Wine news August 2006


Historic wine collection sold

x A rare collection of 18th century First Growth Bordeaux and top Burgundy has been sold by London-based Antique Wine Company from the renowned cellar of the famous restaurant, Hostellerie Coq Hardy, near Paris. Within 48 hours of the collection being placed on the market it was snatched up by a single collector from Switzerland for the price of £266,600.Stephen Williams (left), Managing Director of The Antique Wine Company, commented that “there was an incredible amount of interest in the wine collection and it sold very quickly. The present state of the fine wine market is seriously buoyant, the most heated I have seen for many years. It’s quite a different world to the rest of the UK market that seems to continually struggle to break through the £5 per bottle price barrier.” The collection of antique wines is of impeccable

provenance, and includes a rare Jeroboam of 1900 Chateau Latour, a highly collectable Jeroboam of 1945 Romanee Conti and a further eight bottles and two Magnums of 18th and 19th century Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Stephen Williams commented “To put it in context, when some of these grapes were being picked the storming of the Bastille had just taken place, Louis Deguerre, inventor of photography was born in Paris, and the United States was in its formative years under its first President, George Washington.” The Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1789 and 1791 are amongst the oldest wines ever sold and were presented in the original hand blown glass bottles.

Bordeaux seduces British women

Bordeaux’s wine growers have launched a wine course in Bordeaux especially for British women.Bordeaux’s Ecole du Vin has designed a course “to cater for the wine-loving woman’s every need.”The three day course (September 15th – 17th or October 13th – 15th) will make use of the easy, cheap accessibility of flying to Bordeaux from Birmingham, Manchester, London, Southampton and Bristol. Students will “achieve in an depth knowledge of wine and have a personal wine guide to help them learn.” Hosted for the Council for Bordeaux Wines (CIVB) x

by British wine tutor and Bordeaux resident Wendy Narby, students will learn everything they need from how to taste wine, to how to choose wine in a restaurant or entertain at home with hints on understanding what each region has to offer. They will also be taught the essentials of how to match the region’s wines with foods. There will also be practical demonstrations in a farmers market on matching wines with food and how to prepare regional specialities.The itinerary will include lectures on wine and health by oncologist Dr Anne-Marie Dauriac. Students will also be entertained to lunches or tastings with Château La Lagune’s owner Caroline Frey; Château Malartic Lagravière’s owner/winemaker Severine Bonnie; and Château Rauzan Gassies’s owner, Anne-Françoise Quié. Further information at, Telephone + (33) 5 57 98 22 77 or Email

UK’s top picnic spots

x It is suitably cheesy, but the British Cheese Board has commissioned travel experts to put together a guide to the UK’s top 25 “most romantic picnic spots,” and the guide is free to view and download from guide details, where to go, what to see and what to eat at 25 of the most romantic picnic hotspots in the UK. The site also offers picnic lovers the chance to vote to decide the UK’s number one picnic location and win a luxury picnic hamper. The guide is a “must-visit site for anyone looking for picnic inspiration. From immaculate, landscape gardens in Surrey to remote valleys steeped in history in Scotland and breathtaking waterfalls in Yorkshire.” Let’s chill those rosés!


Eat Asian, Drink Alsace

Alsace Wines has launched a new advertising campaign celebrating the synergy between the wines of the region and all types of Asian cuisine. Two prongs of the campaign will targetthe wine trade and consumers, with the message “Eat Asian. Drink Alsace.” The campaign “highlights aspects of the range that appeal to the UK consumer, reinforcing the wines’ fruit-driven style.” The compatibility with Asian cuisine is being promoted in recipe booklets distributed to the trade and public. This is a bold move by a French region: surely the promotion of any cuisine other than French will raise eyebrows amongst some of the region’s more traditionally minded citizens? x


Saint-Bacchus 2006

x Last year I was honoured to be a judge at the Saint-Bacchus, the annual awards for the best wines of the Roussillon in southern France, including the wonderful sweet wines of Banyuls, Maury and Rivesaltes. You can read my report on that trip, but this year’s Bacchus award winners have just been announced. Following an initial tasting of over 400 wines by a jury of winemakers, wine buyers, sommeliers and trade journalists, the selected wines were then categorised and re-tasted blind by a second panel of judges. The full list of award winners is available on the Saint-Bacchus web site, but amongst the 20 award winners were Domaine de Rombeau, Domaine de Piquemal, Domaine Boudau, Domaine Lafage, Domaine des Schistes, Cave de L’Abbé Rous, Domaine du Mas Amiel, Les Vignerons de Maury and Vignobles Dom Brial.


Pinot Noir, New Zealand

Anyone planning a trip to New Zealand early in the New Year could be in for a treat if it coincides with a four-day event being held in Wellington between 29 January and 1 February 2007. Pinot Noir 2007 is the largest event of its type ever held in New Zealand, and some of the world’s leading wine producers, commentators, chefs and sommeliers are heading to Wellington for what promises to be a fantastic programme packed with tastings, seminars and culinary events. I attended The Pinot Noir Celebration in Central Otago earlier this year, and the sheer ethusiasm and warm welcome from the country’s winemakers makes me think this will be an unmissable event for those lucky enough to be in or around Wellington at the time. x