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.
Vin de Constance 2009; a Dickensian delight!
When a wine is referenced by literary greats such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, it must be something special. What began as ‘Constantia’, a sweet wine from South Africa’s Constantia Valley, is today Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia. Winemaker Matthew Day launched the 2009 vintage of Vin de Constance in the decadent surroundings of Bob Bob Ricard in London this month, and it is already being hailed as “a rare beauty” by wine authority Matthew Jukes. Made from 100% Muscat de Frontignan grapes which are all individually hand-picked, the 2009 vintage has fresh acidity, rich flavours and an endless finish. Get your hands on it, before the famous authors do!
A drinker's dash and a cycling smash!
Staying true to their mantra of ‘Run For Your Life…Wine For Your Soul’, the hardy Mentzendorff team took part in the British 10K this summer on behalf of The Benevolent running through typically wet British summertime weather to beat personal bests and raise £1,000 for the drinks trade charity. Successes were of course celebrated by raising a large glass of well-earned wine!
Mentzendorff Managing Director Andrew Hawes also hit the fundraising trail this summer, on two wheels instead of two feet, by taking part in the Dallaglio Foundation Cycle Slam. This was a gruelling 2,300km ride through 4 countries taking in 51,000 metres of vertical ascent. Our huge congratulations to him for raising over £16,000 for the Dallaglio Foundation.
First-growth success for Klein Constantia!
One of the world’s most beautiful wine estates, South Africa’s Klein Constantia, has been honoured with a ‘First-Growth’ classification in leading wine writer Tim Atkin’s South Africa 2014 Special Report.
Atkin not only concludes that the South African wine scene is more dynamic than ever, but is also confident the industry is in good hands with the talented young guns currently in many influential roles – including Klein Constantia’s own winemaker, Matthew Day. Elevated to First Growth status for the first time, Klein Constantia joins a select group of only 11 other wineries.
This comes at the same time as many exciting developments are taking place at Klein Constantia, most recently with the release of Metis – a South African Sauvignon Blanc unlike any other. Produced in collaboration with Pascal Jolivet from the Loire Valley, this elegant wine shows a true expression of the unique Klein Constantia terroir, and indeed was picked as one of the best 2013 Sauvignon Blancs in Tim Atkin’s recent report.
Bollinger first out of the gates as Official Champagne of Royal Ascot
With a record crowd of 80,000 keen spectators, Royal Ascot 2014 drew to a close on Saturday 20th June after 4 days of excellent racing which marked the high point of the summer social season in Britain. This was an historic year for Champagne Bollinger as, after many years' association with Ascot Racecourse, 2014 saw the House cement its position as Official Champagne of Ascot and Royal Ascot as part of a new, long-term sponsorship agreement. Since its founding in 1711, this is the first time that Ascot Racecourse has appointed an 'Official Champagne'. This year saw two exclusive Bollinger Bars in the Royal Enclosure, and one larger Bollinger bar on the Grandstand Enclosure Motivator Lawn ensured all visitors had the chance to toast their winnings. Bollinger Champagnes were served throughout the fine-dining and hospitality outlets at the racecourse and every winning jockey was presented with a bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvee to celebrate their success.
Taylor’s 1964: an impeccable half century
Drawing from one of the most comprehensive reserves of very old cask-aged Port, Taylor’s has released the first of a series of 50 year old Single Harvest Ports. Ideal for celebrating landmark 50th birthdays and anniversaries, the 1964 is blended from wines of a single year which have been aged exclusively in oak casks in Vila Nova de Gaia, resulting in a complex, spicy and nutty Port wine. Despite its great age, there is crisp acidity to the wine, and an immensely long finish. As Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, says, “there are few wines in the world which can match the longevity and freshness of these extraordinary Ports and the ones in our collection have survived in perfect condition.” Taylor’s 1964 is to be followed by the release of the 1965 in 2015.
Bollinger R.D. 2002; a Golden Jubilee for Madame Bollinger’s iconic creation
An extraordinary vintage of a revolutionary Champagne was celebrated yesterday in London with the launch of Bollinger R.D. 2002. Returning to Pickering Place in St. James’s, the very location where Madame Bollinger launched the first vintage of her iconic creation, Bollinger R.D. 1952, Champagne Bollinger President Jérôme Philipon and Chef de Cave Gilles Descôtes presented the latest vintage release to assembled guests from the press and trade.
First released in the 1960s with the 1952 vintage, the release of Bollinger R.D. 2002, from one of the best vintages for Champagne in the past few decades, is powerful but well-balanced, using a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir and an ultra-brut dosage of 3-4 g/L to give tension, energy and life to a wine that also has remarkable ageing potential. As well as being beloved of connoisseurs the world over, Bollinger R.D. is the choice of Britain’s most discerning secret agent 007, having now been featured in 7 James Bond films.
A vintage year for the Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting
The Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting returned to the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden for the third year this February. With parts of the building dating from 1858, the same year that Mentzendorff was founded, this glorious setting is the natural location for our largest trade and press tasting of the year. 2014 came with two special added-extras; the unveiling of the new Champagne Ayala and a Bodegas Roda modern Rioja master class. Hadrien Mouflard, President of Champagne Ayala revealed the new look for the brand, and the result of his team’s hard work over the last 9 years as well as treating guests to a tasting of the range of fresh, elegant Ayala Champagnes. Agustin Santolaya of Bodegas Roda greeted and guided guests through 4 vintages of both Roda Reserva and Roda I. Over 400 members of the trade and press spent the day tasting through nearly 200 Champagnes, fine and fortified wines and spirits from the entire Mentzendorff portfolio.