Wine Education

BYO Podcast – Episode Two: Jura

9 October 2017 by Alex

BYO Podcast Jura

Our monthly podcast returns for its second epiosde. ‘Bring Your Own’ is a podcast and video web series (in conjunction with Bottled Films) about wine and the people who make it, made by the people who drink it. Each episode has a theme centred around a wine region or style, and takes the form of a free-flowing, informal, and educational conversation.

This second episode focuses on the Jura region of France. While the region is perhaps best known for Comté cheese and Louis Pasteur, it is also home to some of France’s most exciting wines, including the timeless and iconic Vin Jaunes. We gathered a group of fanatical Jura lovers to share bottles from their own cellars and to chat about what makes the regions wines and people so unique and captivating.

Joining our very own Derek Morrison are international wine exporter Alessio Guidi, Jura Wine Importer Doug Wregg from Les Caves de Pyrene, Heidi Nam Knudsen from Ottolenghi Restaurant Group, and David Clawson from The Remedy Wine Bar.

We were really lucky to be hosted by the great team at Kitchen Table and Bubbledogs in Central London for the filming of this episode.  Tucked in the back of Bubbledogs on Charlotte Street, Kitchen Table is one of the most exciting restaurants in London, led by owner/Chef James Knappett. You can find them online at www.kitchentablelondon.co.uk

Click the video below to watch on YouTube, or click the links to listen on iTunesStitcher, or Soundcloud. If you like the podcast, please consider rating, reviewing, and subscribing on your platform of choice. You can follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @BYOpodcast.

BYO Podcast – Episode One: Grower Champagne

9 October 2017 by Alex

Grower Champagne Podcast

You may have noticed that we launched our new podcast ‘Bring Your Own’ back in August. This monthly podcast and video web series (in conjunction with Bottled Films) is about wine and the people who make it, made by the people who drink it. Each episode has a theme centred around a wine region or style, and takes the form of a free-flowing, informal, and educational conversation.

The first episode focuses on “Grower Champagne”, wines made by the very same people who grow the grapes. Bringing their own are Derek Morrison from The Good Wine Shop, Sandia Chang, owner of Bubbledogs, Champagne enthusiast Peter Crawford, and David Clawson, owner of The Remedy wine bar.

Click the video below to watch on YouTube, or click the links to listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Soundcloud. If you like the podcast, please consider rating, reviewing, and subscribing on your platform of choice. You can follow the podcast on Twitter and Instagram @BYOpodcast.

Producer Profile: the Champagnes of Marie Courtin

30 June 2017 by Alex

This month as part of our Grower Champagne Month celebrations, we were lucky enough to taste the full range of Marie Courtin Champagnes. This small Champagne producer is owned and run by Dominique Moreau, granddaughter of Marie Courtin who tended the vines herself when the men in the family were fighting in World War I, while many other families abandoned their vines altogether.

Dominique farms a tiny 2.5ha in the village of Polisot in the Cotes des Bar region of Champagne. After many years of being somewhat overlooked, these southerly terroirs (Polisot is closer to Chablis than to Reims, for example) are home to some of the most exciting Champagne growers of all. The Marie Courtin vineyards are planted almost entirely to Pinot Noir, with a miniscule 0.5ha of Chardonnay. The vines are farmed according to fully organic and biodynamic principles, an approach which – although on the rise – is still very rare in the region. The philosophy here has always been ‘one grape variety, one vineyard, one vintage’, in stark contrast to the emphasis placed on blending by the vast majority of producers in the region. The yields are kept very low in order to ensure perfectly ripe fruit and Dominque adds no sugar at bottling – all the Champagnes are Extra Brut.

These wines have a pure and uniquely vibrant character which has to be tasted to be truly understood and bear little relation to the mass-produced, heavily worked Champagnes one often encounters.

Marie Courtin Bottles

Resonance

From a vineyard with younger vines, this Pinot Noir is full of sweet spice character and bruised apples. The tension between generous texture, laser-like acidity, and stoney minerality creates an extremely moreish yet cerebral Champagne.

Eloquence

100% Chardonnay from Dominique’s tiny parcel. This shows more delicate structure than the Pinot-based wines, and some slightly more exotic notes of ginger. Driven by ripe green apples and citrus fruit, there is a refreshing, chalky texture here.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence is in many ways the flagship cuvee here. This is made from Pinot Noir vines that are around 40 years of age. Smoky and intensely flavoured, Efflorescence shows an intense red fruit character that is reinforced by the fuller body of the wine. The breadth of flavours and aromas here is impressive.

Concordance

Concordance is made from a special selection of grapes from the same vineyard as Efflorescence, and uses no additions of Sulphur at any point in the winemaking process. There is a real ethereal quality here, which is somehow more intense aromatically than the Efflorescence but also more elegantly structured on the palate. The same could be said about all the Champagnes from this address, but Concordance really feels like a living, breathing organism, changing slightly with every sip!

Grower Champagne Showcase in Chiswick

16 June 2017 by Alex

Grower Champagne Month

As you will have noticed, Grower Champagne Month is in full swing across London, and in our shops! We have had winemakers in store pouring their wines and a flood of new Champagnes hitting the shelves to add to the excitement.

If you were around in Chiswick during last year’s Grower Champagne Month, you probably heard about, or were among the many who attended, our First Annual Grower Champagne Showcase tasting.  We had an overwhelming turnout of wine lovers who came to revisit favourites, as well as friends who were certain they didn’t even like Champagne.  I am so happy we were able to deliver pleasant surprises for both groups, and to show that Champagne has a broad and diverse range of styles for almost any palate.  This year we want to inspire the same kind of wine discoveries for you. Whether you are a seasoned Champagne collector, convinced fizzy stuff isn’t to your tastes, or enthusiastically somewhere in the middle; this tasting is full of excitement for anyone.

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For the past 11 months I have laid awake at night pondering how we could make this year’s tasting even bigger and better.  Thankfully, our generous growers and partners were up to the challenge! Together we have crafted an unforgettable lineup of Champagnes for this year’s showcase. This is your perfect chance to taste some of the most exciting wines being produced anywhere in the world today.  Some of these wines are the best kept secrets in Champagne, and rarely cracked open for such events, so don’t miss the rare opportunity to taste them!

Chiswick’s Big Grower Champagne Showcase! – £20 per person
Saturday, June 24th (1st Session 1-4pm, 2nd Session 4-8pm)
RSVP: Chiswick@thegoodwineshop.co.uk  or Call 020 8994 8184

Here are a few of the amazing growers whose wines will be on show throughout the day.  To learn a bit more about each producer click here to visit the “Meet the Growers” section of www.drinkgrowerchampagne.co.uk:

Agrapart Pere et Fils
Bereche et Fils
Laherte Freres
Marie Courtin
Hubert Paulet
Varnier-Fanniere
Charles Dufour
David Leclapart
Chartogne-Taillet
Frederic Savart
Benoit Dehu
Alexandre Filaine
Andre Beaufort
De Sousa
Eric Rodez
Jacquesson
And More…

To ensure everyone has ample space to taste comfortably we have decided to split the event into two separate sessions. You have the choice to attend the tasting between 1pm-4pm or 4pm-8pm with the same selection of wines being offered for each session.  Tickets are only £20 to taste more than 20 different Champagnes being poured, ranging in retail value from £25 per bottle to £175 per bottle.

But There’s A Catch…

Tickets for this year’s event are limited.  We want to ensure everyone has enough space to enjoy these wines as there are few things more frustrating than an overcrowded tasting.  So reserve your places quickly and rest easy knowing you’ll be treated to an afternoon of great Champagnes paired perfectly with a little bit of elbow room.

So book your places for either session today, and prepare for probably the best tasting event of the Summer!

Meet the Godfather of Grower Champagne: Selossian Soirée at Chiswick

15 June 2017 by Alex
Oops... wrong Godfather!

Oops… wrong Godfather!

The Godfather of Grower Champagne, Anselme Selosse

The Godfather of Grower Champagne, Anselme Selosse

The wines of Domaine Jacques Selosse are rightfully considered among the most iconic wines in the world, but his great legacy of mentoring other growers and winemakers may be more profound than his own bottles.  What better excuse than  Grower Champagne Month to celebrate all of these great wines in one epic tasting?

Anselme Selosse currently runs Domaine Jacques Selosse.  He is often referred to as the Godfather of Grower Champagne and has been making his own wines from his own vineyards since 1980. As a reaction to the established order of Champagne grape pricing – a system which is based exclusively on village classification rather than being a reflection of the quality of individual vineyards and vignerons – Anselme has long been a proponent of growers making their own Champagnes.

Over the years he has been instrumental in nurturing, mentoring, and inspiring the current generation of young growers, often even lending them space in his own cellar to make their first vintages.  His starred pupils like Jerome Prevost and Ulysse Collin have been sat at the core of this “Grower Revolution” in Champagne, and their wines now sit at comparable levels of prestige and rarity. Even the most discerning Champagne lover would be satisfied with any one of these bottles in their cellar, but in our typically indulgent fashion we decided to open them all for one epic tasting of rare and iconic Champagnes.

It is such a rare opportunity to taste these wines together that I have no doubt this will be one of London’s most memorable tastings in 2017.

On Thursday the 15th of June from 6:30pm to 9pm, we will be hosting just such an event in the Chiswick store. We are also very lucky to have a special guest on hand to help lead us through this epic selection.  Local Champagne expert Peter Crawford (aka @alavolee) will be presenting the incredible wines on the evening, and one quick glance at his social media pages or website will clearly demonstrate how lucky we are to have him in attendance to justly represent these amazing bottles:

Voutte & Sorbée ‘Blanc d’Argile’
Ulysse Collin  ‘Les Perrieres’
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Maillons’
Chartogne-Taillet ‘Beaux Sens’
Jerome Prévost ‘La Closerie Les Beguines’
Jerome Prévost ‘La Closerie Fac-Simile’ Rosé
Michel Fallon ‘Ozanne’ Grand Cru
Jacques Selosse ‘Les Carelles’ Grand Cru – Lieu Dit

The wines will, as always for these events, be accompanied by a selection of cheese and charcuterie and served in beautiful Zalto glassware. Tickets for this special event are £125 per person with seats limited to 12 people total to ensure there is enough wine to go around. We advise booking early to avoid disappointment as this tasting is already nearly fully booked!

RSVP via phone on 0208 994 8184 or email chiswick@thegoodwineshop.co.uk to get your tickets.

The Good Wine Shop Uncorked

9 January 2017 by Alex

Our fun and informal wine courses continue in Chiswick and Kew in April and May.

This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about wine through the natural medium of tasting various delicious examples. We will cover how to taste wine, how wine is made, and a useful guide to the most important regions of the world. The course is designed to be an enjoyable way to deepen your appreciation of the world of wine, and of course our friendly wine educators will be available to field all your unanswered wine questions.

Courses will run on Tuesday nights in Kew between 8pm and 10pm and on Wednesday nights in Chiswick between 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Dates for the sessions in Kew and Chiswick are below:

Kew: 25/4 & 2/5; 9/5 & 16/5. Plus a final complimentary, week 3 finale for attendees of either set of sessions held on 23/5 in the form of an open forum, myth-busting, Q&A session.
Chiswick:
26/4 & 3/5; 10/5 & 17/5. Week three Q&A on 24/5.

Single sessions cost £30, a full course over either two consecutive, or two independent sessions, is £50.

Book your place via email (kew@thegoodwineshop.co.uk; chiswick@thegoodwineshop.co.uk), phone (Kew: 020 8940 4482; Chiswick: 020 8994 8184), or by popping into either of the shops.

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

DenisVF1

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

Save Water, Drink Grower Champagne!

14 June 2016 by Derek

I’ve always believed that nothing unites people better than a good bottle of wine. A great bottle of wine can capture or enhance a special moment, and hopefully some of our wines here at The Good Wine Shop have helped inspire such experiences for you.

We work to present a selection of great wines made by great people. It doesn’t matter where it’s from, or how much it costs, every wine on our shelves has a family and a face behind it and we love to share their inspiring stories.

Keeping in that spirit, for the entire month of June we are popping corks and celebrating our favourite Champagne producers for our first ever “Grower Champagne Month” at The Good Wine Shop!

We will be hosting a series of free tasting events in Kew and Chiswick this month so you can come and discover these exciting wines for yourself!  See below for dates, and stay tuned for detailed announcements from each shop in the coming days.

“That sounds great, Derek…. But what exactly is a “Grower” Champagne?”

Grower Champagnes are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards where the grapes are grown.   These are usually made by small producers & greatly express the terroir of their sites.   Moet & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, and Laurent Perrier are large Champagne “Houses” that buy most of their grapes from many different growers and work to blend their wines to achieve the same taste year after year, in massive quantities.  In general, they focus their efforts more on blending wines in the cellar rather than growing the grapes themselves.

“Ok…. So Why Grower Champagnes?” Grower Champagne Pic

The economical reason is that you can get more for your money in champagne when you don’t pay for the brand. Grower Champagnes can provide some of the absolute best value for money in Champagne.

From a philosophical perspective, the humble and dedicated histories of these growers fit perfectly in our spirit to celebrate the unsung heroes of all regions.  We consider ourselves storytellers at The Good Wine Shop, and these are the stories from Champagne we really want to focus on this month!

It’s not that we think these champagnes are necessarily better than big champagne houses.  I have been emotionally moved by many Champagnes from the most iconic houses.  Many Houses make great wines which express their terroir, and conversely many Growers are guilty of producing ordinary and uninteresting wines.

In some ways, it’s like comparing a rock concert at Wembley Stadium to your favourite local venue for up and coming musicians.   I’ve been known to sing along with the hits on the radio, but this month at The Good Wine Shop I am humming the tunes of the next Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, or John Lennon of the Champagne world.

I’m proud to say that we have crafted a range of outstanding wines from growers who speak to the spirit of what we are about at The Good Wine Shop.   We have even sourced a few new amazing producers to import directly to the UK.  We’re very proud to add the wines of Hubert Paulet, Varnier-Fanniere, and Michel Arnould to our already extensive selection.

So pop into any of our shops to learn more about all of these great producers, and don’t forget to add the following dates into your calendar….

Tuesday, June 14th 6:00pm – 9:00pm @ Foxlow Chiswick
“Free Champagne Tasting and BYO”

Saturday, June 25th 2:00pm – 6:00pm @ The Good Wine Shop Chiswick
“Grower Champagne Showcase!”

Sunday, June 26th 12:00pm – 6:00pm @ The Good Wine Shop Kew
“Grower Champagne Showcase and Summer Portfolio Tasting!”

 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Cheers,

Derek Morrison
Retail Manager
The Good Wine Shop
Kew, Chiswick, & Esher