2016 PIES NEGROS RIOJA Crianza Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke [caption id="attachment_29446" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Artuke Vines[/caption] Brothers Arturo and Kike (Artu-ke) are making such great wines in their beautiful corner of Rioja and this 2016 Pies Negro - their Crianza - is another complete gem.
When the sun beats down out of a clear blue sky, and the garden starts to frazzle; when the designer shades are donned and inadvisably exposed skin is allowed to soak up the ultra-violet; the vinously inclined have hitherto been apt to reach for crisp white wines and the palest of pale rosés of course, all nicely chilled, leaving any red wine undisturbed in the wine-rack until the Autumn.
One of the great thrills of working in this business is the chance to get into the cellars and taste wines straight from the barrel with the winemaker. To taste a wine in its most natural, 'un-mucked-about-with' state is a great experience.
Spain could lay claim to being the most exciting wine country in the world at present. A real sense of adventure has taken grip in the lesser known regions whilst new life has been breathed into the established areas with a new generation of younger winemakers and a new vision of what can be achieved.
Mondays can be tough however when a work trip to Portugal beckons, to say that we were all excited was an understatement. Working for L&S, we have been told many great things about this estate. Yes, we all know the wines are wonderful and pictures can only go so far.
As we mentioned in our initial post on the vintage, it was the frost that hit Bordeaux for several nights at the end of April which dominated the early headlines on the 2017 vintage. The frost was undoubtedly catastrophic for some but the more we chatted to winemakers across every appellation, we realised there was a subtler story to tell.
(Staircase at Lafite Rothschild) Flicking through my diary over breakfast revealed another jam-packed day including two first growths and the lion’s share of ‘super-seconds’. Not bad for a cold, grey Wednesday! The fun began at Léoville-Poyferré where we tasted the superb Le Crock as well as a very impressive grand vin.
We are absolutely delighted to announce that Lea & Sandeman Co. Ltd. has been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, effective from the 1st April 2018. As the company approaches its 30th Anniversary (trading started on the 1st June 1988), this wonderful news gives cause for double celebration.
I’d love to go into more detail on all of yesterday’s fascinating tastings but sadly there were just too many and our first appointment today is at 08:30 so I’ll have to be brief. Troplong Mondot was interesting because of the change in tack this property is taking under the stewardship of Aymeric de Gironde (formerly Cos d’Estournel).
Yesterday began with a 9am tasting at Cheval Blanc (you have to start somewhere!). Sadly, it didn’t begin well. First came the news that there would be no Yquem tasting in the Orangery this year (quel désastre!), next came the unwelcome revelation that the Château was quite badly hit by frost in 2017.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we hot-footed it from Bordeaux airport to our first appointment of primeurs week - a big negociant tasting on the left bank. It’s a useful way to appraise a new vintage as all the major villages are represented under one roof.