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Come for a Glass, Leave with a Bottle – By the Glass Sales in Kew!

10 August 2017 by Alex

Open Sign

Keen-eyed visitors to our Kew shop may have noticed we started selling wines by the glass in-store for a few weeks ago. The feedback from all our customers has been extremely positive, and we are pleased to announce the official launch of our drink-in wine experience in Kew!

Having added new furniture and undergone extensive refurbishment, we are now fully up and running to provide wonderful wines and nibbles for you to enjoy within the walls of our shop! Our menu will offer a variety of red and white wines by the glass, as well as rosé, and sparkling wines. We will regularly rotate these wines with the seasons, and will focus on wines from across our range, including some of the exciting producers we work with directly.

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Our new in store look

In addition to the wines by the glass, you can also enjoy any bottle from our shelves at regular retail price, plus a small corkage fee of only £10.  

So whether you are thirsty for one of our great value ‘Everyday Wines’ or prefer to pop the cork on one of the most rare and exclusive fine wines, there are now hundreds of wines available for you to choose from at great prices you won’t find anywhere else in London!

Alongside your wine, you can enjoy a varied selection of snacks and platters including: marinated olives, roasted salted almonds, parmigiano chunks, and platters of artisanal italian charcuterie and cheeses.

We hope you can join us in our newly refurbished store for a glass – or bottle – of something special soon!

New Minimum Order Threshold and Delivery Options

28 November 2016 by Alex

From today you no longer have to order a minimum of 12 bottles via the website. The new minimum order threshold is now £100, regardless of the number of bottles ordered. We also now offer free standard delivery on orders above £150 (previously £250).

Our standard delivery charge is still £10 which should reach its destination within 7 working days, more often with 3 to 4 working days.

We now also offer a next day (by 5:30pm) service at £15. Note that orders must be placed before 12pm to guarantee arrival the next day.

We hope that this makes it even easier to order online from our wide selection of wines and spirits.

See our delivery information page for more details.

Producer Profile – Fabio Motta

1 November 2016 by Alex
Fabio Motta

Young winemaker Fabio Motta

After studying agriculture, Fabio Motta went to work at the Michele Satta winery in the beautiful Tuscan coastal area of Bolgheri. After working here for five years and marrying Michele’s daughter, Fabio acquired 4 hectares of his own vineyards. Planted to Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah, these vineyards are now nearly 20 years old. Fabio believes that ‘a good wine grower lives and works close to the earth, humbly’, his role is as a facilitator, allowing the land, the weather, and the grapes to shape the wines. In an area like Bolgheri with its large, aristocratic estates, this approach is as refreshing as it is unusual.

Fabio Motta’s range includes two excellent ‘Super Tuscan’ reds, ‘Le Gonnare’ and ‘Pievi’:

Fabio Motta, ‘Le Gonnare’, Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy, 2013

Gonnare Bottle ShotThe clay rich soils of Fabio’s vineyards are particularly suited to Merlot. All grapes are destemmed before being fermented with wild yeasts. The wine then ages for 18 months in French barriques, one third of which are new. The wine ages for a further one year in bottle before release. This full and gutsy red incorporates 15% Syrah alongside the Merlot and shows enticing spicy, herby complexity with plenty of well-rounded tannin. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has recently awarded 96 points to this vintage of Le Gonnare – second only to Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s Masseto (which carries a three-figure price tag!): “This is the first Bolgheri Superiore ever produced by young talent Fabio Motta. He used 85% Merlot and 15% Syrah to make his 2013 Bolgheri Superiore Le Gonnare. In terms of an inaugural wine, this red blend hits all the high marks. This is a delicious rendition that showcases the soft and elegant side of Merlot with the sassy spice and savory notes of Syrah at the back. Pretty mineral etchings give the wine definition and focus. The combination is beautiful. Only 3,500 bottles of this biodynamic wine are produced. Congratulations” – Monica Larner, the Wine Advocate, October 2016.

Fabio Motta, ‘Pievi’, Bolgheri Rosso IGT, Tuscany, Italy, 2013

FMotta PieviA blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Sangiovese. Fermentation of each variety is done separately with only natural yeast in 33 hl. oak barrels. The cap is pushed down manually twice a day and delestage is used to let the must breathe. Fermentation takes two weeks for each variety, after which time the wine is blended. Malolactic fermentation takes place in second and third year barriques. The wine is aged in barriques of the same age for 12 months before bottling without fining or filtration. Notes of fresh red fruits, interwoven with balsamic notes and a rich minerality. The tannins are ripe and silky and the balance between alcohol and acidity creates a fresh and fragrant mouth feel.

Make sure you try Fabio’s wines this winter, Le Gonnare in particular is bound to be even more sought after having received such critical acclaim!

Book Reading and Roussillon Tasting in Chiswick with Local Author Richard Bray

17 October 2016 by Alex

“Grab a bottle, and a glass. Pop it open. Pour… Swirl it, and don’t worry if you spill a bit. Everyone spills a bit swirling. Anyone who claims not to spill a bit swirling is a big fat liar” – Richard W H Bray, Salt & Old Vines.

RocknRolleOn Saturday the 12th of November from 3pm we will be holding a very special tasting event in the Chiswick store. Local author and assistant winemaker at Coume del Mas and Mas Cristine in the Roussillon, Richard Bray, will be visiting us to read from his book ‘Salt & Old Vines’ and to talk us through a tasting of Roussillon wines. Richard’s book is an account of his experiences during vintages in the region and is an extremely illuminating look at the realities of making wine. There will be some copies available to buy on the day – we can’t recommend it highly enough if you want to take your practical wine knowledge to the next level.

SOV CoverWe will be pouring some delicious new listings to help transport your mind to the rugged terrain of the French-Spanish border: Richard’s very own Consolation ‘Rock ‘n’ Rolle’ Vermentino and ‘Wild Boar’ Syrah, as well as our new, exclusive Roussillon wines from Domaine Paul Meunier-Centernach. Richard may bring some newly bottled extra surprises to taste as well!

Tickets for this tasting are £10 each, redeemable against any wine purchase made on the day. Please RSVP to the Chiswick store via phone (020 8 994 8184) or email to secure your place. Arrive at 3pm to grab yourself a glass of wine and Richard will begin reading at 3:30pm. Stick around after the reading to try all the wines on offer.

Read an excerpt of Salt & Old Vines here, or watch Richard’s introductory video here. We look forward to seeing you on the day!

The new wave Aussies

30 September 2016 by Richard

Ten years ago all Australian wine was going in the same direction, right? They were big, brash fruit bombs that were particularly appealing to a few well known critics? Well actually, no, not really. They had started to make wines closer in style to the cooler, classic French regions, such as Burgundy. That is to say, in short, with more freshness and less oak.

Even more recently, a new generation has emerged and turned its back on conventional methods of winemaking. It has taken inspiration from the natural wine movement and minimised chemical additions, in particular sulphur dioxide. These new wave wines are typically fermented without added yeast, unlikely to have acid or tannin added, nor is it exposed to new oak. Successfully made they are like inhaling a big mouthful of fresh, mountain air – vibrant, fruit-driven, and textural and reflecting their terroir.

So, is this counter culture wine-maker a hirsute hipster wearing a Nick Cave tee and Hunter gumbies (wellies in Blighty)? A sort of Shoreditch meets Seppeltsfield (a Barossa Valley sub-region), right? No, not always, but the wild approach to looks and the hip wardrobe is reflected in their highly creative, eye-catching labels.

1st Drop Wines

1st Drop Wines

Take Matt & John’s First Drop wines as a starting point. At their ‘Home of the Brave’ winery in the Barossa , they use the absolute minimum amounts of sulphur and age in large old oak, resulting in bright, elegant styles of wines that are very smashable. Added to the mix are those imaginative labels, which reveal that they have been having just a tinnie-winnie bit too much fun!

Then there is Deliquente Wines, whose strap line is “drink like a delinquent”. Don’t stop reading here as Greg of DLQ makes small batches from unusual grapes in the most unlikely of regions, Australia’s Riverland, the engine room of the bulk wine industry there. He befriends the less popular, immigrant kids in this vast playground and transforms them into something super-cool. His Screaming Betty Vermentino, a grape of Sardinian origin, has just 11.8% alcohol, zesty pink grapefruit freshness and is far more sassy than a savvy (Sauvignon Blanc).Screaming Betty

Australia is reinventing itself and on the crest of a beautiful new wave – only they are riding it more naturally and stylishly than before and wearing beards this time.

Champagne Producer Focus

5 September 2016 by Alex

New Champagnes Cropped

 

 

 

 

 

You may have noticed that we are a little bit enthusiastic about grower Champagne here at The Good Wine Shop. Our Grower Champagne Month saw us celebrate our 25+ new grower Champagne listings with two tasting events that were attended by more than 100 people. As the summer draws to a close, we thought the time was right to provide a bit more in depth information on three of our favourite growers. Imported directly from the producers to The Good Wine Shop, these are some of the best value wines in an already great value category.

Hubert Paulet

olivier-paulet

Olivier Paulet

Based in the premier cru village of Rilly-la-Montagne in the Montagne de Reims, Champagne Hubert Paulet is run by Olivier Paulet. The fourth generation of the family, Olivier took over the estate in 1998 at the age of 25. While not fully organic (the harsh, damp climate of Champagne makes organic viticulture a challenge), Paulet uses a ‘reasoned fight’ approach to viticulture alongside some organic preparations for his 8 hectares of vines. He only uses Copper and Sulphur spraying when disease pressure is high and uses no insecticides or herbicides, preferring to use shallow ploughing and allowing grass to grow in between the vines in order to maintain soil health and keep yields low. Different grape varieties are planted on the soil that most suits them: Pinot Noir on soils with higher clay content, Chardonnay on chalky soils, and Pinot Meunier on sandier soils. The grapes are hand harvested and fermented in neutral tanks and lees ageing ranges from 28 to 72 months depending on the wine. ‘Dosage’ (the final addition of sugar before bottling) varies too, but is kept low, at a maximum of 9 grams per litre. Olivier produces only 2000 cases per year, and Champagne Hubert Paulet is exclusive to The Good Wine Shop in the UK.

The Wines:

Extra Brut Tradition
Brut Millésime
Brut Millésime Rosé
Cuvee Riselus

Varnier-Fanniere

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Denis Varnier

Denis Varnier has been at the helm of Champagne Varnier-Fanniere since 1989 and is the third generation at the estate, although the Fanniere family were growing grapes in Champagne as far back as 1860 before deciding to produce their own wines in 1947. Varnier-Fanniere’s 4 hectares are all classed as Grand Cru and are situated in the Cote de Blancs villages of Avize, Oger, and Cramant. One of the unique characteristics of this domaine is the high average vine age – 45 years – with some parcels (for example the holdings in the Clos de Grand Pere which are the source of the Cuvée St Denis) being over 70 years old. Chardonnay excels on the chalky soils here and the wines are made almost exclusively from this grape (with the exception of the rosé that requires a contribution from Pinot Noir). The base wines undergo full malolactic fermentation – a process that softens the texture and acidity of the Champagnes – and the final product is bottled at a slightly lower pressure than most fizz, supporting this generous character.

The wines:

Brut Rosé
Cuvée St Denis
Cuvée Jean Fanniere Origine

Michel Arnould

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The Arnould Family

Michel Arnould’s grandfather-in-law Henri Lefevre began making his own Champagne in 1929, and this domaine was founded in when Michel married into the family in the early 1960s. Currently carrying on the family tradition in the Grand Cru of Verzenay are Michel’s son Patrick and his son-in-law Thierry. The 12 hectares of vines farmed here are planted 80% to Pinot Noir and 20% to Chardonnay, with an average vine age of 32 years and some vines dating back to 1950. Ploughing and grassing are also used here in order to encourage low yields and promote vine health. The winery contains more than 30 steel fermentation vats of different sizes to allow each parcel of wine to be vinified separately before blending. Around 8,500 cases were made in 2014.

The wines:

Brut Tradition NV
Le Grande Cuvée NV

Elemental Bob – a South African Gem

18 August 2016 by Alex
A picture of winemaker Craig Sheard

Craig aka Elemental Bob

The wines of Elemental Bob are made by a man named – you guessed it – Craig. These carefully made South African wines are making a bit of a name for themselves among sommeliers and in the best wine bars. Winemaker Craig Sheard studied agriculture in school and college and originally worked on farms. This led his brother to give him the nickname ‘Farmer Bob’. Craig later studied winemaking and began working as a winemaker on larger estates before founding his own side project in 2004. Wine is made as much by the elements as by man and this gave rise to the name Elemental Bob.

A picture of the Elemental Bob winery with decorative gargoyle

Craig’s barrels, overlooked by gargoyles

Craig rents space in a small corner (overlooked by decorative gargoyles) of a winery in Somerset West about 30 minutes outside of Cape Town where I was lucky enough to visit him in May of 2016. Here he vinifies the best parcels of fruit he can lay his hands on from wherever he can get hold of it, relying on tip offs from various friends and local winemakers as to what interesting grapes are available. A true one man band, Craig drives the truck to collect the fruit himself and brings it back to the winery. The wines are made with minimal intervention using wild yeasts and only the lightest filtration. A small amount of sulphur is added to prevent spoilage. Until the 2015 vintage all the wines from the Elemental Bob stable were literal ‘one-offs’ with production of between one and three barrels – too small to think of exporting. In 2014 Craig began to pursue the Elemental Bob project full time and now has sufficient access to fruit to make the core range of two wines currently available, although in 2015 only 17 barrels of white and 10 barrels of red were made.

elemental-bob-whiteThe Elemental Bob My Cosmic Hand White Blend changes proportions depending on the conditions of the vintage and the grapes available. It is blended by ‘feel’ rather than laboratory analysis: Craig sees the different parcels of different grape varieties as ‘colours’ and blends them until the wine matches the vision he has in his mind’s eye. In 2015, the blend is 34% Viognier (from Durbanville and Elgin), 29% Chenin Blanc (Durbanville and Swartland), 20% Verdelho (Bot River) and 17% Semillon (Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley). 60% whole bunches are included and some parcels of grapes undergo around 7 days skin contact. This is a wine of great complexity showing citrus, orchard, and stone fruits with subtle, pleasant vegetal character and smokiness. There is a wonderful balance to the elegant and saline palate that has some weight but no heaviness and gives plenty of refreshment.

elemental-bob-pinot-noirThe My Cosmic Hand Pinot Noir is a blend of two parcels grapes (60% is from the Hemel en Aarde Ridge, with the remainder coming from Overberg) and is made with 40% whole bunches, giving a pleasant savoury character that is often missing from many ‘New World’ Pinots while still being full of enticing ripe fruit. As with the white blend, this is aged for 10 months in old French oak barrels and made with minimal intervention. There is real complexity here alongside plain and simple deliciousness and drinkability, a rare combination at this modest price point.

A closer look at the label reveals that these two wines carry the moniker ‘Crystal Edition’ and we noticed that some of Craig’s barrels had various crystals strategically placed around them. One of our group curiously asked him ‘are they decorative or functional?’ to which Craig replied – with an enigmatic smile – ‘definitely functional’. Perhaps this IMG_7207goes some way towards explaining the uniqueness of these brilliant wines.

Much is made in the wine world of ‘small production’ wines, but in there is no hyperbole here: our stock of these wines is sadly extremely limited. Contact the Chiswick or Kew stores to secure your bottles.

Find out more about Elemental Bob, or follow Craig on twitter @Elemental_Bob

Click here to view the rest of range of South African wines.

New Product Alert – Bagnums!

28 June 2016 by Alex

Wine in a bag. Often assumed to contain wine of mediocre quality that your parents drank with prawn cocktail in the 70s.  There is, however, no reason why wine in a bag has to be bland and unexciting. We have been left behind by many other countries when it comes to embracing alternatives to the wine bottle, with many excellent quality wines available in bags or cartons in Australia, and even France!

Here at the Good Wine Shop, we recently tasted a pair of wines in a bag that were too good to miss – ladies and gentlemen, meet the Bagnum!

Grappin Blanc Bagnum

The Bagnum is the brainchild of Australian born winemaker Andrew Nielsen, who now divides his time between his home in London and his ‘micro-negociant’ (a small scale winery that buys in grapes from other people) operation in Burgundy. Under the Le Grappin label, Andrew bottles extremely high quality wines from vineyards in Savigny and Macon. When it came to his more quaffable, ‘everyday’ wines, Andrew’s passion for environmental issues led him to consider alternative packaging formats.

Andrew Emma

Andrew and Emma Nielsen

Bagnums contain a magnum’s worth of beautifully made white wine from Macon or red wine from Beaujolais, with grapes being sourced with the same care as for the winery’s top bottlings. Helen McGinn of the Daily Mail called the white ‘one of the best white wines I’ve tasted from a wine bag… a real classic, with ripe melon flavours and a touch of honey’. Not only do Bagnums carry a carbon footprint up to 80% less than the equivalent volume of bottled wine, they are around 30% cheaper too! As a bonus, the wine in a Bagnum is protected from oxygen after opening and keeps fresh for over two weeks.

We are sold on the Bagnum concept. These classily packaged, easy to carry wines are perfect for picnics and parties, and some have suggested that they will hang easily on the bedpost for a decadent breakfast in bed!

Bagnums cost £27.50 (equivalent to £13.75 a bottle) from The Good Wine Shop, we recommend you give them a try this summer – you won’t be disappointed!

Join us in the Kew store from 7pm on Thursday the 7th of July to taste these delicious wines for free with Emma Nielsen from Le Grappin!

Three Reasons to Try Portuguese Wine

9 May 2016 by Alex

Portugal Flag

Here at the Good Wine Shop we’ve always loved Portuguese wine, but it never hurts to remind everyone what’s so great about this underrated wine producing country.

Douro by Rosino 3 Flickr

  1. Value

Portuguese wines represent brilliant value for money. At all price points, the price-quality ratio is hard to beat. In the past, the table wines of Portugal were an afterthought made from grapes that didn’t make it into Port and could at times be rustic. Today, this is no longer the case but as always reputation lags behind reality, which is good news for those of us who like under-priced, interesting wines!

Estremoz Magnus Reuterdahl Flickr

  1. Interesting Grape Varieties

Portugal has resisted the influx of so-called ‘international’ grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay much more effectively than many other countries. Every region has its own unique set of grapes that are rarely found outside the region, let alone outside Portugal! This gives rise to a diverse set of flavours and aromas that aren’t quite like anything made elsewhere. Whether it’s the fragrant notes of violet in the brooding Touriga Nacional, the smoky tobacco character of Baga, or the nutty, lemony Encruzado, there’s always something new to discover.

Douro by Rosino Flickr

  1. The Wines Are Better Than Ever

Having suffered through the tough years of the 1970s, when it was both difficult and unrewarding to make table wine, Portugal has entered a new era where standards of wine making are extremely high and modern equipment is common in the winery. Wine makers are more likely than ever to preserve the unique character of their grape varieties and create wines of balance and personality. In a market where fortified wine such as Port is no longer as popular as it once was, table wines are playing an increasingly important role in producers’ portfolios and grapes are being specifically cultivated for their suitability for these wines.

Peceguina

Of course, we could list various other reasons to buy Portuguese wine, but an important fourth reason is our exclusive online mixed case! This selection of twelve different wines will help you taste your way across many regions and grape varieties while saving yourself over £23.

Click here to view our special Portuguese mixed case.

Images courtesy of Rosino, Magnus Reuterdahl via Flickr and Creative Commons.