Knowledge is the foundation for every Bollinger Medal winner
During the feverish activity of the 2016 Champagne harvest, another side to Champagne Bollinger was glimpsed this September, that of fostering and promoting educational excellence within the wine industry. The Madame Bollinger Foundation, founded to honour the memory of Madame Lily Bollinger, became the first partner of the Institute of Masters of Wine in 1988, and has since awarded the Bollinger Medal for excellence in tasting and outstanding achievement in the Institute of Masters of Wine practical examinations.
The 2015 medal was awarded by the Foundation’s Chairman, and great-nephew of Madame Bollinger, Etienne Bizot, to Rebecca Gibb MW, a British journalist who is currently wine editor of international wine and luxury magazine Le Pan. Rebecca and her family visited Bollinger to enjoy a tour of the cellars and an extensive tasting with cellar master Gilles Descotes before lunch was taken Madame Bollinger’s home.
Awarded since 1988 to Masters of Wine including Gerard Basset MW, Essi Avellan MW and Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, the Bollinger Medal remains one of the most coveted prizes at the Institute of Masters of Wine Awards, held each year in November.
Happy International Grenache Day, Grenachistas!
Grenachistas will be celebrating the world over for International Grenache Day on Friday 16th September and the Mentzendorff portfolio has a plethora of Grenache styles for you to pick from to toast the grape we love the most!
Grenache was most likely to have originated in Spain but is now one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world and was one of the first varieties to take the treacherous voyage from Europe to Australia in the 18th century.
A robust grape that stands up well to both winds and lack of water, Grenache ripens late and suits the hot, dry conditions of the Barossa Valley. Turkey Flat Grenache vineyards tend to produce quite elegant wines for the Barossa, as their vineyards are protected from the heat by light breezes that roll in from the coast, similar to Grenache of the Clare Valley where high altitude and very cool nights give supple, elegant, velvety and smooth wines with generous fruit and body.
Grenache is also the main grape variety used in the blends of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and brings a natural sweetness to the blends giving the wines elegance, silky tannins and great finesse. Large stones in some Chateauneuf-du-Pape areas, called “Galets”, contribute to the quality of the wines by retaining the heat during the day and releasing it at night, helping the grapes to ripen at an even pace, try M.Chapoutier’s Châteauneuf du Pape La Bernardine 2014, fresh, fruity and easy to drink.
Something sweet to finish? Try a Banyuls! Spread out on narrow and steep terraces, the Banyuls Appellation overhangs the Mediterranean Sea and the stony schist soils coupled with a Mediterranean climate gives the wines a powerful balance between sumptuous black and stewed fruits and fine smooth tannins.
Mentzendorff Kummel wins at IWSC awards
Yet another cause for celebration this month, as Mentzendorff Kummel swipes “Silver Outstanding” at the 2016 IWSC Awards in the liqueur category.
The caraway flavoured liqueur carries the name of our founder, Ludwig Mentzendorff, who brought Mentzendorff Kummel to London from the remote village of Allash, near the Latvian Port of Riga, in the 1850’s. Today Mentzendorff Kummel is distilled by Combier Distillery in the Loire Valley, in their world famous stills designed by Gustave Eiffel, and is still made using the original recipe developed by the Baron Von Blanckenhagen.
Rather than adding caraway aromas to a spirit base, Mentzendorff Kummel is actually distilled from the caraway seeds themselves. The resulting liqueur has a powerful nose, with lifted aromas of aniseed, cumin and hints of orange zest. The palate delivers balanced flavours of caraway, white pepper and liquorice.
Best served cold, Mentzendorff Kummel has become a favourite with golfers who offer post-round doses of ‘putting mixture’, and with bartenders seeking alternative ingredients for experimental cocktails. Indeed a “Silver Bullet”, a blend of gin, kummel and lemon juice, is alleged to be Prince Philip’s favourite – we’re sure Ludwig would approve!
Henriques & Henriques awash with trophies at IWC 2016 awards
This month we celebrate the success of Henriques & Henriques in the 2016 International Wine Challenge, winning 4 varietal trophies collected by Humberto Jardim, managing director of Henriques & Henriques, at the glitzy awards dinner on Thursday 7th July.
A Madeiran institution since its establishment in 1850, Henriques & Henriques offer the best from this picturesque island. Britain has been a traditional Madeira market since the marriage of Princess Catherine of Portugal and King Charles II of England in 1661. These versatile, characterful wines are made using six grape varieties – 4 of which have earned Henriques & Henriques an IWC Varietal Trophy.
The Single Harvest Boal 2000 was described as showing caramel, lemon zest and intense spice on the nose, whilst the 50 Year Old Tinta Negra, new to the Mentzendorff range and winner of the National Madeira Trophy, was characterised as savoury, long and lingering.
Dallaglio Foundation Cycle Slam
Mentzendorff is proud to support the Dallaglio Foundation and its "Rugby Works" youth rehabilitation programme with the recent Dallaglio Cycle Slam. The Cycle Slam, a gruelling ride in France, Spain and the Balearic Islands that took place from 30th May - 17th June, has raised close to £1m.
Three of the Mentzendorff team participated in this difficult feat. Alan Montague-Dennis led the way in the Pyrenees riding from San Sebastien to Andorra, en route climbing many of the most challenging mountains including Tour de France favourites such as Le Tourmalet and Le Peyresourde.
Alan handed the baton to James McKenna who rode Stage 2 (Andorra to Barcelona) on a tandem supporting a visually impaired rider from the Dallaglio Foundation.
Finally Andrew Hawes joined the final stage to help the Slam finish in style with riders enjoying a well-deserved (half) bottle of Bollinger at the finish line.
Royal Ascot 2016
The World’s most famous Race meeting, pinnacle of the British racing calendar, Royal Ascot 2016 took place last week from 14th – 18th June, for which Champagne Bollinger is the Official Champagne.
Attended each day by Her Majesty the Queen, members of the Royal Family, socialites, celebrities and public figures, Royal Ascot is awash with style and pageantry. Bollinger, of course, took centre stage with three branded bars throughout the grounds for spectators to enjoy; two in the exclusive Royal Enclosure and one in the Queen Anne enclosure on the motivator lawn. Spectators could also sample Bollinger alongside the best of British cuisine. Menus, a year in the planning, executed to perfection by Michelin-starred chefs, including Raymond Blanc, work to pair each of their dishes with Bollinger Champagne.
The racing was once again world class, including Her Majesty’s first winner at the Royal Meeting for three years with her horse Dartmouth in the Hardwick Stakes on Saturday. Winning only by a whisker, The Queen was presented with the trophy by her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice alongside a bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvée!
Follow the Bollinger Royal Ascot activity on twitter @BollingerUK
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.