What to expect in the coming year
2015 was the first year that we managed to keep Whispering Angel rosé from Provence in stock, as previously we have run out by October, and so has the winery. At $25.55 a bottle it is priced between Rock Angel rosé — $32.90 — and Single Blend rosé at $17.55. We do expect all the fine wines from Sacha Lichine in this category to be strong this year.
If you want to have a heads-up on a soon-to-be-new arrival, please Google “open a bottle of wine with a shoe by Stephen Cronk”. You will see an interesting success story and a lovely Provence rosé called Mirabeau Pure.
Cabernet franc is forecast to be the new “hot” varietal and we have a few.
Highly respected Jonathan Maltus takes his team at Château Teyssier in St Émilion to Napa Valley, where he produces Against the Wind cabernet franc at his World’s End winery.
Here is what critic Stephen Tanzer had to say about the 2009 that we currently stock: “Good floral lift to the aromas of bitter cherry, redcurrant, liquorice and chocolate. Menthol and minty nuances emerging with air. Sweet, energetic and fine-grained with lovely spice to the flavours of red berries and flowers with a suave finish.”
This is a very good vintage and it is ready to enjoy. $47.90.
Decanter magazine awarded our Fabre Montmayou 2013 cabernet franc their regional trophy for Argentinian red bordeaux varietal under £15. We sell it for $14.90. This French family that moved from Bordeaux to Argentina in the early 1990s does honestly make some of my favourites and they are such good value.
If I may digress, let me mention Christmas Eve in our home as it also has to do with Fabre Montmayou.
My wife always makes venison meat pie at Christmas time, a treat her family have no doubt enjoyed for centuries in the area that we now call Wisconsin.
The wine we chose was just perfection with this dish that also included Muscovy duck breasts. I refer to Fabre Montmayou Grand Vin 2007 from Lujan de Cuyo and I confess to writing about this wine in September. But it is just so good! I quoted Robert Parker: “Glass-coating opaque purple colour, smoke, toasted oak, incense, black cherry and plum that is supple-textured, ripe and concentrated.”
This blend of 85 per cent malbec from vines planted in 1908, 10 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 5 per cent merlot is just so beautifully developed at this time, but if you would like to cellar it I suggest drinking it all up before 2023. We were selling it for more than $35 but our wine team has convinced me that I overbought and so it has been reduced to a ridiculous $20 a bottle for now.
It is felt that organic farming will be more appreciated in 2016 for its care of our planet. Personally, I am such a believer in biodynamics. It is described by the Biodynamic Association in this way: “Awakens and enlivens co-creative relationships between humans and the earth, transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth, the integrity of our food, and the health and wholeness of our communities.”
Not only are man-made chemicals shunned, but animals are used often instead of machines, and celestial forces that affect our planet are considered very important. While you are surfing the net, check it out as it is an amazing subject and I am totally convinced that it works. Drouhin farm all their land in Burgundy and Oregon biodynamically. Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley is one of the largest biodynamic farmers in France and our friend, Pascal Jolivet, is moving towards this goal with his very popular sancerre and pouilly fume. In Chablis, Michel Laroche is on the same path.
The wines of Michael Seresin in Marlborough, New Zealand, are biodynamic and all farmwork is done by human and horse power. The beautiful pinot noirs from Kai Schubert and his wife in Wairarapa in North Island are organic and biodynamic.
When Robert Sinskey, in Napa Valley, starts up his tractor it smells like popcorn and French fries as he burns used cooking oil.
When it is time to trim the weeds and grass he lets 50 sheep loose on his land. He is certified by Dementer, which is the organisation that certifies biodynamic farming on a worldwide basis.
By the way, we have his lovely 2012 cabernet franc for $63.70.
Add to this list our suppliers that farm organically and sustainably and I would venture to say that they account for more than half of the wines that we offer to our customers.
Even the world’s largest family-owned winery, Gallo, adhere to their original 50/50 give back policy — for every acre of planted vineyard they set aside an acre for wildlife habitat.
They took the lead in drafting the code of sustainable wine growing practices in collaboration with the Wine Institute of California and support the American Farmland Trust.
• This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits is available online at www.wineonline.bm
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