Unwinding in the Wind
2019 Vintage with Julien Sunier Just a few days ago, we were sitting on the deck of Julien Sunier’s beautiful house overlooking the village of Avenas in the heart of ...
Teaming up with Simpsons
Roberson Wine and Simpsons Wine Estate join forces Simpsons Wine Estate and Roberson Wine are delighted to be working together as the Kent based winery launches four new English still wines in 2019. Following a bumper English wine harvest in 2018 that delivered extremely high quality fruit, Charles and Ruth Simpson will be introducing four prestige still wines to the UK market this year, which will be distributed via the team at Robersons. With a strong emphasis on provenance and a sense of place, the four wines are all named after interesting local roads that surround the vineyards and winery in Barham, including: Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2018 – the ‘early release’, baby brother of Simpsons Wine Estate’s Roman Road Chardonnay. Derringstone Pinot Meunier 2018 – the team believes this may be the UK’s first Blanc de Noirs still Pinot Meunier - sealed under the Vinolok glass closure. Railway Hill Rosé 2018 – a delicate Provencal-style rosé, created from 100% Pinot Noir, beautifully packaged and sealed under Vinolok. Rabbit Hole Pinot Noir 2018 – created from low yielding still wine clones 115 and 375, the team are most surprised and delighted with the quality of this still Pinot Noir. These four new wines will be joined later in the year by the Roman Road Chardonnay 2018, which will now age for 12 months prior to release. This will be the third vintage of their highly acclaimed Chardonnay, which has been produced in very limited quantities over the past two years. We had been looking for an English wine partner for some time, and Simpsons Wine Estate fits the bill perfectly. Their still Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are produced from Burgundian clones grown in chalky soils close to Canterbury and sit superbly alongside our award-winning portfolio of great wines from France and California. We are looking forward to introducing them to our customers this spring. Ruth Simpson, co-owner of Simpsons Wine Estate says, “2018 was an incredible year for us at Simpsons Wine Estate and we’re thrilled to be working with the team at Roberson Wine to launch our new premium still wines. We are both quality-driven, family businesses that are passionate about English wine, so we share many commonalities. Robersons have a fantastic list of prestige customers in the wine world and we look forward to introducing our exciting new wines to their exclusive client base.” About Simpsons Wine Estate Charles & Ruth Simpson have been making award-winning wines at Domaine Sainte Rose, their stunning, southern French property, for the past 17 years. Combining Old World terroir with New World techniques in the vineyard, as well as in the winery, they now produce an eclectic range of award-winning wines that have won international acclaim and are sold around the world. In 2014, they bought their expertise and savoir-faire back to the UK establishing Simpsons Wine Estate in Barham, Kent, with an aspiration to create the finest quality Method Traditional English sparkling wine. Simpsons Wine Estate now has 30 hectares of vineyard, planted with the grape varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The vineyards occupy glorious positions on the sunny, sheltered slopes of the North Downs, protected from the whimsy of the English climate by ancient woodlands and anchored in the iconic, free-draining, chalky soils, so revered in the world of sparkling wine. In 2016 a state-of-the-art winery was created in Barham in preparation for their first harvest and a modern tasting room was completed during 2017, complete with a helter skelter slide. For more information on Simpsons Wine Estate and other news and offers, join our mailing list.
Roberson Staff Christmas Picks
Christmas is a busy time for staff at Roberson Wine. Whether they’re helping our customers with their online orders, or dealing with seasonal demand from our restaurant, hotel and independent wine merchant clients, there’s always a huge amount going on. So, when the last order has been taken and the final bottle delivered, what do Roberson staff members look forward to cracking open and getting stuck into? Read on and find out…. Paul Williamson - Private Client Sales Manager Christmas morning for me is all about bubbles. And family. But mainly bubbles. Jean-Paul Thevenet's sparkling Gamay 'On Pete la Soif' is the perfect wine for getting the day started. Light on alcohol, lively bubbles and just the right amount of sweetness makes it extremely gluggable and the perfect morning tipple to start things off with a pop. Ben Greene - Head of Retail and Online As a wine professional I’m sure I should have read John Szabo’s excellently-reviewed “Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power” when it came out last year. In mitigation, I should say that I have spent much of the time I saved by not doing that, drinking and enjoying wines grown in volcanic soil. In particular, whites from Santorini and, like Cantine Murgo’s Etna Bianco, Mount Etna, which seems to share some of the same qualities of minerality, depth and freshness. At this price, Etna Bianco is one of my finds of the year. Anna von Bertele - Online Department Assistant Manager The red and white from Pandolfa are perfect for any occasion with friends – not only are the label images completely charming with their rosy cheeks and pointy noses, but the wines also taste pretty darn delicious too! Fruit-forward in style, these are easy-to drink and go well with a wide range of foods; I’m yet to meet a friend who hasn’t also fallen in love with them. They’re the ideal white and red for any drinks party or entertaining this December. Simon Huntington - Ecommerce Specialist I adore red Burgundy at Christmas time. OK I adore red Burgundy all of the time – but with Christmas foods the combination of delicate, silky structure, and ripe, fragrant, red berry fruit, just seems to sing. At home we’ve always enjoyed red wines with our turkey on Christmas day, and a magnum of Guillemot’s Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Serpentieres should go perfectly this year. Being from one of the less well-known vineyard areas, but made by the incredibly talented Pierre Guillemot, it’s an extraordinary wine at a relatively ordinary price. Sarah Jones - Marketing Executive For the main event, I plan to drink two of my favourite red discoveries this year. It would be rude not to include one of our brand new incredible Californian wines, a distinctive Carignan from Mendocino. It’s velvety, crunchy and filled with red berries – the perfect match with turkey. And I can’t write this piece without including my favourite wine of the year - Seth Kunin's Syrah, an elegant, medium bodied, Rhône-style wine from Santa Barbara. It’s such a classy wine, I really doubt that anyone could dislike it. I will raise a glass to Seth, a much respected and missed pioneer in the trade, long may the Kunin estate continue to make wines of such quality. Lee Talbot - Fine Wine Trade Sales Christmas is undoubtedly my favourite time of year. As soon as we skip happily into December, my vast array of Christmas jumpers come out with pride, annoying everyone in their path. Once my jumper is on and I'm in the festive spirit, it’s on to choosing the Christmas wines for the family. One of the first wines on my Christmas shopping list every year is Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV. Christmas Day breakfast is a special meal in my family - not just something you have to meander through before ripping open your presents. Smoked salmon, creme fraiche and caviar blinis topped with a smidge of dill and cayenne pepper - nothing too extravagant. After years of drinking bucks fizz with breakfast, I eventually encouraged the family to invest in a proper drink, and we've never looked back. Ruinart’s ripe citrus acidity goes fantastically well with those wonderful fishy flavours, and the full bodied, creamy richness and brioche flavour that is quintessentially a Blanc de Blancs shines through for this absolute stunner of a Champagne. Another reason to look forward to Christmas then. Shana Dilworth - On-Trade Sales An elegant all-rounder, the joy of A Tribute to Grace’s Santa Barbara County Grenache is the diverse range of food it pairs with - anywhere from short rib ragout to nut roast - as well as being great on its own. I equate it to the kind of person who you want to have over for Christmas - warm, kind and well-versed; someone who encourages conversation without dominating the crowd. In a word - scrumptious. Happy Drinking!
A Guilt Free March
I’m dying for a biscuit. Something crumbly, sweet and smothered in chocolate. Apparently this is “illegal” for the next 40 days as the office has gone healthy for Lent. No sugar, no snacks, no wine. What no wine? According to iquitsugar.com you can cut out sugar and still drink wine because it contains minimal amounts of fructose. “If the wine has been fermented to ‘dry’ (white or red) it contains very low levels of residual sugar – less than 1g/litre – and in most cases not at a level that can be practically tested.” Thank God for that! So here’s a guilt free look at what’s going on this month. The Raw Wine Fair is open to the public on Sunday 12th March. It will feature over 150 growers, including our own Mathieu Deiss, and is a brilliant opportunity to find out about and taste a terrific range of natural, organic and biodynamic wines. The Washington and Oregon Trade tasting is also in town. Unfortunately, this isn’t open to the public but we know how much you love Bergström, particularly Old Stones Chardonnay, so we are holding an informal drop in tasting at The Atlas with producers Josh and Caroline. This is really exciting because they don’t come to England that often, and you will have a chance to preview some of their latest vintages, including those not yet landed in the UK. We are also really chuffed to be working with Selfridges on their pop up roof top restaurant WastED. We are all big believers in the project and it’s been a great way for us to shine a light on the green value of wine on tap. It’s one of the most talked about dining experiences of the month: it’s fully booked for dinner, but if you’re lucky you could get a table for lunch or afternoon tea. Mmmm afternoon tea. What no biscuits? Better pour myself a glass of wine then.>
Reasons to Love February
I love February. Not in itself, but for its promises: lighter mornings, the earliest primrose, the arrival of new vintages from the USA. This month three of our top Californian wine producers are in town. Jasmine Hirsch, Raj Parr and Pax Mahle will be showcasing their finest. Highlights include: the 2014 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay which Jasmine will be pouring in a private tasting at our very own London Cru; and a Raj Parr masterclass at 67 Pall Mall, with verticals from Domaine de la Côte ‘La Côte’ Pinot Noir and Sandhi ‘Bentrock’ Chardonnay. We know you can’t all be there, but we don’t need much excuse to share the love. Watch out in mid-February when we will have a selection of their wines on offer for just a couple of days to celebrate their trip. If drinking great wine and dreaming of Cali sun is still not reason enough to love the last month of winter, how about drinking that wine in one of England’s most beautiful locations? Our partners Beachspoke have an amazing portfolio of holiday properties decorated with natural rock, scaffold planks, boat chains and driftwood. At the end of the month there’ll be a letting discount, exclusively for Roberson Wine customers. I can’t guarantee sunshine, but I can promise great wine in a really wow property. What’s not to love?
Your wine questions answered
Our friend Jerry Lockspeiser has recently published his book Your Wine Questions Answered and is giving 100% of his revenue to ActionAid to help build primary schools in Sierra Leone. In his own words, this book is for “normal wine drinkers”. Read it and you will discover if red wine is good for your health, how to keep an open bottle in the fridge and the best way to choose wine in a restaurant. There are loads of other great facts and tips too, including which wines have the least calories (sorry, there’s no magic here: the lower the alcohol content the lower the calories). It also explores the cost of wine, the difference between French and Australian Chardonnay and how rose is made. If you know all this already, don’t stop reading: it’s the perfect gift for all your mates who don’t. A few years ago Cliff Roberson worked with Jerry Lockspeiser to produce a bottle of wine called Millione to help build primary schools in Sierra Leone. This book is Jerry’s latest project for this great cause and 100% of his revenue from sales will be donated to the Millione Foundation in association with ActionAid. As Helen McGinn, of the 'Knackered Mother’s Wine Club' put it, “This book is good and does good. Buy it.” The book is available for £8.99 in print or £5.99 in eBook from Amazon, Waterstones or Daunt Books in London. You can download a free chapter and get more info at www.yourwinequestions.com.
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