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Top Pessac-Léognan 2017 red wines

Decanter News - ma, 07/05/2018 - 12:00

See Jane Anson's top scoring Pessac-Léognan red wines from the recent Bordeaux 2017 en primeur tastings. Notes are currently available exclusively to Premium members.

bordeaux 2017 barrel samples, jane ansonJane Anson tastes Haut-Brion 2017 samples for Decanter.

A quick summary of weather conditions is particular helpful for understanding why Pessac and Graves have produced some of the best and some of the most challenging wines of 2017.

Search all Pessac 2017 red scores here

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Jefford on Monday: Mindfulness and wine

Decanter News - ma, 07/05/2018 - 09:00

Andrew Jefford asks if the two are incompatible.

wine course, tasting

Tasting wine at a Decanter ‘discovery theatre’ class on Muscat de Rivesaltes.

You’ve been to RAW (whose 2018 London event was in March this year and whose Berlin event will take place at the end of this week) and the Real Wine Fair (taking a break in 2018 but back in 2019) — so where next for zeitgeist drinkers?  Maybe London’s Mindfulness Drinking Festival.  There were two of these last year, and the next one is scheduled for July 28th, at London’s Spitalfields Market.

It’s run by Club Soda, a ‘Mindful Drinking Movement’, and the Festival features non-alcoholic drinks.  Indeed a quick look at Club Soda’s website suggests that its principal aim is to help young people cut back or eliminate alcohol consumption altogether: “Mindful Drinking is our 8-week online course helping you achieve your drinking goals, whether you want to cut down, stop for a bit, or quit alcohol for good … Many Club Soda members are celebrating weeks, months and even years alcohol-free.”  The goal of the festival, say its founders, is to create “a world where nobody has to feel out of place if they’re not drinking”.  (Not drinking alcohol, that is.)

Helping avert alcohol dependency is a laudable aim, and of course no one should ever feel obliged to drink alcohol when they don’t want to.  I enjoy alcohol-free days as well as wine-filled days.  Where, though, is the mindfulness in all of this?  Does mindfulness have to be non-alcoholic?  Can’t wine drinkers be mindful, too?  What is mindfulness, anyway?

As a life strategy and self-help technique, it owes much to Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, created at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre in the late 1970s.  This was a secular, science-based programme aimed at combating the negative health outcomes of stress.  The practice of mediation lay at its core; Kabat-Zinn himself had studied meditation with Buddhist teachers.

Any discussion of the term ‘mindfulness’ must draw on Buddhist scholarship and teachings – and indeed address translation issues.  The original Pali term ‘sati’ and Sanskrit term ‘smrti’ imply other notions, too, such as ‘attentiveness’, ‘awareness’, ‘recollection’ and ‘retention’.  Buddhists will know that ‘Right Mindfulness’ is one element of the Noble Eightfold Path – a purifying of thought based on the elimination of bodily attachments, the acceptance that feelings lie at the origin of suffering, and the understanding that thought itself is impermanent and that all phenomena are without substantial existence.

Committed Buddhist practitioners, moreover, have to follow the Five Precepts, one of which is ‘no taking of intoxicants’.  That doesn’t, of course, mean that every Buddhist is a non-drinker.  Indeed one of the foremost twentieth-century teachers of Tibetan Buddhist traditions in the west, Chögyam Trungpa (1939-1987), was a former monk whose heavy drinking led to his early death, but whose translations and teachings were nonetheless revered, even those given when he was palpably alcohol-affected.  “Trungpa walked in tipsy and sat on the edge of the altar platform with his feet dangling,” remembered one student.  “But he delivered a crystal-clear talk, which some felt had a quality … of not only being about the dharma but being itself the dharma.”  MBSR, meanwhile, has often been used in conjunction with treatments for substance-use disorders including alcoholism, but does not in itself demand abstention.

I have, all too intermittently, practiced meditation since first being taught ‘transcendental meditation’ techniques in 1974, and it’s beyond doubt that meditation itself is always best accomplished prior to any consumption of alcohol.

I would simply point out that there are, in fact, many points of similarity between the general practice of mindfulness and that of wine tasting.  You can indeed be a mindful wine taster; wine tasting at its most subtle and rewarding is a ‘mindful’ activity par excellence. Here’s what I mean.

1. A significant theme – indeed some would say the principal theme – of mindfulness is being in the present: the only authentic form of being, since the past no longer exists and the future is conjectural. It is, though, a state which the complexity of our lives makes difficult or unattainable.  Our entanglements with the failures and regrets of the past and the comprehensive uncertainties of the future are a major source of stress to us.  Complete and concentrated focus on a single object is one way of drawing us into the present and away from the empty distractions of past and future – and that’s exactly what happens when we give all our attention, both sensual and intellectual, to a glass of wine.  The wine is a candle flame, compelling and illuminating our consciousness as we engage with it and draw it into ourselves

2. Mindfulness practice, particularly in its early stages, stresses that meditation begins elsewhere, and doesn’t mean forced routines of leg-crossing and eye-shutting. One of Kabat Zinn’s first exercises in his MBSR programme is a ‘raisin meditation’.  This involves taking a raisin, looking at it intently as if for the first time, observing its colours and feeling its textures, listening to it as you roll it close to your ear, smelling it, chewing it very slowly and thoroughly, swallowing it and feeling it descend your oesophagus and make its way to your stomach: mindful eating — but also a meditative experience.  This sort of rhapsodic attention is exactly what marks wine tasters out from unthinking wine drinkers.

3. It is important in mindfulness practice to act rather than react, to maintain a non-judgemental awareness of the present moment. Once again, this might almost be a formula for the best sort of wine tasting: one that is alert to every possibility in the glass in front of you, one that is open to all of the wine’s overtures as it comes out of the glass to meet you.  Bad wine tasting (like most, I taste badly sometimes) is that which comes at wines with prejudices and biaises, or which quickly dismisses aspects of a wine’s personality as faults or failures.  This is not an argument, by the way, for critical surrender – but for the intimate knowing which follows active (rather than reactive) engagement with a wine.

4. One of the key benefits of mindfulness meditation is the dissolution of negative or strong emotion (for Buddhists, all strong emotion is a poison which defiles or obscures the mind). I admit that the alcohol in wine might be a handicap here, since one effect of alcohol is an unlocking of emotion.  My own view, though, is that the alcohol in good wine or fine wine is so interwoven with the sense of place which that wine conveys as to induce a kind of universal compassion for the world and for nature itself, and that this is turn contextualises and lends perspective to the petty concerns which arouse negative or strong emotion.  Wine would not do this to the same extent without its alcohol content.

5. Another benefit of mindfulness is that it brings self-awareness and fosters self-compassion: you come to realise how your emotions impact your behaviour, and you also learn to avoid the suffering of low self-worth or an overly judgmental view of self. It’s far-fetched to impute direct benefits of this sort to wine-tasting activities – but wine, used moderately, unquestionably softens human abrasiveness, and by tasting wine, too, you can come to learn a little more about the kind of person you are and where your cultural sympathies lie.

6. Mindfulness, finally, awakens joy through its non-judgemental cherishing of the very simplest pleasures in life, and brings serenity and clarity of mind through attentiveness to present being. While consuming too much wine might indeed destroy serenity and clarity of mind, my experience is that tasting wine attentively and consuming it moderately can indeed provoke feelings of serenity and far-sightedness: the key lies in gauging the right dose.  And every wine taster is familiar with the joy that this activity brings.  With a wine-taster’s ‘right mindfulness’, moreover, you will find just as much joy in tasting simple wines as complex fine wines.

Read more Andrew Jefford columns on Decanter.com

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Open-top fermentation – ask Decanter?

Decanter News - zo, 06/05/2018 - 14:00

What is open-top fermentation? And what are the benefits?

open top fermentationWhat are the benefits of open top fermentation?Open-top fermentation – ask Decanter?

Ben Carpenter, Edinburgh asks: What are the benefits of using an open-top fermenter in the winemaking process?

Alistair Cooper MW replies: During the early stages of fermentation, open-top fermenters allow for increased oxygen contact which can help the yeast build a strong population.

This can help prevent what is known as ‘stuck ferments’ – when the yeasts become dormant before fermentation has finished.

Open-top fermenters also allow easy access to the cap (the grape skins that rise to the top) and allows them to be punched down into the fermenting must easily.

The heat generated during fermentation can easily escape the vessel, and an open-top can help better manage the fermentation temperatures.

See also: What is whole bunch fermentation?

Likewise, ethanol can also escape in the absence of a lid, which may be desirable or not, depending on the winemaker.

Open-top fermentations are only practical for relatively small volumes of wine, and are mainly used for red wines (or orange wines), as white wines tend to be fermented in the absence of grape skins.

Great care is also needed with open-top vessels as too much oxygen exposure may allow bacterial spoilage to enter the fermenting must.

Alistair Cooper MW is a broadcaster and writer and regular Decanter contributor.

This question first appeared in the June 2018 issue of Decanter magazine, subscribe to Decanter here.

See more wine questions here.

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Top St-Julien 2017 en primeur wines

Decanter News - zo, 06/05/2018 - 11:00

See Jane Anson's scores and tasting notes for the St-Julien 2017 wines, tasted en primeur...

St-Julien 2017Cellars at Leoville Barton.

St-Julien, along with its Médoc cousins Pauillac and St-Estèphe, had many successes in a Bordeaux 2017 vintage that presented several challenges, said Jane Anson in her Bordeaux 2017 vintage overview.

Large swathes of Médoc avoided the worst of the late spring frosts that will be a hallmark of the year.

  • Scroll down to see all St-Julien wines scoring at least 90 points

 

Back to the main Bordeaux en primeur page

 

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Ageing of half-bottles – ask Decanter

Decanter News - za, 05/05/2018 - 13:00

How does the ageing of half bottles differ from full sized...?

ageing half bottlesAgeing of half-bottles – ask Decanter

Max Helmore, London asks: I have two cases of half bottles of Sauternes stored in ideal conditions: Suduiraut 2013 and Climens 2015.

If they were 75cl bottles, I wouldn’t even consider broaching them yet, but as they are halves I don’t want to leave them too long. What time frame should I have in mind?

Stephen Brook replies: How wise of you to have bought two such excellent Sauternes in digestible half-bottles!

You need have few fears about their cellaring potential. I opened a mixed case of 1983 halves of Sauternes after 25 years and no bottle was past its best, though most were fully ready to drink.

See Jane Anson’s Sauternes 2017 tasting notes and scores

I suspect the Climens will age effortlessly, but to avoid disappointment I’d open a half bottle of both wines in about 10 years.

You will then be able to tell whether they are ready (and whether you are!) or whether either or both bottles would benefit from a few more years of slumber.

Stephen Brook has been a Decanter contributing editor since 1996.

This question first appeared in the June 2018 issue of Decanter magazine, subscribe to Decanter here.

See more questions answered here.

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Top restaurants and wine bars in Vancouver

Decanter News - za, 05/05/2018 - 12:00

For sports enthusiasts, wine lovers and locavores alike, this buzzing Canadian city has it all, says resident Kurtis Kolt...

wine bars VancouverWhere to eat and drink in Vancouver.Top restaurants and wine bars in Vancouver Revolver Coffee

Vancouver is a caffeine-fuelled city and this family-owned cafe in the city’s historic Gastown neighbourhood is a mecca. Espressos and pour-overs from local and international artisan roasters are served by a savvy (but not snobby) and stylish team. www.revolvercoffee.ca

Burdock & Co

Chef Andrea Carlson’s cosy Mount Pleasant eatery offers adventure and whimsy with organic, local, cultivated and foraged ingredients. Try buttermilk chicken with pickle mayo or elk bavette with chimichurri and chanterelles, and explore the tidy wine list, focused on natural wines from home and abroad. www.burdockandco.com

Burdock and Co

Burdock & Co

Edible Canada

Granville Island’s Public Market is a drawcard for local seafood and produce. After shopping, enjoy comfort fare here, like chowder and burgers, plus a good range of local wines and beer. www.ediblecanada.com

Virtuous Pie

This is a vegan pizzeria, but any foodie will love these pies, topped with house-made nut cheeses, pestos and more. All are baked to order on a tangy, chewy, hand-stretched dough, perfectly washed down with a small range of local wines on-tap. www.virtuouspie.com

Virtuous Pie

Virtuous Pie

Bao Bei

A stylish Chinatown eatery where crispy pork belly and dumplings are a must, along with something from the tip-top Sherry and saké list or inventive cocktails using Asian ingredients. www.bao-bei.ca

Marquis Wine Cellars

For more than 30 years this has been a destination for the city’s wine lovers. Take a self-guided sampling tour of the store’s Enomatic machine, chat with the wine-trade veterans on staff, or peruse the many boutique selections discovered by (and exclusive to) owner John Clerides. www.marquis-wines.com

Marquis Wine Cellars

Marquis Wine Cellars

Alibi Room

Craft beer fans will find lots to like in Vancouver, where hardly a week goes by without a new brewery opening. Alibi Room is the place for beer aficionados, where both local and West Coast American ales can be enjoyed by the glass or as part of a flight. www.alibi.ca

Blue Water Cafe

This elegant Yaletown hotspot is an ode to seafood, whether from live tanks, the raw bar or the grill. Add in a superb by-the-glass selection and a deep Champagne cellar, and you have quite the evening. www.bluewatercafe.net

Blue Water Cafe

Blue Water Cafe

Wildebeest

This popular restaurant on the edge of Gastown celebrates rustic country cooking with carnivorous fare such as elk and bison, all butchered in-house. An exciting cocktail list vies for attention next to an extensive and inventive wine selection. Can’t make dinner? Then the decadent brunch is a must. www.wildebeest.ca

Kurtis Kolt is a Vancouver-based freelance wine writer, consultant and judge. This article first appeared in Decanter magazine – subscribe to Decanter here. See more Decanter travel guides here. 

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Tignanello wines rated: Eight vintages from 1997 to 2013

Decanter News - za, 05/05/2018 - 10:00

Read tasting notes and ratings for eight Tignanello vintages between 1997 and 2013 inclusive, written by Michaela Morris and published here exclusively for Premium members.

tignanello wines, cellarsInside the Tenuta Tignanello in Val di Pesa.

Introduction by Chris Mercer

Tignanello is a trailblazer of the ‘Super Tuscan’ movement, born under the guidance of Antinori in 1971 after leaving the Chianti Classico denomination in order to add small amounts of classic Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to a Sangiovese-dominant blend.

It has since gained a legion of fans, including Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, who told Decanter.com a few years back that ‘my drinking wine would be Tignanello’.

Scroll down to see Michaela’s wine reviews

Coming soon: Look out for a follow-up to this article in which Michaela Morris compares the same vintages of Solaia to those of Tignanello below, including an in-depth report. 

Other articles like this one, available to Premium members:

Sassicaia 2015 released: Here is how it tastes Five Masseto wines to buy: Our top vintages

 

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Hide Above restaurant review: ‘A record-breaking wine list’

Decanter News - za, 05/05/2018 - 09:50

Fiona Beckett dips into the 6,500-bin wine list at the newly opened restaurant venture from the owners of luxury London wine shop, Hedonism, and chef Ollie Dabbous, read her full review...

hide above restaurantInside Hide Above, the strikingly designed newcomer to the London fine-dining scene... Credit: 85piccadilly.co.ukHide Above 85 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NB Tel: 020 3146 8666 85piccadilly.co.uk
  • Kitchen open: 7:30am-12am Monday to Friday, 9am-12am Saturday and 9am-11:30pm Sunday.
  • Restaurant style: contemporary British cuisine
  • Wine to try: Domaine Ligas, Gaia Pella Amphora Kydonitsa
  • Tasting menu £95, set lunch £42
Full review

It’s always been a bit of a mystery – why doesn’t London have more three Michelin starred restaurants? Hide Above restaurant, with the dazzling Ollie Dabbous at the helm, may rectify that.

No expense has been spared to make this one of the most glamorous venues in London, with unrivalled views — ask for one of the tables that overlooks Green Park — and a curved oak staircase so beautiful that you feel obliged to make an extra trip to the cloakroom just to enjoy its mellifluous contours.

A phalanx of servers, most of whom seem to be sommeliers, hover to gratify every whim. There’s even a concealed drawer in the table which houses every type of phone charger you could possibly need.

There’s a record-breaking wine list of over 6,500 bottles, also available in the downstairs restaurant named Ground, and the bar, Below. Approximately 450 wines are on site and the remainder are obtainable from the owners’ luxury Mayfair wine shop Hedonism, which will whizz them over on demand at a surprisingly modest mark-up of £30.

hide above restaurant

Can’t find what you want in the cellar? Hedonism will courier wine from their Mayfair shop to your table… Credit: 85piccadilly.co.uk

That said, the list is sufficiently diverse to opt for the accompanying wine flight if you’ve the budget for it – £65 in the case of the Classic wine pairing, £115 for the Discovery and an eye-watering £295 for the Hedonistic.

The meal itself starts with a suitably dramatic bang: a bowl of deep brown umami-rich mushroom broth and a pretty plate of crudités reminiscent of Michel Bras’ gargouillou of vegetables. It was paired, interestingly, with a rosé – a Picaro del Aguila Clarete from Ribera del Duero.

It’s worth ordering the extra course of what is simply described as ‘Cornish Fish in two services’ to experience one of the best fish stews you’ll ever have eaten, which comes with a plate of cured, sashimi-like plaice with an oyster emulsion 

Other highlights include some absurdly tender raw tuna served Japanese style and paired with a Keigetsu Gin-no-Yume Junmai Daiginjo sake.

Or the ‘Nest Egg’, Dabbous’ signature dish of an eggshell filled with a concoction of egg yolk, smoked butter, toasted mushrooms and cream, with turbot swimming in a pool of green, peppery crushed nasturtium broth and a slow roast goose nestling — for once the word is justified — under a dome of something akin to crispy seaweed, much like the sort you find in your local Chinese, except this is made from kale.

hide above restaurant

Chef Ollie Dabbous’ flamboyant signature dish – the Nest Egg. Credit: 85piccadilly.co.uk

The sommelier adventurously paired this with a Greek orange wine, Gaia Pella Amphora Kydonitsa from Domaine Ligas.

Choose the coconut dessert, which boasts no less than five coconutty elements including a sorbet, macaroon and dramatic shards of meringue, giving the overall effect is of a mini iceberg.

The only downside, common to restaurants at this level, is that it’s hard to sustain a conversation without a member of staff coming to explain something or retrieving a fallen napkin. But, then again, you come here to gawp rather than chat.

Expect a hefty bill of at least £150 a head for the full menu with wine. However given the location along with the quality of food and service you can understand that this can barely cover the costs. 

Even with the seemingly bottomless pockets of its Russian owners, the prices will surely rise. Head to Hide before they do.

Fiona Beckett is a Decanter contributing editor and chief restaurant reviewer.

Find more restaurant reviews here

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Bordeaux en primeur 2017 prices so far

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 17:22

It's been a relatively sedate beginning to the Bordeaux 2017 en primeur campaign, but more estates have shown their hand in the past week and there is a general trend towards price cuts versus a widely praised 2016 crop. Below, we've compiled prices so far, on an ex-Bordeaux basis.

buy Bordeaux 2017Thousands of tasters will be descending on Bordeaux to taste the new vintage.Read more analysis of the latest Bordeaux 2017 en primeur releases for the week beginning 30 April

Introduction by Chris Mercer

As discussed in the article linked above, we’ve seen a significant number of estates pricing 2017 wines somewhere between 2014 and 2015 vintage levels; in recognition, perhaps, that 2017 has admirable qualities but is considerably more uneven than 2016 and will need to be more competitive on price in order to sell.

Overall, it is the smallest Bordeaux vintage for decades, due largely to devastating frosts that struck with particular ferocity on the Right Bank and also south of the city in Graves and Sauternes.

But, that is far from the whole story, as Jane Anson reports in her overview of the vintage here.

As far as the campaign goes, merchants had hoped for price cuts to invigorate demand following relatively successful primeur sales for the 2015 and 2016 vintages. Palmer set the tone early with a 20% drop versus 2016 ex-Bordeaux.

However, primeur has in recent years turned into more of a waiting game for many estates.

Releases have been delayed, amid speculation that a number of properties appear keen to wait to see what strategy neighbours will pursue. So far, 2017 is playing out in a similar fashion.

See prices below for some of the major releases so far.

Bordeaux En Primeur 2017 Release Prices Wine Price Château La Lagune €30.60 (down 13.6%) Château Batailley €30.25 (down 11%) Château Sociando-Mallet €21.60 (down 18.2%) Château Pape Clément €61.20 (down 7%) Château Malartic-Lagravière €32.40 (down 21%) Château Marquis d’Alesme €26.40 (down 8%) Langoa Barton €31.00 (down 15%) Château Branaire-Ducru €33.60 (down 15%) Château Labégorce €17.80 (down 10%) Château Haut Batailley €42 (up 46% on 2015*) Château Guiraud €31.2 (up 4%) Château Palmer €192 (down 20%) Château Valandraud €100 (down 20%)

Source: Liv-Ex

Back to the main Bordeaux 2017 en primeur page

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The wine judging quiz – Test your knowledge

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 13:06

More than 270 expert judges from around the globe have been in London this week, collectively tasting close to 17,000 wines for the annual Decanter World Wine Awards. How do you think you would fare in their position? Get an idea by taking our general knowledge wine judging quiz below...

dwwa 2017 resultsThis year's DWWA saw a record of more more than 17,200 entries.Start the wine judging quiz below

Many of our Decanter World Wine Awards judges have trained in their specialist areas for years, with a significant number also achieving the Master of Wine and Master Sommelier titles. With so many wines to taste, accuracy is key but so is stamina. Take the general knowledge quiz below for a small insight into the task.



 

Follow our live social media feed of DWWA 2018 judging week More wine quizzes here

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Interview and tasting with L’Eglise Clinet owner

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 13:00

Jane Anson meets and tastes with Denis Durantou, owner and winemaker at star Pomerol estate Château L’Eglise Clinet, plus Les Cruzelles in Lalande-de-Pomerol and Montlandrie in Côtes de Castillon.

Read Jane's interview, published in Decanter magazine's June 2018 issue, plus new tasting notes only available to Premium members.

Château Les CruzellesChâteau Les Cruzelles in Lalande-de-Pomerol

There aren’t many Bordeaux châteaux that are still flying the flag for a low-key entrance, but it comes as no surprise that Château L’Eglise Clinet is one of them.

The rusted sign, barely readable unless you are right in front of it, signals that this is Denis Durantou land, where he writes his own rules, both stubbornly under the radar and supremely confident.

Scroll down to see the tasting notes Jane Anson is a Decanter contributing editor, Bordeaux correspondent and author of the book Bordeaux Legends New for Premium members: Read Jane Anson’s full Bordeaux 2017 vintage overview

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Great value Portuguese white wines

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 12:26

The future looks bright for Portuguese whites, says Sarah Ahmed. Here are five to try, all below £25 and with Sarah's tasting notes and scores made freely available online.

value Portuguese whitesGreat value Portuguese white wines

Portugal’s whites were once dull and oxidative,‘ said Sarah Ahmed – but things have changed.

‘Modern viticulture and winemaking have helped to preserve aromatics, fruit and freshness in warmer area.’

See Sarah Ahmed’s full article here, including more wine reviews

Available online to Premium members

The following Portuguese white wines have all scored more than 91 points and were available for under £25 per bottle.

Introduction copy written and edited by Eleanor Douglas. Wine reviews below by Sarah Ahmed.

 

Druida, Dão, Encruzado Reserva, Dão, Portugal, 2016 Vale da Capucha, Torres Vedras, Blend, Lisboa, 2015 Casa de Mouraz, Dão, Dão, Portugal, 2016 Casa de Mouraz, Vinho Verde, Air, Vinho Verde, 2015 Niepoort, Cima Corgo, Redoma, Douro, Portugal, 2016 Subscribe to Decanter here

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New Bordeaux 2017 releases: Pape Clément, Langoa Barton, Malartic out

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 10:17

  • Price cuts dominate early stages of Bordeaux 2017 en primeur campaign with several estates positioned roughly between 2014 and 2015.

  • Trotte Vieille launches debut primeur campaign at 60 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux.

  • Malartic-Lagravière 2017 red drops price by 21% ex-Bordeaux versus 2016, with Langoa Barton down 15%, La Lagune down 14% and Pape Clément red down 7%.

Château Malartic-LagravièreThe vats at Château Malartic-Lagravière.

Châteaux injected some pace into the Bordeaux 2017 en primeur campaign on Thursday (3 May) with several releases hitting the market.

Many estates have increased prices over the previous three vintages and, this week, there continued to be signs that some properties were rolling some of this back for a frost-hit 2017 described as great in parts but considerably uneven.

It’s early days, but it still appears as if Palmer set the initial tone for the campaign last week by pricing its 2017 wine somewhere between the 2014 and 2015 release.

Malartic-Lagravière 2017 red was down by 21% ex-Bordeaux, to 32.4 euros ex-Bordeaux.

For consumers, Malartic-Lagravière 2017 red was just under the current 2014 price at Millesima USA. It was offering 12 bottles of Malartic-Lagravière 2017 red – rated 93 points by Decanter’s Jane Anson – for $570 in bond with the 2014 at $576 and the 2015 at $696.

In the UK, Fine & Rare was offering the Malartic 2017 red at £395 per 12-bottle case in bond. The 2014 vintage was available for £343 per case in bond on Fine & Rare Marketplace, with the 2012 available direct from the merchant at £359 per case. The 2016 was sold out and the 2015 was available on Marketplace for £418 per case.

Search all of Jane Anson’s Bordeaux 2017 en primeur scores

Exclusive to Premium members

Langoa Barton in St-Julien released its 2017 with an ex-Bordeaux price cut of 15% versus last year, at 31 euros per bottle. Its 2015 wine was released en primeur at 32 euros ex-Bordeaux and its 2014 vintage at 29 euros.

Liv-ex said that it was being offered by UK merchants at around £390 per 12 bottles, down 7% in sterling terms versus the 2016 release.

Château Pape Clément also released its 2017 wine on Thursday (3 May), at a 7% discount to the 2016 release and at 61.2 euros per bottle ex-Bordeaux.

Liv-ex reported that Pape Clément had released around 50% less wine than last year, mainly due to frost damage.

BI Wines & Spirits was offering Pape Clément 2017 at £760 in bond for a 12-bottle case. For comparison, the 2014 and 2015 vintages on BI’s LiveTrade platform were priced at £670 and £840 in bond respectively for 12-bottle cases.

Jane Anson rated both Pape Clément and Langoa Barton 2017 at 92 points, describing the two wines as having good structure yet lacking some of the fruit concentration of 2015 and 2016.

This week has also seen a primeur campaign debut for Trotte Vieille, which saw its 2017 wine available at 60 euros ex-Bordeaux. Jane Anson rated the wine at 94 points, praising its balance, power and good ageing potential.

Berry Bros & Rudd was offering six bottles of Trotte Vieille at £369 in bond, with the 2015 vintage also available on the merchant’s BBX trading platform, in bond, for £1 more per case.

La Lagune’s 2017 release, down 14% ex-Bordeaux versus 2016 to 30.6 euros per bottle, saw it join a number of estates that have opted to price within a range roughly between the 2014 and 2015 vintages so far.

Other releases so far this week have included Marquis d’Alesme, Dauzac, Vray Croix de Gay and Cos Labory, as well as Pape Clément and Malartic-Lagravière white wines.

Ex-Bordeaux pricing data by Liv-ex and Wine Lister

Read about more releases, plus scores and an exclusive vintage report via Decanter’s Bordeaux en primeur homepage

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Top St-Estèphe 2017 en primeur wines

Decanter News - vr, 04/05/2018 - 10:00

See Jane Anson's tasting notes and scores for the St-Estèphe 2017 wines - exclusive to Decanter Premium members...

St-Estephe 2017Pouring Château Montrose

There were many successes in St-Estèphe in the 2017 vintage, said Decanter Bordeaux expert and sole en primeur taster Jane Anson.

The quality/value prize with the reds this year might have to go to St-Estèphe in my opinion,‘ Anson said.

Château Lafon-Rochet is ‘a lovely St-Estèphe this year, firm and bright with bristling fruit right out of the gate.

 

Back to the main Bordeaux en primeur page

 

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Plumpton College launches ‘A Level’ in Viticulture

Decanter News - do, 03/05/2018 - 18:43

Plumpton College has launched a new viticulture course for 16 – 18 year olds, to encourage more young people to pursue a career in winemaking and vineyard management.

Plumpton college a levelPlumpton College launches wine course for 16 - 18 year olds.

The Level Three Advanced Technical Certificate in Viticulture will be an equivalent to an A Level, and is a combination of tuition and work experience, according to Plumpton.

Students on the course will learn how to use tractors and other vineyard equipment, skills such as pruning and trellising and the fundamentals of plant biology, and disease protection, the college said.

‘If you want a career in vinegrowing, this is the course for you,’ according to the course description on the Plumtpon College website.

‘The English wine industry is going from strength to strength, and is actively seeking staff to establish and manage its vineyards.’

Plumpton added that it will help students find future work, using the strong connections in the English wine industry.

Students could also potentially continue their studies on the Plumpton College Foundation Degree in Wine Production.

Attracting more young people

In August 2017, the college highlighted that ‘there is a real shortage of skilled young people coming into the industry.’

There is also a growing concern that the English wine industry will lose agricultural workers as a result of Brexit.

Last month, the College announced a partnership with the Royal Agricultural University to encourage more young people to go into land-based and agricultural courses.

Find out more about the course here.

See also: Decanter.com wine quizzes – Test your knowledge

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DAWA 2017 award-winners showcased at ProWine Asia, Singapore

Decanter News - do, 03/05/2018 - 14:57

A special selection of Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2017 award-winning wines were tasted at Singapore’s leading wine fair

Decanter  presented 13 DAWA 2017 award-winning wines at ProWine Asia in Singapore last week.

Decanter stand, ProWine Asia 2018, Singapore

Visitors to the fair where given the chance to taste 13 DAWA 2017 award-winning wines.

  • Yealands Family Wines, Babydoll Sauvignon Blanc , Marlborough, New Zealand 2017
  • Grace, Gris de Koshu, Yamanashi, Chubu, Japan 2016
  • Château de Monrecueil, Bordeaux Supérieur, Bordeaux, France 2015
  • Château Ramage La Batisse, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2014
  • Les Roques de Cana, Sanguis Christi, Cahors, Southwest France, France 2008
  • Shottebrooke, The Proprietor Reserve Series, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia 2014
  • Gran Enemigo, Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Gualtallary, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina 2012
  • Bodegas Arzuaga Navarro, Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2009
  • Condado de Haza, Alenza, Ribera del Duero Gran Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2006
  • Bodegas Corral, Don Jacobo, Rioja Gran Reserva, Mainland Spain, Spain 2004
  • Marco Bonfante, Bussia, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy 2012
  • Monte Cillario, Casa Erbisti, Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy 2013
  • Sartori di Verona, Corte Brà, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy 2010

 

See the full list of results for the 2017 Decanter Asia Wine Awards

 

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Top Pauillac 2017 en primeur scores

Decanter News - do, 03/05/2018 - 12:59

See Jane Anson's verdict on the Pauillac 2017 wines tasted en primeur...

Pauillac 2017Harvesting at Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac. Pauillac 2017 en primeur scores

Bordeaux 2017 is a vintage that is hard to generalise, even at the appellation level, according to Decanter expert Jane Anson.

However, ‘if you taste just the big name Pauillacs, you would be hard pressed to understand that this has been a challenging vintage‘.

Anson also noted a high level of ‘precision’ winemaking across the vintage, with careful and specific amounts used in blends, or oak ageing.

 

Back to the main Bordeaux en primeur page

 

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Decanter at Vinexpo Hong Kong

Decanter News - do, 03/05/2018 - 12:13

Decanter will be hosting a Grenache masterclass at Vinexpo Hong Kong as well as showcasing 22 Decanter Asia Wine Award winning wines.

Visitor’s to this year’s Vinexpo Hong Kong will also be able to attend Decanter’s World’s Best Grenache Buys masterclass. Explore Grenache from around the world with Decanter’s Asia Wine Awards judge Sarah Wong as she takes you through a selection of top Grenache buys rated by Decanter’s expert panel.

There will be eight wines available to taste:

  • Mas Amiel, Vers le Nord, Maury Sec, Languedoc-Roussillon, France 2016
  • Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes, , Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France 2016
  • Cantina Trexenta, Baione, Cannonau di Sardegna, Sardinia, Italy 2014
  • Acústic Celler, Auditori, Montsant, Catalonia, Spain 2014
  • David and Nadia, Grenache, Swartland, Western Cape, South Africa 2016
  • Garage Wine Co., Bagual Vineyard Lot 69 Garnacha, Maule Valley, Maule, Chile 2015
  • A Tribute to Grace, Shake Ridge Ranch Grenache, Amador County, Sierra Foothills , California, USA 2014
  • Zonte’s Footstep, Love Symbol Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia 2016
CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR SEAT

World’s Best Grenache Buys
Date: Wednesday 30th May 2018
Time: 10:00 – 11:30am
Speaker: Sarah Wong
Location: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

Decanter masterclass, Vinexpo Hong Kong 2016

Decanter will also have a stand exhibiting 2017 Decanter Asia Wine Award winning wines.

Decanter stand exhibition Decanter Asia Wine Award winning wines, Vinexpo Hong Kong 2016

Below are some of the wines that will be available to taste at our awards stand:

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Château Talbot: Every vintage from 2000 to 2017 tasted

Decanter News - do, 03/05/2018 - 10:09

Jane Anson reports for Premium members on a tasting of Château Talbot wines at the St-Julien estate.

chateau talbot, 1855 ChateauxChâteau Talbot, the St-Julien fourth growth.

Château Talbot, a St-Julien fourth growth, is one of the largest wine estates in Médoc, with 107 hectares under vine – putting it in a select ‘100 club’ of Bordeaux 1855 estates, which also include Lafite-Rothschild and Lascombes.

John Talbot, the man who gave his name to the château, was killed during the Battle of Castillon, the 15th century battle that returned Bordeaux to France after 300 years of English ownership that established the modern system of buying and selling Bordeaux wine and enriched many local châteaux.

He was also known as Connétable Talbot, which is now the name of the second wine of the estate.

Below, Premium members can view Jane Anson’s tasting notes and ratings for every Talbot vintage since 2000, following a vertical tasting at the Château.

Look out for a full profile of Talbot written by Yohan Castaing, coming soon in Decanter magazine’s Bordeaux Guide. 

Read Jane Anson’s full report on the Bordeaux 2017 en primeur tastings

 

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Exciting Chilean wines: Colchagua producers to watch

Decanter News - wo, 02/05/2018 - 16:23

Known for its Carmenère vineyards, Colchagua is home to some of Chile’s biggest names in wine. Alistair Cooper MW highlights the rising stars to keep an eye on – plus his top 12 wines to try, available exclusively to Premium members.

Koyle vineyardKoyle vineyard

The crackle of excitement in the air was palpable amid the sound of popping corks and clinking glasses. In central Santa Cruz, 30 Colchagua-based micro-producers had gathered to showcase their wares.

‘People think that interesting small producers are only found in the south of Chile, in Itata and Maule, and that Colchagua is merely home to the glitzy, big producers,’ says my host and the event organiser, Francisco Zúñiga, a passionate local sommelier.

‘This is not the case. Colchagua is the most exciting region in Chile right now, teeming with innovation and experimentation.’ Following the tasting, and several days visiting producers of all sizes, it’s hard to argue with this claim.

 

Alistair Cooper MW spent years working for wineries in Argentina and Chile. He is a regular Decanter contributor and judge, and the resident wine expert for BBC Radio Oxford Read more articles from Decanter magazine’s June 2018 issue online How to join Decanter Premium

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