Alain Geoffroy Chablis: A quality report.

Posted on: October 13th, 2016 by Andrew No Comments

A quick trip to Mâçon offerred the opportunity for a stop-off in Beins to visit Chablis producer Alain Geoffroy, with whom we have worked for 5 years. Met in a sunny courtyard of the now sprawling Geoffroy estate by Pascal Sailley, the export manager, we were whisked off on a little tour of the winery. Geoffroy is not a big estate but houses in its chais the modern panoply of winemaking equipment, facilititating the reliability and drinkability of this Northern Burgundian wine, which is often, like this year, very much at the mercy of the weather. After a petit tour, where we saw the equipment being washed down after the completion of the rather meagre harvest, we were shown their piece de resistence – the largest collection of corscrews and wine paraphenalia in France , the Musee de Tire Bouchon. This was extraodinary; rooms and rooms of cabinets stuffed with corkscrews of every size, shape and vintage. This was quite a surprise and not what one normally gets on a winebuyers winery tour. Some pictures below to give a bit of an idea


Once the tour was over, the serious business began. Discussing the state of the Chablis 2016 harvest and tasting the previous two or three vintages.

As you may be aware, Chablis was hit badly by hail in June, with most producers losing most of their 2016 crop. Geoffroy is down by 2/3rds, but some have lost nearly everything. This means that there will be very little, if any, wine for sale next year. Geoffroy has customers in 30 countries as well as France, so the little they have will be spread very thin. For us in the UK, the so far tangible result of the referendum in june is the collapsing value of the pound, so what little we get will also be much more expensive. As to the quality, the rest of the season was good so the wine should also be of good quality, but we wont know for sure until next spring. If Pascal mentioned it, I missed it.

But what about the wines, you say; well as usual they were stunning. We tasted a range from the 15 vintage going back to 2012 as follows:-

Petit Chablis 15 – tight, crisp, very fresh, medium bodied with lively fruit. V good

Chablis 15 (in UK stock now) Rich and very ripe, almost opulent and rounded. Dry full and long. Not quite classic Chablis but v drinkable.

Chablis 15 Vieille Vignes (50/50 barrel and Stainless Steel) – Lively and rich with the ripeness of the straight chablis with a layer of young oak under. Still unbalanced but should develop complexity with bottle age. Lovely wine

Chablis Premier Cru Vau Ligneau 15 – This is more classic Chablis. Long, clean, racy flinty and dry. Elegant and sinewy, this is superb.

Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy 15 – Powerful much broader wine, rich long and still a little closed.

Chablis Premier Cru Beauroy 14 – fantastic, complex, dry, long superbly balanced wine. Still tight and flinty on the finish. Delicious

Chablis Premier Cru Vau Ligneau 12 – Ripe, layered, dry , full, long with tight minerally fruit. Again elegant and stylish

Chablis Grand Crus Les Clos 13 – This is very ripe and extracted with loads of oak and fruit. A little too Burgundian for me – I prefer stainless steel!

Muddy Stiletto Award

Posted on: May 17th, 2016 by Andrew No Comments

We have been nominated for an award on the Muddy Stiletto blog site for Somerset. Prestigious you say and I say YES IT IS so please give us your vote by logging on to: and searching for Best Wine Shop. As if you need to be told.
Many thanks.

The discreet charm of Henri Bourgeois

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by Andrew No Comments

A buying trip to Sancerre

I had never been to Sancerre, so Paul, with whom I was travelling, suggested that on our trip to Mâçon, we make a small detour to Chavignol and pay a visit to Henri Bourgeois (more…)

Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 est arrive

Posted on: November 20th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments

This is the first year in very many that we have brought over some of this once modish wine.  From Robert Sarrau who makes decent Beaujolais if memory serves and dare I say it, drinking rather well, despite its youth.

Is this a fad ripe for revival? If you would like to decide for yourself, pick up a bottle from any participating store (If you can find one)  Alternatively you can purchase it here but stocks are very limited.

Wine delivered by froggy bike, natch.

Wine tastings 2014

Posted on: November 11th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments

You are all welcome to our annual Christmas tasting at the Church House, Crowcombe, Taunton TA4 4AD These will be held on Friday evening, November 28th and Saturday from 10 AM till 4 PM November 29th

Furthermore we are holding a tasting on Friday 21st at Long Sutton Village Hall in aid of the Church Appeal. Tickets are £10 and numbers are limited so please give us a call on 01963 440404 or email if you would be interested in attending.

Charles Sydney’s latest Loire Vintage asessment

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments
Guest post from Loire supremo Charles – well worth a read:
2014 is looking pretty damn good so far.
The Muscadets, the Touraine sauvignons and most Sancerres and Pouillys are now in.
Some background information :
You’ll remember that fine June giving perfect weather for the flowering. Cooler weather than normal in August slowed things down so the ‘advance’ was lost, but perfect, dry, sunny and hot weather all through September meant that the grapes everywhere had time to really ripen in ideal conditions.
There were storms overnight on 19th September, with a little much needed rain to soften skins (could have used that a bit earlier to boost volumes in Muscadet!). They also brought a very unwanted pile of hail onto 100 hectares of St Pourçain, ripping some 80% of the bunches from the vines – a real pain as the rest of the harvest is really good.
Hail too in Ligré and Panzoult in Chinon, but the damage there was much more limited.
So…. for the dry white Muscadets and all Loire sauvignons, the harvest was in as near perfect conditions as you can get.
The grapes have come in with real concentration and intensity, an ideal balance of sugar to acidity. The ‘liquid gold’ colour of the juice reflects the sunshine and ripeness of the Muscadets.
The only potential problems could be from attacks of mildew in late summer, but all the better producers coped well. There are reports of some pourriture acide starting in the pinots, so all the good growers are picking selectively and using their sorting tables.
A couple of growers have commented that you’d have to go out of your way not to make great wine this year.
Others have talked of a dream vintage.
‘On ne peut pas rêver mieux’ seems to sum it up, though we’re a little disappointed that yields weren’t maybe 10% higher in Muscadet – the guys need a break after two tiny harvests.
Here in Chinon, trailers of grapes have been trundling past the door over the last few days – but not today as it’s raining (at last!), which gives us an excuse to be in the office. Growers are talking of degrees nicely over 13 and the grapes look as healthy as can be, so fingers crossed!
Picking for the chenin blancs has started and the grapes are starting to concentrate very nicely in the Anjou, so fingers crossed there will be some smart stickies too.
We’ll get back to you on those.
Meanwhile, you’ll find some pics of the harvest here :
More anon!

Wine of the Month Fleurie 2011 Comte de Bernadotte Paul Pidault France

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments



The Great Villages of Beaujolais have been cruelly overlooked by the British wine drinking public for many years with the result that with the possible exception of this one, most people would fail to recognise the names of these once highly sought-after estate wines. This is a pity as in Beaujolais, the Gamay grape truly rises to the level of greatness. And as the retail price of the wines have barely risen at all even in money terms in  the last 10-15 years they are extremely good value. Ours is slightly unusual for a Fleurie, in that it has a solidity and weight underpinning the lighter fruity aspects that one associates with the Cru, perhaps more like a Morgon or a Pinot Noir.. Nevertheless, the wine is well balanced with a good length on the finish and has real charm and character.  To try some, click here


The re-rise of the new New World

Posted on: April 28th, 2014 by Andrew No Comments

Ok so they never really went away – but I am sure I am not the only lover of proper ie European wine, who has noticed the resurgence in drinkable, good value New World wines.

Once upon a time all we wanted was a taste of that sunshine in a glass that was the Aussie Wine Invasion, spearheaded by that embodiment of Aussie ebullience, Oz Clark. His enthusiasm was infectious and soon we were all drinking the stuff. But then a number of factors conspired to drag down the good name of Château Chunder and as the special offers piled up, serious wine drinkers turned their backs.

Not strictly true of course. In life things are never quite so cut and dried. Great boutique producers across the New World continued to make iconic wines that held their own against their European competitors. But the middle market remained a no-go area which producers in France and Spain rushed to fill (refill?)

But I detect a change. Perhaps it is a move back to more European styles that is recreating that excitement but suddenly complex, elegant wines are springing up all over the place at that crucial £10 mark. Two I can namecheck straight away.

Stellenbosch in South Africa is no stranger to iconic wines, but the good ones have normally been expensive as well as a little on the heavy side for me. But a recent tasting of some of May de Lencquesaing’s Glenelly wines, a recent venture by the iconic Bordelais producer, blew me away. Okay so they will probably retail nearer £11 but the Glass Collection range was spot on; nervy, citrussy Chardonnay – no oak of course – A Merlot that I could have drunk all day and a Syrah that that had all the complexity and depth one hopes from this variety. I loved them and will be listing them very soon.

The other is from Riverland’s finest winemaker, Anthony Murphy, at Trentham Estate in New South Wales. I have been a long time fan of this winemaker; for me he has always managed to marry that Aussie opulence with a little French restraint, but a tasting today of his recent Estate range cements that reputation. His entry level Pinot Noir was spot on – a triumph of restrained cherry fruit, sinewy acidity and long savoury finish – and all under a tenner! And from the Riverland too. Dont take my word for it, see what James Halliday has to say, a man not easily impressed:

93 Points & Special Value Wine James Halliday
“Excellent crimson-purple; this is pure gold-plated magic, winemaker Tony Murphy the wizard; it is a delicious pinot noir with perfect weight, texture and precisely defined spicy red berry varietal fruits. In a million years I would never guess its Riverland origin if served blind”.

The Chardonnay and Merlot, whilst a little pricier were equally interesting. And fantastically drinkable. And under £12! What is not to like.

I will be tasting more good value New World offerrings over the next few weeks as I work on our new Summer selection. If anything turns out to be half as good as the above, I will of course let you know.


Christmas 2013 Last Orders

Posted on: December 13th, 2013 by Andrew No Comments

Please note that the last ordering day to insure you get your wine before Christmas day is Tuesday 17th December.  Any orders placed after that date we will endeavor to dispatch  as soon as we can,  but cannot guarantee that it will be delivered prior to Christmas

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Andrew, Chris and the team.

Penetrating the impenetrable – the wine trade versus the consumer.

Posted on: November 21st, 2013 by Andrew No Comments

Reading an article in the trade Bible Harpers today about the introspection of the wine trade and its inability to talk to modern consumers in a language they understand got me thinking. (more…)

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