Wine news June 2012

Phylloxera defying vineyard

old vineyardA parcel of vines close to 200 years old in the Saint Mont appellation, South West France, has become the first vineyard in France to be officially recognised as a protected historic landmark by the French government. Situated in the heart of the Saint Mont appellation in the village of Sarragachies, this unique parcel of vines of just 0.5 acres was listed due to its “exceptional character and cultivation methods over the past century”. The vineyard benefits from a sandy sub-soil which has enabled it to resist Phylloxera, the insect responsible for decimating entire wine regions around Europe in the late nineteenth century. For generations, the owners have passionately protected this vineyard using traditional viticultural methods such as double vine-stock planting, where two vine-stocks are planted together in a square layout rather than traditional rows. These methods have all but disappeared in modern winemaking. The plot contains around 20 individual different grape varieties, including seven unidentified to date by leading viticulture and ampelographic experts. Oliver Bourdet-Pees, Managing Director for Plaimont, said “We are absolutely delighted to gain such a prestigious recognition. It is in this region that a great number of grape varieties used in the South-West and Atlantic coast were born, such as cabernet sauvignon. Some varietals in this ancient vineyard have been completely forgotten and we are still carrying out tests to determine what they are.”

Rumble in the Kitchen

rumble posterTop chefs and hospitality industry figures are shaping up for a charity boxing night later this year – and this time they will be stepping into the ring rather than the kitchen. Rumble in the Kitchen is a white-collar boxing match – with saucepans! Celebrities from the world of hospitality have decided to lay down their whisks and corkscrews to step into the ring to battle it out, including Marcus Wareing and Monica Galleti and Sommelier Fred Siriex. The battle will continue in the kitchen with the food court provided by Brett Graham (The Ledbury), Chris and Jeff Galvin (Galvin at Windows), Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud), Michel Roux Jr (Le Gavroche), Philip Corrick (The Royal Automobile Club) and Raymond Blanc (Le Manoir). Rumble in the Kitchen is expected to attract 300 guests and will be held at the Royal Automobile Club on 20th September 2012. The special one-off event is being staged in aid of Galvin’s Chance, a charity project aimed at giving young people at risk the opportunity to train and work front of house in some of London’s finest restaurants and hotels. Book your ticket quickly as places are limited, via

Clarence Dillon arty date

logoArts, antique and design buffs attending the Masterpiece London fair from June 28 – July 04 can also indulge in some fine wine thanks to Domaine Clarence Dillon, which has announced that Clarence Dillon Wines will be present at on Stand D20. Fair visitors will have the chance to taste and purchase Clarendelle Rouge 2005, Rosé 2011, Blanc 2011 and Amberwine 2003 and will have a unique opportunity to purchase a limited number of exceptional vertical case collections of the Domaine’s most famous wines, Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion including A six-bottle case of Haut-Brion 2009 (which scored the perfect 100/100 from Robert Parker) and a range of “extraordinary verticals,” of Haut-Brion and La Mission.

Window on Virginia

virginia displayShoppers on London’s Kensington High Street may have noticed a full window display at Whole Foods Market which is one facet of a summer-long UK marketing campaign for wines from the US State of Virginia. A relative newcomer to the international wine scene, the reputation for Virginia’s wines has been rising to such an extent that the State is now focusing much of its international marketing efforts around promoting wine tourism. There are in-store tutored tastings and a live, simultaneous Wine Tasting on 24 July that will hook up to Virginia via Skype video-conferencing. Tastings during June, July and August at Whole Foods Market in Kensington will feature award-winning wines.

Shard architect in the vineyards

crouching spiderRegular readers of wine-pages will remember Tom’s report from Château La Coste in Provence, home to the most extraordinary collection of architecture and art installations amongst the vineyards. The estate, owned by Irish businessman Paddy McKillen, has just annouced a new building to add to the collection, to be designed by The Shard’s architect, Renzo Piano. Other projects by world renowned architects Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers and Sir Norman Foster are also in development at La Coste to join the dozen major works already on site, and a luxury hotel-spa designed by Tangram Architects is scheduled to open at the estate in 2013. Photo: Crouching Spider 6695 by Louise Bourgeois.