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DAWA 'Best in Show' showcased at the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

5 hours 34 min ago

On Saturday 16 November, the sixth edition of the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter welcomed over 1200 fine wine aficionados at the Ritz-Carlton Shanghai Pudong to meet more than 160 star producers from 17 countries. 

An impressive 600+ fine wines were available to sample at the one-day event, including ten of the top awarded wines from this year’s Decanter Asia Wine Awards.

Hundreds of wine lovers visited the DAWA winners’ table to sample this year’s Best in Show winners

Located in the iconic grand ball room of the Ritz-Carlton, the DAWA winners’ table was visited by hundreds of eager wine lovers interested to sample the top-awarded wines – the ‘Best in Show’ winners – from the 2019 competition and meet DAWA 2019 judge Alex Cumming, the CEO and Head Sommelier of FirstCellars.com, one of China’s leading wine e-commerce businesses.

The diverse line-up offered tasters the ideal opportunity to sample stellar benchmarks from well-known regions like Champagne and Napa Valley and discover rising stars from countries like Georgia and Greece.

The line-up of DAWA 2019 Best in Show red wines available to sample

See the DAWA 2019 winners’ table line-up from the Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter and tasting notes below.

Read more about the 2019 Decanter Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter on DecanterChina.com DAWA 2019 ‘Best in Show’ line-up: Piper-Heidsieck, Essentiel Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne, France NV

Best in Show, 97 points

No trend in recent years in Champagne has been more significant than the gradual reduction of sugar levels in dosage, and it is remarkable how balanced Champagnes made in this style now seem to wine lovers and drinkers more generally. This non-vintage Blanc de Blancs illustrates the point perfectly, with its limpid purity and polished stone finesse: Extra Brut in style, yet not a trace of the gauntness and austerity once associated with low or zero-dosage Champagnes. The aromas, too, are fine-grained and pure, soft and creamy, just hinting at dessert apple and plant sap. The palate is lacy in texture, vivid and resonant in articulation; the finish fine-drawn and tapered.

Ogier, Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône, France 2018

Best in Show, 97 points

White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is never an obvious wine — or if it is, it’s a poor example. This wine provides a masterclass in how to bring three historic varieties together with a subtlety and grace which belies the warmth of the wine’s origins. The weight and marrow comes from its 30% Grenache; while the wine’s enticing aromatic charm – summer blossoms, crushed fennel and aniseed, acacia honey and ground white almonds – shows how well the historic Clairette can work with Roussanne. At 13.5% abv, the wine is generous without clumsiness or torpidity, and delicate yet ripe acidity and a faintly bitter, cleansing finish add to its overall style and swish.

Guests had the option to sample Ogier’s 2018 Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes and Kartlis Valley’s 2017 Qvevri Amber Kisi chilled or at room temperature

Kartlis Valley, Qvevri Amber Kisi, Kakheti, Georgia 2017

Best in Show, 97 points

Of the two outstanding Georgian Qvevri wines to make it into this year’s DAWA top twenty, this Kisi-based amber wine is certainly the most characterful. The aromas combine freshness and rich, singular allusiveness as only skin-fermented whites can do: look out for autumn orchard fruits, windfall apples and a barley sugar tang as well as more savoury notes of cheese rind, milk curd and bread dough. You can see the legacy of the wine’s months with its skins and perhaps stems in the firmly structured tannins. The 13.2% of alcohol is perfect, bringing warmth and glycerol to balance the tannins. Great qvevri wines must always be based on fully ripe fruit, so the acidity levels are modest, while all those unusual but arresting aromatic notes come cascading back to fill out the palate with interest and intrigue. Definitely a food wine, too. NB this wine was previously known under “Kart-Valley”.

Bodegas Linaje Garsea, Archangelus Gabrihel French Oak, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2014

Best in Show, 97 points

This year’s DAWA was a great one for Spain’s Tempranillo, as a look at our other Gold and Platinum medals will confirm: we had ample, multi-region Tempranillo choice as we came to pick our top twenty Best in Show. This wine, the first of a brace of Ribera del Duero examples, is very dark in colour, with alluringly sensual aromas of fleshy plum and black cherry, cosseted by sweet spices and soft Havana leaf. On the palate, it is deep, dark and rich, with much softer tannins (for example) than its top twenty Chianti counterpart. Still more blackberry richness comes to join the plum and cherry in the mouth. The wine has attractive supporting acidity, and the oaking shows welcome restraint, allowing that gorgeous fruit to sing through.

Alejandro Fernández Tinto Pesquera, Millenium, Gran Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2009

Best in Show, 97 points

A year in which two Ribera del Duero wines make it into the top twenty while no Rioja came through (though check out our Platinum and Gold Medal wines for some excellent Rioja choices) surely marks a milestone in the development of Spain’s great Duero region. This was the oldest wine among the still, unfortified choices in our top picks — yet a casual glance at its dark, black-purple colour is likely to surprise. The aromas, too, are youthful and packed with sweet, sumptuous black fruits; it’s really in the harmony with which these aromas swim together that you can note the passing of the years. In the mouth, the wine is soft and mouth-filling, autumnal and warm-fruited; the depth of that fruit and the amplitude of the wine’s coaxing tannins, though, mean that it still has at least a decade of cellar time ahead of it.

Alejandro Fernández Tinto Pesquera, Millenium, Gran Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain 2009

St Hugo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia 2016

Best in Show, 97 points

Coonawarra fights it out annually with Margaret River as the source of Australia’s finest Cabernet. We don’t have a Margaret River example in this year’s top selection, but this dark red-black wine from the 2016 vintage underscores the South Australian region’s virtues: a clean, fresh precision of aroma in which blackcurrant meets tea leaf, and lively, midweight flavours which tease yet satisfy in equal measure. The allusive profile is very different, but in terms of classicism and balance this wine marks a perfect Southern Hemisphere counterpoint to our Best in Show Chianti Classico.

Darioush, Signature Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California, USA 2016

Best in Show, 97 points

No region can mix ease of access with both the stamp of terroir and a fine-wine dignity quite like the Napa valley, and this 2016 example lives up to all the regional promise. It’s a dark red-black in colour, with exuberant yet refined berry fruits; the palate is soft, rich, open, mixing a little fig, pepper and tobacco with generous plum and bramble. Look out, too, for the salve of its tannins. Billowing Napa Cabernet provides the core of the blend, yet 6% of Merlot and 7% of Cabernet Franc help the wine maintain its complexity all the way to a dark, softly smoky finish.

Avantis Estate, Agios Chronos, Evia, Central Greece, Greece 2015

Best in Show, 97 points

Greece’s second largest island has its indigenous specialities, but the wine which caught our judges’ attention was this Cote-Rotie-like blend of Syrah, or Shiraz, with 8% Viognier. It’s already almost four years old, but you wouldn’t know it from its dark black-purple colour; the aromas are full of sweet enchantment, both floral and fruited, while in the mouth the wine is soft, bright and lively, without any sense either of hot-country forcing or weight, or of exaggerated winery confection. More flowers enliven the swish blackcurrant and black cherry fruits. Totally convincing, and a great blind-tasting wine to get your friends guessing.

Avantis Estate’s 2015 Agios Chronos caught our judges’ attention at DAWA judging week and was equally a stand favourite at the Shanghai Fine Wine Encounter

Capel Vale, Whispering Hill Single Vineyard Shiraz, Mount Barker, Western Australia, Australia 2018

Best in Show, 97 points

The Mount Barker tradition with Shiraz may not be as well known as others in Australia, but this complex, enticingly scented midweight red stakes a convincing claim to the fine-wine high ground. It’s dark but not saturatedly deep in colour; precise and enchanting floral scents and sweet spices rather than sumo-like fruit dominate the aromatic profile. The palate brings those floral and spice notes together once again, and it’s just a spoonful or two of tar and earth rather than tannin which bring complexity to the pomegranate and damson fruits. Soft, naturally articulated acidity completes the happy picture.

Henriques & Henriques, Sercial, Madeira, Portugal 2001

Best in Show, 97 points

Dry, challenging Sercial is a Madeira-lover’s Madeira. There is usually little overt sweetness with which to offset the pungency and attack of age itself (eighteen years in this case). Once discovered, though, the style is limitlessly rewarding — as those who venture into this surprisingly accessible example of the genre will find. Burnished, tamarind scents give way to a cascade of lemon, grape and grapefruit — yet the wine’s 55g/l of sugar help shape and resolve those flavours into something almost toothsome. The wine’s prominent acidity (a typical feature of Madeira) means that it tastes drier than that residual sugar level would suggest, and the evaporative concentration of the ageing process leaves the wine as clean on the last sip as it was on the first.

Henriques & Henriques 2001 Sercial was a popular finish at the DAWA winners’ table

See all DAWA 2019 results

 

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Gallo buys prized Napa Valley winery Pahlmeyer

9 hours 22 min ago
Pahlmeyer is best known for its signature Bordeaux red blend, plus single-varietal Chardonnay and Merlot wines.Gallo Pahlmeyer deal

Gallo said its purchase of Pahlmeyer winery includes the Pahlmeyer and Jayson by Pahlmeyer wine brands, known for Bordeaux red blends and Chardonnay. A fee was not disclosed.

Pahlmeyer’s 22-hectare estate vineyard, Waters Ranch, was not included in the sale, but Gallo said it has agreed to lease the site, which is located in Atlas Peak near to Napa Valley.

For Gallo, the deal represents a further move into premium and luxury wine in California following a series of acquisitions in recent years – including its purchase of the nearby Stagecoach Vineyard in 2017.

Pahmeyer’s story

Jason Pahlmeyer established a vineyard in Atlas Peak in the 1980s after consulting soil experts at the University of Bordeaux.

After leaving a career in law, he intended to create a ‘California Mouton’ and Pahlmeyer quickly gained plaudits for its first ‘Proprietary Red’ Bordeaux blend, combining Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, born in 1986.

‘Thrilled’ with deal

‘I am thrilled to transition ownership of Pahlmeyer Winery to the Gallo Family,’ said Jayson Pahlmeyer.

‘The two companies share similar principles and, with Gallo’s long-standing commitment to quality, I am confident they will take Pahlmeyer to even greater heights in the future.’

Before the deal, the presidency of Pahlmeyer had passed from Jayson to his daughter, Cleo. Gallo said that the pair would stay on as consultants.

‘We are equally dedicated to making world class wines and I am thrilled to begin working with the Gallo team,’ said Cleo Pahlmeyer.

Wayfarer not included

She will continue to independently run the Wayfarer brand and Wayfarer vineyard in Sonoma Coast. Neither of those were part of the Gallo deal.

Gallo added that it will continue to operate the Jayson tasting room opened in The Village at Vista Collina Resort in August 2018.

A good fit

Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager of Gallo’s premium wine division, said that Pahlmeyer fits ‘nicely’ into the firm’s portfolio, ‘allowing Gallo to continue competing in luxury wine and fueling strategic growth for the company’.

See also: Jane Anson reports from a masterclass of top Napa Valley Cabernet wines

 

The post Gallo buys prized Napa Valley winery Pahlmeyer appeared first on Decanter.

Southern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers

12 hours 23 min ago
VinsobresSouthern Rhône 2018 3/5 A devastating attack of mildew hit the region in spring. Those who escaped the worst enjoyed a very hot and dry summer, resulting in juicy, generous reds and whites, some surprisingly good. Scroll down to see Matt’s top Southern Rhône tasting notes and scores

One of the most important aspects of terroir in the Southern Rhône is the mistral. This penetrating north wind follows the rain, drying wet bunches and helping to keep diseases at bay. But after successive rains throughout a very warm May the mistral never came and mildew spread like wildfire. ‘It happened in one night,’ says Vincent Avril of Clos des Papes who eventually lost 70% of his crop.

Mildew is a fungus-like organism that attacks all the green parts of the vine. It causes leaves to drop, which hampers ripening, and when it attacks the stems it arrests the flow of sap, leaving blackened, wizened bunches. It affected all varieties but Grenache was especially prone, and it had a cruel predilection for old vines. Mourvèdre was fairly resistant however, and Mourvèdre-heavy blends performed well in 2018.

‘There are many excellent wines, but these are the exceptions – there are countless others that are simply best avoided’

 

See Matt’s top Southern Rhône 2018 wines: Rhône 2018 En Primeur: Full vintage report Northern Rhône 2018 En Primeur: Top Scorers

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Mouton Rothschild reveals 2017 label by Annette Messager

14 hours 34 min ago
Part of the Mouton Rothschild 2017 wine label.

Annette Messager’s design for the Mouton Rothschild 2017 label has been named ‘Hallelujah’, and observers will notice that the word is repeated many times in waves on the artwork.

Mouton owner Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA has commissioned an artist to design every grand vin vintage label since 1945.

The Pauillac first growth said of Messager’s work, ‘In an approach that is both realistic and symbolic, [Messager] combines two substances, milk and wine, which the Bible often associates with each other, hymning the virtues of both.’

The Mouton 2017 label in full.

About Annette Messager

Messager, born in 1943, is known as a visual and graphic artist and has exhibited her work in the some of the world’s best-known galleries.

She won the prestigious Golden Lion award at Venice Biennale in 2005 and the Praemium Imperiale in Japan in 2016.

Several of her major works have been seen as commentary on identity, particularly around the perceptions of women by society and individuals.

Messager succeeds South African artist William Kentridge, who designed the Mouton 2016 label.

More on Mouton’s labels series

The decision over who to commission for the latest vintage label lies with the current generation of Mouton Rothschild owners: Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild.

The estate said that each artist is given the freedom to create an original work.

‘The artists receive no fee for their work, but are given cases of Mouton Rothschild [wines], including of course “their vintage”,’ the estate said.

Visitors to the Château can see a library of all labels on display.

See Jane Anson’s en primeur tasting note for Mouton Rothschild 2017

Look out for Anson’s in-bottle reviews of the Bordeaux 2017 vintage, coming soon on Decanter Premium.

 

 

 

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Rhône 2018 En Primeur: Full report

Tue, 19/11/2019 - 12:03
Tasting at Guigal Cote RotieIn Brief: Rhone 2018 En Primeur Northern Rhône 2018 4/5 Very hot and dry, resulting in a plentiful ripe crop. Many wines with low acidity and potent alcohol, but those that could achieve balance made impressive wines. Southern Rhône 2018 3/5 A devastating attack of mildew hit the region in spring. Those who escaped the worst enjoyed a very hot and dry summer, resulting in juicy, generous reds and whites, some surprisingly good. ‘It’s never easy to summarise a Rhône Valley vintage, but in terms of consistency, the 2018 vintage in the Southern and Northern Rhône are poles apart’

For Stéphane Montez of Domaine de Monteillet in Côte-Rôtie it was ‘the vintage everyone dreams about.’ For many producers in the South, it was a disaster.

It’s never easy to summarise a Rhône Valley vintage, but in terms of consistency, the 2018 vintage in the Southern and Northern Rhône are poles apart.

Coming Soon. Quick link: See all Rhône 2018 en primeur tasting notes & scores

It’s not that conditions were wildly different; both ends experienced a wet spring followed by a sweltering summer. In the North, these conditions translated themselves into large yields of ripe fruit – sometimes very ripe. Growers were pleased, occasionally delighted, with the results.

The wet weather in the Southern Rhône however was much more severe and it triggered the worst outbreak of downy mildew winemakers had seen in generations. Jacqueline André of Domaine Pierre André in Châteauneuf-du-Pape said her father has never witnessed anything like it – and he’s 93.

Continue reading below Rhône 2018 en primeur reports

I heard countless stories of producers losing half their crop or more. Although not all growers were affected, most would agree with Jean-Paul Daumen of Domaine de la Vieille Julienne, that it was ‘a very stressful year.’ Once this episode had passed, some went on to produce very good wines, generally in the ripe, juicy style of a hot vintage. But many wines lack depth, and even some reliable estates made disappointing wines.

In order to put together a broad selection of exciting wines to share with you, I tasted 1,200 wines and visited many lesser-known domaines that were new to me, and in doing so made a number of exciting discoveries. As always, I’ve covered all the 17 crus of the Southern and Northern Rhône, encompassing a range of styles, prices and colours to make a selection of 300 notable wines that will help you navigate this tricky vintage.

Best Producers in 2018:

Northern Rhône Côte-Rôtie Domaine JP Jamet
Domaine Rostaing
Domaine de Monteillet
Domaine Stéphane Ogier Condrieu Domaine Niero
Domaine de Monteillet
Domaine Chambeyron Saint-Joseph Domaine Gonon
Domaine JL Chave
M Chapoutier
Domaine Chirat
Domaine Jolivet Cornas Domaine Clape
Domaine Vincent Paris
Domaine Johann Michel
Domaine du Tunnel
Domaine Guy Farge Saint-Péray Domaine Clape
Domaine Bernard Gripa
Alain Voge
Domaine du Tunnel Hermitage Domaine JL Chave
M. Chapoutier
Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage Domaine les 4 Vents
Domaine Gaylord Machon
Domaine Fayolle Fils & Fille
Domaine Melody
Domaine Yann Chave Southern Rhône Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel
Domaine de la Vieille Julienne
Domaine de Cristia
Domaine de la Bastide Saint-Dominique
Domaine Pierre André Gigondas, Vacqueyras & Beaumes de Venise Domaine des Bosquets
Moulin de la Gardette
Domaine Santa Duc
Domaine la Monardière
Domaine la Ligière Rasteau, Cairanne & Vinsobres Domaine Alary
Domaine la Luminaille
Domaine Brusset
Domaine des Amadieu Lirac & Tavel Château de Montfaucon
Clos du Mont-Olivet
Domaine de la Mordorée
Château de Bouchassy

 

You might also like: See Rhone 2017’s report

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Northern Rhône 2018 report: The top scorers

Tue, 19/11/2019 - 12:02
Northern Rhône 2018

Very hot and dry, resulting in a plentiful ripe crop. Many wines with low acidity and potent alcohol, but those that could achieve balance made impressive wines.

4/5 Scroll down to see Matt’s top Northern Rhône tasting notes and scores

 

See Matt’s top Northern Rhône 2018 wines: Rhône 2018 En Primeur: Full vintage report

 

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Venice floods threaten indigenous grape on city's vineyard

Tue, 19/11/2019 - 11:43
The vineyard at Venissa; the morning after the flood (left) and a few days later (right)Venice Floods

Last week, on the evening of Tuesday 12th November, the worst tide in half-a-century devastated Venice and flooded Venissa’s famed Mazzorbo island vineyard – where the region’s last-surviving parcel of the indigenous Dorona grape is grown – with more than six feet of destructive, salty water. By Wednesday morning, the water had begun to recede, but it will be months before Venissa knows for sure if its vines survived.

In Veneto, these disastrous tides are referred to as ‘acqua alta’, and the worst one in Venice history took place in 1966. Reaching 194cm – compared to last week’s 187 cm –  it destroyed much of Venice’s agriculture and successfully wiped out the 2,500-year wine industry for decades to come.

It was dormant until 2002 when Gianluca Bisol of Bisol Prosecco discovered a handful of surviving Dorona vines on the island of Torcello. He set to work on reviving this ancient grape and Venice’s winemaking traditions by planting a small vineyard in the lagoon on the quiet island of Mazzorbo. The 2019 vintage will be the 10th for Venissa, but Tuesday’s acqua alta threatened to repeat history.

While the Dorona vines have adapted to the saline conditions over centuries, Venissa general manager Matteo Bisol said they won’t know for sure if their nearly one hectare of vines survived the flood until the spring. While they wait Venissa has turned on its drip irrigation system to help flush the soil out.

There is one key difference between this recent acqua alta and the one in 1966 which keeps alive some optimism among the Bisol family. In 1966, the water remained at a high level for nearly two days, but this time, it started to recede after a couple of hours, hopefully preventing the vineyard from absorbing too much salt. It also rained generously the day prior, pumping the vines full of fresh water.

‘These are good elements, but we cannot underestimate the danger,’ says Gianluca Bisol, recalling when Venissa lost more than 100 vines in 2012 due to a significantly less severe acqua alta.

The Future

If the vines do survive, there is still a grave concern for Venissa’s future. These acqua alta’s have been occurring more frequently; four of the 10 worst acqua altas in history have taken place in the last decade, which Bisol attributes to climate change. While the city of Venice has been working to build a system that will protect the area from future flooding, it could take years to complete.

In the meantime, Venissa is focused on recovering from Tuesday’s event. It suffered minimal damage to its resort, winery and restaurant structures, but by far the biggest hit to its business and others is tourism.

‘We want to show that nothing stopped in Venice because tourism is very important,’ says Bisol. ‘It is very important for people to understand that everything is working, that it’s possible to visit the city, and people are more than happy to host tourists at this moment. We really need it to survive.’

The winery is also doing what it can to help its neighbours. The family has opened up their private collection and released six magnums of Venissa – two each of the 2010, 2011, and 2014 vintages – to raise emergency funds for those affected in their community. Ranging in price from € 990 to nearly € 5,000, as of Monday, four of the magnums were still available for purchase on the Venissa website (under the ‘Acqua Alta’ tab).

‘Even if we have big damages to our structures and the vineyards, we believe we’re still on the lucky side of the population,’ says Bisol. ‘Other people have more problems than us.’

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Wine Paris 2020

Tue, 19/11/2019 - 11:10

In partnership with Wine Paris.

WINE PARIS stems from the convergence of VINISUD and VINOVISION PARIS, bringing together Mediterranean and cool climate wines, promoting their regional identities, their respective attributes and diversity. The fusion of these two clearly identifiable and complementary exhibitions in 2019 marked the first collective approach by French regional generic bodies to create a major wine business event in Paris, welcoming both French and international exhibitors and visitors.

In 2020, WINE PARIS will take place concurrently with Vinexpo Paris. This unprecedented and collective initiative creates a not to be missed event for the global wine and spirits community and answers producers’ needs to optimise their resources and benefit from an event with maximum impact. This cohesive approach will promote the events’ appeal even further and act as a magnet for buyers from all sectors of the trade, French and international, drawing them to the French capital, at a time of the year which is conducive to buying.

WINE PARIS is the international landmark event for wine professionals, taking place at a key time in the buying calendar. See you there!

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What's the difference between Syrah and Shiraz?

Mon, 18/11/2019 - 13:28
You say Syrah, I say Shiraz...Key points
  • Syrah and Shiraz are simply two names for the same grape variety.
  • Traditional Australian Shiraz would be seen as more full-bodied, ripe and concentrated, while a classic ‘old world’ Syrah from the Northern Rhône might combine dense fruit with a more restrained character and floral aromas.
  • In reality, it is not possible to make such a clear-cut distinction and Syrah / Shiraz wines from other countries and regions have a growing reputation, too.

If you’re sufficiently into wine to covet or buy a bottle of Penfolds Grange, then you may know that its rockstar reputation is built on the same grape variety that makes red Hermitage such a vaunted name of the northern Rhône.

But it’s not immediately obvious that Syrah and Shiraz are two words for the same grape variety.

Decanter.com reported in 2002 that UK supermarket Sainsbury’s lost sales when it was forced to change Shiraz to Syrah on wine labels.

For the record, this grape variety’s parents have been traced to little-known Dureza, believed to be local to the Rhône-Alpes region of France, and Mondeuse Blanche.

A landmark study in 2006 found that Syrah / Shiraz was also a distant relative of Pinot Noir, which surprised researchers at the time.

Syrah first arrived in Australia in the 19th Century and it has evolved in its Shiraz form to be an emblem of the country’s wine industry.

More than just a name?

Some winemakers would argue that, stylistically speaking, Shiraz and Syrah are not the same. Syrah might be used to denote a more restrained ‘old world’ style of wine, for instance.

But be warned; there are no rules to govern this distinction and such a crude demarcation cannot be so easily drawn.

Core varietal characteristics associated with Syrah /Shiraz wines include black fruits, medium to high tannins and black and white pepper spice with some herbaceous aromas.

A traditional Shiraz from South Australia would be considered bolder, with riper and more concentrated fruit, perhaps with earthy and dark chocolate notes plus some extra spiciness from the use of new oak. One might also expect higher alcohol levels, given the hotter climate.

Syrah wines from the northern Rhône can also have a robust structure with dense dark fruit, but one might classically expect a leaner, more austere character alongside greater prominence for floral aromas and black or white pepper.

However, you’ll probably know by now that the wine world loves to defy sweeping generalisations.

You can find Syrah / Shiraz wines in both southern France and Australia that place greater emphasis on luscious, plummy fruit and are subsequently more approachable at a younger age. Likewise, you’ll find Syrah and Shiraz-labelled wines that are more structured and built to last.

A trend towards Shiraz from cooler regions of Australia and a shift towards a lighter touch in the cellar mean that the classic description above can often appear out-dated.

And on the steep slopes of the northern Rhône, Côte Rôtie is associated with more floral elegance, while Hermitage has a reputation for greater intensity. Use of oak varies between producers, too.

Today, Shiraz / Syrah is one of the world’s most planted grape varieties, and you’ll find great examples in California – thanks in part to the so-called Rhône rangers – as well as in Chile, South Africa and New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay.

As ever, it’s always beneficial to think about the producer’s winemaking style and the origin of the fruit, if you’ve time.

See also: What are the best Australian Shiraz wines?

 

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A look at Australia’s Fine Wine from Family Producers

Mon, 18/11/2019 - 10:51

In 2010, a band of 11 leading Australian multi-generational family wine producers with more than 1,200 years of collective winemaking experience combined under the Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) banner. Their purpose? To quash the notion ‘that Australia and fine wine don’t go together… we want to bring perception and reality together’, said then chairman Alister Purbrick of Tahbilk in Victoria.

That objective was firmly achieved at a recent tasting in London where the group members each showcased one of their museum-release flagship wines.

Tasting flagship Australian Wines from the AFFW members:

Members of Australia’s First Families of Wine

Brown Brothers (Victoria)
Campbells (Rutherglen, Victoria)
d’Arenberg (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
Henschke (Eden Valley, South Australia)
Howard Park (Margaret River, Western Australia)
Jim Barry (Clare Valley, South Australia)
McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant (Hunter Valley, New South Wales)
Tahbilk (Nagambie Lakes, Victoria)
Tyrrell’s (Hunter Valley, New South Wales)
Wakefield (Clare Valley, South Australia)
Yalumba (Barossa, South Australia)

You may also like: Top Australian multi-regional blends Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay: The screwcap era Expert’s choice: Premium Australian Shiraz

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Best wine advent calendars

Sun, 17/11/2019 - 10:01

Christmas may seem like a long way away still but with December fast approaching what better way to get in the festive spirit – pun intended – than to think about swapping those small sweet treats for a daily tipple?

An explosion in the advent calendar market has seen alcohol versions soar in popularity over the past few years, the incentive being to try a number of small versions without splashing out on entire bottles, as well as being able to sample small breweries and artisan producers who might otherwise fly under your radar.

From mixed wine calendars to whole Prosecco ones there’s a huge amount of choice for wine lovers but there’s also gin ones (enough to fill an entire round-up alone) as well as rum, vodka, whisky and even beer.

Many advent calendars include a modest measure behind each window with some offering 12 doors with others treating you to the full 24 so it’s worth checking before buying. Beware also the size of these calendars – some take up a considerable amount of room, important to consider if you’re planning on transporting it or giving as a gift.

These calendars tend to sell out fairly quickly so if you see one you like it’s best to buy straight away.

Take a look at our round-up of the best ones hitting the market this festive season:

Wine Advent Calendar, Virgin Wines, £79.99

This year Virgin Wines has not one but three wine-specific advent calendars to choose from with a mixed version plus an all red or all white option for the first time ever. Each calendar is packed with 24 of Virgin’s highest customer-rated wines and showcases the selection of award-winning labels in miniature 187ml bottles. We’ve tested this one in the Decanter offices and it definitely lives up to the hype with stylish packaging – just like a very large Christmas present (so make sure you’ve got enough room to store it) and made from heavy duty card so no need to worry about it getting damaged in the post or bottles accidentally pushing through. Virgin also offer a gin advent calendar (£99.99) as well as their first beer version featuring 24 craft beers from breweries around the world (£79.99).

Superstar Sparkling Advent Calendar, The Pip Stop £124.99

What better way to celebrate the festive season than to pop a mini bottle of fizz every day in December and here you can with The Pip Stop’s special sparkling wine only advent calendar. Another calendar tried and tested at the Decanter HQ – this huge box comes adorned with 24 gold bauble doors each opening to reveal a 20cl bottle of either Prosecco, Moscato or Pinot rosé with an extra special bottle of Laurent Perrier Champagne waiting for you behind door number 24 on Christmas Eve! The Pip Stop also offer a 24-bottle beer advent calendar, a mixture of bottles and cans for £64.99.

Wine advent calendar, Aldi, £49.99

An instant sell-out last year, Aldi’s mixed wine advent calendar is back. It’s filled with 24 mini bottles of red, white, rosé and sparkling wines and includes customer favourites such as The Exquisite Collection Macon Villages and the Calvet Cap d’Agde Rose, with the size of the bottles ranging from 187ml to 200ml. The calendar in total contains the equivalent of 6 full bottles of 75cl wine. It’s available online and in selected stores.

Wine Advent Calendar, John Lewis, £75

Another mixed wine advent calendar here featuring 24 x 187ml bottles of red, white and rosé wines from around the world including McGuigan Black Label Chardonnay and Trivento Reserve Malbec. Alternatively John Lewis also offer a Fizz Advent Calendar, priced at £125, featuring 24 x 200ml bottles of Prosecco and Moscato with a special bottle of Lanson Champagne to welcome Christmas Eve.

Personalised wine advent calendar, £124.99

A great gift or treat for yourself, this advent calendar features 24 bottles of 187ml behind each of the 24 doors with a ‘Bluffers Guide to Wine’ behind number 25. The wines are a mixture of white, red and rosé and come in a blue leatherette box featuring the recipients name foil embossed on the lid.

Non-wine advent calendars

The Gin Explorer Advent Calendar, £99.95

Let the Christmas celebrations be-gin with this fun advent calendar from Drinks by the Dram that’s packed with 24 different, handmade 30ml wax-sealed bottles. From boutique producers to world-renowned brands these miniature bottles allow you 24 chances to discover tasty gins over the festive season including a special Christmas spirit made with frankincense and myrrh. Although not wine, this calendar was a big hit when unwrapped in the Decanter offices! Drinks by the Dram also has all your other spirit bases covered with Whisky, Scotch, Bourbon, Cognac and Rum advent calendars to keep you taste buds going over Christmas.

Fever Tree Gin & Tonic Advent Calendar, £60

The perfect gift for ginthusiasts here with an advent calendar that pairs 12 x mini 50ml bottles of craft gins with 12 x 150ml cans of Fever Tree tonic in various flavours. Each G&T combination has been hand chosen by the pros so you can enjoy this classic mix every other day throughout December. Gins comes from the botanical based The Botanist, to juniper-rich Sipsmith London Dry Gin, and are matched with a tonic that complements their unique flavour profiles, such as Refreshingly Light Cucumber Tonic Water, Elderflower and Mediterranean options. Sold in Waitrose stores, online and through Ocado.

Beer Advent Calendar, Adnams, £54.99

If you don’t fancy a daily dose of wine or spirits each day in December, this beer advent calendar could be for you. It features a mixture of 24 bottles and cans including the brewery’s popular bottlings; Ghost Ship and Ease Up IPA as well as Cucamelon and Mosaic Pale Ale in cans.

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Exclusive tasting of Jurançon's cult Clos Joliette

Sun, 17/11/2019 - 08:09

Have you heard of this cult wine? No, neither had I, despite 35 years of writing about wine. Joliette is a tiny vineyard of 1.5 hectares in Chapelle de Rousse, in the northeastern part of Jurançon, that bucolic region in the Pyrenees foothills.

Scroll down for Stephen Brook’s Clos Joliette tasting notes and scores

According to French wine retailer Clos des Millésimes prices for Clos Joliette wines start at €228.00 a per bottle.

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Popping a Champagne cork is rocket science, says study

Sat, 16/11/2019 - 08:34
High speed imagery from a bottle stored at 20 degrees Celsius. A Mach disk appears in 'A', as shown by the white arrow, but has vanished in 'F', one millisecond later.

Dry ice can briefly shoot out of a Champagne bottle at nearly twice the speed of sound, or about 2,400km per hour, according to new research published in the Science Advances journal.

While this velocity was only reached for a millisecond and came after storing bottles above the ideal serving temperature, one scientist involved said it was a ‘huge surprise’.

Researchers had set out to capture a Champagne cork popping using high-speed video and six bottles of rosé Champagne from Vranken-Pommery Monopole.

They hoped to better understand how temperature and associated air pressure changes influence the way carbon dioxide (CO2) in the bottle reacts with the air outside once released.

It is already known that storing Champagne at higher temperatures increases the pressure in the bottle versus the air outside.

This can cause CO2 to freeze and turn to dry ice when suddenly released, creating a plume at the bottle opening. Bottles stored at 20 degrees Celsius ejected a freezing jet of CO2 at nearly -90 degrees Celsius in the latest study.

‘The huge surprise deserving an article in Science Advances was the  formation of a Mach disk [in the jet of freezing CO2], similar to what is happening with rocket plume exhausts,’ said Gérard Liger-Belair, one of the researchers and who is professor of chemical physics at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.

‘The conditions needed to create such shock waves are drastic, but in the very first millisecond following cork popping, all the conditions are met,’ he told Decanter.com.

‘The velocity of gases expelled from the bottleneck reaches almost Mach 2, twice the velocity of sound.’

However, the experiments were carried out on Champagne bottles stored at 20 and 30 degrees Celsius for 72 hours before filming – well above what would be considered the ideal serving temperature.

A bottle chilled and opened at between eight and 10 degrees Celsius ‘is not enough to produce such a transverse shockwave’, Liger-Belair said, unless the bottle was opened at high altitude with a lower outside air pressure.

Still, he said the filming experiment showed that ‘there is a lot of wonderful and subtle science hidden in a single bottle of Champagne’.

See the Science Advances journal article here

See also: How to pair Champagne with food

 

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Marqués de Murrieta: Ygay, Dalmau & Capellania all tasted

Sat, 16/11/2019 - 08:30

The Marquis of Murrieta was the first and most influential of the Spanish aristocracy who took it upon themselves to remodel the Spanish vinous template with a distinctly Bordelais flavour. All this started in 1852 and although the Bodega is no longer in eponymous hands the current owner, the deliciously flamboyant Vicente Dalmau Cebrián-Sagarriga, the tenth Conde de Creixell, is the perfect ambassador for the newly renovated property.

Scroll down for Simon Field MW’s Marqués de Murrieta tasting notes and scores

 

See Simon Field MW’s Marqués de Murrieta notes

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Sonoma wineries fight perceptions as well as wildfires

Fri, 15/11/2019 - 13:34
Vineyards proved resilient in the Kincade fire in northern Sonoma County, although several properties were not so fortunate.

Mass evacuations in northern Sonoma County affected winemakers alongside other residents as firefighters battled to protect lives and property by containing the Kincade fire in the Geyserville area at the end of October.

Soda Rock Winery has described the ‘tremendous heartbreak’ of losing its winery building in Alexander Valley, northeast of Healdsburg, although all staff members were safe and much of its wine stocks were stored elsewhere.

While the immediate concern was naturally the safety of people and communities, as 93mph winds fanned flames at what witnesses described as an alarmingly fast pace, many Sonoma wineries have also been keen to put the situation in context.

‘Everybody is back open,’ said Michael Haney, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners.

Loss of visitors is now one of the main concerns in a wine region that counts tourism as a big part of its business.

Haney was elsewhere in the US when the fire started. ‘I saw the perceptions of people,’ he said. ‘The evacuation zone was huge, and rightly so, but people saw that.’

Jordan Winery, which had a near-miss in the Kincade fire, said this week that less than 7% of Sonoma County was scorched by the fire and that two out of 50 Alexander Valley wineries were destroyed.

‘Our local restaurants, hotels, wineries and shops need tourists to return,’ it said.

Haney said that 95% of grapes in the area had already been harvested, which he believes bodes well for a 2019 vintage that had enjoyed almost picture-perfect growing season in many cases.

‘We’re working hard to tell everybody that things are fine,’ said Haney.

But, there is also worry about the future.

Memories of the 2017 Tubbs fire, which claimed lives as well as thousands of homes, are still fresh in this part of northern California.

No one wants wildfires to become the new normal, but Haney said that ‘it’s a concern for people with two fires in three years’.

Climate change has not been an immediate debate for those affected by the Kincade fire, but ‘you will see that discussion coming up for sure’, Haney said.

He said that ‘big and small wineries are doing proactive things’ to deal with risk.

This has included buying back-up generators to deal with unplanned and planned power outages in the cellar.

Growing numbers are investigating solar energy and more producers have been developing communication strategies for staff and customers, Haney said.

Sonoma County Vintners has organised a free seminar on insurance policies for wineries – to take place next week. A particular concern has been ‘how to evaluate loss’, he said.

Wineries have also understood more about fire prevention.

‘Vineyards act as a firebreak,’ said Haney. ‘We’ve seen that from the air and from the ground – where a fire has gone right up to a vineyard and stopped.

‘Some winemakers put expensive equipment, such as tractors, in the middle of vineyards,’ said Haney.

Jordan Winery added, ‘The only vine damages reported from our grape growers were one newly planted hillside vineyard, which wasn’t old enough to survive a fire.’

However, one of the biggest factors in preventing damage has been the efforts of thousands of firefighters, including volunteers.

And many wineries from all over northern Sonoma County offered thanks and praise to fire crews.

Now, the best thing people can do to help is ‘buy the wines’, said Haney.

 

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How is Sake made – Ask Decanter

Fri, 15/11/2019 - 12:48
Sake bottles

Japanese rice wine is gaining popularity in the west as consumers discover its delicate charms and wonderful ability to pair with all manner of foods. We find out how is Sake made, how important is the quality of the rice and water to the process, and does it ferment in the same way as wine?

The rice

Different from our everyday cooking rice, the most important virtue of Sake rice lies in a bigger white heart (‘心白’). If you put a grain of Sake rice in front of a black background and look carefully, you can see the white starch at its heart, and the transparent protein and fat on the outside.

The outside of the rice, when cooked, gives us the rich aromas and mouthfeel. But if used in Sake production, this part of the rice tends to slow down fermentation and bring in additional flavours, which are not always desirable. Therefore, Sake producers have to mill the rice down first.

The rate of the milling is measured with a percentage called ‘Semai Buai (精米歩合)’, which indicates the ratio of the rice left after milling. The lower the percentage, the finer the material is and the more water-absorbent it becomes.

Labelling terms ‘Ginjyo (吟醸)’ and ‘Dai Ginjyo (大吟醸)’ indicate that after milling, the Sake rice is left with less than 60% and 50% respectively. Extreme examples of Dai Ginjyo include the ‘Komyo (光明, Light)’ Junmai Daiginjyo from Tate no Kawa (楯の川), which is milled down to just 1%.

However, the milling rate is not always an indicator of quality. Some producers believe that those extra flavours derived from the outer layers of the rice are part of the unique characters to a specific Shuzo (Sake winery). They may choose to keep as much as 80% of the rice after milling.

Yamada Nishiki (山田錦) and Miyama Nishiki (美山錦) are among the best Sake rice varieties; producers can select several varieties, even some cooking rice to make up a complex recipe.

The water

Water, of course, is another essential ingredient in Sake production. It can bring significant impact to the flavour profiles of Sake, as the minerals and chemicals contained in the water may affect the performance of the microbes during fermentation. Therefore each Shuzo needs to choose its water source carefully.

Fermentation

The alcoholic fermentation process of winemaking is rather straight-forward; all you need to do is wait for the yeast to convert sugar – which naturally exists in grape juice – into alcohol.

For beer, that process is more complex, as you need to firstly convert the starch in barley into sugar through malting and mashing, before you can kick start the fermentation via yeast. Generally speaking, the process is still linear.

When it comes to Sake, the processes of converting rice starch into sugar, and sugar into alcohol operate simultaneously.

Allowing various exceptions, the most common production process for still Sake is as follows.

  • Steam; Producers first soak the grounded rice in water, then steam it to make it soft.
  • Koji; Then they take part of the rice to spread ‘Koji’ fungus, which can release enzyme that converts starch into sugar. This part of rice is called ‘Koji Kome (麹米)’.
  • Mother of alcohol; Next, they take part of this Koji-infected rice, and add more steamed rice and water, plus some lactic acid bacteria, creating the perfect habitat for yeasts to breed. When this part of the rice is populated by an enormous amount of yeasts, now we have ‘Shubo (酒母, the mother of alcohol)’.
  • Fermentation; It’s time to properly launch the fermentation. Shubo is dumped into a bigger vessel, where more steamed rice, Koji-infected rice and water are added in, little by little, in three to four stages across three weeks to a month.

It’s worth noting that the fermentation of Sake is conducted under a much lower temperature than wine – only 6 to 15 degree C – so that as the Koji bacteria gradually releases sugar, the yeast slowly feeds on it.

That combined with limited added water means higher alcohol level (sometimes above 20% abv) in the freshly pressed Sake. As a comparison, in most cases wine yeasts can only naturally reach around 15% abv, before they die from the alcohol they have created.

Before pressing, producers can choose to add a small percentage of alcohol to further refine the flavours, especially to release the lifted floral, vinous aromas. ‘Junmai (純米 pure rice)’ is a labelling term used to describe Sakes without added alcohol. These Sakes tend to have richer aromas and more pronounced savoury, umami notes.

Read more about Sake classifications from Anthony Rose’s beginner’s guide… ‘Treat with fire’ and storage

After pressing (timing is crucial!), the ‘Genshu (原酒, original Sake)’ is usually filtered to remove any undesirable colour and tastes.

Different from wine, Sake is still ‘alive’ at this stage, and it turns sour rather quickly in room temperature. This is due to a type of lactic acid bacteria called ‘Hiochi (火落ち, falling into fire)’, which breeds fast in the alcoholic and slightly acidic environment of raw Sake.

To resolve this problem, producers need to pasteurise the Sake. This is known as ‘Hiire (火入れor treat with fire); it is pasteurised twice with hot water in order to kill the bacteria. The first treatment happens right after filtration.

Then the raw Sake is aged for six months to a year to round out the flavour before adjustment and bottling. Now it goes through a second pasteurisation. At this stage, Sake becomes much sturdier and can be stored in room temperature.

However, stability comes with a cost – the fresh and glorious aromas of raw Sake may well be lost in the sanitising heat. Thankfully, there are also ways to preserve the freshness. For instance, ‘Nama (生, raw)’ Sake are bottled without any heat treatment; consequentially, they need to be stored at 0 degrees Celsius to keep the bacteria at bay.

Producers may choose to perform Hiire only once; if you see ‘Nama Zume (生詰, bottled raw)’ on the label, that means the Sake has been pasteurised only once before aging. ‘Nama Chozo (生貯蔵, stored raw)’, on the other hand, indicates that the treatment happened only after bottling.

Although these two styles are more stable than Nama Sake, it is still advisable to store them in fridge to retain their youthful and generous aromas.

Sake styles to know:

Daiginjo – Super premium, fragrant sake with minimum 50% polishing ratio and a very small amount of distilled alcohol added to enhance flavour and aroma. Often best served chilled.

Ginjo – Premium fragrant sake with minimum 40% polishing ratio, similar to daiginjo.

Honjozo – Light, mildly fragrant premium sake polished to a minimum of 70% with a small amount of distilled alcohol added to extract aroma and flavour.

Junmai – Sake made with nothing other than rice, water, yeast and koji with no minimum polishing ratio. When appended to daiginjo and ginjo, no alcohol has been added.

Broadly speaking, Daiginjo and Ginjo, with their beguiling fruity and floral fragrances, tend to be popular as chilled drinks while Honjozo and Junmai can often offer a broader range of value and versatility, especially when drunk with food, and can be served at a wider range of temperatures.

Got a question for Decanter’s experts? Email us: editor@decanter.com or on social media with #askDecanter Find more Ask Decanters here

 

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Best Value Chablis 2018 - Top buys

Fri, 15/11/2019 - 12:33

There’s no doubt that the quantity is there for Chablis 2018 with the year seeing one of the largest crops ever, but this is a distinctly mixed vintage.

Quick link: Chablis 2018: Full vintage report plus top scoring wine

Quality is variable with balance and concentration depending on yields, picking dates and vinification techniques. While there are some distinctly ordinary wines – a problem of bitterness in 2018 due to thicker skins and machine harvesting – there are patches of excellence with some offering great value for those looking to buy Chablis 2018 en primeur.

With a mixed vintage, it is even more important to chose carefully. And with prices of some of the top wines soaring above £50/$70 mark, value can be even trickier to find. Prices are not out yet for this vintage with the Burgundy En Primeur campaign expected in early 2020 – so we’ve based price benchmarks on 2016 and 2017 vintages of the same wine.

All the wines are below £25/$40, some of which were rated between 94-96 points, and have been highlighted as ‘top value’ picks from a selection of the best scoring wines. Produced by a mixture of co-operatives, emerging domaines and established producers they showcase well-priced bottlings that have elegance, freshness and the classicism of Chablis in 2018.

Well worth adding these wines to the My Wines section of the website as a reference point for when they are released.

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Champagne Jacquart: Signature 5 years aged Magnum

Thu, 14/11/2019 - 14:13

Champagne Jacquart has long been on hand to elevate and provide a touch of laidback luxury to life’s milestones, be they momentous or seemingly inconsequential, and with the dawn of the indulgent festive season, Champagne will be increasingly providing the soundtrack of choice to countless such events.

This year Champagne Jacquart is raising the celebratory mood even higher, for now its cuvée Mosaique Signature can be savoured in magnum, offering a distinctly-measured, refined sense of occasion.

The aesthetically minded are of course immediately rewarded by dint of the larger format bottle, but aside from such immediate allure – albeit at the opposite end of the scale in terms of romance-magnums have long been the vessel of choice due to the optimum oxygen-to-air ratio which over the years allows the wine to stretch its legs in a gentler, more composed fashion compared to its more modestly-sized stable mate; it is this capacity for more refined yet expressive ageing which Champagne Jacquart has harnessed and applied to its flag bearer.

‘The magnum allows us to present a Mosaique Signature that is at full maturity yet also displays an accentuated freshness where the notes of evolution are not as marked as in a mature vintage Champagne, ’says Jacquart. ‘Instead we have a wine which brings complexity while maintaining freshness and a nice tone in the mouth. It’s a Champagne which sits between a young NV Brut – which would be full of fresh fruit and white flowers – and a vintage cuvée which is based mostly on tertiary notes such as dried fruits, dried flowers and notes of pastry.’

Mosaique Signature is a blend of 40% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, and it is the first of that trio which is the key component, augmented by what is considered an extended ageing period for a NV Champagne of five years on its lees before being disgorged. Married together, the result is a fine balancing act of youthful vitality and graceful maturity.

‘It is important to make clear that this balance is possible at Champagne Jacquart because the blends of our various growths are made only with the finest quality, first-press juice and with a high percentage of Chardonnay which helps to maintain the freshness and finesse of the wine, even after many years of maturing in bottle.’

‘The aromatic spectrum has broadened due to the slow evolution of the Chardonnay and extended time on lees; the bubbles have become finer and the wine has blossomed. We believe that Signature represents a beautiful expression of non-vintage Brut and shows the most amazing balance of its type.’

 

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Thieves steal £65k of wine from billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s luxury hotel

Thu, 14/11/2019 - 13:27

Thieves used the cover of darkness to break into Lime Wood hotel’s award-winning wine cellar, beginning the burglary at 3:38am on Monday 11 November.

‘Approximately 80 bottles have been taken with a value of around £65,000,’ said a spokesperson for the luxury hotel, which is based in the New Forest in southern England and is owned by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Lime Wood’s lengthy wine list includes some of the world’s most famous names, from Romanée-Conti to Screaming Eagle, but the hotel did not specify any particular bottles or vintages taken in Monday’s burglary.

A spokesperson described the stolen bottles as ‘high value’ wines and said that a police investigation was underway.

Police have warned people to watch out for fine wines being offered at ‘bargain’ prices.

The hotel is part of the Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who co-founded chemicals group Ineos, topped the Sunday Times newspaper’s annual ‘rich list’ in 2018. He was ranked third in 2019, with an estimated fortune of £18.15bn.

While the motives and circumstances around the Lime Wood burglary remained under investigation, it is the latest of several high-profile cellar heists over the past few years.

In one of the most recent examples, at the end of June 2019, ‘irreplaceable’ vintages of Romanée-Conti were among an estimated €400,000-worth of fine wines stolen from Michelin-starred Maison Rostang in Paris.

Some people in the wine trade have previously suggested that skyrocketing prices for the world’s finest wines have contributed to a trend for highly prized bottles being targeted by thieves.

 

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Anson: A masterclass in Napa Valley Cabernets

Thu, 14/11/2019 - 13:09

Ten wines from 10 producers, 10 vintages spread over 25 years; 1991 to 2015. That’s a tough brief to perform well on, and I don’t think many regions would have been able to pull it off quite as impressively as Napa did during Decanter’s Fine Wine Encounter masterclass tasting on 3rd November.

The aim here was to tell the story of Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley through a series of wine from seven of the region’s 16 AVAs. Inevitably just a snapshot, but a fascinating look at a grape that has come to define Napa ever since the 1976 Judgement of Paris established the region as a particularly happy marriage of site and grape variety.

Scroll down for Jane Anson’s Napa Cabernet tasting notes and scores See Jane Anson’s Napa Cabernets notes You may also like Anson: Top five Bordeaux vintages ready to drink now
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