Dinner invitation – the great estates of Bordeaux

If there are two things we love at Clos & Cru, they’re good Bordeaux paired with good food.

But, instead of just grabbing some first growths and charging a fortune, we’ve set out to bring you something a little different from Bordeaux. Something that represents a phrase rarely connected with today’s great claret – good value.


With this dinner, we’ve teamed up with the wonderful people at 28° – 50° Maddox Street to take you on a guided tour of Bordeaux second wines. Produced by some of the best known Chateaux in the world, they benefit from the same expertise and pedigree as the grand vin, but at a fraction of the price.

We will be tasting wines from some of the best wine-making teams in Bordeaux, arguably the world, with offerings from Chateau Palmer (which in some vintages surpasses its first growth neighbour Chateau Margaux), Smith-Haut-Lafitte (creator of 100-point wines) and Chateau Pichon Lalande (neighbours of Chateau Latour).

We hope you can join us for the following:

The Wines
1995 Clos du Marquis (Chateau Leoville Las Cases)
2004 Alter Ego de Palmer (Chateau Palmer)
2013 Le Petit Haut Lafitte – Blanc (Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte)
2014 Le Petit Haut Lafitte – Rouge (Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte)
2011 Croix Canon (Chateau Canon)
2010 Fleur de Clinet (Chateau Clinet)
2012 Segla (Chateau Rauzan Segla)
2011 Reserve de la Comtesse (Chateau Pichon Lalande)
NV Champagne Paul Clouet Grand Cru Magnum
The total value of the wines above is over £300

The Menu
Four courses designed to complement the wines

Event Details
Thursday 28th September
6.30pm – Champagne Aperitif
7-10pm – Dinner
Venue: 28°- 50° Maddox Street
Address: 17-19 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2QH

Prices are £145 for a single ticket, £135 each for multiple tickets. Your ticket includes welcome champagne, a four-course menu designed to complement the wines, and £15 off any order of wines on the night.

Space will be limited to a maximum of 18 clients so please do let us know if you would like to attend.  Seats are reserved upon payment.


Dinner with Jean-Emmanuel Bonnaire

Join us for dinner on July 11th with Jean-Emmanuel Bonnaire (pictured), the owner of two excellent grower champagne houses – Bonnaire and Paul Clouet.

Bonnaire Jean Emmanuel ChampagneAs a special treat for our clients, Jean-Emmanuel will bring a few mature bottles from the family’s personal collection dating from 1982 and 1996. Both were excellent vintages in Champagne.

Bonnaire is based in the Grand Cru village of Cramant, renowned as one of the top terroirs for Chardonnay. And Paul Clouet is located in Bouzy, another Grand Cru village and home to outstanding Pinot Noir.

We’re not the only fans of these houses.  Probably the most notable devotee is champagne expert Richard Juhlin, who introduced us personally to Bonnaire. He has scored some of their champagnes at 98/100 points – as high as legends like 1961 Krug, 1934 Pol Roger and 1959 Cristal.

My private cellar is full of bottles from Bonnaire.” Richard Juhlin

In all, Jean-Emmanuel will be presenting 7 champagnes for you to taste.

The Wines

NV Bonnaire Rose (90 points, Antonio Galloni)
NV Paul Clouet Grand Cru (92 points, Allen Meadows)
NV Bonnaire Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (92 points, Allen Meadows)
2008 Paul Clouet Grand Cru (not yet rated)
2008 Bonnaire Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (90-94 points, Richard Juhlin)
1982 Bonnaire Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru (95 points, Richard Juhlin)
1996 Paul Clouet Grand Cru (93 points, Richard Juhlin)

Event Details

Tuesday 11th July
6.30pm – Aperitif
7-9.30pm – Dinner
The Devonshire Club
4-5 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YD

Prices are £130 for a single ticket, £120 each for multiple tickets. Your ticket includes seven champagnes, a three-course dinner designed to complement the wines, and £20 off any purchase of wines on the night.

Order your tickets by email to sales@closcru.com, or message us via the website.

Join Us for Dinner With One of Italy’s Top Winemakers


isole_e_olena_palo_de__marchi“Wow. Paolo de Marchi is such an amazing mix of education, experience and passion.” – Jancis Robinson

Paolo de Marchi seems to bring a little magic to every grape and vine he touches.

At his family-owned Isole e Olena estate, Paolo has been leading the quality movement in Tuscany since the mid-1970s. He pressed for a change in the rules to allow Chianti Classico to be made with 100% red grapes. And he spared no expense investing in the best French barrels for his world famous Cepparello.

Nowadays, in addition to Sangiovese, Paolo works wonders with international varietals like Chardonnay, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the words of Antonio Galloni:

“I’m not a big fan of international varieties grown in Italy. But when you make wine like that, you’ll turn anyone into a believer.”

Paolo also has a venture with his son Luca in the north of Piemonte, where his family has roots. Called Proprieta Sperino, they make elegant, savoury reds from Nebbiolo that offer amazing value for money.

The Event
We’re delighted that Paolo will be joining us personally at an intimate dinner featuring a top drawer selection of his wines, some scoring 96+/100 points.

2015 Chardonnay Collezione Privata, Isole e Olena (93+ points, Monica Larner)
2014 Chianti Classico, Isole e Olena (90 points, Monica Larner)
2010 Lessona, Proprieta Sperino (94+ points, Antonio Galloni)
2013 Cepparello, Isole e Olena (96 points, Antonio Galloni)
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata, Isole e Olena (96+ points, Antonio Galloni)
2006 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Isole e Olena (96 points, Monica Larner)

Please join us on Tuesday 6 June at the Devonshire Club, Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YD. 6.30pm champagne aperitif, followed by dinner at 7pm.

Tickets are £130 for a single place, and £120 each for multiple places. To order, email sales@closcru.com.

Price includes a welcome glass of champagne, dinner and a minimum of 6 wines. Places are strictly limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment.


Dinner with Olivier Humbrecht

By Margaret Elderfield

A great night had by all on floor 35 of the Shard last month, when Olivier Humbrecht (of top biodynamic estate Domaine Zind-Humbrecht) joined Clos & Cru and our guests for a dinner that featured 9 of his best wines from recent vintages going back to 2008.

Olivier Humbrecht winemaker

Olivier Humbrecht (L) with Martyn from the Clos & Cru team

Tasting them side by side, I was struck by the incredible concentration and expressiveness of these lively, complex whites.  Tip top wine of the night was the 2013 Riesling Clos Windsbuhl (95 pts, robertparker.com) which had outstanding mineral precision, purity of fruit and a lovely savoury twist on the finish.

We also got a glimpse of some newly released 2015s.  Here the 2015 Riesling Clos St Urbain Rangen de Thann Grand Cru (96 pts, robertparker.com) was the star, with citrus and tropical fruits, smokey hints and toasted-stone mineral notes. To me, it was a perfect wine to show the difference between the German and Alsace styles of riesling. The great rieslings of the Mosel have a fine and delicate lightness. From the French side of the border, with his 2015 Riesling Rangen, Olivier delivers a more weighty Alsace style, but still with that quintessential riesling liveliness.

The biggest surprise of the night?  I’m not usually a fan of Muscat, which so often appears in simple, sweet vin doux naturels that can lack balance.  But the 2013 Muscat Goldert Grand Cru was a revelation, and I can see why Jancis Robinson counts it as one of her favourite Muscat wines in the world. Fermented to dryness, it had a heady aroma of grapes, orchard fruits and herbs, plus a mouthwatering hit of saline minerality. Served in a Burgundy glass, this wine bowled everyone over.  Olivier says they serve this wine in the region with white asparagus and hollandaise.  But in our meal it paired deliciously with Asian-influenced pork.

Thanks again, Olivier!






A Moment with Richard Juhlin

To help raise awareness of our upcoming charity auction to benefit the Central London Samaritans, the world’s leading champagne authority, Richard Juhlin, took a few moments to share his thoughts with us on champagne, football and 1966.

Richard Juhlin Clos & Cru

Martyn with Richard Juhlin, Bjornstierne Antonson & Rytis Jurkenas (L to R) judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards

Clos & Cru: How special is the experience to drink mature champagne?

Richard Juhlin: There is nothing better when the maturity is combined with vital freshness. Often that is only granted with vinotheque bottles coming directly from the house.

C&C: What do you like about the 1966 vintage?

RJ: 1966 is one of the greatest vintages ever. It is a quite light but super elegant vintage in the same style as 1979 and 1988. Most bottles are still fantastic but very rarely seen nowadays, unfortunately.

C&C: What do you like about Maison Jacquart?

RJ: Jacquart has always been a very reliable champagne house which offers splendid value for money in all categories. Even the luxurious prestige cuvees, with their elegant touch of coffee, cost less than many regular vintage wines.

C&C: You used to be a footballer.  Do you have any particular memories of football being a charitable force for good?

RJ:  Tricky question. But I think football is giving more peace and pleasure on earth than anything else nowadays. Football is the most international language on this planet, and all can afford it.

Happy Birthday to us – Clos & Cru turns two!

Clos & Cru turned two years old last week and how else would we celebrate but with good friends and lots of our beloved bubbles? We loved some of the distinctive single estate or “grower champagnes” that we tried during our visit to Champagne earlier this year (see our blog: Champagne Week: the Clos & Cru perspective for more details) so decided to revisit a small cross-section of these producers to see how their wines tasted away from their home turf, but also in a more leisurely setting than the busy tastings during Champagne Week.

We started out by warming up our palates with a Laurent-Perrier NV. As we were celebrating we had chilled down a methuselah – six litres, equivalent to eight standard 75ml bottles. This one had quite a bit of bottle age, with the base wines coming from the 1990’s, and although it had turned a buttery golden yellow the palate was still refreshing and elegant – a great aperitif.

Clos & Cru celebrate our second birthday in style

Clos & Cru celebrate our second birthday in style with good friends, a Methusela of NV Laurent Perrier, plus lots of other lovely bubbles…

As is our custom we tasted all the champagnes blind, and our very own “Champagne Charlie” (Pemberton) gave us a few tantalising hints as to their identity and challenged us to identify first the cepage (blanc de blanc, blanc de noir or a blend) and then which were vintages 2008 and 1996. I’m pleased to say that some of the knowledge from our April field trip must have stuck, not to mention the combined tasting memory of 11 wine geeks around the table: we managed to nail both challenges!

After the main tasting we had a couple of treats in store. First, a present from our co-founder Rytis, who was sadly not able to join our celebrations. A decanter came out containing a champagne with an appetising pale gold hue, it was quite chilled so initially very shy on the nose, but as it opened up it revealed zesty fruit and white flowers. On the palate it had some chalky notes, ripe lemon and grapefruit. The bottle was unveiled and the secret was out – 2006 Cristal – what a treat.

After all this tasting we were getting hungry. Luckily our hostesses Charlie and Manu had prepared some platters of fresh bread, ripe cheeses and tasty olives. To accompany these Charlie had one more wine up her sleeve – 2009, Oliver Horiot Rose de Riceys en Barmont – a rare rose wine from the Aube only made by 17 producers. Still wines from this region are often described as having more in common with Burgundies than Champagne, this example was quite fruity and powerful.

birthday cake

Cristal and cake – a classic combination!

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without cake, to round the evening off we feasted on a rich hazelnut cake washed down with more Laurent-Perrier – we did have six litres to drink after all!

Martyn, co-founder and Director of Clos & Cru commented: We have really exceeded our expectations in these first two years building a diverse portfolio from grower champagnes to rare vintages from Champagne, Bordeaux and beyond. We are delighted to assist our clients to grow and enjoy their wine collections and to visit great producers in classic regions with them. We always remember that we wouldn’t be in this position without our loyal clients and the dedicated, hardworking team in the Clos & Cru office. Looking ahead to the next year we are eagerly awaiting the launch of a new website, which as well as a real time list of our stock, will feature an extensive directory of champagne producers.

Wines tasted and our scores:

NV Laurent Perrier 6L (methuselah) from 1990’s – 90 points
Strong mineral notes, roasted chestnuts, similar to mature Chablis. Fresh and fruit driven on the palate, yellow stone fruit, elegant.

2008, Vazart Coquart Blanc de Blancs – 92+ points
Made from 100% grand cru grapes from Chouilly, this wine showed a richness which you would expect from the fine 2008 vintage. The nose had a touch of yeast and baked apples. In the mouth it had tinned pineapple notes (Chouilly wines typically exhibit tropical fruit flavours) and white flowers.

NV, Olivier Horiot, Metisse – 91+ points
This wine was unusual in several ways: firstly it was made by a producer more known for his still than sparkling wines; secondly the grapes are grown in Les Riceys in the Aube the farthest south of the Champagne regions; and finally it was a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Blanc, a grape not frequently seen in champagne blends. The wine was darker and fruitier on the nose than the previous one, rose essence and quite waxy in the mouth with a very long fresh finish.

NV, Eric Rodez, Blanc de Noirs – 88 points
I loved Eric Rodez’s complex and finely crafted wines when I tried them in April. Before taking over his family estate Eric worked at other houses, including Krug, where he learnt a light touch with barrel fermentation, and also spent three years in Burgundy, which gave him a taste for a more boutique way of wine making. The blanc de noirs had a very prominent fruity nose typical of Pinot Noir from Ambonnay – almost wine gums, and some breadiness. You could taste a light touch of oak and blackcurrants.

NV, Gibourat Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru – 90 points
Ripe pear-drop nose, almost like a touch of botrytis. In the mouth there was marmalade, poached pears, peaches and strawberries. For me quite different to the searingly citrus wine we tried at Passion Champagne in April.

1996, Champagne de Sousa, Blanc de Blancs, Brut Reserve – 94+ points
This wine was visibly older with a golden yellow hue, the nose was slightly mushroomy and very toasty. In the mouth the acidity was quite high and it had a long, bread finish. This was the group’s favourite wine of the grower tasting, concentrated with the potential to improve.

NV, Egly Ouriet, Les Vignes de Vrigny, Premier Cru – 90 points
The only 100% Pinot Meunier champagne of the tasting, and on first sniff it was distinctly different. Sour greengages on the nose, a creamy texture and a slightly flat finish.

2006 Cristal – 92+ points
Elegant and shy, but very precise and round. White flowers, caramelised lemon, fresh apple acidity.

Olivier Horiot Rose des Riceys – 88 points
Funky nose with tons of concentrated red fruit. More austere on the palate, mineral and focused with gentle tannin and a long finish.