Archive for September, 2008

A unique chance

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2008 by AB

Bid for Wine is delighted to give a preview of one of the star lots in its launch sale, a magnum of 2005 Côte Rôtie ‘Hommage á Etienne Guigal’, an unreleased private bottling from the famous Guigal Family and the only bottle to have come on to the open market.

This wine has been produced 3 times only:
-In 1989 following the death of Etienne Guigal.
-In 1990 for family special events (poured at the Legion d’Honneur of Marcel Guigal). Bottled in magnums only.
-In 2005 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chateau d’Ampuis wine. Bottled in magnums only.

Two barrels of this wine were made from fruit sourced from 2 of the Guigal family’s exceptional terroirs on the Côte Rôtie (including La Pòmmiere, planted in the early 1920’s). The wine is not publicly available, being used at the estate only and for charity auctions. Bid for Wine is selling one bottle on behalf of Pebbles, a charity helping deprived children in South Africa.

As this wine is a special cúvee not made publicly available by the winery this may represent the only opportunity to purchase this wine by retail.

See here to bid!


Hello World!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2008 by AB

We hit a major milestone today – the first Beta release of Bid for Wine has entered testing! We will be subjecting the system to some very rigourous probing over the next few weeks and all being well, general access for buying and selling will start around 24th October. The screenshot below shows roughly what you can expect to see.

Lunch with Jamie Goode and musings on Chave.

Posted in New Zealand, Rhone, Tasting Notes on September 19, 2008 by AB

Today saw a daytrip to London for lunch with Jamie Goode of Knowing that Jamie is a fan of New Zealand, I pulled out a bottle of older NZ Chardonnay, whilst, ever generous, Keith brought a 1983 Chave.

Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 1998

Deep yellow in colour. Rich nose showing lots of sweet fruit, perhaps a touch of hay and vanilla and a touch of savoury oak in the background. On the palate there’s serious weight and richness – indeed the wine seems almost sweet. Lots of buttery, tropical fruit flavours too. This bottle is marked as 15% alc, (something I spotted too late to find anything more afternoon friendly) so I was expecting something of a bruiser. Surprisingly though, the alcohol is pretty well integrated with just a slight burn on the finish.

Hermitage 1983, Jean-Louis Chave

Deep ruby with pronounced brick edge. Full, spicy nose (English mustard) with peat smoke aromas and a suggestion of strawberry fruit. Later there was perhaps a hint of rubber too – something I’ve noticed before as a marker of some Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage (rarely though have I found it offensive) – and some polished wood. The overriding impression on the nose is of a mature, savoury wine. Relatively dense and firm in the mouth, the wine still has a good tannic structure and seems less evolved than either the colour or nose would suggest – I suspect revisiting in a few years would be interesting. Deep, smokey, spicy flavours. Very Good Indeed/Excellent

Chave Hermitage 1983
As an aside, it was interesting to make a mental comparison with a bottle of Chave 1982 tasted last October (note below for information). It struck me that the ‘83 was far less evolved and more masculine than the ’82 but that there is a very consistent style emphasising elegance, finesse and savoury characters – in many respects this wine seems Burgundian in character. This is in marked contrast to the richer, denser, often sweeter fruited style that to me typifies Jaboulet’s La Chapelle.

Hermitage 1982, Jean-Louis Chave

Smokey nose (peaty almost) – lots of bacon fat too. Some notes reminding me of mustard and cress along with some spice and a slight burnt rubbery note. Very savoury and dry on the palate – very fine and linear. Hints of menthol, star anis, soy and smoked meat on the palette plus a touch of raspberry fruit. Overall much more poise and finesse than either of the Jaboulet wines but perhaps a touch harder to love – a size zero model here rather than Sophie Dahl, albeit very aesthetically pleasing.

All work and no play? Then let’s drink Beaucastel today.

Posted in Food, Restaurants, Rhone, Tasting Notes on September 17, 2008 by AB

People keep asking me how Bid for Wine is progressing, particularly as our site doesn’t appear to have changed much lately. Well, the answer is that behind the scenes we’re working flat out (and have been for the past few months). The upshot of this is that we’re starting testing of the site at the end of the week and sales should be commencing in mid-October (more on this later but key your eyes peeled for top vintages of La Chapelle, ultra-rare Guigal, various 1st Growths…)!

Although the hard work recently means I’ve seen 1A.M. come and go a little more than I’d like, there have been some notable high points. A recent lunch at The Ledbury in Notting Hill to discuss Bid for Wine with a noted journalist over a couple of bottles of the famous Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau Beaucastel particularly stands out.

Whilst awaiting our starter, a surprise Amuse Bouche was brought to the table.

Squid ‘risotto’ with Winkles and a Pine Nut foam

This was magical. What at first appeared to be perfectly cooked pearls of Arborio rice revealed themselves to be tiny piece of tender, succulent squid with a subtly fishy binding. This was accompanied by some beautifully cooked and incredibly intensely flavoured Winkles – a later conversation with Brett (the chef) revealed these had been finished with PX sherry, which explained the richness and depth.

Next up was a cunning seasonal twist on Ravioli, eaten alongside a bottle of Puligny Montrachet.

Ravioli of Grouse and Cepe, Elderberries, Toasted Bread Veloute

A really unusual and clever dish. The elderberries were an inspiration giving a touches of acidity and sweetness to underline the richness of the other components.

Puligny Montrachet ‘Les Referts’ 1999, Louis Carillon

A suspiciously deep colour on pouring, this wine unfortunately lack an edge and was suffering a touch of oxidation. However, underneath there seemed to be some elegance with well managed oak and a touch of butteriness. Not Rated

Although the choice of Sea Bass or Beef for the main is often a difficult one, our choice of wine left me with no alternative.

Rib of Beef, Kromesky of Veal, Spinach Puree and Grated Horseradish

Beautifully rare Rib, a Kromesky (a sort of croquette) subtly spiced with 5 spice and some very fine potatoes contributed to a great dish which worked perfectly with the Beaucastel. The dish was crowned with a slice of Apple Wood smoked bone marrow sitting atop the Rib – the sort of thing which always leaves me wondering how on earth it was done.

Chateau Beaucastel 1981

Very elegant lightly peppery nose (almost watercress) with lovely background aromas of grilled meat, leather and tarry fruit. Amazingly youthful colour – just a little bricking around the rim. Not a huge wine but there’s exceptional elegance and poise here allied with great length. Excellent

Chateau Beaucastel 1988

Ripe, creamy nose showing some plum and leafiness. A slightly honeyed leafiness emerges over time seeming to suggest the Grenache is asserting its presence in this wine. The tannins are still dense and don’t quite mesh with the other elements meaning the wine lacks some elegance – good length though. I suspect this suffered in comparison to the ’81. Very Good

A selection of lovely cheeses with crispbreads and a miniature loaf spiked with apricots and figs rounded off a great lunch.