NEWS PRESS

Deutz Amour de Deutz Rose' Top Champagne Decanter Magazine

02/26/2016
Deutz, Amour de Deutz Rose, Vision Wine Brands, Decanter Magazine

A new king has ascended in the kingdom of Deutz Rose'. It takes all the wizardry and resources of Deutz to create a new rose of such thrilling towering magnificence, at once ethereal in its elegance, precise in its definition and fairy-light on its feet, yet grand in its presence and depth of fruit power. An instant addition to Champagne's top tier of roses.

By Tyson Stelzer  97/100 Points

 

93 points for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Cabernet

12/10/2015

From Wine Enthusiast, December 2015:

Cellar Selection; 93pts

From a vineyard planted in 1981 in the hills above what became Silicon Valley, this shows soy sauce, sesame, black olive, dill, beef jerky and the darkest of black fruits on the nose. The palate continues the Asian flavor theme, with teriyaki, Chinese five spice and hoisin sauce as well as blueberry paste, dusty leather and crushed rocks, framed by strong structure and bright acidity. Drink 2017–2027.

 

South Africa: Mullineux Wines, Astronaut and Accountant by Neil

12/01/2015

South Africa: Mullineux Wines, Astronaut and Accountant

A few years ago, a box of samples landed on my doorstep. A friend in the United Kingdom had sent them for a rendezvous with my palate. It was accompanied by a message, something along the lines of "Neal, check out these guys. They're making some great South African wine." I wasn't expecting an oxymoron so early in the day.

Great?

South African wine?

Such vernacular had rarely been found co-habiting the same sentence at a time when, at least in respect of its wine, South Africa was a post-apartheid whipping boy. Still there was nothing on TV, so I tasted the wines. If they were pants then, I could always pour it into the coq au vin. Lo and behold they were not bad...not bad at all...quite nice in fact...oh hello...we've finished the bottle...wasn't expecting that...better look at the label...

Chris and Andrea, pictured last year

The winery answered to the name of Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards. The winemakers were Chris and Andrea Mullineux. My interest had been piqued. A decade later, I ask Andrea how she fell into winemaking, and it transpires that her childhood dreams lay upwards...

"I grew up with my mother's Italian-American family outside of San Francisco," she told me. "Everyone in my family was either a scientist or an artist. Food, wine and family events were very important, so the culture was engrained in me. But until I was 17, I actually wanted to be an astronaut."

Now this I find interesting. I could actually imagine Andrea floating in the cosmos, like Sandra Bullock in "Gravity" though preferably without the cataclysmic space debris.

"...then soon after my first trip to Italy at that age, I decided that I wanted to combine art and science and life on Earth, specifically a vineyard would be just perfect. So I started studying Viticulture & Oenology in the Fermentation Science department of UC Davis. After graduating, I worked in the Napa Valley a few years at Cakebread, El Molino and Viader before deciding to do an internship in South Africa."

I asked the same question to her hubby Chris. Andrea wanted to be an astronaut. Did Chris aspire to something as equally inter-galactic? Erm...

"For me it was not a single moment. I grew up in Johannesburg and didn't have much exposure to wine or NASA. I was pretty good with numbers though, and decided to study accountancy. Yes, so far the story isn't looking that promising. Fortunately though, I enrolled to study at Stellenbosch and while I struggled getting my head around debits and credits, I started to develop this thing for wine. I joined up with the University's Wine Culture Society. We would go on wine tours hosted by the winemakers every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, and within a couple of years I had visited pretty much every winery in the Cape, and was absolutely fascinated by it all. Back in class, it was increasingly difficult to motivate myself. In the middle of this very early midlife crisis, I discovered you could study winemaking and that was it for me!"

NASA and KPMG's loss was winemaking's gain. As I mentioned earlier, they both found themselves working at Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards (since reborn as Fable Mountain Vineyards and doing very nicely under the guardianship of another young couple). Then in 2004, enter one eRP forum regular, the man who originally sent me those samples, one Keith Prothero...

"I visited Chris when he was working at TMV in 2004. Did a tasting at the cellar door and was so impressed that then and there, I told him if he ever wanted to set up his own winery, I would back him. It took three more years of persuasion as I visited him at TMV every year. Finally, Andrea, who had since become his partner, persuaded him it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I persuaded them to call it Mullineux, as Chris was not keen at all on using his name. It has been an interesting and rewarding journey."

Keith audaciously introduced their maiden Straw Wine by serving it blind against Château Yquem 1986 after a Manchurian feast at The Ledbury. Might as well start where you mean to go on - at the top - and step into the ring with the best. Needless to say, around the table several preferred the South African sweet wine that was barely out of diapers to famous Sauternes served to Russian tsars in the 19th century. It created a few waves. Scribes including myself started writing columns of praise. The wine delivered where it mattered - in the bottle.

It was the beginning of what is now known as the Swartland Revolution. That second word is no marketing spin, no hyperbole. It was exactly that. It altered opinion not only towards this hitherto unknown enclave of the Cape, but began dismantling perceptions towards the South African wine industry. Chris and Andrea Mullineux became figureheads in that revolution alongside Eben Sadie and Adi Badenhorst: Eben the shamanic guru, the philosopher, the mindset; Adi epitomizing the almost gung-ho, carefree, quasi-hippy image. Chris and Andrea? They were the ideal couple: young and clean cut (at least compared to Adi...though that's not saying much.) Uniting them all and indeed those that followed, were similar tenets towards terroir, viticulture and winemaking. There was a shared goal of what Swartland could be, ipso facto, what South Africa can achieve. That unity has been crucial, creating a movement that challenged prejudices against South Africa; it woke a few people up at home and aboard. The headline? South Africa can produce world-class, terroir-driven wines.

I began meeting the couple on frequent trips to their leading export market, here in the United Kingdom. Andrea came across as the more dynamic and outgoing of the two, perhaps more garrulous than her husband. She's one of those West Coast girls always switched on. I don't think I've ever seen Andrea in stand-by mode. She has an infectious "can do" attitude that came across when we toured the vineyard this year. Chris is a bit quieter that Andrea, a little more reserved at times, but he shares the same wry sense of humour. Their amiability soon won them friends and coupled with business-like nous, their initially limited range of labels expanded to showcase Swartland's geological make-up, and translate its nuances via vineyard-focused, minimal intervention winemaking. Certainly Eben Sadie was an influential figure, likewise viticultural expert Rosa Kruger, who crucially played matchmaker - linking them up with precious old vine stock, a role she continues today.

In some ways, they've made it look easy, when in reality it takes a lot of sweat and tears, travelling overseas to promote their wines, balancing the books, constantly toiling in the vines and bringing up a couple of nippers all at the same time. We journalists just see the idealistic side of winemaking, not the hard work or the dips in fortune, the long and often lonely hours, the personal expenditures that are necessary to drive a name like Mullineux to the forefront of consumers' minds when thinking of top South African wine. It's been a pleasure to watch their little empire expand, and a new chapter is about to open with a new backer who has allowed them to expand their horizons more than I suspect they could have ever envisaged. So perhaps now is an opportune time to focus on Mullineux. Looking back, Andrea kindly invited me to what was the first and only complete vertical of their award-winning Straw Wine, and looking forward, to their new ventures away from Swartland. First, I asked them about the new set-up for the retitled "Mullineux and Leeu" in terms of vineyards both in Swartland and now in Franschhoek, in particular with the Granite, Schist and Iron vineyards etc.

"Mullineux remains an entirely Swartland brand and Roundstone is the base for Mullineux. All of the Mullineux brand wines remain unchanged in terms of vineyards, winemaking and imagery, including all of the single terroir wines. The company name has changed and that is reflected on the back label, where company details are mentioned. So the back label says 'Mullineux and Leeu Family Wines'."

"The main change is that we are starting an additional NEW brand and we are waiting for the trademark registration to finalize before making any announcements of the name. It will be from exciting vineyards that are NOT in the Swartland, nor will they be Chenin Blanc or Syrah. This came about because Rosa Kruger was always showing us amazing alternative vineyards but we couldn't use them for Mullineux because they were not Swartland. When the new partnership with [backer] Mr. Singh began, it was a fantastic opportunity to create a new brand using vineyards we were not able to use before. We have made wine for the new brand, but it is not bottled yet. The home base will be at the Leeu Estate in Franschhoek, though the wines will not necessarily be estate. Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines will consist of two brands with two home bases and two stories: Mullineux including Kloof Street, Mullineux and Mullineux Single Terroir and eventually the new line: non-Swartland, non-Syrah, non-Chenin."

Andrea Mullineux pictured during a tour of the vineyards in Swartland in September 2015

I get the sense now that you and Chris have a more solid foundation in terms of vineyard in Swartland, i.e. whereas before you were dependent on contracts with farmers, now you've got a solid base. Would that be correct?

"This is correct," replied Andrea. "We felt the need to create a solid foundation mostly for vineyard security; however, we will continue to lease other vineyards for complexity in blends and to work with different expressions of varieties on soils other than our own Schist vineyards."

I asked Chris and Andrea to adumbrate their approach in the winery with respect to both their white and red wines.

"The white wines we always press whole bunch. This is gentler, but also it reduces the amount of potassium released from the skins, helping us to preserve the natural acidity in the grapes. The whites are barrel fermented and there is a small amount of new oak in large format barrel and/or foudres, but mostly neutral barrels. We have only ever used ambient/natural wild yeast and malo[lactic] on all of our wines, and the batches tend to be fermented separately. We promote juice oxidation before fermentation for better aging potential later in life."

"The red wines often have a percentage of whole bunch clusters in them. The fragrance and grip brought by the whole bunch has become a signature in our wines. The percentage can change from year to year depending more on vineyard health rather than stem ripeness (we do not necessarily look for lignification). We are VERY gentle with our reds for this reason. Unless the fermentation vessels are very small: four tons or less. We actually prefer pump-overs as opposed to punch downs, so that we do not extract negative tannins or astringency from the stems."

One statement that piqued my interested was Andrea's comment about lignification, since I assume it is sine qua non unless you want greenness in your wine. So I asked her to explain.

"I can divulge into this because you have already tasted the wines. We are always learning, but the main thing to always consider that in the cellar/vineyard, there is no recipe when making wine from vineyard to vineyard, variety to variety, and vintage to vintage. Our use of stems has been based on ten years of trial and error. If we think a variety and vineyard is suitable for whole bunch fermentation, we try it as a small percentage and/or separate batch. If it works, we increase it (as it tends to make a style we like). If it doesn't work, we don't force it to and we will de-stem it the next year."

"One thing we have learned is that a stem that "looks" lignified has nothing to do with the quality of the finished product. We only know if that vineyard works for whole bunch or not almost a year after the wine is made. We've had some very brown stems make not so nice whole bunch wines and less likely candidates make beautiful wines (and vice-versa). ANY time we use whole bunches, we are extra careful with the cap. There are no shortcuts in this business."

I wondered how the couple divvies up responsibilities and whether they have ever disagreed on something important such as picking date.

"I am in the winery more and Chris in the vineyard. We make all the picking and blending decisions together though. When we disagree, it is only to push boundaries that we feel will improve quality. It is always constructive and we have the same end goal in mind, even if we would take two different paths to get there. I often think that if Chris and I were put in two separate rooms with all of the blending components, we would come up with the same result! Picking date disagreements tend to be minor because the harvest is so short and because we pick by hand, picks can last a few days in the same vineyard. We often treat each pick like a blending component anyway, so we learn what works best only after the wine in finished and then the next year fine tune the picking even more."

Ditto, the Straw Wine. We did a vertical of course...what did that make you think when you went back over those older vintages?

"The Straw Wine comes from two vineyards that are laid underneath trees for three weeks to dry the grapes. We like it when one side is greener and one is drier. The Straw Wine always gets picked in batches over several days due to the amount of time it takes to lay the bunches out for drying. Of course, different levels of ripeness enhance complexity but in general the grapes come in between 21 and 24 balling (same as the Mullineux White). We decide when to press based mostly on how the grapes visually look. Half-raisined but still some juice. It takes 24 hours to press and spends the next nine-or-so months fermenting in barrel. It stops naturally every year, so the final residual sugar and alcohol are different depending on the vintage."

A happy Andrea and her "baby" Straw Wines, the first time she had undertaken a complete vertical

"As I mentioned, I had never done a straight vertical of the Straw Wine with anyone before, so it made me think deeper about it. The wine becomes more textured as it ages, finishing almost dryer, which for me is a good thing as it makes the wine more more-ish. I was the most surprised by the 2009, the sweetest, as it had lost anything that might have been cloying about it when it was young. The 2011 was really shining and it was the most balanced. The 2013 I think will follow the 2011 more than some of the other vintages. I was very happy to see each wine on its own journey."

And you've got your new wine, Olerasay. Could you tell me about this?

"The Olerasay is a Solera of Straw Wine starting in 2008 through to 2014. Every year Chris and I held back two barrels of our Straw Wine with the intention of making a solera by topping up the old vintages with the younger, but we did not tell too many people about it because we did not have a set release date. We also could not predict how the wine would evolve in the barrel. What was the biggest surprise was the fact the wine, after several years, started getting lighter and "finer". Anything that could have oxidized did and then fell away. Instead of making something nutty and dark, we ended up with a vibrant, lengthy straw wine."

"I think it is the best example of anything we have made. For me it is more complex than any of our vintage straw wines and stays on my palate for several minutes with this crazy length. I am absolutely thrilled with it. Of course, we kept back two barrels that we will use to build up the solera again and we will only release it in another five to seven years."

You've been at the forefront of the Swartland revolution. How do you see the future?

"We are so thrilled to be part of the Swartland Revolution. I am writing to you from New York and the Swartland is on everyone's lips (a few years behind London, but that is how things grow). Each retailer and restaurant lights up when I say "Swartland" where as a couple of years ago, people would have said: "Where?" I am, however, very aware that trends come and go in the wine industry and we won't be the new kids on the block forever. What I do see is that we are part of a group imprinting a stamp of quality from a new region on the world of wine and that is the important factor that is timeless. In a few years, when there is another region on the lips of those hipper than I, the quality of Swartland wines will be what keeps them around and prominent."

It will be fascinating to see where the next chapter of the Mullineux story takes them. Some fear that the expansion of holdings and regions means that their time and talent could be spread too thin. I think that is something to be wary of. Don't forsake what you have built up already by your ambitions. Though they are clever enough to know what is within their means and you get the impression that both are itching to apply their craft beyond the Swartland borders (after all, it's a bit closer to home than Priorat where Eben Sadie managed a winery, since relinquished). Perhaps on one of those starry Swartland nights, Andrea sits on her veranda and looks up at the moon, wondering not whether in another life she might have travelled there on an Apollo mission, but whether there's some decent lunar terroir.

—Neal Martin

 

Wine Advocate Visits Sami-Odi in Barossa

11/30/2015

One of the most exciting new producers I tasted during my recent Barossa visit in September this year was Sami-Odi. Started in 2006 by New Zealand husband and wife team, Fraser (the winemaker) and Andy (a practicing veterinarian) McKinley, this is a straight-up tiny operation built on diligent, thoughtful winemaking that is true to both the terroir and the couple's vision. And refreshingly, these guys are not trying to be too clever with their approach, which is quite simply about taking no short-cuts and making the best possible Shiraz from a small but very great vineyard.

 

When Fraser first moved to the region, like many young winemakers with high quality aspirations he did a stint at Torbreck. Then in 2006 he began by looking after just 1/3 of a vineyard in the Ebeneezer sub-district of the Barossa, owned by the locally famous grower, Adrian Hoffman. It was four rows only then, all organically farmed, from a section planted in 1995. In 2007, Fraser made the first Sami-Odi wine from this fruit and expanded vineyard area and production slowly from there.

 

During my visit, Fraser opened for me a bottle of every wine he had ever made under the Sami-Odi label, even those very first experimental years. "In the beginning it was about not wanting to add water to wine and wanting to make light, elegant wines. But it also didn't make any sense to make anything too light and pink from the Barossa," Fraser candidly explained. "I found where I was comfortable around 2012." Those early 2007 and 2008 vintages labelled '0.354' (in reference to the vineyard size) are a little rough around the edges, while the 2008 'MCMXIIP' label made from older vines in the vineyard is far more interesting and later vintages - 2012 and 2013 in particular - more interesting still... in fact downright brilliant.

Fraser McKinley at Sami-Odi

All the Sami-Odi wines are 100% Shiraz, all from that same single vineyard, albeit a larger section of it. Fraser now manages 2.8 hectares of this Hoffman (Dalwitz) vineyard in Ebeneezer. The oldest section has vines that were planted somewhere between 1888 and 1912, the youngest was planted in 1996.

 

Fraser explained that he keeps the production small because he likes to be able to do everything himself. There is nothing fancy or unusual about the winemaking except perhaps the inclusion of 100% whole cluster in every year but 2008, when the grapes were hand destemmed.

 

Two wines are now released each year: a "vintaged" wine and a blend of vintages called "Little Wine". The vintaged wine is composed of the best barrels and the NV is a blend of three vintages. 2011 was the catalyst for making a "second" wine - "Little Wine" - as Fraser declassified the fruit that year opting not to make a vintaged wine. From 2008, each year the vintage Shiraz release is given a new name and label. The non-vintage "Little Wine" label continues to be a blend of vintages from declassified lots that don't make the cut for the Sami-Odi vintage wine.

 

Given the vineyard size and ancient age of some of the vines, as you may guess yields and production are very small and were especially small in 2014. 2014 and 2013 were heavily frosted. 2013 produced yields for Fraser of just 11 hl/ha and 2014 was a minuscule 5.7 hl/ha. Therefore, in 2014 Fraser produced just 250 cases of the Sami-Odi 'XIV' Shiraz.

 

After my visit, it occurred to me to email Fraser and ask him what the rather unusual Sami-Odi name meant. Here was his reply:

"The name 'Sami-Odi' is derived from a series of found objects - in a similar way that Marcel Duchamp used found objects in his collection of 'Readymades'. It is a name that means little to most but has plenty of substance for my wife Andy and I. 'Sami' is derived from a small wooden boat that Andy shot (she is a skilled yet humble photographer) whilst we were travelling across the southern coast of Turkey in 2001, in Üçagiz to be exact. 'ODI' is the title chapter of an antique book printed on beautifully stained and worn paper that we found strewn across an old table in a Roman market the same year. It appealed to me as many of the pages contained little or no text which leant plenty of space for me to sketch and draw as we travelled (see the 2009 label which includes a 'detail' sketch of the Museo del Prado in Madrid). Both the 'Sami' photo and images sketched on 'ODI' paper have adorned the walls of our numerous kitchens and living rooms over the last 14 years and are a constant reminder of our journey thus far and where this turn in our lives began."

 

 

Vision Wine Brands - 90 points+ Wines

11/24/2015
Item  Size Vintage Ratings
California      
   Sojourn Winery      
Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 12/750 2013 91 WA 
Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 12/750 2012 90 WA
Chardonnay Sangiacomo 12/750 2013 90 WA
Chardonnay Sangiacomo 12/750 2012 91 WA 90 Vinous
Pinot Noir Gap's Crown 12/750 2013 95 WA 96 PR 94 WE
Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 12/750 2013 95 Pinot Report
Pinot Noir Rodgers 12/750 2013 95 Pinot Report
Pinot Noir Rodgers 12/750 2012 92 WA, 90 Vinous 90 WE
Pinot Noir Sangiacomo 12/750 2013 91 WA 96 PR 91 WE
Pinot Noir Wohler's VYD - Russian River 12/750 2013 91 WE
       
   Bella       
Dry Creek Zinfandel  12/750 2009 93 WE 90 WS
Alexander Valley Big River Ranch 12/750 2009 92 WE
       
   Armida       
Zinfandel Maple VYD  12/750 2012 90 WS
       
   Sheldon Winery      
Pinot Noir Kendric VYD - Marin City  12/750 2006 91 Vinous, 90 WE
Cabernet Sauvignon D'Alliard 12/750 2012 90 Vinous
Grenache Vinolocity Vogelzang 12/750 2008 90 Vinous
Weatherly Cuvee Red Blend 12/750 2010 91 Vinous
       
   Goldschmidt Vineyards      
Cabernet Sauvignon - "Plus" Vyborny  6/750ml 2006 93 WE, 93 Vinous
Cabernet Sauvignon - "Plus" Vyborny  6/750ml 2007 94 Vinous
Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Yoeman 6/750ml 2012 90 WS
Cabernet Sauvignon - Katherine 12/750ml 2013 90 Tasting Panel
Cabernet Sauvignon - Hilary 12/750 2013 91 Tasting Panel
Cabernet Sauvignon - Game Ranch 6/750 2012 92 Tasting Panel
Cabernet Sauvignon Yoeman Plus 6/750 2009 94 Tasting Panel
       
   Korbin Kameron - Sonoma Mt.      
Merlot - Sonoma  Valley  6/750ml 2008 91 WE
Cuvee Kristin - BDX Blend  6/750ml 2008 93 WE
       
   Forefathers by Nick Goldschmidt      
Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Tree 6/750ml 2012 90 Tasting Panel
Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc 'Waxeye' VYD 12/750ml 2014 90 Tasting Panel
       
   Gordon Estate      
Cabernet Sauvignon 'Six' 6/750 2010 92 WE
Estate Syrah 12/750 2012 91 WE, Editor's Choice
       
   John McClelland      
Charbonon Napa 6/750 2012 90 WE
       
   Santa Cruz Mountain Winery      
Cabernet Sauvignon 12/750 2012 93 WE
       
Oregon      
Pinot Noir - Roads End Estate 6/750 2011 90 Vinous
       
Argentina      
   Maipe - Lujan De Cuyo      
Malbec Reserve  12/750 2012 91 WA
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 12/750 2012 WA 92
       
   Chakana Estate      
Chakana Estate Malbec 6/750 2013 91 JS, 92 WA
       
   Tercos      
Malbec 12/750 2013 Gold Medal - New World  International Wine Competition 2015 
       
Australia       
   Ochota Barrels      
Green Room' Grenache   12/750 2012 92 Vinous
'Fugazi Vineyard' Grenache   6/750 2012 92 Vinous
'Shellac Vineyard' Shiraz  6/750 2012 93 Vinous
 'A Forest' Pinot Noir   6/750 2012 93 Vinous
A Forest' Pinot Noire 6/750 2014 90 WA
Grenache 'Fugazi VYD' 6/750 2014 93 WA
Syrah 'Shellac VYD' 6/750 2014 93+ WA
       
   Dandelion Vineyards      
Wonderland of the Eden Valley' Riesling 12/750 2012 91 WA
Red Queen of the Eden Valley 6/750 2009 92 WA, 93 Vinous
Lionheart of the Barossa' Shiraz 12/750 2011 94 Halliday
Pedro Ximenez  12/375 N/V 93 WA
March Hare of the Barossa 12/750 2012 90 WA, 90 Vinous
GSM Menagerie Barossa 12/750 2012 90+ WA, 90 Vinous
       
   Noon Wines      
Shiraz Reserve   6/750 2009 93 WA
Shiraz Reserve   6/750 2013 94 WA
Eclipse   6/750 2010 93 Vinous
Eclipse   6/750 2013 97 WA
       
   Misfits Wine Co.      
Cycle Buff Beauty  12/750 2013 90 Vinous
       
   First Drop Winery      
Fat of the Land Shiraz - Ebeneezer 6/750 2009 92 WS, 91 WA
Fat of the Land Shiraz - Greenock 6/750 2009 93 WS, 92+ WA
Fat of the Land Shiraz - Seppeltsfield 6/750 2009 92 WS,
       
   Thorn - Clarke Winery      
Shotfire Shiraz 12/750 2012 91 Vinous
Shotfire Quartage 12/750 2011 90 WA 90 WS
Shiraz Ron Thorn 3/750 2010 95 WS
Shiraz Terra Barossa 9/1l 2012 90 Vinous
       
   Adelina Wines      
Shiraz - Clare Valley  6/750 2010 93 Vinous
       
  Some Young Punks      
Lust Collides - Mataro  12/750 2009 90 Vinous
Naked on Rollerskates - Shriaz/Mataron 12/750 2013 90 Vinous
       
  Torzi Matthews      
Shiraz - Frost Dodger  12/750 2007 92 Vinous
Shiraz - Schist Rock 12/750 2008 90 Halliday
       
  Alpha Box & Dice      
Chard/Muscadelle Golden Mullet Fury  12/750 2009 90 Vinous
       
   BK Wines      
Pinot Noir Skin and Bones 12/750 2012 92 Vinous
Syrah Cult Adelaide Plains   12/750 2012 92 Vinous
       
  Jamsheed      
Roussane Warner Vyd Yarra  6/750 2011 91 Vinous
Syrah Garden Gully 6/750 2012 93 WA
Harem Syrah 12/750 2013 90+ WA
Pyren Syrah 6/750 2013 91 WA
Seville Syra 6/750 2013 91 WA 93 Vinous
Roussane Warner Vyd Yarra  6/750 2013 92 Vinous 
Syrah Warner Vineyard Beechworth 6/750 2013 93 Vinous, 92+ WA
Syrah Warner Vineyard' Syrah Beechworth 6/750 2012 94 WS and 92 WA
       
  Jauma      
Grenache Biggles Adelaide Hills 12/750 2013 92 Vinous 
Grenache Gramp Ant 12/750 2013 93 Vinous
McLaren Vale Grenache Like Raindrops 12/750 2013 92 Vinous 
McLaren Vale Syrah Alessa 12/750 2013 92 Vinous 
Syrah Grenache 'Audrey' - Clarendon 12/750 2012 91 Vinous
       
  Pyren      
Broken Quartz Shiraz Pyrenees 12/750 2012 90 Vinous
Broken Quartz Pyrenees Cabernet Sauvignon 12/750 2011 90 WA
       
  Rusden      
Good Shepheard Cabernet Malbec 12/750 2010 91 Vinous
Black Guts Shiraz  6/750 2009 95, WA 93 Vinous
Grenache Christine's VYD Barossa 6/750 2010 90 WA , 92 Vinous
       
  Ruggabellus      
Archaeus Syrah-Mataro-Grenache 6/750 2013 93 Vinous
Efferus Mataro-Syrah-Grenache 6/750 2013 93 Vinous
Timaeus Grenache-Syrah-Mataro 6/750 2013 93 Vinous
       
   Step Roads      
Reserve Selection Semillon 12/375 2002 91 RP
       
   Woodlands      
Cabernet Blend Margaret River 12/750 2012 91 Vinous
Chardonnay Chloe Margaret River 6/750 2012 91+ WA
Cabernet Heather Jean 13/750 2010 94+ WA
       
New Zealand      
   Marisco      
The King's A Sticky End Noble Sauvignon Blanc 6/750 2011 90 WA
       
Chile      
   Calcu      
Sauvignon Blanc - Colchagua 12/750 2012 90 W&S
       
   Maquis      
Cabernet Sauvignon  12/750 2011 91 WS 90 WE
Cabernet Franc 12/750 2011 90 WE
Lien 6/750 2010 94 W&S 90 WE 90 Vinous
Viola 6/750 2009 91 Vinous
Franco Cabernet Franc 6/750 2010 93 WA
       
   Pargua Winery      
Pargua Red Blend   6/750 2007 90 Vinous
Anka Red   12/750 2008 91 WE
       
   Apaltagua      
Envero Reserve Carmenere 12/750 2013 92 JS 
Grial Carmenere 6/750 2008 91 Vinous , 92 WE
       
   Viña Siegel      
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva Uber Cuvee 12/750 2014 90 Vinous
Gran Crucero - Red Blend 6/750 2009 91 Vinous 
       
France      
   DEUTZ      
Amour de Deutz Rose Vintage 6/750 2006 95 WE, 97 Decanter
Amour de Deutz Brut Vintage 6/750 2005 90+ WA
Deutz Blanc de Blanc Vintage (Gift Box) 6/750 2008 92 WS
Deutz Brut Classic NV 6/750 NV 91 WS 90 Vinous
Deutz Brut Rose NV 6/750 NV 91 WS 91 Vinous
Deutz Cuvee William Deutz Vintage 6/750 2002 93 WS
       
   Champagne Jean Laurent      
Blanc De Noirs Brut NV  12/750 N/V 91 WA- 90 Vinous - 92 WS
Blanc De Blanc - Brut NV  12/750 N/V 91 WA- 91 Vinous- 90 WS
Rose Brut NV  12/750 N/V 90 WA- 91  Vinous- 91WS
       
   Chateau de Carbonnieux      
Blanc 12/750 2012 90-92 WA 90-93 WS 92 JS
       
   Chateau Vieux Manoir      
Rouge 12/750 2012 WE: Best Buy; RP "Sleeper of the Vintage"
       
   Chateau Bel Air      
Cru Bourgeois 12/750 2010 WS 91
       
   Chateau Villemaurine      
Grand Cru Classe 12/750 2009 91 + WA, 90 JS
Grand Cru Classe 12/750 2010 91 + WA, 92 JS
       
   Chateau Tour Saint Vincent      
Medoc Cru Bourgeois 12/750 2010 90 WE Silver medal Vignerons Independants 2012
       
   Cheateau de Segries      
Lirac Cuvee Reservee 12/750 2010 90 Vinous
       
   Roland Champion - Chouilly Cote des Blancs    
Cuvee d'Aramis  12/750 NV 90 WS
       
   Domaine De Cabirau - Roussillon      
Malgre les Fonctionnaires  12/750 2008 90 WA
Serge & Nicolas Maury Sec 6/750 2012 91 WA
Serge & Nicolas Maury Sec 6/750 2014 91-93 WA
Cotes du Roussillon 12/750 2011 91 WA
Cotes du Roussillon 12/750 2014 90-92 WA
       
   Domaine De la Mordoree      
Lirac Rouge La Reine de Bois 12/750 2012 93 WA
Chateauneuf du Pape La Reine des Bois 6/750 2012 95 WA
Chateauneuf du Pape La Reine des Bois 1/1.5L 2012 95 WA
Tavel Rose 'Dame Rousse' 12/750 2013 90 WE 91 Vinous
Tavel Rose 'Dame Rousse' 12/750 2014 93 WA
Cotes du Rhone Rose La Dame Rousse 12/750 2014 92 WA
Lirac Rouge Dame Rousse 12/750 2013 90-92 WA
       
   Domaine Grand Veneur - Cotes Du Rhone    
Chateauneuf du Pape 'Les Origines' 12/750 2011 92 WA, 93 WE, 91 Vinous
Chateauneuf du Pape 'Les Origines' 12/750 2012 93 WA, 92Vinous
Chateauneuf du Pape 'Vielle Vignes' 12/750 2012 97 WA, 93 Vinous
Lirac Clos de Sixte 12/750 2010 92 WA
Lirac Clos de Sixte 6/1.5 2009 92 WE 90 Vinous 
Cotes du Rhone Champauvins  12/750 2013 WA 90
       
  Lelarge-Pugeot      
Les Meuniers de Clemence - Brut 6/750 NV WE 93
       
  Monmousseau      
Vouvray Clos le Vigneau 12/750 2013 92 WE
       
  Penya       
Cotes Catalnes Rouge 12/750 2014 91 WA
       
   Selection Laurence Feraud      
Cotes Du Rhone Villages Seguret  12/750 2009 90 WE, 90 WS, 90 WA
Gigondas  12/750 2007 92 WA
       
Italy      
       
   Le Ragnaie - Montalcino (Organic)      
Brunello Di Montalcino  12/750 2009 90 WA  92 WS  92 JS
Brunello Di Montalcino  - Fornace 1/3L 2007 93 WS and 91 WA
Brunello Di Montalcino  12/750 2010 JS 98 Vinous 95 WA 93
Rosso Di Montalcino 12/750 2012 91 Vinous WA 90
       
   Petra - Suvereto      
Potenti 6/750 2008 92 Vinous
Quercegobbe                                 6/750 2008 94 WS, 93 WA
Quercegobbe Merlot Toscana IGP 6/750 2010 90 WA
Ebo 6/750 2011 91 Vinous
       
   Contadi Castaldi      
Franciacorta Brut  6/750 NV 90 WA
Franciacorta Brut Rose  6/750 NV 91 WE, 93 JS
       
   Bellavista      
Bellavista ' Alma'  Franciacorat Brut NV 6/750 NV 90 WE, 92 JF, 91 Vinous
Bellavista ' Alma'  Franciacorat Brut NV 12/375 NV 90 WE, 92 JF, 91 Vinous
Bellavista ' Alma'  Franciacorat Brut NV 6/1.5l NV 90 WE, 92 JF, 91 Vinous
Cuvee Saten                                         6/750 NV 92 Vinous 93 WE
Rose Franciacorta Brut 2010 6/750 2010 95 JS
       
   Rinaldi      
Moscato D'Asti  12/750 2012 92 WA
       
   Tenuta Cappellina      
Dianne IGT Toscana 6/750 2012 88-90 Vinous
Chianti Classico DOCG 6/750 2012 90 Vinous
Caspiolo IGT Toscana 6/750 2012 90 Vinous
       
   Bindi Sergardi      
Chianti Classico Riserva - Calidonia 6/750 2011 Gold Decanter Regional Trophy
       
South Africa      
   Keermont Vineyards      
White Blend Terrasse            6/750 2010 91 WA
Fleufontein (Dessert)            6/375 2010 92 WA
       
   Mullineux      
White Blend 12/750 2013 92 WA
White Blend 12/751 2012 91 WA
Swartland Syrah 6/750 2012 90 WA
Iron Syrah 6/750 2012 90 Vinous, 93 WA
Granite Syrah 6/750 2012 92 Vinous, 92 WA
Schist Syrah 6/780 2013 91+ Vinous, 95 WA
Straw Wine 6/375 2013 93 Vinous, 96 WA
Schist Chenin Blanc 6/750 2014 93 Vinous
Olerasay  6/375 NV Platter's 5 Stars - 2016 Dessert Wine of the Year
       
Spain      
   Castillo Perelada      
Malavaina 6/750 2008 90 WA
Garriga 6/750 2007 90 WA
Casa Gran del Siurana Gran Cruor 6/750 2009 92 WA
Gran Claustro 6/750 2011 90 Decanter - One of 25 Alternatives 'Sparkling Secrets'
       
   Cien Y Pico - Manchuela      
Doble Pasta Tintorera 12/750 2008 91 Vinous
       
   Pago De Carraovejas      
Crianza 6/750 2011 92 Vinous
       
   Montebuena      
Rioja                                                 12/750 2012 90 Vinous
       
   Burgo Viejo      
Rioja Crianza               12/750 2012 90 WS 90 Vinous
       
   Luis Canas      
Crianza 12/750 2011 90 Vinous
Reserva 12/750 2009 92 Vinous
Gran Reserva 6/750 2007 92 Vinous
Reserva Seleccion de Familia 6/750 2009 90? WA, 91 WS, Vinous 92
Blanco Rioja 12/750 2014 Decanter Silver, 2015
       
   Torre Castillo      
Jumilla Alegre 12/750 2013 90 Vinous
       
   Valminor      
Rias Baixas Albarino  12/750 2013 90 Vinous

Penya Cotes de Catalanes

11/13/2015
 
2014  Penya Cotes Catalanes
A Proprietary Blend Dry  Red Table wine from France,,IGP Cotes Catalanes,Languedoc Roussillon,France
 
Review by Jeb Dunnuck
eRobertParker.com # 218 (Apr 2015)
Rating: 91
Drink 2015 - 2018
 
Also terrific, the ruby/purple 2014 Côtes Catalanes (52% Grenache, 36% Carignan and the rest Syrah, aged all in tank) offers lots of kirsch and darker berry fruit, spring flowers, pepper and violet notes to go with a medium-bodied, supple, forward, lively feel. Like the 2013, this is a rocking value to drink over the coming couple of years. Brought in by Dan Kravitz of Hand Picked Selections, these terrific, unoaked efforts from the Roussillon way over-deliver.

Turning Cristal Into Gold

11/12/2015
Champagne Deutz, Rouzad, Vision Wine Brands
The Rouzaud family also owns our own Champagne Deutz.

 

Turning Cristal Into Gold

The Rouzaud family has expanded a Champagne house into an empire of  wine
Alison Napjus
Issue: December 15, 2015

Cristal Champagne, the flagship bottling of Louis Roederer, has been a favorite of Russian czars and American rappers, a symbol of success attained and celebrated. But it rarely appears on the table of the family that makes it.

"I do not drink Cristal at home, really," says Jean-Claude Rouzaud. "We save it for the customer!"

Not that they have to: Given the extent of their achievements, Rouzaud and his son Frédéric could easily afford Cristal's $250 per bottle price. The Rouzauds' Champagne Louis Roederer is one of the few Champagne houses of significant size that remains 100 percent family owned and controlled. This is all the more impressive when one considers the challenges the family has confronted over the past 80 years, with each successive generation faced with crises that threatened to ruin the business.

Camille Olry-Roederer, Jean-Claude's grandmother, assumed control of the company when her husband died, in 1932, amid the Great Depression. Jean-Claude faced a massive TCA contamination in the winery in the 1970s. Frédéric became CEO of the Roederer Group in 2006 and was shortly confronted by the worldwide economic crash of 2008.

But by taking care of their customers first, the Rouzauds repeatedly steadied their business and even expanded it, eventually adding 10 more wineries around the world. In 2014, this "federation of artisans," as they call it, produced more than a million cases and generated 250 million euros in revenue. The Rouzauds' ambition, tenacity and foresight have steered the Roederer Group to a sparkling position in the world of wine.

JEAN-CLAUDE ROUZAUD

At 73, and now almost 10 years into his retirement, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, tall and fit, is an avid traveler and thrill-seeker, with a strong jawline and an imposing manner. It's hard to discern the self-described class clown who vexed his parents as a young man.

"The problem with my parents," says Rouzaud, "and I can excuse them in a way, is that they didn't trust me. I had been such a poor student [that] they couldn't change their minds and think I was someone serious."

By distinguishing himself in viticultural studies, however, he convinced them to place him at Roederer, which belonged to his mother's side of the family, and in 1967 Rouzaud arrived in Champagne with his young family in tow. Perhaps as a way of keeping an eye on him, he was placed alongside one of the house's veteran vineyard managers.

"It was a fabulous partnership," says Rouzaud. "Because he knew absolutely 100 percent of the practice, and I thought I knew 100 percent of the theory!"

Rouzaud spent his first five years at Roederer Champagne in the vineyards, learning about viticulture as well as the grapegrowers with whom he would work for the rest of his career. He also discovered his love of the vineyards; today Roederer Champagne's 580 acres of estate-owned vines provide almost 70 percent of the house's production needs, whereas most of Champagne's négociants buy the majority of their grapes from outside sources.

But in 1972, disaster struck. Louis Roederer began receiving claims of a musty, corky taste in its Champagnes. In just a few months, almost 20 percent of the wine sold in the previous year was returned for displaying cork taint. The chemical compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole, or TCA, had spread throughout the Louis Roederer cellars after introduction via TCA-infected corks.

Rouzaud's responsibilities lay in the vineyards, not the winery. But he saw that his colleagues weren't taking any initiative to respond to or correct the situation and knew he needed to act.

"I reacted like a crazy guy-telling them all what to do or not do," says Rouzaud.

It took two years to clean up the TCA contamination and to remove all the TCA-tainted bottles from the marketplace. Additionally, about 800,000 bottles that had been undergoing their secondary fermentation and then aging in the cellar had to be destroyed. The world oil crisis of 1973 magnified Roederer's problems, and shipments of Champagne Louis Roederer plummeted from 1.2 million bottles to 750,000 bottles by the end of that year.

"I can seriously say it was the worst two working years of my life," says Rouzaud. Promoted first to production manager, then to general manager of the house, he struggled to pull Louis Roederer out of its slump. "But we came out of this story stronger than before, because we were not hiding anything from our colleagues [in the region] or from the consumer."

EARLY EXPANSION

"From the first day of my promotion, I did exactly what I wanted to," says Rouzaud of his early years as general manager. "I was learning everything all together-everything with an open mind."

Rouzaud watched as his competitors began establishing sparkling wine companies in California starting in the 1970s, including Moët, Piper and Mumm. He decided to follow them, but with two major differences.

Instead of the négociant model his competitors adopted, he would make entirely estate produced and bottled sparkling wine. And instead of basing himself in Napa Valley, where all of the newly established sparkling wine houses from French names were stationed, he would find a location with a climate more similar to Champagne's.

Rouzaud looked north, to Mendocino County, ultimately acquiring about 500 acres in a sleepy part of Anderson Valley, home mainly to apple orchards and sheep farms, for the new Roederer Estate.

"We were looked at like we were crazy guys," muses Rouzaud, recalling the opinion of many California natives when Rouzaud began to purchase land in 1982. "Totally crazy."

To finance the venture, the company borrowed $12 million in France, at then-exorbitant interest rates, and later almost the same sum in the United States. "In this business there is no room for people in a hurry," says Rouzaud of the company's financial commitments in launching Roederer Estate. "I was lucky enough to have, as shareholders, people who were not concerned with a quick return on investment. They were trusting me."

Roederer Estate, which released its first sparkling wines in 1988, has been a resounding success, earning some of the top ratings for California sparklers and growing to more than 100,000 cases annually.

With the California project well under way, Rouzaud took out the yardstick again to measure Roederer against its peers, noting this time that several Champagne houses also had a Port house in the portfolio. In 1990, Roederer Group acquired Ramos-Pinto, a family-owned company that included a path-breaking quinta called Ervamoira and almost 500 acres in the upper part of Portugal's Douro Valley.

"Once you go there, you are taken," says Rouzaud. "Ervamoira is something absolutely unique. I could not resist."

Almost immediately, Rouzaud saw the pitfalls of his decision. There was no significant growth on the horizon for the Port wine market. And despite the fact that Ervamoira's more gradual slopes would allow for mechanization in the vineyards, labor costs in Portugal were steadily rising following the country's acceptance into the European Economic Community in 1986.

But a windfall came at a dinner in December 1990 with Ramos-Pinto family member José António Rosas, who was also its president, and its winemaker, João Nicolau de Almeida. They poured Rouzaud a glass of the estate's "leftover," a dry table wine made from extra production not used for Port. Recognizing the potential, Rouzaud arranged for new winemaking and aging equipment in order to produce commercial bottlings of dry red wine from the very next harvest: Ramos-Pinto's Duas Quintas label was born.

"Anytime I discuss with my son and nephew [CFO Laurent Bourdier] the future of Ramos-Pinto, if you look at the Port wine activity you should forget it, you should sell it," says Rouzaud. "But anytime we discuss it, we say, ‘My God!' I don't know if it will take 25 years, 50 years, a century before the great wines of the Douro will be recognized worldwide, but they will. One day, they will."

That day is rapidly coming. Duas Quintas turned out to be a forerunner of what has become an explosion in high quality table reds from the Douro.

FRÉDÉRIC ROUZAUD

Frédéric Rouzaud grew up in a world dominated by his father. Thinking of his childhood, the younger Rouzaud says, "It was very vivid," referring to his impressions of his father's passion and drive.

Living in the historic family home, located beside Champagne Roederer's office and cellars, Frédéric and his siblings frequently interacted with their father and his business, joining lunches with customers or with members of the press. He remembers his father coming home smelling of the cellars or the tasting room after a day of blending. "[My siblings and I] were infused like a coffee or a tea by the soul of Louis Roederer," says Rouzaud.

But Frédéric, now 48, presents a contrasting persona to that of his extrovert father. Perhaps it was inevitable that he would look for a different life path. He completed a program of general business administration at Université Paris-Dauphine and, in 1992, accepted a position at Auguste-Thouard, a French real estate company.

"Always with Frédéric," says Jean-Claude of his son, "he loves to make deals."

It was in this capacity that Frédéric Rouzaud first worked with his father. A sliver of the real estate company's business dealt with vineyard investments and sales. Frédéric began presenting deals to Roederer, ultimately convincing Jean-Claude to purchase Bordeaux properties Château Haut-Beausejour, in 1992, and Château de Pez, in 1995, as well as, in 1993, the Champagne house Deutz and the Rhône estate Delas, then owned by the Lallier family.

After gaining experience at Auguste-Thouard, Rouzaud felt ready to be a part of the family business. "[My father and I] thought it was a good time to try to work together," says Rouzaud of the timing of his 1996 start date. "I was ready, and he was ready-probably-so it was a good moment."

Rouzaud first gained experience in the company as a commercial regional manager for France before being promoted to director of human resources in 1999, a far-reaching role in France given the stringent employment laws and strong unions. The job exposed him to people in every department of the company and helped him understand the finer points of working with these employees.

"[As director of human resources] you learn the people, which is very important," explains Rouzaud. "I learned a lot about human relationships in the company, and I think it helped me to start to be an integral element of the company." It was a position that would help to define Rouzaud's later management style as Roederer Group CEO.

PASSING THE TORCH

From 1996 to 2006, father and son worked side by side, two contrasting personalities who largely shared the same goals. "We clearly didn't have the same character-and thank God," says Frédéric Rouzaud, who feels that their differences let him grow as his own person. And though there were disagreements-such as Jean-Claude's resistance to Frédéric's desire to buy Domaines Ott, in Provence-there was never a major butting of heads. It was more about learning the measure of each man. "We got closer and closer the more we worked together and the more we understood each other," Frédéric explains.

Approaching his 65th birthday and having had notable changes in his personal life-including a divorce from Frédéric's mother in 2003 and, the following year, meeting his current partner, Anne-Louise Bléhaut-Jean-Claude began to think about retirement.

"I think it was really a time that [my father] wanted to change his life," says Frédéric. "He was tired."

But after 40 years of putting everything into his company, it was tough for Jean-Claude to consider such a change. "I saw too many Champagne companies die because they took all the little ducks to work in their [family] companies," says Jean-Claude. He would seriously consider two other candidates in addition to Frédéric.

"The question was, do I trust Frédéric, considering the huge differences of personality," says Jean-Claude. "And it's difficult to think at the same time that you've done well, and that somebody very different from you can also do well. It's not so easy."

Fabrice Rosset, 65, who has worked with Roederer Group properties for more than 40 years, including serving as president of Deutz and Delas Frères since 1996, has a detailed perspective on the Rouzauds. "I appreciate both [Jean-Claude and Frédéric]. Both are exceptional," Rosset says tentatively. "Fréd, I knew when he was a kid, and every day that passes gives me a clearer picture and understanding that Frédéric is constantly improving in terms of vision, his abilities for management, and overseeing the global vision.

"Jean-Claude had that too," Rosset continues, "but probably not as calm and serene as Frédéric." Elaborating, Rosset explains that he was constantly arguing his case to Jean-Claude, whereas Frédéric is more likely to give approval based on Rosset's recommendations. "Jean-Claude is more of a propietor, and Frédéric is more of a manager. Different talents, different people."

Ultimately, Jean-Claude's respect for his son's business accumen led him to appoint Frédéric as CEO of the Roederer Group in January of 2006. Jean-Claude went immediately into retirement, although he retained a nonoperational role as Roederer Group's chairman of the board until Frédéric assumed that title earlier this year.

"The day I decided Frédéric was the boss, I quit the house in Reims, I quit the office, to show to him and to everybody that he was the boss [now], and not me," states Jean-Claude.

"To be honest, I didn't think my father would really do it," recalls Frédéric. "[His approach] was probably the most intelligent way: first choosing a successor and then really letting him take the reins. It's very rare in companies, and especially in the wine business, where people are very attached to the land, to the house, etcetera, to take that decision and to really do it."

FORGING THE FUTURE

With the power firmly in his hands, Frédéric Rouzaud rapidly made two key decisions. One represented continuity, the other a risky bet on the future.

First, he appointed Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, chef de cave of Champagne Louis Roederer, to the position of executive vice president in charge of production for all of Roederer Group's properties. The new title effectively confirmed Lécaillon, who started at Roederer Group in 1989, as Rouzaud's right-hand man. In many ways, Lécaillon moved up the ranks with Rouzaud, succeeding for his exacting winemaking as well as his like-minded commitment and perspective. "Jean-Baptiste is very, very important for the house," says Rouzaud. "[He's] very intelligent, [and] we share a lot of ideas, values-a lot of things."

Rouzaud's overall approach strives to put into management positions people who share his philosophies and goals, and whose strategies and ideas for achieving success are essentially aligned with his own.

"When you have the right man to do it ... that's where you can be confident in the job they are doing for you and confident they will push their own house in the right direction," he says.

The ethos is appreciated at all Louis Roederer Group properties, many of which retain original family members in management or winemaking positions.

"Frédéric is very good about letting people make the decisions, but also about knowing and seeing when to come in to help with the overall direction," says Jean-François Ott, who manages the group's Domaines Ott property, in Provence, along with his cousin Christian Ott.

"Each company has to preserve its own identity, its own history," says Rouzaud. "And in a way, its independence."

With the exception of Champagne Deutz, the properties all share a worldwide distribution network. Most also benefit from Roederer Group's financial investments, when needed, as well as technical, business and marketing expertise.

Before 2006 was out, Rouzaud made another notable decision: the purchase of Château Pichon Longueville Lalande, a "super-second" estate in Pauillac. The asking price was a staggering 200 million euros, but Rouzaud didn't quibble. "I knew that this kind of jewel was rarely for sale, and when it is, you have 10 buyers."

But just as the Roederer Group was digesting the purchase of Pichon Lalande, the global economic crisis hit in 2008.

"The purpose I worked for was not ‘where do I want to put Roederer in the next three years'-even while in the middle of a crisis. [The crisis] is important, but it's short-term," says Rouzaud. "My point was ‘where do we want to put Roederer in the next 30 years.'?"

Rouzaud took a deep breath and turned inward. The Pichon Lalande acquisition was completed in a fiscally conservative way ("We like to pay what we can afford," notes Rouzaud) and the company focused on internal issues, fine-tuning its global distribution network and shoring up the group's wineries and vineyards.

Now Rouzaud feels confident enough to look outward again. Currently, he is in negotiations with a family-owned wine estate in Italy. "I don't know if it will go all the way to the end," he says. "But I hope we will do it. I think [Italy is] making great wine-as in France and as in Napa-they are in the middle of the game, where we like to be."

Rouzaud lives in Paris with his wife and three children, conducting meetings in Paris when needed, but generally commuting to Reims. He also spends considerable time traveling, visiting Roederer Group's properties, but more often than not for duties associated with Champagne Louis Roederer. His role is a balancing act between the needs of Louis Roederer and the general management of the group's other estates.

Rouzaud's voice fills with energy and excitement as he considers prospects for the future. "What is fantastic in this job is that it's never finished. I'm so lucky to be in the position I am," he continues, taking on a tone that's both grateful and sincere. "We are in this environment where we have this fantastic terroir, everywhere. And our mission ... is to research, to push the potential of this great terroir. And to fine-tune in the purest way the expression of this terroir.

"Our duty, every day, is to keep moving. And, with lots of creativity and research, to invent tomorrow's greatest wine. Because we are here for a short span in the life of this company-I'm the seventh generation [of my family]. If we can, in this short term, push the limits, push the frontier of this company-even more than our predecessors have done ..." He trails off, and laughs. "I will feel happy."

Bindi Sergardi's Chianti Classico Riserva Calidonia wins Decanter Gold

09/11/2015
chianti classico riserva 2011, calidonia, bindi segardi, vision wine brands

Decanter recently awarded one of Vision Wine Brands' newest offerings, Bindi Sergardi's Chianti Classico Riserva Calidonia 2011, a Gold Regional Trophy -- the highest award available.  From a superb family of growers and vintners, now fearlessly led by the lovely Alessandra Casini, this Chianti Classico Riserva is a blend of 97% Sangiovese and 3% Merlot that sees more wood and spends more time in the bottle before being released than most of Bindi's other offerings.  Still, it stays true to the authentic vision of Chianti that Bindi Sergardi has dedicated itself to for over 600 years. 

 

Decanter writes, "A wonderful illustration of Chianti, this is floral and vibrant, abounding with crunchy, sour red cherries and fabulously integrated acidity which delivers great drive and energy.  There's so much to like, with persistent length and sturdy but integrated tannins which promise well for years to come." 

 

Burgo Viejo - Wine Spectator Wine of the Week

09/10/2015

Wine Spectator has named Burgo Viejo Rioja Crianza 2012 its wine of the week.  This 90% tempranillo and 10% graciano wine gets fermented in stainless steel tanks before being aged for 12 months in American oak.  The review gives it 90 points and states, "Fresh and focused, this lively red delivers crunchy flavors of black cherry and red plum, backed by vanilla, toast, floral and mineral notes. Well-integrated tannins and citrusy acidity lend structure. Drink now through 2025." This is an incredible value for the quality!

New to Vision Wine Brands - La Romaine Pinot Noir

09/08/2015
la romaine, pinot noir, la romaine pinot noir, beaujolais, collin bourisset

Vision Wine Brands proudly introduces this 100% pinot noir, great value gem from Domaine Collin Bourisset. Established in 1821, Collin Bourisset is located in Crêches-sur-Saône at the edge of the Beaujolais and Mâconnais districts. Grapes for the wine are automatically harvested with total destemming. Maceration occurs for 10 to 15 days in thermoregulated stainless steel tanks. 12 to 18 months after harvest the wine is bottled. This Pinot Noir presents a ruby colour with purple nuances and a nice intensity.

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