If we've got an offer on the go then why not sign up to get first dibs? We look after our customers and those with a registered interest first and foremost before any offer hits the website. Put your email address into the box on the top right hand corner of this page and, if the computer says "Yes" (and you are over 18, of course), we'll put you on the list.
So, if a wine offer looks too good to be true then you can bet that it will end up as cooking wine.
But we simply refuse to sell rubbish wine! Our wine ends up on special offer for a number of reasons. The most common situation resulting from our bonded warehouses accidentally breaking our stock, leaving us with half-empty cases which the trade simply won't buy. So, if you don't need OWC and fancy a good deal, look out for these in our sales. Or occasionally Mark & Rupert just feel generous and go a bit mad on a Friday afternoon...so they might send out an email with a bargain.
We might have been offered the opportunity to clear a private cellar (something which we relish!) and if you're a registered customer you'll get first dibs. Recent gems have included Cheval Blanc '61 and Lafite '45.
Finally, we've got the limited offerings which come out annually for the top Bordeaux, Burgundy and Côte du Rhône Vintages. We may be a small business but our allocations are surprisingly impressive.
BURGUNDY 2014 OFFER
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The 2014 growing season began with the first healthy-flowering since 2011, which initially lifted the hopes of many producers; however, soon after came what has become a common occurrence in Burgundy. For the third year in a row, the Côte de Beaune was hit by catastrophic hailstorms which left vignerons fearing for their livelihoods, as yet another tiny vintage loomed. These guys have had an unbelievably tough time over the recent years.
So, the month of June saw up to 50% of vines along the Côte hit by hailstones the size of golf-balls: in particular, Volnay, Pommard and Meursault, but also in Puligny, and even as far north as Pernand-Vergelesses. By contrast, Chassagne-Montrachet mostly escaped these storms, and many producers have made relatively close-to-normal quantities. The vintage was luckily saved by a very dry late August and September, which allowed for balanced ripening, and meant that most producers were able to pick before the start of October.
The whites are perfect examples of white burgundy: they show wonderful natural harmony of fruit, acidity and flesh, as well as fresh citrus and stone character, alongside pretty floral notes. They are higher in acidity than the 2013s, but as they are generally also richer wines, they do not come across as remotely sharp. The thick skins of the tiny Chardonnay grapes allowed many producers to make wines that have noticeable depth. Some producers used ‘batonnage’ (the stirring of the lees) to add richness, and help counter what they initially saw as a high level of acidity. The easiest comparison to make is with the 2010s, as they possess similar structure and tension, but whilst they have astonishing intensity, they tend to be a little less complex on the nose. But that’s a nit-pick. The ripeness to the wines will give them an early drinking appeal, yet the excellent balance should make them more than suitable for mid-term ageing.
Meanwhile, the Pinot Noir was generally very well concentrated, with thick skins and a good framework of alcohol and acidity; the wines are definitely classic, and will also age – as always, it’s all about the balance. Words such as ‘freshness’, and ‘charm’, made frequent appearances in our tasting notes, the wines will be approachable at a relatively early stage of their life. As for the tannins, they are soft and well-integrated. Tasting the ’14 reds was a total pleasure…believe me when I say that experiencing young wine can occasionally be somewhat of a chore, this job is not always as glamorous as it might sound!
Some growers compared 2014 reds to 1999, the hallmark being generous fruit, and a noticeable salinity; however, the ‘09s had an enormous density to them, and we cannot pretend to say that ‘14s are quite in that league. We edged more towards the focus of the 2012s, allied to a ‘terroir’ definition of, say, 2006, or 2008, but with greater plumpness and fat on the mid-palate. The last properly good Burgundy vintage ending in a ‘4’ was way back in 1964, so on the 50th anniversary of that year, a decent one was certainly due!
All our growers were very upbeat about the quality, although many worried about the ever-increasing prices for Burgundy. After 5 successive small vintages, in which growers have lost the equivalent quantity of between one and two entire crops, there is a shortage of wine in the region, demonstrated by the fact that many négociants are offering exorbitant prices in order to get their hands on barrels of wine, at any cost – if a négoce has nothing to push, the business model hits the buffers, obviously.
Fortunately, 2015 has been a more regular-sized harvest, so everyone’s very much hoping that prices will now stabilise (and from the UK point of view, that the £ stays above €1.30…we presume George Osborne’s already got his excuses lined up, if etc.). But enough of the stats, back to the matter in hand! 2014s will offer up massive pleasure: for whites, it’s a truly, truly superb year; for reds, 1992, 1997, and 2000 spring to mind, 2007s also, only the ‘14s are obviously much, much better.
NOW, LET’S CLARIFY THIS, AND MAKE IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR: 1992, 1997, 2000, AND 2007 ARE NOT YEARS THAT HAVE GONE DOWN IN THE ANNALS AS ‘HISTORIC’. BUT LET’S REMEMBER THE CRUX THAT IS BURGUNDY – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GROWER, GREAT BOTTLES COME FROM GREAT ESTATES. FACT. AND THIS IS NOT ONLY TRUE IN BURGUNDY, BUT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD OF WINE!
On that basis, a presence in the cellar should be nailed-on!
8th January 2016