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Château Montrose owners invest in Henri Rebourseau in Burgundy

Thu, 11/10/2018 - 09:29

Château Montrose owners Martin and Olivier Bouygues have followed up their Clos Rougeard purchase by investing in Domaine Henri Rebourseau in Burgundy.

Henri Rebourseau in Burgundy.

Martin and Olivier Bouygues, French industrial and construction tycoons, have agreed to form a partnership with the de Surrel family, co-owners of Domaine Henri Rebourseau in Gevrey-Chambertin, Burgundy.

Although the terms of the transaction were not disclosed, French financial newspaper Les Echos said that the deal value could be €45 million in return for a controlling 51% stake in the domaine. Those details could not be immediately confirmed.

Henri Rebourseau includes some of the oldest parcels of Côtes de Nuits and extends to 13.5 hectares, almost half of it Grands Crus; a half-hectare in Chambertin, parcels in Clos de Bèze, Charmes Chambertin, Mazy Chambertin, and two hectares in Clos Vougeot.

The acquisition was made through SCDM, Martin and Olivier Bouygues’ family holding company, of which Hervé Berland is the managing director.

‘We are in a balanced partnership approach,’ said Hervé Berland, who is also CEO of Château Montrose. ‘This is a domain in good condition that has enormous potential.’

Speaking to, he said, ‘We will look at the technical installations and see what we can improve to provide the domain with a high-performance tool. We will not be doing any work in the château [building] at this time.’

Domaine Henri Rebourseau, managed by Jean de Surrel, is farmed using an organic and biodynamic approach. Jean de Surrel remains as consultant for viticulture, and it is understood that his two sons, Louis and Bénigne de Surrel, will continue to participate in the development of the domain.

As well as Château Montrose, the Bouygues brothers also own Château Tronquoy-Lalande in St-Estèphe, Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny, and Distillerie de la Métairie in Cognac.

Recently published on Decanter Premium:

Good value red Burgundy: 32 wines to look for


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Clos Galena

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:48

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One family's dream that became a reality...

Clos Galena

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Clos Galena was the brainchild of Miguel Pérez, a great wine enthusiast who shared his lifelong passion with his wife, Merche Dalmau.

Merche and Miguel fell in love with the Priorat region and it was there that their dream became a reality — a sustainable winery inspired by the French châteaux.

Both trained in pharmacology, the husband-and-wife team felt strongly that Clos Galena should be organically certified in order to create healthier wines, made with greater respect for the natural environment.

Clos Galena’s vineyards are planted with regional grape varieties, grown in traditional non-terraced hillside vineyards, known as ‘costers’. The soils are full of ‘llicorella’, a brown and brittle slate that gives this region’s wines their signature mineral character.

Miguel’s ambition was to shape his family-run winery into a vessel where he could attempt to bottle the essence of the surrounding Priorat terroir.

Sadly Miguel passed away in April 2013, but the torch was passed to his wife, Merche. She took over the running of the estate with the help of her team, Merche Dalmau including the enologist Toni Coca.

Merche Dalmau

Today, the Clos Galena winery is the culmination of the Pérez and Dalmau family’s continuous dedication; it is their life’s work and they remain centred on making unique fine wines.

The family’s efforts were rewarded when ‘Formiga de Vellut’ was selected for the Nobel Prize Banquet 2017, held in Stockholm, where it was served to Swedish royalty.

The wine — a red blend of Grenache, Carignan and Syrah — made history as the first Catalan wine to be served at the Nobel Prize Banquet since the award’s foundation in 1901.

Reports in the Swedish press celebrated ‘Formiga de Vellut’ as ‘fantastically great’, and Clos Galena gained global recognition for the quality of its wines.

Clos Galena has been praised by the most demanding consumer markets and its wines are exported to 30 countries around the world.

Looking beyond Priorat, Clos Galena has started new wine projects in the appellations of Montsant and Terra Alta, focusing on indigenous varieties and old vines.

Above all, Clos Galena prizes its strong Catalan identity and supports initiatives to enrich the community. Notably, the Art and Wine project brings together Catalan artists to create limited collections of paintings that are used on Clos Galena’s wooden wine boxes and distinctive labels.

The post Clos Galena appeared first on Decanter.

Bodegas Altanza

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 16:45

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A contemporary and top-drawer Spanish house, which draws on the country’s rich artistic legacy as inspiration to drive it onwards and upwards

Bodegas Altanza

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When Bodegas Altanza first started out in 1998 (the first of its wines hitting the market four years later), it’s an almost nailed-on certainty that at the top of its list of duties was to make high-end Rioja Reservas.

That box has most definitely been ticked. There are now five lines of Reservas on its books – this high number being something of a rarity in Rioja – with the apex being the Collection of Spanish Artists range. Only the most elite of vintages make the cut, with each being dedicated to one of Spain’s most gifted artistic figures: Sorolla (2010); Goya (2008); Gaudi (2005); Dalí (2004) and Miró (2001), with images of their works adorning this unsurprisingly strikingly-liveried collection of wines. ‘From the beginning we believed there should be an affinity between wine and art. We didn’t want to be like any other winery offering beautiful labels. We wanted more than that, although it took a great deal of effort and time to get permission,’ recalls Altanza.

They are tenderly crafted, using only pure, thoroughbred Tempranillo stock and all betray Altanza’s affection for French wood (close to 90% of its 7,500 vessels come from the country), with each being matured for 18 months in new French barrels before being passed on to 22,000 litre French oak vats giving the wines the roundness and elegance characterised in all of Altanza’s wines.

Over the following years Altanza – which stretches over 160ha of vineyards and 60ha of olive groves – expanded its portfolio, seeking different avenues and launching other wines with which to complement these iconic Reservas, such as other Riojas from Crianza level up to Gran Reserva, as well as a clutch of whites and rosés.

Altanza now exports 60% of its wines to over 50 countries around the world and in the process has itself also explored beyond the boundaries of Rioja, as exemplified by its venture in Jerez which has resulted in a collection of critically acclaimed sherries made in conjunction with Roberto Amillo.

‘Roberto Amillo has been passionate about sherry and wine in general for many years,’ says Altanza. ‘He is one of the best-known collectors, owning more than 17,000 pieces, and this project was built on a shared purpose: to join together Spain’s two oldest denominations and to give us the opportunity to share with our customers around the world the very best Spanish wines. So, Roberto decided to make his own selection from old, exceptional soleras and bottle them under the “Colección Robert Amillo” label; always focusing on providing authenticity and high quality from singular sherry casks.’

However, arguably most significant in Altanza’s list of accomplishments and vital in its growth is its dedication to a whole raft of research and development initiatives which arch over the entire winemaking process. These include the evolution of its own bank of lactic bacteria used in its winemaking. Here, specific bacteria from each of the vineyards are isolated and if they hold the prerequisite qualities needed, are then chosen for use in order to showcase an idiosyncratic, unique quality in the finished wine (Altanza also handpicks and stockpiles selections of yeasts used in fermentation with the same goal in mind).

Away from the lab and in the vineyard, an army of cutting-edge weather stations has recently been unleashed. Covering the entirety of Altanza’s land under vine, these units measure and monitor a plethora of climatic and agricultural influences such as vegetative activity, solar radiation and atmospheric pressure to name just three. Indeed, everything that affects the microclimate of a vineyard is within its reach, with the data being site-specific and, crucially, delivered in real time to the vineyard management team. Furthermore, significant time and funds have been ploughed into irrigation management; looking in-depth at vine stress as well as the bigger picture of irrigation strategies overall, but all still tailored specifically for the Rioja region.

Yet, despite this micromanagement of every facet of production, the soul of wine still remains Altanza’s heartbeat: ‘We like to think we are introducing people into the magical world of wine, transmitting to them our passion for winemaking, the Tempranillo grape, our land, our vision, our culture, and for our fiesta’ states Altanza.

The wines

Bodegas Atanza, Lealtanza, Sorolla








Bodegas Atanza, Lealtanza, Reserva – 97 Points, Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2018

Bodegas Altanza, Colección Amillo Amontillado

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Top vodka deals

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 13:30

With the festive season fast approaching, the deals are stacking up for some interesting vodkas from around the world. We've rounded up some of the top vodka deals below.

The spirit of the 21st century, Vodka as gained popularity in style and has become more and more premium.

With ‘deal’ season upon us, led by Christmas and Black Friday 2018, we’ve had a look at some of the top offers at different price levels.

See also:  Vodkas Chase Original Potato Vodka

Following the sale of Tyrell’s crisps, the family behind Chase built a distillery on their Herefordshire farm to use up their stock of unused, quality potatoes – 250 in every bottle to be precise. Small batch produced and three times distilled in a copper pot still called Fat Betty before the spirit is chill filtered and bottled by hand. This vodka has a smooth and creamy texture with flavours of apple, cracked black pepper and faint notes of aniseed. A characterful vodka with true provenance.

Stockist: Amazon £30.00 – £37.00 – £7.00 offBuy Now Kettel One

From 10th generation distillers – with over 300 years of expertise – comes one of the smoothest and cleanest vodkas on the market today. This Dutch vodka is distilled in small batches and made from 100% GMO-free European wheat. It has a crisp citrus flavour with notes of honey and a long and lively finish.  It makes a great cocktail but if you like your vodka neat this is a great choice, chilled or served over a little ice.

Stockist: Amazon £20.00 – £26.88 – £6.88 offBuy Now Belvedere

A high-quality vodka from Poland with an incredibly smooth texture owing to its four-times distillation process. Made from rye, it has a creaminess on the palate with notes of vanilla and white pepper along the edge giving it a spicy boost on the finish. It’s easy to see why this is a classic and well-loved vodka.

Stockist: Sainsburys £29.00 – £38.00 – £9.00 offBuy Now Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

This Polish vodka is infused with Hierochloe Odorata grass, a unique variety grown in the Bialowieza Forest bordering Poland and Ukraine and the habitat of wild Polish bison. Distilled from rye, the spirit is strained through bunches of hand-harvested and dried grass, of which every bottle contains a single blade, giving the vodka a translucent, greenish colour and a herbal, aromatic and delicate taste. Notes of citrus, jasmine, black pepper and lavender can be detected. A great sipping vodka or mixed with ginger ale for something a little different.

Stockist: Waitrose 70cl £20.00 – £23.00 – £3.00 offBuy Now Stockist: Amazon 1l £18.40 – £31.49 – £13.09 offBuy Now Our top discovery Vodkas

Here’s our vodka picks that might not be on deal, but are very much worth seeking out for their unique qualities.

Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka

This unique vodka is made in West Dorset from the whey of cow’s milk (the world’s first) rather than the traditional wheat, rye or potatoes. After the milk has been separated into curds and whey by dairy farmer Jason Barber, the whey is fermented into milk beer which is distilled and treated to a secret blending process. It is then triple filtered and hand-bottled. It has an incredibly smooth and creamy character with a thick mouthfeel. A must try, especially those looking for something a little unusual.

Stockist: Marks and Spencer £26.00 – Buy Now Bloomsbury Peated Vodka

If you want to try something a little different, this is the vodka worth splashing out on. Inspired by the peated whiskies of Islay, the southernmost island of the Scottish Hebrides, this unique spirit has the purity of high-quality vodka with the complexity of a single malt. Made in the first distillery in Bloomsbury in London for nearly three quarters of a century, it’s made from organic wheat that has been used in the peat-drying process during whisky production and distilled through hot and vacuum processes. On the palate there’s a smoked salt and sweet vanilla flavour with a hint of coconut along the edge. It has a long and lingering aftertaste and works well served in Cognac glasses.

Stockist: Harvey Nichols £52.50 – Buy Now Stolichnaya Elit Vodka

A premium Russian vodka made using a revolutionary freeze filtration technique, filtering the spirit at -18 degrees Celsius. This causes all impurities to freeze against the walls of the filtration tanks giving ultra-high levels of purity and making it one of the smoothest on the market. It has subtle flavours of creamy aniseed with a light spiciness and balanced dryness on the palate. A fantastic buy from one of the most prestigious vodka brands.

Stockist: Whisky Exchange £39.95 – Buy Now

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New Master Sommeliers lose title after tasting exam ‘compromised’

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 13:25

A confidentiality breach during one of the taste tests that comprises the notoriously tough Master Sommelier exams means that several candidates have had their pass grades revoked pending re-takes.

The MS blind tasting exam is notoriously hard.

‘Detailed information’ on wines forming part of last month’s tasting exam was leaked, said the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Americas division yesterday (9 October).

It said that the results of the tasting portion of the 2018 Master Sommelier Diploma Examination would be annulled.

Although candidates would be allowed to re-sit the exam, the move effectively stripped 23 Master Sommeliers of their newly-earned title – even if temporarily. A 24th candidate who recently became an MS, Morgan Harris, would be allowed to keep the pin badge because he did his tasting exam last year, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

As depicted in the film Somm, the tasting exam is notoriously daunting for MS hopefuls. It involves blind tasting six wines in 25 minutes.

The Court said that its board of directors voted unanimously to invalidate the results from the test, which had been taken the first week of September.

This followed ‘sufficient evidence’ that the tasting exam ‘was compromised by the release of detailed information concerning wines in the tasting flight’, the Court said. It did not name anyone as responsible for breaking the rules.

‘We understand this decision is a shock to those who recently passed this examination, and we carefully considered the impact our decision has on our newly pinned Masters and their careers,’ said Devon Broglie, MS, chairman of the board.

‘We are committed to developing an expedited process so that all eligible candidates can retake the tasting examination. Maintaining the integrity of the examination process must be our highest priority.’

The affected sommeliers were advised earlier this week of the breach and of the board’s decision, just one month after celebrating their new titles in what Broglie had earlier dubbed ‘the most successful Master Sommelier Diploma Examination the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas has ever administered’ at the time.

Editing by Chris Mercer and Eleanor Douglas.

See also: Master of Wine vs Master Sommelier – what’s the difference? 

The post New Master Sommeliers lose title after tasting exam ‘compromised’ appeared first on Decanter.

Top Felton Road wines: Biodynamics coming of age

Wed, 10/10/2018 - 11:14

At Felton Road's 21st anniversary tasting in London, Rebecca Gibb MW found out how its biodynamic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines have evolved over time...

Felton Road's biodynamic and organic certified vineyards in Bannockburn, Central Otago.

The past two decades at Felton Road are a microcosm of Central Otago and the wider New Zealand wine scene. 

The vines have matured along with their guardians, making increasingly sophisticated wine – that’s why the anniversary vertical tasting did not trace its roots all the way to 1997.

‘By starting with 2005, we are able to show a reasonable amount of vine age and 2005 was our first full year of biodynamics,’ explained Greening. 

As the tasting crossed different vintages and Bannockburn sites, covering its five Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay trio, Felton Road’s seasons were recounted in the glass — from the cool 2005 harvest and the warmer conditions of 2008, through to the ‘extremely erratic’ year of 2017.

Scroll down to see Gibb’s Felton Road tasting notes


You might also like: Central Otago: Everything to know and wines to try Ata Rangi McCrone Vineyard: Tasting the difference New Zealand 2016: Reds to buy, including top Pinot Noir

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