Wine information

2009 En Primeur Report
Bordeaux 2009 En Primeur Report: 'The best in sixty years' It is difficult to forget the furore surrounding the near-perfect 2005 vintage and yet tongues are again wagging across the Bordeaux and, if the rumours are to be believed, it seems that 2009’s batch of clarets are set to be even better. Of course, the merchants and winemakers of Bordeaux are (unsurprisingly) known for their eagerness to prematurely laud vintages; it is easy to see why...

Asian Wine Market
Far East wine market expands: In financially uncertain times, where global equity and capital markets remain a risky prospect, investors in the Far East are instead turning their attentions to collections of fine wine. The level of interest among Japanese, Chinese and Filipino investors is constantly on the rise. The fine wine market – long the exclusive purview of European and American cognoscenti and specialist investors – is now burgeoning with Asian investors who are attracted by...

Bordeaux 2005
Bordeaux 2005 Bill Blatch, a local expert on Bordeaux wines, describes the 2005 vintage as “a text-book harvest for all of Bordeaux. The sun shone almost permanently and showers came exactly when and where required to add the final touch, and all of this after a dry hot season, during which what little rain there was fell just before all the vital sequences of the vine’s cycle. What more could we have asked for?” “Tasting the 2005 red...

Bordeaux Trade Structure
Bordeaux trade structure: With nearly 11,000 wine producers, approaching 150 brokers, over 50 co-operatives and 400 negociants, the Bordeaux wine market is a key employer; it employs one-in-six of the working population living near the Gironde. Whilst the region is famous for its grand chateaux, of which there are over five-hundred, not all wine producers own chateaux. The Bordeaux’s reliance on courtiers and negociants makes its way of working unique within the wine business. • Producers are responsible for...

Bordeaux Wine Information
Bordeaux Bordeaux is the world’s most productive wine region, churning out approximately 750,000,000 bottles of wine a year. From vin de pays or ‘table wine’ (the lowest classification of Bordeaux wine) to some of the most lauded wines in the world, Bordeaux produces every style of wine you can imagine. Red wines from Bordeaux (known in England as clarets) attract the most attention, making up over three quarters of all wines produced. Nevertheless, Bordeaux’s white, sweet, rose...

Burgundy 2009 Report
Bordeaux isn’t the only wine region to experience great success. The winter was chilly, which locked down vines and deterred pests and other blights. Flowering was consistent and unilateral, taking place in early June. Spring and early summer were hot and humid. August, the month long regarded as the kingmaker in Burgundy, was perfect: rainfall was well below average, whilst sunlight hours and temperatures were well above average. The year kicked off with a bitter, cold...

Burgundy Classification Descriptions
Burgundy is in some ways the most terroir-oriented region in France; immense attention is paid to the area of origin, and in which of the region's 400 types of soil a wine's grapes are grown. As opposed to Bordeaux, where classifications are producer-driven and awarded to individual chateaux, Burgundy classifications are geographically-focused. A specific vineyard or region will bear a given classification, regardless of the wine's producer. This focus is reflected on the wine's labels where...

Burgundy Trade Structure
Burgundy trade structure: In the past, the small, fragmented vineyards of Burgundy did not make, bottle and market their own wine – to do so was considered uneconomical. Instead, they sold to the big merchants, known as negociants, who would then blend, bottle and market the wine internationally. Times have certainly changed; nowadays, it is recognized the greatest wines come from growers who bottle and sell their own wine. Over the past thirty years price rises have made...

Caring for Crystal
Taking care of your Crystal Stemware: Crystal glasses are beautiful to behold and a joy to use; however, their delicate nature and costliness require you to be a little more careful with them than your regular glasses, dishes or cups. This need not be a chore – by following these simple instructions your crystal stemware will remain in pristine conditions for generations to come. Instructions 1. Wash your crystal stemware with warm water, a soft sponge and mild dish soap....

Champagne Bottle Sizes
Named after Biblical kings and coming in all shapes and sizes, wine bottles are a diverse bunch. If you’re wondering what exactly a “Melchizedek” bottle entails... Split: 187 ml Half-Bottle: Holds 375 ml or one half of the standard bottle size. Bottle: Holds 750 ml - the standard size. Magnum: Two bottles or 1.5 litres. Double Magnum: Twice the size of a magnum, holding 3.0 litres, or the equivalent of 4 bottles. Jeroboam: There are two sizes of Jeroboams: the sparkling wine Jeroboam holds 4 bottles, or 3.0...

Champagne Reclassification
The worldwide demand for Champagne has continuously increased throughout the 1990s and 2000s. A record in worldwide shipping of Champagne (including domestic French consumption) of 327 million bottles was set in 1999 in anticipation of the end of the millennium celebrations, and a new record was set in 2007 at 338.7 million bottles. Since the entire vineyard area authorised by the 1927 AOC regulations is now planted, various ways of expanding the production has been considered....

Colour of Wine
The skin of the grapes are chiefly responsible for the colour of wine. The juice of both red and white grapes is almost always white or clear – the pigments that make red grapes are found in the skins of the grapes. In order to make red wine the winemaker must leave the skins of red grapes in contact with the juice during fermentation. During this process the pigments diffuse into the juice. It is possible...

Corks, Stoppers and Screwcaps
Strange as it may seem, corks have not always been a permanent fixture in the wine world. As late as the mid-1600s, French vignerons stuffed oil-soaked rags into the necks of their bottles instead. Cork material is an impermeable, buoyant material that is a prime-subset of the generic cork tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from the cork oak, Quercus suber. Portugal is the largest producer worldwide, making up 50% of production. The appeal...

En Primeur Information
En Primeur is French for “Wine Futures”. It is a convenient and often cost-effective way of buying more exclusive wines early on before the batch has been bottled. The consumer invests in a particular wine at an early stage, usually a year or 18 months prior to the actual release of the vintage. The vintage can then be delivered directly (which requires a second ‘release payment’ to handling costs, VAT and cover duty. Alternatively upon general release...

Features Of Wine
Tannins: The tannic content of a wine sometimes makes wine seem unappealing or even unapproachable to those new to the drink. Tannins, derived from the skins, stalks and pips of grapes, are instrumental in the ageing of wine: They act as a natural preservative. As the Tannins soften and fade over years, the developing flavours they have preserved will become accessible. Tannins also give structure and backbone to the wine, which is an important feature as...

Fizzy Wine Production
Unlike your average carbonated drink, putting the fizz in wine is a long and complicated process (at least it should be!). This article explores the techniques used by the great Champagne houses. The traditional way of making champagne is known as Méthode Champenoise. After initial fermentation and bottling a second stage of alcoholic fermentation occurs in the bottle. This comes about by including several grams of yeast (with different brands having their own secret recipe) along with...

France Latest Vintages
Best Wine Vintages 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 2000: Champagne: A very robust vintage. Spring showed much promise with an encouraging amount of growth by the end of April to the beginning of May. Buds opened in early June. July saw rainfall that was four times higher than usual and was also host to a particularly violent hailstorm, which destroyed many vines....

French Main Grape Varieties
We have taken a lot of time to look into the French grape varieties that we sell and here are some informative facts about the grapes and wines they are used in: Red Gamay | Grenache | Carignan | Merlot | Malbec | Cabernet Sauvignon | Syrah | Cabernet Franc | Pinot Noir White Sauvignon Blanc | Chardonnay | Pinot Gris | Chenin Blanc | Semillon Red: Gamay: A purple-coloured grape variety used to make red wines, most prominently in the...

Fridges and Cooling Wine
Wine Refrigerators and Wine Cellars: A wine refrigerator is intended for short-term storage, its primary purpose being to store wine at its proper serving temperature (which depends on the type of wine). Wine cellars (or upmarket wine cabinets) are intended for the long term-storage of wine; they are designed to keep wine at its optimum ageing temperature. In addition, they minimise temperature inconstancy, create a relative humidity of about 70% and provide protection from vibrations and ultraviolet light. With...

Grape Types
France is the world’s most important wine producing country, with a viticultural history spanning thousands of years and the highest annual production among all nations. Here we look at the grapes that are the driving force behind the French wine industry. Notable white grape cultivars: Albillo: Exclusive to Spain, this grape produces neutral flavours with a light, laidback aroma. The bouquet can be compared to peppers, cherries and roasted meat with a definite tannic bite. Aligoté:...

Grape Varieties and food pairings
Matching wine with food: Barbera | Cabernet Sauvignon | Gamay | Grenache | Malbec Barbera These wines range from the eminently drinkable to the brooding and complex – a good all rounder of a grape. This cultivar’s buoyant, red fruity flavours and low tannins mean it is approachable, while its firm acidity allows it to be enjoyed along even rich and fatty foods such as cheeses and salamis. Barbera hails from Piedmont in north-west Italy. Bargains...

Health Benefits of Wine
There has been much speculation in the past few years regarding the possible health benefits of wine – or, in particular, the components in wine other than alcohol. An idea that is supported by a great mass of published evidence is that moderate consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages leads, in general, to a longer and healthier life when contrasted with abstainers. Around half of the benefit in wine is attributable to alcohol (and, in...

How to Preserve Opened Wine
Once opened, wine is subject to the process of oxidisation. This effect will eventually spoil any wine, but before examining methods to delay this process it is first important to consider how long your wine will remain enjoyable. A young claret will initially benefit from being exposed to the air, as it softens up the firm tannins; however, an aged wine will likely deteriorate in a matter of hours or even minutes. Whilst trying to keep an...

Ice Wine
Ice wine (also known as Eiswein) is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressured from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine. There are indications that this practice is very ancient indeed. Pliny the Elder (AD 23 –...

Matching wine with food
Matching wine with food: The importance of pairing wine appropriately with a given foodstuff cannot be overlooked – wine has had a long history of being a staple at the dinner table and, especially in the Old World, winemaking and culinary traditions have evolved in tandem. Rather than following a set of complicated rules, local cuisines were paired simply with local wines; the two of them had developed together and were therefore traditionally well-suited. It is only...

New World Vs. Old World
Old World vs. New World Wine A debate that has been raging in the wine world for many years now is over the differences between wines coming from the Old World as opposed to those of the New World. As is typical with controversial subjects, emotions can run high and skew the facts – wine is all about passion, after all! Old world wines come from the “classic wine making regions” in Europe. New world wines come from...

Oak and Wine
The use of oak in wine plays a significant role in winemaking and can have a profound effect on the resulting wine, affecting the colour, flavour, tannin profile and texture of the wine. Oak can come into contact with wine in the form of a barrel during the fermentation or ageing periods. It can be introduced to the wine in the form of free-floating oak chips or as wood staves (or sticks) added to wine in...

Parker Lauds 2007 Rhone
Parker lauds 2007 Rhone as “The most compelling vintage I have ever tasted.” There has been a lot of buzz regarding Parker’s glowing appraisal of the 2007 vintage, bestowing a full one-hundred point score on an unprecedented ten different wines. In addition, having tasted the wine from the bottle, he has scaled up many of his preliminary scores; for example, Beaucastel reached 96 points whilst Clos de Papes achieved an astounding 99+. “Last year, after tasting the...

Rhone 2009 Report
2009 was a promising year for the Rhone, which has enjoyed extremely favourable weather conditions. "What can I say?" said Isabel Ferrando of Domaine St.-Préfert and Domaine Ferrando. "This is a vintage that was tailored for Châteauneuf-du-Pape." This year there is a very real sense that vignerons are resigned to perfection. The South, which has enjoyed great success in recent years, is braced for what is set to be a most remarkable vintage; however, yields are...

Serving Wine
Serving wine at the correct temperature is very important, and something that is often overlooked. A wine served too cold or too warm can lose an awful lot of its character, particularly with respect to aroma. This article will help you serve wine at a suitable temperature with minimal fuss. 1. The ideal temperature The best temperature at which to serve wines varies greatly. Rosé and white wines benefit from being chilled in the fridge for a...

Storing Wine
Fine wine is expensive and relatively fragile, being susceptible to poor storage conditions; despite this, there is little information available on how best to store and age wine. Here we explore all the options on how to best keep your wine. It is best to store wine in a dark, cool place with minimal temperature fluctuations, no vibrations or powerful odours. Sparkling wines and screwcap bottles can be stored upright. Otherwise, bottles should be...

Suggested Wine Temperatures
Red White Rose/Mixed Red: Red wines from Australia: Alsace 10˚C Cabernet Franc 16˚C Cabernet Sauvignon 17˚C Merlot 17˚C Pinot Noir 15˚C Shiraz 18˚C Red wines from France: Beaujolais 13˚C Red Bordeaux 17˚C Red Burgundy 18˚C Languedoc-Roussillon 13˚C Red Loire Wines 14˚C Rhône Wines 15˚C Alsace 10˚C Red South West Wines 7˚C Back to top White: White wines from Australia: Chardonnay 10˚C Small Grape Muscat 6˚C White Sauvignon 8˚C Semillion 8˚C Verdhelo 7˚C White wines from France: Savoie 9˚C Champagne 6˚C Jura 10˚C White Burgundy 11˚C Dry White Loire Wines 10˚C Sweet White Loire Wines 7˚C Sweet South West Wines 7˚C Sweet White Bordeaux 6˚C Dry White Bordeaux 8˚C Back to top Rose...

The Wine Market of China
China forecast to become biggest wine producer in 50 years. Although virtually unheard of outside of Asia, China is already the world’s fourth-largest producer of wine in terms of vineyards planted. Wine merchants Berry Brothers & Rudd say this is only the start, having projected that in fifty years time China will be the world’s largest producer of bulk wine the result of increased investment and technical expertise. The companies’ experts believe that global warming will cause a...

Vintage Year Reports
Argentina Australia Austria California Central and Southern Italy Chile Germany Great Britain Greece Israel New Zealand Northern Italy Portugal South Africa Spain Argentina 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 Back to top 2003 Whites are deemed to be “very good” whilst reds are considered “outstanding”, though there is some doubt as to whether they match the quality of 2002. It is reasonable to assume that some vineyards in 2003 outperformed the 2002 vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon won the day, though some high-altitude Malbecs are excellent. Back to Argentina 2004 The...

Wine Awards/ Events
Wine Awards are a good quality indicator, showing that the wine has passed the close scrutiny of several wine experts. Below we give an overview of the major awards and their methodology: London: International Wine Challenge (England) The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is an annual wine competition. The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is accepted as the world’s finest and most meticulously judged wine competition. The IWC assesses every wine blind and judges each for its faithfulness to variety,...

Wine Bottle Sizes
Named after Biblical kings and coming in all shapes and sizes, wine bottles are a diverse bunch. If you’re wondering what exactly a “Melchizedek” bottle entails... Half-Split: 187 ml Half-Bottle: Holds 375 ml or one half of the standard bottle size. Standard Bottle: Holds 750 ml - the standard size. Magnum: Two bottles or 1.5 litres. Double Magnum: Twice the size of a magnum, holding 3.0 litres, or the equivalent of 4 bottles. Jeroboam: There are two sizes of Jeroboams: the sparkling wine Jeroboam holds 4 bottles,...

Wine Critics
Influential wine critics: Robert Parker | Jancis Robinson | Stephen Tanzer | Matthew Jukes | Allen Meadows | Tim Atkin | Gary Vaynerchuk | James Halliday | Oz Clarke Robert Parker – Robert Parker commands titanic status in the world of wine, and is without a doubt the most influential wine critic in the present day. Beginning as an attorney for the Farm Credit Banks of Baltimore, after ten years...

Wine Frequently Asked Questions
How long can I store my wine for? Despite what many people think the vast majority of wines do not get better with ageing and are intended for consumption within a couple of years. Cheaper varieties should be drunk by half a year. Reds last longer than whites on average but a sizeable minority are intended to be drunk early (Beaujolais Nouvea is an example of this). If champagne isn’t vintage it can improve significantly with 6...

Wine Glasses
Choosing the right wine glass: One of the most overlooked elements that contribute toward the enjoyment of wine is the wine glass itself. Although many materials are available, from plastic to crystal ware, it is the shape of the glass itself that has the most impact on the wine. Each type of wine has an ideal shape to maximize the experience. However, when choosing any type of wine glass it is important to take some things into consideration....

Wine Glossary
The wine industry has its own vocabulary which, to the outsider, is like another language. Thankfully if you come across a wine related term you don’t understand you can always scurry back here and look it up: Wine Terms & Wine Terminology. Acronym for “Anything but Chardonnay” or “Anything but Cabernet”; a term...

Wine Tasting Descriptors (terminology)
Tasting terms. Accessible – A wine that is easy to drink without an overwhelming sense of tannin, acidity, body or extract. Aftertaste – A term for the taste left on the...

Wine Tasting Guide
Considered by many to be a snobbish activity, the act of methodically tasting and evaluating wine serves a simple purpose – to get the most enjoyment out of the wine you’re drinking! This step-by-step guide will show you how. When tasting wine please bear the following in mind: It is possible to describe wine with a wide array of words. Although it may seem daunting at first it is crucial that you...

Your First Wine Cellar
Your first wine cellar: A wine cellar needn’t be an elaborate affair – it can be as simple or as grand as you want it to be; it could be a 12-bottle pine rack in the corner of your living room, a 60-bottle metal rack in your pantry or a specialised cherry storage facility that holds 3000+ bottles in a refurnished basement. Whatever form your wine storage takes, there are nevertheless some (rather strict) guidelines you should...