Special Cuvée: What makes it special?
Producing a consistent non-vintage Champagne year on year is an often underrated task. The creation of a Champagne which continually expresses the House style involves all the Cellar Master’s skill. With this in mind, Champagne Bollinger held a master class in London recently on their benchmark non-vintage Special Cuvée to explore what makes it ‘Special’.
Trade and press assembled for the first tasting of its kind that the city has seen involving still pre-blends, wines in reserve magnum from the Bollinger cellars and tasters of the final blends for future releases of Special Cuvée.
Bollinger Cellar Master Gilles Descôtes gave guests a fascinating insight into the process of creating Bollinger’s non-vintage wine, the latest blend of which involved opening 70,000 magnums of still reserve wine by hand to find the right ingredients for the wine’s recipe. The tasting also marked the launch of the 1846 Jeroboam bottle shape for Special Cuvée, the last of the family to join the range.
VdC 2012: A Fresh New Direction
Following its memorable appearance on ITV’s The Wine Show, April saw the highly anticipated launch of the 2012 vintage of Vin de Constance, one of the world’s most lauded sweet wines. Vin de Constance 2012 is the first solo vintage for dynamic young Klein Constantia winemaker, Matthew Day. Made from 100% Muscat de Frontignan grapes which are all individually hand-picked, carefully sorted and perfectly aged in French and Hungarian oak for 28 months, the 2012 vintage has already gained 94 points from Neal Martin. 2012 Vin de Constance promises more floral notes than the previous 2011 vintage, along with intense honey and marmalade aromas which this wine has become so famous for. The launch was celebrated at Scott’s, Mayfair where the new 2012 VdC was tasting alongside some outstanding VdC back vintages, including 1995, 2007 and 2011.
“The 2012 vintage is a wine that jumps out of the glass, which is what I was hoping to achieve, and the sugar doesn’t stand out on the palate. One thing that does stand out is the balance between delicate perfumed freshness together with the evolved tertiary flavours.” – Matt Day, Klein Constantia Wine Maker
Taylor’s Release Single Harvest 1966
Taylor’s Port, owner of one of the most extensive reserves of cask-aged Ports, has released a 1966 Single Harvest, which is the third in a series of 50 year old, limited edition Ports.
Retailing at around £150 a bottle, this extraordinary Aged Tawny is presented in a classic frosted bottle and packaged in an elegant wooden box.
1966 was a Port vintage of exceptional quality, widely declared by most Port shippers. Despite being overshadowed by the legendary 63s, the 1966 developed its own following and is now recognised as one of the best post-war vintages.
This 50 year old Single Harvest from Taylor’s reserves shows the strong pedigree of the 1966 vintage. It displays aromas of walnut, macadamia and brown sugar with a warm spicy background of molasses and caramel. A smooth, honeyed palate is interwoven with rich spice, figs and mocha with a touch of apricot and balanced with lively acidity. The length on the finish is particularly noteworthy.
“A landmark birthday or anniversary is definitely cause for celebration and what better way to toast half a century than with this incredible Port which has survived the passage of time in perfect condition,” adds Adrian Bridge, Managing Director of Taylor’s Port. Taylor’s 1966 Single Harvest Port follows the 1965 and 1964 and is the third in a series of Single Harvest releases from this Port house.
One Great Mentzendorff Tasting!
The 2016 Annual Mentzendorff Portfolio tasting came with a change of scenery this year, as the team and our full portfolio of winemakers took over One Great George Street, in London’s Westminster on Tuesday 16th February. Guests from the trade and press tasted their way through almost 200 different wines from the entire Mentzendorff portfolio and were guided by the expertise of the producers themselves.
There were also two exciting master classes during the day; the world of sparkling: A blind tasting, hosted by Jane Parkinson where the likes of Bollinger Special Cuvée were pitched against a carefully selected range of alternative Sparkling wines from around the world. Antony Hamilton Russell also hosted “Pinot Noir and Pinotage: A master class”, which showcased an impressive vertical tasting from the Hamilton Russell vineyards range.
Education never gets old
With over 1000 years of history, London’s Guildhall has seen its fair share of illustrious goings-on, this Monday evening being no exception. The 2016 WSET Awards & Graduation saw over 300 graduates awarded with their diplomas, as well as the giving of a series of awards for excellent performance in WSET examinations.
Included in these was Delamain Cognac Prize; a study visit to Delamain in the Cognac region for the highest achiever in the Level 2 Spirits exams, this year awarded by Mentzendorff Managing Director Andrew Hawes to Mark Tinsley of Robinsons Bar, one of Belfast’s most renowned watering holes that dates from 1895. Mark wins the chance to go behind the scenes at the home of Delamain in Jarnac, where since 1759 they have been blending their world renowned fine aged Cognacs.
Mentzendorff & The Dallaglio Foundation
Since its inception Mentzendorff has been one of the key supporters of The Dallaglio Foundation. Lawrence’s charity changes the lives of disadvantaged young people through the power of Sport. Under the slogan of “Rugby Works”, DF engages youngsters on the fringes and through the vehicle of rugby teaches them teamwork, respect and sportsmanship helping them to reintegrate back into society. In Lawrence’s own words, “It’s tough being a young person these days” and with that in mind, the Foundation works closely with Pupil Referral Units and engages with those that have been excluded from school and are on the verge of being left behind. The Foundation provides a support network to get them back on to the right track and in many cases avoid criminality, prison and long-term unemployment.
Every two years the Foundation organises the DALLAGLIO CYCLESLAM a cycling challenge that covers epic distances and epic mountains to raise money for the charity but also build awareness for the great work they do. Mentzendorff MD and cycling aficionado Andrew Hawes was a core rider on 2014 “slam” raising tens of thousands of pounds - cycling through 4 countries and tackling the peaks of the Alps. Sales Director James McKenna tagged along for the leg in his native Yorkshire.
The Foundation also knows how to throw a great party! All in the name of charity of course, supported with wines from Bollinger, Domaine Chanson and M.Chapoutier, November’s 8 Rocks Party celebrated the years of close work with the Teenage Cancer Trust and raised funds for yet more inspirational work with teenagers from all sectors of society.
Mentzendorff on the move
An exciting new chapter in Mentzendorff’s life has begun! As of Monday 9th November we have relocated to our new home: The Woolyard, Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UD.
A mere stone’s throw from London Bridge, The Woolyard will not only return Mentzendorff to the heart of the historic London wine trade, but also to the roots of the company itself….
Back in 1858 founder Ludwig Mentzendorff opened Mentzendorff’s first ever offices, at 37 Crutched Friars in the City of London – just over the bridge from our new home. Since then the company has only occupied 6 other offices, all in central London.
After 20 years in Vauxhall’s Prince Consort House, this marks a refreshing change and we look forward to welcoming many customers to The Woolyard over the coming months.
For Your Eyes Only: Bollinger SPECTRE Limited Edition
James Bond returns to the big screen this October in SPECTRE, along with his thirst for Bollinger! The 26th film in the series, and the 14th to feature the suave secret agents predilection for Bollinger, sees our hero follow a cryptic message from his past to uncover a sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.
To celebrate the continuing partnership between Bond and Bollinger, two limited editions have been released. Bollinger SPECTRE Limited Edition houses a bottle of 2009 vintage in a sleek Carré Basset outer case whose design mimics the texture of a Walther PPK, Bond’s weapon of choice. The Bollinger Crystal Set, with a hand-blown Saint-Louis crystal ice bucket, features an extremely rare magnum of Bollinger R.D. 1988. R.D. is one of Bond’s preferred cuvées, and the 2002 vintage is due to appear in the upcoming film.
In 1978, Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, the James Bond film producer met Christian Bizot, General Manager of Champagne Bollinger at the time, thereby uncorking an everlasting friendship between the two families. Bond and Bollinger have proven to be a logical and natural pairing: two legends who share a number of core values, such as excellence, elegance and character. Ever since, Champagne Bollinger has been the champagne of James Bond, a key element in his effervescent seduction of the fairer sex and a symbol of his oh-so British style.
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!