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Past Offers

Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru Champagne NV

Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru Champagne NV

'Grower' Champagnes offer some of the highest quality and best value drinking in the region, but are still something of a well kept secret in the UK.

Made from grapes grown by the producers themselves (not bulk bought like the big brand equivalents), these are hand-crafted, single estate wines that would sell for a lot more if they could match the marketing power of the big Champagne houses.

The Fresne Ducret 'Les Nouveaux Explorateurs' Premier Cru NV is an outstandingly good example, with that perfect balance of ripe fruit, rich, brioche-like yeastiness and crisp (but not too crisp!) acidity.

The Fresne family have been growing grapes in Champagne for 7 generations. Their vines are in the 1er Cru village of Villedommange, near Reims, and today it is Pierre Fresne who oversees the whole operation - from vineyard management through to the dosage, riddling and final corking.

The resulting Champagnes are a testament to the family's meticulous production methods and the quality of the domaine's Premier Cru terroir.

Offered: November 2020.

Alcohol: 12%.

Drinking window: 2020 – 2024.

Food matching: Excellent as an aperitif but even better with smoked salmon or potted shrimp.

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Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Pouilly-Loche, En Chantone 2018

Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Pouilly-Loche, En Chantone 2018

The Domaine.

Oliver Giroux bought Le Clos des Rocs as an ambitious young winemaker back in 2002. Since then, minute attention to detail in the vineyard, organic conversion and a low intervention approach in the winery has turned it into a highly respected Maconnais estate. He has 8 hectares of vines spread over 3 local appellations - Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Fuissé and Macon-Fuissé.

The Wine.

Medium bodied, crisp and lively. Beautifully balanced. Orange zest, lemon, floral notes and subtly integrated oak. Serious white Burgundy that is outstanding for the price. 

Offered: October 2020.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Vintage report: Plenty of rain during the winter served the vines well during a long, hot summer. The result was a high quality, bumper crop. 

Drinking window: Excellent now but will age well through to 2028 if you hang on to it. 

Food matching: Has the richness and intensity to make a delicious match for roast chicken.

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Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Macon-Fuisse, Blanches Terres 2018

Domaine du Clos des Rocs, Macon-Fuisse, Blanches Terres 2018

The Domaine.

Oliver Giroux bought Le Clos des Rocs as an ambitious young winemaker back in 2002. Since then, minute attention to detail in the vineyard, organic conversion and a low intervention approach in the winery has turned it into a highly respected Maconnais estate. He has 8 hectares of vines spread over 3 local appellations - Pouilly-Loché, Pouilly-Fuissé and Macon-Fuissé.

The Wine.

Beautifully balanced, vibrant, medium bodied white. Stone fruits, citrus and a touch of oak. Very well made white Burgundy for the price. 

Offered: October 2020.

Alcohol: 13.5%

Vintage report: Plenty of rain during the winter served the vines well during a long, hot summer. The result was a high quality, bumper crop. 

Drinking window: Drink now - 2024. 

Food matching: Delicious with mushroom risotto or shellfish.

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Le Bois des Dentelles, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, France 2019

Le Bois des Dentelles, Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, France 2019

David Gaugué's tiny 1 hectare estate sits in the shadow of the Dentelles de Montmirail (pictured) in Plan de Dieu – a small appellation in between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas in the Southern Rhône.

The estate is organically certified and the crop hand harvested by David, his family and friends.

His 2019 is unfiltered and unfined to avoid stripping the wine of any character so it might throw a tiny deposit, but as a result, the juice itself absolutely sings – it's incredibly vibrant with juicy red fruit flavours, a lovely freshness and delicate herbal notes from the garrigue that covers the hills in the area.

Offered: October 2020.

Alcohol: 14.5%

Vintage report: A mild spring followed by a very hot summer has resulted in low-ish yields but excellent quality. The best examples in the southern Rhône are concentrated but balanced with a lovely freshness. 

Drinking window: It is so good at the moment with its youthful fruitiness and ripe tannins but it will develop well, so you could always hang on to a few bottles and see how it matures over the next 3 – 4 years.

Food matching: Hearty beef or game stews, roast beef. Hard cheeses.

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Chateau Rives-Blanques, Blanquette de Limoux, Languedoc, France 2017

Chateau Rives-Blanques, Blanquette de Limoux, Languedoc, France 2017

Back in the 19th Century Blanquette de Limoux graced the tables of the Czars of Russia and the President of the USA alike. Today, you don't see an awful lot of it around but it is well worth seeking out as a summery alternative to Champagne.

The Panman's is a glorious example and excellent value. (Jancis Robinson reckons that the Limoux region "makes some of France’s best value sparkling wines" and consistently picks out this Blanquette de Limoux as one of her favourite fizzes).

Made from the Mauzac grape (known as Blanquette locally), the Château Rives-Blanques 2016 is crisp, delicate and appley with a subtle toasty, bready aroma from the one year ageing on the lees.

It will make for excellent summer refreshment.

Offered: July 2020.

Alcohol: 12.5%

Vintage report: A tricky vintage with very low yields and a hot summer. Quality very good, just not much quantity.

Drinking window: 2020 – 2025.

Food matching: Drink as an aperitif or with shellfish.

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Domaine de l'Edre, Carrement Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2019

Domaine de l'Edre, Carrement Rouge, Cotes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel, France 2019

Domaine de l’Edre operates along the lines of the ‘garagiste’ producers in Bordeaux in that they have a few hectares of old vines with exceptional terroir, and a small cellar in town where they produce tiny quantities of sensationally good wine.

The crucial difference though is that this is Roussillon, not Bordeaux, so the value for money is MUCH better.

The Carrément Rouge 2019 is Syrah-dominated with 3 other grapes making up the blend - Carignan, Mourvèdre and Grenache. It is unoaked, with a fresh, red fruit character and delicate notes of garrigue. People talk of tension in wine, referring to a sort of vibrancy and balance. This wine is a fine example of this - more-ishly delicious and everything in its right place.

Offered: June 2020.

Alcohol: 14.8%.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2025.

Food matching: Grilled steak, game, lamb chops and hard cheeses.

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Nages Liberty Blanc, France NV

Nages Liberty Blanc, France NV

The Wine.

The Nages Liberty white is a sort of declassified Costières de Nîmes in that the blend contains a small amount of Colombard, a grape not allowed in Costières de Nîmes AOC wines. As a result, it is labelled as a simple non-vintage Vin de France. Unoaked, minerally and zesty with delicate aromas of grapefruit, passion fruit and tangerine

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier, it has become one of the leading estates in the Costières de Nîmes. They farm organically and as sustainably as possible, keeping the use of copper fungicides to a minimum (although they are allowed in organic farming) and grazing sheep on the land between October and March to fertilise the soil, keep weeds under control and avoid compaction of the soil caused by tractors.

The Appellation.

Costières de Nîmes is a small region in southern France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean. It boasts enviable growing conditions, with plenty of sun, a plateau of well drained pebbly ground and the Mistral breeze acting as a natural fungicide by keeping the air moving among the vines.

Offered: May 2020.

Alcohol: 12.5%.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2021.

Food matching: Summer salads, grilled fish or young hard cheeses.

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Nages Liberty Rouge, Vin de France NV

Nages Liberty Rouge, Vin de France NV

The Wine.

The Nages Liberty red is a sort of declassified Costières de Nîmes in that the blend contains a small amount of Merlot, a grape not allowed in Costières de Nîmes AOC wines. As a result, it is labelled as a simple non-vintage Vin de France. Lively, fruity and delicately balanced it is an easy drinking beauty at just 12.5% abv.

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier, it has become one of the leading estates in the Costières de Nîmes. They farm organically and as sustainably as possible, keeping the use of copper fungicides to a minimum (although they are allowed in organic farming) and grazing sheep on the land between October and March to fertilise the soil, keep weeds under control and avoid compaction of the soil caused by tractors.

The Appellation.

Costières de Nîmes is a small region in southern France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean. It boasts enviable growing conditions, with plenty of sun, a plateau of well drained pebbly ground and the Mistral breeze acting as a natural fungicide by keeping the air moving among the vines.

Offered: May 2020.

Alcohol: 12.5%.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2021.

Food matching: Roast chicken, pizza, medium strength hard cheeses such as Ossau Iraty or Comté.

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Yannick Cadiou, Chablis, France 2018

Yannick Cadiou, Chablis, France 2018

Yannick Cadiou was until recently the head vigneron for Domaine Laroche, one of Chablis' grandest domaines. He now has his own, meticulously managed little estate and is turning out small amounts of first-rate Chablis at very good prices.

His parcel of vineyards are organically farmed and hand harvested. Yields are low but as a result, the wines are wonderfully fragrant and intense. This crisp, mineral, fruit forward 2018 is a mouth-wateringly good example.

Offered: April 2020.

Alcohol: 12.5% abv.

Vintage Report: 2018 was a hot, high yielding and early vintage which produced some excellent, ripe wines across the region. 

Tasting Notes: Unoaked and elegant at 12.5% abv; fresh and minerally with ripe citrus fruit (lemon and grapefruit) and floral notes.

Drinking window: At its best 2020 - 2028.

Food matching: Drink with smoked salmon, vegetable risotto or hard cheeses such as Comté or Gruyère, to name a few.

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Chateau de Nages JT, Costieres de Nimes, France 2016

Chateau de Nages JT, Costieres de Nimes, France 2016

The Wine.

Deep, fruity and smooth, the JT 2016 has that more-ish quality you find in ripe, perfectly balanced wines, and a complexity that reveals something new with every sip. I thought it was completely delicious and as Rhône expert, Jeb Dunnuck said, it has the class of Syrahs at twice the price.

The Estate.

Château de Nages has been in the same family for four generations and under current owner and winemaker, Michel Gassier, it has become one of the leading estates in the Costières de Nîmes. They farm organically and as sustainably as possible, keeping the use of copper fungicides to a minimum (although they are allowed in organic farming) and grazing sheep on the land between October and March to fertilise the soil, keep weeds under control and avoid compaction of the soil caused by tractors.

The Appellation.

Costières de Nîmes is a small region in southern France where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean. It boasts enviable growing conditions, with plenty of sun, a plateau of well drained pebbly ground and the Mistral breeze acting as a natural fungicide by keeping the air moving among the vines.

Offered: 2020.

Alcohol: 14.5%.

Vintage report: Superlative. Winemaker Michel Gassier reckoned this was the best vintage of his 23 year career.

Drinking window: 2020 - 2024.

Food matching: Roast lamb; hard, flavoursome cow's or sheep's milk cheeses.

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