Category Archives: Events

Royal Ascot 2018: What to expect

Hallgarten recently became Official Wine Supplier to Ascot Racecourse, exclusively supplying all still wines to the world’s most famous racecourse.

The partnership will see Hallgarten supply wine across the site, including at Royal Ascot. Michelin-Starred chefs Simon Rogan, Philip Howard and Raymond Blanc OBE will all showcase a specially selected range of wines in their respective restaurants during the Royal Meeting.

Royal Ascot is one of the most iconic race meetings across the world – there’s nothing quite like it. From the Royal procession, to the style and fashion, to the strawberries and cream (and the racing of course), over 300,000 people are expected to attend.

There’s a lot to consider across the five day spectacle, we’ve taken a closer look at what you can expect.

At Royal Ascot’s award-winning, fifth-floor restaurant, On 5, with its extraordinary garden terrace offering panoramic views of the racecourse. What will Michelin starred Philip Howard be pouring with his signature menus…

White:

Tenuta Ammiraglia, Massovivo, Toscana, Vermentino 
A lovely, intense straw colour, which leads to an impressive bouquet of fragrant blossom and exotic fruits, along with a fascinating vein of earthy minerality which is classic of this area. Fresh, crisp and sapid, but well sustained by its structure, it has an intriguing hint of almond on the finish.

Swartland Winery, ‘Founders’, Swartland, Chenin Blanc
An expressive Chenin Blanc, showing vibrant aromas of ripe passion fruit, guava and pineapple, underpinned by refreshing citrus notes. Well balanced with a full, fruity palate and a refreshing minerality on the finish.

Rosé:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Gris Blanc’, Pays d’Oc
The palest of salmon pinks, this is a wonderfully pure, fresh flavoured wine, with vibrant fruit aromatics. The fruity characters are echoed on the palate, which has a lovely minerality and a zesty finish.

Red:

Saint Clair, ‘Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Noir 
Aromas of sun-kissed dark berries, boysenberry and freshly picked blackberries, are interlaced with toasted wood notes and a hint of dark chocolate. The palate is full of sumptuous dark berries, layered with freshly ground coffee beans and dark chocolate. A hint of cinnamon spice leads into a savoury finish.

 

Raymond Blanc OBE returns as chef-in-residence to the sixth-floor Panoramic Restaurant, which offers one of the finest views across the track and down the straight mile. What will Raymond be pouring this year with his gastronomic menu…

 

White:

Domaine Tabordet ‘Laurier’, Pouilly-Fumé
A classic Pouilly Fumé showing minerality complemented by notes of exotic fruits, tangerine, pink grapefruit and spicy undertones. The palate is powerful and refreshing and delivers a long, flinty finish.

Rosé:

Château de l’Aumérade ‘Cuvée Marie Christine’ Rosé, Cru Classé Côtes de Provence
A lovely pale powder pink hue, with refreshing aromas of grapefruit leading to succulent peach and apricot on the palate. Fruit forward and full, with a hint of spice, this elegant rosé has a refreshing acidity and a long finish.

Red:

Domaine de la Ville Rouge ‘Inspiration’, Crozes-Hermitage 
Deep red, intense aromas of red fruits and black olives. Spicy and peppery notes with silky tannins. An elegant and silky textured wine.

 Sweet:

Château Suduiraut, Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes
This elegantly rich wine shows orange peel and mineral notes on the nose. The palate is full bodied with almonds, spice, honey and candied fruits through to a lovely, lingering finish.

 

Chef Adam Handling, of The Frog E1 and Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden, makes his Royal Ascot debut in 2018 as he takes his role as ‘Chef in Residence’ of The Balmoral – a brand new Fine Dining restaurant within the Royal Enclosure.

White:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Terroir’ Picpoul de Pinet
A complex nose, full of citrus and floral notes combined with white peach, exotic fruit and a hint of pineapple. The palate is rich with zesty fruit and a livewire acidity which keeps your taste buds tingling. The finish is long and well rounded.

Rosé:

Saint Clair,’Origin’, Marlborough, Pinot Gris Rosé
Pale salmon in colour, a refreshing rosé with lifted aromas of sun-ripened strawberry, whipped cream and spiced pear. Beautifully balanced and finely structured on the palate with creamy fruit flavours of raspberries and strawberries leading to a hint of spice on the finish.

Red:

Gérard Bertrand ‘Naturalys’, Pays d’Oc, Syrah
A deep colour, with shimmering hints of violet. Generous nose, packed with red fruit and spice. Supple, aromatic and impeccably elegant on the palate, with refined tannins and lively fruit flavours offset by subtle herbaceous aromas.

Sweet:

Quady Winery, ‘Essensia’, California, Orange Muscat
Vibrant orange in colour, this wine delivers luscious sweet oranges and apricots on the palate. The bittersweet orange marmalade notes balance well with the zesty citric acidity.

 

What else to expect by numbers…

56,000
bottles of Champagne

80,000
cups of tea

21,000
jugs of Pimm’s

7,000
rumps of English lamb

3,000
kilos of beef sirloin

3,500
fresh lobsters

 

#NewWaveSpain – What stood out

We have recently taken a closer look at our Spanish portfolio, and decided to embrace the regions that may not be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think about buying Spanish wine.

To showcase these we took our refreshed Spanish portfolio to Brindisa in Shoreditch, on a sunny day in June. Below are a selection of the picks from the day’s tasting.

Xosé Lois Sebio, ‘O Con’, Rias Biaxas 2015

An intense and aromatic example of Spain’s iconic variety, Albariño. Aromas of citrus fruits combine with floral notes and mineral nuances. Deliciously refreshing and balanced with deep fruit  flavours enveloped in an enticing mineral character. This is wonderfully sapid with a very long, fine and intense finish.

From quirky wine maker, Xosé Lois Sebio, whose sole intention is to respect and express the soil, variety and area; producing wines with soul and personality.

Bodegas Viñátigo, Marmajuelo, Islas Canarias – Tenerife 2017

Highly aromatic and intense on the nose with pure notes of passion fruit and fig tree leaves leading to an equally intense palate with opulent fruit and a very long, persistent finish.

The philosophy behind Bodegas Viñátigo is to revive and promote the extensive varietal heritage of the Canary Islands.

Pagos del Moncayo, ‘Prados Fusión’ Garnacha Syrah, Campo de Borja 2016

Dark ruby in colour, Prados Fusion offers a rich, fruity nose with  Mediterranean red fruits enhanced by hints of sweet spice. The  palate seduces with layers of juicy red fruits, smooth and silky tannins and a long finish.

Pagos del Moncayo is a family-run producer based at the foot of the Sierra del Moncayo, in the heart of the Iberian Mountain range. The artisanal winery embraces the traditions which have been passed down through the generations, inspired by centuries of cultivating Garnacha in the vineyards of Campo de Borja.

The diversity in Spanish winemaking is incredible, you can go from the relatively small wine producing region of the Canary Islands to Ribera Del Duero and feel like you’re in a different country.

 

Wines to pair with pumpkin

Summer has well and truly left us and winter is on it’s way, but first the leaves are turning orange and guests are looking for a different type of wine. With Halloween decorations adorning restaurants and bars across the country today, we look at the best wines to pair with pumpkin.Carpenè Malvolti, 1868 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore, Prosecco Brut NV

For a pumpkin risotto, try offering a dry Prosecco. The clean, light flavours of the sparkling white wine help lift the almost floral aspects of the pumpkin without accentuating any sweetness. The Carpenè Malvolti, 1868 Conegliano Valdobbiadene Superiore, Prosecco Brut NV is ideal with its floral and fruity bouquet, elegant aromas of ripe pear, crisp apple and citrus, layered with subtle herbaceous notes. It’s smooth on the palate with crisp, refreshing aromatics and an elegant finish, and a perfect pairing for pumpkin risotto.

Castello Nipozzano, Vecchie Viti, Chianti Rúfina Riserva 2014If you’re incorporating cream into a pumpkin dish, the food gets more wintry weight, so a wine with more body works well. Sangiovese strikes the balance of standing up to something like a pumpkin inspired cream sauce without overpowering the main ingredient. The Castello Nipozzano, Vecchie Viti, Chianti Rúfina Riserva 2014 boasts a lovely ruby red colour and has notes of raspberry, currant, and gooseberry leading to a finish of cocoa and white pepper. The 90% Sangiovese wine strikes the balance  perfectly between standing up to, and complementing, a creamy pumpkin dish with its medium body and silky tannins.

Grüner Veltliner offers the zingy characteristics Johann Donabaum, Johann Federspiel, Wachau, Grüner Veltliner 2015that go well with pumpkin in any of its guises, but shows especially well next to a savoury option like a pumpkin gnocchi. The home of Grüner Veltliner is Austria, so look no further than Johann Donabaum’s Johann Federspiel, Grüner Veltliner 2015 a fabulous, restrained wine with bright apple and lime characters, combined with white pepper, cardamom and spicy minerality. The wine is balanced and refreshing and makes it the go-to partner for any pumpkin dish!

 

Happy Halloween!

A Gourmet Evening at Chapter One

Chapter One is what fine dining is all about. Exceptional food in a stylish setting. An extensive list of carefully chosen wines. Impeccable service with meticulous attention to detail. Outstanding value for money.

The Chapter One team also hold three exclusive Gourmet Evenings each year, with each course being specially matched with a particular wine.

Hallgarten’s Adrian Needham was on hand to guide the guests through each wine…

Hot and Cold Canapés

 Bernard Remy, Brut Carte Blanche NV

‘Lively and intense with a delicate and persistent mousse, refreshing notes of lime and lemon combine with floral nuances, honey and a touch of mint on the palate.’

Customer’s verdict: “Perfect start.”


Pea Bavarois With Mint, Pea Shoots & Mint Oil

Vina Ventolera, Litoral Sauvignon Blanc 2016

‘Fresh and bright, brimming with lime, guava, and passionfruit flavours. A touch of freshly cut green peppers and gooseberry lead to the full flavoured palate, which is well balanced and wonderfully vibrant.’

Customer’s verdict: “Heavenly!”


Baked San Marzano Tomato Tart With Cornish Cock Crab & Basil

Kayra Wines, Beyaz Kalecik Karasi 2015 

‘Pale pink in colour, with delightful notes of citrus, orange flower, pink grapefruit and ripe red fruits. The palate echoes the nose with wild strawberry and raspberry dominant and a lively, crisp finish.’

Customer’s verdict: “Very pleasantly surprisedby a Turkish Rosé!”


Ricotta Agnolotti Girolle Mushrooms, Broad Beans & Belper Knolle Cheese

Ca’Rugate, Valpolicella DOC Rio Alba 2016

‘Concentrated aromas of red fruits, ripe blackberry and deep cherry flavours, with floral notes and a hint of spice, supple on the palate with a velvety texture.’

Customer’s verdict: “widely appreciated for it’s quality and lightness”


Josper Grilled Rib-Eye Of Australian Beef, Sautéed Spinach, Australian Truffle Potato Purée, Roasted Roscoff Onion & Bordelaise Sauce

Perez Cruz, Carmenere Limited Edition 2015 

‘A spicy wine with vibrant notes of blackberry, blackcurrant and a hint of mocha. Elegant and complex on the palate with supple tannins and a savoury finish.’

 

Customer’s verdict: “Massive hit! Perfectly paired with the Rib-Eye and truffle.”


Scorched Apricot With Almond Ice Cream & Almond Brittle

 


Kentish Strawberries With Elderflower And White Chocolate Creameaux & Strawberry Sorbet

 San Silvestro, Moscato d’Asti DOCG NV 

‘Made from the Moscato grape, this sparkling wine is fresh, fragrant and delicately sweet with a fine mousse.’

 

Customer’s verdict: “Very impressive and surprised by just how well this finished the evening!

Ca’Rugate at the tre bicchieri tasting

Today we are part of the great and the good in the plush surroundings of the Church House Conference Centre at Dean’s Yard in Westminster – which is an interesting place to be during a General Election campaign.

We’re here for the annual Gambero Rosso tre bicchieri tasting and I’m showing off the award-winners from our wonderful Ca’Rugate winery. Based in Brognoligo di Monteforte in the heart of the Soave Classico region, Ca’Rugate is one of my all-time favourite producers. We started working with them about four years ago (we couldn’t believe our luck!) and since then it has been a real thrill to introduce their wines to our customers. They made their name with their amazing selection of Soave wines (check out their history of tre bicchieri awards), but in recent times they have won just as many awards for their Valpolicella wines.

Today I am showing the Monte Fiorentine Soave Classico 2015, the Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2015 and the Punta Tolotti Black Label Amarone 2012.

Award-winners to the left of me, award-winners to the right of me, but punters are queueing up at my table – and it’s definitely not because of my good looks. Word has got out and everyone wants to taste the Soave. It lives up to its reputation, caressing and undressing the palate with a seductive allure of hazelnuts and cream, cut through with a water-on-pebbles minerality. My job is sooo easy when the wine is as good as this.

But just as gratifying is the reaction to the reds. One particular wine “counsellor” becomes my best pal by bringing over client after client to taste the ravishing and voluptuous Amarone, surrendering themselves to the heady concoction of blueberries, blackberries, cherries and spicy oak. The tasters look at me in awe. Nothing to do with me, I tell them; it’s all the work of Michele Tessari and his team.

The Ripasso is equally well received. It is the subtle touch of sweetness on the finish which lingers on the palate which causes everyone to pause, stop, gaze into a faraway space and reflect on the beauty of what is in their mouth. The senses surrender.  It is the way the taster looks at you as if to say; “Thank you” which brings the smile to your face.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that Amedeo Tessari, Michele’s great grandfather, first sensed the quality of the land and began making wine. Amedeo, a modest man,  would probably have felt out of place among the finery of Dean’s Yard. But his legacy lives on.

The wines continue to beguile.

 

The Wine Writer’s Easter Wines

Easter is the time of year to enjoy good food and good wine with your nearest and dearest. Below is a range of wines for all occasions over the weekend as chosen by some of the nation’s wine writers.

 

Jane Macquitty, The Times, selects her best buys in the run up to Easter weekend:

2015 Gérard Bertrand, Cigalus

“Sensational, biodynamic, oak-aged Midi white, Chardonnay with Viognier and Sauvignon, bursting with exotic, spice-box and grapefruit-styled pizzazz.”

 

John Mobbs, owner of Great British Wine, has chosen his English bubbles to kick off Easter celebrations:

Sugrue Pierre, The Trouble With Dreams 2013

“On the nose, this is clearly the most complex wine on the nose of the five (though at £39, the most expensive too). The nose is nuanced and expansive, with apple and citrus freshness matched with equal amounts of nutty biscuit complexity.

Acidity is youthful, almost eye watering in its vibrance; the most mouth-watering of green apple crispness! And then those bubbles – the mousse is absolutely luxurious and leads the way for an eclectic blend of baked stone fruit and pastry flavours. Citrus freshness interweaves constantly, as do waves of toasted nut and hints of caramelised sugar.

The words bracing, unctuous and exuberant are all descriptors I love in a sparkling wine – but few wines combine all of these qualities and then some. Sugrue Pierre 2013 does just that.

As a relatively new release, this 2013 is just a baby and has at least a decade of development ahead of it. Order a case and enjoy a bottle or two now, then lay the rest down in a cool, dark place and reap the rewards of patience when the time comes!”

 

Terry Kirby, The Independent, has selected his wine for the fish course over Easter Weekend:

2014 Saint Clair, Pioneer Block 3 ’43 Degrees’

“A Marlborough sauvignon blanc from a single vineyard showing fabulous intensity of flavour, with incredibly full flavours of tropical fruits and green herbs and a long finish, achieved, say the winemakers, by planting rows of vines at an angle to give the right blend of sun and shade. This is wonderful with seared scallops, peppered tuna, any Asian-tinged fish dishes and, if you can find it, early season English asparagus.”

 

Matthew Nugent, Irish Sun, recommends an immaculate Spanish blend for an Easter Sunday slow roast pork loin:

2013 Tandem Inmacula

“Delicious bend of Viura and Chardonnay make this glorious white from Spain’s Navarra region. Powerful nose of apricots, melons and pears with smoky mineral notes leads to a very expressive, fresh but elegant palate that has exceedingly good depth with heaps of stone fruit and citrus notes and a little minerality on a long and clean finish.”

Winemaking As An Art Form – Restaurant Magazine, March issue, Jane Parkinson

In Jane Parkinson’s Liquid Assets feature of March’s Restaurant Magazine she takes a look at Winemaking as an art form… 

 

Wine of the Month:

Paringa Estate The Paringa Pinot Noir, 2O12
This is not cheap, but is one of the leading lights of Mornington Peninsula and this release is stunning. It is bold yet retains enough Pinot delicacy and has a fresh acidity with red cherry juiciness. It also has broad tannin shoulders after 10 months in French oak but it matches up perfectly to the generous fruit.


San Marzano Tramari Primitivo Rosé
2016 

A chirpy and well-priced rosé, from a Puglian co-operative. lt is pale salmon in colour, dry and bright with strawberry, cranberry and raspberry.


Lismore The Age of Grace Viognier, 2O16

A barrel fermented Viognier aged for a further 11 months in 2251 Burgundian barrels. It’s rich with peach schnapps.


Sugrue Pierre Brut, 2013
This excellent fizz is from Dermot Sugrue. With 8g/l dosage and some fermented in new oak, this is classy with lemon sherbet fruit and buttered toast richness.


Ancilla Lugana, 2015
Coming off the shores of Lake Garda, this has a plush side, thanks to the 10% fermented in oak. lt has melons with an almond nuttiness for texture.


Ellevin Chablis Brigitte Cerveau, 2015
A zippy, zesty chardonnay with taut lemon that isn’t sour thanks to the salty lick of chalk and biscuit that make this feel medium bodied in weight.

a Saturday night in Adelaide

Adelaide is absolutely rammed tonight. It’s the opening night of the Fringe Festival and a vast parade is winding its way through the city. Hindley Street is heaving, a seething mass of people, beautiful and vulgar and loud. Screaming police sirens compete with the pulsing throb of electro from the bars and the shouts of fifty thousand voices. It takes ten minutes to walk 100 yards. While it is not yet in the same league as Newcastle’s Bigg Market, it’s not far short.

Meanwhile, over the Torrens River, Guns N’ Roses are playing at the Adelaide Oval. I make my way slowly across the bridge. I don’t have a ticket, but then thousands of others don’t either, so I join them on the grass outside the stadium. We might not be able to see them, but we can hear them. I open my bottle of Florita Riesling which Sam Barry gave me earlier and I pour it into a paper cup. The luxury of being a wine buyer.

There is an astounding contrast between this hedonism and the bucolic vine-growing fields in the surrounding hills. Crikey, this place is steeped in wine history. Earlier today I popped in at the revitalised Seppeltsfield winery, now transformed under the guidance of Warren Randall. I tried the tawny from the year of my birth – 1961 (a good year in Bordeaux, too)! It is the first time I have drunk my own vintage. Brett Wadrup then poured me a 100 year old Para tawny – sticky toffee pudding time! Even though the winery is now a tourist attraction, you can see from the original gravity-fed layout and remaining buildings which were built from imported wood, such was the lack of local hardwood, what an amazing feat this was. God, pioneers such as Joseph Seppelt were tough! During my tour my mind wandered back a couple of days to my long trip up from Melbourne, when I drove past the other Seppelt winery in the Great Western area in the north of Victoria. As a working winery, this has largely been mothballed by its multinational owners – the juice from their vineyards is now trucked hundreds of miles to another facility. Sad. If I’d had more time during my drive up from Melbourne I would have stopped in for a visit to their historic underground cellars – and then popped over the road to pay a visit to Best’s.

I also went to see Bleasdale, down in Langhorne Creek, at the invitation of Martin Strachan, with whom I worked when he was Negociants’ man in the UK a decade ago. This is another famous old winery, with reminders of their past everywhere. Frank Potts was the pioneer here. I tried a 16 year old Verdelho, an 18 year old Grenache/Shiraz Tawny and 20 year old Grenache/Shiraz/Verdelho. Priceless stuff! And the table wines are very good, too, including a textbook GSM. Funny region, Langhorne Creek. You arrive down a winding hilly road and you find yourself on one long single straight road from which all the flat vineyards radiate. It actually is a flood plain, and the waters which cascade down from the Adelaide Hills via the Bremer River provide the much needed irrigation. Martin tells me that they had no floods in 2013, 2014 or 2015, but they had five in 2016. The cooling effect of the nearby Lake Alexandrina, Australia’s largest freshwater lake, provides a respite from the heat. A week ago, when it was 41 degrees in Adelaide, it was 26 degrees in Langhorne Creek. There are only a handful of independent wineries here – but the quality of wine is exceptional, as I will confirm when I return in a couple of days to meet with our man Greg Follet from Lake Breeze, currently making exquisite Cabernet and Shiraz wines.

I can’t wait to go back!

What to expect from Australia Day Tasting

Australia Day Tasting in London is, as ever, guaranteed to be an exciting date in the wine calendar. This year, we will be joined on our stand exclusively by Michelin Star Chef and Wine Consultant. On the day Roger will be highlighting the benefits of matching food with premium Australian wines, accompanied by a box of culinary spices, flavours and tastes.

Roger’s own restaurant, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, lists over 300 Australian wines many with vertical vintages.

Below are a selection of Roger’s own tasting notes for a handful of our wines on show and his suggested #PremiumOzPairing

Fox Gordon Abby Viognier 2015

Made in the Adelaide Hills this Viognier has a delicate perfumed nose with hints of lemon curd. It is a lovely full flavoured wine wi54830 - Abby Viognierth a soft buttery sweet brioche background, fresh wet stone on the mid-palate and a lovely brightness to finish; this is a fresh and forward Viognier which oozes charm.

This is matched with a lightly seared fillet of Line Caught Yellow Fin Tuna, which has been rubbed in curry spices – this heightens the flavour impact of the tuna from the traditional sashimi, and is served on minted couscous. The Tuna is both rich and full flavoured and needs this refreshing bright wine to balance the spicy flavours, and the wine will gracefully cut through the Tuna aiding the enjoyment.

Fox Gordon Viognier

Paringa Estate Chardonnay

This is a perfect example of how good Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay can be. This is drinking superbly, there is a lovely sea54860 -chardonnay crisp freshness, delicate pineapple and sweet melon giving it a luscious base, white peaches, vibrant acidity, Puligny Montrachet in disguise. Winemaker, Lindsay McCall is a marvel, and not only has developed a vineyard that produces great Chardonnay but also World Class Pinot and Shiraz.

For those of you not in the know the best food match with Chardonnay is spicy or rich food, and this Tempura Welsh Lobster with Asian Spices (Galangal, Chilli, Garlic, Thai Basil) is encompassed perfectly by this classy Chardonnay. Delicate oak in a liquid gives the same effect that yoghurt or vanilla gives to sooth hot, spicy food.

Paringa Chardonnay

Berton Coonawarra Cabernet

Here we have a glowing advert for the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra, slightly under the radar in the UK but this stunning red rusted “Terra Rossa” soil gives way to some fantastic Cabernets. 54252 - Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

Delicate tannins and lingering blueberry intensity, forward drinking, is a wonderful match to a traditional French Classic dish of Steak Rossini, a rich succulent fillet topped with foie gras and truffles, but then this luscious clean wine just glows, a rare chance to get value and drinkability at this age.

Traditionally in Bordeaux you would serve a young Pyrenees Milk Fed Lamb with an aged First Growth, but here we are just highlighting the virtues of young Australian Cabernets at their youthful best.

Berton Cabernet

Ocean Eight Pinot Noir54911---ocean-eight-pinot-noir

The Ocean Eight Pinot is a luscious crimson infused layered Pinot, some lovely Morello cherries on the palate, perfectly balanced with good acidity.

This is a lovely match to the Crispy Saddle of Pork, cooked with clementines. The freshness of the Pinot cuts through the pork leaving a clean refreshing palate. A lighter wine like this Pinot is a far better match to a meaty dish than heavy reds.

Ocean 8 Pinot Noir & Pork

Larry Cherubino Laissez Faire Fiano

This fabulous hand harvested, naturally fermented, low density, dry grown Fiano is a marvel, sourced from Frankland River in Western Australia. Moroccan preserved lemons on the nose, waxy and citrusLF-Fiano on the palate, touch of honeyed background and delicate oak, quite a superb well balanced textured wine with interesting bright notes with a slight essence of orange blossom. What Larry has achieved here is quite outstanding, giving the Fiano grape a perfect environment to flower and flourish.

I have matched it with Citrus Cured Wild Salmon, Soft Boiled Quail Egg, Cucumber Spheres and a medley of Vine Grown Tomatoes, seasoned with a touch of Exmoor Caviar Salt. This rich oily but bright and refreshing dish cries out for Larry’s Fiano with its texture that can hold the oily salmon and the brightness that would not clash with the acidity from the tomatoes, cucumber and clementines.

Laissez Faire Fiano

The full list of our producers on show at ADT:

  • Berton Vineyards
  • Larry Cherubino
  • Eden Road
  • Fox Gordon
  • Laissez Faire
  • Lake Breeze
  • Ocean Eight
  • Paringa Estate
  • Ravenswood Lane
  • Teusner
  • Ulithorne

Langan’s Brasserie Premium Australian Tasting – Come On Aussie, Come On!

So: how was it for you?

For me, it was depressing: and with a touch of deja-vu, because for the second time this year I went to bed quietly confident that we’d get the right result – only to wake up to find mayhem. At three a.m. things were a little tighter than we’d hoped and Florida was proving to be stubbornly resistant, but I was still confident Clinton would carry Pennsylvania. And surely Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina wouldn’t all vote for Trump? Would they?

Well, at least it was good to see their pollsters are every bit as useless as ours.

There is drizzly rain and a chilling wind in central London. But on the other hand I have the perfect antidote; Hallgarten’s tasting of our new Australian range at Mayfair’s wonderful Langan’s Brasserie.

It’s mid-afternoon by the time I arrive. Langan’s is iconic but always reassuring and thankfully I see the ground floor is packed out with lunchtime customers. Trump’s election doesn’t seem to have bothered them.

Upstairs in our tasting room, the first person I run into is Our Man in the South, Daniel O’Keefe, who is in raptures. “Marvellous wines, marvellous wines…” I point to Amelia Jukes: “All her work!” – Hallgarten has taken over most of the business that Amelia had built up through her Hallowed Ground Agency. And what an amazing job she has done. The wine-up in this room would knock most UK agency/distributors for six.

3

There’s a refreshing bustle, some serious wine evaluation taking place, concentration. I nod at some of the faces dotted around the room. And then I join in.

Few wineries as young or as small as Canberra’s Eden Road have won so many prestigious awards – 45 awards in the last few years, including Australia’s most important, the Jimmy Watson, for its first vintage of The Long Road Shiraz in 2009. The key is the altitude; Eden Road Wines is situated in High Country (it’s cold up there!) as Managing partner Christopher Coffmann tells me. And, wow, the 2015 Skin Contact Pinot Gris Rose is a Grace Kelly of a wine – glacial elegance. Then it’s on to the 2011 Canberra Shiraz, which is looking magnificent – tar, coal, liquorice, vanilla.

Fox Gordon’s iconic E&E Black Pepper Shiraz won acclaim as the best red and best wine at the IWC a few years ago. We’ve got quite a wodge of their wines on show today. The 2015 Abby Viognier is a sumptuous and rich Viognier, enveloping your palate, throat passage and heart. I pause. There is a hum of concentration throughout the room. At these events there is normally a lot of chatter, old friends catching up. But here there seems to be a definite appreciation of the wines. To cushion the shock of Donald’s victory, I think, we should all try a glass or three of Fox Gordon’s Nero d’Avola 2015: wonderfully original.

Now, onto something more familiar. We’ve been working with Larry Cherubino for a few years now, but we’ve only just inherited his Laissez Faire wines via Hallowed Ground. These are Larry’s range of natural wines, the purest expression of natural winemaking made in small batches from hand-harvested grapes. Oh God! The 2015 Fiano is witheringly beautiful: charm, style and elegance in a glass. Still reeling, I move on to his 2015 Porongorup Pinot Noir, a cornucopia of bramble and dark forest fruits, gamey, mushroomy, a touch of the Little Red Riding Hood mystery (can’t think why, just keeps recurring in my mind as I taste.)

I have to move away now, have a chat with Amelia, who is five months pregnant and radiant. She must feel so proud exhibiting the fruits of her labour, so to speak. But she has to dash off to chat to another one of customers. So I crack on.

Langhorne Creek’s Lake Breeze was named Australia’s Champion Small Winery a few years back and – and this is becoming a familiar story – has achieved an extraordinary level of success in Australian Wine Shows, including 25 trophies and over 100 gold medals since 1994. And tasting the Bernoota Shiraz Cabernet 2012, it is easy to see why. This is an example of what Australia does best, exhibiting a magnificent generosity of fruit and spirit. If only politics was as smooth.

One of the big gains with working with Hallowed Ground is the chance to work with two wineries in the M4ornington Peninsular, where we had been looking for a partner for some time. Ocean Eight’s Mike Aylward was named “Young Gun of Wine” in 2011 (some title, that!) And here we have a Hollywood of a Pinot (the Aylward 2012): definitely an Oscar winner, appropriate here at Langan’s, where the walls are adorned with film stars and other celebrities dining at the restaurant.

Meanwhile, no less a figure than James Halliday described the Paringa Estate as “One of the best, if not the best, wineries on the Peninsula”. The estate was founded in 1984 by teacher Lindsay McCall, when he purchased a derelict orchard in 1984 on Paringa Road. In 1996, Lindsay gave up teaching to focus entirely on Paringa Estate: 25 years on, Paringa Estate is one of the most highly awarded wineries in Australia, regularly winning gold trophies for their Shiraz, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay. My God: the Paringa Estate Pinot Noir 2010 is a sublime wine. Gpd! This might be the star of the whole tasting.

Ravenswood Lane shows what you can do with the beautiful cool climate fruit from the Adelaide Hills. Marty Edwards follows a philosophy of minimal intervention, respect for organic principles and is committed to capturing the nuances of each site and variety. This is definitely true of the Sauvignon Semillon 2014. I am not the only one purring as I swish the wine around my mouth, coating my palate with peach and lemon. Great stuff!

Teusner Wines was created by Kym Teusner and Michael Page in 2001 – in order to save an old Grenache vineyard from being torn up! Teusner’s philosophy is to produce only exceptional, affordable wines by being very selective about the fruit that is sourced from old, well maintained vineyards. “We started small and rode the wave and this is where we’ve ended up. These are wines that we love to drink, we are not chasing markets,” says Kym Teusner. The Woodside Sauvignon 2014 is looking magnificent, open full and rich but also still with beautiful acidity.

Ulithorne Wines is located in the heart of the McLaren vale, in the area of Seaview on the northern side of the Onkaparinga River National Park. They have made some wines especially for Hallgartens, including the affordable Dona range. This is actually the first time I’ve tasted them as they are still on the water and Ryan Kinghorn has air-freighted these over to us. My Managing Director, Andrew Bewes, has already texted me to say the range is looking great. And he’s right! The star is the Dona Blanc 2016, a Marsanne, Viognier and Pinot Gris blend, which has those brilliant secondary characters that the Rhone Valley does so well.

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And that’s it. Wow – what a tasting. Time has flown by and now it’s time to leave. I leave Chris to tidy up and make my way back out into the London darkness. I’m now cooking, full of it, full of good Aussie spirit. I’m up for anything. Tonight I will be seeing Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Julius Caesar at Donmar’s tent at King’s Cross. I’m excited: the two other plays in the Donmar trilogy, all set in a women’s prison, were sensational (The Tempest might be the production of that play I’ve ever seen.) But how I wish I could take a bottle with me to drink during the play. What would I choose? Despite the weather, I’m warm as I make my way across Mayfair and up to Regent’s Street. Thinking of Australian wines, I cannot get that old Australia cricket song out of my head, the one they used to sing during the Packer era… Come on Aussie, Come On Come On, Come On Aussie, Come On…Da da da da da da da….What great days. And what great cricket. Thommo smashing the ball into Bumble Lloyd’s box…Ian Chappell’s moustache… Come on Aussie, Come On Come On, Come On Aussie, Come On…A helpless Colin Cowdrey, “Good morning” as he passes and incredulous Thomson on his way to the crease…Doug Walters smashing the last ball of the day for six at the WACA…Ah, those were the days. So what would it be? The Paringa Pinot? The Fox Gordon’s Nero d’Avola? Something from Larry…?

Come on Aussie, Come On Come On;

Come On Aussie, Come On

 

Jim Wilson, Portfolio Director

Hooray For Viognier!

In support of The Morning Star Children’s Centre in Welkom, South Africa, founding supporters Bill Muddyman and Linda Gardiner, with the help of Hallgarten’s Daniel O’Keefe have together raised a staggering £15,000 at a recent Charity Wine Dinner at The Hare and Hounds pub in Claygate, Surrey.

The theme of the dinner, A Taste of Viognier, saw eight different Viogniers from around the world paired throughout the evening.

Why Viognier I hear you ask? Viognier is a passion of Bill’s – having tried to persuade the Provence AOC to accept Viognier as part of their official wine varieties while developing the vineyard at Chateau de Berne in Provence.

 

The evening’s Viogniers went as follows:

Pre-Dinner guided tasting & canapés:

Chateau de Campuget 1753 Viognier, Costières de Nimes, 2015

Chateau de Berne, 2012

Metal Label White Viognier, Berton Vineyard, South Australia 2015

Starter

Saint Clair Viognier, Saint Clair, Hawkes Bay 2015

Lobster Bisque  with parmesan croutons and crème fraiche

Fish course

Limited Release Viognier, Swartland Winery, 2015

Goan Fish curry

Meat course

Côte Rôtie ‘Blonde du Seigneur’, Domaine Georges Vernay, Rhône Valley 2013

Gressingham duck leg confit with sautéed potatoes, tender stem broccoli and orange sauce

Dessert

Viognier PGI Epanomi, Domaine Gerovassiliou, Macedonia 2015

Vanilla panna cotta, plum compote

 

The evening was followed by an auction, with all proceeds to The Morning Star Children’s Charity, accompanied by:

Condrieu ‘Terrasses de L’Empire’, Domaine Georges Vernay, Rhône Valley 2014

 

Greece is the word

If you walked beyond the fountains of Granary Square, Kings Cross, on the weekend of 08 and 09 October you would have been met with an amazing array of the finest Grecian producers at London Greek Wine Festival 2017.

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Hosted by Theodore Kyriakou of The Greek Larder, we attended the festival with a range of over 30 wines from our suppliers including:

  • Domaine Gerovassiliou, led by the godfather of modern Greek wine, Evangelos Gerovassiliou, who was the original winemaker at Chateau Carras in the late 1970s where he introduced the almost extinct Malagousia grape
  • Gaia Wines, offering its wines from estates in Nemea and Santorini, the latter boasting the oldest vineyards in the world, coupled with the unique Assyrtiko grape
  • Ktima Alpha, offering wines from its pristine estate in the cool highlands of Amyndeo, northern Greece
  • Monemvasia Winery, with its range of stunning single variety and blended wines from the indigenous varieties if the Peloponnese
  • Manolesakis Estate, showcasing two original and exciting blends from the perfect microclimate in Drama, north-east Greece
  • Ktima Biblia Chora, providing visitors with two delights from its estate, one of which is the most awarded Greek white – domestically and internationally
  • Idaia Winery, equipped with a collection of wines made from indigenous grapes in Venerato, a village in the heart of the vineyards of the Malevizi district

The collection of reds, whites, indigenous blends, international blends and even a sweet wine demonstrated the remarkable improvements in the Greek wine industry over the past decade and the varying delights that Greece has to offer.

The star wine of the festival was an extraordinary bottle of Thalassitis, from Gaia Wines, which truly embodied the power of Poseidon after spending five years underwater in the bottle in the caves of Santorini.

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In addition to the sumptuous food and countless bottles on offer to try, we were able to listen to inspirational host, Olly Smith, take us through past and present Greek wine, as well as our very own Steve Daniel guide us in all things authentically Greek.

An amazing weekend, with amazing people – one not to be missed in 2017!