Client visit to Maison Billecart-Salmon

Here at Dhall & Nash, we pride ourselves on our fantastic relationships with both our customers and our suppliers. This opens the door to astonishing opportunities.

We organised a special visit for clients Gilbert and Tina to the beautiful and historic Maison Billecart-Salmon, whilst they were in France recently.

La Maison, it’s vineyards and winery are situated in the charming village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Champagne, France.

Gilbert and Tina enjoyed a guided tour of the Maison, it’s famed Clos St Hilaire (where the grapes used to make the celebrated cuvée of the same name are grown) and the winery itself. They stayed in the guest house on the property for the duration of their stay.

Le Clos St Hilaire - Billecart ambassador Jerôme explaining what it is that makes this parcel so special

Le Clos St Hilaire – Billecart ambassador Jerôme explaining what it is that makes this parcel so special

The highlight of the visit for Gilbert and Tina was hearing about the meticulous blending process behind every cuvée produced. “The blending panel have such a clear vision of the type of wine they want to produce, it is obvious that great care and consideration goes into each and every blend.”

The unique blend of parcels that resulted in the 2014 Billecart-Salmon Brut NV - including the prestigious Mesnil and Clos St Hilaire - Very few NV cuvées can boast such varied and high quality components

The unique blend of parcels that resulted in the 2014 Billecart-Salmon Brut NV – including the prestigious Mesnil and Clos St Hilaire – Very few NV cuvées can boast such varied and high quality components

Visiting the underground caves that hold the aging wines

Visiting the underground caves that host hundreds of cuvées

“Our visit to Billecart Salmon was the highlight of our time in France and is now a wonderful memory. Thank you for your generous hospitality – It was really appreciated. Our friends and family will now be listening to stories about our visit for some time! Thanks also Puneet and Billecart-Salmon for helping make this happen!”

Dhall & Nash are the exclusive distributors of Billecart-Salmon Champagne in New Zealand. For a complete list of Billecart cuvées available, please contact info@dnfinewine.com

http://champagne-billecart.fr

Vineyard visit – Supernatural Wine Co. – Hawkes Bay

Organic and Biodynamic practices are truly gaining momentum in the wine world, with many producers converting whole vineyards in order to produce the most natural wines possible – as they had been produced for thousands of years!

One of the oldest winemaking practices in the world is the production of Orange wines – something that winemaker Hayden Perry is deeply passionate about. The Dhall & Nash team visited the 100% organic and biodynamic Supernatural Wine Co. vineyards, to hear all about what makes these wines so unique.

The Dhall & Nash team, with the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris vines in the background.

The Dhall & Nash team, with the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris vines in the background.

Hayden – what drove you towards organic and biodynamic viticulture?

I strongly feel that it is the only way to go. I have visions of my children’s children’s children growing on the soils of the Hawkes Bay and I truly believe that this will only be possible if we show more care and respect to our soils. The use of systemic chemicals and heard fertilisers are devastating our soils and killing off the worms and micro-flora they contain (and rely on!). If people continue with this approach, I fear for the longevity of the soil and the ability to grow anything, let alone world-class grapes.

Organic and Biodynamic viticultural practices involve the use of beneficial plants - adding beautiful natural trace minerals and micro-flora to the soil, rather than destructive chemicals

Organic and Biodynamic viticultural practices involve the use of beneficial plants – adding beautiful natural trace minerals and micro-flora to the soil, rather than destructive chemicals

 

What is it about your site that makes it so special?

The north facing slopes, the silt, the clay and sand over the underlying limestone. To me, this is just the perfect combination for organic grape production.

What was your motivation for creating skin-fermented wines?

I tasted this style of wine while in Europe and just loved the concept, I loved the ‘natural’ nature of them. When given the chance by Greg and Gabrielle at the Supernatural Wine Company to experiment with the style, I jumped at it.

Hayden tasting barrel samples of the skin-fermented wines with the team

Hayden tasting barrel samples of the skin-fermented wines with the team

How are they generally received in the New Zealand marketplace, and how does this compare to their reception n the export market?

There is a small  group of natural wine enthusiasts that love the wines. Unfortunately it is small though. They do really confuse a lot of regular consumers but I think that’s just an education thing. The more we can educate people on the wines, the more than understand them and more importantly, enjoy them.

An older vintage of the Supernatural Wine Co Sauvignon Blanc - still fresh and youthful

An older vintage of the Supernatural Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc – still fresh and youthful

What is next for Supernatural Wine Co.?

We have huge aspirations. As well as developing our 3 current wines, we would love to do a little bit of re-planting and we also have a further 3Ha available for planting. We would like to try and diversify our varieties a bit, while concentrating on the natural and skin-fermented styles. 2016 is also our first vintage growing under the biodynamic principles, which I am particularly excited about. As  well as developing our vineyard and wines, we also have plans to develop and expand our luxury accommodation on the property. Watch this space as they say!

Read more about Supernatural Wine Co. wines here

http://www.andco.co.nz

2012 Schramsberg Brut Rosé

Winemakers Keith Hock and Hugh Davies, Schramsberg, 2014

“The 2012 Brut Rosé has generous aromas of tangerine, strawberry, cranberry and wa- termelon. It’s fruitful nose is complemented by notes of candied ginger and warm pastry dough. On the palate, there are flavors of mandarin orange, pomelo, pineapple and straw- berry. The wine has a fresh, bright acidity with a long, crisp and refreshing finish”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, #222, December 2015, Robert M Parker Jr.

Another big-time winner, and one of their larger cuvées of just over 9,000 cases is the 2012 Brut Rosé. This is a blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay, of which 33% was barrel fermented. This wine is ripe, broad, savory, shows tiny bubbles, comes across fresh with kirsch-like aromatics and flavors. It’s dry, medium-bodied, zesty and exuberant. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.

2013 The Prisoner Blindfold White Blend

Created to provide the perfect white wine companion to The Prisoner, Blindfold is bold and intriguing. In establishing our own spin on a white blend, winemaker Jen Beloz and her team sought out interesting Rhône and aromatic varietals that would nicely compliment a classic Chardonnay base. Through partnering with growers who are dedicated to cultivating alternative varietals in their outstanding vineyards throughout California, the result is a wine that is complex and delicious.

35% Chardonnay
60% Rhone Whites
(Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc)
5% Aromatics
(Semillon and Riesling)

Aromatic and inviting, the wine opens up with subtle notes of mandarin and meyer lemon zest, complimented on the palette with delightful flavors of Anjou pear, roasted marshmallow, spiced apple tart and a hint of minerality . The finish is rich and creamy with bright, balanced acidity.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, #215 October 2014, Robert M Parker Jr.

90 points

“Reminiscent of some of Sine Qua Non’s white wines from California’s Central Coast, the 2013 is more zesty, and plays it closer to the vest, but it offers lovely notes of fresh pineapple, tangerine skins, orange marmalade, melon and honeysuckle. I wish more California wineries would consider using such innovative blends as this given the high quality that can result. This beauty should be enjoyed over the next several years.”

2013 The Prisoner Zinfandel Blend

44% Zinfandel
20% Cabernet Sauvignon 18% Petite Sirah
16% Syrah
2% Charbono

Aromas of briar fruits and dried cherry are accented by hints of vanilla and toasted oak. On the palate, tiers of blueberry, ripe mulberry and boysenberry give way to an edge of espresso, cracked pepper and a seasoning of fall spice. These dense aromas and flavors culminate in a linger- ing finish framed by refined tannins.

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, #215, Oct 2014, Robert M Parker Jr.

92 points

“This dense, full-bodied, opulent red reveals gutsy, rich, peppery, meaty, blackberry, blackcurrant and licorice notes. A savory, lusty, heady red, it begs for a grilled steak or a big, juicy hamburger.”

Serving Wine – the importance of Temperature

In the same way that temperature affects the reactions involved in winemaking, the serving temperature of wine has a profound effect on how it smells and tastes. I find myself considering this much more during the summer months, especially during the long, hot sunny spells we will experience all season, right!?

A real bug bear of mine is drinking white and red wines served too warm during the summer, I am talking about those 25-30° days, which coincide with the holiday season, in large group gathering places like the bach, beach, BBQs etc… where several bottles are open at once, and fridge space is limited. Yes I know many of you are just saying “Drink up mate, get over it”, but these occasions usually coincide with a special bottle (or two) being popped, that end up tasting quite ordinary, even faulty. For example, an oaked chardonnay served too warm has that broad, flat, heavy feeling with a burn from the alcohol, lacking the lift of acidity, not good. Come late afternoon, early evening, out comes the pinot noir, again that same burning sensation, with a soupy texture, all of the fruit and aromatics missing.

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Legendary French oenologist and taster Emile Peynaud suggests the following rules:

  • Serve tannic red wines (e.g. Bordeaux) relatively warm, 15-18°C
  • Serve complex, dry white wines (e.g. riesling) relatively warm, 12-16°C
  • Serve soft, lighter red wines (e.g. pinot noir and Fleurie) for refreshment at 10-12°C
  • Serve cool, sweet, sparkling, flabby white (e.g. chardonnay) and rosé wines at 6-10°C

As wine warms up to reach the ambient temperature, I suggest serving wines at the bottom end of the suggested temperatures. Your wines will be all the more delicious and refreshing for it.

Cheers,

Brandon

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