What we’re drinking
Author: Charlie Geoghegan
At Berry Bros. & Rudd, our colleagues are passionate about the wines and spirits that we sell. We recently asked our team to tell us about the bottles they’ve been enjoying lately; from age-worthy Beaujolais to fruit-forward Crémant de Limoux, here’s what we’re drinking.
From Bordeaux to Bourgueil
Matt Winterton, Buying Assistant
Domaine du Bel Air’s Jour de Soif was one of the first wines I bought after joining Berry Bros. & Rudd last year. Having lived in Bordeaux, I completely fell for that region and its wines, rarely looking elsewhere. When I returned to the UK, I took a step back from Bordeaux and delved into other countries and regions, trying new wines I wouldn’t normally have had access to.
The Loire Valley as a region can be sometimes overlooked outside the famed villages of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. But beyond its most famous appellations, the Loire boasts a diverse and broad range of styles and grape varieties, yielding beautifully refined and concentrated wines. With its terroir, excellent modern viticulture and winemaking techniques, the region is quickly gaining the attention of enthusiasts who are starting to delve deeper.
Jour de Soif is a fantastically energetic and bright Cabernet Franc from Bourgueil, just outside the city of Tours. It’s brimming with crunchy red cherries, cranberries and crushed violets, with the slightest hint of salinity. The fine, delicate tannins are complemented by a freshness that stimulates the palate and really makes the fruit shine.
To my surprise, this wine was recommended by our Bordeaux Buyer Max Lalondrelle – who, it turns out, is also an advocate for the Loire. I can’t recommend this wine enough, for its quality and value; I urge you to give it a try.
Bubbles for all occasions
Issariya Morgan, Senior Copywriter
This Crémant de Limoux is one of my favourite Own Selection wines – and one that my friends adore just as much as I do. It’s my go-to sparkling wine for everyday occasions, from pre-bowling sipping to long weekend lunches.
It’s crafted by Maison Antech in the Languedoc region of Southern France, according to the “traditional method” of sparkling wine production. This means it’s made in exactly the same fashion as Champagne, offering excellent value for money.
Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mauzac, it has a lightness and elegance that makes it easy to love. Vibrant notes of apple and pear, alongside a lovely but subtle biscuit note from the lees – it’s a fantastic choice for those who prefer dry, fruity styles of sparkling wine.
Among my favourite food matches, I can recommend homemade vegetarian sausage rolls, a generous bowl of pasta stirred with wild garlic pesto, or a potato salad with a creamy mustard dressing. But a glass of this by itself, perfectly chilled, is a delicious treat, too.
An autumnal red
Elisa De Luca, Content Manager
If, like me, you eagerly await the coming of cold autumnal days every year, you’ll probably be finding this October somewhat anticlimactic. So far – aside from a miserable spat of cold wind and rain in August – we have most definitely not had the weather for curling up indoors with a glass of red wine (one of my favourite parts of autumn).
Luckily, an answer to this problem had arrived a few months earlier. At one of our welcome tastings for Cellar Plan members earlier this year, I was stationed on a table of Spanish wines. I browsed through the usual delights of Rioja and Ribera del Duero before arriving at this Mencia, the 2021 Petalos from Descendientes de J. Palacios. And wow.
Equal parts juicy, spicy, herbal and aromatic, with heaps of wild plum and smoke flavours, this hails from north-west Spain’s Bierzo region. The 60-year-old vines are farmed biodynamically, and the wine has a real punch of intensity and flavour that will appeal to any red-wine lover – without being too much for an odd October heatwave.
A slice of Southern France
Olly Hallworth, Buying Assistant
The wines of Le Soula have long held fond memories for me. I was first introduced to them when starting my wine career, in the South of France, not far from the city of Béziers. Here, I would spend weekends with friends, fire up the barbecue and share a bottle (or two), the idyllic views of the Pyrenees in the distance.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a bottle of Le Soula’s Trigone Rouge on my way to a pizza night in South London. Given the time of year, I knew that this was, sadly, to be one of the year’s last alfresco dinners.
Trigone is a multi-vintage cuvée. Lot XX is a blend of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages, with a good chunk of Carignan and Syrah leading the way. Harvested from old vines located 600 metres from the foothills of the Pyrenees, the wine retains such freshness and purity of fruit. Blackberries, wild strawberries and delicate floral notes shine through. Subtle tannins and great acidity made this the perfect match for the seemingly endless pizzas being paddled out of the wood-fired oven.
There were no views of the Mediterranean this time. But it transported me back to warm summer evenings, open fires and friends in the South of France.
Will Wrightson, Customer Experience Manager
Moulin-à-Vent is sometimes described as the “King of Beaujolais”. Of the 10 Beaujolais crus, it is the most atypical. Wines from Moulin-à-Vent are powerful, structured and can age beautifully.
Indeed, Olivier Merlin’s La Rochelle is more in the vein of a fine Burgundy or even a Rhône. The La Rochelle vineyard is home to Moulin-à-Vent’s oldest vines. I had the pleasure of drinking the 2014 vintage last month and it was impeccable, though I’m here to sing the praises of the 2019 vintage.
The 2019 is still youthful but is starting to come into its own, and if you’re looking to heartier dishes as the nights draw in, this is a great stablemate. Pair with game, like duck or a big stew; the black cherry, dark bramble fruit and notes of olives will shine. Then come back and buy a case for your cellar and return to it in a few years.