This year Hatch Mansfield ran a Valentine’s Day competition for the wine shop with the best looking Valentine’s Day window. This was a competition for the followers of @HatchMansfield on Twitter. We thought we would enter. So, armed with some various Rosé wines and some card hearts, fashioned by my colleague’s daughter, to dangle from the ceiling and some heart-shaped sequins we came up with this.
All there was to do then was to take a picture and get tweeting using the hashtag #valentinesvino.
Louis Latour Agencies is the UK subsidiary of one of the one of the best known producers of Burgundy, Maison Louis Latour. The Louis Latour Agency business was founded in 1990 purely as a company for selling Louis Latour’s Burgundies to the UK wine market. Other producers, first from France, and also from New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Australia have gradually been added to the portfolio of wines they represent. These include Simonnet-Febvre in Chablis which was acquired by Louis Latour in 2003 and Henry Fessy Beaujolais acquired in 2008. From the new world they currently represent Wakefield Wines, Craggy Range, Isonto, Vui Manent and various others.
So on a very chilly February day I found myself at The Hospital Club. The venue itself was light, airy and the perfect size for tasting (and co-owned by Dave Stewart from Eurythmics, as I later found out).
Here are some of the highlights, although I did not manage to take extensive notes!
Maison Louis Latour
It was good to catch up on some old favourites, wines that we stock that have changed vintage or haven’t tried for a while. The Louis Latour Grande Ardeche Chardonnay is always a favourite and the 2012 was very good as always, it had really stony, granitic minerality and a citrus-y freshness with dollop of oak. Other wines that really stood out for me were the Montagny 1er Cru La Grande Roche 2012 which I always find takes some beating as an affordable white Burgundy. Moving up a step, in terms of price and quality, the Meursault 1er Cru Chateau de Blagny 2010, a Louis Latour Monopole with buttery, citrus character, great elegance, poise and balance. The Louis Latour Batard Montrachet 2008 was stunning too, but it should be really shouldn’t it?
There were some great red Burgundies including the Volnay 1er Cru En Chevret 2010, a 1er Cru from Louis Latour I had not tried before, which was soft and round with bags of really pure red fruit.
The most interesting part of the Louis Latour tasting however, was a vertical tasting of Chambertin Cuvee Heritiers Latour from 2007 through to 2012. It was very interesting to see how the wines had developed with age and also how the vintage variation comes into play. If I had to pick to favourites it would have to be the oldest and the youngest, the 2007 and the 2012. I wonder if this due to the fact many people say that Burgundy “closes down” between 3 and 5 years old – there is a very interesting article about wine “going to sleep” at Decanter.com. The Chambertin Cuvee Heritiers Latour 2012 was a vibrant red colour with smoky, dark red fruit on the nose with more pure red fruit and creaminess on a very long palate. The 2007 was developing more secondary characteristics so, along with the red fruit, there were leathery, waxy and farmyard nuances creeping in. I also rated the 2011 very highly. For me, the only weak vintage was the 2010 which I found a little bit thin. They all had fantastic colours in the glass ranging from younger bright ruby red to slightly orange-y red with age. A very interesting comparative tasting.
Wakefield Wines, Clare Valley
The Wakefield Wines Estate range of wines is always great value for money and were good across the board. The Wakefield Estate Riesling was my favourite, the 2014 was very refreshing, packed full of lime and citrus fruit with a hint of sweetness on the mid-palate but finishing crisp and dry. Of the red wines, the Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 was a good old-fashioned Aussie Cab with lots of blackcurrant / cassis notes but with really a lively, invigorating menthol, mint chocolate nose. Wakefield’s flagship wine The Wakefield Visionary Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 was a really well structured and balance, but the tannins are a bit firm at present. If it softens up to be anything like the 2009 (tasted in December 2014) it will be a great wine. Wakefield Wines Export Manager, Neil Hadley MW, mentioned that there will be an equivalent Shiraz available very soon, which I greatly look forward to.
I struggled with the Craggy Range Sauvignon Blancs (and the Rimapere Sauvignon Blanc which they make in conjunction with Compagnie Baron de Edmond de Rothschild). For me they are too “souped up” with too much sweetness and concentration. This is just personal taste though, I know that some people love their NZ Sauvignon like this and it is a very popular style. The Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was edging towards my preferred style and was more mineral and restrained than the Avery Vineyard. It is not just Craggy Range, when we needed to find a new supplier for NZ Sauvignon Blanc recently we found many of the Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs just too much and we actually ended up with some Palliser Estate wines from Martinborough!
The two stars for me were the Craggy Range Aroha 2012 and the Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Te Kahu 2011, their top Pinot Noir and a Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec blend respectively. Both are amazing wines. The problem I have as a retailer is that I don’t have too many customers who would splash out £50 or £60 on a bottle of New Zealand wine even though the wines comfortably warrant these prices. In fact, I think they are very good value for money for what they are. By the way, if you are ever in need of the heaviest wine bottle you can find with the deepest punt, look no further than Craggy Range’s top wines. Persnally, I thought that there was a trend away from such heavy bottles, but it seems that there are some still out there!
Thanks to Louis Latour Agencies UK for a great tasting.
At Fareham Wine Cellar we sell Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda a frizzante Prosecco sealed with a normal cork and secured a bit of string. I quite often get asked questions by customers wanting to know what frizzante Prosecco is and what spago means. Put simply a frizzante Prosecco is semi-sparkling wine – the wine is bottled at a lower pressure than fully sparkling wines. Therefore, traditionally, the bottle would be sealed with a normal cork, secured with a bit of string – the Corda or Spago (these both mean string in Italian). Fully sparkling Prosecco wines are normally secured with a mushroom type Champagne cork held in place with a wire retainer. Frizzante is most commonly sealed either under screwcap (Stelvin closure) or crown cap whilst some producers, like Villa Domiziano still use cork and spago.
What is Frizzante Prosecco?
There are three basic types of Prosecco
1. Spumante – Sparkling, the most common and probably what everyone knows as Prosecco
2. Frizzante Prosecco – Semi-Sparkling, not quite as common – also known as gentile, pétillant or perlant in French
3. Tranquillo (or Calmo) – Still, quite a rare style, accounting for only 5% of Prosecco production. I have never seen any for sale in the UK and it is rarely exported outside of Italy.
Most Prosecco is made using the Charmat method. This means that, unlike Champagne or Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines, the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in tank rather than in the bottle. This is a much cheaper method of sparkling wine production. Prosecco Spumante, the fully sparkling version, is made with with secondary fermentation in the bottle and is thus usually the most expensive wine.
The duty on wine in the UK is higher for sparkling wine than still wines. In the UK a wine is considered sparkling if it is bottled with an internal pressure of carbon dioxide (CO2) of over 3 bars measured at 20C at sea level. A wine is said to be Frizzante or semi-sparkling if it has a pressure of between 1 and 2.5 bars.
Interestingly, even if your have a frizzante Prosecco / semi-sparkling wine and it is closed with a mushroom-shaped, Champagne-type cork, or if it is secured a spago / corda (string), or wire closure, the wine is still liable for sparkling duty.
The duty on still wine is £2.05 per 75cl bottle and sparkling wine is £2.63 per 75cl bottle (correct at time of writing 22/01/15).
Wine or made-wine is chargeable at the sparkling rate
a) if the pressure in the container measured at 20)C is not less than 3 bars in excess of atmospheric pressure
b) if the container has a mushroom stopper held in place by a tie or fastening – regardless of the pressure “Mushroom stopper” means a mushroom shaped stopper made of cork, artificial or plastic material (solid or hollow).
The Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda is a frizzante Prosecco and is closed with a standard, i.e. not mushroom, cork so it attracts still wine duty.
Villa Domiziano Prosecco Corda Colla Trevigiani is vinified from 100% Prosecco grapes (also known as Glera) harvested from selected hillside vineyards in the Veneto region. It undergoes soft pressing and fermentation at controlled temperature. Villa Domiziano Prosecco has a straw yellow colour with fine perlage. The bouquet is intense with notes of citrus and apples. It is a fresh, light and refreshing wine.
The means that the list of Private Edition releases now looks like this,
Sonnalta PX – finished in old Pedro Ximenez (dessert) Sherry casks Artein – finished in ex- Sassicaia casks (one of the first Super-Tuscans) Finealta – a recreation of the Glenmorangie blend from the early 1900s with a small amount of peated malt Ealanta – a 19 Year Old whisky aged in virgin American white oak casks sourced from trees grown in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri Companta – no-age statement whiskey finished or “extra-matured” in casks that have previously held wine from the Burgundy Grand Cru, Clos de Tart (Pinot Noir), and casks that previously held a “lusciously sweet fortified wine from the Côtes du Rhône” Tusail - made with Maris Otter “rare grain” barley
Glenmorangie Tusail is a single malt Highland whisky made from a very rare, but legendary, winter barley called Maris Otter. This strain of barley was bred by Dr G D H Bell and his team of plant breeders in Cambridge with the express purpose of producing give consistently high quality malt for the cask-conditioned ale market. Maris Otter was introduced to the market in 1966 (or 1965 depending on what you read) and was popular for many years until cross-pollination, the use of uncertified seed and the introduction of much higher yielding varieties saw its popularity decline significantly.
However, there was still demand for Maris Otter from high-quality brewers and much work was done in the 1990s by the seed-merchant owners of the Maris Otter barley strain to clean up the genetics of the strain. Today, after a risk of the strain being consigned to history, it is used to make many fine English beers such as Maris Otter Vintage Ale from Stroud Brewery, many of the beers at the Otter Brewery in Devon and at Brecon Brewing in Powys.
All the while Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s director of distilling and whisky creation, had remembered about this grain and ordered a batch of Maris Otter winter barley and arranged for it to be traditionally floor malted, distilling a batch of new make spirit and laying it away into a handful of carefully selected designer casks. Bottled at 46% ABV with no age statement and non chill filtered. And the name? Tùsail is the Scots Gaelic for originary, an homage to the Maris Otter barley variety.
Of Glenmorangie Tusail Dr Bill Lumsden says, “When we heard the story of those determined to preserve such a flavoursome grain, their ethos – and the barley itself – seemed the perfect match for a Glenmorangie single malt. I knew its deep flavour profile would provide an intriguing contrast to Glenmorangie’s more delicate house style, creating a whisky to enchant connoisseurs.”
Why not try a bottle of 1965 Vintage Armagnac that will be 50 years old in 2015?
At Fareham Wine Cellar we stock 1965 Armagnac from Baron de Lustrac and Baron de Sigognac. Both producers are specialist in the production and supply of rare, old, vintage Armagnacs and both still have stocks going back to the early 1900s – have a look here for a full list of available vintages, maybe there is one for another anniversary or birthday celebration.
1965 Vintage Armagnac has a number of advantages over other wines and spirits from 1965.
1. Vintage Armagnac is made in almost every vintage, so it quite easy to find. With Armagnac it is arguably the aging in oak barrels which is a more important factor than the base white wine produced for distillation. So you do not get as much vintage variation. Having said that, the vintage does have an effect on the style of the Armagnac. Have a look at the Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac chart to see how vintages do vary.
2. Vintage Port is not made in every vintage and 1965 was not a declared vintage. Having said that you may find some single vintage Tawny Ports, known as Colheita Ports, from 1965 and they should still be drinking well.
3. Vintage Armagnac keeps very well once bottled. I can think of very few wines from 1965 that will still be worth drinking. You might find some for sale, but they may not be very nice!
4. A wine or Port from 1965, once opened, will need drinking immediately. Even a 1965 Colheita Port will oxidise within a few days once open. Once Vintage Armagnac is opened, you will have a good few months enjoy it, it won’t degrade that noticeably very quickly.
5. 1965 Vintage Armagnac is relatively affordable compared to other wines and spirits from 1965. Take a look at a top wine or a whisky from 1965 and you will be looking at prices between £400 to £1000+ a bottle. Bear in mind point 3!
At time of writing, Fareham Wine Cellar has two different 1965 Vintage Armagnacs, one from Baron de Lustrac and one from Baron de Sigognac.
Baron de Sigognac is a family owned producer of Armagnac owned by the Gausch family since 1974. All of their Armagnacs are aged as single vintage brandies and most are bottled as single vintage Armagnac. However Baron de Sigognac do blend some for bottling as 10, 20, 25 and 50 year old blends and for their XO Platinum. They also make a fantastic orange Armagnac liqueur called La Grande Josiane.
Baron de Sigognac 1965 Vintage Armagnac has a beautiful reddish amber colour with a fine and elegant nose that is powerful and harmonious with notes of wood, candied orange and vanilla. Bold and elegant in the mouth with a rich structure and aromas of dried fruits. Well balanced with a long and spicy finish.
If you look on the Baron de Sigognac Vintage Armagnac chart, you can see they categorise it as a powerful and expressive Armagnac whose main flavours are spices with rancio notes (the nutty, savoury aromas and flavours that develop with age). There is a good description of Rancio notes in Cognac / Armagnac at Difford’s Guide.
In addition to Baron de Lustrac we also supply Baron de Lustrac 1964 Vintage Armagnac. Baron de Lustrac is another small, artisan Armagnac producer who specialises in the sourcing and bottling of older Vintage Armagnacs.
Baron de Lustrac 1965 Vintage Armagnac is presented in an old-fashioned Armagnac bottle and wooden box, these rare vintage Armagnacs are available in strictly limited quantities. Each label is inscribed with the year of distillation, the name of the Domain of production, the bottle number (they are usually single cask bottlings) and, where relevant, the grape variety.
Baron de Lustrac 1965 Vintage Armagnac has a good, deep, mature golden brown colour. It has a very complex nose with aromas of dried fruit (prunes, raisins), leather, tobacco, nutty and caramel notes. The palate is concentrated and rich with a good freshness. There is some fruit and spicy, rancio character with a long and complex finish.
For a recent birthday, I was very kindly given a Brew Day Experience and, having got Christmas out of the way, I spent Wednesday 14th January learning all about brewing at a fantastic micro-brewery in Portsmouth. The Brewhouse & Kitchen used to be a pub called The White Swan and is located next to the New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth. The pub was colloquially known as “The Mucky Duck” and this name lives on today by being used as the name for one of the beers brewed on site.
The Brew day Experience at The Brewhouse & Kitchen, Portsmouth is essentially a day spent learning all about the brewing process and how to brew beer in a micro-brewery environment. Resident head brewer at The Brewhouse & Kitchen is Thomas Voggesser, a young German brewer, who, at time of writing has been in the position for just 4 months. He has undertaken a three year degree course in brewing and has previously worked at a large brewery in Germany. I imagine working at the Brewhouse must be a bit of a culture-shock for him as here he is basically a one man operation.
Our day started at 10am. I attended with three colleagues and there was one other person in attendance, so four of us in total, just about the right number. I think a couple more people would have made it a bit crowded. Thomas gave us a quick tour around the various tanks, coppers and pipes so we could briefly familiarise ourselves with the equipment, what did what, where the various pipes went etc. and then we got started. We were going to be making a Golden Ale called Guildhall.
The Brewing Process
First up is preparation of “the mash”. Malted barley, in this case two different types of barley from Baird’s Malt, has hot water (hot liquor) added, is stirred and is then left to sit for one hour. This extracts the sugars from the malt grains which the yeast will use as the basic substrate for the fermentation process. After sitting for an hour, the liquid from the mash is run off into the copper, washed with with more hot water, and the first of two different types of hops are added.
This is now known as “the wort” and is boiled for 1 hour in the copper. For the last 10 minutes of the hour’s boiling, a second, different batch of hops is added which again gives more flavour. If I recall, the first type of hops added was called Columbus and the second was named Mt. Hood. I asked Thomas about using USA ingredients and as I understand it there is much larger selection of different types of hops with varying characteristics (allowing more control over flavours in the beer) available from the USA. I guess this is understandable, after all there the micro-brewery / craft beer scene is much older and much more common in North America than in the UK.
After the wort is boiled in the copper it is cooled via a heat exchanger and pumped into the fermenter. Yeast is added at this stage and the wort then ferments away for 5 days at 19c. During the fermentation period the yeast converts the sugar to alcohol – the Guildhall would have eventually an ABV of 5%. After 5 days, the beer is cooled and left to rest for a further 5 days before finally being run off into plastic barrels – these are firkin sized, holding approximately 41 litres, and are rested and stored in the cellar until ready to pour (you can see, these they are the bright orange ones in the photographs at the end of this post.
Thomas normally makes a total of 12 different Brewhouse beers and there are 6 different beers available at any one time although there are one-off brews as well. During the day, as you can appreciate, there is a bit of downtime whilst things are boiling etc. and this time wasn’t put to waste – we tried all the beers that were available and also had some lunch (which was included in the Brew Day experience). Personally, I particularly enjoy the darker ales, there was a dark IPA called Black Swan and a very good porter, the name of which escapes me. The lighter styles of Sexton and Matcham’s (named after the architect, Frank Matcham, who designed the theatre next door) were also very good. At the end of the day each person is allowed to pick a 5 litre mini-keg from a selection of whatever beers are available at the time, or you can come back in about 20 days time and pick up a mini-keg of the beer that you actually made on the day. I chose a mini-keg of Staggersaurus, an IPA abv 4%. (my colleagues chose a Matcham’s and the Guildhall we had a hand in making). This is from a range of beers that Thomas makes for a Portsmouth company called Staggeringly Good. Their dinosaur-themed range of bottled beers also includes Thai-Ranno Citrus IPA flavoured with kaffir lime leaves and Post Impact Winter Darkness and Extinction Black IPA – both flavoured with chili, the Extinction is the strongest.
Thomas is a very knowledgeable and engaging person. We all had a very enjoyable day out, learned a fair bit about brewing and came away with 5 litres of very good beer. The Brew Day Experience is a great day out. Highly recommended to anyone with more than a passing interest in beers and brewing!
I recently had a conversation with a customer about the provenance of our vintage Armagnac. The gist of the conversation was about how we could guarantee that the vintage Armagnac he was purchasing from Fareham Wine Cellar was genuine and that it is actually from the from the vintage on the label. Of course, I have been asked the question before and I am normally able to answer most questions sufficiently, but this time I thought I would try and delve a bit further. After all, most people who are buying vintage Armagnac are buying it as a gift – it is usually a one-off transaction with us, perhaps online, and therefore it is not like we have a long relationship with the customer. However, we do have a long and trusting relationship with our suppliers.
At Fareham Wine Cellar we sell vintage Armagnac principally from two of the main specialists in producing, sourcing and bottling older vintage Armagnac, Baron de Sigognac and Baron de Lustrac. We also sell smaller amounts of brandy from Domaine Boingneres and from Armagnac Janneau. We buy all of these directly from their appointed UK agents, Eaux de Vie (a trading name of Marussia Beverages UK Ltd.) for Lustrac, Sigognac and Boigneres, and John E Fells for Janneau. We have been buying spirits from Eaux de Vie for nearly 20 years, and they have been dealing directly with the Armagnac houses for longer than that. John E Fells and Janneau are long-established companies. So I think it is safe to assume that all of the Armagnac we supply is directly sourced through the correct channels.
You don’t just need to take my word for it though! In Armagnac there is a regulatory body called Le Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) which regulates all aspects of Armagnac production from distillation, through to ageing and bottling. The BNIA groups together all Armagnac professionals including independent or co-operative producers, negociants (ageing and trading), distillers and brokers. Their mission, from the BNIA website, is to,
Provide technical and practical assistance to all of the professionals
Carry out all possible studies and research concerning the production and commercialisation of Armagnac Eaux-de-Vie and more widely, gather economic, technical and statistical information (permanent monitoring of the market and production…), necessary for the professionals
Control the quality of the Eaux-de-Vie produced and for sale and ensure that the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée rules are being adhered to
Carry out the collective promotion of Armagnac
Carry out the actions assigned by the supervising Ministries, particularly in terms of regulations.
Perhaps this is succinctly summed up best by Neil Mathieson, Managing Director of Marussia Beverages UK Ltd, in a recent email,
“I believe it is all very simple and quite strict! The totals of Armagnac held by every stock holder within the region are registered to the centilitre with the BNIA… …this includes if they are in glass or tank (so no further loss) or in wood (liable to evaporation at the standard allowed rate). Depletions, i.e. stock movements to another registered holder or bottlings are registered on a monthly basis and the figures adjusted. The BNIA and Excise (DGCCRF) division for fraud then conduct internal audit on stockholders; any differences could lead to automatic reduction of all vintage or nominal aged aged stock to cpte 10 (ten years old).”
So there you have it. Vintage Armagnac has to be accounted for to the centilitre (10ml) by both the BNIA and French Excise / Customs. The penalty for fraud is for a producer to have all their vintage Armagnac recategorised as 10 Year Old Armagnac – a massive financial penalty. I think you might agree that this would be the end of the road for any such producer.
I hope this answers any questions that you might have about the regulation of vintage Armagnac but please do feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. Please browse our list of Vintage Armagnac and see if we have one from your birth year!
Daria Kenefeck, who works at Fareham Wine Cellar, has taught a wine course in the local area for a number of years. There are three wine courses per year running roughly during school term times on a Thursday evening. The wine course involves some wine education followed by a tasting. There are also various themed evenings, the occasional blind tasting and sometimes guest speakers.
The classes start at 7.00pm and finish at approximately 9.15pm. If you are interested in attending either the Spring or Summer course please contact Daria at Fareham Wine Cellar, telephone 01329 822733. Or email if you have any further questions.
Please note you will need to bring at least 5 wine tasting glasses and writing implements. Payment must be made at the beginning of the course. The short Summer course is an ideal taster course if you are not sure if you wish to commit to the longer Spring course.
Spring 2015 Wine Course
This will be a 10-week course, starting on Thursday 15th January 2015, finishing on Thursday 26th March 2015, with a one week break on Thursday 19th February
Length: 10 weeks
Cost: £7.00 per night for the course and £6.00 per night for the wine
Therefore £70.00 for the course plus £60.00 for the wine, Total £130.00
Start date: Thursday 15th January 2015
Mid-term break: Thursday 19th February 2015
Last evening: Thursday 26th March 2015
Course Code: LHSP1510
Summer 2015 Wine Course
This will be a 4-week course, starting on Thursday 7th May 2015, finishing on Thursday 28th May 2015.
Length: 4 weeks
Cost: £7.00 per night for the course and £6.00 per night for the wine
Therefore £28.00 for the course plus £24.00 for the wine, totalling £52.00
Start date: Thursday 7th May 2015
Last evening: Thursday 28th May 2015
Course Code: LHSU154
There is a car park behind the hotel, and should this be full for any reason, there is a public car park opposite which is free after 6.00 pm.The room used for the class is on the first floor, but there is a lift available.
This is a pretty informal wine tasting, please just visit our shop between 3pm and 5.30pm on Saturday 17th January if you would like to try some of the Louis Jadot 2013 En Primeur wines.
There will be special En Primeur prices for wines ordered on the day. As an En Primeur offer, customers will pay for the wines only – the duty and the VAT will be due when the wines are delivered to the UK which will most likely be late 2015 / early 2016.
We have a small selection of Louis Jadot 2013 En Primeur white wines with and a few more red wines to try. These include a few of my favourites. There is the superb Clos de Rochegres, a Moulin A Vent made at Jadot’s Chateau des Jacques property in Beaujolais. A stunning wine that will gracefully age for up to 20 years. There is the single vineyard Pouilly Fuissé from Domaine Ferret, an estate recently bought by Jadot, which produces some fantastic wines. Then there are a couple of ever reliable, affordable red Burgundies, the Santenay Clos de Malte and the Beaune Boucherottes 1er Cru.
Louis Jadot 2013 En Primeur White Wines
Pouilly Fuissé “Clos des Prouges” Tete de Cru, Domaine J A Ferret
Meursault Les Tillets
Louis Jadot 2013 En Primeur Red Wines
Clos de Rochegres Moulin A Vent, Chateau des Jacques
Cote de Nuits Village “Le Vaucrain”, Domaine Louis Jadot
Monthelie “Sous Roches”, Recolte des Domaines
Santenay Clos de Malte, Domaine Louis Jadot
Beaune Greves 1er Cru, Domaine des Heritiers Louis Jadot
Beaune Boucherottes 1er Cru, Domaine des Heritiers Louis Jadot
If you would like to read more about the 2013 vintage, there is a vintage report from the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) press conference at the Hospice de Beaune 2013.
To see our current selection of Burgundy wines, please visit our website.
Tenuta Villa Trasqua is situated in the locality of Trasqua in the very heart of the Chianti region, just a few kilometres to the south-west of the famous small city of Castellina in Chianti. From the estate one can see the historic, walled, medieval, hilltop village of San Gimignano. They produce a range of terroir-driven Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva and IGT wines. The estate covers some 120 hectares of which 50 hectares are planted to vine and 10 hectares are planted with 3000 olive trees (they also make a very fine extra virgin olive oil). Wines from the Chianti Classico sub-region are generally considered to be where the most premium Chianti wines come from. The wines from the Castellina region tend to have very delicate aromas and flavours, there are exceptions, of course.
The vineyards of Villa Trasqua are located on the slopes of a very large natural amphitheatre called Trasqua (hence the name) which has its own microclimate – the south-facing aspect allows the vines full exposure to the sun in the daytime and allows for a cooling affect as the breezes roll down the surrounding hill during the night. 95% of the vines are planted within this natural amphitheatre which has a mixture of sandy and clayey soils. The main red grape varieties grown at the Villa Trasqua are Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Alicante Bouschet (unusually), Colorino and Malvasia Nera. For the white wines there is some Vermentino and there is is also a rosé wine made from Sangiovese grapes. Chianti Classico wines must be made from at least 80% Sangiovese and, from 2006, no white grape varieties are permitted to be used in red wine production. One can read the full rules and regs at the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico website, the regulatory body for Chianti Classico who use the famous Black Rooster as their logo.
Tenuta Villa Trasqua was originally founded and the first vines planted in 1965. Most recently, the estate was purchased by its current owner, Dutch industrialist Hans Hulsbergen in 2001 and there has been considerable investment in the vineyards, winery and cellars. Within 2 years of the new ownership, the winery has won a coveted 2 bicchieri (glasses) in the famous Gambero Rosso Italian wine guide. All wines are fermented in 50 hectolitre wooden vats with minimal intervention. The company philiosphy, “wine is made in the vineyard”, is based on attention to detail in the vineyard, the production of fully ripe and aromatic grapes and traditional wine-making techniques. The current oenologist and wine director at Villa Trasqua is Swiss-born Andreas Stossel who joined the company in 2005 from another famous Chianti estate, Fattoria Valtellina.
In October 2014 Tony & Daria Kenefeck took a wine tour to Tuscany including a visit to Villa Trasqua. The photos of the vineyards you find in this article are taken by local photographer Rick Medley who has given me permission to reproduce them here, please have a look at his website if you have a moment.
At Fareham Wine Cellar we stock the following Villa Trasqua wines
This Chianti Classico is a blend of 95% Sangiovese and the remaining 5% Colorino and Malvasia Nera. Chianti Classico must have an abv. of at least 12% and at least 7 months aging in oak. This wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 18 months and 3 months in bottle prior to release.
Villa Trasqua Evoluto has an intense ruby red colour with lighter garnet highlights. The nose is fruity and delicate with aromas of dark berries, black cherries and some toasty oak, spicy clove and liquorice notes. The palate is smooth, well-structured and medium-bodied with balanced acidity and youthful tannins.
100% Sangiovese. Chianti Classico Riserva must be at least 12.5% abv. and has to be matured for at least 24 months in oak and a further 3 months in the bottle prior to release. In this case the wine is fermented in cone-shaped wooden barrels and aged for 24 months in French oak barrels and 3 months in bottle prior to release.
Villa Trasqua Fanatico has an intense ruby red colour. The nose combine delicate, fruity notes of dark berry, black cherry with hints of wood, spice and chocolate. The palate is full-bodied, smooth with more cherry, berry and chocolate flavours. Well-structured with a long dry finish and good tannins.
This is the estate’s “Super-Tuscan”, a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 35% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. The term was first coined to describe a new wave of wines (led by Antinori’s Tignanello) that were made using no indigenous grapes and wine-making techniques not allowed under the restrictive Chianti DOC regulations. Fermentation is in cone-shaped wooden barrels and the wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, and 6 months in bottle prior to release.
Villa Trasqua Trasgaia has a deep, ruby red colour. The nose has aromas of coffee, cocoa, blackberry, cassis, ripe plums, toasty oak, vanilla and hints of smoke and spice. The palate is full and well structured with velvety tannins. There are fruit flavours, more hints of cherry, dark berries, spice, cigar-box and oak and it has a long, persistent and well-balanced finish with good acidity.