Pomerol - by Neal Martin

If you are a Bordeaux or Pomerol lover, this is a must for your Christmas stocking.

Neal's writing style makes this book an easy read. It gives you all the detail and tasting notes you could wish for covering the most unique appellation in Bordeaux. With maps of the properties drawn by the proprietors themselves, it is fair to say that this writing style is the future of wine books to come.

Ridge Monte Bello

There are few Californian wines that could hold a torch to the great producers of Bordeaux, Ridge Monte Bello is one wine that not only equals the best Bordeaux châteaux, but surpasses them.

The Monte Bello vineyard is located in the northern reaches of the Santa Cruz Mountains at an elevation of between 1,300ft and 2,660ft with south/south-easterly exposure, on decomposing Franciscan rock with clay on a substrata of fissured limestone (common in France, rare in California.) There are 66.4 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon between 10- and 52-years old, 12.8-acres of Merlot between 6- and 33-years old, 2.2 acres of Petit Verdot between 10- and 13-years old and just 1.3-acres of 31-year old Cabernet Franc. Vines are head-trained and cane-pruned on trellis with no irrigation save for the fledgling vines.

Zalto - Glass perfection

If you are a wine fanatic and have yet to try your wine in a Zalto glass - now is the time!!

Technical perfection is the basic principle of the Zalto Glass Manufactury. Zalto Glasses have always been produced following a tradition of using only the most highly skilled glass-blowers working with a selection of the best raw materials. This tradition, and the resulting fineness of each glass, echoes the delicate virtuosity of the great Venetian glass artists of the Renaissance. 

Most of the year I write about what to serve and drink but during this festive season I’d like to focus on what to serve and drink wine from……. Riedel no longer has the wine glass market to himself and an increasing proportion of the newer wine glasses have an angle in them rather than being gently bulbous – presumably to maximise the surface area of an ideal serving. The glasses that have most impressed me recently, from Zalto, conform to this rather Scandinavian shape and are the thinnest and most delicate I have come across, yet seem springy and almost elastic in the hand. The Zaltos were originally Venetian but the glasses are made in northern Austria and over the border in the Czech Republic. Best of all, the manufacturers say they are best washed in a regular dishwasher. At £26 for one of the “Universal” model...they are not cheap but they are cheaper than many of Riedel’s top models and would give any serious wine lover a real thrill over the closeness of contact they offer……. Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com

Screaming Eagle - "the epitome of Napa cult"

If any wine exemplifies the California Cult wine phenomena, it’s Screaming Eagle , which made its auspicious debut with their 1992 vintage. Within two short years, the wine quickly shot to the top of the hot, must have collectible charts. In fact, the current price for the 1992 Screaming Eagle has soared to over $8,000  That’s per bottle, not per case!

The 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon is exceptionally impressive. The wine's opaque purple color is followed by a sensational nose of jammy blackcurrants and subtle toasty oak. As stunning as the aromatics are, the wine reveals even greater richness and intensity on the palate, offering up layers of stunningly proportioned, ripe, intense fruit, full body, great purity, and an inner-core of sweet, creamy, highly extracted blackcurrant/cassis fruit. The tannin is nearly concealed behind the massive extract and richness. All the component parts are brilliantly focused and in balance. The finish is awesome! This is a spectacular debut release that should age effortlessly for 20 years.  - 99 RP - 

Philippe Pacalet - pure Burgundy expression.....

One of Philippe's goals is to express the terroir effect on wine, Pacalet’s Burgundies are quite distinctive, with lovely purity and elegance, and thrilling aromatics. These aren’t wines that grab you by virtue of their size, but instead they seduce with freshness and elegance. Pacalet is clearly a master of élevage.

Philippe Pacalet

All vineyards are farmed by Pacalet himself and hand harvested. The grapes are then sorted in the vineyard before being brought to the winery in Beaune where they are fermented, whole cluster, in large, open top vats. He carries out a long maceration and during this time the cap is punched down twice a day and the grapes are also foot-stomped. Afterwards, the resulting juice is drained from the bottom of the vat (which makes up ¾ of the eventual wine) and the grapes are moved to a press. The press wine (1/4 of the blend) is then added to the free run juice and both undergo malolactic fermentation in barrel using the native yeasts only. No sulfur is used during the vinification process – a small amount may or may not be added at bottling, depending on the vintage..

2008 Philippe Pacalet Charmes Chambertin

The Pacalet 2008 Charmes-Chambertin (in fact largely from Mazoyeres) offers a high-toned, suggestively sweet nose of candied cherry, almond and pistachio extracts, along with heady, heliotrope and gardenia perfume. As this opens, a Chartreuse-like sense of high-toned herbal essences emerges as well, and on a delicate, silken-textured palate, savory suggestions of browned butter and caramel complement the wine’s bright fruit and alluring florality. I find less length and certainly less sense of minerality than in the corresponding Lavaux, but this had been bottled only a week before I tasted it. It will prove worth following for the better part of a decade. DS - 92

Bollinger RD

This is the result of Madame Bollinger’s great vision: an expert wine with aromas enhanced by its exceptionally long maturation, it will last forever; James Bond’s favourite champagne.

Gaja - Bucking the trend

Angelo Gaja is one of Italy’s most renowned, most dynamic wine personalities and his impact on viticulture there in the last 30 years cannot be overstated. Some credit him with putting Italy at the forefront of today’s wine making nations.

barbaresco.jpg

Angelo Gaja introduced several practices to Piedmont, starting in 1961 by experimenting with green harvesting and single vineyard production, which begin with Sori San Lorenzo in 1967, Sori Tildin in 1970 and Costa Russi in 1978. He introduced malocatic fermentation to Piedmont and from 1975-1976 started using French barriques, although by modernists standards he is still reserved in their use. Gaja transported thermo-controllable fermentation equipment and eventually used French grape varieties.

 

Gaja like most innovators also brought its share of the polemic, when he intentionally declassified his DOCG Barbaresco and Barolo’s, citing his reason as the desire to be able to introduce small amounts of Barbera to some of his blends: in reality Gaja can do and does whatever he likes, as his wines are some of the most revered in the world. The following wines are made in minuscule quantities and are all 95% Nebbiolo and 5% Barbera, spending 12 months in barriques and again 12 months in large oak casks, classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, due to the use of Barbera.

MR de Compostella - "SA Icon getting just reward"

Is this the ultimate SA "cult wine"? many are starting to think so

   
  
 
  
    
  
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     Mvemve Raats is a joint venture inaugurated in 2004 between Bruwer Raats and Mzokhona Mvemve. I must confess that adrenalin began rushing as I tasted two vintages of their stunning Bordeaux blend: De Compostella. I began to wonder why I spent two weeks down in Bordeaux assessing self-aggrandizing Cabernets?       The 2011 MR de Compostella comes from separately vinified parcels that are assessed blind after 12 months, the highest rated barrels spending another 12 months in wood, a tripartite mixture of new, one and two-year-old oak. It has a seductive bouquet that is beautifully defined: blackberry, raspberry and blueberry fruit wrapped up in judicious new oak and hints of cedar and sandalwood that come through with time. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp red berries, soy and hints of spice. It is perfectly controlled with more finesse on the finish than the twenty odd South African samples I tasted before this. To sum up this wine in two words: world class. Ignore at your own risk. (Neal Martin - 95)

Mvemve Raats is a joint venture inaugurated in 2004 between Bruwer Raats and Mzokhona Mvemve. I must confess that adrenalin began rushing as I tasted two vintages of their stunning Bordeaux blend: De Compostella. I began to wonder why I spent two weeks down in Bordeaux assessing self-aggrandizing Cabernets?

The 2011 MR de Compostella comes from separately vinified parcels that are assessed blind after 12 months, the highest rated barrels spending another 12 months in wood, a tripartite mixture of new, one and two-year-old oak. It has a seductive bouquet that is beautifully defined: blackberry, raspberry and blueberry fruit wrapped up in judicious new oak and hints of cedar and sandalwood that come through with time. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp red berries, soy and hints of spice. It is perfectly controlled with more finesse on the finish than the twenty odd South African samples I tasted before this. To sum up this wine in two words: world class. Ignore at your own risk. (Neal Martin - 95)

Wine Guardian - Experts in the wine cellar conditioning

Wine by design - distributors of Wine Guardian products in the UK

Whether for your home, restaurant or storage facility, a versatile wine cooling system that provides commercial-grade temperature and humidity control is essential. That’s where Wine Guardian comes in. As stylish as they are functional, our wine cellar temperature and humidity control systems set the standard for performance while offering easy installation in any wine room.

Wine Guardian systems are available in a number of through-the-wall, ducted and ducted split models that are quiet and energy efficient, made of commercial-gradecomponents and equipped with more unique features and options than any other system, from any other manufacturer. Wine Guardian can also outfit your cellar with uniquely designed, integrated or freestanding humidifiers as well as remote sensing and remote monitoring systems.

Dunn Vineyards - Nappa

Looking for something unique, The wines of Randy Dunn really need no introduction in the US. First with Caymus Vineyards, where Randy was the winemaker from 1975 through 1985, and then with his eponymous Dunn label, whose first release was a 1979 Cabernet from Howell Mountain fruit, Dunn’s wines have made people take notice. Indeed, much of Caymus’s fame was built on the wines of those vintages, and while the Dunn wines are cut from a different cloth, they have won admirers for years.

Dunn has been on a crusade to reverse the upward spiral of alcohol in Cabernet, a trend he sees as not only destroying the style of wine on which Napa has made its reputation but also neutralizing any sense of place.

He is so opposed to making wine above 14 percent alcohol that he openly resorts to a controversial method known as reverse osmosis, which removes some of his wine's alcohol.

With Napa's price ceiling now hitting $750 per bottle, it's harder to categorize Dunn's wines. Are they great bargain cult bottles, or holdovers from a less prestigious era?

"I've been in many conversations with people that have been selling their wines for $150 a bottle for 15 years, and I was at $65 or something. They go, 'What are you doing? You're making us look like fools,' " he says. "And I said, 'You know, I'm quite profitable at this level.' Here's a concept called greed."

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Dom Perignon OEnotheque 1966 Magnum - Sold!!

Dom Perignon OEnotheque 1966 Magnum, in a custom red cooler designed by Jony Ive & Marc Newson, was sold for $93,750 at Sotherby's New York - The proceeds will go to the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis and malaria.

Henri Jayer’s Richebourg

Henri Jayer’s Richebourg is the most expensive wine in the world. This red Burgundy, which is no longer in production, has the highest average price of all wines listed on Wine-Searcher. It averages out at $14,395 per bottle, a figure calculated across at least three vintages.

Born in 1922, the late Henri Jayer began to lease vines "en metayage" in Vosne-Romanée's Richebourg vineyard from the Noirot-Camuzet family. This sharecropping system meant that Jayer tended the vines and gave half of the fruit harvested back to the owners as payment.

The lease continued until 1987, which was the last year that Henri Jayer made Richebourg under his own label. The rarity of the product is certainly a factor in the stratospheric price.

In the intervening period, Jayer had purchased land around Vosne Romanée, including a vegetable patch which at that time was planted with Jerusalem artichokes. This parcel of land had formerly been the Cros Parantoux vineyard and the artichokes soon made way for vines. The plot was restored to its pre-phylloxera glory and became a premier cru vineyard in 1953. Today, its wines sell at an average of $5,436 per bottle – making it the world’s third most expensive wine, according to the Wine-Searcher database.

Jayer did not bottle all of his own wines until 1978, which means that wine lovers can find négociant bottlings of some vintages. This extraordinary winemaker retired in 1996, when his nephew, Emmanuel Rouget, took control of the domaine. However, Jayer continued to make wine for Rouget until 2001. He died five years later, aged 84. His wines continue to age gracefully.

SINE QUA NON

Sine Qua Non is a California cult winery known for its Rhône style blends, a tendency to avoid repetition, and a very limited production of wine that is highly difficult to obtain, with 100% of all releases allocated and directly sold to a carefully managed mailing list.

The wines of Sine Qua Non are made by the eccentric Manfred Krankle in the outer suburbs of Ventura California, in a winery described by Robert Parker as "a set scene from the movie Mad Max". 

 

Sine Qua Non Syrah Five Shooter

The 2010 Syrah Five Shooter is straight up gorgeous. A massive wine that somehow holds everything together, it offers a wild array of cassis, blackberry, white chocolate, underbrush and pepper that flows to a full-bodied, layered Syrah that has masses of fine tannin and enough substance to evolve for decades. A blend of 85% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Petite Sirah, 5% Roussanne and 2% Viognier that was fermented with 20% whole cluster and aged 22 months in 59% new French oak, it opens up beautifully in the glass and should be decanted if drinking anytime soon. Drink 2015-2030 (JD)

 

 

Sine Qua Non Grenache Five Shooter

 

The 2010 Grenache Five Shooter A blend of (75% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 2.5 % Mourvedre, 4.5% Roussanne and 2% Viognier) and also a brilliant bottle of wine, the 2010 Grenache Five Shooter spent 20 months in 75% used barrels, with the balance in concrete and new French oak. Seamless and elegant, with the house richness and texture, it gives up thrilling, floral-tinged aromas and flavors of red berry fruit, flower oil, spice, white pepper and licorice to go with a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel that keeps you coming back to the glass. While approachable now, it will have upwards of two decades of longevity. Drink 2015-2030.

 

Roberson wine stocks the finest wines from Sine Qua Non available for next day delivery