- A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.
- A start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars, typically in the software or technology sector.
- A rare, almost impossible to find, ‘once in a lifetime’ bottle of wine, likened to the mythical beast due a similar unlikelihood of ever encountering it.
We are excited to announce our next great tasting line up on Thursday, April 26th in Chiswick. Next month’s tasting theme is – in a sense – straightforward: an opportunity to taste a collection of incredibly rare and hard to find wines, often dubbed ‘Unicorns’.
You could take your favourite red-trousered wine merchant for lunch once a week for the rest of your life and still not be given permission to buy some of these bottles. So, in true irreverent The Good Wine Shop fashion we decided to sacrifice eight of these mythical beasts at once on the altar of vinous edification for just 12 honoured guests. The wines hail from a range of terroirs, from blockbuster, household name appellations to ‘I didn’t know they even made that there’ bottlings – all with one thing in common, they are made in homeopathic quantities and are incredibly tightly allocated.
The wines will be accompanied by a selection of cheese and charcuterie and served in beautiful Zalto glassware. Tickets cost £120 per person and seats are limited to 12 people total to ensure there is enough wine to go around. We advise booking early to avoid disappointment as our last tastings have sold out in less than 48 hours!
As some of these wines may be unfamiliar, we have included some information about each Unicorn below to get you salivating…
Michael Wenzel, ‘Garten Eden’ Furmint, Austria, 2016
Furmint is a grape more closely associated with Hungary, and it was nearly wiped out completely in neighbouring Austria before Michael Wenzel’s father – Robert – began bringing vines over the border in the 1980s. Michael now tends 3 of the 10 hectares of Furmint in the country. This very special vineyard is planted using cuttings from vines over 100 years old on a unique red quartz soil, both of which conspire to give this dry Furmint an other-worldly minerality and exoticism.
Chateau Rayas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, 2009
Sitting comfortably at the pinnacle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape estates, Chateau Rayas’s wines are almost as well known for the tiny amount of wine they make as for the profundity of their wines. The only thing rarer than Chateau Rayas’s top red wine is their top white. Made from equal parts Clairette and Grenache Blanc, this extraordinary wine walks an astounding tightrope between rich, nutty, broad-textured character on the one side and tense, mineral, freshness on the other.
Valentini, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Italy, 2002
Not all Trebbiano is created equal, the Valentini family single-handedly resurrected the authentic, local version of this variety ‘Trebbiano Abruzzese’ – a process that took 40 years! – in order to stop it being pushed out by the less characterful Tuscan clone. Edoardo Valentini (now deceased) developed this unique white wine in total secrecy, and always rejected modern vinification techniques. Unique among Trebbianos, this wine can age and improve for decades. Almost never seen on the UK market, this mature example (made while Edoardo was still alive) is even rarer still.
Benoit Dehu, Coteaux Champenois Rouge, ‘la Rue des Noyers’, 2011
True terroir Champagne grower Benoit Dehu uses fully organic methods – including horse-drawn plough – and even goes so far as having barrels made from trees surrounding his small 1.7ha vineyard. This Pinot Meunier vineyard gives rise to all his Champagne as well as two still wines, one white and one red. Benoit produces approximately 400 bottles of each of these still wines, making this red wine a micro-cuvee from a micro-producer! Equal in quality to a top red Burgundy, this is something truly surprising.
Giuseppe Rinaldi, Barolo ‘Tre Tine’, Italy, 2012
Giuseppe ‘Beppe’ Rinaldi is known for two things: his caustic and forthright opinions, and his incredibly soulful Barolos. Unlike some producers, the Rinaldis are not interested in acquiring more vineyards, tending their three Barolo ‘crus’ that make up just 3.8 hectares to perfection and producing just 16,000 bottles of Barolo per year. The wines are hauntingly beautiful and the very definition of finesse, this is the quintessential ‘Burgundian’ Barolo.
Cayuse, ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Syrah, Washington State, USA, 2004
French-born winemaker Christophe Baron found an area of land in Walla Walla that was so closely reminiscent of the terroir in Chateauneuf-du-Pape that he felt inspired there and then to buy it. Since that day he has rapidly risen to become the leading producer in the state. This Cote-Rotie inspired Syrah shows an other-worldy intensity of flavour combined with a profound complexity and perfectly judged texture that so rarely go hand in hand. Now changing hands for several hundred pounds a bottle on release, mature vintages of this wine are normally only found in the cellars of long-standing collectors.
Dunn Vineyards, Howell Mountain Cabernet , Napa, USA, 2004
Uncompromising and outspoken winemaker Randy Dunn has been making wine under his own label since 1979. The unique Howell Mountain appellation sits at a higher altitude than most parts of Napa, making it both cooler and above the fog line – factors that produce a unique combination of slow, complete ripening and firm tannic structure. Dunn’s are probably the most elegant and complex wines in the whole of Napa, the over-extraction and over-oaking so common in the region are nowhere to be seen here.
Chateau d’Arlay, Vin Jaune, Jura, France, 1990
Chateau d’Arlay is the oldest wine-growing Chateau in France with records showing it was making wine in 1070! Vin Jaune is a specialty of the Jura region, and must age in barrel for 6 years and 3 months to develop its controlled oxidative character. To fully appreciate this unique style, however, the wine must age in bottle for a prolonged period. It is very rare to find Vin Jaune with bottle age on the UK market, and this impeccably aged bottle direct from the Chateau is now nearly 30 years old.
In less than ten days time on Wednesday, March 21st we are hosting a very special wine bar takeover in Kew with DuMOL, one of California’s leading estates. This is an amazing opportunity for an audience with Scottish-born Andy Smith: viticulturist, winemaker, and partner at DuMOL.
Specialising in cool climate vineyards of California’s coastal regions, DuMOL were early pioneers of the now famous Russian River Valley over 20 years ago and now have a total of two dozen very special parcels of vines in the best cool climate vineyards in the region. Some fruit is bought from other growers who work closely with Andy to ensure the fruit meets his high standards, but DuMol also possess and farm an increasing number of their own parcels. The aim is to create terroir wines that show a ‘blend of Californian depth and European clarity’ with a particular focus on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, and Syrah. Andy is keen to ensure that ‘each bottling is built in the vineyard’ and shows a sense of place that is sometimes lost in Californian wines.
Andy – who once represented Scotland in swimming at the Commonwealth games – is a passionate, dedicated, and uncompromising winemaker. He will be in-store throughout the evening to share his insights on these profound and exciting wines. Andy will chat to guests throughout the evening, but will also give a brief presentation to the whole room around 7:30pm.
Tickets for the evening are £25 per person (available here) and will include a full glass of DuMol’s Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2014 or Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014 upon arrival, followed by a tasting of 4 top wines from the DuMol range chosen specifically by Andy Smith for the evening. We will also waive corkage fees on all DuMol bottles ordered to drink on the evening.
In addition to all the wines being opened, we have managed to get our hands on a rare bottle from the DuMOL cellars to give away as a special prize on the evening. All guests in attendance will be entered to win an Autographed Magnum of DuMol’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (RSP £140/bottle) to take home that night!
For those of you that can’t make it on the night, the full range of DuMol wines can be viewed online here.
Like almost all wine lovers, we have a giant soft spot for Burgundy. This captivating, capricious (and sometimes confusing!) wine region produces some of the most profound wines in the world. Naturally, we were more than happy to take part in this year’s London Burgundy Week, taking place this year from the 19th to the 25th of March. This initiative sees Burgundy themed tasting events taking place all over London and we have got some wonderful tasting opportunities taking place in both Chiswick and Kew. See below for more details:
Throughout the week we will be offering a flight of very special Burgundies for sale. 50ml each of the wines below for just £18.50, each wine is from an excellent producer and showcases both the house style and the terroir beautifully:
We will also be offering a varied selection of Burgundy to drink by the glass in Kew for the whole of March so keep stopping by to see what’s on offer!
On Thursday 22nd of March we will be hosting a very special Burgundian edition of our regular ticketed tastings. Tickets for this event will be limited to 12 places and are priced at £95 per ticket. We will be serving nine wines on the night (plus some Champagne to get started!) and just some of the legendary producers we will be tasting include: Claude Dugat, Denis Mortet, Etienne Sauzet, and Bernard Moreau.
On the weekend of the 23rd to the 25th of March we will pouring a selection of Burgundy wines for free in store. Pop in for a quick taste of these Burgundian beauties any time from 5pm on the Friday!
The term “icon” is often abused in the wine world, a designation too hastily assigned to any estate which receives the slightest acclaim. But when it comes to the wines of Miani, the label doesn’t quite do justice to the profound wines from the estate. Perhaps Miani’s inclusion in the wine-focused graphic novel series “Drops of God” delivers a more fitting tribute to these unique wines.
Reclusive winemaker Enzo Pontoni in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region is truly one of the greatest in Italy. Unfortunately, his fiercely uncompromising approach to quality in the vineyards and cellars ensures that there is never enough wine to go around, but we have secured excellent allocations of a wide range of his wines this year. In order to give as many people as possible a chance to experience these beautiful creations we decided to host an unprecedented tasting in the Chiswick store showcasing a wide range of Enzo’s wines. Bruno Besa, an expert on Enzo’s wines who has been working with him for almost 20 years joined us for this tasting. Despite having visited Enzo in his winery almost every year for the last 20 years, Bruno remarked that he had never tasted so many Miani wines from bottle at once. We were lucky to have Bruno on hand to share an unparalleled level of insight into what makes these wines so special.
The Miani wines are becoming more sought after every year, and it is very unlikely that the opportunity to put on this tasting will ever arise again. We have a precious few Miani wines still in stock at the time of this article, click here to browse them online, although they may not be there for long!
Below are details of what we tasted on the night:
Sauvignon Zitelle Alto 2015 & Sauvignon Zitelle Cava – these two expressions of Sauvignon Blanc are from a single vineyard (‘Le Zitelle’ means spinsters in English) that Enzo acquired in 2006 and completely replanted – his grandfather had made some of the original plantings here many years ago so this site has a special place in Enzo’s heart. The vines are just becoming old enough to produce wines that live up to Enzo’s high standards and these are the first releases of Sauvignon Blanc from here. The Cava Sauvignon is from a section of very poor soils that give an extra-concentrated wine show very dense, exotic flavours and deep minerality. The Alto is more aromatic and expressive at the moment with great purity.
Ribolla Gialla Pettarin 2016 & Friulano Filip 2016 – these individual vineyard expressions of the two greatest Friulian white grapes are named after the families that farmed them in years past. These two wines are the most sought after whites in the Miani stable. The Ribolla is delicate, fresh, and floral but with impressive density and texture. The Friulano is an incredibly intense wine, with masses of structure for a white wine: everything is here from acidity and richness of texture to extremely intense exotic fruit and minerality.
Chardonnay Palis 2015 – a new wine from the 2015 vintage onwards, this rich but mineral single vineyard Chardonnay is a future classic. Compared to many other Chardonnays this has a wonderfully ethereal, delicate character – there’s an almost playful feel to the wine. At the same time there is a hint of seriousness and the promise of future development.
Miani Rosso 2013 – a blend of Merlot and Refosco from a spectacular vintage, the Refosco comes from younger vines in a new, very exciting Refosco vineyard which will be bottled separately in future vintages when the vines are mature. This shows a lot of the richness, brightness, and concentration of the two single vineyard Merlots but with some beguiling herbal and earthy character coming from the Refosco. This is a slightly lighter weight red for Miani, but no less enticing because of it.
Merlot “Filip” 2013 & Merlot “Buri” 2013 – this was a fascinating chance to compare these two monumental Merlots from two different vineyards in the same, excellent vintage. Buri is from the village of Buttrio and is structured and complex, while Filip originates in Rosazzo and is rounder and more generous in youth. The Filip showed as the lighter of the two wines but this is more of a testament to the sheer monolithic power and intensity of the Buri. Both wines show incredible brightness of fruit – a quality that could almost be described as ‘aromatic’. There is a truly amazing level of ripeness to all aspects of these wines which never strays into over-ripe, stewed, or ‘Porty’ territory. No wonder Antonio Galloni described the Buri as ‘one of the most profound expressions of Merlot on the planet’.
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.
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
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!
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 email@example.com to get your tickets.
On Wednesday 28th of February from 7pm in Kew, we are offering an exclusive chance to taste the full Rotie Cellars range below. Tickets are £65 and can be purchased here.
Winemaker Sean Boyd of Rotie Cellars set out in 2007 to make the best possible wines from Rhone varieties in Washington State. Sourcing fruit from his base in Walla Walla as well as the Rocks district, his mission statement is encapsulated in his ‘Old World Wines from New World Vines’ tag line. The aim is to make the wines with moderate alcohol and ripeness levels and to pay homage to his favourite Rhone valley wines. We found these wines to be a breath of fresh air in a world of North American wines dominated by California, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. In fact, we liked them so much that we decided to import them directly and become their sole representative in the UK.
The Southern Blend is inspired by the likes of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and contains a majority of Grenache alongside varying proportions of Syrah and Mourvedre. This is a bright, raspberry scented wine with hints of peppery spice and leather achieving a great balance between power and elegance.
The Northern Blend is a ‘savoury companion’ to the Southern, based on Syrah co-fermented with around 3% Viognier. The bold blackberry fruit and black pepper from the Syrah are enlivened by the aromatic florality of the Viognier giving way to a generous, silky texture.
The Southern White is made from 60% Viognier, 25% Marsanne, and 15% Roussanne, giving a richly textured white with loads of ripe fruit inspired by the rare, great white wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
The 100% Grenache Blanc is a lighter companion to the southern white – delightfully fresh with bright citrus aromas on the nose, followed by generous texture in the mouth and bags of flavour, especially for a wine with just 11.2% abv!
The very limited production ‘Dre’ is made from 100% Mourvedre and is big and burly with intense, savoury aromatics giving way to an explosion of dark fruit on the palate.
‘Little G’ is a single vineyard Grenache and this site takes the longest to ripen of all Sean’s vineyards giving an extremely complex wine more reminiscent of an elegant Pinot Noir than the typical Grenache stereotype. Also extremely small production.
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.