Three more hopefuls have made it through the notoriously difficult Master Sommelier exams, including the first Chinese expert to earn the famous lapel pin.LU Yang has become China's first master sommelier.
LU Yang MS, corporate wine director for Shangri-La Hotels in China, successfully navigated the latest set of exams to become the first Chinese Master Sommelier, said the Court of Master Sommeliers this week.
Two others will also get the vaunted MS lapel pin:
- Stefan Neumann, head sommelier at ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’ and from Austria
- Piotr Pietras, head sommelier at ‘Launceston Place’ and the second Polish MS
There are now 236 Master Sommeliers globally.
Exams are renowned for their difficulty, as portrayed in the cult film Somm, and the average MS pass rate is just four percent.
Ronan Sayburn MS, who sits on the exam board, said he was particularly pleased to welcome Lu into the elite club.
‘We have been running courses and doing board exams in China for about 10 years now, said Sayburn, who is also a Decanter World Wine Awards judge.
‘We see more and more people become certified at advanced level and few attempting MS exam and Lu is the first one who has actually passed,’ he said. ‘It’s a great thing for Chinese sommeliers and Chinese wine business.’
Lu thanked his family and friends for their support and told Decanter.com, ‘I hope that my moderate achievement can encourage more sommeliers, and I firmly believe that very soon we will see more Chinese sommeliers joining the MS team.’
Lu was named ‘best sommelier in Greater China’ in 2014 and has written columns on his experiences for DecanterChina.com. Prior to working in China, he obtained a degree in viticulture and winemaking from Niagara College in Canada.
The MS assessment consists of three parts:
- Practical wine service test
- A theoretical oral exam
- A blind tasting of six wines
In order to pass, a participant must score at least 75% in each part.
MS exams have been organised by the Court of Master Sommeliers since 1969.
Additional reporting by Sylvia Wu, editor of DecanterChina.More articles like this: Master Sommeliers have thicker brains – study
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The post Meet China’s first Master Sommelier as three contenders make grade appeared first on Decanter.
Andrew Jefford’s four-part special August wine series ... for absolute beginners.Andrew Jefford disseminates nonconformist literature in this four-part series.
Guerrilla (noun) = member of a small independent group taking part in irregular fighting, typically against larger regular forces
Guerrilla (adjective) = referring to actions or activities performed in an impromptu way, often without authorisationPart Three: Wine Places 1: Why do wine places matter?
Let me give you an analogy: place is the music of wine. A great place means great music. Sure, the player (the winemaker) counts for a lot, and so does her or his instrument (the grape variety): they can be sublime, or make a din. Beyond all of that, though, is the music. That’s what you remember. You can always find a better player and a better instrument. You can never exceed the potential of the music, the place.2: What makes a wine place?
Just people making wine there, year after year. You can’t do it everywhere. Heat, wind, rain, sunlight, spring and autumn frosts: the timing of all is critical. If these regularly come at the wrong time, you’ll go out of business.3: Not all places are born equal
Let’s be frank: they’re wildly unequal, which is why vineyard land prices vary by three-figure multiples. The aim of the wine game, over centuries, is to find the greatest places on earth to make wine. We’re looking everywhere: Texas, Uruguay, Inner Mongolia. The results are often exciting, but we now know that truly great places are rare, rare, rare. The great places we have known about for centuries (and notably Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Langhe) are hard to exceed or even to match, not least because …4: No two places are the same
The guerrilla advantage lies in knowing a place intimately, and always better than the adversary. If you know anywhere intimately, you’ll know that that place is unique. Grape varieties can travel, techniques can be perfected – but you can’t move a place on earth, a set of soils, a hillside. We humans measure place with crude means. The rooted vine responds strongly to the tiniest of details – a little more clay, a breath more wind, ten minutes’ more morning sunlight — which is why ‘a wine place’ may be as small as a single small parcel of vines on a hillside (as in Burgundy). The wine vine, astonishingly enough, can turn such nuances into aroma and flavour.5: Maximising the taste of place
Here’s the four-part guerrilla formula. First: chose a grape variety or varieties well-suited to the place (which may not be the same as a famous grape variety). Second: pick the grapes at full ripeness (not underripe or overripe). Third: handle them gently and ferment them slowly, without adding anything (except a little sulphur and locally selected yeasts). Fourth: go easy on (or skip) the oak.6: Minimising the taste of place
It’s not obligatory to make a wine of place. Here’s what the priests of commerce might advocate. First: chose a famous grape variety whose wine you think might be easy to sell. Second: pick its grapes early (to preserve acidity) or late (for opulent ripeness), or both (half and half). Third: do what you want in the winery as long as you get the figures right for maximum stability. And do it all quickly. Fourth: smooth over with plenty of oak, a squirt of tannin, a final tweak of acid and a little residual sugar to round it all out.7: Cold or cool places
What should guerrilla drinkers look out for from cold or cool places? Sparkling wines, first of all: the drama of high acidity, and the tension between that and other flavour elements (like the creaminess of dead yeast and the sweetening liqueur added before bottling) works very well. Look out for very dry whites in cold places where autumn comes quickly – and vividly sweet whites in cold places where summer lingers into autumn. Reds from cold places will always be brisk and bracing, and can be sharp or shocking. Reds from cool places will be fresh, vivid and lively, though perhaps slender.8: Warm places
There’s an enormous spectrum of still wines here, including many of Europe’s greatest mealtime wines. Whites from warm places vary from sappily fresh to structured, full and firm; reds from graceful, lithe and lively to dense and textured. Near lakes or rivers, where autumn days vary from misty and moist to sunny and dry, growers can make richly sweet wines. Pink wines work well in warm places, too – it’s a kind of white-wine style made from red grapes.9: Hot places
The best wines from hot places are generous, extravagant, sometimes voluptuously rich and heady red wines. Another speciality of hot places is fortified wines (those to which spirit is added). Guerrilla drinkers shouldn’t overlook their value and style range, from pungent dry sherries to fragrant sweet Muscats and luscious, tongue-robing ports.10: Laying down the law
Most wine law exists to protect the names of wine places, and to ensure that a wine comes from where it claims to come from. Learn as many or as few of these names as you like. The important point for guerrilla drinkers to remember, though, is that in Europe such rules tend to imply not just a place, but the grape varieties used there and sometimes its vineyard and winery practices, too: the works. That usually delivers a recognisable aroma and flavour profile. Outside Europe, such laws generally just define a geographical boundary but nothing else, and will usually mean that a place presents a bigger spectrum of styles. Priestly acclaim (and economics) is likely to change this in practice, even if the laws stay loose: everyone will slowly move to making what drinkers like most from a region … and are willing to pay most for.
A fully revised and updated edition of Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course is now available in English (Ryland, Peters & Small) and in French (as Le Grand Livre du Vin, Eyrolles)Read Andrew Jefford’s first two Guerrilla guides:
Jefford: The Guerrilla Guide to Wine – Part One
Make your own mind up...Jefford: The Guerrilla Guide to Wine – Part Two
A nonconformist guide to making wine...
Whatever your position on the current vilification of gluten, its presence in food and drink is a serious issue for millions of coeliac disease sufferers. We ask experts whether there is any link between gluten and wine.Most wine should qualify as gluten free.
Gluten is a protein found in some grains and cereal, notably wheat. Put simply, wine is generally classed as gluten free, because it is produced from grapes.
Most wines contain fewer than 20 parts per million gluten, which is a legal requirement in the UK and the US for food to be labelled as gluten free.
Above this level, producers would have to alert wine lovers on bottle labels. Gluten is a potential allergen, like sulphites.
Ageing and fining are two instances where gluten could come into contact with wine, but generally not at levels considered harmful to the majority of coeliac sufferers.SEE ALSO: Sulphites in wine – Friend or foe? How can gluten get into wine during ageing?
‘Wine could be contaminated if the winemaking team uses flour-based paste to seal barrels,’ said Michael Apstein, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a freelance wine writer.
This has now become very uncommon, because most producers use paraffin wax to seal the barrels, he said.Fining and gluten
Gluten can get into your wine during fining, the process which flushes out un-wanted particles and helps to ensure wine is clear.
‘The most common fining agents in wine are gelatin and isinglass, but this can obviously cause issues with guests who are looking for a vegetarian or vegan wine,’ said David Lapsley, sommelier at The Taynuilt: Etive Restaurant with Rooms, in Scotland.
‘Gluten, which is a very efficient fining agent, does have its limitations. It does allow for vegan friendly wine, but in turn raises concerns with coeliac sufferers. You can use a centrifuge to remove the gluten after the fining process, but this would add expense and the concentration of gluten in wine after fining is below harmful levels.’
Tony Milanowski, a lecturer of winemaking and oeneology at Plumpton College in southern England, said, ‘With fining you add a variety of different agents to wine. Classically, it’s gelatine, for example.
‘A while back, people were looking at alternatives to animal products. Looking at vegetarian opportunities, they had a look at a whole raft of different additives. One of them was a wheat-based fining agent. They found that certain types of gluten could be used in fining and they could do a reasonable job.
‘However, they haven’t really taken off, because of the risks associated with intolerances. Most of the work in terms of animal-based alternatives is going on pea and potato products.’What about wine based drinks?
Unlike wine, you can’t be so sure with wine coolers and other wine-based beverages, because they may contain a variety of different ingredients.
However, allergen labelling rules would still apply.What if I am extremely sensitive?
‘Some patients with coeliac disease are extremely sensitive, even to concentrations of less than 20 ppm,’ said Apstein.
This includes patients who have refractory coeliac disease.
‘Wine would be low down on my list of sources of gluten, but nothing is off the list for that small subset of coeliac patients.’Got a question for Decanter’s experts? Email us: email@example.com or on social media with #askDecanter More Ask Decanter articles:
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What makes it a wine legend?Wine Legend: Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia 1985, Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy
Bottles produced: 62,500
Composition: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc
Yield: 35 hectolitres per hectare
Alcohol level: 13%
Release price: 18,000 Lire (at today’s rates, about £8)
Price today: £1,434 to £1,869 per bottleA legend because…
Sassicaia was already well known by the 1980s, but there was a sensation when Robert Parker awarded the 1985 vintage 100 points, saying that he often mistook it for 1986 Mouton-Rothschild. The excellence of the wine has been confirmed at tastings ever since. This was not the first time Sassicaia had wowed critics. In 1978, Decanter held a worldwide Cabernet tasting in which the 1975 Sassicaia triumphed. But its reputation has been eclipsed by that of the 1985, which now fetches prices far higher than any other Sassicaia vintage.Looking back
Winemaking had improved in Tuscany by the mid-1980s, and it was no longer known only for quaffable, often rustic, wines. Hampered by outdated regulations for Chianti, many producers in the Chianti zone and elsewhere began producing Bordeaux-influenced wines or Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese blends, which became known as ‘SuperTuscans’. Sassicaia was the grandfather of this movement and, from 1985 on, SuperTuscans would proliferate.The people
Sassicaia was first made by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta in 1943. In the mid-1960s, Mario offered his nephew, Piero Antinori, the distribution of Sassicaia which, until then, had been a wine for family consumption. At the same time, Antinori lent the services of his consultant winemaker, Giacomo Tachis, to Mario, enabling a commercially viable Sassicaia to be made from 1968 onwards. Mario died in 1983, but by then the estate ‘which had taken back control of Sassicaia’s marketing and sales from Antinori’ was already being run by Mario’s son Nicolò. The 1985 was produced under his watch and with Tachis, who remained as consultant to the estate until 2010. (Tachis is Decanter’s 2011 Man of the Year.)The vintage
1985 was an outstanding, consistent year. Perfect weather conditions resulted in superb wines, especially in Piedmont and Tuscany. The winter had been extremely cold in the Chianti zone and the crop was below average in size, but the coastal area where Sassicaia is located had a less extreme growing season and the grapes reached exceptional maturity.The terroir
There are three vineyards on the estate. The original vineyard, Castiglioncello, just 1.5 hectares, is at an elevation of 340m. At 80m, Sassicaia di Sotto is 13ha on gravelly clay soils (these vines would have been about 10 years old for the 1985). Slightly higher, Aianova has 16ha of well-drained soil, with vines of a similar age. About 70% of the vines were Cabernet Sauvignon, the remainder Cabernet Franc. The estate believes it is the Cabernet Franc that gives the wine finesse and longevity. In the late 1990s, the unique character and quality of Sassicaia was recognised when it was given its own appellation: Bolgheri-Sassicaia. It is the only single estate in Italy with its own DOC.The wine
Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, a claret lover, initially wanted Cabernet-based wines for family consumption that would satisfy his Francophile tastes. For the 1985 vintage, grapes from the estate’s three vineyards would have been crushed and fermented separately in steel tanks at 30°C for about two weeks and then blended before being aged for 22 months in 30% new barrels, of which 60% were French and 40% Slavonian. Today all the barrels are French oak, but with the same proportion of new wood.The reaction
In 1992, Michael Broadbent noted: ‘very deep, sweet, full, chewy’, but by 1994 he was slightly less enthusiastic: ‘a bit raw and edgy’. More recent comments, however, suggest the 1985 is by no means tiring.
Jane Anson gave Sassicaia 1985 100 points after a vertical tasting last year. ‘Get hold of this wine if you possibly can,’ she said.Wine Legend: Conterno, Monfortino Barolo 1978
Find out why this 'benchmark' Barolo Decanter makes the wine hall of fame...Wine Legend: Comte de Vogüé, Musigny 1990
Why it made the Decanter hall of fame...Wine Legend: Château Margaux 1983
What makes it a wine legend?Wine legend: Pingus 1995
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What makes Dom Pérignon 1975 a wine legend...?Wine Legend: Domaine Rousseau 1993
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Or should you just stick to the most recent vintage...?The politics of rosé colour.Does rosé wine age well? – ask Decanter
Stephen Powell, London, asks: Does rosé age, or should I always go for the most recent vintage?
Richard Bampfield MW, a wine educator, speaker and judge, replies:
Dry rosé wines in the Provençal style would generally be drunk as young as possible, preferably from the most recent vintage.
However, new entrants such as Domaines Sacha Lichine are introducing oak-aged rosés (Garrus, Les Clans), made from their best grapes, and there are early indications that these have ageing potential.
The top dry rosés from Bandol are also considered to have ageing potential over perhaps three to five years.SEE ALSO:
- Is pale rosé better? – ask Decanter
- Provence rosé winners at Decanter World Wine Awards 2017
- Rosé winemaking methods – ask Decanter
- Top rated rosé Champagne
Sweeter styles of rosé such as Rose d’Anjou and Californian blush Zinfandel, as well as rosés from the southern hemisphere, are definitely made to be drunk as young as possible.
The one exception to the ‘drink rosé young’ rule is vintage rosé Champagne, the best examples of which age wonderfully.
Mature vintage rosés from Dom Pérignon, Dom Ruinart, Roederer Cristal, Billecart-Salmon and some others deserve a place among the world’s greatest wines.
First published in the July 2014 issue of Decanter. Subscribe to Decanter here.
- Got a question for Decanter’s experts? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media with #askDecanter
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How do I know how my rosé is made?The rosé wine quiz – test your knowledge
The Decanter.com rosé quiz: See below to test your knowledge. Decanter – Five great value rosé winesIs pale rosé better? – ask Decanter
Always pick the lightest...?
Once a university staple and a symbol of cheap wine on holiday, boxed wines have come a long way. Decanter's tasting team has rated 22 box and pouch wines available in the UK to help you decide what to buy...
Box wine – or ‘bag in box’ – has enjoyed a recent surge in demand, arguably driven by the on-trade, which suggests that consumer habits and perceptions may be changing.
According to Louise Loveder, one of the wine buyers at supermarket Sainsbury’s, sales of its own-label bag in box wines were up in 2017 by 8.5% veruss 2016 year-to-date. Meanwhile, Amazon last month reported a 212% increase year on year for its bag in box sales.
Not restricted to the value end of the market, we are also seeing an increasing number of premium wines which tick boxes such as organic, biodynamic and natural.
Whilst you’re unlikely to find the world’s finest wines in pouches or boxes any time soon, some bag-in-box wines present good value. They also preserve wines longer than open bottles and are more portable.
That said, it definitely pays to be selective. But, which ones should you be buying?See our ratings of 22 bag in box & pouch wines in the UK
Click on the wines to see the stockists and the full tasting note
Vinnaturo, #4 Tempranillo, 2016
(1.5 litre pouch) Vinnaturo have sourced a lovely wine here - an organically farmed Tempranillo, fermented and aged in amphora...Points 90 Le Grappin, Beaujolais-Villages, Rouge du Grappin, 2016
(1.5 litre pouch) Le Grappin's parcel of Gamay located on the slopes of Lancié was ruined by hail in 2016, so this instead comes from...Points 90 Domaine la Colombette, Pays d’Hérault, Rosé, 2016
(3 litre bag in box) This rosé has a delightfully delicate cherry aroma and an equally delicate but sweet honeydew melon character on the...Points 90 Vinnaturo, #6 Trebbiano Skin Contact, Tuscany, Italy, 2016
(1.5 litre pouch) If you're looking for something a bit different, try this biodynamic skin contact Trebbiano from Tuscany, which has a...Points 90 Les Dauphins, Côtes du Rhône, Villages, Rhône, France
(2.25 litre bag in box) Quite dark in the glass, this has a lovely nose of juicy plum, hedgerow fruit and cream. There is a decent amount of...Points 89 The Beefsteak Club, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2016
(2.25 litre bag in box) This has sweet plum, cherry and black pepper notes, with a baked red fruit character in the background and a hint of...Points 89 Le Grappin, Mâcon-Villages, Blanc du Grappin, 2016
(1.5 litre pouch) From a 25 year old parcel of Chardonnay on clay and limestone soil bordering Viré-Clessé, on the outskirts of...Points 89 Domaine Clos des Mourres, Côtes du Rhône, Rhône, 2016
(5 litre bag in box) From a small producer based in Cairanne, this is The Winemakers Club's house red pour in their Farringdon bar and...Points 88 Chateau de Lascaux, Val de Montferrand, Pic St Loup Rouge,
(3 litre bag in box) Château de Lascaux have been making this Rouge for St John for more than ten years now. It was the first St John wine...Points 88 Caja Roja, Gran Seleccion Monastrell Tempranillo, Spain
(2.25 litre bag in box) From vines grown in the south-east of the country and aged in American oak. It has a slightly musky, raisined...Points 88 Marlborough Springs, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
(2.25 litre bag in box) A fresh Sauvignon showing garden pea and cut grass aromas with a hint of peach. Quite intense on the palate with lots...Points 88 Chateau de Lascaux, Val de Montferrand, Pic St Loup Blanc,
(3 litre bag in box) This white has a grassy, almost lemony nose. Melon & citrus flavours are a touch sweet and quite subtle, but balanced by...Points 87 Stormhoek, Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, South Africa
(2.25 litre bag in box) Faintly tropical aromas with a touch of honey and melon too. Dry on the palate, with a really zippy, tartaric acidity...Points 87 Sainsbury's, House Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa
(2.25 litre bag in box) Sainsbury's House Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from South Africa. It has a green pepper, nettle and citrus nose...Points 87 Sainsbury's, Vin de Pays d’Oc, Winemaker's Selection Merlot,
(2.25 litre bag in box) The Merlot grapes for this wine have been sourced from the Hérault Valley in southern France. Initial impressions...Points 86 Fern Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, 2016
(2.25 litre bag in box) Sold in the equivalent volume to three bottles of wine, this is an ideal size for entertaining. It has a clean, zesty...Points 86 Mondelli, delle Venezie, Pinot Grigio, Italy, 2015
(2.25 litre bag in box) If you like your whites juicy, then this Pinot Grigio is worth a try. It has a bright pear-drop and green apple skin...Points 86 Sainsbury's, House Pinot Grigio, Hungary
(2.25 litre bag in box) You may be surprised to learn that this Pinot Grigio is sourced from Hungary rather than Italy, but it fulfills the...Points 86 Clearsprings, Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape, South Africa
(2.25 litre bag in box) A fuller style compared to Sainsbury's House Sauvignon, probably due to it being aged for six months on its lees...Points 86 Cote Bleu, Méditérranée, Rosé, France, 2016
(1.5 litre bag in box) This rosé is pale pink with a slight copper hue. Delicate soft red fruit aromas with a touch of spice prepare your...Points 86 Tesco, delle Venezie, Pinot Grigio Blush Rosé, Italy, 2016
(3 litre bag in box) A vibrant salmon pink colour with very subtle red fruit and cream aromas. The palate has some noticeable...Points 86 Parra Alta, Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2014
(2.25 litre bag in box) This Argentinian Malbec from Mendoza has a pared back nose of blackberry with floral notes. The palate has a...Points 85 Key benefits
I took a box of Caja Roja to Glastonbury festival a couple of years ago. The reason? Portability. Even the smallest boxes or pouches are equivalent to two bottles of wine, they are easier to carry than bottles, and there is no risk of breakage.
Perhaps the most attractive benefit for the average consumer, however, is the price. Because cardboard and plastic is lighter than glass, and the volumes per unit are larger, packaging and transportation costs are reduced. According to Tom Craven of Vinnaturo, the cost saving passed on to the consumer can be as much as 30%.
For example, supermarket Waitrose lists Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Villages in both 2.25 litre box (equivalent to three bottles) and 75cl bottle. While the bottle costs £8.99, the box costs £20.99 – a saving of £5.98, or around 22%, if you buy the box.
However, tap-based formats, including bag in box, are not designed for ageing wine.
Keep them for too long and the young, fruity wine that is invariably sold in this format will begin to fade.
Thanks to clever design, though, they are very effective at retaining freshness for longer than an opened bottle. This is particularly useful for those who only want the occasional glass.How long does bag in box wine last? The on-trade
Bars and restaurants prize ease of service, freshness and cost, which has seen more and more establishments turn to bag in box, key kegs and petainers as alternatives to glass bottles, especially for their house pours.
Trevor Gulliver, of St John, the only Michelin starred restaurant currently serving bag in box wines, told Decanter.com, ‘We were shipping and recycling a lot of glass – not the most ecological of practices, and it didn’t make sense for the less expensive wines. Bag in box wines are a great and practical format at a better price than the bottled equivalent.’
Colin Grandfield, of The Winemakers Club, notes that consumer perception is changing, ‘It is becoming more and more common for wine bars and restaurants to offer wines by the glass both from bag in box and in kegs on draught.
‘I think that consumers now recognise that, rather than this being an inferior product, they are getting better value for money from these formats than from a bottle.’Premiumisation
In the past the bag in box format has been synonymous with low quality bulk wine, but a trend towards premiumisation is taking grip.
Vinnaturo and Le Grappin are among the frontrunners of this movement in the UK, the former offering wines from a range of winemakers as eclectic (and delicious) as a skin contact Trebbiano, while the latter offers more traditional but super-fresh wines from their own vineyards in Mâcon and Beaujolais.
Both sell 1.5l pouches (effectively naked bag in boxes), which Le Grappin has cleverly dubbed the ‘bagnum’, as well as larger boxes.
Kirsty Tinkler, formerly of Great Queen Street restaurant in Covent Garden, began running bag in box pop-ups in the capital after she was won over by the quality on offer from small, low intervention producers.
She told Decanter.com that although wine on tap is becoming mainstream within the London on-trade, a gap still exists in retail, particularly at the premium end of the market.
Tinkler is due to open a permanent site in East London this autumn, called Weino BIB, which aims to be a shrine to artisanal wines served from all kinds of ‘eco’ formats.Here to stay?
Bag in box and all its tap-based variants have a genuine reason for being in the 21st century.
These formats address some of the ecological, financial and qualitative issues around wine; even if they don’t have the same visual or romantic appeal as a traditional wine bottle, and aren’t really suitable for ageing wines.
Growth at the premium end will only widen the appeal and encourage more producers and retailers to get on-board.
Bag in box wines have a particular role to fill, one that’s different to the glass bottle, which I can’t see dying out any time soon.More stories like this: Summer wine trend: Top 10 Picpoul de Pinets
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Decanter's tasting team explain how long to keep your bag in box wine open....How long to bag in box wines last? How long does bag in box wine last? – ask Decanter
One of the advantages of bag in box wine, as well as being lighter and easier to carry and store, is that the wines can last for much longer.
In general, it will state somewhere on the box roughly how long it will last – with some stating they can last up to six weeks after opening.See our top bag in box wine recommendations
Wines in traditional bottles, however, can last between 3 – 7 days after opening, depending on the style of wine.
Once the wine has been opened, oxygen can interact with the wine and impact on the flavour.
This happens more slowly for bag in box wines, but boxes and pouches are not deemed suitable for ageing fine wines, because the plastic used is permeable and will cause the wine to oxidise over time.Why box wines last longer than open bottles
‘The tap and plastic bag in bag in box wines help to prevent oxygen ingress, keeping the wine fresh once opened for a number of weeks,’ said James Button, Decanter’s digital wine sub editor.
‘The plastic is permeable on a microscopic level however, which explains why bag in box wines still have expiry dates, as the wine will become oxidised within a few months.’
‘Despite what some say on their packaging, I would say keep them for three – four weeks at absolute maximum.’
‘I would probably keep the bag in box wines in the fridge (even the reds), like I do for an opened bottle of wine,’ said Christelle Guibert, Decanter’s tastings director.
‘Most red wines in bag in box are probably best enjoyed slightly chilled anyway!’
According to a study from Laithwaite’s Wine earlier this year, the average UK household throws away an average of two glasses of wine a week, because people think it is no longer fit to drink.
- Got a question for Decanter’s experts? Email us: email@example.com or on social media with #askDecanter
Everyone talks about them, but who understands them?...Champagne corks – ask Decanter
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There's no strict definition...
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Are you a bubbly connoisseur or do you fall flat on your sparkling wine facts? Test your knowledge on Champagne and Prosecco with this Decanter.com quiz.What's the difference between Champagne and Prosecco?
Scroll down to take our quiz and find out.More Decanter.com wine quizzes: What’s the difference between Champagne and Prosecco? – ask Decanter
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The sparkling wine of the moment and seen as the best alternative to Champagne, Prosecco is fresh, fruity and floral…
The post Champagne or Prosecco wine quiz – Test your knowledge appeared first on Decanter.
Pavie was promoted to the top echelon of St-Émilion in 2012, becoming a Premier Grand Cru Classé A...Credit: vignoblesperse.comHistory
There are indications that the first St-Émilion vines were planted on Pavie’s sunny, south-facing soils in the 4th century AD, yet its modern origins start with the late 19th century. Back then, it formed part of négociant Ferdinand Bouffard’s impressive estate – a single 50 hectare block he which at the time also included today’s Pavie-Decesse.
By 1943, the now 37 hectare property was owned by the Vallette family, and in 1998 the estate was sold to Gérard Perse of Vignobles Perse. Château Pavie remains one of largest single-plot vineyards in the appellation. The vineyard is divided into over 20 separate parcels on predominantly limestone and clay slopes leading up to the plateau on which the property sits.View all of Decanter’s Château Pavie tasting notes Controversy
This property is renowned for its modernist approach to winemaking – following its purchase by Gérard Perse, much of the equipment was replaced and a new cellar facility built. He also replanted many vineyard parcels and brought in consultant Michel Rolland, known for his forward-looking techniques such as the use of micro-oxygenation.
These changes helped to improve the quality of the wine, although it has courted controversy for its overly-concentrated style which some argue was developed to appeal to Robert Parker.
Post-Parker, Pavie continues to receive acclaim. Decanter’s own Bordeaux correspondent, Jane Anson, awarded the 2016 vintage en-primeur sample 97 points, stating, ‘Pavie needs to keep its signature black fruited glamour and intensity, as that is part of what delivered its new status, but to my mind this is a far better balance than in the past’.Pavie and Angelus promoted in new St Emilion Classification
Chateau Pavie’s owner Gerard Perse was 'overcome with emotion' as his property's promotion to St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé…Perse denounces Pavie critics
Chateau Pavie owner Gerard Perse has slammed critics of his 2003 as ‘insulting and malicious’.Pavie debate: Robinson speaks out
Jancis Robinson MW has responded to Robert Parker’s recent comments attacking British wine tasters with letters to the New York…
Simone Furlong shares her insider's guide to the vibrant food and wine scene in Perth and Fremantle....Fremantle harbourPerth restaurants and wine bars
Fremantle is just a short trip from Perth; around 45 minutes by both car and train.The State Buildings
An inner-city hub, this stunning architectural restoration is home to a selection of incredible restaurants, bars, lounges and events, along with the Como The Treasury luxury hotel. www.statebuildings.comThe Apple Daily
Celebrate the vibrant flavours of southeast Asian street food amid the four levels of bars and restaurants in the beautifully converted former Newspaper House building, Print Hall. www.printhall.com.auLaneway Bars
The Perth bar scene has undergone a renaissance. Make your way down one of the city laneways bordered by Wellington Street and St Georges Terrace, and Milligan and William Streets and take your pick.Kakulas Sister
Head to Market Street and discover a wonderfully vibrant store in the historic Princess Theatre building, full of colour and scents, and perfect for sourcing spices, grains, coffee beans, meats and cheeses. www.kakulassister.com.auVans Cafe
A local food and wine haven between Perth and Fremantle in the beachside suburb of Cottesloe. Always abuzz for breakfast, lunch and dinner and featuring an excellent wine list, including some great Western Australian wines. www.vanscafe.com.auLamont’s Cottesloe
This bottle shop, bar and restaurant features great Western Australian, Australian and international wines, curated by the exceptionally knowledgeable, passionate and engaging wine master John Jens with wife Kate Lamont, serving a seasonal menu from the open kitchen. Dine among the bottles! www.lamonts.com.au/dining/cottesloeFremantle restaurants and wine bars Young George
The hip, village-like atmosphere of George Street is captured in this East Fremantle local – a bottle shop, bar and restaurant featuring a great selection of Western Australian and international wines, along with innovative food. Perfect for a long Sunday lunch. www.younggeorge.com.auKailis Seafood Markets
Nestled alongside vibrant Fishing Boat Harbour, with the smell of the ocean and the sounds of the seagulls, Kailis Seafood Markets offers fresh seafood to purchase and cook at home or fish and chips to enjoy harbourside. www.kailis.comStrange Company
Enjoy the relaxed local Fremantle vibe in this bar bolthole, with a great drinks list and a kitchen open all hours. Great also to catch some live music. www.strangecompany.com.au
Simone Furlong is joint CEO of Leeuwin Estate, in Margaret River. Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas.
This first appeared in the September 2017 issue of Decanter. Subscribe to Decanter here.More travel guides: Decanter travel guide: King Valley, Australia
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This Pauillac second growth has plenty of admirers, but it also has equally illustrious neighbours...Location
AOC Pauillac, opposite Château Pichon Baron, and next to Château Latour.Production
85 hectares, producing 30,000 cases of the grand vin and 6,000 cases of second wine Réserve de la Comtesse.Plantation and vineyard work
Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and Petit Verdot (8%), planted at 9,000 vines per hectare. This is a fairly low proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon for such a prominent Pauillac estate, and explains why it has a reputation for such feminine, elegant wines.
Average age of the vines are 35 years. A replanting programme has been underway since Roederer took over however, and they hope to end up 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.View all of Decanter’s Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande tasting notes Vinification
In the vat cellars there are 33 temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks which have both heating and cooling systems. Blending is carried out in late December to early January. The wines spend 18-22 months in oak barrels, with around 50% of new oak each year. Around 25% new oak is used for the second wine.Terroir
Garonne gravel on clay, containing an iron-rich layer of subsoil. The plots circle the château and lead down to the river alongside Latour.History
At first, the history here exactly mirrors its neighbour Pichon Baron, as they were one and the same estate. A document in the archives refers to ’40 very gravelly plots’ that were used to first plant the estate by Pierre de Rauzan.
His daughter Therese married into the Baron de Pichon-Longueville family, and the Pauillac estates became known under the family name of her new husband (hence why in Margaux the name Rauzan continues, whereas in Pauillac they are Pichon Longueville). It was to remain in the hands of this family for 250 years.
As befits its name, Pichon Comtesse had its history mapped out by three influential women – first Therese de Rauzan, then Germaine de Lajus and Marie Branda de Terrfort – who looked after the estate up to the French Revolution (another influential woman came along in the 20th century in the form of Dame May Eliane de Lencquesaing).
As we know from Pichon Baron, from around 1850 the estate was divided between his sons (Pichon Baron) and his daughters (Pichon Comtesse). They have remained separate ever since.
In 1920, Pichon Comtesse was sold through auction to the Miailhe brothers Edouard and Louis, and it was Edouard’s daughter May-Eliane who was to become the defining owner of the property in the 20th century. In 2007, as she looked to retire and knew that none of her children wanted to take over, she sold her château to the Louis Roederer Champagne house.
The post Producer profile: Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande appeared first on Decanter.
In 1855, at the Paris Exhibition that named the first growths, it was Margaux that came top of the tasting, with 20/20. Lafite and Latour both scored 19/20...Location
AOC Margaux, next to the pretty St Michel church (where former owner Bernard Ginestet is buried).Production
82 hectares of red grapes, producing around 11,000 cases of the first wine and 9,600 of the second wine.
12 hectares of white grapes producing a highly regarded white wine, Pavillon Blanc. There is also a third wine, Margaux du Chateau Margaux.Terroir
Clay with limestone, and a topping of coarse and fine gravels. It is one of the most varied terroirs on the Margaux commune, with some plots being almost entirely gravel.View all of Decanter’s Château Margaux tasting notes
Since 2010, a series of small stainless steel 25 hectolitre vats have been installed, able to take grapes from around ¼ of a hectare in each one, most typically young vines that need to be followed and understood.
Traditional wooden vats are also used. A research & development team are working on various research projects at any one time – current ones include tests such as bottling the wine under screw-cap.History
The estate can trace its history back to the 12th century, when it was known as La Mothe de Margaux, and it was owned by a series of wealthy lords. Vines were not seriously planted (or assembled by one owner) until the 16th century, when Olive de Lestonnac’s father Pierre began buying local plots. It was one of the first Bordeaux chateaux to export its wines under its own name, and was regularly making an appearance at the London auctions of Christie’s in the early 18th century.
Vine cuttings were sent from Chateau Margaux (and Haut-Brion) to Pennsylvania, where they were experimenting with planting vineyards, just after the French Revolution, so not long after Thomas Jefferson’s visit.
As with all the first growths, there have been a good number of notable past owners. But perhaps worthy of a special nod is Olive de Lestonnac in the early 17th century – she was the first owner to build a physical property that brought the vines together as one ‘chateau’. We should also note here the Marquis de la Colonilla, who in 1810 commissioned the building of the current chateau building.Obituary: Paul Pontallier of Château Margaux – 1956 to 2016
An 'extraordinary talent' who will be sorely missed...Wine Legend: Château Margaux 1983
What makes it a wine legend?Steven Spurrier: My top 10 Bordeaux wines of all time
There's some seriously good bottles in here...
Panos Kakaviatos and Joanna Simon recommend great white wines from Greece, ideal for drinking this summer at home or abroad.
This post has been updated in August 2017 with new wines to try, chosen by expert Joanna Simon.
The key to success with white wines in hot countries such as Greece is exploiting cool microclimates. Grapes ripen more slowly in cooler terroirs in mountainous vineyards, developing more interesting flavours as a result.
Wines whose labels include the names Mantinia, Amyndeo or Nemea can be good examples. Mountainous areas in Nemea range between 250m to over 1,000m above sea level. Not only do they give rise to variations in wine styles, but they also offer amazing views as one drives through the terrain on sometimes perilous tracks, as I did on a recent visit.Click to see all of Decanter’s Greek white wine reviews
Many of the white wines listed below come from cooler vineyards or from vineyards – such as those on the island of Santorini – whose maritime location helps to maintain humidity and to moderate temperatures, with strong winds that blanket the island during the summer, bringing down the night-time temperatures.Greek white wines to drink this summer Argyros, Assyrtiko, Santorini, Aegean Islands, Greece, 2016
Appetisingly fresh, zippy nose: lime juice, pears and salty sea-spray. Beautifully fresh, dry and intense with incisive, but modulated, acidity...Points 93 Biblia Chora, Ovilos, Pangeon, Macedonia, Greece, 2012
Blend of 50% Sémillon, 50% Assyrtiko, was the best white of a blind tasting organised for me by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW in Athens. Nougat and white apricot aromas. Well integrated alcohol, with substance and concentration but never heavy or alcoholic. Dry and thirst-quenching.Points 93 Alpha Estate, Sauvignon Blanc, Amyntaio, Macedonia, 2014
Among the best whites from a difficult 2014 vintage. Vinified in stainless steel. Citrus and grapefruit aromas, with a kiwi touch as well. Medium-bodied and lingering finish. Just lovely!Points 93 Domaine Skouras, Eclectique, Argolida, Greece, 2012
Brisk iodine aspect. Stone fruit, peach and fine sap on the mid-palate leading to a fresh and clean finish.Points 93 Domaine Glinavos, Primus Zitsa, Zitsa, 2013
A brisk and low-alcohol wine made from the Debina grape, this is pleasingly rounded on the mid-palate, leading to a medium-long finish...Points 91 Ktima Pavlidis, Drama, Thema Assyrtiko, Macedonia, 2016
50/50 Assyrtiko and Sauvignon Blanc showing how well they can tango. Floral perfume (jasmine) and the smell of stored apples. Zing and minerality balanced against soft, perfumed fruit on the palate. Purity and melody rather than the exhilaration of Santorini.Points 89
Situated between 32 ̊ and 42 ̊ north, Greek vineyards are some of the world’s hottest. While this might suggest suitability to the production of red wine, Greece in fact makes a surprising amount of white. Coming from some 65,000 hectares of plantings, more than 60% of Greek wine produced is white: approximately 1.83 million hectolitres of the total 2.9 million hectolitres produced.Beyond Retsina & Assyrtiko
The best-known Greek white wines are undoubtedly Retsina and Assyrtiko. Retsina is famous for historical reasons, and has an unarguably chequered reputation, long associated with inferior wine often made from a blend of grapes and masked by resin flavours. Assyrtiko is a more recent success story, a grape that today produces world-class dry whites, most famously from old vines grown on the volcanic island of Santorini with its black sand beaches, gorgeous sunsets – and strong winds.
Savvy consumers should investigate other white varieties from Greece, including the aforementioned Malagousia, with its attractive orange blossom, stone fruit and floral aromatics. Just before leaving Nemea, I bought a lovely white made from the Moschofilero grape by the Semeli winery, which is both floral and vivacious, and fantastic value – and went down very well with grilled calamari doused in fresh lemon.International varieties
Top producers are also making excellent white wines from international varieties. Try, for example, the Viognier ‘Spilitsa’ Argolida 2013 by Domaine Skouras. This wine’s delectable peach and iodine aspects easily match fine French Viognier for quality. Made from vines planted at a cool 300m above sea level, the Skouras wine exudes both opulence and verve.
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Young Rueda wines can stand up to some difficult flavours.
Rueda wines with food
In partnership with DO Rueda
In partnership with DO RuedaIdeal pairing ideas....
Like most wines there’s a difference between young Rueda and wines that have been aged in oak or on the lees and have a few of years bottle age. The former are arguably the most flexible, the latter the more subtle and complex.
Rueda’s mainstay, Verdejo, has much in common with Sauvignon Blanc with which it is sometimes blended.
Young Verdejos are bright and citrussy, a good match for summery food such as seafood and salads.
Unlike many other wines they’re not fazed by tomatoes, asparagus or sharp vinaigrettes.
They can deal with raw onion, olives and punchy sauces like allioli (garlic mayonnaise) and pair well with dishes with aromatic herbs such as dill and coriander.
They pair particularly well with grilled and fried fish – think grilled sardines, calamari and chipirones or even grilled octopus.
Rueda is a natural go to with shellfish such as mussels and clams or with a selection of seafood-based tapas – in fact it’s a great wine to take on a beach picnic.
You could also drink it with Mexican dishes such as guacamole, salsa fresca (fresh tomato salsa) and super-popular tacos or with the bright flavours of Asian noodle salads – it can handle a bit of fresh chilli.
Like Sauvignon Blanc it also has an affinity with fresh cheeses such as goats cheese, feta and pecorino – you could drink it with a Greek salad for example or a spanakopita (cheese and spinach pie).Aged Rueda wines
Once Rueda has acquired a bit of bottle age it gains a weight and nuttiness that will carry richer fish dishes such as hake with garlic, gambas or fish dishes that are cooked in white wine or with a white wine sauce. It can also be paired with the local delicacy of Lechazo (baby lamb), with the ability to match with lighter red meats.
This is also the style to serve with Spain’s innumerable delicious rice dishes including, of course, a good seafood paella.More articles like this: Great value Rueda wine
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Jane Anson uncovers some long-lost gems in this tiny corner of southern France, near the Spanish border.Vineyards near to Collioure in Roussillon.
There must be some kind of sweet poeticism in holding a rare grapes festival in a village that is, to say the least, something of a challenge to find.
Off the beaten track hardly does justice to the location of Trilla. It’s at one of the highest points of the Agly Valley in the Fenouillédes region of Roussillon, at close to 450 metres above sea level.
It’s quite the climb up here, through wild landscape of craggy hillsides along hair-raisingly windy roads. This is not unknown winemaking territory by any means – the wider area is home to some of southern France’s most exciting names in the shape of Domaine Matassa, Clos de L’Oum, Domaine Gauby, Domaine de l’Agly and La Soula – but it’s little surprise that there are only 65 villagers (of seven different nationalities) who make Trilla their permanent home, and that over half of the houses are holiday homes rather than main family properties.
The nearest boulangerie is a good 20 minutes drive away and the only commerce is one very small bar with uneven opening times. This is not a place for the faint-hearted or overly sociable, even if the sunset over the surrounding hills takes your breath away every single time.
Trilla does, however, play a supporting role in protecting the treasures of the Roussillon – largely because one of these 65 permanent residents is André Dominé, journalist and writer who was born in Hamburg but who has lived in the village with his Mosel-born wife since 1981. Dominé was a novelist early in his career and has published dozens of books on French wine and gastronomy, including the magnificent Wine that runs to 900 pages and has been translated into 17 languages (it started, as you might expect, as Wein). He now also runs one of France’s most unusual – and for my money worthwhile – wine festivals.
‘The Roussillon region has one of the most important collection of old vines in the whole of France,’ he tells me over supper in the village’s former wine cooperative, long since closed down and now converted into a private house. ‘And yet as demand for the local sweet wines fell away, many of the vineyards that produced them were abandoned or grafted to more fashionable grapes such as Syrah’.
The loss of indigenous grape varieties, as he sees it, is a destruction of the region’s natural heritage equal to any terrible planning decision, and he has dedicated much of his time over the past decade to drawing attention to its impact, through his writing, through tastings, and since 2011 with La Fête des Vieux Cépages.
Like many small villages in France, festivals are seen as a way of attracting visitors and bringing in tourism euros. Trilla used to be the site of a rock music festival that must have seemed a little out of place in a village populated pretty much entirely by retirees. It was the local mayor who first had the idea of changing it to a wine festival celebrating the region’s indigenous grapes – and handed its organisation to Dominé.
The festival showcases grapes such as Grenache Noir, Lledoner Pelut, Ribeyrenc, Oeillade, Muscat de Rivesaltes. As I last met Dominé at a conference in Rioja defending the forgotten terroirs of Spain, it is no surprise that every year a producer from further afield is invited to Trilla for the festival – Marcel Deiss from Alsace in 2015, Marta Rovira Carbonell from Mas d’en Gil from Priorat this summer.
‘There are dozens of local grapes to highlight just from the Roussillon,’ he says, ‘but what is happening here is being mirrored elsewhere. The characteristics of indigenous flora is increasingly valuable in the face of climate change,’ he adds. ‘These local grapes that were dismissed in the 1960s for their high acidity are now being taken seriously for the exact same qualities. There are increasing numbers of young winemakers rescuing plots of abandoned grapes, or replanting existing vineyards with traditional varieties. This is what we are trying to draw attention to,’ he says.Rare Grape Protectors
Domaine Pierre Gaillard AOP Banyuls Hors d’Age Solera
Pierre Gaillard has three estates across the region; Clos de Cuminailles in Malleval, Domaine Madeloc in Banyuls-sur-Mer and Cottebrune in Faugères. This stunning Banyuls is 90% Grenache Noir and 10% Grenache Gris, grown on schist soils and aged in the solera method based on vintages from the mid 2000s onwards. Extraordinary aromatic richness on display, from roasted caramel to saffron spice and everything in between.
Domaine Gauby Vieilles Vignes, Cotes Catalanes 2013
One of the powerhouses of southern France, this stunning white wine is a blend of Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Gris and Charonnay, with vines aged from 30 to more than 100 years old. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, there is a natural richness to the body, honeysuckle and mandarin orange with lilting acidity.
Le Clos de Gravillas, A Fleur de Peau 2016
An orange wine made by skin maceration of the Muscat grape, this is rich in flavour, marmalade, almonds, salty nectarine slices. From winemakers Nicole and John Bojanowski, a French-American couple who moved to Minervois 20 years ago and work organically with minimum sulphur.
Domaine Thierry Navarre 2016 Vin d’Oeillades
The Oeillades grape is a close cousin of cinsault, grown here on schist slopes, producing supple, fruity wines that are easy to love. Thierry Navarre is truly a name to watch when it comes to rescuing forgotten grapes – he currently works with over 15 varieties from his property in Saint Chinian. This is totally moreish, light at 11.5%abv and low in tannin.
Domaine Vaquer Blanc de Blancs Tradition 1985
We finished the evening with this stunning salty-edged white, surprising and mouthwatering, that still feels fresh and fragrant even approaching 35 years old. Oxidative, rancio notes combine with honeysuckle and dried apricot as it unfolds across the palate. Amazing.
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The post Anson: Are these rare grapes the future of Roussillon? appeared first on Decanter.
Fiona Beckett gives her verdict on Lympstone Manor
Originally published in Decanter magazine in partnership with Hine Cognac
- Rating: 8/10
- Open for lunch Monday-Friday (12pm-2.30pm) and dinner (7pm-9.30pm)
- Restaurant style: Seasonal modern British
- Eight-course tasting menu £140
- Estuary menu £130
- Classic à la carte menu £115
- Lunch menu from £45
- Wine to try: Herrenweg Riesling 2014
Thinking of getting married? Personal question I know, but I’ve found just the place to pop the question, spend your honeymoon night, or just to treat someone special.
Folk don’t open lavish country-house hotels that often these days, let alone spend a small fortune (reputedly £8.5 million) on renovating them, but chef Michael Caines has managed to do just that with Lympstone Manor, a Grade II-listed Georgian mansion just outside Exeter with jaw-droppingly gorgeous views over the Exe estuary.
Inside it is unashamedly grand, charmingly old-fashioned even, but having worked in Devon for more than 20 years Caines knows his audience. Lympstone is not London. The food too has a touch of the 1990s about it, with its colourful dots and swirls and pretty-as-a-picture plates. This is definitely food designed to garner Michelin stars (of which Caines previously held two at Gidleigh Park).
The £55 set-price lunch menu is priced at a level to attract the (well-heeled) locals. I couldn’t fault my beautifully plated Loch Duart confit salmon with delicate cubes of salmon jelly or my delicious lemon sole – although disappointingly it was not delivered as a boudin, as indicated on the menu. At more than double that price (£115) my friend’s à la carte menu wasn’t twice as good, though he did get the benefit of a well-crafted dish of local Jacob lamb and a fabulously airy pistachio soufflé. Occasionally ambition gets the better of sense. The vertical, Shard-like spire of carrot that teetered over a quail tartlet just looked a bit silly.
The high point for any wine lover though is the exceptional service from sommelier Marko Magi, who was bursting with knowledge and enthusiasm. There’s an impressive list of 24 wines by the glass, which are dispensed by a ‘WineEmotion’ machine from an adjoining walk-in wine room, in which Manor residents can also book a tutored tasting.
Though Magi’s recommended pairings were spot-on (a Herrenweg Riesling 2014 from Zind-Humbrecht was particularly lovely with the sole), the full pairing option with one of the tasting menus (£130-£140) would add £75-£85 a head to your bill. But there’s a lot to tempt by the bottle, including a particularly strong selection from Burgundy and Germany.
With a property of 11.5ha, Caines also harbours ambitious plans to plant a sparkling wine vineyard with classic Champagne grapes. So maybe in 10 years’ time you could even toast your beloved with the estate wine?Fiona Beckett is a Decanter contributing editor and chief restaurant reviewer. To get the first look at her bar and restaurant reviews from all over the world, subscribe to Decanter magazine More food and wine ideas Great rosé wines with food
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Duckhorn has acquired fellow California estate Calera, one of the most acclaimed producers of Pinot Noir in the region.Calera's Jensen vineyard in Mt Harlan AVA.
The deal between Napa’s Duckhorn and Calera includes the winery and the brand, as well as tasting room and 34 hectares (85 acres) of prime vineyards at 2,200 feet above sea level in the Mt Harlan AVA.
The price of the transaction has not been disclosed. It comes as the latest in a series of buyout deals in the US wine industry.
Founded in 1975 by Josh Jensen, Calera has played pivotal role in establishing the reputation of Pinot Noir in the US, and in California’s Central Coast specifically.
Alex Ryan, president and CEO of Duckhorn, said, ‘Like our own founders, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, Josh is a visionary and pioneer who has spent more than four decades shaping the modern American palate for luxury wines. What he has achieved at Calera has been nothing short of remarkable.
‘Calera is one of the world’s great wineries, and we will ensure that Josh’s legacy of quality and excellence will continue to flourish for decades to come.’
There will be no changes to Calera’s functioning and personnel, said Duckhorn.
Mike Waller, Calera winemaker, will retain his position and Josh Jensen is set to join the Duckhorn board of directors.
Jensen said, ‘Calera is my life’s work. In this era of industry consolidation, it was vital to me that I choose a partner that not only shares the values that have always defined Calera, but that also has the market presence to provide our wines a continued strong and secure route to market.’
The deal between Duckhorn and Calera comes only a year after Duckhorn itself, and its 90 hectares of vineyards in Napa Valley, was sold to San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners.Read more stories like this: Schrader sale to Constellation: Why no one should be surprised
Part of a larger acquisition trend in US wine...Constellation Brands to buy ‘luxury’ California wine labels
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We asked sommeliers which was the bottle that got them seriously into wine...My wine moment – from the sommeliers
For Confessions of a Sommelier in Decanter magazine, sommeliers were asked ‘what bottle stopped you in your tracks and got you serious about wine?’
What was the bottle that got you seriously into wine? Let us know in the comments below.Burgundy
Mathieu Ouvard, speaking to Decanter when the head sommelier at Gleneagles Hotel, said ‘In 2000, when at the Hotel du Vin in Tunbridge Wells, I tasted Domaine Coche-Dury’s Meursault 1985. It’s the ultimate expression of white Burgundy.’
‘I’ve tasted a lot of good red Burgundy. But Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s La Tâche 2006 absolutely blew my mind,’ said Johan Andersson, head sommelier at Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm. ‘After that, nothing was the same.’
Christian Thorsholt Jacobsen, speaking when head sommelier at MASH in London, said ‘It was Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin from the early 1990s. Just the smell of it made me want to know more.’
‘When I first came to London three years ago from my hometown of Malmö in the south of Sweden I tried the wines of Philippe Pacalet, who was the winemaker at Domaine Prieuré-Roch in Burgundy until 2000,’ Maria Wallèn, head sommelier at London’s Coya. ‘His natural, terroir-driven wines opened my senses and my mind and made me understand the beauty of winemaking.’
David Vareille, head sommelier for Bar Boulud in London, ‘Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin-Clos de Beze 1988. I was lucky enough to try this rare wine at a friend’s party and I immediately bought myself a case.’Funniest moments on the job – from the sommeliers Bordeaux
Stéphane Morand, sommelier at Le Cercle à Bourges said ‘When I was a sommelier intern, I was lucky enough to taste Château Margaux 1979. It was pure beauty and cemented the idea that working in wine was the right career path for me.’
‘It was a Château Latour 1928, chosen by a restaurant guest (he’d drunk the 1929 a few days earlier but didn’t like the colour!),’ said Richard Bernard, head sommelier at Le Saint-James, Bouliac. ‘The complexity and beauty of the wine was a revelation.’‘My bigggest faux pas’ – from the sommeliers Italy
Stefano Petta, speaking to Decanter when who was working at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern in Switzerland, said ‘Bibi Graetz’s Testamatta from Tuscany. It’s a very powerful Sangiovese with incredible density. It was the first time I tasted perfection – I can still remember it. The label is also unique – Bibi is the artist.’
‘It was a cooperative-made Langhe Nebbiolo,’ said Arvid Rosengren, speaking to Decanter when wine director at Copenhagen Concepts restaurant group. ‘In hindsight a fairly simple wine, but at the time I was blown away. How could all these aromas come from a glass of wine?’
Rosengren was named best sommelier in the world in 2016 and is wine director at Charlie Bird in New York.Worst customer habits in restaurants – from the sommeliers Germany
‘Not just one, but several vintages of all the single-vineyard Terrassen Mosel Rieslings of Heymann-Löwenstein, tasted at the winery. Incredibly perfumed wines with fine minerality,’ said Marinela Ivanova, beverage manager onboard The World, Residences at Sea.
Ali Rasouli Nia, speaking when he was head sommelier at Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park Hotel, ‘I grew up in Germany, and when I was 18 I tried an eiswein from Schloss Johannisberg. From that moment, I knew wine was my passion.’Nightmare food and wine matches – from the sommeliers …and the rest
Wayve Kolevsohn, speaking while sommelier at The Test Kitchen, said, ‘The Sadie Family’s Palladius 2006. With every sip it would evolve, and I was blown away.’
‘Most of the wines I liked in my early days aren’t favourites anymore,’ said Gal Zohar, speaking to Decanter when wine buyer for the Ottolenghi restaurants. ‘But one wine that is, is Alvaro Palacios’ L’Ermita from Priorat in Spain.’
‘It was a Peter Lehmann Shiraz a few years ago – it was like I’d been kissed by an angel. I was still thinking about it long after I finished the wine,’ said Bhatia Dheeraj, speaking to Decanter when he was head sommelier at The Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. He is now head sommelier at Penfolds Magill Estate.
‘On my first tasting as a young apprentice, I went with my restaurant manager to meet a supplier who had lined up wines I could not even pronounce: Tignanello, Sassicaia, Masseto, Grange, Vega Sicilia and Opus One. I finished every glass with no further consideration. Later I researched the wines’ prices…’ said Tobias Brauweiler speaking to Decanter when he was head sommelier at The Ritz in London.Who are the ‘super sommeliers’?
Some of the names to know...Rise of the super sommeliers
How things have changed...Worst customer habits in restaurants – from the sommeliers
Habits that get under a sommelier's skin...Nightmare food and wine matches – From the sommeliers
What were the hardest matches...?‘My biggest faux pas’ – from the sommeliers
Even the professionals make mistakes...Funniest moments on the job – from the sommeliers
No day is the same in a restaurant...In the restaurant: What to say to a sommelier – and hint at your budget
The experts' guide on how to speak sommelier...MWs versus Master Sommeliers: Who’s best at matching food with wine?
Find out who won the culinary duel...
The Beaujolais revival continues apace, and leading the charge are the 10 Beaujolais cru appellations. Find out what our judges thought of this strongly anticipated vintage...
Decanter’s experts tasted and discussed cru Beaujolais 2015 for the September 2017 issue of Decanter magazine.
While there were no outright stars, these wines still impressed for their character, structure and ageability – not to mention food friendliness and value. With an average price of between £10 and £18, there is still plenty here to praise.The scores:
121 wines tasted
Exceptional – 0
Outstanding – 0
Highly Recommended – 32
Recommended – 65
Commended – 19
Fair – 5
Poor – 0
Faulty – 0
Andy Howard MW; James Lawther MW; Matt Wilkin MSClick here to view the full results of the cru Beaujolais 2015 panel tasting
At a similar panel tasting of cru Beaujolais in the August 2015 issue, both Andy Howard MW and James Lawther MW came away enthralled by the 2013 vintage. ‘And because 2015 is so highly regarded, I expected to see things moving to an even higher level,’ said Howard.
‘Unfortunately, while there were a lot of good wines, nothing really elevated itself to the top tier across the different crus.’
In terms of flavour spectrum, these 2015 vintage wines showcased Gamay’s classic red cherry profile, with the more structured versions displaying notes of black and sour cherry.
‘There was plenty of character and density,’ thought Matt Wilkin MS, while Howard also picked out a ‘granitic-graphite’ element in quite a few examples, noting: ‘That’s an additional string to the bow that you don’t get in the non-cru wines.’
Overall, the biggest let-down was the lack of high-scoring wines. ‘I was surprised Côte du Py didn’t feature more strongly – that was a disappointment,’ said Howard. ‘Of course, some wines may be in lock-down at this point, and need time to express themselves.’Continue reading below Cru Beaujolais 2015 panel tasting top scorers:
Olivier Depardon, Morgon, Domaine de la Bêche, Vieilles
Dark and brooding with black cherry aromas augmented by hints of damson and a thread of graphite. Concentrated, dense palate of great...Points 93 Pardon & Fils, Juliénas, Les Mouilles, Beaujolais, 2015
Fresh and lively yet unforced and restrained, with a fragrant red berry nose leading to a savoury red fruit intensity on the palate and finishing...Points 93 Alain Coudert, Fleurie, Clos de la Roilette, 2015
A serious, complex style with ageing in large, old casks adding additional complexity alongside the crisp and vibrant red fruit...Points 91 Albert Bichot, Moulin-à-Vent, Domaine de Rochegrès, 2015
Dark cherry aroma with a touch of spicy oak. Generous yet focused palate, long and persistent, with plenty of zest and freshness. Firm...Points 91 Château de Bellevue, Morgon, Climat Les Charmes, 2015
An appealing density and energy here, with firmly-structured yet refined black cherry fruit accompanying mineral, herbal and graphite...Points 91 To read Decanter’s full panel tasting reports, subscribe to Decanter magazine – available in print and digital. The vintage
Once in a lifetime vintage for many producers, but less classic in style. Dark, rich and powerful. Structured for ageing.Winemaking
By and large the majority of growers practise a form of semi-carbonic maceration coupled with pumping over, pigeage or rack and return to gain more substance and structure. The wines are then aged in neutral tank or old casks for roughly a year. The fruit expression should be apparent, but the extent of extraction and length of cuvaison (up to 15 days) will also have a say in the style of the wine, as will the quality of the press wine. Growers are also being encouraged to highlight the character of site-specific wines by marking the name of the lieu-dit on the label, adding another tweak to the nuance of the wine.The crus
Granite predominates in Chiroubles, Fleurie, Moulin-à-Vent and Régnié, but whereas Chiroubles with its steep slopes and higher altitude produces lively, floral scented wines, Fleurie, with its dramatic inclines lower down, is elegant, perfumed and finely textured. Moulin-à-Vent has gentler contours and is complex and longer ageing, while Régnié errs on the side of suppleness and fruit.
Juliénas has the lowest granite content but plenty of ‘blue stone’ sedimentary rock, as does the Côte de Brouilly; the former exudes minerality, the latter generosity and elegance. Blue stone appears again with granite and alluvial deposits in Morgon, where the finely structured wines have the ability to age. Chénas can also be structured whereas St-Amour, with its more diverse soils, is light and appetising. The most southerly cru, Brouilly, is also the largest and produces solid, fruit-driven wines to be appreciated young.
All three agreed that Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent stood out for their structure and ageing potential. The best of Chiroubles also displayed the cru’s lighter, floral hallmark style, but Howard felt that Fleurie showed less consistency. Chénas and Côte de Brouilly had a low turnout, so it was difficult to form an overall conclusion.Alcohol
There was a slight criticism over alcohol levels. ‘At the leafier, leaner side of cru Beaujolais, some wines are around 12.5%, moving up to 13% and 13.5%. But 14.5% is not what I want or look for,’ said Lawther. But, he added, ‘they were the exceptions rather than the rule’.Ageability
With the exception of the top Moulin-à-Vent and Morgon wines, most are drinkable now. Equally, the best also have the capacity keep for another seven to 10 years thanks to their acidity and structure, as Lawther pointed out. The panel also agreed that people should keep their cru Beaujolais longer than they tend to.Food pairing
From his sommelier perspective, Wilkin advised: ‘For the prettier, lighter-styled, bright wines you can go for classic duck egg with lardons. But some of the other wines are quite weighty and concentrated, and demand grilled meats or even fatty beef cuts like bavet or onglet. Cru Beaujolais goes beyond the charcuterie board!’Related content: Summer red wines to drink chilled
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The 2015 vintage has turned things around...
President Donald Trump name-dropped the Virginia winery that he acquired in 2011 during a press conference on white supremacist violence in the state - but his comments don't appear to be entirely accurate.President Donald Trump no longer owns Trump winery, according to estate's website.
President Trump reminded journalists of the winery he acquired in 2011 when asked whether he intended to visit Charlottesville, Virginia following the recent deadly violence that erupted around a white supremacist rally and counter-demonstration.
According to transcripts of the press conference, Trump said, ‘I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?
‘It is the winery.’
He added, ‘I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States. It’s in Charlottesville.’
The Trump winery itself has previously attempted to put some distance between its operations and the president.
Donald Trump did buy the winery in 2011, from Patricia Kluge, but it is currently run by his son, Eric Trump.
‘Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organisation or any of their affiliates,’ says a disclaimer on the Trump winery website.
Plus, it is debatable as to whether the winery could count as one of the largest in the US. Annual production has been estimated at around 36,000 nine-litre cases of wine per year, equivalent to 432,000 bottles.
While that means Trump winery is among the biggest in Virginia, figures released by industry publication Wine & Vines yesterday (15 August) show that hundreds of wineries were estimated to have a higher level of production.
The publication’s analysis, updated in July 2017, said that there were 65 US wineries producing more than half-a-million cases and a further 263 ‘medium’ wineries producing more than 50,000 cases annually.
California accounts for nearly 90% of US wine production.More articles: Trump winery seeks guest foreign workers for its vineyards
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Patricia Kluge has left the winery she used to own a year after US property billionaire and former presidential candidate…Here’s the wines on Trump’s inauguration lunch menu
A California 'Champagne' plus two other wines make the list...Jefford on Monday: Wine choices in the new free world
Just over a year ago, I visited Donald Trump’s Virginia winery. It was a beautiful October day of long shadows…
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