Tag Archives: wine

Icon Wine of the Week: 2009 Chablis Premier Cru, Francois Ravenau

Tis the moment for Burgundy at The vineyard, with our recent Wine School and Wine Dinner. And this coming weekend we are showcasing refined and creamy 2009 Chablis Premier Cru, Forêt, Francois Raveneau from Burgundy. But just what does make this so special?

Glasses in a row - 593 x 288


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


The estate is composed of around 9.5 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, alongside some lovely ripe white fruit and citrus notes.


One of the greatest white wines I have ever tasted was the 1994 vintage of of Domaine Francois Raveneau’s Premier Cru Chabli, this wine would make an exquisite paring with scallops.


Mont Mary Pinot Noir: Icon Wine of the Week

Mont Mary Vineyard from the Yarra Valley in Australia produces a deliciously fruity red. Here our team wax lyrical about this most delicious wine.

Mont Mary
Mount Mary is a family owned, single vineyard estate located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, situated 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. The older Pinot blocks are a mix of many clones in the order of 30+ and the newer blocks have been planted to American rootstocks. Relatively short fermentations are employed, typically 8-10 days, with no cold soaks or post fermentation maceration. This is followed by 16 months of barrel maturation with minimal filtration prior to bottling.

Wild strawberries, cranberries and cherries dominate the aroma profile. There are subtle hints of mushrooms and earth that will build slowly and become less overpowered by primary fruit with time in the bottle.

On the palate there are flavours of strawberries, rhubarb and quince. There is a firm but fine tannic structure providing some grip, and a strong platform for graceful ageing.

Diamond Creek: Icon Wine of the Week

Californian wine is at our heart. We make it, we import it, we sell it and we drink it. Here, Assistant Head Sommelier Michael Meyers, who grew up in the Californian wine heartland, tells us more about the vineyard where he learned how to make wine.Californian

I would like to introduce a winery that is very special in my heart having grown up working and learning how to make Cabernet Sauvignon there.

Having acquired the 79 acres in 1967, owners Al & Boots Brounstein started planting Diamond Creek in 1968 with his purchase of 79 acres in Diamond Creek Canyon.

Identifying three vineyard blocks by the differences in soil structure and exposition, and naming them for their geological forms (Red Rock Terrace-seven acres with reddish-brown soil facing north, Gravelly Meadow-five relatively flat acres with a gravelly, sandy soil, and Volcanic Hill-eight acres of white volcanic ash on the hillside facing south).

Before he was even able to purchase the land, he smuggled vine cuttings in from two Premier Cru properties in Bordeaux, personally flying them up from Tijuana, Mexico to a nursery in St. Helena.

Al’s concept to create multiple single vineyard wines from Diamond Creek was unique in its day. Diamond Creek was also the first winery to produce wine from only 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Sadly, Al Brounstein died in 2006.

This wine is aged in 50 percent new, French oak barrels for up to 22 months depending on the character of the vintage and the skill of winemaker Phil Steinschriber.

The wine shows very dark ruby color; with notes of cassis, tart black cherry, baked berry on the nose, along with a striking minerality, and on the palate a rich deep cassis fruit, well concealed and integrated new oak, cedar, cassis, and a tart, baked-cherry palate, with a long structured medium-plus finish.

Sassicaia: Icon Wine Of The Week

This week we’re favouring Tenuta San Guido by esteemed Italian Winery Sassicaia, one of the most exciting red wines from Tuscany. Our Assistant Head Sommelier Michael Meyers tells us more about this wine, with fascinating history.

Icon Wine

Tenuta San Guido is named after the Saint Guido della Gherardesca who lived during the 11th century. The region is located on the Tyrrhenian coast, between Leghorn and Grosseto in Maremma and it stretches for 13 km from the sea to the hills.

This wine is a blend of 85 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 15 percent Cabernet Franc. Planted on plots of land with a strong presence of limestone, this terroir is rich in rocks and clay at around 100 to 300 metres above sea level. The wine is aged for 24 months in French oak barriques and a few more months in the bottle before release.

This wine shows extreme purity that brings many beautiful aromas into startling focus and clarity. Lingering tones of black fruit and oriental spice add subtle shades at the back. The wine most certainly shows its pedigree in the exciting and beautifully balanced manner it evolves in the glass. It tells a new story each time you return to observe the bouquet.

Savoury flavours of tilled earth, sweet spice and dense blackberry and cassis fruit, this wine is very fresh and perfumed, but with real substance beneath. There is excellent acidity and tannins throughout.

Ch. Monbousquet: Icon Wine Of The Week

As September begins, thoughts turn to winter woolies, warm fires,  and warming spices. This week we have chosen a wine to suit. Complex, smoky and earthy, 2000 Ch. Monbousquet is our icon wine of the week.Head Sommelier

This week’s Icon wine is a beautiful, countrified St. Emilion called Ch. Monbousquet. This wine estate has a magnificent private park, recently acquired and renovated by Gerard Perse. The vineyards are primarily planted with Merlot, as well as substantial Cabernet Franc and some Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 2000 vintage is a dramatic, full fruited wine of breadth and depth, richly perfumed with complex nuances of smoke and earth. This wine compares favourably with the wines of both Cheval Blanc and Ausone, but at one-fifth of their price.

This is a full bodied, powerful wine with dense layers of ripe black fruits, spices, mocha and firm tannins. It shows off a sexy, black cherry fruit centre overlaid with tantalizing camphor and smoke. Each component stands tall, but lays on top of one another in such an interconnected and harmonious fashion that it makes you want to swoon. The texture is deceptively silky and light in the face of such pronounced smokiness and solid rich fruit. The wine is drinking perfectly right now but has decades of lifetime ahead of it.

Alter Ego De Palmer – First Growth Quality

Every weekend we choose an ‘Icon’ wine, a superlative wine that we think is exceptional, to offer by the glass in our restaurant. This weekend, we chose Ch. Palmer’s Alter Ego de Palmer, the second wine from this esteemed Bordeaux winery. Here, Romain Bourger, our Head Somelier tells us more.

2008 Alter Ego de Palmer is a nuanced expression of the Ch. Palmer terroir, two interpretations of the variations offered by climatic conditions of the vintage.

Palmer’s 2008 Grand Vin was superb and, quite honestly, this, their second wine, is not far behind. Produced from younger vines at the famous Palmer estate, this Merlot-dominated blend (52 percent Merlot and 48 percent Cabernet Sauvignon) blend displays all the characteristics of the first wine and demonstrates the superb terroir which Palmer has.

There is a lovely depth of fruit and spice on the palate with fabulous concentration and focus with a wonderfully long finish. With a nose of blackberry, pencil lead and crushed black pepper it has real complexity and interest. On the palate it shows incredible balance and richness with fabulous texture and length. Offering intense, crispy and juicy fruits, Alter Ego is a spontaneous uninhibited wine, soft and round as soon as it has finished its 18 months of barrel ageing. Its lush aromas and supple tannins make it a wine that can be truly appreciated.

This wine would work wonderfully with our lamb and beef dishes. If you fancy a taste of the first growth quality of the Grand Vin but at a third of the price, than the 2008 Alter Ego is for you!

Peter Michael Wine: An Auspicious Meeting

Every bottle of Peter Michael Wine bears the six word credo: ‘Mountain Vineyards, Classical Winemaking, Limited Production’. Learn what happened the last time Robert Parker, acclaimed wine critic, met owner Sir Peter Michael in London.

Peter Michael Wine

It is no secret that wine critic Robert Parker has been a fan of Peter Michael Winery bottles from quite some time.

While Mr. Parker has visited winery regularly to taste new releases, Sir Peter had actually never met him as their visits simply never coincided. This changed when the critic brought his ‘World Tour’ to London last February. As part of the event, Sir Peter had the pleasure of attending the ‘Gala Hedonist’s Dinner’ at the Michelin Two-Star restaurant ‘The Ledbury’ in Notting Hill. There, he and ‘Bob’ finally got to shake hands and share a pleasant chat.

The soiree included a sumptuous menu prepared by The Ledbury’s chef Brett Graham and paired with rare wines, all of which had received perfect scores from Mr. Parker. Sir Peter was particularly proud that two of the nine wines served were his own. 2012 Cuvee Indigene was served alongside Scottish langoustine wrapped in shitake, with mandarin orange and ginger. 2010 Ma Danseuse was paired with aged pigeon with rhubarb, beetroot and olives. Delicious.

Fine rosé from the heart of Provence

Our wine list features benchmark rosés from the Old World, including celebrated Ch. D’Esclans from Provence, the ‘finest rosés on the planet’, according to Matthew Jukes. It is time to take rosé wine increasingly seriously. Here we learn a little more.

Historically, rosés were seen as fun, unsophisticated and the great addition to a girls’ night out. Fast forward a few years and premium rosé is one of the fastest growing categories. This is thanks in part to a host of Old World stalwart producers crafting some serious bottles, with the notoriety to raise them on to the big stage.

Pink, blush or rosé wine – whatever your preferred name- is now seen as a serious industry, and as Jancis Robinson attests, this is thanks in part to the efforts of Sacha Lichine and his team at Château d’Esclans who have set the bar and raised ambition among producers.

In the heart of Provence, Lichine and his compatriot Patrick Leon (previously winemaker and managing director at Mouton Rothschild) purposely tried to craft a world class winery that made the world’s best rosé – and it is widely believed that they succeeded.

Indeed, according to Matthew Jukes, Ch. D’Esclans from Côtes de Provence produce among the finest rosés on the planet. We’re inclined to agree – so much so that we’ve chosen to offer three wines from this infamous château on our wine list (which, we are very proud to say, just won European Hotel Wine List of the Year).

Made using Old Vine Grenache, as this high altitude site is known for, the vines are hand picked and blended with Vermentino. Top cuvées are aged in oak – and are capable of ageing. Generally, good rosé is not heavy or overtly sweet but fresh, dry and offers a complex aroma of herbs, fruits and a balanced acidity. These bottlings offer all this and more.

One thing has remained true throughout – these wines are ideal served chilled outside with, or without, food in the summer sun.

We travel to Peter Michael Winery in California

In 1982, Sir Peter Michael, owner of The Vineyard, travelled 6,000 miles, from London to Sonoma, on a mission that took him from extraordinary success in the high-tech world to a risky startup in the wine business. The winery in Knights Valley, Sonoma County, has gone from strength to strength, and  Nicolas Morlet, the winemaker, tells us more about how the last two vintages 2012 and 2013 have fared.
Peter Michael Winery in Summer

While mountain vineyards, classical winemaking and limited production are the longstanding themes at Peter Michael Winery, the growing seasons and harvest conditions do change. This makes the winemaking process ever more exciting.

For the 2012 vintage. winter and spring were wet and cold, slightly delaying bud break, flowering and fruit set. The bloom occurred in ideal weather. The climate throughout the summer was picture perfect: temperate with only moderate heat spikes. A long Indian summer of mild temperatures and sunny days was an important factor in the ripening process. Yields for the 2012 harvest were slightly higher than average for all varietals. The vintage gave us beautiful, clean, healthy grape clusters across all varietals, appellations and vineyards resulting in wines of depth and elegance and outstanding ageing potential.

For the 2013 vintage, the growing season began with a dry spring and mild temperatures similar to the previous vintage. In the first part of May, two days of violent winds damaged our Chardonnay vineyards. This resulted in uneven bloom and set, despite the otherwise ideal weather conditions. The vineyard crew carefully re-pruned the vines and executed multiple passes of green harvest. The already small crop was further reduced to one cluster per shoot, bringing the vines back into balance and ensuring the quality of the harvest. From veraison through picking, the vines enjoyed ideal ripening conditions. A long Indian summer allowed the fruit to reach perfect maturity and contributed to the exceptional quality of this small vintage.

Head Sommelier

Head Sommelier, Romain Bourger

Passion for wine has led to a fantastic career for Romain Bourger. For the past two years, he has held position of Head Sommelier at The Vineyard in Stockcross, which has been his home for five years. Things are going from strength to strength.

Head Sommelier

When did your passion for wine begin?

It all began when I started studying at hospitality school in my hometown in North-Eastern France. We were taught the basics about wine, such as vine training, fermentation and the growing season. This really piqued my interest and during my second year we started to talk more about the different appellations and grape varieties which was, for me, more interesting. I was very inspired by my teacher, Mr. Jean Pierre Lorrain, who had worked in various top hotels in France and always used to tell us stories from his time working in restaurants (whether it was a wine he served during a dinner with the French President or a memory he had from his youth which was linked to a particular vineyard or region).

When and where did you train to become a sommelier?

My passion was ignited and I wanted to take an extra year to learn more about wine. From 2007 to 2008, I took a more intensive class to learn more about wine in general as well as studies on other beverages – including non-alcoholic ones!

What is the most expensive wine that you have served at The Vineyard and where is it from? 

There have been a few in the five years that I have worked here, but the most memorable was a bottle of RomanéeConti, one of Burgundy’s finest and most expensive producers. Specifically, the wonderful 2007 Grand Cru Domaine de la RomanéeConti, ordered for a special occasion. I won’t disclose the price but let’s just say they had a good time!

Which bottle of wine in the cellar would you most like to drink and why?

There are plenty of delicious bottles in our cellar to tempt me so it is a hard choice! Right now, I’d choose La Tache Grand Cru Domaine de la RomanéeConti, the 1995 vintage. A good growing year in Burgundy, this Pinot Noir has such a delicate harmony between power and elegance, a velvety texture and complexity that it would definitely be my choice.

What is the best part of working at The Vineyard in terms of your passion for wine?

It is so rewarding to help our guests discover more about their wine preferences, whether it be through our wines schools, at a convivial dinner or an informal tasting. Being able to suggest wines to pair with their dish selection or to help them choose a special bottle, either classic or unusual, and be part of their experience is what I love.