Napa & Sonoma Trip: Day Three

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars vineyard

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars vineyard

When arriving at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, we walk into an incrdible landscaped and architectural phenomenon. Each place seems to outdo the last. Liz, the wife of the current winemaker Marcus, is our host. The Stag’s Leap district is about 7 minutes from Rutherford (I find that Rutherford is my epicentre of Napa, a bit like Beaune for Burgundy – although there really is no town at all at Rutherford, just a little Taqueria and the Rutherford Grill, a restaurant that does good ribs, steak and Cajun chicken.

What can I say, the vista to the vineyards and the Mountains behind is incredible. Again the most excellent tasting when it comes to service and preparation – glass ware, temperature of wines, promotional material and tasting menus/mats.

We walk around the winery. A Spanish architect has been brought in to design stupidly amazing buildings. The barrel hall was the True James bond set. There are several kilometres of underground pathways in red rock – not too dissimilar to Champagne. This was the brainchild of Warren Winiarski’s (founder) daughter. In the centre of this barrel maze is a concrete centre piece with a huge swinging silver pendulum from the roof supposed to signify Earth and life and Napa, and 5 lights on each corridor entrance in the shape of comets representing each vineyard that Warren bought only when a new comet came into our solar system – honestly they may as well have passed out the LSD at this stage.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars barrel room

We walk past the original wine cellars from, you guessed it, the early 1970’s. Outside are clay imprints of hands in frames along the wall. Maybe about thirty or so. Each hand represents someone influential who has helped in the story of Stag’s leap – hence the ‘Hands of Time’.

Puneet in front of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Hands of Time wall

‘Hands of Time’ wall

nd of course the thing that made Stag’s Leap super famous – it was the red wine that won the 1976 judgement of Paris tasting. The region is very good at making the Judgement of Paris tasting the turning point in history.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars wine tasting

Tasting the Stag’s Leap wines

2016 Karia Chardonnay: Toast and hints of honey – good upfront flavour and quite textural.

2016 Arcadia Chardonnay: Oyster shell and mineral – really nice – beautiful expression. My second best Chardonnay after Kongsgaard.

2017 Oveda Sauvignon Blanc: Very grassy! Bursting with aromatics, summer fruit salad.

2015 SLV Cabernet Sauvignon: Excellent – beautiful grippy tannins, rocky slate and concentration. So as we sat, the SLV Vineyard was in front of us and FAYE was just behind the tree line. It has volcanic soil and produces smaller berries with thicker skins – the wine follows this terroir to typicity.

2015 FAYE Cabernet Sauvignon: Alluvial soils – larger berries, thinner skins. A more aromatic wine, juicier, more rounded.

2015 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon: A really delicious wine – black currants, violets, aromatics, incredible length and concentration – very layered.
Winner of Best Red Wine in the 1976 judgement of Paris. Original Warren Winiarski picked the cask 23 from block 4 of the SLV Vineyard. Warren was Robert Mondavi’s first assistant winemaker. Nathan Faye was the owner of the original land for Stag’s leap. Today the Cask 23 is the best possible blend between SLV and FAYE.

Puneet and family at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars vineyard


Inglenook vineyard, California

We head back to Rutherford to end the fairy tale visit. We enter the site and park up to walk to a small chapel with all glass walls. Inside is the most modern looking person. All white with a white desk, white screen and white floor. I check in and get the ‘all clear’ – back to the car and through the Inglenook gates – it really is like drama and anticipation – Francis Ford Coppola is the King of theatre, in every element of his life and work.

Coppola had lunch with Robert Mondavi in 1975. Mondavi told him to buy Inglenook. The place had been established in the late 1800’s by Gustave Niebaum – his name is still on the estate – Niebaum Coppola. We drive to the state. The most impressive building ever – a big turret ivy over large arching double doors, each the entrance to a large cavernous cellar. The main entrance with the huge stair case and so on.
Coppola however only started releasing Inglenook wines from 2011. There are of course Inglenook wines from the state going back decades but these were not commercially available.

2015 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon: Graceful, elegant, refined as usual with the super premium reds. Big red and black fruit and lovely ripe tannins.

2015 Ingelnook Rubicon (Cabernet Sauvignon): The Rubicon is the vineyard at the back of the state. Exceptional – a wine to age – concentrated, ripe and big tannin.

Inglenook vineyard

…and with that we bought a baguette from the bistro with local salami and cheese – ate this by the tall tree and pond on the Estate and then headed back to San Francisco.

Napa & Sonoma Trip: Day Two


Duckhorn Vineyards in Napa Valley

Glorious day at the Duckhorn Vineyards
BRANDS: Duckhorn Vineyards | Paraduxx | Goldeneye | Migration | Decoy | Canvasback | Calera

When you enter the Duckhorn Estate, just on the side of Howell Mountain – down the Silverado trail, just outside Rutherford, you begin to see how the super premium side works. Incredible landscaping, beautiful buildings, impressive cellar doors. We are greeted by the Head of Sales and Marketing Pete Przybylinsk. He’s been with them for over 20 years and was the first employee who was not a Duckhorn. The owners were not only named Duckhorn, but loved Ducks – hence the label. They realised that the area that they were in was more elevated and with more loamy and volcanic soils – they decided to focus on Merlot. This really could be the best Merlot in our portfolio…

Wine tasting at Duckhorn Vineyard, Napa Valley

Tasting the Duckhorn wines

2014 Merlot: Beautiful, exceptional mid palate roundness, full but then plenty of length at the back.

2014 Three Palms Merlot (Wine Spectator Best Wine of 2018): Layers and layers of red and black fruit, a rum raisin property and beautiful concentration – intense but not jammy and perfumed. Duckhorn always bought fruit from the Three Palms vineyard, but actually bought the vineyard a few years ago and have farmed the vineyard organically since then – they attribute the rise in quality to this.

2016 Duckhorn Chardonnay: Southern end of the Napa Valley (where it is cooler). Fresh, beautiful weight, light toast and even hints of white chocolate.

2015 Decoy Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon: Black fruits and an early attack of upfront flavour. Very much a varietal of Cabernet Sauvignon, a slight dip and rise at the back of the palate . Good tannin – better than quaffable. Decoy is the entry level brand for Duckhorn and we will have to go here eventually. It is one of the most popular Cabernets in the USA retailing at $19.99.

Paraduxx – Yountville: Paraduxx is the winery which produces one wine only – a red blend. Yountville is an A.V.A in its own right (as well as home to the French Laundry – read more on this later). The blend is a mix of Bordeaux varieties plus Zinfandel. Some spice on the palate, very supple and smooth – very drinkable.

2014 The Discussion Cabernet Sauvignon: Excellent – ageable but drinking now, round very long, delicious length. The story goes that the owner and winemaker had a big discussion about the best blend – Cabernet or Merlot dominant. In the end the owner won with a Cabernet dominant wine.

Grgich Hills

Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley

Visiting the Grgich Hills Estate in Napa Valley

I met with Maja. She is a Grgich (not by name) and they are very proud of several things at Grgich:

  1. Being Croation – I don’t think I need to tell you about the pride and winemaking background of Croations. Maja showed me evidence that Zinfandel originally came from Croatia – they do not buy into the Primitivo story.
  2. Their founder Mike Grgich (who celebrates being 95 this year) was the winemaker at Chateau Montelena in 1976 when they won the Judgement of Paris – best white wine.

Maja’s father is the winemaker now – he is the nephew of Mike Grgich. Mike’s daughter Valerie runs the estate. They work with indigenous yeast and are extremely proud of the Chardonnay from their estates – they have a number of vineyards across Napa, including their main estate in Rutherford. They invest in Fuders.

Wine barrels at Grgich Hills Estate

Wine barrels at the Grgich Hills Estate

Grgich Hills Estate Wine Tasting, Napa Valley

Tasting the Grgich Hills wines

We tried:

2014 Chardonnay: Definitely wild yeast ferment. Nutty and large – all french oak – lovely leesy texture and less tropical fruit ripeness.

2014 Paris Tasting Commemoration Chardonnay: Exceptional length, balance and viscosity . Very graceful – not as overtly powerful as the 2014 Estate. They make this Chardonnay in exceptional years as a tribute to the Chardonnay that won the judgment of Paris tasting. 1 year in small oak barrels, 6 months in Fuder.

2013 Zinfandel (Castiloga): Aged in 650l Fuder. Plenty of fruit, good structure and supple tannin. They learnt that the clusters are large with big shoulders. The sun is not able to ripen past the large shoulder to the rest of the cluster. At Grgich they cut off the shoulder – they lose fruit but find they gain in even ripeness.

2013 Old Vine Cabernet – Yountville: Lovely red and black fruit. Earthy and supple tannin.

2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Incredible silky tannins – the tannins alone make this delicious. Fruit and acidity still holding up, although I don’t feel like this wine has too many more years. A number of producers (notably Caymus) do not go down the single vineyard route – they source from numerous growers from what they consider small parcels of the best sites around Napa. That is why in some cases you see the wine with the specific AVA (e.g Yountville or Three Palms) and in some cases it is simply Napa Valley blend as in this case.


Yountville vineyards in Napa Valley

We stroll to Yountville from Rutherford – a toy town. We follow the people through a lovely little sculpture walk to some beautiful market gardens with the most incredible artichokes I have ever seen. Of course we look over the road and there is the ‘French Laundry’ buzzing on a beautiful evening. Shana takes the obligatory photo. Pete at Duckhorn tells us the next day that we won’t escape from there at less than $1,000 per head, and although it is good, if you expect something superhuman you wont be happy. It is a very good and very expensive restaurant – no more, no less. It made me think that in this global and interconnected world the good stuff can get so hyped up by millions of followers that the following becomes bigger than the reality. Anyway, it’s still on the bucket list.

We stroll a little further and go into a place – Boedega – Italian roots, which on the posh scale is still up there. Beautiful Californians with immaculate dogs littered the place. Taj was given honorary dog status and we entered as walk ins and were given a tall table near the bar. We had 3 or 4 starters as they looked so good as our meal in a shared plate way. Exceptional food.

Wines from Coravin:

2005 Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard: Took a while to open up, and then what I am learning with so many expetional Napa Cabernet’s its the silky tannins and the everlasting fruit that make these wines so seductive. Still nothing here to surpass Stag’s Leap or Spotswoode for instance.

2014 Kongsgaard Chardonnay: OMG moment – possibly the best wine of the trip (together with Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot). It was perfect balance of toast, texture, lees, acid, fruit and flavour. The next day I contact the winery. Evan Frazier tells me they are bottling and very busy. I thank him for the wine and tell him that we will see him next year for sure!


BRANDS: Caymus | Mei Soleil | Emmolo

The Wagner Family of Wine are another member of the ‘Royal’ set of families in Napa. Father Chuck Wagner, who makes all the Caymus wines, daughter Jenny makes Mei Soleil, and son Charlie makes Emmolo. The other son Joe made and sold Meomi and now has Copper Cane which is outside the family interests – the rich black sheep if you like. Between Chuck, Charlie and Jenny they each have specific varietals that only they may produce. No other family member may make the same varietal. I really learnt a lot from the tasting. A set menu, with menu card and tasting mat. Order form with order bags at the ready subtly placed on the table at the end of the tasting. Again, like many other wineries, their first commercial year was 1972, prior to this the land was family owned with plum and walnut.

2016 Mei Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands: Barrel fermented aromatic, tropical, light to medium toast. Textural and good mouth feel – Chablis meets Napa kind of.

2016 Mei Soleil Reserve Pinot Noir: Black earth, cherry and cola notes.

2015 Emmolo Merlot: Very toasty and big. Cinnamon on the nose, big fruit. Deep and plush palate, not typical of Merlot. A blockbuster type wine.

2015 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 12-15 months in Oak. Blueberry, fresh, silky tannins soft and lovely. Exceptional and drinking so well now – best wine of the set. Of the 16 AVAs in Napa, Chuck Wagner blends this Cabernet from between 8-10 different AVAs.

2015 Caymus Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: 22-25 months in Oak. In 1984 and 1990 this wine won the World’s Best Wine in Wine Spectator Magazine – the only wine to have done this twice. Considerably more layered, still young and brooding hints of espresso and licorice.

Oak wine barrels at Caymus Winery

Napa & Sonoma Trip: Day One

E & J Gallo – Frei Ranch

Frei Wine Ranch in Sonoma County, California

Frei Wine Ranch in Sonoma County, CA

We travelled up North into Dry Creek County, almost at the top of Napa, where we were given the number of a road. No signs, we nearly miss a small dirt entrance. We turn into a dirt lane that takes us around a vineyard to Frei Ranch. We park and walk into a very impressive glass building nestled into the trees. Here we learn that Frei Ranch is pretty much the first piece of land bought by Ernest and Julio Gallo in Napa. We jump straight back into the hosts’ 4×4 and begin to drive around the Estate. Ernest and Julio bought the vineyard in 1974. It was a bold move but lead to them being the kingmakers in the region. Their aim was always to make the best wines at affordable prices. Ernest was the business man, Julio the winemaker. The winery is still family owned and the descendants of Ernest still stay on the sales and marketing side, while the descendants of Julio still stay on the wine making side. The story goes that Ernest said that he could sell more than Julio could produce. Julio would say that he could produce more than Ernest could sell.

Puneet Dhall at Frei Ranch, Sonoma County, California

Puneet at the Frei Ranch

We take a stop mid vineyard and taste the Talbott Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Central CoastThe wines are very well made – showing typicality, balance and great length. The Talbott Chardonnay is creamy with good oak integration and ripe stone fruits. Similarly the Pinot Noir shows good red fruit, mossy characters and is very tasty.

Next we drive to the barrel room. It looks like the entrance to one of the Hobbit’s homes. We walk into one of the biggest underground cellars I have ever seen. It like a James Bond secret lair (although we find an even better James Bond Secret Lair at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars – read later). Here we taste the Frei Ranch wines; the Chardonnay. Again, great Lees and texture – big fruit and large – this would work very well in NZ.

Frei Ranch underground barrel cellar

Frei Ranch underground barrel room

Puneet Dhall and son in Frei Ranch barrel cellar

Puneet and son, Taj, in barrel room

We drive around to the winery and it is large. The largest tanks along one line are so modern and super smart that they can actually be worked from an iPhone app. The commitment to quality is incredible. The pipes transporting must have absolutely no sharp corners, only gentle curves, so as to reduce must damage. When you see this you begin to understand how the wines are so good even though produced at considerable volume.

Large wine tanks at Frei Ranch

Large wine tanks at Frei Ranch

Signing off until tomorrow,

Billecart-Salmon Celebrations on VOMO Island

Puneet Dhall on Vomo Island with guests

Puneet and Vomo guests

Take one luxury tropical island resort, one Master chef and one of the World’s greatest Champagnes, and what do you get…

Last week Dhall & Nash were lucky enough to be on Vomo Island in Fiji with World class Kiwi chef Nic Watt (of MASU in Auckland amongst others). Why? We had gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Maison Billecart-Salmon. Vomo is a proud ‘Billecart’ Island, and so it was a fitting tribute to open some of the World’s best Champagne in this idyllic setting with some exceptional cuisine from Nic.

A series of events over 4 days culminated in a 5 course Billecart-Salmon degustation as the sun set over the reef at ‘The Rocks’. It really was something special.
Such was the success, that we are considering making this an annual event. Contact us if you would like to be involved next year.

Big thanks to the Vomo family, in particular Mark and Renee Leslie, Andrew Clark in Food and Beverage with his assistant Bhishnu and Vomo chef de cuisine – Thushan Iranga.

Chateau Climens: The Prodigy of Noble Rot

Chateau Climens Wine Bottles

The sweet wines of Chateau Climens

Chateaus Climens, also known as the “Lord of Barsac” is indeed a very noble wine. The estate is situated in the village of Barsac, within the Barsac-Sauternes appellation, on the left bank of the River Garonne in Bordeaux. Barsac-Sauternes is a tiny enclave in the Graves region and is known for producing some of the finest sweet wines in the world.

The Chateau Climens vineyard area covers 29 hectares, with an average production of 3,000 cases per year. The terroir is extremely chalky, with limestone, sand and clay which is ideal for growing Semillon.

Chateau Climens was first officially registered in 1547. In over four and half centuries the property has only ever belonged to five families, which is fairly unique in Bordeaux. This also means the land has been very carefully looked after. In 1885 when the Bordeaux Classification system was established for the Medoc and Sauternes region, the supreme quality of Chateau Climens’ wines was instantly recognised. It is second only to Chateau d’Yquem.

Chateau Climens Winery

The Roberol family first owned Climens and it was passed down from generation to generation until 1802 when it was sold to Jean Binaud, a local wine merchant. The land changed hands between two more families and then in 1855, just after the vineyard had acquired its Premier Cru status, the estate was taken over by the successful printing family Goungouilhou who kept it for over a century.  

In 1971 Lucien Lurton, owner of Chateau Brane-Cantenac and Chateau Doisy Dubroca, was drawn to the finesse of the Chateau Climens wines and its unique terroir and decided to purchase the property. In 1992, his daughter Berenice Lurton took over the reins and has worked ever since with enthusiasm and determination to ensure the wines continue to shine. In 2010 she started following biodynamic practices and in 2014 they were fully certified. This is unusual in Sauternes and shows great vision and dedication in protecting the environment whilst striving for healthy vines which will produce the highest quality fruit.

Chateau Climens Vineyard in Barsac France

The Barsac vineyards of Chateau Climens

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Chateau Climens, however, is that it is 100% Semillon. Most Sauternes are a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc helps raise the acidity in the wines, however Chateau Climens’ unique terroir and limestone soils enable their Semillon to retain enough levels of acidity, whilst reaching perfect ripeness and flavour profiles without needing to blend.  

All this contributes to Chateau Climens being one of the most revered sweet wines in the world. It is revered not only for its complexity and opulent flavours, but also its freshness, minerality and finesse.


Despite the fact Climens means “infertile land” it is obviously perfect for vines and in particular Semillon, on which noble rot flourishes.  Noble rot is essential for creating these very special sweet wines.

Noble rot is a microscopic fungus, it’s official Latin name being botrytis cinerea. It needs certain climatic conditions to flourish – these being damp early mornings, followed by warm, sunny Autumn days. If it’s too dry then noble rot will not set in. If it’s too wet it can become the more undesirable, damaging grey rot. It can therefore be a rather tense time for the vignerons come early Autumn as despite all their hard work they are at the whim of Mother Nature.

Fortunately, the microclimate in Barsac-Sauternes is very suitable for noble rot to flourish. Positioned near the Garonne River and its tributary Ciron, there is plenty early morning mist rising up from the water and the days are generally warm and sunny in the beautiful Bordeaux Autumn.

As noble rot penetrates the skin of the grapes, moisture starts to evaporate. The grapes shrivel and the sugars and flavours become more concentrated. The rot also triggers reactions within the grape creating other flavour profiles, adding to the complexity of the wines.

Noble rot on Climens grapes

Noble Rot on the Climens grapes

The grapes can only be picked when they reach a legal must rate of 221g/l. This means several pickings or “tries” have to be made over a week or so to ensure only grapes at their optimum level of sweetness and acidity are picked.

This very high sugar level means that even when fermentation stops, at an alcohol level around 13.5%, there remains a high level of residual sugar.  These naturally sweet wines also contain high natural levels of acidity, which gives them beautiful balance and elegance.

The Chateau Climens wines are fermented in oak barrels, with about 20% being new oak.  They are then aged in oak for 20-24 months. This adds another level of complexity to the wines.

The small volumes, intense manual labour and investment in barrels all contribute to the high cost of these wines but also to their extremely high quality and uniqueness.

Chateau Climens wines can be enjoyed young, when they are really fresh and vibrant, yet they also have great aging potential – up to 40 or 50 years – and will therefore develop and take on different flavours and characters as they mature. They are intriguing and almost mystical and can be enjoyed at any stage of their development.

We hope you enjoy your Chateau Climens, when, wherever and with whom you decide to open a bottle of this rare and exquisite wine.

Chateau Climens wine glasses

The sweet, golden wines of Chateau Climens

[All photos courtesy of Chateau Climens.]

Franz Haas: One of the Finest Producers from Alto Adige

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Looking for something a little different? Tucked up in the mountains of the Alto-Adige in the far north of Italy, we are thrilled to have discovered a hidden gem – the Franz Haas Winery.

Franz Haas wines are refreshing, exciting and dynamic offering new flavours and textures. Since its establishment in 1880, the Franz Haas Winery has endeavoured to produce top quality wines. Their grapes are sourced from 55 hectares of vineyards which are a mix of those they own, rent or contract.  The estate has been lovingly passed down for seven generations, each one taking on the name of their father, Franz Haas. The current owner and winemaker is technically named Franziskus, but still goes by the name of Franz.

Franz Haas Winemaker Franziskus Haas

Current owner and winemaker Franziskus Haas

Although steeped in history, the wines are modern and visionary combining the best of tradition with the best techniques and philosophies of the twenty-first century. The family has always strived for excellence and the current Franz Haas has pushed the boundary even further – upwards in fact! Grapes grown at higher altitudes offer wines of wonderful elegance and purity, however, due to global warming, Haas felt some of the refreshing acidity and delicate flavours were starting to decline. He took a pioneering leap and decided to plant new vineyards higher up the mountains, some even at 850m above sea level. The fruit from these higher vineyards, as well as from following biodynamic practices has led to Franz Haas producing some of the finest wines in the region. They offer wonderful finesse and fragrance and are a true expression of their terroir.

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige Italy

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Apart from being unique and prestigious wines, Franz Haas stands out from the crowd with their beautiful, eye catching labels.  Simple but dramatic, they were designed by the esteemed artist Riccardo Schweizer who used to paint with Picasso, Chagall, Cocteau, Paul Éluard and Le Corbusier. When Franz released his new range of wines in 1990 his wife, Maria Luisa Manna presented the labels to him as a lucky omen. Many years on, these artistic labels still attract attention.  They reflect the quality and creation within the bottle as well as without.

Franz Haas Winery produces a range of wines, their most famous being Manna, named after Haas’s wife. It is a delicious and unusual blend of white grape varieties and one of the most versatile wines ever produced for food matching. It was launched in 1996 and was specifically created to accompany all the courses of a traditional long Italian lunch which as we know includes a huge range of flavours and textures. The blend is Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc.

Franz Haas is also driven to produce high quality pinot noir – a more unusual variety for this region, yet one he feels will work well in the cool climate conditions. Known as Pinot Nero in Italy, Haas picked his first vintage in 1987 and released it in 1990 under the new, show stopping Schweizer labels.

Pinot Nero grapes in the Franz Haas vineyards, Alto Adige

Pinot Nero grapes in the Franz Haas vineyards

The estate also produces a wonderfully fruity pinot grigio which is pure, elegant and refreshing.

Lagrein is a seductive red variety which is now being trialled in New Zealand. However, it is indigenous to the North of Italy where they have been making these enticing wines of dark red and black fruits with a hint of spice for centuries.

There is no doubt that the passion and vision of the current Franz Haas and the six previous Franz Haas’ have together created a legacy of wines which capture the essence of the mountainous Alto-Adige region as they celebrate elegance, purity, fragrance and class.


2016 Franz Haas Manna

A versatile, complex and unique blend named for Franz’ wife – created to match with a widely impressive variety of foods.


2016 Franz Haas Pinot Grigio

Fragrant elegance with a delightfully full freshness.


2015 Franz Haas Lagrein

Made from Lagrein, an indigenous grape variety known for its velvety texture, that is currently seeing an exciting resurgence.

Paul Jaboulet Aîné NZ Events

Earlier this month we announced that Dhall and Nash will be the new exclusive agent in New Zealand for Paul Jaboulet Aîné. To celebrate this new addition to our portfolio we invited Gwenaële Chesnais, Paul Jaboulet’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, to visit NZ and help host three fantastic dinner events showcasing their Rhône Valley wines.

 Auckland Dinner Event
at Paris Butter

Tuesday 8th May


Bread and truffle butter, sourdough velouté egg cup, sutra french caviar and cauliflower, salmon pot and its roe, mahurangi oyster and rhubarb
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Sashimi crayfish and kiwifruit, poached crayfish, almond gazpacho, bisque jelly, grapes
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Olliff Farm 64ºC egg, grilled mushroom mousse, local mushrooms, truffle gel, saucisson, parmesan custard
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Charcoal duck breast, beetroot and vanilla, cabbage, radish, raspberry, sherry
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Lemon meringue
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Wellington Dinner Event
at Sofitel Wellington

Wednesday 9th May


Herb panna cotta, beetroots, soft goats curd, freekeh, walnuts
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Atlantic scallops, saffron bisque, pickled green lip mussels, flageolet beans, baby vegetables
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Pork belly from the rotisserie, Parisienne sweet potato, pickled mustard seeds, Bosc pear, amaretti crumb
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Lamb backstrap cooked on Manuka wood, ash baked onions, almond cream, salsa verde
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Feijoa, cinnamon and white chocolate mousse, roasted banana ice cream
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Christchurch Event
at St. Germain

Thursday 10th May


Lamb sweetbread terrine, herb chantilly
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Monkfish, petits legumes, squid ink tuile, saffron sauce
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Anchovy stuffed lamb belly, persillade sponge, lentil ragout, thyme jus
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Duck breast, plum sauce, pumpkin purée, celeriac purée
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Poached pear, beetroot sorbet, meringues and crumble
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

The Wine List


2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 Blanc Wine Bottle

2016 Paul Jaboulet Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 Blanc

An attractive bouquet with citrus and floral notes. Fresh, balanced and juicy.


2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche Wine Bottle

2016 Paul Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche

Fresh with mineral and fruity notes giving very fine balance and length.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate | 90 points


2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Cote Rotie Les Jumelles Wine Bottle

2009 Paul Jaboulet Côte Rôties Les Jumelles

Notes of peony, potpourri and black olives with a rich, velvety mouthfeel.


2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Petite Chapelle Wine Bottle

2009 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Petite Chapelle

A mineral streak highlights nuances of violet, berries and spice.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous | 93 points


2014 Paul Jaboulet Aine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Wine Bottle

2014 Paul Jaboulet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Dense and rich but enhanced with a beautiful freshness. A wine of great flavours.

Caroline Frey: Viticulturist & Winemaker at Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aine Wine

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Caroline Frey is a highly talented and passionate winemaker and viticulturist, quickly making a name for herself in the French wine industry. Her family took over Paul Jaboulet Ainé in 2006 and she has continued to produce the high quality wines for which they are famous, as well as stamping her own mark on them.

Frey grew up in the Montagne de Reims in the Champagne region of France. Her father Jean Jacques, a property investor, had a strong passion for wine and bought some vineyards there when she was just a child, so she grew up in tune to the rhythm of the vines and a taste of the industry. He later invested in some of the Champagne houses and in 2000 he purchased Chateau La Lagune, a third growth in Haut Medoc, Bordeaux. Caroline had always loved horses and had been an equestrian champion, however, she felt her destiny was to be in the wine industry so enrolled at Bordeaux University. There she studied and was fortunate enough to have Bordeaux legend Denis Dubourdieu as one of her professors. She undertook her internship at Ch. Reynon and graduated top of her class. In 2004 she ran her first vintage at La Lagune.

When the family acquired Paul Jaboulet Ainé in 2006 she also took up the role of winemaker and viticulturist there. Caroline Frey is fast becoming one of the top winemakers in France, admired for her persistence for quality which begins in the vineyard. Under her leadership the Paul Jaboulet Ainé vineyards were certified for Sustainable Farming and she now follows organic and biodynamic practices.

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aine Wine

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aîné

In 2010 the winery itself got an upgrade and a state of the art gravity flow system was installed, meaning gentler handling of the wines, further improving quality.

As she strives for perfection and to make each vintage better than the last, Caroline is producing wines that not only reflect their true terroir, but in the process she is protecting the environment and preserving the land for future generations.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Vineyard

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Vineyard


[All photos courtesy of Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné]

The Top 12 Wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné: Countdown Overview

Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné, one of the finest wine estates in history, has arrived in New Zealand. This famous vineyard in the Rhône Valley produces earthy, powerful Syrahs, masterfully blended Cotes du Rhônes and a rich, opulent Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.

Dhall and Nash have put together a list of Paul Jaboulet’s Top 12 Wines for you to enjoy…

Let the 2018 Billecart Celebrations Begin…

Billecart-Salmon celebrate their bicentenary in 2018

Billecart-Salmon celebrate their bicentenary in 2018 | Photo by Champagne Billecart-Salmon

As Maison Billecart-Salmon celebrate their 200th anniversary in 2018, so do we.

Celebratory Degustation – MASU, Auckland
3rd May 2018

Masu Nic Watt

Nic Watt of MASU | Photo by MASU

Join us for an evening of fine Billecart-Salmon champagnes and exquisite, eye catching dishes at SkyCity’s MASU by Nic Watt in Auckland to celebrate the bicentenary of this prestigious Champagne House.

Finesse, elegance and balance have long been the hallmark characters of the Billecart-Salmon champagnes and these qualities are also reflected in the cuisine at Masu, where executive chef Nic Watt carefully and creatively prepares the most beautiful and delicate dishes.

It is set to be a wonderful evening, stimulating the senses and indulging in some of the finer things in life. This evening marks the start of a series of wonderful bicentenary celebrations, the next being a five day culinary event set on the beautiful island of Vomo.

VOMO Island Culinary Event
24th – 28th May 2018

VOMO Island Fiji

Photo by VOMO Island Fiji

Imagine sipping one of the finest and most historic champagnes, whilst the waves are lapping at the shores and Nic Watt again is serving his imaginative and sumptuous dishes. The setting is idyllic and the small group of diners will ensure the ambiance is both decadent and relaxing.

The celebrations continue again on New Year’s Eve when there will be a Billecart-Salmon degustation, followed the next day with champagne sundowners.

Founded in 1818 by Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon, sparkling champagne was in its infancy so they are considered some of the original pioneers of the champagne industry as we know it today. The House has been passed down from generation to generation and is still family owned. The family have always strived for perfection, bringing to us the most elegant champagnes which are enjoyed at celebrations around the world. Now it is time to celebrate their success.

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