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Domaine Catherine & Dominique Derain Mercurey Rouge, La Plante Chassey 2013 (1x75cl)

Catherine & Dominique Derain are biodynamic producers in Burgundy with vines in a number of different Burgundian appellations. Dominique Derain started his career making wine barrels but decided, instead, to study wine making in Beaune where he met Catherine, his wife. In 1988 he and Catherine purchased 5.5 hectares of vineyards in Saint Aubin just south of Beaune and began tending the vines biodynamically and making their wines in a very non-interventionist way.

The Derains always adopt a minimalist approach. They farm biodynamically, hand harvest, do not chaptalize or acidify and use the barest amount of sulphur in their winemaking approach. All the fruit is hand-picked and they destem 90% of their red grapes before fermentation, which occurs in wooden vats. After fermentation the wine is aged in old oak casks for 12-18 months. The couple never use SO2 during the winemaking process, adding only a small amount at bottling for stabilization.

Their thrilling Mercurey from old biodynamically-tended vines (100 years old) reaches an altogether different level. It is a blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Beurrot (related to Pinot Gris).

There is a silky nature to this Mercurey giving it a supple mouthfeel and a detailed range of raspberry and cherry fruit with a touch of pomegranate. It has lovely spice notes and touch of lavender on the nose. Striking elegance, complexity and length.

ABV = 12.0%.

£37.85

Gerard Bertrand, Chateau l'Hospitalet Grand Vin, Rouge La Clape 2018 (1x75cl)

** STOCK WITH US THURS 1st OCTOBER! **

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details and review).

For other 2020 DWWA winners, click here.

Gérard Bertrand is one of the most outstanding winemakers in the South of France, owning numerous estates among the most prestigious crus of Languedoc-Roussillon. Formerly the IWC Red Winemaker of the Year and winner of Wine Enthusiast‘s European Winery of the Year, Gérard has been cited as the ‘King of the Languedoc’ among critics. Château l’Hospitalet is the jewel of the Languedoc-Roussillon's crown. Situated in AOP la Clape, among 1,000 hectares of garrigue, it benefits from an exceptional terroir. The wines are imbued with freshness from sea breezes, mineral depth and texture from the limestone soils and warm southern climate generosity. The vines are cultivated organically and biodynamically.

Situated on the coast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, Château l’Hospitalet’s vineyard benefits from exceptional climatic conditions. The heat of the Mediterranean sun is tempered by the refreshing sea breezes resulting in a gradual maturation allowing for a great aromatic expression and smoother tannins. Two types of soils contribute to the complexity and the elegance of this wine; the marly and chalky Gargasien soil at the foot of the cliff is rich in fossils and provides excellent water retention properties, nourishing the vines throughout the warm summer despite the lack of summer rains. The red Mediterranean Barremien soil is formed on blueish grey compact limestone amidst the scrub, which encourages the vines to produce rich and concentrated fruit. The fruit is manually harvested at optimal ripeness based on daily tastings and polyphenolic analysis. The fruit is transported to the winery within an hour.

2018 saw significant rainfall during winter which continued into spring. The summer was hot and dry, but the vines avoided water stress due to the soil’s water reserves from the wet winter. An Indian summer ensured the grapes reached good maturity and the harvests took place under excellent conditions with the promise of a very good vintage.

Only the highest quality fruit was used in this cuvée. The grapes were sorted, destemmed and transferred to temperature controlled vats. Each variety was vinified separately with natural yeasts and maceration lasting between 20 to 25 days. At the end of winter, the wines were racked to new 225 litre casks where they spent 12 to 16 months, with fine bâtonnage from time to time. Only the best barrels were selected and blended for this wine.

Syrah 60%, Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 10%.

From the finest grapes at the Château, the Grand Vin delivers an intense bouquet dominated by spicy notes underpinned by rich, red fruits. The fleshy, balanced and elegantly structured palate reveals silky tannins which highlight the opulent fruit through to a long finish. Perfect with rich red meat dishes or mature cheese.

ABV = 15.5%. 

£29.80

M Chapoutier Cote Rotie Les Becasses 2016 (1x75cl)

The Chapoutier family motto Fac et Spera – "do and hope" – sums up their patient and daring approach to winemaking. They must be patient with nature, that uncontrollable force, and the winemaker must be daring in his decisions. Michel Chapoutier’s distant ancestor Polydor Chapoutier first bought vines in the Rhône Valley in 1808, and today history and tradition abound at this vast estate that stretches from Côte Rôtie in the north, to Luberon in the south. The M. Chapoutier vineyards in the very best sites of the Rhône represent the quintessence of the range.

So strong is Michel’s commitment to treat the terroir with respect that Chapoutier now owns the largest biodynamic vineyard in Europe. It is his personal conviction that “the complexity in a wine comes from the level of microbiological activity around the vine roots”. Soils on the Chapoutier estate never see pesticides or herbicides, floral growth amongst the vines is essential, and the natural cycles of earth, sun and moon are also considered, as vines respond to these. A consistent approach is crucial. 

The grapes are entirely hand-harvested at maturity and after destemming, the grapes ferment in concrete tanks. A daily treading ensures a good extraction of the colour and tannins. The temperature does not exceed 33°C. Fermenting lasts between 3 and 4 weeks depending on vintages. Maturing begins after vinification and takes place in oak casks with a proportion of which being new.

Ageing lasts 14-16 months. 80% of the wine is aged in oak barrels with a majority of new wood. The remaining 20% are aged in stainless steel vats which allows us to preserve the purity of the fruit and the floral notes, which are a distinctive feature of great Côte-Rôtie wines.

This wine is 100% Syrah. 

Very intense, purplish red in colour. Quince, peony and then roasted almond on the nose, together with aromas of red fruits, blackcurrant, raspberry and vanilla. On the palate full and round, the wine has a lovely rich character and blackcurrant fruit flavour, with stewed fruits and vanilla on the finish.  

Great with all meats and poultry, roast beef and cooked pork meats. Goes extremely well with cheeses.  

ABV = 13.0%.

£51.25

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 (1x75cl)

** THIS IS AN ADVANCE (pseudo-en-primeur) OFFERING OF THE SOON-TO-BE-RELEASED 2018 VINTAGE. **

** WE HAVE TAKEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF FREE STOCK AND THESE BOTTLES ARE AVAILABLE BELOW. **

 

"The 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue offers up aromas of mocha, raspberries and a hint of black olive. It's full-bodied, velvety and plush, with a finish that's marked by hints of maple syrup and a slightly open-knit quality. It should drink well for at least a decade after release. 93-95 points." Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, December 2019

_____

"The 2,000-case 2018 Hermitage La Maison Bleue comes from the eastern side of the appellation and is a much more fleshy, opulent wine compared to the more mineral-laced La Chapelle. Jammy blackberry and cassis fruit, notes of ground herbs, graphite, and violets, full-bodied richness, beautiful concentration, and a great finish all make for a compelling Hermitage. It’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age. 94-96 points." Jeb Dunnuck, December 2019

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Jaboulet produces some of the world's greatest wines in the Rhone Valley, with Hermitage La Chapelle being its most famous wine. It was for many years run by Gérard Jaboulet, who was one of the great ambassadors for Rhône wines, tirelessly travelling the world and spreading the Gospel according to the Holy Grail of Hermitage. He died suddenly in 1997 and the firm has been run by Philippe & Jacques Jaboulet, until 2006 when the real estate entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey purchased the wine company.

The Frey family has  of long standing in the Champagne region and are owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux. Jacques and Nicolas Frey are now involved in the day-to-day running of the Maison Jaboulet, while Caroline Frey (pictured right), the eldest daughter, is at the helm of the wine-making team. Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is in the course of conversion towards biodynamic certification. 

Jaboulet produces wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône. Along the Petite Pierrelle street, not far from the stream of Torras and the road where the blackbirds sing, lies the pretty Maison Bleue. Leaning against the Hermitage Hill, one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world, this small stone house with blue shutters was once a real haven of peace for the winegrowers: a place to work, rest and share located in the heart of a legendary terroir. Today, this house of winegrowers has regained new youth. Winegrowers and horses take there shelter from time to time. Grapes come from the most easterly vineyards of the hill, where soils are deeper, less stony and slope flatter.

The autumn of 2017 was exceptionally dry. Winter 2017-18 was moderately watered and did not fully offset the water deficit. The winter season was very cool, temperatures returned to normal at the beginning of April resulting in later budburst. The whole spring was regularly and correctly watered. Temperatures remained and sometimes were above normal. These alternating hot and rainy periods led to very rapid growth of the vine. Phenology progressed very quickly and the season became early. At the beginning of July, temperatures were getting hotter/ the sanitary state of the vineyard was excellent, berries were juicy, well inflated and often larger than last year. The few rains in August allowed to unlock the situation and the harvest of September took place in a summer atmosphere under particularly heavy heat.

Click this link for Wine Advocate's review and opinion of the 2018 Northern Rhone harvest

Grapes were hand-picked, sorted on the plot, in small crates. The vatting period lasted around 4 weeks with gentle extractions. Aged in French oak barrels (20% new).

See the link below for more details of the wine and winemaking from Jaboulet themselves.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2018 - fiche technique

100% Shiraz/Syrah. 

For tasting notes, we refer you to the reviews above.

ABV = 14.5% (estimated, not known until bottled). 

£48.50

Raymond Vineyards Reserve Selection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of 2014 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

The yet-to-be-released-in-the-UK 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition review of 2015 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, is one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering estates. The Raymond family arrived in Napa in 1933 and have become deeply connected to the valley’s winemaking origins. In 1970, they established a 36 hectare estate in Rutherford, which now comprises 121 hectares in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic; and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy. Five generations of the Raymond family have created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, opulence and complexity.

In honour of the Raymond family’s first harvest in 1974, 40 years of exceptional wines are celebrated with the 2014 Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was one of the earliest harvested vintages in years. A warm spring led to early bud break and created the perfect environment for flowering and fruit set. With warm days and cool nights, the ideal balance of acidity with optimum, bright fruit flavours was achieved.

The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. The estate vineyards are located on gravelly alluvial fan soils with good drainage, necessary for growing excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are diligently monitored throughout the growing season to balance the crop size and quality. Shoot thinning and leaf removal early in the growing season, followed by cluster thinning at véraison, help to achieve evenly ripened grapes with concentrated flavours.

The 2016 vintage across California was a near-perfect growing season. A mild winter and spring led to a steady mild July and August, followed by warm days at the end of the season for the perfect ripeness. With warm days and cool nights in the summer, grape growers were able to maintain ideal acid levels with balanced, concentrated fruit flavors.

This wine spent between 21 and 63 days on the skins, then was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, of which 30% was new. The balance was aged in twice and thrice used French oak. The final blend includes a small proportion of additional varieties for added depth and complexity. The wine was bottled unfiltered, contributing greater texture and presence to the mid palate.

With inviting aromas of dark spices and currants that mingle with fresh raspberry and blueberry, the round and plush entry is complemented by toasted oak and a fruit compote creating a velvety texture. Flavours of dark berry fruits and spice continue through to the long and rich finish creating a wine of great density.

Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Petit Verdot 4%, Merlot 3%, Malbec 2% and Petite Sirah 1%

ABV = 15.0%.

£39.25

Raymond Vineyards Reserve Selection Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2018 edition review of 2014 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2014 - April 2018 Decanter review

The yet-to-be-released-in-the-UK 2015 vintage was awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their November 2018 edition review of 2015 Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (see blue link below).

Raymond Reserve CS 2015 - Nov 2018 Decanter review

Raymond Vineyards, founded in 1970, is one of the Napa Valley’s pioneering estates. The Raymond family arrived in Napa in 1933 and have become deeply connected to the valley’s winemaking origins. In 1970, they established a 36 hectare estate in Rutherford, which now comprises 121 hectares in Rutherford, St. Helena and Jameson Canyon. Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic; and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy. Five generations of the Raymond family have created a Napa icon, with an enduring reputation for elegant wines with a beautiful balance of finesse, opulence and complexity.

In honour of the Raymond family’s first harvest in 1974, 40 years of exceptional wines are celebrated with the 2014 Napa Valley Reserve Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage in Napa Valley was one of the earliest harvested vintages in years. A warm spring led to early bud break and created the perfect environment for flowering and fruit set. With warm days and cool nights, the ideal balance of acidity with optimum, bright fruit flavours was achieved.

The grapes for the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon were sourced from the vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena, as well as select nearby growers. The estate vineyards are located on gravelly alluvial fan soils with good drainage, necessary for growing excellent quality Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are diligently monitored throughout the growing season to balance the crop size and quality. Shoot thinning and leaf removal early in the growing season, followed by cluster thinning at véraison, help to achieve evenly ripened grapes with concentrated flavours.

The 2016 vintage across California was a near-perfect growing season. A mild winter and spring led to a steady mild July and August, followed by warm days at the end of the season for the perfect ripeness. With warm days and cool nights in the summer, grape growers were able to maintain ideal acid levels with balanced, concentrated fruit flavors.

This wine spent between 21 and 63 days on the skins, then was aged for 19 months in 100% French oak, of which 30% was new. The balance was aged in twice and thrice used French oak. The final blend includes a small proportion of additional varieties for added depth and complexity. The wine was bottled unfiltered, contributing greater texture and presence to the mid palate.

With inviting aromas of dark spices and currants that mingle with fresh raspberry and blueberry, the round and plush entry is complemented by toasted oak and a fruit compote creating a velvety texture. Flavours of dark berry fruits and spice continue through to the long and rich finish creating a wine of great density.

Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Petit Verdot 4%, Merlot 3%, Malbec 2% and Petite Sirah 1%

ABV = 15.0%.

£39.25
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