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!
One of South Africa’s finest joins Mentzendorff
Exciting news this month as esteemed South African producer Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa, joins the Mentzendorff portfolio.
A pioneer of viticulture in the maritime Hemel-en-Aarderegion east of Cape Town, Hamilton Russell produces terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World. Mentioning the thrilling energy in South African wines, Mentzendorff Managing Director Andrew Hawes notes these wines “will sit most comfortably alongside those of Klein Constantia and Anwilka to form a powerful and complementary, super-premium South African collection.”
Now owned and run by founder Tim Hamilton Russell’s son Anthony, and his wife Olive, Hamilton Russell also bring with them to the portfolio partner brands Southern Right and Ashbourne. On the move to Mentzendorff, Anthony Hamilton Russell notes that “Mentzendorff will now enable us to develop to the next level in the UK”. And we are looking forward to working with your fantastic wines, Anthony!
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.