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Bon Fond: Exploring French Gastronomic Culture
BON FOND Adjective To be good at heart: colloquial expression meaning that someone is a good soul. Noun Good stock: delicious bouillon made with farm-fresh ingredients. Solid base: you need a strong foundation to build a sturdy house; or, in our language, a good stock to cook a great sauce. Meet Eric and Lise. Two chefs on a journey to discover the abundance ...
ON December 6, 2018
Summer Sale 2016
Welcome to the annual FINE+RARE Summer Sale. Find out what to expect, as well the planned schedule below... The Summer Sale last year included Grand Cru Burgundies from top vintages such as 2002, 2005 and 2010, as well as a number of 100 point-scoring Bordeaux First Growths. Read on to find out what is in store this year... Summer Sale ...
ON August 16, 2016
Yalumba The Caley 2012: "Australia has a new super-wine"
A “truly magnificent” new Australian wine has arrived. Possibly a rival to Grange? Read on to find out more about Yalumba The Caley 2012… Last week we were treated to a tasting of the latest releases from Yalumba. The range was outstanding, but the highlight had to be the much anticipated The Caley 2012. The soon to be legendary Cabernet ...
ON July 3, 2017
F+R: As a wine lover and epicurean how would you best spend 24 hours in Montpellier and surrounding area? Andrew Jefford: This slightly depends if you are here in summer or winter.  If you’re here in the summer when it’s very hot, you might want to be near the sea and go swimming: sandy, super-safe and very child-friendly hereabouts.  There ...
ON December 4, 2019
Tuscany Wine Journal, Day One
2010 Brunello di Montalcino was a true blockbuster year, with producers and critics alike considering it the vintage of a lifetime. As a result, we simply couldn't wait to go back to Tuscany to see what the Riservas and more recent vintages had to offer, and to talk to the producers behind one of Italy's most famous and exciting wines. For the rest ...
ON October 21, 2015
Cask secrets: why Sherry butts are rarer than ever
As we launch a rare first-fill Sherry cask Macallan, we trace how Sherry casks came to be used for ageing Scotch whisky, and why they’re increasingly rare and sought-after There’s something unlikely about the pairing of Scotland and Andalusia – the fine single malts of Scotland’s craggy landscape being matured in barrels shipped from the warmth of Jerez, where ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON September 24, 2020
A Year in Wine: 1914
France's prime minister declared that his country was at war with an "invisible, elusive" enemy at the start of an unprecedented lock down this month but a century ago, the enemy was clearly visible. The 1914 harvest was approaching for the growers of Champagne, but the German army also loomed large on the horizon. In a series of articles ...
BY Rebecca Gibb MW,
ON March 29, 2020
A Year in Wine: 1999
In the latest instalment in our Vintage Series, FINE+RARE explores the last year of the 20th century and discovers it was a season to remember. We speak directly with Francois Millet from Domaine Georges Comte de Vogue on what made 1999 so special. Philippe Guigal hadn’t yet met his future wife – it would be another nine years before he ...
BY Rebecca Gibb MW,
ON April 8, 2020
The Historic Rise of Nebbiolo - Italy's "King of Wines"
The history of Piedmont as a fine wine region and the establishment of Nebbiolo as a single varietal wine predates the unification of Italy. Yet the region’s rise to international fame as Italy’s finest wine was intrinsically linked to the political role that the Piedmont Kingdom played in the unification of Italy. We look back at the rise of Barolo as the “King of ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 21, 2020
The Super Tuscans: everything you need to know
Sassicaia, Tignanello, Ornellaia: these fabled Super Tuscans are some of the world’s most desirable wines – kickstarting Italy’s fine wine renaissance, re-defining its reputation and proving what was possible. But how did these lowly table wines rise to the top of the fine wine ranks? For a long time, Tuscany was known merely for its squat jugs of rustic Chianti, ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON September 10, 2020
Paul Hobbs: First Man
First Man One Giant Leap for Winemaking I had just seen First Man (the Neil Armstrong biopic) when I met Paul Hobbs, and I couldn’t help but draw some parallels. Despite similarities in terms of personality (focused, meticulous to the point of obsession, possibly some type of genius – he has also been called and doesn’t mind referring to himself ...
ON January 9, 2019
Bollinger, Bond and Wine on the Silver Screen
The name on everybody’s lips is Bond, James Bond.  It’s official: Bond fever is gripping London. Spectre premieres on 26th October and with it brings a wave of collaborations and brands that work alongside the secret agent. None of these, however, is as enduring or significant as that of Bond and Bollinger, who have just released a special edition champagne ...
ON October 16, 2015
Priorat: A New Dawn
From a backwater in southern Catalonia, Priorat took its rightful place on the world wine map in the early 90s. Its meteoric rise to fame was propelled by low yielding, old Carineña and Garnacha vines clinging precipitously to ancient slate slopes. The best producers including Mas Doix, Alvaro Palacios and Rene Barbier were making wines that were turbo-charged: rich, ripe and powerful yet zinging ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON March 12, 2020
A Visit from Dal Forno
This month sees the latest 2012 releases from the mighty Dal Forno estate. A winery that has redefined the boundaries of Amarone, producing wines of extraordinary intensity and finesse every year. We know in the past Dal Forno has not been afraid to declassify their top wine in a vintage they feel is not up to their exacting standards. Thankfully ...
ON February 22, 2019
In the glass: what our team is drinking
Each month, we ask a handful of our team to pick a wine or spirit they’ve tasted recently – a bottle that surprised, delighted or merely lived up to high expectations. Here’s what they chose 2001 Château la Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux “A couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to try and cheer up ‘Lockdown 2.0’, I decided to ...
ON December 11, 2020
Germany 2015: "Epic Vintage"
Early opinions suggest that 2015 might be the vintage of the century for Germany... The wine world's attention is currently on Bordeaux 2015 and much has been made of recent releases from Rhône 2015 (particularly from Chapoutier). However, early rumblings suggest that we should all be keeping an eye on Germany 2015... Germany 2015 Vintage Early reports are tentatively suggesting ...
ON May 23, 2016
Interview with Nicolas Audebert of Domaine de l'Ile
Just over 25 years ago, French fashion house CHANEL entered into the world of fine wine, purchasing the largely underperforming Margaux Second Growth estate Château Rauzan-Ségla. Two years later they acquired the Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, Château Canon. They have since turned these properties into two of the most in-demand fine wines in Bordeaux today. Last year CHANEL embraced ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON April 30, 2020
There's more to the US than Napa...
There is a growing excitement around American wine at the moment. At FINE+RARE we have seen a significant increase in customer demand driving sales from 2012 to the present day. A fortnight ago our Fine Wine Buyer and MW student, Camilla Bowler and Sales Team Manager, Craig Norton held a workshop at F+R to discuss the region and taste a ...
ON June 11, 2014
Iconic USA Wines
1. 2015 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon WA Score: 100pts "Composed of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, the very deep purple-black colored 2015 Screaming Eagle leaps from the glass with notes of freshly crushed black currants, black cherries and blackberries with suggestions of cigar box, black raspberries, red currants, chocolates, pencil lead and cast-iron pan plus a ...
ON August 16, 2019
The Best Places to Eat in Burgundy – According to Local Winemakers
Whilst Burgundy is famed for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir production, it is also one of the great gastronomic regions of France, with a distinct and varied array of homespun culinary delights. The region has so much to offer, and the main town of Beaune is a magnet for wine loving tourists from all around the world. Like all popular holiday destinations ...
ON September 20, 2018
Behind the Bottle: Sassicaia
Sassicaia is without doubt Italy’s most iconic wine and its story is at the centre of the revolution that spurred on the modern-era of Italian fine wine. The influence of Sassicaia in Italy cannot be overstated. As Sassicaia celebrates its 50th anniversary, and we excitedly anticipate the latest Sassicaia 2016 release this week, we look back at the history of ...
ON January 31, 2019
Phylloxera: A Vine Pandemic
While medical researchers work furiously in search of a vaccine for COVID-19 in 2020, the response to the phylloxera pandemic in the mid 19th century was remarkably lackadaisical. Following the release of Bollinger’s latest vintage of Vieilles Vignes Françaises, a wine grown from vines planted on its own roots and thus vulnerable to attack by phylloxera, FINE+RARE talks to Denis Bunner, ...
BY Rebecca Gibb MW,
ON May 6, 2020
Blankbottle & Keermont visit F+R
Keermont Estate‘s wines are made entirely from their own vineyards in the Helderberg and Stellenbosch mountains producing predominantly Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot red blends and premium Chenin Blanc. Blankbottle in contrast source their grapes from remote vineyards all over the Cape, applying ad hoc creative winemaking approaches as necessity dictates. Blankbottle produces up to 47 different cuvees in ...
ON September 19, 2019
Egon Muller Interview - The Travails of Riesling Royalty
Hailed as one of the world's finest Riesling producers with prices to match, the Müller family has never been afraid of a challenge from their first days as a vineyard owner under French occupation, through two World Wars and a wine system that awarded quantity over quality. Speaking to FINE+RARE at the height of the Coronavirus crisis, Egon Müller IV ...
BY Rebecca Gibb MW,
ON April 22, 2020
The high life: Martin Donatsch
There is such domestic demand for the wines of Domaine Donatsch that they are rarely seen outside Switzerland. Tucked in amongst the Alps, this property makes world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that gives Burgundy a run for its money. Gavin Smith spoke to winemaker and owner Martin Donatsch about the extraordinary site and life on the slopes  Few people have ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON February 19, 2021
Top Sommeliers' New Favourites
Sommeliers live, breathe and drink wine. FINE+RARE buyer Jessica Bryans has asked sommeliers from world renowned restaurants for their newest discoveries… Sommeliers are our trusted guides when it comes to discovering new wines, avoiding bad ones and pairing our food perfectly. The best sommeliers are always on the hunt for outstanding bottles, emerging producers and the best value examples of ...
ON February 1, 2016
Wines from Syria – Making Wine on the Frontline
On my recent trip to Lebanon this winter I was introduced to wines from a fully operational winery in Syria. With the utterly devastating and continuing civil war in Syria over the last 7 years, initially I thought it couldn’t be possible that such a thing could exist. On tasting the wines at an artisan market in Beirut I was also ...
ON January 25, 2019
Chateau Lafleur - Exploring the iconic estate's unique DNA with Omri Ram
It was a great pleasure to spend some time over the last few weeks with Omri Ram, the winemaker and viticulturalist at the helm of Chateau Lafleur - first tasting the new 2018 releases with him at Chateau Lafleur and then again on his recent visit to London. Following the tasting it was no surprise to see the spectacular scores ...
ON May 10, 2019
Bordeaux 2017: EP Round-Up Week VIII
It’s like waiting for buses. None show up and then they all come at once. This has been the concertina effect that has come to epitomise the 2017 EP campaign in which most of the top Chateaux have ended up releasing their wines at the same time potentially each sabotaging the other in terms of maximising their exposure on release. ...
ON June 15, 2018
Dining Out in Chablis: 3 Restaurant Recommendations for Wine-Lovers
Despite the impressive amphitheatre of Grand Cru sites that surround this beautiful and peaceful village, Chablis is all-too-often missed off the itinerary on food and wine tours of Burgundy. However notwithstanding its petite size, Chablis is bursting at the seams with culinary surprises. There is a vast array of truly unmissable restaurants, all well-versed in curating menus to complement the ...
ON August 2, 2018
Brunello di Montalcino: F+R report
Part of what we do at FINE+RARE is try, wherever possible, to get as close to source as we can. Ideally we deal direct with the winemakers themselves.  Following the success of the brilliant 2010 vintage, our buying team have just returned from Montalcino.  Jessica Bryans recounts the trip: It is hard to believe that Brunello is such a new ...
ON June 11, 2015
2011 Barolo: "Intrigante"
Barolo Vineyard Following a vintage like 2010 is not easy.  2010 Barolos are not only of great quality, they were released to a market primed to buy something new, a market disillusioned with Bordeaux, a market looking for quality, value and character.  What the wines of Piedmont offered, and continue to offer is simple: the opportunity to buy, own ...
ON March 19, 2015
Focus On: Kapcsandy
A family-owned winery based in Yountville at the southern end of Napa Valley, Kapcsandy is a name synonymous with quality and rarity, producing some of the best yet most difficult to source wines in California. Described by Robert Parker as “Nothing short of remarkable”, Kapcsandy produces between 2,500 and 4,000 cases of wine each year from their 15.5 acres of ...
ON August 20, 2015
Rosso Della Centa - The First Great Friuli Red
We have unearthed an absolute gem in the guise of Rosso della Centa. A 100% Merlot wine grown on just one hectare of a distinct marl clay hillside in Friuli, Italy. The wine is the creation of one of Italy’s top winemakers Nicola Manferrari who first produced the wine in 1985 and has gone on to release it only in ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 30, 2020
Bordeaux Revival: A Reinvention of the City
A prince’s kiss rouses the cursed princess from a century-long slumber in Sleeping Beauty but the man responsible for Bordeaux’s long-overdue reawakening was not a prince (this being the French Republic after all) but Alain Juppé, France’s former Prime Minister. Bordeaux had been comatosed earning it the nickname la belle endormie but the indefatigable politician has given the city the kiss ...
BY Rebecca Gibb MW,
ON May 12, 2020
William Kelley on Burgundy 2019
Ahead of the publication of his full report in January 2021, the Wine Advocate’s Burgundy critic William Kelley offers his initial thoughts on the 2019 vintage The red wines are simply brilliant: most of what I’ve tasted so far has been beautifully balanced, combining a seductive depth of fruit with very classical levels of acidity; and nor is there any ...
BY William Kelley,
ON December 11, 2020
Chateau Musar Tasting Notes Year By Year
A Timeline of Vintages Many factors come into play when tasting Chateau Musar vintages. Was it a warmer Cabernet year (1999, 2000, 2005)? Was it cooler, making Cinsault more influential in the blend as in 1998? Or was it a Carignan year like 2003? Or will grape prominence be less relevant than the dodging of bullets across the Beka’a in ...
ON June 11, 2020
Petrus - "The Vinous Holy Grail"
** In our previous producer profiles we’ve focused on the five Bordeaux first-growths. Now, we turn our attention to the equally mighty Petrus, the star of Pomerol and producer of some of the world’s finest – and most expensive – wines. Fame and adoration Ask any wine-lover to name the world’s greatest fine wine, and the answer will invariably include ...
ON August 10, 2018
Chateau Angelus - Premier Grand Cru Classe A
Chateau Angelus is today one of the four “First Growths” of Saint Emilion that are classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’. It sits alongside Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Pavie as the highest rated estates in the appellation. Chateau Angelus and Chateau Pavie are the newest additions to this top rank, having both been promoted in latest ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 8, 2019
Top Whiskies Around The World
Scotch may lead the global whisky market but over the past decade many countries with no history in whisky-making have joined the industry, bringing with them cultural creativity, new ingredients, and a huge passion for creating new and unique whiskies. While most countries across the globe are now trying their hand at whisky production, here are the top 7 we feel have made the ...
BY George Koutsakis,
ON March 12, 2020
Chateau Clos de Sarpe: Tasting through the Ages
Clos de Sarpe is a rather unassuming place to visit, nestled in a little enclave north east of the village of Saint Emilion. It is in fact a tiny property in Bordeaux terms, made up of just 3.7 hectares and producing a maximum of 14,000 bottles a year, but more often than not, closer to just 10,000. In 2018 they ...
ON May 17, 2019
Christian Patat on the Wines of Friuli-Venezia Giuli
Christian Patat is one of Italy’s busiest and most successful vignerons working with his wife at top Friuli estate, Ronco del Gnemiz, as well as working with Enzo Pontoni, vigneron extraordinaire, at the legendary Miani estate. He also works as a consultant winemaker for many properties producing wines from all over Italy. Most recently he has been involved in an ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON February 19, 2020
Château Lafite-Rothschild - Bottled Finesse
Last week we took a look at Mouton-Rothschild; this week we profile its fellow Bordeaux first growth, the iconic Château Lafite-Rothschild, one of the most famous estates in Bordeaux, if not the world. “The quintessential wine of elegance” Château Lafite-Rothschild is characterised by sophistication and finesse. Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate describes it as the “quintessential wine of elegance”, ...
ON October 19, 2015
Louis Jadot Le Gavroche Dinner
What happens when a world-class restaurant pairs with one of Burgundy's most prestigious producers? Buying Director and Founding Partner Bud Cuchet reports back from a magical evening spent at Le Gavroche Louis Jadot dinner. ** Buttered Poached Lobster, Coconut Cream and Lemongrass, a highlight of le Gavroche Dinner * *Le Gavroche is a restaurant that needs little introduction. Just two years’ ...
ON November 19, 2015
A Pomerol Evening with Neal Martin
On Wednesday night we were privileged to have the company of Neal Martin at a small dinner in the private room of the brilliant Chez Bruce. The theme was, of course, Pomerol and Neal’s recently published book on the region. Wine and food first. The aim of the wine selection was to be eclectic rather than simply aiming for the ...
ON March 15, 2013
10 Top Tips for Ordering Wine in Restaurants
Restaurant wine lists can be tricky. When out with friends or family, I often find myself being delegated the task of ordering the wine simply because no one wants the pressure of choosing the right bottle. I suppose no food-loving city-dweller wants to be culpable for putting a glass of bad juice in front of a nice plate of food, ...
ON August 3, 2015
24 hours in Venice
Venissa's Annalisa Florian shares her insider knowledge on wining and dining like a true Venetian, as well as must see artisan discoveries. Best wine lists: Osteria Ai Rusteghi, near the Rialto bridge, is a hidden gem. With courtyard seating and small but well curated Italian and international wine list, this is a perfect stop for fantastic artisanal charcuterie ...
ON July 12, 2019
Domaine Georges Lignier - 2018 Vintage Update
Domaine Georges Lignier has some of the most enviable Grand Cru sites in Burgundy with significant holdings in Clos de la Roche, Clos St Denis and Bonnes Mares. Based in the village of Morey St Denis, the domaine is today run by the ever-thoughtful Benoit Stehly, the great grandson of Georges Lignier, who has been in charge of the property since 2007. It ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 8, 2020
Diary of a 2012 Champagne Academy Alumnus Day Two
Day Two Moet Chandon proved a difficult start, since we could not at first work our way into the building! When eventually we were sat down in the boardroom, we launched into the short daily test before moving onto the lecture, this time on vineyards and harvest. And the reward at the end of our hard work? A trip round ...
ON August 7, 2012
Rangen de Thann Grand Cru
Following our masterclass with Olivier Humbrecht MW and tasting through his extraordinary collection, we haven't been able to forget the wines from the Grand Cru vineyard of Rangen de Thann. These are wines that are overwhelmingly dominated by their terroir, with an abundance of mineral tones over and above fruit-forward flavours. Decanter’s Andrew Jefford describes the Rangen vineyard as "the ...
ON June 21, 2019

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