In complete contrast to the large Annual Tasting at the beginning of the year, the Artisan tasting was an intimate and low-key event at The Gallery in Soho for our smaller producers who, without a bit of a push into the spotlight, may not get as much attention.
The tasting was a selection of our wine buyers’ favourite wines, most of them one-man bands, all of them with an interesting story to tell.
Looking around at the guests at the tasting, I saw quite a few of these badges – the official badge for qualified sommeliers:
Many smaller wineries do not often have the opportunity to leave their winery for tastings outside of their region. That’s because for small wineries such as these, the winery is often run by the people who make the wine.
It was great to see three Australian wineries represented, having travelled such a long way to get to the tasting in Soho: Best’s (Great Western, Victoria); Battle of Bosworth (McLaren Vale) and Marchand and Burch (Western Australia).
Jonathan Moggs from Best’s and Joch Bosworth from Battle of Bosworth, below:
Alessandra, one of the four Tessari sisters from Suavia also joined us. One of the tasters asked, “If there are four sisters, do you always fight?(!)” No, she replied, and laughed!
The Tessari family has grown up on the vineyard, which has been passed down the generations since 1887 and is going as strong as ever – only yesterday, the family’s 2010 Mount Carbonare Soave received the coveted Tre Bicchieri from Italy’s top wine guide, the Gambero Rosso.
We also introduced two new wines from Tuscany – Castellare di Castellina (Chianti) and Rocca di Frassinello (Maremma). Both have immaculate environmental records with the winery at Rocca di Frassinello built entirely on environmental principles by acclaimed architect Renzo Piano.
New wave Spain was well-represented with the exciting wines from Bernabeleva (Castilla y Leon), DSG Vineyards (Navarra), Bodegas Vinos Valutuille (Galicia), the Basque region with our new Txakoli, and Acustic Celler (Priorat, represented by the lovely Aida Bos – below):
Many guests commented on the strength of the French selection of wines. Because the wineries are so small, and vintage having started, the winemakers could not be there for the tasting – but the wines seemed to have spoke for themselves well enough. Some of the favourites was the Savagnin ‘Les Sarres’ 2007 from Domaine Jean Rijckaert in the Jura, the Rasteau from Domaine Colliere and the St-Joseph from the inimitable Louis Barruol at St. Cosme. Not forgetting the incredible Savennieres from Chateau Pierre-Bise.
New producers to Bibendum
This small tasting for the trade was an opportunity for us to launch two new exciting producers to Bibendum. Both are family-owned; both with an intense focus on quality.
If there ever was an Italian wine family, then it is Gaja. We are thrilled to introduce Gaja’s new Ca’Marcanda wines from Tuscany to the Bibendum portfolio: Promis, Magari and Ca’Marcanda DOC Bolgheri.
Here is the new generation Gaja, Gaia Gaja, pouring her favourite wine from the masterclass – the 2010 Magari:
Before the event, Gaia presented the three Ca’Marcanda wines in a masterclass for sommeliers. (Watch this space for a more in-depth blog on the Ca’Marcanda wines coming soon.)
At the tasting we also introduced Paul Jaboulet Aine from the Rhone to Bibendum. Since the early 19th century, Jaboulet has been synonymous with quality wine in the Rhone. In 2006, the Frey family from Chateau La Lagune bought these famous vineyards, which includes the jewel in the Jaboulet crown – Hermitage La Chapelle.
On Twitter: #Artisan2012
Never been to a tasting before without bad wines… Novel indeed.
Paola Tich @sipswooshspit
Blake Walker @blakeshakes
Thanks a lot for the amazing tasting today, Jaboulet range was stunning pic.twitter.com/tZtAMqbg
Peter Horton @PeterHorton3
Great tasting yesterday with Bibendum wine and the great Willie Lebus especially Prophets Rock, Morgan, Quinto do Vallado.