Mentzendorff Autumn Portfolio Tasting
Following a year absence from our annual Mentzendorff Portfolio Tasting, it was great to be back at 1 Great George Street in London and a new location, Salut wines in Manchester, for two autumnal tastings. The events offered a chance for key members of the trade and press to taste and discover the award-winning wines from the portfolio, including new wines from our two new agencies, Cartuxa and Château La Fleur de Boüard. The entire portfolio of Champagnes, wines, fortified wines and spirits was available to taste as well as some stellar new releases such as Champagne Bollinger B13, Champagne Ayala La Perle 2012 and Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Vermut.
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly given the current circumstances, our principals were not able to attend. However, we hope to have them here for our spring tasting later in the year!
Justin Keay, who attended the London tasting, provided an overview of the sparkling and fortified wines at the event, as well as recommending still wines that he thinks will cut the mustard in the on-trade this autumn. These were Cartuxa Colheita Tinto 2017, Cartuxa Branco 2019 DOC, Catuxa Tinto Vinho de Talha 2017, Cartuxa Branco Vinho de Curtimenta 2016, Tenuta Fertuna Vermentino DOC 2019, Ceretto Nebbiolo d’Alba Bernadina 2018, Ceretto Blange Langhe Arneis DOC 2020, Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2017, Akitu Pinot Noir Blanc 2020, Hambledon Première Cuvée and Geno, a new entry level brand created by Mentzendorff in cooperation with our Alentejo producer.
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New Champagne Releases
Firstly, Champagne Bollinger has released a new limited edition: B13 (Bollinger 2013), which reflects a unique year and embodies Bollinger’s environmental values. In 2013, the Champagne region faced unique weather conditions, and from a particularly late harvest, Bollinger shaped the wine into a vintage and limited edition Blanc de Noirs. Just 5 Crus were chosen for the cuvée of which 92% Grand Cru & 8% Premiers Cru.
Characterised by freshness, the 2013 vintage has a unique profile, expressed by fruity aromas –notes of citrus and yellow fruits – and gourmet ones –with flavours of tarte-tatin and fresh almond. Tension and minerality characterise this edition—a glistening and precise wine. Richard Juhlin awarded the Champagne 95 points, Matthew Jukes 18.5/20, and Essi Avellan MW scored it 93-95 points, commenting that it is her “favourite of Bollinger limited editions so far!”
As for Champagne AYALA, they celebrate an exceptional new 2012 vintage of La Perle, the prestige cuvée of the House. 2012 was the first harvest with Caroline Latrive as Cellar master; she comments that the year was “characterised by a very particular climatology and an absolutely perfect grape health at the harvest. The extracted musts were of an exceptional quality, very healthy, and the Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs turned out to be particularly concentrated and characterful.”
A pure expression of the House’s style, it is made up exclusively of Grands Crus from the Côte des Blancs in Chardonnay: Chouilly, Cramant, Le Mesnil- sur-Oger and in Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims in Verzy.
La Perle is the epitome of Champagne AYALA’s bespoke craftsmanship: 8 years of ageing with natural corks, hand-riddling on traditional racks and disgorgement by hand. The extended ageing in the House’s cellar allowed for a complex and aromatic Champagne. This was recognised by judges at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2021, with AYALA La Perle 2012 winning a gold medal. Anne Krebiehl MW awarded the wine 96 points, commenting, “The palate is exquisitely brisk and vivid: lithe in its soaring lemon freshness but anchored in deepest, coolest, most salty soil that lends richness and vertical dimension. The mousse is fine and lively, the balance is striking, there is something heightened, precise and absolutely pure about this.”
Ayala Wins Gold in the Drinks Business Sparkling Masters 2021
We are delighted to announce that Ayala Le Blanc de Blancs 2014 has won a Gold Medal in The Drinks Business Global Sparkling Masters 2021!
It received the following tasting note from the judges: “Fine, autolytic, quite pungent. Full-flavoured, aged wine with lovely concentration and complex, lemony, honeyed fruit and bready freshness. Delicious, long, complex.”
The wine has also been selected by Patrick Schmitt MW to be featured at the Drinks Business Wine And Spirits Show Master of Wine Selection Table in October. This stand will showcase the top wines from each of the 2021 Global Masters competitions. The Wine & Spirits Show will be back at Chelsea Old Town Hall on the 15th, 16th and 17th of October 2021.
Alentejan Cartuxa brand joins the Mentzendorff Portfolio
We are pleased to announce that the Alentejan Cartuxa brand has joined the Mentzendorff portfolio. Cartuxa is one of the oldest wineries in Portugal and is steeped in history. Vineyards have been on the same Quinta de Valbom site in Évora since 1517, when the Jesuits came to the region to establish the second oldest university in Portugal. The name Cartuxa comes from the Cartuxa monastery that the Carthusians started to build in 1587 and finished in 1598. It was in 1871 that the Cartuxa monastery and the Valbom were rescued from ruin by the Eugénio de Almeida family.
Today, Cartuxa works across 1050 hectares of vineyards across four sites and is owned by the charitable foundation, Fundação Eugénio de Almeida. In 1963, Vasco Maria Eugénio de Almeida created the foundation, responsible for developing many important social and cultural organisations across the region, including the Évora University, hospitals, social housing and numerous welfare institutions.
The wines of Cartuxa are produced within the Alentejo sub-region of Évora and have long been legendary within Portugal. The iconic Pêra-Manca has a long pedigree that is intertwined with Portuguese history. Not only were the wines from the “Pêra-Manca region” first mentioned in a letter from Évora Town Council to King João II in 1488, but they were also aboard Pedro Álvares Cabral’s ship when he discovered Brazil in 1500. The Pêra-Manca brand was first patented in the 1870s, and the wines gathered international recognition when the reds won gold medals in Bordeaux soon after. Following many political changes in Portugal, the arrival of phylloxera and the death of the vineyard owner in 1920, the Pêra-Manca wines were not made again until 1990 when Cartuxa revived the Pêra-Manca label for its flagship wines. Today the wines celebrate native grape varieties and now have cult status within Portugal and around the world. Olive oil is also a major part of the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, and now farms an area of some 400ha.
Pedro Baptista, Vice-President of the Executive Board and winemaker of Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, comments, “We believe that Mentzendorff is the perfect partner for our vision to produce unique wines for UK wine lovers and for new consumers who want to discover and feel the spirit of the Alentejo-Évora region in a glass of wine.”