Issue: 3 / Sunday 12 November, 2017
Written by Stuart McCloskey
I have been fortunate and travelled extensively through my work as a wine merchant. I have eaten in some truly wonderful restaurants and even shared a meal with my climbing partner above 23,000 feet. I am, by the very nature of my work obsessed with flavour, which flows over into my enjoyment of delicious tasting food.
I try hard to grow as much of my own salads, herbs and vegetables, which sustain me throughout the spring and summer months. Winter is more of a challenge but I do try to resist from buying from supermarkets as much as possible. I never purchase meat or game off the shelf, instead preferring to purchase directly from the producer. I am far from a food snob but I do believe in eating the most flavoursome meat or game, which has been lovingly respected throughout its tender life.
I always purchased Loué ducks until I stumbled across the Cornish Duck Company. The owners, Tanya & Roger are incredibly passionate about their ducks, which is reflected in the quality of the meat. The duck's welfare influences absolutely every decision they make and commerciality takes a firm back seat. I recall placing an order during the summer – Roger emailed me explaining that due to the heat, their ducks (like us) were reluctant to eat therefore, respective bird sizes were much smaller. You certainly do not see any ‘shrinkage / weight loss’ on the supermarket shelves or in many butchers.
Tanya & Roger breed the unique Terras duck, which roam the Truro fields completely free. Of course, nighttimes are spent in the comfort of spacious barns, which keeps the predators at bay.
The ducks enjoy a much longer life than most commercial producers would allow. Slow growth without the need for chemical interference is their holistic approach. In fact, all their ducks are fed on non-GM and non-medicated pellets.
The contentious subject of slaughtering takes place on the farm simply as this causes the least stress to their beautiful birds. Their range of products are fresh (never frozen), cut to order and sent out weekly however, given that Tanya and Roger are truly artisan producers, expect that many products are sold-out. Return a few days later for the next fresh offering.
"Tucking into a whole roast duck is a joyous and gastronomic experience everyone should experience."
Cornish Duck Co produces the best duck I have ever eaten. Tucking into a whole roast duck is a joyous and gastronomic experience everyone should experience. The flesh is extraordinarily soft; the layering of fat is perfect to keep the flesh from drying out, but is not flabby. The skin (salted) becomes roasted gold, parchment paper thin and incredibly easy to gorge on!
You must keep the duck fat, which I recycle with their duck legs and thighs – I confit for around 4-5 hours with lots of bay from my garden.
The duck breasts are the best you will ever buy however, I take a different approach to many when cooking them. Gently score the skin (crisscross) and season well with salt. Gently place (skin side down) on a warm pan and cook for at least 15 minutes. Slow is best as it renders all the lovely fat and keeps the succulent flesh from toughening-up. I flip over for a few minutes on the flesh side and then rest (in a warm place) for 8 minutes – I refrain from covering with foil as the skin looses it’s crispness. Carve along the length of the breast and serve with whatever takes your fancy...
Roger’s duck burgers are a revelation and strictly made to order (I do keep a stash in the freezer, which keep very well). Cooking tip – long and slow for these beauties too.
Take my word – this is the best duck you will ever eat.
Anyone for eating / drinking in the nude?
A nudist restaurant called O’naturel has opened in Paris’ 12th arrondissement, where customers are encouraged to disrobe before dinner. The 40-seater site has been kitted out with thick blackout curtains to ensure privacy, features a cloakroom where customers can strip before supper and napkins (small and large) are provided for diners who are keen to protect their modesty!
Food is cooked on wood fires (we hope the chefs are safe from spitting embers!). We understand the founders are currently seeking investors in the hope of making the London pop-up a permanent fixture.
The 98 Point NZ
Has sold-out again however, we do have the same wine available ‘en-magnum’ which age and taste better than it’s equivalent 75cl bottle. That’s a wine fact against a sales spin! All 2016 (75cl bottle) stocks are exhausted as Auntsfield moves on to the 2017 vintage....
James Halliday’s Top 100 Wines of 2017
Selected from more than 1000 submissions, James' list celebrates some of Australia’s best red, white and sparkling wines.
Best Red Wine Under $25.00: 239 wines were submitted and 20 wines were selected. Our Deep Wood’s Rosé was nominated a re-awarded 95 points which is incredible!
Denmark Falls in Love
Our entire under bond stock holdings of Henry’s Drive Parsons Flat (spanning 2003, ’04, ‘05 / 4,638 bottles) is heading to Danish shores.
Denmark has a strong history with supporting many USA wines however, they have become our second largest European buyer of Australian wine with the UK in pole position. Hong Kong firmly remains in the No. 1 global spot.
Written by Stuart McCloskey
For those of you who are not familiar with Paul and his sensational wines, Robert Parker penned the following which is a fitting and accurate tribute...
“Paul Lato is one of the up-and-coming superstars of California’s Central Coast. It appears Lato’s first love is Pinot Noir, and in a few short years he has proven what meticulous/perfectionist techniques can bring from a young man obsessed by wine. His future looks bright and this is one of the wonderful wine stories of the year.”
Paul, a Polish immigrant who originally spent years cutting his teeth as a sommelier in Toronto before moving out to Santa Maria in the early 2000’s with the dream of making his own wine. Paul has worked at Au Bon Climat (The breeding ground for so many great winemakers) and Qupè.
Starting with the 2002 vintage, he made a meagre six barrels. He has grown slowly, crafting fewer than 500 total cases of Pinot Noir and Syrah, but gaining a worldwide reputation, and consequently having more and more access to fine vineyards. His distant mentor has been the late and great Henri Jayer of Burgundy and the Chave family of Rhone.
Today he sources fruit from some of the choicest vineyards in the Central Coast and his highly-rated bottlings are reserved for top restaurants and his mailing list clientele with each vintage always selling out instantly. Sadly, limited retail distribution.
Paul’s philosophies are simple, often repeated by many however, achieved by few – Paul believes that all the greatest wines possess authenticity, harmony, and elegance. These are the qualities he constantly attempts to capture in his wines. The ultimate goal is to create wines that are seamless and textural with enough structure and balance to complement fine cuisine.
In order to make wines of the highest calibre, he selects unique vineyards that are cared for by talented vineyard managers committed to absolute excellence. He strives to locate and source from not only the best vineyards but the best blocks within each of these vineyards.
During the growing season, yields are restricted to achieve maximum concentration of flavor. Harvest is based on physiological ripeness, which changes depending on the vintage characteristics.
Cellar work is based on minimal intervention, cleanliness and purity of intention. With due respect to science, Paul believes that true artisanal winemaking is based on intuition, sensitivity and passion. Keeping the lots small allows for gentle handling throughout the winemaking process.
Above all, Paul wants his wines to give pleasure and keep your palate interested until the last drop from the bottle.
"I will declare these three are the best US wines I have sampled this year."
I was fortunate enough to sample three of Paul’s wines (amongst many other US wines) during October. In short, Paul’s wines stood head and shoulders above the crowd. In fact, I will declare these three are the best US wines I have sampled this year. His Syrah is utterly sensational - I do not posses one Australian Shiraz that comes close (That is a significant statement given the sheer depth of Aussie Shiraz).
I cannot recommend Paul’s wine enough and sadly have very little to offer. We were offered an allocation of 24 bottles of each, which is rather pitiful however, given the extraordinary quality, impossible to resist.
We have prepared a three pack case (one of each bottle) and I urge you to grab one quickly as I fear these will be heading to our clients in Hong Kong before long.
2015 Chardonnay ‘Le Souvenir’
98 Points Jeb Dunnuck “Showing a touch more oak (it was brought up in 70% new barrels), the 2015 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard offers classic notes of white peach, pineapple and buttered stone fruits intermixed with spice and hints of toasted nuts. It's ripe, beautifully textured and full-bodied on the palate offering tons of richness and depth as well as a great finish.
2015 Pinot Noir 'Atticus'
95+ Points Jeb Dunnuck “From a site on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2015 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard spent 15 months in 75% new French oak. It's vibrant ruby color is followed by notes of blackberries, raspberries, smoked earth, ground herbs and hints of minerality. It's one of the larger framed, riper wines from Paul, yet in this vintage, it stays beautifully focused, tight and pure. It has the balance and texture to shine today, but it will be better with a year or two of bottle age”
97-100 Points Jeb Dunnuck “Not yet bottled yet tasted as a final blend, the 2015 Syrah Il Padrino is another killer wine from this estate that will flirt with (or achieve) perfection. Coming 100% from the Bien Nacido vineyard in Santa Maria, it was fermented in stainless steel and spent 20 months in 80% new French oak. Black fruits, bacon fat, tapenade and smoke all flow to a concentrated, incredibly seamless, silky Syrah that has no hard edges, fine, elegant tannin and a great, great finish. It's up with the finest examples of this
cuvée to date”
The title should accurately reflect how great this wine is – Perhaps
‘One of the Wines of 2017’ as it's certainly a showstopper
The Pennant Chardonnay 2010
98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “In the glass it is multi-dimensional, wonderfully alive and showing no sign of tiredness. Expressive aromatics, spices, taut, incisive minerality and unbelievable depth. Layers upon layer of fruit, stone, minerals wash across the palate. The 2010 is sublimely defined and focused by its nervy acidity. Today, this wine is heading straight into our top white wines of 2017 and may very well take the number one spot.
2016 Bordeaux En-Primeur:
Where the savvy money is spent.
36 x Cases (6x75cl OWC) Château Lynch Bages @ £590.00 IB per case
Neal Martin (97-99) placing it above Château Lafite Rothschild (£2,850.00), Pontet Canet (£685.00) and both Pichon’s (£650 & £710.00) and equal to Château Montrose (£750.00 per case)...
“The 2016 Lynch Bages is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot with 13.7% alcohol and an IPT of 95, the highest ever for this property and probably one of the highest on the Left Bank this vintage. It was picked between from 27-30 September for the young vines, then the picking team stopped, restarting on 3 October with the Merlot and the Cabernets finished on 12 October. This vintage is matured in 75% new oak. It has a very concentrated, almost opaque bouquet that required some coaxing from the glass, developing floral and crushed limestone scents with time: disarmingly fresh and with stunning vivacity. The palate is concentrated and tannic, although they are not obtrusive and appear neatly embroidered into the multi-layered black fruit.
This is a classic Lynch Bages with ambition and recalls vintages like 1990, a Lynch Bages built for long-term ageing. That arching backbone is counterbalanced by the keen line of acidity and a freshness that knows no bounds. There is ethereal delineation and tension on the finish, but I would give this at least ten years in bottle to enjoy this audacious Lynch Bages at its peak. Maybe the biggest surprise of the vintage, this has all the makings of a sensational wine”
98-99 James Suckling “This is really back-ended thanks to a powerful and almost endless finish. Full-bodied, dense and powerful with incredible concentration and length. Round and polished tannins. Layered. This unravels bit by bit. Energetic acidity gives it such superb freshness. This is at the 2010/2009 level.”
100 Point Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Quilceda Creek is dedicated exclusively to the production of world-class Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon and has produced some extraordinary results since the 2001 vintage. It is rare to see a wine perform to the same consistent level year-in-year-out with only two vintages that have dropped below 97+ points. The majority sitting around 98+.
Three vintages have scored the magical 100 points from Robert Parker / e.RobertParker.com. 2003, 2005 and the most recent vintage, 2014. The demand for Quilceda Creek is simply enormous with the vast majority selling directly to private members in the US (it’s a long waiting list). Moreover, you cannot find one single case of the 100 point 2003 or 2005 in the world market.
Quilceda wines rarely see their way out of the domestic market however, we have been fortunate enough to source 5 x Cases (6x75cl) which we have purchased directly from Quilceda.
Quilceda Creek is arguably the most reasonable 100 point Cabernet Sauvignon from the US particularly when compared to the following 100 pointers:
All prices are per case of six
• Colgin IX Estate - £2,100
• Screaming Eagle @ £8,500+
• Scarecrow @ £3,400
• Eisele @ £1,800
• Maybach Materium @ £1,800
• Schrader Cellars @ £2,000
• Hundred Acre ‘Ark Vineyard’ @ £2,200
100 Points Jeb Dunnuck (eRobertParker.com) “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is another tour de force from this estate that's reminiscent of first growth Bordeaux from a vintage like 2009. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in new barrels, it offers incredible notes of blackcurrants, graphite, lead pencil shavings and crushed rocks in a full-bodied, decadent, insanely layered and seamless style. This beauty possesses ultra-fine tannin, no hard edges and a forward, already hard to resist style, yet it's going to keep for more than two decades”
* Shipping is being organised and we expect these to arrive just before Christmas.
Our Christmas Opening Hours
• Monday to Friday: 9:00 - 5:00
• We are attending the Winchester Wine Festival on 24 & 25 November along with some great names in the wine industry.
• Saturday 2 December: 10:00 – 4:00
• Saturday 9 December: 10:00 – 4:00
• Saturday 16 December: 9:00 – 5:00
• Monday 18 to Thursday 21: 9:00 – 5:00
• Special Late Night Opening: Friday 22: 9:00 – 8:00
• Saturday 23 December 9:00 – 6:00 (Nibbles, mince pies, Champagne,
1928 Maury will be served throughout the day)
• We are closed on Christmas Eve, returning Wednesday 3 January 2018