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We are enormously proud to be the sole UK agents of the highly renowned portfolio from Achaval-Ferrer, producers in Mendoza, Argentina. In 1998, a group of Italian and Argentinian friends joined forces to realise a then extremely ambitious dream – the creation of world class Argentinian wine.
Photo: Achaval-Ferrer winery in Mendoza
Bodega Ruca Malen is a boutique winery in Mendoza, Argentina, producing elegant, stylish wines from classic grape varieties. Exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK, Ruca Malen was only set up in 1998, the brainchild of Jean-Pierre Thibauld and Jacques-Louis de Montalembert, who shared a dream of owning a winery in Mendoza. Both men share a love of wine and an understanding of the international wine trade, de Montalembert having worked extensively in Burgundy, France, while Thibauld was for years chairman of Bodegas Chandon, Argentina.View more info & list of wines
The Wiston Estate Winery is widely regarded as one of the most exciting new sparkling wine enterprises in the UK today. The winery was established in 2008 exclusively for the production of traditional method English sparkling wines, principally to offer contract winemaking services to external vineyards but also to create exceptional sparkling wines from Wiston Estate's home vineyard Findon Park Vineyard.
Benjamin Romeo is very ambitious for his wines, determined to produce the very best his land can provide. Rioja based, his wines stand apart from mainstream Rioja in every way possible. A painstaking selection of over twenty plots presents Benjamin with a complex set of ingredients for his blend.
The vineyards, some ten hectares, excluding Predicador, include a contiguous 3.5ha block, planted with bush vines, which produces La Viña de Andres. The rest of the estate is dotted in numerous parcels around San Vicente de la Sonsierra (around 80%) and neighbouring Labastida and Briones. These vines are responsible for Benjamin Romeo Contador, the flagship wine, and its little brother La Cueva del Contador. Benjamin Romeo is passionate about his terroir, “my vineyards are in a very privileged part of the world – La Rioja is wonderful, privileged land for making wines.”
Photo: Benjamin RomeoView more info & list of wines
Champagne Delamotte is not only one of the oldest champagne houses, but also, arguably, one of the most refined in style and pedigree. Established in 1760 in the prestigious village of Le Mesnil, Champagne Delamotte is Chardonnay’s most dedicated advocate. Indeed, most of Delamotte’s vineyards are planted with Chardonnay, all of which enjoy the exalted grand cru status common to the very best Champagnes. Alongside the elegant Delamotte Brut NV (a blend with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier but Chardonnay-dominant nonetheless) and delicate, strawberry-scented rosé, the Blanc de Blancs cuvées (non-vintage and vintage) are the stars of the show, both tantalisingly rich yet delicate. This is hardly surprising, considering Delamotte’s status as sister house of the legendary Salon Champagne, perhaps the world’s finest and rarest Blanc de Blancs Champagne, produced only in exceptional vintages.
Photo: Sign in the Delamotte vineyardView more info & list of wines
Arguably the rarest of all fine Champagnes, Salon is the legacy of one man: Eugène-Aimé Salon, a Champagne fanatic who devoted his life to creating the quintessential champagne we now know as Salon. Focusing on Chardonnay – in his view the sole grape capable of yielding Champagnes of requisite focus and mineral finesse – Eugène-Aimé Salon scoured the Champagne region for suitable sites, planting his vineyard – the now famous Jardin de Salon – on the deep chalk soils of Le Mesnil, still one of Champagne’s only grand cru villages. One wine, one vineyard, one grape: the apparent simplicity of this formula belies the challenges inherent in creating a wine of Salon’s complexity. It is testament to Eugène-Aimé’s perfectionist vision, that the conditions and traditions he prescribed continue to be upheld in the production of this legendary Champagne, made on average only three times per decade.
Salon 2002 was released on 5th March 2014 - view the brochure online.View more info & list of wines
La Tunella’s exceptional, stylish wines come from the Colli Orientali del Friuli region in north-east Italy, near the Slovenian border. Small, family-owned La Tunella has come a long way since farmer Min Zorzettig started making wine in the 1960s. Today, grandsons Massimo and Marco run the winery and La Tunella boasts an impressive range of delicious wines from international grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio as well as rare, indigenous varieties like the spicy Friulano. Grown on vertiginous sun-trap terraces in the eastern Friuli hills, the hand-tended vines produce only the tiniest quantity of grapes. The soils here, a mix of marl and sandstone called ponca, are unique to the area, and held to be key to the expressive yet delicate flavours and textural purity of La Tunella’s wines. La Tunella is exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: La Tunella vineyardView more info & list of wines
Olivier Leflaive is one of French Burgundy ’s most respected wine producers, offering wines of exceptional quality, consistency and style from village appellations and cru vineyards across the legendary Côte d’Or . While Olivier Leflaive is technically a négociant house, its approach sets it apart from the majority, in that all wines are made from scratch at Olivier Leflaive’s winery in Puligny-Montrachet , rather than bought in as must or pre-made wines like many of its competitors, which allows control over all aspects of the winemaking process.
Photo: Olivier LeflaiveView more info & list of wines
The Lane is one of the most exciting wine estates in Australia today. This boutique winery is the brainchild of well-known Aussie winemaker John Edwards, whose long-term dream was to make distinctive wines with all the exuberance of Australian-grown fruit yet classic ‘old world’ structure. It was in the early 1990s that John finally pinpointed the site, high in the Adelaide Hills.
Photo: The Lane vineyards
View more info & list of wines
Under the stewardship of Anne-Claude Leflaive, Domaine Leflaive produces magnificent wines, the hallmark of which is loyalty to and typicity of individual terroir. The wines have personality and extraordinary purity – perfect ambassadors for Anne-Claude Leflaive’s passionate belief in biodynamic viticulture. At the heart of the biodynamic philosophy is the individual treatment of vines by plant-based compounds, according to a strict timetable, governed by the lunar cycle. Pesticides and chemicals have long been confined to the past but Anne-Claude started biodynamic experiments in the early nineties, and the practices were fully endorsed from 1997. The prime motivation initially was concern about the sustainability of the land but the rewards have extended far beyond the vineyards, which have thrived, to very obvious improvements in quality in the finished wines – a welcome and unexpected bonus.
Photo: Anne-Claude LeflaiveView more info & list of wines
Vincent Dampt is one of Chablis’ rising stars. The youngest generation of an impressive Chablis lineage, Vincent is the son of Daniel Dampt and grandson of Jean Defaix, both admired Chablis producers. Respectful of family tradition, Vincent is nonetheless determined to build his own reputation. Mild-mannered on the surface, Vincent is fiercely passionate about wine and the Chablis terroir, yet open to new ideas and methods in his pursuit of quality. Ever focused, Vincent enrolled himself in winemaking school aged just 14, then worked in France, notably with Olivier Leflaive in Burgundy, before heading to New Zealand’s Marlborough region, an experience he calls mind expanding. Vincent now owns two hectares of prime Chablis and Chablis 1er Cru vineyards, some with 55-year-old vines. Styled to give pleasure, Vincent Dampt’s steely, mineral wines are classic Chablis with a touch of opulence.
Photo: Vincent DamptView more info & list of wines
Domaines Leflaive, the “s” is important, was founded as a négociant house to enable the management company of Anne-Claude’s Leflaive’s recent, exciting venture in Macon-Verzé to sell grapes to Domaine Leflaive in Puligny, where they are vinified - neatly accommodating traditional Burgundian law.
Macon-Verzé lies just south of the Côte Chalonnaise. Anne-Claude’s former manager Pierre Morey and her friend and colleague Dominic Lafon had both spotted a property there which they were sure would interest Anne-Claude. 9.5 hectares of pristinely managed vines, in five parcels, had been lovingly tended by an elderly couple, then looking to retire, yet who had no children. Anne-Claude assured them that the vineyard would be well cared for, eagerly anticipating what biodynamic viticulture could bring to a simple appellation. The property was bought late in 1993 and the first vintage was 1994.
Photo: Anne-Claude LeflaiveView more info & list of wines
Boutique, family-owned Marlborough estate Eradus Wines has become a firm favourite of Corney & Barrow staff and customers since joining our portfolio in 2002. Har and Sophie Eradus emigrated from Holland to New Zealand in the early '80s and settled in the Marlborough wine region. Today there are twelve hectares of mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir vineyards, the most impressive of which are planted on undulating, stony terraces along the Awatere river valley. Closer to the ocean than much of the Marlborough wine region, the Awatere’s warm days, cool nights and dry, sunny climate are key to the luminous flavour intensity, elegant minerality and fresh acidities of Eradus’ distinctive wines. The Eradus estate is now run by son Michiel, whose affable, easy-going demeanour belies a fierce perfectionist focused on pushing every boundary in pursuit of quality and balance, the Eradus mantra.
Photo: Eradus vineyardView more info & list of wines
‘Hand-crafted… no compromise’ is the maxim behind the exceptional, elegant wines of Muddy Water, a small family-owned wine estate on New Zealand’s South Island near Canterbury. Jane and Michael East settled here in the Waipara wine region in 1993 with a dream: ‘the world according to Muddy Water should be a cleaner, purer place where wine isn’t made to formula but grown and fermented to best reflect the vineyard and season’. This sums up the holistic Muddy Water approach, in the vineyard and the winery alike, both run according to organic and now biodynamic principles, aiming to maximise wine quality and long-term sustainability. The Waipara wine region boasts ideal grape-growing conditions: drenched in sunlight and protected from cool sea breezes by coastal hills, its warm summers, luminous autumns and distinctive limestone soils give ripe grapes with intense flavours yet fine acidities.
Photo: Muddy Water estateView more info & list of wines
Passopisciaro is sited 1,000 metres above sea level on the northern slopes of Mount Etna, Sicily, a volcano from which a steady plume of smoke is a constant reminder that it is very much live. High altitude, exposure and temperature variation, between day and night, all play an important role in a unique terroir which produces wines of enormous character.
Andrea Franchetti forged his name when he created Tenuta di Trinoro, in the Val d’Orcia in Tuscany – from scratch. Having established himself in what he himself describes as a 'God-forsaken place' – for which read desolate and beautiful – he then embarked on a new project. Andrea elected to clear and restore some long-abandoned terraces of ancient vines. The fact that these were situated on a live volcano simply provided extra excitement. The challenges were considerable: derelict cellars, a blackened landscape and the restoration and replanting of a vineyard set on inhospitable lava dust.
Photo: Andrea FranchettiView more info & list of wines
The historic vineyards of Quinta de Chocapalha, dating back to the 16th century, are beautifully sited on the sunny hillsides of Portugal’s Estremadura region, north-east of Lisbon. Owners Paulo and Alice Tavares da Silva bought Chocapalha in the eighties, totally convinced about its true potential. They immediately embarked on an investment programme, starting in the vineyards. By 2000, the most recent plantings were reaching maturity and quality had already greatly improved. At this time most of the production was sold on to larger cooperatives. Whilst Paulo and Alice were making progress at home, their ex-model daughter, Sandra, was fast establishing her reputation as an extremely talented winemaker, working alongside Cristiano Van Zellar at Vale Dona Maria in the Douro. With Cristiano’s encouragement, the family elected to refurbish their chais and start producing their own wines.
Photo: Paulo, Sandra and Alice Tavares da SilvaView more info & list of wines
The privately-owned German wine estate, Schloss Schönborn, has some 650 years of history and experience under its belt, during which time the Schönborn family has amassed some spectacular sites. The philosophy which underpins the Schloss Schönborn estate, in all it does, is the pursuit of quality.
The Schönborn family were founder members of the Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter (VDP), the Association of German Quality Wine Estates. The issue of quality is important. It is a sad but undeniable fact that many people deny themselves some of the world’s finest wines – erroneously believing that all German wine is sweet and invariably nasty. Good German wine is phenomenal and fine Riesling exquisite. One of the world’s most noble varieties, it is stunning in youth and ages well. The Schloss Schönborn team are very diligent in both pursuing excellence and communicating it.
Photo: Schloss Schönborn estateView more info & list of wines
The Antinori name resonates throughout the wine world but Marchese Lodovico Antinori is pitched at a unique frequency. Legendary, maverick, genius, headstrong – all apply but his imagination, vision and drive have created unequalled world class wines in the past. This Tenuta de Biserno, his ultimate project, is testimony to his unique talents. It is a 90-hectare estate, situated in coastal, western Tuscany, hidden amongst the hills of Bibbona in the Upper Maremma, cooled by sea breezes – perfect conditions. Lodovico Antinori embarked on this exciting project having sold his famous Bolgheri estate Tenuta dell’Ornellaia. Bibbona actually borders DOC Bolgheri but the terroir is different. Although both areas are better suited to Bordeaux varietals than the ubiquitous Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc does exceptionally at Biserno as well as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The wines are outstanding.
We have just released the 2007 vintage, to view the brochure click here.
Photo: Lodovico AntinoriView more info & list of wines
The Le Colture family winery is located in the village of Santo Stefano di Valdobbiadene, the heart of Italy’s Prosecco country. It is here, high in the lush, green hills around Cartizze (the epicentre of the finest Prosecco production) that the Ruggeri family has been tending its vineyards since the 1500s. Centuries of winemaking heritage are upheld today at Le Colture by Cesare and Renato Ruggeri. Made from mature (20-25 year old), low-yielding vines planted on terraces and worked by hand, Le Colture Prosecco is made exclusively from grapes grown on the estate. Rare in the world of Prosecco, this is crucial to the quality of Le Colture’s wines, allowing the family to maintain high standards and consistency of style. While this also means that production is limited, Corney & Barrow is pleased to have exclusive distribution rights for small quantities of Le Colture in the UK.
Photo: Prosecco vineyards at Le ColtureView more info & list of wines
Highly-reputed winery Bodegas Alavesas is based in the beautiful medieval town of Laguardia in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa area, the jewel in the crown of Spain’s classic Rioja wine region. The climate, influenced by both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, is close to perfect for growing high-quality wine grapes. Established nearly forty years ago and still family-owned, Bodegas Alavesas boasts almost 100 hectares of some of Rioja’s most desirable vineyards, including small hillside parcels whose altitude and chalk-clay soils are held to be the secret of the Rioja Alavesa’s finesse. The most famous vineyards are planted on the banks of the river Ebro at Finca Escobosa, once the summer estate of 18th century story-teller and national treasure Felix Samaniego. Today his legend lives on in the wines of Solar de Samaniego, named by Bodegas Alavesas in his honour.
Photo: Entrance and vineyards of Solar de SamaniegoView more info & list of wines
Now a respected winery in Spain’s acclaimed Ribera del Duero wine region, Bodegas Peñafiel owes its achievements to a student dream. Its founders, fifteen friends who met at Barcelona university, shared a vision of setting up their own winery and producing wines to rival the best in Spain. Their search for an exceptional site and their belief that, ‘la esencia del vino nace en el viñedo’ (the wine’s essence is born in the vineyard), led them to the then up-and-coming Ribera del Duero wine region, whose sunny conditions, high altitude and poor limestone soils were already attracting the attention of an industry alive to fine wine potential. Bodegas Peñafiel’s overriding respect for nature and organic, quality-minded approach are evident in the finesse and balance of their ‘Miros’ wines, named in homage to Casimiros Molin Lopez, a major shareholder in Bodegas Peñafiel who has been fundamental to its success.
Photo: Bodegas Peñafiel from the hillView more info & list of wines
Jack Cakebread visited friends in California’s Napa Valley in the early '70s and loved it so much, he returned the next day to buy their land, founding Cakebread Cellars shortly after. Initially a small, family-run business based in Rutherford, Cakebread has flourished and its wines are now distributed worldwide. Cakebread’s commitment to wine quality has seen it invest in twelve additional estates in the Napa Valley and most recently in the Anderson Valley, giving unrivalled access to some of the finest fruit from prime sites across the area – a winemaker’s dream. From fog-cooled Carneros to the intense heat of Calistoga via Howell Mountain and the Rutherford Bench, Bruce Cakebread, President of Cakebread Cellars, and winemaker, Julianne Laks, make full use of this extraordinary diversity, blending grapes from different sources, microclimates and soils to bring complexity to their wines.
Photo: Cakebread wineryView more info & list of wines
Cecilia Beretta is a small, family-run wine estate based near Verona in north-east Italy’s Veneto wine region. Set up in the 1980s as a viticultural research centre by prominent local winemaking family Pasqua, Cecilia Beretta is still owned and run by Pasqua but operates as an entirely separate venture. Named after local nobleman Giuseppe Beretta who built the estate’s splendid villa in the 17th century, the estate comprises 89 hectares of prime limestone-rich vineyards in the rolling hills of Valpolicella and Soave. Now the focus of the family’s quality wine aspirations, Cecilia Beretta is winning increasing critical acclaim for its top wines, recently garnering the coveted ‘Tre Bicchieri’ (Italy’s most prestigious wine award) for its Amarone Terre di Cariano from prized vineyards in the heart of Valpolicella. The range of Cecilia Beretta wines we stock are exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Cecilia Beretta vineyardsView more info & list of wines
Château Bel-Air is in a prime site within the tiny appellation of Graves de Vayres, in the Entre-Deux-Mers. A real claret lovers’ claret, this offers a very traditional style of winemaking; elegant, with an emphasis on balance – a great standard bearer for approachable Bordeaux.
Château Bel-Air, Graves de Vayres has equal rights to adopt Bordeaux Supérieur as its appellation but this is a unique place and we applaud their differentiating themselves. Philippe Serey-Eiffel, great-great-grandson of Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who masterminded the Eiffel Tower, decided to market his wine himself and break with the tradition of selling through a négociant (merchant). Philippe, also an engineer, set about the task with meticulous attention to detail, as befits his chosen profession.
Photo: Château Bel-Air Graves de VayresView more info & list of wines
Corney & Barrow’s relations with tiny, family-owned Champagne house Guy de Chassey date back over thirty years and we are proud to offer its delicious Pinot Noir-based grand cru Champagnes. Nestled at the foot of the Montagne de Reims in the village of Louvois, Champagne Guy de Chassey grows all the grapes used for its Champagnes, of which just 4,000 cases are made each year. Guy de Chassey’s 9.5 hectares of vineyards are dotted about Bouzy and Louvois, the latter one of only seventeen Champagne villages to enjoy 100% grand cru status – the crème de la crème of Champagne. Today Champagne Guy de Chassey is run by fourth generation Marie-Odile de Chassey, whose son Vincent carries out most vineyard work by hand, from pruning vines to picking grapes. Winemaking techniques are traditional, with bottles aged for a minimum three years on the lees and riddled by hand.
Photo: Guy de ChasseyView more info & list of wines
Château Barrail du Blanc Grand Cru is a Corney & Barrow UK exclusivity. This is a tiny property, just three hectares in size, located in Saint Sulpice de Faleyrons, planted on rather light, well-drained soils. Such terroir makes for easy-drinking, generous wines which drink well even when very young.
The family which has owned Barrail du Blanc for over 150 years, formerly sold off their grapes. However, in 1995 they decided to produce their own wine. Considerable investment was necessary and new, thermo-regulated tanks were installed, as well as a maturation cellar – all to ensure optimal quality. The soil here dictates that this can never be a massively powerful wine – but so much the better for that, wine consumers need such approachable, easy drinking wines. Charming and accessible, Barrail du Blanc produces a fine Saint-Emilion Grand Cru which makes people smile, without breaking the bank.
Photo: Barrail du Blanc vineyardView more info & list of wines
We are delighted to have the exclusivity for Louis Mitjavile’s new venture in the Côtes de Castillon, Château Cadet. Louis, hugely talented, cut his teeth working for his father François Mitjavile, the iconic trailblazer at Tertre Rôteboeuf in Saint-Emilion and Roc de Cambes in the Côtes de Bourg.
Louis Mitjavile has, most recently, forged a remarkable reputation in his own right as a consultant for many successful properties, including our own Château Carignan Prima. It was clearly only a matter of time – and access to the right site – before Louis and his wife Caroline would set up on their own. Their patience was rewarded when Château Cadet came up for sale. This is a fabulous property in the Côtes de Castillon, an appellation which is rising in status and popularity. Small wonder – bordering Saint-Emilion, it enjoys the same clay/limestone soil as its highly revered neighbour.
Photo: Château CadetView more info & list of wines
Château de Lamarque is a delightful Haut-Médoc property which is situated on the left bank of the Gironde, to the north of Margaux, very close to the river. The owners of de Lamarque, Pierre-Gilles and Marie-Hélène Gromand d’Evry are determined to make the best Haut-Médoc wine possible here and have done their utmost to achieve this goal.
The Château's vineyards lie in three distinctive plots each on a gravel mound. One parcel lies within Lamarque village, just behind the church. A second is opposite Château Malescasse, further south, and then there is a sizeable parcel to the west of the road north. This part of Château de Lamarque borders Moulis and counts Châteaux Poujeaux, Maucaillou and Chasse-Spleen amongs its neighbours.
Photo: Château de Lamarque
Jean-François Guilbaud’s Muscadet-sur-Lie from Château La Bretonnerie might be termed a timeless classic, yet this bone-dry white wine is also simply a delicious drink and the ultimate seafood match: refreshing and tonic, mineral-textured, with the oyster-shell scent evocative of its Atlantic home. Château La Bretonnerie lies in the small village of Saint-Fiacre in the rolling hills of the Pays Nantais, the most westerly vineyard area of France’s Loire Valley wine region. The people behind Château La Bretonnerie are Jean-François Guilbaud and Marie-Luce Métaireau, daughter of respected vigneron Louis Métaireau of Domaine du Grand Mouton. Today the Guilbaud/Métaireau dream team makes their wine from grapes of both estates. Following traditional methods, they use old oak casks to ferment and mature their wine carefully on its yeast ‘lees’, the key to Château La Bretonnerie’s benchmark Muscadet style.
Photo: Muscadet vineyard of Château La BretonnerieView more info & list of wines
Montagne St-Emilion offers an excellent value insight into St-Emilion and Château La Courolle is a fine ambassador for the appellation. Château la Courolle is situated on the plateau of Montagne St-Emilion on argilo-calcaire (clay-limestone) soil, similar to those of St-Emilion itself. Château La Courolle offers a wonderfully accessible entry to the St-Emilion style, at a good price.
The vineyard is planted at 6,000 vines per hectare with 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc. Montagne St-Emilion, at the very centre of the St-Emilion region, is steeped in the tradition of winemaking, the vignerons fiercely proud of its terroir and tradition. The Guimberteau family has been involved in wine production for over 100 years and the current steward of the family domaines, Rodolphe Guimberteau, is the fourth generation.
Photo: Vineyards at Château La CourolleView more info & list of wines
Wine estates are often beautiful but few are as breathtaking as Château Léoube on France’s Côte d’Azur. With its glittering Mediterranean backdrop, Château Léoube spans over 500 hectares of forest, olive groves, herb-scented garrigue bushland, and mature vineyards surrounding a magnificent, turreted 15th century château. Current owners British entrepreneur Sir Anthony Bamford and his wife, bought Château Léoube as a virtual ruin and vowed to restore the estate to glory, including its vines. Over sixty hectares of vineyards have now been overhauled and are run organically by talented young winemaker Romain Ott. The sophisticated new winery will further support the team’s mission: to make distinguished wines worthy of Château Léoube’s impressive terroir. A recent addition to our agency portfolio, Château Léoube’s elegant Côtes de Provence wines are distributed exclusively in the UK by Corney & Barrow.
Photo: Château Léoube vineyard by the Mediterranean seaView more info & list of wines
Xavier and Corinne Loriaud are making excellent wines at Château Les Ricards, true to their terroirs. They share a single-minded determination to produce the best possible wines from their vineyard. As the soils of Blaye are richer than those of the Médoc, vines tend to be overly prolific, but the Loriauds convince them otherwise.
The Les Ricards vines have hard taskmasters in Xavier and Corinne, who savagely restrict their growth. Severe pruning, green harvesting and meticulous selection make for concentrated wines with great intensity. Les Ricards is aimed at being a crowd-pleaser, a soft, fruity, accessible wine from vines grown on sandy-gravel soils. The estate is based in Cars, regarded as Blaye’s top winemaking village. The blend here is 70% Merlot, 20% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with Malbec imparting wonderful colour and intense aromatics. Les Ricards is aged for 12 months in oak of which 25% is new – lovely wine.
Photo: Vineyards at Château Les Ricards
Château Moureau lies deep in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, in the ancient Minervois area. This small, old family estate is run today by third generation brothers Jean-Jacques, Marc and Frédéric Moureau, whose aim is to produce classically-structured wines showcasing the deep flavours of their old-vine Grenache, Syrah and Carignan grapes. While winemaking techniques are modern, vineyard husbandry is resolutely traditional: Château Moureau’s 45 hectares of terraced, hillside vineyards must be tended by hand, just as they have always been – vine by back-breaking vine! Yet vineyard location is key to Château Moureau’s quality. Here in the foothills of the mighty Montagne Noire, the fierce heat of the Mediterranean sun is mitigated by cool breezes and plunging night-time temperatures, allowing the vines to rest and the grapes to preserve their pristine fruit and elegant acidity.
Photo: Château Moureau estateView more info & list of wines
Offering great value, Château Peyrat wears its heart on its sleeve. This is an accessible, tobacco-scented, earthy Graves red, with up-front, plummy fruit, wild herbs and clear mineral elements. Simple and fresh, this is traditional "lunchtime claret", Merlot dominated and unadorned with oak.
The Graves is where red Bordeaux originated. It produced wine when the greatest properties in the Médoc today were still swamps – as yet undrained. Despite a solid viticultural history, the Graves seems to have lost its place, since the wine world's shorthand descriptions – Right Bank, Left Bank – over simplify what is happening on the ground. Also, when Pessac-Léognan elected to set itself apart from the Graves, it rather forgot to tell the world or no-one was listening. Graves is still in common parlance but as a synonym for Pessac-Léognan. True Graves, like Château Peyrat, can be overlooked.
Bouzeron is the first village of the Côte Chalonnaise, an enclave which was identified by the monks of Cluny, in the Middle Ages, as having a particularly favourable terroir. Aubert de Villaine, co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and his wife Pamela established A & P de Villaine here.
Pierre de Benoist is now based at Domaine A & P de Villaine, as manager. Pierre, Aubert’s nephew, is no stranger to vineyards as his father, Philippe de Benoist, owns Domaine de Nozay, in Sancerre. Pierre joins Aubert and Pamela in their commitment to their land and to the organic viticulture which they exercised, way before the current fashion trend. The Domaine has had organic certification since 1986. This is a special site and in order to respect the natural balance, no herbicides or pesticides are ever used. The vines are planted on nutrient poor limestone which naturally limits yields.
Photo: Entrance to Domaine A & P de VillaineView more info & list of wines
Domaine Bachelet-Ramonet is a family-owned estate in Chassagne-Montrachet, one of the Côte d’Or’s legendary wine villages. With 13 hectares (32.5 acres) of Chassagne vineyards including prime premier and grand cru parcels, it is no surprise that the wines of Alain Bonnefoy, who runs the domaine with wife Marie-Paule and son Arnaud, are so highly sought after. Alain’s belief that ‘le vin sourit en fonction de la vigne bienheureuse’ (in layman’s speak: happy plant, happy wine!) has seen Bachelet-Ramonet evolve a holistic ‘less is more’ approach in recent years, aiming for healthy, balanced vines with minimal recourse to chemicals. In the winery, hand-picked grapes are gently pressed and fermented in barrel, using just 10% new oak to preserve the essential characters of the wine itself. Available in small quantities only, Domaine Bachelet-Ramonet is exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Cellars at Domaine Bachelet-Ramonet
Tradition and respect for nature are the watchwords at Domaine Bernard Millot, whose vineyards in Burgundy’s prestigious Côte d’Or villages Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault have belonged to the family since 1700. Today this small estate is owned and run by Bernard Millot with wife Sylvie and son Emilien. The Millot family believe passionately in following ‘sustainable’ viticultural methods that encourage long-term biodiversity in the vineyard, minimising the need for potentially harmful chemicals. All grapes in the 21 acres of vineyards are picked by hand, and age-old winemaking techniques see the wines mature in oak barrels for twelve months in the even temperatures and low light of the tiny, vaulted cellars beneath the Millot family home in Meursault. Textbook classics in the traditional mould, Domaine Millot’s superlative, award-winning wines are exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Bernard Millot
At the very southern tip of Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, Domaine Cyrot-Buthiau is a small family domaine, based in Pommard. This tiny domaine, comprising a handful of hectares, has been in the family for the last 100 years, and is owned and run today by fourth generation brothers Olivier and Marc-Emmanuel Cyrot, now in their thirties. While Marc looks after the business side, Olivier is the winemaker and achieving critical acclaim for his delicately fragrant Volnays and supple, elegant Pommards from meticulously-tended, terraced vineyards planted high above the village, some dating back seventy years. With the emphasis on terroir, Cyrot-Buthiau’s wines are traditionally styled and classic, yet never lean or green. It is Olivier’s aim to tease out the pleasure of Pinot Noir; the elusive haunting perfume and elegance that characterise the world’s finest examples.
Photo: Olivier Cyrot
A new name on the wine scene, Domaine de l'Aurage was created with the 2007 vintage, a new property owned and run by Louis Mitjavile. Louis, hugely talented, cut his teeth working for his father François Mitjavile, the iconic trailblazer at Tertre Roteboeuf in St-Emilion and Roc de Cambes in the Côtes de Bourg.
Recently Louis Mitjavile has forged a remarkable reputation in his own right as a consultant for many successful properties, including our own Château Carignan Prima. It was clearly only a matter of time – and access to the right site – before Louis and his wife Caroline would set up on their own. Their patience was rewarded when this property came up for sale. This is a fabulous estate in the Côtes de Castillon, an appellation which is rising in status and popularity. Small wonder – bordering St-Emilion, it enjoys the same clay/limestone soil as its highly revered neighbour.
Photo: Domaine de l'AurageView more info & list of wines
The Domaine des Varoilles name comes, originally, from a premier cru monopole first planted in the 12th century. The vineyard holdings have expanded over the years, and now cover ten hectares and eight appellations. There has been enormous investment here, re-invigorating naturally stunning old vine sites.
Painstaking attention to detail in both the vineyard and cellar is reaping great rewards and the Domaine is now producing extremely fine wines which will make purists smile. Finesse and elegance are the watchwords here rather than power. There are no rough edges, even in youth. Gilbert Hammel is now in overall charge; a meticulous man, it has been under his tenure that Domaine des Varoilles has soared in quality. Intense colours and profound aromatics are complemented by freshness and a lightness of touch, belying underlying, restrained muscle. The Domaine has a rich portfolio of fine sites.
Photo: Domaine des Varoilles vineyard and estate
Domaine du Nozay Sancerre is a firm favourite with Corney & Barrow customers and staff. Our association with Philippe de Benoist, who founded Domaine du Nozay in 1970, came about as a result of Corney & Barrow’s close relationship with Aubert de Villaine, owner of legendary Burgundy property Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and also Philippe’s brother-in-law. Given the connection, it will come as no surprise that Domaine du Nozay’s winemaking philosophy is similarly meticulous, espousing organic methods. The Domaine’s vineyards boast a high proportion of prized terres blanches, the chalky-clay soils rich in marine fossils which are linked to the distinctive flavours and textures of many great Sancerres. When he is not chasing wild boar (a favourite pastime), Philippe devotes his prodigious energy to managing Domaine du Nozay’s fifteen hectares of vineyards, while son Cyril handles the winemaking.
Photo: Domaine du NozayView more info & list of wines
Domaine François Carillon , although recently founded, can trace its ancestry back to the 16th Century, with François himself the sixteenth generation of farmers. The Domaine is borne of Domaine Louis Carillon , Louis being François’ father, now retired. François began working with his father and brother Jacques in 1988. Fascinated from the outset by the vines and their environment, the vineyard became François’ main focus and remains paramount today. François and his brother took over the family Domaine on their father’s retirement, in 2010 they elected amicably to split the estate holdings and thus Domaine François Carillon was established.
Photo: François Carillon (right), Adam Brett-Smith (centre), Percy Weatherall (left)
François Labet’s Burgundian winemaking lineage dates back to the 15th century. The Labet name is highly regarded as the family behind Château de La Tour, the largest single estate (15 hectares) in Burgundy’s famous Clos de Vougeot vineyard. Similarly the wines of Domaine Pierre Labet, from the family’s 8.3 hectares of vineyards in Savigny, Meursault and Chorey in the Côte de Beaune, share the family’s reputed winemaking pedigree, based on organic farming and a meticulous approach in the vineyard and cellar alike. François Labet’s hands-on attitude carries through to his own-label wines, made with grapes sourced from small growers with old vines (those in Marsannay date from 1964 and 1979), and lavished with Labet’s kid-glove winemaking treatment. The resulting wines offer a taste of the elegance and finesse of the grands vins which established the Labet name generations ago.
Photo: François LabetView more info & list of wines
We are greatly indebted to Clive Coates MW for an introduction to Gilles Jourdan, a lovely man, shy and self-effacing, with whom we would never had any contact had it not been for Clive. The village of Corgoloin is pretty far off the main drag, after all, and the cellar is absolutely tiny. Gilles is obviously and deservedly fiercely proud of his vines and wines. There are just 5 hectares here, part owned part en fermage including a monopole, La Robignotte, a lieu-dit which is absolutely top-notch, for what is essentially a basic villages wine. In past tastings, Gilles has been extremely generous, allowing us to try older vintages in order that we might witness the incredible potential of his vineyard parcels. The structure, complexity and finesse, we have experienced, totally outrank the wines’ status. This is clearly exceptional terroir, allied to well-handled, sensitive winemaking. Gilles Jourdan is a one man band, run with enthusiasm and passion.
Photo: Gilles JourdanView more info & list of wines
Domaine Darnat’s stylish Puligny and Meursault, made from fifty-year-old vines, exhibit the classic mix of richness and elegance that typify the best white Burgundies. Darnat’s small, modern winery in Meursault belies the history and tradition of an estate that dates back 180 years. Fifth generation Henri Darnat is winemaker and today runs all aspects of his modest but thriving business. Passionate about quality and naturally inquisitive, Henri converted his vineyards to organic methods over five years ago and continues to seek (often highly innovative) ways to improve his wines. Some might call him mildly eccentric, yet he is convinced that his ‘living, breathing’ wines – ‘comme mes enfants’ (‘like my children’) – benefit from sensorial input, so his barrel rooms often resound with Bach preludes (‘to give the wines structure and purity’) or Maria Callas arias (‘for richness and soul’).
Photo: Henri DarnatView more info & list of wines
In addition to running the family’s holdings in the Clos de Vougeot, Château de La Tour Grand Cru, François Labet looks after a selection of red and white wines from the Labets’ other vineyards around Beaune, niche plots which have been built up since 1890, treated in the same way as the grand cru.
François Labet is hugely conscious of the responsibility he bears to both his ancestors and to future generations and is energised by it. Extremely meticulous, in his attention to detail, all the vineyard sites are farmed organically. The goal is simple, on paper. His perennial aim is to produce healthy, quality grapes whilst, at the same time, assuring long term sustainability of terroir. François has very fixed views of what is best for his wines and has confounded some critics, in the past, by his single-minded determination, often flying in the face of accepted practice.
Photo: François LabetView more info & list of wines
Sancerre’s Domaine Tissier is a small, family-owned wine estate in Chavignol, one of the greatest wine villages within the Sancerre district. Founded in 1945, the Domaine is run today by Roland Tissier’s grandchildren, viticulturalist Rodolphe and winemaker Florent. Domaine Tissier is what the wine world might call ‘a gem’: a quality-minded estate with just ten hectares of prime south-facing vineyard slopes, comprising prized chalk-clay and ‘silex’ (flint) soils. With such fine credentials, it is no surprise that the Tissier brothers give their privileged terroir so much focus. Florent asserts: ‘it’s impossible to put terroir into wine, but easy to knock it out’, so the Tissiers aim for balanced, healthy vines, eschewing chemicals likely to compromise the wines’ natural expression. Given the floral delicacy and mineral depth of their Sancerres, Domaine Tissier’s approach would seem spot on!
Photo: Rodolphe and Florent Tissier
We are delighted to represent the wines of Domaine Trapet exclusively, in the United Kingdom, for our private customers. This is a collection of which we are truly proud, offering wonderful purity, precision and focus. The wines have gone from strength to strength under the tenure of Jean-Louis Trapet. Since taking over the reigns, Jean-Louis has effected many changes. Initially these involved restricting yields, introducing lower-yielding rootstocks, high density planting and green harvesting, when required. The rewards were so obvious that a wholesale change in the way they had been working seemed to be the logical next step. Biodynamic disciplines were soon adopted. Jean-Louis and his wife Andrée are both acutely aware of their responsibility to past, present and future generations, where their vineyard holdings are concerned. They are equally tireless in their pursuit of quality.
Photo: Jean-Louis & Andrée TrapetView more info & list of wines
Jean-Louis Trapet and his wife Andrée are extremely humble about their transitory role in the context of their inherited land. They are passionate about maintaining and restoring the natural health of their terroir and here, in Andrée’s family farm in Alsace, they have opted to farm biodynamically. The Trapets also exercise biodynamic disciplines in Gevrey-Chambertin. They spend their weekends jostling between the two regions. At the heart of the biodynamic philosophy is the individual treatment of vines, by plant-based compounds, according to a strict timetable, governed by the lunar cycle. Pesticides and chemicals have long been confined to the past and now, at the beck and call of the planets and climate, the Trapets have ceded control of their own lives. Working one property biodynamically is a challenge, let alone two, some distance apart. The wines, however, are stupendous.
Photo: Andrée Trapet
Danish-born, Bordeaux-trained Peter Sisseck was dispatched to Spain in 1990, to the then obscure area,Ribera del Duero. He was there to work on a short-term project which, subsequently, enjoyed much praise – Hacienda Monasterio. A victim of his own success, Peter found himself in total charge.
Hacienda Monasterio established, Peter Sisseck started to get very twitchy. Instinct, born of his Bordeaux experience, called him to seek another challenge. Although relatively unknown, as a region, Ribera del Duero has a long viticultural history and Peter believed that it had the potential to produce Spain’s finest wines. He sought out parcels of ancient vines, on perfectly exposed terroir, which he instinctively knew would produce something exciting, if in small quantities. The stage was set for the arrival of Pingus – a trailblazer which had the world at its feet from the outset.
Photo: Peter SisseckView more info & list of wines
The extraordinary Eagle Vale wine estate is based in the heart of Margaret River, Western Australia’s premium wine region. Started from scratch in 1995 by husband and wife Steve and Wendy Jacobs, Eagle Vale’s exceptional 11.5 hectares of vineyards lie just 3km from the cooling Indian Ocean and enjoy long, mild summers.
Eagle Vale’s approach is holistic and chemicals are frowned upon. Grapes reach optimal ripeness through skilled canopy management, nets prevent bird damage, and guinea fowls hoover up bugs. French talents Guy and Chantal Gallienne use traditional and modern winemaking techniques to showcase Margaret River’s fine fruit intensity. Eagle Vale wines are elegant and harmonious, with pure, lush textures and a fresh, savoury quality. Awarded five stars and rated one of the top ten new Aussie wineries by wine guru James Halliday, Eagle Vale is exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Steve Jacobs and Guy GallienneView more info & list of wines
Enrico Santini, born and bred in the stunning coastal area of Maremma, near Bolgheri, was driven by an ambition to own his own land, an estate which he would be able to run single-handedly. Bolgheri has been instrumental in the Rinascimento which Tuscany has enjoyed over the past 50 years or so. Bolgheri has attracted incomers from all over, inspired by the success of some very big names. Enrico however, is very much his own man. His passion and commitment to his native soil is legendary. He works tirelessly, from before dawn to well beyond dusk, ensuring that his wines accurately translate the estate’s unique combination of land, soil, aspect and microclimate. Enrico and his wife Donatella now own 9 ha, planted at between 70m and 80m above sea-level, lovingly and meticulously tended. Certified organic within Italy, the vineyard is, in fact, farmed biodynamically - fabulous wines.
Photo: Enrico Santini
L’Hospitalet de Gazin is the second wine of Pétrus’ neighbour, Château Gazin. Gazin is a large estate, at twenty-four hectares, housing varied parcels and different terroirs – not all on the plateau. L’Hospitalet de Gazin is selected from cuvées which provide an accessible, approachable and elegant style.
The soils at Château Gazin are clay and gravel, well-drained due to a slight incline. The vineyard is planted with 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc at a density of 5,500 vines per hectare and with an average of thirty-five years. Gazin has been owned by successive generations of the de Baillencourt dit Courcol family and now, under the stewardship of Nicolas and Christophe de Baillencourt, it has really re-found its feet, after some difficult years. Their approach in both vineyard and cellar combines traditional practice with modern techniques which equally benefits L’Hospitalet.
Photo: Château GazinView more info & list of wines
The dawn of the new millennium saw the beginning of an inspired venture when the de Villaine family from Burgundy and the Hyde family of Carneros, California , decided to work together on a family-run project in Carneros, Napa Valley . Thus, with a combined viticultural history spanning some 400 years, Hyde de Villaine came to fruition.
The joint venture between Aubert de Villaine and Larry Hyde was launched in the UK in 2010. The Hyde de Villaine wines, two Chardonnays , a Syrah and a Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon blend are extraordinary; the result of a unique partnership of skills and cultures, which have resulted some extraordinary wines. These Californian wines combine a degree of the finesse, elegance and refinement, which most of us would associate with European wines, with a balance of richness and vitality afforded by the relatively cool, windy climate of the Carneros region.
Photo: Larry Hyde and Aubert de VillaineView more info & list of wines
Mad Dog Wines: mad name, mad label, mad number of bottles made (a mere 500 cases a year) – are these people nuts?! Actually no, the team at Mad Dog Wines are just wholly passionate about wine quality. That means selecting only the very best, low-yield Barossa Valley fruit from Mad Dog’s gnarled old Shiraz vines, some spanning almost three centuries, treating it gently and lavishing it with first-class French oak (Damy, natch). While Mad Dog’s premium valley floor vineyards total thirty-five hectares, most grapes go to top Barossa wineries with just 2ha reserved for Mad Dog’s label. Geoff Munzberg (the original Mad Dog, with a surprisingly mild bark!) has recently passed the family business to fourth generation son Matthew, whose brother-in-law Jeremy Holmes is winemaker. Classic, lush, seductive, fresh: Mad Dog Wines are exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Menglers Hill from Mad Dog's vineyardView more info & list of wines
Marcel Joubert’s pure, earthy Fleurie and Brouilly hale from some of the best terroirs in Beaujolais and are made by one of its most idiosyncratic, passionate producers. Marcel Joubert is the fourth generation to run this tiny family wine estate, whose sun-exposed hillside vineyards (eleven hectares), mineral-rich soils (volcanic granite and schist) and venerable old vines (some are ninety years old!) are capable of catapulting the Beaujolais region’s red Gamay grape from mediocrity to the sublime. While this sounds like alchemy, the quality of Marcel Joubert’s wines has much to do with his uncompromising organic approach in the winery and the vineyard: no fertilisers, pesticides or cultured yeasts; no fining or filtering, no sulphites… while some call him a madman, Marcel Joubert makes wines whose delicacy, soft red fruit and subtle textures are emblematic of a true purist.
Photo: Marcel Joubert
Mont du Toit is quietly building its reputation as one of South Africa’s most critically-acclaimed boutique wine estates, whose wines are exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK. Nestled at the foot of the mighty Hawequa mountains, Mont du Toit Kelder (cellar in English) was acquired in 1996 by lawyer Stephan du Toit . While the 28-hectare Mont du Toit wine estate is naturally suited to high quality grape growing – with its sloping vineyards, Mediterranean-style climate and complex soils – the du Toits’ unremitting pursuit of quality is the real driving force behind the estate’s success. Their belief in nature as the source of wine quality is reflected in Mont du Toit ’s eco-friendly practices, upheld in the winery under the ‘inspirational guidance’ of German oenologist Bernd Philippi and his team of South African winemakers.
Photo: Bernd PhilippiView more info & list of wines
Moris Farms is an exceptional wine estate based in Italy’s hip Maremma wine region in coastal Tuscany. Established in 1700 by noble Spanish émigrés, Moris Farms is run today by Dr Adolfo Parentini, whose wife Caterina is a descendant of the original family. Covering two main sites, Moris Farms’ hillside vineyards and fossil-rich clay soils yield red wines of superlative concentration and finesse, while fresh, crisp white wines are made from Vermentino on sandy soils. Based largely on Italy’s treasured red grape Sangiovese, better known as the grape of Chianti but called Morellino here, Moris Farms’ red wines are largely classified as DOC Morellino di Scansano and considered by Italian experts to be among the stars of this up-and-coming wine region. Flagship red wine, Avvoltore, has also been awarded the highly-coveted tre bicchieri (three glasses) in Italy’s prestigious Gambero Rosso guide.
Photo: Moris Farms estateView more info & list of wines
Alan Nelson’s childhood dream was to own a wine estate, and he has worked tirelessly to attain it. Alan studied law and for years ran a successful practice in Cape Town, enabling him to buy the historic, run-down property in Paarl, that he subsequently renamed Nelson Estate. The quality and style of Nelson Estate’s wines comes partly from the complex granite-clay soils found here, and also from the cooling Atlantic breezes, mitigating South Africa’s fierce summer heat and helping promote the delicate flavours and fresh textures that are a feature of Nelson Estate wines. Alan’s relentless pursuit of quality is shared by son Daniel, active in running the estate, and daughter Lisha, a top graduate of Stellenbosch University and one of South Africa’s brightest rising star winemakers. Nelson Estate’s beautifully made wines are now attracting deserved attention from critics worldwide.
Photo: Alan NelsonView more info & list of wines
Pyramid Hill stands out for its fresh, elegant wines, a world away from the ripe blockbusters often associated with Australia. Located in the Upper Hunter Valley, Pyramid Hill is family-owned and run by a small, dedicated team. It was in the 1990s that documentary filmmakers Nick Adler and wife Caroline Sherwood first spied this beautiful estate, an old dairy in the rugged hills of the Wollemi National Park. Leaving behind their London/Sydney commute, they formed a partnership with viticulturalist Richard Hilder and wife Dilma, founding Pyramid Hill in 1996. Highly respected for his pioneering work at Rosemount, Richard has transformed the estate into 72 hectares of vineyards, managed block by block according to soil types and microclimate. Popular not only with ‘new world’ wine lovers but ‘old world’ purists too, Pyramid Hill’s wines are exclusive to Corney & Barrow in the UK.
Photo: Pyramid Hill vineyardView more info & list of wines
To say Rhebokskloof Wine Estate is impressive is an understatement. A magnificent 600-hectare property spanning two lush valleys, Rhebokskloof lies at the foot of the Cape’s imposing Paarl Mountain. Dating from 1692, this historic estate was carved up into several smaller farms in the 20th century, though recent owners have sought to reverse this. Rhebokskloof is now under the ownership of a group of wine-passionate South African businesspeople with a vision, to restore it to its former glory. An inspiring project will see Rhebokskloof’s splendid Cape Dutch buildings refurbished, and its extensive grounds renovated, with the aim of making wines that do justice to the estate's unparalleled vineyard sites and long wine heritage. The arrival of respected winemaker and marketeer Anton du Toit adds further kudos to Rhebokskloof’s bright new venture, heralding a stellar future.
Photo: Rhebokskloof estateView more info & list of wines
Les Songes de Magdelaine, formerly known as Château Saint Brice, is the second wine of Château Magdelaine, Premier Grand Cru Classé St-Emilion. Its origins date from 1991 when, following dreadful frosts, no grand vin was made at the Château, and Saint Brice was introduced as a second label. Fortunately, Les Songes is now a perennial release. Born of adversity, Château Saint Brice created much excitement. Christian Moueix then elected to produce a second wine regularly, allowing Magdelaine to maintain the very highest quality, whilst offering an easy, early-drinking Grand Cru St-Emilion at a very fair price. For legal reasons, the name had to be changed and Château Saint Brice became Les Songes de Magdelaine. Grapes for the second wine tend to come from the lower slope, where the soil is a less interesting sandy-clay, and from young vines. Les Songes de Magdelaine is approachable and charming, a most attractive wine in its own right.
Photo: Horse ploughing at Château MagdelaineView more info & list of wines
Established in 1994, the Tardieu-Laurent wines turned heads from the outset. Michel Tardieu, now working independently, is completely free to pursue his philosophy without any impediment. Obsessive in his pursuit of the perfect translation of vintage and place, Michel refers to himself as a terroirist.
Provençal by birth, Michel settled in the Lubéron, in the southern Rhône, with his charming wife Michelle. In partnership with Burgundian pastry chef turned wine producer Dominic Laurent, he set up the négociant house, Tardieu-Laurent. Michel buys wine, selected according to the quality of the vineyard and looks after the maturation, blending and commercialisation of the wines. Michel Tardieu is now flying solo, establishing his own hallmark, whilst reflecting the essence of the vintage and specific vineyard sites.
Photo: Michel TardieuView more info & list of wines
Tenuta di Trinoro lies in southern Tuscany in the Val d'Orcia – far removed from the ochre hues of Chiantishire. This is an amazing property, the brainchild of Andrea Franchetti who created Trinoro, from scratch, against all the odds, producing trail-blazing wines which turned heads from the outset.
Tenuta di Trinoro lies between 500 and 700 metres above sea level, facing west-south-west and is protected by two mountains, Cetona and Amiata, which flank the ten mile wide valley. The climate is continental, with very hot days but cool autumnal nights. Dry, it is perfect for prolonged ripening. Planting at 10,000 vines per hectare and pruning back to five clusters per vine greatly restricts yield and concentrates the grapes so that the wines exhibit astonishing richness and complexity. The grapes are picked bunch by bunch, with several passages through the vines to ensure optimum ripeness. No herbicides or pesticides are used and the only fertiliser is from vine cuttings.
Photo: Andrea FranchettiView more info & list of wines
The magnificent 15th century Vignamaggio estate lies between the Italian towns of Florence and Siena in the pictureseque, rolling hills of Tuscany’s Chianti region, famed for its red wines. While Chianti Classico red wines have earned the estate world-wide renown, Vignamaggio is legendary for other reasons too. It is said that Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci’s muse, was born here in 1479, and today Vignamaggio’s finest Chianti is named in her honour. It is also said that the term ‘Chianti’ was first coined in 1404 in reference to Vignamaggio’s wine.
Today the estate makes wines reflecting both the traditions and potential of the Chianti terroir, using traditional local grapes Sangiovese and Canaiolo for some wines, while others include proportions of international grapes Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. Vignamaggio also makes tiny amounts of the delectable dessert wine vin santo.
Photo: Vignamaggio estateView more info & list of wines
Viña Mar is a boutique winery based in Chile’s cool Casablanca Valley, the sister property of the revered Isla de Maipo winery, Viña Tarapacá, and now the crown jewels of the larger San Pedro-Tarapacá group, a recent merger. Viña Mar’s young winemaker Mauricio Garrido is one of the fastest-rising stars in the Chilean winemaking firmament, a specialist in ‘cooler climate’ styles and adept at teasing the delicate, pristine flavours from varieties like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Viña Mar’s vineyards are situated in several high-quality sites close to the Pacific, whose ocean breezes and rolling mists cool the vines in the scorching Chilean summer, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and gently. These are ideal conditions for the intense yet delicate flavours and lovely fresh acidities that characterise Viña Mar’s wines and have made Casablanca’s name in the international wine world.
Photo: Viña Mar estateView more info & list of wines
Sandra Tavares da Silva and husband Jorge Serodio Borges already had pretty impressive CVs when, in 2001, they embarked on Wine & Soul, their own project in Portugal's Pinhão Valley. A combination of prodigious talent and enthusiasm has resulted in iconic wines which already have an ardent following. Sandra is winemaker at both Vale Dona Maria with Cristiano Van Zellar and her family home, Quinta de Chocapalha in Estremadura. Jorge, formerly winemaker at Niepoort, works on a number of new projects in the Douro as well as Quinta do Passadouro. It was clearly only a matter of time, and finding the right site, before they would set up on their own. They initially bought a wonderful, old port lodge and rebuilt the lagares (stone troughs). In the beginning they purchased fruit from selected sites in the Pinhão Valley until in 2003 they bought a spectacular vineyard, planted with ancient, 76-year-old vines, across thirty varieties.
Photo: Sandra Tavares da Silva and Jorge Serodio BorgesView more info & list of wines
Château de La Tour, established in 1890, is the largest proprietor of Clos de Vougeot. With six hectares of vines, this covers 12% of the appellation, well sited and housing old and ancient vines, 50 years old on average, with the oldest having been planted in 1910. There are five parcels of vines.
Clos de Vougeot is the largest grand cru in the Côte de Nuits, with over 100 parcels and around eighty owners. There is enormous diversity in terms of terroir – slopes, aspects, altitudes, drainage and underlying geology. Add to that the age of vines, methods of cultivation and winemaking and there is clearly a vast range of styles and qualities produced, all with the Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru label. Château de La Tour owns parcels high up the slope, towards the renaissance manor, in the middle and a little on the lower slope – a true representation of the Clos and a complex palette of ingredients.
Photo: Château de La Tour
Château Latour à Pomerol, a quietly legendary property, is not a single vineyard but rather is comprised of many parcels with different soils at the heart of Pomerol, which allows great complexity. The result is a wine to which the cognoscenti remain faithful year after year. Latour à Pomerol has an interesting history. Madame Loubat, who also originally owned Château Pétrus, first acquired the mainstay of the property in 1917. She then gradually added to the holdings to bring the vineyard up to its present eight hectares. Upon her death in 1961, Latour à Pomerol passed to Madame Lacoste, her niece, who ran it for forty years before gifting it, in 2002, to the Foyer de Charité de Châteauneuf de Galaure (a French Catholic charity). However, upon inheriting the estate, Madame Lacoste appointed Etablissements J-P Moueix as fermier, and to this day the Moueix team are responsible for the vineyard, winemaking and commercial aspects of Château Latour à Pomerol.
Photo: Château Latour à PomerolView more info & list of wines
Château Magdelaine Premier Grand Cru Classé is remarkable. Close to Châteaux Belair and Canon, there are eleven hectares in total, planted on the limestone plateau and the southern slopes, overlooking the Dordogne. This highly-renowned terroir produces one of the greatest wines of the appellation.
Château Magdelaine is planted with 90% Merlot, the highest proportion of Merlot across all of the Saint-Emilion first growths. Merlot is generally at home on clay, and on the limestone plateau the roots dig deeply for nutrients, adding complexity and structure in the resulting wines. The varied soils contribute further layers of luscious, sumptuous fruit, spice and minerals over time. Château Magdelaine is very rarely gregarious in youth; serious and structured it rewards the patient. A second wine is now made from the lower slopes, protecting the integrity of the grand vin.
Photo: Château MagdelaineView more info & list of wines
Roc de Cambes is a jewel. This is François Mitjavile of St-Emilion's Tertre Rôteboeuf Côtes de Bourg property and there is certainly something reminiscent of Tertre Rôteboeuf here, albeit on a larger scale; a natural amphitheatre with a perfect aspect overlooking the Gironde.
Roc de Cambes comprises fourteen hectares of old vines, 45 years on average Vines are planted on the most highly reputed slope of the Côtes (les Croutes), where the heat of the sun on the slope is regulated by the effects of the estuary, permitting regular growth and wonderfully ripe, concentrated fruit. Essentially François Mitjavile’s approach in the Côtes de Bourg mirrors that at Tertre Rôteboeuf, in a region with great, but often unrealised, potential. Roc de Cambes always had great promise but François has made it flourish.
Photo: François MitjavileView more info & list of wines
François Mitjavile is a man unto himself. He does not even conform in his non-conformity. Anarchists are usually hugely vociferous but not for François the public railing against his particular windmills. He just quietly gets on with things, his way, year on year producing staggeringly good wines. A mere six hectares in size, the extraordinary rise to fame of Tertre Roteboeuf Grand Cru, from relative obscurity, has been dramatic. Tertre Rôteboeuf is not even a grand cru classé, yet is one of Saint-Emilion’s cult wines. This turnaround has been spearheaded by a unique individual, François Mitjavile, aided and abetted by his wife Miloute, his son Louis and daughter Nina. An incredibly passionate communicator, François’ impassioned descriptions of Tertre Rôteboeuf, and his way of working, are richly peppered with philosophical musings and illustrations of parallels within music and art.
Photo: Tertre Roteboeuf estateView more info & list of wines
Château Trotanoy is, indisputably, one of Bordeaux’ finest estates. It is situated on the western edge of the central and highest of the Pomerol slopes, only a few hundred yards to the west of Pétrus. Trotanoy has often been referred to as the half brother of Pétrus particularly in its renewed form.
In recent years, Trotanoy has sidled alongside Pétrus, very much the young pretender, offering impressive depth and intensity. Extensive replanting was deemed necessary at Trotanoy in the seventies and eighties, with young vines leading to a lightening in style which confounded critics.
Photo: Château TrotanoyView more info & list of wines
The Clos is striking, dominating the village of Morey-Saint-Denis, its entrance proudly emblazoned Clos de Tart, confident and assertive. Beyond lies an immaculate courtyard and impeccably restored 16th century winery buildings. In fact the origins of Clos de Tart can be traced as far back as 1141.
In 1141, a parcel of land called Climat-des-Forges was sold to Cistercian nuns who renamed it Clos de Tart. Since then there have only been three owners, as the vineyard remained in the hands of the church until the Revolution, when it passed to the Marey-Monge family. They held it until the 1930s when the Mâcon-based Mommessin family acquired Clos de Tart in 1931. It was granted grand cru status in 1939 under their tenure, but Clos de Tart did not get the family’s undivided attention until 1996, when they sold their négociant business to concentrate on this domaine, the jewel in their portfolio.
Photo: Clos de TartView more info & list of wines
Look at almost any image of the unmistakable hill of Corton and you will, essentially, be looking at the Bonneau du Martray estate. With 9.5 hectares in one block, this is the largest single vineyard holding and is exactly the same piece of land which was gifted by the Emperor Charlemagne in 775AD.
The recipient at that time was the Abbey of Saulieu. Today, Domaine Bonneau du Martray is owned by the Le Bault de la Morinière family, only the third set of owners in twelve centuries. Clearly they bear quite a responsibility to past, present and, most importantly, future generations. This burden and honour is born with meticulous grace and tenacity by Jean-Charles Le Bault de la Morinière. Jean-Charles took over the management of the Domaine in 1994 and was determined to make an impact, preserving, protecting and improving natural terroir and, in so doing, raise the profile of Bonneau du Martray.
Photo: Jean-Charles Le Bault de la MorinièreView more info & list of wines
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé is an outstanding ambassador for one of the finest Burgundy communes, Chambolle-Musigny. Georges de Vogüé is the epitome of Chambolle-Musigny, renowned for wines which offer richness and intensity in a hauntingly pure, dramatically aromatic translation of Pinot Noir.
Chambolle-Musigny lies in the Côte de Nuits between Morey-Saint-Denis and Gevrey-Chambertin to the north and Vougeot and Vosne-Romanée to the south. Chambolle-Musigny is a commune capable of producing wines which really charm. They tend to be less densely-structured than those of its immediate neighbours yet, as a result the wines are more inclined to allow Pinot Noir to sing in its purest form. 'Elegance', 'finesse', 'nobility', 'perfumed' are all descriptions which flow from the pens of devotees, punctuated with others which infer understated, subliminal attributes, 'seductive', 'beguiling' and 'enticing' – hallmark Vogüé.
Photo: Musigny Grand Cru vineyardView more info & list of wines
In the heart of the Volnay commune we find the beautifully-sited, historic vineyards of Domaine Marquis d’Angerville, part of holdings once owned by the Dukes of Burgundy. The d’Angerville wines are exemplary, pure Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sensitively handled and faithful to individual terroirs.
The grandfather of the present owner, Guillaume d’Angerville, dedicated himself to replanting the Domaine d’Angerville vineyards with specially-selected Pinot Noir vines. He determined to produce honest, high quality wines and questioned authenticity within Burgundy. With responsibility for some of the best of Volnay, meticulous care was fundamental to the Domaine’s philosophy and they wanted control. Courageously, the Domaine began bottling and commercialising the wines themselves, independent of the négociant houses. The wines have, of course, borne testimony to the prescience of this pioneering.
Photo: Guillaume d'AngervilleView more info & list of wines
The Langhe area of Italy's Piedmont region is one of the most staggeringly beautiful wine regions in the world. This is home to the celebrated vineyards of Giacomo Conterno. Third generation Roberto Conterno, now at the helm, is firmly rooted in this land, fundamentally steeped in its tradition.
With a palpable love and profound respect for his inherited terroir, Roberto Conterno has been the heart and soul of Giacomo Conterno since his father Giovanni’s untimely death in 2003. It cannot ever be easy to take over from an iconic figure and Roberto descends from a line of them. Giacomo Conterno, Roberto’s grandfather was a pioneer in the region from humble beginnings, selling from a small bar. By 1974, with the business already firmly established, Roberto’s father Giovanni undertook the fortuitous and massively courageous investment in the six-hectare monopole of Cascina Francia.
Photo: The late Giovanni Conterno and his son RobertoView more info & list of wines
Unobtrusive, mid the Pomerol plateau, the house at Château Pétrus reveals little about the treasures within. That which is all-important here is the vineyard – the result of incongruous geological accident which, allied to Merlot vines, produces the most rarefied, sumptuous and powerful of wines.
Pétrus proves that great wine is produced in the vineyard, not the cellar. The Pomerol plateau was formed by a long period of freeze-thaw movement, resulting in a soil mix of fronsadais clay, gravel and ferruginous sand. During this process a buttonhole of clay burst through the thin gravel and it is this which demarcates what has become the vineyard of Pétrus, something which simply cannot be replicated. The clay has a blueish hue and lies over gravel and, deeper again, iron-rich crasse de fer. The annual challenge for the Moueix team is translating terroir, vine and vintage into the glass.
Photo: Driveway to Château PétrusView more info & list of wines