A cocktail for New Year

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A bottle of sparkling wine is being poured into a Champagne flute to create a warming, ginger and gin cocktail

This sophisticated and uplifting concoction is dubbed a Christmas Three – but we think it would work perfectly to see in the New Year.

It’s a combination of our four-time award winning No.3 gin, sparkling wine and warming ginger. And, it’s as simple to make as it is delicious to drink. You can easily scale this recipe up if you’re catering for a larger group.

Ingredients

30ml No.3 London Dry Gin
15ml ginger cordial
100ml Sparkling Wine (try our Own Selection Crémant)
Garnish: orange twist

Method

Add a 30ml measure of No.3 Gin and into a mixing glass along with the ginger cordial. Stir over ice and into a Champagne flute. Now top up with sparkling wine. Gently squeeze your slice of orange zest over the glass to release some beautiful smelling oils, then drop it into the glass to garnish.

For other cocktail ideas, try our gin martini here. You can buy our No.3 gin here, and our Crémant here.

Category: Cocktails,Miscellaneous,Own Selection wine,Spirits

Le Domaine d’Henri: starting over

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Photograph: Jason Lowe

Le Domaine d’Henri is less than a decade old, but it’s built on firm foundations: a bedrock of 150 years of Laroche family history. Here, Margaux Laroche tells us about starting over.

“When I was 18, I said I was leaving Chablis and never coming back again,” Margaux Laroche tells us. Evidently, things change. She is very much in Chablis today, when we meet outside Le Domaine d’Henri. Margaux’s family have made wine in Chablis for generations, but this domaine is not yet a decade old.

The original family estate, Domaine Laroche, dates back to 1850. Margaux’s father, Michel, took it to new heights in his tenure there – expanding into the Languedoc, Chile and South Africa. Eventually, the operation became too big. “He was spending no time in the vineyard or the cellar,” Margaux explains. In response, the family sold their interest in the business and established this brand-new estate.

STARTING OVER AT LE DOMAINE D’HENRI

“We started from scratch,” says Margaux, “but from our vineyards.” To build his new estate, Michel took back vineyards that had previously been leased to the original domaine. This started in 2010 with eight hectares, growing to its current size of 22. “If you start with old vineyards, you already have the quality,” says Margaux.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the Premier Cru vineyard of Fourchaume: here, the domaine has five hectares of vines, ranging from 20-85 years old. “My grandfather worked on this vineyard,” Margaux says, “then my father after him, and now my sister and me. Some of the wines, especially from the older plots, have this kind of Grand Cru potential: they have the length, power and energy. For me, this is only explained by the age of the vines.”

THE ROAD TO ORGANIC

From vintage 2022, the domaine will be certified organic. The conversion process officially takes three years, but it’s been a longer time coming here. The vineyards had been certified organic from the beginning. But the challenges of the 2013 vintage – “lots of mildew, oidium and water pressure,” Margaux recalls – forced the family to revert to more conventional viticultural techniques, losing their official status.

The threats were clear, the solutions less so. As a business-school graduate, Margaux is adept at strategic analysis. “We had to go back and look at the whole picture and ask what we needed to change to be able to work organically,” she says. “We understood that you need to help nature in order to work with organic practices.” With the help of a winemaker from the Loire Valley, they instigated a number of changes in the vineyard: how and what they spray; pruning the vines differently; working the vine canopy to avoid humidity, and so on.

“We’ve worked this way for five years,” Margaux says proudly. Because of all the work they’ve done, the domaine is now far better equipped to handle the pressure – while staying true to their organic principles. As we speak to her, Margaux’s 2021 vintage is in vats. The growing season was as challenging as 2013 or 2016, she says, but this time around they were far better able to fight off what nature threw at them.

THE EVOLUTION OF STYLE

Margaux has strong views on Chablis which come from a position of intimate, historical knowledge of the region. “The classic style of Chablis is really quite linked to sulphur,” she says. “In the past, we were making wine to last forever.” These were the sort of wines that collectors would drink 25-30 years after the vintage date; healthy doses of sulphur were par for the course.

While she appreciates such wines, she questions their relevance today. “Who keeps their wines for that long?” she asks. “And are we making wine for the tiny proportion of customers that do, or are we making wine for everyone else?” Such questions brought the topic of sulphur additions into focus here – and led to something of a compromise. Today, they add only small amounts of sulphur to their Petit Chablis and Chablis wines. They use a little more for their Premiers Crus, Margaux explains, “so we have better protection for the wines that are supposed to age well.”

ESTABLISHING AN IDENTITY

As the estate approaches its 10th anniversary, Margaux believes a house style is beginning to reveal itself – one that is “a little more fruity than classic Chablis”. In the early days, the influence of Domaine Laroche was more apparent, “because of course my father wasn’t going to change his way of winemaking,” she says. “It was his way.” But with Margaux and her sister becoming more involved from 2017, a shift happened – towards organic farming, limited sulphur and the use of native yeasts in fermentation. “We are not Domaine Laroche anymore,” she says. “We have our own identity. It’s not natural; it’s not conventional; it’s not classic organic. We are in between.”

Margaux remembers when her father asked her to join him at Le Domaine d’Henri. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ Because working with family isn’t always so easy,” she acknowledges. “So, we gave it a shot, and I really love what I’m doing. I’m happy to be back in Chablis.”

The wines of Le Domaine d’Henri are part of our Burgundy 2020 En Primeur offer, which is live on 10th January 2022.

Category: Burgundy Wine

Domaine J. Grivot: the new generation

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Photograph: Jason Lowe

Mathilde and Hubert – the new generation at Grivot – are now firmly established at their prestigious family domaine. Here, we get a rare glimpse behind some of Burgundy’s most exclusive gates.

Rue de la Croix Rameau is an unassuming street in the middle of Vosne-Romanée. Here you’ll find the understated, almost anonymous, home of one of Burgundy’s most prestigious producers. A set of black gates obscures the inner courtyard from view. No great sign hangs over the door. Only the small, functional nameplates on the buzzer give any indication as to the occupier: Domaine J. Grivot.

Inside, the facilities are modern and sleek; the office walls adorned with fine art. The receptionist politely but firmly explains to a customer over the phone that he has already been offered his allocation for this year. Upstairs, a private balcony offers an unbeatable view over the vines of Romanée-St Vivant and Richebourg. Every detail is in keeping with this being a hallowed Burgundian institution.

Except one, perhaps: it’s not family patriarch Etienne that welcomes us, but his children, Hubert and Mathilde. The siblings, both millennials, represent the sixth generation. Their father started making wine here in 1982, taking a step back when they joined the domaine in 2010. Their mother, Marielle, works at the office.

A PERFECT MATCH

Mathilde is both proud and grounded as she describes the setup. “It’s a perfect match,” she says. “We bring new energy; our parents have the experience.” Day to day, Hubert works in the vineyard and cellar. Mathilde jokes that he’s “lucky” not to have to deal with back-office work; she splits her time between the technical and commercial aspects of the operation.

This being a close-knit, family domaine, it’snot surprising that the new and old generation have a similar view. Mathilde and her brother “have exactly the same vision for Pinot Noir” as their parents, she says. For her, this equates to “energy, sophistication, balance, emotion” and, increasingly since 2010, “sensuality”. The latter, she explains, is all about managing tannins – “to evolve the tannin touch” – to make the wines more approachable earlier. “Sometimes it was difficult to take pleasure from the wines when they were too young,” she says.

They produce wines from 18 different appellations, spanning generic Bourgogne to Grands Crus Clos de Vougeot, Richebourg and Echezeaux. “That’s 18 different wines,” says Mathilde, “so 18 different emotions, 18 different stories. And when we open the bottle, we want to have a different story at the beginning and at the end.”

A SERIOUS CHAT

The pair have already worked here for more than a decade – impressive given their youth. But their desire to get involved dates back further still. “When we were very little,” Hubert says, “Mathilde and I had a serious chat, and then went to see our parents. We told them that we were very impressed and proud of what they did, and that we’d love to take over the family business when we were older.”

Their parents were moved by the gesture, Mathilde explains. But they were children at the time, and it was never taken for granted that they would feel the same way as adults. “Our parents never forced us,” she says. The siblings followed through, though, studying viticulture and going on to gain experience at other properties. Hubert worked at domaines in Savigny-lès-Beaune and Vosne-Romanée – and on the other side of the world, in Margaret River, Australia. “It was very important that I had an ‘out of Burgundy’ experience,” he reflects.

Mathilde, who worked in Pomerol at both Le Pin and Vieux Château Certan, concurs. It was a later experience in Oregon, with Domaine Drouhin, which particularly impacted her. There, she explains, she made the “huge mistake” of comparing Pinot Noir from Burgundy with that from Oregon. “It’s completely different, she says. “The soil is different, the weather is different, the vines are different.” But the quality in Oregon opened her eyes, demonstrating that it would not suffice to rest on her Burgundian laurels. “Even though we are in such a special place, we have to work very hard to stay at the same level.”

INTO PERSPECTIVE

Nothing is taken for granted here, Mathilde explains. Growing grapes and making wine is a difficult job, even if the pair consider themselves lucky to be working in this era rather than the 1980s and 1990s – when achieving ripeness was a real issue for vignerons. The spectre of climate change looms large, though. “Our generation hasn’t had to vinify bad grapes,” Mathilde acknowledges. “That will be the difficulty, if and when the time comes.”

Each new vintage brings with it new climate challenges. They have already had to contend with frost and drought. Small vintages like 2021 highlight just how at the mercy of Mother Nature they are. “Even though we did everything we could, nature was stronger than us,” Mathilde says. “And it brings everything back into perspective. Nothing is ever permanent, but as a family we are stronger.”

Domaine Grivot’s wines are part of our Burgundy 2020 En Primeur offer, which is live on 10th January 2022.

Category: Burgundy Wine

A recipe for Boxing Day leftovers

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Illustration by Eleanor Crow

Christmas Day is behind you, leaving a trail of delicious leftovers in its wake – but what to do with them? Head Chef Stewart Turner shares his recipe for that timeless Boxing Day favourite: bubble and squeak.  

Bubble and squeak is the ultimate festive comfort food – something of a family tradition in my house. It can be the cause of much debate: should it be a potato cake or more of a sautéed potato-and-vegetables mix? I’m firmly in the second camp. For me, it’s always about frying up all the leftover potatoes and vegetables until they are lovely and golden. The ratio is always very important, there has to be plenty of caramelised sprouts – they take the dish to the next level. 

The recipe

Ingredients

2/3rds leftover potatoes, carrots, parsnips or other root vegetables 

1/3rd cooked greens, sprouts or cabbage  

Olive oil  

Salt and freshly ground pepper  

Method

Heat a good splash of oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Add the potato mix and sauté for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until starting to brown. Then, add the greens and continue to fry for another 10 minutes until the sprouts start to caramelise, and you have a lovely golden mix. 

Serve with honey-glazed ham and cranberry sauce. 

Explore our selection of Boxing Day wines here

Category: Miscellaneous