Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné – One of the Finest Wine Estates in History

Paul Jaboulet Aine

Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Paul Jaboulet Aine

Mention the Rhone Valley to anyone around the world and a small chapel perched upon a vine clad hill is likely to be one of the first images that springs to mind. Not only is the image romantic, it is so closely associated with being one of the best Syrahs in the world, it evokes a myriad of emotions – admiration, respect, envy and desire. Winemakers around the globe aspire to make Syrahs of this complexity and intensity, such is the reverence in which it is held. La Chapelle in Hermitage is one of the finest and most iconic vineyards in the world. It belongs to Paul Jaboulet Ainé.

Almost two centuries ago, this famous vineyard was established by Antoine Jaboulet. Hermitage is a small commune in the Northern Rhone Valley and the La Chapelle vineyard slopes down to the banks of the beautiful Rhone River. The chapel, after which it is named, was built in 1235 and sits at the top of the hill. It is small and simple, yet one of the most powerful images in the world of wine. The region Hermitage is so called after the hermit that used to live there alone on the hill.

Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle Chapel

The Hermitage chapel built in 1235

It is believed that the Romans and maybe even the Greeks produced wine in this region, however, it was Antoine Jaboulet’s plantings in 1834 and focus on quality which really started to establish the region as one of the major wine producing regions of the world. When he died, the land was passed on to his sons Henri and Paul, who subsequently gave his name to the company – Paul Jaboulet Ainé (Ainé meaning the elder in French). The business was passed down from generation to generation, expanding as they planted more vineyards in other appellations along the Rhone Valley. Having started with the small plot of land in Hermitage, they now have 120 hectares, producing fine wines from twenty six other appellations including Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage, Gigondas, Cotes Rotie, Condrieu and Chateauneuf-du- Pape. They also produce some of the best Cotes du Rhone wines, with Parellel 45 well known for over delivering on price.

La Chapelle is made from 100% Syrah and is a blend from their top sites including the revered vineyards of Les Bessards, Le Meal and Les Rocoules. There is also a La Chapelle blanc which is made from 100% Marsanne. With vineyards in Condrieu, Paul Jaboulet Ainé also produce some top class viognier, and grow other indigenous Rhone Valley grapes such as Grenache and Mourvedre as relevant to the various appellations.

Paul Jaboulet Syrah

Syrah grapes in La Chapelle Hermitage

Syrah Grapes in La Chapelle

During the latter half of the twentieth century Gerard Jaboulet worked tirelessly to promote Rhone Valley wines around the world, further increasing their reputation. When he passed away suddenly in 1997, Philippe and Jacques Jaboulet took up the reins for the next few years.

In 2006, Jean-Jacques Frey bought Paul Jaboulet Ainé. The Frey family have become increasingly important in the French wine industry having significant interests in Champagne as well as purchasing Chateau La Lagune in Haut-Medoc in 2000 and Château de Corton André in Burgundy in 2014. Caroline Frey, the daughter of Jean-Jacques is the winemaker and viticulturist for Paul Jaboulet Ainé. She graduated from Bordeaux University in 2004 where she studied oenology and she is fast becoming one of the top winemakers in France. Following biodynamic practices and with the installation of a brand new gravity flow winery she is producing stunning wines, striving to make them better and better each year. She strives for excellence and for the wines to truly reflect their terroir, whilst having minimal impact on the environment, thus preserving it for generations to come.

 

[All photos courtesy of Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné]

Maison Billecart-Salmon 2018 Bicentennial – A Family Story

“Give priority to quality, strive for excellence”

This has been the motto passed down from generation to generation of the Billecart family. In 2018, as Billecart-Salmon celebrates its bicentenary, it would appear this motto has been passionately followed. Two hundred years since its foundation, Billecart-Salmon champagnes continue to achieve high international acclaim and are enjoyed in homes and top restaurants around the globe. It is a wonderful success story of a hard-working family who have continued to follow the dream and high standards set by their ancestors Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon who founded the Champagne House in 1818.

Nicolas Francois Billecart Elisabeth Salmon

Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon

The couple were given a parcel of land, close to the charming village of Mareuil-sur-Ay in the heart of Champagne, as a wedding gift by the Salmon family. They decided to focus on producing top end sparkling champagnes. Although red and white wines had been produced in Champagne for many centuries, the art of creating quality sparkling wines by a controlled and consistent method was still in its infancy. Billecart-Salmon are therefore considered amongst the group of pioneers who helped establish the modern, hugely successful champagne industry as we see it today.

The House is now run by the seventh generation of the family, brothers François Roland Billecart and Antoine Roland Billecart. Their father Jean Roland Billecart, now 90 and with the experience of over 70 vintages under his belt, is still involved with the company. In 2010, François’ son, Nicolas joined the business meaning there is the rather special situation of three generations working together, following their family motto and striving to improve and perfect their wines each vintage.

Billecart-Salmon Family

Brothers Antoine & François Billecart with their father Jean Roland-Billecart (middle)

Their wines are made from the traditional champagne varieties – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, which come from some of the best sites in the region. They own 15 hectares, including Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards across the Vallee de la Marne and the Cotes des Blancs.

Billecart-Salmon Vineyard

Billecart–Salmon are particularly well known for their more unusual practice of “double cold settling”. This method leaves the must from the pressings to sit for 12 hours, allowing all the solids to settle to the bottom of the tank. It is then racked to another tank, cooled down and left for another 48 hours to allow any further solids to settle to the bottom of the tank. This is a gentler way of handling the wine and ensures the juice is purer before fermentation begins. It is believed this practice adds elegance and finesse to the wine. They first started using this method in 1952.

During the 1950s they also started producing the rose style champagnes for which they are now most famous.

Following their motto of “give priority to quality, strive for excellence”, Billecart Salmon built a new state-of- the-art winery in 2001, proving that although they incorporate successful traditional techniques into their wine-making, they also embrace modern technology when it serves to further improve the quality and efficient production of their wines.

Finesse, balance and elegance are the hallmark of Billecart-Salmon champagnes and on their 200th anniversary, we pay tribute to this family’s continued success of producing champagnes of this outstanding quality. We look forward to celebrating their enormous success over the coming months and invite you too, to raise a glass to the Billecart family.

Billecart Salmon

For dates of the upcoming Billecart-Salmon Bicentennial celebrations, please click here.

 

[All photos courtesy of Champagne Billecart-Salmon]

Weingut Schloss Lieser – Producer of Some of the World’s Finest Riesling

 

Pure and bright – seductive and sensual. The many guises of Riesling are what makes it such an alluring and highly revered varietal. Schloss Lieser is a master at showcasing the diversity of this amazing varietal and their wines are sought after around the world.

Situated in the picturesque Mosel Valley, the castle was built in 1875 with the winery added in 1904. Schloss Lieser was, however, in a very run down state when Thomas Haag took it over in the 1990s. Yet through hard work and his huge passion for Riesling, Haag has turned Schloss Lieser into one of the top Riesling producers in the world and restored the estate to its former glory. Thomas comes from a highly regarded dynasty of Mosel winemakers. His grandfather established the well-known Fritz Haag wine estate and decided to focus solely on producing premium Rieslings. Wilhelm Haag, Thomas’ father, succeeded Fritz, and became Winemaker of the Year in 1994, again showing their dedication to this varietal. Thomas and his family also focus solely on Riesling, producing all styles from dry to sweet, including four Grosses Gewächs. A passion for Riesling is definitely in the Haag blood.

Schloss Lieser Estate

The Schloss Lieser castle built in 1875

The vineyards are planted along the River Mosel on south or south-west facing sites on the very steep, slate slopes. These are premium spots as warmth from the sunshine, radiation from the heat absorbing slate soils and solar reflection from the river help the grapes fully ripen in this northern, cool climate region. The warm summers with cool nights and the long autumns enable the grapes to ripen slowly, thus developing optimum flavours and a wonderful racy acidity.

All work is carried out by hand on these steep slopes. Traditionally in the Mosel, each vine is attached to an individual stake as this enables the workers to work horizontally instead of vertically. Haag, however, has broken tradition and recently introduced wire training for some of their vines. He believes this allows them to be worked more easily and keeps yields low.
Several passes are made during vintage to pick the ripest grapes for the various styles, again adding to the intensity of the workload.

Schloss Lieser River

Vines of Schloss Lieser overlooking the Moselle River

Haag’s philosophy is “as little as possible, as much as necessary” as he aims to pursue a very natural cultivation of the vineyards which he believes maintains his responsibility to the environment.

The Schloss Lieser Rieslings therefore not only reflect the incredible Mosel terroir but also the passion and dedication of the Haag family.


Check out the Schloss Lieser Rieslings below:

 

Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Auslese

2016 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Auslese

Pale gold. Rich, deep, complex mineral aroma. Complex, concentrated, and piquant on the palate.

 

Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Spatlese

2016 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Spatlese

Pale gold. Very fine, elegant mineral notes. Elegant, fresh, and racy with a lots of grip.

 

Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Trocken GG

2016 Schloss Lieser Niederberg Helden Riesling Trocken GG

Pale gold. A masterly scent of peaches and classy exotic fruits. Great complexity with an infinite elegance.

 

Schloss Lieser Feinherb

2016 Schloss Lieser Riesling Feinherb

Pale gold. Slate-like fruit aroma. A juicy, piquant and salty Riesling.

 

Schloss Lieser Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

2016 Schloss Lieser Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett

Pale gold. Very fine, clear and precise perfume. Ripe lemon flavours. Piquant and slate-like on the palate.

#1 : NV Armand de Brignac Gold Brut “Ace of Spades”

#1 NV Armand de Brignac Gold Brut “Ace of Spades”: Touted as the most expensive Champagne and available in the infamous 30l ‘Midas’ bottle – this bad boy is worthy of note. This is luxury personified…


This illustrious cuvée is owned by Media Mogul Jay Z which begs the obvious question is it any good? Well last year we broke down the facts about this gold-tinged luxury wine so click here for more…

#5 : NV Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat

#5 NV Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscat: Anyone who has ever tasted Chambers fortified Tokay or Muscat realises the world’s reference point for these wines begins and ends with Chambers.


Established in 1858 by William Chambers and his son Phillip, the Chambers family have been making wine at Rosewood for over six generations.

While the legendary Bill Chambers is often to be found at the cellar door over the weekends, it is his son Stephen, who heads up the winemaking team after taking over the operation in 2001.

He is continuing the tradition of producing highly prized fortified wines such as Muscat and Muscadelle, which famed wine writer Robert Parker described as “nothing less than national treasures” and “some of the world’s most remarkable dessert wines”.

The first thing you notice on arriving is the impressive array of bottles on the tasting bar, with more than 30 different wines, including many lesser-known wines such as Muscadelle, Blue Imperial (Cinsault) and Roussanne. Look out for a particularly interesting and rare variety called Gouais, a parent plant of Chardonnay, Riesling and as more recently discovered, up to 80 different varieties.

Rosewood’s gnarled old low-yielding vines, many of which are more than 100 years old, yield fruit brimming with highly concentrated flavours for their world-renowned wine styles.

This small winery is truly a treasure and not to be missed.

#6 : NV Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Grand Cru

#6 NV Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Grand Cru: Beyond current enthusiasm for these exciting, superb Champagnes, the Clouet family has a history of accomplishment in the region. Their Champagnes are rich, concentrated expressions of Pinot Noir that manage to retain elegance and finesse… Every Champagne lover needs to try these outstanding wines!


If you need something more to back this up Tyson Stelzer clearly states that in his opinion this is the most underrated grower Champagne on the market… “It’s always puzzled me that the remarkable, terroir-expressive champagnes of André Clouet never seem to come up among the rockstar growers of Champagne. And yet on the basis of his current cuvées, I have again anointed this little grower in the grand cru village of Bouzy among the top six growers in Champagne. This, of course, places him among the top sparkling growers on earth. My scores rank him equal to Dom Pérignon, Louis Roederer and Taittinger. And that’s mighty company!”

Read more from Tyson Here.

#10 : 2016 Francis Ford Coppola ‘Sofia’ Rosé

#10 2016 Francis Ford Coppola ‘Sofia’ Rosé: Sofia Rosé is a wine of unparalleled beauty. From its shapely, stylized bottle to its delicate fruity essence, this is a wine like no other. Born from a celebration of love, Sofia wines began as a gift from a father to his daughter. The charming and stylish Sofia Rosé is a tribute to the romantic, ebullient spirit of women everywhere.


Feminine and stylish, with a fragrant perfume of fresh strawberries and lavender, this rosé explodes with ripe, juicy flavours of cherry, raspberry and citrus zest. This refreshing wine is reminiscent of the popular dry rosés served in seaside café along the French Riviera. It’s crisp, delicate, and elegantly fruity with just a kiss of spice on the finish.

They typically harvest the grapes for our Sofia Rosé at a lower Brix to ensure we get a light wine that pairs elegantly with food. For colour extractions, the grapes are cold-soaked for 48 hours before the juice is separated from the skins.

La Marca Prosecco Launch

Saturday, 25 November was a very joyous date for Dhall & Nash and one we will remember for a long time. At Parked up on the Green in Victoria Park, we hosted the launch party for La Marca Prosecco – New Zealand’s newest premium prosecco brand distributed by Dhall & Nash. Featuring astonishingly good authentic Indian cuisine fresh from the tandoor oven of Little India, fresh oysters and a beautiful, flowing prosecco tower – this party went down a treat.

La Marca is the top-selling premium prosecco in the US and is growing fast – and it’s easy to see why. Dry, crisp and packed full of refreshing flavour, it’s easy to drink as it comes, or splashed into a delicious prosecco cocktail. Stunning bottles with elegant and recognisable labels look the part everywhere from poolside brunch to moody evening events and come in small formats too.

We’d like to whole-heartedly thank all those who attended this fabulous evening and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

 

 

The Grand Cru by Billecart Salmon

The Grand Cru by Billecart-Salmon is a limited time premium champagne experience, showcasing a line-up of exceptional cuvées from Maison Billecart-Salmon, hosted at Custom Lane – Auckland’s newest day-to-night hotspot.

Dhall&Nash, alongside with Custom Lane @ Grand Mercure Auckland, is organizing a Billecart-Salmon Champagne Pop Up Bar.

Join us every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from the 15th to the 29th of December to experience one of the finest Champagne in the world. A knowledgeable and passionate sommelier will be on site to help you choose from the exceptional Billecart-Salmon range and from some of our Cellar that will also be available there.

On this occasion, Custom Lane will be redesigned according to the look and feel of Maison Billecart so that you can fully experience the magic that Billecart captures in every glass.

For more information on the Grand Cru, check out our dedicated website here.

Billecart-Salmon Maison

The story of Billecart-Salmon all began in 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon founded a Champagne House that was above all conscious of the excellence of its wines.

Their Maison is one of the most sterling examples of Louis XI architecture. It is one of the few left standing today following the Napoleonic revolution where so much of the great architecture of Louis XVI was destroyed.

The Maison today is still family owned jointly by two brothers – the seventh generation of the family. The secret of the Maison has been the ‘savoir-faire’ passed down from generation to generation. Indeed, since 1818, every member of the Billecart family has been committed to perpetuating the family tradition through standing by the immutable oath :

“Give priority to quality, strive for excellence.”

All of the twenty-seven 3 Michelin starred restaurants in France serve Billecart-Salmon Champagne. Don’t miss your chance to experience it at The Grand Cru!

For more on this amazing Maison: Click Here


Here is the list of the Champagne that will available by glass and bottle at The Grand Cru :

2002 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas-Francois Brut

“This vintage has begun to open magnificently since its release, displaying remarkable complexity, yet at every moment clinging to impeccable elegance, a coiled focus of malic acid tension and exhilarating chalk mineral texture. Delightful poise and intricate craftsmanship proclaim one of the great Billecart’s of the modern era.” – Tyson Stelzer (99 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

 

2004 Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs

“BdB 2004 makes a monumental declaration; from Billecart’s proud position in the heart of pinot territory, this house is masterful in its command of the finest Chardonnay Crus… At a decade or so of age, its exacting, youthful freshness of lemon and white peach is breathtakingly elegant, yet innately intense. Subtle oak structure gently coaxes out notes of almond, nougat and subtle toasty complexity, building creamy texture and accenting dazzling chalk minerality. Grand longevity.” – Tyson Stelzer (98 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

2006 Billecart- Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth

“I tasted this with Antoine Billecart in October 2015, and it lives up to its lofty reputation as the best rosé in the world. It is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but it is the red wine that is added (about 9%) that puts this wine in a class of its own. The red Pinot Noir is all from the 1er Cru of Mareuil, in fact from one 80-year-old plot called the Valofroy. This ultimately elegant Champagne has kaleidoscopic complexity with everything inside from white flowers to subtle hazelnuts. The Volnay-like character of the red wine is in the background now, but for the patient, this wine will be a treat on the level of any wine in the world.” – Gary Westby

NV Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs

“A beautifully pristine Blanc de Blancs. Elegantly understated lemon and grapefruit evolve to anise, highlighted by struck flint. The tense structure and energetic tang of the season heighten the wonderful mineral expression.” – Tyson Stelzer (98 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve

“Billecart is royalty among the readily available entry NVs. Brut Reserve is a captivating contradiction, dressing one of Champagne’s higher representations of Pinot Meunier in one of the most delicate and graceful of attires. It glides onto the stage and sings with the pristine signature of the house, energising the red apple, berry and strawberry fruits of Pinot Meunier with a breathtakingly refined melody of pure lemon blossom and lemon meringue in a dazzling display of fine, chalk minerality and understated, fragrant elegance. The effortless, understated purity of Billecart can even leave the unsuspecting wondering what the fuss is all about, but wait for the second sip and the orchestra will strike up and lift your mood in an instant. .” – Tyson Stelzer (95 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose

“This is clearly one of my favourite rosé Champagnes out there. I love the freshness and clarity of the wine, from its light pink colour to crisp acidity and minerally, chalky character on the finish. It’s full-bodied and dense yet agile with amazing length and beauty. Refreshing and vibrant. As it warms, it gives you delicate Pinot Noir character like Aloxe-Corton or another excellent appelation. Drink now.” – James Suckling (95 Points)

NV Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec

“One of the most refreshing and well-crafted sweet champagnes on the shelves… with acidity and poise to handle its honeyed sweetness. This transforms the clean fruit precision that defines Billecart into candied citrus, lemon drops and glace figs, with a creamy, sweet finish, well-toned by balanced acidity.” – Tyson Stelzer (92 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

NV Billecart-Salmon Premier Cru Sous-Bois

“Sous Bois is as distinctive for Billecart as its bold, modern label. Billecart is constantly experimenting, and occasionally something emerges from its trials for all to behold. Sous Bois is literally ‘underwood,’ inspired by oak-fermented parcels destined for Billecart’s top cuvées. Sous Bois exalts the crunchy strawberry hull and fresh white cherries of its pinot core, intricately interwoven with the spice, toast and creamy texture of oak, without ever becoming oaky. It sings with classic Billecart precision while basking in the richness of barrel fermentation, silky and alluring, confronting and commanding, all at once.” – Tyson Stelzer (95 points) – Renowned Champagne writer and Published author.

Introducing Norman Hardie: A Cult Phenomenon from Niagara

Right from the start, Norman Hardie’s goal has always been to produce wine of the highest quality, that taste of a place, and every year to raise the bar on quality. He’s quickly developed a strong clientele of local and international clients who appreciate his Old World handcrafted style. Almost immediately upon opening, the winery received phenomenal accolades from top wine critics.

“The most important thing about Norman Hardie’s wines from Ontario are that they are absolutely, utterly, profoundly delicious…I cannot enthuse about these wines enough.” – Jancis Robinson 27.05.2016.

Indeed, whatever wine you pick up from Norman Hardie you will be rewarded with perfectly food-pleasing acidity and low-intervention winemaking that is both delicious and feels decidedly good for you.

Norman Hardie is making what many consider to be Canada’s finest wines. They are the stars of wine publications like Decanter and Fine Wine and on top wine lists in New York, London, Tokyo and Toronto.

Any force needs to be well-provisioned, especially one led by a frontiersman like Norman Hardie, whose lifelong obsession with Old World wines has found an unlikely home in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Norman Hardie earned his sommelier certification at the University of Dijon in the late 1980s. After putting this certification to use for Four Seasons Hotel in 1989, he spent 6 years (12 harvests) apprenticing with some of the best producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in both hemispheres. It was inevitable that Hardie was going to set up his own operation. In 2003 he made the leap, took a partner, put down roots in Prince Edward County and began, with a winery built in time for the 2004 vintage.

It was the soil that led him, after all these travels, to the County. Despite being only 200 kilometers east of Toronto, Prince Edward County shares a very similar soil makeup and latitude with Burgundy—a place that has left an inedible mark on Hardie’s psyche: “I spent a year in Burgundy when I was 22, you know, once you taste a great Burgundy, you’re done… you’re done. That was it, life just became expensive from that moment on.” The rare mix of limestone and clay is indeed the holy grail for those who want to make world-class Pinot Noir. “When I drove in here in 2001, I got off the highway, and had a look at the soils and was like, ‘OK, there’s a catch.’ These soils are beautiful, this is what I’ve seen in Burgundy, so why are there no grapes? And the reason being every year we get minus 25 or colder. And minus 25 is the death knell.” Like all Canadian winemakers, Hardie is on the front lines of Canada’s harsh and changing climate. For the most part, that means protecting vines from the cold by burying them underground in the winter. In the spring, it means doing everything possible—from lighting hay on fire to windmill towers and renting helicopters—to minimize the effects of a spring frost that can ravage a year’s work in mere hours.

During the growing season and harvest, Norman Hardie works tirelessly to ensure that not even the minute details are missed. On the weekends outside of this, his gregarious personality moves throughout the winery fluidly directing his staff and making all who enter the winery feel welcome. There’s something magnetic about Norman Hardie: It’s a combination of a magnetic personality, a generosity of spirit, a relentless drive towards a goal and a pizza oven.


The Wines

2015 Norman Hardie Niagara Cabernet Franc

An elegantly perfumed nose of classic cool-climate Cabernet Franc characteristics: deep red fruit, jalapeno, stony gravel and a touch of meatiness. On the palate an exceptional balance of firm tannin and bright acid, rich berry notes and a long, lingering finish. This is a versatile food-pairing wine.

2015 Norman Hardie Niagara Chardonnay

“This Chardonnay is a reductive yellow goddess dressed chardonnay, connected to the fullest of its fruit, (slowly developed) creamy malolactic, touchstone acidity and grape tannic ability. There is understated feeling in the throes of richness that the winemaker and the place always seem to agree upon. The display window celebrates and proudly promotes the somewhereness of this wine” Michael Godel, WineAlign

2016 Norman Hardie Niagara Pinot Noir

“So supple and delicious, with primary red cherry fruit and some spicy structure. Has amazing precision and lovely fruit purity, with a bit of grip under the fruit. There’s a lightness and elegance to the wine that’s delightful, and it should develop well.” – Jamie Goode, WineAnorak 

2016 Norman Hardie Niagara Riesling

This Riesling is zesty, vibrant and fresh with tangy lime citrus and mineral making up its heart and soul. It’s absolutely delicious. This is hot-summer-day-on-a-patio wine if there ever was one.

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