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The Red Grapes of Fine Wine
We look at the red grapes that make up the finest wines in the world. Where are they grown? What’s their unique character? What makes them so special? Cabernet Sauvignon – From the Left-Bank of Bordeaux It Has Conquered the Globe The most noble and aristocratic of the red grapes, its thick skin and rich fruit always mean long-lived ...
ON October 19, 2015
Chateau Margaux - Talking Terroir with Aurelien Valance
Chateau Margaux is one of the world’s most iconic and historic wineries, producing some of the finest wine in the region for over 600 years. Despite its historical roots it has never rested on its laurels, remaining at the forefront of top Bordeaux wine production. More than ever, the owners and team are committed to retaining its reputation, investing huge ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 22, 2019
Chateau Brane Cantenac - Behind the Bottle
Chateau Brane Cantenac has been a consistent performer in Margaux since Henri Lurton took over the property in 1992. But in the last decade the quality has taken another sharp upswing. Even in a mixed vintage like 2014, Brane produced a beautiful wine. 2015 and 2016 were both outstanding and arguably some of the best wines ever made at the ...
ON March 22, 2019
New Zealand's Wine Identity
Most wine regions have a very clear varietal identity. For example, in France, Bordeaux is best known for its red blends dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and white blends using Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc; Burgundy has Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; Alsace is defined by its Rieslings, Gewurztraminers, Pinot Gris and Muscats and so on. However one country which is ...
ON May 1, 2012
Bordeaux 2018: Early Vintage Insight from the Producers
Excitement is building for the upcoming release of 2018 Bordeaux with the En Primeur tastings just weeks away. As soon as harvest began we started hearing from relieved vignerons who, after a tough start to the growing season, saw the weather turn in July for an uninterrupted long dry summer right up to picking. As the wine went through fermentation, ...
ON March 8, 2019
A Masterclass from Château Cheval Blanc
Cheval Blanc is one of the finest Châteaux in Bordeaux, famed for producing what is arguably the greatest wine of all time: 1947 Château Cheval Blanc. Opportunities to taste back vintages from this famous estate alongside the winemaking team are few and far between, so when the possibility arose, we leapt at the chance. The result was a unique tasting at ...
ON February 7, 2019
2016 Bordeaux En Primeur: Early Opinions
With 2015 still selling strongly and 2014 enjoying resurgence after big rescores from Antonio Galloni and James Suckling, we now turn our attention to the much-anticipated 2016 Bordeaux En Primeur… Can 2016 rival 2014 & 2015? All early signs are pointing towards 2016 Bordeaux being an excellent vintage, potentially the third in a row. A turbulent, but in the end ...
ON March 2, 2017
FINE+RARE at Quintarelli
There is distinct anticipation in the air as the car slips quietly past the colourful patchwork of houses in the village of Negrar. It is 30 degrees outside and still there are goosebumps on my arm as we pull into a long gravel driveway at the top of the hill. Visions of Amarone dance through my head as my final ...
ON August 4, 2015
Bordeaux Right Bank Icons
The Right Bank icons of Bordeaux are situated on two very distinct terroir regions, the limestone plateau of Saint Emilion and the dark clay, rich in iron soils of Pomerol. Whilst Saint Emilion is one of the most historic winemaking sites in the world; neighbouring Pomerol's rise to prominence has been a much more recent phenomena. Pomerol only really ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON August 23, 2019
Bordeaux 2013: Twist or Stick?
2013 is a Bordeaux vintage that has been challenged from the start. Challenged by the weather that made the vintage, challenged by the naysayers since the grapes were picked, challenged by a wine market disenchanted by Bordeaux and challenged now by those with the job of selling it. Asked earlier this week by the maker of one of the year's ...
ON April 7, 2014
After three very difficult vintages on the spin, Bordeaux has come up with what is indisputably a good vintage and, in some cases, a very good vintage.  2014 is easily the best vintage since 2010, and probably better than anything between 2005 and 2009.  The wines lack the magic of a truly great vintage like a 2005 or a 2009, ...
ON April 8, 2015
Isabel Ferrando on finding the 'Saint Prefert identity'
"Proprietress Isabel Ferrando has taken her Saint Prefert estate to France’s highest level, and she’s unquestionably making some of the most profound wines on earth today, including both reds and whites." So said Rhone expert Jeb Dunnuck on release of the 2016 vintage. The names Isabel Ferrando and Saint Prefert have indeed become synonymous with Southern Rhone of the highest ...
ON July 25, 2019
Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Vintage Report
Early critic scores and the buzz in the marketplace suggest that the Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur campaign could be one of the biggest yet. Read on to find out about the vintage, critic opinions, scores and all the major appellations… While at En Primeur week Jancis Robinson has suggested that her readers “start saving” as she is “much enjoying tasting ...
ON April 7, 2017
2018 En Primeur Release of Pomerol's Chateau Belle-Brise
The 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur campaign reached new heights this week with the surprise release of one of Saint-Emilion’s top estates - Chateau Angelus. As well as offering a pleasing reduction in price versus their last two vintages, this welcome surprise set the tone for potentially one of the most exciting En Primeur campaigns ever. Last week our first releases ...
ON April 18, 2019
Rags to Riches - Fine Wine's Best Success Stories
From shipwrecks to blighted vines, Claire Huxley examines five wineries whose path to success involved a couple of bumps in the road. Introducing the unlikely stars of fine wine...  Here at FINE+RARE, we know that each and every bottle has a story to tell. For some of the wines we sell, those stories stretch back centuries; for others, they are just ...
ON December 11, 2015
Harvesting at Chateau Rauzan Segla 2013
2013 has been a challenging vintage for most of France. Much of Bordeaux has been affected by storms earlier in the year, resulting in considerably lower yields for many. Luckily, at Rauzan Segla not too much of the crop was lost. This has helped the chateau overcome what was looking to be another major concern for the vintage: rot. The ...
ON October 22, 2013
Bordeaux 2015: Bill Blatch's Vintage Report
Industry insider Bill Blatch opens the gates on Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur with his in-depth vintage report... Bill Blatch on Bordeaux 2015 Bill Blatch is a Bordeaux expert described by Andrew Jefford as "the wine world's secret agent." His vintage reports are frequently the most accurate, respected and detailed in the wine trade. Below you will find his verbatim Bordeaux ...
ON March 29, 2016
Roberto Voerzio - "Throw Away The Rulebook"
F+R visits the radical winemaker of Barolo Radical Viticulture – Bringing Forward the Harvest Date In the vineyard Roberto Voerzio harvests his grapes up to a month earlier than his neighbours! For Roberto, the autumn fog, cold weather and rain is to be avoided at all costs believing this results in a loss of power and fruit purity. In order ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 19, 2019
Stonestreet Estate - The High Elevation micro-terroirs of Jackson Family Wines
Earlier this month F+R were fortunate enough to be invited to a very special lunch with Christopher Jackson, the son of the late Jess Jackson, who heads up and manages their home estate of Stonestreet Vineyards in Sonoma County. Whilst the wines might not be as well known as the Jackson Family’s flagship Sonoma wines of Verité. The Stonestreet vineyards ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON July 5, 2019
Burgundy 2016: According to Winehog’s Steen Öhman
FINE+RARE interviewed Winehog’s Steen Öhman - one of the world’s leading and most respected Burgundy experts - to bring you his take on Burgundy 2016… Winehog, with its tasting notes, detailed maps and incredible insight into Burgundy’s intricate terroir, is invaluable to any serious Burgundy collector. So we've asked Steen Öhman, the man behind the website, for his take on ...
ON November 20, 2017
Tenerife + its Terroir - in conversation with Jonatan Garçia Lima of Suertes del Marqués
For many of us, Tenerife has more to do with holidays in the sun than fine wine, but there has in fact been a long history of winemaking on the mountain slopes of the northern part of the island, which is much cooler than the tourist hub in the south. The grapes are grown on some of the world's most ...
ON May 17, 2019
2011 Bordeaux - Vintage Report
Our wines of the vintage with scores out of 20 points in brackets: Haut Brion Blanc Pessac(19) Mouton Rothschild Pauillac (18+) Pontet Canet Pauillac (18+) Margaux Margaux (18+) Eglise Clinet Pomerol (18+) La Conseillante Pomerol (18+) Domaine de Chevalier Blanc Pessac (18+) Ducru Beaucaillou St Julien (18+) Lafleur Pomerol (18+) Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol (18) Leoville Lascases St Julien (18) ...
ON April 11, 2012
The Rhone Valley has been enjoying a consecutive set of remarkable vintages since 2015. According to Michel Chapoutier, 2018 has continued in the same vein and he describes it as “a terrific year”. Indeed, the Rhone Valley followed a similar path to the rest of France in 2018. A very wet start to the year helped provide plenty of water ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 6, 2019
Vintage Port 2016
Not since 2011 have so many Port houses declared a vintage year. The good news is that the 2016s have been defined by their “purity and refinement” and the universal declaration indicates high quality across the board. The bad news is that production levels are down. For the Symington Family Estates Port houses, including Dow’s, Graham’s and Warre’s, production is ...
ON April 27, 2018
Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur: Critic Value Picks
Both Neal Martin and Jancis Robinson have published lists of their possible bargains for Bordeaux 2015 En Primeur. Buy wines that have been released and set alerts for those coming soon... With all the top critic scores published for En Primeur 2015, we now await the releases from Bordeaux's big guns. In the meantime, as many of the critics predicted, ...
ON May 6, 2016
Nicolas Champagneux - Producer Portrait
Nicolas has lived and breathed Cote Rotie since he was a boy, working alongside his uncle in the vineyards and winery, and in the summers with his father at Guigal. Following his uncle's passing, Nicolas inherited one of the most prime vineyards in the highly revered lieu-dit of “Les Grandes Places” in the Cote Brune of Cote Rotie. Previously these ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 6, 2019
Behind the Bottle - Vire Clesse by Domaine de la Bongran
This is no ordinary Chardonnay from the Maconnias, the Domaine de la Bongran Vire Clesse has its own particular style thanks to some rather unique terroir and an uncompromising approach to its winemaking. The vines are organically-farmed on a 15 hectare estate planted on white marl in the hamlet of Quintaine, just north of Clessé. Jean Thevenet and his son Gautier ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 8, 2020
Jasper Morris MW (Inside Burgundy) provides an early insight to the Burgundy 2018 Vintage
We tend to focus on the weather conditions in the lead-up to the harvest and while the grapes are being picked, but a key factor in defining how the 2018 crop turned out was the winter before, which was grim and excessively rainy. This proved to be a blessing however during the drought months of high summer which followed. The ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 18, 2019
FINE+RARE Roundup: w/c 7 March 2016
Our roundup of what's been selling in week commencing 7 March 2016 and what to look out for in the coming weeks… What's Been Selling Rare, Ex-Cellar, Aged Burgundy from Remoissenet This week saw an exquisite offering of very late release red Burgundies in bottles and magnums from deep within Remoissenet's ancient vaults. These wines are both highly rated by ...
ON March 10, 2016
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 ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 19, 2019
Le Grappin: Wines of Site + Soul
In the midst of this golden age of Burgundy there is so much more to these Cote d’Or slopes than just the Premier and Grand Cru sites cultivated by the established superstars of the region. Le Grappin is a prime example of the new wave of vignerons who have been drawn to Burgundy by that "eureka" moment; that one special ...
ON February 22, 2019
Napa Valley 2016 & 2017 Vintage Insights
The 2016 Vintage 2016 was undoubtedly a sensational vintage in Napa. Whilst it was the 5th warm vintage in a row, the season had a very wet start, so it was the first vintage in Napa since 2011 not classified as a drought vintage. For many, this brought more finesse to the tannins, more minerality and more balance to the ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 6, 2019
White Burgundy 2018 Review
"We don't need to be a great expert to know that this is an exceptional vintage, for both red and white wines.” Aubert de Villaine (Domaine Romanee-Conti) The hallmark of the 2018 vintage was brightness, with remarkable levels of sunshine from April right through to September. Budburst and canopy growth happened at normal times and the settled weather meant ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 17, 2019
Roberto Voerzio – A modernist in the vineyard a traditionalist in the cellar
** ** Does Voerzio epitomise 'Fusionist' winemaking gripping Barolo? Famed for his unique style, miniscule yields and fanatical attention to detail, Roberto Voerzio is a must-have producer for any serious fine wine collector. With only 22 hectares under vine and extremely limited production on these plants (restricted down to 5 bunches per vine), these wines are some of the rarest in ...
ON May 4, 2018
Napa Valley Heritage: Talking Tradition + Terroir with David Beckstoffer
With over 50 fine wines designated as originating entirely from Beckstoffer Heritage Vineyards – the Beckstoffer family has been at the forefront of fine wine production in Napa since they bought up and nurtured some of Napa’s finest terroir from the early 1970s onwards. Heritage vineyard sites such as To Kalon which Beckstoffer bought from Beaulieu Vineyards in 1993 is ...
ON April 26, 2019
21 Weird and Wonderful Wine Facts
In 1994 FINE + RARE began trading, and 21 years on we’re proud to have become a key feature of the fine wine marketplace. After starting with just two friends with a bright idea and a passion for wine, we’ve grown to a diverse, vibrant company with over 80 employees. In that time, we’ve learnt a thing or two about ...
ON September 25, 2015
Cecilia Monte: Boutique Barbaresco at its Best
After working for many years under the guidance of the legendary Barolo producer Luciano Sandrone, Cecilia Monte set up her own winery in the northern-most cru of Barbaresco - Neive - in 2000. We have been so impressed with the wines we have tasted from this estate we wanted to sit down with Cecilia to find out how she does it! Her single vineyard Serracapelli ...
ON January 18, 2019
Haut-Brion 2009: Double Magnums & Imperials
Robert Parker calls this 100 point scoring Haut-Brion 2009 "one of the most compelling examples of Haut-Brion ever made" and we have a handful of exceedingly rare 3 and 6 litre formats available... According to Jancis Robinson Haut-Brion 2009 combines "pleasure and luxury", and what could offer more pleasure or be more luxurious than the same wine in double magnum ...
ON September 29, 2016
They know what they’re doing at Smith-Haut-Lafitte. This is one of the few properties in Bordeaux that really engages with the end customer, and one that is particularly aware of the commercial realities of what they are making. The Cathiards, owners since 1990, have a clear ambition - to be the best - and they are well on this road. ...
ON April 28, 2015
A couple of days in Bordeaux
Bud Cuchet and I spent a couple of days in Bordeaux last week – the first time that either of us have visited Bordeaux during the harvest despite nearly forty years in the trade between us. The aim was twofold: to see the 2012 crop coming in and to retaste a few 2011s and 2010s. Despite our hosts being rather ...
ON October 9, 2012
The First Vertical Tasting of Cirsion Rioja by Roda
Bodegas Roda, a winery based in the heart of traditional Rioja territory Haro, has been pushing boundaries for the region and its signature grape variety Tempranillo. Roda’s philosophy has always been focussed on mastering the essence of Tempranillo and its potential as a world class varietal. On a fascinating tasting through the Roda range with winemaker Agustin Santolaya and commercial ...
ON September 13, 2018
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
As we move into September and the final few weeks prior to harvest, winemakers from around Europe are starting to get a good understanding of how the vintage is looking. We spoke to a number of top producers in Bordeaux to get an early insight into what we might expect from the 2019 vintage. We are pleased to report there ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 4, 2019
UGC 2010 En Primeurs Tasting
On this rather gloomy, wet, winter's day, The Royal Opera House opened its doors to an army of wine professionals to sample the 2010 Bordeaux vintage. The smell of wine filled the magnificent Paul Hamlyn Hall with its large iron and glass windows and gleaming modern glass and gold interior. This juxtaposition effortlessly absorbed the wine tasting into its characterful ...
ON November 16, 2012
Eduardo Chadwick Visits F+R London
We were fortunate enough to welcome the man, the legend, Eduardo Chadwick into our London offices this week. What made the event even more special was that he opened the 2014 Chadwick Cabernet Sauvignon with us; the first wine from Chile ever to score 100 points. When presenting his range of wines to the team he made a point of ...
ON May 9, 2019
Uncovering ancient treasures in Frapin's Paradis Cellar
This summer FINE+RARE travelled to Cognac to attend the 11th edition of the “Les Parts des Anges” Cognac auction. This auction takes place every two years and is one of the true society highlights in the Cognac region. All the major Cognac houses contribute unique releases to the auction, with all the proceeds going to charity. This year the auction raised a staggering ...
ON November 9, 2018
F+R Visit Castello Di Ama
With the releases of the new Chianti Classico 2016s upon us, there is no greater time than to travel around the region, tasting what this magical vintage has to offer. Where better to start than the beautiful hamlet of Ama in the southern tip and highest point of the Chianti Classico designation. Here you will find the exceptional Castello Di ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON July 5, 2019
Burgundy’s Oldest Clos Vineyard - Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru – A vertical tasting
A Vertical tasting of Louis Jadot's Chambertin Clos de Beze with Head Winemaker Frederic Barnier and The Wine Advocate's William Kelley. Louis Jadot is arguably the most consistent negociant house in Burgundy. A company that has managed to straddle both the entry level and fine wine market, whilst retaining respect in both. At entry level, they offer tremendous consistency at a ...
ON November 2, 2018
Argentina's Finest Wines
F+R: You have travelled all over the world visiting vineyards – where have been the most inspirational places you have visited and why? Edgardo del Popolo: I enjoy travelling and meeting people (especially those who do the same as I do) and I like a vast array of places with their particularities. But what I really think makes a difference ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 18, 2019
Burgundy 2012: A Brief Report
Our Fine Wine Buyer Camilla Bowler, Head of Private Client Sales Patrick O’Connor and I visited Burgundy earlier this month to taste the 2012 vintage. A few of these wines are already available for sale and we will see most of the wines released over the coming two months. We have more direct relationships in Burgundy than ever before and ...
ON January 15, 2014

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