Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2021

Vintage Report: Bordeaux 2021

Tuesday 3rd May 2022
by Tom Jenkins

Vingt-et-un… the luck of the draw


After two years tasting in gardens and via zoom, our recent primeurs trip marked a welcome return to Bordeaux. In truth, we had no expectations about this vintage. Unusually, chateaux have been playing their cards close to their chests, so we approached with no preconceptions.

A few points on the tastings themselves. The UGC calendar was delayed by about three weeks. This move has been welcomed. The extra time in barrel (even a couple of weeks) makes the wines much easier to assess. Our whole UK Private Client Team, as well as five Buyers, spent four days tasting barrel samples. Some might consider this overkill; however, for an advice-based business like Justerinis, we feel that this is essential. We believe salespeople need first-hand tasting experience in order to inform and advise. This is particularly valuable in vintages like 2021. 

2021 threw just about everything at winemakers: frost, mildew, lack of sunshine and the threat of rain at harvest; yet those who manged the conditions and held their nerve have been rewarded with something quite ravishing and unique. It would be easy to write off a vintage like 2021 based on meteorological data, but that would be a disservice. While it requires some attention, there are undoubtedly many wines collectors will want in their cellars.

A Portugal Party

A Portugal Party

Wednesday 27th April 2022
by Mark Dearing

Justerini & Brooks is delighted to have introduced three new, exclusive Portuguese producers to our portfolio for Spring 2022, as well as a classic, well-priced rendition of Vinho Verde from respected co-operative Adega de Moncao which hails from the prime, northern reaches of the Vinho Verde appellation. 

Spain and Portugal Buyer Mark Dearing says of the new additions, “this is really an evolution of the continued interest and demand for small family estates and indigenous varieties we have seen in Spain in recent years. Where we have a long history of importing the finest fortified wines of Portugal, it was becoming increasingly clear that the local wine scene in Portugal has reached a really exciting juncture as we look ahead in 2022. I am absolutely delighted that we can now boast three genuinely young, refreshing projects, each with a contemporary feel, but with philosophies that respect the traditions of their respective regions.”

All in the name of progress – Calon Segur vertical

All in the name of progress – Calon Segur vertical

Saturday 2nd April 2022
by Tom Jenkins

All in the name of progress – Calon Segur vertical

A providentially timed email resulted in an invitation we couldn’t refuse – a vertical tasting with Vincent Millet, followed by lunch in the recently refurbished chateau. This proved to be a fascinating opportunity to gauge the progress of Calon Segur over the last decade and enjoy some memorable bottles.

We started with 2008, when the vineyard was planted with 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot at a density as low as 5,000 vines per hectare, below the AOC limit. Today, after a massive re-planting program, the vineyards are planted at a density of 10,000 feet per hectare, and Cabernet plays are more dominant role (59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 30% Merlot). This has been a long and labourious process and it isn’t finished yet. Vincent explained that there are still 11 hectares to grub up; the last parcel won’t be completed until 2035. We finished with our first glimpse at their outstanding 2019. The intervening years demonstrate the chateau’s relentless pursuit of quality and continuing refinement.

The Communes of Barolo and Barbaresco

The Communes of Barolo and Barbaresco

Wednesday 30th March 2022
by Mark Dearing

The Communes of Barolo and Barbaresco

We understand that many Justerini & Brooks customers are fully au fait with the intricacies of the Piedmont’s two principal wine regions; Barolo and Barbaresco, but for those less familiar, or perhaps just in need of a refresher, we provide here a summary of the key comnes in both regions. When one considers the diversity of soil, elevation, aspect and micro-climate across the Langhe, even before the complexities of vine age, clonal variation, training methods and winemaking technique, it becomes ever-clearer that the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco comprise some of the most terroir-driven of any wine region in the world. 

In the context of noteworthy single cru Barolo and Barbaresco, the likes of which are represented in our offer today, a little insight into the broad characteristics of each commune may help to narrow down a selection of wines that will appeal to your personal tastes. To the connoisseurs, we hope that a simple overview might tempt a move into new areas, or some lesser-known crus, in the pursuit of diverse and contemporary Barolo and Barbaresco collections.

For your convenience, we have also included a summary of the single crus we offer from each commune. While there are a total of eleven approved communes in the DOCG Barolo appellation, we have opted to focus only on the most prominent six. Not included are Roddi, Grinzane Cavour, Novello (home to Ravera – an increasingly famous single vineyard), Cherasco and Diano d’Alba. In Barbaresco we have opted not to include San Rocco Seno d'Elvio. 

Rooting for the Underdog: Our Piedmont 2018 Trip

Rooting for the Underdog: Our Piedmont 2018 Trip

Tuesday 22nd March 2022
by Mark Dearing

After two years away, it was a great pleasure for us to be back in Piedmont last week to taste the new vintages in Barolo and Barbaresco.

However, initially at least, we were greeted by a few long faces, as producers bristled about the reviews some of the upcoming 2018s have received. Whether it’s a case of critics tasting the wines too young, or in the wrong season, or simply with the wrong mindset, we don’t know, but we at Justerini & Brooks are delighted to report that in our week in the region we tasted and will be buying a significant number of really delicious, archetypal Nebbiolos. Moreover, we feel that vineyard signatures are as clear as ever, and if the wines are not the powerhouses that are generally adorned with big scores, then so much the better for the Italian-lover seeking wines that they can enjoy in the early going.

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