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Generation Y: Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse
Generation Y: Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse
The 2021 vintage was a challenging year in Bordeaux – but at Saint-Emilion estate Ch. Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse, it was also the first with Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse at the helm. We visited the young vigneronne to find out what it means to take on such a legacy Ch. Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse clearly has some fantastic terroir. One of only a handful of top-rated ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON May 28, 2022
Hugh Johnson: the wine whisperer
Hugh Johnson: the wine whisperer
Since he started writing about wine in the 1960s, Hugh Johnson has sold 20 million books. As a new edition of The Story of Wine is published by Académie du Vin Library, Sophie Thorpe talks to the best-selling author about a lifetime spent telling – and selling – the stories behind every bottle “Turbot,” Hugh Johnson says, the sense of ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON October 1, 2020
The constant farmer: Noëmie Durantou Reilhac
The constant farmer: Noëmie Durantou Reilhac
Having taken over from her late father, Denis Durantou, Noëmie Durantou Reilhac of Ch. l’Eglise-Clinet tells Sophie Thorpe how the vines were a constant in an emotionally wrought year – and what lies ahead for the vigneron family  The 2020 vintage was challenging for most vignerons. But for the Durantou family, it was a year that demanded everything of them. Denis Durantou – patriarch and leading light of Pomerol – passed away on 12th May. For many people, their day-job would be ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON July 1, 2021
Maison Albert Bichot 2018s
Maison Albert Bichot 2018s
Improvements both in the winery and most importantly the vineyards are really now coming to fruition for large negociant Maison Albert Bichot. Following the reduction of yields, careful extraction, prudent whole bunch fermentation, cold maceration and sensible use of new oak, the wines produced can now compete against those from some of the very best producers in Burgundy. The Albert ...
ON September 26, 2019
Burgundy 2017 Early Vintage Insight
Burgundy 2017 Early Vintage Insight
Burgundy 2017 - At A Glance: First ‘normal’ sized harvest since 2009 – the cellars are full for the first time in nearly a decade Dry, early harvest with no hail or frost damage Enthusiasm is building for the reds: Roumier compares these to the 2007 and 2014 vintages; Drouhin compares them to 2002 In the Cote d’Or, whites have ...
ON July 25, 2018
A couple of days in Bordeaux
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
Jean-Marie Fourrier: from Burgundy to Oz
Jean-Marie Fourrier: from Burgundy to Oz
Jean-Marie Fourrier is already one of Burgundy’s leading names, but the winemaker is restless. We caught up with him to hear about his new venture in Australia – and why he’s always got one eye on the horizon  When Jean-Marie Fourrier bought legendary Australian estate Bass Phillip in early 2020, he envisaged being there a lot – even being there for the 2020 harvest. “But ‘a small virus’ can make ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON October 7, 2021
White Burgundy 2018 Review
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 ...
ON September 17, 2019
Top 12 Wine Quotes
Top 12 Wine Quotes
At FINE+RARE, we spend a lot of our time talking about wine. From advising our customers on the next addition to their cellar, to chatting to producers on vineyard tours and conducting tastings at HQ, we’re full things to say about the fruit of the vine. But we’re not the only ones. Take a look at these top twelve wine ...
ON October 28, 2015
Assessing the blend: 2011 Chateau Margaux
Assessing the blend: 2011 Chateau Margaux
Me: “Paul, are you sure that sample is Merlot, it tastes a lot like Cabernet?” Paul Pontallier: “Yes absolutely it’s a Merlot, amazing eh?” Me: “Paul, are you really sure this isn’t a Cabernet?” Paul Pontallier: “Hmmm, no, not any more. Let me check…” It had started as a simple question in late Nov 2011 when I was at Ch ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON February 28, 2012
Rosso Della Centa - The First Great Friuli Red
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
Burgundy 2014 vintage preview
Burgundy 2014 vintage preview
A few of our private client sales team went to Burgundy to take a first look at the 2014 vintage and were treated to a very early glimpse of 2015. They report their findings... Our arrival was met with rain, ominous dark clouds and a lightning storm. Not the most auspicious of welcomes, but despite the skies, Burgundian producers were smiling. ...
ON October 2, 2015
Ch. Latour: the power of silence
Ch. Latour: the power of silence
Few wine producers are as lauded as Ch. Latour. Ahead of the release of their 2005, Sophie Thorpe attempts to look behind the curtain at the legendary First Growth estate Ch. Latour doesn’t need PR. The Pauillac estate, one of Bordeaux’s five hallowed First Growths, is rightfully revered. But browse Google and there’s an almost eerie absence of stories about ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON September 2, 2021
Decanter’s Great Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter
Decanter’s Great Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter
Two weeks ago I attended Decanter’s Great Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter at The Landmark Hotel in London. The tasting featured over 80 of the region’s most prestigious producers, from the most renowned chateaux (such as Angelus, Montrose, Giscours and Beychevelle) to the best petits chateaux. It was here that fine wine enthusiasts were given a rare opportunity to discuss the ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON July 5, 2012
"A Wine That Makes You Smile": A Gem Discovered on our Trip to Montalcino
"A Wine That Makes You Smile": A Gem Discovered on our Trip to Montalcino
Before the prose: this is one of the best wines I have tasted this year. A wine with energy, a wine with bounce, a wine that makes you smile. We tasted it against a Brunello and a Brunello Riserva and it trounced them both. As luck would have it we found a bottle - not on the list – at ...
ON July 17, 2014
Tuscany Wine Journal, Day One
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
Produttori del Barbaresco
Produttori del Barbaresco
2011 was a superb year for Barbaresco, and some of the most beautiful wines came from Produttori del Barbaresco. We report back from a Produttori del Barbaresco Masterclass in which we were lucky enough to taste their incredible 2011 Riservas...  Produttori del Barbaresco Masterclass Produttori del Barbaresco is arguably the world’s finest wine-making cooperatives and has a reputation for crafting beautiful ...
ON February 12, 2016
2011 Bordeaux - Vintage Report
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) ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON April 11, 2012
One Big Wine Moment...A Bottle of Sherry Had Me Turned
One Big Wine Moment...A Bottle of Sherry Had Me Turned
It’s easy to drop into hyperbole from time to time and I am occasionally pulled up for it. It’s not often these days that I have a wine moment. After almost two decades of tasting and, even better, drinking fine wine the standards have got rather high. So high that I sometimes envy the novice, the young man or woman ...
ON July 30, 2014
Burgundy 2020: by producer
Burgundy 2020: by producer
Last month, our team spent a whistle-stop week in Burgundy sampling the 2020 vintage. Here we break down the vintage by producer, from north to south, with a summary of how each fared and our favourite wine from the tasting table Domaine Charles Audoin (Marsannay) Cyril Audoin was very happy when we visited him, the cellar busy with the hum ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON November 9, 2021
Bordeaux Safari: The Story Behind The Vines
Bordeaux Safari: The Story Behind The Vines
Working the vines is a truly magical thing. We are delighted to launch Bordeaux Safari, an exclusive, first-of-its-kind trip where customers can experience the behind-the-scenes management of a top vineyard, overseen by the very best in the business. As any grower will tell you, great wine starts with great vines. While state of the art equipment and care in the ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON September 19, 2017
Bordeaux 2021: first thoughts
Bordeaux 2021: first thoughts
Our team has just returned from 10 days in Bordeaux tasting the 2021 vintage en primeur. Visiting over 50 estates, tasting hundreds of wines and talking to the region’s leading producers, we offer our first thoughts on the vintage The circus is back in town. This week saw the world’s wine trade touch down in Bordeaux to taste the latest ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON April 28, 2022
Vintage Report - 2017 Red Burgundies: tension, verve and terroir transparency
Vintage Report - 2017 Red Burgundies: tension, verve and terroir transparency
Generally speaking, 2017 is a vintage that, for once, all went to plan in Burgundy. Not since 2009 have so many winemakers been so happy with both their quantity and quality. It has been a difficult few years and it is genuinely a pleasant sight to see the cellars full again after so many years of heartache. I say generally, ...
ON November 23, 2018
Burgundy 2019: the reds
Burgundy 2019: the reds
As last week’s look at 2019 white Burgundy revealed, the vintage is rapidly proving to be one of the most exciting in recent memory. Here Sophie Thorpe reports on the reds – wines of outstanding balance that have a long future ahead of them As we’ve already discussed in our pieces on Chablis and the whites of the Côte de ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON October 30, 2020
A Double Dose of Bordeaux in Hong Kong
A Double Dose of Bordeaux in Hong Kong
Ahead of the latest En Primeur campaign later this spring, the Bordeaux bandwagon is gradually rolling back into life. Much attention is naturally starting to focus on past vintages (2012’s are bottled and due for release shortly), significant changes in the world of the critics (Robert Parker relinquishing his EP tasting duties to Neal Martin, as well as re-reviewing the ...
ON March 10, 2015
On the ground: digging into Burgundy's 2019s
On the ground: digging into Burgundy's 2019s
As our team touches down after a week in Burgundy getting to grips with the 2019 vintage, Sophie Thorpe discusses why getting into the cellars, wineries and vineyards is so important – especially in Burgundy Four days, 28 producers and over 300 wines tasted (with a few additional bottles enjoyed over dinner): it’s been a busy few days, travelling ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON October 15, 2020
In the glass
In the glass
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 2005 Charmes-Chambertin, Grand Cru, Dennis Bachelet “Denis Bachelet’s wines are part of our family history, and we have always followed the domaine. My family has ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON January 22, 2021
Finding Tempranillo’s true potential
Finding Tempranillo’s true potential
Bodegas Roda has always done things a bit differently in Rioja. Their prestige cuvée Cirsion is a perfect example, proving the top wines of the region don’t have to be dominated by oak Bodegas Roda has always strived to be a modern force in Rioja – not dictated by tradition and the region’s strict requirements when it comes to ageing. ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON July 8, 2021
Keller: the devil’s in the detail
Keller: the devil’s in the detail
Klaus-Peter Keller is one of the great viticultural success stories of the modern era. Within just 25 years he has turned a little-known winery in Rheinhessen into one of the world’s most in-demand – producing some of the finest Riesling and Pinot Noir in Germany. We caught up with him to find out more about his extraordinary ascendancy Klaus-Peter Keller ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON June 30, 2020
Wines from Syria – Making Wine on the Frontline
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
2010 Brunello + 2011 Barolo Tasting in our Hong Kong Office
2010 Brunello + 2011 Barolo Tasting in our Hong Kong Office
The Hong Kong summer. Ask anyone who’s spent any length of time here and the words you’re likely to hear will include hot; humid; hot; sweaty; hot; suffocating… not quite the words that imply the ideal climate for a wine tasting focused on the titanic Italian regions of Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino, are they? Maybe not… With vintages as ...
ON August 19, 2015
Napa 2018: vintage report
Napa 2018: vintage report
Napa’s top names are starting to release their 2018s. We talk to some of the valley’s top names to find out more about the vintage, a year that shows great promise While critics are mostly yet to publish their reports on Napa’s 2018, the early reviews are outstanding. Alder Yarrow describes it as “a complete knockout, with phenomenal potential” and ...
BY Sophie Thorpe,
ON October 30, 2020
Burgundy 2020: an exceptional year
Burgundy 2020: an exceptional year
Our team spent a week tasting their way around Burgundy, getting a handle on the 2020 vintage. Here we dig into a unique year and the stunning wines it produced Reports coming in last summer of the long drought that hit Burgundy had many writing off the vintage before it had even been picked. What then turned out to be ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON November 9, 2021
24 Hours in... Burgundy
24 Hours in... Burgundy
With the Burgundy 2018 En Primeur sales in full swing we thought it topical to offer our top tips for visiting the region. With two native Burgundians in our buying team, who better than them to outline the local delicacies not to miss, the top wine lists and the best restaurants in the region. Top Special Occasion Restaurant – Lameloise (3* ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 12, 2019
The birth of Barolo’s Crus
The birth of Barolo’s Crus
Prunotto was one of the first Barolo estates to produce a single-vineyard “Cru” wine – kickstarting a trend that has transformed the region. We spoke to Emanuele Baldi to find out what inspired the estate Prunotto’s Emanuele Baldi has an encyclopedic knowledge of Barolo. Listening to his stories about the last century in the region is fascinating, providing context to how and why Barolo and the surrounding Piedmontese regions have developed as they have. Perhaps one of ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON February 5, 2021
Bordeaux 2018 - F+R visits Bordeaux for an early vintage insight
Bordeaux 2018 - F+R visits Bordeaux for an early vintage insight
The Right Bank in 2018 Our first stop was Pomerol, with a visit to Clos du Clocher to taste a number of wines from Jean Baptiste Bourotte. Clos du Clocher is situated in some of the finest Pomerol terroir in the middle of the plateau neighboring Trotanoy and La Fleur Petrus. We have been following the Chateau avidly as quality ...
ON March 22, 2019
Burgundy 2019: the whites
Burgundy 2019: the whites
Burgundy producers are just starting to release their 2019s – a vintage that offers amazing consistency and balance. After a week tasting in the Côte d’Or, Gavin Smith delves deeper into the whites of the Côte de Beaune, putting the vintage in context “Good maturity, a nice freshness and lots of energy” Olivier Lamy, Domaine Hubert Lamy “Microscopic grapes each ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 21, 2020
Cerbaiona: a new era
Cerbaiona: a new era
There’s been a buzz about the cult Montalcino estate Cerbaiona since it changed hands in 2015. Ahead of the release of the 2016 Brunello – the first under Matthew Fioretti’s ownership – Gavin Smith caught up with Fioretti to find out more about how and why he’s transforming the property Cerbaiona is widely recognised as one of the top estates ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 29, 2021
Burgundy 2020: the growing season
Burgundy 2020: the growing season
No two growing seasons are alike – but the 2020 vintage in Burgundy was particularly unusual (and also remarkably easy for its vignerons). We delve into the conditions that shaped the year’s wines The 2020 vintage is exceptional. Not only was it the earliest harvest on record, but the entire growing season – from start to finish – took place ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON November 8, 2021
Barolo 2017: vintage report
Barolo 2017: vintage report
With the release of the 2017 Barolos fast approaching, Gavin Smith spoke to some of the region’s leading producers – Giovanni Angeli from Massolino, Giuseppe Vaira from Vajra, Emanuele Baldi from Prunotto and Ferruccio Grimaldi – about the vintage, its extreme conditions and the surprising results The world’s fine wine regions famously exist where the climate is just warm enough ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON February 12, 2021
Kavalan: Taiwan's First Whisky Distillery
Kavalan: Taiwan's First Whisky Distillery
Last month our globe-trotting Head of Spirits, David Walters, travelled to Taiwan to visit Kavalan Whisky Distillery. A seemingly unlikely location for one of the world's most-awarded whisky producers, Kavalan now receives over one million visitors to its distillery every year - a figure that exceeds the total visitors to all Scotch whisky distilleries combined. We delve into the details of what makes Taiwanese ...
ON October 4, 2018
Jessica Servet Portrait - Winemaker at Hegarty Chamans
Jessica Servet Portrait - Winemaker at Hegarty Chamans
Hegarty Chaman is a winery co-owned by Sir John Hegarty and his partner Phillipa Crane. Since purchasing the property in 2002 they have invested heavily into the vineyard and winery in order to produce some of the finest examples of red and white wines from the Minervois Appellation in the heart of Southern France. Once known for its gutsy rustic ...
ON November 8, 2018
Fine+Rare Whisky Trip to Islay
Fine+Rare Whisky Trip to Islay
Rare and Single Malt Whiskies are an increasingly important part of our business here at Fine+Rare, with daily whisky enquiries now commonplace and a base of knowledgeable, dedicated spirits customers growing daily. With this in mind, a fact-finding trip to one of the key regions, Islay, was planned, and our Whisky and Spirits Buyer Garrick Whittaker and Sales Director Jamie ...
ON July 8, 2015
F+R Sommelier Series: Q+A with Louise Gordon of Heckfield Place
F+R Sommelier Series: Q+A with Louise Gordon of Heckfield Place
This month we were lucky enough to catch up with the enigmatic and incredibly busy Louise Gordon as she prepares for the highly-anticipated launch of Hampshire's Heckfield Place... Q. What set you on the path to becoming a sommelier A. It was a total accident. When I was 19 I went to work for a company with a wine warehouse ...
ON September 6, 2018
Chateau Angelus - Premier Grand Cru Classe A
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
Bordeaux 2016 En Primeur: Vintage Report
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
Burgundy’s Oldest Clos Vineyard - Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru – A vertical tasting
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
Monica Soldera Interview
Monica Soldera Interview
Soldera is one of Italy’s most iconic and best-loved wines amongst aficionados and collectors across the globe. In top vintages it remains the absolute benchmark for Sangiovese par excellence. There are few wines in the world that can achieve the same level of ethereal beauty found in Soldera. Soldera has always been a family affair and, following the passing of founder ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON March 19, 2020
Brunello 2016: what the critics are saying
Brunello 2016: what the critics are saying
The 2016 vintage in Montalcino is one of the best we’ve tasted – and the critics have now had their say. Here’s an overview of what the Wine Advocate, Vinous and James Suckling are saying, as well as the wines they rate most highly This week saw the release of the Wine Advocate’s first report on 2016 Brunello di Montalcino, ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 4, 2020
FINE+RARE: the 2013 Burgundy Report
FINE+RARE: the 2013 Burgundy Report
The 2013 Burgundy vintage is one of high quality and low quantities. We report our findings from our recent visit, and speculate on what impact another year of low yields might have on the price of these spectacular wines We visited Burgundy early in November to spend a week tasting the 2013 vintage. These wines are just starting to appear ...
ON December 1, 2014

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