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.
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!
In just under a week we welcome our sixth annual Wine Festival. It is back with a diference. We have invited esteemed friends from the drinks trade, including our brewery partner, Two Cocks Brewery. Here, we learn a little more about them.
Phil and Michael started Two Cocks Brewery in 2011 and now produce award–winning ale in small batches using water drawn from the farm’s borehole.
Using this clear, fresh and sweet tasting water and some of the farm’s own hedgerow hops in every brew gives the beers a distinctive edge.
Hot on sustainability, the spent grain is used to feed the farm’s livestock and the spent hops are used to enrich the soil.
The Two Cocks name and hand-applied feather on every bottle label gives a nod to the brewery’s poultry farm roots and underlines the brewery’s desire to produce artisan beers with a known provenance. The beers have already won 17 major awards and gained a following of several Michelin-starred chefs.
The beers all have Civil War-inspired names in honour of the fact that the brewery is based on a Roundhead encampment of the 1643 battle of Newbury.
This week’s exceptional wine by the glass is our very own 2011 Peter Michael Winery, Clos du Ciel Pinot Noir. Recently award-winning, this is something we make ourselves and are very proud of. Our Sommelier team tell us more.
2010 showed to be an exceptional year for Sonoma’s Pinot Noir with both our Ma Danseuse and Clos du Ciel being awarded a prestigious 100 points by Robert Parker.
Sonoma, often said as being capable of competing with Burgundy’s finest, has proved to be producing some of the greatest California Pinot Noir. The wine Clos du Ciel is a tribute to this beautiful region and to the walled vineyards called “clos”.
This is no wallflower of a Pinot Noir: the soft palate offers a great panel of ripe dark cherry, dry flowers and slightly plummy with a hint of spices and a fantastic balance.
The power of this Pinot Noir will accompany our tender lamb course beautifully.
This month heralds our Wine Festival, and our Icon Wines this month are all diverse and superlative in their class. Cue 2004 Meursault: an undervalued gem.
We are now paying tribute to one of the most talented producers in Burgundy: Anne Claude Leflaive. Domaine Leflaive was established in 1717 and is nowadays regarded as one of the finest estates in Burgundy.
This wine is a 2004 Premier Cru from a four-acre vineyard. 2004 is quite underrated but is actually a fantastic vintage for white wines, maybe even better than 2005!
With 12 months in barrel and a further six months in stainless steel, the wine has a creamy texture and develops notes of hazelnuts and roasted almonds as well as some baked apple and stone fruit notes. The rich palate is balanced by a chalky minerality giving a great freshness to the wine.
It is a great pairing to cod.
Further afield this week to Australia, we visit Heathcote in Central Victoria to sample the 1999 Jasper Hill Shiraz Cabernet Franc blend. Made by Emily’s Paddock, this is a delightfully hearty red with a lot to give. Our Sommelier team tell us more.
Heathcote is a lesser known area of Victoria, Australia. Nevertheless, some of the wines show a fantastic quality and potential.
This weekend’s Icon Wine is one of them.
Jasper Hill was bought in 1975 by Ron and Elva Laughton and produced their 1st vintage under the Jasper Hill in 1982. They are renowned to be one of the pioneers in this region.
The wine has a great complexity with tones of Maraschino cherry, plums and prunes as well as some sweet spices with a round and velvety palate.
Fantastic with our Beef dish or as an after dinner glass of wine.
Continuing our Burgundy theme this month, and a massive match for seasonal fare including game and earthy autumn vegetables, the 2004 vintage of Clos St Denis Grand Cru made by Pascal Lachaux in Burgundy is one not to miss.
This weekend, I wanted to show one of the finest Burgundy wines I have ever tasted.
Pascal Lachaux produces exemplary wines at Domaine Robert Arnoux where he continues to take the domaine from strength to strength.
He has extended his range by buying small quantities of grapes to make wines under a négociant licence. The wines are splendid; authentic and individual and all in limited supply.
2004 might not be regarded as Burgundy’s best vintage but this wine is just fantastic and drinking amazingly well now!
The wine develops aromas of ripe Bigarreau cherry, cranberry and freshly crushed strawberry. This beautiful wine also offers notes of sweet spices like chocolate and licorice, hint of black pepper and a touch of caramel.
The palate is ripe, perfumed and delicate with a great concentration, a silky texture and a long and soft finish.
I would suggest this unique wine with our delicious Duck course.
And now from some Californian sunshine, specifically in the form of 2007 Flowers Chardonnay made by Camp Meeting Ridge on the Sonoma Coast in California. Our Sommelier team tells us more about this little known but much acclaimed producer and grape.
This weekend we will be showcasing one of California’s most acclaimed Chardonnays!
To me, Flowers produces some of California’s best Chardonnay. The Camp Meeting Ridge vineyard was planted in 1991 and is considered by the estate itself as producing the most exciting and interesting Chardonnay.
The wine undergoes fermentation and ageing in French oak barrel of which only 35% new to retain a certain freshness and minerality.
2007 is often regarded as one of California’s best vintage and this wine is a great example.
The nose offers complex aromas of fresh hazelnut and almond, ripe yellow peach, pear, as well as confit lemon peel
The palate is rich, creamy with some toasty notes, sweet spices like vanilla and cinnamon. It is long and amazingly well balanced
I would suggest this excellent Chardonnay with our Halibut dish.
‘Tis the moment for Burgundy – and Chablis – 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?
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 Vineyard from the Yarra Valley in Australia produces a deliciously fruity red. Here our team wax lyrical about this most delicious wine.
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.
‘Tis the season for richer game-flavoured dishes thanks to in-season game meats and woodland crops. Our forests are generous with a wealth of delights for us to choose from and we explore the seasonal delight of mushrooms.
There are hundreds of common mushroom varieties such as button and brown mushroom buts some of the tastiest include field mushrooms, morels, oyster mushrooms and blewits. Field mushrooms are delicious with sautéed butter and herbs and are found in summer and autumn in rich open manured grasslands grazed by horses or cows. Morels are best cooked with a touch of cream and chopped chives – they have a light honeycomb pattern and a delicate scent. Oyster mushrooms are found in later autumn and have a very mild flavour – they are delicious fricasseed or sautéed with garlic or finished with cream on a steak.
Mushrooms are so versatile and go well with many other ingredients such as shellfish, poultry and meat. Wild game (also in season) with wild mushrooms is an especially good match – they are made for each other. Mushrooms are also a great option for vegetarians.
The flavour texture and scent of wild mushrooms, available either dried or fresh are very distinct – cultivated mushrooms are more widely available but are no match for the unique appeal of their wild cousins!