Issue: 19 / Sunday 8 April, 2018
Great News for Barossa Fans…
We are thrilled to announce our latest UK exclusivity with Hobbs of Barossa Ranges, which and with Greg & Allison’s blessing extends throughout Europe. Hobbs vineyard is home to some of the Barossa’s oldest Shiraz, planted at the turn of the last century (1905). The vineyard is nestled in the cool, beautiful Barossa Ranges, where the climate and distinct soil structure provide ideal conditions to produce fruit of unique quality. Hobbs produce all their wines from grapes grown on their small,15 acre of vineyard. Yields are low resulting in an annual production of 1,500 cases (across the full range). Their ‘top’ wines, Gregor, 1905 and Tango (Shiraz / Viognier blend) are made in minuscule quantities of 130 to 300 cases.
We are also shipping their Tin Lids range which includes their 100% Viognier and ‘baby’ Gregor Shiraz. Notably, Hobbs have gone through a complete and very smart rebrand (very different to our current stock labels).
A full offer will be posted in a few months and we very much look forward to welcoming Greg & Allison to our HQ. Greg will lead an evenings tutored tasting for our customers – We will communicate dates nearer the time.
The superb 2010 is launched to the world wine trade on an exclusive allocation basis only. Available quantities are extremely limited however, the quality remains outstanding with Jancis Robinson MW awarding a lofty 18 points…
18 Points - Jancis Robinson "Bright ruby. Heady, rich and gamey on the nose. Very hedonistic and accessible on the nose with real density and lifted slight gaminess. An attractive singed character on top of very ripe fruit. Great balance and freshness (but not excessive acidity) on the finish. Very neat on the end. Something rather wild and Romany about this. Already accessible even if I'm sure it will develop even more complex tertiary aromas."
2010 was a year to remember in Lebanese wine-making history. Even from January it was obvious that this year would be lacking in water as snow fell only once on the 17th January (it was the shortest ski season ever!) and rainfall stopped on the 23rd February. March was so hot that the vines began to blossom in early April and in May and June the vines were so vigorous and green following successful flowering, that we thought we would have the biggest harvest ever. However, in mid-July things began to change and the temperature rose dramatically. A heat-wave hit Lebanon which lasted for about 23 days with an average daily temperature of 40 °C and the highest ever temperature in the Bekaa Valley was recorded at 48.5° C. The grapes didn’t mature, they dried, as water disappeared from the grapes causing high sugar concentration. Cinsault and Carignan were less affected by this heat-wave than the Cabernet Sauvignon which suffered the most – dried grapes with high sugar content, high acidity and unfortunately, Musar lost approximately 45% of their Cabernet Sauvignon hence the strict allocation.
Wine of the Week, one of the best in 2017 and still unforgettable in 2018...
96+ Points Stuart McCloskey (100 Points for extraordinary value).
This is an utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece and firmly sits in my ‘top 10’ best value wines of 2017.
“Unquestionably, one of the standout Cabernet blends amongst our entire portfolio. The ’05 is nothing short of spectacular for the money particularly given the incredibly expensive use of the finest French oak barriques money can buy. At age 12, it is still an infant in terms of development, and I would not be surprised to see this lasting a further twenty+ years. The aromas are majestic with a little aeration - pen ink, rich black fruits, lead pencil shavings and spice box. I love the mouthfeel – silky tannins, voluptuous texture and rare opulence not found at this price level. There is clearly a purity with this wine which is impossible not to admire. Let me be clear – There is nothing OTT about this wine as its presence and complexity outshines many a Bordeaux Pauillac. This is an utterly magnificent, towering masterpiece and firmly sits in my ‘top 10’ best value wines of 2017. Decant for 2-3 hours and enjoy nirvana”
The blend 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% Malbec, 10.5% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc and 4.5% Petit Verdo
US critic, Jeb Dunnuck has released his 2015 Washington report covering some 600 wines from 100+ producers with one of our wines reaching the top 3…
Jeb describes the wines as having beautiful purity of fruit yet are slightly firmer and classically styled compared to the more broad and voluptuous 2012s and 2014s. He gave the nod to the Rhône varieties last year when Jeb tasted these wines from barrel, but from bottle, the Bordeaux blends showed beautifully as well. It’s a strong vintage for both Rhône and Bordeaux varieties. He compares the vintage to a hypothetical mix of 2013 and 2014 last year, and that comparison holds today.
In short, 2015 is another terrific vintage for Washington State that has yielded ripe, yet also pure and focused wines that will benefit from short-term cellaring.
99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
"The flagship is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon mostly from Champoux with the balance from Palengat and Wallula vineyards. Crème de cassis, graphite, black licorice, unsmoked tobacco, and hints of chocolate and emerge from this beauty and it continues to gain depth and nuance with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, and layered with an incredible purity and elegance on the palate, it's already accessible but has more than enough tannin, depth, and balance to evolve for two decades or more."
Delivery week of 23 April 2018
£875.00 per case of 6 In Bond
£1065.55 per case of 6 Duty Paid
Gramercy Cellars also faired incredibly well with two of their 2015 Syrah’s making the Top 8: Lagniappe and John Lewis. Fingers crossed we can bring both wines
to the UK shortly…
100 Point 2015 Seña
In-store & available by the bottle
100 Points - James Suckling
“Stunning aromas of blackcurrant, stone, blueberry and licorice. Also iodine. Floral. Perfumed. Full body, fantastic density of fruit and ripe tannins. It goes on for minutes on the palate with such energy and focus. Touch of chewiness on the finish. A complex and complete wine that delivers a generosity with firmness. Drink in 2021 but
already a classic to drink”
Château Latour released some ex-cellar stock of its 2006 grand vin and an eagerly awaited first tranche of its 2012 vintage in the shape of second wine Les Forts de Latour, which we are delighted to offer. The grand vin was too expensive and above the current market value which made their offer rather daft however, those seeking perfect provenance may have bit the bullet and paid £5,250.00 per case.
7,000 cases of their Forts de Latour were released via the negociant system in Bordeaux. The wine has never been released before and it’s the cheapest Forts
currently on the market.
We are shipping our allocation along with all 2015 Bordeaux.
ETA ex-LCB being mid May 2018.
£875.00 per case of 6 In Bond
£1,065.55 per case of 6 Duty Paid
2017 Bordeaux En-Primeur scores are starting to trickle in with, as one expects, James Suckling releasing first (Pomerol & St Emilion).
We have added some of James scores to our En-Primeur microsite
which can be viewed here.
A quick overview from James Suckling “Please take note of this year’s Bordeaux en primeur or futures. The 2017 is by no means the great 2015 or 2016, but neither is it the weak 2013. Despite terrible frosts, most of the top wine estate of Bordeaux made some outstanding quality wines that will deliver beautiful drinking for years ahead. It’s hard to put my finger on similar vintages, but I think that many wineries made wines at the same level or better than 2012 and a number made better wines than 2014. All things considered, I was very surprised by the relatively outstanding quality of the top wines I have tasted so far — about 750 in total, mostly from the Right Bank”
What the growers are saying about their 2017 vintage.
Pauline VAUTHIER - Technical Director for Vignobles Vauthier-Mazière
Château Ausone, Château Moulin Saint-Georges, Château La Clotte, Château de Fonbel, Château Haut-Simard, Château Simard
“With regards to Ausone, we are happy with both quality and the amount of wine produced. A vintage in the style of 2014 – classical and elegant. We did the first blends at the beginning of February for the primeurs tastings. There is good fruit, roundness, length and an excellent freshness. Terroir once again performed its magic….These are wines which I am convinced have an excellent ageing potential and the elevage will refine them further.”
Bruno-Eugène BORIE – Owner of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
“At Ducru-Beaucaillou, the vines protected by the estuary didn’t suffer from the terrible frost. The first blends are showing very promisingly. We had to monitor very closely the sanitary state of the vines and orchestrate the harvest with much dexterity – waiting for a perfect maturity, multiplying the sorting to eliminate all questionable berries and employing a quite drastic selection process for the best parcels. The remainder is excellent! There is a slight drop in terms of quantity produced but the quality is there. 2015, 2016, 2017 – a very nice straight flush…”
Laurent DUFAU – Director of Château Calon Ségur
“2017 is a year unquestionably noted for its precocity, from budding all the way through to maturity. If we look back on the last 5 vintages, the 2017 was 12 days ahead of the others. At Calon, thanks to the proximity of the estuary, our vines were not at all impacted by the frost. There were hot and dry periods without any genuine water stress thanks to the clay soils retaining water. There was however a threat of botrytis which necessitated a quick harvest – by September 29th the grapes had been picked. Results? There is a consistency across the vineyard – the juice shows excellent aromatic freshness, the tannins are soft and refined and there is a good concentration. We can say with confidence that the 2017 is a great classical Calon Ségur. However the challenge for us all will be to find the right price.”
Pierre GRAFFEUILLE – General Manager of Domaines Delon
Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Nénin, Château Potensac
“We have a double-perspective on this vintage since we have properties on both the Left and Right Banks. This is a vintage badly effected by the frost of course – at Chateau Nénin we have suffered serious loses of around 70% mainly in the areas which would normally give the 2nd wine. In the Médoc, the estuary reduced the risks from the frost – fortunately we were protected. This vintage is marked by a quick and consistent flowering benefitting the tannins and the maturing process. The rains in September permitted a refinement in the wines and allowed the phenolic maturity to catch up with the technological maturity. Thanks to the care taken in the vineyard our grapes achieved an excellent healthy condition up until and including the harvest. A classic vintage – in the good sense of the word – giving an excellent balance, maturity and freshness. The cabernets, like the merlots, give an excellent tannic structure whilst being at the same time elegant and silky. In summary, rich, structured wines of excellent quality.”
Bernard MAGREZ - Owner of Château Pape Clément,
Château Fombrauge, Château La Tour Carnet, Clos Haut-Peyraguey
“The vine suffered terribly during the nights of April 24th-25th. In our 3 principal chateaux the frost took away 50% of our production. In our most protected areas the amount harvested was still very good even in those in the north of the Médoc. It is of course a little early to give a definitive opinion but everything indicates a satisfactory quality. The white wines are particularly impressive. This vintage seems to be something of an appealing compromise between the 2014 & 2015. As far as the en primeur release goes, we all need to find a level reasonable level of price for the consumer.”
Christian SEELY – General Manager of AXA Millésimes
Château Pichon Baron, Château Petit Village, Château Suduiraut
“A year of genuine contrasts alternating periods of dryness and humidity. In our properties, both in Pomerol and Pauillac, we were relatively spared by the frost with just the slightly lesser terroirs being affected. The saving rains of June allowed the reserves of water to swell which is so essential to the development of the vines. At Pichon Baron like at Petit Village the grapes harvested were of excellent quality, perfectly healthy and ripe with production levels just a touch under the average. The wines give an impressive balance of fruit and freshness and aromatically they are quite seductive. And at Suduiraut it is a magnificent year with a wonderful noble rot. I particularly love this vintage for its wonderful classical quality with a terrific tension between acidity, fruit and tannin.”
Daniel CATHIARD – Owner of Château Smith Haut Lafitte
“A trying year. The frost struck our vineyards in a very random way but very fortunately we suffered just a 10% loss. The most affected areas were those for grapes destined for the 2nd wine. The first wine escaped unscathed! The September storms caused us to fear the worst – would we be able to wait until full maturation had been attained? In the end we weren’t too pressured. The reds surprise us with their acidity, colour and concentration. This is a vintage of 2014 quality and above. For the whites it’s a very good vintage – they are absolutely delicious with a beautiful firmness and a great, deep aromatic profile.”
In case you missed it...
Read Our First Quarter Highlights -
A staggering 43,690 bottles sold.