All posts by HN Wines

WOTM: Champagne Collet Brut 1er Cru, Art Déco NV

Our December Wine of the Month, Champagne Collet Brut 1er Cru, Art Déco NV, is an award-winning Champagne from the region’s first co-operative, established in Art Deco France in 1921. A blend of seven Grands Crus and 13 Premiers Crus, this Champagne is not just suited to celebrations throughout the festive period, but also as a gastronomic partner to a number of cuisines and dishes.

In a nutshell

A broad style of Champagne with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and salty finish.

The producer

Champagne Collet with its elegant Art Deco packaging is evocative of the Belle Epoque era from when it was established. It is the oldest cooperative in Champagne, dating back to 1921. Since its inception, Collet has been creating Champagnes of character with authenticity, elegance and great finesse. Located in Aÿ, in the heart of the Champagne region, Collet represents some of the finest growers and mainly sources from vineyards which are based on Premier and Grand Cru sites. Each cuvée reflects the diversity of the region’s terroirs and has been masterfully blended to suit gastronomic cuisine

The wine

The Chardonnay, predominantly from the commune of Vertus, contributes freshness and citrus notes. The Premier Cru of Villers-Marmery contributes the mineral dimension of the limestone terroir along with smoky touches. The Pinot Noir imparts a richness and power thanks to historic Crus such as Ay, Hautvillers and Avenay Val d’Or blended with Crus from Rilly la Montagne. The Pinot Meunier from Villedommange completes the blend imparting a roundness and suppleness.

This cuvée was bottle aged for a minimum of four years in the historic limestone cellars which are centuries old.

Best served with

Young pigeon, veal carpaccio or red mullet.

Winemaker Profile: Johann Donabaum

“Great wine is unique. It is as distinctive as the territory and the soil it is growing in and as inimitable as a signature.” Johann Donabaum

 

In 1961, Johann Donabaum’s parents decided to give up mixed agriculture and specialise exclusively on viticulture instead. Although it may have been perceived as a risk at the time, this turned out to be an inspired choice.

Viticulture and winemaking has been a constant throughout the majority of Johann Donabaum’s life. Growing up surrounded by family vineyards, he graduated from Krems School of Viticulture whilst still a teenager. Following his time studying, Johann completed a seven month apprenticeship with F X Pichler. This valuable experience gained him a great deal of new ideas and insight into the practices of a great wine producer, preparing him for his own successful winemaking career.

With his studying and training complete, Johann returned to the family vineyards. His father gave him the go ahead to take the helm and the young Johann was keen to implement his own ideas for the future. He had a clear vision of the direction he wanted his winemaking to take and he decided to focus on quality rather than quantity and champion terroir. This has led to his wines coming to be considered among the finest in Austria and attracting positive praise on the international stage.

Johann cultivates 7.5 hectares. For him, terroir is absolutely crucial. His knowledge of his vineyards is extremely detailed and this means he is able to cultivate the vineyards with exceptional care and attention. Understanding all the nuances of the different plots means they can be given individual attention and this enables Johann to truly express the terroir of his vineyards in the resulting wines.

Using the right grape varieties for the soil is key and many of Donabaum’s wines are on extremely steep terraces where the soil is rich in gneiss and slate. Johann, therefore, uses these plots primarily for growing Gruner Veltliner and Riesling. Johann’s aim with these wines is that they are forceful, dense, juicy, elegant and mineral.

Johann has a strong wine philosophy. He believes wines should be mirrors which reflect origin and terroir, and also the meticulousness and signature of the winemaker himself. For him, the vineyard is where the foundations are built for the quality of the wine and so getting the viticulture right is hugely important. Precise and careful cultivation is how Johann goes on to create wines of the highest standard.

Winemaker profile: Nicolò D’Afflitto, Director of Winemaking, Frescobaldi

Overseeing the winemaking and viticulture of all seven of Frescobaldi’s historic estates is no mean feat. Yet, Nicolò D’Afflitto has spent more than twenty years doing just that.

Following a rural upbringing on a farm, Nicolò studied Oenology at Bordeaux University, graduating in 1982. His winemaking experience was enhanced spending time living and working in the US before he returned to Tuscany. It was there, in 1991, he joined Frescobaldi, working at Castel Giocondo in Montalcino. Four years later, he was managing all the estates, nearly 3,500 acres in total.

With over 700 years of Frescobaldi winemaking history and the 2020 Gambero Rosso Winery of the Year under its belt, producing consistently great wines is crucial. D’Afflitto believes the vineyard is the key with terroir creating wines with individuality. As such, attention to detail in the vineyard is everything. Nicolò takes a different approach with each of the seven estates and each vineyard needs different techniques to nurture its specific attributes. Each estate has a winemaker, general manager and viticulturist and D’Afflitto is also closely involved, all with the aim of creating something truly special, as well as unique, from every vineyard.

For Nicolò, his top priority is always the fruit. This philosophy is carried forward in both the vineyard and winery with the soil, climate, vine and human input all vital. Combining this care and dedication in the vineyard with assiduous use of oak in the winery allows Nicolò and his team to produce wines that show the grapes’ full potential. Frescobaldi’s long and illustrious history is not forgotten either and Nicolò takes pride in the part culture plays: great historical figures including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo have passed through Frescobaldi’s vineyards and its strong connections to Italy’s art, history and culture remain part of its fabric to this day.

Decades of experience managing Frescobaldi’s wine production means Nicolò has presided over many changes, including the replanting of Castel Giocondo and the introduction of new wines to the market, including Tenuta Perano – the family’s first venture into Chianti Classico and launched in the UK in 2018.

His work sees him travel thousands of miles per year visiting each estate every week to ensure the quality of all 12 million bottles produced reaches the family’s high standards. An experimental vineyard allows Nicolò to work on new trials and explore disease resistant varieties. This experimentation and strive for improvement allows Frescobaldi to build on their centuries of experience and strike the perfect balance between tradition and innovation.

WOTM: Gouffier, Cuvée Baudron, Bourgogne Rouge 2017

A new addition to our portfolio this autumn from France, the Gouffier, Cuvée Baudron, Bourgogne Rouge 2017 was made in honour of the Baudron family who owned the domain before the Gouffier family, in the first half of the 20th century.

In a nutshell

A delicious Pinot Noir showing all the hallmarks of a good red Burgundy, with a vibrant bouquet full of red berries and delicate notes of spice, silky and intensely flavoured.

The producer

Gouffier owns five and a half hectares of vineyard in the villages of Fontaines and Mercurey in Côte Chalonnaise. Historically it was run by the Gouffier family for generations until Jerome Gouffier handed over the reins to his close friend Frédéric Gueugneau, formerly at La Chablisienne. Since 2011, Frédéric and oenologist Benoît Pagot have brought about a new style of winemaking. They follow an organic philosophy to create wines that are modern and approachable, but with all the style and panache of good Burgundy. They have created a collection of wines of outstanding originality, verve and spirit.

The wine

The hand-harvested grapes were vinified with 25% as whole bunches, which helped to impart structure. The wine was matured in 228 litre French oak barrels, of which 25% were new. The barrels came from forests in the centre of France.

Best served with

Perfect with roast poultry or duck terrine.

WOTM: Undurraga ‘TH’, Cabernet Franc, Maipo 2015

One of our very new additions to our portfolio from Undurraga, one of Chile’s most awarded wineries. This Cabernet Franc from the ‘Terroir Hunter’ range is no different having recently received 93 points from Tim Atkin and we are sure will receive many more in the months to come.

In a nutshell

A mature wine with intense black fruit aromas complemented by hints of cedar, spice and floral touches of violets. Firm, mature tannins surround a fresh, textured palate with harmonious balance.

The producer

Undurraga is one of Chile’s most prestigious wineries, consistently receiving high scores from top wine critics around the world. Founded in 1885, Undurraga owns 1,350 hectares of estate vineyard in Chile’s premium wine producing areas such as Leyda, Cauquenes and Itata. Head winemaker Rafael Urrejola has spent a great deal of time understanding the diversity of Chile’s vineyard sites; the result is the emblematic ‘Terroir Hunter’ range. Undurraga cultivates their vineyards with respect for the environment and follow a philosophy of minimal intervention in the cellar in order to showcase the terroir.

The wine

The Cabernet Franc grapes were sourced from a selected vineyard planted exclusively for this range in Catemito, in the Valle de Maipo. The vines are 12 years old and planted on their own rootstocks. This low-yielding terroir of 2.25 hectares was subjected to a controlled limited water supply during the ripening process and the resulting yield was 1.5 kg per vine, providing the necessary concentration for a rich, ripe wine.

The grapes were de-stemmed and carefully sorted to ensure only healthy, ripe fruit was crushed. The grapes were transferred by gravity into the vat, where they underwent pre-fermentation cold maceration under anaerobic conditions for five days at 6 to 8°C. Fermentation took place with natural yeasts at 27 to 28°C for 13 days with three daily pump-overs. The wine was left over its lees and skins for an additional 12 days to further enhance its structure. It was aged for 16 months in French oak barrels.. The floral, well-structured Cabernet Franc is gently softened by a touch of Merlot.

Best served with

Serve with game, grilled red meats or cheese.

WOTM: Bodegas Ondarre, Ondarre Reserva, Rioja 2014

A classic Rioja Reserva from one of the standout producers in the region. The grapes are grown in vineyards covering 1,200 hectares around the winery, at the point confluence of La Rioja, Alava and Navarra, resulting in the optimum climate and terroir.

In a nutshell

Leather, vanilla and spice of traditionally made Rioja
enveloped in an elegant and textured palate.

The producer

Bodegas Ondarre, is based in Viana, a historic town six kilometres from Logroño, Rioja’s capital. Founded in 1986 it has quickly become one of the standout producers in the region with its elegant and distinguishable style. Their most acclaimed wines are their Reservas, which win top awards and critical approval every year.

They attribute their success to the hard work in the vineyards and their continual investment into the winery and barrel stock. They use both French and American oak casks to help them obtain the incredible character in their wines. As well as their Reservas they produce a few thousand cases of a single varietal Graciano. A real rarity due to the low yielding nature of the vine.

The wine

Each grape variety was fermented separately in temperature controlled vats at 28 to 30°C, which lasted for between 16 to 18 days. The wine was blended and then aged for 16 months in American and French oak Bordeaux type casks imparting subtle oak complexity. During the maturation the wine was racked four times, in order to gently extract phenolic compounds by oxygenating the wine. This produced a softer wine which exhibits great varietal fruit character.

Best served with

Serve at room temperature to accompany tender lamb cutlets, game – such as pheasant or partridge; or mature cheese.

WOTM: Larry Cherubino ‘Laissez Faire’, Pemberton, Pinot Noir 2018

A wine new to our portfolio from the world-renowned winemaker, Larry Cherubino. This elegant Pinot Noir is part of the Laissez Faire range, which takes inspiration from organics, biodynamics and natural winemaking practices. Whilst they could be called ‘natural wines’; Larry Cherubino likes to think of them as “post natural” wines.

In a nutshell:

An elegant Pinot Noir expression, showing black cherry and strawberry notes with savoury undertones and delicate hints of oak spice. Smooth, long and silky.

The producer:

Named ‘Winery of the Year’ by James Halliday and Matt Skinner, Larry Cherubino wants his wines to be distinctive and to speak clearly of their variety and vineyard site. He believes in paying meticulous attention to the vineyard, canopy and water management, picking at the right time and minimal intervention in the winery. Larry also makes wine under the Laissez Faire label, an exquisite range of natural wines which are the ultimate expression of site, made in small batches from hand harvested grapes. From delicate whites to opulent reds, all his wines have pure class and finesse.

The wine:

Laissez Faire means “let it be” and this is reflected in the hands-off approach of winemaking. The grapes were hand-harvested, sorted and naturally fermented with indigenous yeasts. The wine spent eight months maturing in French oak foudres, offering optimal fruit expression and oak integration. As the name suggests, no additional acids, enzymes or yeasts were added during vinification and the wine was not fined. There was zero sulphur use throughout the winemaking and only minimal sulphur was added at bottling.

Best served with:

The perfect accompaniment to pan-seared duck or roast vegetable tagine.

 

WOTM: Zorzal ‘Eggo Blanc de Cal’, Tupungato, Sauvignon Blanc 2015

From a high altitude, drip irrigated vineyard in Gualtallary, Zorzal ‘Eggo Blanc de Cal’ 2015 is everything you might not have ever tasted in a Sauvignon Blanc – egg fermenters, volcanic soil and Argentinian – the perfect bottle to open on International Sauvignon Blanc Day 2019.

In a nutshell:

A characterful Sauvignon Blanc showcasing a strongmineral and  gunflint intensity, combined with grassy andherbaceous notes.

The producer:

Zorzal is an Argentinian boutique winery which has been dedicated  to the production of high quality wines since 2008 and is located at the highest point of the Uco Valley. Hailed as one of the most exclusive and well-regarded areas for viticulture in Argentina, the terroir is revealed in the Zorzal wines through a respectful, non-invasive winemaking process that puts austerity before exuberance and fruit before wood.

The wines have rapidly gained international recognition. Founded by the Michelini brothers, who are outstanding in their passionate leadership in the vineyards and winery, this highly regarded winemaking duo have become renowned as the trendsetters of the Argentinian winemaking scene.

The wine:

The grapes were gently pressed and combined in the cement eggs. Fermentation started naturally with native yeasts at temperatures of between 18 to 21°C. When fermentation was complete, a partial malolactic fermentation took place. The wine was then left in the same cement eggs for five months, without separating it from the lees, which generated volume on the palate. It was bottled directly from the cement egg without any intervention to stabilise or filter the wine. The cement egg significantly helps with the structuring and stabilisation of the wine, through the natural movements that are created by this shape.

For further information on the ‘Eggo Blanc de Cal’, Sauvignon Blanc 2015 or any other Zorzal wines, please contact your account manager. 

Winemaker profile: Roberto Echeverria Jnr.

Roberto Echeverria Jnr, Chief Winemaker at Viña Echeverria, heads up production at the family-run Molina based winery with passion and a constant focus on excellence.

Viña Echeverria was established in 1930 but, the family has generations of agricultural heritage dating back to the 1700s. Today, they produce a wide range of elegant, expressive wines in the Curico valley, the country’s oldest wine region, located 200km south of Chile’s capital, Santiago.

Roberto took over as Chief Winemaker in 2001, however it is very much a family affair with Roberto Jnr working alongside his three siblings and father, Viña Echeverria founder, Roberto Snr.

Inspired by their French heritage the wines carefully balance a European style with New World intensity of flavour. Using their family’s combined expertise, traditional techniques, and a passion and respect for the diverse terroir Chile offers are key to Roberto’s approach.

Working with a skilled and enthusiastic team of young winemakers from Chile and Europe, Roberto expertly ensures consistency of quality and flavour from one vintage to the next, whist also innovating and adapting to ensure the creation of very high quality wines.

This all starts in the vineyard where careful pruning, irrigation, canopy management and harvesting ensure grapes reach their full potential allowing the best quality juice can be obtained. This level of attention to detail reflects Viña Echeverria’s sustainable approach – they have been certified sustainable by Wines of Chile – and also the level of precision that goes in to creating the wines.

Roberto Jnr.’s signature style combing Old and New World techniques is  apparent in the vineyard, where a European approach to harvest ensures grapes are not over-ripe, and wines have perfectly balanced flavour and alcohol.

Roberto is keen to show the range that Chile can offer, with some of the driest areas on the planet, a moderate climate and Mediterranean climactic influences all making up the country’s complex geography. Roberto continues to get the best from the grapes through skilful winemaking using French barrels and yeasts as well as a variety of blending and longer fermentation and barrel ageing, creating wines that embody his passion for the winemaking process and the terroir of Chile.

Winemaker Profile: Florent Lançon, Domaine de la Solitude

Domaine de la Solitude belongs to one of the oldest families in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is packed full of history. Wines have been made on this estate for several hundred years, dating back to 1264 when the family arrived from Italy to serve the pope in Avignon. Here we take a look back to the very beginning of how the Domaine started and how current winemaker, Florent Lançon, is taking it forward.

Roman era
The site of Domaine Solitude was occupied as far back as the Gallo-Roman period, as evidenced by the presence of coins from the time.

1264
François Barberini, the first family member to arrive from Italy to the region, is born. He went on to spend time living in Provence as well as the region.

1400s
The Domaine Solitude family made Châteauneuf-du-Pape their home in the 15th century, making them one of the oldest families in the region.

1604
Jean Barberini changes his name to Barberin in order to sound more French. Later, his daughter marries vineyard owner Claude Martin and so the winemaking dynasty begins.

1623-1644
François’ ancestor, Maffeo Barberini, serves as the Pope in Rome under the name Urban VIII. Other family members go on to become Cardinals before settling in Avignon.

La Solitude labels today feature three hats, signifying the two bishops and a Pope in the family’s history.

Middle-Ages
Current wine labels exhibit a number of other links to the family’s history including three bees, a reference to the family in the Middle-Ages.

1815
Another of the family’s ancestors is awarded a medal by Napoleon after the Battle of Waterloo, the medal still features on labels today, giving another nod to the family’s history on current bottles.

1970s
Michel and Jean Lançon begin working at the Domaine under the guidance of their father, Pierre Lançon.

1980s
Following time working under Pierre’s expert instruction, Michel and Jean take over the management of the Domaine.

1999
Jean and Michel begin creating Prestige Cuvee wines to showcase the very best of the vineyards and region.

Today…

Florent Lançon, Michel’s son, now manages the day to day running of La Solitude. His focus is on a perfect balance of tradition and continuous improvement, and he is passionate about innovation. His range of wines includes both traditional styles and more modern interpretations. Careful attention is paid in the vineyard, where the harvest is carried out by hand, and only the best grapes are carefully selected. No fertilisers are used and the vineyards are farmed sustainably.

Florent also balances tradition and innovation in the winery, where tulip-shaped concrete tanks are now used alongside more familiar oak and stainless steel. He believes that using a blend of grapes creates a longer lived wine and expertly utilises the particular strengths of each grape variety to create wines with poise and complexity.

WOTM: Domaine Gouffier, ‘La Charmée’, Mercurey 2016

The festive season is just around the corner and what better wine to serve with a traditional meal than a classic red Burgundy, but with a twist. From the small village of Mercurey in the subregion of Côte Chalonnaise, this is a Pinot Noir with enough rich fruit flavour and texture to delight any table.

In a nutshell:

Great depth of flavour showing chunky plum fruits combined with coffee beans and a peppery finish.

The producer:

Domaine Gouffier owns five and a half hectares of vineyard in the villages of Fontaines and Mercurey in Côte Chalonnaise. The domain has been run by the Gouffier family for generations until Jerome Gouffier handed over the reins to his close friend Frédéric Gueugneau, formerly at La Chablisienne.

Since 2011, Frédéric and oenologist Benoît Pagot have brought about a new style of winemaking to the domain. They follow an organic philosophy to create wines that are modern, approachable and affordable, but with all the style and panache of good Burgundy. They have created a collection of wines of outstanding originality, verve and spirit.

The wine:

The grapes were hand-picked at optimum maturity and carefully selected in the cellar. 30% of the fruit was vinified as whole bunches as the stems help to stabilise the colour and impart structure to the wine. A cool maceration was followed by fermentation in barrels of 228 litres, one third of which was new. 15% of stems were put back into the fermentation barrels to support the fruit and impart structure to this fleshy wine.

Winemaker Frédéric uses oak judiciously, in order not to overpower the purity of the fruit. Domaine Gouffier has been experimenting with using oak from the state forests of Fontaine, just a few miles from the vines, endeavouring to stay true to the local terroir.

 

For further information on the Domaine Gouffier, ‘La Charmée’, Mercurey 2016 or any other Domaine Gouffier wines, please contact your account manager. 

Know Wine: Three months at Hallgarten

Internships are a fantastic way of getting a sneak peak into an industry that you are looking to get experience working in. This summer, at Hallgarten, we welcomed Amica Zago,  BA Wine Business student at Plumpton College to the team where she experienced all aspects of the organisation – here is what she thought:

“One tasting, one contact, one email and hey presto I got myself a summer internship at Hallgarten & Novum Wines.

“Wow…what an experience. Having an opportunity like this has helped me find my feet in the wine industry and helped me to understand the ins and outs of a business. Before this, I had never worked in an office or for a big company so that was an experience in itself.

“Luckily for me, I was also invited to help at tastings which I found an extremely useful tool for understanding a business through observing how a company sets up, displays and talks through their range. The wines at Hallgarten are all stunning, my favourites out of all the wines were definitely the Spanish Island wines, nevertheless all the wines I have tasted, I have adored!

“Although I did get to venture out a lot, more than I would have ever expected, my day to day tasks were office based. Researching prospects, competitor research and producing sell sheets were some of my main tasks over the three months. I also had the big task of checking out the financial side and margins the reps were working with.

“Not knowing before working at Hallgarten where in the industry my head was at, they allowed me to help in both the sales side and the marketing side of the business. I now know that both sides are areas where I would happily love to work! However, after spending several days out with the London Sales Reps, I have decided that sales is the job for me (well at least at the moment). It has been said that you are either made for sales or you aren’t; I suppose the only way to find that out is by giving it a go.”

Keep track on what Amica is up to in her journey through wine on her blog – KnowWine – or on Twitter and Instagram.