Practical storage tips to keep your wine at its best until the moment you pull the cork!

How to store

If most wine is made to be drunk within a year or two of the vintage and most of us consume what we buy within days of purchase, what benefits are there to storing wine for future consumption and how do you do it?

The more I have got to know wine, the more I’ve understood a big part of the enjoyment is buying wine and waiting for the right moment to drink it.  My first experience of what a joy this can bring came one New Years Eve and involved a bottle of Leoville Barton 2003.  That first bottle was nothing short of a mouthful of sheer joy!  Blackberry, liquorice, earth and smoky tobacco being common characteristics it was like a Willy Wonka sweet moment!   In contrast, roll forward 5 New Years Eve’s later and the final 2003 Leoville Barton was plucked from the rack and poured.  From the first sniff, I knew the two experiences of this fine wine were not going to be same.  The wine was a shadow of its former self and had acquired a bitter, sour tar like taste –full of rubber characteristics and all flavours had gone. This wine was either stored incorrectly or time had finally caught up with its characteristics. In truth it was a bit of both!

3 golden rules for storing wine

Wine is a simple product. Remember just one thing. It is organic!  Whether its that bottle of ‘90 Chateau Pavie or a plastic bottle of table wine, it will begin to breakdown as soon as the wine comes into contact with oxygen: changing the character and structure of the wine, robbing it of any vibrancy and character.

So good storage is essential. Where possible, store your bottles horizontally, in an atmosphere with a little humidity to help stop the cork from drying out and exposing the wine to oxygen.  Keeping the bottles out of direct sunlight and cool and stable is also important. The wine should be subject to as little movement as possible.

Temperature and humidity

Temperature fluctuation is the probably the greatest hazard in wine storage as the wine matures. Avoid storing wine where there are widely ranging daily temperatures. The recommend temperature is 10°C-13°C (50°F-55°F). The warmer it is stored, the faster it will mature because heat inevitably speeds up all reactions. so the cooler wine is kept, the slower, and very possibly more interestingly, it will develop. Bottles closed with natural cork should always be stored on their sides so the wine touches the cork and keeps it damp and swollen.  Bottles stoppered with screw caps or synthetic ‘corks’ can be stored at any angle. Champagne bottles can also be stored upright.

Vibration

Vibration can shift the sediment in the wine, resulting in a gritty texture. Make sure to avoid dropping the wine, or moving the crates or shelves suddenly

Light

Strong light can adversely affect the taste of wine, particularly sparkling wine, and particularly if the bottles are made from clear or pale glass. (This is why wine is sold increasingly in darker bottles, and why champagne is sometimes special lightproof cellophane (Cristal))

Which wines can I store?

Although there is no definite answer, 95% of wine is not meant for “cellaring” or storing for extended amounts of time. Shelf wines are intended to be consumed while fresh and young in the bottle.

Wines that do improve with age must have a higher degree of concentration of fruit, more body and higher levels of natural preservatives called phenols;anthocyanins, the colouring matter found just under the grapes’ skins) and tannins, the bitter, dry ingredient found also in skins and pips and the wood in which wine is aged.

The best red varieties that age successfully are:

Cabernet SauvignonMerlotSyrah/Shiraz, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese

The natural preservatives help keep the wine fresh, whilst the tannins gradually soften and the colour changes from purple through ruby, mahogany to finally becoming pale and brown. Primary aromas of fresh fruit develop into secondary (aged) and tertiary aromas (added by the winemaker). The bouquet and flavour of fine wine has many nuances and layers of complexity that really make it worth the wait.

When is the right time?

Because of the high tannins, it’s not uncommon for some Bordeaux’s to last up to 35 years and take up to 10 years to be at their best!

It really it all depends on the original quality of the wine (How well is the vineyard regarded); the vintage (lighter years mature more quickly); the storage (a dark place and a steady coolish temperature of 13ºC or so help; see below); and even the size of the bottle (half bottles age faster than full bottles or magnums) but the right age also depends too on personal taste, whether you prefer the accent to be on primary fruit or you look for the added complexity that comes with age.

How to tell if your wine has spoiled?

Look out for a change in the colour of the liquid (usually a cloudy appearance) or a dusty settlement in the bottom of the bottle. If these things are going on in the bottle, then it has most likely gone bad and the taste will not be pleasant!

Storing wine that has been opened

The best way to store an open bottle of red wine is to replace the cork and put it in a cool, dark place. If you don’t have a red wine fridge (set to a specific temperature), you can either:

▪ Re-cork after every glass to limit the oxygen that gets into the bottle.

▪ Better still, buy a wine preserver. The wine preserver sucks all the air from the bottle, reducing oxygenation and extending the lifespan of your wine. (Up to a week)

▪ Alternatively don’t even open the bottle and use a Coravin system – a device that extracts the wine through the cork with a fine needle (i.e. without having to open the bottle) and replaces any air in bottle with argon gas.

▪ And always store in the right place for the wine: Put whites and light wines in the fridge, and keep reds and fortified wines in a cool, dark place away from light and heat If you don’t have a cool, dark place like a pantry then your fridge is better than letting the wine sit out in a 70°F (21°C) room.

Life Expectancy after opening:

In a cool, dark place with a cork, red wine will last 5-7 days.  The more tannin and acidity the red wine has, the longer it tends to last after opening. So, a light red with very little tannin, such as Pinot Noir, won’t last open as long as a rich red Cabernet Sauvignon.

Where to store

So from everything we have discussed so far it follows that the ideal for wine storage is a nice, dark, protected cellar or a room, lined with wine racks.  Alas for most of us it is but a dream so a more affordable alternative is needed.

Whatever you do, avoid the places at home where usually there is spare space  – usually the top of the fridge, or cooker or near the central heating boiler!!! Also avoid the corner of a spare-room near the radiator. If you are serious about wine you could buy an ‘artificial cellar’, a temperature- and humidity-controlled cabinet like a refrigerator or specially excavated ‘spiral cellar’.  The more serious collector-investor will do best using a professional storage company.

And finally, wherever you choose to store your wine, don’t forget to make a list of ideal drink dates for your collection.   If you miss their drinking times you may miss the wine at its best. And if you have followed these hints and tips – it would be a shame to miss the fruits of your labour and mess the best bit!  Enjoy!

Something that you have been unable to answer yourself?  Any advice on hard to find wines?  Please ask away at thegrapewizard@gmail.com

…. and now for something completely different ! New York : Long Island wines

Sitting on the east coast of the USA sits a crazy place  , a place that’s very stressful, full of suits and more coffee houses than you can “shake a stick at” !!. A place where capitalism is king and if you ever take a look around each block you’ll sure find out a new fad , a new ideal or a über cool innovation This is the place of dreams!

New York has always been a central hub for business. Full of stress bunnies, full of people rushing, full of people ignoring people

but… if you look a little east of Manhattan past the fabulous districts of Hoboken, DUMBO and the Bronx then you’ll find a peaceful haven called Long Island.

Out here stocks and shares are rarely spoken about and the mere mention of Old Blue Sumatra coffee beans (for a cappuccino to be drunk after 1030) is frowned upon!

Leave that city stuff in the city.

Here they have the coastline , fabulous food and great wines !

They have nature and no skyscrapers. Here vines can be left to grow.  It is the equivalent of Margaret River in Australia ( almost forgotten about , not overworked and sustainable.)

Due to the nature of the weather the following grapes grow :

WHITES

RICH & FULL-BODIED whites are complex and have had oak influence to encourage complex flavors and aromas.  Pairs well with crab and lobster, cream sauces and soft cheeses. These wines can age up to 10 years.

FEATURED GRAPES
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc

AROMATIC whites are light and refreshing & intense aromas. Pairs well with baked salmon, sea bass, pork and cured meats. These wines can age up to 8 years.

FEATURED GRAPES
Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Friulano, Albarino, Viognier

CRISP & ZESTY whites are fresh, light and invigorating and crisp acidity.
Pair well with seafood and regional food These wines can age up to 4-6 years.

FEATURED GRAPES

Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tocai Fruiano

REDS

FULL-BODIED & POWERFUL reds have been fermented on the skins and aged resulting in higher tannins, higher alcohol, and darker fruit flavors
Pair with barbecue, smoked meats, read meat and steaks as well as savory mushroom dishes.These wines can age up to 30 years

FEATURED GRAPES
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Refosco, Syrah

MEDIUM-BODIED Their characteristics are balanced = a perfect harmony of fruit, acidity and tannin.  Pair with pizza to roast meats; hearty vegetable soups to burgers.These wines can age up to 15 years

FEATURED GRAPES
Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Blaufrankisch

LIGHT-BODIED & FRUITY are perfect for a  summer bbq. (rubbish for winter – but refer to FULL BODIED above )These wines have lighter tannins, bright acidity and slightly lower alcohol with red fruit flavors.
These reds can chill for drinking on their own or with risottos, chicken and other poultry.These wines can age up to 10 years.

FEATURED GRAPES
Cabernet Franc, Lagrein, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Refosco

ROSE  IN SEASON. EVERY SEASON.
Long Island Rosés range from pale to more deeply colored, medium bodied and fruit-scented.

Pair with lighter vegetable and chicken dishes, and are great with grilled fish and meats.​These wines can age up to 3 years.

Reds Long Island best GW vintage years (in order)

Very good – 2013 2012 2015 2014 1998 1995

Good – 2010 2001 2004 1994 1990

The Rest – 2011 2008 2009 2007 1997 1996 2006 2005 2000 1999 1992

Whites – best GW vintage years (in order)

Very Good – 2004 2010 1991 1990 2001 1997 1994 2007

Good – 2015 2014 2013 2012 2008 2006 2002 1999 1993

the rest -2009 2005

What more could you want  !!!

 

Sure you’ll find the rich families, the preppy school kids and the success of America in just one area.Hugely influential and  perfect lifestyle but go east

The Long Island AVA is an American Viticultural Area encompassing Nassau and Suffolk counties of New York.

WINE PRODUCERS ON LONG ISLAND

Please click on any of the links below  to see more on these fabulous producers. This is good reading when you need time to your self, press pause on life

Touch the screen to halt life for just one moment !

just a moment and enjoy discovering something new!

  1. Ackerly pond vineyards
  2. anthony nappa wines
  3.   baiting hollow farm vineyard
  4.  bedell cellars
  5. Bouké Wines and Bouquet Wines
  6.   castello di borghese
  7.  channing daughters Hamptons
  8. Clovis Point wines
  9. Coffee Pot Cellars
  10. Corey Creek Vineyards 
  11.  croteaux
  12.  Diliberto Winery
  13.  North duckwalk vinyards Hamptons
  14.  South duckwalk winery Hamptons
  15.  gramercy vineyard
  16. harbes vineyard
  17.  james port wines
  18.  jasons vineyard
  19.  kontokosta winery Hamptons
  20. Laurel Lake Vineyards 
  21.  lieb cellars
  22.  macari wines
  23.  martha clara vineyards
  24.  mattebella
  25.  mccall wines
  26.  one woman wines
  27.   ospreys dominion
  28.  palmer vineyards
  29.  paumanok
  30.  pellegrini vineyards
  31.  pindar
  32.  premium wine group
  33.  pugliese vineyards
  34.  raphael wine
  35.    roanoke vineyards
  36.  sannino vineyard
  37.  scarola vineyards
  38.  sherwood house vineyards
  39.   shinne state vineyards
  40.  starking pointe
  41.  suhru wines
  42.  lenz wine
  43.  the old field Hamptons
  44.  tjara vineyards
  45.  vineyard 48 wine
  46. waters crest winery
  47. whisper vineyards
  48. wolffer Hamptons
  49. woodside orchards

North Fork – 49
The Hamptons/ Western Suffolk  5

The Geeky bit – The modern day wine industry in New York was founded in 1973.

  • The most planted grapes (varietals) to be planted are Cabernet Sauvigon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
  • The number of vineyards have now swelled to 60 (some not available to the public) and range from 2.5 to over 500 acres.
  • The annual production of cases equals 500,000 cases (1,200,000 gallons) attracting 1.3 million visitors
  • Total Number of Acres Owned: 4,000
    Number of Acres Planted: 3,000 (1200 International Rugby sized pitches )

One of the dilemmas that the region faces is the effect of becoming popular. Just like Oregon : how do the regions protect the environment from erosion and over use  and still keep the region sustainable?  No one wants a dissolving environment buts its a fine line between getting the visitor numbers right and excluding the very hand that feeds you !  So far both regions have got it right.

The Long Island AVA was established in 2001, over 15 years after two smaller AVAs were created at the eastern end of Long Island. The Long Island AVA was set up to promote wineries outside the Hamptons and Suffolk AVA’s  It also protected the Long Island name; (AVAs require that a minimum of 85% of the fruit used in the designated wine is grown within the borders of the region.)

Due to the nature of the area being small in distribution most wineries sell locally. But with the internet and good shipping rates you can get some fantastic wines sent to your home. Import outside the EU is only £2.17 a bottle (plus shipping)  Go on  , be brave !!!

3 standout wines  – click on the vineyard links above to find out more

Wolffer estate rose 2016 £11.44 Midway wine and liquors

Peaches apricots and some minerality !

Bedell Cellera Cab Franc  £15.26 2015 Hamptons Wine Shoppe

Redcurrents and red cherries

Paumanok Chenin Blanc £14.04  Garnet wines and Liquors

             

Melons , grapefruit ,pineapple guava and apples

 

Vineyards on Long Island benefit from the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound, and the Peconic Bay which makes the wines vibrant and fresh.

The North Fork of Long Island is an American Viticultural Area located in eastern Suffolk County. The North Fork of Long Island is home to the majority of the 49 wineries(38) wineries and 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) of planted vineyards. The maritime influences of these bodies of water help to moderate temperature fluctuations and extend the growing season up to a month longer than other regions in New York. (VIP)

The Hamptons, by comparison, is an AVA on the South Fork  and covers an east-west oriented peninsula approximately 54 miles (87 km) long and between 0.5 miles (0.8 km) and 10.0 miles (16.1 km) wide. and only 5 vineyards ! The region is generally cooler

Total area 136,448 acres (55,219 ha)

Grapes produced Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dornfelder, Gewurztraminer, Lemberger, Merlot, Muscat Ottonel, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon, Tocai Friulano

So to sum up , this is a relatively new region for wine, only been in operation for 40 years. It does have some great wines and some great vintages but with everything in the wine industry  it comes down to what you like . Have a look at the list of vineyards and discover something new.  any questions please  email me

EMAIL the WIZARD !

Music pairing with the wine

YOU DIDNT REALLY PRESS THE PAUSE BUTTON DID YOU !!!

 

 

GW

 

 

 

A toast to Sunderland’s finest! 

Years ago the North of England was regarded as one of the great areas for industry. Many thought that anywhere past Watford was ‘Grim’.  Coal was big business and raw materials were in high demand. It was a ‘golden age’.  These days the North of England seems to have lost most of that industry that made it prosperous.

 

Sunderland ( A shipbuilding town), in particular, was one of those such towns that had it all. Much of that is gone now but what remains is the stoic determination for something great again.  That dream, that desire, might just be becoming to fruition.

Just look at neighbouring  Tynemouth and you might think your in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds   Not only are fabulous independent shops on the high street but also the gastro-scene is flourishing. Posh shops everywhere and London prices – the only thing missing is the Hunter Welly’s !  Having looked out from Rileys Fish Shack (Below) just 2 weeks ago the gastro-scene had truly arrived!

TM The Grape Wizard

TM The Grape Wizard

Fish and Chips on the Beach – How Victorian and totally stress free

(No London life allowed here !)

 

™TheGrapeWizard.com – Turbot & Capers with Samphire YUM YUM

The creativity built out of 2 * 40ft containers is there to see – great food cooked to order and craft beer on tap.

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TM Rileys Fish Shack

carefully selected beer and ale from some of the regions favorite brewers including

Wylam Brewery,
Almasty Brewing Co
Three Kings Brewery
and
Allendale Brewery.

Good choice of wine also adds to the experience. Not only was the food good for the stomach but the experience was good for the soul   All fish 🐟 was unusual – even the ugly gurnard was on the menu.  Just shows you we don’t have to be reliant on cod and haddock all the time.!!

If there is a lesson here it is the determination of a business to showcase talent to the local economy in the hope of greater things. Such is the determination up in the North of England that other businesses have taken the step to modernise and become uber-cool in recent years –  Alnwick gardens, The Sage and the Baltic in Gateshead all benefiting from a revamp !

Even the Angel of the North champion’s optimism and the hope for the future !

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Then…. just the other day i was driving into Sunderland  and drove through a ‘suburb’ of Sunderland – Roker

 

and saw “Poetic License ” adorned on a hotel wall. Further investigation highlights a fabulous gin distillery.

It Achieved a Gin Masters Award and Gin of the Year Award 2015. Set up by a guy who worked in the hospitality industry. This is a Gin/s to try I thought!.

Here is the range

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 Northern Dry Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Cardamom, Pepper, Citrus.

43.2% Vol.

Expect a big fistful of juniper that is complemented with green cardamom to warm the heart on an Autumnal evening . Undertones of lemon and eucalyptus together with Persian lime intensifies the citrus feel  GW score 4*

Good for Negroni and the sharp citrus flavour of a classic Gin Sour

Old Tom Gin £34.95 thefoodmarket.com

Juniper, Sweetness, Rose, Oak

41.6% Vol.

A sweeter and more peppery taste compared to the Dry Gin. Oak casks add a woody flavour and colour to the Gin. Rose petals infuse a distinct character to the sweetness as well as a rose gold tinge.

Mixing Tips:  Old Tom Gin suits subtle cocktail recipes. Ingredients like lavender and rose give it a good balance GW Score 3*

Graceful Vodka £32.50 MasterofMalt.com

Smooth, Pure, Subtle Sweetness.

40.4% Vol.

 a smooth spirit, to be sipped and savoured.

Created entirely from British wheat giving a velvety smooth texture,

Mixing Tips: Cocktails with a lighter citrus flavour = GIMLETS. Avoid mixers with too much acidic content try a dry Vodka Martini

Fireside Gin £34.95 Poetic License

Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper

40.1% Vol.

This gin is a winter warmer, your granny’s favourite blanket on your knee. Very wintery.  Juniper, coriander and orris root give it its base flavours whilst a sweetness from dried winter fruits and a zingy freshness from clementine.

The mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg gives a warming flavour reminiscent of your favourite seasonal treats, sure to warm you from the inside out!

Mixing Tips: Try Winter Cocktails – Poetic License  like it ” hot, served with ginger ale warmed through with a little honey and extra mulling spices.” Try It!

The citrus edge also makes a delicious white lady.”

They also do a whole host of seasonal stuff GW Score 4*

Click to see more of the Guys from P.L.

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Gracie – She does all the work and surely deserves a medal – at the very least a mention

Having tried the Northern Gin last night (22nd Sept 2017 ) I have to say it’s one of the most stand out gins I’ve tried   Up there with Herno Gin and  Icelandic Vor Gin . All too often gins can loose there distinct style and flavour. Poetic Licence Northern Gin seems to be spot on.

The growing market for sipping gins seems to be growing – using more richer flavours and combining that with your favourite music seems to enhance the experience.

Some of you may have noticed that I havn’t put up a blog for a few weeks. My father in law has been battling with a long term illness. Obviously this week is a little more personal than normal but it is only fitting to finish this weeks blog with a tribute to a man who lived and loved life.  Tom introduced me to many a fine whiskey in the company of Robert Zimmerman (click here to find out more!). . 

Perhaps it is some sort of ‘poetic licence’ to have discovered a gin called ‘Old Tom’ made in his home town in the week he passed away. He is now immortalised

So here’s to you Tom  🍻 – You did a fabulous job as a Father, Mentor and a Guardian.  You are a true inspiration – an example of what all of us should be as individuals and you did it without trying. You will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Since beginning this blog and finishing it I am now sadly dedicating this piece to you.

Cheers !

cheers

This weeks music pairing 

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GW

GW Spirits Rating

  • 1* Not very interesting, boring branding, expensive cost price for product
  • 2*Branding improving, showing signs of some thing interesting. Good value for money
  • 3* Middle of the road product, not good value for money and not too expensive.    Simlar products on the market make it generic
  • 4*Unique in character and good value for money
  • 5* Inventive, unique in character, visually fabulous together with a favourable cost price

 Unstuffy learning: Learning to love Chardonnay : Chablis Premier cru (1er)

Learning about wine is easy , what makes it hard is stuffiness and the lack of freely given information given to those that hold the wine knowledge. The key to unstuffy-ness

So to understand Chablis it is important to break it down into 4 stages for each of the categories. Posts 1 & 2 looked at Petit Chablis and Chablis whereas the 3 article in a series of 4 highlights Premier Cru Chablis.

From the last 2 posts you can see that Petit Chablis is a wine that has high yield (produces lots of grapes), has no oak influence (not woody in character ) and is designed to be drunk young (0-2 1/2 years ))

Chablis , by contrast, has more minerality (remember pebbles in blog 2/4) with green apples and citrus

whereas..

Chablis Premier Cru

The vineyards cover 750 hectares (750x international rugby fields ) scattered across 15 communes (areas of vines) on slopes with good sun, soil and drainage  There are 17 principal Premiers Crus but in total 89 vineyards can use the 17 crus

GrapeWizard Investment advice : Be CAREFUL when purchasing , some of the crus have doubled in area since the 1970s so quality varies and producer is key.

any questions please Emai the Wizard !

Styles also vary, with some maturing (ageing) and fermenting in stainless steel tanks for a purer, more mineral style

or in barrels 

The best examples or Premier Cru Chablis reach their maturity at eight to 10 years What ever your style or character of the Chablis look for characteristics in similar producers. Not all producers have white blossom as one of their characteristics ! What ever your preference look for those flavours

(Use Google!)

At the turn of the 21st century, there were 40 Premier cru vineyards.

As of 2009 the official list of the 17 climats  for Chablis Premier Cru included total of 89 vineyards, names of which could be used on the label.

  

Examples of where climate are used. Note the use of Vaucoupin, Vallions and Mont de Millieu.

These climats are often inclusive. The 17 bigger classified climats, have names which the producers opt to use more often are bolded below:

Mont de Milieu – Vallée de Chigot
Montée de Tonnerre – Chapelot, Les Chapelots, Pied d’Aloup, Sous Pied d’Aloup, Côte de Bréchain
Fourchaume – Vaupulent, Vau Pulan, Les Vaupulans, La Fourchaume, Côte de Fontenay, Dine-Chien, L’Homme Mort, La Grande Côte, Bois Seguin, L’Ardillier, Vaulorent, Les Quatre Chemins, La Ferme Couverte, Les Couvertes
Vaillons – Sur les Vaillons, Chatains, Les Grands Chaumes, Les Chatains, Sécher, Beugnons, Les Beugnons, Les Lys, Champlain, Mélinots, Les Minos, Roncières, Les Epinottes
Montmains – Les Monts Mains, Forêts, Les Forêts, Butteaux, Les Bouts des Butteaux, Vaux Miolot, Le Milieu des Butteaux, Les Ecueillis, Vaugerlains
Côte de Léchet – Le Château
Beauroy – Sous Boroy, Vallée des Vaux, Benfer, Troësmes, Côte de Troësmes, Adroit de Vau Renard, Côte de Savant, Le Cotat-Château, Frouquelin, Le Verger
Vauligneau – Vau de Longue, Vau Girault, La Forêt, Sur la Forêt
Vaudevey – La Grande Chaume, Vaux Ragons, Vignes des Vaux Ragons
Vaucoupin – Adroit de Vaucopins
Vosgros – Adroit de Vosgros, Vaugiraut
Les Fourneaux – Morein, Côte des Près Girots, La Côte, Sur la Côte
Côte de Vaubarousse
Berdiot
Chaume de Talvat
Côte de Jouan
Les Beauregards – Hauts des Chambres du Roi, Côte de Cuissy, Les Corvées, Bec d’Oiseau, Vallée de Cuissy

In the 3rd of a series of 4 articles Chablis is  easily understood if taken through 4 styles. Petit Chablis, Chablis, Premier Cru Chablis & Grand Cru Chablis
  • Petit Chablis tend to have higher acidity and more tart, citrus-like flavours and normally last upto 2 years to champion the refreshing dry taste.
  • Chablis delivers citrus, pear, and more exaggerated mineral notes these normally last unto 4-5 years
  • Premier (1er) Cru Chablis
    Wines have slightly richer fruit (starfruit and lemon and flinty minerality.)

 

Here is the first notable influence of oak on the wine (VIP Point)

  • Grand Cru Chablis -There is just one slope  with 7 climats (i.e. officially designated vineyard plots). Grand cru Chablis vary widely in taste, depending on the climat and winemaking technique. Some producers opt to oak-age Chablis, which adds a savory unctuousness to Chablis that can be both oily and smoky. The fruit in the Grand Cru wines range from intense orange-rind, apricot and passion fruit to more savory aged flavors of bruised apple and peanut shell.

More of Chablis Grand Cru in the 4th Instalment of the series.

Chablis Premiers Crus are stylish, mineral wines less intense than the Grand Crus but finer and longer-lasting than basic Chablis.

BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
2015,2014,2013,2011,2008,2007,2000,1997,1992,
1989,2009,2006,2003,2001,1999,1998,1988,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
years in order of outstanding to years that are a little wanting .
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong ! but do your research as well !
I can advise – free of charge !!!

Email me any questions    Email :TheGrapeWizard

Location

Located near Auxerre in the department of Yonne, the Chablis vineyards lie along a little river aptly named the Serein (“serene”). Vines began to growth here during the Romanera. In the 12th century, the Cistercian monks from the abbey of Pontigny developed its cultivation. The AOC Chablis Premier Cru status was created in January 1938, thus confirming the excellent qualities of this dry white wine which, unlike the wines of some other regions, has held its leading place throughout its history thanks to the high quality of its raw material – the Chardonnay grape.

Characteristics of Chablis Premier Cru

White: pale gold in colour

To the nose :

  • Good aging potential (5 or sometimes up to 10 years). Each Climat is unique. do your research.
  • Most wines are well-built and long in the mouth (flavour follows after the palate .
  •  Mineral and tight in youth  or flowery and developing delicate and subtle aromas with age.

The nose is very fresh, lively and mineral with flint, green apple, lemon,

and field mushrooms

Notes of lime-flower, mint, and acacia occur frequently, as do aromas of liquorice and freshly-cut hay.

       

Age depens the colour and adds a note of spice to the bouquet. On the palate, these aromas retain their freshness for an extended period. Very dry and impeccably delicate, Chablis has a unique and readily recognisable personality.

 

Production surface area
Chablis : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
3,367.28 ha. 3400 internationl rugby fields

Premier Cru : Area under production*:
1 hectare (ha) = 10,000 m²
783.19 ha. 783 international rugby fields

What gives Chablis that minerality !!

Premier cru:  The main rock formation is Jurassic limestone (specifically, Kimmeridgian limestone)

Origins in Dorset. How beautiful is this !!!

laid down some 150 million years ago. The rock contains deposits of tiny fossilised oyster shells (here’s your minerality)  The most famous Climats are those on the right bank, surrounding the Grand Cru.

Please click the link below for a complete list of all Premier Cru Producers Click to view all Chablis 1er Cru producers

but if you want to look at 3 choices for fabulous Chablis Premier Cru  see below

2010 Chablis Butteaux, Raveneau £ 141.00 Crump Richmond Shaw

2012 Chablis, Fourchaume, 1er Cru, Héritage, Le Domaine d’Henri £43

Berry Bros, London

Cote de Lechet Chablis Premier Cru 2013 £22.49      12 Green Bottles

No one expects 2010 chablis Premier cru for £10. Unfortunately the issue with supply and demand is that price invariably increases as the demand becomes acute.

Look for 2010 premier cru and the smallest vineyard and you are going to pay a high price.

The secret is to look at the GrapeWizard’s Vintage chart and maybe look at the 2nd and third row – see a year and search for a producer. as a guide the following apply

use Wine Searcher

Petit chablis expect to pay £0-15

Chablis expect to pay up to £30 

Premier cru £30-70

Grand Cru £35-£200+

Anything outside this is overpriced or won’t be what you expect. Not worth the effort.  Just enjoy the research and remember your tastes. Its an experience that is supposed to be enjoyable !

 

 

 

 

Copenhagen : No Danish bacon no Danish Pastries but what an even better find – Copenhagen Distillery

This week was my birthday  and thank you so much for sending me loads of cards !!!! All 3 of them arrived just in time. For everyone else a point to note is 13/08

My better half treated me to a four day trip to Copenhagen and what better way to spend it than allow a bit of business to creep in!!!

Copenhagen lies to the North of Europe and is probably one of the few places where the capital city is detached from the mainland.

http://www.visitcopenhagen.com

In fact if Denmark did Island 🌴 capitals they’d probably do the best in the world 🌎😜.  Only 2 hours on the plane from Heathrow it felt more like a commute to work than a mini holiday

 I was struck by the cleanliness of the airport , of the streets of the appearance and of the whole place. Danes are nothing but facidious.

The 4 day stay at the hotel

courtesy of http://www.greasemusical.dk

Very much corporate in style it was a shame there wasn’t more creature comforts – bijou and basic.  Still I wasn’t here to be Alex Polizzi.

But this was 2 minutes away ………

Nyhavn in Copenhagen, C or Shutterstock 

As you can imagine Central Copenhagen is full of tourists and as such offers a varied choice of quality restaurants , however we found some fab places and i would highly recommend them  –  please click on the links below to find out more

A few that was visited were :

The Union Kitchen

In one of Copenhagen’s trendiest districts, Nyhavn, is Union Kitchen, where tattooed employees look like lead singers from rock bands , the colour scheme uber cool grey-on-grey, and the menu is homemade granola and toasted sourdough with cottage cheese, tomato, thyme and olive oil. FAB 5*

Atelier Sept

Atelier September  houses  a café, a boutique and a creative studio.

Chef and creator Frederik Bille serve natural food & artisan coffee, operating for breakfast & lunch as well as late afternoon. The back of the building is used as an artist studio for notable danish designers (Birgitte Due Madsen, Olga Bramsen, Stine Langvad and Jonas Trampedach.) Fab place to be for uber cool breakfasts.

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BROR

Two former Noma sous-chefs have joined forces and opened the restaurant BROR, which focuses mainly on the Nordic cuisine. Samuel Nutter and Victor Wågman have previously worked at the world-renowned Michelin-star restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. Now they have opened restaurant BROR in the heart of the Danish capital.
The word “bror” means brother in Danish and symbolises care, honesty and respect, which are the exact values that makes the restaurant.

The food is simple but good and is made with ingredients from the Northern European region.

Other places definitely worth a visit

  • Torvehallerne (Frederiksborggade 21) bring the Italian market right to Copenhagen. Find yourself a treat among the numerous food stalls.
  • Papirøen, or Copenhagen Street Food as it bills itself (Trangravsvej 14) offers loads of exotic food choices. Everything from Cuban and Korean to Lebanese and Japanese is in sale here. Stuff your face !!!!

but having enjoed all the healthy food and it was great food

it was time to get down to business !!!

I scoured the capital for a gin producer (as Denmark is too cold to grow grapes ) and found the fabulous Copenhagen distillery just to the southeast of the town centre

2016-11-21 What is next for Copenhagen Distillery 1 ny

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

 the guy’s ethos is …..

“At Copenhagen Distillery we believe in simplicity and balance. We pay respect to tradition, but it’s through design, experimentation and radical thinking that we propel ourselves into new and uncharted territories. From the distillation and discovery of tantalizing new flavors, to the design of the bottle, the entire experience of enjoying one of our spirits should be a pleasure for both the palate and the eye.”

extract from the www.copenhagendistillery.dk

It is an ethos that can be clearly seen. (As can the height differential between me and the Lead Distiller (Lasse Oznek))

IMG_6106

thegrapewizard.com

Small distilling tanks used for the production of all their products. This month sees the instillation of  Lasse’s baby. A German produced still (Complete with swans neck !)

Subscribe to the blog to receive updates of the Distilleries development mail the wizard !!

The guys

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Sune and Henrik produce an amazing array of products

Copenhagen-Distillery-Mexican-Coffee

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

MC

The distinct coffee liqueur is based on organic Mexican coffee beans. The coffee beans used are a mix of two different roasts: a very light roast that lends a higher acidity, and a medium dark roast that catches slightly bitter coffee notes. When combined the coffee distillates with cane sugar, green anise and a touch of grated organic lemon peel for a rich, bitter and slightly sweet experience.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Oak-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

OAK GIN

Borrowing from the process used to develop single malt whiskey, the Oak Gin is rested in small sherry oak casks to allow the combination of juniper, orange peel, and pepper to develop a unique, smooth and balanced flavor.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Dry-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

DRY GIN

 Copenhagen Dry Gin is a 100% honey spirit made from double distilled mead. It belongs to a very exclusive category of Single Botanical Gins, where juniper is the only botanical used.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Orange-Gin

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

ORANGE GIN

Inspired by the classic, early 20th-century orange gin. Instead of mimicking the gin of the past, its built on the tradition by using a mix of both sweet and bitter oranges. Combined with sweet prune, spicy long pepper, cardamom and juniper for a rich body. Orange Gin is a unique spin on a classic spirit.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Longpepper-Snaps

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

SNAPS

Indonesian Long Pepper

Indonesian Long Pepper Snaps is a fusion of the familiar and the exotic. It holds a powerful sweetness, sharp citrus tang and a spicy lingering aftertaste. It can be enjoyed straight, traditionally with a meal, or as a base for a startlingly unique cocktail experience.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Julesnaps

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

SNAPS

Julesnaps

A smooth and highly complex Snaps with all the aromas you associate with Christmas. A fine taste of oranges with tones of sweet prunes and cardamom.

Copenhagen-Distillery-Aquavit

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Aquavit

Dill Anise Aquavit is an invigorating twist on this classic Scandinavian spirit. With dill as the primary flavor driver, complemented by notes of green anise and lemon peel, the Aquavit has a sharp citrus tang with a lingering aftertaste that is spicy and distinct.

This operation is all about craft and product. Not about brand.

Soon to be released into the UK. Stay tuned for details….

On top of every thing else of being Inventive, creative  uber cool and downright great guys they are now hosting a world first……

Spirikum_web_overlay

SPIRIKUM is the world’s first festival for lovers, makers and drinkers of Snaps and Aquavit.

At Spirikum, there will be spirit producers from all over Scandinavia and USA, who will bring samples of their Snaps and Aquavit.  5 of the best restaurants in Copenhagen making street food, and some of Copenhagen’s best brewers to come and serve their beers.

see the link for more info Spirikum

To sum up my time in Copenhagen it is a place of beauty, a place i didn’t expect

This week I have been very impressed with the experience of Denmark and Copenhagen. People are friendly the place is clean and the lifestyle is super healthy.  Bikes every where and microgreens on every plate. How is this destination not more popular. !!  It’s one of those places you glad you visited not one that was an effort to get to

As you would expect from Denmark 🇩🇰 two of the biggest exports to come from the Danes

are Danish bacon

thick-cut-bacon

and Danish pastries.

80193

could i find anyone selling them . nope. How can this be. 🤓

this weeks Music pairing = uber cool 😎

www.copenhagendistillery.dk

Bellhound Choir

 

Unstuffy Learning: How to love Chardonnay – Chablis.(2/4)

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Chablis vineyard

If you refer to my last post on Petit Chablis you’ll remember ( won’t you ) that Petit Chablis lies on the outskirts of Chablis itself. Not on the best sites, not on the best vistas and certainly not on the most expensive corner of your wallet 😜

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Something to help you with !!

Chablis is probably one of the most pretentious topics for wine.

Don’t be put off by all the information, all the jargon its very easy

 

Chablis is a Chardonnay grape full of ………..

 with a healthy amount of minerality (think of licking these)

scotbarkuk_scottishbeachpebbles3050mm_1440410710BeachPebbles2030mm1020mmm

Then you have Chablis.

Wine is not a stuffy subject. WE make it that way!!!

Chablis is different from Petit Chablis in that it has minerality (when you were a boy at school you liked the pebbles  or licked your knife at lunch.(i never did and still don’t) For the ladies its the smell tarmac after a downpour on a warm summers day) It has green apples and citrus (limes and /or lemons) SEE ABOVE as its primary characteristic and it is very fresh and crisp

Chablis

It has very little or no oak influence (contact with the barrels is very very minimal ) So much so it is made in stainless steel tanks (see below)

xTANK,P20VINO.jpg.pagespeed.ic.r6IF0ICBkn

The Chablis  region is the northernmost wine district of the Burgundy region in France.

france-map-relief-big-cities-Chablis

The cool climate produces wines with more acidity (refreshing mouth feel ) These wines often have a “flinty” note and sometimes “steely”. The grapevines around the town of Chablis make a dry white wine renowned for the clean aroma and taste directly in opposition to the rest of the white wines in the village,

There is an important process that is present in Chablis but for now it doesn’t really appear in Petit Chablis or Chablis.  Malolactic fermentation will be discussed in parts 3 and 4 of the series. Dont worry it wont be stuffy, pompous or hard to digest !!! But it does describe why Chablis Premier Cru and Chablis Grand Cru have their distinct characteristics

 3 Suggestions for Chablis-

please view thegrapewizard vintage chart for best years for Chablis then search the wonderful internet for a Chablis 2010

The ageing potential of Chablis is for the following from year of vintage

Petit chablis 0-2 1/2 years

Chablis 2-5 years

Chablis Premier Cru 4-8 years

Chablis Grand Cru 8-12 years

Obviously there are some exceptions but as a general rule these should be followed

BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
2015,2014,2013,2011,2008,2007,2000,1997,1992,
1989,2009,2006,2003,2001,1999,1998,1988,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
If you want to try the best years work from the top. If you want to invest – work from the top and you cant go far wrong !

One’s to buy now

laroche-chablis-saint-martin-523961_p

Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2010 £36 

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Daniel-Etienne Defaix : Chablis Village “Vieilles Vignes” 2010 £20

shopping-1

Louis Jadot Chablis White Wine 75cl  £16.69

 

BEST Grape Wizard VINTAGES – Chablis
2010 , 1990 ,
2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, ,1995,
2015,2014,2013,2011,2008,2007,2000,1997,1992,
1989,2009,2006,2003,2001,1999,1998,1988,
1986,1985,1983, 2004,1994,1993,1982,1979
In order of grape wizard scores (scores taken from wine critics and assesed by myself) to give the best vintages.

Click on the link below for all chablis  producers

Chablis Producers

If in doubt with any wine please click on this link The Grape Wizard. I can tell you anything you need to know. just ask.

One thing that you do need to know about is that in the next two blogs i will be highlighting Premier Cru and Grand Cru. Both these classification have, on the wine labels the area within Chablis. They all vary in flavour and characteristic but Chablis, from one area of the village,  will be consistent from one year to the next. In effect defining an area. I will of course describe this in more detail in later posts !!

If you examine all the points raised above you will be better informed and can make some wise choices. So use the Vintage Chart, use the characteristics when tasting and just experiment with just Chablis for a while. You will gain an understanding of minerality and will appreciate that Chardonnay isnt that bad after all……..

 

So what you need to know

Chablis is fresh crisp and citrussy with a good hint on minerality.

Pair it with tomatoes, Some Hams

Goes very well with clean white fish (Salmon Bass and Skate) and Shellfish

 

Music Pairing Bruce Hornsby and the Range

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Unstuffy and Chilled !!

 

 

Wine and music – don’t laugh, it will enrich you !

wsfb_wine_music_17_event

A study has shown that people can get 15% more pleasure out of their wines by simultaneously drinking and listening to the right kind of music. (and that’s fabulous news )

Professor Spence of Oxford University discovered that the brain (yes yours, no matter how big or small ) and therefore taste, is influenced by ‘outside’ forces when eating and drinking.

So to make your wine taste better choose your background music wisely.

He found that humans want to match sensations to taste and said the following apply

Malbec works well with instruments like the organ

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for Malbec

220px-In_dulci_jubilo.jpg

Mike Oldfield

prodigo_malbec_web_1

Prodigo Malbec Honest Grapes £27.20

 Sauvignon Blanc,works well with light white wines and is suitable to listen to harp music.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for S.B

anneroos7_large

Anne Roos

GreywackeSB-1000x1000

Greywacke Wines Direct £15.95

  • Sweet wines, such as a Late Harvest Riesling, matches with music with an even rhythm, slow tempo and high pitch yet soft. Piano music is best.
  • Sour wines, like red Italians such as Barbera, correspond with music that has a syncopated rhythm, fast tempo and a high pitch. Brass instruments are good.
  • Fino Sherry and other salty wines are also good with brass instruments but prefer staccato.
  • Wines with fruity aromas such as Beaujolais matches with a high pitch, whereas wines with smokey (Margaux), dark chocolate (Nero d’Avola) or cedar (Bordeaux) match with a low pitch.
  • High tannin wines correspond with rock guitar of chunky, gritty strings and full bodied wines match with a symphonic orchestra.

The Grape Wizard suggests the following Music for high tannin wines

FooFightersGreatestHits-1

Foo Fighters

2014-LANGHE-NEBBIOLO-Bricco-Maiolica.240x700.15088

Nebbiolo Lea and Sandeman £12.75

 

Sound can also entirely change the taste and texture of the wine. For example, if you listen to powerful and heavy music, this will make the wine taste more powerful and heavy, or if you listen to mellow and soft music, the taste of the wine will correspond.

He also found ;

  • Wines with a strong orange aroma such as Sauternes, correspond with music that is bright, sharp and dynamic. A rhythm that is lively and fast. Think Bieber
  • Vanilla flavours, such as American-oaked Chardonnay match with music with a soft even rhythm and a slow tempo. Sting

Charles Spence explaining his theories at Google UK Sept 2015. Have a look !!

https://youtube/JgUVjKsP_wc

You can even match wine to musical genres…

See if you agree :

Rock n’ roll  is Cabernet Sauvignon = host of styles and quality,  but when its good its really good. Chuck berry is favourite

chuck-berry-birthday-retrospective-e27defee-fb69-453e-8672-b785652b2f60

shopping

Inglenook Cab. Sauvignon 2009 £93

Jazz is Cabernet Franc. Roy Ayers

200-1roy-2

58539-riccitelli-vineyard-selection-cabernet-franc-300x300

Ricitelli Cabernet Franc Great Wines Direct £27.60

Gamay and Electro just work.  Gamay is sharp, funky, fresh. It’s the aperitif to the main course  Bonobo

2015-aus-bonobo-dj-tour

Moulin-a-Vent-Rottiers-2013__70243.1497880303

Moulin a vent Fraziers Wine Merchants £19.99

“Moscato is like pop music. Sweet as honey and straight forward. Ellie Goulding

GettyImages-479066762_ELLIE_GOULDING_ROYAL_ALBERT_HALL_SHOW_630

I could talk this week about a different wine,  a different region or even a different grape variety but I think its important to have the bigger picture in front of you .

Enjoying wine is not just about trying the 20 point test that most individuals in the wine industry are programmed to learn characteristic by characteristic.

Available on request ( just seeing if you are reading this !!!)

What is important is to surround your self with the appreciation of wine (what ever the cost) and enrich the moment irrespective of value.

Expensive watches and expensive cars are trappings of perceived success and cannot be savoured over a good wine and good music (no they cant ! ) wine can enrich the moment……. but wine with music is a different kettle of fish

01091632f48e37bf22905465b8a9646c--so-rude-idioms

“a kettle of fish “

once you have this right your life is complete

Have the right mood and you appreciate the right music. Which is why we listen to relaxing melancholy music when we want to chill out and upbeat modern music when we want to exercise.

I was laughed at by my peers a few years ago for daring to suggest wine and music in the same sentence and yet here i am.

If you have looked at my blog over the last 10 weeks you would of noticed that at the end of every blog I add a music pairing , some cool , some on trend, some even out of fashion  but all recommendations can be enjoyed in the moment with the right wine.

But after all of this you know what I’m going to say. Either you believer this or you don’t.

If you look at the very notion of pairing wine with the Lunar Calendar and listening to suitably paired music and you agree with it and then put this in context with wine then………

Then you must have a Zen moment. Things are in sync. and the wine music pairing works.

Trust me I’m a dog !

51d7f800ab6afc75f426b565319a9469--yoga-dog-dog-doing-yoga

Only you will know if only you will try

Go on be a devil !!!

Do you believe music can be paired with wine to enhance the experience ?

Please click on link ABOVE  to take part in the poll

As a treat here’s this week overall  music pairing in video format from a discovery this week – enjoy

 

Enjoy life, enjoy the moment but above all enjoy the wine !