Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Chateau Musar - The World's Most Dangerous Fine Wine

Making wine in a war-zone A border with war-torn Syria just a few kilometres away from the vineyards. A cultural tectonic fault-line of a country that has spent a large proportion of its short history engaged in sectarian conflict. Extraordinary and distinctive wines, that can age for decades. Is Lebanon’s Chateau Musar the world’s most dangerous fine wine? It wasn’t always this way. The Bekaa Valley in which Musar’s vines are planted has been home to wine production for more than 6000 years. The ancient inhabitants of this land had extensive contact with the Phoenicians, and through their trading network may have been responsible for spreading the grape vine across the Mediterranean. One of the world’s most perfectly-preserved Roman temples can be found in the area, dedicated to their god of wine, Bacchus – and the valley was known as the ‘breadbasket’ of Rome. Yet Musar has had to survive both war and the commercial wilderness to assume its rightful place as one of the few truly iconic wines - a legend of the eastern Mediterranean. Why? Because it is uncompromising, unique and endlessly fascinating. Fermentation is in concrete, before the wine spends a year in the vat, then a year or so in French Nevers oak. It's blended in the third year, put back into vat and bottled, and cellared for up to six or seven years before release. There is no fining, minimum filtration and sulphites are kept very low. The whole approach is low-interventionist and the result is truly unique, and very long-lived. While the wine is widely fêted by wine-lovers and critics alike, the prices have remained extremely reasonable. Mature vintages approaching 20 years old can be had for less than £30 per bottle. Very few other wines from anywhere else in the world can be enjoyed with so much bottle age for so little money. Fancy seeing what all the fuss is about? Roberson Wine maintains the best selection of older vintages of Chateau Musar, immediately available for next-day delivery - free over £100.

13/11/2019

Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Good Times, Delivered

Introducing our beautiful new Roberson Wine NakPack delivery boxes. At Roberson we don’t like to take wine too seriously. For us, wine is all about good times, great food, and enjoying the moment with friends and family. So, to keep good times rolling, we wanted to achieve two things with our new boxes. First is to get you your wine order as quickly, conveniently and reliably as possible by offering best-in-class packaging. Second is to communicate our feel-good wine philosophy with the design on the box. Since introducing NakPack, our breakage rate has dropped to less than 0.2% - and we think our artist Natt Milovanovic has absolutely nailed it with her imagery of dancing, music and food. We hope you’ll be as pleased with the contents of your delivery box as we are with its design! We’d like to get you involved. Next time you receive a wine delivery from us in one of our brand spanking new boxes, take a photo of the box by your front door (external shots preferred) and send it to us at consumer@robersonwine.com. We’ll send you a voucher worth £7.95 for free delivery on your next order – and might feature your image on our social media. For another good time, go to Roberson Wine!

20/09/2019

Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Decanter Retailer Awards Shortlist

We’re incredibly proud to let you know that we’ve been shortlisted in three categories at the 2019 Decanter Retailer Awards: USA Specialist of the Year Online Retailer of the Year Innovator of the Year It’s been a busy 12 months! This year we hosted the UK premiere of movie Somm 3 in our urban winery in SW6, we put on ‘Parallels’, an acclaimed trade tasting comparing fine wines from our producers in France and the USA, we organised the first Bacchus Focus tasting, hosted by Peter Richards MW, and launched Minuty’s Limited Edition rosé at a hugely attended party beside the Thames. All this happened alongside massive growth in orders placed through our website – and it’s this we’re most thankful for, since more of you than ever before have chosen to trust us as your online wine merchant. We want to let you know that, while we obviously hope to win our categories on 26th September, we’ll never be content to rest on our laurels. We have big things planned for the next 12 months and we’ll never stop innovating in our mission to offer the most exciting range, sharpest prices and best service of any online merchant. Join our mailing list to stay in touch with all the latest news and offers from Roberson Wine.

29/08/2019

Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Rosé Serving Temperature

At what temperature should you serve rosé? Devotees of Will Lyons’ Twitter feed will have followed a storm in a wine glass in recent days, as some on social media took issue with his Sunday Times article on rosé. Particular umbrage was taken by some who believed he had advised that rosé is best served “piercingly cold”, arguing that doing so strips a wine of its finer flavours and prevents enjoyment of its full complexity. But is there such a thing as a perfect temperature at which to serve rosé? Is it, for example, suited more to treatment as a light, Beaujolais-style red, which is delicious enjoyed after just half an hour in the fridge? Or should your bottle be mercilessly chilled to within a few degrees of absolute zero and kept between pouring in a bucket of liquid nitrogen? We’ve canvassed the opinions of three of Roberson’s most passionate rosé-drinking staff, each with their own expert take on the issue. The Ex-Sommelier Shana Dilworth is Roberson’s poacher turned gamekeeper, having worked previously as a sommelier at fine dining establishments including Orrery and Skylon. Here’s her foodie take on the rosé temperature issue: “The temperature you serve rosé at really depends on the setting. “If it’s a hot, sunny day and you’re enjoying a picnic, I think it’s absolutely fine to stick the bottle in an ice bucket and serve it well-chilled. “On the other hand, if it’s a Sunday evening and you’re serving rosé with food like a Tuna Niçoise salad, it really needs to be warmer to enjoy all the nuances of flavour. In this scenario, I’d treat the rosé like you would a light Beaujolais and serve at around 12°C. “Most white wines would typically be served at 7° - 9°, so it’s clearly quite a bit warmer.” The Winemaker Alex Hurley is Roberson’s in-house winemaker, responsible for making our London Cru wines, and had a major hand in production of our 2018 Rosaville Rd English Rosé. Unsurprisingly as a winemaker, he has a strong opinion: “Serve rosé too cold and you lose all the character. No wine fridge at optimal serving temperature would ever be set at 4 or 5 degrees, so why would you serve a rosé ice-cold? “Yes, very heavily chilled rosé is easy to drink and refreshing, but the flavour is completely subdued. Why even bother drinking wine? You might as well make a gin and tonic. “As winemakers we go to huge lengths to bring as much expression to your glass as possible. Chill a wine too much and you’re undoing all of our hard work! “Serve as you would a chilled red, at about 12° - 14°C.” The Buyer Keith Kirkpatrick is Roberson’s Head of Agencies and Buying, and has previously worked in restaurant wine sales. Here’s his view: “For me you drink rosé when you want the red fruit flavours of a red wine, but with the refreshment and easy-drinking character of a white. So why wouldn’t you serve it well-chilled? “I mainly drink rosé as a ‘getting-ready’ wine – when I’m cooking a meal or setting up the barbecue. I’m not looking for something that requires concentration. “I also love the south of France, and there’s nothing better than sitting on a sun-dappled lunch terrace with a plate of langoustines. But even then, the outside temperature means that you want the wine as cold as possible. “Treat your rosé like you would a refreshing white wine and don't take it too seriously.” So there you have it. Either chill your rosé, or don't. Treat rosé like a white wine, or don't. It's up to you.

29/05/2019

Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Roberson's Best Rosé

Love rosé, but want to find out how to sort the pink from the plonk? Read on.... What makes a great rosé? Time was that rosé was nothing more than a money-spinning secondary product made by profit-hungry red wine producers. By bleeding off some of the juice during fermentation (known as the ‘saignée method’ - pronounced "san-yay"), your red became more concentrated, and you had some cheap pinkish juice that could be quickly vinified and sold for cash without the need for ageing. Nowadays the tables have turned, and rosé has become so popular that winemakers from in-demand regions like Provence are giving up on reds to concentrate solely on producing rosé. Yet success can be a double-edged sword. Such is the fashion for Provence’s pale, dry, delicate style of rosé that the number of brands has exploded, fruit prices have started to soar, and quality can sometimes play second fiddle to hitting a supermarket price point. So how do you sort the pink from the plonk? We’ve picked five of our best rosés, each of which is guaranteed to transport you to warm summer days and sun-dappled evenings. M de Minuty Rosé Château Minuty’s ‘M’ has been our best-selling rosé for years, and no wonder – with its iconic bottle design and strawberry-scented fruit, it’s the archetype of Provence rosé. While many producers in Provence have started to explore less favoured areas in search of cheaper fruit, Minuty only sources grapes from the best Côtes de Provence vineyards. M de Minuty is designed to be enjoyed as young and fresh as possible, so it’s always best to go for the newest vintage you can get your hands on. Fortunately, we’re Minuty’s official UK importer – so you’re always guaranteed to get the best price and freshest rosé at Roberson. Whispering Angel Whispering Angel by Chateau d’Esclans has arguably contributed more than any other wine to the incredible success enjoyed by Provence rosé today – so much so that it’s responsible for 20% of all Provence rosé imports into the USA. There’s a reason for the success – and it isn’t just the wine’s pretty bottle and evocative name. Crack open a bottle of Whispering Angel and you’re guaranteed fine, ethereal fruit and beautifully soft, silky texture. Minuty Rose et Or Rose et Or is one of the finest rosés in Provence, made from 30 year old vines planted immediately next to Château Minuty itself. It’s made solely using the ‘pressurage direct’ method, where red grapes are pressed and then the juice is left for a short time in contact with the skins, gently extracting colour. Timing is critical - too short and your rosé has no colour – too long and your rosé is a red. Fortunately Minuty has mastered the technique, and the Rose et Or is a wine to rival any in the world. Subtle, dry and beautifully well-balanced, it can be enjoyed by itself, or served as a proper foodie wine with seafood or charcuterie. London Cru Rosaville Rd Rosé The 2018 vintage is all about England. The summer that never seemed to end brought our wines previously unheard of levels of fruit ripeness and intensity, to match with the beautiful minerality that comes from growing vines on our chalky slopes. London Cru’s rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir grown on Surrey’s North Downs. With aromas of pink grapefruit and fresh strawberries, this is light, fresh and incredibly moreish, finishing with silky texture from time ageing on lees. Simpsons Railway Hill Rosé If there’s one English winery to watch, it’s Simpsons Wine Estate in Kent. Located just south of Canterbury, this area has the country's best wine-growing combination of chalky soils, low rainfall and high number of sunshine hours during the growing season – all contributing to the region’s fame as the garden of England. The 2018, from 100% Pinot Noir, has beautifully rounded texture, notes of citrus and nectarine, and is superbly mouth-watering. Finishing with a burst of minerals, this is the ultimate sunny-evening pick-me-up, or could be matched with fine English seafood. Cheers!

08/05/2019

Simon huntington blog

Simon Huntington

Designing Minuty Limited Edition

This summer’s M de Minuty Limited Edition Rosé has been launched by Château Minuty and is on sale now. The Limited Edition bottle is prettier than ever this year, featuring beautiful new artwork by acclaimed British designer Ruby Taylor. Inspiring The Limited Edition Rosé The new M de Minuty Limited Edition design effortless captures the feel of summer in St Tropez, featuring shells, seafood and sunglasses – all of which match perfectly with the beautifully pale, delicate and refreshing rosé contained within. One sip of M de Minuty Rosé is all it takes to transport you to long summer days and warm Mediterranean breezes – and the Limited Edition bottle is sure to set the scene at any picnic, barbecue, or garden party this summer. But what about the artist behind the design? We met up with Ruby Taylor to find out a little bit more about drawing inspiration from Provence and the design process behind the new Limited Edition bottle. An Interview with Ruby Taylor Roberson Wine: Hi Ruby, we love this year’s Minuty Limited Edition bottle. You obviously have an appreciation for all things Provençal - what was it about Provence that inspired you the most? Ruby Taylor: I love the colours and the atmosphere, the mix of old and new. There was so much amazing food and wine, it was incredible. RW: What was your favourite food and wine experience in Provence? Ruby Taylor: I think La Verdoyante was probably my favourite, the view was amazing! RW: So were you a wine drinker before the Minuty project? Ruby Taylor: Absolutely! I’ve always been partial to a glass of Taittinger, although M de Minuty is now my tipple of choice, obviously. RW: Glad to hear it! You obviously spent quite a bit of time in Provence, gathering inspiration for this year’s Limited Edition Rosé design. Do you have any insider tips, that a typical visitor might not know about? Ruby Taylor: I had lots of fun when we hired a Mini Moke - a classic little open-top car a bit like a tiny jeep. It’s a really fun way to zip around and see the sights. RW: It must be an unusual challenge, creating a design for a bottle. Did you have to approach the artwork differently to other projects you’ve worked on? Ruby Taylor: I try to approach all projects similarly, sketching ideas first and then building up to a final design. This was a bit trickier in a sense that the ‘canvas’ was a bottle so there were some constraints as to how it could be printed, which meant there was more planning involved. RW: So do you now have a lifetime supply of M de Minuty Rosé? Ruby Taylor: Ah that’s a good point! I’ll have to check with Minuty! Chateau Minuty’s 2018 M de Minuty Limited Edition Rosé is on sale now.

24/04/2019

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We sell wine that offers quality and value at every level, from the everyday to the extraordinary. Read more about us.

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We're Decanter and IWC Specialist Merchant of the Year for our USA range.

... London's best collection of seriously smart wine available by the single bottle

Jancis Robison MW