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1st Wine: Chapel Down Sparkling Rose

  • Chapel Down is the largest and they would claim the best English wine producer.
  • They were the first ever English producer to win a gold medal for sparkling wine at the prestigious International Wine Challenge.
  • The Rose Brut was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge 2011
  • The colour of lightly smoked salmon (an ideal partner). The wine is young, fresh and clean which isn’t as perverse as it sounds. Classic Pinot Noir nose of strawberry and raspberry with a splash of creaminess. A palate of ripe berry and rhubarb flavours and clean finish with perfectly balanced acidity.
  • The Blend is Pinot Noir, Reichensteiner, Müller-Thurgau (also known as Rivaner).
  • Muller-Thurgau and Reichensteiner originally come from Germany and are very much related.
  • In fact Reichensteiner is a cross between Müller-Thurgau and Madeleine Angevine x Calabreser Froehlich , and was first bred in Germany during 1939.
  • I’ll talk more about Chapel Down once we have poured the Brut as I know you all listen better when you have some wine in front of you.
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9th Wine: Terrazas e los Andes Selection Malbec

  • In the 1950s, Moet & Chandon sent Renaud Poirier to Latin America to research the region’s potential for world-class wine production.
  • After travelling around the region, Poirier visited Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza.
  • Impressed by the local conditions and high elevation vineyards Moet & Chandon decided to set up their first ever vineyards outside of France.
  • After experimenting with sparkling wines for decades, in 1999 they opened Terrazas de los Andes Winery to concentrate on producing quality still wines.
  • Terrazas de los Andes Selection Malbec 2008, which was labelled  Reserva, has its grapes hand-harvested from select estate vineyards within the top districts of Mendoza.
  • Developed with extensive focus on vineyard management, and only released during excellent vintages, this wine stands out for its aromatic intensity and complex style.
  • Aged for 12 months in a mixture of new and old French and American oak barrels.
  • Website tasting note: The wine is harmonious and smooth, with racy notes of violet and graphite acceding the backbone of plum and currant fruit, followed by a finish reminiscent of dry cherries, raisins and prunes. Ideal with rare roasted lamb or beef, or heavily seasoned rustic, meaty sausages.
  • Decanter tasting note: Juicy with good depth and concentration of dark fruit flavours, plums, dried figs. Complex with a lifted palate and smoky notes, coffee, chocolate and curry spice.
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10th Wine: Fonseca Crusted Port

  • Fonseca has an inherited tradition of winemaking skill and knowledge where the wines have been made by the same family since its foundation in 1822.
  • The Fonseca house style is one of richness and warmth, with a lush fruit intensity.
  • More voluptuous than massive, Fonseca Ports are coveted for their sumptuous yet refined body and great longevity.
  • Founded in 1822, when Manuel Pedro Guimaraens acquired control of the Fonseca & Monteiro Company.
  • As a condition of the sale of his shares to Guimaraens, the departing Fonseca stipulated that his name be retained.
  • During the Liberal Wars of 1828-34 in Portugal, Guimaraens was a supporter of the liberal reforms of King Pedro IV of Portugal.
  • But when Portugal put Pedro’s brother Miguel on the throne, Guimaraens found himself in danger due to his liberal support.
  • He fled Portugal, hidden in an empty Port wine barrel and later settled in England where the Fonseca company was headquartered until 1927.
  • During this period, Fonseca grew rapidly in reputation and importance.
  • Crusted is a rare, traditional style of port and Fonseca is one of the few firms that produce it.
  • A high quality ruby wine, which has sediment just like a vintage port.
  • Fonseca Crusted is a blend of full-bodied wines, bottled with no filtration and then cellared for three years before being released for sale.
  • As the name indicates, it will form a ‘crust’ or sediment in the bottle and should be decanted before being served.
  • The formation of this ‘crust’ is a natural process that occurs in the finest full-bodied ports.
  • It is an indication that the wine will continue to improve in the bottle and develop it’s aroma and character with age.
  • Crusted port is usually a blend of port wine from several vintages, although single vintage crusted ports have sometimes been made in the past.
  • Unlike vintage port, which has to be sourced from grapes from a single vintage, crusted port affords the port blender the opportunity to make best use of the varying characteristics of different vintages.
  • Crusted port is bottled unfiltered.
  • Like vintage port it needs to be decanted before drinking.
  • Although crusted ports will improve with age, the blender often seeks to make these wines approachable at a younger age than for his vintage ports. The date on a crusted port bottle refers to the bottling date, not the year the grapes were grown.
  • While crusted port is required to be aged in bottle for at least three years before it is released.
  • Therefore they are ready to be drunk when sold.
  • Tasting Note: Powerful aromatic bouquet, with dark berry fruits. Great layers of complexity and flavour. Plump raisin, spice, eucalyptus notes as well as the berry fruit flavours. An elegant and finely balanced wine.
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Wine 2: Carnard-Duchene Charles VII Le Victorieux N.V.

  • 1860 Victor Canard, a cooper, and Léonie Duchêne, from a family of winemakers met and fell in love. Ahh!!!
  • They got married, and started to make their own champagne.
  • Success came quickly, so they then decided to set up their own Champagne house. They joined their names together, in the true Champagne tradition, and Canard-Duchêne was born.
  • In 1890, their son, Edmond Canard took over. He was young, bold and loved champagne.
  • Under his guidance, Canard-Duchêne became an international Champagne.
  • They supplied to the court of Tsar Nicholas II.
  • That relationship has left its mark: from then on, the Canard Duchêne coat of arms has borne the two-headed eagle, emblem of the Russian Imperial Family.
  • Another symbol was added later. The sabre, in memory of a tradition which is intimately linked with champagne.
  • This Champagne was created to mark the house’s centenary celebration.
  • It also pays homage to Charles VII.
  • In 1429 when fate was condemning the kingdom to submission, Joan of Arc led Charles to Reims Cathedral to be crowned.
  • Having put an end to the One Hundred Years War, Charles VII established the sovereignty of the crown. He was celebrated as Charles VII Le Victorieux (the Victorious).
  • Canard Duchêne has long been established as one of the major Champagne houses.
  • A bottle is opened every 10 seconds in France making it the most popular Champagne sipped in France.
  • From the very beginning, the concept of the Grande Cuvée Charles VII has remained unchanged: a selection from among Champagne’s most prestigious crus.
  • Tasting Note: In this complex, fine and elegant champagne, white fruit aromas and subtle mineral notes are expressed. It provides a perfect balance between ripeness and freshness and between the bouquet dominated by Chardonnay and the palate, marked by the Pinot Noir.
  • Charles VII Le Victorieux triumphantly introduces the aperitif Champagne. A great way to start the Christmas festival.
  • It also would go fabulous for a fish course, such as salmon.
  • It is worth mentioning that the Canard-Duchene standard N.V. which is also very good is Majestics big discount Champagne this Christmas at just £15.
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8th Wine: Clos de Los Siete

  • Clos de los Siete is an ambitious project.
  • The project began in 1998. The idea was to join a number of investors in a project in Argentina. The notable difference in this project was that the separate investors would have their own vineyards and their own bodega, albeit all within the borders of the property.
  • Bodega means warehouse, cellars.
  • Originally seven, but now five state of the art wineries; up to 2,000 acres of vineyards; $60 million in investment; all with the aim to produce some of Argentina’s greatest wines.
  • Siete means seven. Maybe the name should change to Clos de Los Cinco. Cinco meaing five.
  • Each winery on the property is an exercise in architectural expression as well as the stuff of winemakers’ dreams.
  • The buildings themselves express the personalities of their owners, and no doubt their architects as well.
  • The main mover behind the project is Michel Rolland, who, following 15 years as a consultant in Argentina, concluded that this was the country to produce great wine outside of Europe.
  • “What we are looking for” claims Rolland, “is to make wines equal to the best in the world, while retaining their own Argentine identity.”
  • With the knowledge that Rolland’s 15 years in Argentina brought to them, the partners had a good idea of the property for which they were looking.
  • Quality wines, believed Rolland, would come from the poorer soils closer to the Andes range, at around 3,300 feet of altitude.
  • Being closer to the mountains would also provide some protection against the devastating golf ball hailstorms that frequent the region.
  • A northern aspect would give more sunlight hours. The vineyard needed to be on open plain with good air circulation to combat the region’s humidity and possibility of frosts.
  • At the end of 1998, they found their 2,100 acres of virgin land that met the criteria.
  • Clos de la Siete, a blend that Michel Rolland personally puts together each year from fruit provided by each of the partner wineries.
  • This vintages blend, 2008 is 56% Malbec, 21% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Shiraz, 2% Petit Verdot
  • Dark garnet in colour, this wine smells of cassis and well oiled leather. In the mouth aggressive tannins wrap the tongue in a leathery fist while flavours of wet dirt, cassis, and dried black cherries fuse into a rich mulch of tastiness. Those who appreciate something a bit more austere may really enjoy this wine.
  • Pair with a leg of lamb, great!
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