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Barolo 2016 -Early Vintage Insight
It was about this time last year we bumped into Giovanni Angeli, winemaker of one of Barolo’s top producers – Massolino. He was over in London to promote his latest 2015 releases. Despite the positivity surrounding the ‘15s, Giovanni just couldn’t contain his excitement about the vintage that was to follow. At this time, the wines were still ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 16, 2020
Domaine Tortochot Producer Portrait
The Burgundy buzz has reached fever pitch this weekend with all of the leading critics publishing their thoughts and scores on the vintage, followed by the majority of Burgundy’s top producers showcasing the vintage in both London and Hong Kong. Amongst all the chatter we spoke to winemaker and proprietor Chantal Tortochot whose wines in 2018 offer fantastic value for the quality. ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 16, 2020
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
Producer Portrait: Domaine Potinet-Ampeau
One of our most memorable visits and tastings this year was in Monthelie at the historic cellars of Domaine Potinet Ampeau. Ever since trying a collection of their aged whites a couple of years ago I’ve been captivated by the pristine quality and structure of their very mature white wines. This autumn we were finally able to discover the cellars ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON January 2, 2020
Q+A with Matt Abé - Chef de Cuisine, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
We found a moment to quiz Matt Abé award-winning Chef de Cuisine at Gordon Ramsay about the inspiration behind the unique menu curated for the recent Chateau Margaux event, the importance wine plays at the restaurant and his close working partnership with Head Sommelier James Lloyd.  What is particular about Bordeaux wines that most affects pairing food with them? ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 19, 2019
Q+A with James Lloyd - Head Sommelier, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Following our F+R event last Saturday we caught up with Head Sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – James Lloyd. We talk to him about the challenges and rewards associated with working as Head Sommelier in one of the world’s most acclaimed dining venues. What is the preferred part of your role as Head Sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay? James Lloyd: There ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 18, 2019
The Glory Years of Chateau Margaux at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Last weekend FINE+RARE hosted a very special wine tasting dinner alongside Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos of Chateau Margaux. An introduction to the history and unique philosophy of this legendary estate was presented alongside a specially curated tasting menu from top chef Matt Abé - Chef de Cuisine at the three Michelin star flagship restaurant in Chelsea. A cold, rainy Saturday evening in December; Christmas around ...
BY Craig Norton,
ON December 18, 2019
Top Wines + Spirits of 2019: FINE+RARE Staff Picks
This year the team at FINE+RARE encountered some astonishing bottles on our quest to source the finest wines and spirits from around the world. We asked our colleagues to highlight some of their favourites from 2019... Corentin Margier – Head of Buying Unicorn Wine/Spirit of the Year (something you are unlikely to taste/ experience again): Clos Vougeot 1937, Maison Leroy The ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 18, 2019
Domaine Hudelot Noellat - Top picks of 2018
Our visit to Domaine Hudelot Noellat during our autumn stint in Burgundy was easily one of the highlights of the trip. Expectations were already high since Charles Van Canneyt (winemaker at the domaine) has been on a roll, producing fantastic wines at this property since taking over from his uncle in 2008. Whilst Charles prefers the cooler vintages in Burgundy, ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 6, 2019
RHONE VALLEY 2018 VINTAGE INSIGHT
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
24 HOURS IN… MONTPELLIER WITH ANDREW JEFFORD
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 ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON December 4, 2019
Maya Returns Home to Dalla Valle Vineyards
The Birth of the Cult Wine in Napa Valley The story of Maya is a fascinating one. Widely seen as Napa’s first cult wine, it was catapulted to stardom following the 1992 vintage becoming the second ever wine from the US to be awarded 100 points from Robert Parker. This was a big deal since Parker at that time was ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 29, 2019
Olivier Bernstein's Bespoke Burgundy
Undoubtedly one of our most memorable stops during our Autumn visit to Burgundy this year was the magnificent cellar of Olivier Bernstein in the heart of the old district of Beaune. Olivier Bernstein’s property is breathtaking, even before trying the wines in the cellar below. Olivier had the property completely renovated between 2005 and 2010, with the help of ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 26, 2019
Venissa: the unique terroir of Venice's flooded vineyards
The precariousness of Venice's future in the face of rising water levels has never felt more immediate than this week, with record water levels and resulting damage leading to a state of emergency being declared. Whilst flooding is a fact of nature for Venissa's vineyards, this week's events underscore how fragile this winemaking endeavour really is. With the newest ...
BY Katie Reading,
ON November 15, 2019
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
F+R Sponsor's Venice Hospitality Challenge
Last weekend F+R were one of the proud sponsors of the Venice Hospitality Challenge, a yacht race that takes place around the island of Venice. It is an incredible spectacle in which racing yachts, with a minimum length of 60 feet, take part in an around the city boat race. It has been dubbed the Grand Prix of Venice and ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 1, 2019
Joseph Colin - The new Domaine on the Cote de Beaune Block
The family name Colin is a hard one to escape in the Cote de Beaune, with a handful of prolific producers dotted around Saint Aubin, Puligny and Chassagne Montrachet all sharing the name. Consumers could be forgiven for getting a little confused over which one is which! We caught up with Joseph Colin, the newest Colin to go solo, following ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 28, 2019
Roberto Voerzio hosts Fine+Rare Event at Luca Restaurant
Roberto is such a calm and measured man, but even he could not hide his excitement over his latest 2019 vintage as he arrived in London buoyed by the latest harvest. Fortunately we managed to tear him away from his latest batch of fermenting wines for a flying 24 hour visit to host a special event presenting some of the ...
ON October 25, 2019
Interview with Craig Wessels - Restless River
F+R: You started producing wines from 2005 – did you buy a developed vineyard or did you start from scratch? Craig Wessels: We started with about 5 hectares of 5-year-old vineyards that had been planted in 1999, prior to our purchase of the farm in 2004.  The vines were a bit neglected and some were later removed and replanted. F+R: ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 25, 2019
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
Artadi - The Rioja Revolutionary's Latest Releases
Whilst Juan Carlos López de Lacalle produces some of the finest wines in the Rioja region, in 2015 he quit the appellation opting to declassify his Artadi wines and actively disassociate with the Rioja DOC. Speaking with Juan Carlos it is easy to understand his frustrations: he doesn’t want his wines to be classified by the length of time the ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 18, 2019
Nicolas Potel on Roche de Bellene 2018
“2018 is the best vintage I have ever made… What I love about the 2018s is the shock every time I taste it… It is a vintage I have been dreaming about for many years”. Nicolas Potel Nicolas grew up in Burgundy, learning his skills as a vigneron under the guidance of his father, the highly respected Gerard Potel at ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 11, 2019
Timo Mayer - bring back the funk!
Despite Timo’s multi-generational family history of winemaking in the Wuttemburg (Baden) region of Germany, his ascendancy into the wine world was not the familiar path of simply taking over the family farm. Timo left Germany to explore the world and ended up in Australia in 1991, fell in love with a girl from Melbourne and spent the next few years ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 10, 2019
Henri Boillot on Burgundy 2018
The Vintage Henri Boillot is widely seen as the top micro-negociant for the production of the Cote d’Or’s finest white wines, including Le Montrachet. He abhors heavy whites therefore expect the style of his white wines to be lean, precise and razor-sharp. His red wine profile however is notably different. Whilst he believes acidity and tension are vital for ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON October 3, 2019
Michel Chapoutier: F+R Interview
F+R: It seems that top winemakers at some point in their career had to take risks to achieve their goals in producing fine wines. Looking back over your career what were those big risks and what were your feelings at the time? Michel Chapoutier: There are risks in attempting to attain quality, that is to say when we go from ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 26, 2019
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
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
Paul Pernot 2018
Domaine Paul Pernot in Burgundy terms is a fairly large Estate with a total of 20 hectares under vine and is the largest owner of Puligny Montrachet vines second only to Domaine Leflaive with 15 hectares in total. When it comes to Puligny-Montrachet, Jasper Morris MW reports in “Inside Burgundy”- Domaine Paul Pernot “could be the outstanding domaine of that ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 17, 2019
Samuel Billaud - Chablis' Rising Star
Chablis has seen a real renaissance the last few years, with critics such as Neal Martin stating, Chablis “articulates terroir with greater transparency than any other wine region”. He goes on to say “… in talented hands Chablis can satisfy both the senses and the intellect…the finest Chablis wines are uncompromising, challenging and cerebral.” In the same article Neal Martin ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 13, 2019
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
Everything you need to know about....
Jonata and The Hilt We have been working with these fantastic sister wineries in Santa Barbara for several years now, loving their take on making wines that celebrate Californian fruit with a European sensibility. The terroirs: Jonata is based in Santa Ynez's Ballard Canyon. Built on million year old sand dunes, the land was at first considered a ...
ON July 25, 2019
F+R Leroy Dinner
On Friday 12th July, FINE+RARE hosted an intimate dinner with Domaine Leroy at Ten Trinity Square’s private club. We were expecting something special – the reality was perhaps the finest event we have ever held. The day began with a masterclass for our UK Sales Team and consisted of three Domaine wines and three Maison wines, hosted by Gilles Deprez, a ...
ON July 25, 2019
Feel the Energy! – F+R visits the secluded vineyards of Hegarty Chamans
Last week we visited a very special vineyard situated on the limits of the Minervois appellation yet completely secluded, surrounded by forests and lavender fields. The Hegarty Chamans property is a beguiling place and the moment you set foot on the property you sense the almost shamanic power this property holds, and was historically named after. Whilst the Languedoc ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON July 19, 2019
Gaja Exclusive Interview: Greatness through a culture of doubt
Gaia and Giovanni Gaja share their plans for continuing their father's legacy of questioning everything This week we were very lucky to spend four days in Italy with one of the world’s great wine producers - the Gaja family of Barbaresco. Angelo Gaja has become one of the fine wine world’s legends, and spending time with the whole family, ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON July 12, 2019
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
Poggio di Sotto - Montalcino's Cult Wine
There are few names in Brunello Di Montalcino that rank higher than Poggio Di Sotto. The estate's incredibly elegant style, its obsession with quality and its signature style of gentle extraction, light colour and long ageing in specially designed oval Slavonian barrels, has garnered a loyal fan base producing consistently awe inspiring wines every year. One of our most memorable ...
ON June 28, 2019
F+R On The Road: A Tour of Italy's Places, People + Wines
This week F+R took a tour of some of Italy's finest vineyards, visiting a small selection of our favourite producers, tasting the latest vintages and talking to these iconic winemakers to better understand their philosophies, techniques and what makes their wines so special. The stories of fine wine tend to be ones of sacrifice and struggle. Great wine always comes ...
ON June 21, 2019
Celebrating 20 Years of Mas Doix
Although we have always tasted Mas Doix's latest vintages on release - and have been consistently blown away by their quality and anticipated ageing potential - we finally had the opportunity to confirm how epic these wines really are with some bottle age. In celebration of the 20 year anniversary of winery Mas Doix, we were honoured to welcome ...
ON June 14, 2019
Canalicchio di Sopra - Mapping out the vineyards of Montalcino
When Franceso Ripaccioli visited F&R headquarters last week, he provided us with the most generous and welcome break from Bordeaux EP releases, and a chance to escape in our minds and taste buds to the sun-soaked hills of Montalcino. The line-up of wines he presented was astounding. We tasted a total of 11 Rosso, Brunello and Riserva from wonderful ...
ON June 7, 2019
Behind the Bottle: Hundred Acre
We were very lucky to have the Hundred Acre team visit us in our London office last week and to open up some very special bottles from one of Napa’s most celebrated modern wineries. The property was set up just 20 years ago and has very quickly became one of Napa’s most iconic premium estates. The story behind the bottle ...
ON May 30, 2019
Daniel Landi: Grenache growing pioneer of the Sierra de Gredos
Just smelling, let alone tasting, the wines from Daniel Landi, you immediately know you are in some very capable hands. Looking at the pale ruby colour you might be surprised that this wine is 100% Grenache. This earthy, terroir-driven, mineral style Grenache has been described as “the Pinot Noir of the South”, providing amazing flavour complexity, intensity and persistence on ...
ON May 30, 2019
Interview with Nicolas Audebert – Chief Winemaker at Chateau Rauzan Segla, Chateau Canon and Chateau Berliquet
The Rauzan Segla 2018 has been met with rave reviews. At what point did you feel you had made a special wine? It is a long process in a technician's mind as the picture of the vintage is getting clearer and clearer from the picking to the “dégustations d’assemblage” (blending tastings).  Each vintage gives me a particular emotion, the ...
ON May 24, 2019
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
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
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
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
The Lighthouse: In Search of Cuban Tobacco
Destination: Cuba; "the key to the Caribbean", nearly 110,000 km2 with a population of 11+ million. Target: The Cuban cigar. There are few places in the world that can match Cuba when it comes to growing cigar tobacco. The co-founders of Bloomsbury Atelier travelled to the largest island in the Caribbean to find out what makes it so well suited to this ...
ON May 3, 2019
Meet The Makers: Bloomsbury Atelier
Meet the Bloomsbury Atelier Co-Founders. Sculptor-turned-Distiller Alan McQuillan and Architect-turned-Industrialist Benjamin Harriman met through exhibiting and practising their respective arts in Bloomsbury, London. It was their common passion for unique materials that reflect the cultures of the world, and the people that define them, which kick-started their working relationship. We sat down with Alan to discuss what inspires and influences ...
ON May 3, 2019
Behind the Bottle - 2018 Releases from Descendientes de J. Palacios
We have been huge fans of the wines from Alvaro Palacios’ Bierzo estate, Descendientes de J. Palacios, for many years and following the latest release of his spectacular 2018s we wanted to look behind the bottle to find out what is so special about these wines and the region of Bierzo. Alvaro Palacios is one of the world’s most respected ...
ON April 26, 2019
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
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