Tag Archives: wine

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.

 

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: 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.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2005 Gevrey Chambertin

Gevrey-Chambertin is a town in the Côte de Nuits producing some of Burgundy’s most renowned red wines. This weekend, our wine team introduce a 2005 from this town, available by the glass.

Gevrey Chambertin

With 400 hectares of vineyard area this is the largest wine-producing region in the Côte d’Or. Gevrey Chambertin wines are sturdier, bigger and heavier than those of their neighbours Vosne-Romanée.

The 2005 Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cinq Terroirs perpetuates the practice of combining the fruit from Au Velle, En Motrot, Combe du Dessus, En Deree and En Champs (all downhill from Champeaux on the north side of Gevrey) into a single and – at least in this instance- highly synergistic village wine, representing nearly half of the estates total acreage. Fruit from these sites are co-fermented in two lots segregated by age of vine, and then blended.

This fine wine is fresh, very ripe and moderately earthy nose that features ripe black fruits with carnal, fungal, and mineral nuances combine for a clear, bright, satin-textured, and substantially-concentrated impression, free of any superficial sweetness and successfully resisting the influence the all new barrels.

Long, rolling low tones of black fruits and forest floor complete a picture very 2005 in its combination of bright fresh fruit acids with dark, even slightly sombre hues of flavour. There is ample mid-palate fat that does a fine job of buffering the relatively fine underlying structure and this should be approachable young but have the capacity to age.

Icon Wine of the Week: 2010 Sassicaia

The original “Super Tuscan”,  2010 Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido Incisa della Rocchetta from Bolgheri in Tuscany, Italy welcomes in the first weekend of advent. Warm, rich and lustrous, this is the ideal winter warmer by our fire. One of our wine team, Michael Meyers, tells us more.

_MG_3149 compressed

Sassicaia is the only single estate wine in Italy with its own appellation – Bolgheri Sassicaia. It was the original “Super Tuscan” and is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, aged for 24 months in French barriques, of which these days ony 20% are new.

Mario Incisa della Rochetta, part of a grand old Italian family who’s roots extend back to the Renaissance and beyond, and cousin of the Antinoris, married Clarice della Gherardesca in 1930 and with his wife came some land in Bolgheri. The story of Sassicaia was just beginning. Mario dreamed of making a wine like the grand vins of Bordeaux and, noticing a similarity between his Bolgheri vineyards and those of the Graves, decided to plant some Cabernet Sauvignon. In the early years the wine was just for consumption on the estate and was not always well appreciated. Fortunately, a few cases were put away to age with each vintage and, once time had worked its magic, it became clear that these were wines that only truly showed their majesty with a few years in bottle.

The first vintage released for commercial sale was the 1968 and it transformed Tuscan wine and has given rise to a host of imitators and rivals. Sassicaia is now revered, not only as one of the best wines in Italy, but as one of the best wines in the world.

The 2010 Sassicaia is intensely saline, savoury and energetic. Rosemary, sage, plums and black cherry notes meld into graphite, crushed rocks and a host of other more mineral-inflected nuances. This red is very aromatic with currant, dried berry, cocoa bean, and hints of wood. It’s full-bodied, with intense yet very polished tannins and a long finish. It’s very refined and beautiful with a tangy finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through here at the finish.

This is great with lamb and beef.

Icon Wine of the Week: Château Climens

The colder months often warrant something a little richer, and few bottles can beat a Sauternes from France. Luscious and with a lovely nose, this particular bottle – a 1967 Ch. Climens – is something special.

 Sauternes

This weekend we are celebrating one of the finest dessert wines! Château Climens is a Premier Cru Classé from Bordeaux 1967

Barsac is one of the five villages to be able to carry the appellation Sauternes but can also have its own. Château Climens has been classified as a First Growth in 1855 and is made in the same way as Sauternes, with the Semillon grape. Sauternes can be made with two other gape varieties in minority too, but the grape variety here is 100 percent Semillon, said to suit the vineyard’s chalky soil.

This area of France is one of the few wine regions that naturally enables Sauternes to be made. It requires a naturally occurring fungus, Botrytis Cinerea, also known as Noble Rot, which makes the grapes partially raisined, concentrating the flavours in the grape.  Much of the Sautners area has river running through it, and low lying vineyards, where a mist can develop, this damp condition encourages the fungus to grow.

Due to the fact that production can be hit and miss, the price of these sweet delights is often high, and aged Sauternes are very sought after.

This particular wine develops a lovely nose of mandarin, orange marmalade, apple compote with a hint of saffron as well as some fresh hazelnut, honey and caramel.

The palate is rich but as a great balance and the very syrupy texture of its youth has decreased to bring more freshness to it in old age. Refined!

This is absolutely delectable with our Foie Gras dish or with our delicious Caramel dessert!