Spring Snows in the Douro Valley
There are some sights that you don’t often see and snow in the Douro Valley in Spring is one of them! Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, shared these images with The Drinks Business earlier this week of snowfall at the entrance to one of the Fladgate Partnership’s wineries at São João da Pesqueira in the Douro taken on 31st March.
This time of year normally sees Spring sunshine and wild flowers, with snow pretty much unheard of. On the surface, it may just seem like an interesting phenomenon, but Adrian reminds us that these unusual weather conditions are evidence that the threat of climate change continues to be very much present.
Mentzendorff & Coronavirus
Dear friends and colleagues of the drinks trade,
I wanted to take the opportunity to address our customer and send a message of support to all those affected by Coronavirus (Covid 19).
We have all spent this week taking measures to protect our people and our businesses, the like of which none of us have seen in our working lives, COVID -19, unlike the economic crises we have experienced, is unprecedented not only in its nature but also in the speed of its arrival. Let us hope that it will eventually pass as quickly as it arrived. However, at the moment it is clear that the new ways of working, which we are now all settling into, will be with us for the next weeks and here at Mentzendorff we wish to reassure you we remain fully operational; that we have secured sufficient stocks of the wines that we believe you will most require in the days ahead; and that most importantly you can be certain of our continued support. We understand that the support required by different parts of the trade will vary in accordance with the very different impacts on your businesses, please speak to us, we are here for you and our sales team will continue to keep in touch even if they are no longer able to visit you in person.
Personally speaking I have been incredibly impressed by the creativity that the trade has already demonstrated in adapting business models overnight and I have no doubt that I will continue to be amazed by our collective resilience. Let’s look forward to the better days that will follow, until then let’s keep communication channels open and, thanks to technology, we have an array of new means at our disposal to do so. I very much hope that yourselves and your families remain in good health.
Very best regards
Andrew Hawes – Managing Director
Mentzendorff Announces New Agency Partnerships with Jean-Luc Colombo and Hambledon Vineyards
Mentzendorff is pleased to announce new agency partnerships with two prestigious producers: Jean-Luc Colombo and Hambledon Vineyards. 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 French and sparkling wine ranges.
Jean-Luc Colombo and his wife began their wine trade career in 1984 with the opening of the “Centre Oenologique des Côtes du Rhône” that quickly established Jean-Luc’s name as a consultant and world-leading authority on the Syrah grape. In 1994, following the purchase of key vineyard sites, first in Cornas and then throughout the Rhône, they established “Vins Jean-Luc Colombo.” Jean-Luc and Ann have since been joined in the family business by daughter Laure, who is now head-winemaker.
Jean-Luc said, “We are very much looking forward to working with the Mentzendorff team. Their dedication to wine, knowledge of our region and expertise in developing distribution in key quality focused parts of the market such as the On-Trade and Wine Merchants, makes them the perfect long-term partner for us in the UK.”
Mentzendorff & Co; who will commence sales of Jean-Luc Colombo’s “Blue Coast” Mediterranean wines from 1st April, before following with the full Jean-Luc Colombo Rhône Valley range from 1st July.
Hambledon in the South Downs is England’s oldest commercial vineyard having been established in 1952. Ian Kellett acquired Hambledon Vineyard in 1999 and, as a passionate wine lover intrigued by the winemaking heritage of the property, he analysed the potential for producing traditional method English Sparkling Wines.
Ian’s research convinced him that Hambledon was perfectly situated and in 2005 a 10-acre ‘test bed’ of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier were planted on 27 different combinations of clones and rootstocks. The chalk on which the vines grow was formed on the seabed of the Paris basin some 65 million years ago. It is part of the Newhaven Chalk formation that developed between the Santonian and Campanian eras of the Upper Cretaceous period. The same chalk, with the same Belemnite content, is found in the best Chardonnay areas of the Côtes des Blancs in Champagne.
Following increased plantings and a series of successful vintages, Hambledon is keen to increase its UK distribution and has enlisted Mentzendorff & Co. to execute its new commercial strategy. Andrew Hawes, Managing Director for Mentzendorff & Co. concludes: “Hambledon Vineyards is a natural addition to our portfolio of family-owned wine companies all of whom represent the very highest quality from their respective regions. We have followed the development of English Sparkling Wine with great interest and are very excited to be, for the first time, offering our customers a unique complementary portfolio of the highest quality Champagne and Sparkling wines – placing Hambledon (where it justifiably belongs within English Sparking Wine) alongside Champagne Bollinger, Champagne Ayala & Langlois-Chateau Crémant de Loire, in a market for quality sparkling wine that continues to grow and excite huge interest from the trade and consumers.”
Hambledon Vineyards will continue to be represented by Fields Morris & Verdin until 1st June 2020 from which point on Mentzendorff & Co will commence their new distribution agreement.
Champagne Bollinger La Grande Année & La Grande Année Rosé 2012
On Monday 17th February, Champagne Bollinger launched the much anticipated 2012 vintage of La Grande Année & La Grande Année Rosé.
The wines were presented to guests over a lunch hosted by Bollinger’s General Manager, Charles-Armand de Belenet, at St. JOHN Restaurant with a bespoke pairing menu created by founders Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, with Head Chef Steve Darou. St. JOHN opened in 1994 in a former smokehouse, situated around the corner from Smithfield Market and is London’s champion of nose-to-tail cooking (and recipient of a very well-deserved Michelin star in 2009).
La Grande Année 2012 was served alongside platters of freshly poached Dorset Langoustines, mayonnaise and crusty bread. This was followed by a phenomenal pairing of La Grande Année Rosé 2012 with an otherworldly Guinea Fowl pie served with mashed potatoes and greens. Finally, for dessert, Bollinger’s non-vintage Rosé en magnum worked wonders with a jaw-droppingly gorgeous Rhubarb tart.
Trevor and Fergus said of their inspiration behind the pairings: “The 2012 vintage of La Grande Année and La Grande Année Rosé was an exceptional year and it has been an honour to create the dishes to pair with these great wines. We have chosen the respective ingredients for each pairing after much careful consideration with the aim of fully expressing the flavours of the dishes and the wines to their full potential.”
Victoria Carfantan, Director of Champagne Bollinger UK, says: “We are delighted to introduce La Grande Année 2012 and La Grande Année Rosé 2012 in the UK, and what better place to launch two such gastronomic cuvées than St. JOHN with an exceptional menu which really allowed the characteristics of the champagnes to shine through.”