Wines in the Press
05 October 2016 - Countrylife: What to drink this week by Harry Eyres
"Germany has a proud tradition of Pinot Noir, aka Spätburgunder, but,until recently, it was confined to a couple of spots in the Rheingau, making pale wines more admired in the home market than abroad, and the warmer southerly region of Baden. Now, partly thanks to climate change—dramatic in Germany, where the number of good vintages per decade has trebledin 30 years—Pinot Noir is thriving in almost all the great German wine regions." Harry Eyres
August Kesseler works in one of the traditional Spätburgunder hotspots in the Rheingau, but makes wines quite different from the pale numbers of the past. His Pinot Noir, Spätburgunder Trocken 2014 (£27.50; www.justerinis.com) has a beautiful deep cherry nose, sweet strawberry fruit and considerable complexity. Even better is his Cuvée Max, Spätburgunder Trocken 2014 (£45.50; www.justerinis.com), which shows great finesse, precision and length, with a superb finish. Bernhard Huber in Baden is another top-notch Spätburgunder producer, bringing out the nuances of different hillside sites. His Spätburgunder Alte Reben 2014 (£24.50; www.justerinis.com) has floral perfume and raspberry fruit. Of Huber’s single vineyard Grosses Gewächs sites, Bienenberg is more lively and fresh and Sommerhalde has superb mineral complexity (both 2014, £34.50; www.justerinis.com).
27 September 2016 - Hottest New Names in Napa by Elin McCoy
Bloomberg’s wine critic sniffs out eight ambitious upstarts, plus their bottles to buy.
"Massimo di Costanzo, whose winemaking stints included Screaming Eagle, prefers elegant, old-style cabernet. He buys grapes from the well-known Farella Vineyard in Napa’s latest "it" sub region, Coombsville, in the southeastern part of the valley.
2013 Di Costanzo Farella Vineyard. Rich, bright yet deep, this cabernet sauvignon is wonderfully balanced and has a strong mineral taste from the volcanic ash soil."
27 September 2016 - Decanter: Elio Altare
"Slight, good humoured and self-effacing, Elio Altare has become a patriarchal figure to generations of Barolo producers. He has stuck to his guns, never ceases to experiment and the wines continue to be beautiful."
Elio Altare, Barolo, 2006: "Wonderfully perfumed, lifted nose of cherries and strawberries. But there's nothing too overtly pretty about he palate, which is concentrated, suave and pungent without being hot. It's intense and long, both chewy and ethereal as it isn't too extracted. Very Stylish. 92
Elio Altare, Arborina, Barolo 2009: "Very perfumed raspberry nose, showing purity of fruit, charm and finesse. Although medium-bodied, there is ample tannin on the palate. Concentrated but lively, with a light touch that gives elegance and length." 92
26 September 2016 - Jefford on Monday: High on the Hill
Andrew Jefford hears the Napa Mountain story from one of its most thoughtful practitioners, Chris Howell of Cain.
"It always amazes me how swiftly, as Howell suggests, you can leave the bustle and thrust of the USA’s foremost wine artery and find yourself in a part-agricultural landscape of absolute loneliness and solitude. Ideal for a thoughtful viticultural observer of philosophical bent; not a bad spot, either, to fashion Napa wines which come closer to a true European ideal than most."
Cain, Cain Concept, 2008: "Deep though not saturated black-red in colour, with dark, brooding scents of black fruits, embers and earth. On the palate, the wine is vivid, textured and deep, with a fuller-lipped profile than the Cain Five, supported by ample tannins and rounded, almost glowing acidity. 92 points / 100"
Cain, Cain Five, 2008: "The aromas are quietly enticing, subtle and savoury. Some blackberry and black cherry fruit overlies the wine’s closely woven, structured, satisfying flavours. There’s nothing ostentatiously voluptuous or sweet about this Bordeaux blend; instead it puts you in mind of field and forest. 93"
13 September 2016 - Ventoux: Wild Wild East by Matt Walls
"It’s not just men of the cloth that are being drawn to Ventoux – what was once a quiet backwater is now one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of the Rhône."
Château Unang ‘La Gardy’ 2012 (14.5%)
An organic estate towards the south of the central growing area with good quality across the whole of their range. Only made in the best years from “whatever impresses us”; this is 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah and Roussanne. Full-bodied, but with elevated fruit, sublime freshness and velvet tannins. A bevy of berries; loganberry, raspberry, wild strawberry and blueberry with some earthy undertones bringing complexity. Lovely balance, full of life. 93 points.
Chêne Bleu ‘Abélard’ 2010 (15.0%)
This has retained a good depth of deep red colour. Leather, truffle, sous-bois and spicy oak, cigar ash and cedar – wonderfully complex nose. Remarkably together still for a Ventoux of this age – full-bodied, with good tannic structure and fruit – there is still life here. Bravo! Though the oak is prominent. 92 points.
Château Unang ‘La Croix’ 2013 (14.5%; Justerini & Brooks, 2012)
La Croix is 2/3 Grenache, 1/3 Syrah & Cinsault. Expressive raspberry, strawberry and Victoria plum fruits with an intriguing hint of eucalyptus. There is underlying oak here, but it’s sensitively used and supports the vibrant, intense fruit. It has power, but isn’t overly concentrated or heavy. 91 points.
23 August 2016 - Decanter: Palliser Estate's Great Hector 2013
Palliser Estate is not one of the earliest Martinborough producers, but it is on the of best - thank, at least in part, to the experienced and thoughtful winemaker Allan Johnson. in very good vintages, usually once every two years, a barrel selection is made to produce a wine for their small batch Great Dog series. In this case eight barrels were selected from a total of about 400. The blended wine had a 25% whole-cluster component for extra structure and complexity.
MB: A nose of real charm and elegance. Beautifully balanced palate which is not too jammy or lean and has a luscious concentration. A graceful grip on the finish, which exudes length and complexity.
CP: Heavenly floral and coffee-bean aromas roll into candied peel and ripe plum flavours. Full of power and tremendous complexity: vegetal, nutty and lack-fruit driven. Very exciting.
PT: Dazzling wild strawberries on the nose and palate: attractively poised and welcoming. Personal, authentic, charming and very long.
31 July 2016 - The Times Magazine: German wines are the toast of Summer by Damian Barr
04 May 2016 - 2015 Bordeaux En Primeur: A Door Half Open? by Ella Lister
"I think the highs are very high, though not uniform," summarized Chadwick Delaney, managing director of Justerini & Brooks. He believes it's down to the producers to make the campaign work now. "This vintage should be used by the estates to bring people back to Bordeaux, not for squeezing the last Euro," he warns. "The bigger prize is to bring Bordeaux back to pre-eminence," he declared.
Delaney reported that as J&B delivered this message from château to château, everyone seemed to understand, "with one notable exception." There has been a tendency in the past, on the part of the producers, to appear to understand the pricing dilemma in relation to Bordeaux as a whole, but to feel their wine is somehow an exception. I heard fewer justifications or excuses this year.
Delaney advises châteaux "not to worry about what your neighbor does but what the customer will do." There has been some consternation in Bordeaux about the Brits offering advice, or "bashing" Bordeaux (culminating in the open letter sent in January 2015).
The large British merchants have not quite given up on en primeur yet, but neither should their interest and input be taken for granted. Delaney is hopeful for a "very good campaign," implying that for J&B it should be bigger in revenue terms than the past four. Nonetheless, gone are the likes of 2009 and 2010 -- "There isn't the demand and there won't be the supply," he says, referring to the increasing number of châteaux keeping back a substantial amount of inventory.
You can read the full article here:
07 March 2016 - 'Bordeaux is the Benchmark...' by Will Lyons
In recent years, prices have skyrocketed - Will Lyons goes in search of the good stuff that won't break the bank. Bordeaux is important. It is still the finest red wine in the world and, for many winemakers, it is the benchmark. That's why I spend every April driving round Bordeaux, tasting the new vintage from barrel. The good news is you don't have to spend hundreds of pounds for a taste of Bordeaux magic. I have found many examples, under £25, that are ready to drink within two to five years of bottling.
Chateau Reynon, Premieres Cote de Bordeaux, 2009. £11.96
04 March 2016 - Chateau Greysac 2008 Médoc, Jancis Robinson's Wine of the Week
24 February 2016 - 'Top Burgundy 2014 wines – en primeur scores,' by J. Thexton for Decanter
Who topped the Burgundy 2014 en primeur charts following comprehensive tastings in both France and London by Decanter experts Stephen Brook and Gérard Basset OBE MW MS? Clue: it wasn't Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.See Decanter’s top Burgundy 2014 wines by score. You’ve seen Decanter’s best value Burgundy 2014 wines, so now it’s on to the very top – regardless of price. A lot of well-known names are there, of course, but it might not be who you’d expect at the very top of the list. The top 30 are below. Stephen Brook and Gerard Basset OBE MW MS tasted more than 1,460 Burgundy 2014 wines between them. They said a challenging year that has yielded some classic reds and beautifully approachable whites. Chablis scores were particularly high for this vintage. ‘2014 is a vintage for lovers of classic Chablis with fresh fruit and nuances of iodine coupled with a-well chiselled palate,’ said Basset. ‘There are plenty of superb wines with great intensity but also real elegance.’
Domaine Armand Rousseau, Chambertin Grand Cru 2014 (97 points)
Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Les Perrières Meursault 1er Cru 2014 (97 points)
Domaine Armand Rousseau, Clos-St-Jacques Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru 2014 (96 points)
Clos de Tart, Grand Cru Monopole 2014 (96 points)
Domaine du Clos des Lambrays, Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2014 (96 points)
Domaine Dujac, Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2014 (96 points)
Domaine Etienne Sauzet, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 (96 points)
Domaine Leflaive, Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 (96 points)
23 February 2016 - 'Best value Burgundy 2014,' by Stephen Brook for Decanter
Stephen Brook has selected en primeur wines from the Burgundy 2014 vintage that offer best value for money - and are all 89 points and above. More than 1,000 Burgundy 2014 en primeur wines were rated and tasted for Decanter by Gérard Basset OBE MW MS and Stephen Brook. See their overview of the Burgundy 2014 vintage.
Robert Chevillon, Vieilles Vignes, Nuits-St-Georges 2014 (92 points)
30 January 2016 - 'London's Burgundy Week...A great vintage for whites,' by Anthony Rose for the Independent
Anthony Rose has discovered a plethora of exceptional value, deliciously rich and flavoursome wines. London's Burgundy Week and the buzz it engenders kick starts the wine year like no other. This January was even crazier than usual with 19 wine-merchant tastings in three days and throngs of consumers waving credit cards like Union Jacks at a Royal wedding. Why? Because 2014 has been heralded as a great vintage for whites and a good one for reds, thanks to beautiful spring weather, followed by a cool August and then an Indian summer.The compression of these tastings and the ensuing consumer demand is because of the limited quantities of the greatest wines, but the word Burgundy needn't raise price alarm bells. There's a big price disparity between village and grand cru with surprisingly good value at a time of a weak euro. Hew Blair of Justerini & Brooks, which started the en primeur Burgundy ball rolling 25 years ago, reckons that J&B sells three-quarters of its allocation of premier and grand cru Burgundies during the six weeks or so of the offer.
Etienne Sauzet's excellent Bourgogne, Tufera, £155, J&B (justerinis./com/burgundy2014).
22 January 2016 - 'Vintage value,' by Jancis Robinson for The Financial Times
From one of the posher merchants, Rémi Rollin deserves special mention for his 2014s. Rémi Rollin, Sous le Bois de Noël et Belles Filles 2014 Pernand-Vergelesses Rouge (£150 Justerini & Brooks) is an underpriced delight, as is his Rémi Rollin, Sous Frétille Premier Cru 2014 Pernand-Vergelesses (£285 Justerini & Brooks).
21 January 2016 - Restorative riesling by Victoria Moore for The Telegraph
Dönnhoff Riesling, a refreshing white wine, is the perfect antidote to the winter blues, says Victoria Moore. I’ve been brightening up the suddenly sharply cold January nights with an old favourite. Not, as you might expect, a bolstering red, but a lucid white: Dönnhoff Riesling 2013 Nahe, Germany available at Justerini & Brooks.
I love the softness of the Dönnhoff style. The wines have a dove-like grace that is undercut with acidity that is swift and sharp and refreshing. This one tastes of white peaches and white nectarines. It’s not dry – there are about 20-30g/l of residual sugar, balanced by that bright acidity, which gives the same impression of sweetness as biting into a ripe green melon that’s been dressed with lime. If you’re eating chilli then you actually need some sugar to deal with the heat – without it, a wine tastes two-dimensional, as if it’s been stripped of flavour.
17 January 2016 - 'Burgundy's 2014 Wines Priced in U.K. Below Previous Vintages,' by Guy Collins for Bloomberg
Burgundy 2014 wines on show at London tastings over the past week are being offered at U.K. prices below those for the 2013 and 2012 vintages, helped by favorable harvest weather and sterling’s strength against the euro. White wines are showing more consistent quality than reds, after chardonnay ripened well in sunny September conditions that year, according to merchants Justerini & Brooks Ltd.
The view that 2014 will be more a vintage for whites than reds in Burgundy, with quality boosted by the favorable harvest weather, was in evidence at other London tastings as well. “It was a better September than August,” said Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director at Justerini & Brooks.
15 January 2016 - '2014 Burgundy: Whites Shine Brightest,' by Adam Lechmere
The Burgundy 2014 en primeur tastings in London have been the most satisfying for many years, and that is mainly because of the alluring quality of the white wines. The reds are charming, pretty, early-drinking, and in many cases magnificent, but it is the white wines which have seduced critics and merchants. It is always gratifying when hype seems justified, and Burgundy has been talking up the 2014 Chardonnay for months. Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director at Justerini & Brooks, said the whites "must be considered great".
Burgundy 2014 – wines to look out for:
Domaine de Montille, Puligny-Montrachet, Le Cailleret 1er Cru
Rich sweet elegantly earthy nose, very pretty; the palate opulent, with rich apple notes and above them, guava and other exotics. Lovely acidic length. Superb.
Justerini & Brooks £81.46 (bottle). Drink 2018-2030
Tollot-Beaut, Chorey-les-Beaune, Piece du Chapitre
What a delicate nose with hint of sandalwood. On the palate the tannins grip and release, grip and release, allowing gentle waves of wild strawberry and blueberry fruit to show. Juicy throughout. A wine of huge character.
Justerini & Brooks £90 (6 bots in bond) Drink 2018-2035
06 December 2015 - 'The Dream Team...' The Sunday Times by Will Lyons
2014 Terrasses Regis, Domaine Boucabeille, Cotes du Rousillion, France
"Brimming with character, this has plenty of drinkable, rustic red fruit." £8.46
04 October 2015 - 'Barr Fly' Break open the bubbly, it's raining Champagne...
"A huge pop heralds the gentlest softest bubbles, giving a voluptuous mouth feel. Ripe, white peaches make you think Bellini, but it would be a crime to adulterate this." £19.15
To regain its crown, we must think and drink beyond the obvious sparkle. "People are starting to view Champagne not just as a celebratory drink, but as a region," says Julian Campbell, buyer at Justerini & Brooks. "Explore differences between villages, smaller growers and vintage variation - it's worth stocking up on the 2008s that are just starting to appear."
25 August 2015 - Pinot with Style - 'Wine of the Week' in Country Life by Harry Eyres
"The excellent value Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Gris 2013 (£100 per dozen) has a subtle, layered nose - aromatic buyt not too obviously so - and is rich-textured with a spicy crisp finish."
The best New Zealand Pinot Gris is much more in the richly textured, aromatic Alsace manner than the characterless Italian one. And there is a Pinot Noir connection, because Martinborough in the south-east corner of the North Island and Otago in the South turn out to have brilliant terroir for both these kinds of Pinot.
25 August 2015 - A Case for Chianti - 'Wine of the Week' in Country Life by Harry Eyres
"A more recent revelation for me has been Monteraponi - Its wines from high vineyards - near Radda- are not over done in any way; the standard Chianti Classico 2013 (£120 for a box of 12) has beautiful. transparent, sappy fruit and great freshness. The Riserva II Campitello 2012 (£135 for box of six) is even better, with raspberry as well as cherry notes on the nose, considerable depth but still liveliness on the palate."
Chianti shouldn't be heavy, in my view, and not overtly oaky either. It's more like Burgundy - the aromatic product of small plots of land on often stony hillsides - than smooth, well-upholstered Bordeaux.
10 April 2014 - Sancerre Rouge: The Connoisseur's Wine by Will Lyons
"THIS WINE IS PERFECT for sipping in a wine bar," says Clément Pinard, pointing at a glass of his Sancerre Rouge. "Perhaps while you are waiting for your girlfriend," he adds. "With a small light hanging down from above."
It's an attractive mental picture but I think Mr. Pinard, who runs Sancerre's Domaine Pinard with his brother, Florent, may be getting a little carried away, so I look at my glass and take a sniff. The red wine is slightly pale—if I hold it up to the light I can see through it—and on this serving, it is slightly chilled. The first thing that strikes me is its perfume; there is an obvious whiff of blackcurrant and raspberry. I take a sip. What a gloriously light texture, a thrilling acidity that refreshes but doesn't overwhelm the palate. I look at Mr. Pinard and think: You know, the wine bar analogy works. I could see myself nursing a glass, waiting for someone special to arrive.
We're drinking Pinot Noir. Not from Burgundy or California but from the Loire Valley, from the fertile hills of Sancerre, a cluster of villages best known for producing Sauvignon Blanc with a fresh, grassy style. But the region also produces red wine and at this time of year, these juicy, fresh, medium-light-bodied wines make for sensational drinking.
These are wines that taste of the soil. As Mr. Pinard says, they almost act like a sponge, translating the flavors from the soil into the glass. What I find is a sort of chalky aftertaste in the mouth, which is what makes them so attractive when paired with food, particularly local dishes such as pork, paté and the huge array of seafood dishes favored in the region. If ever there was a red wine made to go with fish, this is it.
But they are also wines that the connoisseurs drink—those with the inside track who know that while Pinot Noir may be more famous in Burgundy, it's been planted in the Loire Valley since the Middle Ages. As Mark Walford, director of British wine merchant Richards Walford, told me: "They are the wines I buy for myself and jolly good they are, too."
In fact, the wine trade has been active in the Loire since the Middle Ages when the Plantagenet kings of England had their wines shipped from the port of Nantes.
When we think of the Loire, our imaginations naturally conjure up images of Renaissance châteaux, medieval fortresses and crisp, white wine. Pinot Noir isn't necessarily the first grape variety that springs to mind. But the Loire shares the same soil as Burgundy; where it differs is in the weather. In Sancerre they have colder nights and warmer days, which makes a big difference in the flavor of the wine. Grown in the Loire, Pinot Noir takes on a spicy edge and possesses more of a black pepper character than it does in Burgundy.
“A glorious light texture, a thrilling acidity that refreshes but doesn't overwhelm the palate ”
The other great red grape variety of the Loire is Cabernet Franc, which thrives on the chalky soils of Bourgeuil, Chinon and Saumur-Champigny.
Frédéric Mabileau, Bernard Baudry, Charles Joguet, Jacky Blot of Domaine de la Butte and Yannick Amirault are all producers worth looking out for.
In their youth, these wines can be a little astringent or green with a hard edge, but when they age and the vintage conditions have led to ripe grapes, the best examples display an attractive fruit character from damson to loganberry and dark berry. They also take on a note of tobacco or pencil shavings.
With their naturally high acidity these are wines that can also be served chilled. One can easily imagine drinking them from a carafe in a Parisian bistro to wash down a hearty steak-frites—waiting for someone special, of course.
22 August 2013 - Côtes du Rhône: Fit for a Pope by Will Lyons
AT A RECENT GATHERING of Californian winemakers in London, one rather frustrated Napa vigneron lamented that, outside of the U.S., most oenophiles still refer to his winemaking region as the "New World." The problem, someone pointed out from the floor, is that it's true—compared with many European wine regions, California has only been making wine for five minutes.
France, for example, has a winemaking lineage that stretches back thousands of vintages to the Romans and before. One region, the Rhône Valley, a vast area south of Lyon, has a particularly exalted heritage.
In 1309, the papal court moved to Avignon from Rome and, not entirely satisfied with the wine he was sourcing from Burgundy, the pope decided to plant his own vineyards nearby, most notably in Châteauneuf, where he owned a castle and land. Today, the ruined castle is still visible on a hill overlooking the Rhône, and the red wine, a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, recognizable by the papal coat of arms embossed on the bottle neck, still delights with its warming, luscious, sweet-fruited appeal.
Which brings us back to our Californian vigneron, for, while prices in the Napa have soared into triple digits, the wines of the Rhône are still relatively affordable.
Red wines dominate in this cluster of regions I liken to a pack of cards. In the north, there are the famous appellations such as Cornas, Saint-Joseph, Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. These are your kings and queens, producing wines that, at their best, have a deep color, a full-rounded texture and a distinctive white-pepper character on the nose. Producers to look out for include Thierry Allemand in Cornas, Jean-Louis Chave, and Paul Jaboulet in Hermitage, Alain Graillot in Crozes-Hermitage, André Perret in Saint-Joseph, and Domaine René Rostaing and Clusel-Roch in Côte-Rôtie.
"Châteauneuf-du-Pape still delights with its warming, luscious, sweet-fruited appeal.”
Then we head south to a landscape dotted with pine trees and olive groves, where the wines become more meaty, spicy and full- bodied. This is home to Côtes du Rhône—an all-encompassing appellation that makes juicy red wine for immediate consumption. This area features a variety of departments, including Lirac and Côtes du Luberon, which are your two to 10 in the pack. Cheaper than the kings and queens, they are dependably drinkable.
If Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the Jack, the ace in the pack is the trio of Southern Rhône appellations: Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Rasteau, which consistently produce great-value, gutsy red wines that have a dark-fruit and gamy character.
Whites from the Rhône, based around Viognier, Clairette and Roussanne—among many other grape varieties—are characterized by their freshness, low acidity and aromas of honey and herbs or, in the case of Condrieu, a distinctive pear aroma.
Rhône wines shouldn't be over-intellectualized but enjoyed, with smoked fish in the case of the whites or, in the case of the reds, meaty stews. Wines to drink, enjoy and toast the region's long, long history.
09 August 2013 - Justerini's Grosse Gewächse offer by Julia Harding MW
"This is a small prelude to next week, which is German Week on JancisRobinson.com. This little selection of 11 Erste and Grosse Gewächse Rieslings tasted yesterday afternoon chez Justerini & Brooks in London's St James's shows off three regions, five producers and three vintages. Not sufficient to draw conclusions except to the amount of pleasure these drier Rieslings can offer as they start to come into their own. For each wine I have given the price per bottle duty paid (including everything except delivery) and per case in bond. You couldn't call them cheap but they are mostly good value for money, some of them astonishingly..."
To view the full article, please see Julia Harding MW's enthusiastic assessment of them on Jancis Robinson's website: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/tasting_articles/ta201308081.html (subscription required).
28 July 2012 - ‘Best red wines for summer’ – The Times by Jane MacQuitty
Justerini & Brooks Red Burgundy, France J&B refuse to name the classy burgundy domaine that this wine comes from. At least I can reveal that it comes from the grand 2009 red burgundy vintage and frankly, with so much gorgeous pinot noir fruit to the ... who cares about the nitty-gritty of provenance. Three decades-ago, a fresh young, juicy red burgundy such as this one bursting with layer upon layer of seductive, rip, rose, game and damson-packed fruit just would not have been made. A big hurray for fruit first burgundy. Justerini & Brooks Pomerol, Jean-Pierre Moueix, France Struggling through a double-depression even J&B’s well needed customers might like to check out this wine merchants stunning range of great value for money house wines. Swoon over this heavenly summer claret from the good, not great 2008 vintage. Mostly merlot with a dash of Cabinet franc, its all bold, beefy, velvety, spiced plum fruit.