Langlois-Chateau & the 2018 Le Mans Classic
Last weekend we were accompanied by a group of customers for a visit to Langlois-Chateau and to join them for the eight edition of the biennial Le Mans Classic at the historic Circuit de la Sarthe.
Held beneath a searing hot sun, this year’s event was filled with high-octane action tempered by some of Langlois-Chateau’s fantastic Crémants and Loire Valley wines.
On the Friday evening before the racing commenced our group joined the team from Langlois-Chateau in Saumur for drinks and a casual dinner. Buckets of oysters were expertly shucked and served alongside the Saumur Vieilles Vignes Blanc, skewers laden with salmon and chicken were barbecued and paired deliciously with the 2017 Sancerre’s from Château de Fontaine Audon (Silex) & Château de Thauvenay (Calcaire) and it wouldn’t have been a proper French dinner without plenty of delicious cheeses enjoyed with a lightly chilled Saumur-Champigny Vieilles Vignes.
The following morning we set off for Le Mans to watch pre-War Bugattis and Bentleys; Jaguar D-types and Ferrari 250 GTs; Porsche 935s and Ferrari 512s; and diesel-powered LMP1 prototypes, all in the same day and on the same track. The six competitive ‘plateaux’ were made up of over 500 cars that dated from the race’s inception in 1923 to 1981.
As well as a paddock full of historic sports cars the Classic also featured some of the old-school Le Mans running starts. When the start flag drops, drivers have to run across the track to their cars which are parked on the other side, climb in, start the car, and drive away to begin the race (this practice stopped at the Le Mans 24hr in 1970 following safety concerns).
And to top it off there was even time to be able to witness England progress through to the semi-finals of the World Cup!
Royal Ascot – A World Like Nowhere Else
At the most Royal of sporting events, it is only fitting that one drinks accordingly. As the only Champagne House to hold the title of Official Champagne at the Royal meeting since Ascot’s founding in 1711, Bollinger has become a Royal rite of passage for keen racegoers for centuries.
As any hedonist would know, the pleasure of Bollinger reaches new heights in the company of good food and great people. Mentzendorff was there with some of our Bollinger friends to soak up five days of world-class racing, pageantry, Fine Dining and of course Champagne Bollinger.
Distinguished excellence has defined Bollinger since established in 1829, a quality recognised by the Court of England by bestowing the House with the first Royal Warrant for Champagne in 1884.
A wealth of shared history with all things quintessentially British, Bollinger is undoubtedly the only refreshment fit for this Royal meet, considered amongst experts as the showcasing the best racing in the World. Champagne Bollinger was operating two elegant bars in the heart of the Royal Enclosure Gardens. The Bollinger 1829 Bar which was situated in the east end of the gardens and the Madame Bollinger Bar in the west end, a short walk from the track and undoubtedly the only place to see and be seen throughout the week. Guests were also able to soak up the pageantry alongside the Pre-parade Ring at the Bollinger Lounge in the Queen Anne enclosure.
Trophies & Medals Galore!
At Mentzendorff we have been celebrating the success of many of our producers who have all achieved some fantastic results in a range of internationally renowned wine competitions over the last couple of months.
The 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards saw wines from the Mentzendorff portfolio building on last year’s success with the Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2014, Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 and Bodegas Hidalgo-La Gitana Amontillado Napoleón VORS scooping 3 of the 50 Best in Show medals. The 2013 Vin de Constance also won a Best in Show medal in 2017 and the Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay won Best Australian Chardonnay with the 2015 vintage.
The Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz won a Platinum medal for the 2014 vintage and in addition to this fine haul were another 5 Gold, 16 Silver, 9 Bronze medals and 5 Commendations.
At the 2018 International Wine Challenge Akitu celebrated its third year of entering the A1 Pinot Noir with a third Gold medal, its second New Zealand Pinot Noir Trophy as well as the 2018 New Zealand Red Wine Trophy for the 2016 vintage. The Akitu A2 Pinot Noir 2016 also won Gold medal along with the Fonseca Unfiltered Late Bottled Vintage 2011. A further 12 Silver, 10 Bronze and 5 Commendations were secured across our range.
As well as its success at the Decanter World Wine Awards the Tapanappa Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2016 won a Gold medal and Critics Choice Award at the 2018 Sommelier Wine Awards.
The Madame Bollinger Foundation Celebrates 30 Years with the Institute of Masters of Wine
In 1988, Christian Bizot founded the Madame Bollinger Foundation to recognise the contribution and values of his aunt, Madame Bollinger. The mission of the foundation; to foster the highest standards in wine education.
That same year the Foundation partnered with the Institute of Masters of Wine, and the inaugural Madame Bollinger Medal for the most outstanding performance during the practical tasting examination was presented to Michael Hill-Smith MW.
One Thursday in May, 30 years on, the recipients of this illustrious award were invited to London by Chairman Etienne Bizot, great-nephew of Madame Bollinger, to celebrate the anniversary.
Bizot commented “When my father launched the “Madame Bollinger Foundation” at Vintners Hall in 1988, the purpose was to foster quality, education and ethics in all matters relating to wine at an international level. The Institute of Masters of Wine is without question the leading reference in this field, and 30 years on, the Madame Bollinger Foundation remains loyal to its support to the Institute. Within these last 30 years, the Institute has continued to open its doors and is now gathering Masters of Wine from all over the world. I am therefore very pleased to celebrate with our award winners this anniversary in honour of my Great-Aunt Madame Bollinger.”
This special reunion brought together 17 of 29 Masters of Wine who have been awarded the Madame Bollinger medal with proud winners flying in from around the globe to attend the event at Mark’s Club in London (Toni Paterson MW made a 17,000km journey all the way from Australia especially for the occasion, a long way to come for lunch)!
Being awarded the Madame Bollinger medal has been a source of great pride for all, Mark Pardoe MW summed it up perfectly: “Everyone in this room would agree that the Madame Bollinger Medal is the medal you want to achieve, and without the support of Etienne and his family through the Madame Bollinger Foundation we would not be here. The pride and camaraderie of the MW community has manifested in this room today, and we thank you for bringing us all together for this extraordinary celebration.”
An occasion as unique as this called for equally distinguished wines, and the Bollinger family cellar provided magnums of the rare Bollinger La Cote aux Enfants 2009, a 100% Grand Cru pinot noir from Aÿ, of which only 150 bottles were produced. However, perhaps the highlight for many was the blind tasted Bollinger R.D. 1976 en magnum.
Madame Bollinger Medal Winners
1988 – Michael Hill Smith MW, 1989 – Mark Pardoe MW, 1990 – Joanna Locke MW, 1991 – Alun Griffiths MW, 1992 – Jonathan Pedley MW, 1993 – Andrew Caillard MW, 1994 – John Hoskins MW, 1995 – Peter Marks MW, 1996 – Matthew Stubbs MW, 1997 – Anne Tupker MW, 1998 – Gerard Basset MW, 1999 – John Atkinson MW, 2001 – Linda Jotham MW, 2002 – Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, 2003 – Toni Paterson MW, 2004 – Simon Larkin MW, 2005 – Susan Hulme MW, 2006 – Essi Avellan MW, 2007 – Ulf Sjodin MW, 2008 – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, 2009 – Isabelle Legeron MW, 2010 – Alex Hunt MW, 2011 – Samantha Caporn MW, 2012 – Andreas Wickhoff MW, 2013 – Anne McHale MW, 2014 – Louise Sydbeck MW, 2015 – Rebecca Gibb MW, 2016 – Mary Margaret McCamic MW & 2017 – Jeremy Cukierman MW