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.
Red Wines to Chill (with)
Can you chill red wines? What type of red wines are best if you want to serve them cold? Digital Trainee Marie-lou Galiana heats up the debate. Why Chill a Red Wine? It’s the end of the summer, you’re all “rosé-d out” and thinking about how nice a bottle of red sounds. But it’s still quite warm and you love a chilled drink. Chill your red! Some of you might think of it as blasphemy. It’s not. It actually is quite nice, providing you respect a few basic rules. Which red wines can you chill? Let’s get something straight first. When talking about “chilling a red” we don’t mean drinking it ice cold like you might with a rosé, we mean slightly chilled - as in 20 minutes in the fridge is probably enough. The ideal serving temperature would vary between 12 - 14 degrees. Then it’s all about the acidity and fruit concentration of the wine. You want to look for wines that have high acidity and low tannins, so think about light grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Gamay from Burgundy. Of course, you can branch out a little and try chilling other light wines like northern Italian reds, and many German and Austrian reds also work beautifully. Chilling a red wine will basically emphasize the fruity, juicy character of the wine and make it a much fresher style that can easily rival a nice bottle of rosé on a hot day. Less common grape varieties that are great chilled: If you’d like to venture even further off the beaten track, there are also some lesser-known varieties that can be enjoyed chilled such as Zweigelt, one of the native grapes from Austria. Or have you heard of Counoise? This is a great one to try chilled. It is one of the authorised varieties to use in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and has light tannins and body, yet holds bright fruits and freshness. What about fuller bodied red wines then, you might ask? Well, worry not, that can also work. There are a couple of rules though: cold temperature heightens the fruits present in the wine but also the tannins, so make sure you pick a wine that’s full but has low tannins like a juicy Malbec or a lower-alcohol Zinfandel. If really there is nothing you’d rather drink than a big Bordeaux or Californian Cabernet, then stick them in the fridge for 15min or so and that will bring out the fruit character without emphasising the tannins too much. Food pairing suggestions for chilled reds: As it turns out, light red varieties are incredibly versatile and therefore great food pairing wines… See below for a few dishes that work really well with chilled reds. Charcuterie platter - try with Dupeuble Beaujolais or Ebner-Ebenauer Zweigelt Balsamic pickled beetroot and goat cheese salad - try with London Cru Gresham St Provence herbs marinated chicken skewers - try with Duvernay Cotes du Rhone or Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Beef carpaccio - try with Castello di Querceto I Colombi Sangiovese Sesame and soy seared tuna - try with Jolie-Laide Gamay Grilled asparagus with pine nuts - try with Bric Cenciurio Barbera d'Alba Roast duck magrets with fig sauce (for the fullest) - try with Moobuzz Pinot Noir or Maxime Magnon 'Rozeta' Corbieres Happy chilling!
Operations assistant Max Edge continues his adventures in £10+ wines. Don't miss his previous post: Breaking Bacchus. Put a zin(g) in your step Something occurred to me recently. By actively buying wine only in the £6-8 bracket, I had been neglecting the 4th biggest wine growing nation in the world – the USA. You can bet your bottom dollar that is a lot of wine. Perhaps this ignorance had been influenced by some of the typical stereotypes associated with American Wine: Either it’s way too expensive, Or it’s under £6, found in abundance and probably best left on the shelf. So, in my next venture beyond the £10 threshold I shall heed the advice of the Pet Shop Boys and “Go West” to find an answer to the question: does delicious, great value American wine exist? The answers are fairly easy to find at Roberson. Having retained the title of International Wine Challenge Specialist Merchant of the Year for USA for the seventh consecutive year, our USA portfolio represents some of the most outstanding, respected producers, with quality wines across the entire price range. The difficulty comes in choosing which one to try. Roberson has a wonderful selection of wines in the £10-20 range. Cabernet Sauvignons & Zinfandels from Viano Vineyards and Marrietta Cellars, and Pinot Noirs by Backhouse and Moobuzz all represent astonishing value for money. My decision didn’t take too long. After all, there was an occasion in the diary and food to be matched with. A helping hand came in the form of a text message from Dad earlier in the week. “Saturday; Barbecue; Leg of Lamb; Bring Wine”. The Gastronomic cogs of my brain got to work. I’ve always had an affinity with the dark-skinned, high ripening varietals found all over Italy, and if I wasn’t venturing to the “land of the free” my go-to choice would be a Negroamaro or Primitivo of Puglia, where the warm Mediterranean climate creates super-ripe, medium-bodied wines with jammy dark berry fruits; perfect for the Summer season. A barbecue calls for something a little more full-bodied to spar with though. American red wine; full-bodied; high acidity; jammy dark red fruits; subtle peppery notes. There’s a clear winner. ZINFANDEL! I’m not ashamed to admit I only recently learnt that Zinfandel and Primitivo are more-or-less the same grape. I might be getting a few ‘side-eyes’ from my colleagues for this admission but expanding my knowledge of wine is the one of the reasons I traded in my bar blade and waiter’s friend. And until now, I didn’t drink American wine, so perhaps they’ll forgive me. I took the plunge and went for Sobon Estate Zinfandel, The Rocky Top (£19 a bottle). Oomph! The wine has a great complex nose of summer red berries (cherries, redcurrants & cranberries), notes of white pepper and cassia bark and has fantastic structure and depth. It’s one of those wines that lets you know you’re in for a good time. Thanks to the high elevation of the vineyard, the wine is fresh with great acidity, full bodied and rich along with some gentle spice. A perfect partner for the food being served up. Barbecued Moroccan Lamb Leg with Chickpea Tagine The lamb leg is boned and butterflied to allow for a quick cook time and marinated in a spice rub made of ras el hanout, hot paprika, cumin, pepper, parsley, coriander. These spices help create a mild aromatic flavour and form a tasty blackened crust when left over hot coals, while the meat is tender and pink inside. Served alongside chickpea tagine, packed with flavours of the Mediterranean and North Africa and a simple wild rocket salad. The jammy fruit notes in the wine perfectly complement the spiced crust and juicy pink lamb. Zinging acidity cuts through the naturally fatty meat and the velvety finish makes for easy drinking in the summer sun. At 14.5% however, I’d advise against committing to evening activities. Fortunately, I’d learnt my lesson from last time and came prepared with a second bottle. Evening sorted.
In search of Provencal perfection
Seeking Rosé from Paris to Provence. Provence rosé isn’t just for summer. To be fair, it never has been in my household. Rosé has always been a superb food matching wine, best drunk on the back of a super-yacht with that morning's catch of fresh lobster (so I’m told), as much as it’s an aperitif for those long summer afternoons. So, when we decided to bolster our already award-winning range, I felt I was born for the job. There’s only one place to go and look for Provence rosé, and unfortunately that is Paris. Luckily for me I arrived on a particularly dreary, cold winter's day at the annual Wine Paris trade event. A far, far cry from my imaginary yacht but my focus was clear, find the best possible rosé I could from well over 100 or so producers. Coeur Clémentine stood out from the start, not only because it tasted like pure Provençal pale nectar, but also because I had seen the label before and couldn’t for the life of me remember where. It’s not all miserable trade tastings in conference centres. Sometimes we do get to travel to these regions and taste from the horse’s mouth. A visit to Minuty last year involved a whistle-stop tour of some superb eateries, an excellent opportunity to see what the local sommeliers recommend and wax lyrical about. And just like that, staring down at my iPhone was a picture of Coeur Clémentine ‘Côtes de Provence’ Rosé with a plate of freshly prepared charcuterie in the background. I’ve lost enough tasting booklets over the years to know that snapping a picture of anything worthwhile is the way forward, so I at least knew the fact it was on my phone was a good sign. Fast forward to the summer and I’m incredibly excited to welcome owners Steve Veytia and Pierre Arosteguy to the Roberson family. The dry Côtes du Provence is a heavenly example of what Provence Rosé is all about. Delicate aromas of wild strawberry, almost floral with lovely bone-dry finish. They are also one of the few producers in Provence to make a sparkling rosé. Made from a selection of Grenache vineyards chosen extremely carefully, this is going to be the next big thing, after still Provence rosé that is. We currently have a range of Coeur Clémentine wines in stock now.
How to pair Rosé wine with vegetarian food
This year, for the first time, Roberson Wine has won a Highly Commended award in the International Wine Challenge's Rosé Specialist Merchant of the Year competition! Pulling together one of the UK’s most exciting ranges of rosé wines was no mean feat, but what’s the point of having all these award-winning wines if there’s no food to enjoy them with? The great thing about rosé, and often overlooked, is how well the subtle flavours pair with food - especially vegetarian dishes. So we've pulled together some delicious veggie recipes to pair with 6 rosés that we feel landed us that coveted award. All these recipes lend themselves to alfresco dining, and don’t be afraid to get those veggies on the BBQ! Afterall, the BBQ isn’t just for overcooked (or undercooked) sausages! Domaine Pierre Chavin ‘Pierre Zero’ Alcohol Free Rosé With a nose full of fresh wild strawberries and a palate with subtle hints of rhubarb, we think a recipe with a nod to the tropical fruits would be a perfect fit. The grapes for this wine are harvested at night, to retain all the natural freshness in the fruit. So, recipes with lots of crisp fruit like watermelon work well. Recipes Grilled vegetable salad with pomegranate and mint Grilled watermelon, feta and tomato salad Grilled artichokes with caper mint sauce Château Minuty 'M de Minuty' Rosé 2018 With a direct pressing process, Château Minuty was the first to give this pale colour to its rosés. A light rosé with aromas of orange peels and red currant that will go very well with pizzas to remind us of the Mediterranean Sea. Trust me, nothing can beat the combination of fresh ingredients and aromatic wine. Recipes Provencal pizza Margherita vegan pizza Mediterranean pizza Broc Cellars Love Rosé 2017 Located at the East of Napa Valley, this natural wine is an interesting one! With a blend like this, the characteristics of the wine are perfect for enjoying both Trousseau's texture and Zinfandel's spices. This complex rosé is the reincarnation of a juicy watermelon of summer, pleasant notes with salad! Recipes Asian salad Apple and grilled goat cheese salad Vietnamese vegan spring rolls London Cru 'Rosaville Road' Rosé 2018 With this 100% English wine, you will no longer have to look overseas for your rosé fix. This Surrey Pinot Noir will satisfy your summer expectations with pink grapefruits and fresh strawberries! And thanks to lees ageing, the palate has a creamy texture. And what could be better than English asparagus and rosé at a picnic? Recipes Asparagus and cheese tart Asparagus and red onion tart Asparagus salad La Tour Melas 'Idylle' Rosé 2018 Want to escape the city? Why not turn to a biodynamic rosé from Greece? Very old vines producing rosé wines with great acidity as well as wonderful aromas of pomegranate and cherries! I can only recommend Greek meals for a perfect combination. Recipes Tomatokeftedes Greek rice-stuffed tomatoes Traditional Greek salad Château d’Esclans, Whispering Angel Rosé 2018 This popular rosé is an interesting blend of different grapes from La Motte en Provence. A perfect bouquet of red fruits, peaches and blossom orange! A long finish with hints of tangy lemon. Something to delight your taste buds with exotic pairing! Recipes Roasted zucchini, corn and tomatoes tacos Spicy black bean tacos Smoky tofu tortilla
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 the Beaujolais cru. Julien has spent 10 years renovating this property, which he heats with logs, and plumbs from a spring well. Julien is committed to organic winemaking and lives as he works with a respect for nature and in pursuit of harmony. As we unwind together over a glass of Fleurie, he reflects on the 2019 vintage. “We are in the flowering period… the most vulnerable time for any winemaker as it will determine the volume of grapes we can harvest. “Today, you can feel this strong, warm southerly wind. We don’t like this kind of wind as it can mean a storm is coming. If that storm brings hail it can be very bad for the crop as it can damage the buds which will reduce the number of grapes the vines produce. “I’m in the vineyards at five in the morning and every day I can see the new growth. At this time of year, it can be as much as 50cm a week, so it means we must work very fast to tie the vines to keep them controlled and protected from the winds. “But… we do need the rain. It is very dry this year: the grass along the roadsides is yellow and brittle like straw. It is like the end of summer. So, in the next week some gentle rain would be very good for the crops. “If we had another year like 2018, that would be amazing. The conditions were so good: the best we’ve had in thirty years. We had lots of excellent quality fruit and this really shines through in the latest release.” We currently have a range of Julien Sunier wines in stock from the 2017 vintage - 2018s arriving later this year.
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