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.
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.
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.”
Klein Constantia – Still Creating History
There is much cause for celebration this month, as Klein Constantia wins “Best South African Sparkling Wine” at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2017 with their 2013 Méthode Cap Classique Brut .
Tuesday 19th September also saw the launch of the 2014 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance, the latest scion of arguably South Africa’s most iconic wine. The launch took place at the Devonshire Club, London with Winemaker Matthew Day & Co-Owner Charles Harman taking the guests on a journey through the recent vintages of Vin de Constance. In addition guests were treated to a number of Sauvignon Blancs which ranged from 1987 up to 2016, surprising all in attendance with the amazing ageability of this other corner stone of Klein Constantia’s offerings.
With the preceding vintage, the 2013 Vin de Constance, collecting the Platinum & Best in Show for Sweet Wine at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2017 earlier this year and with the 2014 harvest being hailed as one of the best of the decade it is clear this will be a very special wine.
More good news came in the form of Tim Atkin’s South Africa Report 2017 with Klein Constantia retaining its First Growth status, the only producer from the Constantia Valley to do so. In addition to this honour a number of the Klein Constantia wines received some very impressive scores.
Klein Constantia also sponsors Velo Birmingham which takes place on Sunday 24th September in the heart of Birmingham. The event will see 15,000 cyclists line up to start an unforgettable 100 mile route, taking them through the picturesque Worcestershire and Staffordshire countryside before returning to Birmingham.
Summer Sports in Support of The Benevolent and The Gordon & Tana Ramsay Foundation
A number of the team have been active this month in support charities close to us. The Benevolent is our chosen trade charity and 4 Mentzendorff riders took part in the Benevolent “Ride for Dan” on 13th August, riding a testing 100km+ route from Sussex to London. The ride was organised in memory of Dan Townsend (MD of Treasury Wine Estates) who tragically passed away earlier this year. The challenge started at Ridgeview Wine Estate, nestled at the foot of the South Downs and continued north climbing Leith Hill & Box Hill en route to Treasury Wine Estate HQ in Twickenham.
Congratulations to all riders, who have now smashed the £10,000 target, to date raising over £13,000 for the Benevelont charity, which provides help and support to those in need within the drinks industry.
Meanwhile our Director of National Accounts James Dodsworth, took to the road, bike and waters as he competed in the London Triathlon to raise funds on behalf of the Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Triathlon, held at the Excel centre in Docklands, involved a gruelling 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run. James competed alongside 2,282 other people and came 704th – quite an achievement in his first Triathlon!
Team Ramsay raised £150,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital, who support research into new treatments, provides accommodation and support for young patients and their families and invests in the most up-to-date equipment to ensure it can provide the best service possible to our young people in need of care. A huge congratulations to Team Ramsay and James – well done!