The great and the good assembled in London last Wednesday for the 25th anniversary of UK wine importer Hatch Mansfield. Winery chiefs and winemakers flew in from far and wide to raise a glass to Patrick McGrath MW and his team. Our roving reporter and chef-at-large Roger Jones joined a select crew that included Sir George Fistonich, Pierre Henry Gagey, Eduardo Chadwick, Catherine Corbeau-Mellot, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger and Giovanni Gaja amongst others. Jones tasted many of the special bottles brought in for the night including many rare cuvées and gives full tasting notes.
“Not only was it a privilege to try the Viña Errázuriz’s Sena 2015 but to have it poured by Eduardo Chadwick himself was a dream,” says Jones.
“Hatch Mansfield – UK specialists in premium wine made by independent, family owned wine producers” so say all of us – an interesting and reflective headline to Hatch Mansfield’s business profile. Last Wednesday night saw a special celebration to mark its 25thanniversary – from when Patrick McGrath MW set up the company, Hatch Mansfield Agencies Ltd. Fact lovers note that the original Hatch Mansfield was founded in 1802, and had a brief flirtation with Matthew Clark in 1993.
Wednesday night’s celebrations brought together the principals from all Hatch Mansfield’s key family owned wineries including Pierre Henry Gagey, Maison Louis Jadot, Eduardo Chadwick, Viña Errazuriz, Sir George Fistonich, Villa Maria Group, Victor Urrutia, CVNE, Catherine Corbeau-Mellot, Joseph Mellot, Giovanni Gaja, Gaja, Kobuss Basson, Kleine Zalze and Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger, Taittinger. They were joined by the top brass from the press, including a glut of ‘retired’ Decanter personnel.
Hosted at The Ned in the city, we were showcased an array of aged and rare wines from the portfolio, here being some of the many highlights;
Blanco Seco 2014, CVNE Monopole
Served from magnum this is a remake of the Monopole of the 1970s made then by Ezequiel Garcia, who collaborated with current winemaker Maria Larrea. This wine, which includes the grapes Viura and Palomino and is barrel-aged in old oak has a small percentage of Manzanilla sherry added, which is sourced from the Hidalgo family in Sanlucar.
On the nose there is a fresh sea breeze with sea asparagus and some zesty fruit, on the mid-palate there is Williams pear, apple and white currants and a touch of white flowers, some dried fruit on the finish, the Manzanilla is apparent but in a lovely controlled style – very moreish.
Comtes De Champagne 2006 and 2007, Taittinger
First released in 1952, and 100% Chardonnay, produced in the finest vintages only. The 2006 has such elegance and purity, rich and creamy, whilst the 2007 was more forward with a fresh zesty and floral impact. There will not be Comtes in 2009, 2010 or 2011 so buy up the 2007 whilst you can or try and source the superb 2006.
Barbaresco 1999, Gaja
A delight to taste this with Giovanni Gaja, bright red colour with a feminine, sweet-fruited palate, fresh and bright on the palate with real focus, hints of bacon on the background with a joyous finish.
Sancerre Cuvée Pierre Etienne 2013, Joseph Mellot
Sancerre l’Original, 500 Ans History, Joseph Mellot
The Cuvée Pierre Etienne is sourced from flinty soils and aged in wood giving a complex, layered taste with citrus fruit, a lovely balance with a subtle smoky and spiced nose whilst l’Original has no oak influence but sits on its lees for seven months in stainless steel tanks. Fruit forward on the nose with white flowers and river stones, pink grapefruit and floral flowers, luscious on the finish.
Wow, who knew Beaujolais could age past November, this 19-year-old has a dark, brick red colour and a powerful nose but on the palate it is juicy, with dark raspberries, fresh acidity and is a real gem.
Pouilly-Fuissé, Tournant de Pouilly, 2015, Domaine Ferret
Bright, forward, crisp orchard fruits that evolve with a delicious stone fruit background giving way to a crisp, fresh, profound finish.
Sena 2015, Aconcagua Valley, Viña Errázuriz
Not only a privilege to try this but to have it poured by Eduardo Chadwick himself was a dream. Made by winemaker Francisco Baettig, this Bordeaux blend, has a superb freshness hovering above the complexity and depth of the wine, blueberry and licquorice, red bright cherries, hint of tobacco, just brilliant.
Legacy Chardonnay 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, Vidal
Citus and pink grapefruit on the nose with a lovely deep nutty structure, this is ripe and open, nectarines and juicy white Provence peaches, drinking well now but will age gracefully.
Pinot Noir Las Pizarras, 2016, Viña Errázuriz
Hedonistic perfumed nose, bright red berries on the palate, lovely bright acidity and freshness are the hallmarks of this silky smooth wine.
Imperial Gran Reserva 2004, CVNE
Aged in French and American oak, 85% Tempranillo, 10 % Graciano, 5% Mazuelo. This has a dark-fruited streak with tobacco flavours mingling with blackberry and espresso, aniseed and vanilla cola.
The evening was celebrated with speeches from all the principal winemakers and it was very apparent the trust and faith they have in both Patrick and Hatch, and what a great close ‘family’ relationship they have.