Champagne - Arpege, 1er Cru, Extra Brut, Pascal Doquet (1 bottle)
A premier cru Blanc de Blancs from fruit grown in Vertus, Mont Aimee and Villeneuve, and a big step up from Pascal’s entry level Horizon bottling. The multi-village arpeggio effect, coupled with Pascals organic farming and low-intervention, patient winemaking and ageing, makes for a very fine, savoury, characterful Blanc de Blancs as at home before food as on the table.
Pascal Doquet established his own estate in 2004, but prior to that had been making wine under his parents’ label, Doquet-Jeanmaire, since 1982. Mesnil vines have been in the family since his maternal grandfather started making wine in the 1930s. Pascal took charge of Doquet-Jeanmaire in 1995 and made the wines until 2003, when the estate was divided among several siblings upon their parents’ retirement. Doquet established his own estate and today farms 8 hectares of vines. These are situated predominantly in Mesnil, Vertus and Bergers and age between 37 – 77 years old. Pascal is a vineyard man through and through - his viticultural methods are 100% organic whilst the other distinguishing feature of his philosophy is to harvest grapes as ripe as possible. Nothing is ever harvested at less than 10.5 degrees of potential alcohol, very high for champagne – so there is never any need for chaptalisation. The winemaking is very natural and non-interventionist, only wild yeasts are used for fermentations and bottling takes places with the lightest of filtrations and no fining. Wines undergo their malolactic fermentation in tank and then remain sur lie for 5 months, with approximately one third of the production being aged in used oak barrels before secondary fermentation in bottle. These are thrillingly individual intense and powerful Champagnes. The range is large and site specific, each cuvee vividly expressing its own unique and distinct character.
Bourgogne, Blanc, 2016, Bachelet Monnot (2 bottles)
A delicious Bourgogne Blanc, revealing an expressive bouquet of pear and yellow orchard fruit and a fresh, textural, medium-full palate with juicy acids and a pleasure-bent, open-knit personality. From vines in Puligny.
Drinking Window 2018 - 2024
In January 2005, after years of travelling France and the rest of the world gaining vital wine-making experience two budding young vignerons, brothers Marc and Alexandre Bachelet, set up this Domaine that spans 10 hectares over the Maranges, Santenay and Puligny-Montrachet communes. With a burning desire to work with nature to make the finest possible wines, Marc and Alexandre adopt a very natural, labour-intensive approach to wine-making. Soils are ploughed, vine health carefully monitored, herbicides are forbidden and strict de-budding is carried out to limit yields, whilst all grapes are hand picked at optimum ripeness. This Domaine is a rapidly rising star. 50% new oak is employed for Grand Crus whilst mush less is used for the rest of the range which, and along with using a mixture of larger-sized barrels alongside the traditional barriques, has been instrumental in eradicating oak impact on the flavour profile of the wines. The red Maranges is produced using a small proprortion of whole bunches. Form Bourgogne to Batard these are some of Burgundy's most brilliant wines from two of its most exciting young winemakers.
Pouilly Fumé, Serge Dagueneau, 2019 (2 bottles)
Peach and pink grapefruit notes join the more traditional elements of lemon, lime leaf and passion fruit, delivered in a bright, easy going style. Light and fresh with subtle lees and smoky notes, the 2018 Pouilly Fume is produced entirely in stainless steel, aged sur lie and bottled approximately six months after the harvest. The perfect aperitif or match to shellfish and lighter poultry dishes.
This is a ‘hands on’ Domaine that firmly believes good wine is made in the vineyard. Serge’s daughter, Valèrie, looks after their 15 hectares of vineyards and makes the wine with a view to preserving as much terroir in the wines as possible. Their vines are planted on a unique concoction of clay/limestone ‘Terres Blanches’ over kimmeridgean clay and crushed oyster shells. Moreover the vineyard slopes are all fully exposed to every second of sun each day has to offer being south and south-west facing. Such exceptional terroir as this resounds throughout the wines which practically sing with flavours of gunflint, flowers and cut grass.
Chianti Classico, Monteraponi, 2017 (2 bottles)
Aromas of blueberries and cedar with hints of dried flowers. Medium to full body. Tight, polished tannins and a flavourful finish. Very linear and racy. Made from organically grown grapes. 93 pts James Suckling
The Chianti farmhouse of Monteraponi, an ancient medieval hamlet, situated on the hill of the same name, once belonged to Baron Ugo, Marquis of Tuscany in the tenth century. It was not until 2003, however, that current owner Michele Braganti produced and commercialised the estate’s own bottlings. The vineyard had been in family hands since 1974 but the fruit was previously sold off to other growers. The vineyard area, all in the commune of Radda in Chianti Classico, spans 12 hectares. The wines are planted as high as 570 metres above sea level, some of the very highest in the Chianti Classico, on a mixture of hard Albarese and softer Galestro limestone soils. The estate is certified organic and the wines are made in a traditional, low tech and gentle way. After hand harvesting and gentle pressing, spontaneous fermentation is carried out in cement vats where it continues to macerate and infuse with the skins for between 25 days (for the regular Chianti Classico) up to 40 to 45 days for the Campitello Riserva and Baron d’Ugo. The wines are then racked off into large used French and Slavonian oak casks for 16 months for the Chianti CLassico, 24-26 months for Il Campitello Riserva and 36 months for the Baron d’Ugo. In no time at all Monteraponi have already hit cult status in Italy for their dazzlingly pure, characterful Chianti Classicos. These are some of the region’s most exciting, vivid and age-worthy wines.
Châteauneuf du Pape, Rouge, Château Mont Redon, 2016 (2 bottles)
Sheer nobility. Utterly effortless in structure. Classy, creamy dark hedgerow fruit roll across the palate with notes of limestone and spice adding interest. Stylish, deep and composed. A class act indeed. A 65% Grenache 35% Syrah blend, the Mourvedre being omitted this year, not quite fitting the profile or quality Pierre Fabre was looking for. The estate has always been envied for its holdings on the Plateau of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, considered one of the greatest terroir in the region. This is a selection from the best spots within the Plateau, amounting to a 850 case production. It is made in the same way as the other wines, gently extracted but with an extra 6 months in mainly used oak barrels – 18 months in total.
Château Mont-Redon, established in 1344, is one of the oldest wine-producing Estates in France and the largest single property in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The Estate includes 100 hectares of the most perfectly-sited vineyards in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, spread over the region’s three main soil types: the western limestone slopes, sand and galet stones on the plateau. The wines are made by destalking and then vinifying all of the cépages together, to promote aromatic complexity, and are blended after 18 to 24 months ageing in cask. These are elegant, widely-loved examples of Châteauneuf that age well. Now, with joint owner and winemaker Pierre Fabre directing the estate, the Château's wines are poised for great critical acclaim, too, whilst retaining their innate drinkability. Pierre's new cuvée, Le Plateau, is emblematic of the quality Mont-Redon are now producing - a strict selection of prime fruit from Châteauneuf's plateau, amounting to an 850 case production that will only be bottled separately in the best years.
Les Tourelles De Longueville, Pauillac, 2014 (2 bottles)
“The currant and berry character with hints of chocolate is impressive on the nose. Full body, tangy acidity and soft and velvety tannins. It’s rich and satisfying. Second wine of Pichon Baron. Better in 2021.” 92 Points, James Suckling
The two Pichon Chateaux stand guard at the entrance to Pauillac from St Julien. These two formidable structures on opposite sides of the D2 are two of the most iconic building of the Medoc and two of the most iconic wines. AXA Millésimes, the current owner has overseen the resurgence of this venerable estate. After some lacklustre wines in the 70s and 80s, AXA bought the property in 1987 and enlisted the help of Jean-Michel Cazes have rebuilt the Chateau’s reputation. Jean-Michel stepped down in 2000 and Englishman, Christian Seely has taken the reigns and continues to push the quality level still higher.
Chateau Petit Vedrines, Sauternes, 2016, Chateau Doisy-Vedrines (1 x 37.5cl bottle)
Doisy-Védrines is a 2ème Cru Classé Sauternes which belongs to the long-established Castéja wine family, and remains relatively little known by most wine lovers, due mainly to tiny production levels. The wines are renowned for their relative intensity and richness compared to Doisy-Daëne next door, but they are nevertheless far from being a heavyweight by the standards of the appellation. Their second wine, Petit-Védrines, is an exceptional value.