A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Jun 19, 13 A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Posted by in France, Travel

I recently went to Bourgogne for the first time and have fallen in love with the place. I’ve always liked the wines but once you go there it does cast a spell on you. I suppose I was lucky that the weather was warm and sunny, which always helps! I was visiting on a press trip with the EU funded initative Discover the Origin and I can say I certainly did do a lot of discovery while I was there. We stayed in the northern part of Burgundy, being based in the pretty little town of Beaune. A medieval town that was founded centuries ago, it is the home of the Hospice de Beune and the centre of town is full of well preserved buildings. Wandering around the ancient buildings and the cute little town square, it was hard to drag myself away from the sidewalk cafes and get out to the vineyards but go we did. We visited quite a few domains while we were there but one of the first was Domaine Jean-Francois Rapet. This domaine has been in the same family since the 1870’s and the current generation of Rapet’s are carrying on the family traditions. It’s not a large domaine but still family owned and run. We visited their main house in St. Romain. They have vineyards in St. Romain, Volnay, Pommard, Auxrey-Duresses, Ladoix Blanc and Meursault. Rapet still use the old cellars underneath the family home and have a small winery which they are busy expanding at the moment. We had a small tasting after our short tour of the cellars. One of the more interesting wines was the Coteaux Bourgogne which was introduced in 2011. They use grapes from Beaujolais to round out their blend. Their rouge Coteaux Bourgogne 2011 is made in stainless tanks and doesn’t see any oak at all. They result is a cheerful, fruity wine meant to be drunk young. It had a savoury note to it but was still very fresh. They’ve only produced...

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In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Jun 17, 13 In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Posted by in France, Travel

I was in Bourgogne not long ago on a press trip with Discover the Origin, an EU initiative to introduce the well known but possibly misunderstood regions of Bourgogne, the Douro and Parma. During the trip, one of the producers we got to meet was Anne Parent, winemaker and part owner of Domaine Parent Pommard. The domaine is situated in the and around the village of Pommard and they make both red and white Bourgogne. We started our chat in the half empty cellars of the domaine. Anne apologised for the empty space saying that usually the cellar is full to the top but as the last few harvest have been bad in the region, stocks are low. She is concerned about the 2013 vintage and is hoping for a bumper crop because otherwise… The conversation then turned to biodynamic practices in Bourgogne. During the trip, I  had spoken to many producers and while many used biodynamic practices, Anne was the first one to tell me that she was actually in the process of going totally biodynamic. That is a brave thing to do in Bourgogne where the weather is not always warm and sunny and there are a myriad of issues that growers face every year. Anne told me that they are currently in the process of going biodynamic but it is a step by step process and they are not 100% there they are however, going to be certified organic this coming year. In 2010 they started their biodynamic policies but is has been a great challenge. However, she will not go back to chemicals or sustainable practices. She sees going biodynamic as an investment in the vineyard. To do that though,  they must have the right equipment and strategy. According to Anne, “…you have to think of the consequences of how you organize the vineyard, the work involved and the cost…” Working in a biodynamic vineyard is completely different in that you have to be precise and serious, she continued. You cannot make...

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2010 Domaine de la Pousse d’Or en primeur tasting

How often do you get to taste the entire range of a Burgundy producer in one go? Daniel Lambert Wines had a vertical tasting last night of the Domaine de la Pousse d’Or 2010 en primeur  in Mayfair and I was able to taste through all those fabulous Volnays, Chambolles and Corton Grand Crus. La Pousse d’Or has quite a reputation, being a famous old domaine in Volnay, tracing it’s founding to around 1100 A.D., although it’s present day incarnation begins in 1964. The real renown of the vines began in 1997 when the it was bought by Patrick Landanger, an electromechanical engineer, who has revitalized and invested heavily into the vines. The domaine covers Chambolle-Musigny, Clos de la Roche, Corton, Puligny-Montrachet, Pommard, Santenay and Volnay and is made up of premier cru and grand cru vineyards. I stuck in and thought this is what pinot noir is all about. It helped that these were all from vineyards with excellent terroir but red Burgundy has a silky, earthy vibrancy that is impossible to get anywhere else. I tasted through 16 wines and while they shared certain characteristics, it was the differences that highlighted and gave them a sense of place. My highlights with brief notes: Chambolle Musigny1er cru “Les Groseilles” 2010 – fine, elegant tannins, wood spice notes with fresh strawberry and bracing acidity, a delicate, silky wine Chambolle – Musigny 1er cru “Les Charmes” 2010 – there’s a reason it’s called “les charmes”, it is a charming wine, brisk and full of strawberry and rasperry , fine grained tannins, smooooth…… Chambolle – Musigny 1er cru “Les Feusselotees” 2010 – showed sweet fruit on the nose with softer tannins, much more upfront on the red fruit flavours, fuller and rounder then the “Les Charmes”. Volnay 1er cru”Clos d’audignac” Monopole 2010 – ripe strawberry and raspberry with echos of tea and earthy notes on the finish, very fresh, with crisp tannins. Volnay 1er cru “Clos de la Bousse d’Or Monopole – red fruit spiciness, structured...

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New Wine Society launching at 1 Lombard St in the City

Aug 10, 11 New Wine Society launching at 1 Lombard St in the City

Posted by in Food and Wine

Charles Dickens used to work in a bank at 1 Lombard St. That bank has since been turned into the restaurant 1 Lombard St and I was there the other night for the launch of their new Wine Society. The restaurant’s sommelier Matthew Mawtus is going to be conducting winetastings in the bank’s former vault featuring not only his favourite wines but also the wine makers who make those wines. I Iike Matthew’s favourite wines as well. It seems his Society will be focusing on some of the world’s greatest wines of which I’m always happy to partake of, being an Old World wine kind of gal. Monday night he featured white Burgundy, Bordeaux and a tokaji – yum! All of the wines came from the restaurants extensive cellar and there are plenty of big names on the list from all the classic wine regions, which I suppose is to be expected from a restaurant in the heart of the City. The restaurant is right across the street from the Bank of England and I can imagine many a banker’s meeting being held the modern brasserie dining room. We started with an elegant Chassagne Montrachet, the 2007 from Domaine Louis Carillon. I just love those elegant white Burgundies, complex but harmonious on the palate and constantly evolving as I was drinking it. It was paired with poached sweetbreads, which I’m not a big fan of, but the sweetbreads were so well prepared that I ate them all and the wine was well matched, lemony citrus finish and a subtle chalky note to it. Everyone knows I like a good Bordeaux or Bored-O as my friends say because I seem to drone on and on about them but I do love them and so does Matthew. The 2004 Leoville Barton was served with noisettes of lamb. A classic Bordeaux, savoury nose- leather, cedar, graphite, and a touch of brett, which I always enjoy. The Leoville was free flowing and much enjoyed by everyone round the...

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Lunching at the Langham Hotel

Mar 21, 11 Lunching at the Langham Hotel

Posted by in Hotels and Spas

As much as I do love my little Blackberry and stay loyal to it despite all my evangelistic iPhone friends, sometimes the download speed is soooo slow! Which was why I was late, standing on a corner of Regent’s St. waiting for directions to the Langham Hotel in Central London to download, only to realise that I was standing right in front of it! Oh, Blackberry, sometimes I do contemplate trading you in….. Happily, I was not the last to arrive for lunch at The Langham with the good folks of Travel Onion. Travel Onion is a website that aims to gather the best  of the webs travel blogs in one spot. After looking at their Buenos Aires section, I wish I had known about them when I was there recently. But I digress (I think), I was there as their guest to visit the hotel and have lunch at Roux at the Landau, the hotel restaurant. The others were waiting for me in the hotel bar, The Artesian, so named because there is a 360 ft deep artesian well under the hotel. The decor was a mix of Oriental and modern lounge  decadent but also full of light, a great place for an afternoon drink. While we were waiting, I discovered that the Langham Hotel was where the concept of “afternoon tea” was first inaugurated. Turns out that the Duchess of Bedford used to be a regular guest and every afternoon, around 4 she would get a bit peckish and send her maid out to bring a few sandwiches, sweet pastries and a pot of tea to tide her over until dinner. Thus “afternoon tea” was born at the Langham back in 1865. Even today the Langham is still known for it’s tea service (they have over 50 to chose from) having been picked as one of the best of 2011 by the London Tea Guild recently. Seeing as it wasn’t late afternoon, I ordered a Manhattan to kick things off, which was...

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