Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Sommelier Wine Awards - news just in!

We're delighted to announce that we've won a round of medals in this year's Sommelier Wine Awards, announced today.

The following wines of ours received top praise from the judges:

Cederberg, Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, Cederberg, South Africa 
Gold Medal

Complex yet restrained, this sports an almost Old World balance of flavours on the nose, with herbaceous, grassy notes mixed with citrus fruit. 'The palate is lean and racy, with fine fresh minerality,' said Alan Holmes of The Vineyard at Stockcross. 'This calls for fresh, simple and seasonal food,' said team leader Natasha Hughes, suggesting asparagus and trout with fragrant herbs.
Remirez de Ganuza, Fincas de Ganuza Reserva 2006 (Rioja) - Silver Medal   

Pierre Moncuit-Delos, Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV - Silver Medal

Cederberg, Ghost Corner Semillon, 2011, Elim, South Africa 
Silver Medal
Toasted and smoky, with herbaceous streaks, this is delicate and complex. 'Racy and elegant, with minerals alongside candied lemon,' said consultant sommelier Nicolas Clerc MS. 'Not necessarily "cool" Semillon, but who cares? Mature with great balance,' said Bread Street Kitchen's Gergely Barsi Szabó.

Cederberg, Ghost Corner Pinot Noir, 2012, Elim, South Africa
Bronze Medal
Savoury notes on the nose carry through to the palate, where forest berries sit alongside smoky tones. 'There's a classic SAFA wildness to it,' said Athila Roos of The Arts Club.

Cederberg, Ghost Corner The Bowline, 2012, Elim, South Africa

Isolabella della Croce, Bricco Del Falco, (Piedmont, Italy) Pinot Nero 2009 Commended

Luigi Bosca, Terroir los Miradores, Uco Valley (Argentina) Malbec 2011 Commended

Champagne, Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut NV

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Seans's Notes: Cambridge College Tastings

Team Bancroft's Sean and Mike headed to Cambridge yesterday to host a college tasting....

Here's what they got up to!

After a few events at Gonville and Caius College, Bancroft returned to St. Catherine’s College on Trumpington Street for the 2014 Spring college tasting. The light and airy room is a perfect venue and almost seems purpose built for wine tastings.

Weather in Cambridge was two extremes, the first tasters arrived in short sleeved shirts, smiling in the sunshine. These were shortly followed by rain sodden visitors with drenched hair and squelchy shoes.

Mike is ready to get tasting!

The wines we showed were as mixed as the weather, covering four continents, over forty grape varieties, a wide price range and various levels of seriousness. Without realising it, Bordeaux was not represented and not a single wine from this region was on show – this rather reflects consumers feelings towards this region at the present time, with the Bordeaux en primeur 2013 campaign failing to ignite any interest.

The attendees were most impressed with the variety of styles in the line up; “I have learned a lot from this event” and “I bet this was fun to put together” were a couple of comments....but the appreciative comments were also followed with some trepidation. Even though the wines showed well and were appeciated, some people were worried about convincing others to try quirky grape varieties and wines from new, up and coming regions.

I think it is the job of the wine merchant, to try and move people away from all the normal, ubiquitous wines....mind you, with the ever increasing prices in Bordeaux and ever decreasing amounts of Burgundy available, these unusual grape varieties and new wine growing regions are undoubtedly going to have an increased interest in the near future. Although, it is still unlikely Ribolla from Slovenia will ever overtake Pinot Grigio from Italy.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Vintage report: Bordeaux 2013

Chateau Mouton Gardens

2013 was an excellent year for Bordeaux’s desert and white wines yet it was one of the most difficult vintages in recent history for the production of Bordeaux reds. Weather conditions were challenging from winter months right up until the harvest and vine growers could only thank warm and stable conditions in the months of July and August for saving the crop. Bordeaux veterans believe that twenty years ago these kinds of poor weather conditions would completely destroy the production and that vintage would end up with little or no crop. Yet in 2013 the chateaux with sufficient financial muscle, access to knowledge and modern technology have managed to produce a number of good wines in what has been very difficult circumstances.

The 2013 red wines are extremely varied in quality and so it was more important than ever for our team to make the trip to taste wines across the appellations. The wines we have identified as the best of the vintage lack generalisation. They all come from variety of soils, from different appellations and some are predominantly Cabernet blends and some, Merlot. It appears that the best wines are result of technological advance, terroir, hard work in the vineyards and rigorous selection of, in many cases, a very small harvest. Importantly the small selection of wines that we can recommend are those that are reasonably priced and these are the chateaux who took the overall nature of the vintage and market into full consideration when deciding on price.