Four days at Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017

 

By Margaret Elderfield

In June, a team from Clos & Cru went to Vinexpo, the massive trade show for the wine and spirits industry, which is held in Bordeaux and Hong Kong in alternating years.

VIinexpo

Vinexpo-2017

My colleague Martyn was the seasoned veteran, having been a few times before, but I was the newbie and wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.

I should have known it would be busy when an Irish friend advised me, “be sure to bring your flat shoes!” Thank goodness she’d warned me, as we seemed to walk around 5km each day through the vast exhibition halls to visit the stands we’d identified in our ‘hit list’ before the show. The stands ranged in size from a small desk and counter, to vast office-like spaces with private meeting and staff rooms, wine bars, and displays of art on the walls.

With 2300 exhibitors and 48,000 overseas visitors, there were a few crowds to negotiate. On day two, when Martyn and I missed our shuttle bus from the hotel, we had to squeeze ourselves like sardines onto a jam-packed A tram at Porte de Bourgogne station. Not an advisable way to travel during a 37 C+ heat wave.

 

 

But the French are nothing if not civilised. Even with throngs of people and a full diary of meetings, the Coravins and tasting glasses were never too far away.  I can still taste the 2010 Chateau Rauzan-Segla, fragrant and resplendent in its velvety youth. But my personal tasting highlight was the 1999 Chateau Haut Brion – so ‘correct’ and yet so utterly transcendent, replete with cool dense fruit and a kiss of fine-grained tobacco.

What comes after a civilised day of meetings and tastings?  A celebration feast, naturellement.  Two particular evenings will linger in the memory.

Chateau Bellevue

Chateau Bellevue – The Original 17th Century Wine Cellar

Chateau Bellevue St Emilion

View from the terrace at Chateau Bellevue

The first was an intimate Sunday dinner at Chateau Bellevue, the St Emilion grand cru classe chateau known for its 100% Merlot wines. The views from the terrace were stunning, and it was fascinating to see the original 17th century wine cellar. The raucous cheering ‘competition’ that broke out spontaneously between our table and the Chinese guests after the second magnum of grand vin was proof of the jolly time had by all.

The other memorable night was the 16th “Tour de France des Appellations” dinner, at the Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Leognan.  This was a banquet royale with a guestlist in the hundreds, co-hosted by several high-profile producers (including Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Maison Olivier Leflaive, Chateau Beaucastel, Domaine Faiveley and Champagne Pol Roger, to name a few).  The aperitif was served in the garden at sunset, with lashings of oysters and caviar, and the cheese table was so enormous it seemed to take up half the cuverie.

Typically at wine dinners you get one or two wines with each course.  Here were upwards of 30 wines on offer, served buffet style. I tasted a 2006 Winston Churchill from Pol Roger in magnum, a 2006 ‘Clos des Corton’ from Faiveley in mathusalem, and a 1977 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge in jeroboam.  Strictly to avoid offending our hosts, mind you.

Bring on Vinexpo 2019!

 

 

Thanks again to our hosts – Axel, Stanislas & Ines of Chateau Bellevue, and Olivier & Jolene from Zind-Humbrecht at the ‘Tour des Appellations’ dinner.  Delicious wines, good memories, great hospitality.

 

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My Top 3 Estate Visits

By Martyn Zemavicius

This article is the first in a series of ‘Top 3s’, marking the occasion of our 3rd Birthday at Clos & Cru.  Thanks to all of our clients, friends & suppliers for your support over these past three years.

Charles Heidsieck – Champagne

Twice I’ve been lucky enough to be invited on a tour of this estate — which is closed to the general public and is extremely difficult to get into. The property has something magical about it that you can’t anticipate as you approach from the street. On one side, there’s a not-particularly-nice block of flats, and on the other an old stone wall with tiny wooden doors. Only after you’ve walked through the doors do you know you’re in for something special, as you enter an oasis of beauty in the middle of Reims.

The crayeres at Charles Heidsieck – the chalk cellars that date back to Roman times – are more than beautiful spaces. They are a testament to human industry, dug out by hand centuries ago. My favourite was the chamber filled with old vintages, where you can’t contain the feeling that you’ve discovered a trove of treasures as you glance at the rows of old bottles.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Crayere

Crayere No. 9 at Charles Heidsieck

The main building – with glass all around – gives picturesque views out to the garden. Combine that view with the experience of tasting such magnificent champagnes as the 1981 Champagne Charlie cuvee, and you know you have arrived in a paradise. My last visit to the estate – hosted by general director Stephen Leroux – was especially wonderful. Not only did I get to taste one of the best champagnes ever, but I am proud to say that our group managed to nail all of the champagnes we were served in a blind tasting.

Pichon Lalande – Pauillac, Bordeaux

I’ve been to this estate several times, and twice enjoyed luncheon inside the Chateau. This is my favorite property to visit in Bordeaux, as the Chateau itself is equally beautiful outside and inside.  The view of the surrounding vineyards – including famous neighbours like Chateau Latour – is inspiring. And I loved discovering their museum-quality collection of glasses.

Bordeaux Pichon Lalande Pauillac

Chateau Pichon Lalande

Because it’s owned by the Rouzaud family, who also own my beloved Roederer champagne house, lunch usually starts with a glass of Cristal. On my last visit it was general manager Nicolas Glumineau who looked after us. He gave us a most charming welcome, and the 1996 Pichon Lalande was delicious.  

 

Remoissenet Pere & Fils – Burgundy

This domaine in the heart of Beaune is not open to the general public. It has a cellar dating back to the 14th century, with the largest collection of Burgundy wines from the 1960s and 1970s. The building above the cellars was originally built for the local police, complete with a jail cell for locking up offenders. So it’s completely different from any other negociant in Burgundy.

The main room – where I’ve been on the receiving end of several memorably delicious lunches – is full of old armor, shields and even a very old, but still operational, organ which we usually listen to when finishing a meal. And my dear friend Bernard Repolt who manages the domaine always welcomes us warmly, spoiling us with something very special and old from the cellar.

Conclusion

All of these three estates have a lot in common. The beautiful buildings, the cellars, the history, and the delicious wines. But what made my visits extra special were the exceedingly hospitable and experienced professionals who welcomed me. Thanks for the memories.

Birthplace of the Rarest of Ports

By Margaret Elderfield

Standing in the shade of a 200 year old cedar tree on the terrace, high above Pinhao, it’s easy to imagine that nothing has changed here for over a century.  TerrQuinta do Noval Port Douroaced vineyards hug the curving landscape as far as the eye can see, and it’s only the metal roof of the temperature-controlled storage facility further down the hill that gives a hint we are living in the modern world.

I’ve come to Quinta do Noval, the birthplace of the rarest of ports – the Nacional – a monopole vintage port made entirely from ungrafted vines that grow in a single vineyard adjacent to the quinta. It is produced in tiny quantities, only 200 to 250 cases for an entire Nacional vintage, and released only in the best years.

The quintas of the Douro were traditionally self-supporting farms as well as wine estates.  And at Noval they like to preserve tradition.  They still keep geese, pigs and chickens to feed the workers on the estate.  On the day of my visit, a communal lunch of grilled fish for the workers is being prepared in the courtyard, as I follow Ana Carvalho, my guide for the day, past the chapel and the old dormitory rooms, towards the special plot of vines.

A Viticultural Mystery

The Nacional monopole consists of 2 hectares of vines planted over 5 terraces, all ungrafted.  The name ‘Nacional’ was chosen because these vines are entirely Portuguese.  They are not grafted onto American rootstock, yet in this small vineyard they have managed to survive the scourge of the phylloxera louse, which decimated European viticulture in the 19th century.

As is traditional in the Douro, the vineyard is planted as a field blend, consisting of 15 varieties inter-mixed.  The most prevalent varieties are Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao and Sousao. The average age of the vines is around 35 years old at present.

There are a few European vineyards where ungrafted vines can survive, and these are typically in sandy soils, which phylloxera cannot tolerate.  Surprisingly in the case of Nacional, there is no sand. The soil is Douro schist with a high proportion of clay.  

So how to explain the mystery? They simply do not know why the vines here have developed an immunity. They have tried planting ungrafted vines elsewhere on the estate, but the experiments have never worked.  The vines begin to show tumors on the leaf, and then typically die within 1-2 years.

Needless to say, Noval are scrupulous in their cultivation of this vineyard.  They never bring in plant material from outside the plot, and have been treating the vines organically.  They hire in a donkey for a week at a time when necessary for ploughing (Ana jokingly calls him their “consultant”).

Respecting Tradition

Vinification is very traditional, and begins with foot treading in open stone lagares. The human foot is the ideal instrument for getting the necessary extraction from the skins without crushing the pips, which would result in excessive bitterness. Typically the workers link arms and begin with 3 hours of military-style “marching”, working forwards and back systematically in a line.  Then comes a few hours of “freestyle” treading, accompanied by music and even dancing in the lagares.

The grapes macerate for just 2-3 days, with pigeage 3-4 times a day.  One-half of the fortifying brandy is added just as the fermenting juice is being drained from the lagares, to arrest fermentation and preserve sweetness in the wine.  The other half of the brandy is added in vat. This facilitates the integration of the spirit.   

Wood maturation takes place for up to two years more in a mix of old vats, made of oak, but also cherry and chestnut.   

But as with all of the best vintage ports, the Nacional benefits from extended bottle ageing in cellar. The complex and powerful bouquet of a mature vintage port, decanted at its peak, is an incomparable experience every wine lover should have at least once in their lifetime.

The Whims of a Great Terroir

The Nacional vineyard has its own whims, distinct from the rest of the estate.  For that reason, Noval do not always declare a Nacional Vintage in the same years as the estate vintage.  For example, 1996 was not a declared Vintage year, but the Nacional was so outstanding that Quinta do Noval decided to declare a Vintage Nacional.  By contrast, 2007 was a great year for the Noval estate vintage port, but the Nacional simply did not sing, so it was not released.  

Tasting

Allocations of Nacional are tiny.  For example, the whole of Belgium gets only 12 bottles, and Canada gets only 6.  (Fortunately for those of us in Britain, the UK gets the largest overseas allocation!)

This wine is so rare, that our own Rytis Jurkenas has only ever been lucky enough to taste the Nacional once in his lifetime, when he sampled the 1980 (and awarded it an Excellent 93 pts).

Regardless of the rarity, the exceptional quality of the Nacional is not in doubt.

In the 2011 vintage – that year when growing conditions in the Douro were nigh-on perfect for producing great port – the wine was showered with critical acclaim, achieving 100-pt scores from James Suckling, Robert Parker, Wine & Spirits magazine and Wine Enthusiast.

To quote Neil Martin: “This is the kind of elixir that leaves you speechless.”  – 100pts  (The Wine Advocate, Issue No. 212)

Night of the 1990s

By Martyn Zemavicius

1990 was a rarity in the world of wine.  Not only was it a great vintage across France, but also across Europe and in many of the top regions around the world.1990 Vintage Tasting Dinner

With so many appellations reporting a great harvest last year, we will have to wait and see if 2015 can equal the 1990 vintage for consistent high quality.  

In the meantime, we decided it would be interesting to taste a few bottles from the great 1990 vintage across Europe. (We made sure to partner the wines with gourmet dishes, as the winemakers no doubt intended!)

All of the wines for our tasting were sourced from a single, top quality English cellar, and fortunately they arrived for the tasting in top condition.

To prepare our palates for the wines to come, we kicked off with a delicious magnum of NV Le Brun de Neuville, Cuvee Selection. It had been kept on the lees in 15 meter deep underground cellars for more than 3 years, and it was very tasty.  

1st Flight

1990 Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Champagne (from magnum). 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 5% Pinot Meunier. Named ‘Cuvee Royale’ because it was served in the Royal Households of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.
A powerful champagne, with honey notes typical of 1990. It went amazingly well with a wild mushroom amuse bouche.

2nd Flight

1990 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Riesling Spatlese Oberemmeler Hutte, von Hovel
Von Hovel dates back to the 12th century, when monks constructed the property and cellar. The ancestors of the current owners acquired the estate from Napoleon in 1806.

Wine made from Oberemmeler Hutte monopole vineyard had such a bright colour, it could be taken for a 3-year-old wine. On the palate, with 7% alcohol it was feather light, with sweet yellow stone fruit that went so well with foie gras – probably the best match of the evening.

1990 Alsace Gewurztraminer Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre, Trimbach
Trimbach’s most famous wine is the Riesling Clos Sainte Hune, but this particular Gewurztraminer must be among the best wines they make from old vines. All the grapes came from the former wine estate of the Lords of Ribeaupierre. Made only in exceptional vintages, this was the biggest surprise of the night.

Like the Riesling that preceded it, the colour was very bright. It had the Trimbach style of being dry with very strong structure, full of fruit but elegant at the same time. Still so much life left in this wine that it could live for another 20 years.

3rd Flight

1990 Grand Cru Corton-Clos des Cortons, Faiveley
Many consider Faiveley to be the best of the large-scale producers in the region. Our top choice would probably be Louis Jadot, if pressed. But when it comes to the legendary ‘Corton-Clos des Cortons’ monopole, from the 1990 vintage no less, we certainly didn’t say no!  Based in Nuits St George since 1825 when the house was founded, Faiveley are known for tannic wines that are full of fruit. And this wine was no exception.
Hand bottled, without filtration.

At 25 years old, the tannins were still grippy, but the fruit concentration and richness compensated – especially tasted together with duck breast and red berry sauce.

1990 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert, Paul Jaboulet
It’s not a secret that Jaboulet produces some of the Rhone’s greatest wines, including the famous Hermitage La Chapelle. We would argue that the Domaine de Thalabert vineyard in Crozes Hermitage is the little brother of La Chapelle. Here Jaboulet produces very high quality wines that are superior to most growers Crozes Hermitage. Robert Parker thinks that the 1990 vintage will eclipse the 1978. I have tasted the legendary 1978 La Chapelle on two occasions, but never had a chance to taste the 1978 Domaine de Thalabert. This bottle from 1990 was absolutely amazing and the winner of this tasting.
Made from 40-60 year-old vines. Yields of 25-30 hl/ha. Aged in wood for 12 months.

It took a while for this massive wine to open up. Gamey, smokey with unbelievable dark fruit concentration and incredible length. Any Rhone lover – or any fine wine lover – should try this wine at least once!

4th Flight

1990 Mas de Daumas Gassac, Vin de Pays de l’Herault
Mas de Daumas Gassac is often called the ‘First Growth of the Languedoc’ or the  ‘Lafite of the Languedoc’. Rightly so. I still cannot forget few years ago a 1982 I tasted from jeroboam, how amazing it was.
1990 for Gassac was a most unusual year, as a vine (called ‘Crespy’) sprouted a new leaf as early as 20 January. Made from a very large selection of different grapes planted on red glacial soils.  68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Syrah, 2% Pinot noir, 2% Tannat, 1% rare varieties: Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera. Long fermentation, no filtration. Yields at 40 hl/ha.

Tasting the 1990 proved again that this wine is among the best in the world.

1990 Clos du Marquis, Chateau Leoville Las Cases, Saint-Julien
Chateau Leoville Las Cases is without doubt the best estate in St-Julien, and it often produces wines of first-growth quality. The vineyards are superbly situated on gravelly clay soils that stretch between the village of St-Julien and Chateau Latour. Their Clos du Marquis is considered to be the best 2nd wine made in Bordeaux. These days it is made from separate plots, but in the 1990 vintage it received 63% of Leoville Las Cases grapes that would nowadays have gone into the ‘grand vin’.

Rich, powerful and concentrated. Marvellously well-balanced wine, with exotically perfumed notes typical of Las Cases. Over the past year I have tasted it four times. It is absolutely delicious, and without doubt is better than some ‘grands vins’ of St-Julien.

5th Flight

1990 Tignanello, Marchesi Antinori
Tignanello is famous for being the first producer in the Chianti region to age Sangiovese in barriques, and to blend wine with non-indigenous varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon (instead of the traditional white wine grapes used in chianti blends). The first vintage released was 1971, and Antinori was accused of vinous treachery and treason. It had to be labelled as a lowly vino da tavola. But Antinori had the last laugh, as Tignanello soon attained critical acclaim.

Dark berries and gamey notes. Starting to show some leathery notes too. But still a lot of life left in this wine with heaps of fruit, spice and a long finish.

1990 Brunello di Montalcino Sugarille, Pieve Santa Restituta
Gaja purchased Pieve Santa Restituta in 1994, so it was good opportunity to see if wines made there were as good as they are under Gaja’s ownership. The answer is an unqualified ‘yes’! The single vineyard ‘Sugarille’, located on the north-eastern side of Brunello, is situated at 350 meters above sea level. There is a gentle south-west exposure and rocky soils. This estate always had the potential to be one of the finest in the region. Indeed, Antonio Galloni thinks is it’s “easily among the finest in the entire appellation”, and we would agree with that.

Wine was so complex with a lot of aromatic floral notes, ripe dark forest berries, full bodied, very well balanced and with a long finish. I must say that this time I preferred it over the 1990 Tignanello.

Conclusion

This tasting proved how high in quality the 1990 vintage was across Europe. We would advise wine lovers to put some in their cellars before it becomes too rare and expensive, as inevitably happens with the great old vintages from top estates.

 

Dom Perignon vs Dom Ruinart

By Martyn Zemavicius20160310_231030

 

Today’s post includes notes from a special tasting we organised in early March that featured two of the ‘Doms’ of Champagne – Dom Ruinart and Dom Perignon.

The idea for this tasting came after our old friend from Moet Hennessy, Jack Dundas, had invited me to a very interesting tasting with the current Ruinart chef de cave, Frederic Panaiotis.  Thanks for the inspiration, Jack and Frederic!

Ruinart

Origins
Ruinart has been commercially producing sparkling champagne since Nicolas Ruinart founded the house in 1729, making it the oldest champagne-producing house in the region. (While Gosset, founded in 1584, is the oldest existing wine producer in Champagne, it was not making sparkling wines then.)

Wines from those very early days were sold exclusively in cask, and it wasn’t until 1728 that wine was legally permitted to be shipped in bottle, thus allowing for the sale of bottle-fermented champagnes.

Following financial difficulties, the house of Ruinart was sold to the Moet & Chandon group in the 1960s.  Frederic Panaiotis is the current chef de cave.

Dom Ruinart RoseCrayeres
Ruinart is known for its crayeres – the deep cellars near Reims tunnelled from chalk dating back to Gallo-Roman times – which it has owned since 1782.  Other houses such as Taittinger, Pommery, Charles Heidsieck and Henriot own crayeres in the area as well. But it is widely acknowledged that Ruinart’s are of exceptional beauty.

Style
The Ruinart house style is influenced by chardonnay from outside of the Cote des Blancs, giving the wines a distinctive breadth and body on the palate. The areas of the northern Montagne de Reims around Sillery and Verzenay, as well as the Massif de St-Thierry north of Reims, have been important sources of grapes over the years.  

NV ‘R’ de Ruinart
48% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier.
Pinot Meunier was recently introduced to the blend. Frederic intends to increase the percentage, but has no plans to go over 15%. The fairly young reserve wines, usually from the last three vintages, and the high proportion of Chardonnay make Ruinart a storable non-vintage.
Delightfully toasty bread note and a hint of citrus aromas.

NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs
100% Chardonnay.
2001 was the first release. It now accounts for 20% of total production and is becoming the main face of Ruinart.
Roundness comes from grapes grown in Sezanne and north of Reims. Blended from 20 villages, about 40% from the Cote des Blancs. Only Premier Cru grapes are used.
A lot of floral and exotic notes. This is our favourite NV, and currently like all other NVs it is  based on the great 2012 vintage

NV Ruinart Rose
Chardonnay 45%, Pinot Noir 55%.
The blend includes about 20% of red wine produced with a short maceration, about five days, for fruitiness and freshness.
Wine had a lot of structure, maybe from strong vintage like 2012. With plenty of red crunchy berries.

Dom Ruinart

Dom Ruinart – the house’s prestige cuvee – is the jewel of the house. The first vintage was the 1959, released commercially in 1967.  It was named for Nicolas’ uncle, Dom Thierry Ruinart. A Benedictine monk who lived from 1657-1709, Dom Ruinart was a native of Champagne who impressed upon young Nicolas his conviction that “vin de mousse” (wine with bubbles) had a promising future.

It is made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay, typically about a third of which is from the Montagne de Reims, and around two-thirds from the Cote des Blancs.

2004 Dom Ruinart
For two years in a row, this has been our top wine at the annual Champagne Bureau tasting in London.
Incredible structure with floral notes and ripe citrus fruit.

1996 Dom Ruinart
This is the second time we have tried this wine in the past month, and the second time it was corked. Bad luck!
But even through the cork taint we could taste toasted nuts and dried fruit with the smoky 1996 minerality.

Dom Ruinart Rose

First released in 1966. It is based on the same blend as the blanc de blancs, with the addition of about 15 percent of pinot noir that is vinified as a still red wine, with ten days’ maceration to extract more color and tannin.

1998 Dom Ruinart Rose
85% Chardonnay. 15% Pinot Noir.
Only 5 g/L dosage.
What a pretty wine! Lovely floral notes mixed with bags of red fruit. Beautifully balanced and very long. Just entering its drinking window.Dom Ruinart Rose Champagne

1959 Ruinart Rose
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay.
Made by the Ruinart family before the house was sold to LVMH in 1963. Not only was 1959 the first vintage of Dom Ruinart blanc, and it was also the legendary first vintage of Dom Perignon Rose.
We have been very lucky with this bottle. The cork broke when we tried to take it out. But that’s often a good omen for such old bottles, as it signals the bottle was sealed well.
Colour still had dark red hinge. On the nose it still had some red fruit. Wine was very powerful and with long finish.

Dom Perignon

Origins
Dom Perignon was launched by Moet & Chandon as a prestige cuvee in 1936, with the 1921 vintage the first to be released commercially.

Moet had previously made a private release of 300 bottles of the 1926 for one of its English clients, Simon Brothers & Co, to mark their centenary celebrations in 1935. Due to the publicity and demand that this one-off cuvee generated, Moet offered the 1921 vintage the following year under a newly created brand, named after Dom Perignon, the legendary cellar master of the abbey in Hautvillers.

Follow-up releases of the 1928, 1929 and 1934 were also Moet vintage wines, transferred into the special Dom Perignon bottles.  1943 was the first Dom Perignon to be fermented inside its own bottle.

Today Dom Perignon is a unique brand within the LVMH portfolio, kept separate from Moet & Chandon.

Richard Geoffroy, the current chef de cave, has been with the house since 1990. He is among the finest winemakers in Champagne.

Vineyards
In general, Dom Perignon is always made from 8 Grand Crus and one Premier Cru, Hautvillers, where Dom Perignon lived and where his remains are buried.

Moet & Chandon are the largest landowners in Champagne, and that gives the house access to a vast array of vineyards. So even in weaker vintages Dom Perignon can make very good wines.

Blend
A typical blend will include slightly more chardonnay than pinot noir, although the exact blend depends on the character of the vintage, and it’s even possible that certain vintages will contain a majority of pinot noir.

2003 Dom Perignon
40% Pinot Noir, 60% Chardonnay.
This wine is all about elegance and power at the same time. Possessing ripe but very well balanced fruit, with minerality and freshness. A masterpiece, considering how hot the 2003 vintage was.

1995 Dom Perignon
48% Pinot Noir, 52% Chardonnay.
This vintage was the opposite of 2003, as classic as it could get. Silky smooth with delicate sweet spice notes, roasted nuts, dry apricots. Stunning.

20160310_231118Conclusion

One of the attendees had commented at the start of the tasting that it would be a fight between the two Doms to see which is better.  But what transpired wasn’t a fight at all – more of a delicious experiment proving that Dom Ruinart and Dom Perignon are two of the best prestige cuvees.  Those who are patient will be rewarded as they age beautifully.

For those of us who cannot afford to drink at the prestige level every day, the NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs offers superb value, particularly now as it is currently based on the excellent 2012 vintage.

 

Champagne week: the Clos & Cru perspective

As you know, champagne is our passion here at Clos & Cru. We visit the region as often as possible and when better than during the unofficially titled ‘Champagne Week’ each spring. This huge gathering of growers, producers, winemakers and the trade provides a marvellous opportunity to meet with old friends, make new ones, keep ourselves up-to-date by tasting dozens of champagnes, and to discover exciting new wines for our portfolio. With this in mind the full Clos & Cru team convened from London, Stockholm and Vilnius for five days of immersion in our favourite bubbly beverage!

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