Californian Wine At The Vineyard

Our West Berkshire abode is home to 30,000 bottles from all around the world, many of which are Californian in origin. Romain Bourger, our Head Sommelier, tells us more about our Californian wines and what it means to work in one of the world’s finest collections of Californian wines.

Working at The Vineyard, I am very lucky to work with one of the world’s finest Californian wine selections. As we make wine in California, we have great longstanding relations with fellow producers in California. It is through our wine merchant, The Vineyard Cellars, that we import many rare wines that are rarely seen outside of the US. Around 95% of wine produced in California stays within the United States, so this is privilege for us oenophiles indeed.

California produces the gamut of wine types and styles, from sparkling and light whites to heavy reds as well as dessert wines, and we have the opportunity to offer almost everything in these categories. Our wide range contains Californian sparkling wine, top Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir as classics, as well as other international varietals such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Albariño, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Syrah/Rhône blends and so forth.

Hit by the ‘Two Buck Chuck’ and ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ labels in earlier decades, California has some stellar producers, and wines for laying down. From artisanal producers to big brand names, with quality to match, our selection comprises the entire range.  Big names including the famous Peter Michael Winery, Abreu, Colgin, Diamond Creek, Chateau Montelena, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and more form a large part of our Californian collection.

Artisanal and boutique wineries such as Buccella, Donelan, Wind Gap, Bonny Doon Vineyards (especially know for its Rhône blends), Lokoya, Vérité and Cardinale form part of our list too – we want to be a true ambassador to the wines from the Golden State.

Being a Frenchman working in this “temple to Californian wine”, I have managed to learn a lot about this remarkable wine region and have tasted many that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2005 Puligny Montrachet

Now that our Iconic Indulgence getaway is available all week, there’s even more time to enjoy our Icon Wine of the Week. This week’s Icon Wine is a delicious Puligny Montrachet from an exceptional vintage, 2005.

2005 Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru, Clavoillon, Domaine Leflaive, Burgundy
This week, we are paying tribute to one of the most involved and talented producers in Burgundy: Anne Claude Leflaive, and one of the most exceptional vintages, 2005, which is drinking really well now.

Domaine Leflaive was established in 1717 and is nowadays regarded as one of the finest Burgundy estates. Mainly producing wines from Puligny-Montrachet, this week’s bottle is a Puligny Premier Cru from a vineyard of 11.84 acres called Clavoillon. The wine had a barrel age of 12 months and a following six months in stainless steel.

With a creamy texture, the wine develops notes of hazelnuts and roasted almonds as well as some baked apple and stone fruit tones on the nose. The rich palate is balanced by a chalky minerality giving to the wine a great freshness. It is a great pairing for our cod course.

Icon Wine of the Week: Les Pavots, California

High above the Californian Knights Valley planted between 1989 and 1999, Les Pavots is the flagship wine of the Peter Michael Estate with a rocky volcanic origin: a terroir-driven wine that would stand the test of time. It is The Vineyard’s icon wine this weekend. Our sommelier team tells us more.

PMW winery landscape

Les Pavots signifies Peter Michael’s flagship blend of red Bordeaux varietals from its Knights Valley Estate. Sir Peter Michael established his winery in Sonoma’s wild Knights Valley back in 1982. His goal was to produce a wine in a New World country but with Old World methods such as mountain vineyard and terroir-reflected wines.

First produced in 1989, the Les Pavots blend varies from vintage to vintage, and typically it is two thirds Cabernet Sauvignon with roughly equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot and a touch of Petit Verdot. Les Pavots captures an elegant refined expression of the terroir embracing the full spectrum of Cabernet family varietal expression with its trademark touch of herbes de provence. The name translates to “The Poppies” and is named after the California poppies that grow wild on the estate and are the inspiration for the winery’s logo.

This Cabernet Sauvignon Blend shows a great concentration of ripe blackcurrant, blackberry and blueberry as well as a touch of sweet spices from the oak ageing. 2009 was a classic vintage and the wine shows a lovely minerality and an exceptional balance.

This wine would go with lamb exceptionally well.

Icon Wine of the Week: Mount Mary Vineyard, Australia

As the fourth largest wine producer in the world, and 40% of the production being consumed within the country, Australia has no native grapes, all having being brought over initially from Spain and France. For this weekend’s icon wine of the week, available by the glass in our restaurant, our wine team have chosen a Pinot Noir.

Jasper Hill

Mount Mary is a family owned, single vineyard estate located in the heart of the Yarra Valley. The region is in the south-eastern corner of Australia, east of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. This gentle north facing slope was first planted to vines in 1972 with 18 varieties on 40 acres. The Pinot Noir vines were sourced from western Victoria in 1971.

Yarra Valley is regarded as the “Burgundy” part of Australia – it gives great results both with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape varietals.

This particular wine develops aromas of wild strawberries, cranberries and cherries as well as a hint of black truffle and forest floor.

The 16 months of oak ageing gives the wine some subtle spicy notes such as black pepper, as well as hints of liquorice and smoke.

The palate is long with a lovely rocky minerality and some velvety tannins and we would strongly recommend this beautiful wine with our pork belly course.

 

Must-Have Beauty Resolutions

Finding the time to do everything that we know that we should do is so tricky in today’s busy world. Spa Manager Kirsty Hughes offers some must-have beauty resolutions from her vast experience.

We are always trying to juggle time for ourselves amongst work, children, partners, housework and more, often with ourselves coming last on the list. Sometimes though we have to put our foot down and so my first beauty resolution is to allow some more time for myself and below are some things I am going to do:

1) Drink more water – the key to everything – skin, weight, energy – and still I don’t drink enough. So I have set myself the target of drinking at least one litre of water a day – it should be more than this – but I am setting myself thisgoal first that I know I can reach.

2) Give my body some moisture – I am very good with my facial skincare while my body gets completely neglected. My tip is to get a product that makes this process as quick as possible. Darphin’s Perfecting Lotion £28 is perfect as it is a gelcreme so is very quickly absorbed meaning you can get dressed straight away. Idealy this should happen every day in reality I am going to set myself the target of twice a week as this is better than not at all.

3) Not neglect my feet even though it’s Winter- when my feet aren’t on show in sandals they always come last on the beauty priority list as I am not a fan of trying to bend into strange positions to do the cuticles, file and paint etc. As I really dislike doing my own, I am going to have some pampering and have a Deluxe Pedicure (£50) where I will have a relaxing massage, paraffin mask and beautifully manicured toes.

4) Use an oil every night – At the moment especially with the cold and central heating, serum and moisturiser alone are just not cutting it. A few drops of oil before I put on the moisturiser makes such a difference. My skin feels softer and more radiant and best of all I use less cream as I don’t need as much for my skin to feel moisturised. Darphin has a range of face oils starting from £44 that for me are the best as they are true dry oils so will definitely not cause any breakouts that I have found happen with other face oils.

5) Treat myself more – I know how good I feel after having a treatment, and to be honest it can be any treatment, because just the act of having some time for just me with no interruptions is bliss. Below are my suggestions if you are short on time:

Grape Body Polish 25mins £45 – gives your body some attention and as some of the strokes are similar to those used in a massage, it feels tension releasin and gives you soft skin.

Conditioning head massage 25mins £45 – this works on the tops of the shoulders, neck and head everyones main tension areas and the coconut oil really conditions hair so you get the added benefit of soft hair.

Hot Back Massage 25mins £55 – great in all this cold weather to feel the heat of the stones warming up the muscles and joints and easing out all that tension that life brings.

Whatever your resolutions are, make sure that you do one that will give you some pampering as we all deserve it. As Buddha said “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear”.

Icon Wine of the Week: Chablis from Francois Ravenau

A region steeped in history where the Romans are likely to have planted and cultivated wine grapes in the area, Chablis is renowned for its lightly-oaked white wines touched by its kimmeridgean soil type. This week our head sommelier Romain Bourger chooses one of his favourite vintages and producers.

Chablis

Francois Raveneau established his estate in 1948 and started to be seen as one of the finest Chablis producers during the 1970’s. The great care used to produce the wines includes entirely manual harvest, which makes it one of the only 5 estates in Chablis to do so!

The estate is composed of 9.29 hectares and about 90% of the vineyards are located on either Chablis Grand Cru or Chablis Premier Cru appellation.

The 2009 vintage shows a great chalky minerality followed by a complex touch of toasty and creamy notes due to the oak ageing and some lovely ripe white fruit and citrus notes.

One of the greatest white wines I have ever tasted was one of Domaine Francois Raveneau’s 1994 Chablis Premier Cru. An exquisite paring with our scallops dish!

Please reserve your glass with reception before 7pm on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th January 2016.

Icon Wine of the Week: Californian Pinot Noir

For our second Icon Wine of the year our sommelier team decided to show one of their favourite Pinot Noir from Sir Peter Michael’s winery.

_MG_3149 compressed

Fort Ross Seaview is a small AVA located North West of Sonoma county, inside the Sonoma Coast appellation. The cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean makes this region particularly well suited for the growing of cool climate grapes such as Pinot Noir.

The first bottling from this vineyard started in 2009 and received 100 Points from Wine Advocate with its second vintage in 2010. The vineyard is located South of the appellation and receives less oceanic influence and more sun from the mountain climate.

This particular location makes Clos du Ciel the most masculine of Sir Peter’s Pinot Noir. 2011 is regarding as a cooler vintage throughout California and the vineyard enjoyed a constant climate throughout the season.

The result is a very perfumed wine with aromas of ripe wild strawberry, red cherry and violet. The 16 months of oak ageing gives a fine and velvety structure and mouth feel with notes of leather, chocolate and a touch of sweet spices.

The palate is long with a very rocky minerality and a great balance. Perfect with duck.

New Year’s Competition!

Happy New Year!

We are passionate about good wine. And to celebrate the start to 2016, the 40th anniversary of a very important wine event for us, as well as our award for ‘No. 1 wine of the Year 2015′ from Wine Spectator, we’ve a fantastic new competition to win tickets to our Californian wine tasting in May
Peter Michael

2016 is the 40th anniversary of the Judgement of Paris, a blind wine tasting comparing Californian and French wines. Groundbreakingly, Californian wine came out on top. It is no coincidence that three of our wine ventures, Peter Michael Winery, Vineyard Cellars and The Vineyard were launched following this event. And today, as well as various 100-point Parker wines, Wine Spectator’s Number one wine of the year 2015 is our very own Peter Michael Winery Au Paradis 2012. ‘As a textbook example of the way passionate investment, technical skill and an outstanding vineyard can create compelling wines, the Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Au Paradis 2012 is Wine Spectator‘s 2015 Wine of the Year.’ says James Laube of Wine Spectator.  Click here for more.

Our Californian wine merchant has teamed up with our Californian winery to host a commemorative Californian wine tasting, both in central London (10th May) and at The Vineyard Hotel  (14th May). You can win a pair of tickets to either one that you prefer.

With the great and the good of Californian wine world attending, this will be a stellar event. And for those who love steak, good wine, sunshine and excellent atmosphere then this is for you.

To enter the competition, and win tickets, all you have to do is tell us in which region of California Peter Michael Winery is situated. Email competitions@the-vineyard.co.uk with your answer by 31st January 2016.

Good luck from The Vineyard team!

Terms and conditions:

a) The prize is for a pair of tickets to either our London wine tasting on 10th May 2016 or at The Vineyard wine tasting on 14th May 2016 ; these tickets are non transferable and non refundable.
b) All entrants must be over 18 and based in the UK. Employees and associates of employees are unable to enter.
c) By entering this competition you agree to be included in newsletter updates from The Vineyard.
d) The competition cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer(s).
e) The Vineyard reserves the right to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control.

Icon Wine of the Week: Chateau Montelena

Made legendary by the historic Judgement of Paris, to which we are so indebted, Chateau Montelena is a rich, juicy, profound red, a showstopping Cabernet ideal for the Christmas table. Fittingly, it is our Christmas Weekend icon wine.

Montelena

Chateau Montelena was founded in 1882 by Alfred Tubbs. The renaissance of the winery, under the leadership of James Barrett, began in 1972 with the replanting of the Estate vineyard and the establishment of the Chateau Montelena philosophy: make the best, period.

Today the tradition continues. Jim Barrett’s son, Bo, winemaker at Chateau Montelena beginning in 1982, is now its Master Winemaker. After more than three decades of experience with the same vineyards and varieties, the Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Chardonnay are recognized as world-class. This is a smooth and elegant wine with a long finish.

The 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (an 8,600-case cuvée made from yields of 1.98 tons of fruit per acre) is considered by Bo Barrett to be a “great” year. The wine boasts a saturated inky/purple colour as well as extraordinary density of fruit and cassis, and huge tannin, body, and extract. It is a substantial, palate-staining, long, muscular Cabernet.

There is the trademark Montelena earthy, berry fruit, smoky and rich with many subtleties. On the palate it has a big juicy front, a very full texture and many layers of flavours in a rich cross section of fruit and terroir.

Great with our chefs Cornish Lamb shoulder or grilled red beef.

Icon Wine of the Week: Château Lagrange from St. Julien

Bordeaux is one of the most revered and long-standing wine regions in the world. St Julien, situated on the Left Bank, is no exception, producing Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated reds.

St Julien

Château Lagrange was known in the Middle Ages as the Noble House of Lagrange Montei. Records of the successive owners go back as far as 1631. In 1824 the total production was 120 barrels (12 000 cases). In 1842, the ex-Home Secretary to King Louis-Philippe, Count Duchatel, left his mark on the property and the Médoc by introducing a drainage system in the vineyard. This helped improve the wine immensely. While drainage in vineyards is common today, that was very forward thinking in 1842.

The Count brought the annual production up to 300 barrels. This was a golden age for Lagrange, with the famous 1855 classification awarding the property the title of Third Classified Growth. The beginning of the 20th century was much less glorious as the economic conditions deteriorated. Despite several changes in ownership the yields were lower and of lesser quality. A decline in business meant the estate had to be broken up from 280 hectares (around 700 acres) in 1840, the domain had been reduced to 157 hectares (392 acres) by December 1983, when the Japanese group Suntory bought it from the Cendoya family, owners since 1925.

Lots of floral, berry and raspberry character on the nose lead to a medium- to full-bodied, with well-integrated tannins and a fresh finish. Aromas of tobacco, smoke, cigar box, blackberry and cedar wood personality. The tannins are ripe, the fruit is ample and fresh, finish with a spicy, cassis and pomegranate note. Lovely wine. Round and refined.

Great with our chef’s lamb and beef.