From the winemaker’s mouth: The world’s finest producers at No. 3
Author: Anne McHale MW
In an ideal world, every wine lover would have the chance to travel the globe visiting each and every wine region. Yet the sad truth is that with work and home commitments (and no lottery win!) this isn’t usually possible. I’ve been spending most of my holidays in wine regions for years and still have a huge list to tick off. So that’s why we’re immensely privileged here at Berrys to welcome a stellar line-up of wine producers every year to our programme of tastings and dinners. This allows us and our customers to learn from these wonderfully passionate winemakers first-hand without making the trip – and let me tell you, there is nothing like meeting the person who has nurtured the grapes and crafted the wine to help you appreciate it more fully.
2011 was a fantastic year in our calendar as we played host to a wide range of wine ‘A-listers’ (far too many to list in full!). The top Cru Classé Châteaux of Bordeaux were well-represented by such names as Ch. Pontet-Canet, Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, Branaire-Ducru and Ch. Gruaud-Larose; we also had the good fortune to enjoy a stunning vertical tasting of Barsacs from Ch. Climens. Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, the Loire and the Rhône were not neglected either, with guests like Patrice Rion, Etienne Hugel, Champagne Jacquesson, François Cotat, Bollinger, René Rostaing and Ch. La Nerthe to name but a few. From Spain we welcomed the great Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacaille and the legendary Alvaro Palacios, from the Port region the Symington Family, from Italy the lovely Stella di Campalto with her exquisite Brunello di Montalcino, and from the island of Madeira we hosted Ricardo de Freitas of the house of Barbeito. As Madeira is a wine very dear to my heart, I took the opportunity to ask Ricardo that evening what makes Madeira unique, and to tell us a little about his own winemaking philosophy:
2012 promises an equally exciting line-up of visitors. Fittingly the first visit of the year will be from the venerable Madeira house, Blandys, who will be showcasing on 30th January an enviable selection of fine Madeiras going all the way back to 1877 – a rare treat! Then in March we will welcome Alexandra Petit and Paul Pontallier as our guests from illustrious First Growth Ch. Margaux, whose silky, elegant clarets need no introduction; they are the epitome of class and a personal favourite of my own. Top Burgundian producer Domaine de la Vougeraie will visit to show us their stunning reds and whites, and there will also be the chance to go slightly off France’s beaten track with a visit from Domaine Pichard of Madiran in the South West, who are bringing a selection of mature vintages of this wonderfully savoury and complex red. Italy will be represented by Badia a Coltibuono from Chianti and Giovanni Rosso from Barolo, Spain by the magnificent traditional bodega Viña Tondonia, and Germany by Selbach Oster’s elegant Mosel Rieslings. The New World will not be overlooked, with the warm and charismatic David Ramey from California sharing his incredibly concentrated yet elegant Chardonnays.
There are many more I could mention, but why don’t you check out for yourselves the full line-up of our fabulous events? In the absence of that impending lottery win and round-the-world wine ticket, there is no substitute for coming to the Cellars at No. 3 St James’s Street to meet face-to-face the men and women responsible for bringing to our tables this amazing drink which, as we wine-lovers know, is so much more than just a beverage. Come and learn ‘from the winemaker’s mouth’.