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Cliff Releases Christmas Single – Free Download Available
With Christmas fast approaching and the whole world wondering which X-Factor contender will make it to number one, it’s as well to remind ourselves that there are alternatives to today’s generic pop stars out there. One such artist is Mr Cliff Roberson himself, who this year has released a rap based on his life in the wine industry. This song is available exclusively to download right here on the Roberson blog and is not in the shops. To get your free download, right click on this link and choose to save target as, save link as or similar. Once it’s downloaded add it to your iTunes, stick it on an iPod, burn it to a CD or press it on to a wax cylinder and enjoy.
Tonight’s 1989 Bordeaux Tasting – A Preview
As the 1980s drew to a close, Jive Bunny were topping the charts and the England team were stumbling to qualify for Italia ‘90, but Château owners and drinkers alike could look back fondly at a decade that had given them more top quality Bordeaux vintages than most others in the 20th century. After a good vintage in 1988 (one which turned out better than initially expected), the Bordelais were in buoyant mood and reacted with their customary gusto to excellent weather conditions right from the off. Following a mild winter May was hot and dry, prompting early flowering and setting a trend for sweltering temperatures that was to continue throughout the rest of the growing season. The summer started early and remained hot and dry until after the harvest was completed – so hot and dry in fact, that 1989 was the hottest year on record since 1949 and the earliest harvest since 1893. With all of this sun it would be easy to think that the ‘89 vintage was plain sailing, but that was not exactly the case. While the high temperatures meant early ripening for the fruit in an analytical sense (sugars and acids), the shorter growing season left the grapes without the required phenolic (or physiological) ripeness. This presented the chateaux owners with a dilemma – should they pick early to preserve acidity levels and prevent the wines from taking on too much sur-maturité (over ripeness), or should they wait for full phenolic ripeness to avoid massive sugar levels and green, harsh tannins. The answer to this difficult question would dictate what sort of wines each chateau made and there was no universally accepted ‘right’ way to do things. This issue of physiological ripeness was particularly acute for Cabernet Sauvignon and therefore it had a much bigger impact on the wines of the Médoc. Estates on the right bank picked relatively early (some getting started in August) as Merlot doesn’t need so long to achieve a high level of phenolic ripeness – the Mouiex properties in Pomerol and St Emilion delayed picking until the first week of September and the fruit they brought in was superb so expectations were high for the quality of the wines. With things a bit more complicated over on the left-bank many winemakers lost their nerve and on the advice of their risk-averse oenologists they sent out the pickers early, missing the opportunity to harvest fruit that would’ve proved to be spectacular if they had waited. Those that did wait were rewarded, producing wines that stand up to those made in the other great vintages of the 20th century. So how was the vintage received by the critics? Well, at the time there was a great deal of positive press for the ‘89s, resulting in proclamations that it was the vintage of the century. Of course, a century in Bordeaux tends to mean 2 or 3 years, but nevertheless the feeling was very positive and the wines showed very well when they were young, fetching the highest prices of any vintage released up to that point. Michael Broadbent scored the vintage 5* and called it “Unquestionably a great vintage”. Robert Parker has never been quite so enthusiastic as other commentators (with the notable exception of Pomerol), feeling that it pales in comparison to its younger sibling 1990. The Roberson team have always felt ‘89 has been an excellent performer in the many verticals we’ve hosted, but 21 years on it will be fascinating to taste how the wines have developed with their combination of low acids and high tannins. Read more about this tasting by downloading the tasting brochure from the night.
Mr Hudson – Exquisite Taste in Champagne
What with Universal Music HQ next door but one to our shop, and EMI, Sony BMG and Warner Chappell head offices just down the street, our home of Kensington High Street has acquired the moniker ‘Music Industry’s Golden Mile’. I’m pleased to say, as well as staff from all of the above buying wines from Roberson on a regular basis, we are also the music companies’ wine merchant of choice for corporate gifts and celebratory events. In addition to the obvious plusses of acquiring more business from these recently opened offices, and the chance to sell a bottle of wine to Alex Turner from The Artic Monkeys, the staff at Roberson are often recipients of DVDs and CDs and sometimes concert tickets from the record companies. This means all of us in the shop, even old geezers like me, are pretty much in touch with new releases and bands.
We Made It!
After three-and-a-half of the most exhausting, rewarding, painful, funny, emotionally draining, gorgeous, very long and hot days, we arrived in Paris. This has been an incredible experience for all four of us. We were with over a hundred people, all riding for their own charities. Some, very experienced club cyclists, on super road racers, aiming to beat thier target times. Some, really inexperienced riders, on bikes more suited to just pottering down to the shops. Each of us had our own goals and each of us had our own battles, what with the temperatures soaring to over 100 degrees and more that 4,500 metres of altitude climbed (if you thought Northern France is flat, you’re wrong). But the arrival in Paris, riding down the Champs Elysees, along the Seine and finishing under the Eiffel tower on a glorous Saturday afternoon, and being cheered on all the way by the French, made the whole thing worth every bead of sweat. This post is to thank all of you who have given so generously towards the creation of a Chickenshed theatre company in South West London. On behalf of Christine, Tara, Maxine and myself, very very many thanks. Your donations have nearly reached the £10,000 target and that was one of the major inspirations that kept us turning the pedals at times when we doubted that we had the strength. Again, very many thanks. Paul
Vega Sicilia Come to Roberson
Last night we held one of our most exciting tastings of the year – a fascinating look at Spain’s aristocratic wine estate, Vega Sicilia. Winemaker Xavier Ausas took charge of proceedings, which consisted of a tasting of Pintia ’06, Alion ’04 and ’05 before the main business of the evening, four vintages of Valbuena (’04, ’02, ’97, ’83), four of Unico (’99, ’80, ’74, ’69), a lot (if that’s the right word for this non-vintage blend) of Unico Reserva Especial and a 1976 Oremus Tokaji just to finish things off. Personally I thought the ’74 Unico was the most outstanding – a really fascinating wine at its peak now and with an indescribable character that was sheer perfection. Thanks everyone for coming to this brilliant event, and especially thanks to Xavier for presenting the wines. There’s one more tasting left in this session, The French Walkabout, which should be a really enjoyable evening so don’t miss it. The next schedule is being finalised as we speak and will be posted in the tastings section of the site in the next couple of weeks – check back often. Read more about this tasting by downloading the tasting brochure from the night.
Fabio Capello Drops In
Last week Mr. Capello dropped in for a tasting in our fantastic new cellars. After we ironed out a few footballing problems for him, the talk turned to wine. The winner was Gaja’s 2003 Barbaresco, which all agreed was drinking quite well, depsite being pretty tannic. What can we say, the man appreciates quality.
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