Our May 2018 Wine of the month available at Majestic.
A refreshing wine as the summer arrives Godello Caixas Albarinho 2016
Please join us on the longest day of the year to taste some of New Zealand’s best Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from Seresin Estate.
New Zealander Michael Seresin is a well-known cinematographer. In 1992 he set up Seresin Estate on the Wairau river terraces of Marlborough, which has New Zealand’s longest sunshine hours. Their wines are some of the first to be farmed organically and biodynamically.
‘This is pinot noir at its best. Incredibly expressive, pretty but also savoury, a smell that leaps out of the glass and wraps itself around you, blooming like a peony.’ Victoria Moore, Wine Correspondent.
Michael’s daughter Leah Seresin will be presenting the following fantastic wines with dinner at Frederick’s on June 21st.
Aperitif- Seresin Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Starter- Seresin Estate Marama 2014
Mains- Seresin Estate Leah Pinot Noir 2016
Rachel Pinot Noir 2016
Dessert-Seresin Estate Chiaroscuro 2013
Please Book now to celebrate the Summer solstice!
Adam, Kiran and Stuart
Maison Louis Jadot is a family owned business based in Beaune, Burgundy established in 1859. They also have substantial vineyard holdings throughout the Cote d’Or as well as the Maconnais as well as producing wine from a number of other appellations throughout Burgundy.
The winemaker, Jacques Lardière, has been with the company for over 30 years and together with Pierre-Henry Gagey and his father André before him, has built the company to be one of the finest in Burgundy.
We hosted at the excellent French Patron Restaurant in Kentish Town with Maison Louis Jadot’s Export Director Sigfried Pic.
A three course dinner was matched with some of the finest Burgundies from the Louis Jadot range.
Aperitif, we compared Chablis and Saint-Véran.
The Chablis was a favourite with lees ageing adding to texture and complexity with a lovely mineral/oyster shell note typical of Chablis grown on kimmeridgean soils
First course: Foie Gras with brioche served with Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Romanée 2013 – beautiful rich textured lovely vanilla from oak ageing nicely balanced with ripe stone fruit
Main course : Duck confit and Gratin Duaphinoise served with Beaune 1er Cru Theurons 2009
Dessert a selection of artisanal cheese served with Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cazetiers 2007 and served blind the Moulin-à-Vent La Roche 2007 in magnum
We are delighted to announce that Stuart Grostern has joined our team at WanderCurtis.
Stuart has an exceptional palate to match his cellar. His excellent tasting notes and recommendations spanning 15 years can be found on the Wine Spectator Forum under BirDungy. Below is his valuable insight into Burgundy en primeur 2016.
After having to miss the entire 2015 vintage tasting due to unreasonable work responsibilities, I have rebounded to attend the annual Berry Bros and Rudd Burgundy en primeur tasting. I was fortunate to have arrived early enough to taste some but not all of the greatest wines there, notes below on approx 40 wines.
To start, I think everyone has heard that 2016 was a year badly affected by frost which drastically reduced crop size in some vineyards by as much as 90%. The wines are, therefore, harder to get good allocations of and up (again, especially coupled with Brexit GBP devaluation vs. EUR) in price. However, many of the wines I tasted were beautiful and highly expressive of their place, open to taste, and showing very well during the tasting. Against this, given the ever changing complexion of the region, many new makers are on the rise, with many established makers extending their reach beyond their typical villages. This is not always a good thing, as I found a real mix of newer names, some excellent, and some not so, to be evident from this tasting.
Reds were, in general, open for tasting, fruit driven and well-balanced. I found quite a lot of barrel influence in evidence, even at the villages levels, with some clumsy efforts made especially in those makers who either picked later or tried too hard to find an expression for their wines that didn’t always match the appellation. Some of the villages wines were excellent, and definitely represent the best value IMO. A big shout goes for Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle Musigny villages, easily one of the top 3 wines of the night. Morey St Denis also did well and was not very affected by frost. Clos Vougeot in the grands crus stood out. The up and coming winemaker from this tasting for me was Jerome Castagnier, whose wines were all beautiful and full of life.
I have bought across the Cote de Nuits apart from NSG (no real reason), and have not focused on whites because I just have too much white Burgundy and do feel now that some of the newer world chards from NZ (esp) and cooler climate Aussie whites are so close in quality at a fraction of the price that I just couldn’t bear adding any more.
I only tasted a handful of whites, so I don’t have a lot to say here. Colleagues of mine did taste more and liked the vintage, which is reputed to have produced good quality whites across the spectrum, more akin to the 2014 vintage.
Here are the notes:
DOMAINE DE COMTE ARMAND
Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux, 1er cru
Concentrated purple fruit nose, emitting strong dark grape essence. In the mouth, medium bodied, more purple concentrated fruit, grapey, with fantastic balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. Very long finish. Excellent wine, seem to have hit the nail on the head with this wine.
MAISON CAMILLE GIROUD
Santenay, Clos Rousseau 1er cru
Red fruit nose of raspberry, dried roses, and a bit of smoke. Very balanced mouthfeel, giving a real sense of elegance matching the nose. This wine is pure and honest, is what it is and represents excellent value at approx. £38/btl all in. One of my favourite wines of the tasting.
Charmes Chambertin grand cru
Beautiful light red fruit nose, powdery, perfumed with sweet flowers with an underlying concentration of fruit belying some power. A wonderful balance of fruit, tannin and acidity, with a hint of animal savoury flavour. This wine has perfect balance, and its name is apt for its charm. Excellent.
Chassagne Montrachet, Embazees 1er cru
Very strong ripe fruit nose, with vanilla essence. Very honeyed in the mouth, showing the pear and pineapple fruita but perhaps too much. I think this is overripe for my taste. Not sure how well this will age.
Meursault Genevrieres 1er cru
Very strong vanilla influence on the nose, overpowering. IN the mouth, overpowered by the vanilla essence, leaving an overly sweet cloying flavour. Again, not to my taste and not clear how well this will age.
Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs 1er cru
Darker fruit nose with caramel and vanilla. In the mouth, tart fruit with good concentration and acidity. Very elegant, and nicely balanced. A beautiful wine, very very good.
Pommard Rugiens-Haut 1er cru
A darker Pommard character shines out, slightly animal with purple fruit nose. The palate is lighter initially and then gives way to concentrated fruit, followed by bigger hit of acidity than the Volnay. A drying finish, and then a touch of ox that perhaps gives the sense of over enthusiasm with barrels.
DOMAINE DE LA VOUGERAIE
Vougeot Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot 1er cru (white)
Slightly charred nose, but giving the essence of chardonnay. Sweet tart fruit, wonderful depth and concentration, perfect balance of acidity and fruit, an absolutely stunning wine. Outstanding.
Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles
Slightly ox’d nose, cloves, a little cloying. Good fruit concentration, drying tannins. This wine needs more time.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
Very smokey nose, slightly animal, dark fruit with some perfume showing but quite closed for the vintage. Silky tannin mouth, wonderful on the palate with a good slug of wood offsetting the clearly ripe tart fruit and the acidity, leaving a very well balanced wine. Finishes with darker fruit. Very Very good.
DOMAINE MICHELE AND PATRICE RION
Chambolle Musigny Les Cras
Very pale in colour compared to most other wines. Gamey with red cranberry juice, strawberry jam and cinnamon – almost not a wine nose but something from my pantry. Strawberry jam flavour, with good acidity against the fruit, but not a lot else. Not very complex. Good
Nuits St Georges Clos des Argillieres 1er cru
A bit of horseradish, vanilla, strawberry jam, with a slightly smokey edge nose. Good tart fruit, nicely balanced strawberry and cherry with some spices and tea. Mid weight on the palate, long finish, and well balanced. Very very good.
Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale 1er cru
Strong fruit nose, grape koolaid or juice, and very purple. Tart fruit set against good acidity with very drying tannins. Very well balanced fruit and acidity, leaving this feeling effortless. Long finish. Very very good – this wine is often impossible to taste at this stage, quite sulfuric, and needing more bottle time so quite a good showing for a long sleeper.
DOMAINE SYLVAIN CATHIARD
Typical Vosne nose hits you straight out of the glass, cherry, tea, vanilla, earth, animal. Ripe dark fruit, a bit sherbety with real concentration and power. Chewy tannins balanced by the fruit and acidity. A very lovely wine, very very good.\
Vosne Romanee Aux Malsoncourts 1er cru
More closed than the villages with subtle cherry, roses and tea leaves. A riper fruit palate, sweet cherry with some fat, and strong concentration of sherbet powder on the very long finish. Excellent.
DOMAINE JEAN GRIVOT
Cherry candy nose with a whiff of animal. Concentrated raspberry with a strong taste presence, finishing slightly bitter with mid length – typical Grivot young wine. Very good.
Nuits St Georges, Les Pruliers 1er cru
Darker roaster nose of cassis. Taut palate with very concentrated dark fruit – a driven wine with strong acidity and a long finish. Very very good.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
Voluptuos nose of fruit and flowers, complex bouquet of flowers and vanilla. Strong cherry fruit with some animal essence, spices, cassis, dark cherry, just bags of fruit here. A strong barrel influence for this young wine, tannins in force but well balanced, with a slightly drying bitter finish. A beautiful sweet long finish screams balance. Wonderful.
Cough medicine and sour cherry nose, smells like it’s slightly oxidised. Same in the mouth. Bleh.
DOMAINE GHISLAINE BARTHOD
Sappy fruit, violets, and raspberry, with purple fruit in the nose. A darker wine than usual. Very concentrated but supple fruit, with an underlying power that finishes super long. Just a beautiful make you want to cry wine. Excellent.
Chambolle Musigny Les Baudes 1er cru
There is an extra dimension of florality on this compared to the villages that is in addition to everything the villages has, including a bit more vanilla. This is such an elegant wine, precise, long – a real wow wine with a slightly hot finish. Wow.
DOMAINE LOUIS BOILLOT & FILS
Grape bubblegum nose, essence of grape Koolaid. Taste is similar, with concentrate grape jelly, but much weight in the mid-palate, which doesn’t live up to what the nose tells me I will get. Sweet and tart fruit, very nice balance but is this really from Gevrey?? Tastes more like Volnay to me
Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles
Similar nose but wutg more concentration. More fruit in the mouth, with good acidity balanced against the tannins with a bit more weight and length than the villages. Good but again, not really GC to me.
Charmes Chambertin grand cru
Very ripe raspberry and cherry nose, with flowers and earth. A beautiful nose with hints of tea. Sweet ripe cherry fruit, with strong acidity balancing it out, and tannins just so. A beautifully balanced wine. Excellent.
Clos de Vougeot grand cru
A subdued nose with a bit of horse hair, purple fruit like cassis. Super concentrated ripe fruit, tart acidity. Medium bodied, very precise and long. The tannins are chewy and balance well against the fruit and acidity. A super wine. Excellent
Morey St Denis Vieilles Vignes
Purple fruit with some animal, really sexy nose. Concentrated tart fruit, with good acidity and beautiful tannins. A really well balanced wine with a linear fruit taste profile. Very very good.
Morey St Denis Les Faconnieres
Just like the VV but with more animal essence in the nose, just a lovely wine to breathe. Dark syrupy fruit of cherry and raspberry, very concentrated with a bit of fat sweetness and a good finish. Wonderful wine. Excellent
DOMAINE DES LAMBRAYS
Morey St Denis
Lifted nose of fruit, flowers and vanilla essence, concentrated grape juice and cinnamon. A beautiful fruit expression of concentrated grape juice like the nose. Strong acidity is well balanced by the tannins. A great wine. Excellent
Clos des Lambrays grand cru
Nose much more closed, with some hints of the MSD. A super charged concentrated wine, perfectly balanced between ripe tart fruit, silky tannins, and acidity, finishing slightly hot. Amazing. Excellent
JEAN LUC & ERIC BURGUET
Gevrey Chambertin Symphonie
Raisined nose characteristic, still a bit sulfury and a bit dirty on the nose. Concentrated drier fruit of prunes and raisins with good acidity and tannins. Was this picked too late?? Ok
Gevrey Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes
Nose of dried fruits, cloves, raisins, with some horse hair and earth. Concentrated sweet and tart fruit, with a better palate than nose, showing cloves and spices. Very good balance and long finish. Very very good.
Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes
Overty oaky nose, over dominates the rest. Clumsy oaky wine with drying tannins that really needs a lot more time in bottle. Not knit. Clumsy.
Chapelle Chambertin grand cru
Charred smokey nose, with cherries and flowers, very pretty. Sweet ripe fruit, vanilla and spices but a bit lightweight in body. Nice concentration of fruit but more pretty than substantial. Drying finish. Very good.
Chambertin grand cru
Charred smokey nose, lots of barrel, with horse/manure, animal, earth and cloves hiding the fruit in the nose. Sweet fat fruit, fresh raspberry and cherry with good acidity enclosing the fruit. Strong tannins with a slightly hot finish,. Good balance and very long. Very very good.
Hope you enjoyed these.
What better start to the day than the Gaja winery Ca’ Marcanda ( house of endless negotiations !) Built in 1998 this impressive winery is 9500m2 with three levels underground perfectly blending in with the local landscape. They surveyed the land and chose this as the sandy colour of the land matched Ornellaia and Sassicaia. Gardens and olive groves on top of winery allow great views of the sea and Corsica on a clear day.Gaja’s other properties include the magnificent Pieve Santa Restituta in Montalcino.Production is 450000 bottles, first vintage 2000.All Gaja is organic, red worms from California form natural compost using selected manure from selected cows.
Three main wines produced-
Promis merlot Syrah blend small Sangiovese 25000 cases Magari half merlot 1/4 cs 1/4 cf8000 cases Camarcanda half merlot 40 cs 10 cf 2500 cases.
Vistamare 2016 sea view
Vermontino 60 viognier 40 Citruswhite. Flowers peach Others sea. Shells.Dried sage acidity balance excellent
Promis 2015 55 merlot 35 Syrah 10 Sangiovese Promis and Magari are sourced from vineyards lying in the terre brune, where the mineral content including lime and iron makes for wines with more pronounced tannic structure and character.
Black cherry chocolate vanilla nice tannic balance cedar
Magari 50 Merlot 25!cab sav 25 cf
Cranberry blue berry fruit forward great balance acidity tannins soft silky integrated beautifully pure Linear A baby opens up savoury herbs thyme opens up in glass over 10. Mins+++ then smokey toasty notes
Çamarcanda 2013 Merlot 50 CS 40 cf 10 ,the winery’s flagship wine, from vineyards in the terre bianche with their high composition of calcareous clay, ideal for wines intended for long-term aging.Wow the nose is amazing packs a punch. Concentration +++ black currant cassis blueberry red currant cherry. Toasty smokey so. Good keep smelling balance tannins integrated, Elegant silky tannins. Length amazing ++
Next stop back on the bikes towards Bolgheri. We got totally lost, then found the place which got it all started and birthplace of Sassicaia
Tenuta San Guido guided by Elena Brancini
The star on label is from family crest, aia means ‘place of something. Sassicaia means place of many stones, 3000 hectare estate 100 hectares of vineyard Higher area later harvest, sand near pines, lots different soils – clay sands stones altitude sea to 400 m lots of forest and even a place to breed racehorses. Interesting history the first vineyard planted in 1944 when the Piemontese Marquis Della Inchetta arrived. He was familiar with the excellent wines of Bordeaux and tried 1 ha Cabernet Sauvignon at top of the Hill. Now most plantings are lower altitude due to sea breeze and the sea acting as a mirror for light. Castillo on top of Hill medieval castle first cellar sassicaia. The first vintage was in 1968 and became the only Property in Italy with its own DOC. Iron rich area of red soils where the Etruscans first settled.
Wines tasted at Tenuta San Guido
Le Difese 2015 70cs 30 sangiovese 300000 bottles
Smokiness,Soft light red fruits savoury slight strawberry, Sangiovese
Sassicaia 2014 Perfume floral red fruits,Vanilla oaky notes mod tannins a bit lacking on the finish
Guidoalberto 2015 Merlot,Black currant leaf lovely acid balance and tannins
After a strenuous climb up the hill and many expletives later we arrived at Grattamacco 120m above sea level allowing magnificent views of the regionOwned now by Bertollerri it was the second winery in the area after sassicaia. Only 12 employees and organic since 1997 made easier with sea breeze and altitude and good drainage.No irrigation required although this June was very with no rain and it was very hot making for a difficult vintage.Justerini & Brook importer to the UK
Bolgheri Rosso 2016 CS based some new oak,Spicy ,violet hints cocoa dark cherries nutmegGood acidity and Med Fine tannins crunchy
Grattamacco 2014 Cedar minty eucalyptus,Higher level tannins cocoa vanilla oak toasty smoke sour cherry good length and structure cherry pie dried herbs
Grattamacc0 2011 Magnum
Cooked tertiary savoury basalmic salty rioja like vanilla spices cooked plums,Bit oxidized
Poggio massari poggio lombrone 100 Sangiovese 2013 herbal tea tobacco
We recommend a trip to this area. It is a little quiet and off the beaten track compared to inland nearer Siena and Florence, but this is Italy. In even the smallest places, there’s an immaculate town square, medieval church, and of course a brilliant local restaurant and wine flowing from the local wineries.
When Marquis Mario Incisa Della Rocchetta acquired Tenuta San Guido in the 1930’s, few thought it would inspire a cult of wines which were to follow some decades later. The coastal plain forming the western border of Tuscany was essentially marsh and swamps. It was know for its malarial Mosquitos. However after the draining of the Maremma it made it possible to grow crops.
The early wine product at Tenuta San Guido was for family consumption. After a visit from a member of the Antinori family, the quality of wine produced was realised and they were persuaded to attempt commercial production. The First vintage of Sassicaia in 1968 was sold as a Vino da Tavola. The 1985 vintage was a revelation and sparked the whole Super Tuscan phenomenon. Marquis Lodovico Antinori was not to be outdone by his cousin and created Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia in 1981. A special DOC Bolgheri was created in 1994. There were only seven producers ‘ the magnificent seven ” up until 1990 there are now forty five.
There area is now renowned for some of the best wines in Italy. The famous Massetto from Ornellaia can fetch £ 1000 per bottle. . IGT Toscana was created in 1992 following inflexibility of the DOC system allowing a higher range of varieties. It was devoted to Bordeaux varieties with a small amount Syrah and Sangiovese. Alex Heinz Winemaker at Ornellai describes Bolgheri as a Mediterranean version of the Bordeaux climate, a wine of the South. It has a special combination of ripeness opulence and freshness.
We arrived at the modest gated B+B Relais Felciaini0. It is perfectly located for visiting the local wineries on the Strada Provinciale Bolgerhese about 6km South of Bolgheri and north of Castagnetto Carduccio. Bikes were delivered for us from Ciclosport.
Established in 1981 with its first Vintage 1985. It became one of great names purchased by the younger brother of Marchese Piero Antinori family with an interest from Mondavi. It is now entirely owned by the Frescobaldi family. They own two separate vineyards- home vineyard, surrounding the winery and Bellaria to the south. Four wines are made-Ornellaia 8,000 cases, Masseto 100% Merlot from Masseto Hill, clay based soils. A separate building is under construction for Masseto alone. Le Serre Nuove 2nd wine, Le Volte Sangiovese Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Arturo met us on the landscaped courtyard explained the etymology of the word Ornellaia. Aia meaning place of and Orniello, a type of local flowering ash tree.
Le volte 2015 67% Merlot 20% Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 7%. Alcohol 14% nice balance, soft tannins, but good level of cherry red fruits strawberry. herbal lovely balance app 15 € drink 1 to 2 yrs
Varia Zioni Rosso 2013 House wine little made, Cabernet Franc based 13 months in second barrique. tannin ++ chalky sl grippy, sl pine resin nose more black fruits cedar. Tannins a bit too dominant drink 3 to 4 yrs
Le serre Nuove 2014 13.5% Alcohol,50% merlot 34% Cabernet Sauvignon. Smokey toasty, Others- red plums basalmic notes deep floral orange blossom finer tannins savoury finer silkier tannins
Ornellaia 2014 difficult year blend is Cabernet Sauvignon based almost 32% Merlot 34% Cabernet Sauvignon also Petit Verdot 20%Vanilla, creamy perfume 75% new oak. 13.5% alcohol later cocoa powder coffee slight toast baking spices nutmeg clove mouth coating gripping tannins ++pronounced barrel struggling to find fruit maybe stewed plums,something graphitic.
Ornellaia olive oil tasting Blend of 15 oils from the estate harvest going on as we visited. Spicy, smooth, kick at back of throat peppery.
Eligo grappa Arturo suggested we rub it on our hands allowing the alcohol to evaporate then smell it- nuts figs pistachios ground baclava hazelnuts. This was a first for all of us and a very entertaining way to finish our visit to this iconic property
This is very much a boutique artisan operation.It was Started by Franco Batzella and Khanh Nguyen who previously worked for the world bank initially buying land in Montalcino. They have a small but very well maintained and low yielding vineyards ( 1 kg =1 bottle per vine)-1ha Cabernet Franc, 1ha Syrah, 5 ha Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 ha white varieties. We were greeted at the gate by Khanh and their rather excitable dog.Franco Batzella soon arrived. He explained how he yearned to return to his native Italy after retiring from the World Bank to embark on a dream.
The passion from Franco and Khanh became clear. The winery was in full action. They were transferring the wine from stainless steel into oak barrels. The Harvest was 2 weeks ago 1kg per vine = 1 bottle per vine!He gave us a detailed explanation regarding transfer to barrels and fine lees and different levels of pressing with all parcels vinified separately.He has stared using slavonian oak 20,000l with good results as consumer taste goes away from excess oak.Oak forest in France were used by the French navy for building ships, later for oak barrels. when transferred from France to Britain on ships it was found it tasted better on arrival.The area is a mixture of sand clay and alluvial soils, so good drainage despite the flat plain like Bordeaux gravels. Mostly spurred cordon 80 cm up then bent 80 cm 5 spurs allowed on that.
Franco hosted our tasting on his lovely terrace overlooking Castagnetto Carduccio as the sun set.
Batzella White Mezzodi 2016 DOC Bolgheri, Viognier and Vermentino. Slight saltiness, minerality, very cold, lime citrus. Crisp moderate length slight oiliness on the finish but well textured.
Batzella Péan Bolgheri Rosso DOC 2013Cabernet sauvignon and Cabernet Franc 11 moths barriques. Cassis herabaceous green pepper 2013 was a warm summer.Rained at right time 14.8% alcohol but good balance, hot, tannic structure
Tam Bolgheri superiore 2010 ++cab sav 65% cab franc 35% 24 months French oak barriques. Soft silky tannins slight tertiary earthy hint sulphur initially only, acacias floral.Black cherries star anise woody, Menthol eucalyptus.
Syrah vox Loci 2010 Voice of the land, Oxidised port like cooked fruits,Grippy tannins acid unbalance basaltic savoury possibly corked.
In the Evening we walked to the local restaurant- Osteria Magona all the meat is supplied by celebrity butcher Dario Ceccini based in Panzano in Chianti. We shared a 1.4 kg aged Fiorentina T bone and a large cut of Panzanese steak.. Oh to be back in the gastronomical heaven of Italy!
Wines with dinner at Osteria Magona Poggio al Tesoro Sondraia,Le Macchiole Rosso,Castello Giaconda Montalcino2012. We highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the region. It was the perfect end to our first day in Bolgheri.