June 2019

Impressive Medal Haul for Mentzendorff

Mentzendorff has been celebrating the success of many of its producers who have achieved some fantastic results in a range of internationally renowned wine competitions so far this year!

At the Decanter World Wine Awards Kilikanoon and Henriques & Henriques were both awarded Best In Show medals for the Attunga 1865 Shiraz 2014 and the 20 YO Verdelho respectively. The Madeiran producer cemented its position at the top of the Decanter Awards with a Platinum medal for the 15 YO Sercial and Gold’s for the 20 YO Terrantez and 50 YO Tinta Negra. Humberto Jardím, H&H Master Blender, commented “We produce wines in a ‘traditional’ style, although under modern and certified technical processes, which allows us to maintain the high quality and consistency that we have shown in our wines for generations. H&H’s wine profile has a special and unique identity.”

H&H Medal Winners

Tapanappa, Klein Constantia, Taylor’s and Bodegas Hidalgo, no strangers to the DWWA having all picked up top medals in last years judging, proved this year wasn’t going to be any different with Gold medals for the Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2017, Vin de Constance 2015, Quinta de Vargellas 2004 and the Amontillado Napoleón (VORS).

This years International Wine Challenge also saw more fine performances for H&H as they scooped Gold medals for the 10 YO Malvasia and Sercial and the 15 YO Verdelho. Taylor’s Port is one of the most highly respected producers of aged tawny wines and this was underlined with a Gold medal for the 20 Year Old expression. More success too for Kilikanoon with the wonderful 2015 vintage Oracle Shiraz which, quite rightly, won a Gold medal.

Great results were also enjoyed at the Wine Merchant Top 100 awards with two trophies; Best Fortified for the Henriques & Henriques 10 YO Bual and Best Value Fortified for the Fonseca Unfiltered LBV 2012.Bodegas Hidalgo and Fonseca made the Top 100 list with the 2019 Spring bottling of En Rama Manzanilla and Terra Prima (Organic) Port.

And finally, for now at least, in the Sommelier Wine Awards Michel Chapoutier’s Schieferkopf received a Gold Medal for the 2016 Riesling.

For the full Mentzendorff results click here.

May 2019

Champagne Bollinger and the World’s Leading Festival of Ideas

Champagne Bollinger has become the Official Champagne of the Hay Festival Wales. From 23rd May to 2nd June the World’s literati descended on Hay on Wye for the festival’s 32nd edition. Flocks of award-winning writers gathered to launch new works, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators debated solutions to the biggest issues of our time, from the rise of populism to the climate crisis.

32nd Hay Festival Wales

The festival also saw the prize giving for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Established in 2000, the prize is awarded to the novel deemed to best capture the comic spirit of the late PG Wodehouse. This year the prize was won by Nina Stibbe for her pitch-perfect vintage comedy about love, lust and social angst at the dental surgery. Stibbe joins 19 previous winners including Helen Fielding, Hannah Rothschild, Howard Jacobson, Terry Pratchett and Will Self.

After a discussion of her book Reasons to be Cheerful Nina was presented with a special rollover prize of two locally-bred Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, newly named Reasons and Cheerful, and a methuselah of Bollinger Special Cuvée.

Nina Stibbe with her Gloucester Old Spot pig

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “The writers of comic fiction are astonishingly gifted. They turn phrases, create characters to love, and offer a hotline to truth. Comedy can be a weapon to power too, and we need it today more than ever. For all of these reasons it is a joy to celebrate the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at our Festival in May. We have been delighted by all the winners over the years.”

The Hay Festival

Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger UK, said: “We are very proud of our long-standing relationship supporting the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, and we are delighted to partner this year with Hay Festival Wales as Official Champagne provider. It is an important occasion to continue supporting the most talented names in comic fiction, and we are delighted to offer our congratulations to Nina Stibbe as this year’s winner.”

April 2019

Fladgate Partnership 2017 Vintage Port Declaration

Taylor’s, Fonseca & Croft have all announced their decision to declare the 2017 vintage, this follows directly after the also classic 2016 Vintage . In addition to classic Vintage Ports from the three Houses, there will also be two ‘old vines’ bottlings.

Fladgate Partnership Vintage Ports

Taylor’s will release a 2017 Vargellas Vinha Velha, only the eighth bottling ever made (95, 97, 00, 04, 07, 09, 11 & 17). This rare Vintage Port is made in very small quantities from the very oldest vines on the property.

Further exciting news for wine enthusiasts is that, for the first time, Croft will release a Vintage Port from the oldest vines of the magnificent Quinta da Roêda.  “Serikos”, a reference to Roêda’s post-Phylloxera involvement in the production of silk, the wine captures the essence of this pre-eminent property’s historic vineyards.

Harvest at Quinta de Vargellas

The Fladgate Partnership’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, commented: “After the long interval that followed the 2011 Vintage release, we are delighted that the highly acclaimed 2016s are now followed by the superb 2017s.  All our houses and their properties have produced exceptional wines, with impressive density, depth and aromatic potential.”  He added:  “It is clear that 2017 was a stunning year for the old vineyards.  In addition to a Vargellas Vinha Velha release, we are very excited to be launching Serikos, a Vintage Port from the oldest vines of Croft’s Quinta da Roêda.”

Harvest at Quinta da Roeda

The group’s Technical Director and Head Winemaker, David Guimaraens, commented:  “We will remember 2017 for the very dry conditions throughout the growing and ripening seasons and the very early harvest.  August was not excessively hot and, although the wines were concentrated by the dry conditions and low yields, they were also beautifully balanced.  The start of the harvest was the earliest in a generation.  The last time picking started this early was in the legendary vintage of 1945.”   Commenting on the wines, he noted: “The thick skinned, perfectly ripened grapes have produced dense, firmly structured wines, with impressive depth and reserves of aroma.  Many of the wines display an attractive minerality which brings a touch of elegance and restraint to the powerful fruit.”

Fonseca Quinta do Panascal

April 2019

Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année 2008

The launch of the 2008 vintage of Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année commenced in the UK at the two Michelin starred restaurant The Ledbury in April. Head Chef Brett Graham, created his perfect pairings for the 2008 vintage, first the spectacular Duchy Estate Helford Oyster, organically grown for 14 years and reaching up to 10 inches in length, was followed by the antioxidant packed and enigmatic Hen of The Wood mushroom.

La Grande Annee 2008 at The Ledbury

La Grande Année 2008 is the perfect cuvée to celebrate the finest gastronomic pairings, this epicurean journey is set to continue with a selection of Britain’s finest chefs, bringing their talents together to work on a series of dishes. Each dish will focus on a signature ingredient to pair with La Grande Année 2008. These pairings will be featured for a limited period in their restaurants throughout 2019 and include; Ollie Dabbous of Hide using Crab, Gareth Ward of Ynyshir using Cod, Atul Kochhar of Kanishka using Duck, Stephane Delourme of Seafood Restaurant using Lobster, Lisa Goodwin-Allen of Northcote using Petrossian Caviar, Tom Kitchin of The Kitchin using Langoustine, Peter Joseph of Kahani using Coconut Prawns and Chris Denney of 108 Garage using Celeriac.

Brett Graham of The Ledbury
The 2008 vintage is also Bollinger’s first prestige cuvée to have been aged in the “1846” Bollinger bottle, with its unique and identifying shape that offers beneficial properties for the quality of the wine. This bottle has been completely redesigned, inspired by a 19th-century bottle discovered in the Bollinger cellars which dates back to 1846. The idea in using the curved shape of the bottle is to aim for the perfect balance of a “small magnum” with a narrower neck and a wider base, to slightly slow down the oxygen exchange and therefore give a better quality wine with longer ageing potential.

La Grande Annee 2008 label

“Producing every bottle of La Grande Année requires patience and precision, and is only possible thanks to the work of the men and women of Bollinger, whose artisinal methods have been passed down from generation to generation.” Gilles Descôtes, Chef de Cave.


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