California Day 4 – St Helena to Geyserville
Emily and Amy meet me and we taste some wines from the large range…
I tasted the wines as Beth regaled this story to me,
Emily and Amy meet me and we taste some wines from the large range…
I tasted the wines as Beth regaled this story to me,
This intriguing wine can be produced from anything from Pinot Gris to Cabernet Franc. However the true spiritual home of this luscious pink beast is Provence, and when it comes to Provence, one name is above all others – Sacha Lichine. In particular, Caves d’Esclans Whispering Angel…
When it comes to a wine list, the elements that make a wine list great are; The Wine, internationally known and critically acclaimed, of optimal drinking age and referenced on internationally acclaimed lists. This too applies to Rosé.
Sacha Lichine is the King of Rosé. Born in Bordeaux, educated in California and having worked throughout Europe, USA and the Caribbean doing everything from international distribution to grape picking. This man knows what it takes to produce some seriously good pink juice! After his acquisition of the Château d’Esclans in 2006 the wines shot to meteoric heights, particularly the Rosé!
Whispering Angel is possibly one of the hottest tickets to help you cool down anywhere in the world. Think super yachts, luxury hotels like the National Hotel in Miami and the unequivocal Ritz in London. This is a truly must have. A blend of Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Cinsault is harvested in the cool of sunrise. Gently pressed and genuinely lovingly nurtured through vinification. This coral pink Cuvée has the texture of silken gossamer touched with notes of citrus and lively minerality.
From the old world finery of Chateau Brane-Cantenac to cult Oregon heroes Cristom. In the eyes of Dhall & Nash the elements that make a wine list great are; The Wine, internationally known and critically acclaimed, of optimal drinking age and referenced on internationally acclaimed lists.
2009 Mountford Estate The Rise – This sought after rarity is one of the best wines to come out of Waipara. Found loitering in cellars around the world but must notably on the list at the Michelin-starred Musket Room, helmed by Kiwi expat “Musket” Matt Lambert. Garnet hued, lingering red and blackberries balanced with mineral salinity and warm earth. Good enough for Raymond Chan to give it 18.5/20…
2010 Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas Les Terres Brulées – This slice of the Northern Rhone on the West-Bank produces some of the finest cold climate Syrah on Earth. Wines from this pioneer of Organic viticulture can be found at the likes of the esteemed 21 Club Nyc. Inky Red and perfumed with red fruit, currants and wafts of pipe tobacco. This wine is rich, concentrated, spicy and finishes with surprising elegance.
2005 Chateau Brane Cantenac, Margaux – With 250 years of dedication this second growth is no slouch. Under Henri Lurton these wines just go from strength even popping up at the likes of Central (5th best restaurant in the world 2017). Bright crimson, balanced and elegant a true old world beauty. “… full-bodied opulence and beautifully textured, lush richness, make for a brilliant wine…” – Robert Parker 95pts
2008 Col d’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva – Brunello at it best, Francesco Marone Cinzano. Dark and brooding, touched with red fruit and spice, nuanced sauntering tannins and notes of vanilla from the slovenian oak. This famous Tuscan wine pops up amongst the staunchly Spanish list at Atiro so it definitely worth hunting down.
2012 Clarendon Hills Astralis – 98+ pts Robert Parker… The combination of old vines and a unique slice of South Australia give life to this expressive Shiraz. From Brae in Victoria the Geranium in Copenhagen this imitable drop deserves it’s renown. Purple-black – hedonistically perfumed crushed rock and heady Asian spices buttressed against silky smooth tannins balanced with a youthful intensity whilst showing the concentration and elegance of a wine twice its age.
2013 Cristom ‘Eileen Vineyard’ Pinot Noir – Californian pedigree matched with Oregon’s terroir is the backbone of this cult Pinot. Tom Gerrie and Steve Doerner have found the perfect balance between these ideals. Elegant and floral balanced with damson plums and red cherries, this wine sings of youth and vigour.
Cristom Vineyards is the benchmark producer in Oregon and deserve their well-earned reputation of producing exceptional Pinot Noir. Their rich track record of excellence is poised to take on the world of Pinot Noir with their captivating 2014 releases. Dhall & Nash have just been lucky enough to land some of this coveted allocation.
Cristom Vineyards were the first American producer Dhall & Nash imported into NZ, I recall the first time Puneet and I tasted the Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, jumping up and down in my kitchen in Hawkes Bay at the time, just blown away by the aromatic complexity, almost too stimulating to taste, we needed to sit down and really get to know the wine, it was a profound Pinot Noir experience for us early on in our wine careers. This enthusiasm and excitement remains strong for Cristom and the amazing wines they produce. Steve Doerner continues to run the wine program, he has been involved in making the wines here since the early 90’s. We love his approach with Pinot Noir, which favours whole bunch inclusion, natural handling with ambient yeast fermentation, avoiding fining or filtration and how he puts his vineyard blends together, having that deeply experienced touch from his time at the Cristom Estate for over 25 years.
We have 3 unique and outstanding wines from this producer. Two single vineyard offerings from the Eileen and Jessie Vineyards, plus the Mt Jefferson Cuvée sourced from the top sites throughout the Cristom Estate and select parcels of neighbouring vineyards who share the same philosophy! The 2014 ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvée’ Pinot Noir, The 2014 ‘Eileen Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, and the 2014 ‘Jessie Vineyard’ Pinot Noir.
This vast array of delicious treats encapsulates everything from vibrant Sauvignon Blanc through delicate Chardonnays to richly layered Rieslings… The elements that make a wine list great are; The wine, internationally known and critically acclaimed, of optimal drinking age and referenced on internationally acclaimed lists. So with this in mind here are our picks for whites you simply can’t do without!
2010 Domaine Rolet Côtes du Jura Expression du Terroir – This unique blend of Chardonnay and Savagnin hailing from the east of France is a true testament to what can be achieved with the use of Flor. A nutty scent touched with apple, beeswax, and salt followed by concentrated rich apple touched with hazelnut. Gracing the list at The Ritz in London, this exceptional family-focused wine is a must!
2010 Domaine Jean-Michel Gaunoux Meursault 1er Cru Perrières – Featured on lists such as 11 Madison Park (Best Restaurant in the world according to San Pellegrino), this Burgundian Chardonnay is a knockout! This Premier Cru hits all the right notes – balancing acidity with fruit, this wine is drinking well now but definitely has a few more years up its sleeve, even proving worthy of 94pts from Stephen Tanzer.
2014 Folium Vineyard Reserve Sauvignon Blanc – 17/20 from Jancis Robinson is nothing to sniff at. This Marlborough gem is taking the world by storm. Appearing everywhere from Sidart to Dan Hong’s Mr Wong in Sydney. “Subtle and spicy with a marked clementine-pith character – in aroma, flavour, and texture – alongside herbal and stony notes. Refined and persistent…”
2012 Domaine Vincent Carême Le Clos – Pioneering a modern organic approach in the historic Loire Valley. “Lovely, pure, maturing Chenin nose. Great edge to this. Almonds and Gripfix glue on the nose. Masses” JR 17.5. This new vanguard from the Loire is changing the face of natural wine.
2002 Domaine René Muré Clos Saint Landelin Riesling – This vintage Grand Cru from Alsace highlights that Riesling has some serious cellar potential. Balancing acidity with fruit this wine is still young and vibrant but with more subtlety brought about by age. Featured in Print House’s massive list this wine really jumps off the page. “One of the great Rieslings of Alsace. It’s elegant and layered with huge, ripe peaches and apricots, along with toast and caramel.” 94 pts Wine Enthusiast.
2015 Demeter, Zoltán Tokaji Furmint – Tokaji or Tokay (As it’s more commonly known) is the Hungarian hot shot taking the world by storm. Normally thought of as an intense dessert drop in a post-Russian block world, the dry Furmint variant is taking off. Zoltan Demeter, whom the winery is named for, is “the guy” when it comes to Furmint. He balances crisp acidity with minerality and fruit presenting wine touched with citrus and grip…
Champagne – The king of sparkling wines. “… In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.” Napoleon Bonaparte. This sums it up beautifully – there’s nothing champagne can’t fix and if nothing needs fixing then you have earned it… So here are the top 3 in our book when it comes to Reference and Critical Acclaim that sing with food or are a delicious treat on their own…
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé – The undisputed champion of the Rosé field. From The Ritz to the Gramercy Tavern this elegant specimen works on every list! Starting with delicate red fruit and citrus on the nose. Light and elegant with a crisp finish touched with raspberry. Tyson Stelzer gave this prestigious cuvée 94 points – quite a feat for a non-vintage sparkler in his eyes.
NV Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut – This cult cuvée can be found gracing lists the world over. Found everywhere from one-star Michelin outposts like Spruce in San Francisco to the #19 in the World – Geranium. “It encapsulates the gorgeous freshness of young Vertus chardonnay in its grapefruit, freshly picked apple and lemon blossom aromas while boring deep into its chalk mineral structure, building a great textural presence, amplified by the spicy, nutty complexity of barrel fermentation.” 94 points, Tyson Stelzer, The Champagne Guide 2014-2015
NV Armand de Brignac Gold ‘Ace of Spades’ – The epitome of class and opulence… Jay-Z’s own cuvée made in response to being dissed by Cristal. This is the creme de la creme of luxury found everywhere from Beyonce’s star-studded video clips to luxe hotels such as Palais Coburg. However, this bling-bling bubbles is worth its weight in gold. Lovingly hand cultivated by a dedicated team of 10 at Cattier and comprised solely of Grand Cru fruit split over three vintages to give the best expression of the region. Decanter gave it 95 points putting some serious acclaim behind this seriously luxurious wine.
The elements that make a wine list great are; The Wine, internationally known and critically acclaimed, current and back vintages including “Great Vintages”. Referenced on internationally acclaimed lists. Works with the food as well as without. Choosing which one of these elements is the most important is incredibly difficult. Do you want to have the best range of vintage Bordeaux? Or do you want wine from every continent on earth? Or do you want to focus on wines that match your unique philosophy?
From cafes to airlines all of these little factors have an impact on whether a wine list is merely good or if it is truly Great…
These loose concepts are what The World of Fine Wine use each year to judge the best wine lists in the world. From whacky natural wine focused bars to the top hotels in the world. Each of these lists is rated with one to three stars and then broken by region, category and global.
All award-winning wine lists must reach certain standards in relation to a range of criteria, among which the most important are: the breadth, depth, interest, quality, and value of the wine selection (relative to the nature and size of the list and any specialisation); the clarity of the organization and presentation; the accuracy and completeness of the information for each entry on the list, including origin, producer, wine, vintage, price, and format or serving size; the suitability of the selection in terms of the cuisine and the establishment.”
In 2016 Robuchon au Dôme at Hotel Lisboa took out the number one spot. Ranging over 16,700 different labels this is truly a great wine list. In comparison, Charlie Bird took out the short list with a three-page wine list…
In our minds, the perfect wine list manages to merge all three of these key concepts. Perfectly balancing wine, vintage and reference. The Trinity is summed up beautifully by Richard Heally of Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney is taking out best wine list by the glass 2016. “We take a lot of pride in the wine list and the wines by the glass is a snapshot of what the team is interested in so it is humbling to be recognised”
For more from World of Fine Wine head to their website.
The 2015 vintage in Wairarapa consisted of a windy spring and wet spell over the New Year that was followed by a hot, dry summer. This led to a smaller more concentrated yield which translated beautifully into the wine.
Due to this lower yield, the wines are more exclusive than ever. We have a tiny allocation available with most of it already spoken for. (Please click the bottles for more info)
Beautiful dark ruby hues, a seductive earthy bouquet, lingering notes of poached Black Doris plums, exotic spice, dark chocolate and fine mineral notes. A composed wine with an entrance of rich Ghana chocolate, fresh dark cherries and five spice. A wonderful earthy concentration, notes of leather and forest floor showing textured tannins and a powerful mineral drive. A wine to be embraced and aged.
“Medium-bodied Pinot Noir with attractive rose petal, cherry, berry and spice flavours. Elegant and quite linear wine with surprising power and length. A smooth-textured Pinot that can be appreciated now but promises more with bottle age.” – Bob Campbell 95 pts
Dark ruby hue, a seductive bouquet showing the complexity and a depth of perfumed violets and floral notes, layers of dark luscious cherries and alluring exotic spices wrapping around a savoury earthy heart in Schubert’s classic Block B style. Beautiful, elegant and silky entrance of fresh dark cherries, a seam of exotic spices entwined with physical tannins with a layered powerful core of forest floor, notes of leather and fine of toasted oak. A truly beautiful example which will cellar well over time.
“Moderately dark, even ruby-red colour, a little lighter on the rim with garnet hues. The nose is elegantly proportioned with good depth of ripe, dark-red and black-berried fruits with a core of dark herbs and minerals, unfolding violet floral notes. The nose possesses firmness and fine concentration, revealing liquorice and spices. Medium-full bodied, the palate features rich and mouth-filling flavours of ripe dark-red and black-berried fruits entwined with dark herbs violets, spices and minerals. The wine has a deep, rounded core and the palate shows impressive presence while retaining style. The fruit is supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and fresh, lacy acidity, and the wine carries with good linearity to a long, black-fruited and spicy finish. This is a rich, dark-red and black-
fruited Pinot Noir with herb, spice and mineral notes on a fine, firm-lined palate with impressive structure and presence. Match with lamb, beef and venison dishes.” – Raymond Chan 18.5/20