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Tuesday
Apr222014

A Curse on Both your Houses: 2013 in the southern Ardèche 

Our growers in the southern Ardèche (Rhône Valley) must be wondering what they have to do to get a fair shake of le bouteille de sauce. In 2013 both Mas de Libian and Domaine La Réméjeanne, already beset by tiny yields over the past few years (starting with 2010), have struggled through their smallest vintage on record. Each Estate’s Grenache took the brunt, with what Mas de Libian’s Hélène Thibon called “the absence of Spring”, resulting in yields between 0 to 20 hl/ha. La Réméjeanne didn’t fair much better. Olivier Klein, now in charge of winemaking at this family’s Sabran estate, told me at the Real Wine Fair in London that the average yield for his Grenache in 2013 was 5hl/ha!

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Saturday
Apr122014

Vendanges 2013: Domaine de l'Arlot

We have collated feedback on the 2013 vintage from a number of our growers to give our clients an early impression of how things have gone in various region of Europe.

#3: Domaine de l'Arlot, Prémeaux, Nuits-Saint-Georges et al
"The difficult weather conditions during 2013 called on every skill of the winegrower's craft and required meticulous care of the vines. 2013 was not only one of the latest harvests of the last 30 years but its low yields also hold the promise of a high quality vintage: fresh and generous from the young vines and amazingly intense, deep and aromatic from the old vines."

See below for a video from Jacques Devauges discussing the 2013 harvest. Fast forward to 1.20m for the vintage stuff...

Wednesday
Apr092014

Stéphane Moreau (Chablis): Standing on the shoulders of giants

With careful work in the vineyard, long élevage and zero or light filtration, Stéphane Moreau’s Chablis gain character, depth and especially salinity.La Revue du Vins de France

The work of grower Stéphane Moreau is serving to remind the wine world of two important facts.  Firstly that Chablis is a white Burgundy first and foremost, and when it is grown like we expect a quality white Burgundy to be grown, it will have all the texture and complexity that we associate with these two evocative words.

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Sunday
Apr062014

Vendanges 2013: Domaine du Vissoux

We have collated feedback on the 2013 vintage from a number of our growers to give our clients an early impression of how things have gone in various region of Europe.

#2: Domaine du Vissoux, Beaujolais

DES PRIMEURS QUI PROMETTENT UN TRES BEAU MILLESIME 2013 EN BEAUJOLAIS
2013 promises to be a very good vintage for Beaujolais

Au Domaine du Vissoux la dominante est concentration et fruits noirs.

At Domaine du Vissoux the focus was on concentration and ripe fruits.

Année tardive, été tardif.

A late year, a late summer.

Le printemps presque inexistant a empêché une belle floraison d'où de faibles rendements.

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Wednesday
Apr022014

The Glass Half Full story…

Bibendum Wine Co. has supported a number of charitable organisations over the years but we have always had in the back of our minds that it would be great to do something within our own industry, something that involved our clients and producers, and something that raised much needed funds for the disadvantaged in our community.
 
And so Glass Half Full was born. Here’s how it works. We invite donations of wine (or discounts) from quality producers. We then offer those wines for pouring to a select group of restaurants and sometimes to certain retailers. All the proceeds Bibendum collects go to charity. Simple!

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Monday
Mar312014

Vendanges 2013: Robert Weil, Rheingau

We have collated feedback on the 2013 vintage from a number of our growers to give our clients an early impression of how things have gone in various region of Europe.
  

#1: Weingut Robert Weil 

A Year Marked by a Long Winter and Cool Spring,
but Sunny and Hot Summer and Late Summer...
...Capricious Weather During the Harvest
Due to cool, wet spring weather, bud burst was substantially delayed, but even. Nevertheless, thanks to intensive work in the vineyards we were literally able to lay the groundwork for a promising vintage in 2013

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Wednesday
Mar262014

All the fun of the (Real Wine) Fair

Much to the delight of our man in London, a sizeable contingent of artisanal winegrowers will be descending to London town over the coming months—with a fair few Bibendum growers in their midst. First up, the Real Wine Fair at Tobacco Dock promises an exciting few days tasting and hobnobbing. From Spain we looking forward to catching up with Dominik from Terroir al Limìt, Greg from Mengoba, Alfredo Maestro Tejero, the crew

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Thursday
Oct102013

Laherte Frères; a new source of authentic 'farmer fizz'

Visited Laherte (pron: la-urt) Frères today in the small town of Chevot just outside of Epernay. This is a producer that I have visited in the past, in the name of research, and whose wines I have always admired. They were not yet in the league of the very finest growers and yet they were certainly very good, improving all the time, and were the products of viticulture and elevage that could not be faulted. So when young Aurèlien Laherte recently made contact to see if we would be interested in distributing their wines in Australia, I went back to have another look. This is an Estate where Aurèlien Laherte (now 30 years old) took control of the vines in only 2002. Since then he has made a lot of very positive changes some of which I will touch on below. Most of the vines are in the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay (slopes to the south of Epernay). This is one of the few general zones from which we don’t currently have a producer, so this is the first thing of interest. They also have some tiny holdings in the Côte des Blancs and the Marne Valley. In total they have some 10 hectares broken up into an amazing 75 parcels. Apart from the distinctive terroir of the Coteaux Sud d’Epernay, which produces a soft, creamy and perhaps more generous style of wine (though this is a gross generalisation), there are a number of interesting things to say about this small grower.

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Wednesday
Aug212013

Visits with Vincent Dancer & Dureuil-Janthial

Vincent Dancer by James BroadwayIt was a terrible sight to see Vincent Dancer’s cellar half empty due to the tiny yields in 2012. His already small cellar is normally packed with barrels, but this year there was enough space to pitch a couple of tents. I tasted through the range of whites with Emily (my six year old) who amused Dancer with her impressions of his wines, i.e., “These wines are really good!” She also told Dancer that she was disappointed he wasn’t Vincent Van Gogh, then asked if he was actually a dancer and then promptly, mid tasting, went off to play with his dog. The wines were, as always, exceptional.

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Wednesday
Jul312013

Recent Vintages in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or

Image © James Broadway Each year I keep a diary as I travel around France to record my impressions and also as it allows me to communicate with the Bibendum team about what is happening at each of our producers. This year we are going to publish some of them here for those who are interested in this same information. First up my impressions on the two most recent vintages in Burgundy. RW

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