David Adamick

Old Rioja Walkabout

Thursday night of last week saw once again an outstanding show of properly aged, traditional wares at Roberson, High Street Kensington:  Cune, Muga, La Rioja Alta, Marques de Murrieta, Marques de Riscal, Marques de Caceras and various one-offs spanning from mid-50s to early-80s. These revealed not only the magic with which the decades can imbue properly made wine, but indeed, in the case of traditional Rioja, how differently the wine was once made. For those of us used to what we term ‘modern Rioja’ – a stylistic trend spawned in the mid 90s – the tasting event’s stars were the products not of new French oak, single site fruit, low yield/high alcohol, full-bodied, brooding dark fruit. Instead they were of used American oak,  more inclusive varietal blending (more Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo) and  blending of vineyards spanning in some cases hundreds of hectares. That traditional Rioja was in fact made and expected to age 20-40 years is case and point; indeed after decades of such ageing the results were revealed to all in an ethereal, almost evasive, perfumed red fruit nuanced by notes of leather, tobacco leaf and fig of varying degrees. Vintage-wise, the general consensus seemed to be particularly behind the ’69′ ’70 and ’75 vintages as well as with Riscal’s outstanding ’82 – all still displaying an amazing vigour and freshness despite their age. It was certainly not Rioja as most had ever known it and this became an evident joy as the evening wore on.



David Adamick

A Bergström Supper

Last week, Josh Bergström from Bergström Winery in Oregon, came to London to spend a few days with Roberson to showcase his wines, that are increasingly gaining international acclaim. As well as doing a tasting at our shop, one of the highlights of his visit was a meal at Galvin La Chapelle, where all the food was matched with Bergström  wines. The menu consisted of cured Loch Duart salmon with fennel, avocado & ruby grapefruit; seared presa Iberica pork shoulder, white polenta & asparagus and an excellent cheeseboard to finish the meal. All the food was elegantly lifted to even greater gastronomic heights by Josh’s Cuvées- we drank the ‘Old Stones‘ and ‘Sigrid’ Chardonnays 2010/2011 and ‘Cumberland Reserve‘, ‘Shea Vineyard‘ ‘De Lancellotti Vineyard‘ and ‘Bergström Vineyard’ Pinot Noirs. Josh was of course with us every step of the way, sharing the intimate and profound technical knowledge of his truly delicious craft, all supported by some stimulating narrative. Not only is Oregon one to watch, but more so the beacon of wine-making finesse, elegance and identity that is Josh Bergström.


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