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La Poja vertical: The rebel of Valpolicella

za, 24/06/2017 - 11:00

Aldo Fiordelli takes a closer look at a real rarity; a "cru" wine produced in Valpolicella.

la poja wine, allegriniLa Poja (top right).

La Poja is a “Chinese-box” cru on top of La Grola hill in Valpolicella, owned by the Allegrini estate.

  • Scroll down for La Poja tasting notes

Valpolicella is, of course, known for Amarone and for its distinguishable winemaking style – not for its crus. Valpolicella’s two territories can be generalised by the classic, elegant wines from Fumane and Marano to the West, and the more powerful wines from the flat eastern “step”.

Even so, it is the territory’s trademarked style of appassimento that remains the more important factor in the wine’s style.

What makes La Poja so special?

Few are the exceptions, but La Poja is certainly one of note. Planted in 1979, this was a pioneering vineyard in Valpolicella for at least four reasons.

  • It was established at a relatively higher density with 4.240 vines per hectare compared with average of 1.600 to 2.000 of that time
  • The choice of training system favoured double Guyot (instead of the omnipresent Pergola), to achieve more colour and concentration
  • The vineyard was planted only with Corvina from the “Graspo rosso” clone, rather than the field blend of the varietals; Rondinella, Molinara or Vespolina normally used for Amarone
  • Last but not least, it has never been intended to produce grapes for appassimento
Why would anyone do that in this area?

So was Giovanni Allegrini absolutely crazy? The founder of the estate certainly had a way with the land, and the intuition to match. He understood straightaway the value of La Grola’s climate and soil.

With its southeastern exposure La Poja enjoys the exceptional microclimate of Fumane, sheltered to the North by Mount Pastello and to the west by Monte Baldo, with the cooling influence of the Adige Valley and less continental influence thanks to Lake Garda.

In September, it experiences an accentuated diurnal temperature range: in 2006, one of the best vintages tasted, differences were as notable as 8°C at night from 25°C during the day.

But the most important factor remains the shallow, calcareous soil. Each guest at this vertical tasting, held at VinItaly, got a box of soil to keep.

Containing 16% of active limestone, it is low in potential alcohol yet ideal in achieving sugar concentration – once a ratio relied on to indicate the moment to pick grapes – but nowadays noted as a beneficial element in phenolic maturity.

Clearly, Allegrini didn’t need appassimento to attain richness in their wines.

The result is a full bodied red bursting with perfume, completely dry, lower in alcohol and more precise than Amarone, almost never showing a hint of volatile acidity, nor raisin or treacle notes, full of the spiciness due to the aging in new French oak barrels.

At times perhaps showing less complexity than Amarone when young, La Poja develops with an incredible suppleness improving its signature Morello cherry aroma along with spiciness and overall elegance.

La Poja wines in this tasting:

Click on the wines to see the full tasting note and stockist details.

Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2010 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2010

The youngest wine of the flight. A denser ruby color and assertive clove aroma, elegance over power due to the mild vintage which lacked excessive heat during maturation. This result is an intense, aromatic nose of cherry-liqueur, chocolate, along with a touch of Indian spice and sweet tobacco. Medium bodied…

Points 93 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2009 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2009

A typical example of Corvina with this pale ruby color (Corvina is not known for its colour) and a fresh nose of raspberry and red cherry with an amazing hint of rose hips and a very precise palate. Taut with velvety tannins, slightly rigid at the end and a gradual…

Points 91 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2008 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2008

One of the less precise wines in this flight. Deep in colour yet garnet at the rim. Evolved on the nose with aromas of leaves and dried plums. It shows complexity, however the tannins are quite rustic with a dry finish. Franco Allegrini admits: “Lacks a touch of phenolic ripeness…

Points 86 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2006 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2006

A darker profile in terms of colour and concentration. Toxicating perfume opens up to complex notes of pure liquorice, cigar box, tobacco and blackberry with a dense, mouth-filling palate, large velvety tannins and a sweet finish of dates (perhaps a bit of appassimento?) supported by long, brilliant acidity. Overall complex…

Points 96 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2005 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2005

A lesser vintage due to a lot of rain which results in a surprisingly refreshing, wiry version of La Poja with a paler ruby, brick color at the rim, red fruit aroma of raspberry and a leaner body. Crisp and chewy with grainy tannins and a slightly greenish end. Could…

Points 87 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2004 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2004

A longer growing season in this vintage gifted this wine complexity, with more focus on elegance than power. Very classic in colour (pale ruby to garnet), it shows an intense nose of dried flowers leading to Morello cherry, with depth of cacao and bay leaf - a well integrated vegetal…

Points 94 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2001 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2001

This wine is at the peak of its expressiveness with a Port-like nose of spicy minerality and an incredible supple palate due to vibrant, velvety, ripe tannins and softened – yet well-balanced – acidity. Its full bodied and rich style summarises perfectly the trend of this period. It avoids being…

Points 95 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2000 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 2000

A softer, riper vintage, without overpoweringly stewed or cooked aromas but rich and complex from cherry and chocolate to bay leaf. Creamy on the palate with ripe, almost silky tannins and a sweet finish of tobacco supported by a pleasant acidity. Best for more immediate consumption.

Points 92 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 1997 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 1997

The celebrated 1997 vintage didn’t deceive with this extremely youthful wine. It shows striking complexity with raspberry and cherry fruits leading to black pepper and cacao without prolonged evolution and supported by the deep extraction of firm yet mature tannins. On the palate, it could lack the use of older…

Points 95 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 1995 Allegrini, La Poja, Veneto, Italy, 1995

One of the most classic examples, an almost “old fashioned” style of Corvina with a complex dark nose of meat, wild fruits, cedar wood and bitter chocolate. A leaner body and taut firm structure with the acidity. A bit nervy, however it is balanced by a good concentration of fruit…

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The post La Poja vertical: The rebel of Valpolicella appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Clos Rougeard sold to French billionaire Bouygues brothers

vr, 23/06/2017 - 14:56

Cult estate in the Loire, Clos Rougeard, has been sold to the Bouygues brothers, regulars on the France rich-list and current owners of Château Montrose in Bordeaux.

clos rougeard, loireClos Rougeard is one of the Loire's best known names.

After months of rumours, the purchase of Loire legend Clos Rougeard by billionaire brothers Martin and Olivier Bouygues was officially confirmed today (23 June).

No fee was disclosed and the deal is likely to be a hot topic of conversation in the region.

Eight generations of the Foucault family built up this property in Saumur-Champigny to the under-the-radar powerhouse that it is today. It was first created in 1664.

Its Cabernet Franc wines are among the most sought after in the world and yet whose owners Charly and Nady Foucault routinely shunned any publicity.

The news comes 18 months after Charly Foucault died, leaving Nady in charge. Sale rumours first emerged around Clos Rougeard last year, but nothing was ever confirmed.

‘This property has become an emblem of the Saumur region thanks to the exceptional work of Charly and Nady Foucault. It produces one of the greatest Cabernet Franc wines in the world,’ said the press release announcing the deal.

No chemicals have ever been used on the property, and the vines are farmed biodynamically.

Popstar Pink! is among those who have been lucky enough to visit the estate. She ended up having dinner with Charly Foucault, she said in a recent interview.

Martin and Olivier Bouygues, who created their €2.3 billion fortune initially in telecoms and property, are also co-owners of Château Montrose in St-Estèphe, Bordeaux. has contacted their representatives for comment.

Editing by Chris Mercer

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Portugal wine quiz – Test your knowledge

vr, 23/06/2017 - 14:21

Portugal has long been known for its famed fortified wine, Port. Yet it is so much more. Light, expressive whites, long lived reds and plenty of styles to explore and enjoy. How much do you know about Portuguese wine?

Harvest 2016Credit: Wine Tourism in Portugal

Are you knowledgeable about all things Portuguese or is it all about Port for you? Let’s see how you do in the Portuguese wine quiz.

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Great value Champagne made by growers – panel tasting results

vr, 23/06/2017 - 12:46

Step outside of the usual brands and see some of the great things Champagne growers are doing on their own. Our experts praised these non-vintage grower Champagnes for their individuality and value in the July 2017 issue of Decanter magazine.

Non vintage grower champagne

Decanter’s experts tasted non-vintage grower Champagne in the extra brut and brut categories in the July 2017 issue of Decanter magazine, and the results were impressive, with the top four wines all priced at under £40.

Diversity of style and sheer strength of character made for a challenging tasting, yet there was real value and interest.

The scores:

100 wines tasted

Exceptional – 1
Outstanding – 3
Highly Recommended – 27
Recommended – 60
Commended – 7
Fair – 2
Poor – 0
Faulty – 0

The judges:

Michael Edwards; Simon Field MW; Tim Hall

Click here to view the tasting notes and scores for all 100 grower Champagnes

Pierre Peters, Lahaye, Larmandier-Bernier and Geoffroy might not be names on the tip of our tongues in the UK, yet these growers are seen on the wine lists of some of the hippest places in New York.

But while it’s currently fashionable to embrace grower Champagne, it’s a fallacy to say that it’s intrinsically better than négociant Champagne.

Historically, most Champagnes have been made by négociant houses, who purchase most of their grapes from growers. It’s arguably the houses that retain the upper hand when it comes to consistency of quality, as the spectrum of grower-producers in Champagne is so diverse.

Overall the panel found the tasting quite hard work, but at the end they came up with some real winners.

Continue reading below Our panel’s top non vintage grower Champagne: Pierre Bertrand, 1er Cru, Champagne, France Pierre Bertrand, 1er Cru, Champagne, France

ME: Green-gold, this has power and definition, with length and potential....

Points 98 André Jacquart, Expérience Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru André Jacquart, Expérience Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru

ME: Bright yellow-gold. Fine Chardonnay maturing well. Excellent harmony & vinosity. SF: Persuasive mousse and very attractive aromatics of summer...

Points 95 Larmandier-Bernier, Longitude Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Extra Larmandier-Bernier, Longitude Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Extra

ME: Lovely classy green-gold colour shouts Chardonnay. Minerals, chalk, a hint of spices, and fine, fine tension in the mouth. Moreish...

Points 95 Nicolas Maillart, Platine, Champagne, France Nicolas Maillart, Platine, Champagne, France

ME: Opulent and finessed. SF: Fulsome colour and temperamentally big-boned , this is an impressive example. The six grams of residual sugar finely knit into a...

Points 95 Guy Larmandier, Cramant Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne Guy Larmandier, Cramant Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne

A powerful example, with almost a tannic grip and hints of gunpowder and incense. Feels drier than most, perhaps due to a...

Points 94 André Jacquart, Expérience Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru André Jacquart, Expérience Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru

Youthful, energetic nose with orchard fruit and hints of zesty mandarin, while the palate showcases a citric immediacy. Stylish and...

Points 93 To read Decanter’s full Panel Tasting reports, subscribe to Decanter magazine – available in print and digital. Diversity

Some of these growers have produced their own champagnes since the early 20th century, or even the late 19th, and it’s this diversity that makes grower champagne so fascinating: they demonstrate an unprecedented variety of style, offering us a much wider array of expressions than were available even just a couple of decades ago.

Despite remaining in the minority in terms of market share, these growers have had a significant impact on the way that wine consumers approach champagne.

The top four wines in the tasting were all very good, with one rated Exceptional. Michael Edwards found this totally justified, as ‘some of the grower champagnes have the greatest terroirs’.

A lack of freshness

But the panel found too many wines lacking freshness. Field commented that ‘there’s a paradox in what we tasted. We were getting wines that only had the bare minimum ageing and yet were missing that autolytic charm – a yeasty character that only Champagne has’.

Low dosage categories

When comparing the brut and the low dosage categories the panel had mixed views, finding the latter to struggle for consistency due to the region’s marginal climatic conditions.

Some caveats notwithstanding, Edwards found the brut natures more controlled, without the rasping acidity which marked some zero dosages: ‘I think it’s a new avenue. A lot of people, especially experts, feel that in the past there has been too much masking of the fruit, but I think this is the way winemaking is going in Champagne’.


‘This was a real helter-skelter result but the tasting met my expectations,’ Field concluded. ‘I was expecting a lot of variety, a lot of different characteristics, and a lot of experimentation, some of which isn’t going to work, obviously. But it’s a positive thing that these champagnes don’t all taste the same, as in this way they stand apart from the grandes marques.’

Edited for by James Button.

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

UK heatwave sends Provence rosé sales soaring

vr, 23/06/2017 - 10:09

Supermarkets and wine merchants have seen a strong increase in rosé sales in the UK during a heatwave that culminated in the hottest day for 40 years.

UK heatwaveRosé sales have soared over the hot weather.UK heatwave sends Provence rosé sales soaring

June 21st was the hottest day in the UK since 1976, with temperatures reaching 34°C celsius in some parts of the country. Other countries have also experienced a spate of hot weather, from France to the south-west US.

In the UK, has discovered that a week of high temperatures and sunshine lead to a surge in sales of rosé wines, and particularly rosé from Provence.

Asda reported an increase in rosé sales of over 26% compared to the same week last year; it saw a 170% rise in French rosé sales and also 250% in Australian rosé.

Waitrose told that sales of rosé were also up strongly.

At Majestic, rosé sales are up 16% year to date since April 2017.

Provence rosé was doing especially well, with sales up 29% at the wine retailer.

‘Provence is flying – which, given Majestic’s already strong market share, is big,’ said Jack Merryless, spokesperson for Majestic.

Lea & Sandeman had also seen a surge in rosé sales; the MiP* Provence rosé was up 14.1% from 1st to 22nd June, compared to the same time last year.

Lea & Sandeman also told that there was a 4.9% increase in larger format bottles of the MiP, including magnums and jeroboams, compared to last year.

‘It’s not an entirely scientific diagnosis, but one bottle of MiP* amongst friends is just never enough in a heatwave, and a magnum seems easier to carry than two bottles,’ said Edward Hayward-Broomfield, E-commerce & digital marketing manager for Lea & Sandeman.

Sales of Champagne were up 11.3% at Lea & Sandeman, compared to June last year.

Data from Vinexpo and IWSR predict that rosé will continue to grow its share in global still wine consumption, increasing by 5.9% by 2020.

The popularity of rosé in the summer has launched products like rosé flavoured gummy bears, lollipops and ‘frosé’ cocktails.

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Santa Cruz Mountains producers to know

do, 22/06/2017 - 21:00

William Kelley picks the names to look out for...

Santa Cruz Mountains producersRhys Vineyards, Santa Cruz MountainsSanta Cruz Mountains producers to know

Santa Cruz Mountains at a glance

Established: 1981
Location The appellation encompasses approximately 194,250ha of the California coast south of San Francisco, running from Woodside in the north to Watsonville in the south and including only land above the fog line.
Planted area 526ha
Most-planted varieties About 25% each Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Soils Rocky, well-drained and geologically complex

Santa Cruz Mountains map

Map: Maggie Nelson/Decanter

Rhys Vineyards

Bitten by the Burgundy bug, software entrepreneur Kevin Harvey planted vines in his Woodside backyard in 1995. Before long he had founded Rhys Vineyards, which soon emerged as the source of some of California’s most interesting Pinot Noirs. Harvey and Rhys winemaker Jeff Brinkman spare no expense to farm five extreme hillside sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains, planted at high density with an exciting variety of vine material. The wines are some of California’s most Burgundian in style and character.

Thomas Fogarty

Established in the 1970s by Dr Thomas Fogarty, a heart surgeon and medical inventor, this winery farms eight estate vineyards – in total some 10.5ha – in the cool northern Skyline sub-region of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Recent vintages from winemaker Nathan Kandler emphasise nuances of geology and climate: it’s the more restrained ripeness and more moderate oak influence that set these bottlings apart from the wines of yesteryear.

Santa Cruz Mountains producers

Thomas Fogarty


Dynamic duo Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts work with three sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains for their Sonoma County-based Arnot-Roberts label, the source of some of California’s most interesting small-lot wines. Attaining ripeness at moderate sugars and retaining vibrant acidity are priorities. Their Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Pinot Noir hails from a site that’s still owned and farmed by the legendary Martin Ray’s son: an interesting connection between the Santa Cruz Mountains’ past and future.

Santa Cruz Mountains producers

Arnot Roberts

Domaine Eden

Born when Mount Eden Vineyards acquired a neighbouring property in 2007. Today, winemaker and proprietor Jeffrey Patterson supplements Domaine Eden’s own Cabernet Sauvignon plantings with grapes purchased from the region’s best growers, and sometimes with wine that doesn’t meet the exacting standards to go into Mount Eden. The wines share the classical aesthetic of Mount Eden Vineyards, with refreshing acidity, moderate alcohol and fine structuring tannins, but their window of drinkability begins a little earlier.


Ceritas is another Sonoma-based winery with a passion for Santa Cruz Mountains fruit. Winemaker John Raytek (who formerly worked at Arnot-Roberts) and his partner Phoebe Bass produce a range of single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from cool-climate sites, three of them being located here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, emphasising elegant tannins and pure fruit in an almost minimalist style.

Kutch Jamie

Kutch has built a reputation as a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir specialist, but his greatest wine might just be his new Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. A blend of grapes from two sites, the Zayante and Trout Gulch vineyards, Kutch’s debut vintage bears a strong stylistic kinship with contemporary white Burgundy: taut, mineral and framed by a lick of reduction. A bottling to watch.

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Vionta – The Freixenet family’s Galician adventure

do, 22/06/2017 - 17:39

Promotional feature

The view from the terrace at Vionta is so lovely it’s hard to imagine anyone gets any work done. Far better to stand and gaze out across the valley of vineyards which stretches out down the slope in front of the winery. The light catches the glint of the river that once powered the water mill (this is the land of water mills, as well as vines). In the distance is the Atlantic, blue sea meeting blue sky.

Vionta Freixenet winery

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Vionta – The Freixenet family’s Galician adventure

It’s a sight to make the mouth water. That’s because Rías Baixas is not just about the Albariño grape. It’s also about the fish and shellfish that also come from these parts. Mussels grow on the thousands of pontoons in the low inlets (or ‘Rías Baixas’) from the sea. Every local will order the delicacy of percebes or goose neck barnacles, and then follow on with clams, spider crabs, lobsters and plenty more besides .

It’s no wonder that the Ferrer family chose Rías Baixas for their first-ever investment away from the vineyards of Catalunya. The chill of the Atlantic, the gentle inlets, the rolling hills, the broad, open skies, the gastronomy and the centuries of Celtic influence have a special charm. What’s more in the climate and soils of Rías Baixas Albariño has found its home, a white wine that has made a reputation for Spains’ white wines internationally.

The vineyard and the grower

Rías Baixas is a land of small holdings or minifundias. Just over 5,500 growers together farm just over 4,000 ha, separated into no fewer than 21,825 parcels. Each grower owns on average just 0.19 ha*, often in separate parcels, divided by inheritance. Most have longterm relationships with wineries. Manolo is one of Vionta’s long- standing growers and lives in a house, parts of which date back to 1590. Visitors quckly learn that Rías Baixas abounds in history.

In his garden in Ribadumia Manolo grows lemons, figs, apples, pears, potatoes, cabbages and grelos (turnip tops). At the end of the garden is the vineyard. He grows his Albariño is grown on the traditional parral, or raised canopy or pergola. Until recently the canopy posts were made from the local granite. However tractors and granite don’t mix, so it’s more usual if less romantic to find a metal framework for the vines. Nowadays many people are plantings vines on cordons, as the work in the vineyard can be more mechanised, and the fruit can be exposed for ripening where necessary.

Manolo likes the parral. The leaves at the top protect the fruit when it rains, but underneath the breezes can still blow through, lessening the chances of mildew. In July he removes some upper leaves to bring in light, and does a green harvest to remove ‘los nietos’, the less promising ‘grandchildren’. Manolo points out that the vines become lazy in the fertile soil, so every year he cuts through the top layer of roots that surround the vines by hand in order to encourage sturdy downward growth.

Today’s canopies are taller than they used to be (1.8m rather than 1m), and the vines themselves are spaced 4.5mx4.5m. The tractors are specially small to fit in neatly between the vines and the small vineyard parcels. They buzz up and down the country lanes between the school buses, cars, and lycra clad cyclists, giving a picture book feel.

Visits by appointment. Contact

Vionta Freixenet vineyards

Adolfo Heredia, Winemaker

Winemaker Adolfo Heredia joined Vionta with the Ferrer family’s first harvest in 1996. 22 years later he is still fascinated by the variety and its potential:

‘What I find so interesting about working with Albariño is the range of different methods you can use to draw out different profiles. For instance: cold maceration before fermentation; leaving the wine on its lees which develops richness and texture in the mouth]; malolactic fermentation (or not); different fermentation temperatures, different yeasts and so on.’

‘The hardest to achieve is the malolactic fermentation [or conversion], in the years when we can achieve it. The lactic bacteria which convert the crisp malic acid to a mouth feel that is smoother and creamier really struggle to work in the typically high acid, low pH environment of Albariño.’

‘Finally of course, we have to contend with the rainy climate, which encourages diseases like mildew.’

Tasting notes Vionta

Vionta is named after one of the islands that cluster just off shore. The wine has all the stone fruit typicity of Albariño, but with an additional mineral freshness, and a complex texture indicating the 4-6 months its spends on lees. On the nose there is a waxy aroma with notes of peach conserve and cinnamon. This is a wine that speaks of granite in the vineyard and salt wind from the sea. In 2015, Vionta was voted best wine at Rías Baixas’ annual Albariño festival.
Available in Ocado in the UK.

Vionta Freixenet winery

Agnus Dei, Val do Salnés

Agnus Dei refers to the arrival of the Ferrer family in Rías Baixas, as it was the name of the original bodega where Vionta began. It has a golden cling peach ripeness, but with a lively tang of acidity to counterbalance. This green apple character is typical of the Salnés subzone. To add complexity, a small amount of the previous year’s wine is sometimes blended in.

You & Me

Rías Baixas is bursting with energy, with floral, and fresh herb aromas, and a birght crispness on the palate. Its ripe fruit charm comes from fruit from the Condado zone of Rías Baixas.

The post Vionta – The Freixenet family’s Galician adventure appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Alternative Australia

do, 22/06/2017 - 17:31

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If you think Australia is only about Chardonnay, Cabernet and Shiraz, then think again. From Assyrtiko to Zweigelt, Australia is bursting with new arrivals and lesser known grape varieties, which are grabbing the attention of critics, sommeliers and wine drinkers around the world.

Alternative australian grapesChalmers Heathcote

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Alternative Australia

The rise of alternative grape varieties hasn’t happened overnight. Nostalgic for a taste of home, the Italian settlers in Victoria’s King Valley planted Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Arneis in the 1950s. Today, Italian varieties lead the charge thanks to Bruce and Jenni Chalmers – co-founders of the Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show – who had planted over 70 different Italian varieties by the year 2000.

The last two decades have seen a surge in interest and in plantings of new and emerging varieties. Alternative varieties currently account for around 3% of Australia’s vineyard area – a small but exciting percentage. There is no doubt promise of more to come as these wines are starting to infiltrate restaurant wine lists and pop up on independent retailers’ shelves.

Without laws restricting what can be planted and where, Australia has become a hotbed of innovation and experimentation. Aussie winemakers are curious and willing to challenge convention, keen to try new things and discover how different varieties express themselves in Australia’s distinct terroir.

Grapes from Italy, Iberia, Georgia, Greece, Germany, Austria and France make up the majority of the 100+ alternative varieties now planted in Australia. The list is still growing; Australia’s first Assyrtiko was recently planted in the Clare Valley, as well as Picpoul in the McLaren Vale. Other new kids on the block to watch out for include Georgia’s Saperavi, which is making its home in the high altitude cool vineyards of the Granite Belt and King Valley, and Spain’s Mencia, which is being trialled in the McLaren Vale.

Sourcing grapes so widely makes perfect sense when Australian wine regions’ climatic diversity spans northern France to north Africa. Less thirsty, drought-resistant alternative grapes that better retain acidity, such as from Southern Italy and Iberia, thrive in warmer, drier regions like McLaren Vale and Riverland. A good example is Sicily’s Nero d’Avola, which needs under half the irrigation water of Chardonnay or Shiraz. In Adelaide Hills’ cooler climes, Hahndorf Hill has pioneered Austria’s aromatic grapes Grüner Veltliner, Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt.

Australia’s emerging varieties express the essence of the grape together with the country’s sunlight intensity, ancient soils and winemaking innovation and flair. Tending towards medium-bodied wines with food-friendly texture, acid and tannin structures, these varietal newcomers look set to leave their mark on Australia’s viticultural landscape and bring something very desirable to the world stage.

Alterantive australian grapes

McLaren Vale

10 top alternative Australian grapes

White grapes 

Arneis – from Piedmont, north Italy; a continental/cool climate is key to subtlety and freshness; performs well in King Valley, Adelaide Hills and Tasmania. Crisp, dry, unoaked whites with a riff of fennel, crunchy naschi pear and firm, citrine/mineral, acidity. N

Fiano – born of a Mediterranean climate, this Campanian white flourishes in Australia’s warm, dry regions, particularly the McLaren Vale.  Sweet citrus (mandarin, candied lemon) and fleshier fruit with harmonious but persistent acidity. Lees ageing and sensitive oak produces texture and layer.

Grüner Veltliner – in Canberra District,  the Adelaide Hills and Tasmania, the star of Austria’s Wachau region finds the cooler conditions which drive its complex aromatics and structured palate. Expect white pepper-laced pear, grapefruit and lightly vegetal aromas and flavours, well supported by firm, mineral acidity.

Vermentino – thrives in Sardinia, southern France and those Australian regions with a dry, warm Mediterranean climate. Unoaked dry whites range from simple, crisp styles (green apple, citrus) to nuanced, textural, saline wines with spicy (citrus) pith. Bottle age brings subtle nuttiness.

Red grapes

Aglianico – the ‘Barolo of the south’ thrives at altitude in Southern Italy’s elevated Basilicata and Campania regions and Fighting Gully Road’s Alpine Valley vineyard (560m); it is also well adapted to warmer, drier Australian regions. Barrel-aged reds showcase Australia’s fruit intensity without sacrificing Aglianico’s renowned tannin and acid structure or savouriness (black olive/ leather) and perfume (floral/incense spice/orange peel).

Nebbiolo – Barolo’s iconic grape is much fussier about soil and climate than Aglianico. Pockets of the King Valley, Adelaide Hills, Yarra Valley, Heathcote and Beechworth make it sing. Its signature tune? Dried roses and tar, with a firm underpinning of acidity and, in Australia, slow burn broad or lacy tannins, often with a spicy accent (liquorice, incense spice). Fresh acidity places wines at the drier end of the spectrum. Aglianico seems opulent in comparison.

Nero d’Avola – this camel of grapes – Sicily’s most planted red – is popular throughout Australia’s warm, dry regions. Medium-bodied reds with joyous jube and floral lift. Predominantly fruit-driven with sweet blueberry and raspberry, rhubarb and lick of dried herbs. Brighter than many Italian examples.

Sangiovese – widely planted in Italy, Tuscany’s most famous grape is pickier in Australia. Vine age and superior clonal material distinguish top examples from diverse regions, including McLaren Vale, King Valley, Heathcote and Canberra District. Australian examples capture the medium-bodied savoury palate of classic Italian wines, with fresh acidity, firm but fine tea leaf tannins, sour red cherry and plum.

Tempranillo – Spain’s most planted red grape has been embraced across Australia too (but especially McLaren Vale, Wrattonbully and Geographe), resulting in a similar stylistic range. ‘Joven’ fresh and fruity styles feature smooth tannins with bright, fleshy plum and berry fruit. Structured wines from continental or cooler regions (e.g. Pyrenees, Beechworth, Canberra District) are perfumed with polished tannins, supple berry and cherry fruit and a hint of sarsaparilla.

Touriga Nacional – like Portugal, found in Australia’s warmer, drier regions, notably McLaren Vale, Barossa and Rutherglen. Even a dash in a blend reveals its tell-tale violet, rose and bergamot scent; powerful, supple fruit (red and black), with chocolatey tannins.

Wine Australia is running an Alternative Varieties Trade Tasting on Wednesday 28 June at Australia House in London. The tasting will feature over 120 wines from 50 producers including Alpha Box & Dice, Chalmers, d’Arenberg, Dal Zotto, Larry Cherubino and Lethbridge. Guests can explore Mediterranean varieties such as Arneis, Friulano, Dolcetto and Tempranillo as well as more unusual varieties like Assyrtiko, Sagrantino, Taminga and Teroldego. The line-up will also include Saperavi, a rare Georgian variety made by less than 20 Australian producers.

Please note this tasting is only for the drinks trade and media. Registration is here:


The post Alternative Australia appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Toulouse wine tour: Gaillac travel guide

do, 22/06/2017 - 14:52

Andy Howard picks where to stay, eat and visit....

Gaillac travelHôtel des Consuls, Castelnau-de-MontmiralToulouse wine tour: Gaillac travel guide Gaillac: Where to stay

Château de Salettes, Cahuzac-sur-Vère

Located in the heart of the vineyards, this luxurious hotel dates back to the 13th century. Beautifully restored, it has a lovely pool and one of the region’s top restaurants.

Gaillac travel, Chateau de Salettes

Breakfast at Chateau de Salettes

Hôtel des Consuls, Castelnau-de-Montmiral

Located right in the central square of this historic 14th-century village. Here you have commanding views and a great central location for wine visits, cycling and walks.

La Verrerie, Gaillac

A 10-minute walk from the centre of Gaillac. Pleasant shaded gardens, spa and swimming pool, and the restaurant is popular with locals.

Gaillac travel La Verrerie

La Verrerie

Gaillac: Where to eat

Alchimy, Albi

This very smart restaurant is located in an atmospheric Art Deco building in central Albi. The main restaurant room is stunning, with food matching the setting.

Gaillac travel, Alchimy

Alchimy, Albi

Bruno Besson, La Taverne, Castelnau-de-Levis

Completely refurbished a couple of years ago, this was always a good address for typical Tarn fare, but the food is now much more stylish, combining elegance with tradition. Good selection of menus.

La Maison Gourmande, Marssac-sur-Tarn

Combines a top-class delicatessen with the option to enjoy the products in an intimate setting. In summer months, enjoy a great value lunch in the lovely walled garden.

Gaillac travel, Vigne en Foule

Vigne en Foule

Vigne en Foule, Gaillac

This classy establishment prides itself on modern bistro/brasseriestyle dishes, with an intriguing selection of wines (also available to take away).

Gaillac: Things to do

Cathedral of Ste-Cécile, Albi

The world’s largest brick-built cathedral, this imposing building dominates the Albi skyline. Construction commenced in the 13th century.


A picture-postcard spot, with the medieval town located high on a vertiginous hill. A popular tourist destination, so avoid weekends and the high summer if possible. Many galleries, craft shops and eateries await.

Cordes sur ciel

Maison des Vins, Gaillac

Houses the appellation offices, a tourist centre and an interesting museum showing the history of wine production in the region, also wine tasting and the opportunity to purchase bottles at domaine prices.

Toulouse-Lautrec museum, Albi

Located in the Palais de la Berbie, this museum houses a unique collection of the early works of Toulouse-Lautrec, along with a recently opened museum of contemporary art.

More travel guides: Toulouse wine tour, Domaine Rotier Toulouse wine tour: Explore nearby wineries in Gaillac

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Love Wine promotes award-winning wines

do, 22/06/2017 - 11:39

Buy award-winning wines from Love Wine this summer

Visit Jersey’s Love Wine this summer and have the chance to buy 48 award-winning wines from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA).

The independent wine merchant will be offering 10% off bottles and 15% off their special Decanter Awards mixed case.

Customers will be able to purchase a selection of this year’s Commended wines, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum winners from across the globe.

Some of the top awarded wines available at Love Wine include:

Devil’s Corner -winner of the Platinum – Best in Show: Best Dry Riesling 

Devil’s Corner, Riesling, Tasmania, Australia 2015 – Platinum – Best in Show

Yalumba, Museum Reserve Muscat, South Eastern Australia NV – Gold

Yalumba, The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia 2013 – Gold


Don’t miss out – offer ends 25th July!

Promotional period: 27th June – 25th July
Address: Love Wine, Longueville Road, St Saviour, Jersey, JE2 7WF




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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Anson: So Brexit is happening – what next for the wine trade?

do, 22/06/2017 - 08:00

Jane Anson reports on a debate at Vinexpo in Bordeaux on the possible Brexit fallout for the wine trade, as UK and European Union officials begin talks.

brexit and wineTheresa May said that the UK was prepared to leave the single market.

This is the week it just got real.

After a year of navel-gazing over what exact consistency of Brexit we want in the UK, on Monday morning June 19, David Davis and his team headed to Brussels to opens talks with Michel Barnier, the EU Commission’s chief negotiator that will determine how and when the UK leaves the European Union.

After months of inertia, we just might see things start to come into focus now (well, after the long and civilized European summer holidays of course).

The timing made it a particularly interesting week to hold a conference on Brexit and wine at Vinexpo. I was moderating the debate, and learning a lot, from the brilliant panel of:

  • Jean Marie Barillère, head of the European Wine Trade Association and president of the Union of Champagne Houses
  • Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association in the UK
  • Andrew Shaw, group buying director for Conviviality, the UK’s largest wine distributor
  • Sean Allison, an ex Merrill Lynch economist originally from New Zealand and now owner of Château de Seuil in Graves, Bordeaux

It was a fascinating talk, not least because it took place on mainland Europe soil and was attended by many stakeholders on the ‘other side’ – including châteaux owners, European merchants (even one importing beer and gin from the UK, who wondered if he should be driving the price down from his UK suppliers given the drop in sterling) and other stake holders.

So, for those of you who didn’t make it to Vinexpo in the sweltering conditions of Bordeaux this week, I thought it might be useful to sum up what was covered, and what we are likely to see emerging over the coming months.

See also: What to do before Brexit Impact of UK election

First up, we start the Brexit discussions on very different ground than we expected a few weeks ago. On one level, the hung parliament delivered by the UK electorate on June 8 means more uncertainty after a year of… umm, uncertainty.

And yet for the wine trade, which almost unanimously wishes for trade to continue as uninterruptedly as possible, the result offers plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Most importantly, Prime Minister May no longer has a majority, which makes her vision of an extreme Brexit far less workable.

The more moderate voices are not just speaking up now, but applying seemingly coordinated attacks (see Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond both giving speeches this week spelling out their desire to move the economy firmly to the top of the agenda, above immigration).

This should mean that wine industry lobbying will start to fall on more receptive ears.

Impact of Currency Devaluation

This, as Beale pointed out, is the only concrete effect that we have seen so far. Sterling is a good 15% down on last year and it has meant that wine prices so far for the UK consumer have risen slowly but surely.

That prompted some of the panel to point out a possible benefit for the trade was that a £5 price barrier in the UK that consumers were traditionally unwilling to move beyond has been firmly broken. The average bottle price was £5.56 in the second quarter of 2017; perhaps not a great trend if you’re a consumer, all the same.

I would add to that the Bordeaux en primeur campaign has been something of a canary in the coal mine when it comes to the longer-term impact. The Bordeaux châteaux raised their prices in 2016 by an average of 12% – not inconsiderable of course, but actually relatively restrained considering the quality of the vintage.

But for British consumers, the prices they were seeing were around 25% higher on average, because nobody was absorbing price rises along the way, as suppliers or distributors might well choose to do in the ‘normal’ run of things on supermarket shelves. That’s a painful and immediate effect for wine lovers to swallow.

Broadly speaking however, Forex was seen as less of a problem by the panel than taxes, with Andrew Shaw saying currency swings are ‘only 1%, 2% or 3% of the total cost of the product. Duty is still the dominant factor in the price per bottle, with VAT on top.’

Beale added that there is also, ‘the UK policy of increasing excise duty by at least inflation, with one increase this year that was linked to retail prices and came out at 3.9%’.

The Divorce Bill

Ah, the famous £100 billion divorce bill. Wise words from Andrew Shaw here, that in terms of minimising uncertainty, it would be better to pay it and move ahead.

He said, ‘A £100 billion for a divorce… or perhaps £60 billion… these sound like a big sums, but if it’s added on to the UK debt pile, it is about 2% of the total, relatively small compared to what happened during the financial crisis, where UK debt increased by about 30% of GDP.

‘So, my view would be let’s get the money sorted out relatively quickly. That is not a big cost to the UK when weighed up against an uncertain period of five years where investment is low and we don’t know where we are going.’

View from Europe

Barillère was quietly reassuring, adopting a similar tone to that we have seen from Michel Barnier to date (and more specifically on Monday). Along the lines of it’s all very regrettable, the EU clear that this was the UK’s choice and respects it, and will support you through it but that some consequences are unavoidable.

He pointed out that although all wine producing countries will be affected in much the same way by Brexit, differences will be seen in terms of how they negotiate (with France seen as the most inflexible) and also in the level of trade negotiations expertise that each country is able to field.

But I would say he was the most confident panel member about what lay ahead, so let’s hope he’s got a direct line into Barnier.

Future for English wine market

One hugely positive thing to come out of the talk, from all sides, was the attractiveness of the British consumer. We know 25% of EU wine exports are destined for the UK market, representing around €2 billion per year, and the UK is the second largest importer of wines in the world.

But there is also the appeal of the individual consumer, and the depth of knowledge found within the market.

Shaw said, ‘the British consumer has always been a test bed for many wine styles, and always been window to the world, and this has huge value for wine brands looking to export internationally.

Allison, as a producer, agreed, calling the UK ‘the world’s most competitive wine market and both attractive and enjoyable because of it’.

The Service Sector

One of the most enjoyable things about wine is that it is part of a wider eating and drinking culture. Which means restaurants, bars, sommeliers, wine shop workers and so on – many of whom will have been made distinctly uncomfortable by the rhetoric coming hard and fast over the past year.

‘The labour market is another way of saying immigration policy,’ said Allison. ‘If we don’t have access to those people … we will have a very difficult situation in terms of the profitability of the service industries.

‘A friend of mine has a chain of restaurants, mainly around London, where he is at about 80% in terms of staff levels from Eastern Europe and Europe generally. I don’t see how we can decouple the immigration argument from the trade argument, for me that is the crux of the matter.’

Potential of euro trading for the UK?

This is a rumor I heard a few weeks ago; about a number of UK merchants looking at trading in euros from next year. I asked the question to the audience but nobody confirmed any plans. So I asked a few traders this morning if it would be feasible, and they said… not really.

Wine merchants becoming (effectively) currency traders would hardly be desirable, especially in a market as unregulated as wine trading.

And if any UK wine merchants were instead to open a European head office and make it their main accounting centre, then it’s game over for London as the world’s wine merchant.

But no amount of history is going to stop the biggest wine merchants from wanting to maintain their bottom line and future, so I would suggest that if reassurances on business are not forthcoming soon, the idea of being based in the euro zone will become increasingly attractive.

This is a big question, one that is being grappled with by the banking sector and many others, and I’m certainly going to be looking into it further.

Timetable from Here

As you know, the Brexit talks started on Monday and from now the teams (so Tim Barrow, David Davis, Oliver Robbins, Philip Rycroft and Glyn Williams for the British and François Arbault, Michel Barnier, Philippe Bertrand, George Emil Riekeles, Richard Szostak, Sabin Weyand, Nicolas de la Grandville and Stéphanie Riso for the EU) will meet for one week every four weeks.

The first sessions will deal with financial settlements and obligations, plus the status of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU and the Irish border issues.

Only then will they turn to future trade deals – likely to be in October – with six months needed at the end of the two-year period for the 27 member countries to ratify any agreements.  That’s going to go by awfully quickly.

On the bright side, for our industry at least, there is a symmetry of trade balance – €2.5 billion worth of wine entering UK and €2.2 billion of spirits leaving it, something that led Barrillère and Beale to feel relatively optimistic (‘as long as the politicians don’t get in the way’) about the length of time needed – plus of course, they pointed out, our ‘red tape’ today is exactly the same across all industries, which should also speed things up.

However, they all pointed out that ratification is one thing, implementation is another.

So good news that the noises from politicians this week seems to be that an adjustment period and interim agreement looks more likely. ‘All talk of ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ seems to have gone away,’ said Beale.

In short – the trade wants to keep the politicians from messing things up…

This might be naive of course, and one former Washington reporter at the conference pointed out, keenly aware that politicians can’t help themselves from scoring points off each other.

We spoke about plenty of instances were politics most clearly affected trade – the 2003 Iraq war and the 1990 nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific being just two examples.

But nevertheless that was undoubtedly the message coming across from these senior members of wine industry – two of whom it is important to note will be part of the lobbying battle ahead.

Beale summed up the task before them succinctly. ‘We are working very very hard to ensure that everything stays the same,’ he said. Let’s all wish them the best of luck with that.

Still want more? Read our Brexit coverage below:


brexit and wine Article 50 date set: What to do before Brexit

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Brexit Wine Brexit is forcing up UK wine prices, warns WSTA

Brexit effects are starting to bite, says wine body...

Brexit Champagne Brexit: Tenth of Britons fear Champagne and Prosecco ban – survey

Britons fear a Champagne ban after Brexit...

wine sales uk What does Brexit mean for supermarket wine? – ask Decanter

What does Brexit mean for everyday supermarket wine prices?

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Bank holiday champagne Brexit blamed for lower Christmas Champagne orders

Sharp drop in October...

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Can the UK still attract enough talent?...

Brexit protest, pro EU, London Anson: Here’s the Brexit reaction in Bordeaux

Find out what Bordeaux is thinking...

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

France is Britons’ favourite country to visit for food – survey

do, 22/06/2017 - 07:46

And dining options were a key aspect of planning a holiday for around one third of people questioned, according to OpenTable.

France foodAuberge la Reine Jeanne, ProvenceBritons love to visit France for food

Britain may be in the throes of Brexit talks, but more than half of those surveyed by OpenTable say France is their top food destination.

Fifty two percent of those surveyed by restaurants booking site OpenTable chosen France as their favourite country to travel to for food.

Seven out of thirteen of the UK regions asked also chose Florence as an ideal destination for dining.

OpenTable & One Poll surveyed 2,000 UK holidaymakers in May 2017.

Local cuisine is one of the most important factors for Britons when booking a holiday, according to the survey.

France food, Logis Cadene

Logis Cadene, St Emilion. Credit: Logis Cadene

Almost a third of those surveyed said they factored in dining out options when choosing a holiday destination – making it more important than nightlife or outdoor activities.

Fifty-five percent also said that having flown abroad for food in the past five years, and 52% also said that they wanted to try new dishes and dining experiences when eating abroad.

‘Over time travel and dining have become synonymous,’ said Adrian Valeriano, vice president EMEA, for OpenTable.

‘Our latest research shows that the local cuisine and dining choices now form an integral part of the holiday decision making process and in-country experience. Nothing immerses a traveller in their new surroundings like an authentic local dining experience.’

Thirty-four percent said they wanted to ‘eat like a local’ when abroad, and a ‘reliable menu and service’ was found to be the most important factor when choosing where to dine, with 52% choosing this.

Inspiration for your next trip:

Previous surveys by OpenTable also revealed that young Britons don’t know what a sommelier is and explored some of the most bizarre restaurant complaints.

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The post France is Britons’ favourite country to visit for food – survey appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Philipponnat Champagne: For those in-the-know

wo, 21/06/2017 - 16:03

Read about the history of the Philipponnat Champagne house, including its coveted Clos des Goisses vineyard, and find out which wines our expert, Michael Edwards, rated most highly in a recent tasting hosted by the merchant Justerini & Brooks in London.

Philipponnat Champagne

Philipponnats have lived around Mareuil-sur-Äy for 500 years. The bijou house dating from 1910 is revered for its 5.5 hectare walled vineyard, Clos des Goisses.

This pre-eminent single vineyard in Champagne produces mainly great Pinot Noir, and a vintage wine from its fruit has been made almost every year for nearly a century.

Goisse in old French means ‘toil’ – apt, as the slopes are very steep at an incline of up to 45%, making them onerous to till in springtime.

Yet this is a dream vineyard overlooking the protective Marne canal, and in the distance the Côte des Blancs.

See all of Decanter’s Philipponnat Champagne reviews here

Facing due-south, its grapes catch the rays of the sun from dawn to dusk, gaining an extra degree of sugar maturity unmatched in the Marne Valley.

The Clos’ wines once overshadowed the other cuvées of the house, but Charles Philipponnat is now making some arresting wines at all price points.

The approach is quite Burgundian, artisanal with a deep feeling for Mareuil’s sturdy terroir.

But the winemaking is very Champenois, displaying the deft art of assemblage. Oak is used judiciously, never obscuring the wines, and partial non-malolactic fermentation ensures freshness.

There’s no formula, each wine made according to the demands of the harvest.

Michael Edwards’ Philipponnat Champagne tasting notes: Philipponnat, Clos des Goisses Jus Rosé, Champagne, 2006 Philipponnat, Clos des Goisses Jus Rosé, Champagne, 2006

Outstanding rosé from the Clos. An excellent year, ripe and generous. It has a lovely rose petal and salmon colour, with ethereal scents...

Points 96 Philipponnat, Clos des Goisses, Champagne, France, 2007 Philipponnat, Clos des Goisses, Champagne, France, 2007

Subtle, beguiling buttercup colour with gold highlights. A classic cooler vintage with the nuances you'd expect – impressive fruit...

Points 94 Philipponnat, Les Cintres Extra Brut, Champagne, 2006 Philipponnat, Les Cintres Extra Brut, Champagne, 2006

Pure Pinot Noir from the upper slopes of the Clos. I was impressed with its poise, style and grip. The minerals in the chalky soils add...

Points 93 Philipponnat, Mareuil- sur-Äy, Champagne, France, 2006 Philipponnat, Mareuil- sur-Äy, Champagne, France, 2006

Stylish golden hue speaks of ripeness. It has a striking, real sense of Mareuil's place - sturdy but dynamic, poised yet palate filling. Lovely now...

Points 92 Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Non Dosé, Champagne, France Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Non Dosé, Champagne, France

Exactly the same wine as the Royale Réserve Brut but without any dosage. What a difference! While the brut tastes...

Points 90 Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Brut Rosé, Champagne, France Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Brut Rosé, Champagne, France

The fuller dosage of 8.5 grams per litre suits the wine well. It's luscious yet refined, with wild strawberry notes. A wine for high summer.

Points 89 Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Brut, Champagne, France Philipponnat, Royale Réserve Brut, Champagne, France

Mainly Pinot Noir, round ripe and rich - a traditional clubman's champagne. Versatile as an aperitif or with food...

Points 88 Related content: Top rated rosé Champagne Top rated rosé Champagne – Full panel tasting results

Our experts rate 99 bottles in the January 2017 issue of Decanter magazine...

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The post Philipponnat Champagne: For those in-the-know appeared first on Decanter.

Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Screw cap wine: 10 top choices

wo, 21/06/2017 - 13:03

No need for a corkscrew with these top wines...

screw cap wine

There’s nothing better than enjoying a glass of wine al fresco in the summer – but what if you forgot to bring a corkscrew to your picnic or barbecue?

Remove that risk by bringing along a screw cap wine instead; we’ve got 10 top choices picked by Decanter experts.

For some time, screw cap wines – or ‘screwcap’ – were thought of with disdain. But that’s no longer the case. Several ‘New World’ countries, and particularly New Zealand and Australia, have shown that this closure can be used on good quality wines.

See also:

Another way of avoiding the corkscrew dilemma is to choose one of these sparkling wines.

Screw cap wine: 10 top choices Ara, Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2015 Ara, Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2015

This offering is a step above its peers; delightful grapefruit aromas with the classic gooseberry and herbaceous intensity, but very subtle. It is...

Points 89 Yalumba, Eden Valley, Viognier, South Australia, 2016 Yalumba, Eden Valley, Viognier, South Australia, 2016

Platinum: Best Value Australian White Single-Varietal. Toast, butter, peach and nectarine and subtle highlights of rose water...

Points 95 Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Sutherland Chardonnay, 2015 Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Sutherland Chardonnay, 2015

Struck match complexity on the nose, which mingles with green pears and dusty granitic minerality. It is dense, smoky and mineral. Spice and...

Points 96 Winbirri, Bacchus, Norfolk, England, 2015 Winbirri, Bacchus, Norfolk, England, 2015

Platinum - Best in Show: Best Value White Single-Varietal. Complex, oily nose with spice, elderflower and citrus...

Points 95 Colinas de Uruguay, Albariño, Uruguay, 2016 Colinas de Uruguay, Albariño, Uruguay, 2016

Made in a state of the art sustainable winery that uses gravity fed systems, and favouring the use of wild yeasts to better reflect the terroir. Light aromas of...

Points 88 Camel Valley, Pinot Noir Rosé, Cornwall, England, 2016 Camel Valley, Pinot Noir Rosé, Cornwall, England, 2016

Attractive nose with pear drops, crunchy red fruit and some floral elements. Palate is crisp and...

Points 95 Hush Heath, Manor Pinot Noir, Kent, United Kingdom, 2015 Hush Heath, Manor Pinot Noir, Kent, United Kingdom, 2015

English Pinot Noirs take well to light chilling. This highly successful Kentish example has pretty and defined cherry and...

Points 91 Marks & Spencer, Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Marks & Spencer, Margaret River, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015

Platinum: Best Value Australian Red Bordeaux Varietals. Complex nose of red fruits, violets and vegetal notes...

Points 95 August Kesseler, N Pinot Noir, Rheingau, Germany, 2012 August Kesseler, N Pinot Noir, Rheingau, Germany, 2012

Kesseler makes gorgeous Spätburgunders, and 2012 was a great year for German Pinot; his entry level N Pinot Noir is still going strong. Lively...

Points 92 The Wine Society, Exhibition Hawke's Bay Red, 2014

Very 'old-worldy' nose of cedar and tobacco alongside a touch of garrigue, cassis and plum in the background. Relatively light, but juicy and...

Points 89 More articles like this: red wines to chill Summer red wines to drink chilled

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Most popular Bordeaux wines in the world’s top restaurants

wo, 21/06/2017 - 12:13

See which Bordeaux wines are most commonly found on menus in 130 of the world's best restaurants, according to research by Wine Lister.

lynch-bages, bordeaux wineLynch-Bages is one of the most popular Bordeaux wines on top restaurant lists.

This blog continues to explore some of the findings from the Wine Lister Bordeaux Market Study, by taking a look at global restaurant presence of major châteaux.

A fine wine’s prestige and clout on the international market is demonstrated by its distribution across the world’s top restaurants, hence why this is one criteria that feeds into our Brand score. (Remember that you can read exactly ‘how it works’ on our eponymous page).

The data bordeaux wines in restaurants, wine lister

More than 130 top restaurants around the world were analysed. Credit: Wine Lister.

As shown in the chart below, sweet white Yquem dominates: just as it did in the 2016 study, now available to all.

Next comes indomitable fifth growth Lynch-Bages – a wine that the trade has cited as one of the best-selling Bordeaux brands – ahead of all the first growths.

Lynch-Bages has overtaken Latour and Margaux since this time last year. Mouton has also moved up the ranks, present in 52% of restaurants surveyed compared to 50% in last year’s analysis.

Meanwhile, Gruaud-Larose is a new entry into the top 15, replacing Montrose.

How was this data compiled?

Restaurants were identified from Michelin-starred restaurants, the 50 Best Restaurants list, and World of Fine Wine Best Wine List restaurants.

The analysis encompassed more than 130 restaurants, spread across six continents, with a relatively even global spread but the majority across Asia, Europe and North America.

This is just a taster of Wine Lister’s 48-page Bordeaux Market Study – subscribers can download the full report from the Analysis page.

Read more guest columns from Wine Lister on Chateau Latour Bordeaux’s most popular appellations – Wine Lister

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Toulouse wine tour: Explore nearby wineries in Gaillac

di, 20/06/2017 - 17:16

Just an hour's drive to visit these producers...

Toulouse wine tour, Domaine RotierDomaine RotierToulouse wine tour: Exploring Gaillac in south-west France Fact file

Planted area (AP) 3,300ha
Production 150,000hl
Main grape varieties Red: Braucol, White: Mauzac
Rare grapes varieties Red: Duras, Prunelard, White: Loin de l’Oeil, Ondenc, Verdanel
Producers 108
Co-ops Two

The vineyards of Gaillac are just an hour from Toulouse, and have been transformed by a new wave of younger winemakers.

Gone are the days of rustic, tannic reds and old fashioned, oxidative whites, and quality is on a steep upward curve, so hopefully we will see more of the crafted, individual wines from this area in the near future.

Domaine Brin

One of the best producers is Damien Bonnet, who has taken over from his parents at Domaine Brin. This estate is focused on an organic and minimalist approach with great results for whites and reds (his sweet wines are also outstanding). Damien’s father is an avid collector of old cars, so expect to see him doing some maintenance when you visit.

Open Monday to Saturday (10am-12am / 2pm-6pm). Closed on Sundays and for bank holidays.

Domaine du Moulin

Back towards Gaillac, drop in to the new tasting room at Domaine du Moulin, where sixth-generation winemaker Nicolas Hirissou is challenging local traditions by planting Tannat vines to complement old-vine Syrah and Braucol (aka Fer Servadou) – the latter one of the main local red varieties.

Open from 9am to 12pm and from 2pm to 7pm. Closed only on Sundays in January, February and March.

Le domaine du moulin

Domaine du Moulin Credit: Domaine du Moulin

This article was first published in Decanter magazine: Subscribe here to get the July issue, out now Domaine Plageoles

One of Gaillac’s trump cards is the presence of several rare and exclusive grape varieties. Several have been saved from extinction through the efforts of Domaine Plageoles, which has promoted local terroir through a focus on single, ancient varieties. Visit here to taste the deeply coloured Prunelard (one of the parents of Malbec and unique to Gaillac), which accounts for 1% of red plantings but is growing rapidly. More recently, Plageoles resuscitated Verdanel, a long-lost white grape which only survived at a Montpellier vine library, and is also credited with rescuing Ondenc from extinction – although this variety is found outside Gaillac.

Opening 8am – 12pm and 2.30pm – 6.30pm. Monday to Saturday – Only on RV Sunday morning.

Domaine de la Ramaye

Domaine de la Ramaye. Credit: Domaine de la Ramaye

Domaine de la Ramaye

Gaillac has its fair share of radical winemakers, such as Michel Issaly of Domaine de la Ramaye . At this picturesque estate, the emphasis is on encouraging natural flora and fauna. The wines are thought-provoking as well as high quality. Top of the range is Le Vin de l’Oubli, a product of oxidation and ageing under flor.

Shop open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Visit only in the afternoon and by appointment. The domaine is closed on weekends and public holidays.

Domaine d’Escausses

Domaine d’Escausses is closer to Albi, off the main route between the city and the famous hilltop bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel. At the attractive tasting room, try the méthode gaillacoise sparkling – an ancient form of fizz fermented in one bottle. The best wine here is La Vigne de l’Oubli, an oak-aged, Sauvignon dominated blend that can challenge top white Bordeaux.

Open 9am – 1pm, 2pm – 7pm.

Domaine Rotier

Visiting Domaine Rotier. Credit: Domaine Rotier

Domaine Rotier 

Over on the gravelly soils of the left bank (close to the A68 autoroute) is the consistently excellent Domaine Rotier, where Alain Rotier doesn’t put a foot wrong with any wines in the extensive line-up. He also has a very smart new visitor centre to explore.

Open 9 am – 12 pm, 2pm – 7pm ( 6pm from November to March), every day except on Sundays and holidays. Please call before visiting. 

Getting there: Gaillac is a one hour drive from Toulouse. Fly to Toulouse from London with British Airways, Ryanair or Easyjet, or take the Eurostar from London St Pancras. More travel guides: Languedoc wineries, Prieuré de St. Jean de Bébian Top 10 Languedoc wineries to visit

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

WoodWinters – Try award-winning sherries this summer

di, 20/06/2017 - 15:21

Inverness-based wine store, WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies will be promoting seven winning Sherries from the Decanter World Wine Awards this summer

Located just a stones throw away from the River Ness, WoodWinters boasts an extensive wine list to suit every palate and pocket.

From 19 June to 31 of July WoodWinters will be promoting a special selection of award-winning sherries from this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards. Customers will have the chance to buy these fantastic wines and receive double loyalty points on every purchase.

Purchase the below award-winning wines and receive double loyalty points this summer:

Quick – don’t miss out an opportunity to taste some of Spain’s finest sherries!

Promotional period: Ends 31 July 2017
Address: Bow Court, 74 Church Street, Inverness,  IV1 1HB

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Delicious Alsace white wines under £20

di, 20/06/2017 - 15:00

Alsace isn't just about the grand crus - there are also plenty of delicious wines under £20 that deserve a spot in your wine rack. Here's a few to get you started.

Delicious Alsace wines under £20

The unique history of Alsace, to-ing and fro-ing between German and French control, has left its legacy. It’s a French region with a uniquely Teutonic feel – even the wine bottles share the distinct shape of their German cousins across the Rhine.

More than 90% of wines produced in Alsace are white, ranging from lean, mineral Riesling to perfumed, exotic Gewürztraminer. Decanter’s Jane Anson believes that Alsace should be a natural homeland for terroir-driven white wines in France.

Here are some of our top recommendations for everyday wines that won’t break the bank.

Delicious Alsace white wines under £20 :
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Zind, Alsace, France, 2014 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Zind, Alsace, France, 2014

Made from Chardonnay and Auxerrois grapes grown in the famed Clos Windsbuhl vineyard. The oaky, spicy nose is reminiscent of...

Points 91 Trimbach, Riesling, Alsace, France, 2014 Trimbach, Riesling, Alsace, France, 2014

Perhaps most representative of Trimbach's house style, this Riesling is wonderfully dry and crisp, with green apple and citrus flavours swiftly followed by...

Points 90 Zinck, Portrait Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2015 Zinck, Portrait Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2015

This wine has a glorious nose of lychee, rosewater and stone fruit. Incredibly aromatic and intense, the palate follows the nose, with a...

Points 90 Jean Biecher, Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 2015 Jean Biecher, Pinot Blanc, Alsace, France, 2015

One of the largest organic producers in Alsace, Jean Biecher is also one of the oldest having been founded in 1776. This Pinot Blanc has...

Points 89 Dopff au Moulin, Crémant d’Alsace, Cuvée Julien Brut Dopff au Moulin, Crémant d’Alsace, Cuvée Julien Brut

Behind this unpromising label you will find a rather delicious wine. Floral aromas give way to ripe peach and pear fruit, along with a...

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Hidden message reveals ancient soldiers’ thirst for wine

di, 20/06/2017 - 14:20

Scientists have revealed a hidden message on a fragment of ancient pottery on display in Israel, shedding more light on who was drinking wine 2,500 years ago in the region.

ancient wine artefactA: Regular colour image of the clay pottery fragment. B: Using multispectral imaging. C: A written note based on analysis of multispectral imaging.

Scientists from Tel Aviv University used ground-breaking image technology to uncover an eroded message on the shard of pottery, found near the site of an ancient fortress and dating to around 600 BC.

Their research revealed an order for wine, oil and flour, most likely from soldiers stationed at the fortress, located near to the modern-day Israeli city of Arad.

For the wine world, the discovery adds to evidence of widespread wine consumption in the region at the time.

It is also a victory for multispectral imaging, which was successfully used by researchers to recover the message that had gone unnoticed despite the clay pot fragment being on display at an Israeli museum for half a century.

‘The text bears more than 50 characters, creating 17 new words,’ said researchers in a paper published on Public Library of Science (PLOS) One.

‘It begins with a request for wine – “If there is any wine, send [quantity]” – as well as a guarantee for assistance if the addressee has any requests of his own,’ researchers said.

It’s quite likely that the fortress was occupied by soldiers of the Kingdom of Judah, which was facing a tumultuous period that would ultimately lead to its demise in the same era.

Historians and archaeologists are building a picture of wine drinking and production in the region at this time.

Local wines were believed to have been dark and rich, although many had extra herbs and spices added, according to Dr Patrick McGovern, known as the ‘Indiana Jones of ancient wines’ and who is scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project at the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in the US.

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws

Five of the best Sainsbury’s wines to try

di, 20/06/2017 - 12:00

Decanter's tastings team has recommend five great value wines to try from the UK supermarket's range this summer...

Five of the best Sainsbury's wines

Sainsbury’s has vowed to cut down on wine multi-buy deals, and said it wants to focus on providing customers with single-bottle value across the range.

Decanter’s tastings team attended a recent press tasting of the supermarket’s wine range and has picked out five wines currently on the shelves.

In this list, you can find an eclectic mix, from California Zinfandel to English sparkling and a white wine from Uruguay.

Five of the best Sainsbury’s wines to try: Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference English Sparkling Brut, Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference English Sparkling Brut,

Produced by Denbies for Sainsbury's, this has a bready nose with lovely clean, fresh lemon and dough flavours in the mouth. There is a...

Points 91 Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference Douro, Douro, 2015 Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference Douro, Douro, 2015

You can't go wrong with this spicy and fruity red made by leading Douro producer, Quinta do Crasto. It's big and bold, and packed with...

Points 89 Sainsbury's, Paso Robles, Taste the Difference Zinfandel, Sainsbury's, Paso Robles, Taste the Difference Zinfandel,

Made by Josh Beckett of Chronic Cellars for Sainsbury's, this Zinfandel is blended with Petite Syrah and Grenache, making for a...

Points 89 Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference Côtes du Rhône Blanc, 2015 Sainsbury's, Taste the Difference Côtes du Rhône Blanc, 2015

A nice accessible white with floral and stone fruit scents. The palate has some creaminess to it thanks to the Roussanne and Viognier components being...

Points 88 Colinas de Uruguay, Albariño, Uruguay, 2016 Colinas de Uruguay, Albariño, Uruguay, 2016

Made in a state of the art sustainable winery that uses gravity fed systems, and favouring the use of wild yeasts to better reflect the terroir. Light aromas of...

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Categorieën: Wijnnieuws