Wine news July 2014

Berrys’ Fête de la Bourgogne

BBRBe quick if you want to dip into a pretty serious Burgundy sale which kicked off on Monday at Berry Bros. & Rudd as they have some very good wines with reductions of up to 40% off their list price. The sale includes lots of 2010 white Burgundy (a fabulous vintage) like Olivier Merlin’s Pouilly-Fuissé Terroir de Fuissé and Terroir de Vergisson, both down from £27.00 to £20.00 per bottle, and Patrick Javillier’s Meursault Cuvée Les Clousots down from £47.50 to £33.00 per bottle. The 2009 vintage of Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru from Château de Puligny-Montrachet is down from £245.00 to £147.00 – check out wine-searcher to see just how good a deal that is. Reds are no less intriguing. From the fine 2009 vintage the Santenay Cuvée S from David Moreau is down from £22.50 to £17.00, and the 2009 Gevrey-Chambertin Combottes 1er Cru from Maison Roche de Bellene has shed almost £20 per bottle, down from £57.50 to £39.00 per bottle for example. For the full list, see

Second-hand Pétrus anyone?

shopMeanwhile in Tokyo, second-hand shopping has come to the world of wine and spirits. ‘Liquor Off’ has opened its doors for trading, and according to Japanese web site Kotaku, “Luquor off won’t buy your opened or half-finished booze. Instead, the shop hopes to acquire alcohol people get as gifts or simply never got around to drinking, so it can resell them at a discount. Liquor Off will even buy those little bottles of booze from airplanes.” The shop apparently has an eclectic stock of drinks already, and will even buy cans of beer.

Cellar in the Sea

lowering bottlesIn 2010 a shipwreck was discovered in the Äland archipelago in the Baltic Sea containing 47 bottles of Veuve Clicquot dating from the 1840’s. The existence of the bottles in the region is as a result of Madame Clicquot defying Napoleon’s barricade to be the first to export Champagne to Russia. Veuve Clicquot was frequently part of the cargo that passed through the Baltic Sea. Now, Cellarmaster Dominique Demarville has set up Veuve Clicquot’s ‘Cellar in the Sea’ experiment: a 40 year venture to further enhance the House’s understanding of the ageing process. This experiment saw the submersion of a selection of Veuve Clicquot wines in the Baltic Sea, which has the critical storage conditions for Champagne: darkness; a constant temperature of 4c and the sea’s quiet depths. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label in 75ml and magnums; Veuve Clicquot Vintage Rosé 2004 and Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec were lowered in a specifically designed underwater cellar. Over the years, the wines will be compared to a similar selection of bottles kept in the House’s cellars in Reims.

A Lot of Bottle

bottleBritain’s biggest ever bottle of English sparkling wine, produced Kent-based winery Chapel Down, has been signed by four leading contemporary British artists and will be sold at Christie’s ‘Out of the Ordinary’ auction on 3 September 2014 to raise funds for Turner Contemporary’s Catalyst Endowment campaign. The 15-litre Nebuchadnezzar of Chapel Down’s Blanc de Blancs 2007 weighs 26kg and is equivalent of 10 magnums, or 20 ordinary bottles. The artists who have signed it are Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley and Edmund de Waal. Each has also added a sketch which pays tribute to their career: a shark from Damien Hirst, a self-portrait from Tracey Emin, an outline of a male figure from Antony Gormley and a list of previous installations by Edmund de Waal. The Nebuchadnezzar will be on display at Christie’s South Kensington saleroom from 5 August 2014, with an estimated price of £10,000-£15,000.

Something stirs in Bordeaux

buildingA new arrival among the world’s leading contemporary cultural institutions, Bordeaux’s Cité des civilisations du vin will open its doors to the public in 2016. Described as “Unique, innovative and dynamic,” the new landmark will “Take visitors on ajourney through time and space as they explore the cultures and civilisations which are intimately associated withwine.” The architecture and design are intended to evoke the swirling of wine in a glass with a “Shimmering robe of golden hues designed to serve as a visual echo of Bordeaux’s limestone facades, and the bustling waters of the River Garonne.” The concrete structure is supported by almost 300 stakes driven 30 metres into the ground, enveloped in a watertight carapace of curving gluedlaminated timber beams. The centre’s striking outer shell is composed of 900 glass and 2300 aluminium panels.