Gordon Ramsay lists English sparkling wines at Bordeaux restaurant

Gordon Ramsay lists English sparkling wines at Bordeaux restaurantGordon Ramsay’s new restaurant, Le Pressoir d’Argent, will feature a selection of English sparkling wines, including Gusbourne Estate, Coates & Seely, Camel Valley and Ridgeview. Le Pressoir d'Argent in Bordeaux will include English wines on the menuLe Pressoir d’Argent, at Bordeaux’s Grand Hotel, will officially open its doors to the public on Friday September 25.
For the initial opening period, Ramsay will be present in Bordeaux on alternate weeks with Clare Smyth, chef patron at his Michelin three-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in London. Full time executive chef is Gilad Peled, earlier from Les Sources des Alpes in Switzerland.
‘The challenge in Bordeaux is ensuring the food is at the same quality level as the wine,’ Ramsay told decanter.com. ‘This restaurant needs to draw on the exceptional local knowledge and produce… and then draw on our experience to get creative with it.
‘We are working with several local winemakers, but it’s hard to single out a particular progression or wine; this is an oasis of magical growers that can’t be matched anywhere in the world. My objective is to have the wine to become our epicentre’.
The wine list has been developed by the team in Bordeaux, led by sommelier and buying director Frederic Rouglan, with input from Ramsay and his wine buying team in London.
‘The wine list will be mainly from Bordeaux, but we have gone outside the province also. And we had to include English sparkling wine,’ Ramsay said, who has just bought a property in Cornwall in the Camel Valley. ‘We haven’t had a riot yet’.
Le Pressoir d’Argent is Ramsay’s second restaurant in France following the Trianon Palace in Versailles and both hotels are owned by Michel Ohayon.
Ramsay is the third huge name chef to open in the city over the past few months, following Joël Robuchon and Philippe Etchebest. Alain Ducasse is reportedly in talks to finalise a location.
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For the weekend: Wines under £20

For the weekend: Wines under £20Decanter international tastings director Christelle Guibert hunts the tastings to find exciting, fantastic value wines, all for below £20. See the latest here.Christelle Guibert and Decanter’s tasting team search the key tastings to hunt down the best value wines the supermakerts, high street and wine merchants can offer, all for below £20.
Branch out from your usual wine choices with something new, without breaking the bank.
This week includes a sparkling rosé wine from the Bio Bio Valley in Chile, a Burgenland Pinot Gris, Californian Chardonnay, New Zealand Pinot Noir from Nelson and an exciting Côtes Catalanes. Read more

Anson on Thursday: The Winery in the Desert

In this week's column, Jane Anson sees the vineyards at the Bardenas national park, where Bordeaux varieties are growing in desert conditions. Vines growing in the Bardenas desertThis week, Game of Thrones is filming its sixth series in the Bardenas National Park. My guess is that not many of the 8 million viewers, or even the 1,200 extras drafted in for filming, will have heard of this UNESCO-protected, semi-arid, desert in Navarra, northwest Spain. But for those who have, the choice makes perfect sense.
The desolate landscape of the 42,000-hectare Bardenas Reales could be in Mexico, Nevada, Egypt, Tunisia, Mars… (or even Essos, Game of Thrones fans). Single-footstep roads lead you to canyons, plateaus and sun-baked rocky crags rising out of the sand. It is hard to believe that this martian landscape, whipped by wind and wearing away, sits just over an hour from the fertile Pyrénées Mountains. A link of Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns have been filmed here, as has a recent Duniya Soori Bollywood musical and a host of Spanish thrillers.
If you want to explore it for yourself, there is only one hotel that gets you really close. The Aires de Bardenas sits just back from the dusty footstep that leads into the park. It is as stark and dreamlike as the surrounding badlands, with ancient fruit crates forming the outer walls of the carpark and swimming pool. And if you head just a small further along, as the desert landscape takes over and the cracks in the sun-parched earth start to widen ominously, there is a vineyard.
The first time I saw it was a ‘slam-on-the-brakes’ moment. Vines are, as we all know, hardy and stubborn plants. They like to grow where additional shrubbery takes flight. But few places bring this home more brutally than seeing them thriving and healthy on the edge of the Bardenas desert. Read more

DAWA tasting at “The Magnificent Chefs in Macau”

DAWA tasting at “The Magnificent Chefs in Macau”A special tasting of Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015 winners will take place at the Institute of Visiting the attractions Studies restaurant in Macau on 16 October 2015 at 6-8pm. Guests at “The Magnificent Chefs of Macau”, taking place on Friday 16 October 2015, will have the chance to taste winning wines from the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2015. The wines are specially selected at the judging of the competition in early September 2015, to show support towards development and learning within the wine trade in Asia. Decanter is also sponsoring two scholarships at the Institute to award academic distinction and encourage wine studies, which is named the ‘Decanter Scholarship’.
Winning wines showcased at the tasting are: Read more

Pouilly Fumé winemaker to fight INAO over right to use AOC

Pouilly Fumé winemaker to fight INAO over right to use AOCA leading proponent of biodynamic and natural-winemaking in Pouilly-Fumé will take the national institute for appellations - or INAO - to court, over its choice to strip him of his right to an AOC.
Domaine Alexandre BainAlexandre Bain of Domaine Alexandre Bain in the Loire appellation of Pouilly-Fumé received a letter from the INAO last week ‘definitively’ revoking the right to mark his wines AOC Pouilly-Fumé.
The choice was taken due to a missed deadline for a technical inspection of his vineyards and cellar that was to be carried out by September 1 by the independent inspection body Organisme d’inspection des Vins du Centre (OIVC).
Bain insists that the plotted meeting was first cancelled by the OIVC, set for August 25, and that he postponed a second meeting on September 3 due to the 2015 harvest.
He has also said that he believes he is being treated severely because of his advocacy of natural wines, without added sulphur during winemaking and without the use of any chemical products in the vineyard. He believes this is why he has struggled to receive AOC accreditation in previous vintages, with several of his wines having to be marked Vin de France in 2012.
‘I am awaiting clarification if this refers to all the vintages in my cellar – so 2014 as well as the newly-harvested 2015,’ Bain told decanter.com.
‘It is very hard to accept, as the consequences seem to far outweigh the supposed fault. I can not let this pass’.
Bain has now appointed leading lawyer Eric Morain, who has successfully represented Olivier Cousin from Anjou in his own fight with the INAO.
‘It is very hard in France to challenge the administration,’ said Bain. ‘My wines are different from many in Pouilly-Fumé, but I believe it is because they express the soil and the climate, and do not homogenise the taste. I must stand up for artisan winemakers everywhere’.
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Don’t make English vintage every year, says Exton Park winemaker

Don’t make English vintage every year, says Exton Park winemakerExton Park, in Hampshire, has just released its first vintage sparkling wine – a 2011 Blanc de Blancs – deferring from the trend amongst English winemakers to regularly produce a vintage. Exton Park, in the Hampshire South Downs. Exton Park winemaker Corrine Seely – who was part of the winemaking team for the first colorless wine at Chateau Lynch-Bages – believes that in England, because of the unpredictable weather, ‘it would be quite hard to make a excellent vintage each year.’
Exton Park Blanc de Blancs 2011
‘Of course you can make a vintage each year – apart from perhaps 2012,’ Seely said ‘but in general, you could make a vintage each year, but what I call a vintage is the finest quality possible. I don’t believe that would be possible to do here each year.’
Only 2500 bottles of the single-vineyard Blanc de Blancs 2011 were made.
Exton Park’s previous releases were non-vintage Brut, Blanc de Noirs and Rosé – all of which were awarded medals in this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.
Seely credits Exton Park owner Malcolm Isaac for letting her take a gamble in 2011 and order extra vats to make a reserve wine – which requires more time and work to look after.
In 2011, the rainfall was low in the July flowering season, at only approximately 50ml – compared to 120ml in the washout year 2012 – followed by a warm and dry autumn.
The team at Exton Park are also feeling positive about the 2015 harvest, which is due to start on 15th October.
Vineyard Manager Fred Langdale said that the ‘fruit is looking really promising’  and he was feeling ‘quietly confident’ about it– especially after the Met Office has reported that the UK is set for an Indian summer, to last three weeks, with temperatures reaching up to 25 degrees.
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Mixed conditions for Bordeaux red harvest

Mixed conditions for Bordeaux red harvestAfter exceptional growing conditions throughout the 2015 season, the rain in September has been a challenge for the Bordeaux red harvest - but winemakers wait positive. Rain throughout September has been a challenge for the Bordeaux red harvest, but dry whites have been picked. Saint Espèphe has recorded between 50 and 60mm of rain, while Margaux is a small lower at around 40-50mm depending on location, and 58mm recorded overall at the central Mérignac weather station, up to Monday September 21.
This is around three times the rainfall in Bordeaux in September 2014, but subdue within the September averages. As the vines are in brilliant health with thick skins, most winemakers are reporting that there has been very small spread of rot on well-drained soils.
Basile Tesseron at Château Lafon Rochet in Saint Julien told decanter.com, ‘We are quite surprised. By the middle of last week we thought that we would have to start picking early, but in fact we are just bringing in two small plots of young Merlot vines this week, and the rest of the grapes we will start on September 28, as plotted’.
Christophe Coupez, consultant at OenoCentres in Pauillac, who works with dozens of cru bourgeois and classified estates across the Médoc, said, ‘The few days of rain in mid-August first activated the spores of rot, but they dried up quickly and have remained dry. Producers are silent right now while they assess the impact of the rains. Most have brought in the young vines but intend to wait until the older vines reach their full ripeness. We subdue expect a fantastic vintage’.
In Sauternes and Barsac, Denis Dubourdieu, owner of Château Doisy Daënes said that the sweet wine harvest is looking positive; with noble rot spreading and the first round of grapes in the cellars.
‘The dry whites are now all picked, so we can be confident of the quality,’ Dubourdieu said. ‘The grapes for the sweet wine were able to withstand the recent rains very well, and the potential is high’.
The Bordeaux red harvest ‘will find continued rain more troubling,’ he said, ‘but so far those who have ensured excellent aeration of the vines have no need to worry’.
This is a vintage that promises to be exceptional,’ says Tesseron, ‘but you need to know your vines and your plots very well; and be a excellent professional to steer it into the cellars’.
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