Hambledon Vineyard 2014 Harvest

Hambledon Vineyard 2014 Harvest

Thursday 9th October 2014

I was invited to Hambledon Vineyard, along with various other great and good people (including wine merchants, customers, shareholders), to “help” with their 2014 harvest. I use the word “help” loosely as between us we only managed to harvest the best part of a single row of vines and I am sure we were probably more of a hindrance than anything else. On the drive up to Hambledon Vineyard, the weather was ominous. Do you remember the Crowded House song Four Seasons in One Day? That just about sums it up – heavy rain showers, bright sunshine and localised flooding in the roads around Hambledon.

20141009_114553If one has been following the 2014 harvest in the UK, one might have read that there has been “near perfect” conditions and that some wine producers started harvesting their grapes two weeks earlier than usual. For example, the harvest at Camel Valley began on September 23rd and was finished by the 7th October, Nyetimber began harvesting on the 7th October. The harvest at Hambledon Vineyard started a little later, beginning on the 8th October, and they expect the harvest to take about 7 days.

So why was 2014 such a good harvest?

As it was explained to me at Hambledon Vineyard, the conditions were almost perfect throughout the growing season. 2014 started with good, spring weather no major frosts. There was an early bud burst, very good flowing conditions and good fruit set. The summer was good and was followed by a mild, warm and dry September. Therefore the yields are very high and at Hambledon Vineyard they expect the harvest to be as good as the very abundant 2010 crop, with less than 1% rot.

Healthy Chardonnay Grapes at Hambledon Vineyard harvest 2014

Healthy Chardonnay Grapes at Hambledon VineyardAs mentioned above, there was some pretty heavy rain storms around at the beginning of October, and indeed there were on the 9th, when I was in the vineyards. However, the chalk soils and sloping vineyards are very free-draining and I was surprised by the lack of mud in the vineyard. If the soils are not well-drained, this can be a problem, especially so close to harvest as the vines can suck up all the water. On the 9th it was also a very windy day in the vineyard ensuring that the grapes dried very quickly after the rain storms and I Chardonnay grapes in the wine pressam told that bringing wet grapes to the winery can dilute the wine.

Back to the harvest… after a quick cup of tea we were taken out in the vineyard to the row of vines we were to be harvesting, row 118, Chardonnay. We were kitted out with pruning shears, 20kg boxes and set to work. Between about 10 of us, we managed to finish one row of vines in a little over an hour. The Hambledon Vineyard 2014 crop seemed very healthy, most vines had a good amount of bunches on them and there was very little rot. Peeking over the vines into the adjacent rows the Pinot Meunier vines seemed to be well laden with many bunches of healthy grapes.

PINOT MEUNIER Grapes at Hambledon Vineyard Harvest 2014

Healthy Pinot Meunier Grapes at Hambledon VineyardThe fruits of my labour, literally

20141009_122010After grape picking we returned to the winery for some sandwiches and a glass or two of Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvee Brut and a chat with founder and managing director Ian Kellett, head winemaker Hervé Jestin and Didier Pierson, Champagne producer, wine-making consultant and co-owner of Meonhill Wines with Ian Kellett.

The next bit was something I was interested to see: the loading of the presses and crushing of the grapes. Funnily enough, I had not really seen this being done before as most visits that us wine merchants get invited to at wineries are not at harvest time as they are too busy. Hambledon Vineyard is the UK’s only gravity fed winery which basically means the juice and wine travels throughout the winery, over four floors, via gravity with no pumping. You can read more about this in my previous blog post.

The grapes had been harvested into 20kg boxes, loaded onto pallets and taken, via a lift, to the top floor of the winery where the presses are located. Ian Kellett gave us a quick demonstration on how to load the grapes into the press and two or three of us all had a go at emptying the grapes. It takes two people to do this and once you can get a bit of rhythm going it is quite satisfying. Apparently a similar press would be filled in about 3 minutes by some burly Frenchmen in Champagne (using 50kg boxes), I didn’t time it exactly, but it must have taken us about 15 to 20 minutes!

Loading The Presses at Hambledon Vineyard

As the grapes are crushed the juice flows into the collecting bins (known as belons in French) which are located on the floor below. These are custom built and compartmentalised into 4 sections – two larger ones for the first and second Cuvées, and two smaller ones for “les tailles” (the “tails” or ends) of the pressing. This allows the winemaker far more control – the juice from different parts of the pressing can be treated differently. Contrary to popular belief, the free-run juice and the first part of the pressing is not necessarily the best juice. Head wine-maker Hervé Jestin constantly tastes the juice as it comes out of the press to decide when to switch the juice going into the small container for “les tailles” over to the large container for the main pressing, “the cuvée.” Watching Jervé, there seemed to be a very definite switch from “les tailles” to the main cuvée, something that he has learnt from years of making Champagne. He was ably assisted in all this by Hambledon Vineyard winemaker Antoine Arnault.

At this stage I tried some of the juice and it was certainly very sweet and grapey but it also had a good bit of acidity on the finish. Unfortunately, at this stage we had to leave, and the grapes were still being pressed when we left. Read more about the next step in process from a previous visit.

Thank you to Ian Kellett and all the kind people at Hambledon Vineyard for an very enjoyable and informative day. I urge you to take the time to visit the winery or to attend one of their winemaker masterclass evenings.

Twisted Nose Gin

Twisted Nose Gin – Small Batch Pot Distilled Winchester Dry Gin

Are you looking for a gin from Hampshire? Then look no further!

Twisted Nose Winchester Dry GinTwisted Nose Gin is made in Winchester, Hampshire by Paul Bowler. It was first released in May 2013, so it is a relative new-comer to the increasingly crowed UK gin scene. It does have a very good unique selling point. Well two, in fact. It is the only Gin made in Hampshire and it is the only Gin to use watercress as one of its botanicals.

As you may know, watercress grows locally around Winchester and the Meon Valley where the crystal clear chalk streams provide an ideal habitat. Watercress is from the genus Nasturtium (not to be confused with genus of flowering Nasturtiums which is actaully Trapaeolum). In Latin Nasturtium means “twisted nose” and is said to be named after the effect on ones nose after eating the spicy, peppery leaves. Hence Twisted Nose Gin.

The water used to make this gin is, of course, local New Forest Spring Water. Watercress is only one of 10 botanicals used to make Twisted Nose Gin.

Twisted Nose Gin Botanicals

Watercress – sourced from The Watercress Company, 3 miles to the north of Winchester

Juniper – Obviously, you can’t make gin without juniper berries

Coriander – crushed coriander seeds bring a citrus-y, spicy note

Pink Grapefruit Zest – adds richer citrus flavours than lemon or orange

Cassia Bark – adds cinnamon type character

Fennel Seed – for a sweet Anise flavour

Lavender – locally sourced from Long Barn Growers and Distillers near Arlesford

Orris – brings flowery and woody aromas

Angelica – remember the green, crystallised stuff people used to bung on the top of cakes, that is from the Angelica root. I am not sure what part of the plant goes into Twisted Nose Gin!

Liquorice – brings a touch of sweetness

Twisted Nose Gin is only made in very small batches of around 50 bottles. It is distilled in a traditional copper pot still, a descendent of the alembic still, used to make batches of spirits, unlike the continuous distillation of large, more commercial column stills. Pot stills produce a very fine grade of spirit. The botanicals are gently crushed, mixed and macerated pure, neutral spirit to release the oils that give the gin its characteristic flavours. The spirit and macerated botanicals are then re-distilled in the pot still and only the heart of the distillate is used for the final bottling.

Tasting Notes

Twisted Nose Gin has a good clear colour with a slightly blue-ish tinge.

Nose: The nose is spicy and peppery. There are floral notes, a big hit of citrus fruit and some more spicy coriander and anise (fennel) notes

Palate: The citrus really comes through on the palate with lots of pink grapefruit. There are more floral and fennel flavours.

Finish: Very nice, clear, dry finish with very good length.

If serving as a gin and tonic use a slice of pink grapefruit or pink grapefruit zest instead of lemon or lime as a garnish. If you are feeling playful you could also garnish with a sprig of watercress. Of course, it will be great in a Martini and recommend cocktails include a Salty Dog which is basically gin and grapefruit juice, which ties in nicely with the pink grapefruit used as a botanical.

Salty Dog Recipe

2 parts Twisted Nose Gin
5 parts Grapefruit juice, pink grapefruit juice would be good

Shake the vodka and grapefruit juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a salt-rimmed highball glass and serve straight up, without ice.

Visit the Twisted Nose Gin Website for more information.

Sparkling Sake

What is Sparkling Sake?

Sparkling Sake is relatively new style of Sake and is one of the fastest growing categories of sakes on the market. Until recently it was fairly unknown outside of Japan but there are now quite a few different brands of sparkling sake available on the UK market. Sparkling Sake is made is made using a very similar method to the traditional method of sparkling wine production i.e. a secondary fermentation in the bottle. Sparkling Sake is made in the same way as normal Sake, but then the Sake and Koji fungus (not technically a yeast, but it performs the same function) are allowed to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle which produces carbon dioxide and therefore a sparkling Sake. Unlike traditional method sparkling wines, sparkling sake is not disgorged, so a small amount of fine sediment remains in the bottle.

Buy Ninki-Ichi Junmai Ginjo Happo-Sheishu Sparkling Sake 7% 30cl

Ninki-Ichi Junmai Ginjo Happo-Sheishu Sparkling SakeAt Fareham Wine Cellar we stock Ninki-Ichi Junmai Ginjo Happo-Sheishu Sparkling Sake from the Ninki-Ichi Brewery located in Nihonmatsu City in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. The brewery is surrounded by the Abukuma mountain ranges to the east and Adatara Mountain ranges to the west so run-off snow melt gives Ninki-Ichi a natural water source, with a good balance of minerals, which is essential for producing high-grade Sake. Ninki-Ichi Junmai Ginjo Happo-Sheishu Sparkling Sake is a clean, light, easy-drink Sake in an off-dry and refreshing style. Absolutely no additives are used, and it has a truly natural sweetness and acidity.

How to serve Sparkling Sake

Clear or Cloudy?

Sparkling Sake will have a small amount of the fine sediment, the remains of the koji mould used to ferment the sake, in the bottom of the bottle. A recent question from a customer about how to serve sparkling Sake set me thinking. I had only ever had it served cloudy before. So I asked my suppliers to find out for me, and the answer from Mr. Yonezawa at the Ninki-Ichi brewery came back that it can be served either cloudy or clear depending on one’s personal preference. It seems that it is more likely to be drunken cloudy in Japan, whilst Europeans, who are mainly brought up on clear wine, often serve it clear. Either way it needs to be served chilled. If you want to serve it cloudy, that is pretty easy – open the bottle slightly, gently let the gas out, close the bottle again and just turn the bottle upside down a couple of times to distribute the sediment before you gently open the bottle. If you want to serve it clear then leave the bottle upright in the fridge for a couple of days, gently open the bottle just enough to let the gas out gently, then open it fully and very gently pour the sparkling sake, in one go if possible, keeping the settled sediment at the bottom of the bottle. As you can see in the photograph below, it is a only a very fine sediment and does not detract from the enjoyment of the sake at all.

Ninki-Ichi Junmai Ginjo Happo-Sheishu Sparkling SakeSparkling sake is quite low in alcohol at between 5 and 8% abv. and is a great refreshing alternative to sparkling wine. It can be served as an aperitif but it is also a very versatile partner to all sorts of foods. It doesn’t go particularly well with spicy, rich dishes (it will be easily over-powered), but is great with mushroom dishes, fish (sushi perhaps!) and various cheeses.

Picpoul de Pinet

New Picpoul de Pinet from Jean-Luc Colombo

Picpoul de Pinet is usually a bone dry white wine that is a perfect partner for all sorts of fish and shellfish dishes. The refreshing and citrus-y Jean-Luc Colombo Les Girelles is a little bit rounder and a bit less dry than some. It is a great wine for the hot summer months and a brilliant alternative to the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio.

What is Picpoul de Pinet?

It is a grape variety grown in the hot, sunny Languedoc near Montpelier just inland from the Meditteranean in the south of France. The literal translation of Pique-poul is “stings the lips”, or “lip-stinger”, a reference to the grapes mouth-watering, natural acidity – surprising for grapes from this part of the country, but this can be partly explained cooling sea-breezes cooling the vines after the extreme heat of the day. Picpoul, also known as Piquepoul or Picapoll, can only be called Picpoul de Pinet if it is from the communes of Pinet, Mèze, Florenzac, Castelnau-de-Guers, Montagnac and Pomérols located around and overlooking the Bassin de Thau. The vineyards cover some 1300 hectares or so.

It is one of the oldest grape varieties in the Languedoc and there is a reference to Piquepoul in the botanist J B Maniol’s 1618 work “Sylve plantarium”. You might have actually had this grape variety before under a different guise – along with Clairette Blanche it is the key grape variety in the Noilly Prat Vermouth.

Jean-Luc Colombo Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles

100% Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc Roussillon wine growing region. The grapes for this wine are sourced from from vineyards planted on light stony limestone soils situated on a plateau surrounded by pine forests. The climate is Mediterranean (as is the local vegetation – thyme, lavender, live oaks, pine trees) with maritime influences. The wine is traditionally vinified with a long fermentation at low temperature to preserve freshness and fruit. The label depicts two fish – Les Girelles. Le Girelle, singular, is a rock fish also known as the Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse that is commonly used to make the famous Bouillabaisse fish soup of the region.

Buy Jean-Luc Colombo Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Jean-Luc Colombo Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles

Tasting Notes: Jean-Luc Colombo Picpoul de Pinet Les Girelles has a rich and subtle nose with fresh notes of white flowers and lemony, citrus. The palate is nicely rounded and very fresh with good structure and a nice range of flavours. Crisp and dry, yet relatively full, with good acidity and not quite as bone dry as some! As mentioned above this is great with seafood and shellfish, but it is also a good match for salads, charcuterie and creamy cheeses.

Jean-Luc Colombo

Jean-Luc Colombo is a relatively young French wine company. Jean-Luc, and his wife, Anne, moved to Cornas from Marseille in 1982 to set up a pharmacy and oenology lab. Four years later, he bought his first vineyard and celebrated his first vintage in 1987. Top quality fruit is sourced from Colombo’s own 20 hectares of vineyards in the northern Rhone (where the company have their headquarters) primarily in Cornas and St Peray, and from his 40 hectares of pioneering vineyard development in the stunning ‘Blue Coast’ area. This is truly a family business: Anne is vineyard manager and wine-maker, as is Laure, their daughter, who joined the family domaine in 2010. Laure is also the figurehead for the sister brand of Colombo & Fille.

Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah

Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah

I am sure that some of you will have been following the ups and downs of Katie Jones and Domaine Jones, a tiny wine estate in the Langeudoc Roussillon. The ups include some very high ratings for her wines from wine critics and good distribution in overseas markets all within just a few years establishing her fledging Domaine. The rather depressing low point was the sabotage of an entire vintage of Katie’s Domaine Jones Blanc whilst she was out of the country exhibiting at Prowein 2013 in Germany. Fortunately Katie employs the “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” approach to life and this led to a successful campaign for the Domaine’s survival via pre-sales of wine from Naked Wines’ Angels and with the Rescue Range of wines, made from grapes sourced from sympathethic local vineyard owners, including the Apres La Pluie Le Beau Temps Rosé. So, what did Katie do next?

Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah

Domaine Jones Le Perle Rare Syrah LabelKatie has not been idle! The size of the Domaine has now increased to 11 hectares of vineyards, including some planted by her husband Jean Marc, from Katies’s initial purchase of a single 3.5 hectare vineyard in 2008. New vintages of the Domaine Jones Red, Domaine Jones Fitou and Domaine Jones Fitou have just been released as well as a very limited (600 bottles) single vineyard wine called Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah. There is also a new limited edition white wine called La Perles de Jones Macabeu. The wine-making philosophy at Domaine Jones is to employ traditional, down–to-earth farming methods and innovative winemaking techniques to capture the characteristics of the terroir and the local area. Domaine Jones wines are only produced in very small quantities – this truly is boutique wine-making.

Domaine Jones La Perle Rare Syrah

So, La Perle Rare Syrah or The Rare Pearl. This is a new single vineyard 100% Syrah. Katie has recently acquired more vineyards in the village of Tuchan where her winery is located and many of Katie’s vineyards are planted with low yielding old vines with some up to 100 years old. They vineyards are planted with a mix of different grape varieties, co-planted in the same vineyard in place, which was a common way of planting in the early part of last century. However this wine is made from a single vineyard of Syrah grapes from Falandrin, near Tuchan, which was planted by Katie’s husband, Jean Marc, in 2009.

The vines were propagated from vine cuttings sourced from the Cote Rotie and the soil is a mixture of chalky clay and schist with good drainage and moisture retention. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentation takes place in 2 open-topped 400 litre oak barrels. Destalking is done by hand and someone actually gets into the barrels to do the pigeage! After 10 days the wine is pressed and aged for 12 months in 2 new French oak barrels. Only 600 bottles produced.

Tasting Notes: La Perle Rare Syrah has buckets of spicy black fruit character on the nose. There are aromas of black raspberry, blackberry and spicy liquorice notes. There is also a background of smoky, toasty oak. The wine is full-bodied, black fruit flavours dominate the palate, yet La Perle Rare Syrah has a very elegant balance, good mouthfeel and a real freshness and purity of fruit Drink now, or cellar for 5 years plus, if you can wait that long!


Bordeaux Wine Dinner

Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux Wine Tasting & Dinner

On Wednesday 24th September 2014 The Old House Hotel in Wickham is hosting a Bordeaux Wine Evening. This will be 9 Course French Tasting Menu with a specially selected Bordeaux wine to complement each course. There will be a pre-dinner wine tasting and talk from Roy Gillingham of The Fareham Wine Cellar who will be showing some great new wines from Chateau du Cros, Chateau Haut Mayne and Chateau Clos Bourbon as well as a fantastic dessert wine from Loupiac – you can read more about these wines here.

Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux Wine Tasting & Dinner

Wednesday 24th September 2014

Prompt Start at 7.00pm

Head Chef – Andy Millard

£61.95 per person

Please see below for the wine and food menus.

Please note that if you have any inquiries or wish to make reservations etc. please do so with The Old House Hotel and not Fareham Wine Cellar.

The Old House Hotel
Wickham Square
PO17 5JG

T:  01329 835870
E: enquiries@oldhousehotel.co.uk
The Old House Hotel Twitter

The Old House Hotel Facebook

Good Food Would Choose Bordeaux Wine Tasting & Dinner

Prompt Start at 7.00pm

Pre-Dinner Tasting and Talk with Roy Gillingham

Amuse Bouche
Bon Bon de Morne Salée,Velouté de Pois
Salt Cod Bon Bon, Pea Veloute

Soupe aux Haricots Verts
French Green Bean Soup

2013 Chateau Haut Mayne Cuvée Mayne du Cros Graves Blanc AOC

Rillette de Confit de Canard, Croutons, Compote des Oignons Rouges
Confit Duck Rillette, Croutons, Red Onion Compote

2010 Chateau Clos Bourbon Cuvée La Rose Bourbon Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux

Fish Course
Moules Marinières
Mussels Mariniere

2012 Chateau Vrai Caillou Les Vignes de la Garène, Bordeaux AOC

Palate Cleanser
Sorbet de Citron et Lime
Lemon & Lime Sorbet

Carré d’Agneau Rôti, Minilégumes Grillés, Pommes de Terre Dauphinées, Jus Riche de Vin Rouge
Roast Rack of Lamb, Roasted Baby Vegetables, Dauphinoise Potatoes, Rich Red Wine Jus

2000 Chateau Garraud, Lalande de Pomerol AOC

Pre Dessert
Sélection des Fromages Français Classiques
Selection of Classic French Cheeses

2006 Chateau du Courlat Cuvée Jean-Baptiste, Lussac-Saint-Emilion AOC

Millefeuille de Pommes avec Crème Chantilly, Glace de Chocolat Blanc
Apple Millefeuille, Chantilly Cream, White Chocolate Ice Cream

2009 Château du Cros Loupiac AOC

Café et Petit Fours
Coffee & Petit Fours


Herdade do Mouchao

Mouchao Tinto is the flagship wine from historic Alentejo wine estate of Herdade do Mouchao. The estate can trace its beginnings back to the early part of the 19th century when Thomas Reynolds moved to the Alentejo from Oporto to begin working in the cork industry. His grandson John Reynolds eventually purchased the 900 hectare Herdade do Mouchao estate and farmed, not only cork, but grapes for making wine. However, the first estate wine sold as coming from Mouchao was not eventually sold for the first time until 1954. Eventually the Richardson family came into partnership with the Reynolds family and the estate was run by the two families until April 1974 when it was seized by the Portuguese military dictatorship and the Reynolds and Richardsons were evicted.

Following the 1974 revolution any wine made at Herdade do Mouchao was basically put into the local co-operative. Mouchao was returned to the Richardson and Reynolds families in 1986 but, due to neglect and mismanagement, the vineyards were not left in a great state and a programme of replanting was immediately begun. The Herdade de Mouchao winery is much as it was when it was built in the 1901, having survived the revolution relatively untouched and, in fact,only had electricity installed in 1991! At the winery can find a range of vats for wine storage and wine-making, the barrel hall and a distillery, completed in 1929, with both a pot and a column still.

Vineyards at Mouchao

Some 38 hectares of vineyards are under vine planted with predominantly Alicante Bouschet (from their own cuttings) and small quantities of Aragonés, Trincadeira, Moreto, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. There are some white grapes grown including Antao Vaz, Arinto and Perrum. The vines are trained in a modern style double trellising system and modern techniques such as spray inrrigation to prevent frost damage are used.

Alicante Bouschet

Alicante Bouschet is the result of a cross between Petit Bouschet and Grenache and is one of only a few red grapes that also have red flesh too. Such grapes are known as teinturier. Alicante Bouschet is most common in the south of France but can also be found in Spain, where it is known as Garnacha Tintorera, Italy, the USA and, of course, Portugal. Alicante Bouschet was most commonly used in red wine blends, where it was used to add colour, but today it is increasingly bottled as a single varietal wine and some say that the Alentejo region is where 100% Alicante Bouschet wines find their true expression. Since its introduction to Herdade de Mouchao in the early 19th century the grape has thrived on the clay soils on the flat, low ground near the winery.


Whilst the vineyard trellising and techniques are modern, wine-making is more traditional. Grapes are hand harvested into 20kg boxes and are received at the winery, lightly crushed without de-stalking and delivered down chutes to be foot trodden in one of 9 stone lagares with capacities of 6 to 8 thousand kilos. Foot-treading is done twice a day for period of 5 to 8 days, this encourages fermentation and optimum colour extraction. The wine is then racked off into wooden vats and barrels for secondary fermentation.

Mouchao Tinto 2007 LabelMouchao Tinto 2007

Mouchao Tinto, the estate’s main wine, is predominantly Alicante Bouschet, 80% or more, the rest being Trincadeira (perhaps more famously known as Tinta Amarela in the Douro, where it is used in Port production). It is aged for 24 months in large oak vats (known as foudres) and then aged for a further 24 to 36 months in the bottle prior to release for sale.

As well as Mouchao Tinto, the winery also produced red and white wines under the Dom Rafael and a red blend called Ponte das Canas. There is also a  wine made in exceptional vintages from the best parcels of Alicante de Bouschet called Herdade do Mouchão Tonel nº 3-4 and some red wine set aside for maturation for 10 years prior to release called Mouchao Colheitas Antigas. There are also a couple of Port-like fortified wines, brandies, estate honey and olive oils produced!

Mouchao Tinto 2007

Mouchao Tinto 2007 is a full, deep coloured red / garnet colour. On the nose there are aromas of blackcurrant, cassis, confit dark fruit and herbaceous, garrigue type notes. There are also some eucalyptus and black pepper characteristics. The palate is dominated by black fruit, spiciness and full, plump ripe red fruits too. The palate is a great combination of the concentration of the Alicante Bouschet and a certain elegance from the Tincadeira. A big powerful, intense red wine, well-structured with good tannin structure and the potential to age gracefully for many years.

As Richard Mayson writes in his encyclopedia, The Wines and Vineyards of Portugal, “Mouchao is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most impressive red wines”.



Celler Cal Pla

Celler Cal Pla

Celler Cal Pla is based in the village of Porrera in the heart of the Priorat wine-growing region which itself is located in the south-west of Catalonia. Priorat is a designated as a Denomenacion de Origen Calificada (DOC), the highest category in Spanish wine law, and is one of only two regions granted this status, the other being Rioja. In Catalan it is known as Denominacio d’Origen Qualificada or DOQ, it is this that you will see on Priorat wine labels. Likewise Priorat is the Catalan spelling and Priorato is the Spanish spelling.

After previous generations of the Sangenis family had sold their grapes to the local cooperative, owner / oenologist Joan Sangenis decided, in 1995, to create Celler Cal Pla to vinify wines for himself. Joan Sangenis now owns some 80 hectares of south-facing vineyards, at altitudes of 300 to 400m, with an average age of 50 years or more which includes some small parcels of Carignan and Grenache which are over 100 years old. The oldest vineyards are located on very steep slopes which are known locally as “Costers.” There youngest vines around 15 to 20 years old.

The soils are typical of Priorat – the topsoil is composed of slate and quartz and often appears to be very dark grey or black in colour. The subsoil is a reddish slate  and quartz with very high mineral content – this is known as “Llicorella”. The combination of low-yielding old vines, a modern stainless steel winery and healthy maintenance of vineyards (no pesticides or chemicals) allows Joan Sangenis to produce some of the very best Priorat wines. Sangenis believes that a lot of the preparation for making quality wines is time spent in the vineyard and reckons he spends “10 months in the vineyards and 2 months in the winery”.

Joan Sangenis wines available at Fareham Wine Cellar.

Celler Cal Pla Mas D’en Compte Branco

Celler Cal Pla Mas D’en Compte Branco is one of only three white wines produced in the Priorat wine-growing region – the other tow are RAR blanc (Vins Singulars Scala Dei) and Lo Coster Blanc (Sangenís i Vaqué). Indeed, white wine production consist of only about 2% of total wine production in the region.

Celler Cal Pla Mas D’en Compte Branco is a blend of 60% Garnacha Blanca with 20% Picapoll, 10% Pansá and 10% Macabeo. Each grape variety is vinified separately. The wine is barrel-fermented in large 3000 litre oak barrels for 15 days on the skins and then each variety is aged on its lees in 80% new French Allier oak and 20% American oak barrels for 6 months. The wine is then blended prior to bottling and release.

Celler Cal Pla Mas D'En Compte BlancoTasting Notes

Celler Cal Pla Mas D’en Compte Branco is a very big and full white wine. It has a bright golden colour. The nose is very complex with aromas of apple, pineapple, apricot, floral notes combined with toasty, smoky oak notes from the new oak barrels. The palate is full, rich and textured with buttery, creamy notes, spice, peach, more tropical fruit and mineral toastiness. It is very well balanced with good acidity and a lingering finish. Think Spanish Burgundy!

The Mas D’en Compte Branco has been voted best white wine in Spain by the Spanish national newspaper El Pais as well as winning many other accolades.

Celler Cal Pla Tinto, Porrera, Priorat DOQ

Celler Cal Pla Tinto is a blend of 50% Garnacha, 45% Carinena and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged on its lees in 15% American and 85% French oak barrels (a mixture of 1 to 3 year old barrels). The grapes are sourced from vines with an average age of 10 to 20 years. Average production of 30,000 bottles per vintage.Celler Cal Pla Tinto Crianza

Tasting Notes

Celler Cal Pla Tinto is a good, clear, ruby red colour. The nose is rich and spicy with dark fruit (plum, damson, blackberry) and spicy, white pepper notes. The palate is rich and medium bodied with more dark fruit and spicy, liquorice notes, leathery tannins and a good, dry, lingering finish.


Chateau du Cros

Chateau du Cros and the Wines of Famille Boyer

Chateau du Cros is the main property of Famille Boyer and is located in the small Bordeaux appellation of Loupiac. The commune of Loupiac is located between Cadillac and Ste Croix de Mont on the right bank of the Garonne river directly opposite the famous sweet wine growing left bank appellations of Barsac and Sauternes.

Famille Boyer own a small collection of three petites chateaux – Chateau du Cros in Loupiac, Chateau Haut Mayne in Cérons and Chateau Clos Bourbon in Paillet. They produce 14 different wines across six different wine growing appellations. The Boyer family acquired Chateau de Cros in 1921 when Francois Thévenot bought the property from Comte de la Chassaige. The current director and winemaker is his great granddaughter Catherine d’Halluin Boyer, the 4th generation to run the family vineyards, taking over from her father, Michel Boyer, in 2004. She is ably assisted by her husband Thibault d’Halluin and her brother Henri.

The name Chateau du Cros is pronounced “Croz” and not “Cro” as one might expect. It was once owned by a Scotsman called Cross and sometime, long ago, lost an ‘s’. The name is pronounced “Croz” to reflect the original Cross and to differentiate the name from a local name for a type of mustard!

Chateau du Cros

The Cros vineyard is located in Loupiac 40kms to the south of Bordeaux and consists of some 60 hectares of vines surrounding the medieval Chateau du Cros. The medieval Chateau was inhabited until 1940 but was partly destroyed in World War 2 and has since fallen in ruin. The remains are perched atop a hill which is the highest point to view the Garonne in the Gironde. The family have a very rare, single plot of Semillon vines planted here that are 107 years old.

The soils here have a high proportion of limestone which helps to produce wines with good acidity. The vineyards are located only 80 metres from the Garonne River where it converges with the Cirons. The confluence of the two rivers creates a thermal shock resulting in very misty conditions from August through to October – the ideal conditions for the Botrytis Cinerea or Noble Rot that helps to concentrate the aromas and sweetness in the grapes for sweet wine production.

Loupiac is, of course, famous for its sweet wines and these are bottled as AOC Loupiac whilst other wines produced here are bottles as Bordeaux Rouge, Blanc and Rosé and Cotes de Bordeaux.

Chateau du Cros Sauvignon Bordeaux ACChateau du Cros Bordeaux Sauvignon Label

This wine is a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. In the 1970s, this particular wine was one of the first white Bordeaux Sauvignons to be aged on the lees, which is now normal practice. Aged in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes (2013 vintage)

The Chateau du Cros Sauvignon is delicate and aromatic with floral, citrus, cut grass aromas and good mineral character. The palate is bold with hints of melon, quince, herbaceous notes and lemon and lime. Well-structured with good acidity. A great aperitif and an ideal wine match for oysters and other seafood.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac AC

The Loupiac really is the star of the show here. It is a blend of 90% Semillon, 5% Sauvignon and 5% Muscadelle. The grapes are harvested by hand with a team of around 50 pickers making two to four selections depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels, 30% of which are new.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac Full Bottle and Half BottleTasting Notes (2009)

Chateau du Cros Loupiac has a brilliant, light golden yellow colour. The nose is complex and aromatic with aromas of peach, apricot, citrus, acacia and a slight hint of toasty oak. The palate is very sweet but with good acidity so that the wine is not cloying. There are toasty oak notes from the barrel ageing but the palate is dominated by apricot and plum with some candied, honey character beginning to develop. It has a very long, lingering finish with great subtlety and elegance.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac can be kept for 15 to 30 years and develops much more candied, marmalade character as it ages. This makes a superb aperitif or dessert wine. It is traditionally served with foie gras or blue cheeses but can equally be served with roast chicken or desserts. A very versatile food wine.

Chateau du Cros Loupiac is also available in half-bottles.

Chateau Haut Mayne

The family own 18 hectares of vineyards 35kms to the south of Bordeaux in Cerons in the heart of the Graves region around Mayne d’Anis. These were bought by Michel Boyer in 1971. The vineyards here are characterised by the typical gravelly soils of Graves with large pebbles with sandy / limestone subsoil.

Wines produced here are bottled as Graves Blanc and Rouge and Graves Superieres.

Chateau Haut Mayne Cuvée Mayne du Cros Graves Blanc

This wine is a 50/50 blend of Semillon and Chateau Haut Mayne Cuvee Mayne du Cros Graves BlancSauvignon Blanc that is fermented in 30% new barrels. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels until the May / June following harvest followed by another 12 months in bottle prior to release.

Tasting Notes (2013 Vintage)

Cuvée Mayne du Cros Graves Blanc is a good, straw yellow colour. The nose has aromas of lemon-citrus, floral blossom, acacia and toasted notes. The palate is complex, full and round with a powerful and long finish. A great match for asparagus, fish dishes and goat’s cheese.


Chateau Clos Bourbon

Located in Paillet in the little known appellation of Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux this 18th century estate has been the personal property of Catherine and her husband Thibault since 1994. Located 30kms to the south of Bordeaux overlooking the Garonner, the entire vineyard is surrounded by a medieval stone wall. The vineyard is situated on a mound of clay / limestone soil. The 13 hectares of vines are 26 years old.

The wine produced here is bottled as AOC Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux (previously 1ere Cotes de Bordeaux).

Chateau Clos Bourbon Cuvée La Rose Bourbon Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux

This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot Chateau Clos Bourbon Cuvee La Rose Bourbon Labeland 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. After harvest the grapes undergo a pre-fermentation maceration. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel, followed by malolactic fermention, followed by 12 months ageing in oak barrels. Production around 22,000 bottles per vintage.

Tasting notes (2010 vintage)

Cuvée La Rose Bourbon is a good, clear purple / red colour. The nose is spicy with red fruit notes and a hint of oak. The medium-bodied palate is full of plummy red fruit and raspberries with some spicy, peppery notes. A well-structured, round and fruity wine with soft tannins and a touch of toasty oak on the finish. A great match for grilled meats or hard cheeses.

Champagne Taittinger FIFA & Adidas Brazuca Match Ball Draw

 Champagne Taittinger FIFA & Adidas Brazuca Match Ball Draw

Champagne Taittinger was the official Champagne of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brasil and, earlier this year, released a special limited edition World Cup souvenir bottle of Brut Réserve NV.

Designed to celebrate Taittinger’s association with the forthcoming tournament, the bottle and box have been designed using groundbreaking 3D print technology. The souvenir bottle is presented in an elegant white and gold gift box featuring hologram footballs. Read more here.

As part of the promotion of Champagne Taittinger during the 2014 World Cup, Fareham Wine Cellar had an official Adidas Brazuca Match Ball (worth £100) signed by the CEO of Taittinger, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger, to give away to one lucky winner.

FIFA World Cup Brasil 2014 Offical Football 2 signed by the President of Champagne Taittinger, Pierre Emanuel Taittinger.

FIFA World Cup Brasil 2014 Offical Football signed by the President of Champagne Taittinger, Pierre Emanuel Taittinger.

The prize draw took place on Saturday 19th July 2014 with Roy Gillingham and the winner of the Riedel WSET Wine Educator of the Year 2013 Erica Dent of Enjoy Discovering Wine, our chosen neutral person to make the drawer

And here is a picture of the winner, local vicar Mike Terry, who won the Adidas Brazuca Match Ball.

Roy Gillingham and Mike Terry Taittinger Adidas Brazuca winnerIf you are wondering about the “Vicar of Doubly” comment, the Rev Mike Terry and his wife, the Rev Nicky-Sue Terry share the role of vicar at St Mary’s Church in Warsash. Find out more.