December 2017

Domaine Chanson En Primeur 2016

The 28th of November saw the 2016 Domaine Chanson En Primeur Tasting take place at Mentzendorff with Vincent Avenel, Domaine Chanson Managing Director and Mentzendorff’s Director of European Wines, Justin Liddle.

The general feedback regarding the 2016’s has been extremely positive with the reds in particular gaining a huge amount of interest. Chanson rate their reds as potentially outstanding, although unfortunately volumes are low due to the frost and hail experienced in some vineyards over the vintage. This year the wine selection has been slightly adjusted, we have introduced two new reds; Maranges 1er Cru La Fuissere and Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Damodes, this is partly due to low volumes but also the outstanding quality.

Domaine Chanson Vineyards

The winter 2015/2016 was particularly mild (the warmest winter since 1880) and spring followed on the same path. Bud break arrived early: 15th April in Côte de Beaune and 17th April on Côte de Nuit.  The wine growers had to face various meteorological events: storm, hail, light frost. However, the black frost that hit the whole of Burgundy at the end of April had a very severe impact on some villages of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

The weather in June was mild and rainy which engendered Millerandage; the summer was calm, very warm and very dry with a consequence:  the lack of water slowed down the ripening of the grapes. The harvest started on September 20, 2017 with a small group of 10 people who harvested only the ripest plots. The whole team of 100 was fully operational on September 26; the harvest lasted 13 days.

The operations in the winery were intense and meticulous with a very strict control of the acidity for the white wines and long and careful macerations combined with very strict controls of temperatures for the reds to retain the delicacy and subtle character of this vintage.


The white wines differ depending on their geographical origin and meteorological conditions which prevailed in spring in each area. The Mâconnais wines are well-balanced with a well-shaped minerality. The wines of Chablis are tense and precise with a well-crafted acidity especially the Premiers Crus and Grands Crus. In the Côte de Beaune, the whites are fleshy with a good texture. As for the reds, the quality is outstanding: they are dense, crunchy, deep with well-shaped and silky tannins and a velvety texture.

To sum up, the 2016 vintage had historically low yields in some appellations and specifically in Côte de Beaune, nevertheless the quality is exceptional.

November 2017

Champagne Bollinger & the 2017 Rugby Autumn Internationals

The 2017 Autumn Internationals has now drawn to a close after three action packed weekends. England fans were treated to three victories giving the home supporters plenty to celebrate post-match in the Bollinger Tent and leaving Coach Eddie Jones’ squad with a near-perfect record of 22 wins from 23 games. The recent series of Tests were also a fantastic result for England Rugby and Champagne Bollinger who round out their 17th year as the Official Champagne of England Rugby.

Lawrence Dallaglio, former England number 8 and founder of Dallaglio Rugby Works joined Andrew Hawes of Mentzendorff & the new head of Champagne Bollinger Charles-Armand de Belenet to sign the #BollingerBigBoy, a Nebuchadnezzar of Bollinger Special Cuvée which will be claimed by a lucky fan.

Champagne Bollinger has always been presented to the Old Mutual Wealth Player of the Match across all England men’s and women series games and this year saw the launch of the Champagne Bollinger Fans Player of the Match, the award for the best player as voted for by general public.

Champagne Bollinger also played host in the Cardinal Vaughan car park over the last three weekends. Guests were treated to Bollinger Special Cuvée on their welcome, after all what match-day experience at Twickenham would be complete without it! This was followed by M.Chapoutier Chante Alouette 2015 paired with roasted celeriac soup with hazelnut pesto, Roda Reserva 2012 was matched with a stunning beef bourguignon, creamy mash and mixed autumn vegetables while Taylor’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port complemented a selection of cheese and chocolate brownies, many thanks to the inimitable chef Ben Rule and his team.

November 2017

Mentzendorff Announces New Agency Partnerships With Akitu & Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona

Mentzendorff is pleased to announce new exclusive agency partnerships with two prestigious producers: Akitu of Central Otago and Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona of Montalcino. These two highly acclaimed producers will sit within a portfolio of the world’s finest family owned producers of Champagne, wines, fortified wines and spirits; and more specifically will complement & strengthen the company’s New Zealand and Italian ranges.

With regards to Mentzendorff’s approach to new agency acquisition Managing Director, Andrew Hawes had the following to say “Taking on a new agency is always a major decision, we take our time and choose our exclusive partners carefully, looking for family owned producers who share our values and will fit naturally into our focused portfolio. Our approach has evolved in that we are finding success by developing strengths in specific areas of the market and we have found that representing complementary Estates in South Africa (Klein Constantia & Hamilton Russell) and in Australia (Chapoutier, Kilikanoon, Turkey Flat & Tapanappa) is working increasingly well for us. Therefore Akitu will sit comfortably alongside The Crossings from the Awatere Valley in Marlborough and Ciacci Piccolomini joins Fertuna (from the Maremma).”


Akitu was founded by Andrew Donaldson (a local man) in 2001. Set in the heart of Central Otago’s Wanaka sub region, the 12-hectare vineyard sits alone at 380 metres above sea level on a stunning north facing slope, in the southern most winemaking region on earth. The vineyard is entirely dedicated to Pinot Noir, block planted from 6 carefully selected clones that produce Akitu’s two wines: ‘A1’ and ‘A2’.

Andrew Hawes adds: “We are particularly excited about the quality of the Pinot Noir from Akitu, we believe in the region’s ability to produce exceptional Pinot Noir, a variety which lies particularly close to our hearts due to its deep connection to the Bollinger family group”.

From the depths of Central Otago to the rolling Tuscan Hills, Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona is regarded as one of the great Brunello di Montalcino producers. The estate traces its roots back to the 17th century. The Ciacci family owned the estate for over a hundred years until in 1985 the countess Elda Ciacci bequeathed the property to her long-standing estate manager, Giuseppe Bianchini. The Montalcino estate is now run by Giuseppe’s son and daughter, Paolo and Lucia.

Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona

Located in the south east of the Montalcino region near the beautiful medieval village of Castelnuovo dell’Abate, the estate extends over 220 hectares of which 53 are in vine and 40 in olive groves on the rolling Tuscan hills bordered by Arna hill and the Orcia River.

October 2017

2016 Turkey Flat Grenache wins the ‘Jimmy’

On Thursday 19th October the 2016 Turkey Flat Grenache became the first ever Grenache to win Australia’s most prestigious wine honour – the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy in its 56 year history. This award also marks the return of the ‘Jimmy’ to the Barossa Valley for the first time since 2003.

The Jimmy Watson is the most prestigious trophy at The Royal Melbourne Wine Show – regarded as Australia’s leading national wine awards since its inception in 1884 attracting approximately 4000 entries yearly in its 71 classes. It brings together the very best Australian winemakers and producers and is renowned as a benchmark of excellence in wine production. The trophy is a memorial to the late Jimmy Waston, the proprietor of the iconic Watson’s Wine Bar, who is credited with changing the tastes of the Melbourne wine drinking public, after his sudden death in 1962. The Trophy has been won by some of the biggest names in the Australian wine industry – which now, proudly, includes Turkey Flat.

For Winemaker, Mark Bulman, who admits his love for Grenache borders on the obsessive, this win is particularly sweet. The suitability of Grenache in the warm, Barossa climate, and the savoury, complex and tannic characters in the resulting wine were the hook for Mark settling in this area. Mark noting “the hot, dry conditions of the 2016 vintage combined with the timely 30mm of rainfall in January and our extraordinary old vine material set us up in the winery to create something truly exceptional.”

Always a champion for Grenache Christie Schulz, owner of Turkey Flat Vineyards, is elated by the win “tonight’s win is a vote of confidence for the distinct style of our Grenache.”


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