Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Aug 16, 12 Oldenburg wines at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Posted by in South Africa

Oldenburg Vineyards in Stellenbosch, S. Africa,  is located in what many consider to the premium wine growing region of the country. The vineyard is in the Banghoek Valley which means “scary corner” due to that fact that it used to the stomping grounds of local leopards. Nowadays they have all but disappeared leaving the valley to the vines. The vineyard was originally a fruit farm founded in the 1950’s which then became a vineyard in the 1960’s. The family sold their grapes to other vineyards until 1993 when Helmut Hohman, the owner died. It wasn’t until 2003 that the vineyard was revitalized by Adrian Vanderspruy, the current proprietor of Oldenburg Vineyards. I had dinner with the winemaker, Simon Thompson, in London not long ago at the wine cellars of Berry Bros & Rudd.  Over dinner, Simon related how a study had been commissioned of the vineyard site and they had found that it was a very unique site with the best soils placed in the middle of a hanging valley. The location having good sunlight but still being in a protected site. We touched on the fact that they practice “bio-viticulture”, it’s a phrase that was coined by a Stellenbosch professor and the the philosophy encapsulates both the principles of organic and biodynamic winemaking. Oldenburg believe that winemakers should “tread lightly on the environment”. In this case, they use as little copper and sulphur as possible in the winemaking process and the softest approach. They think a healthy microbial soil structure is very important in the grape growing process. They also do quite a bit of green harvesting to ensure that only the best grapes get through. Over dinner we had the first public vertical tasting of their chardonnays. Rather oaky in style, Simon believes that the way forward for South African chardonnay is less oak and I tend to agree with him. He’s a big fan of chenin blanc and thinks it could be the third wine of S. Africa. I tried the...

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One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Aug 10, 12 One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world? Penfold’s Ampoule

Posted by in Australia

One of the most expensive bottles of wine in the world will soon be on sale here in London. It’s from Penfold’s Winery and is called the Ampoule (rrp £120,000). Made from the oldest continuously producing cabernet vines in the world from Penfolds Block 42 Kalimna Cabernet Sauvignon, and only produced in the best years, the 2004 has been chosen to be bottled in the Ampoule. According to Penfold’s,  “…the wine is contained in a hand blown glass ampoule that provides an ideal wine environment and a bespoke glass plumb-bob that suspends the ampoule within a wooden Jarrah cabinet – all produced by South Australia’s finest craftsman…” The most eyebrow-raising aspect is that for that £120,000 price tag, “…a senior member of the Penfolds Winemaking team will personally attend a special opening ceremony for the owner (essentially your very own master-class). The winemaker will travel to the destination of choice, where the ampoule will be ceremoniously removed from its glass plumb-bob casing and opened using a specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap. The winemaker will then prepare the wine using a beautifully crafted sterling silver tastevin…” Sounds a bit over the top but you will be getting your money’s worth (I hope)! There’s only been 12 bottles produced and this will be the first one displayed in Europe. It will be at the new wine shop opening soon in Mayfair, Hedonism. R un by the aptly named Alistair Viner – formerly of Harrod’s wine department, where he spent 16 years including Chief Wine Buyer before leaving to start Hedonism. Who will buy this wine and is it worth it? Stay tuned…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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