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Mantlerhof, Mosburgerin, Reserve 1er Cru 2011

Gruner Veltliner
Mantlerhof, Mosburgerin, Reserve 1er Cru 2011
Niederosterreich, Austria

For over 200 years the family has farmed a small parcel of vineyards, making tiny quantities of exquisite Gruner Veltliner. This is a grape that performs best in Austria, creating long lived complex wines.

Although this producer has a certain fame, they prefer to remain low-key and focus their efforts more on production than marketing. This wine comes from the 1er Cru classified site Mosburgerin, a vineyard noted for the complexity of the wines it produces.

Pale and bright in color, the nose has a youthful freshness yet depth of aromatics. Apple, pear, citrus, minerals, pepper, and other nuances combine to create vibrancy and complexity. The palate is dry, light to medium bodied, crisp, and extremely long,

This is a small producer of fine wines in a little known region of Austria, using a grape that will become world famous in the years to come.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match with spicy Asian dishes, fresh seafood, and soft cheeses.

Selling wine Stateside

New York City

One of our major markets within the United States was New York City. We had a very successful importer there. So with our agent for the USA we went to meet with him.

Hustle and bustle, people strutting their stuff, cabs honking, skyscrapers gleaming, it’s dog eat dog in NYC. We go down a back alley into a warehouse and up an elevator to the top floor, which was their office. Although the back alley wasn’t that swank, particularly the aromatics, the office sure was smart. And smack dab in prime position was a huge desk where the man himself sat, cigar in hand, barking out orders to his staff. The intensity of the office was high-stress. Everything was urgent. Small talk was out.

Within seconds it was our turn to get blasted by Monsieur, the boss. “Oh well bonjour! Look, it’s the idiots from Bordeaux with their ridiculous new prices. Get out!” The formality and politeness of our Japanese importers was a distant memory. I looked at my agent to see if he was serious, but he just chuckled. But it was clear to me that he was dead serious, and he wanted us to leave.

Full blown warfare erupted. It went from the importer cursing about the price increases to the agent yelling about unpaid invoices, and then a few personal shots were fired. Then suddenly there was some laughter, a few resolutions, and then the agent launched into the sales. “You should take 250 cases of Chateau X, come on, you can sell it, I’m putting you down for 250 cases, we will ship next month, done, …OK?” It was beyond aggressive.

And what I learnt about selling wine in the US, or at least in some of the major east coast markets, is that you’ve got to be direct and tough, and ask for the order. In fact, sometimes you have to fight for it. The sales reps are often on commission only, and they sell to live. Every month they take home the commission on whatever they sold, and that’s it. So they hustle. They hunt. And you’ll never see sales reps as slick as some of these guys in NYC. We would go and visit major retail accounts, taste wine with the Buyer out of plastic cups, and if you didn’t make a sale for the Reps then they were not happy at all.

Yes, some of the refined sophistication of a soft sell was gone, and our company had always had a soft sell approach which I preferred. But you had to admire the directness, and it sure cut to the chase. I have always been perplexed by wine importers who do not commission or clearly bonus their staff on sales. If reps are paid regardless of their sales results then one day, sooner or later, the hustle is gone.

Chateau Brane Cantenac, AC Margaux, 2nd growth, 2004

Meritage – Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot
Chateau Brane Cantenac, AC Margaux, 2nd growth, 2004
Bordeaux, France

Chateau Brane Cantenac was classified as one of the best wines of Bordeaux in 1855, ranked as a 2nd growth. In recent years the owner, Henri Lurton, has catapulted the quality to a new level, garnering significant attention from wine critics.

The beautiful chateau is tucked away in the Margaux appellation, a region known for wines of great elegance and finesse. The gravelly soils are well-drained and reflect heat back onto the vines, which is ideal for the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are harvested by hand and then sorted using a state-of-the-art optical selection machine which only allows the finest grapes to be fermented.

A gorgeous ruby and garnet color, the nose shows black cherry, cedar and earthy aromas. The palate is dry, medium to full bodied, and the tannins are softening nicely with almost 10 years of age. There are layers of cassis, coffee, leather and chocolate flavors that linger on the beautiful finish.

Food and wine pairing: Perfect with lamb, beef, and a variety of red meats. It will also pair well with a selection of cheese.

Finca Valpiedra, Reserva, 2006

Finca Valpiedra, Reserva, 2006
Rioja, Spain

This is the only vineyard classified as a “Pago” in Rioja, meaning it is recognized as the greatest single vineyard in this region. Rioja is also the most famous area in Spain.

So this is quite an amazing accomplishment given the long history of production and the incredible wines that come from Rioja, one of the world’s classic wine regions. The driving force behind such a top quality wine is the Martinez Bujanda family, established in 1889.

Over the years they have nurtured this single vineyard site. The rocky soils, depicted on the label, reflect heat back onto the vine, which helps achieve perfect ripeness. The winery, known as a bodega, houses state-of-the-art equipment and the winemaker’s goal is to craft a modern style of Rioja.

The Tempranillo variety, Rioja’s signature grape, creates a wine with aromatics of fresh strawberries, black cherries and soft leather. The use of French oak adds a lick of vanilla, smoke and toast. The palate is rich and dense, full bodied, and the tannins are velvety and fine. The balance is perfect and the length lingers as the complex flavors unfold. We very much hope you enjoy it.

Food and wine pairing: Lamb or beef is the classic match, but this will pair nicely with a selection of cheeses, and is delicious all by itself too.

Dr. Loosen, Erdener Treppchen, Spatlese, 2008

Dr. Loosen, Erdener Treppchen, Spatlese, 2008
Mosel valley, German

Ernst Loosen is the owner of a winery that can trace its history back over 200 years. In fact, back then Mosel Rieslings were the most expensive wines in the world.

This wine comes from the Treppchen vineyard, close to the town of Erden. Long ago, stone steps were built into the vineyard’s steep hillside to help workers reach the vines.

A “Spatlese” is made from late harvest grapes that have achieved a high level of ripeness. This, combined with the halting of the fermentation, has created a wine with a pleasant degree of sweetness.

The nose is perfumed with aromas of sweet apples, peaches and apricots, and shows excellent freshness and minerality. The palate is medium sweet, finishing slightly drier, with medium body, and enough acidity to counter-balance the sweetness. A host of stone fruit and tropical fruit flavors unravel on the palate leading into a beautiful long finish. This wine will age for 20-30 years, but is delicious now.

Food and wine pairing: The medium sweet character of the wine will suit spicy Indian and Asian dishes, and fresh fruit plates.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010
Alsace, France

There are a handful of truly iconic wineries in Alsace. Zind-Humbrecht stands tall among them.
The winemaker and owner, Olivier Zind-Humbrecht, is one of the few Masters of Wine in France. He practices bio-dynamic farming techniques. This means the vineyard is farmed in an ultra-organic way and the earth’s cosmic rhythms guide all of the viticultural practices.

There’s no other place in the world that makes better Gewurztraminer than Alsace. The Vosges mountains create a warm and sunny micro climate enabling late harvesting at intense levels of ripeness. Olivier pushes the boundaries even further, picking very late at massive levels of flavor development. This is the Zind-Humbrecht style.

A pale gold color, as is typical from this pink skinned grape. The heavy viscosity coats the sides of the glass. The nose envelopes the senses with a heady array of ripe and sweet tropical fruits, sweet spices, and rose petal aromas. The palate is rich, thick, yet lively with bright acidity, and a perfect touch of fruit sweetness, pushing this into an off-dry style.

We are delighted to offer you this beautiful Gewurztraminer from an iconic producer.

Food and wine pairing: This is especially well suited to spicy dishes, and white meats like chicken.

Chateau Monbousquet, AC St Emilion Grand Cru, 2007

Meritage – Merlot & Cabernets
Chateau Monbousquet, AC St Emilion Grand Cru, 2007
Bordeaux, France

Chateau Monbousquet is one of the new star properties of the Right Bank in Bordeaux. When Gerard Perse purchased the property in 1993 he made huge investments in the cellar and the vineyards, and totally revolutionized the quality.

The blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is typical of many St Emilion estates. But the low yields, precision vineyard management and superstar winemaker Michel Rolland’s touch in the cellar have created a superb wine.

The nose shows notes of fresh berries, espresso, milk chocolate and plum. The palate is elegant, with medium to full body, soft light tannins, and beautiful depth of flavor. Monbousquet always shows vivacity, intensity, and a new classic Bordeaux style.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match with beef, lamb, and hard cheeses.

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010

Gewurztraminer – Vendange Tardive
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, 2010
Alsace, France

Olivier Zind-Humbrecht, one of the few French Masters of Wine, farms his vineyard on biodynamic principles. All vineyard work is done in accordance with the lunar calendar, with special focus on the positioning of the planets. Special natural preparations are infused into the soil to increase the microbial life, and create a healthy balance and environment for the vine to produce top quality fruit.

The berries are late harvested, allowing them to develop intense levels of sweetness and tropical fruit flavours. The berries are picked by hand on the slopes of the finest vineyards in Alsace, which bask in autumnal sunshine in this area, one of the driest regions of France.

A long slow natural fermentation ensues. When the alcohol degree balances the sweetness, acidity and flavours Olivier stops the ferment, leaving the perfect amount of residual sugar in this sweet wine.

Fragrant aromas of honeycomb, white flowers, brown sugar and sweet spices envelop the nose. The palate is sweet but with a delicacy, lightness, and elegance. There is a lift from the acidity that creates immense energy in the wine. The length lingers, the complex flavours unravel, and the palate is left with the memory of a truly great wine.

Food and wine pairing:
Fruit based desserts or soft cheese is the perfect pairing.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur, AC Pomerol, 2008

Meritage – Merlot & Cabernet blend
Chateau Le Bon Pasteur, AC Pomerol, 2008
Bordeaux, France

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur is the home of the world’s most famous flying winemaker, Michel Rolland. This is a highly revered property in the miniscule appellation of Pomerol that lies in close proximity to Chateau Petrus, and is literally a stone’s throw from Cheval Blanc.

Inside Le Bon Pasteur, you will find some of the most revolutionary winemaking techniques in the world. They harvest individual vines when they are at perfect ripeness, rather picking the entire block at once. They ferment the red wine inside small oak barrels by taking off the barrel heads, an incredibly labor intensive technique. The estate sets trends in winemaking that then spread to the finest wineries of California, South America and elsewhere.

The color is a beautiful deep cherry red. The nose shows fragrant aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, vanilla and plum. The palate is dry, with good weight and succulent red berry and vanilla flavors, encased by fine but structured tannins. It’s a fantastic Pomerol and a classic example of Merlot (90%) in the world’s most prestigious region, Bordeaux.

Food and wine pairing: Perfect with red meats like lamb and beef, and hard cheeses.

Clos Henri, Bel Echo, 2012

Sauvignon Blanc
Clos Henri, Bel Echo, 2012
Marlborough, New Zealand

For ten generations the house of Henri Bourgeois focused on producing excellent quality Sauvignon Blanc from the classic vineyards of Sancerre, in the Loire valley, just south of Paris.

In the year 2000 the family decided that the quality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was undeniable, and they purchased over 100 hectares of the finest vineyards in Marlborough.

The wine is typically pale in color, a trademark of cool climate Sauvignon Blanc made in stainless steel tanks. The nose is intense and expressive, with piercing aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit and citrus. On the palate the wine is dry but fruity, with crisp and refreshing acidity. There is a beautiful delicacy and vibrancy to the light-bodied style, with zest and minerally flavors.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match for goat’s cheese, salads, smoked salmon, crab, and other light seafood dishes.