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Simonit & Sirch Launch New Pruning Course
BY Gavin Smith,
ON November 27, 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
The Cheval Blanc team invests their savoir-faire into Cheval des Andes
Cheval des Andes has always been a project closely associated with Chateau Cheval Blanc. The Argentine project started as a collaboration between Pierre Lurton (CEO of Cheval Blanc) and Roberto De La Motta (Argentine vigneron initially behind the wines of Terrazas de los Andes). From its inaugural vintage in 2001 up until 2006 Roberto was the winemaker before winemaking duties ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON September 13, 2019
Six of the best Bordeaux Left Bank Wines
1. Chateau Haut Brion 1989 Average Score: 100pts. "Consistently prodigious and almost a sure bet to top the scoring card of any blind tasting of this vintage as well as other years, the 1989 Haut-Brion is a seamless, majestic classic, and a tribute to this phenomenal terroir and its singular characteristics." Robert Parker (100pts) Amongst some of the ...
BY Gavin Smith,
ON August 9, 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
The Other Wines of Gaja
It was a big decision for this Piedmont producer to invest in another region of Italy but Montalcino seemed to be the logical choice. Angelo Gaja explained to us there are obvious parallels between Barolo/Barbaresco and Montalcino, both regions of prestige for fine wine, both made from indigenous varieties and from single varietals that undergo extensive elevage. For Angelo that ...
ON July 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
Tuscany 2016 - A Stellar Vintage
Two magnificent vintages back to back: after the powerful 2015 comes the stellar 2016 - a standout for its purity and elegance. After tasting the first major 2015 releases last year it was clear this vintage in Tuscany was something very special. When wines like Solaia 2015 scored their first 100 points from the Wine Advocate and other iconic ...
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
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
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
Domaine Zind Humbrecht - Discover the top terroir sites of Alsace
Last week we were fortunate to have the man himself, Olivier Humbrecht, from legendary Domaine Zind Humbrecht in our London office presenting a fascinating tasting through the different top vineyard sites of Alsace. Through the tasting we sampled the different varietals grown on the same vineyards, as opposed to tasting in varietal order. It was an intriguing insight into terroir ...
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
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 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
Discover Santa Barbara Wine Country with The Hilt's Matt Dees
Santa Ynez, Santa Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon – these are all wine growing AVAs in the Santa Barbara region of Southern California which, over the last few decades, has seen itself become one of the most interesting and diverse wine growing regions in the US. Despite being further South than the likes of Napa and Sonoma, it is in fact ...
ON March 29, 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
Festival del Potatore: Italy's First Vine Pruning Festival
Because terroir needs more than just sun and rain Last weekend saw the inaugural Festival del Potatore - Italy's first Vine Pruning Festival - held in the beautiful foothill vineyards of Franciacorta in Northern Italy. The Festival was the brainchild of Marco Simonit and his band of brothers known collectively as “The Pruninguys”; the closest viticulture is probably ever going to ...
ON March 15, 2019
Roberto Cipresso: The Master of Marginal Winemaking
Roberto Cipresso is a winemaker with a reputation for extreme marginal winemaking; he is determined to push the boundaries of how and where it is possible to produce wine. We made his acquaintance after being introduced to him by the team at Venissa, the unique vineyard located in the Venetian lagoon. Venissa is just one of Roberto’s many winemaking consultancies, with ...
ON March 15, 2019
Adventures in Winemaking: Establishing a Vineyard in Yunnan
Alex Xu is a fine wine pioneer on a journey to grow compelling Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from his recently planted vineyard (淼庐 Miao Lu) in China's mountainous, southwesterly province of Yunnan. His approach to winemaking is rooted in a love for the place and the process, taking him on adventures across the world of fine wine to perfect his craft. ...
ON February 28, 2019
David Duband: A Rising Star of the Côte d'Or
David Duband is a producer we have been following with avid interest over the last few years. A firm favourite among the F+R team, we were delighted to welcome him to our London HQ last week to taste through his fantastic range of Burgundies from some of the finest Premier and Grand Cru sites on the Côte d'Or. David’s modern ...
ON February 15, 2019
Howard's Folly: The Boutique Producer Leading Portugal's Fine Wine Renaissance
Since 2002, Howard Bilton and David Baverstock, Portugal’s premier winemaker, have partnered to bring to the market a range of outstanding wines under the Howard’s Folly label. Bilton is a businessman hailing from Yorkshire, now living in Hong Kong, an enthusiastic art collector, wine lover and admirer of Portugal’s wines especially from the Alentejo region. Australian-born Baverstock has won the ...
ON February 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 ...
BY FINE+RARE,
ON February 7, 2019
Barolo 2015: Vintage Report
“This is a vintage of absolute excellence right away, with great prospects over time for aging” - Roberto Voerzio “2015 is a thrilling vintage of rich yet vibrant wines” - Giuseppe Vajra “In terms of vinosity and richness it is similar to 2009, while for the complexity and intensity of the aromas it is more similar to 2010” - Roberto ...
ON January 31, 2019
Barolo 2015: The Growing Season
We are very grateful to Ferruccio Grimaldi for his in-depth 2015 Growing Season Report below, identifying the key events and elements that affected the 2015 vintage... The 2014 climatic trend has brought an important water reserve that has favoured the cycle of the vines throughout the 2015’s vegetative year, especially during the warmest weeks of the year. The total rainfall ...
ON January 31, 2019
Aldo Vacca: A true Barbaresco Icon
Aldo Vacca has been at the helm of Produttori del Barbaresco, arguably Europe’s most respected co-op, for the last 27 years. In this time the co-op has consistently produced some of the finest expressions of Barbaresco yet remains remarkably well-priced despite its benchmark reputation. With historic family ties (his great grandfather being one of the original founders of the Produttori), ...
ON January 18, 2019
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
Heroic Viticulture - The Unique Wines of Priorat
This week we caught up with Valenti Llagostera, one of the great Priorat producers from the Mas Doix winery. Valenti's knowledge of the region is unparalleled and fascinating to listen to - from its extraordinary history, its unique soils, its fateful battle with phylloxera, and it meteoric rise back onto the global stage. Priorat is one of the top appellations in Spain, being one of just two wine ...
ON December 14, 2018
A Very Social Enterprise: Marco Simonit Visits London's Forty Hall Vineyard
Thursday of this week was a great day to find oneself in a vineyard. The sun was low in the sky on a cold December morning as 35 local volunteers arrived to start the winter pruning. But it was no ordinary vineyard. It was London’s one and only fully-functioning commercial vineyard, found in the outskirts of Enfield at the Forty ...
ON December 14, 2018
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
Carlo Ferrini tells F+R about making Giodo on Mount Etna
Carlo is one of the most famous winemakers in Italy largely due to his extensive work researching the many clones of Sangiovese. He is also the winemaking consultant for many of the top wineries in Italy including the likes of Castello di Neri, Fonterutoli, Brancaia, Romitorio, Talenti (and many more). We first met Carlo Ferrini in Brunello di Montalcino last year ...
ON November 23, 2018
Rhone 2017: small but excellent
The Rhone Valley is experiencing a real heyday at the moment with a spectacular vintage in 2015 (particularly in the Northern Rhone) followed by a sensational 2016, (particularly for the Southern Rhone appellations). Both vintages produced fantastic ripeness levels due to long, dry, warm (but not over hot) summers. Combine this with distinctly cooler nights, slowing down the ripening whilst ...
ON November 8, 2018
Bordeaux 2016 & 2014 – Retrospective tastings and a comparison of vintages
I remember tasting the 2016s during En Primeur and finding them incredibly easy to taste, largely due to the tannins being so integrated into the wines at such a youthful stage. This is due to the very long ripening season, quite unique to the vintage. But the other element that was raised in the masterclass was the noticeably lower level ...
ON November 8, 2018
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
Tarlant Champagne - Champagnes with a unique heritage
A CONVERSATION WITH BENOIT TARLANT, WINEMAKER AT TARLANT CHAMPAGNE Last week, I met up with Benoit Tarlant, the vigneron behind the Curvee Louis and La Vigne d'Antan Champagnes - two of the most unique expressions of the region. Benoit's aim in his top cuvees  is to re-engage with the historical cultural heritage of winemaking in the region. He wants his ...
ON November 2, 2018
Understanding Rioja - F+R takes a trip to the Ebro Valley
Rioja is a wine I love, so I was delighted when the team and I had the opportunity to visit the heart of Spain’s most well-known wine region. And reflecting after a few days spent exploring the towns of Haro and Logrono, the wineries of CVNE, Vina Real and Contino and their myriad of mid-harvest vineyards, I grew to learn ...
ON October 24, 2018
A Servant of the Soil: Vérité's Pierre Seillan puts Sonoma on the Map
"Terroir! Terroir! Terroir!" is something we always hear when trying to understand the nuances of fine wine. Whilst it remains very much a French term, these days it has been adopted world wide, across all the fine wine growing regions. Despite its habitual use in wine circles, it is rare to get more of an insight into exactly what terroir ...
ON October 18, 2018
In Conversation with: Annalisa Florian, Venissa Wine Ambassador
After discovering Venissa, the "walled vineyard of Venice”, on our recent travels, we invited their Wine Ambassador Annalisa Florian to our London offices to share her insights (and a bottle or two of the latest 2014 Venissa Bianco release) with the team... If you haven't heard about Venissa yet, check out our producer profile here. Q. Venissa is an incredibly ...
ON October 11, 2018
Designing It Differently: Five Unique Wineries
Great wineries come in many guises. Cutting-edge, contemporary architecture always turns heads, creating monoliths to winemaking on the landscape. Yet there are also plenty of more understated design features incorporated into chateau cellars that deserve a moment in the spotlight - whether to celebrate their technical innovation, unconventional use of raw materials or even conservation of tradition. From the show-stopping to the subtle, we take a look ...
ON September 28, 2018
Champagne Philipponnat - Clos des Goisses
Last week Charles Philipponnat, owner of the iconic Clos des Goisses vineyard, stopped by the F+R offices to showcase the latest vintage from his top Champagne site. As direct importers of Clos des Goisses from Philipponnat, we wanted to gain a real understanding of what makes this vineyard so special. From its location and aspect, to the particular élevage techniques ...
ON September 27, 2018
2018 Harvest Report
Another early harvest gets under way this week in much of Europe, marking the end of the fourth consecutive warm (or “solar”) year in a row. Thankfully yields are up considerably on last year, due to the devastating frosts that defined 2017 being largely avoided this spring. However, the season has been far from plain sailing for some. In particular, Bordeaux suffered from ...
ON August 23, 2018
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
Brunello di Montalcino – The Young Minds of Montalcino
Trying to reach Sangiovese’s true potential in Montalcino Sangiovese, like Pinot Noir, is very much susceptible to over-cropping and in recent years has been used and abused by many winemakers to the detriment of its true varietal profile. Sangiovese has the potential to produce wines with the same textural brilliance as some of the world’s best Pinot Noir; it can ...
ON June 22, 2018
Remoissenet - New Releases from the historic cellars
Remoissenet renowned for arguably the largest cellar of aged Burgundies on the planet have never released these wines on to the market and this therefore marks an exciting opportunity for the many fans of 2005 to buy wines that have remained unmoved in perfect storage in their Beaune cellars since it was produced. 2005 was one of the most iconic ...
ON June 15, 2018
Leading the renaissance of old tawny port
Whilst the world of wine is abuzz with this week’s 2016 Vintage Port releases, we also want to shine a light on a producer who is involved with the world’s oldest (rather than newest) Ports. The recipient of an International Wine Challenge trophy for the best 40 Year Old Tawny Port, Miguel Braga’s aged Ports are becoming must-haves for fine ...
ON May 18, 2018
The Sub-Regions of Barolo and their very different flavour profiles
Why is it important? Understanding the sub regions of Barolo is really worth some investigation because generally speaking each of the communes have a distinct flavour profile clearly differentiating its terroir from its neighbours. Many consumers are unaware of the different profiles and can be quite surprised by the Barolo in their glass tasting very different to the one they ...
ON May 4, 2018
The Saviour of Terroir?
Is Marco Simonit one of the modern viticultural heroes of our time? Working with the likes of Domaine Leroy and Chateau Y’quem, Marco grew to understand that vine age is central to vineyards expressing their terroir. Without age, the vineyards produce more generic varietal characteristics and not what is particular and special to the region. According to Marco, terroir characteristics ...
ON March 28, 2018
Bordeaux Safari March 2018 Travelogue
Bordeaux Safari - Day 1 A small group of eager wine lovers are picked up from the airport and driven direct to the magnificent Chateau Le Pape in Pessac (a recently renovated Chateau owned by Chateau Haut Bailly) surrounded by vineyards. The interior has the classic grandeur of Bordeaux heritage chic mixed with all the modern comforts and a permanent ...
ON March 23, 2018
TECHNOLOGY + TERROIR: BEHIND CASTLE WALLS YOU FIND FUTURISM + INNOVATION
After two fantastic vintages under its belt the Bordelais certainly have plenty to be smiling about but perhaps most pleasing for the consumer is to see that at least some of that money made through the recent campaigns has been re-invested into the wineries. There is no doubt key players in the region are committed and proactively improving the quality ...
ON March 16, 2018
Hidden Chilean Treasures: Discovering Aconcagua Valley
The FINE+RARE team jet out to join Errazuriz’s Eduardo Chadwick to experience the best of what Chilean wine can offer... A smattering of huge scores from James Suckling this year has catapulted Chilean wine back into the limelight. So when two of FINE+RARE’s Account Managers, Simon Brass and John Cummock, were invited out to Chile, they jumped at the opportunity. ...
ON November 10, 2017
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