Tag Archives: James Hocking

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: 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.

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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.

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.

What to drink this spring

What to drink this springSpring is here! OK, the weather may be a little variable at the moment, but things are definitely warming up and this certainly affects my seasonal wine selections. Read on for my recommendations on what to drink this spring.

Historically, March and April see the gamut of new wine and vintage releases throughout the vinous word. Many wine trade fairs are hosted around the country, with producers across the globe visiting the UK and showcasing their latest releases. So, what am I drinking at the moment…?

I always have a soft spot for Italy at this time of year, and have picked up a beautiful new Greco di Tufo from Feudi di San Gregorio, based down in Campania, Southern Italy (RRP £15.52). Lovely almond nose with a touch of white peach and honeysuckle flavours. I added their red wine Rubrato, made from the Aglianico grape (RRP £14.10) at the same time wanting that lovely balance of high acidity and low tannin. With a charcuterie board, either of these will be stunning. The whole concept of wine and food pairing is second nature in Italy…it’s just a concept that works!

wine glasses with rose wineLeaving Italy for a second, Germany and the classic grape of the region Riesling starts to come into fashion at this time of year, with Koester Wolf Riesling Kabinett (RRP £8.75) being consumed by the gallon chez Hocking, loaded with all that crisp lemon/lime zesty flavour and suitable for the spiciest of dishes. Also look out on our wine lists for the most exciting rosé wine I’ve tasted in years and on the water now – it’s from Austria and called Umathum. Every household should open this whilst the BBQ is getting up to temperature!

We have an Italian wine school coming up at The Vineyard on 8th April where you’ll be able to try some fantastic wines from all the great wine producing regions. We’ll also go into detail about how to match these delicious wines with food. Discover more

Cheers

James Hocking
Director of wine

James Hocking: A Chevalier of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne

On Monday 9th July, I was invited to London to be “inducted” into a rather special “club”. This being the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. Whilst those of you who know me will be wondering why I’m doing something non-Californian (!), our connections with Champagne at The Vineyard are immense, encompassing Champagne Taittinger, Champagne Gremillet, and a raft of others.

The role of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne is to promote the wines of Champagne, their unique features, their ways of consumption and everything which contributes to their reputation and their image as the most prestigious symbol of success and celebration. Its mission is to contribute to the dissemination of essential information concerning the wines of Champagne by creating and motivating a network of staunch supporters (professional restaurateurs, sommeliers, connoisseurs and personalities from the world of politics, media, stage and screen), most notably through Champagne-led events throughout the world.

Around 1650 young aristocrats at the court of Louis the XIVth, amongst whom were Mortemart, Ollonne, Brousse and the satirist Saint-Evremont, founded an elegant academy dedicated to good wines. They were all famous wine connoisseurs and were particularly fond of the champagne wines from the three “coteaux” (hillsides) Ay, Avenay and Hautvillers. Hence the name given to this association “Ordre des Coteaux”. It disappeared shortly before the revolution.

In 1956 a group of “champenois” led by Roger Gaucher and Francois Tatittinger in particular, who did the historical research, decided to revive the original “Ordre des Coteaux”.

At the dinner, which followed the intronisation ceremony, jeroboams and magnums of Champagnes Deutz, Drappierand Taittinger were served to accompany the food. I felt proud to have been asked to join the Ordre (in the rank of Chevalier), and am looking forward to assisting further with the promotion of what must be the world’s ultimate celebration wine…

First picture –  James Hocking, Director of Wine at The Vineyard Group and Justin Llewelyn – UK, Ireland & Channel islands Ambassador, Champagne Taittinger and Consul General, Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne.

Californian sparkling wine offer and free delivery: Enjoy 10% off one of our new arrivals – Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc 08, until 31st August 2012 and take advantage of free delivery when you spend over £150. Please quote ‘blanc08‘ at checkout. Visit The Vineyard Cellars website now.

James Hocking

Director of Wine
The Vineyard Cellars
The Vineyard

The Peter Michael Winery Dinner June 2012 – Raiding the Library

On Saturday June 16th, I was asked to host and preside over something really special. For those who know the Peter Michael Winery and Vineyard Cellars, we spend more time than anything else saying “I’m sorry. We have no wine to sell”. This year is no exception, with a 2-year wait on the winery mailing list and only minimal stocks left here in the UK. “Raiding the Library” was therefore a chance to sample the unobtainable, paired with Daniel Galmiche’s bespoke tasting menu.

First up, Coeur a Coeur. A new wine for the winery made from 50% each Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Crisp, refreshing, but with the weight one would expect from Laville Haut-Brion or equivalent top Graves. A pair of Chardonnays followed to demonstrate the differences that terroir and micro climate in a single area can bring. Richness and ripeness versus minerality and steeliness, all within a couple of miles of each other!  On to the reds. Le Moulin Rouge is the opulent, blockbusting Pinot Noir from Gary Pisoni’s ranch down in Santa Lucia, South of San Francisco. Often the rarest wine made by the winery, this was the first time we opened this at any event in Europe. The flagship Les Pavots followed, exuding those classic left-bank Bordeaux characteristics of graphite, mineral, and dark fruit notes, lifted by a touch of cinnamon and other spice notes. The evening was complete…

But not quite. I had collected many old bottles of “PMW” as we call them over the past fifteen years,  and opened a few late-night bottles for our more hardened tasters. Clos du Ciel (long-since departed Chardonnay from Howell Mountain), Crète d’Or (Russian River Valley Chardonnay made once!), and older vintages of Belle Côte Chardonnay and Les Pavots Proprietary Red made up the list. We were done!

A very special evening, in the presence of Paul & Emily Michael and around forty ardent Peter Michael Winery fans. We’ll do it again some time…

James Hocking
Director of Wine
The Vineyard Group