Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Bordeaux 2009 the hype has already started but….

to be honest there is very little reason, so far (the vintage is just over half done), not to hype (a verb??).

It's been a textbook growing season “2005 with knobs on”, classically warm with good sun and cool nights. The quality looks equally good on both “banks” and the crop is an average size if not a fraction larger, all good stuff.....

Half our buying team (which gave the team a briefing this morning) came back yesterday whilst the other half stays to see the week out…so there will be more updates to come.

Meanwhile we are in the middle of Spanish season with the release of Psi, Flor de Pingus and Pingus 2008, see entry back in August for tasting notes and comments.

I need to get my IT sorted for a trip out to Burgundy (from where I will blog and twitter!) at the end of October.

My punting hasn't gone well so far this month, roll on the rain and "proper" (Jumps!) racing. Sebastiano should get a run at some stage in October as long as a bit of the aforementioned rain arrives. Plan this season is a couple of runs in Novice Chases. Then we'll see from there whether he sticks to chasing or possible reverts to hurdles (over which he had a good season the year before last with a win and a decent second). The good news is that both his Chase and Hurdle handicap ratings look "win-able-off" if that serves it's purpose as a word!

Rugby wise, my club Finchley has not started well (nothing new there), yesterday I had the chance to meet a hero of mine in Jason Leonard - what a brilliant bloke, a legend of the game! No anti-climax there!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

September Slumber? Juicy wines.....

September is never the month it threatens to be for some reason, credit card bills and that "back to school feeling" may be. Trade has been good but not exciting. Cecily in HK has a big launch tasting coming up which has been booking up fast - great news.

There have been a series of tastings in the last few days which has meant great bottles to try.

Dom Leflaive P-M Village 07 - stunning, complex, rich yet pure a stonking bit of burgundy value. Just my sort of wine.

Corton GC 2001 Bonneau du Martray - drinking perfectly from now on, red fruits combine well with good soft structure and a lovely minerality.

Clos de Tart 2006 - Big, full, masculine but with charm, all encompassing yet "slick" structure...will last and last and be superb, a special treat.

CNDP (Chateauneuf du Pape) Cuvee Felix 2006, Versino - The more Rhone 06's I have the more I like them, this could fool you into think it was "ready to go" as the fruit on the nose is bright, lively and delicious but then you realise the structure on the palate and it take on a whole new level of seriousness...with food now you would be ok but this in 5+ years will be a real treat.

Roc de Cambes 2004 - Juicy, slightly tarty and a real pound for pound champion, great anti-snob wine from the cotes de bourg that, served blind, causes many of the big names of Bordeaux a problem or two.....

Trotanoy 1999 - A wine I have had a few times and a good "proper Claret" for drinking now. This was the only wine that will have been better yesterday than now.

After this little array we looked at the 2008 Chablis range from Vincent Dampt (I am unashamedly the self-appointed chairman of his fan club) and compared some (Vaillons & Les Lys) of the 08's to the 07's. Cote de Lechet 08 was corked..another is on the way.

Les Lys 07 - good, tight and structured, not giving much away, I won't drink mine for 2 years 16-17
Les Lys 08 - taut, but fuller than 07, minerla but approachable very good, will buy 17-18

Vaillons 07 - fatter than Lys 07 but still tight, a sleeper, 3 years needed? 17

Vaillons 08 - one of the best 1er Cru Chablis I have tasted at this stage and instantly brilliant, as case to drink soon and a case for 3+ years, 18+

Bougros 08 - From Maison Dampt (Vincent and his brother) from grapes they buy rather than their own vines. Richness from some oak (not sure of the type, new/old etc yet) but not in a cloying way just in a "needs it way", very good wine and more Burgundy than Chablis if that makes sense.

Tomorrow Mr Bird gets married and Mr Eddleston ventures to our/the sister Champagne houses of Salon & Delamotte (250yrs old next year).

Thursday, 17 September 2009

on yer bike....

Why is it so hard to title a blog entry without giving in to cliches?
2009 everywhere (ok all over France at least) is looking brilliant...this isn't really an entry about wine......

At C&B we have a lot of cyclists but which I mean people who have road bikes and cycle to work and back and like the idea of doing a bit more. I'm not quite sure why we have so many, something to do with exercise justifying the increased alcohol intake or the crap London traffic, but any way we do. So this got a few of us talking and now an idea has been born, amazingly without any alcohol in the system at the time.

The idea: Cycle from Champagne to Chateauneuf (let's say 450miles) in a four, possibly five, days. Stopping at (and staying with) producers who we represent. Haven't asked any of them yet but I don't want details getting in the way just now.

Who: Me, Fraser (Senior sales, Suffolk living Rhone freak, father of three with a blemished travel record at best), James (On trade manager, cyclist, windsurfer and our only technical bod).

Logistics: Hoping to delegate this one! actually my father in law and his Land Rover are a distinct possibility. Logistics being important when you can't carry much on a bike (especially when doing 100 miles a day!) and you're staying somewhere different each night. Will need to get help from our friends in the buying team to makes sure we can stay with the producers we'd like to but I'm sure we can charm our way round that one!

Potential problems: Navigation, injury, logistics, fitness (lack of), drinking too much(wine)/not enough (water), arguing, weather, blogging, twittering etc as we go.....going to stop now as don't want to focus on this area
When: May or June 2010 - only problem being that this is when the Bordeaux 2009 (very good..see top of page) is released and being sales people we don't like to miss out.....
I think it's all quite exciting but I don't underestimate the miles involved. I've done 100m+ three times but never day after day!
It'll (before, during and after) be reported here and on twitter!!
Bon weekend all, time to cycle home......

Friday, 4 September 2009

a long short week

Last week was supposed to be a quick short one (bank holiday and all that) but somehow it became a long one...

Tuesday - Decanter Wine Awards dinner in the evening - with Adam (MD), Davina (marketing manager) and Rebecca (commercial buyer) - was good but when you have the first award at 7.30 and the last at 11.15 it can be a long one. I'll return to awards and their effects another time I guess, mixed feelings really but good to see a few people.

Wednesday - tired after a late night but I'd been looking forward to the day for a while as I was spending it with Giles (London On-trade manager) to have a session looking at each others plans for the respective business streams. Even with nearly 11 years at C&B I've never really got involved in the Restaurant side of things so I guess it was just about time for a bit of education. Managed to cram in lunch at The Luxe (Commercial St) which has just opened (on one floor) will be a good venue when fully operational - bar in the basement and "fine" dining up the top.

Thursday - Tasting of a possible new (and potentially exclusive) agency for C&B - can't say who yet but you'll be the first to know, always an exciting time but especially when the wines hit the spot. Just before the Staff summer party managed to cram in a tasting of the Tattinger Champagne range which was good and not something I have done before - the style in general is very balanced. The Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1998 was a lovely nutty Meursault like Champagne that would be great with food, not a long term keeper I feel but very good now and over the next few years. The Staff party was a good laugh, held at the C&B Bar at Jewry Street - there are supposed to be some photos, will post any interesting ones.

Friday - Release of the latest Giacomo Conterno wines - Barbera 2007 and Barolo Cascina Francia 2005 - I like to think Roberto Conterno (the winemaker, owner, manager) is "the" man in Barolo making "old school" Barolo (i.e. big old barrels for a long time rather than small new oak barrels). I much prefer this more traditional style, Nebbiolo is very different from Pinot Noir in character/taste but it has a similar tendencies to be spoiled by over oaking I think. The other similarity, other than pale colour, is a very good tendency to portray the characteristics of its location i.e. terroir. Friday also saw Kieran Fallon return to the saddle after three years - a very talented jockey and good to see him back.

Saturday - Rugby season really under way, last warm up games before the league starts next saturday. Australia beat the Springboks which generally has to be good for the very young Aussie side. No bets on the racing or Rugby, decided to keep the powder dry!

Sunday....not sure yet that's where I am now! Roast Chicken later so the great Red vs White wine decision to be made.