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MONTALCINO,

THE ‘PROMISED

LAND’ FOR

SANGIOVESE

IN TUSCANY

Mario Piccini, Managing

Director of Tenute Piccini

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Summer 2021

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Enter your wines now: en-vigneron.gilbertgaillard.com


CONTENTS

– COLUMNS • REPORTS –

10

36 54

96

7 NEWS

10 COMPETITION

War of the Rosés

26 STYLE

Crémant de Bourgogne: When fizz is the bizz

35 IMPORTER

Amka group: Looking to the long-term

36 GRAPES

Are Bordeaux Cabernets under threat?

44 HISTORY

Beaujolais Crus: Back in the limelight

54 WINE GROWER PORTRAIT

Mogens Olesen, owner of Château Lecusse,

and a serial entrepreneur

56 LOOKING AHEAD

No-low wines: A full-fledged market category

63 GRAPES

Albariño or Alvarinho, Spain or Portugal… that is the question

71 SUCCESS STORY

From Copenhagen to Alicante… through wine

77 VINEYARDS

Montalcino, the ‘promised land’ for Sangiovese in Tuscany

87 ORGANIC WINES

Southern Italy: A paradise for organic viticulture

96 DISCOVERY

South Africa: Perfected by time

105 STARS & WINE

Kyle MacLachlan: Actor and producer… of wine!

107 CONTACT DETAILS

109 2021 SUMMER SELECTIONS

GILBERT & GAILLARD NEXT ISSUE AUTUMN 2021

Cover: Courtesy of the estates

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 3


EDITORIAL

– FRANÇOIS GILBERT –

Editorial Director

SPAIN-PORTUGAL: DUELLING VARIETALS,

AND NEIGHBOURS, ALBARIÑO AND ALVARINHO

On the Spanish side, in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula,

the river Miño wends its way through the Rías Baixas appellation

area. The range of grape varieties grown here includes the local

star Albariño. Further down the course of the Miño (soon to

become Minho) is Portugal, and more specifically the Vinho Verde

designation of origin area, home to a variety called Alvarinho. May

the match commence!

There are no differences between the two, apart from their spelling.

In actual fact, this is one and the same grape variety, which –

admittedly – shows great nuances of style depending on the area

where it is grown. The differences can therefore be likened to a Syrah

from Australia and one from the Rhone Valley. Except that in this

particular case, only a few dozen kilometres separate the two and

the climate is, generally speaking, identical and typical of the fairly

damp Western ocean seaboard.

Between these two neighbouring and rival appellations, there

are few similarities in the glass. Rias Baixas is dry, fresh and very

perfumed with flavours of ripe peach and almond. Vinho Verde,

whilst showing a similar array of aromas, has a livelier character and

even some beading. If you are struggling to choose between the two,

look no further. All is revealed on page 63!

4 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


EDITORIAL

– PHILIPPE GAILLARD –

Editorial Director

SOUTH AFRICA

CAP CLASSIQUE COMES OF AGE

It may not be South Africa’s most renowned wine, and it is probably its

youngest because this year it celebrates just 50 years since its inception – but

there is no denying the success of Cap Classique. Since the first, fairly hit

and miss attempts at making sparkling wine then a visit to Champagne by

Stellenbosch winegrower Frans Malan in 1968, huge strides have been made.

In 1971, Malan magically achieved secondary bottle fermentation and created

bubbles from Chenin, which at the time was the most ubiquitous white grape

variety in the Cape vineyards. The category has since then been embraced by

over 250 South African producers across the vineyards of the Western Cape.

Their inspiration is largely drawn from Champagne with grape varieties such

as Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, and wines that run the gamut

in terms of style and terroir expressions. The wines spend between 12 and

60 months and more in bottles and range from Blanc de Blanc to blends and

rosés; they can be with no dosage, Brut and Demi-Sec.

With over ten million bottles annually, Cap Classique has carved out a place for

itself in the South African wine industry which is full of promise, and reveals

a whole new aspect of the country’s winemaking talent. A look at the scores

awarded to the 79 wines selected for our 2021 Summer Selection at the end of

this magazine (pages 109 to 114) is surely proof enough.

We are already looking forward to celebrating the 50 th anniversary of Cap

Classique at the beginning of September, and we will be in South Africa’s wine

regions to do so.

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 5


EDITORIAL

– SYLVAIN PATARD –

Editor in Chief

HOW NEW DRINKS ARE BECOMING A FULL-FLEDGED CATEGORY

It is a known fact that non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages – some of

which can be called wine – are appealing to new consumer groups that are

increasingly mindful of their well-being and health. Although still a niche,

the market seems to hold promise, particularly as it is fuelled by drinks

that are constantly improving in quality. They also resonate with current

consumer trends in the broadest sense, which for wine means lighter, fresher

and more ethical offerings. And above all, less harmful to people’s health.

The message is proving highly effective, and has found consumer audiences

among pregnant women, retirees and people taking medication who cannot

drink conventional wines.

The techniques used differ depending on the country, the producer and the

desired type of wine (or drink). From totally or partially removing alcohol

from traditional wines, to early harvesting to curb alcohol content, or even

reverse osmosis where a few degrees of alcohol evaporate, the issue remains

unchanged, and that is how to preserve balance and avoid excessive acidity.

It is still difficult to quantify the category, because there are no dedicated

statistics within the industry. However, as Mathilde Boulachin (Domaines

Pierre Chavin, see page 56), who has pioneered no-low drinks, points out:

“In the segment’s ten-year history, there has been real growth”.

Read about her experience in our feature report, which will also take you to

Italy and South Africa.

6 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


La_Marca_N°44_Mise en page 1 09/07/2021 16:27 Page 1

NEWS

PROSECCO

F

ounded in 1968, La Marca is a secondlevel

cooperative, which represents about

5000 winegrowers who tend around 15,000

hectares of vineyards, owing to the Group’s

8 wineries all located in the province of

Treviso.

Knowledge handed down the years, experience

and professionalism, competence in the field

and commercial strategies are requisites

that makes La Marca a reference point and

one of the most representatives companies

in the Prosecco’s field.

Territoriality, cooperation and sustainability

are the main values of the company’s

philosophy, which includes several meanings:

environmental, economic, social and ethic.

https://www.lamarcaprosecco.com

Cavavin N°44_Mise en page 1 22/06/2021 17:59 Page 1

FREY-SOLHER

CAVE DE LABASTIDE

DE LÉVIS

Crémant d’Alsace

Gaillac Perlé

€ 5.50*

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WINEMAKERS

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Thomas CHIMIER

156, avenue du Général de Gaulle

44380 PORNICHET

( +33 2 40 01 02 93

DOMAINE DES RAYNIÈRES

2019

François CORTAT

CAVAVIN TOURCOING

4-6, rue de Lille

59200 TOURCOING

( +33 3 20 94 64 03

CHÂTEAU DE PIZAY

2020

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Beaujolais blanc

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124, Cours de Verdun

33470 GUJAN MESTRAS

( +33 9 67 79 61 49

* Retail price including sales tax

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 7


NEWS

Wines Overland: the gateway to Asia-Pacific for European wines

Philippe Carrant and Michael Rogers are two likeminded

partners who created Wines Overland to

help European winegrowers export their wines to

the Asia-Pacific region. The Frenchman deals with the

sourcing and the British-Singaporean handles sales and

marketing. Both speak French, are passionate about Asia

and interchangeable. The company posted turnover of

€16m last year and has offices in Paris and Hong Kong.

Its markets are primarily Japan, Hong Kong, Australia,

New Zealand, Taiwan and China. The main focus is to

develop long term sales, “not one shot deals” and “not just

value wines”, says Carrant. Their portfolio includes simple,

medium and high-end wines from small producers,

co-operative wineries and a few premium estates. “In Asia,

wines need to have a private label, something with a story

to tell consumers”, says Rogers. “We help them do that”.

Covid has made logistics challenging but lockdown

measures may have had two beneficial effects. With

restaurants closed, some Asian consumers in Singapore

and Korea have started drinking wine at home. This type

Philippe Carrant and Michael Rogers, the two founders of Wines Overland

of consumption is less “showy”, and more “pleasurable”

and “sincere”, and the hopes are that it will continue.

Similarly, in many countries, consumers have turned to

better quality offerings, with higher average prices, and

that is excellent news for European winegrowers!

Have the partners ever considered importing Asian wines

into Europe? “That’s a different business altogether!”, the

two men reply in unison.

https://www.winesoverland.com/en

Vinitaly: welcoming the return of in-person trade shows

PThe world of wine got back

on track with OperaWine and

Vinitaly Preview in Verona.

The two events organised by

Vinitaly-Veronafiere hallmarked

the resumption of shows attended

in-person after fifteen months of

compulsory stops when only

digital events were allowed. They

offered a preview of Vinitaly Special Edition (in Verona

17-19 October) in the run-up to the 54 th edition scheduled

10-13 April 2022.

The Gallerie Mercatali – the former fruit & vegetable

market and industrial archaeology venue opposite the

exhibition centre – hosted OperaWine’s tenth anniversary

event on Saturday 19 June. The Grand Tasting, that usually

precedes Vinitaly’s official opening, presented some of the

finest Italian wines selected by the American magazine

Wine Spectator to an elite audience of buyers, journalists,

sommeliers and international wine professionals. The

weekend was complemented on Sunday 20 June by the

Vinitaly Special Edition Preview, a B2B event presenting

consortia, 70 companies and

associations to more than 300 firms

and national and international

buyers from 14 European and

non-EU countries. Vinitaly Preview

illustrated the recovery of market

demand for Italian wine, including

within the country itself, as the

hospitality industry re-opens for

business and social life gets back on track, paving the

way for Vinitaly Special Edition, the first full-scale trade

fair event dedicated to the wine sector. Domestic and

international markets will be in the forefront at the Vinitaly

Special Edition. This trade-only occasion in October is

perfectly timed for doing business in the wine industry,

and Veronafiere is working with the ICE-Trade Agency

and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International

Cooperation to ensure that selected international buyers

can enter the country. Live-streamed masterclasses are

scheduled to ensure direct contact with market players that

are unable to attend in person.

More information at www.vinitaly.com

8 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


THE GILBERT & GAILLARD INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE:

MAKE SOME ROOM IN YOUR LOUNGE FOR WINE

REGIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

FRANCE

SPAIN

ITALY

SOUTH AFRICA

ENERGISING THE WINE MARKET THROUGH

INNOVATION AND DIVERSITY

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SELECTIONS:

CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE

& SA CAP CLASSIQUE

ALVARINHO/ALBARIÑO

A TALE OF TWO COUNTRIES

MONTALCINO,

THE ‘PROMISED

LAND’ FOR

SANGIOVESE

IN TUSCANY

CAP CLASSIQUE

A 50-YEAR JOURNEY

TO PERFECTION

Mathilde Boulachin

founded Pierre Chavin

in Béziers in 2010

Mario Piccini, Managing

Director of Tenute Piccini

DISCOVER OUR SUMMER

SELECTIONS:

SA CAP CLASSIQUE &

CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE

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Winegrower Baltasar Tirado

from Terras de Compostela

in Rias Baixas

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Stephan de Beer,

head winemaker of

Krone Cap Classique

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Château Saint-Jacques d’Albas is located in an unspoilt setting

ROSES

– COMPETITION –

War of the Rosés

The wine regions of Provence, Corsica, the Rhone Valley and Languedoc

have never had it so good in terms of reputation, but the real news

is that the South of France is increasingly diversifying its wine styles.

And in this particular battle, rosé is gaining even more traction.

By Christelle Zamora - Photographs: courtesy of the estates -

© Clement Puig - © DR - © ChristelleZamora - ©claude Cruells - © Vincent Agnes

10 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Philippe Pellaton, chairman of Inter Rhone

“ The Rhone is renowned primarily as a red

wine region, but the market’s appetite for

rosé and white wines will lead them to gain

ground”, claims Philippe Pellaton, the new

chairman of Inter Rhone. He estimates that

within five years, the share of rosé wines in the region

will rise to 25%, compared to current distribution of

75% reds, 16% rosés and 9% whites.

At the Luberon appellation winegrowers’ organisation,

Nathalie Archaimbault concurs: “We have always made

rosé, but the colour has held a majority share since

2007. Rosé used to account for around 15% but from

the 2000s onwards, the rate of production increased.

The turning point came in 2013 when more than 50%

of the wines were rosé. In 2020, reds will only account

for 23%, whites 18% and rosés 59% of production”.

Within the appellation area, with its 3,400 ha under

vine, 10 co-operative wineries produce 80% of rosé

volumes. In terms of market distribution, a third of the

wines are exported, a third are sold to wine merchants

and the hospitality industry and a third in super/

hypermarkets. These ratios are currently being shaken

up by wine tourism and direct-to-consumer sales,

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 11


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Winegrower Thomas Montagne at Château de Clapier

located not far from the village of Mirabeau

which are posting strong growth in the appellation’s

59 independent wineries. In the east of the Luberon

appellation area, Thomas Montagne farms vines

surrounding around a house that once belonged to the

Marquis de Mirabeau. In 1880, Thomas Montagne’s

family bought the estate at auction. After graduating

from Purpan School of Engineering, Thomas Montagne

took over Château de Clapier from his father in 1992.

As an independent winegrower, he has built up a wide

range of wines in all three colours, predominantly

reds. Today, he produces three rosé labels, including

6,000 bottles of the Vibrato label, blended from Grenache

and Cinsault for the entry-level range. The next tier up

is his Soprano rosé with 1,500 bottles (€13) – this is an

age-worthy rosé made using the ‘saignee’ method for

the Grenache and direct-to-press for the Cinsault before

blending. He also produces an offbeat sweet rosé made

from Hamburg Muscat, selling just 200 bottles (€8 per

50 cl) under the Vin de France designation.

Recently, Montagne launched a fruity Tessiture rosé

for super/hypermarkets. Rosé accounts for a third of

the estate’s production. “I sell a lot of wines direct-toconsumer

but I don’t sell much in export markets, with

the focus more on wine merchants, hospitality outlets

and local supermarkets. I now sell a little more to wine

merchants”, he comments. One of his issues is selling

rosés from previous vintages – consumers often cannot

imagine that a rosé can be kept for over a year.

Olivier Rouquet is managing director

of Château de l’Isolette

EASILY UNDERSTANDABLE ROSÉS

FOR CONSUMERS

This is one of the reasons that has driven the Rhone

wine marketing board to invest in a technical centre.

In the same vein as the Rosé Wine Centre in Provence,

the technical institute should focus on rosé styles that

consumers can grasp easily. Not all investments are

home-grown though – foreign investors also come to

promote rosé. Mariusz and Marta Gawron, who come

from a business background, own luxury hotels in

12 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Set between Bonnieux and Apt, Château de l’Isolette is a long-standing Luberon estate. It was bought by Polish investors

Poland. They bought Château de l’Isolette, part of the former

Domaine de Mille – once owned by the Pinatel family - which

was sold to a Franco-American couple. Located between

Bonnieux and Apt, l’Isolette covers 45 hectares and has been

producing rosé wine since 1987. Three of the estate’s eighteen

labels are currently marketed as AOP Luberon rosé, totalling

17,000 bottles. “The new owners have directed sales of rosés

towards Poland, where they own a concert hall and hotels,

and they are canvassing supermarkets”, comments managing

director Olivier Rouquet. Poland has a very different culinary

culture to France, however. “Only the most privileged classes

drink wine at the dinner table. The Poles like sweet, sparkling

wines, which is why a sparkling rosé is produced at Château

l’Isolette”. The Gawrons have introduced wine onto the

menus of their luxury establishments between Gdansk and

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 13


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Gdynia, and in the seaside resort of Sopot on the Baltic

Sea. Maybe they will be successful at transforming beer

into wine in the chic venues frequented by the Polish

jet-set. This is a fairly tall order, to say the least, as

Poland is currently one of the countries in Europe that

drinks the least amount of wine.

The Luberon wine region is set in the heart of a national park. Its

unspoilt location is home to incredibly popular rosé wines

Domaine d’Albas in the Minervois

ROSÉ-CRAZED LANGUEDOC

Rosé’s second home after Provence is Languedoc. Over

a 5-year period, between 2015 and 2020, Languedoc

appellations shifted towards whites and rosés. In AOC

Languedoc, rosé production has risen from 12% to 18%

in 5 years. The Occitania region has already overtaken

Provence by volume, which is no mere feat.

In the Minervois, Graham Nutter began renovating an

estate after a career in finance. The English businessman

has travelled a lot – as he likes to say, he always had

a plane ticket in his pocket. When he was looking for

somewhere to put down roots, the Minervois seemed

the ideal place. After living in the capitals of the world,

he fell for an estate that was not overlooked by other

properties, had a forest and came with old buildings

to restore, including an 11 th century chapel on the

pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela.

In 2001, the novice winegrower began replacing

Carignan and Alicante with Syrah, Grenache,

Mourvèdre, Caladoc and Cabernet-Sauvignon. For the

whites, Vermentino, Roussane, Viognier and Marsanne

followed. The 90-hectare estate boasts 26 hectares of

vines in the Minervois appellation area surrounded by

woodlands and orchards. Château Saint-Jacques d’Albas

produces 90,000 bottles a year.

“I wanted to make wine but then I had to sell it. At

the time, Minervois did not have a good reputation.

I wanted to make a terroir-driven wine. So before

deciding to go organic, I applied the Cusinié method to

improve soil resources”, recalls Nutter. Rosé production

began with the 2005 vintage, but it was only later that

the two labels La Chapelle en Rose and Le Petit Saint-

14 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

After travelling the world for business, Graham Nutter

bought and restored an estate near Carcassonne

in the Minervois

Jacques developed their ultimate style. To make them,

he chose Grenache, a Rhone varietal, and Mourvèdre

from Provence. La Chapelle en Rose (€12) contains

more Grenache while Le Petit Saint-Jacques (€7) is

Mourvèdre-dominant. “La Chapelle en Rose is very

popular with Californians as it is a lighter rosé than

the more typical Napa Valley wines and is also sold on

Long Island, the equivalent of the French Côte d’Azur.

We export 80% of production to 15 different countries”,

he adds.

During the pandemic, the estate turned more towards

direct-to-consumer sales. “We created a website and

in our foreign markets we found buyers who do home

deliveries of wine. Our sales mainly dropped in the

United States. Fortunately, with our gîtes and music

festival, our clientele has continued to come. 2020

is an excellent vintage, but in 2021 we lost 4.5% of

our Grenache to frost, so we will produce a little less

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 15


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Chapelle en Rose and more Petit Saint-Jacques”. But

what worries Graham Nutter most is the extreme heat

and drought, which is why he has planted Cinsault. In

the future, this variety could pick up the slack in blends

of the estate’s rosés.

The Saint-Chinian co-operative winery launched the Art en Cave

concept where an artist is invited to paint a concrete tank and a

dedicated label is created. The initiative is part of its wine tourism drive

THE AMAZING STORY OF SAINT-CHINIAN

In Saint-Chinian, Geoffrey Boulade waxes lyrical about

the rosé market, which has soared to such stratospheric

heights that to disregard it would have been unthinkable.

“Over the last 10 years, we have repositioned our rosé

selection. We started with the L’Excellence de Saint

Laurent range in 2010, launched at Metro. This was a

real turning point, so much so that we now produce

1.5 million bottles per year”, says the co-operative’s

communications manager.

The success prompted the winery to continue along

the same tack. Its executives then designed a new

PDO and PGI Raoul Mapoul range of fruit-forward

wines for casual drinking. “The wines were launched

in 2015, and soon broke through the 1-million-bottle

barrier”. Despite the already significant volumes, the

small Saint-Chinian co-operative decided to continue

producing bottled rosés, not bulk, as the winery’s image

remains of paramount importance. “In 2019, we created

another range under the Vin de France designation,

embracing modern single-varietals. We launched a

100% Mourvèdre without sulphites, a Syrah-Mourvèdre

label, a Languedoc signature grape, Carignan, and a

Sauvignon”. Another project involves the Caractère

label revolving around the five senses with packaging

that highlights young co-operative winegrowers. Then

there’s the 1937 label, a nod to the year the winery

was founded, which uses cues from the 1930s and in

particular the main character from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s

novel, The Great Gatsby”, points out winery chairman

Yves Borel.

In Saint-Chinian, the history of rosé is currently in the

mtzing. All of the winery’s rosés sell for under €10,

16 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

In Maraussan, Nathalie Jeannot produces a high-end organic rosé

at the Chapelle de Novilis estate

and have garnered appeal among young consumers who enjoy

rosés with picnics. The winery markets 7,900 hl of rosés under

AOP Saint-Chinian and 5,000 hl as PGI Pays-d’Oc and Paysd’Hérault,

though also sells 5 and 10 litre bag-in-boxes, two

magnums of rosé and a jeroboam. “The format is aimed at

private beach events. Provence rosés are so expensive that more

affordable price tags have become sought after”.

Nevertheless, Saint-Chinian rosés are quite deeply coloured,

which does not quite fit with the pale Pantone trend for

Provence rosés. “In our opinion, food-friendly rosés have a

deeper colour and more body. We don’t feel it would be wise

to reduce the colour intensity of rosés in Saint-Chinian”. The

only cloud on the horizon is that frost affected 75% of vineyard

acreage, and the winery will have to dip into red inventories so

that it can prioritise production of its whites and rosés.

A few kilometres away, Nathalie Jeannot produces organic

wines at Domaine Chapelle de Novilis. The winegrower took

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 17


Domaine Alain Jaume has a strong wine tourism focus and

produces two rosés, a Côtes-du-Rhône and a Tavel

ROSES

– COMPETITION –

over the vineyards from her brother-in-law ten years ago. “We

had to raise the trellis wires, review pruning techniques, uproot

vines that were too old and plant Viognier, Grenache Gris and

Cabernet Franc”, she says. She produces 8,000 bottles of a pale

coloured rosé wine aged on the lees. “But with mildew in 2019

and frost in 2021, production is closer to 5,500 bottles out of a

total 30,000”. Her Cinsault (85%) and Vermentino (15%) rosé

is very aromatic. “I harvest by hand with a refrigerated truck to

keep the grapes ice-cold – at no point must the aromas escape.

Pressing and skin-contact maceration get the same care and

attention, because Vermentino is a fragile grape variety”. For this

sophisticated gourmet-style rosé, picking the grapes too early is

out of the question. In fact, the fruit is only harvested when fully

ripe. Château de Novilis rosé is sold within the year. The good

news is that Jeannot sells 60% of her wines to private customers.

PROVENCE AND ITS JETSET

Situated between Orange and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Christophe

Jaume also produces rosés. And for the past two years, this

18 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

renowned négociant has changed his tack. Traditionally,

Domaine Alain Jaume produces a Tavel rosé and a

Côtes-du-Rhône rosé. “In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, we are

in Provence country, but the public does not identify

our rosés as rosés from Provence”, bemoans Jaume. He

stresses the sea-change in the production of rosés – his

father used to produce mainly ‘saignée’ rosés with a deep

colour that no longer appeals to today’s consumers. The

reason Jaume produces a new-generation Tavel in the

process of being converted to organic, with crushed

fruit and intense strawberry flavours, is because he

feels current trends favour lightly-coloured rosé with

floral notes. “We have modernised the packaging of our

classic label, renamed Bellissime, which is produced

organically. On the label, the olive tree conjures up

images of Provence, the colour remains light and

the shape of the bottle is the main selling point in

brasseries”, he explains.

The Tavel rosé has a price tag of €11.50 a bottle,

while Bellisime costs €8. Jaume sells 40,000 bottles

of Bellissime and 4,000 bottles of Tavel in a variety

of distribution channels: “Bellisime is sold in France

while Tavel is exported to the United States”. He is at a

loss as to why the customer base for Tavel rosés is not

getting any younger. He feels that his Tavel rosé, named

Crétacé after a geological period, is a true terroir wine

pairing with refined, spicy dishes. Though delighted

with booming sales of rosé wines – which have

successfully weathered the storm – he has high hopes

that increasingly knowledgeable consumers will soon

embrace greater diversity.

Between Mount Sainte-Victoire and the Sainte-Baume,

not far from Aix-en-Provence, Charles Rouy has taken

over the reins of the family estate. The owner of Château

d’Ollières has followed his Burgundy instincts, focusing

on stellar rosés yet not totally relinquishing either the

reds or the whites. Boasting Provençal charm, the 35-ha

vineyard has been replanted while woodland acts as a

buffer for biodiversity. The cool, chalky soil and semi-

Château d’Ollières is located between the Sainte-Victoire and the

Sainte-Baume in Provence

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 19


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Charles Rouy, owner of Château d’Ollières

continental climate give Ollières wines their distinctive

character due to the elevation and diurnal temperature

shifts. “This year, the spring frost caused such a cold snap

that the vines seem to be slowing down, although growth in

this vineyard is later than elsewhere. The already late harvest

could stretch into November”, predicts Rouy.

Château d’Ollières produces three very elegant wines –

Classique rosé (€9.20), Prestige rosé (€13.50) and Haut

de l’Autin (€16.70). All the rosés are matured on the

lees because Rouy feels that rosé is a genuine Provence

speciality. “We pioneered the cold chain and Burgundy-style

barrel fermentation. We also add very sparing amounts of

sulphites”. Rouy works with pinpoint precision – he manages

his vineyards sustainably and has his sights squarely set on

quality. Consequently, Ollières wines are artisan offerings

and flagships in the Coteaux-Varois appellation. His private

clientele needs no convincing. “Despite the pandemic, the

estate has continued to bottle its 35,000 bottles per month

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ROSES

– COMPETITION –

since January”, and Rouy is keeping his fingers crossed

that the trend continues. “In 2019, exports accounted for

45% of sales, but this dropped to 15% in 2020. For 2021,

we are only expecting 30% of a normal year’s revenue

from exports, which are also being held back by lack of

space on the boats and long delivery times”.

In the heart of the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire

appellation area, Château Gassier is certified organic.

The property belongs to the Advini Group and produces

99% rosé and 1% white. For the reds, the estate partners

with Château Beaulieu. The defining feature of Château

Gassier’s rosés is that they are designed for the hospitality

industry. “We produce lightly oaked rosé wines matured

in Austrian barrels which do not instil oak influence

in the wines. The maturation process does, however,

improve the structure of the rosés which evolve well over

time. Our two top-end labels, 946 and Elevae, can be

kept for 5 to 10 years”, says product manager Paul Alary.

As an aside, 946 is the height of the cross on Mount

Sainte Victoire, and the first vintage was produced in

2010. Annual sales total 10,000 bottles compared to

1,500 bottles for the prestige Elevae label. “Our wines

are served on the finest tables in the world. Elevae is

only released in the best years, and the last vintage

was 2016. Providing the results are confirmed after

the maturation process, we will release a 2019. Barrel

ageing lasts for 24 months compared to 7 months for

the 946 label, where only two thirds of the wines are

matured in barrels”.

The estate has built up a strong image among wine

experts and sommeliers and is developing wine tourism.

Visitors come and see a film on a big, open-air screen, a

glass of rosé in hand, whilst others dance to a lively DJ.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the estate developed

an online store for private customers. Only 60% of

the wines are exported. Château Gassier also produces

120,000 bottles per year of entry-level rosé, the highly

successful Le Pas du Moine label. The three wines range

in price from €15.50 to €33 and €60.

Guillaume Cordonis, the winemaker at Château Gassier

Château Gassier is located in the heart of the Côtes-de-Provence Sainte-

Victoire appellation area

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 21


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Estate director Olivier Souvelain took over management

of Château Gassier in 2010

“For exports, the United States is the second largest

market, but Provence is still less well known there than

the French Riviera. For the past four years, we have been

promoting the lifestyle spirit of Provence through local

bloggers”. Restricting sales to mature markets, however,

is a definite no-no. “New markets like Switzerland

and Australia are opening up, and we are beginning to

perform well there. We enjoy working with restaurateurs

who promote our wines. The young Japanese chef Ippei

Uemura of the Tabi restaurant in Marseilles is one of our

top ambassadors”. If you want to indulge in some real

pleasure, though, visit the estate and take the Sainte-

Victoire footpath to discover the vineyards.

Then there is the irresistible Saint-Tropez and

Ramatuelle, names that resonate with parties, sunshine

22 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

Roger Zannier has handed over management of Château Saint-Maur

to his son-in-law Marc Monrose

and blue skies and sea. Ten years ago, Roger Zannier

bought Château Saint-Maur in Cogolin in the Gulf of

Saint-Tropez. With his son-in-law Marc Monrose, they

bought 60 ha including a 12-ha plot of Clos de Capelune

from which they produce the single-vineyard range of

this 1955-classified Cru. On the vineyard’s schist and

quartz soils, Syrah, Grenache and Rolle flourish at an

elevation of 449 metres, the highest vineyard in Côtesde-Provence.

Forty hectares have been purchased in Le

Cannet-des-Maures in order to expand the range and

blends of rosés. Although Château Saint-Maur produces

wines in all three colours, rosés hold pride of place.

“Only 600 bottles of Clos Saint Vincent are produced

in black bottles sold on allocation and in magnums

for the limited edition. For the past 15 days, stocks

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 23


ROSES

– COMPETITION –

have been depleted”, says director Myriam Hodge.

Château Saint Maur has steered clear of the downturn

and none of its wines can be found on supermarket

shelves. The highly elaborate bottles are making a

name for themselves in popular tourist locations such

as Ibiza in the Balearic Islands. “In 2020, new markets

were opened up in Ukraine, the Czech Republic and

Switzerland and we expanded wine merchant sales in

France. Although we market across Europe, we also sell

about 350,000 bottles a year to China”.

The beautiful building at Château Saint-Maur between the Maures

mountain range and the gulf of Saint-Tropez

Vineyard views in AOP Patrimonio, in the north of Corsica

CORSICA’S FLAGSHIP COLOUR

Corsican wine production is no longer red-dominant.

Corsica experienced a boom in rosé simultaneously with

Provence, and pink wines now account for 70% of overall

production. “AOC Corse Porto-Vecchio produces the most

with a 41% share, while in AOC Corse Calvi, rosés remain

in the minority (27%) after reds (43%) and whites (30%).

PGI Ile de Beauté produces 79% rosés versus 11% reds

and 10% whites”, comments Caroline Franchi, marketing

director of the Corsican wine marketing board. The

island’s wines are doing well by appealing to discerning

wine lovers. For the four co-operative wineries, 81% of

production is rosé, whilst the share drops to 47% for the

130 independent wineries.The challenge is to promote

the wines. “An initiative was taken in 2017 with the

launch of the Ile de Rosé brand, which was designed to

group together the four co-operatives, in a bid to raise

prices of the Corsican PGI. But four years later, only two

co-operatives - Les Vignerons d’Aghione and the Marana

co-operative – have actually joined forces to enhance the

image of Corsican PGI rosés in supermarkets nationwide”,

explains Franchi. The economic situation gives no cause for

concern however. In 2020, the co-operative wineries saw

sales go through the roof on the French mainland. “They

bought up rosé inventories from independent wineries.

The marketing board was fearing a 70% drop but sales are

only 25% down in the aggregate. And the independent

wineries are expecting a good tourist season”. Corsica

24 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


The stony soils, hillsides and breezes define the

micro-climate in the vineyards of Corsica

ROSES

– COMPETITION –

wants to preserve its quality red wine range, its magnificent

whites and the endemic grape varieties that have established

its reputation. Winegrowers everywhere are experimenting with

maturation techniques. Although Corsican rosé seems to have

a bright future ahead of it, the wines will go hand in hand with

organic winegrowing, with 90 estates already practitioners.

Patrimonio is one of the two appellations awarded specific AOC

‘Cru de Corse’ regulations. Located at the foot of the Cap, the

vineyards are close to the sea and produce a remarkable range

of wines. “The rosés are fresh yet robust, with a crisp fruitiness.

The vineyards in the Patrimonio appellation area will go entirely

organic in the near future”, says Franck Santini, owner of the

50-hectare Clos Santini at the foot of Cap Corse, in the Gulf

of Saint-Florent. “My rosés go direct-to-press, with marginal

maturation and are not designed for ageing. In Patrimonio,

the rosés are made from 75% Niellucciu and 25% additional

grape varieties, and my rosés are distinctive, clear and fruity”.

With an unbroken hillside vineyard that has been organic since

2006, Franck Santini sells all his wines. And he has just planted

4 hectares of Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu, to make more rosé…

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 25


Crémant de Bourgogne regulations specify

that the grapes have to be picked by hand to

produce a better quality base wine

BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

Crémant de Bourgogne:

When fizz is the bizz

World renowned grape varieties, fruit grown over a mosaic of vineyard sites

and particularly high standards are some of the defining features of Crémant

de Bourgogne, recognised as an appellation since 1975. They have helped

establish a reputation for the Burgundy sparkler in wine markets at home

and abroad. We dissect the reasons for the wines’ success.

By Alexandra Reveillon – Photographs: ©BIVB, ©Aurélien IBANEZ, ©Michel JOLY,

©Gérald MONAMY, ©UPECB, courtesy of the estates

26 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

A regional appellation just like Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligoté and Coteaux Bourguignons,

Crémant de Bourgogne is produced across the wine region

Don’t be misled by the official birth date of the Crémant

de Bourgogne appellation d’origine contrôlée: the region

was home to bubbles long before 1975. Like the Loire,

Bugey, Die and Limoux, it has a long-standing tradition of

making sparkling wines. By the 19 th century, Chablis, Rully

and Nuits-Saint-Georges were already hiving off part of their crop to

make sparkling wine. The ancestral method, Charmat technique and

carbonation were just some of the multiple techniques used at the

time, leading to significant disparities between the wines. Despite

this, in 1975, INAO decided to define a set of rules for making fizz

in Burgundy, just as in the Loire Valley. The Crémant appellation was

born, with a shared set of specifications - among the most stringent in

the French wine industry - and local disparities, thereby revolutionising

Burgundy sparkling wines.

EXTREMELY STRICT SPECIFICATIONS

Hand picking, compulsory use of the traditional method and bottle

maturing for at least nine months are some of the prerequisites. “The

specifications for Crémant de Bourgogne are restrictive. It requires time,

space and manpower”, explains Sylvain Martinand, the winemaker at

the Bailly-Lapierre cooperative since 2008. “We are required to harvest

by hand and separate the juices... Crémant costs much more to produce

than basic sparkling wine, but the constraints are unavoidable if you

want to make a quality wine”. Crémant de Bourgogne is a regional

appellation, akin to Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligoté and Coteaux

Bourguignons. It is grown on the same vineyard sites and made from

the same grape varieties, whose reputation dates back aeons.

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 27


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

Vineyard management techniques are specific to Crémant de Bourgogne.

The vines are pruned longer for sparkling wines

GRAPE VARIETIES WITH AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION

Hence, Pinot noir and Chardonnay must account for at least 30% of the

blends. However, downgrading wines destined for still appellations to

make sparkling wines is out of the question: vineyard areas earmarked

for Crémant must be declared by the spring. “In any case, the vines

require different management techniques”, comments Martinand. “For

still wines, we manage Pinot noir in such a way that it produces colour

and tannins. For a Crémant, we aim primarily for fruitiness”. The

reputation of the kings of Burgundy grape varieties is firmly established

but winegrowers willingly blend them with more under-the-radar

grapes. In Marcenay, in the Châtillon area, Fabien Guilleman gets his

creative juices flowing with Pinot gris and Aligoté to make successful

wines. Sylvain Martinand is focusing instead on the imminent revival of

Sacy, which was traditionally planted in Yonne. “It is a very productive

and very late-ripening variety, which should make a comeback in

decades to come due to global warming and late frosts that make the

earlier varieties challenging to work with...»

THE SEARCH FOR QUALITY,

OUTSIDE THE SPECIFICATIONS BOX

From Auxerre to Côte Chalonnaise and the Châtillon area, Crémant de

Bourgogne producers are not shy when it comes to going beyond the

basic AOC requirements in a bid to constantly ramp up quality, using a

different varietal range, increasing sourcing options or focusing on single

vineyards, and lengthening ageing time. The proof that the strategy is

28 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

effective is in the tasting... when people actually taste the

wines. “Our wines sell well, once we get people to taste

them. People rarely come to us, however, on their own

initiative”, explains Matthieu Dangin, winemaker and

winegrower at Molesme, in the Châtillonnais. Too often

compared to Champagne, Crémant de Bourgogne suffers

from a lack of awareness. “It’s all about image: you’ll

always make more of an impression with a €10 bottle

of Champagne than you will with a similarly priced

Crémant, and yet, one is an entry-level wine, whereas a

€10 Crémant is already high-end”.

IN CHAMPAGNE’S SHADOW

The comparison infuriates Sylvain Martinand, who

cannot imagine pitting one still wine region against

another. “We would never compare a Pommard to a

Haut-Brion, or a top white Burgundy to a Condrieu!

Crémant de Bourgogne encapsulates our culture and

expertise, it is not meant to be compared with the

most basic wines from another AOC. There is room for

everyone!” Comparisons may well persist in France, but

when it comes to exports, Crémant de Bourgogne is on a

roll: 44% of the wines are sold outside France, from the

United Kingdom to Italy, via North America, Asia and

Scandinavia. The percentage is constantly rising, and the

pandemic barely put a dent in it. Burgundy sparkling

wine undeniably has a bright future ahead of it!

Burgundy’s premier grape varieties Pinot noir and Chardonnay hold a

majority share of the Crémant blend. The wine must contain at least

30% of one of the two varieties

DOMAINE GUILLEMAN, AN UNEXPECTED

CRÉMANT WITH A DIFFERENCE

Welcome to Haute-Bourgogne, aka the Châtillonnais.

Located over an hour and a half from Beaune, the

Marcenay wine region seems to have more in common

with neighbouring Champagne, barely 25 kms away.

From a philosophical perspective, Fabien Guilleman’s

heart is split between the two. “I studied in Burgundy

and did my placement in Champagne”, he quips. One

all, next question. Since then, Guilleman has been

managing his 4.5 hectares of vines with one objective: to

stand out from the crowd. Here, Crémant de Bourgogne

has a virtual monopoly over production. At Domaine

Guilleman, sparkling wine accounts for 95% of the

10,000 bottles produced annually. “I don’t even make

Bourgogne every year”, admits Guilleman. From vine

pruning – where the canes are left longer to retain acidity

Made using the traditional method, Crémants de

Bourgogne are riddled and disgorged by hand

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 29


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

After studying viticulture and winemaking in Burgundy,

and completing a placement in Champagne, Fabien Guilleman

chose his side: Crémant de Bourgogne

– to winemaking techniques, the single-minded purpose is to

make Crémant.

Pinot noir and Chardonnay take the lion’s share of the varietal

range, but Guilleman also has a few small blocks of Aligoté and

Pinot gris, which he uses in his blends to add complexity to his

sparkling wines. “Pinot gris is a grape variety that very quickly

leaves its stamp on the wines. It is more aromatic, less acidic,

and more unexpected”, he explains. “Crémant is a blended

wine. The more years and tanks you have and the more varied

the varietal range, the easier it is to compensate for faults or

shortcomings”. Altogether, Fabien Guilleman has six different

labels, including one aged in oak, which he sells with the same

philosophy. You won’t find his wines in importers’ portfolios

or supermarkets, he sells most of his stock to private customers

visiting the estate, as well as a few dozen bottles to the nearby

supermarket. His finest ambassadors are local English ex-pats,

who have a particular weak spot for Crémant!

DOMAINE BRUNO DANGIN, THE CALL OF ORGANIC

It’s pointless looking for still wines here. Most Crémant de

30 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

Several generations of the family have farmed in Champagne, but Bruno and Matthieu Dangin chose the Châtillonais to flex

their winemaking muscle by making organic Crémant

Bourgogne producers specialise in the various white and red

wine appellations across Burgundy but not so at Domaine

Bruno Dangin. Here, sparkling wines rule the roost, which is

not surprising considering the property’s history. Bruno Dangin

and his son Matthieu, both winegrowers and winemakers,

come from a family that has been based in neighbouring

Champagne for several generations. They felt the need to

produce organic wines. Were they tempted to convert the

family estate? “That’s impossible. There are 12 partners and

we don’t all have the same desires”, explains Matthieu Dangin.

The vineyards of Champagne are expensive and organic is not

profitable enough, so they quickly proved to be out of reach.

There was another option, though. Located 3 km from the

village of Les Riceys – capital of the Côte des Bar – the village

of Molesmes, in the Châtillonnais, tipped the balance in favour

of Burgundy. Since 2011, the two have been growing Pinot

noir and Chardonnay on limestone soils with pronounced

minerality. “They are so hard that we broke the ploughs on

them the first year”, they recall. The vines, planted in the 1970s,

were converted to organic as soon as they arrived, and now

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 31


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

Sylvain Martinand has been the winemaker at the Bailly-Lapierre winery since 2008.

He matures the wines for much longer than appellation regulations stipulate

produce taut, lively and delicate Crémants. It is difficult not to draw a

parallel with the Champagnes produced by the family a stone’s throw

away. “At blind tastings, it is difficult to tell them apart”, admits

Matthieu Dangin. “Even the most seasoned tasters make mistakes”.

Admittedly, the Dangins lavish much care and attention on their

sparkling wines. Their Prestige de Narcès label, which is both fruity

and mineral, energetic and delightful, is the best example. Produced

from the oldest vines on the estate, it is made using single-vineyard

fermentation in tanks with no added sulphites. Its fine bubbles

bowled over even the American sommeliers at Madison Eleven Park,

crowned best restaurant in the world in 2017. “They didn’t have any

Crémant on the wine list. We are the first, and we have been on the

list since 2017”, says a visibly proud Matthieu Dangin. Combining

French provenance with bubbles and organic credentials, the wine

ticks all the boxes to appeal to foreign markets. Unsurprisingly,

exports represent over 80% of the company’s sales, spearheaded by

Italy, the United States and Denmark.

BAILLY-LAPIERRE, THE CATALYST FOR CRÉMANT DE

BOURGOGNE

Founded in 1972, the Bailly-Lapierre winery is inseparable from the

history of Crémant de Bourgogne. Sparkling base wines, which were

then sold en masse to Germany, were experiencing a serious crisis

and winegrowers in the Auxerre region found themselves with vines

and wines on their hands, with no storage space or sales outlets.

They decided to create a co-operative winery, which they set up in a

32 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

4.5 hectare mushroom farm in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux. Three

years later, the Crémant de Bourgogne appellation was

born, providing the winery with long-awaited prospects.

“In the early years, 90% of Crémant de Bourgogne was

made at the winery”, says Sylvain Martinand. Almost half

a century later, the co-operative is still a key player in the

Crémant de Bourgogne market, with sales of 3 million

bottles out of a total 17 to 20 million bottles distributed

annually worldwide.

Marked by the minerality and tension typical of the

vineyards of Yonne, Bailly-Lapierre-crafted Crémants

stand out for their Pinot noir-dominant varietal range,

which represents 70% of the total. In all, the winery

produces a dozen labels, from the Brut Reserve to the

Blanc de Blancs, including the Blanc de Noirs and the

rosés. The single varietal Pinot noir Blanc de Noirs

has a distinctively pale gold colour with silvery green

highlights. Its nose, marked by aromas of fresh grapes,

plums and mirabelle plums mixed with touches of red

fruit, flows into a vinous yet fresh palate. Complex and

invigorating, it illustrates the winery’s expertise and

high standards, which go far beyond the appellation’s

requirements. Produced since 2006, the Vive la Joie label

is the co-operative’s premium Crémant. “We keep it on

laths for 3 to 6 years, and we disgorge it about 6 months

before release”, explains Martinand. “This way, we can

leverage conditions and secure the best price points for

the wines”. The strategy has attracted interest across the

globe. From wine merchants and hospitality outlets to

private customers, supermarkets and exports, Bailly-

Lapierre is increasing the scope of its sales network in

France and abroad. Driven by growing demand for

bubbles around the world, Bailly-Lapierre’s Crémant can

be found in North America as well as in Japan, Germany

and Norway.

Founded in 1972, the Bailly-Lapierre co-operative

winery is located in a former 4.5-hectare

mushroom farm in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux

DOMAINE HENRI CHAMPLIAU,

THE PERSONAL TOUCH

When he started making Crémant de Bourgogne in

2016, Alexandre Graffard was convinced that some of

his fruit, from outstanding blocks, would systematically

feature in his wines. Five years later, his observation

couldn’t be more different. “Vintage variation is so

significant that we never select the same plot or the same

tank!” he recounts. Capitalising on differences in site-

Henri Champliau Crémants are matured in the dark, in warehouses

where the hygrometry levels are controlled

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 33


BURGUNDY

– STYLE –

Alexandre Graffard is passionate about wine and switched to Crémant de Bourgogne just before he turned forty

expressiveness, forging his own personal style and adding his

own personal touch to his Crémants is what the forty-year-old

was aiming for when he founded Domaine Henri Champliau.

“I wasn’t lucky enough to inherit 50 hectares of vines”, he

jokes. But Graffard saw the opportunity to establish his own

legitimacy by carefully selecting his supplies from vineyard

plots specifically farmed to produce Crémants de Bourgogne.

“I deliberately did not choose still wines: it would have been

more difficult for me to have my own style. Single vineyard

blocks depend entirely on the winegrowers. With Crémant, the

winemaker can create his own blend, his own maturation style

and his own dosage... That’s a real bonus!”

He focuses on Pinot noir, which he favours for its vinous

side and to stand out from the crowd. “Chardonnay, which

represents 15% of the blend, is only there to impart freshness,

tension and an airy touch to the Pinot noir.” The rosé,

conversely, contains 10% Gamay, which is prized for its

roundness. Matured in a darkened warehouse with controlled

hygrometry, Henri Champliau’s Crémants are matured for

much longer than the nine months imposed by production

specifications. The result is fine, balanced sparkling wines,

marked by trademark Pinot noir notes of red fruits.

34 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


IMPORTERS

– DENMARK –

AMKA GROUP

Looking to the long-term

What started off in 1978 as a hobby for Anna-Marie and Karsten Søndergaard,

who sold wines to friends and family from their garage in a small village in

Denmark, has evolved into a multi-million-bottle business spanning 9 North

European countries. Their son and current AMKA CEO Frank Søndergaard outlines

the company’s ethos and growth prospects across the region.

By Ellen Budge - Photographs: courtesy of AMKA Group

Frank Søndergaard, Amka Group

Perhaps what characterises AMKA group most

is its extreme specialisation. Each one of its

35 million bottles in annual sales – of wines

with some beers and spirits – accesses the market

through a dedicated company. “In Denmark,

for instance, we have one company that specialises in

wine sales to Horeca, another in spirits, then wines to

supermarkets and another to online outlets”, explains

Søndergaard from the company’s base in Denmark,

where it owns six companies and sells around half its

total volumes. Its broad-ranging distribution reach –

from off-premise to Horeca, travel retail, online and its

own bricks-and-mortar outlets – proved to be a precious

asset during the Covid crisis. “What we thought was

going to be a horrendous year, actually turned out to

be not bad at all with declines offset by increases in

other channels”. Drawing on a producer portfolio of

some 300 suppliers also allows the company to tap into

growth markets, with Sweden often leading the way.

From organic/sustainable to cans/PET bottles and bag-inboxes,

what starts in Sweden often filters down rapidly to

Norway and Finland, then Denmark. In response to this,

AMKA has recently established AMKA Nordic, addressing

the needs of the monopolies and Horeca channel with

a clear strategy. One strong consumer trend AMKA

is witnessing region-wide is the tendency for lighter

drinks. “Easy-drinking, lighter wine styles are definitely

on-trend because they match the lighter food we’re

eating”, stresses Søndergaard, who has also noticed the

importance of references – reviews and endorsements –

particularly in online channels which are rapidly growing

across Scandinavia. Whatever the trend, Søndergaard

feels that as a 100% family-owned business, AMKA is

well-equipped to think long-term: “Often today, it’s not

so much the buying and selling that matters as making

long-term projects with our partners”.

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 35


Some pretty poppies near the vineyards at Château Toutigeac

BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

Are Bordeaux Cabernets

under threat?

In around 2050, the Bordeaux wine region is likely to experience weather patterns

similar to today’s climate in central Spain. Merlot is already in the hot spot, which

obviously begs the question – will global warming affect other varieties such as

the Cabernets (Franc and Sauvignon)? Their growing cycle at least could undergo

profound changes, leading to transformations in style and structure.

Gilbert & Gaillard travelled to the vineyards to find out more.

By Jean-Paul Burias - Photographs: courtesy of the estates - © Deepix studio - © Hélène Brun-Puginier Val

36 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

Set between the Garonne, the Dordogne and

the Gironde estuary, the vineyards of Bordeaux

enjoy an outstanding location that has made

them a legendary wine region. And yet, one

worrying trend is looming on the horizon. Global

warming is expected to have significant consequences for

winegrowing, as is the increase in dry spells and drought.

Throughout history, vines have demonstrated a certain

ability to adapt to all kinds of changes and developments.

Currently, the Bordeaux grape variety most exposed in the

medium term seems to be Merlot. For the Cabernets, the

situation is less clear-cut, but there is still concern. Jeremy

Cukierman, director of Kedge Wine School, Master of

Wine and author, specialises in the issue. “Cabernets have

organoleptic profiles that suggest they will adapt better

to warmer conditions”, he says. “They retain relatively

low pH levels and therefore high acidity even in hot, dry

temperate climates. Their natural structure draws the wines

out and adds to tension and freshness, ultimately leading

to lower sugar density at harvest than Merlot, in similar

weather conditions”. The issue is one facing the majority

of wineries, some of which have already found solutions.

Xavier Mazeau, the fifth generation at Château

Toutigeac

CHÂTEAU TOUTIGEAC: A FAMILY AFFAIR

The Mazeau family is one of the Bordeaux wine industry’s

most prominent names. Here, knowledge of wine is part

of a quest for excellence that leads them to scale the

heights of quality. Genealogical research has shown the

family’s unbroken commitment to winegrowing since the

15 th century through its direct ancestors. Château Toutigeac

was bought in 1928 by Charles Mallet, a wine merchant in

Paris and Bordeaux. In 1949, his granddaughter Michelle

married René Mazeau before inheriting the estate a year

later when her grandfather passed away. When René retired

in 1985, Philippe Mazeau, one of his four sons, became

manager of Vignobles Toutigeac. With his wife Martine,

they developed the estate, which now covers 110 hectares,

including 77 hectares of bearing vineyards. After studying

viticulture and oenology, their daughter Oriane joined

them on the property. She perpetuates the family tradition

by becoming the fifth generation with her brother Xavier

to make wines at the estate. “Over the years, my family has

been able to optimise the vineyards and, using meticulous

Philippe Mazeau and his daughter Oriane tasting wines

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 37


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

A group of grape pickers at Tour Bel Air

winemaking techniques, produce supple, generous and fruity wines,

that are in keeping with the times”, she explains. “In the future, global

warming will change vineyard management techniques and choice

of soils. The Cabernets, for example, will need to be planted on

cooler soils”.

CHÂTEAU TOUR BEL AIR: THE BONUS OF FINESSE

Nestled on the Médoc peninsula, less than an hour from Bordeaux,

Château Tour Bel Air encompasses 7.8 hectares of vines spread over

5 grouped blocks that are easily accessible from the centre of the estate.

Two thirds of the blocks are planted on clayey gravel, lending them

exceptional quality. One third is home to distinctively lighter, sandier

soils over a limestone subsoil. The estate was taken over in 2006 by

Patrice Belly, and is run traditionally. “Very ripe grapes means that my

Passion and Prestige labels, which have a high proportion of Cabernet,

are increasingly popular with customers, particularly in export markets”,

he says. “In the first stages, climate change favours Cabernet-Sauvignon,

promoting better ripeness, while eliminating any trace of green flavours.

The Cabernets are becoming suppler yet also long on the palate. With

slightly less sugar than Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon can produce lower

alcohol levels which, conversely, are starting to become an issue with

Merlot”. Better ripeness tends to improve aroma, finesse and structure,

whilst also favouring more natural production methods.

38 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

A family portrait with Bruno Saintout in the centre

Bruno Saintout, who produces AOC Haut-Médoc

CHÂTEAU DE CARTUJAC: HAUT-MÉDOC’S GEM

On the uppermost slopes of Saint-Laurent-du-Médoc, Château

de Cartujac produces Haut-Médoc wines that express strong

character and achieve the perfect balance between tannic finesse

and persistent roundness. The estate belongs to Vignobles Bruno

Saintout, who also owns Château La Bridane in Saint-Julien and

Château du Périer in the Médoc appellation area (Cru Bourgeois).

“Rising temperatures and a drop in rainfall are conducive to

growing Cabernet-Sauvignon and reduce pressure from vine

diseases”, says owner Bruno Saintout. “Cabernet-Sauvignon,

Merlot and Petit Verdot have achieved perfect expression for

many years in southern Europe. No new grape varieties should

be introduced, each one should continue to express itself fully

in its native country. We simply need to think about rational use

of irrigation”. Global warming is already having a tangible effect

on Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon crops, yielding very ripe wines

every year. Chaptalisation has all but disappeared in the region.

CHÂTEAU L’ARGENTEYRE: AN ODE TO PASSION

This estate epitomises excellence along with the expertise of

Philippe and Gilles Reich, who sadly passed away on 9 February.

Established by the two brothers in 1992, Château l’Argenteyre

covers 50 hectares near the Gironde estuary, 25 of which are

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 39


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

Harvesting at Château l’Argenteyre

on Pyrenean gravel. Here, the ocean climate promotes

characterful wines made from Merlot, Petit Verdot and

of course Cabernet-Sauvignon. “The threat to Cabernet-

Sauvignon is not from global warming”, feels Philippe

Reich. “Quite the contrary – it allows it to fully ripen at

the end of the harvest season, which was often lacking

two decades ago. The risk is more its susceptibility to

grapevine trunk diseases and its premature die-back,

which leads to a drop in yields and therefore profitability,

though this of course varies depending on planting

density”. At Château l’Argenteyre, Cabernet-Sauvignon is

planted at high densities on rootstocks that are not very

vigorous. This strengthens its resistance, the objective

being to maintain reasonable yields and therefore ensure

it a good future in the Médoc. “There is no doubt that it

is the most sensitive grape variety”, says Philippe Reich.

“It needs excellent soil to flourish and deliver its amazing

aromas and unique finesse. It only excels when it reaches

peak ripeness in perfect health. Only then can it enhance

and bolster the basis of the blend with consistent

ripeness, higher sugar levels, better homogeneity and

good regularity which makes it easier to build a loyal

customer base in France and among export buyers”.

The cellars at Château l’Argenteyre

CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU:

AN INSPIRED AND CREATIVE VISION

The history of this superb estate overlaps the destiny

of the extraordinary figures in one of Bordeaux’s most

prominent wine companies. The Lurton family has worked

tirelessly for several generations to make the finest wines.

Its patriarch, André Lurton (1924-2019) inherited the

family estate at Château Bonnet in 1956 (a grim year in

Bordeaux). He continued the work started in 1897 by his

grandfather Léonce Récapet. Vignobles André Lurton now

covers 630 hectares, 260 of them in the Pessac-Léognan

appellation. His son and renowned winemaker Jacques

Lurton has taken over the presidency of the company,

injecting it with the inspired and creative vision gleaned

from his numerous winemaking experiences in France

and abroad. As an expert, he feels that the consequences

of global warming are not necessarily a stumbling block.

“It’s actually an opportunity for Cabernet, the grape

variety that will allow Bordeaux to retain its style”, he

40 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

Jacques Lurton president of

Vignobles André Lurton

Harvesting red Petits Verdot grapes

at Château de Rochemorin

Harvesting at Château de

Cruzeau

Château Couhins-Lurton,

a drone view over the grounds

comments. “It will continue to impart structure, aroma

and finesse to the wines. Every wine region in Europe

is defined by one or more iconic grape varieties. I don’t

see any point in replacing them, but perhaps we should

combine them with other varieties by first changing our

vineyard management techniques”.

CHÂTEAU GUICHOT: ELEGANT CABERNETS

At Château Guichot, the wines mirror the outstanding

terroir and expertise of Sébastien Petit. A brilliant and

passionate winegrower, he bought this estate in the Entre-

Deux-Mers region in 2008, and has been converting it

over to organic since 2019. Visitors cannot help but be

bowled over by its enchanting setting. An impressive

19 th -century building overlooks the 25-hectare estate

enhanced by its clay-limestone soils and steep hillsides

with a perfect aspect. Merlot accounts for 75% of

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 41


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

Sébastien Petit and his sister Frédérike tasting the white

and red wines during the winemaking process

Françoise Petit joined by her family – her son Sébastien, her daughter Frédérike

and her grandchildren

vineyard acreage, followed by Cabernet-Sauvignon (20%)

and Cabernet Franc (5%), forming a very classic trio. During

the winemaking process, Sébastien Petit aims for extraction

depending on the potential of the grapes in a bid to retain

a measure of typicity during the blending process and to

produce clean, flavourful wines. “Cabernet-Sauvignon has

a bright future ahead of it before potentially suffering from

global warming”, he says. “Unlike other appellations in

the region such as Graves and Médoc, the soils here are

clay. So even in very hot, dry years, our vines suffer less

than elsewhere”. Cabernet-Sauvignon naturally has higher

acidity, allowing it to retain some freshness even when it

is very ripe. For Cabernet Franc, the situation is slightly

different with lower acidity and alcohol levels that rise more

quickly. “When I vinify Cabernet Franc, I aim for elegance”,

says Petit. “This excellent blending variety adds complexity

and harmony. I have, though, replanted a lot of Cabernet-

Sauvignon in recent years, which I use for my L’Authentique

label, a gratifying, rounded, fleshy wine. I like the freshness

it instils in the blends, considering that the Merlots are often

bordering on over-ripeness”. To cope with global warming,

however, the savvy winegrower has also chosen - in recent

years - to plant Malbec, which handles greater ripeness well,

and Petit Verdot, which adds freshness and vivaciousness.

42 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BORDEAUX

– GRAPES –

SO SHOULD WE WRITE OFF THE CABERNETS?

The world’s second most widely planted grape variety,

Cabernet-Sauvignon covers 341,000 hectares, or 4% of

the world’s vineyard area, far ahead of Cabernet Franc,

which is seventeenth with 45,000 hectares, 36,000

of them in France. Although its production may be

affected by global warming, numerous examples around

the world suggest that Cabernet maintains its edge

in areas that are significantly warmer than Bordeaux,

such as Napa Valley in California, Chile and Argentina.

“People have often proclaimed the end of the reign

of certain grape varieties, based solely on the average

temperature during the growing season, for specific

vineyard sites”, stresses Jeremy Cukierman. “We now

realise that these predictions were a bit hasty. These

grape varieties still thrive in their historical vineyards

and still produce quality wines. Cabernets are naturally

aromatic and structured grapes. Climate is only one part

of the equation that produces a good wine, along with

geology, topography and of course the expertise of the

winemaker. Vineyard management and winemaking

techniques also help preserve freshness and create wines

with lower potential alcohols”. The jury is still out

however on whether the preferred blending partner for

Cabernet will still be Merlot in years to come. “Cabernet-

Sauvignon still has its place in the Médoc”, says Patrice

Belly, owner of Château Tour Bel Air. “It should even

strengthen its position with climate change, despite its

sensitivity to grapevine trunk diseases. The issue is more

about how to reduce the presence of Merlot and which

new grape varieties should be blended with Cabernet.

Introducing a little Syrah would be a bonus in terms of

aromatics”. Petit Verdot – already grown in Bordeaux –

is also among contenders with the ability to rise to the

challenge of higher temperatures, while adding finesse

and magnificent aromas. Many experts predict an increase

in the proportion of Cabernet in Bordeaux blends, which

is what has occurred in Margaux, for example. Inevitably,

the aromas and taste profile of wines will evolve with

global warming, as will production processes and, above

all, consumer expectations. It is probably true to say that

the overarching ability to adapt will be the real challenge

for Bordeaux producers.

Sébastien Petit checks the ripeness of the fruit

Patrice Belly during the harvest meal

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 43


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Planting Sauvignon at Château de Durette

Beaujolais Crus:

back in the limelight

For many years, Beaujolais was considered a cheap and cheerful wine,

and was highly underrated. And yet, it is home to 10 superior growths or Crus

which enhance this endearing wine region, that for too long has remained

in the shadows of neighbouring Burgundy. Each Cru has a distinctive identity

and the sum of their talents creates incredible variety, stemming

from highly specific vineyard sites.

44 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE

By Jean-Paul Burias - Photographs: courtesy of the estates - © E. Perrin


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

The granite on the outskirts of Mâcon, the capital

of southern Burgundy, connects with the claylimestone

soils of the south, near Lyon, one of

France’s largest cities and once the capital of the

Gauls. Here, the ‘terroir’ borders on perfection.

The 15,000 hectares of Beaujolais vineyards deliver a raft

of outstanding natural qualities, which pundits for some

years now have extolled. The much-maligned region

of the past was long marred by the marketing image of

Beaujolais Nouveau, released every third Thursday in

November, which ultimately did a disservice to its quality

endorsement, just waiting to be explored. Whilst the earlydrinking

offering helped raise awareness of the appellation,

its unbridled productivity unfortunately culminated in the

emergence of vapid quaffers. Fortunately, winegrowers

have worked hard to reverse this detrimental trend and

now produce wonderful pours showing great finesse

and fruit. On the palate, these pleasurable wines display

beautiful structure, and a crisp, moreish edge with soft

tannins. Beaujolais’ pedigree is being reinstated while the

appellation is also successfully appealing to a younger and

more international audience. Read on for the proof!

Harvesting grapes at the Grands Vins de Fleurie winery

SAINT-AMOUR: A NAME MADE IN HEAVEN

For those unfamiliar with it, it is an astonishing ritual.

Couples travel from around the world to Saint-Amour

to confirm their wedding vows in this most aptly-named

village. Over the years, the appellation’s most northerly

Cru has carved out a reputation for itself as a Beaujolais

benchmark. Since 1927, the Grands Vins de Fleurie winery

has successfully captured and revealed the typicity of its

many vineyard sites, producing lively, balanced Saint-

Amour wines. “From the valley floor to the upper slopes,

each vineyard site with its granite and siliceous-clay soils,

pebbles and layered schist tells our story through each

of our wines”, muses Guillaume Manin, who has been

the winery’s chairman since 2018. “The different sites

differentiate our wines and their characters”. Fruity, full

of generosity and indulgent flavours, Saint-Amour wines

show off a distinctive sparkling garnet hue with purple

tints. Their warm nose opens up to intense notes of black

fruits such as blackberry or blueberry before flowing into

liquorice nuances. With beautiful intensity, their subtlety

Guillaume Manin, chairman of the Grands

Vins de Fleurie winery since 2018

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 45


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Katy and David Duthel, owners of Domaine Ruet

and wonderful differences put a stamp on the wines, with a

long and delicate palate revealing crisp, satisfying tannins.

BROUILLY: THE EPITOME OF GAMAY

Brouilly has been an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC)

since 1938 and is considered to be Beaujolais’ greatest Cru. Its

wines offer the perfect definition of simplicity, pleasure and

good taste. Since 1926, at the foot of Brouilly’s remarkable

vineyard sites, Domaine Ruet’s 19-hectare vineyard has

extended over rolling hills with a magnificent southern aspect.

The granite, stony and shallow soils of northern Beaujolais are

conducive to producing fine wines. “The depth and breadth of

vineyard sites make each appellation unique”, explains Katy

Duthel, the winery’s owner with her husband David. “The

finesse of the wines is exemplified by the rounded, elegant

tannins, a nose which combines sun-filled forest floor and

red fruits, and a closing freshness imparted by the minerality

of the pink granite soil”. The palate is driven by notes of

fine raspberry and blackberry perfumes and spices. Old-vine

Brouilly titillates the tastebuds with its balance, silky tannins

and reassuringly fresh finish instilled by the minerality.

46 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

The Depardon family: Olivier, the father, Maurice, the grand-father and Alexis

MORGON: RICH AND SEDUCTIVE

Or where reputation and reality meet. Legend has

it that Morgon boasts the fruitiness of a Beaujolais

and the charm of a Burgundy. Stemming from unique

soils of decomposed rock and friable schist, the wine

displays a deep garnet colour and aromas of ripe fruit

with beguiling fullness on the palate. Founded by

Henri Depardon in 1848, Domaine de la Bêche is an

appellation benchmark, and has been passed down for

8 generations. Aged just 20, Alexis Depardon joined the

business in 2015, followed by his older sister Caroline

in the sales department in 2018. “What makes our wines

distinctive is the expertise our predecessors have passed

on to us, and of course our vineyard sites”, explains

Olivier Depardon, who took over the reins of the estate

in 1985. The fruit is destemmed before the winemaking

process and soaking lasts for 12 to 15 days”. The result

is quite simply striking, with Morgon wines showing

remarkable, hallmark aromatic complexity, power, fat

and weight, and noticeably well-integrated tannins.

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 47


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Built in 1759, Château Grange Cochard covers 8.5 hectares

in Morgon on sloping granite and schist sites. “Our fruitforward

wines are characterised by their velvety feel, great

freshness and length and an authenticity that people

seek out”, explains Jean-Philippe Manchès, who bought

the chateau with Jean-Philippe Janoueix last year. “They

have an unmistakable taste due to the vineyard site,

microclimate and their specific character”. The Gamay

grape variety fully instils its quality in wines that are as

clear as they are silky and seductive.

Jean-Philippe Janoueix, one of Château Grange

Cochard’s two owners

JULIÉNAS: INTENSE REDS

Juliénas wines are perfumed and reveal a pleasant

bouquet of peach, red fruit and floral aromas. Established

in 1877 on very stony, granite soils on one of the best

slopes in the appellation, Domaine de la Bottière belongs

to Domaine Laurent Perrachon & Fils. It exemplifies

their quintessential qualities, using ancient techniques,

hand harvesting and yields per vine that are some of the

lowest in France. “Our techniques and the characteristics

of the soils guarantee the quality and authenticity of

our 6 Beaujolais crus, Chénas, Fleurie, Morgon, Moulinà-Vent,

Saint Amour and of course Juliénas”, explains

Maxime Perrachon, the sixth generation at the helm of

the estate. “With its superb, intense red hue, Juliénas is

a rich, powerful, nervy and deeply coloured wine, with

very distinguished aromas. It can age very well for five

to six years and then make a pleasant partner for coq au

vin, other poultry or white meat”. Juliénas is fruity and

pleasant, filling the mouth with a harmonious, balanced

and long fleshy feel, which fully expresses itself.

Laurent Perrachon, currently the sixth generation

of the Perrachon family to run the estate

CÔTE-DE-BROUILLY: DELICIOUSLY RACY

On the steep, well-exposed slopes of Mount Brouilly, the

vineyards of Côte-de-Brouilly thrive on soil that is one

of a kind in Beaujolais. Its blend of granite and schist

promotes production of crimson-hued, racy wines that

need to mature before they fully develop their elegance

on the palate. Since its inception in 1882, Maison Ferraud

has shied away from standardisation and has worked

tirelessly to ensure that each wine retains its typicity

and character. Its wines, such as the fruity, fresh Côtede-Brouilly

Domaine Rolland typical of the appellation,

48 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Yves-Dominique Ferraud, owner of Domaine Rolland Ferraud

have been extremely successful in export markets, which

is the destination for nearly 70% of total production,

sent to forty countries. “Each wine is made at the

individual estates by a winemaker specific to each of the

appellations and not by winemakers who travel from one

Cru to another”, says Yves-Dominique Ferraud. “Despite

the fact that all the wines are made from a single grape

variety, white-juice Gamay noir, the character of each Cru

and their differences stem from several factors such as the

age of the vines, vineyard management techniques, but

above all and primarily from the vineyard sites which are

home to an amazing array of soil types”.

CHIROUBLES: WINES AT THEIR PEAK

Located at an altitude of 400 m, this 300-ha vineyard

area is the highest in Beaujolais. Set in the heart

of the Chiroubles, Fleurie and Morgon appellations,

Domaine Anthony Charvet has a totemic location, on

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 49


Fleurie winery

Grapes arriving at the Grands Vins de Fleurie winery

Marguerite Chabert chair of

the Grands Vins de Fleurie

winery from 1946 to 1984

David Duthel, owner of

Domaine Ruet in his cellars

Katy Duthel of Domaine Ruet

tasting her wines

Alexis, Tom and

Olivier Depardon

The Perrachon

family

The cellars at Domaine de la

Bêche Olivier Depardon

The superb vineyards at Château de Poncié

Yves-Dominique Ferraud

tasting his wines

Château de Chénas

Jean-Philippe

Manchès, one of

Château Grange

Cochard’s two owners


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Chiroubles road. The tenth generation to farm Gamay

vines, Anthony Charvet is the 42-year-old custodian

of the quality of the estate’s wines. “The Chiroubles

Granite boasts an outstanding vineyard site”, he says.

“The partially de-stemmed grapes are grown on fiftyyear-old

vines planted on 1.5 hectares of granite soil.

The vines are located on slopes where the rock dates back

320 million years. They have the highest granite content

in Beaujolais, hence the name. The fruit undergoes

soaking for 12 to 13 days”. This winning formula fully

encapsulates the qualities of Chiroubles, displayed in the

fruitiness of the nose and on the palate, their length and

finesse, and their magnificent supporting tannins.

RÉGNIÉ: SUPPLE AND WELL-STRUCTURED

Régnié is the youngest Beaujolais, legally endorsed in

just 1988, and covers 650 hectares. Fanning out around

the church with two steeples in Régnié-Durette, the

vineyards produce distinctively supple, well-structured

wines, with a cherry hue and aromas of redcurrant,

blackberry and raspberry. One of the jewels in the

appellation’s crown, Château de Durette produces a wide

range of Beaujolais Crus, which best reflect their identity

and their terroir. “Our aim is to offer wines with good

drinkability and site-expressiveness with Gamay fruitdominant

characters”, says owner Marc Theissen. “Each

vineyard site has its own identity, but each appellation is

unmistakably Gamay. The magical thing about this grape

variety is that it can be fleshy and powerful in Moulinà-Vent,

elegant and fruity in Fleurie, lively and racy in

Côte-de-Brouilly, structured and spicy in Morgon, ample

and generous in Juliénas and fruity and joyful in Régnié”.

Anthony Charvet tasting his wines

FLEURIE: MAJESTIC BEAUTY

This velvety, elegant wine is increasingly gaining traction

with consumers the world over. The extraordinary variety

of vineyard sites here offers the incentive to work to high

standards while adopting a painstaking single-vineyard

approach with naturally limited yields. At Château de

Poncié, every effort is made to ensure that the winemaking

process preserves the spirit of Fleurie, but without being a

slave to tradition. The result is fresh, lifted, harmonious

wines and a silky texture that has carved out the chateau’s

The winemaking team at Château de Durette, André Desplace and

Marc Theissen

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 51


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

Some of the estate’s staff at Château de Poncié

reputation for excellence. “We are fortunate to have

a choice of Beaujolais with wines showing different

characters, ranging from moreishly fruity to complex

and fruity and prestige wines”, comments estate director

Marion Fessy. “The sun-filled, silky Fleurie 949 label has

all the qualities of a magnificent wine and is increasingly

popular abroad”.

MOULIN-À-VENT: STRUCTURED AND ROBUST

Moulin-à-Vent with its 680 hectares under vine is without

doubt the most prestigious Beaujolais Cru. This structured,

robust and age-worthy wine, with aromas of iris, wilted

roses and spices, is increasingly successful, especially in

export markets. The Château de Chénas winery currently

represents 80 winegrowing families farming 200 hectares

of vines. “The defining feature of our wines is a threefold

combination of predominantly granite soils with

the influence of the Saône valley; the stellar grape variety

Gamay, that can adapt to change; and winegrowers using

52 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


BEAUJOLAIS

– HISTORY –

different vineyard techniques”, comments cellar master

Célestin Perraud. “Beaujolais is a very hilly region with

a variety of soils and micro-climates which explains why

there is such a difference between the vineyard sites and

a number of winemaking techniques specific to certain

Crus such as Moulin-à-Vent”.

CHÉNAS: THE SMALL GIANT

The smallest Cru in Beaujolais covers just 280 hectares.

Chénas wines are defined by their full-bodied character

and floral and oaky notes. The Château de Chénas

winery has a rich history, augmented by the experience

of time, great vineyard sites and ancient expertise, which

are attracting a growing following. Exports bring in 30%

of revenue, with the wines shipped mainly to the United

Kingdom, the United States, Japan, China, Belgium and

Denmark. “Chénas wines are modern with moderate

alcohol, lovely fruit and a pleasant rounded mouthfeel

that is not too tannic. They work well with different types

of cuisine”, stresses winery director Didier Rageot. “The

Chénas Coeur de Granit typifies the appellation, with its

very pure, assertive fruit and beautiful harmony”.

Célestin Perraud, cellar master at Château de

Chénas

AUTHENTICITY MAKES A COMEBACK

Beaujolais has pulled off its gamble and all but shed

the quasi-industrial image of a bad era. The Crus tend

to spearhead the region’s wine proposition, buoyed

by values clearly aimed at the future, including a

reduction in yields, quality crop and winemaking

techniques and optimisation of production facilities.

The marketing board and a majority of wine growers

have managed to raise standards and are now scaling

the heights of quality. The easy to drink, sometimes

slightly heavy wines have been superseded by mineral,

powerful, elegant pours, with an incredibly rich flavour

spectrum. The improved visibility of the region’s ageworthy

offerings has prompted renewed interest from

the trade and public alike. Above all, it has boosted sales

across the distribution channels and helped claim back

market shares by volume and value both in France and

worldwide. Gamay, which had not been a fashionable

grape variety, has now regained its soft spot in the hearts

of consumers.

Didier Rageot, director of Château de Chénas

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 53


Mogens Olesen: wine, roses and rhinos!

The animal in the picture has been anaesthetised

to measure its horn

SOUTH-WEST

– WINE GROWER PORTRAIT –

Mogens Olesen,

owner of Château Lecusse,

and a serial entrepreneur

The 72-year-old Dane answers our questions in impeccable French,

in the car driven by his wife.

By Alain Echalier - Photographs: courtesy of the estates

54 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


SOUTH-WEST

– WINE GROWER PORTRAIT –

Mogens Olesen takes great pride in garnering accolades for his barrel-matured wines

Mogens Olesen first trained in Copenhagen as a horticultural engineer, his studies

including genetics, growing plants and producing fermented cherry wines - a

major Danish speciality at the time.

It was therefore only natural that he and his wife, who comes from a family of

horticulturalists, should buy a nursery north of the city. They stopped selling

plants and focused on breeding roses and clematis. The company, Poulsen Roser, now employs

a dozen people and files about 30 patents a year. Mogens explains how, at the beginning of the

1990s, the financial success they achieved by creating a dwarf rose in a pot, gave them the idea

of investing in a vineyard in the South of France.

After spending six months at INRA in Versailles after graduating, but also in Fréjus, he had

developed a fondness for two things – wine, which he drank with colleagues at lunch, and a

mild late autumn. In Denmark, summer is often over by the end of August.

His aim of having a small estate, but one “with good soils and something to do”, led him to

buy Château Lecusse, which then had 10 hectares under vine. Gaillac is a mature wine region

with clay-limestone soils that retain water well, and weather that is conducive to winegrowing.

Twenty-seven years later, the entrepreneur, who spends nearly 6 months a year on the estate,

has significantly expanded the property to 52 hectares of vines. His greatest pride is garnering

good tasting scores for his high-end wines matured in new barrels. His biggest disappointment?

“French administration, especially for labour laws!” The estate also encompasses a few hectares

of lavender for producing oil, saffron, roses and olive trees.

Fourteen years ago Mogens, who never stops working, even bought a “breeding farm to protect

wild animals (rhinoceroses...)”, which are then sold to wildlife parks.

Does he think about retirement? Not on your life!

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 55


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

Harvesting at Iris Vigneti in DOC Prosecco

No-low wines:

a full-fledged market category

In its definition of wine, the International Organisation of Vine and Wine specifies

that it must have a minimum ABV of 8.5%, with regional exceptions of 7%. Many

countries have used this as a model for their own regulations, compelling them to

find another term for these uber-trendy drinks. We interviewed producers in France,

Italy and South Africa to find out more.

By Charlie Elaina - Photographs: courtesy of the estates

56 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

Syrah grown at Darling Cellars

Everyone knows that classic wine production

involves transforming the sugar in the grape juice

into alcohol and aromas during fermentation. To

reduce alcohol levels, some producers therefore

select grape varieties that do not contain too

much sugar. Similarly, a high-bearing vine or even an

irrigated vineyard keeps concentrations down. Another

alternative is to harvest the grapes before they get too

sweet, or to choose yeast strains that produce lower

alcohol.

THE DIFFERENT PRODUCTION

TECHNIQUES USED

Subsequently, once fermentation is over, three different

strategies can be used:

Low-temperature vacuum distillation (stripping): Under

atmospheric pressure, ethanol evaporates at around

78°C, but the aromatic compounds are lost. Conversely,

by sufficiently lowering the pressure, evaporation can

occur at around 35-50°C, which is less harmful to

aroma. This technique removes virtually all the alcohol

whilst promoting better quality.

Another approach is reverse osmosis. This is where

membranes are used to separate components, and it is

the least expensive technique. It does not take up much

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 57


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

Mathilde Boulachin created the Pierre Chavin company in Béziers in 2010

room, and can fit in a lorry and be taken to the winery.

But it only partially removes alcohol, and is generally

used to remove 1 to 2%.

Finally, there is the Spinning Cone Column. Centrifugal

force is used to obtain a thin layer of wine, which is cold

distilled under a partial vacuum, as in the first method.

It can also be done in a lorry, and can almost completely

remove the alcohol.

There are also techniques where the grape juice is

processed before fermentation. In this case, some of

the sugar has to be removed, and can be replaced by

sweeteners. Aromas and tannins are generally added

through maceration, producing alcohol-free drinks.

PIERRE CHAVIN, RESPONDING

TO A NEW MARKET

After a career in wine marketing and communication,

Mathilde Boulachin created the Pierre Chavin company

in Béziers in 2010. The tack taken here is to combine a

sensitive approach to consumer demand with innovation,

58 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

and not to be afraid of shaking up conventions. It wasn’t

long before this strategy led to the advent of a ‘no-low’

range, which currently represents nearly 40% of the

1,500,000 bottles sold annually.

“The wines attract a varied customer base”, explains

Boulachin. Women – and not just during pregnancy

and early motherhood – are clear targets. Labels such

as ‘Zéra’ and ‘Silhouet’ convey the image of a healthy,

low-calorie drink. Young urban drinkers are another

category. Often cosmopolitan professionals, they refuse

to drink alcohol during the week, but do not want to give

up their evening aperitif. Similarly, there are population

sub-sets such as sportsmen and women, for whom

alcohol could affect performance. The Nordic countries,

where driving totally precludes alcohol consumption, are

another obvious example. By selling her range online,

alongside traditional distribution channels, Boulachin

is honing her understanding of her customers and

adapting her choice of products. She is also attentive to

the keywords used in search engines. Another category

not to be overlooked is senior citizens taking medication

which cannot be mixed with alcohol, or corporate

occasions where legal responsibility issues discourage

consumption. The opportunities for alcohol-free or lowalcohol

products are multifarious and growing.

Opia, a brand by Pierre Chavin clearly targets pregnant women

THE WINE CONNECTION

From a flavour perspective, Boulachin is not looking for

a comparable taste experience with wine. Obviously,

when you deliberately remove a cornerstone of the acidalcohol-sugar

balance, it is a game-changer. Ed: Wine’s

high acidity – with a pH of 3 to 4 – would most certainly

become unpleasant, and is usually counterbalanced by

slightly higher sugar content, while lowering the total

number of calories. “But if you make a quality product,

the experience remains pleasurable”, she says. “We want

to be loved for what we are, and to build customer

loyalty”.

The company has clearly positioned itself, however, as

wine-centric. Although the grape varieties used are not

blended – those selected have to be highly aromatic – they

are clearly stated on the labels. Similarly, the appearance

of the bottles is akin to those for wine and you have

Senior citizens may take medication that prevents them from

drinking alcohol

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 59


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

Mathilde Boulachin

to carefully read the label to differentiate between the

two. Lastly, the name itself, ‘Chavin’ carries a promise

that is not just subliminal. “Wine consumption has a

strong social element and so we must allow consumers to

connect with others or like others, without setting them

apart”, explains Boulachin. The fact that her best-seller is

a sparkling drink is no coincidence!

Non-alcoholic products that do not come under the

wine category do not enjoy the same exemption from

nutritional statements as wine, which therefore have to

be included. Similarly, they have a five-year shelf life,

and the concept of bottle ageing and ideal drinking

window is irrelevant – these products do not mature. But

what bothers Boulachin most is the unfair competition.

In some of her markets – 80% of them overseas –

particularly for online sales and marketing, rival firms

can call the products ‘de-alcoholised wine’, whereas she

is not entitled to use the word ‘wine’.

CHAVIN FOCUSES ON SOCIAL AS WELL AS

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

The company is mindful to take on board the concerns

expressed by its customers and has therefore developed

a range of organic wines with evocative names such as

‘Greenia’. The labels emphasise their health credentials

by containing ‘no added sulphites’. The Opia brand,

developed for Monoprix in France, stresses that the

organic wine contains ‘no pesticide residues’. Also, the

wines contain no animal products and are entitled to

use the Vegan logo. The company similarly publicises

issues such as ecology and a sustainable economy. Japan,

the USA, Canada and Northern Europe pay particular

attention to these issues. Bottles bound for Sweden and

China are exported by train, which has a better carbon

footprint than air travel.

Loris Casonato, a winegrower in DOC Prosecco

IRIS VIGNETI:

ALCOHOL-FREE ITALIAN BUBBLES

Located in the heart of the DOC Prosecco area, Loris

Casonato farms some 20 hectares and also has contracts

with a few surrounding vineyards. The winemaker

produces the famous Venetian sparkling wine, but about

ten years ago he also started to produce a non-alcoholic

60 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

sparkling drink sourced from his own vineyards, which

go into 2 different labels: BELLA and ZEROZERO!

Volumes have gradually grown and the range, which

includes four labels, now totals 300,000 bottles per

year. For the white sparkling drink, the Glera grape

variety is used with Raboso added for the rosé version.

The grapes are deliberately harvested early, to avoid

sugar accumulation. But in this case, to be absolutely

alcohol-free, Casonato does not ferment. Unlike the

other alcohol-free products which are dealcoholized, for

the sparkling drink the must is kept cool to prevent it

from fermenting, and the juice is macerated with herbs.

The recipe remains a secret, but Casonato insists that it

“required a lot of effort but also passion”.

Then the drink is carbonated at around 4.8 bar, the same

pressure found in a Prosecco. In terms of sugar content,

he markets two ranges: around 100 g/l, and around

60 g/l for those who pay attention to sugar levels. At

60 g/l it is half as sweet as a typical soda. For Casonato,

this is a new type of drink that honours the heritage of

wine and grapes, yet is very different to wine. It is a niche

market that is now established. It is limited but here to

stay. “It’s still better than a Cola!” smiles the mischievous

winemaker.

The Zerozero Blue label by IRIS Vigneti won a gold

medal in the 2021 Gilbert & Gaillard International

Challenge

DARLING CELLARS:

SOUTH AFRICA ENTERS THE FRAY

Pieter-Niel Rossouw is tasked with viticulture and

winemaking at Darling Cellars which produces

5 million litres per year, bottled at the estate. It is

renowned for its Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.

A previous experience at another property familiarised

him with the technique of de-alcoholising wines using

the spinning cone column. He experimented with the

idea and has been using it for 2-3 years. There is a choice

of a red, a white and a rosé. Rossouw insists on the fact

that the quality of the grapes is the same as for the wines:

the vines are generally bush-trained and dry farmed.

After fermentation, the wines are almost completely

de-alcoholised using an external service provider. They

contain 20 to 30 grams of sugar per litre, to compensate

for the body normally imparted by the alcohol, which acts

as a kind of ‘glue’. Production has reached 100,000 litres

Bush-trained, dry-farmed vineyards at Darling Cellars

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 61


ALCOHOL-FREE

– LOOKING AHEAD –

Pieter-Niel Rossouw, head winemaker at Darling Cellars

per year and counting. Currently, the market is essentially

local, with new laws prohibiting the consumption of

alcohol before driving boosting growth. Here, regulations

authorise the moniker ‘de-alcoholised wine’. But export

markets are also taking shape, and Darling Cellars works

with countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom and

Scandinavia.

A RIVAL FOR SOFT DRINKS?

This raft of new products, which mostly target non-wineproducing

countries, are making steady progress. Will

there be a transfer of market shares and a more rapid

decline in wine consumption observed in many markets?

Or will these innovative beverages enter a head-to-head

battle with ultra-sweet industrial soft drinks? We certainly

wouldn’t be upset if they did! Watch this space…

62 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


A scenic aerial view of Soalheiro winery

SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

ALBARIÑO OR ALVARINHO

Spain or Portugal…

that is the question

The Miño River is located in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula and the

Rías Baixas Designation of Origin is situated along its banks. Here, various

grape varieties are grown – including Godello, Torrontés and Caiño Blanco –

but the ‘Belle of the Ball’ is Albariño. Follow the Miño River and you enter

Portugal and the Vinho Verde DOC, where varieties include Alvarinho.

But what is the difference between Portugal’s Alvarinho and Spain’s Albariño?

By Santiago Jimenez - Photographs: courtesy of the estates - ©Garabato-photo.com

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 63


SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

Alvarinho grapes arriving at Bodega Aveleda

after being harvested

Native fauna is part of winegrowing at Aveleda

An aerial view of Aveleda’s vineyards

In actual fact, they are not different grape varieties but

one and the same, although slight differences can be

found between them depending on the region where

they are grown, as is the case with other grape varieties

and regions.

Below is a selection of Spanish and Portuguese wineries

where wines are made using the variety. They share their

vision of this dialogue between Alvarinho and Albariño.

AVELEDA (VINHO VERDE DOC – PORTUGAL) –

IN THE VANGUARD

This winery was established over 150 years ago in 1870 by

Manuel Pedro Guedes. It is a traditional Vinho Verde winery,

the major producer in this region and one of the most

significant in Portugal for production and sales volumes.

It produces wines in four different Portuguese designations

of origin. It farms some 800 hectares of vineyards in the

region and exports over 1 million boxes of wine to over 150

countries, among them the United States, Canada, Brazil

and France where the market share of wines made from the

variety is on average 45%.

The company has been owned and run by the same family

for over 5 generations, and sustainable growth, conservation

64 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

of nature, people and family are its guiding values. Its

wines reflect this passion for wine and respect for the

terroir, irrespective of whether they are made from

Alvarinho grapes or in other regions where it also makes

wine.

Here, Alvarinho vineyards are planted differently to their

counterparts in Spain. “In our vineyards (in Aveleda),

we have a vertical conduction system, in contrast to the

majority of Albariño vineyard management in Spain,

which uses a rebounding conduction system.”

RECTORAL DO UMIA (RÍAS BAIXAS D.O. –

SPAIN) – TERROIR TRANSLATED INTO WINE

This winery is part of the Bodegas Gallegas Group which

produces wine in various designations of origin across

the region. It is the second most important winery in the

group for production of Albariño.

Its philosophy is to “make the wine convey the characteristics

of the terroir and the winery’s microclimate, without altering

its identity. We have moved away from standardization

because we are looking for our own profile of wines which

the consumer is able to identify as wine by Rectoral do

Umia. We make wines of extremely high quality at very

competitive prices.” According to the winemaker, what

distinguishes Albariño from Alvarinho “are two factors:

the aspect and configuration of the plots; and the different

kinds of soil where the vines are cultivated.”

Production totals around 2 million bottles with more or

less half earmarked for export (52%) and the other half

for the home market (48%). The winery has a presence

on 5 continents, and some of its main markets include

the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, South

Korea, Japan, Germany, Australia, Brazil and Switzerland.

Harvest time at Bodega Rectoral de Umia

PABLO PADÍN (RÍAS BAIXAS D.O. – SPAIN) –

RESPECT FOR TRADITION AND PROVENANCE

Pablo Padin is a family-run winery which focuses on

making and marketing still and sparkling wines from

Albariño. The venture started in 1984 as a small family

project which grew through technological improvements,

modernization of infrastructure and experience, accrued

over the years. The result is substantial prestige both

nationally and internationally.

In 2012, the winery pioneered production of the

first sparkling Albariño wines under the Rías Baixas

Jorge Hervella, the winemaker at Bodegas Pablo Padín

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 65


SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

Hand harvesting is a hard job over which Bodegas Pablo Padín

takes particular care

D.O., using the traditional method, similar to French

Champagnes and Spanish Cava.

The winery’s ethos revolves around “significant respect

for tradition and our origins, where we endeavour to

show care throughout the entire production process,

from carefully nurturing the vines to choosing the grape

for each of our wines, tending to every need throughout

the entire winemaking process to obtain maximum

expression from the land and variety.”

At Pablo Padin, the feeling is that there are subtle

differences which distinguish Albariño from Alvarinho

and also other Albariño wines made across the world:

“Despite being the same variety of grape, the land,

the region is what characterizes differences in identity,

aromatic notes, nuances of taste, levels of acidity and

minerality.”

José Oliveira is the winemaker and managing director

at Bodega Ponte da Barca

ADEGA PONTE DA BARCA (VINHO VERDE DOC

– PORTUGAL) – WHERE ORIGIN MATTERS

This winery was established in 1963, although it was not

until five years later, in 1968, that its operations started.

After over 50 years making wine, it continues to place

great value on making wines from indigenous varieties

from the region, which obviously include Alvarinho.

Around 1,000 winegrowers belong to this winery, farming

a sizeable 1,200 hectares of vines.

In recent years, Adega Ponte da Barca has invested in the

latest technology in order to preserve and improve the

quality and authenticity of its wines.

The winery “intends to remain faithful to its principle

of ‘Origin Matters’. Therefore, the main mission is to

produce unique wines that impress through the pleasure

of being enjoyed in good company and in moderation”.

According to Adega Ponte da Barca, there are three factors

that distinguish Alvarinho from Albariño: the microclimate

of each region, producing differing characters; vineyard

management systems and winemaking techniques. In

Rías Baixas, the pergola training system is used, leading to

the development of vigorous vines, while in Vinho Verde,

the simple cordon is preferred, the greatest advantage of

which is improved fruit quality. With Albariño, malolactic

fermentation is utilized, whereas with Alvarinho, it is not,

making the wines fresher, although it is common to use

batonnage in the winemaking process. All these factors

make the wines different.

66 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


A pretty detail of Alvarinho vineyards at Bodega Aveleda

Bunches of Albariño grapes at Bodega Rectoral de Umia

Collecting clusters of Albariño grapes at Bodegas Pablo Padín

Winegrower Baltasar Tirado carries out all the work at the winery

and vineyards at Terras de Compostela

A general view of the vineyards at Bodega Ponte da Barca

A nighttime view of the inner patio at Bodega Viña Cartín

Viña San Mamede’s privileged aspect and granite soils at Bodega Terras de Compostela

The stainless steel vat room at Viña Cartín


SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

One of the workers at Soalheiro with a handful

of Alvarinho grapes

The winemaker at Soalheiro is

António Luís Cerdeira

Soalheiro barrels hold wine until it is bottled

SOALHEIRO (VINHO VERDE DOC – PORTUGAL)

– PIONEERS

Four generations of the family have passed through this

Portuguese winery and have pioneered production and

marketing of Alvarinho wines in the region of Melgaço,

making their winery an industry leader.

A champion of sustainability, based on respect for the

soil, plants and man, they consider the original terroir to

be of paramount importance.

The upper section of the recently renovated winery

has a wine-tasting room which leads to a terrace from

where unbroken views extend over the vineyards, the

mountains which enclose the valley and neighbouring

Spain. You can feel the breeze coming off the Miño River

flowing nearby. The winery offers a panorama of the

region’s unique land.

This family’s commitment to the future of Alvarinho wine

is reflected in its dedication to the highest production

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SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

standards for the variety, its sustained investment and

determination to protect this region’s unique environment

by promoting sustainable winegrowing.

Soalheiro has a team of over 30 people. It also brings

together over 150 families of winegrowers, the majority

of whom have other professional occupations and work

on small plots at the end of the day and at weekends.

They treat their vineyards like small gardens, creating a

very diverse ‘Alvarinho culture’ throughout the area and

providing grapes of prime quality.

The winery’s perception echoes that of other producers:

“The different kinds of areas give rise to different styles of

wine made from the same grape variety.”

TERRAS DE COMPOSTELA (RÍAS BAIXAS D.O. –

SPAIN) – ENCAPSULATING AROMAS

The name of this winery arises from the fact that Valle

del Salnés belongs to the archbishopric of Compóstela,

which has a major influence throughout the entire

valley. Several generations of the winery’s owners have

worked on the land and on farming vineyards, which

today, together with technological improvements, have

succeeded in producing high quality wines.

All the vineyards are very close to the Atlantic Ocean,

which confers very specific characters to the wines made

at their winery.

The main thing, when working in the vineyard, is to make

sure “the soil has life and diversity in flora and fauna.

Our work revolves around cultivating high quality fruit

which encapsulates the aromas of the Albariño variety,

our granite soils and the Atlantic climate.” Organic

fertilisers are used here and no herbicides.

Output is at best quite low, enabling the winery “to

nurture processes both in the vineyard and at the

winery.” The highest volume of sales is focused on the

regional market, at prestigious restaurants “where a lot of

shellfish and fish are consumed and Albariño wines are

the perfect partner.”

The winery confirms our opinion, however, that there

is no real difference between Albariño and Alvarinho

grapes. The only contrast between those grown in Spain

and those in Portugal “is a geographical distinction.

The variation lies in the types of the soils and weather

conditions.”

A family photo of the owners of Soalheiro

El Hórreo - a typical granary in old Galician farmhouses.

Terras de Compostela maintains one in very good condition

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 69


SPAIN-PORTUGAL

– GRAPES –

A sweeping view of the vineyards at Viña Cartín

VIÑA CARTÍN (RÍAS BAIXAS D.O. – SPAIN) –

THE ESSENCE OF ALBARIÑO

This winery was established in 1977. Since 2003, it has

been located in Lantaño – Portas where the winery has

been sensitively restored, seeking a balance between artisanal

character and new technologies and methods of winemaking.

It is a very small winery with scarcely 2 hectares of vineyards,

and so the production volume is limited. Some 200,000 bottles

are produced a year, 60% shipped to the domestic market and

40% for exports.

The philosophy here is to “place value on the natural and

characteristic resources of our environment: the vineyards

which create an explosion of colour in Rías Baixas, with

the green contrasting with the blue of our inlets, make our

landscape an explosion of beauty which translates into a

unique resource for wine tourism.”

According to Viña Cartín, the main difference between Albariño

and Alvarinho “lies in the microclimate that we have in Rías

Baixas and its proximity to the sea, in addition to the clay

and sandy loam soil, which lends it a perfect balance between

acidity and sweetness.”

70 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


Valerie, one of the winemakers in the Hammeken Cellars’ team

SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

From Copenhagen to

Alicante… through wine

Since his youth, Nicholas Hammeken has had such a passion for wine that he has

dedicated and is still dedicating his time to the world of winegrowing.

We chatted with the owner of Hammeken Cellars in Denia, in the province

of Alicante, overlooking the Mediterranean.

By Santiago Jimenez - Photographs: courtesy of the estates

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 71


SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

Vineyards in the Yecla region

Gilbert & Gaillard: Considering that in Denmark, your country of

origin, grape cultivation is quite limited, where does your passion

for wine come from?

I have always been interested in books related to wine. I began to take

an interest when I was 12. In Denmark, work experience starts at 14,

and my first placement was at a Danish company that imports wine.

GG: You set up your own company years ago, but previously

worked in the industry. What do you remember from your early

involvement in the wine industry? What did you learn from it?

My best experience, and perhaps the hardest, was working at

ODDBINS, a chain of specialised stores in England. There, I had

the opportunity to deal directly with consumers and to understand

their doubts and concerns. It is an experience I continue to benefit

from today.

GG: When did you decide to start your own company and what was

your aim? Why Spain?

In 1996, my partner found a job in Spain as a dentist and I took

advantage of this opportunity to work as an agent for some wineries

in Murcia to export their wines to Northern Europe. We immediately

moved to Jávea from England and invested all our savings in the

new business.

GG: Each winery has its own ethos. What is Hammeken Cellars’

philosophy?

When I established Hammeken Cellars, it was difficult to find modern

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SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

Nicholas Hammeken, owner

and guiding force behind

Hammeken Cellars

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Marcelo is director of winemaking

at Hammeken

SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

Spanish wines. I like respecting the traditions of each region, but I

always seek to interpret this tradition with a modern focus, taking

advantage of the characteristics and richness of Spanish terroirs, and

keeping in mind the international consumer accustomed to drinking

wines with different profiles and from different parts of the world.

GG: Do consumer trends have an influence on your winemaking

process? What kind of wines do you make?

Our wines keep the consumer very much in mind. It is one of

our major focuses. Currently, the key is sustainability and we are

concentrating on organic wines which represent almost 50% of our

portfolio. Spain is an exceptional country for making organic wines;

the climatic conditions are excellent and this is something that we

want to harness.

GG: Different regions imply different types of terroirs and

wines. How many winemakers make up the team and how much

independence do they have?

Our winemaking team is made up of four female and three male

winemakers with broad international experience. Marcelo Morales,

our director of winemaking, is responsible for setting the guidelines

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SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

for making all our wines, but he fully trusts his team and

their know-how.

GG: Does your company own vineyards or work with

partner winegrowers?

We do not own any vineyards. Our business model

is based on collaboration with various wineries and

co-operatives where our partners contribute their facilities

and the raw materials, and we bring our experience and

our philosophy, implementing various types of protocols

and quality controls. The winemaking decisions are made

by our winemakers.

GG: Your portfolio is extensive and varied. What are

your best-sellers and what is your annual production?

We have brands which have been real commercial successes

like Radio Boka, Allegranza and Pasas. We are present in

more than 17 designations of origin and over 30 markets.

We currently produce over 18 million bottles a year.

Hammeken Cellars’ partner vineyards in D.O. Bierzo

GG: You export 97% of your wines. Which are your

most significant export markets?

We have extensive presence in Nordic countries – Denmark,

Norway and Sweden. Also, Central and Eastern Europe

are key markets for our products. In China, and Asia in

general, brands such as Allegranza and Creencia are doing

very well, but we are present in over 30 countries.

GG: Why do you only market 3% of your wines in

Spain? Is it about economics or is the Spanish market

saturated?

The Spanish consumer is greatly defined by tradition. For

the majority of our wines priority is given to the product

rather than factors such as Designation of Origin or family

tradition, and in Spain, these are BOTH very powerful.

GG: Climate change is a reality. What has it changed

for your winemaking and have you introduced any

immediate measures to mitigate it?

Sustainability is one of the cornerstones of Hammeken

Cellars. We are working so that our products become

increasingly organic and we have implemented various

projects to reduce our impact as producers. We recently

launched a line of products – I’M YOUR ORGANIC –

with which, via Trees for the Future, we are committed to

planting a tree for every container sold, either bag-in-box

or bottled formats, thereby eliminating much more CO2

than we produce during the making and marketing of our

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SPAIN

– SUCCESS STORY –

Monastrell is one of the grape varieties grown in the Yecla region

wines. Moreover, we are collaborating with Goodwings to eliminate

CO2 from our commercial transport and with Plastic Change.

GG: Last year was very challenging due to Covid and the forced

closure of hospitality outlets. How did it affect you?

The pandemic currently affecting us has been devastating for the

hotel, restaurant and catering sector. Many of our clients who focus

on distribution in the sector have been affected. Fortunately, our

business model is sufficiently solid and diversified, and we were

able to face the global challenges caused by these events. We have

had to adapt and we have learned to respond to current necessities.

It has been hard, but what we have learned will help us meet

future challenges.

GG: Looking to the future, do you have any projects in the

pipeline?

The Department of Innovation, which I lead personally, is one of the

foundation stones of Hammeken Cellars. We are constantly focusing

on consumer needs worldwide.

GG: How do you see the sector now, and in the medium and

long term?

With the various vaccination campaigns and current pandemic

situation, we believe that we are very close to overcoming this

stumbling block that history has placed in front of us. In the short

term, we are going to see a rise in enthusiasm; we will regain personal

contact which is so welcome and we will have to face new changes,

for sure, but we are really excited.

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The impressive biodiversity of the Brunello di Montalcino area, viewed

from the privileged position of the vineyards of San Giorgio winery

ITALY

– VINEYARDS –

MONTALCINO

The ‘promised land’ for

Sangiovese in Tuscany

Brunello di Montalcino is, without doubt, one of the most significant designations

both in Italy and worldwide, but few people know its history.

By Francesco Saverio Russo - Photographs: courtesy of the estates - © I. Franchini

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– VINEYARDS –

The medieval village of Montalcino, south of Siena and west of Pienza,

ensconced in the splendid setting of the Val d’Orcia Natural Park and

globally renowned for its precious Brunello di Montalcino wines

Montalcino’s ability as a region to produce

great quality wines has been known for

many centuries, and there is ample evidence

of this dating back as early as 1500.

Until the second half of the 19 th century,

though, the best known and most popular wine from the

area was a sweet white called Moscatello, which won an

award at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867. At that

time, Clemente Santi’s grandson, Ferruccio Biondi Santi,

who was following in his grandfather’s footsteps, was

spurred on by the devastation caused by phylloxera and

powdery mildew to study the potential of a clone of the

Sangiovese vine variety. It was locally known as Brunello

because of the particularly dark colour of the berries. His

experimentations and research led to the creation of the

famous Sangiovese Grosso, the variety historically used

to produce Brunello di Montalcino.

THE AMERICAN CONNECTION

Despite numerous awards and recognitions over the years,

the production area for Brunello remained solely in the

Montalcino area. Interestingly, one of the reasons for its

lack of distribution elsewhere was its high selling price

(which was very rare at the time). The events of the early

20 th century led to a significant decline in wine production

across the whole of Italy, with very few producers keeping

Montalcino production alive between the two wars. At the

end of the Second World War, as thoughts began turning

once again to wine production, some people had the

foresight to agree on rules for the production of Brunello di

Montalcino, and in 1967 these far-sighted local producers

united in a consortium. The definitive commercial creation

of the Brunello di Montalcino “brand” came with Italian

American brothers John and Harry Mariani who, in

1978, founded the Banfi winery. They provided the

structured sales network capable of marketing this great

wine in the United States and beyond, with a level of

success and volumes that would have previously been

unthinkable. Several years later, they obtained DOCG

status, a fundamental step in the promotion of Brunello

di Montalcino and its homeland.

The evocative barrique cellar where Banfi wines are aged

STRINGENT STANDARDS

According to current production regulations, Brunello di

Montalcino DOCG can only be produced from Sangiovese

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– VINEYARDS –

grapes, with a yield per hectare lower than 80 quintals/ha.

The wine can be released for sale from 1 January of the fifth

year after the harvest but before that, it must be aged for a

minimum of two years in wooden barrels and at least four

months in the bottle. The length of bottle ageing increases

to six months for the Riserva version, which goes on sale

after an additional year. Rosso di Montalcino DOC must

also be produced entirely from Sangiovese grapes, but can

be sold from 1 September following the harvest. In my

opinion, Rosso di Montalcino should not be seen as “a

second-rate wine”, but instead as a wine that is different

to Brunello, even if it is often produced using younger

or lesser vines which were destined to become Brunello.

It can be considered a more contemporary drink, with

greater versatility and freshness, whilst at the same time

maintaining richness and a strong varietal and regional

identity.

THE CONSORTIUM

Much of the success of these wines can be ascribed to the

work of the Consorzio del vino Brunello di Montalcino

(The Consortium of Brunello di Montalcino wine) which

today has 218 members representing almost all the wine

produced from 4,300 hectares of vineyards. Of these,

3,150 ha are registered as DOC and DOCG (2,100 of

which have been Brunello since 1997, 510 are Rosso

di Montalcino, 50 Moscadello, and 480 Sant’Antimo),

with the remainder used for IGT wines. The vineyards

cover a total area of 24,000 hectares which coincides

with the Municipality of Montalcino, 40 km south of

Siena, bounded by the valleys of the Orcia, Asso and

Ombrone. This is a unique region in terms of biodiversity,

morphology and climate. Fifty percent of it is covered by

woodland and uncultivated land, 10% by olive groves and

only 15% by vineyards, with the remainder given over to

arable land, pastures and other crops. The climate, which

is Mediterranean and predominantly mild, ensures optimal

ripening conditions for the fruit, aided and abetted by the

wind that continuously blows.

Its strategic location between Siena and the Maremma, and

the fertile land surrounding it, have made Poggio alle Mura

castle a much sought-after property for centuries.

Today it is the symbol of the Banfi winery

A Montalcino vineyard today is worth almost 1 million

euros per hectare, for a combined total in excess of 2 billion

euros. Its value is 4,500% more than fifty years ago, with

strong ongoing growth as new deals continue to be struck

among the Montalcino hills.

The barrique cellar at Tenuta San Giorgio owned by the Collemassari

group

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– VINEYARDS –

The olive groves behind Sant’Antimo Abbey – two Montalcino treasures the Fanti family know well

In 2019, Montalcino cellars produced over

141,000 hectolitres of wine, divided between Brunello

(96,722 hl), Rosso di Montalcino (34,249 hl), Moscadello

(436 hl) and Sant’Antimo (9,992 hl). Seventy per cent of the

wine produced locally is destined for export and, as far as

Brunello is concerned, once in the cellar it becomes a highyield

investment, with profits that grow commensurately

with the ageing of the wine until they triple in value. In fact,

the 340,000 hectolitres of the most recent vintages stored in

casks in the vaults of the 300 Montalcino wineries are worth

around 400 million euros, thanks to the high price points

of bulk wine (up to 1,200 euros per hectolitre), making

Brunello the most expensive wine in Italy. And that’s not all!

After bottling and considering prices for the 2014 vintage,

the value of the finished product will rise threefold, to over

1.2 billion euros. (Data source: Valoritalia and Winenews)

REGIONALISM AND SUSTAINABILITY

Biodiversity is safeguarded by local producers, who are

increasingly mindful and sensitive custodians of the region.

The latest analysis by the Consortium confirms that the

Brunello di Montalcino area boasts a share of organically

farmed land which is three times higher than the national

average, or about 50% of the entire DOCG vineyard acreage.

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– VINEYARDS –

WINE TOURISM

The region’s unspoilt natural surroundings and scenery,

together with the beauty of the medieval village and

accommodation provided by Montalcino wineries, have led

wine tourism to play a pivotal role in regional development.

With 200,000 visits in 2018 (113% more in the last

5 years) and over 75,000 overnight stays in a town with a

population of 6,000, the impact on Montalcino has been

significant. Half of the local businesses are agricultural, but

over the years the number of accommodation facilities has

increased and today there is 1 for every 35 residents with

92 hotels, farm accommodation and inns. Lastly, there are

over 50 restaurants and eateries.

The data stops at 2019 but, although 2020 can be considered

an ‘annus horribilis’ for the entire Italian wine industry,

Montalcino has enjoyed early sales. This is in part due to the

fear of new duties, which has prompted many US buyers

(Brunello’s main market) to buy new vintages; market

diversification (varying and carefully selecting markets

has been one of the pivotal aspects of the marketing

strategies deployed by Montalcino estates); and finally

the contribution of individual Italians who, despite the

pandemic, have shown greater interest in fine wines.

A corner of paradise for open-air wine tastings at Poggio il Castellare

winery

The chairman of the Consortium Fabrizio Bindocci and

director Michele Fontana explained how the designation

fared during the pandemic.

Can you describe how the last year has been for the

designation?

FB: We were greatly concerned at the beginning of last year,

but this initial fear was followed by a strong reaction by the

wineries, which managed to diversify their business, despite

the difficulties caused by the pandemic, and continue their

work in the vineyards. From a commercial point of view,

the superb 2015 vintage was a great bonus, followed by an

exceptional vintage in 2016. In a year that the world will

want to forget in a hurry, Montalcino’s 2020 harvest will

not be forgotten, as it is considered somewhere between

excellent and outstanding, allowing us to look to the future

with optimism. Four years from now we will remember

that in the overall darkness of 2020, the Brunello vintage

was a wonderful exception.

Fabrizio Bindocci, current chairman of the Consorzio del

Vino Brunello di Montalcino

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Poggio alle Mura castle at the Banfi winery, seen from its sloping vineyards

ITALY

– VINEYARDS –

What were the numbers for Brunello di Montalcino

during the pandemic?

MF: They were beyond all expectations, particularly

considering the difficulties caused by the first lockdown

last year. In 2020 in fact about 9 million approvals were

delivered for bottles of Brunello di Montalcino, a figure

well above that of 2019 (+12.2%). The real growth was

posted in the first part of 2021 though. Over the first four

months, the increase compared with the same period last

year was 38%, but what stands out most is the 43% rise in

government levies paid in the four-month period compared

to the average of the three-year period from 2018 to 2020.

Considering the terrible times we have just gone through,

the overall result is decisively positive, even though under

normal conditions growth would probably have been even

stronger.

Some of the most significant Tuscan and Italian wineries

demonstrate the importance of the Montalcino region. Here

is our selection.

BANFI

As mentioned earlier, Banfi was founded in 1978 as the

result of an ambitious and visionary project for the time.

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– VINEYARDS –

The American dream of the two Mariani brothers, John

and Harry, paved the way for what is still seen today as

a masterpiece of Italian and international winemaking.

Initially importers, then owners of the Poggio alle Mura

estate, the Mariani brothers, with the help of well-known

oenologist Ezio Rivella, built what is now a 174-hectare

vineyard dedicated to Brunello di Montalcino, home to

some of the most representative vines in Tuscan viticulture

and beyond. This large estate also hosts a variety of olive

trees, plum trees, cereals and woodlands, providing a rich

agricultural backdrop for the majestic medieval castle, the

estate’s symbol. Banfi is located in the southern part of

the region, 16 kilometres from the centre of Montalcino,

50 kilometres south of Siena and 130 kilometres south of

Florence. However, despite its location, it is still a quality

benchmark for the entire designation.

The barrique cellar at Banfi castle

TENUTA SAN GIORGIO - COLLEMASSARI

Tenuta San Giorgio, founded in 1982, is located near

Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the town of Montalcino, not far

from Sant’Antimo Abbey. Since 2016 it has been part of the

ColleMassari group. The 26 ha of vineyards are set amidst

unspoilt woodlands and olive groves, from 250 m to 400 m

above sea level. The approach is the same as the other

winery in the group (Poggio di Sotto), but in this case the

soils are very different because they are of volcanic origin,

which gives depth and elegance to the wines. The company

is in the process of converting to organic. The entrepreneur

Claudio Tipa decided to invest in the estate because it is

ideal for producing high-quality Brunello and Rosso di

Montalcino, in a different setting to the other companies

he owns. Time is proving him right, especially at the last

Benvenuto Brunello preview, where Tenuta San Giorgio

labels were well represented.

LA PALAZZETTA FANTI

La Palazzetta was established in 1988 from a single hectare

of Sangiovese meticulously tended by Flavio and Carla

Fanti. Today, their children Luca and Tea are at the helm

and the vineyard has been expanded to 20 hectares. It is

located to the south-east of Montalcino, 365 m above sea

level. The company’s production is centred on Brunello

and Rosso di Montalcino, but Sant’Antimo Rosso DOC

and extra virgin olive oil are also produced. The vines

are planted on calcareous and stony soils and produce

Tenuta San Giorgio, part of the ColleMassari group, is located

near Castelnuovo dell’Abate in Montalcino, on the top of a ridge

approximately 400m above sea level

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– VINEYARDS –

The Fanti family: Flavio and Carla, and their children Luca and Tea

The great Sergio Rossi,

founder of

La Gerla winery

At a height of 320 metres, on Montalcino

hill, where the slope becomes gentler,

lie the vineyards of La Gerla

fragrant richly-coloured wines with pleasant acidity and tannins. The

vineyards are organically managed, and the approach is one of respect for

the raw materials and the identity of the land. In the cellar, tradition and

innovation accompany the hand-picked grapes through the natural process

of winemaking.

LA GERLA

This estate was born from the foresight and passion of Sergio Rossi, who

decided leave Milan where he worked in advertising and start a new life in

Montalcino. Together with a group of friends, in 1974 Rossi bought the

Colombaio-Santi farm from Brunello’s most famous family (Biondi Santi)

and which already produced the grapes destined for the best wines from

the Canalicchio area, north-east of Montalcino. The friends restored the

farm and created functional, technologically advanced cellars. The estate

can be divided into two macro-zones: Canalicchio, to the north-east, is

more suited to producing fine, elegant wines (the historic Angeli vineyard,

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– VINEYARDS –

planted by Franco Biondi-Santi with clone BBS11) and

Castelnuovo dell’Abate, which produces more powerful,

complex and long-lived wines (Vigna la Pieve will soon be

a new Cru for the estate).

Today Sergio Rossi is no longer with us, but his wife

Donatella carries on the company and, with help from

technical director Dr Passeri, continues to create exceptional

wines which combine tradition and modernity.

TENUTA POGGIO IL CASTELLARE

Tenuta Poggio il Castellare represents the most ambitious

stage of Bruna Baroncini’s Sangiovese journey in Tuscany.

Heir to a noble family which has been dedicated to wine

for centuries, Baroncini’s estate is located in Torrenieri,

at an altitude of about 350 metres, in the north-eastern

quadrant of the Montalcino area, which is benefiting from

climate change. There are 7 hectares of vineyards, laid out

in rows on organically farmed land where there is more

clay than sand. The estate’s 40 hectares also include two

hectares of truffle trees and a wood rich in medicinal herbs.

The remainder is set aside as arable land and for growing

ancient grains. In the centre is the manor house, with a

luxury farmhouse annex.

“In Brunello, the Sangiovese grape reaches peak ripeness. It

is both thunderous and firm, wise and confident, with all

the power of its best years still. And it has the potential for

a very long life”, comments Bruna Baroncini

Bruna Baroncini, owner of the Tenute Toscana

wineries, including Poggio il Castellare

SCUDERIA ITALY

Scuderia Italia ‘Prestigious Italian Wines’ is a special

location created by Flavio Sartori, a graduate in viticulture

and oenology from the prestigious Conegliano campus

of the University of Padua, and his father Loris, an

experienced entrepreneur. The concept is to select

producers of excellence in the most important Italian

designations and to establish a close relationship in

order to produce wines under a single brand, thereby

creating true, limited-edition collections. Brunello is one

such example. It is made by selecting wine from one of

Montalcino’s historic and most traditional producers,

which has vineyards located south of Montalcino,

in Santa Restituta. The vineyards are situated about

330 metres above sea level, on marly and tufa soils with

a high concentration of minerals and fragmented rocks.

Once the final blend is selected, a few hundred bottles of

Flavio Sartori, founder of Scuderia Italia, and his father

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ITALY

– VINEYARDS –

The evocative barrique cellar at Villa al Cortile, owned by Piccini

Mario Piccini (right), managing director of Tenute Piccini

Brunello di Montalcino di Scuderia Italia are bottled, and

set aside for the most demanding palates in the world.

VILLA AL CORTILE - PICCINI 1882

Situated on the southern side of Montalcino, with its

12 ha of vineyards stretching from Montosoli to Lavacchio,

Villa al Cortile is the jewel in the crown of the Piccini

family’s estates. The vineyards in the northernmost area are

north and north-east-facing and enjoy cooler temperatures,

responding better to the seasonal trends in recent years

and global warming. The mission here is to respect the

relationship between the area and vines as much as possible,

on the basis of the vintage, with simplicity and tradition.

Hence, over-extraction and exaggerated concentration are

outlawed in favour of harmony and balance.

AMBRE WINES

Ambre successfully exports Ambre still and sparkling

wines all over the world. By completing the necessary

formalities and constantly monitoring the various stages of

supply, Ambre guarantees impeccable service to its partners.

Brunello di Montalcino wines are an export staple in Ambre

Wines’ portfolio.

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The Ceraudo family’s 60-hectare Contrada Dattilo vineyard is located in Calabria in the

Strongoli Marina area near Crotone, on the ancient site of Petelia

ITALY

– ORGANIC WINES –

SOUTHERN ITALY

A paradise for organic

viticulture

Organic viticulture accounts for less than 10% of the world’s vineyard area, but it is

clear that Italy is one of the countries that has been investing the most in converting

its vineyards to organic. Italy is currently the world’s leading exporter of organic

wine, despite coming second after Spain for its certified organic vineyard acreage.

By Francesco Saverio Russo - Photographs: courtesy of the estates

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– ORGANIC WINES –

Fontanareale vineyards in the Sannio Beneventano area, amidst ancient

villages and lush green landscapes

The country’s three macro-areas are very

different. In the South, the soil and climate

conditions make organic farming much

easier, but companies tend to be larger, and

profitability is not always sufficient. In the

central regions, there is currently a significant expansion

in organic production. Finally in the North, due to

the colder and wetter climate and the consequential

farming complications, it is not easy to approach

organic farming.

In the South of Italy, organic winegrowing is facilitated

by the climate which, in tandem with producers’

planting choices, helps protect vines from the major

diseases. While it is clear that the same soil and climate

conditions do not apply to all of southern Italy, and

that there are clear differences from one vineyard to

another, in general the South has been the reference

point for organic grape and wine production in Italy

for many years now. In part, this has been a choice

aimed at showcasing the potential of the land and the

producers’ appreciation of environmental sustainability.

At the same time, southern wineries are actively trying

to increase the quality of their products in the hope of

leveraging positive market response.

Below are some of the most interesting farms and

wineries in southern Italy that shared their organic

experiences with us.

Quintodecimo is the Campania-based company founded by Luigi Moio, an

internationally renowned academic and oenologist, and his wife Laura in 2001.

Environmental sustainability has always been a company priority

QUINTODECIMO

Quintodecimo is the Campania-based company

founded by Luigi Moio, an internationally renowned

academic and oenologist, and his wife Laura in 2001.

Having agronomic knowledge to draw on has allowed

Quintodecimo to identify and acquire vineyards which

are naturally suited to quality, applying the principle

of Low Input Agriculture. This concept takes into

precise consideration the following variables: exposure,

altitude, slope, wind incidence, rainfall, soil type and

drainage capacity. These variables are specific to each

native variety within a precise historical production

area.

Quintodecimo has always maintained an organic

approach both in the vineyard and in the cellar,

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– ORGANIC WINES –

however the certification process only started in 2018.

From the 2021 harvest, all six wines produced will be

certified organic.

The choice of organic farming comes in response to

the company’s key objective of bringing wine closer to

nature by adopting a style of viticulture that respects the

land, the environment and its people and demonstrates

strong ethical and cultural values.

The market is 70% domestic and 30% foreign. Foreign

markets include a variety of Asian countries along with

the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Russia,

Holland, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany,

Australia and New Zealand.

POLITO

The company was founded in the 1960s when Vito

Polito planted the first vineyards on the gentle hills

of Agropoli, facing the sea. The grapes produced were

initially sold, and only a small part was made into wine

for family consumption. In 2000, Vito’s son Vincenzo,

a plant pathologist specialised in viticulture, replanted

part of the vineyards and the company began producing

wine. In 2005, the first 5,000 bottles of Cilento Fiano

D.O.C. and Cilento Aglianico D.O.C. were bottled.

The company currently has about 10 hectares of

vineyards in production, and new vineyards have been

planted. The old family winery has been replaced by

a large and functional structure with adequate space

for both processing and ageing in oak barrels, where

modern winemaking techniques are used to enhance

the quality of the final product without detracting from

tradition, allowing the company to reach a production

level of about 50,000 bottles.

The philosophy of Vincenzo and his son Carlo, who

specialised in oenology and now runs the company,

is to help more and more people develop a taste for

good wine. While the company has always practiced

responsible farming, in 2017, it began its journey

towards organic certification by adopting different

approaches to management of the vineyard and the

farmland, and changing some working practices.

Organic certification is due to be granted from the 2021

harvest onwards.

In 2017, Polito began the switch-over phase to organic certification and

from 2021 all its wines will be certified organic

Polito has 10 ha of bearing vineyards on the rolling hills of Agropoli in

Cilento

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– ORGANIC WINES –

The evocative underground barrel cellar at the Senatore winery where Cirò

wines from Calabria are aged

Current production is about 50,000 bottles per year and the

company has been focused on ensuring production is stable

and unaffected by the transition to organic certification.

In addition to the domestic market, which accounts for

about 80% of production, Polito exports to Switzerland,

Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Finland. Once it receives

its organic certification, the company plans to expand

exports to countries such as Sweden, where organic wine is

highly sought after.

SENATORE

‘Senatore Vini’ was founded in 2005 by the four Senatore

brothers: Raffaele, Salvatore, Giuseppe and Franco, who

started a company in the San Lorenzo district of Cirò Marina.

The history of the Senatore family in the wine sector can

however be traced back to the early 1900s, to grandparents

Francesco Senatore and Giuseppe Sculco, and their wine cellar

located in the Corfu Vecchiu area of Cirò.

The new Senatore Vini winery, with a footprint of 4,500 square

metres and a storage capacity of 6,000 hectolitres, is equipped

with the most innovative winemaking systems and machinery

available in the industry. Now the sons of the four brothers,

the 3 Antonios, Emilio and Vito, embody the present and the

future of Senatore Vini.

The vineyard boasts 32 hectares of vines which are cultivated

with respect for the land and the environment, while also

drawing on the most up-to-date scientific advice and academic

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Chef Caterina Dattilo ‘2021 Green Michelin Star’, in the family restaurant

research. Production has been certified organic since 2017.

Managing director Dr. Raffaele Senatore is a doctor by

profession who is now dedicated full-time to the family

business. Having previously focused on the health and

wellbeing of his patients, he inevitably translated this passion

into wine production and the company’s goal is to produce

good, healthy wines sold under the ‘Unicorn’ brand, chosen

to symbolise rarity, beauty and uniqueness.

The wines are all small-scale labels, with around

250,000 bottles divided across almost 20 wines. The grapes

are all sourced in the family vineyards, epitomising the

essence of a family business and artisanal production.

Export markets are Italy, Europe and America, with Europe

currently leading demand for certified organic wines.

CERAUDO

Sustainability has long been a focus of the Ceraudo company

and now finds new meaning in its commitment to protecting

the environment and the natural fertility of the soil.

“We cultivate our land as if it were everyone’s land. Land is

the most precious asset that mankind possesses, an asset to

be preserved with extreme care, at all costs”, says Roberto

Ceraudo.

The vineyards and olive groves have been farmed without the

use of chemicals for almost 31 years. From being pioneers

in this field, the company is now running a pilot project at

regional level: instead of using chemicals, a complex system

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– ORGANIC WINES –

Tenuta Marino is located in the vast Pollino National Park

in Basilicata

of parasite prevention using mating disruption is being

carried out, using meteorological huts and traps with

pheromones. As a result, the plants develop ‘antibodies’

and become stronger every year. All stages of production

are managed internally, creating a micro-system similar to

that used on old farms. Ancient techniques do not however

prevent the use of modern technology: the winery, oil mill,

farmhouse and restaurant are powered entirely by a system

of photovoltaic panels.

The vineyard has been created without major land or

remodelling works and has adopted the ancient method of

field grafting, which preserves biodiversity through careful

massal selection. Winter and spring grassing is utilised,

sometimes involving specially selected plants for green

manure.

Yields are kept low through the use of low-productivity

biotypes and cluster thinning. The foliage is managed by

stripping leaves around the bunches of grapes and shoots

are wound along the upper support wire rather than

topped. Pruning is done solely by hand, using the ancient

method of cutting the spur on the bud, thereby preventing

the entry of viral diseases while ensuring the bud below

sprouts quickly.

The following anecdote offers some insight into the

Ceraudo company’s focus on organic farming: “It was in

the late 1980s when Roberto Ceraudo had an accident

using pesticides; at that specific moment he promised

himself he would never use them again and did a lot of

research into new organic farming techniques”.

The vineyard covers 20 hectares, with yields of between

35 and 70 quintals per hectare, depending on the type

of wine. In total, the potential production is around

500 quintals per year, or 70,000 bottles.

The main markets for Ceraudo wine are Italy and abroad,

mainly Switzerland, Holland, the United States and Japan.

The vineyards of Tenuta Marino are positively influenced by the

Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, making the local microclimate unique

TENUTA MARINO

Tenuta Marino is located in the extremely extensive

Pollino National Park in Basilicata. At about 500 metres

above sea level, this unspoilt area expands across three

municipalities (Noepoli, San Giorgio L. and Senise) and

two provinces (Matera and Potenza), and straddles the

Sinni and Sarmento rivers.

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Sustainable farming honours traditions and preserves the

region’s biodiversity

In the early 90s, its owner decided to implement organic

farming methods out of respect for nature and because

of strong demand for organic products in the wine, fruit

and vegetable sectors; the farm also produces organic

fruit which is made into baby food.

Francesco Marino has always been a great connoisseur

of wine and his production is richly endowed in terms

of varieties and wines, with an annual output of around

100,000 bottles. His main market is domestic but

he also exports to some European countries such as

Germany, Switzerland and Belgium.

FONTANAREALE

The Fontanareale farm is located in Sannio Beneventano,

a region characterised by ancient villages and green

landscapes thanks to the vineyards and olive groves

which have shaped the landform and the life of the local

population.

Monks introduced vine growing to the area, and

the tradition has been perpetuated by successive

landowners. They have experimented with vine varieties

and winemaking techniques while striving to preserve

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ITALY

– ORGANIC WINES –

Ambrosio vineyards on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius

soil fertility and biodiversity through the use of agronomic techniques

based on current organic farming methods. The soil is clayey-calcareous,

steep and stony and offers the best soil and weather conditions for this

type of farming.

The owners feel strongly about being custodians of the land and respecting

wine and they have maintained this legacy by ensuring their land is free

from chemical fertilisers, insecticides, herbicides and fungal disease

products. As a result, Fontanareale was the first company in Campania

to receive organic certification for its entire supply chain back in 1992.

Fontanareale currently produces wine, oil and honey from organic farming

and has about 20 hectares planted mainly to vineyards, olive groves and

orchards, along with a small area of arable land and some horticulture as

well as beekeeping. Its products are aimed at Italian and foreign consumers

who are more health-conscious and care about sustainability.

AMBROSIO VINEYARDS

The Ambrosio family has been producing wine since the 19 th century,

but it was only at the beginning of the 20 th century that it began

to bottle its own brand. Notable obstacles to overcome were the

bombings of the Second World War and the eruption of Mount

Vesuvius, both of which forced production to stop.

The 1990s saw another fundamental stage in the company’s

evolution, which coincided with the desire to bring back grape

varieties that had been absent from the region for centuries and

whose only trace was in records kept by the monks.

The Ambrosio family has always been committed to sustainability

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– ORGANIC WINES –

Young Ferdinando Ambrosio and one of his viticulture assistants during the grape

harvest. The fruit will be used for their great volcanic wines

and is the first Vesuvian company to convert all its vineyards,

almost all of which are in the Vesuvius National Park, to organic

production, ensuring this cradle of biodiversity is preserved. The

family also began working with the Faculty of Agriculture at the

Federico II University in Naples to research and experiment with

indigenous Vesuvian varieties.

In 2014, the young Ferdinando Ambrosio inherited the family

business and immediately expressed his desire to relaunch

Lacryma Christi at a European and even global level. Today, the

company produces natural wine which respects the biodiversity

in the region, and the natural environment of the vines. The aim

is to intervene as little as possible and only if truly necessary.

The choice of preserving the old bush vines, in keeping with

Vesuvian tradition, is fundamental, guaranteeing greater balance

for the plant. Work is carried out entirely by hand at all stages and

no synthetic fertilisers or systemic treatments are used. Harvesting

is also done by hand and winemaking involves only wild yeasts.

The aim is to express the pure identity of the Vesuvian area which

is why healthy, ripe grapes are fermented in a natural way without

using wood for maturation.

Annual production is around 25,000 bottles and the wine is

sold mainly in the USA, where the company has built up a

reputation based on quality, rather than its organic certification,

which is however highly prized by the family, regardless of its

market impact.

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Some of Boschendal’s fruit is sourced from this vineyard in the cool-climate Elgin appellation

SOUTH AFRICA

– SPARKLING WINES –

Perfected by time

From modest beginnings half a century ago, Cap Classique is now

the fastest-growing wine category in South Africa, exploding not only in terms

of quantity but also in effervescent quality.

By Joanne Gibson - Photographs: courtesy of the estates

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– SPARKLING WINES –

Cap Classique is the name for bottle-fermented sparkling wine produced in

South Africa, where there are now 250 wineries producing over 10 million

litres annually. Over four-fifths is consumed locally, with the domestic

market doubling every five years, but exports are also increasing: up just 1%

by volume in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions (including a temporary ban

on alcohol shipments imposed by the SA government) but up 18% by value.

All sorts of grape varieties are used for Cap Classique, from Sauvignon Blanc (such

as the Bitou Vineyards Brut 2017 which scored 91 points in the Gilbert & Gaillard

International Challenge) to Pinotage (for example, L’Avenir’s Brut Rosé 2018,

which scored 88 points). However, most producers have embraced the traditional

Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sometimes Pinot Meunier,

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– SPARKLING WINES –

The Malans are celebrating 50 years of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel in 2021. From left, Francois-Jacques, Michael, Johan, Christelle and Francois Malan

with terroir expressions ranging from the limestone-rich

soils of Robertson to cooler mountainous and maritime

appellations. There are blends, blanc de blancs and rosés,

ranging stylistically from ‘brut nature’ (less than 3g/l

residual sugar) to ‘demi sec’ (32-50g/l). A minimum of

12 months’ lees contact prior to disgorgement is required

by law, but there are many rich, complex wines that have

been maturing in the bottle for 60 months and more…

2021 marks 50 years of Cap Classique production in

South Africa (SA). The idea started fizzing in the late 1960s

when winemakers including Frans Malan of Simonsig in

Stellenbosch and Nicky Krone of Twee Jonge Gezellen in

Tulbagh visited Champagne. Krone imported yeasts and

equipment from Épernay to embark on production in 1969,

but his cellar was destroyed in an earthquake that year,

suspending his plans. Malan, meanwhile, commissioned a

local carpenter to build a rudimentary riddling rack and in

1971 he made a bottle-fermented Brut from Chenin Blanc.

He named it Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle) and released

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it in 1973 with a label stating ‘fermented in THIS bottle’.

‘I’m exceptionally proud of how that small start of

Kaapse Vonkel by my father has grown to such an

extent,’ says Johan Malan, who took the winemaking

reins at Simonsig in 1982, switched from Chenin to the

traditional Champagne varieties in 1987, and has since

expanded the Kaapse Vonkel range to include a Brut Rosé

(with Pinotage and Pinot Noir as its base), two demi-sec

wines (Satin Nectar and Satin Nectar Rosé), and Cuvée

Royale, which is a prestige blanc de blancs produced only

in exceptional vintages (the 2017 achieving a Gilbert &

Gaillard rating of 94 points).

In addition to Simonsig’s own fruit, grapes are sourced

from cool-climate appellations such as Darling and

Elgin, as well as the limestone-rich soils of Robertson.

‘Every different source adds building blocks for the final

cuvée and that’s where greater complexity is derived,’

says Malan.

Currently he and his dedicated Cap Classique winemaker,

Charl Schoeman, are exploring the possibilities offered by

other varieties, such as Pinot Blanc with its high natural

acidity, and the use of clay amphorae. ‘The focus must

remain on the best grapes and classic pressing of whole

bunches to make the finest, most delicate base wine,’ he

insists. ‘The long, difficult road is still the best way!’

In 2020 Johan Malan of Simonsig was named Diners Club Winemaker

of the Year for his Kaapse Vonkel Brut 2015

OTHER TRAILBLAZERS

The second producer to hit the market was Boschendal

in Franschhoek with a Brut made by Achim von Arnim

in 1981, shortly before he left to establish nearby Haute

Cabrière with its Pierre Jourdan Cap Classique range

(today one of SA’s most popular brands, in the safe

hands of second-generation Takuan von Arnim, with

the Pierre Jourdan Brut NV, Blanc de Blancs NV and

Belle Rose NV all achieving gold medals from Gilbert &

Gaillard).

At Boschendal, it’s fascinating to note that the maiden

Brut was made from Crouchen Blanc, Shiraz and Tinta

Barocca! Pinot Noir replaced the reds in 1982, with

Chardonnay introduced in 1985, and today Boschendal

produces five Cap Classiques: a Brut NV (93 points),

Brut Rosé NV (90), Demi Sec NV (not tasted), Grand

Cuvée Brut (92 for the 2015 vintage, aged on the lees for

48 months) and premium Blanc de Blancs named Jean

le Long (93 for the 2009, on the lees for a full decade).

At Haute Cabrière, cellarmaster Takuan von Arnim has

stepped into the big shoes of his father, Achim von Arnim

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– SPARKLING WINES –

Boschendal’s Cap Classique winemaker, Danielle Coetsee, is aiming to

achieve more and more refinement and delicacy in her wines

‘In recent years, we have placed a focus on creating more refinement

and delicacy while still delivering on fullness of flavour and autolytic

character,’ says Boschendal winemaker Danielle Coetsee, stressing:

‘Cap Classique will never be Champagne, just as Champagne will

never be Cap Classique. There is a boldness and lushness in Cap

Classique that you don’t easily find in sparkling wines from other

countries. Today Cap Classique stands proudly on its own.’

‘Cap Classique does not pretend to replace Champagne; it

reflects more sunlight in the bottle which, combined with greater

affordability, will always put a smile on your face,’ says Jeff

Grier of Villiera in Stellenbosch when asked how he persuades

traditional Champagne drinkers to try Cap Classique. However,

he acknowledges that meeting Champagne producer Jean-Louis

Denois in 1983 was the catalyst in his decision to start making

bottle-fermented sparkling wine in 1984, resulting in a decade-long

partnership. ‘Apart from JLD passing on generations of Champagne

know-how, I had the opportunity to work in Champagne for three

vintages early in our development.’

Today, Cap Classique accounts for 40% of Villiera’s production,

the range including Tradition Brut NV (90 points from Gilbert

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Jeff Grier takes a close look at his latest

Villiera Tradition Rosé Brut NV (91 points)

Joining a family in love

with bottle-fermented

bubbly, Villiera’s

second-generation

winemaker,

Xander Grier

You can taste the sun in

South African Cap Classique,

says Jeff Grier of Villiera

& Gaillard), Tradition Rosé Brut NV (91 points), prestige cuvée

Monro Brut (95 points for the 2014 vintage, which had 66 months

of lees ageing), and the untasted zero-dosage Brut Natural and

low-alcohol Starlight Brut (SA’s first ‘light’ Cap Classique).

Grier is gradually passing the winemaker baton to secondgeneration

Xander Grier, and together they continue to incorporate

new ideas: ‘Creating a solera system for the barrel ageing of

our dosage wine has made a significant difference,’ they say.

‘Whichever Villiera wine you choose, you will taste the sun and

the dedication of a family in love with bottle-fermented bubbly.’

FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

Following Tulbagh’s devastating earthquake in 1969, Nicky Krone

slowly rebuilt Twee Jonge Gezellen (TJG), complete with SA’s first

underground Cap Classique cellar (with vaulted ceilings designed

to withstand earth tremors). The first Krone Borealis Brut 1987

was released to great acclaim in 1991, and as a pioneer in sulphitefree

sparkling wine, Krone was named Diners Club Winemaker

of the Year in 1995. Today his son crafts Cap Classique under his

own name, Matthew Krone Wines, but TJG and the Krone brand

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Krone winemaker Stephan de Beer likes making vintage-dated

Cap Classiques, preferring to highlight rather than blend away

vintage differences

For Rudiger Gretschel, Krone’s vintage-dated bubblies are all

about celebrating a moment in time and place

were acquired in 2012 by the late Tim Rands, founder/

owner of independent wine specialist Vinimark.

Krone has benefited from investment by Vinimark as well

as the expertise of Vinimark’s production director, Rudiger

Gretschel, who works with winemaker Stephan de Beer to

craft vintage-dated Cap Classiques only. ‘These show the

characteristics of the year without having to meet a house

style, which blends away individualism,’ explains De Beer.

‘Because we don’t have frost or hail or a super-wet growing

season, our climate allows us to make vintage wines more

easily than in Champagne,’ says Gretschel. ‘We really like

to celebrate the small nuances that result from vintage

differences.’

At Krone focus is also increasingly being placed on sitespecific

wines, such as the Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs

2016 from a famed vineyard in the Elandskloof, matured for

32 months on the lees (93 points from Gilbert & Gaillard).

‘We will be introducing two more single-vineyard Blanc de

Blancs,’ reveals Gretschel. ‘One from TJG in Tulbagh and

one from Koelfontein on the Ceres plateau.’

There’s plenty of ‘geek appeal’ at Krone, from the use of

foudres and clay amphorae to the natural winemaking and

terroir focus. However, Gretschel is equally excited about

the ‘phenomenal’ success of Krone’s demi-sec wines, named

Night Nectar and Night Nectar Rosé. ‘Krone was the first in

the semi-sweet sector, which is really driving growth in the

domestic market. Our Nectars have made Krone arguably

the biggest Cap Classique brand, selling more than Graham

Beck and Pongrácz.’

Owned by producer-wholesaler Distell, Pongrácz remains

a hugely popular brand in SA, named in honour of

Desiderius Pongrácz, a Hungarian nobleman and refugee

who revolutionised viticulture in the Cape (his 1978 book,

Practical Viticulture, is still used by students). Launched

in 1990, Pongrácz Brut was made from 75% Pinot and

25% Chardonnay, aged on the lees for two years, and

the range has since expanded to include a Blanc de

Blancs NV (90 points from Gilbert & Gaillard), Rosé NV

(93 points), Noble Nectar NV (not tasted) and flagship

vintage Desiderius (95 points for the 2013).

In 2019, Andiswa Mapheleba took the Pongrácz winemaking

reins from Elunda Basson, now at Steenberg Vineyards

(which boasts three Cap Classiques of its own). Having

fallen in love with ‘the beautiful merger of chemistry and

creativity’ in bottle-fermented bubbly, Mapheleba says she

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– SPARKLING WINES –

Pongrácz winemaker Andiswa Mapheleba says she is humbled to follow in

the footsteps of past winemaker Elunda Basson

can’t see herself working with any other style of wine again. ‘The

base wine is like an artist’s canvas, it requires such a delicate touch.’

Grapes for Pongrácz are widely sourced, mostly from cooler

areas with a huge diversity of soil types. ‘This helps us achieve

consistency but also complexity. We also have enough acidity in

our wines without needing to take antacid when we drink them,’

she laughs. ‘Seriously, though, I do find our Cap Classiques so

much more rounded than many of the Champagnes I have tasted.’

IN PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT BUBBLE

If Mapheleba is just getting started, Graham Beck cellarmaster

Pieter Ferreira is happy to report that his four-decade journey

in pursuit of the perfect bubble is still continuing. He made his

first Cap Classique at Haute Cabrière in 1984, spending seven

years as Achim von Arnim’s apprentice (and working vintages in

Champagne at Mumm in 1987, Georges Vesselle in 1988 and Moët

& Chandon in 1989) before moving to Graham Beck’s dedicated,

state-of-the-art Cap Classique cellars in Robertson in 1990. Today

Graham Beck produces three non-vintage wines (including the Brut

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– SPARKLING WINES –

Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter Ferreira (right) and winemaker Pierre de

Klerk taste the results of some of their experimentations

Le Lude’s owners are hoteliers and philanthropists Nic and

Ferda Barrow. He is also a lawyer while her passions include

gardening, cooking and interior design

affectionately dubbed the ‘President’s Choice’ after being

served both at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration in 1994 and

Barack Obama’s presidential win in 2008), three vintage

wines (a Blanc de Blancs, Brut Rosé and Brut Zero now

named Ultra Brut, with the 2015 rated 93 points by Gilbert

& Gaillard), and the prestige flagship Cuvée Clive, aged five

years on the lees (94 points for the 2015).

About 80% of the grapes come from Graham Beck’s

own vineyards, benefiting from Robertson’s rich limestone

deposits and huge diurnal temperature shifts, with the

balance sourced from seven other geographical areas. ‘This

assists us in pursuing consistency and continuity,’ says

Ferreira, adding that research and development is ongoing:

seeing how row direction affects flavours, for example,

and bottle-fermenting some of the wine under cork rather

than crown cap. There are also plans to plant ‘forgotten’

Champagne varietals such as Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier

and Arbanne.

The most successful results of all this experimentation will

be offered under a new tier, called the Artisan Collection,

giving Ferreira and his winemaker Pierre de Klerk carte

blanche to produce spectacular niche wines that are never

the same. ‘It is a way for us to passionately express our

aspirational journey,’ says Ferreira, revealing that the first

release from this collection is the Extended Lees Ageing

2009, which matured for 11 years prior to disgorgement.

However, when Graham Beck releases its Cap Classique

matured under cork instead of crown cap, it won’t be

the first. The artisanal Agrafe (Tirage Liège) method was

introduced to South Africa by Le Lude in Franschhoek,

established in 2011 by Nic and Ferda Barrow to specialise

in premium Cap Classiques. Their maiden Agrafe Reserve

2012 won a platinum award at the 2019 Decanter World

Wine Awards, and now the 2013 has achieved a 95-point

rating from Gilbert & Gaillard. ‘Awards such as these show

that our pioneering approach is paying off and creating

wines which are internationally renowned for finesse,

elegance and refinement,’ say the Barrows.

As chairman of the Cap Classique Producers Association,

established in 1992 with the collective aim of crafting wines

of superlative quality, capable of standing alongside the

world’s best, Pieter Ferreira concludes: ‘The day you don’t

want to drink Champagne, Cap Classique should be your

go-to wine. At the current price-to-quality ratio, we are the

better alternative.’

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STARS

– & WINE –

Kyle MacLachlan:

actor and producer… of wine!

Over 30 years ago, the ‘Twin Peaks’ legend was born. Today, the mystery/horror/drama

dreamt up by writer Mark Frost and director David Lynch remains as enthralling as ever!

The unconventional beauty of Kyle MacLachlan, alias FBI agent Dale Cooper, and the

haunting music composed by Angelo Badalamenti probably have a lot to do with it.

Interview by Frank Rousseau, our correspondent in the United States

Photographs: all rights reserved

How have you seen TV change in recent years?

When we launched ‘Twin Peaks’, the Internet and social

media were not as popular as they are today. That didn’t

stop the series from being a huge success. Not only did

it influence actors and directors, but it also encouraged

scriptwriters, producers, studio and TV station managers

to be adventurous!

Do you feel that David Lynch has made you grow

artistically?

Absolutely no doubt! The first time I met David, I was

23 years old. I was a naive and inexperienced young man.

However, I immediately felt that I was in the presence of

one of the greatest geniuses of his time, an extraordinary

artist. And ‘Twin Peaks’ was his masterpiece! The

high point of his career! David was able to create a

world of his own. He was able to transpose his world

through films, a series and also photography. David’s

world is not restrictive, it is expansive! It’s important

to remember that when ‘Twin Peaks’ first aired, it was

like something from another planet. No one before

had revolutionised TV so much! No one before had

produced a programme of this quality in this format!

Changing the subject, what made you decide to go

into wine production?

I was dividing my time between New York and Los

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– & WINE –

Angeles and there came a point in my life when I thought

it was time to settle down. I grew up in Washington State

with a father who loved to go to vineyards. When you

think of wine in the United States, you immediately

think of California and Napa Valley. However, I can

assure you that the wine from the Columbia, Yakima

and Walla Walla valleys is really interesting. Washington

State is the second largest wine producing state in the

US. I have always enjoyed drinking wine, ever since I was

at university. One day I felt I needed to get back to my

roots. I took a few weeks off and went on a wine tour to

Walla Walla and Lowden and some of the surrounding

areas. It was, as they say, an epiphany moment. I decided

to start making my own wine with a childhood friend.

The wine has been called ‘Pursued by Bear’ since 2005.

The name refers to Shakespeare’s “Exit, pursued by a

bear”. I initially considered starting the business in

California, but I soon realised that it was a bad idea. In

Napa, the competition is very fierce!

Are you very involved in the winemaking process?

I am very involved because wine is not something you

can do on the side or in between projects. It’s a real

labour of love. I’m there for the harvest, the blending

and the bottling.

Is it true that you and David Lynch love to talk about

wine when you get together?

David is a true wine enthusiast like me. He drinks

mostly red wine. He’s a real connoisseur. Just to share a

little story, he was the one who gave me my first bottle

of very good Bordeaux. I had just auditioned for the

film ‘Dune’. It must have been 1983. He was desperate

for me to discover Château Lynch-Bages, a famous wine

estate in Pauillac, in Gironde. David has no connection

whatsoever with the property, he just thought it was

funny that a wine had part of his name. Anyway, he had

just given me one of the greatest wines in Bordeaux!

I can assure you that I savoured it right down to the very

last drop!

106 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


CONTACT

– DETAILS –

ROSES – PAGES 10 – 25

LANGUEDOC

• Saint-Chinian Co-operative Winery:

http://vignerons-saintchinian.com

• Chapelle de Novilis:

Tel. +33 6 74 74 38 42 -

www.chapelledenovilis.com

• Château St-Jacques d’Albas:

Tel. +33 4 68 78 24 82 -

https://chateaustjacques.com

LUBERON

• Château de l’Isolette:

Tel. +33 4 90 74 16 70 -

https://chateau-isolette.fr

• Château de Clapier:

Tel. +33 4 90 77 01 03 -

www.chateau-de-clapier.com

PROVENCE

• Château d’Ollières:

Tel. +33 4 94 59 85 57 -

http://chateau-ollieres.com

• Château Gassier:

Tel. +33 4 42 66 38 74 -

www.chateau-gassier.fr

• Château Saint Maur Cru Classé:

Tel. +33 4 94 95 48 48 -

www.chateausaintmaur.com

CORSICA

• Corsica: caroline@vinsdecorse.com -

www.vinsdecorse.com

BURGUNDY – PAGES 26 – 34

• Domaine Guilleman:

www.domaineguilleman.fr

• Domaine Bruno Dangin:

Tel. +33 6 88 87 19 79 -

www.bruno-dangin.com

• Bailly-Lapierre: Tel. +33 3 86 53 77 77 -

http://bailly-lapierre.fr/

• Domaine Henri Champliau:

Tel. + 33 7 63 84 58 98 -

https://henri-champliau.com/

IMPORTER – PAGE 35

• Amka Group: Tel. + 45 8641 9600 -

https://amka-group.com/

BORDEAUX – PAGES 36 – 43

• Château Toutigeac:

Tel. +33 5 56 23 90 10 -

www.toutigeac.com

• Château Tour Bel Air:

Tel. +33 6 31 83 06 90 -

www.tourbelair.com

• Domaine de Cartujac Vignobles Bruno

Saintout: Tel. + 33 5 56 59 91 70 -

www.vignobles-saintout.com

• Château l’Argenteyre:

Tel. + 33 5 56 41 52 34

• Château de Cruzeau:

Tel. + 33 5 56 64 75 87 -

www.andrelurton.com

• Château Guichot:

Tel. + 33 5 56 61 31 53 -

www.famillepetitvignobles.fr

BEAUJOLAIS – PAGES 44 – 53

• Cave des Grands Vins de Fleurie:

Tel. +33 4 74 04 11 70 -

www.cavefleurie.com

• Domaine Ruet: Tel. +33 4 74 66 85 00 -

www.ruet-beaujolais.fr

• Domaine de la Bêche Olivier Depardon:

Tel. +33 4 74 69 15 89 -

www.domainedelabeche.com

• Domaine des Perelles Laurent

Perrachon & Fils:

Tel. +33 4 74 04 40 44 -

www.vinsperrachon.com

• Domaine Rolland Ferraud:

Tel. +33 4 74 06 47 60 -

www.ferraud.com

• Domaine Anthony Charvet:

Tel. +33 6 50 07 25 01 -

www.vins-anthony-charvet.fr

• Château de Durette:

Tel. +33 4 74 04 20 13 -

www.chateaudedurette.eu

• Château Grange Cochard:

Tel. + 33 6 60 21 46 76 -

www.lagrangecochard.com

• Château de Poncié:

Tel. +33 4 74 69 83 33 -

www.chateaudeponcie.fr

• Cave du Château de Chénas:

Tel. +33 4 74 04 48 19 -

www.cavedechenas.com

CHATEAU LECUSSE – PAGES 54 – 55

• Domaine Chateau Lecusse:

Tel. +33 5 63 33 90 09 -

www.chateaulecusse.com

ALCOHOL-FREE – PAGES 56 – 62

• Pierre Chavin: Tel. +33 4 67 90 12 60 -

www.pierre-chavin.com

• Iris Vigneti: Tel. +39 0438 488302 -

http://irisvigneti.com

• Darling Cellars: Tel. +27 224922276 -

www.darlingcellars.co.za

SPAIN / PORTUGAL – PAGES 63 – 70

• Aveleda: Tel. +351 255 718 200 -

https://www.aveleda.com/en

• Rectoral do Umia: Tel. +34 988 384 200

- https://rectoraldoumia.com/?lang=en

• Pablo Padín: Tel. +34 986 743 231 -

www.pablopadin.com

• Adega Ponte da Barca:

Tel. +351 258 480 220 -

https://adegapontedabarca.pt

• Soalheiro: Tel. +351 251 416 769 -

www.soalheiro.com/en/

• Terras de Compostela:

Tel. +34 637021070 -

https://terrasdecompostela.com

• Viña Cartín: Tel. +34 986 15 42 39 -

www.terrasdelantano.com

SPAIN – PAGES 71 – 76

• Hammeken Cellars:

Tel. + 34 965 791 967 -

https://hammekencellars.com/

ITALY – BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO –

PAGES 77 – 86

• Consortium Brunello di Montalcino:

Tel. +39 0577848246 - https://www.

consorziobrunellodimontalcino.it

• Banfi: Tel. +39 0577 840111 -

www.banfi.it/en/

SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 107


CONTACT

– DETAILS –

• Tenuta San Giorgio:

Tel. +39 0422 743135 -

https://tenutasangiorgio.com/

• La Palazzetta Fanti:

Tel. +39 0577 85531 -

https://www.palazzettafanti.com/

• La Gerla: Tel. +39 0577 848599 -

www.lagerlamontalcino.com/en/

• Tenuta Poggio Il Castellare:

https://poggioilcastellare.com

• Scuderia Italy: Tel. +39 388 6219045 -

https://www.scuderia-italia.it/en/

• Villa al Cortile: Tel. +39 0577 540 11 -

https://www.piccini1882.it/en

• Ambre Wines: Tel. +39 0461 609385 -

www.ambrewines.com/

ITALY – ORGANIC WINES –

PAGES 87 – 95

• Quintodecimo: Tel. +39 0825 449321 -

https://www.quintodecimo.it/en/

• Polito: Tel. +39 0974 198 7052 -

www.politoviticoltori.com/en

• Senatore: Tel. +39 0962 32350 -

www.senatorevini.com/en/

• Ceraudo: tel. +39 0962 865 613 -

http://www.dattilo.it

• Tenuta Marino: Tel. +39 349 5059242 -

https://tenutamarino.com/wine/

• Fontanareale: Tel. +39 0824 77 61 09 -

www.fontanareale.com

• Vigne Ambrosio: Tel. +39 3333525279 -

www.vigneambrosio.com/

SOUTH AFRICA – PAGES 96 – 104

• Cap Classique Producers’ Association:

www.capclassique.co.za

• Bitou Vineyards: Tel. +27 82 927 6179 -

www.bitouvineyards.co.za

• Boschendal: Tel. +27 21 870 4200 -

www.boschendal.com

• Graham Beck: Tel. +27 23 626 1214 -

www.grahambeck.com

• Haute Cabrière: Tel. +27 21 876 8500 -

www.cabriere.co.za

• L’Avenir: Tel. +27 21 889 5001 -

www.lavenirestate.co.za

• Krone: Tel. +27 23 230 0680 -

www.kronecapclassique.co.za

• Le Lude: Tel. +27 21 876 3099 -

www.lelude.co.za

• Matthew Krone Wines:

Tel. +27 82 446 7900 -

www.matthewkronewines.co.za

• Pongrácz: Tel. +27 21 8865640 -

www.pongracz.co.za -

http://www.distell.co.za

• Simonsig: Tel. +27 21 888 4900 -

www.simonsig.co.za

• Steenberg Vineyards:

Tel. +27 21 713 2211 -

www.steenbergfarm.com

• Villiera: Tel. +27 21 865 2002 -

www.villiera.com

7, parc des Fontenelles - 78870 Bailly - France

Tel.: +33 1 30 80 08 08 - Fax: +33 1 30 80 08 88

Editorial Directors: François Gilbert and Philippe Gaillard

Editor in chief: Sylvain Patard

Tasting committee: François Gilbert, Philippe Gaillard, Sylvain Patard,

François Bezuidenhout, Olivier Delorme, Matthieu Gaillard, Jamal Awni

Rayyis, James Turnbull

Editorial staff: Michèle Huyard

Contributors to this issue: Ellen Budge, Jean-Paul Burias, Alain Echalier,

Charlie Elaina, Joanne Gibson, Santiago Jiménez, Sylvain Patard, Frank Rousseau,

Alexandra Réveillon, Francesco Saverio Russo, Christelle Zamora.

Translation: Sharon Nagel, Rosa Almeida - CS Traduções, Marika Quarti

Sales and Marketing Director: Etienne Gaillard : +33 6 30 97 87 26

etienne@gilbertgaillard.com

Advertising France:

Bordeaux - Charentes:

Frédéric Comet: +33 6 27 58 47 06 - fcomet@gilbertgaillard.com

Corsica - Languedoc - Provence - Rhône Valley:

Nicolas Sanseigne: +33 6 46 86 80 01 - nsanseigne@gilbertgaillard.com

Jura - Loire Valley - Savoy - South West - Roussillon:

Caroline Gilbert: +33 6 84 92 57 61 - caroline@gilbertgaillard.com

Alsace -Beaujolais - Burgundy - Champagne:

Lucie Jeandel: +33 6 77 72 16 04 - ljeandel@gilbertgaillard.com

Advertising Italy:

Sandra Sirvente: (+33) 7 63 87 13 13 - ssirvente@gilbertgaillard.com

Advertising Spain, Portugal:

Thibault Leray: (+33) 6 84 01 57 24 - tleray@gilbertgaillard.com

Production: Isabelle Méjean-Plé - Tapioka Conseil: +33 1 34 62 89 30

Lay-out: Lise Delattre - Com l’Hirondelle: +33 9 81 47 75 25

Murielle Guégan - Impactea Concept: +33 6 59 32 08 65

Printed in Spain: Matthieu Battini - Carré Collé: +33 6 87 27 12 65

Gilbert & Gaillard Tasting South-Africa: Petru Van der walt, General

Manager: +27 82 787 1784 - petru@gilbertgaillard.com -

Olivier Duroy, Area Manager: +27 72 389 1083 - oduroy@gilbertgaillard.com

Matthieu Gaillard, Brand Ambassador: +27 66 429 9219

Head of entries for France: Martin Guerrero : +33 7 76 69 90 24 -

mguerrero@gilbertgaillard.com

International Distribution:

Pineapple Media Ltd - http://www.pineapple-media.com

For more information, please contact Ana Gisbert:

ana@pineapple-media.com

Gilbert & Gaillard is published by Vinipresse, SARL with a capital of 35,500 euros • Head Office: 7 parc des Fontenelles, 78870 Bailly, France • Legal

representative and Editorial director: Sylvain Patard • Legal deposit: second quarter 2021 • Legal publication n° pending • ISSN 2110-6762

Reproduction of part or all of the contents of this magazine in any form is expressly prohibited. Any company names that appear in the articles are given

for information only and have no publicity purpose.

108 SUMMER 2021 GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


OUR SUMMER SELECTION

Pages

110 to 114

TOP

WINES

— CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE AND SA CAP CLASSIQUE —

The best Sparkling Wines in 2021

Our Summer 2021 selection, tasted and rated by our tasting panel, is featured on pages 110 to 114. We

have chosen to present wines by region (BURGUNDY, WESTERN CAPE...), then by appellation in each region,

with each company or chateau listed in alphabetical order, and finally by tasting scores in descending order.

THE TASTING PANEL

FRANCE

FRANCE

FRANCE

Philippe Gaillard

Olivier Delorme

James Turnbull

François Gilbert

SOUTH AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA

Sylvain Patard

Matthieu Gaillard

François Bezuidenhout

Wine scores

Our tasting notes are scored on a 100 point scale, which gives enough range to evaluate every

characteristic that we taste in a wine. Below are the different levels that make up this scoring:

95-100/100: an outstanding wine, when a great “terroir” meets exceptional winemaking expertise.

90-94/100: a superlative wine combining finesse, complexity and remarkable winemaking.

85-89100: a wine of extremely high standard, which we enjoyed for its typicity and character.

80-84/100: a quality wine combining balance, structure and neatness for a pleasurable wine drinking experience.

75-79/100: a wine deemed acceptable.

70-74/100: a wine with defects, unacceptable.

65-69/100: a wine with major defects, inadmissible.

50-64/100: unacceptable wine, not worthy for sale.

Note: wines scoring less than 75/100 are not included in our publications.

SUMMER 2021 - GILBERT & GAILLARD - THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 109


FRANCE - Burgundy

OUR SUMMER

SELECTION

France

Burgundy

Crémants de Bourgogne offer maximum

pleasure for minimum money and make

the perfect drink for all those fun holiday

moments.

CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE

CAVES BAILLY-LAPIERRE 88/100

BIO D Brut Egarade 2018: Pale gold with silvery

tints. Nose of white-fleshed fruits with pastry and yeast

notes. The palate combines depth, generous aromatics,

fat, fruit and persistent freshness. A nicely established

Crémant for delicately flavoured fish.

Price: € 12.50

http://www.bailly-lapierre.fr

Caves Bailly-Lapierre

+33 3 86 42 88 70

DOMAINE BRUNO DANGIN 88/100

CR D Brut Le Grand Classique: Beautiful light

yellow. Pleasant nose of stone fruits entwining cherry

and white fruit notes. The palate shows abundant

freshness and vinosity. This is a fleshy, well-established

wine with precise, persistent aromas in a consummate

style.

Price: € 9

http://www.bruno-dangin.com

Domaine Bruno Dangin

+33 6 88 87 19 79

GUILLEMAN 88/100

D Brut Tradition: Light gold with minute bubbles.

A lovely fusion of stone fruits and floral notes on the

nose. Harmoniously crafted, rich, deliciously soft and

perfumed palate with well-integrated effervescence.

Touches of brioche and citrus fruits along with finesse.

Price: € 8.30

http://www.domaineguilleman.fr

Domaine Guilleman

+33 3 80 81 40 03

HENRI CHAMPLIAU 88/100

CR D Brut Authentique: Brilliant straw-yellow. A mix

of cherries and raspberries on the nose with pastry

and wild flower notes. Ample palate displaying very

pleasant saline freshness. Intense red fruit sensation in

this good, food-friendly Crémant.

Price: € 13

https://www.henri-champliau.com/index.php/fr/

Henri Champliau

+33 7 63 84 58 98

DOMAINE BRUNO DANGIN 87/100

BIO D Brut Prestige de Narcès 2017: Beautiful

clear, light yellow. Extremely enticing nose of white

fruits recalling ripe apple and pear. The palate is very

fruity with a pleasant mineral tone. This is an energetic,

lifted wine with lovely length.

Price: € 15

http://www.bruno-dangin.com

Grapes used for Crémant de Bourgogne need to be uncrushed before they go into the press

Domaine Bruno Dangin

+33 6 88 87 19 79

GUILLEMAN 87/100

D Brut Elégance: Brilliant golden hue. Charming

nose driven by white-fleshed fruits with a floral touch.

Lively attack, ethereal palate displaying welcome

crunchy, striking aromatic intensity that is fairly vinous.

Long-lasting finish. A great Crémant for gougères.

Price: € 9.30

http://www.domaineguilleman.fr

Domaine Guilleman

+33 3 80 81 40 03

HENRI CHAMPLIAU 87/100

CR D Brut rosé: Pale salmon-pink. Charming nose

offering up rose, dried flowers, citrus and red berry fruit

notes. Very supple palate with delicate effervescence.

The fruit is very pure and crisp in this charming Crémant

for a romantic aperitif.

Price: € 13

https://www.henri-champliau.com/index.php/fr/

Henri Champliau

+33 7 63 84 58 98

CAVES BAILLY-LAPIERRE 86/100

D Brut Pinot Noir: Pale gold with silvery green tints.

A mix of fresh grape, plum and mirabelle plum on the

nose with a dash of red fruits. Fresh, vinous palate

with a fruity edge that clearly steers towards red fruit.

A complex Brut with an invigorating finish for a tapas

evening.

Price: € 8.90

http://www.bailly-lapierre.fr

Caves Bailly-Lapierre

+33 3 86 42 88 70

For a detailed explanation of scores and wine

colours and the meaning

of symbols and abbreviations, refer

to the instructions at the start

of the magazine.

OUR SUMMER

SELECTION

South Africa

Cap Classique

Cap Classique, the country’s star

sparkling wine, is celebrating its 50th

anniversary, giving us a great opportunity

to share the results of our recent tastings

with you.

WESTERN CAPE

CEDERBERG

CEDERBERG WINES 84/100

D Methode Cap Classique Brut 2016:

Price: € 13

https://www.cederbergwine.com

Cederberg Wines Cellar

+27 27 482 2827

WESTERN CAPE

LE LUDE 95/100

D Reserve Agrafe 2013: Light yellow. Biscotti and

sour dough nose with hints of green apple. Clean fruit

notes and lemon-lime on the crisp palate. Full, rich and

complex palate. This wine is still in it’s youth after 8

years from harvest and will go for at least another 15.

Price: € 93.15

http://www.lelude.co.za

Le Lude Winery

+27 21 100 3464

110

SUMMER 2021– GILBERT & GAILLARD – THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


SOUTH AFRICA - Cap Classique

L’ORMARINS 94/100

D Blanc de Blancs 2013: Very light yellow.

Butterscotch nose citrus. Crisp and refreshing on the

palate with lime drops and a green apple finish.

Elegant and refined. A great example. Drink through

2030.

Price: € 12

http://www.rupertwines.com

Anthonij Rupert Wyne

+27 21 874 9026

SILVERTHORN WINES 94/100

D Jewel Box 2017: Yellow straw. Nutty and

sourdough nose with hints of secondary fruit. Crisp and

full on the rich palate with layers of stone fruit and lime.

Fine mousse and lengthy on the tangy finish. Excellent.

Price: € 17

https://www.silverthornwines.co.za

Silverthorn Wines

+27 21 788 1706

BOSCHENDAL WINES 93/100

D Brut NV: Bright yellow straw. Biscotti, brioche

nose with hints of lemon and lime. Rich and refined

on the palate with some granny smith apple and lime

following from the nose. Fine mousse and a lengthy,

tangy finsih. Delicious.

Price: € 10.18

https://www.boschendal.com

Boschendal Wine Estate

+27 21 870 4200

BOSCHENDAL WINES 93/100

D Jean Le Long 2009: Light yellow straw. Subdued

nose with hints of yellow stone fruit and quince. Palate

is rich and full with a well-integrated acidity. Secondary

fruit notes of peach and apricot. Fine mousse and a

well-integrated acidity. Clean and crisp on the finish.

Price: € 47.68

https://www.boschendal.com

Boschendal Wine Estate

+27 21 870 4200

KLEINE ZALZE VINTAGE BRUT MCC 93/100

D 2015: Light yellow straw. Biscotti and sourdough

nose with fresh lemon peel. Nutty and full on the palate

with a well-integrated acidity and a pithy mid-palate.

Rich and creamy with a lengthy finish. Complex and

rich. Excellent.

Price: € 13.91

http://www.kleinezalze.co.za

Kleine Zalze

+27 21 880 0717

KRONE 93/100

D Kaaimansgat Blanc de Blancs 2016: Yellow

straw. Sour dough, biscotti and a hint of smoky toast.

Palate is fresh, lively with a fresh apple and white pear

note. Lively and youthful with a slight nutty note on the

finish. Complex and rich with a lingering acidity on the

aftertaste. Great !

Price: € 31.40

https://www.kronecapclassique.co.za

Krone

+27 23 230 0680

LE LUDE 92/100

D Reserve Brut Rosé: Light salmon to onion-skin.

Floral, red berry fruit and fresh fruit salad nose. Crisp

and fresh on the palate with a racy acidity and green

apple finish. Clean, fruit-forward and zesty. This wine

is fantastic now, but will age for many years to come.

Price: € 18.63

http://www.lelude.co.za

Le Lude Winery

+27 21 100 3464

ANURA 91/100

D MCC Brut Vintage 2014: Yellow gold. Sourdough

and biscotti nose with hints of nuttyness. Palate is full

and rich with sourdough following from the nose. Lime

on the well-integrated finish with a fine mousse. Drink

now.

Price: € 10

https://www.anura.co.za

Anura Vineyards

+27 21 875 5360

BOSCHENDAL WINES 90/100

D Brut Rosé NV: Light salmon to onion-skin. Red

apple and fruit salad nose. Fine mousse and fresh fruit

notes on the palate with a zesty finish. Refined and

elegant with a pithyness on the aftertaste. A well made

wine that will age for many years.

Price: € 10.47

https://www.boschendal.com

Boschendal Wine Estate

+27 21 870 4200

GENEVIEVE METHODE CAP CLASSIQUE 90/100

D Blanc de Blancs 2016: Bright yellow. Subdued

nose with hints of sourdough and biscotti. Foamy

mousse with distinct lime on the finsh and a wellintegrated

tangy acidity. Drink now through 2026.

Price: € 12

https://www.genevievemcc.co.za

Genevieve Methode Cap Classique

+27 83 302 6562

LE LUDE 90/100

D Venus Brut Nature Millesime 2014: Golden straw.

Full and rich nose with hints of smoky toast and subdued

fresh apple. Racy acidity and lemon-lime palate with

a very fizzy bubble on the finish. This wine will age

forever. Good now, but needs time in the bottle.

Price: € 39.59

http://www.lelude.co.za

Le Lude Winery

+27 21 100 3464

BOREALIS VINTAGE CUVEE BRUT 89/100

D 2019

Price: € 7

https://www.kronecapclassique.co.za

Krone

+27 23 230 0680

PERDEBERG VINEYARD COLLECTION 89/100

D Pinot Noir Rosé 2019

Price: € 7

http://www.perdeberg.co.za

Perdeberg Wines (Pty) Ltd

+27 21 869 8244

TEUBES FAMILY WINES 89/100

D Karoobossie 2020

Price: € 7

http://www.teubeswines.co.za

Teubes Family Wines

+27 27 213 2377

PIERRE JOURDAN 88/100

D Blanc de Blancs Cap Classique 2016

Price: € 13

https://www.cabriere.co.za

Haute Cabriére

+27 21 876 2630

STEENBERG VINEYARDS 88/100

D 1682 Chardonnay Cap Classique:

https://www.steenbergfarm.com

Steenberg Vineyards

27 217 132 211

BOLAND CELLAR 87/100

D MCC Brut Chenin Blanc 2017

Price: € 10

http://www.bolandcellar.co.za

Boland Cellar

27 823 232 747

KAAPSE VONKEL 87/100

D Brut Rosé 2019

Price: € 8

http://www.simonsig.co.za

Simonsig Estate Wine

+27 21 888 4900

KLEINE ZALZE BRUT MCC 87/100

D

Price: € 8.36

http://www.kleinezalze.co.za

Kleine Zalze

+27 21 880 0717

PIERRE JOURDAN 87/100

D Brut Cap Classique

Price: € 7

https://www.cabriere.co.za

Haute Cabriére

+27 21 876 2630

PIERRE JOURDAN 87/100

D Belle Rose Cap Classique

Price: € 7

https://www.cabriere.co.za

Haute Cabriére

+27 21 876 2630

KAAPSE VONKEL 86/100

D Brut 2019

Price: € 8

http://www.simonsig.co.za

Simonsig Estate Wine

+27 21 888 4900

KRONE 86/100

D Borealis Vintage Cuvee Brut 2018

Price: € 10.06

https://www.kronecapclassique.co.za

Krone

+27 23 230 0680

PIERRE JOURDAN 86/100

D Belle Nectar Cap Classique

Price: € 7

https://www.cabriere.co.za

Haute Cabriére

+27 21 876 2630

TANZANITE WINES 86/100

D Brut

Price: € 8

http://www.tanzanitewines.co.za

Tanzanite Wines

+27 82 555 8105

ALAIN CAJEUX 85/100

D Brut Chardonnay 2018

Price: € 8

http://www.dutoitskloof.co.za

Cape Vinea

+27 23 349 1601

SUMMER 2021 – GILBERT & GAILLARD – THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 111


SOUTH AFRICA - Cap Classique

PUBS_CUVEES_G&G_N°44_Mise en page 1 22/06/2021 11:42 Page 1

KLEINE ZALZE BRUT ROSÉ MCC 83/100

D

Price: € 8.35

http://www.kleinezalze.co.za

Kleine Zalze

+27 21 880 0717

PONGRÁCZ BRUT 87/100

D

Price: € 6.76

http://www.distell.co.za

Distell

+27 21 886 5640

ROBERTSON

GRAHAM BECK 94/100

D Cuvee Clive 2015: Golden straw. Fruit salad

and biscotti nose with hints of apple core. Palate is

rich and full with lots of secondary notes of sour dough

and biscotti. Lengthy and rich on the palate. A full and

creamy wine that will age for many years.

Price: € 35

https://www.grahambeck.com/contact

Graham Beck

27 236 261 214

GRAHAM BECK 93/100

D Ultra Brut 2015: Golden straw. Fresh granny

smith apple and lime on the nose. Rich on the palate

without too much nuttyness and biscotti. Crisp lemon

and lime finish with a lingering acidity. Drink now or

keep for many years to come. Fantastic.

Price: € 15

https://www.grahambeck.com/contact

Graham Beck

27 236 261 214

STELLENBOSCH

PONGRÁCZ DESIDERIUS 95/100

D 2013: Light yellow straw. Nutty, toasty and

sourdough nose. Palate is full and complex with a very

fine mousse. Elegant and rich. More secondary fruit

notes than fresh. Crisp, but well-integrated acidity on

the finish. At it’s optimum now. Excellent wine.

Price: € 20.61

http://www.distell.co.za

Distell

+27 21 886 5640

PONGRÁCZ DESIDERIUS ROSÉ 93/100

D: Light salmon pink. Subdued nose with hints of

fresh red apple. Full and complex palate with apple

core and a pithy stone fruit finish. Red berries and sour

cherry on the aftertaste. Complex and layered. Drink

now through 2025.

Price: € 6.76

http://www.distell.co.za

Distell

+27 21 886 5640

PONGRÁCZ DESIDERIUS BLANC DE BLANCS 90/100

D: Light yellow straw. Biscotti, brioche and fresh

apple nose. Crisp and fruit-forward palate with a a

clean yellow apple finish. Well-integrated acidity and

fine mousse. Mineral and elegant. Drink now through

2025.

Price: € 6.77

http://www.distell.co.za

Distell

+27 21 886 5640

WESTERN CAPE -

BREEDE RIVER VALLEY

BREEDEKLOOF

DEETLEFS 90/100

D Methode Cap Classique 2018: Light yellow.

Subdued nose with hints of fresh lime. Palate is crisp

and refreshing with fruit salad and quince on the finish.

Complex and rich with a lengthy finish. Drink thorugh

2018.

Price: € 12

http://www.deetlefs.com

Deetlefs Wine Estate

+27 23 349 1260

PAUL RENÉ 91/100

D Chardonnay Brut 2017: Light yellow. Biscotti

and sourdough nose with hints of lime. Crisp and fresh

on the full palate with a refined mousse. Tangy and

refreshing on the finish. Drink now through 2030.

Price: € 10

https://www.paulrenemcc.co.za

Paul René

+27 23 626 2212

SILVERTHORN WINES 90/100

D The Green Man 2018: Very light yellow.

Sourdough and nutty nose with hints of fresh fruit salad.

Rich and creamy on the palate with a fine mousse and

lengthy pithy finish. Apple core and lime drops on the

aftertaste. Drink though 2026.

Price: € 13

https://www.silverthornwines.co.za

Silverthorn Wines

+27 21 788 1706

PAUL RENÉ 89/100

D Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Rosé 2018:

Price: € 10

https://www.paulrenemcc.co.za

Paul René

+27 23 626 2212

VAN LOVEREN 88/100

D Christina MCC Brut:

Price: € 6

http://www.vanloveren.co.za

Van Loveren

+27 23 6151505

WESTERN CAPE -

CAPE SOUTH COAST

ELGIN

TOKARA 93/100

see details on next column

TOKARA

93/100

■ Cap Classique Blanc de Blancs 2013

D Very light yellow. Complex nose with secondary

fruit and a slight hint of sourdough. Floral and crisp

on the tangy palate with a fine mousse and well-integrated

acidity. Lenghty and pithy on the finish. Drink

through 2030. Price: € 59.95

PRESENTATION : An exceptional occasion deserves an

exceptional wine and prestigious family-owned

Stellenbosch estate Tokara is celebrating the 50 th

anniversary of Cap Classique with an ultra-stylish new

2013 vintage. The consummate Blanc de Blancs was

crafted entirely from Tokara’s outstanding cool climate

Chardonnay vineyard in Elgin. Its extraordinary depth

of flavour, elegance and complexity stem from barrel

maturation of the base wine for eight months, then seven

years on the lees in the bottle to develop richness and

finesse. An incredibly fine, consistent mousse lifted by

aromas of lightly toasted almonds, lemon preserve and

a trace of fresh green apple with freshly baked gougère

on the palate set it apart. As does its distinctive bottle,

lending gravitas and sophistication, and its exquisite gift

packaging that completes the narrative.

Tel.: +27 21 808 5913

E-mail: suzanne@tokara.com

Website: http://www.tokara.com

112

SUMMER 2021– GILBERT & GAILLARD – THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


SOUTH AFRICA - Cap Classique

BOSCHENDAL WINES 92/100

D Grande Cuvée Brut 2015: Very light yellow.

Fresh fruit salad nose with hints of sourdough. Palate

is light and crisp with a pithy apple-core mid-palate.

Lengthy on the finish with a fine mousse. Great now,

but will age for many more years.

Price: € 16.86

https://www.boschendal.com

Boschendal Wine Estate

+27 21 870 4200

CHARLES FOX CIPHER 90/100

1 2015: Light golden straw. Nutty nose with hints

of stewed fruit. Complex and rich palate with hints of

lemon-lime and a crisp green apple finish. Fine mousse

with a tangy finish. Drink through 2026.

Price: € 30.67

https://www.charlesfox.co.za

Charles Fox

+27 82 569 2965

CHARLES FOX VINTAGE ROSÉ 88/100

1 2015

Price: € 16.95

https://www.charlesfox.co.za

Charles Fox

+27 82 569 2965

SPIER WINES 84/100

D Cap Classique Brut Rosé 2019

Price: € 8.81

http://www.spier.co.za

Spier Wines

+27 21 881 8400

PLETTENBERG BAY

METHODE CAP CLASSIQUE 94/100

D Blanc de Blanc 2015: Golden straw. Nutty, rich

and vibrant nose with hints of lemon drops. Crisp and

refreshing on the palate with green apple and lime.

Fine mousse and lengthy on the finish. Refined and

finessed. Excellent.

Price: € 13.60

http://www.newsteadwines.com

Newstead Lund Family Vineyards

+27 76 300 9740

BITOU VINEYARDS 91/100

D Méthod Cap Classique Sauvignon Blanc 2017:

Attractive first impression. Green apple, pretty lees

notes from yeast. Unexpected well integrated acidity,

good mousse and palate weight with long finish.

Price: € 4.59

https://www.bitouvineyards.co.za

Bitou Vineyards

+27 82 927 6179

KAY & MONTY MCC CHAMPU 89/100

D Chardonnay 2016

Price: € 12.66

http://www.kayandmonty.com

Kay & Monty Vineyards

+27 79 965 9779

For a detailed explanation of scores and wine

colours and the meaning

of symbols and abbreviations, refer

to the instructions at the start

of the magazine.

WESTERN CAPE -

COASTAL REGION

CAPE TOWN

DE GRENDEL WINE ESTATE 92/100

D Brut 2017: Light yellow straw. Subdued nose

with hints of butterscotch. Creamy on the palate with a

lemon-lime finish and a fine and elegant mousse. Tangy

and tart on the finish. Great now, but will do well with

some age.

Price: € 11

https://www.degrendel.co.za

De Grendel Wine Estate

+27 21 558 6280

DE GRENDEL WINE ESTATE 90/100

D Brut Rosé 2016: Light salmon. Red berry nose

with pink apple. Sour cherry and red apple on the tart

palate. Crisp and refreshing with a fine mousse. Lengty

on the finish. Drink through 2026.

Price: € 14

https://www.degrendel.co.za

De Grendel Wine Estate

+27 21 558 6280

CAPE TOWN - CONSTANTIA

KLEIN CONSTANTIA 91/100

D Brut 2017: Very light yellow. Lime and lemon on

the nose with hints of fresh fruit-salad. Tangy on the

palate with lemon-lie following from the nose. Crisp

acidity and fresh fruit-note on the aftertaste. Refreshing

and crisp. Drink through 2026.

Price: € 13

http://www.KleinConstantia.com

Klein Constantia

+27 21 794 5188

GROOT CONSTANTIA 86/100

D Brut Rosé 2018:

Price: € 10

https://www.grootconstantia.co.za

Groot Constantia

+27 21 794 5128

COASTAL REGION

SPIER WINES 92/100

D R.D Cap Classique Brut 2013: Light yellow straw.

Biscotti and rich nose with stewed fruit notes. Elegant

and rich on the palate. Red apple and apple core with

a lemon-lime finish. Crisp and complex, but with a fresh

and crisp finish. At it’s prime now.

Price: € 23.21

http://www.spier.co.za

Spier Wines

+27 21 881 8400

DARLING

DARLING CELLARS 92/100

D Blanc de Blancs Brut 2018: Yellow gold.

Sourdough and nutty nose with hints of citrus. Full and

creamy palate with a fine mousse and a distinct lime

note on the finish. Crisp and refreshing, but layered.

Drink through 2028.

Price: € 6

http://www.darlingcellars.co.za

Darling Cellars

+27 74 683 4454

FRANSCHHOEK VALLEY

LA BRI WINES 94/100

D Sauvage 2013: Yellow straw. Biscotti and

sourdough nose with a slight nuttyness. Buttery and full

on the palate with a very fine mousse. At it’s optimum

now, but still showing lively youth and refreshing lemonlime

on the aftertaste. Excellent.

Price: € 15

https://www.labri.co.za

La Bri Wines

+27 21 876 2593

RICKETY BRIDGE 91/100

D Brut Rosé: Light onion-skin. Complex nose with

hints of red apple and rhubarb. Full and complex on

the palate with a rich mid-palate and red fruit notes.

Lengthy and elegant with a fine mousse. Drink through

2025.

Price: € 11.46

http://www.ricketybridgewinery.com

Rickety Bridge Winery

+27 21 8762 129

RICKETY BRIDGE 89/100

D Chardonnay 2017

Price: € 15.87

http://www.ricketybridgewinery.com

Rickety Bridge Winery

+27 21 8762 129

LA MOTTE 88/100

D Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2017:

Price: € 18

http://www.la-motte.com

La Motte

+27 21 876 8000

DIEU DONNÉ VINEYARDS 84/100

D MCC Brut Rosé 2018

Price: € 10

https://www.dieudonnevineyards.com

Dieu Donné Vineyards

27 212 240 667

PAARL

PERDEBERG VINEYARD COLLECTION 88/100

D Chenin Blanc 2019

Price: € 7

http://www.perdeberg.co.za

Perdeberg Wines (Pty) Ltd

+27 21 869 8244

PAARL - SIMONSBERG

BABYLONSTOREN 93/100

D Sprankel 2015: Very light yellow. Subdued nose

with fresh green apple and lime on the nose. Integrated

acidity and crisp fresh fruit on the palate with a lemonlime

note on the finish. Fine mousse. This wine will age

for many years, but great now!

Price: € 30

http://www.babylonstoren.com

Babylonstoren (Pty) Ltd

27 218 633 852

SUMMER 2021 – GILBERT & GAILLARD – THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE 113


SOUTH AFRICA - Cap Classique

STELLENBOSCH

VILLIERA 95/100

D Monro Brut 2014: Golden straw. Rich and

complex nose with fresh fruit salad and brioche. Palate

is clean and fruit-forward with a nutty note on the

aftertaste. Layered and complex with lemon and lime

tangy acidity. Beautiful.

Price: € 16.64

http://www.villiera.com

Villiera Wines

+27 21 865 2002

SIMONSIG 94/100

D Cuvée Royale 2017: Light yellow straw. Yellow

stone fruit nose with hints of sourdough. Pineapple and

litchi on the crisp palate with a tangy grenadilla note

on the finish. Fine mousse and lengthy. Great now, but

will age for many more years to come.

Price: € 20

http://www.simonsig.co.za

Simonsig Estate Wine

+27 21 888 4900

LOURENSFORD 93/100

D Cap Classique 2016: Very light yellow. Fruitsalad

nose with hints of ripe pear and apricot. Crisp

on the palate with a tangy lemon-lime note and a pithy

finish. Youthful and fresh, but showing some depth from

age. Complex and delicious. Drink through 2030.

Price: € 13

https://www.lourensford.co.za

Lourensford

27 218 472 333

SIMONSIG 92/100

D Cuvée Royale 2012: Golden straw. Developed

nose with nutty notes and sourdough. Very fine mousse

on entry with a developed nuttyness and savoury finish.

Elegant and refined. Drink now.

Price: € 20

http://www.simonsig.co.za

Simonsig Estate Wine

+27 21 888 4900

VERGELEGEN 92/100

D Vergelegen Brut MMV 2015: Very light yellow.

Subdued nose of secondary fruit notes. Pear, apple and

quince on the palate with a fine mousse. Finish reminds

of apple cider. Youthful and refreshing, yet complex

and layered. Drink now through 2030.

Price: € 20.93

https://www.vergelegen.co.za

Vergelegen

+27 21 847 2100

EIKENDAL 91/100

D Methode Cap Classique Brut 2018: Attractive

light yellow with green tint. Fresh green and yellow

apple with underlying baked apple crumble. Yeast and

freshly baked bread offers the mid palet support and

length. Drink in the next 10yrs.

Price: €

http://www.eikendal.com

Eikendal Vineyards

+27 21 855 1422

VILLIERA 91/100

D Tradition Brut Rosé: Light onion-skin. Fresh red fruit

nose with some hints of apple and quince. Tart on the

palate with a fine bubble and a distinct red berry note.

Full and rich with a well-integrated acidity. Lively and

lingering. Drink now through 2030.

This winery located in the Western Cape could easily be mistaken for a Champagne winery

Price: € 8.65

http://www.villiera.com

Villiera Wines

+27 21 865 2002

SPIER WINES 90/100

D Cap Classique Brut 2018: Light yellow straw.

Fresh fruit salad nose with hints of stone fruit. Crisp and

refreshing palate with a foamy bubble. Racy acidity

with a lemon-lime note on the finish. Classic.

Price: € 8.81

http://www.spier.co.za

Spier Wines

+27 21 881 8400

VILLIERA 90/100

D Tradition Brut: Yellow straw. Nutty, sourdough

and brioche nose with hints of dried apple. Palate is

full, rich and complex with a delicate bubble and an

apple core, pithy finish. Rich and layered. Drink now

through 2030.

Price: € 8.64

http://www.villiera.com

Villiera Wines

+27 21 865 2002

BLAAUWKLIPPEN 89/100

D Brut MCC 2019

Price: € 9

http://www.blaauwklippen.com

Blaauwklippen

+27 21 880 0133

L’AVENIR 88/100

D Pinotage Brut Rosé 2018

Price: € 12

http://www.lavenirestate.co.za

L’Avenir Estate

+27 21 889 5001

ANNA CHRISTINA 87/100

D Chardonnay 2018

Price: € 10.25

http://www.stellenbosch-hills.co.za

Stellenbosch Hills Wines

+27 21 881 3828

CAVALLI 87/100

D Capriole 2019

Price: € 12

http://www.cavallistud.com

Cavalli Estate

27 218 553 218

DEMORGENZON 87/100

D Chenin Blanc 2017

Price: € 11

https://www.demorgenzon.com

DeMorgenzon

+27 21 881 3030

STELLENBOSCH - BOTTELARY

HAZENDAL 90/100

D MCC 23.5 Blanc de Blanc 2018: Light yellow.

Fresh apple and fruit salad nose with hints of lime.

Crisp and refreshing palate with a fine mousse and

lime drops following from the palate. A youthful and

lively wine. Great!

http://www.hazendal.co.za

Hazendal

+27 21 903 5034

HAZENDAL 88/100

D MCC 23.5 Blanc de Noir 2018

http://www.hazendal.co.za

Hazendal

+27 21 903 5034

STELLENBOSCH - JONKERSHOEK

VALLEY

LANZERAC 91/100

D Blanc de Blancs Brut: Bright yellow. Lemon-lime

notes with sourdough on the nose. Clean and refreshing

entry with green apple and quince. Fine mousse with

an integrated acidity. At it’s prime now. Delicious.

Price: € 14

http://www.lanzerac.co.za

Lanzerac Wine Estate

+27 21 887 1132

WELLINGTON

BOSMAN FAMILY VINEYARDS 83/100

D Loose Canon MCC 2017

Price: € 10

http://www.bosmanwines.com

Bosman Family Vineyards

+27 21 873 3170

114

SUMMER 2021– GILBERT & GAILLARD – THE FRENCH EXPERTS ON WINE


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