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.

What’s Steve been drinking?

Hallgarten Head Buyer, the man with the amazing palate, Steve Daniel, has been sampling the delights of Santorini this month with the Gaia Wines, Santorini, ‘Wild Ferment’ Assyrtiko 2017 particularly catching his eye.

Gaia Wines, Santorini, ‘Wild Ferment’ Assyrtiko 2017

My desert island wine. In my opinion, the best wine produced on the stunning island of Santorini and one of the most exciting wines on the planet.

The wine is made from ancient (the oldest wines on earth), low yielding vines, from the high slopes of Pyrgos, Santorini.

The wine is only fermented using wild yeasts. 50% of the wine is fermented in new barrels a third of which are Acacia, with a small proportion fermented in Ceramic tanks and the balance in stainless steel.

Explosive, with layers of volcanic minerals, white flowers, lemon zest and a touch of roasted pineapple. This is the fruitiest wine Gaia has ever made on Santorini! It has energy and power in abundance, and an almost endless finish.

A truly stunning wine. Due to the diminishing vineyard area, increasing number of wineries on the island and a surge in popularity of these unique wines the price of grapes on the island has sky-rocketed. Five years ago a kilo of grapes cost €1 – an average price for the world. This year the price is €4.50 per kilo. The grapes are now some of the most expensive in the world, with only Champagne and Grand Cru Burgundies coming in more expensive.

So make the most of the Wild Ferment this year, as next vintage will reflect the new costs!

WOTM: Paringa Estate ‘Peninsula’, Mornington Peninsula, Shiraz 2016

In the words of James Halliday in the Wine Companion on the 97 point winning Paringa Estate ‘Peninsula’, Mornington Peninsula, Shiraz 2016; “Absolutely classic Paringa, one of the best – if not the best – of the early starters, with full-on cool climate Shiraz thrust. Likewise, classic blackberry, blood plum and liquorice flavours are supported by fine tannins and subtle oak.”

In a nutshell:

A subtle hint of violets laces the warm mint chocolate
and pepper core. A wonderfully enticing and silky cool
climate Shiraz.

The producer:

Located in the heart of Victoria’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula, Paringa Estate was founded in 1984 by Lindsay McCall when he purchased a derelict orchard. Lindsay’s passion and fascination with wine began in the mid 1970s and by the mid 1980s he decided to follow his dream by establishing Paringa Estate. The first vintage was in 1988 with just three tonnes of fruit and over the years it has grown considerably, with production now at 16,000 cases. Paringa Estate is one of the most highly awarded boutique wineries in Australia, regularly winning trophies for its Shiraz, Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay. The collection includes a stunning and precise Pinot Gris, as Lindsay says anywhere capable of growing great Pinot Noir should be capable of growing great Pinot Gris. The wines pay homage to Burgundy in style and James Halliday says Paringa Estate is “one of the best, if not the best, wineries on the Peninsula”.

The wine:

The berries were destemmed and 5% Viognier was co fermented in two tonne open stainless steel fermenters. This was followed by 11 months ageing in French oak barriques, of which approximately 10% were new.

Serving suggestion:

This works well with a Morrocan influenced tagine or a traditional shepherd’s pie.

 

For further information on the Paringa Estate, ‘Peninsula’ Shiraz 2016 or any other Paringa Estate wines, please contact your account manager. 

Winemaker profile: Elizma Visser, Olifantsberg

Elizma joined the Olifantsberg team in 2015 following extensive winemaking experience; studying Oenology and Viticulture in Stellenbosch and working in France and Italy, before returning home to South Africa.

Her time making wine in Europe proved to be an excellent springboard to go on and start creating elegant Rhône style wines of her own.

Elizma certainly has her work cut out, looking after all areas of the management of the vineyards and winery at Olifantsberg. In the vineyards, Elizma’s focus is on taking care of the soils and maintaining the quality and sustainability of the vines. Whereas her focus in the winery, is to get the best expression of the fruit using a variety of techniques.

Here are a few facts you may not have known about Elizma:

 

  • Wine is a family affair! Elizma is married to a fellow winemaker and they have two young sons
  • A music fan, she likes; Indie Rock, Alternative and Acoustic and would love to pick up learning the guitar again
  • It’s not just rock music that’s a hit with Elizma, she also enjoys collecting rocks
  • Before embarking on her current career Elizma had ambitions to learn Greek and study Philosophy but now it is her winemaking philosophy that is centre stage
  • Favourite quote: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be”
  • Elizma could have ended up on a very different road, if she hadn’t pursued wine, she would have liked to have become a professional rally driver and knows quite a bit about cars
  • Floristry is a big passion for Elizma. She hopes to own a flower shop one day… with a small wine bar inside of course. The Olifantsberg Blanc, with its floral notes, would surely make a great flower shop wine!

 

For more information on Elizma’s wines at Olifantsberg, contact your account manager.

Galicia’s Greatest – Xosé Lois Sebio

The team at Imbibe has cast its vote, with the help of industry-leading sommeliers, on Galicia’s greatest whites. After a rigorous blind tasting of 25 white wines, where the tasters were only aware of each wine’s variety, region and price, the panel came to their decision.

Firstly, Godello; wines that often provide value for money and food-friendliness, and some real points of interest for those who don’t mind a bit of hand-selling!

The panel’s TOP Godello: Xosé Lois Sebio, Máis Alá 2015

What did they say about it?

“This explodes on the palate. It’s an appley number, with lots of lees contact adding weight. Texturally, this is like silk bedsheets for your mouth,” Euan McColm, Beaverbrook.

“A lovely nose of peach and apricot; toasty, nutty flavours too, and more hazelnut and almond notes reflecting on the palate. Easy to sell to a white Burgundy drinker,” Stefano Barbarino, Chez Bruce Restaurant.

Next up, Albariño – wine thats ticks all the boxes; light, aromatic, refreshing and food-friendly, with growing customer recognition.

The panel’s TOP Albariño: Xosé Lois Sebio, O Con Albariño 2015, Rías Baixas

What did they say about it?

“This is rich and textured, with peaches and cream, and warm, woody notes that complement the bright orchard fruit. Leads to lots of salinity and freshness on the finish,” Andres Ituarte, Coq d’Argent.

“Like a lemon meringue pie, with zesty, salty butter. Super-creamy too – this really stands out in terms of quality, and I think restaurant guests would be happy to pay extra for it,” Alex Pitt, Typing Room.

 

Pitted against its peers in the UK, the wines from winemaker Xosé Lois Sebio have come out top in both categories! Xosé has produced a stunning eponymous collection of wines as a result of his personal quest: to find wines with unique personality from more risky processing zones and with a very marked identity. This original and quirky range is made from high quality grapes in areas which are often neglected or simply different; vineyards that are difficult to farm due to the high costs of conventional viticulture.

Away from fashions and conventions, the sole intention is to respect and express the soil, variety and area; producing wines with soul and personality. The wines are vinified with minimal intervention and low sulphur. These are collectable wines for lovers of the authentic and different.

For more information on the wines of  Xosé Lois Sebio, please speak to your account manager. To read the full tasting article on Imbibe – click here.

50 years of The Armagh

Certain names resonate strongly within Australian wine history and Jim Barry is one of them. It was Jim Barry’s drive that helped shape South Australia’s Clare Valley as a benchmark producer of world class Riesling, iconic Shiraz and cemented it as one of Australia’s premier wine regions. Here we take a look at the story of the Armagh vineyard.

 

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the planting of the iconic Armagh vineyard, a wine that has achieved extraordinary success and is regarded as one of Australia’s highest quality wines (check out Robert Parker’s point scores below).

 

The vineyard was named after the adjoining hamlet of Armagh, established by Irish settlers in 1849 and named after the lush rolling hills of their homeland. Jim Barry planted the 3.3 hectare vineyard in 1968 with Shiraz grapes.

 

20 years later South Australia had a glut of red wine – mainly Shiraz – and a Vine Pull Scheme was taking hold, however the Barry family decided the Armagh block of Shiraz should remain and become the icon red for Jim Barry Wines akin to Grange and Hill of Grace.

 

The vineyard is planted on its own roots on grey sandy abrasive topsoil over clay subsoil and receives an average rainfall of 600 millimetres per year. Such is The Armagh vineyards suitability that minimal intervention is needed to maintain yields below 4 tonnes per hectare, which produce rich and concentrated fruit of the rare quality required to produce wines with ageing potential.

 

The vineyard lies on a northwest facing slope which acts as a natural sun trap, ensuring the fruit is always fully ripened at harvest time, resulting in low-yielding vines that produce less than 27 hectolitres per hectare.

 

Awards

2013: 96 Pts; Robert Parker, 2016

2012: 98 Pts; Robert Parker, 2018

2010: 99 Pts; Robert Parker, 2016

2009: 96 Pts; Robert Parker, 2013

2008: 94 Pts; Robert Parker, 2013

2007: 96 Pts; Robert Parker, 2011

2006: 97 Pts; Robert Parker, 2016

2005: 96 Pts; Robert Parker, 2013

 

Speak to your account manager for more details of any of The Armagh wines in stock.

 

Fire in the booze!

From Santorini to Soave, some of the world’s most interesting and talked-about wines come from vineyards planted on volcanic soils. It comes as no surprise that there’s been an explosion of interest in these ‘volcanic’ wines from sommeliers and wine merchants alike.

So what singles out these wines among all the others? Certainly the mineral-rich nature of volcanic soils plays a massive part, as does the finite-availability of wines from such specific sites. It’s true that vines grown on plain old clay or limestone can be world-beating, but you can find these soils in every wine-growing region of the world.

The ‘wow factor’ and story of behind volcanic wines shouldn’t be overlooked either. These vines grown on ancient soils really do take terroir to the next level with their mineral characters, fresh acidity, salinity and distinct longevity. The sight of green shoots and leaves emerging from the black volcanic soil is as ethereal as its gets in the vineyard.

According to Jamie Goode in his book The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass, wines from volcanic soils are said to be riper, weightier, richer, and with texture and minerality that make them age worthy. Quite an attractive list of assets, but where do these characters come from?

Volcanic soils are rich in potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, as well as other elements, which can contribute greatly to a wine’s mineral profile. Potassium-rich soils tend to produce wines with an almost almond-edged and savoury finish, while black volcanic soils enhance the citrus, peach and apricot aromas. They all enjoy a wonderful freshness.

Add to this the fact that volcanic rocks constitute high levels of macro-porosity in soils which allows water to be delivered to the roots of vines very slowly. This water-retaining property can be a lifesaver during a dry growing season when vines must rely on groundwater to survive.

The aspect of the volcano itself and the altitude at which many vineyards are planted also help to produce top quality fruit, as does the unflinching determination and attitude of generations of viticulturists who have risked eruptions to plant, tend and harvest vines. Simply put, these are very special sites, and they look awesome too.

Here’s a few volcanic suggestions from our portfolio.

Feudi di San Gregorio, Greco di Tufo, Campania, 2017:
“An aromatic and mineral wine showing flavours of peach, melon and citrus over a creamy texture.”

Ca’Rugate, Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico, Veneto, 2016:
“A beautifully layered wine with a rich flavour of ripe pineapple through to a fresh, mineral and lemon finish, full of flavour.”

Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko Santorini 2017:
“Explosive minerality with fresh lemon zest on the nose, crisp acidity on the palate and underlying floral notes. Refreshing with a crisp, mineral finish.”

Domaine Lavigne, Saumur Champigny Vieilles Vignes, Loire, 2016:
“A red Loire showing typical Cabernet Franc rhubarb and graphite character with a refreshing dryness on the finish.”

Chateau Grand Pré, Morgon, Beaujolais, 2016/2017:
“Rich, fleshy and balanced, with an appealing sauvage nose of green plums, chunky cherries and a hint of smokiness and spice.”

Basilisco, Teodosio Aglianico del Vulture, Basilicata, 2014:
“A full bodied and concentrated wine with aromas of soft fruit, plum and Morello cherry. Well balanced through to a dry, lingering finish.”

I Scream, You Scream, What do you serve with ice cream?

The scorching hot UK summer has seen temperatures exceed 30C sending customers into bars and restaurants in search of ice cream, with some retailers reporting a sales increase of over 100 per cent compared to July 2017.

We’ve taken a closer look at a question hospitality venues are hearing more and more this summer – which wines you should pair with which flavours of ice cream?

Pistachio Ice Cream

Pair this Mediterranean classic ice cream with another classic – Cava. It’s made in the same style as a Champagne, without the slightly larger price tag. The Pinord, Cava ‘+ & + Seleccion’ Brut NV is ideally suited to this ice cream, named because the winemaker’s family that first tasted the wine always wanted a little bit more, and a little bit more, and a bit more… ‘More’ in Spanish is ‘plus’ – and so the name was born.

Blood Orange Sorbet

Moscato d’Asti is your match. Almost any sorbet tastes great with this bubbly, semi-sweet dessert wine – you could even pour the Moscato over the sorbet for a refreshing sorbet float. The Michele Chiarlo ‘Nivole’, Moscato d’Asti 2017 is the wine for the job here, with its floral aromas, which are seamlessly complemented by peach and apricot notes on the fragrant bouquet. The gently sparkling palate is delicate, light and creamy.

Strawberry Ice Cream

When serving a dessert with strawberry ice cream, we would always suggest recommending a glass of off-dry rosé, such as the New Hall Vineyards, Pinot Noir Rosé 2017 from Essex. The wine has notes of ripe cassis and wild raspberry on the finish, which is perfect for cutting the richness of ice cream.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream is a simple classic, so often overlooked, but it is also a blank canvas for whatever toppings you’d like to serve. If you are topping with nuts or chocolate, you can’t go wrong with the Barros 10 Year Old Tawny Port, with its soft and silky texture, and subtle nuances of wood which are balanced by a fresh acidity and impetus tannin.

 

Plain Greek Frozen Yogurt

The sour notes of plain Greek frozen yogurt pair perfectly with the similar tart flavour profile of a Santorini Vin Santo. The extended barrel aging of the Gaia Wines, Vin Santo, Santorini 2006 provides richness, as well as acidity, resulting in a wine that is deep honey in colour, complex and full-flavoured, with notes of toffee and caramel. For the ultimate pairing experience, serve with baked spiced apples or pears.

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Here’s where Australian Shiraz comes into its element. The rich, red raspberry fruits, chocolate nuances, and subtle eucalyptus notes are cross-complementary with a scoop of mint and chocolate ice cream. A wine that is perfectly suited to this task is the ‘Eight Uncles’, Barossa Valley, Shiraz 2015 from family run winery, Fox Gordon, which specialises in contemporary and premium wines from the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.

 

WOTM: Idaia Winery, Ocean, Dafnes, Crete, Thrapshathiri 2017

Made from the Thrapshathiri (pronounced Thrap-sah-THEE-ree) grape, indigenous to the Dafnes region of Crete. Idaia Winery makes up an integral part of our Mediterranean portfolio.

In a nutshell:

A bright, uplifting wine, with delicate fruit aromas followed by a generous and spicy mouthfeel with hints of liquorice and pine and a refreshing herbal, saline finish.

The producer:

Idaia Winery is located in Venerato, a village in the heart of the vineyards of the Malevizi district, which is part of the Dafnes appellation area. Idaia is a family company, specialising in producing wines from indigenous grapes, which reflect a true sense of place. Oenologists Vasilis Laderos and Calliope Volitaki use their extensive knowledge, experience and passion to create these superb wines with strong personalities. We are delighted to include these wines in our portfolio, they are truly expressive of the terroir of Crete.

The wine:

The winemaking philosophy is to create wines which showcase the quality of the indigenous varieties. Following a thorough inspection at the winery, the grapes were preserved for 24 hours at very low temperatures. The grapes were destemmed, then cryo-maceration took place for approximately six hours. The free-run juice was removed without having been pressed. After a cold settling, the wine was fermented with carefully selected yeasts which highlight the aromatic characters of this variety. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 10 to 12 days at temperatures that did not exceed 16°C, maintaining the purity of fruit in the resulting wine.

Serving suggestion:

The perfect accompaniment to salads, seafood and grilled fish dishes.

See more information on the wine here or speak to your account manager for more details. 

Winemaker profile: Samantha O’Keefe

Samantha O’Keefe has found the diamond in the rough with Lismore Estate. Samantha’s story starts with her moving away from California, to Greyton in Western Cape, in hopes of having a different way of life for her and her family.

The site she fell in love with, Riviersonderend ranch, is 300 meters in altitude at the foothills of a mountain so the vines are chilled by the winter snow and then nourished by the African summer sun, producing fantastic small production, hand crafted cool climate wines.

She bought a dairy farm which she then transformed into a vineyard with the goal of producing superb Burgundian style wines. Samantha then built her own house, constructed the winery and planted the vines on the 25 hectare of the farm suitable for grape growing.

With no background or education in winemaking, and having previously worked in television in LA, winemaking to Samantha was more than just producing wines – it was a method to build something for the family.

After the tough journey of planting vines and making wine, Samantha was very close to giving up the dream of becoming a winemaker and planned to return to California with her sons. But then, Robert Parker galvanized her dreams, writing amazing reviews of her wines in Wine Advocate, and Tim Atkin followed close behind praising Samantha’s Viogniers. Her wines took off internationally, making Lismore Estate Vineyards a huge success story!

The wines Samantha produces are terroir driven and inspired by Rhône producers in Côte Rôtie and Condrieu.

We are extremely proud to be the UK supplier of these hugely impressive, critically-acclaimed wines with six in our portfolio.

For more details, speak to your account manager.

Island Hopping Wines

With  the UK enjoying Mediterranean style weather and many predicting a vintage year for English wine, we have taken a closer look at some of the sunny island wines you can serve here.

From the popular holiday destinations of Mallorca and Tenerife, to the picturesque and idyllic Santorini, to the lesser known island of  Brač off Croatia, there is plenty to tantalise taste buds.

From Mallorca… Bodega Biniagual, ‘Memories Negre’ 2013

Located in the heart of Binissalem, the small village of Biniagual was renowned for its wine production until the phylloxera plague destroyed most of the vines at the beginning of the 20th century.

“An approachable red with bright aromas of wild red berried fruits combined with a subtle hint of spice. Showing a beautifully balanced structure, soft and smooth with plenty of vibrant fruit and a satisfying finish. ”

From Brač, Croatia… Jako Vino, Stina ‘Cuvee White’, Dalmatia 2016

The beautiful Croatian island of Brač is famous for its white stone, which is known locally as Stina and was the inspiration behind the name of this stunning collection of Jako Vino wines.

“A youthful yet complex nose delights with layers of floral hints with tropical notes of apricot and mango. The full bodied palate is dry, refreshingly balanced and full of juicy yellow fruits with citrus hints on the lingering finish.”

From Santorini… Gaia Wines, ‘Thalassitis’, Assyrtiko 2017

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. This wine is made from the island’s indigenous variety Assyrtiko Episkopi, Akrotiri and Pyrgos regions.

“Explosive minerality with fresh lemon zest on the nose, crisp acidity on the palate and underlying floral notes. Refreshing with a crisp, mineral finish.”

From Tenerife… Bodegas Viñátigo, Listán Blanco 2017

The philosophy behind Bodegas Viñátigo is to revive and promote the extensive varietal heritage of the Canary Islands. The journey started in the 1990s, at a century old plot in the village of La Guancha, in the north of Tenerife, where the traditional varieties of Listán Blanco and Listán Negro were vinified in the old family winery.

“Made entirely from the local Listán Blanco grape, the wine shows aromas of dry fruits and an enticing hint of fennel. The palate is full-bodied with a refreshing, balancing acidity and ample fruity flavours and floral notes. A lovely crisp wine with great intensity and a long, persistent finish.”

From Sardinia… Poderi Parpinello,Isola del Nuraghi, Cagnulari 2015

Giampaolo Parpinello and his son Paolo strive to reflect the Sardinian terroir and reveal the typicity of the wines, on a 30 hectare estate the family have been running for three generations.

“A deep, intense Cagnulari with delicate aromas of wild flowers backed by concentrated, ripe red fruits and a touch of spice. Dry and elegantly structured with a smooth finish.”

From Crete… Idaia Winery, Dafnes, Vidiano 2017

Idaia Winery is located in Venerato, a village in the heart of the vineyards of the Malevizi district, which is part of the Dafnes appellation area.

“Delicate aromatic characters of ripe pear, melon and a hint of banana, lead to a refreshing acidity which balances the rich and charming palate. With an impressively aromatic aftertaste, this is the quintessential introduction to the Vidiano grape.”

 

For further details on any of the wines above, please get in touch with your account manager. 

WOTM: Tenuta Ammiraglia, Alìe Rosé, Toscana 2017

Alìe Rosé, located in Magliano in the Maremma on the southern tip of Tuscany, the Ammiraglia estate boasts 150 hectares of vineyards that blanket gently rolling hills overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

In a nutshell:

Aromas of white flowers, wild cherry and citrus peel, with
velvety peaks of minerality resulting in a dry and herbal
finish.

The producer:

The wines of Tenuta Ammiraglia represent the Frescobaldi’s expression of modern Tuscan wines: influenced and inspired by the Mediterranean sun, sea and coastal breezes. The modern Ammiraglia winery, designed by the architect Piero Sartogo, is reminiscent of the prow of a ship pointing towards the sea. Perfectly integrated amid the hills and covered with greenery, it combines the most recent technological innovations with respect for the land and surrounding nature. The wines of Tenuta Ammiraglia are distinguished by the freshness, minerality and richness of the fruit.

The wine:

The berries were carefully selected and immediately pressed without any maceration, capturing just a hint of the colour from the skins, resulting in the delicate rosé colour. The grapes were then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel for three  months, retaining the purity of fruit and aromatic expression. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. The Syrah was blended with a touch of Vermentino and the wine spent one month in bottle, prior to release.

Serving suggestion:

The berries were carefully selected and immediately pressed without any maceration, capturing just a hint of the colour from the skins, resulting in the delicate rosé colour. The grapes were then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel for three months, retaining the purity of fruit and aromatic expression. The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. The Syrah was blended with a touch of Vermentino and the wine spent one month in bottle, prior to release.