All posts by HN Wines

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.

Steve Daniel: The Cape Crusader

Hallgarten Head Buyer, Steve Daniel, is somewhat of an expert when it comes to tasting and blending wines. Below is a snapshot from his recent trip to the Swartland region of South Africa.

I will not lie visiting South Africa is not a chore. It is one of the most beautiful wine producing countries.

April has now become the month for my annual visit to the Cape. The primary reason is to blend the wines we and several large wine merchants and retailers take from the Swartland Winery. I also use the five days to visit our other South African producers.

I arrived in Cape Town early on Sunday morning, tired and a little stiff after a 12 hour overnight journey in Economy Class. I picked up my car and drove the 90 minutes to Riebeek Kasteel in the heart of the Swartland. Riebeek was established in 1661 and is full of old world charm.

It is also home to many artists and the epicentre for the super trendy Swartland revolution winemakers.

I caught up on my sleep and was rested the following morning after my 90 second shower – there are very strict water restrictions in the region as it has been experiencing drought conditions for 3 years.  I then drove 30 minutes to Swartland Winery for an extensive tasting.

The Winery was set up as a co-op in 1948 and has been through many transformations to the present day. Today it is no longer a co-op but a winery, production unit and bottling plant . They make their own wines and bottle many of the entry level wines from the trendy small boutique Swartland producers. Swartland has access to over 3,600 hectares of vineyards so I was not surprised that my day’s wines consisted of 87 different samples of Chenin, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Pinotage, as well as the rest of the great and the good of the region’s wine grapes.

When confronted with so many samples you need to be ruthless and quickly taste them all and reject any that do not hit the required standard. You then taste through and pick out the superstar samples.

The superstar samples represent around 40 wines. This is an incredibly high number as I usually only select around 10% – it is a good year in the region. Minuscule yields due to the drought. I make our selections and blends for our wines and retire to Riebeek for a well earned dinner.

That night the heavens opened and it rained for the whole week. People in the Cape were very happy and I set off to Stellenbosch and my remaining visits.

WOTW: Kidonitsa White PGI Laconia, Monemvasia Estate, 2015

In a nutshell: Translates as ‘little quince’ from Greek displaying intense aromas and ripe quince characters, this is one of very few single varietal Kidonitsa around

The Producer: The appellation of origin Malvasia is referred to the Byzantine city of Monemvasia whose name was also given by the Franks to its wine. The vineyards were located at Dorieon Chora the region of the countryside of Epidavros Limiras which was a favourable environment for the vineyard cultivation. The mild coastal climate in combination with the terrain made up the exceptional features which gave a unique quality to the wines of Malvasia. This is where Malvasia was made prior to the 13th century when the local traders loaded it onto the ships from the port of Monemvasia. In the Byzantine era, the economy of fortified cities such as Monemvasia was based on trade. After the 14th century, these cities gained significant privileges and traded freely in all major trading centres.

The Wine: The grapes were carefully selected. The fermentation took place with selected yeasts, in stainless steel at low temperatures of between 14 to 16°C for a period of 15 to 20 days, preserving the quince aromatics of this variety and retaining the freshness of the style.

Tasting note: Elegant aromas of tropical fruits and quince, which follow through pleasantly on to the palate, crisp with excellent balance and a fairly long finish.

The Tandem Harvest Begins

Excitement is all around at Tandem as the 2016 harvest begins with the picking of Tempranillo from a plot in Maneru, where 27,000kg of beautiful and healthy grapes were picked on 4th October – 17 days later than in 2015.

The cool microclimate in Tandem means the grapes are always picked later in the year (as much as 4 weeks) than the vines in the South of Navarra, resulting in naturally occurring acidity that enhances the freshness and elegance of each wine.

The timing of this year’s harvest is ideal for the winery, with the slow ripening cycle adding to the acidity of the grapes.

The Tempranillo grapes and the must are now cool macerating and fermentation will shortly start with its natural yeasts.

LARRY CHERUBINO WINES SHINE

QANTAS EPIQURE HALLIDAY WINE COMPANION AWARDS
Halliday has spoken, and once again its excellent news for Western Australian wine, with Larry Cherubino Wines awarded Best Value Winery of the Year in the 2017 Qantas Epiqure Halliday Wine Companion Awards. Recognised as one of the Australian wine industry’s highest honours, Halliday’s Best Value Winery award recognises producers whose portfolio confidently displays that most holy of unions – outstanding wines and great value for money.
The 2017 guide features 35 wines from the Cherubino stable – 28 of which received the all-important ‘value’ rosette across Cherubino, Laissez Faire, The Yard, Pedestal and Ad Hoc. This is a superb endorsement of the drive for consistency that winemaker Larry Cherubino has made his mission. “To us, it’s part of what we represent, to make wines that people want to drink and in turn, keep them coming back” the winemaker says. “This award is great in demonstrating that what we are doing is not only valuable to our customers but also to the regions we grow and source our grapes from. This recognition drives me to keep pushing myself to grow better grapes and make the wines that we want to drink”.
After 25 years in the industry, Cherubino’s knack for achieving elegance and consistency across region, vintage and price point certainly isn’t going unnoticed. Having taken out Halliday’s Winery of the Year along with multiple awards and medals in recent years, this recent award reinforces the story of Cherubino. “Wine is constantly evolving. We are always learning and having to change and we will always work hard to make sure we continue to chase both quality and value’.
“First up, in 2011 [Cherubino’s] eponymous winery was honoured as Winery of the Year. Second, in 15 years he has traversed all the challenges and practices of the issues [of modern winemaking]. And he has done it in style.” – James Halliday, 2017 Halliday Wine Companion

AUSTRALIAN WINE COMPANION 2017 EDITION
2017 Best Value Winery – Larry Cherubino Wines
2013 Cherubino Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon – 97 points
2015 Cherubino Pemberton Sauvignon Blanc – 96 points
2015 Cherubino Margaret River Chardonnay – 96 points
2015 Laissez Faire Porongurup Riesling – 95 points
2015 Laissez Faire Frankland River Fiano – 94 points
2015 Laissez Faire Margaret River Field Blend – 94 points
2014 Laissez Faire Porongurup Pinot Noir – 90 points
2015 Pedestal Margaret River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc – 95 points
2014 Pedestal Margaret River Cabernet Merlot – 93 points
2014 The Yard Frankland River Acacia Shiraz – 94 points
2015 Ad Hoc Great Southern Wallflower Riesling – 94 points
2015 Ad Hoc Margaret River Straw Man Sauvignon Blanc Semillon – 95 points
2015 Ad Hoc Pemberton ‘Hen & Chicken’ Chardonnay – 92 points
2015 Ad Hoc Pemberton ‘Hen & Chicken’ Chardonnay – 92 points
2014 Ad Hoc Frankland River Avant Gardening Cabernet Malbec – 93 points
2014 Ad Hoc Frankland River Middle of Everywhere Shiraz – 94 points