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Monthly Archives: February 2015

  • Ken Forrester icon wins luxury taste off

    Chenin Blanc led the field in the Inaugural Top SA Luxury White Taste Off, a dual Johannesburg and Cape Town blind tasting event which showcased the most expensive white wines in South Africa.

    The iconic FMC (Forrester Meinert Chenin) maiden vintage 2000, however, trumped all other wines and, according to almost 70 tasters, was deemed to be in "total command and a clear winner across the board", says winemaker Ken Forrester.

    Terroir-driven

    The FMC is made predominantly from Ken Forrester’s prize vineyard, a 45 year old block of bush vine Chenin Blanc on his Helderberg property Scholtzenhof, first granted in 1689. The FMC has enjoyed a cult following since its inaugural vintage, garnering a consistent string of awards both locally and internationally; Ken attributes this success to various factors, among others a complex harvesting process, unique vinification techniques and importantly the heritage vineyard from which the wine is produced every year.

    “Carefully managing an older vineyard is the key to quality,” explains Ken. “The yields are around three to four tons per hectare and each bunch is left with 16-18 leaves for ripening. The vineyard is picked a minimum of four times during harvest, with the help of  the Normalised Density Vegetative Index (NDVI), a system where aerial photographs determine which pockets are similar in vegetation density allowing them to be picked alone ensuring overall optimal ripeness.  Furthermore the property is located in a valley near False Bay, a mere six km from the Atlantic Ocean, enjoying ocean breezes and a moderate, cool climate.”

    2012 The FMC, Chenin, Ken Forrester Wines

    “The Chenin Project”

    The collaboration between Ken and Martin Meinert is interesting. Their union on the FMC project can only be described as a moment of bifurcation; two entirely different approaches with one common goal - to take South African wine, specifically Chenin Blanc, to the very highest level.

    Experiments with what they called “The Chenin Project” started as early as 1997, but it was only in the year 2000 that they realised they were onto a winner.  The 2000 vintage made its debut at the Cape Independent Winemakers Guild Auction in 2001 where it tied as the most expensive white wine purchased on auction, at R160 per bottle.  The first public offering of the 2001 FMC was released to market in 2002.

    The “recipe” stays the same every year; hand selected, low yield Chenin Blanc grapes are harvested at full maturity in unique batches across a one month picking window.   Natural wild yeast fermentation takes place in new and used 400 litre French barrels, and due to repetitive harvesting some botrytis is always present in the later pickings. The result is what Ken and Martin consider to be the pinnacle of the finest expression of Chenin Blanc – an icon, The FMC.

    As Ken says, “the result of this important tasting shows that the The Chenin Project has come of age – apparently The FMC is South Africa’s best white wine, the tribe has spoken!”

     

  • Brand new office and warehouse for Enotria

    From 16th February we will be in our new home in Park Royal!

    The new, improved warehouse and offices are located on Cumberland Avenue, close to Hanger Lane gyratory with its easy access to the A40 and North Circular (A406).

    We are also close to Park Royal underground station (Piccadilly Line) which is approximately 14 minutes walk away. If travelling from central london, the Central Line stops at North Acton which is around 20 minutes walk from Cumberland Avenue.

    How do I get there?

    Click on the links below for suggested routes from the nearest underground stations, courtesy of Google Maps :

    Our new address:

    Enotria House

    23 Cumberland Avenue

    London NW10 7RX

     

     

  • Telegraph - Camel Valley Rosé

    The Telegraph’s Susy Atkins has been expounding the virtues of English sparkling wine; in particular those from Cornwall based Enotria producer Camel Valley. In her article, Why English sparkling wine beats champagne on Valentine's Day, Susy recommended Camel Valley’s Pinot Noir Rosé as one of her “tongue-tingling aperitifs” for this romantic day.

    Susy went on to describe the wine’s key flavours: “Dry, delicate, beautifully poised, pale pink and with a little white pepper twisted over summer red berries – raspberry and wild strawberry. One for prawns or sushi.”

    In the article, Susy quoted Camel Valley’s Bob Lindo (pictured above with the Duchess of Cornwall), who explained that it was the freshness of English sparkling wine that set it apart. He explained that there was “a magical acidity” that contributed to the wines unique taste: “It’s a mouthwatering quality that years ago we used to try to reduce, but which we now celebrate.”

    For Susy, it’s this “mouthwatering quality” that makes it a brilliant aperitif or “the perfect match for simple but fabulous seafood on Valentine’s Day.”

  • Jamie Goode hearts Jacquart Rosé

    Jamie Goode chose Jacquart as one of his “seven best rosé wines for Valentine's Day” in this week’s Express, urging readers to “drink pink.”

    “Rosé is wildly fashionable these days – after spending many years in the doldrums – and on Valentine’s Day it’s just about compulsory to drink pink,” he said.

    “But don’t think of pink fizz as a novelty. Whether you’re spending £10 or £50, it’s a serious drink in its own right – and well worth enjoying at any time of year,” he continued.

    Of Champagne Jacquart Rosé Mosaïque NV, Jamie wrote: “this is a deliciously fruit-driven pink champagne, that is packed full of cherry and strawberry flavour. With a touch of sweetness and a hint of toastiness, it’s equally good for drinking on its own or with food, and impossible not to enjoy.”

    The original article from Sunday February 8 2015 can be viewed here

  • Jukes Wine of the Week

    Matthew Jukes has just posted this amazing review of Santadi’s Terre Brune 2010 for MoneyWeek.

    To summarise: “This is the finest red I have ever tasted from Sardinia and it is also my favourite Carignan in the world.” Praise indeed!

    See below for Matthew's full review, or check out the original post for MoneyWeek on his website right here.

    2010 Terre Brune, Santadi, Sardinia, Italy 

    2010 Terre Brune, Santadi

    There is a brilliant Italian restaurant in Lower Sloane Street, London SW1 called Caraffini.  Always packed with locals, this is not a trendy Italian newcomer but an elegant institution with superb, classic dishes, the finest service in London and also a lovely, short wine list.  Every single time I have been there (over two decades!) I have ordered Rocca Rubia – a spectacular and eminently affordable Carignan from Sardinia.

    “The other day I tasted Rocca Rubia’s ‘tre bicchieri’ (the highest award in the Italian wine guide, Gambero Rosso) big brother, Terre Brune. This is old vine Carignano with a dash of a local grape called Bovaleddu. This is the finest red I have ever tasted from Sardinia and it is also my favourite Carignan in the world.  The level of bravado, flair and flamboyance on show in this inky red wine is staggering and it is already drinking beautifully.”

    Jukes goes on to highlight some other personal favourites from the Tre Bicchieri-awarded wines in Enotria’s portfolio, adding “they are all epic.”

    2013 Fiano di Avellino Bechar  

    2013 Vecchie Viti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Ruggeri  

    2010 Barolo Cannubi, E. Pira 

  • Decanter: Rioja rocks

    What we think of as ‘Rioja’ has changed. According to Sarah Jane Evans MW, in her Decanter article The many faces of Rioja, there may be a plethora of styles to choose from, but what today’s Riojas have in common is a modern approach that is producing wines that are more complex and terroir-driven than ever.

    2007 Finca Torrea, Marques de RiscalTo illustrate Rioja’s winemaking ‘new wave’, Evans has produced a list of her ‘Top 25 Riojas’, including Enotria’s Marqués de Riscal Finca Torrea 2007:

    Finca Torrea is a wine made from Tempranillo and Graciano grapes sourced from the old vineyards surrounding the Torrea estate, adjacent to the Marqués de Riscal winery. The soil here is the classic clay limestone, typical of Rioja Alavesa, an area that has historically produced the finest Rioja wines. Riscal use French Allier oak casks to age the wine for 18 months, resulting in a more modern, fruity style, with less balsamic notes.

    In Evans’ words, this is amodern approach from a bodega that well combines tradition with innovation. Shorter ageing (18 months in French oak) gives a fruitier, more approachable wine. 17/20

    Marqués de Riscal’s Finca Torrea is brilliant example of a new wave of Rioja winemaking, made by one of the region’s most established and well respected names. It is a wine which perfectly illustrates the fast pace of change that Rioja has seen over the past 30 years:

    Pace of change

    Evans explains that before 1980 there was no official categorisation of Riojas as Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva; now most consumers are familiar with the differing styles of ageing used for Rioja, even if they do not completely understand the system.

    With the increasing emphasis on grape variety and terroir, it appears that although “the simple outlines of Rioja [have become] blurred...the picture is coming back into focus.”

    Ageing

    “The wines have changed. Even the most classical producer pays more attention to the vineyard and to the winery,” says Evans.

    Small batch fermentation, ageing in French oak (as opposed to American) and reduced ageing times have helped create modern wines for contemporary palates. As Evans points out; “overt use of oak is calming down, to produce more integrated, more complex wines.”

    Variety

    Although there are many examples of new varietal wines being made - eg 100% Tempranillo - rather than old ‘field blends’, Evans’ personal preference is for a blend: “There is nothing intrinsically better in having one variety, apart from the fact that it is easier to explain on the label.”

    ‘Lesser’ varieties like Mazuelo (Carignan), Garnacha and Graciano “have long played a small but useful part. So too has Cabernet Sauvignon, which first came to Rioja with Marqués de Riscal in 1862.”

    Whichever approach is taken - blend or varietal – it is clear that winemakers have become excited about Rioja again.

    Terroir

    The latest trend is the ‘search for terroir’, as opposed to the old emphasis on style based on ageing. Even if simplified, the diverse geographical areas offer a range of styles:

    Rioja Alta to the west is higher, often showing more moderate wines with bright fruit. North of the river, Rioja Alavesa gives fuller bodied, fresher wines, and is a Tempranillo stronghold. Rioja Baja, to the east is warmer, lower, drier (irrigation is permitted here), more Mediterranean, and can offer the richest wines with the most alcohol.”

    The many faces of Rioja, Sarah Jane Evans MW, Decanter online, Monday 26 January 2015.

    Marqués de Riscal’s Finca Torrea 2007 is available here... 

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