Bodegas Roda is a relatively new estate in Rioja but one which has made waves ever since it came onto the scene in the 1990s. Like many of the top bodegas it has an individual approach to how it makes its wine and is not afraid to break the rules. Its super-premium Rioja, Cirsion, for example is aged in French wood for just eight months and made from a selection of very old vines from over 30 vineyards. On the launch of Cirsion 2018, Peter Dean had an audience with the team and tasted the new wine alongside vintages from 2010, 2009 and 2004 to assess its unique properties.
Was it the endless confusion between Pouilly-Fumé and Pouilly-Fuissé that led Loire producer Pascal Jolivet to change the name of his Sauvignon Blanc to Blanc Fumé for the UK market? Or was it because Blanc Fumé is the more common term by which Sauvignon Blanc used to be known? Victor Smart hears first hand from Jolivet as well as tastes the new 2020 vintage of the wine alongside three older vintages (2013, 2018, 2019) of Jolivet’s premium Sancerre Blanc “Sauvage”.
The Austrian winegrowing region of Carnuntum hosted Explore Carnuntum, an online wine fair for importers and retailers from around Europe, in late March. Each estate in this small, quality-focused Austrian wine region, hosted its own one-hour online tasting, to present itself, its production, its focuses in export and distribution and its approach in the vineyards and cellar. A guided flight of six wines was shipped out in advance to each interested party with potential business ‘break-outs’ originating from those tastings. Lilla O’Connor, lately the UK head of Wines of Hungary, took part and tells us what it was like and what she discovered.
Normally the first quarter of the year sees Louis Latour Agencies show off its portfolio in the flesh, something that obviously could not happen this year because of Covid. So, instead, the importer enlisted the services of wine expert Oz Clarke to pick six innovative wines that he thinks are ‘unexpected’ and break away from the norm. The six innovative wines show off the pioneering side of Louis Latour – both as an eleventh generation wine producer in Burgundy – and the agencies for which it sells and distributes wines in the UK.
Cap Classique, South Africa’s traditional method, premium sparkling wine, is neatly positioned between Prosecco and more expensive English Sparkling Wine or Champagne. As the category celebrates 50 years of production this year, South African wine expert Roger Jones looks back at the wine, the value it affords and picks a ‘magnificent 7’ that you should put at the top of your shopping list.
Not ones to be dissuaded by a pandemic, Tuscan estate Fattoria Le Pupille launched its new white wine Piemme 2018 and second vintage of its outstanding Syrah Le Pupille 2016 last night, accompanied by a Michelin-starred meal delivered from the Maremma. In an event that simply oozed class, estate owner Elisabetta Geppetti gave the virtual stage to two of her children, Clara and Ettore, who are the next generation of winemakers at the iconic estate and are looking after these outstanding boutique wines.
The stakes were raised at the OenoTrade at Home portfolio tasting with the most elaborate tasting kit of the past 12 months, bar none. A chauffeur-delivered box that almost required two people to carry, arrived with 13 of the choicest wines from the OenoTrade’s portfolio including a new Liber Pater cuvée, a first vintage of an excellent new Spätburgunder from the Mosel and the 2018 Dominio De Es. Peter Dean picks out his top 8.
A year ago, when the 2020 Essential California annual showcase was being held, no-one could have foreseen that the 2021 instalment would have been a two day event held online. And few could have believed that, in such a short space of time, the industry has adapted so quickly and so expertly to the current restrictions. David Kermode, aka Mr Vinosaurus, polished his Zalto and his shades, clicked Play on Brian Wilson and co and got engrossed in what was one of the most ambitious online wine events ever.
Most American winemakers who claim that their new wines ‘outdo’ Burgundy would simply be trying to wind up the French. But when the team at Oregon’s Nicolas-Jay do it, it’s worth taking notice. For its winemaker is none other than Jean-Nicolas Méo of Domaine Méo-Camuzet in Vosne-Romanée and he is more than qualified to make the comparison. Peter Dean listened in to Méo and partner Jay Boberg and tasted two of their extraordinary new wines Bishop Creek Chardonnay 2018 and L’Ensemble Pinot Noir 2018. You know, they could be right…
Philip Cox, the commercial director and co-owner of Romanian winery Cramele Recas, is ‘good copy’ as journalists say. He has a view and he’s not slow in coming forward with it. British-born, but working overseas for the past 40 years, he has an unique perspective on the global wine business, organic and natural wine, grape varieties, Britain, Brexit – you name it. Geoffrey Dean talked to him about all of the above and Cramele’s five new wines including a new Feteasca Regala and Organic Orange Natural wine.
Getting wine in front of consumers that wouldn’t normally go on wine tours or drink fine wine is one of the objectives of Vivant, a new online experience from Michael Baum, the American technologist/ entrepreneur who runs and owns Château de Pommard. But is it any good? Victor Smart got his Vacc certificate ready, donned his shades and headed down to Alsace for a couple of hours.
Tenute Capaldo is a boutique wine label, run by Feudi di San Gregorio boss Antonio Capaldo, that aims to set the record straight about Irpinia. This central part of Campania has been making wine for centuries but its reputation has lagged behind its more illustrious Northern cousins. Now Capaldo wants the global wine industry to prove that Irpinia is the next big thing. Two single-vineyard wines – a Taurasi and Greco di Tufo – are the result of over a decade’s worth of study by Capaldo and they tick all the boxes to become signature wines for the region.
The Tedeschi family has been making wine in the Valpolicella Classica wine region since the Seventeenth Century. Lorenzo Tedeschi devoted his life to building the family business, focusing on research and innovation as well as the expansion of the premium vineyard sites – most significantly in 1964 when he started producing single vineyard Amarone from the famed Monte Olmi vineyard. Sophia Longhi caught up with Lorenzo’s granddaughter Sabrina to discover more about the family’s work with terroir and how it informs the four types of Amarone and five Valpolicellas that they produce, as well as taste through a range of the wines.
While Auxey-Duresses and Pernand-Vergelesses are hardly ‘unknown Burgundy’, especially to the wine trade, they are less well known to the general public than Corton-Charlemagne or Gevrey-Chambertin. And yet increasingly the difference in quality and consistency is being reduced between the well known and lesser known appellations – as a vintage like Burgundy 2019 testifies. With climate change starting to transform Burgundy so wine lovers should start seeking out the lesser-known appellations, argues Peter Dean, especially in a vintage as balanced as this.
The launch of the latest vintage, 2012 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill, had an elegiac air on Tuesday. The release always honours our great statesman but, coming just hours after the death of wine legend Steven Spurrier, the official tasting was a time for reflection as well as celebration. It was more than just one great man we were remembering. As for Pol’s top cuvée, made in the style that Churchill favoured, the good news is that this 19th vintage is an astounding wine – up there with the very best this House has ever produced. Peter Dean reports and provides full tasting notes.
The sublime, and ever-so Japanese, delights of Koshu were celebrated by seven magnificent wines picked by Toru Takamatsu MS, the world’s youngest MS, and Ronan Sayburn MS who runs London wine club 67 Pall Mall. David Kermode explores the history of the grape, the wine and the culture behind it and gives full tasting notes of seven very different Koshu wines and how best to serve them.
Bollinger R.D. 2007, the new vintage of the House’s top cuvée, is as innovative today as it was when it was launched 54 years ago: Extra Brut, extended lees ageing, recently disgorged, and with the disgorgement date printed on the front label. One suspects the innovation behind last week’s launch of R.D. 2007 would have been approved by Madame Bollinger herself. To prove how recent disgorgement works on an old bottle of Champagne – two self-same bottles from the 1970s were tasted alongside one another – one had been disgorged 14 years ago, another had been disgorged just 12 weeks ago. So how did they differ? Peter Dean has the story.
In the past 20 years dry Furmint from Hungary has been improving in leaps and bounds, not just in Tokaj but right across this underrated wine-producing country, argues Justin Keay. In a fascinating roundup of Furmint February, this former Hungarian foreign correspondent highlights the four styles of dry Furmint, good food-pairings to go with them from Isa Bal MS and which six producers Keay reckons are the ones to start investigating.
Penfolds has never sat still. Since the mid Nineteenth Century they have moved from the Magill Estate vineyards, from the viticultural region, the domain, the state and now, with the release of Penfolds California, they have left Australia. The bedrock of Penfolds House Style has always been pushing boundaries with an open mind and a top-down approach, but is making a Wine of the World that is £545 a bottle and involves shipping Aussie Shiraz 1000s of miles to Napa a step too far? Peter Dean talks to Penfolds chief winemaker Peter Gago, gets the lowdown and tastes the wines.
The cooling influence of the Southern Oceans on the New World Chardonnay of Australia and New Zealand – this was the subject of last week’s fascinating tasting pitting three wines from each country. Natasha Hughes MW and Ronan Sayburn MS introduced wines from Black Estate, Bannockburn, Kooyong, Villa Maria, Neudorf and Ghost Rock while New World wine expert Roger Jones tasted all six wines and gave his verdict.