May 2018

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.

Madame Bollinger Foundation 30th Anniversary Lunch

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)!

MBF 30th Anniversary lunch - Marks Club

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

April 2018

The Fladgate Partnership Declaration of the 2016 Vintage

Mentzendorff is please to confirm that the three historic Port houses of  The Fladgate Partnership – Croft, Fonseca and Taylor’s – have each announced their decision to declare the 2016. This being the first “classic” declaration since the great success of the 2011 vintage released 5 years ago in 2013. This announcement is made, according to custom, on 23rd April – St. George’s Day.

Taylor's, Fonseca & Croft 2016 Vintage Ports

The Fladgate Partnership’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, described the 2016 vintage ports as follows.  “The keynotes of 2016 are purity and refinement.  The Vintage Ports of the three houses are stylistically distinct but all display elegance and poise, a wonderful purity of fruit and tannins of great quality.”

Taylor's Quinta de Vargellas

The 2016 winemakers’ notes at harvest time referred to the fine fruit character and pronounced tannins of the musts. The Fladgate’s Partnership’s Technical Director and Head Winemaker, David Guimaraens explained: “Two factors stand out in 2016. Heavy rainfall in spring meant that the vines had plenty of water throughout the summer. Secondly, the ripening season started relatively late and lasted well into September. This led to very gradual and even ripening of the crop with all elements in perfect balance at the time of the harvest. Picking started later than usual on all of our houses’ estates, particularly those located in the Pinhão Valley.”

Fonseca Quinta do Panascal

Commenting on the wines, David noted: “Harvesting conditions at the end of September and early October were perfect, with cool nights contributing to long fermentations and gentle, complete extraction. As a result the wines are solidly structured with firm, well integrated tannins and display very fine fruit quality.”Croft Quinta da Roeda

The 2016 Vintage Ports from Croft, Fonseca and Taylor’s will be shipped later in the year and will be available in the autumn.


April 2018

M.Chapoutier 2017 Sélections Parcellaires

Yesterday at the TATE Modern in London, Michel Chapoutier presented his 2017 Sélections Parcellaires wines from across the Rhône Valley, Roussillon, Alsace and Australia.

Michel Chapoutier

The M.Chapoutier Sélections Parcellaires are rare wines that represent the highest expression of each appellation, an unofficial “grand cru” range. The winegrower lets the soil express itself, without intervention, to offer the best snapshot of the terroir. Here biodynamic farming is meaningful. With only 100 to 700 cases produced annually, these rare wines grown on ancient vines with tiny yields are among the greatest red and white wines produced in the world.

M.Chapoutier Sélections Parcellaires tasting

Certain years bring major climate surprises… and 2017 was certainly one of those. In the Rhône Valley, after an uneventful winter, the spring brought early flowering and a lot of rain, combined with some worrying frost snaps on certain vineyards. The summer came with so little rain that there severe uncertainly about the harvest ahead. June temperatures were extreme… and still the rain didn’t come… until July 22! The vines recovered their green hue and balance, and the August heat brought the important balance combining maturity, tension and minerality.

March 2018

Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2004 – Bold, Brilliant & Generous

The global launch of Bollinger R.D. 2004 took place on March 22nd at Bonhams auction house in Mayfair, London. Gilles Descôtes, Champagne Bollinger Chef de Cave, presented a unique masterclass for 50 guests exploring different expressions of Bollinger R.D. alongside the R.D. 2004.

Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2004

“Bollinger R.D. 2004 has been aged for more than 13 years in the heart of the House’s cellars in Aÿ. Disgorged just a few months ago, it finally reveals all the brilliance of the 2004 vintage. This is a generous wine with intense aromas and an incomparable freshness for such age.” Gilles Descôtes, Chef de Cave.

After the atypical 2003 vintage with particularly low yields, the 2004 vintage is generous and intense. Following below-average annual temperatures and lower than average rainfall (excepting the end of August), the month of September fostered slow and progressive maturation of the grapes in an ideal climate, allowing the development of an intense aromatic expression in the fruit. The harvest took place during a bright Indian summer, a sign of a quality crop and an exceptional vintage.

Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2004 masterclass

For the release of the 2004 vintage, Champagne Bollinger worked with one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, Philip Howard of Elystan Street, to create an original recipe to pair with Bollinger R.D. 2004.

Phil created a generous dish of roast Zander with lentils, baked celeriac and smoked eel which harmonizes the elegance and aromatic power of the Bollinger R.D. 2004.

Champagne Bollinger R.D. 2004 Phil Howard dish




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