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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
“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.
On 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.
We 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
The Good Wine Shop
Kew, Chiswick, & Esher
The cocktail trend is so fully entrenched in the contemporary bar scene that it is hard to believe that these mixed drinks were not so long ago considered the preserve of the stuffy and old fashioned.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the cocktail revival is that the very concoctions that were the least fashionable a couple of decades ago – short drinks with only a few ingredients, incorporating a bitter element – are the source of the most exciting experimentation. Cocktails such as the Negroni, Old Fashioned, and Manhattan allow bartenders to search for and showcase high quality ingredients and interesting twists on the staples they contain.
The theatrical nature of great cocktail makers and the establishments in which they work is often reflected in the ingredients themselves: characterful, beautifully packaged items with interesting provenance that offer a slight twist to a familiar flavour profile.
Categories of ingredients such as Amaro (often translated as ‘bitter’, these often taste more like a digestif with a balancing sweetness) and Vermouth are more open to interpretation than many, coming in a wide range of different variations while adding an appetising element of complexity to the cocktail in question.
Although the term cocktail implies a strong, short drink, there is just as much imagination and experimentation surrounding longer drinks that weigh in at a more friendly alcohol level.
To highlight some of the exciting new ingredients that have hit our shelves, our Chiswick store will be hosting a free cocktail evening from 5pm to 7pm on the 28th of May giving everyone the chance to try the Belsazar Vermouth range, Mondino Amaro, and Gin Sul from Hamburg. Recipes for the cocktails we will be pouring on the night can be found below, so even if you can’t make it you can try them for yourself at home!
Belsazar Rosé & Tonic
60ml Belsazar Rosé
Top with Tonic water. Build in a wine glass filled with ice & garnish with a pink grapefruit slice.
(From the 23rd of May to the 31st of August we are offering 2 free bottles of 1724 tonic with every bottle of Belsazar rosé purchased).
The Ultimate Negroni
20ml Gin Sul
20ml Belsazar Red
20ml Mondino Amaro
Stir down and serve in a tumbler with orange zest.
20ml Gin Sul
20ml Belsazar Rosé
20ml Mondino Amaro
Serve with grapefruit zest.
25ml Belsazar White
25ml Mondino Amaro
Top with tonic water. Build in a wine glass filled with ice and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Kick start 2016 by trying something new as part of #Tryanuary! And there’s no better place to begin than our sale where you can find 25% off over 40 wines across our three shops. There are some fantastic bargains covering all tastes and budgets. These wines will be snapped up quickly, so drop into your nearest The Good Wine Shop soon to avoid disappointment!
Here are just a few of the wines that will be available in the sale to inspire you…
Champagne Gratiot-Pilliere Brut Tradition NV
“Brut Tradition is based on the exceptional 2008 vintage and is aged for two years. A pretty pale gold with delicious stone fruit flavours, its both elegant and refreshing”
Was: £34.00 Sale: £25.50
Staete Landt Viognier, Marlborough, New Zealand
“A lovely aromatic nose of sweet mandarins, lychees and a touch of spice. This wine’s palate is luscious and broad with attractive flavours of orange peel, marmalade, candied violets and floral notes”
Was: £20.50 Sale: £15.37
Henri Boillot, Bourgogne Chardonnay, 2011
“An elegant, pure and refined white fruit, apple and straw suffused nose leads to energetic and lightly mineral-driven flavours that possess the saline character to which Boillot referred. A lovely Bourgogne” BURGHOUND
Was: £28.00 Sale: £21.00
Etorno Retorno Bonarda, Mendoza, Argentina, 2013
“Only 3000 bottles are produced each year from 30 year old pergola-trained vines at the foot of the Andes. Flavours of cassis and fennel give way to dried figs. An intriguing wine for those looking for something new and unusual”
Was: 39.00 Sale: £29.25
The sale will ends on Sunday 31st January at 8pm.