Zero to Hero
Introducing Pierre Zero Alcohol-Free Wine It’s that time of year again. Veganuary, Dry January, or whatever you want to call it. It's the occasion to dig out the running shoes and dust off the spiralizer. What’s becoming clear is, unlike many of those hitting the gym this month, alcohol-free is becoming a drinks choice that is here to stay. I never thought I would be writing this blog post. For so long, low alcohol wines were considered a dark art that only German wine mega-factories could conjure up. You would find the wines lurking on the bottom shelf of a supermarket covered in dust. However, ‘healthification’ has swept the nation, with many people choosing to lower their alcohol consumption and be more aware of what they are drinking. The industry has reacted, and now we have an amazing choice of de-alcoholised beer, booze-free gin and now, expertly made non-alcoholic wines. When looking to bring on a new range of alcohol-free wine to Roberson, we had to taste a lot of non-alcoholic wines, and what became clear was that the variation in quality is enormous. We never list wines we wouldn't drink ourselves, and I wasn’t willing to compromise on quality just to fill a gap. Domaines Pierre Chavin are the market leaders in producing alcohol free wine. They stay completely true to the varietals and take every care to produce the best possible wine they can. They start by growing grapes in the Languedoc using artisanal techniques and take every care to preserve the delicate eco-system within the vineyards. After making wines in the traditional way, alcohol is gently filtered out before bottling. So, if you’re looking to cut back on alcohol consumption, yet miss the satisfaction of a nice cold rosé after work, a warming red with your Sunday lunch, or a crisp white with your midweek fish, look no further.
New Year, New Cru
Introducing Roberson Wine's new assistant winemaker Vintage 2018 is done, the fermentations are all complete, and as winter takes hold of London the activity for London Cru in the Roberson winery slows down. This is a great time for our team to stop and reflect on our achievements since opening the winery in 2013. We have become a well-known hub for tasting cracking wines, a lively event space, and a producer of critically acclaimed wines. The 2018 vintage was a particularly great one for us and highlights the growing maturity of the wine industry in the UK. With a great number of new vineyards being planted around the country, and production of increasingly high-quality grapes, England really has become a world class producer of cool climate wines. To support this future, the London Cru wines from 2018 were exclusively sourced from vineyards in England. This decision was made deliberately to support our local growers, allow us to showcase quality English wines in the heart of London, and finally to minimise the environmental impact of transporting our fruit long distances. As the first urban winery in London, we feel this new step is an important metamorphosis for our long-term sustainability. At London Cru we have shown the world that quality award winning wines can really be made right in the heart of the capital. In the coming years London Cru will continue to demystify wine and bring innovation and eccentricity into the London wine scene. With this new pathway in mind we would like to introduce Alex Hurley, who will join Agustín Novoa in the winery team for 2019. Alex worked as a Geologist through Australia and Asia before deciding to follow his passion for wine. Having previously made wines in Australia, Burgundy, and Barolo, the seduction of working with quality English grapes brought him to the UK. With a Master of Enology and Viticulture, Alex will drive the daily operations of the winery, work closely with our growers, as well as be a friendly face in the winery. In sync with our new direction with the London Cru wines, Alex loves to make wines with minimal intervention, great balance, and natural acidity. When not making or talking about wines, Alex is a passionate foodie and looks forward to exploring more of the English countryside. If you’re interested to get a sneaky taste of the wines from our winery tanks, have a chat with our team, or find out more about our new winemaking direction at London Cru, check out our upcoming tours and tastings.
Bubbles with Personality
What's your Champagne Personality? Ever wondered what style of Champagne suits your personality? Take our quiz and find out. Once you've established your personality fit, follow the links to find the Champagnes that match. Select one answer for each scenario: 1. You’re meeting a new partner’s parents for the first time. What do you wear? A: Whatever’s clean will do. B: My outfit will be well-chosen, beautiful, and express my personality. C: Anything Gucci or Prada. D: A bespoke, crisply-pressed, Saville Row suit. 2. You’re upgrading your mobile phone. What do you go for? A: My Nokia 3310 still works fine, and I see no reason to change. B: My upgrade plan means that I always have the latest iPhone. C: Whatever has the best camera – my thousands of followers demand quality selfies. D: I own a mobile, but only switch it on when I want to call somebody. 3. Where do you like to eat out? A: There’s a fantastic small restaurant around the corner from where I live. I know the owner and she usually offers me a glass of something on the house. B: I’m always at the latest launch. I’ve eaten there before the critics have even heard of it. C: The more Michelin stars the better. D: I usually book a private room at the Gavroche. 4. You’re going to see a movie. What do you pick? A: Why pay £15 to listen to people scoff popcorn? I’d rather curl up on the sofa with a classic Robert De Niro. B: I’m a member of an exclusive pop-up film club. C: If there aren’t explosions, I’m not interested. D: Movies are books for people who lack patience and imagination. 5. You’re planning a holiday. What do you book? A: Cornwall or Scotland. Why go abroad when there are so many beautiful parts of the UK? B: The best adventures are unplanned. I'll find out where I'm going when I get there. C: A fabulous villa in Mykonos. Preferably somewhere close to Scorpios Beach Club. D: We have a family house in the south of France. Good food, good wine and good times. 6. You’re going to a music festival. Where will your friends find you? A: I always set up an area at the top of the slope. You can see the stage and enjoy the music without getting too crowded. B: I’m friends with one of the bands and they always get me a backstage VIP access pass. C: Stage-diving anyone? D: Music festival? You mean Glyndebourne, right? 7. Money is no object. What type of car do you buy? A: Something German, but nothing too flashy. Reliability is more important than 0-60. B: Ownership is such a "20th Century" way of thinking about things. C: A Lamborghini Huracan Performante. D: I wouldn’t trade my 1961 Jaguar E-Type for anything. 8. You’re buying a house. Where’s the new pad? A: Somewhere with good schools and an easy commute. B: There’s a polyamorous co-habitation space I’m looking into. I’m interested in new ways of living. C: The important thing is that there’s space to land a helicopter. D: One doesn’t buy houses. One simply looks after them for the next generation. Answers: Mainly As: You enjoy the finer things in life, but you’ve an eye for a bargain. Big brand bling and marketing spiel don’t impress you. Try Henri Dosnon or Veuve Borodin, each of which offer superb, artisan-producer quality at 'Tuesday night' prices. Mainly Bs: You’re a trend setting early adopter and an independent thinker. You’re never afraid to experiment and discover new things. Try Artéis and Co. Brut 2004 or Dosnon Recolte Noire. Each of these are from smaller producers you may not have heard of, but offer an interesting spin on typical Champagne styles. Mainly Cs: You have a big personality and aren’t afraid to share it with the world. You enjoy the best of everything and aren’t afraid to pay for what you want. If you want the best, regardless of price, try Bollinger's La Grande Année or Dom Pérignon 2009. Each offers exquisite quality that's hard to beat. Mainly Ds: You’ve got great taste and you know quality when you see it. You’re understated, quietly confident, and your friends know they can always trust your recommendations (if they can afford them of course…). Try Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition or Jacques Selosse 'Sous le Mont'. These are amongst the finest examples of small grower Champagnes, made without compromise for the true aficionado.
An Extreme-ly Good Year
Buying Assistant Marion Adam gets the lowdown from our European producers on the 2018 vintage - a year of weather extremes. 2018 Vintage Review 2018 was the year of all excess in the UK. From the snowfalls of "The Beast from the East" in late February, to having the hottest summer on record, Mother Nature was full of surprises. But imagine being a winemaker and having your whole business depend on the weather’s whim. Checking the forecast for them is not just about knowing if you need to take your umbrella with you on your way out, but it really dictates the planning of their production. This year though, our producers have been lucky in mainland Europe, although the harvests started very early - two weeks earlier than usual in most places. The record was set in Rheinnessen and Mosel in Germany, where the wineries started on the first week of August, 6 days before the previous record in 2011. According to Rudolf Trossen, "it's the best we've had in 20 years." All over France, winemakers have also been raving about the exceptional harvest: “There will be structure and length, after this incredible Spring, a superb vintage.” - Sophie Holzberg from Château Franc-Cardinal. “The bunches were beautiful, not a rotten grape and optimal maturity! I think we will have a generous vintage with a lot of fruit, a great aromatic purity and lots of finesse.” - Bastien Guerrin from Domaine Guerrin & Fils “A perfect trio for 2018 : full maturity, fantastic quality grapes, and an abundant harvest.” - Dominique Piron, Domaine Piron Lameloise It wasn't all a tale of perfection though. There were some difficulties on the Atlantic coast and the South of France where Spring was extremely wet, resulting in mildew attacks, which translated into a smaller harvest. Fortunately, the recent flooding happened once the harvest was over. In addition, very localised hailstorms on the right bank of Bordeaux have destroyed the whole production of Chateau Falfas. Winemaker Veronique Cochran said it happened just as the flowering was finished so there was nothing left: “this is part of our job, thankfully the last few years I had a good harvest, so I am not in too much trouble”. To conclude, 2018 is recognised by winemakers as a great vintage from Mosel to Bordeaux and similar for Italy and Spain. It was marked by a long summer with no rain during harvest time, creating perfectly hygienic conditions for grape quality. Volumes are higher, and the grapes will be riper with a balanced acidity thanks to the earlier picking.
Any Fin Goes
Putting The Fish Society to the Test We’ve partnered with The Fish Society to match six of their best-selling products, with six of our best wines for fish. To make sure that our wine pairings are up to scratch, Roberson staff put them to the test. Read on for the results…. If you'd like to try the wines yourself, a mixed case can be purchased now - use code FISH18 at checkout to save £31. Dover Sole Taster: Marion Adam Recipe: Grilled with lime, coconut and avocado relish. Wine Pairing: Moobuzz Chardonnay 2016 The tropical notes from lime, coriander, ginger, chili and toasted coconut flakes plus the creamy texture of the avocado relish added some weight and kick to the sole. It matched perfectly with the wine, a strong flavoured and oaky chardonnay and reinforced its citrusy aromas and the coconut notes from the barrel ageing. The recipe itself is done in 20 minutes, just grill the sole in the oven for about 3-4 minutes on each side with oil, peppercorn and salt. Combine the relish ingredients together (avocado, coconut flakes, red chili, ginger, lime and coriander). Serve with steamed coriander rice. Scottish Scampi Taster: David Adamick Recipe: Pan-fried with lentils Wine Pairing: Domaine des Cognettes, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2017 Muscadet and scampi. Pretty convenient, really: you could say both, in fact, are of the sea. Good Muscadet – in this case the exceptional Domaine des Cognettes Sèvre & Maine sur Lie – should have that invigorating, sea air briskness on the nose; citrussy zest, oyster shell and a natural yoghurt-like, leesy character. On the palate more lemon/grapefruit zip with a pronounced, saline minerality and vibrant acidity, countered by more leesy richness. Put this with scampi’s delicate, sweet meat and the pairing is effortless: saline and sweet are natural partners whilst the former’s rich texture is met by the wine’s leesiness in equal measure. So as far as the recipe goes, the trick was not to overwhelm the Muscadet by treating the scampi with too creamy a sauce or an Asian spice assault. I kept it far more local: gently pan-fried in butter, fennel seed, fresh, chopped parsley and garlic, the remnants of which then cut with fresh lemon juice and reduced. A slight browning of the butter did rather well to see to the wines leesy texture and when arranged on a bed of Puy lentil boiled in salted water, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and bay leaf, mixed with a few, finely diced sun-dried tomatoes, the combination was harmonious. On the side to keep up the freshness and zip was a simple salad of finely sliced cucumber and red onion dressed with sea salt and lemon juice. Some capers in there would be happy. Scatter with more chopped parsley and some chilli flakes and you’re not complaining! Black Cod Taster: Jack Green Recipe: Marinated in miso and grilled Wine Pairing: Ebner-Ebenauer, Grüner Veltliner 'Bürsting' 2016 Black Cod is one of the finest cuts of white fish available. Thanks to its high oil content, the flesh is incredibly buttery and soft. Its delicate flavour works beautifully with the sweetness of Miso paste, which in turn balances perfectly with the subtilties of Gruner Veltliner. I kept the cooking of this Black Cod simple, marinating the steaks in Miso paste for 24 hours then simply grilling the fish (skin side up) until nice and crisp. Served with sautéed potatoes and perfectly al dente Swiss Chard, finished with finely chopped garlic. Keep the roasting juices from the fish, add some butter and a touch of the water from the Swiss Chard and you’ll have a delicious jus to drizzle over the fish to round off the dish. The steely, rich dry white Gruner compliments the sweetness of the Miso and has enough acidity to cut through the oily flesh of the fish. A match made in heaven. Caribbean Rock Lobster Taster: Paul Williamson Recipe: Served Newburg over toast Wine Pairing: Domaine Guerrin, Mâcon-Vergisson 'Les Rochers' 2017 Lobster Newburg is a delicious, luxurious dish that requires a strong wine to be matched with it. After removing the tail flesh from the shell of the Caribbean Rock Lobster, I then cut it into half inch medallions. I cooked these beautiful jewels of lobster in a stock of white wine and herbs before transferring to a gently bubbling pan of butter. To this I added a couple of glugs of Palo Cortado sherry, double cream and a beaten egg yolk to thicken. I then served this beautifully rich dish on some buttered sourdough. Domaine Guerrin’s Macon-Vergisson Les Rochers is the perfect match for this dish, the beautiful acidity cuts through the creamy sauce and the rich, fruity Chardonnay blends with the sweetness of the lobster to perfection. Pure indulgence. fishRjumpin Smoked Scottish Salmon Taster: Simon Huntington Recipe: Served simply on farmhouse bread, with organic butter, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wine Pairing: Domaine Schaller, Chablis 2017 Good quality smoked salmon is so delicious that it really doesn’t need much of a song and dance. The Fish Society taste-test each year, selecting only the best to go under their "fishRjumpin" own-label, so it certainly fits the bill. I layered slices of the salmon over some organic seeded farmhouse bread, spread thickly with top-quality unsalted butter, then ground some black pepper and squeezed some fresh lemon juice over the top. Served as a dinner party canapé with Schaller’s Chablis, it was absolutely sublime. The lemony citrus zest of the Chablis cut like a laser through the butter, while its rounded, succulent mouthfeel balanced perfectly with the rich, unctuous texture of the fish. At the risk of sounding like a rude host, I admit helping myself to the lion's share of the canapé slate. White Crab Meat Taster: Lona Jones Recipe: Shortcrust crab and leek tartlets Wine Pairing: Crémant de Limoux, Les Graimenous, 2016 In the search for perfect pairings you can’t go far wrong with creamy, Crémant de Limoux and homemade shortcrust leek and crab tartlets. From an ancient sparkling wine appellation in a cool, high corner of southern France, this elegant crémant is a balance of zingy acidity, ripe apple and citrus flavours with honey notes from Chenin Blanc. The tartlets are filled with crab claw meat mixed with eggs and crème fraîche, poured over a bed of softened leeks and sprinkled with a generous layer of Parmesan. Perfect as welcome nibbles for your guests, the tartlets will disappear at a rate of knots but paired with crémant they’re something to savour. The wine’s fresh acidity cuts through the cheese, bringing out the delicate crab flavours whilst the creaminess of the sparkling ‘mousse’ matches the crème fraîche filling. Crab, Christmas and crémant - game on! If you'd like to try the wines yourself, a mixed case can be purchased now - use code FISH18 at checkout to save £31.
Dosnon at Cigalon
Dosnon at Cigalon Christmas is coming soon and Cigalon Restaurant has chosen to celebrate this magical period with one of the most exciting wine regions in France: Champagne. As part of this celebration, Cigalon will be presenting a special tasting menu to show off the incredible quality of Dosnon's Champagne range on Tuesday 27th November. A model for the future of small, artisanal Champagne houses, Dosnon is the brainchild of Davy Dosnon who grew up in this beautiful region of rolling hills, wheat fields, and Champagne vines. Davy studied viticulture and worked in top Burgundy wine houses for years before returning to his native Champagne to work for Moutard and Serge Mathieu. The menu and matches will be as follows: Scallop Carpaccio, Pear & Pickled Crosnes / Récolte Brute, Extra Brut Confit Trout, Trout Eggs, Parsnips & Cardamom / Récolte Blanche, Blanc de Blancs Roasted Landais Chicken Breast, Salsify & Kumquat / Récolte Noire, Blanc de Noirs Vanilla Fromage Blanc, Cranberry Sangria & Lemon Balm / Récolte Rose, Rosé To reserve your table and receive a complimentary glass of Champagne, please contact George at Cigalon on 020 7242 8373 and mention Roberson Wine when booking.
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