Hidalgo on Horseback!
Horse races on the beach in Sanlucar de Barrameda have taken place since August 1845, and for the 170th edition this year, Mentzendorff visited with press and clients to see famous Manzanilla producer, and (less famous but nonetheless impressive) jockey, Javier Hidalgo compete.
The races, the oldest in Spain, are held at dusk on the sands that form the bank of the Guadalquivir river. Sadly, victory was not Javier’s on this occasion, despite revealing his pre-race secret is a little Manzanilla in his horse’s oats and a little Amontillado for him, but a glorious visit to Bodegas Hidalgo then followed.
Harvest had just begun in the Hidalgo vineyards just outside Sanlucar, where the Palomino Fino yield is the highest in the world thanks to the calcium carbonate rich albariza soils and extremely stable climate. However, Javier reminded visitors that the ‘terroir’ of Manzanilla is more about what happens in the Bodega than the vineyards, particularly when it comes to the unique maritime ‘flor’ (yeast) of Sanlucar. Wielding his venencia, drawing samples straight from the cask, Senor Hidalgo indulged guests’ love of all sherry styles, reminding of the freshness and vivacity of Manzanilla and Sherry styles from Sanlucar.
Fly Away to Cognac Blues Passions in Jarnac!
Lenny Kravitz was the headline act at this year’s Cognac Blues Passions in Jarnac; the festival of Afro-American music sponsored by all the Cognac houses in the region, including our very own Delamain! Visitors also enjoyed music from Charlie Winston, Katie Melua and Otis Clay during the five day blues-fest.
Amongst the crowd were customers of Mentzendorff and the 2014 winner of the WSET Delamain Scholarship who the highest mark in the Spirits exam of the WSET diploma. Between the acts, there was a behind the scenes look at the home of Delamain Cognac, which dates from 1759. Still owned by descendants of the original founder James Delamain, the House’s objective is simple; remain faithful to tradition and offer Cognacs of the purest, most genuine expression. Tradition also combines with innovation at Delamain; they were the first house to release vintage Cognacs, with many others since following suit.
Like Nowhere Else – Bollinger toasts Royal Ascot!
For five days this June, the eyes of the world turned to Berkshire for Royal Ascot; the world’s most famous race meeting. Attended each day by Her Majesty the Queen, members of the Royal Family, socialites, celebrities and public figures, Royal Ascot is awash with style, pageantry and, of course, Champagne.
Bollinger is the official Champagne of Royal Ascot and has been associated with the meeting for over 100 years. This year, spectators could enjoy Bollinger in three Bollinger bars; two in the exclusive Royal Enclosure Gardens, one on the motivator lawn, also as an accompaniment to sumptuous dining options from Michelin-starred chefs Phil Howard, Michael Caines and Raymond Blanc in the racecourse’s restaurants.
Royal Ascot 2015 once again provided exhilarating, world-class racing. Renowned jockey Frankie Dettori celebrated his 50th career win at Royal Ascot on Day One, and jockey Ryan Moore broke a Royal Ascot record to claim 9 wins over the course of the meeting. Race-goers enjoyed 51,000 bottles of Champagne in 2014, and with unprecedented thirst for Bollinger magnums and jeroboams we imagine that total may be a little higher this year… Giddy up!
Toughest Mentzendorff Cycle Tour raises £32,000 for The Benevolent!
This June, the 9th Mentzendorff Charity Cycle Tour took place through the Southern regions of France formerly known as Occitania. Starting from the M.Chapoutier winery in Tain L’Hermitage with a send-off from The Benevolent’s Chief Executive David Cox on Monday 1st June, the “Tour de L’Oc” saw a fifteen strong peloton of riders primarily from the drinks industry travel through some of southern France’s most picturesque scenery to finish 400km later at Collioure near the Spanish border.
However, a cycling holiday this was not, for the tour included a gruelling 1912 metre climb of the infamous Mont Ventoux, which some have called the hardest of all the mythical Tour de France climbs. The Giant of Provence is a 22km climb with an average gradient of 8.9%. Ouch. Yet, every single rider in the peloton conquered the mountain in their own time and under their own steam.
Congratulations to all riders, who have provided The Benevolent with what CEO David Cox termed the “largest single fundraising of the year”. Particular mention must going to Mentzendorff riders Andrew Hawes, Alan Montague-Dennis, James McKenna and Andrew Wilkins – bravo chaps!
One of South Africa’s finest joins Mentzendorff
Exciting news this month as esteemed South African producer Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa, joins the Mentzendorff portfolio.
A pioneer of viticulture in the maritime Hemel-en-Aarderegion east of Cape Town, Hamilton Russell produces terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World. Mentioning the thrilling energy in South African wines, Mentzendorff Managing Director Andrew Hawes notes these wines “will sit most comfortably alongside those of Klein Constantia and Anwilka to form a powerful and complementary, super-premium South African collection.”
Now owned and run by founder Tim Hamilton Russell’s son Anthony, and his wife Olive, Hamilton Russell also bring with them to the portfolio partner brands Southern Right and Ashbourne. On the move to Mentzendorff, Anthony Hamilton Russell notes that “Mentzendorff will now enable us to develop to the next level in the UK”. And we are looking forward to working with your fantastic wines, Anthony!
Saint George toasted with a Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port release!
The house of Fonseca, which celebrates its bicentenary this year, has announced this St George’s Day that it will bottle a Guimaraens Vintage Port from 2013. Guimaraens Vintage Ports are made in certain years when a classic Fonseca Vintage is not declared. They are blended from the best fruit of the Pinhão Valley estates, Cruzeiro and Santo António, and Fonseca’s flagship property, Quinta do Panascal. Heralding this release, Fonseca Managing Director Adrian Bridge says “Given Fonseca’s undisputed position as a ‘first growth’ Vintage Port producer, I am delighted that we will be marking this historic event and celebrating the Bicentenary of the house with the release of a textbook Guimaraens 2013 Vintage Port.”
Describing the 2013 harvest, Fonseca Winemaker David Guimaraens says it is a “watershed…with exceptionally rich powerful wines… The Ports made on the Fonseca estates in the first week of the vintage were outstanding, allowing us to produce a very fine Guimaraens 2013 vintage blend, full bodied and packed with dense berry fruit flavour.” Tradition in England, the principal historic Port market, dictates that Vintage Port declarations are made on Saint George’s Day the 23rd of April.
Boating History and a Bollinger Bicycle!
History was made on Saturday 11th April at the BNY Mellon Boat Races as the Women’s Boat Race was held on the same day as the men’s for the very first time. With a strong headwind on the Thames, and tens of thousands of spectators lining the banks from Putney to Mortlake, the crews from Oxford and Cambridge Universities took to the water to continue their age-old boating battle which has been raging since 1829 (the same year as Champagne Bollinger was founded!) for the men, and 1927 for the women.
The competition turned out to be a dark blue domination, with the Oxford women’s crew producing a controlled display of rowing and winning by five strokes, while the men’s crew was captained to victory over Cambridge for the third time in a row by Stan Louloudis. Both teams celebrated suitably with Jeroboams of Bollinger, the Official Champagne of the Boat Races, whilst spectators enjoyed Bollinger by the Glass on the Putney Embankment from the UK’s first Bollinger bicycle.
Klein Constantia alight with MAD fundraising!
Amid some of the worst wild fires the Cape has seen in 50 years, Klein Constantia hosted their annual cocktail fundraiser this past weekend to celebrate the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
As official sponsors of the E-Tixx Quick-Step Cycling Team, the Estate welcomed renowned figures Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw and Eddy Merckx, along with the great and the good, to raise funds for the Make A Difference educational programmes. The Cape Town Cycle Tour saw nearly 34,000 riders participate in the 47km ride - including Mentzendorff’s Andrew Hawes and James McKenna! – with many decked out in red to show solidarity with the fire-fighters who fought the flames which ravaged 5000 hectares of land.
Matt Day, Klein Constantia winemaker said “It has been a crazy few days, but we are very pleased to report that despite initial fears, very little damage has been done to the vineyards. What stands out for me was seeing the way the Klein Constantia team came together in this crisis. This fire has taken us from being a team, to becoming a family.” We are delighted to confirm that both the team and the Klein Constantia Estate are safe and well and the fires have now been extinguished.
A Regal Setting for A World Of Wine
Joining the ranks of world class musicians and prima ballerinas, the Mentzendorff team and full portfolio of winemakers took over the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden once more for the 2015 Annual Portfolio Tasting. With nearly 180 different wines from 26 producers on show, guests from trade and press spent the day tasting their way around the world, from France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, including new recruit to the Mentzendorff portfolio Kilikanoon from the Clare Valley.
The day also saw select press and trade guests enjoy a first taste of the 2005 vintages of Bollinger La Grande Année & La Grande Année Rosé, hosted by Jérôme Philipon and Gilles Descôtes, as well as a challenging but enlightening blind tasting of the world’s great sweet wines hosted by Klein Constantia’s Hans Astrom, which included the two most recent vintages of Vin de Constance.
Mathilda waltzes into town for Australia Day!
The Mentzendorff Australian Collection of producers was deployed this week for the 2015 Wine Australia Annual Tasting in London, following the suitably vinous celebration of Australia Day!
Tapanappa from the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kilikanoon from the Clare Valley, Turkey Flat from the Barossa Valley and Domaine Tournon and Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier from Victoria were all pouring their characterful selection of wines for the hundreds of press and trade who kept the tasting buzzing throughout the day.
The lasting impression was of quality and diversity of Australian wines, particularly when paired with some of the dishes from the Restaurant Australia pop-up served during the event. This certainly looks like the year when (Domaine Tournon’s) Mathilda waltzes right into consumers wine racks!
2013 at Domaine Chanson: A true Burgundy Lovers’ vintage!
Domaine Chanson heralded the New Year with a presentation of their 2013 wines in London last week.
Breaking out of the Mentzendorff board room to Roux at Parliament Square, Domaine Chanson Managing Director Gilles de Courcel and Winemaker Jean-Pierre Confuron welcomed guests from trade and press to taste the full range of red and white expressions from 2013.
Confuron hailed the year as his “hardest vintage”, but one which produced wines that would appeal to “the real amateurs of Burgundy wines.” Over dinner following the tasting, Gilles de Courcel remarked that the Domaine has, 15 years after being bought by the Bollinger family, reached exactly the right point in the management of their vineyards, an important aspect for the balance of the wines.
Dinner Jazz, the first Port of call for Taylor’s drinkers
Sophisticated Taylor’s Port and smooth Jazz FM are the perfect combination, and this year sees their third collaboration - taking listeners on a journey through the world of Taylor’s Port. Running until March 2015, listeners to the Dinner Jazz show hosted by Helen Mayhew and Sarah Ward can tune in three times a week to hear specially recorded interviews with leading chefs and sommeliers, and learn how Port is made from the Managing Director of Taylor’s.
Tuesday is time for Taylor Made Cuisine when chefs and sommeliers from top hotels and restaurants, including The Goring, The Savoy and Michelin-starred Sienna in Dorset, share their favourite savoury and sweet recipes to pair with Taylor’s Ports. On Thursdays, Taylor’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, guides listeners through the ‘20 steps to making Port’, the most emblematic of fortified wines from the heart of the Douro Valley. Finally, on Saturday evenings share ‘After Dinner Anecdotes’ from more than 300 years of Taylor’s Port’s history.
Ruck over at Twickenham with Bollinger!
Bollinger has enjoyed twelve years as sponsors of the RFU and this year the Bollinger Tent & Garden return for the Autumn Internationals at world-famous Twickenham stadium. The Bollinger Tent and Garden have become favourite spots to celebrate the victorious team’s win with a glass, bottle, magnum or even Jeroboam of the Official Champagne of England Rugby.
In continued support of the Dallaglio Foundation, Bollinger will be making a donation to the charity to help fund their youth development projects for every entry into the #BollingerBigBoy competition. By following @BollingerUK and @dallagliofdn on Twitter and tweeting the hashtag #BollingerBigBoy, entrants have the chance to win a 15 litre Nebuchadnezzar of Bollinger Special Cuvée signed by former England Rugby captain Lawrence Dallaglio.
A hugely successful night for Yealands Wine Group and Delamain Cognac at IWSC 2014!
Yealands Wine Group, producers of The Crossings and Crossroads, was last night named as New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) 2014. The prestigious title was collected by Simon Kelly at the IWSC's 45th edition of the awards presentation and banquet, held at Guildhall in London.
Another highlight of the evening was Delamain’s Pale & Dry XO winning a Cognac Category Trophy, collected by Guillemette de Couesnongle from IWSC 2014 President and fourth generation Argentine vintner, Laura Catena.
An Ayala toast to Jane Parkinson’s first book!
This October, the marvellous wine journalist, presenter and broadcaster Jane Parkinson celebrated the launch of her first book, Wine and Food. A subtle difference to the normal pairing of food and (then) wine, the book concentrates primarily on understanding wine; how we buy, serve and enjoy it. Like Jane, it is chatty, informative and thoroughly engaging. It seemed only fitting that Champagne Ayala provide their delicious Brut Majeur to toast the book’s launch at 28-50 restaurant, where the great and the good of the wine trade and press gathered to raise a glass and get their hands on this eagerly awaited tome.
Founded in 1860, Champagne Ayala was one of the original Grandes Marques Champagne houses. Having enjoyed great success in Britain amongst the Bright Young Things of the 1920s and the Royal Family, the House has been refreshed for 2014 with a new look inspired by its Art Deco heritage, and can now be followed on Twitter @AyalaChampagne.
Another wonder from down under
In an expansion of our selection of premium regional Australian producers, Mentzendorff is pleased to announce a new agency partnership with Clare Valley producer Kilikanoon. This recent winner of the coveted James Halliday Australian Winery of the Year award was founded in 1997 in the hamlet of Penwortham in South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley. Today the winery exports to over 25 countries and has become one of the leading wine brands in Australia, with Winemaker Kevin Mitchell also recently being named Clare Valley Winemaker of The Year.
Kilikanoon’s vineyards have been carefully selected to enable them to produce exceptional and elegant examples of Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache which express the individuality of their regional origins. The combination of a brilliant technical team and a range of pure, characterful wines, has led to a slew of accolades for the winery and awards in the last few years include two regional trophies and five gold medals at the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards.