Posts Tagged ‘Burgundy’

Last weekend the elegant premisses of the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone were swarming with wine lovers from all over the world.
A young banker from South Korea indulging in the 20th glass of Bordeaux was not a rarity and a curious wine junkie from the Czech Republic (me) could not miss this magnificent event annually organised by the UK wine magazine Decanter.

Exceptionally wide selection

From over 600 wines I managed to taste 40 and even left with three bottles as a gift from the lovely representatives of Chateau Peyrabon in Bordeaux. I tasted their wines right at the beginning of my long journey through wine regions of the world. Particularly Chateau Peyrabon 2003 with its black currant and mature taste for such a young age surprised me.

Bordeaux, Bordeaux, …

There were many other Bordeaux such as Chateau Beychevelle, Faugéres, Chauvin or the star Chateau Palmer which reshaped my conviction, that Bordeaux younger than 10 years is almost undrinkable. Their 2003 and even 2005 releases were more than pleasant!

New World wines

Another revelation was Napa Valley’s Heitz Cellars with stunning Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004 is perfect for your juicy steak. California really does not stay behind. You only need to search in the immense haystack of for me often boring wines and you discover such treasures like Seghesio’s Zinfandel from Home Ranch Alexander Valley which balanced body with light chocolate entangling your tongue was intriguing.

From the eight winemakers from South Africa I would elevate the Danie de Wet Cape Muscadet 2007 for its exotic li-chi and orange peel flavours are ideal to accompany a peach sorbet. The Decanter Gold medal winner Steytler Pinotage 2006 and Steytler Vision 2006 were fruity and quite sweet. Both are from the Kaapzicht Estate meaning “cap view” as it stems from the wonderful view over Cape Town and Table Mountain.

Fashionable wine

Finally a small revelation. Fashion designers have already made their steps into furniture, hotels, etc. But Roberto Cavalli triumphs over them all as he lets his son Tommaso manage a vineyard on his Tuscan estate Tenuta degli Dei producing Igt wine since 2006. You could buy the classic bottle for £32 at the venue or get a special limited version bottle designed by Roberto himself.

This year’s Fine Wine Encounter was amusing and enriching for me as I have learned there a lot. Furthermore, I could not resist to the special subscription offer from the Decanter magazine and got one year for £29 with a gift in the form of an internationally praised wine guide the Wine Report 2009 by Tom Stevenson (£9.99 at http://www.dk.com ).

Plenty to win

Throughout the event you could enter a draw and win a place at the WSET level 2 Intermediate Certificate in Wines & Spirits worth £355 from the largest global provider of qualifications in wines & spirits the Wine & Education Trust. What more to wish for Christmas as with their 40 years experience in the wine education your knowledge of wines can move to higher spheres. And this is not all! You could win cases of award-winning wines from Decanter and even a two-night luxury break at one of 17 historic country houses from Handpicked Hotels.

Upcoming events

To grasp all the great producers at the Landmark Hotel is impossible just here, therefore I recommend you visiting the upcoming Decanter events in 2010. The hotel will host The Great Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter on 20 February and Great Italian Fine Wine Encounter on 15 May. For bookings call +44(0)20 31484513 or go to www. decanter.com/events

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The first time ever, the Nicolas Wine Fair at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London last weekend was a huge success.

The Royal Horticultural Halls LondonThe elegant premisses were packed with wine lovers eager to taste as much as their bodies could take in. There were many happy faces. The right to meet new friends as everyone wants to share their impressions about various wines.

Diversity of visitors
You could see couples trying to find wine they both enjoy to relish it later together while having a romantic dinner. But also loners, who bravely cruised from one stand to the other, were not rare. Nicolas wine fair London
I was one of them and as a women I stood out. Nevertheless, I was warmly welcomed by each producer I approached and my peculiar questions were answered promptly.

What you could taste

There were over 200 wines & spirits from all over the world. Majority of them from France, therefore I decided to focus my tasting on the French producers.

I started with the Famille Bougrier from Loire Valley. Loire is famous for its crisp Savignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, exotic Muscadet and red Cabernet Franc in Touraine area.

I tried their Savignon Blanc, Grand Reserve from Touraine which couldn’t disappoint anyone. It was crisp and fruity. I liked it a lot. I moved to a semi-sweet Vouvray made from Chenin blanc. Its complex and light sweetness was mouth-watering. I got a detailed explanation of all of the wines as well as information about the family’s wineries.

At just the next stand, there was an Alsace producer the Domaine Schluberger. I admit, I am a big fan of wines from Alsace as they are something in the middle road between the rich German wines and more elegant French wines. A keen producer recommended me a Riesling from a Grand Cru vineyard Kitterle 2004. “It is my favourite, he said.” More minerals than usual and its lighter body were quite interesting, though I preferred the Riesling from the late harvest in 2005 called Vendages Tardives. I was said that Riesling is not usually picked late. In the Vendages Tardives the late harvest resulted in a more sweet taste and an elderberry flower aroma. More typical for late harvest is Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Gris. The former from a Grand Cru resembled more exotic flavours such as pineapple and li-chi.
Nicolas wine fair-Correns organic winesOrganic village

Organic wines are a big hit so they could not be left out at the Nicolas wine fair.

Correns is a village in the heart of Provence Verte, in the South of France, and it is almost all organic! This tradition is nothing new for locals as 95% of the wines from there are Organic. According to their leaflet it was the first village to be designated “bio” .

I have tried a rosé, which the young women next to me considered as the best rosé she has ever had. She said: “I have never liked rosé, but this is the very first time I come to love it!” I thought that it is wonderful to see people liking something they would never have thought they might like.

There was much more to taste, you could spend an afternoon here. Hopefully, next year Nicolas will repeat the success of the Wine Fair and attracts as many producers as this year.

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Perhaps the most famous Charity wine auction on the world will take place on Sunday 15th November 2009 at the traditional covered market in Beaune.

This is the longest-established Charity wine auction which used to be run by the gothic Hospices De Beaune in Burgundy. However, since 2007 the prominent auction house Christies took over the organisation of the event that is  traditionally held on the third Sunday in November.
Hospices De Beaune

Historical background

Hospices de Beaune was founded in 1443 by Nicolas Rolin, Chancellor of Duke of Burgundy. Poverty and famine in the wake of the Hundred Years’ War in France lead this profound man to establish a hospital for poor inhabitants of Beaune. The income was secured from saltworks and vines. Today, the proceedings from wine production remain to be donated to charity.

Every year in November wines made from more than 61ha of vineyards owned by the hospice winemaker are auctioned off at a charity auction attended by wine lovers as well as wine merchants from around the world.

It is a prestigious event highly sought after by the most prominent wine connoisseurs and a great opportunity to connect wine and a good cause.

What is on sale

You can find a wide range of Premier and Grand Cru wines from Beaune, Batard-Montarachet, Corton, Corton-Charlemagne, Clos de la Roche, Mazis-Chambertin, Meurault, Pommard, Pouilly-Fuseé, Savinny-lés-Beaune and Volnay. The best of these are auctioned and the rest are sold at the adjoining wine shop.


Today, the hospital is just a museum and an adjourning Hotel-Dieu serves as a top accommodation for curious tourists.

If you can not make it for the auction, you can visit the “les caves” – wine cellars, and taste Hospices wines during a two hour tour or just their new “cuverie” – a wine fermentation room with wine tasting in just a one and a half hour tour. Both are encouraged to be booked in advance. (hospices.beaune@wanadoo.fr)

more info: www.hospices-de-beaune.tm.fr

tel: 33(0)3 80 2445 00

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vineyards behind Vosné RomaneéBurgundy, with its fresh and friendly attitude towards wine production, is perhaps the most significant wine region in France. Forget the heavy, old and pricey Bordeaux usually developing its full potential with ageing. Delicate chardonnay in whites and pronounced Pinot Noir in red wines guarantees a unique and harmonious experience.

Advantages of Burgundy over Bordeaux

As my friend, a wine connoisseur, said: “In this economically challenging time it is Burgundy which caught my attention. It offers high quality wines while the prices are kept much lower compared to Bordeaux.”

I took his words to heart and decided to explore it first hand. I packed my wine guidebook and boarded the plane from Heathrow to Lyon.

Gastronomic paradise

While landing I observed the astonishingly colourful landscape of Burgudy and a question popped out of my head: Is it Beaune, Dijon or Lyon who should wear the crown of Burgundy?

Beaune is surrounded by villages with pompous names like Aloxe-Corton, Pommard, Savigny-lés-Beaune, Meursault, Volnay… Not ringing the bell yet? Fine, more follows, Vosne-Romaneé, Puligny- and Chasagne-Montrachet. If we judge by wine, than Beaune is the king!
Vosne - Romaneé

Dijon is famous for its luscious mustard and Lyon for its outnumbered Michelin star restaurants (there are 37 of which three have three Michelin stars!). But if we talk about wines, it is Beaune and the villages around bursting with spectacular vineyards.

Producers around Beaune 

The town itself is located in Cote de Beaune just below the Cote de Nuits, home of Domaine Louis Jadot, Leroy and the most famous Domaine de la Romanée Conti. All of these are easily reachable within 20 minutes by car. Nevertheless, Cote de Beaune does not stay behind. Producers like Bouchard Pére & Fils, Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Domaine Bonneau du Martray figure on the labels of the world famous wines.

Bouchard Pére & Fils is located right in the centre of Beaune at rue du Chateau. Its best wines are Chevalier-Montrachet and the long named Beaune Gréves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus.

A stone throw from Beaune is Domaine des Comtes Lafon producing Meursault from the outstanding terroir Perriéres where the first quality chardonnay is planted. It is a much better choice than the touristy Chateau de Meursault which has vineyards at Perriéres as well. I have tasted a couple of wines from this 11th century Chateau and was disappointed. Although, I really enjoyed sipping from the freely available open bottles while touring the 800,000 bottles cellar under the Chateau.

Where to eat

If your ever end up in Beaune try to eat at Bistro de L’Hotel offering not only typical Burgundese food, its Gratin truffles will blow your mind, but also a wide choice of local wines. The Beaune 1er Gréves 2006 –  De Montille was so tender and fruity, that we drunk the bottle before the cheese tray arrived! Though wines by the glass are also spectacular.

Youth is desirable

What is amazing about Beaune’s wines is that they can be drunk young while tasting gentle with a very low acidity. Even though there is not a single Grand Cru in the area, these wines won’t disappoint you. We all have different preferences and if your taste buds are like mine, the fresh reds from Savigny-lés-Beaunes will make you very happy.
vast cellars of Chateau Meursault

further info: http://www.lhoteldebeaune.com


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