided by the oenologist Héctor Saldivia since 2005, and the latest technology, they are dedicated to achieving great quality whilst using sustainable agricultural methods.
Wines produced under Héctor’s responsibility have a style distinguished by his travel abroad, and are marked by modernity, elegance and optimum concentration. The perseverant and rigorous work entailed in every wine bottle produced has obtained wide international recognition, great commercial success and has given rise to a new perception regarding the Valle de Loncomilla.
My two favourites would be his Cabernet Sauvignon and his Merlot. Whilst the former is powerful and velvety (ideal with charred meats), the letter is lighter but still very smooth on the palate (perfect with greens and mushroom-based dishes). Please note the difference in serving temperatures, as I very much believe that each grape variety needs its very own ideal temperature to open properly and release the desired aromas and flavours.
Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
Attractive red colour with soft purplish tones. Fruity and typical nose of this variety (green bell pepper, mint, eucalyptus, blackcurrants). Black cherries and berries aromas are mixed with sweet notes of chocolate and mocha. On the palate, it is balanced and with a velvety texture. Bilberries, cassis and mature blackberries appear, supported by soft and elegant tannins that leave a long and pleasant sensation. Serving Suggestions 18-20 ºC / 64-68 Fº.
Purple red colour with purplish tones. Great aromatic impression of fresh red fruit such as cherries and prunes. Wide, silky on mouth with soft and well condensed tannins. A tasty mixture of candied fruits, toffee and vanilla flavours leave a long and velvety final sensation. Serving Suggestions 12-13 ºC / 54-56 Fº.
Both are available this month with 30% off the normal retail price (£4.86 in a mixed case, instead of £6.75), but only while stocks last ... so hurry and order today, online or by phoning Mark on 020 8879 1810!
New for 2012 - Wine Courses
Posted by cecile on 11 February 2012
The whole Revelstoke team is very excited to announce the launch of their fun and educational wine courses … so get ready to learn more about wines and champagnes, from small growers to massive estates, from France to Chile, from light whites to heavy reds, from well-known grapes to rare and beautiful little gems. It is everything you ever wanted to know about wines and never dared asking!
The wine course is held bi-monthly at Cannizaro House, and is priced at £35 per person and per session, but we will only charge you £25 per session if you book all six classes in advance. The price includes wines, materials and a light meal.
|Date||Wine Course Theme|
|Mon 5th March||Introduction to wine appreciation|
|Mon 19th March||Champagne and sparkling wines|
|Mon 16th April||Light and aromatic white wines|
|Mon 30th April||Full-bodied whites|
|Mon 14th May||Light red wines|
|Mon 28th May||Full-bodied red wines|
Richard, Mark and I sincerely hope that you are now as excited about our numerous forthcoming events as we are, and we can’t wait to see you all again soon and share with you a delicious glass of wine. Bye-bye February melancholy. Hello fun, wine-filled evenings!
To book your place please email Mark Donovan or call 0208 8791810
El Albar for François Lurton, Tempranillo 2008
Posted by cecile on 31 January 2012
Located in the western extreme of the Duero Valley, not far from Rueda, the DO of Toro is one of the oldest viticultural regions in Spain. The severe climate and poor rocky soils of the area produce rich, vigorous wines from the dominant red variety, Tempranillo. The wines produced are full-bodied and rich, with the intense aromas and flavors of old-vine fruit marked by the fabulous minerality and stony earthiness of this superb terroir.
Constantly looking for quality improvement and rich of his Bordeaux experience, François Lurton initiated a change in the cultivation process which provides more fruity and less alcoholic wines. In changing viticultural techniques, Francois declassified the wines since these new cultivation methods are not currently accepted by the rigid DO TORO laws. Therefore, the wines from the 2006 to 2008 vintage are now classified into the broader “Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Léon” appellation.
And though François Lurton seems to own vineyards in nearly every major wine country in the world, many of his bottles are shockingly delicious. Even more impressive, they tend to reflect the characteristics of grape, soil, and national traditions rather than one winemaker’s personal style. This Tempranillo 2008, for instance, has the meaty, herbal, Old World flavours that we love in Spanish wines, along with a crowd-pleasing burst of fruit. Its nose is dense, full of sour cherries, vegetal aromas, and a yeasty note rule here.
A real winner at my house on telly nights, when I serve my family with generous platters of cooked meats, chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes, grilled artichokes, olives and spicy taboulé, as this wine’s soft acidity and tannins are so food-friendly. A little gem for £9.75 (and only £8.78 in a mixed case of 12 bottles, with free local delivery)!