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Monthly Archives: July 2011

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  • An Italian in London...

    Luigi Buonanno is Group sommelier and wine buyer for the Etrusca group of restaurants. He's also a keen wine blogger, writing on Italian wine website Doctor Wine.

    Here he reviews Kenton Bacchus - with some poignant observations on the whole English wine connundrum.

    "It is quite a funny thing that we think that the two most important markets for wine are two cities in countries which do not produce wine: London and Hong Kong. But this is not actually the truth. In England people enjoy all the wines of the world and there has never been emphasis or attention placed on what the potential is for the native land.

    Britain only took the challenge seriously after the Second World War, before this there was wine produced in England but with poor results.

    label BacchusLately wine growers are improving their knowledge and passion - aiming to produce quality wines - of which Kenton Vineyard is one. It was established in 2003 by Jo and Matthew, a couple of London professionals, who decided to move to the countryside to embrace a tough challenge: producing quality wines in England.

    The vineyard lies on the west side of Devon's Exe Estuary, nestling in the foothills of the Haldon Hills. The south facing slopes and sandy soil together with the mild and sunny climate represent an ideal ‘terroir’ for growing vines and ripening grapes.

    I have tried several Bacchus in my life and I have never come across one which has impressed me. It is a German grape variety that grows well in England and is listed as one of the recommended grape varieties for England. We all know that England represents a tough call for a wine growers because England is at the extreme parallels where the grapes ripen. This can be translated in wines with high acidity and supple structure. The problem that I have found with the other English Bacchus is that most of them are off dry or medium, ‘Spatlese’ if we want to use a German wine classification; this is also due to the high content of sugar present in the grape itself.

    When people are a bit sceptical about a wine I think that they have tried the wrong one which unfortunately continues to influence their choice even in the future. Despite the fact that I had never tried a decent Bacchus I continued to taste them until I found this one.

    The Bacchus 2010 of Kenton Vineyard shows a pale straw yellow colour, the nose opens to almond flower notes followed by a distinct note of elderflower and then fruity hits of nectarine and kiwi. The palate is absolutely fresh, dry and has an intriguing tangy tail. It is a perfect aperitif or can be an accompaniment to crustaceans such as poached lobster or grilled tiger prawns. Perhaps the English will better enjoy it with the most classic fish and chips and I absolutely have to agree."

    Posted by Luigi Buonanno, with thanks to

    The original article can be viewed here

  • Tremendous Trimbach

    Jean Trimbach, 12th generation of the celebrated Alsace winery, was in London this week for an outstanding tasting. Never has our RSVP inbox rattled with so many prompt responses; rarely have we seen such a turnout of London's top sommeliers in one place at one time. The roll call of wines below gives you some idea why. Jean Trimbach had very generously offered a number of vintages of some of his finest wines for us to taste. The lineup included Cuvee Frederic Emile vintage 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1989 Clos Ste Hune 2005, 2004, 1985 Gewurztraminer 'Selection de Grains Nobles' 2001 and 1989. The first two wines are widely regarded as being amongst the finest Rieslings made anywhere in the world. Having been luck enough to taste recent vintages of 'Freddy Emile' on a few precious occasions, this was an amazing chance to taste across 16 years of development. The 2005 is racy, exciting, with dazzling clarity and full, exciting life ahead of it. From the other vintages, I'd especially pick out 2001 and 1999. 2001 is certainly one of Trimbach's great vintages, but the beauty of a tasting like this is how different wines make fans across a selection of tasters. Next, Clos Ste Hune. This is a wine so celebrated and soughtafter that Trimbach could probably keep it all for themselves and a few close friends and live off the legend - but happily they don't! We soon understood why it is held in such esteem. Each vintage here had amazing depth of rich, almost butterscotch fruit, again a rapier-like freshness, but most noticably of all, dazzling length. It's always a temptation when people use words like 'profound' about wine to reach for the pseud-o-meter, but these wines genuinely make one pause, reflect, step outside the humdrum. Here is Xavier Rousset, celebrated sommelier and patron at Texture and 28-50 in London, with a quick word on the tasting: [flv: 300 200] Afterwards I went home and sipped at a glass of supermarket Fiano which was open in the fridge. I might as well have been drinking squash, after the multi-dimensional delights of the afternoon chez Trimbach.

  • Enotria picks up six nominations at IWC

    The Merchant Awards at the International Wine Challenge are amongst the most coveted in the industry; they are decided upon by a panel of experts chosen from across the wine trade. This year we are very pleased to have made the shortlist in the following categories. On Trade Supplier of the Year Wine Educator of the Year Specialist Merchant of the Year – Australia Specialist Merchant of the Year – Italy Specialist Merchant of the Year – South Africa The winners will be announced at the IWC Awards Dinner in September. A full list of the shortlisted candidates is here.

  • Anselmi and the elements

    Journeyed to the Soave district on Monday, in the company of broadcaster Olly Smith and winewomansong herself, Juel Mahoney. First stop was the iconoclast Roberto Anselmi. Roberto took over from his father in the 1970s, and set about transforming what had been a supplier of fairly ordinary wine into something quite different. Huge investment of time, money but most importantly innovative thinking about the whole winemaking process has led Anselmi to the point where today he is a thought leader, not just in the region but for the whole of Italy. The Monteforte vineyards baked under a relentless July sun, as Roberto's daughter Lisa showed us an experimental vineyard across the road from the property. We scuttled, relieved into the air conditioned calm of the winery. Last year the whole district was victim of severe flooding when the Alpone river burst its banks, and Lisa showed us the tide mark, at over 2 metres, where the water had reached. The wine had been saved, praise be, but systems, computers and years of accounts were lost or corrupted; the family is only now getting back to normal. There must be something elemental here, as the night before we'd arrived, the winery was struck by lightning, knocking out one of the cooling systems and sending a chunk of roof flying. Roberto was taking this all in good stead. The winery uses nitrogen extensively as a barrier to oxidation - Anselmi is fanatical about keeping the wines inert throughout the winemaking process. We were shown state of the art cotton filters which the wine is pushed through using nitrogen. Then into the extremely bohemian lift (pictured) and up to the barrel room. This is one of the most mellow, tranquil and generally cool winery spaces we'd collectively ever experienced. Walls of bottles are softly back-lit, candles burn gently amongst the barrels and soft, undulating melodies play from the dark corners. I tried to take some pictures up there in the certain knowledge that my humble phone would not capture anything of the atmosphere of the place. Here's a pic taken from their website. To those of you familiar with Anselmi's dazzling white wines, the taste and style of these surroundings may come as little surprise, but it is always revealing to see how the winemaker lives 'at home' and how their surroundings reflect the characters behind the wines. This beautifully designed winery environment, from vineyard to barrel hall, spoke volumes for Anselmi and his desire for balance in all things vinous.

  • the Untouchaboules

    Patrick Pigny, Enotria sales rep extraordinaire in the West Country (and as gallic as the game itself), reports that Enotria entered a team snappily named "The Untouchaboules" in the annual Wells Charity Boules match. This is organised by The Crown at Wells and raises money for the Nepal Trust. Sadly our valiant team came up short when the cochonnet was down, but had a good time for a great cause in the beautiful Somerset sunshine.

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