Your new go to wine

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Portugal seems to be on everyone’s bucket list, and surely not because it’s offering great value, but is still very authentic, not too crowded, and has some of the freshest seafood on earth.

 

The wines on the other hand, split hairs – but this could very well be because the good stuff hasn’t always made it out of the country. Perhaps also, because traditionally made wines weren’t pleasing international palates with their long extraction and ageing prior to bottling?

In the late 90’s Swiss wine enthusiast Emil Strickler arrived in Alentejo, near Algarve and took over the 30 hectare estate – Quinta Zambujeiro. He quickly made the finest technology available for the team headed by Alain Bramaz to capture the essence of the region and swiftly climbed the olymp to best in class, albeit in a modern way.

Southern Portuguese reds, especially those from Alentejo are easy drinkers, rich and fruity. With meticulous care in the vineyard and quality oak barrels from France, Alain caressed superb fruit from the vines and gave the wines the needed structure to succeed in the international market.

Try Monte do Zambujeiro at your next dinner, and if you still yearn for more complexity and length, please don’t stop here and get a bottle of Terra or Estate. They age very well.

 

The emerald wine from the Wachau

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White wines resonating an unmatched pedigree come from either Chablis, the Cote d’Or, German Grosse/Erste Gewachs, or the Wachau, and neighboring regions in Austria.

wachau danube

The Smaragd wine “is the name for the best, most treasured wines from the Vinea Wachau members. The alcohol content of these wines begin at 12.5% by volume. This, along with the highest grape ripeness and natural concentration are what make this world-class designation possible. Emerald-coloured lizards – also known as Smaragd – are at home in the terraced vineyards of the Wachau. On bright, sunny days, their beauty is highlighted dramatically as they bask in the gleaming sun next to the grapevines – the perfect symbol for the absolute top Wachau wines with full physiological ripeness” – trade association Vinea Wachau.

lizard graphic

While you likely will find opulent wines from neighboring estates, the Knoll family cherishes tight minerality and restraint. Their wines are often described as Baroque, very much the same feel as St. Urban, the patron saint of winemakers and vineyards, ornating on the label.

knoll cellar

If you find a liking to this style of wine, please also inquire about mature Gruner Veltliner from 2008 vintage, a Riesling Smaragd, or perhaps a single bottle of Knoll’s “Vinothekenabfulling” we have left from the 2011 and 2012 vintage.

Knoll_Ried_Kreutles_Loibner_GV_Smaragd_2015mail

 

 

Domaine Henri Delagrange, Burgundy

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“No view, no landscape, however varied, picturesque or grandiose can make me forget my little valley in Bourgogne”. So wrote Alexandre Dumas of a valley in the Hautes Côtes de Beaune. The Hautes Côtes overlooks the Côte de Beaune from the west, lying between Maranges and Ladoix-Serrigny. The interior is a succession of hills and valleys. The vines cover the sunny slopes at the foot of a limestone cliff.

If you are just starting to get into Burgundy this may be no better way to start than with Didier Delagrange’s Hautes Cotes de Beaune. Made from grapes sourced 150 meters above the Pommard valley, this charming Pinot Noir offers aromas and flavors of violet, cherry, raspberry and crushed strawberry. It’s difficult to find a tastier red Burgundy at this price.

domaine h delagrange

The domaine itself is in Volnay, Côte d’Or, and the family own fourteen and a half hectares of vines in the best situations in Côte de Beaune.

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The family Domaine has been in existence for more than six generations. From 1978, it included the vines of Gisèle Verdereau and Henri Delagrange who then worked 6 hectares, mainly in Volnay and Pommard. Didier joined the business in 1990, after completing his viticulture studies, and worked with his parents until 2003. Having the foresight in 1999 to purchase land and plant on the underused slopes of the Hautes-Côtes de Beaune has paid off in spades for Delagrange family. Didier Delagrange’s Bourgogne Rouge is hand-harvested, spends 15 days in open tanks and is aged for 10 months in both oak barrels and steel tanks.

 

 

 

Terra Rossa, a world class terroir

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South Australia boasts a bevy of recognizable sub-appellations. Each now known for key grape variety such as Riesling from the Clare and Eden Valley, Shiraz in Barossa, Pinot Noir in Adelaide Hills or further south Cabernet Sauvignon in Coonawarra.

Per Wine Australia Coonawarra has “cool maritime climate, with an average daily winter temperature of 9.8ºC, which provides wines of elegance and structure that are a welcome respite from the fruit-filled wines of warmer regions like Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Riverland. Coonawarra is, perhaps alongside Margaret River, Australia’s most famous cool-climate region for Cabernet Sauvignon.

terra rossa soil

They continue “Perhaps more than any other region in Australia, the terroir and soil of Coonawarra plays a predominant role in the structure and longevity of its wines. For such a tiny stretch of land – the region is only 15km by 2km – the region has a rich red cigar shaped seam of terra rossa (red earth) that is among the most valuable – and controversial – patches of earth in Australian wine. The terra rossa strip is just one-kilometre-wide and runs for 12 kilometres northwest through Coonawarra. Wines grown in this soil are prized by collectors and praised by critics. The terra rossa layer is no more than one-metre-deep over a base of free-draining limestone sustained by pure underground aquifers. The limestone was once an ancient seabed, formed over a million years ago.

 

elena brooks

This Heirloom Vineyards Cabernet was produced from a remarkable vineyard whose clones and viticulture embody the very best in cutting edge but old school viticulture and winemaking. Hand tended vines, sorted bunch-by-bunch, naturally open fermented, basket pressed and stored in French oak barriques from bespoke coopers.

Once full-bodied and tannic, now medium bodied, supple and flavoursome. Blackcurrant is dominant but more mulberry fruit on entry, gently fleshy and with elegant and appealing tannin backbone. Good acidity too to balance the generous textural palate with flavours of plum, berry and hints of spearmint chocolate to make a second glass, and we hope a second bottle irresistible. Will age with grace over the coming decades.

Heirloom Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra 14.5% ABV

Decant 1 hour and enjoy with richer meat dishes.

HeirloomCoonawarra_Cabernet

 

Endrici’s Serpaia Morellino di Scansano

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Before heading south to Tuscany, the Endrici established one of the oldest wineries in Trentino, northern Italy in 1885. The wines are made at the foothills of the Dolomites where mild Mediterranean climate meets cool air from the Alps. Today, Paolo, the 4th generation, with his wife and two children, both graduates of the prestigious Geis-senheim wine school in Germany, are involved in all aspects of the operation, aiming to create a sustainable and natural environment around the farm and vineyard. Their skill full hands make Mountain wines which are intense, aromatic and precise, preserving the traditional Northern identity while blending in international flag bearers.

The Maremma gold rush convinced the Endrizzi family to move south from Trentino before the new millenium – where a beautiful and scenic 30 hectare land was purchased near Grosseto, not far from the Tyrrhenian Sea. A modern winery was built where they could continue their sustainable efforts, however the outcome from a different soil structure, international red varietals and warm Tuscan sun brings out more generous and smoother wines.

Harry Eyers of the Telegraph writes “Morellino di Scansano, the quintessential wine of the Maremma, is now the Tuscan wine of choice in the chicest enoteche (wine bars) of Rome. I’ve loved morellino since I first came across it, tasting samples with my wine merchant father, nearly 20 years ago, when it was fairly new on the wine map.”

Serpaia Morellino di Scansano Tuscany

Serpaia Morellino di Scansano, a pure Sangiovese, fermented in stainless steel and raised in Slovanian oak for 8 months has an ageing potential 5 years. 13° ABV

Churton, new world wine tempered with old world style

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Churton was established in 1997 by Sam and Mandy Weaver. From site selection and bio-dynamic practices through to low intervention winemaking, Churton produces exceptional terroir driven wines.

Churton is a 22 hectare single vineyard and encompasses an undulating ridge line between the Omaka and Waihopai valleys in Marlborough, New Zealand. 200 metres above sea level, the distinctive property faces northeast and captures the cool morning and warm daytime sun ideal for slow and long ripening. Soils are older and denser than the neighbouring valley floor with good clay content.

sunrise

Sam and Mandy are dedicated to producing just four varietals; sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, viognier and petit manseng. Their vineyard in composed of 17 singular blocks each with its own unique aspect and topography and, at present, The Abyss and Best End are
bottled individually.

Sam describes “Often biodynamics is regarded at the crazy end of organic production. What could be dafter than stirring cow dung matured in buried cow’s horn in water for 60 minutes then throwing it about on the farm, and then what relevance do lunar cycles have to farming practices. Are we lunatics or what?

At Churton I have a strong belief that our biodynamic farming approach is rational and makes complete sense.

Above all it helps us produce better wines that have more individuality and really demonstrate the farm (terroir) where they come from.

As a microbiologist I believe biodynamics works from the ground up. We work hard to improve our microbiology by using composts and various biodynamic preparations. We run a system that is a polyculture and actively encourage biodiversity by increasing our plant and animal species (We plant companion species of flora between the rows in the vineyard, raise our own cattle and keep bees). And yes, we do take note of lunar cycles; after all didn’t our grandfathers plant by the moon?

Wine making is an art as much as a science. Growing the best grapes to make the best wine combines both of these disciplines too. Biodynamic philosophy gives us a structure to help understand these disparate approaches and in the end really.”

Montenidoli, a wine from a different era

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Travelling through the wine world, we come across many special locales and meet artists as well as technologically-sound winemakers, whose wines ring up excellent scores from reviewers. Being around nature, those involved in the trade are well connected with the environment, and every once in a while we arrive in a place where there is spirituality tied to both soil and the philosophy of all the people working there.

Montenidoli is a unique place; for one the estate lies above the town with beautiful vistas down the valley and up to the crowning forest, but it is also about the Fagiuoli family, their wines and their aim to create a “bridge” to unite different cultures in the common language of mother earth, the path of her wine is used communicate and instill friendship.

The estate covers 24 hectares of vines and 200 hectares of forests. Two very different soil types have formed millions of years ago and are the bedrock for the traditionally made wines. The white varietals flourish on the Ligurian seabed with sea shells, and the red makes unique style of wines on the Triassic soils with rocks formed over 350 million years.Traditional Tuscan varietals take the lead here. The white is Vernaccia making structured and deep wines with herbal and almond perfumes, rich flavors, and a dry, crisp finish. The red is always Sangiovese – pure or blended at times with white
grapes like in past. It is rustic, but aromatic and persistent, embodying the rural surrounding of this land, and goes very well with Beefsteak Florentine.

The essence of nature is found in each glass, however the spirituality we mentioned is best displayed with Sergio the Patriarch Foundation, which Elisabetta founded with her late husband Sergio. They met in school, where she noticed his gift to enter the mind of troubled persons and give peace and love to their spirits. She thinks what is mostly needed in our little planet is to nurture the truthful rule of attention, love, and harmony to people. So the Foundation aims to be the place that unites people. Each year they will host for one month elderly people in need of rest and love, as well as youngsters in search of their identity through the message of nature.

Atlan & Artisan 8 Vents, made by the winds

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A long time ago, I made the mistake believing Mallorca is where Germans go on holiday to drink beer, lots of beer at Ballermann. Little did I know that one day I would contemplate living there – enjoying the mild climate, scenic countryside, and pristine waters – and most importantly with access to major European cities.

It took Wine Garage and Quince partner, Philippe, many years to convince us to take the trip. But once you set foot on this island, the yearning to go back won’t ever fade. It is a place, which combines all elements of a great vacation, some indulgence, and old European culture.

The Phoenicians were likely to plant the first vineyards, but surely the industry was in full swing after the Romans settled. Being a popular tourist destination today, the consumption is mainly on the island itself, as well as countries such as Germany and Switzerland, where travelers head back after the vacation to reminisce.

We are pleased to offer 8 Vents, not only as a beautiful reminder of its heritage, but also because a good tasting Cabernet Merlot blend is difficult to find at this price range. The wine spent 12 months in French oak barrels, has the nose and body of a North Coast Californian wine, but maintains its balance and subtler fruit profile from the milder climate and strong winds that shaped it.

8 Vents 2

Lets hope the sheer number of arrivals during the busy summer months will not one day deplete all wine stocks on Mallorca.

Photo credits: landscape, vineyard and Palma from the internet

Cims de Porrera – reflections of black slate

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Cims de Porrera was founded in 1996 with the aim of exploiting the full potential of the vineyards of the village of Porrera in the Priorat Qualified Designation of Origin (Q.D.O.). Some of the vineyards are over 100 years old and consist mainly of the Carignan variety, which is highly prized for its colour, tannins and excellent coupage. Carignan, along with the light and fruity Garnatxa variety, constitute the two main native grape varieties of Priorat. The three wines – Cims de Porrera Clàssic, Cims de Porrera Garnatxa and Vi de Vila de Porrera are three classic wines produced from the vineyards belonging to the Porrera cooperative, where the vines have an extremely low yield and grow in llicorella soil, the typical terroir of Priorat, comprised of flaky shale.

Due to the nature of the land, with slopes ranging between 30 and 80%, it is difficult to make an accurate estimate of the area under cultivation in Porrera. However, we estimate that it is around 40 hectares. Annual production of 70,000 litres of wine, or less than 20 hectolitres per hectare, is exceptionally low and is the key to producing such concentrated and structured wines as Cims de Porrera and Vi de Vila de Porrera. In some vineyards, production barely reaches 250 grams of grape per foot.

The soil is of carboniferous shale – heavily eroded, grey schists that sparkle with an incomparable beauty in the midday sun. The low organic content of the soil, which is extremely loose and rocky, means that the water quickly filters from the surface. The vines are therefore forced to grow very deep roots in order to reach the water sources.

Over the past year we have many times written about the sibling Vi de Vila Porrera, a wine that embodies both the sun-drenched Mediterranean climate with aromas of low yield and old vines Carinena and Garnatxa from Priorat. This unique combination makes a wine close to 15% ABV still easily enjoyable. So if you like this, the Cims de Porrera Classic from centenarian Carinena grapes will up it not only a couple of notches in terms of elegance and complexity.

Classic Label

 

Spanish Steps dinner at Bunker, May 7-9th, 2017

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We are extremely pleased to work with Arnie Marcella, Chef and Andreas Pergher, Beverage Director, on this menu and wine pairing, which traces back Arnie’s history and stories.

Microsoft Word - Bunker Spanish Dinner Wine Pairings (Update 4.0

The above 4-course menu is thb 2,250++ with optional wine pairing  at thb 1,500++.

Recently, the dining front of our City of Angels seems to progress faster than any other Asian metropoles; unfolding new entries, especially from Spain, with an array of dishes and wines that shed light on our senses.

For this dinner we propose wines from some of Spain’s most innovative regions or winemakers and invite you to join our road to discovery:

Raventos I Blanc, formerly in the Cava D.O, but Manuel and Pepe decided to depart in 2013, and began the process of creating a new, terroir driven appellation, Conca del Riu Anoia. As an aperitif we pour their chalky and dry Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2014.

Equipo Navazos, are partners Dr Jesús Barquín and Eduardo Ojeda, who have single-handedly revived the sherry landscape by releasing small lots from long-forgotten bodegas. This Florpower however is not fortified, but shows how the precise Palomino grape can become with ageing under flor for 20 months. Dense, with lovely minerality and nutty background.

Bodega K, is one of many producers in the wet and windy Basque country. We fell in love with the simple and fresh aromatics of Txacolina, which bursts with energy and pairs well with seafood.

Zarate, there is Albarino and there is Zarate. Say no more. Galicia’s favorite white wine for seafood.

Dehesa La Granja, is a mature Tempranillo from legendary winemaker Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera. The Toro region brings out powerful and intense wines, however the 24 months in oak cask followed by 6 years bottle ageing does its trick here and delivers and great drink today.

Olivier Riviere, the terroirist Frenchman in Rioja, also works a small plot in the Arlanza DO. The high elevation and old vines planted in 1930s, makes a wine unlike any other Tempranillo – showcasing floral, black wild berries and spicy notes.

Vi de Vila Priorat, is made by the Cims de Porrera cooperatives high above the Mediterranean Sea. The old vines and unique licorella soil (black slate) are responsible for a powerful and intriguing red wine.

 

Arnie

Arnie Marcella’s career was exclusively in star-studded NYC restaurants including Jean-Georges, Marea, Corton, Alto, The Elm, Aldea, Docle Stil Novo, and Ai Fiori. So perhaps, later next year, The Bangkok Michelin Guide will also have a place for Bunker?

To book please call  092 563 9991 or email reservation@bunkerbkk.com