Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Addition of Croatian producer Matošević to the Bancroft portfolio

Bancroft Wines is delighted to announce they are now the exclusive UK agent for Matošević, one of the most highly regarded producers in Croatia.

The domaine is located in the Istria region of Croatia and is run by Ivica Matošević who started up the winery following a chance meeting with a viticulture professor. Ivica quickly became very passionate about wine and his domaine has gone from strength to strength. His first vintage was in 1996.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Julio Bouchon launch their new website

Julio Bouchon, Maule Valley Chile, are pleased to present their brand new website. This new site features more in depth information on their vineyards and winemaking as well as up to date news on life at the domaine.

Julio is very proud of the progress at the vineyard in recent months and with the addition of Patrick Valette to the team their aim is to further improve the quality of their wines. Of particular interest the new website features a video on Bouchon at harvest time, which enables us to really get an insight into life at the winery and the people who work there.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Hereford Road Restaurant

Last night I went to Hereford Road Restaurant  in Notting Hill, which is famous for its British cuisine and specialises in game and offal. We took our own wines: a Pierre Gaillard Côte-Rotie 2006 and a Clos du Marquis 2002, which were both drinking very well and paired nicely with James’ and Caroline’s venison shepherd’s pie and my potted hare leg!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Chateau Montelena at Oxford University Wine Circle

Last night Alex and I headed off to Merton College in Oxford to lead a tasting on one of the leading Napa Valley estates: Chateau Montelena. The president and vice-president of the Wine Circle were extremely welcoming, as were the rest of the society, and so we instantly relaxed and were ready to enjoy a superb evening. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Burgundy 2010 vintage

Following the more powerful 2009 vintage, the 2010 vintage in Burgundy created wines of superb balance, concentration, structure and freshness across the region. We believe that they are impressive wines and many have great potential for long cellaring, even more so than the 2009s.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Chateau Montelena Tasting in the office

Claire and I are heading off to Oxford University tomorrow to present the highly esteemed Napa estate Chateau Montelena to their Wine Circle. In anticipation, this afternoon we cracked open the wines we will taste for everyone to compare the different vintages. This is a truly remarkable estate and the quality is very high. Here are my tasting notes:

Monday, 21 November 2011

Is the large format of a lamb a sheep?

The debate about food and wine pairing is an interesting and potentially very enjoyable one, especially when debated with a loaded fork. To celebrate A La Cruz's ability to slow cook entire beasts over their unique-to-the-UK Asador, directors Roberto Jellinek & John Rattagan invited me to choose my favourite Luigi Bosca wines to accompany their Argentinean food. The menu included a starter of provolone cheese, beef empanada and sweetbreads (aka thymus gland, yum!), first course fillet of beef & rib eye followed by the main event, a whole, slow roasted lamb. To match the entire lamb, I chose a magnum of Gala 2 2008 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Merlot), thinking the ripeness and roundness of the fruit would marry up with the delicious sweetness of the meat and that the polished, integrated tannins would not jar with the fat, much of which would be rendered off over the fire.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Wig & Mitre Wine Club launch, Lincoln

The Wig & Mitre is a fantastic little pub/restaurant in Lincoln that I have dealt with for many years. Although I love it when I visit the beautiful Lincoln, it does take a while to calm one’s nerves after having to put up with the tribulations of the A47 and then the dreaded A17 en route, where tractors and belligerent lorry drivers consider a short bit of dual carriageway is an ideal time to attempt to overtake each other with the difference in speed being 2mph!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Anthony Barton Dinner - the tasting notes

Six wonderful wines from Anthony Barton's cellars in Bordeaux. Here are Alex's tasting notes on the wines we tried on Wednesday: 

Friday, 11 November 2011

A year in the life of Hay Shed Hill - in pictures

As Jason enjoys his visit to see Michael Kerrigan we thought we would give you all a quick peak at the wonderful Hay Shed Hill winery. This clip includes images throughout the year at the winery.

Jason’s trip to Hay Shed Hill (Margaret River, Western Australia)

A few days travelling around the Margaret River region in WA has increased my already high expectations of the Margaret River wines but more so for the reputation, energy and wine making prowess of a certain Michael Kerrigan. Michael was formerly winemaker for Mad Fish and Howard Park, which are big names in Oz as well as the UK, but since leaving their employment to begin a venture of his own Michael has continued to be one of the strong forces in a wine making region that Australians regard as highly as the French do Champagne or Bordeaux.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Anthony Barton Dinner - the pictures

Last night we were honoured to host a dinner with Anthony Barton at Home House, which as always set the scene for a truly spectacular evening.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Wild South visit and José, Bermondsey Street

We had a visit from Simon Swa from Wild South this morning. He was here to see our wine buyer, Neil Hurley, but as he was my second boss in the wine trade (over 10 years ago) and now lives in New Zealand, I thought it only right to take him to José, our favourite local.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rioja Trip October 2011

A week of looking forward to taking a handful of clients to the beautiful winery of Bodegas Lan in Rioja Alta culminated on Wednesday night with the realisation that a 7am flight from Stanstead somehow translated into a 3.45am alarm clock. 
Undaunted I was in the taxi at 4am, there in body if not in mind.  I had timed this to perfection, or that was until my taxi got pulled over by the police and then couldn’t find Liverpool Street station. Go back to cabbie school son. Needless to say I missed the intended train but managed to board the plane by the skin of my teeth, red in the face and very out of breath. The epitome of cool professionalism.  Luckily the majority of the group were already snoozing in their seats.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Madame Bollinger

I have always loved Lily Bollinger's quote on drinking Champagne (or "not drinking") and last month marked the 50 year anniversary of when she was first quoted :

"I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty."

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Winemaker's update from Hartenberg, South Africa

"The Cape had an unusual winter which started well with very good rains in May and first part of June. July, traditionally the Cape’s wettest month, turned out to be one of the driest and warmest on record! Year to date rainfall is 25% down on the 48 year long term average for Stellenbosch, but spring looks as if it is going to be wet season. A mild, cool spring could set the stage for good aromatics in both reds and whites for the upcoming vintage.