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Chateau Latour

Chateau Latour quits En Premeur

CHATEAU LATOUR quits en premeur and will only be releasing wine when it is deemed ready to drink. The 2012 vintage will be the first to fall under this decision by owner Francois Pinault. We will probably now see the 2012 vintage available for sale in 10-15 years time.

Tthe leading Bordeaux estate has announced it is to pull out of the 'futures market', meaning its prestigious wines will no longer be sold in the barrel (en premeur) and only when bottled and aged.

Chateau Latour has said the move had been driven by increasing numbers of consumers drinking the wine while it was too young, particularly a new generation of millionaires from Asia and eastern Europe. These 'new market' customers, attracted by the brand rather than the product, are then unable to appreciate its complexities, the Chateau claims.

It is the first time that a grower in the five members of the wine super league - also known as 'first growth chateaux' - has broken out of the lucrative futures market, or 'en primeur' system of wine distribution. This allows wine merchants across the world to get their hands on exclusive wines after being barrelled and lovers of fine wine to spend thousands of pounds while the wine matures in in the hope that it will turn into a classic.

What do we think
- well, something needed to be done to stop the see-sawing of first growth wine. Who can blame Latour for wanting to take back control of when the wine should be ready to drink and at the same time bring back appreciation for the product, rather than just the desire to be seen drinking it. They can always change their mind, but for now it sends a clear message to the industry in general, even if it does hit the pockets of the wine merchants and negociants. Sometimes the owner needs to take control - I think we can respect their decision.

The Super League: 'First Growth' Chateaux:

:: Lafite

:: Margaux

:: Haut Brion

:: Mouton

:: Latour


Cowmire Hall Cider

We are very proud to stock Cowmire Hall products. The damson gin is already famous & has featured on television with Hugh in River Cottage & more recently on Ade Edmondson's programme, Ade in Britain. Oliver & Vicky Barratt make the gin at their 16th Century Peel Tower in Crosthwaite, Cumbria.

More recently, Simon, Vicky's son & other family members have started to produce a traditional cider at the Hall. Simon sources apples from all over Cumbria; including Sizergh Castle, Muncaster Castle & Levens Hall. The resulting product has been astonishing & very well received - each year has a slightly different flavour due to the varying sugar content in the apples & the outside temperature throughout fermentation. A feature which adds to the product uniqueness.

This year Cowmire produced a Mulled Cider which was also very well received - the spiced cider was delicious & a perfect alternative to mulled wine. Available in 750ml bottles or 5 Litre wholesale packs with branded heater for bars, hotels & restaurants.

We sell the cider in our Windermere & Ambleside Stores in 500ml & 750ml bottles. We also stock on-line the 500ml bottles.

We can offer local businesses a Wholesale Discount (larger 5 litre packs also available). For wholesale prices, please contact us on 015394 46891 or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Christmas Drinking

No other time celebrates the gift of wine like Christmas. But sometimes choosing a bottle can feel like a thankless task.

Start with bubbles. A light Champagne or a good sparkling wine is great as an aperitif and mood lightener. Mayerling Cremant d'Alsace Brut is my choice - it's minerality and slightly honeyed notes are perfect to set the day off.

Even with the best cooking techniques, turkey can be dry in texture, so the solutions are white wines such as Rieslings, Sauvignon Blancs from Chile and New Zealand or a good Chenin Blanc (False Bay Chenin Blanc is my choice).

Reds are a little essier. The rule is pretty much to stick to anything low in tannins. Gamay or Pinot Noir is a good place to start - any of the Beaujolais Crus, such as Fleurie and Beaujolais Villages will suit. Or Byron Bay Pinot Noir from California if you prefer New World wine.

Pudding is simple. Torres Floralis is suitable for Christmas pudding and will also work well with blue cheese. Port is also a good match, tawny or ruby, depending on your preference.

Happy drinking!


South African Evening at The Brown Horse 26/11/11

What a fantastic evening. Thank you to everyone who attended - we had a full house & it was a really good night.


Louis Boutinot talked us through the 5 wines from the Waterkloof Winery while we worked our way through 5 fabulous courses. The chefs at the Brown Horse provided an outstanding meal & the wines matched the food superbly.


Everyone commented on how relaxed the evening was. Good to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones. The most popular wine seemed to be the Circumstance Cape Coral Mourvèdre, a delightful rose wine that is also apparently a favourite of Gordon Ramsey - although we won't hold that against it!


Champagne Evening

Peter and Joanne attended a Champagne Tasting evening at The Studio in Birmingham - an event organised by Laura Clay (former Champagne Ambassador to the UK) and founder of Birmingham Imbibers. We blind tasted 10 Champagnes including Taittinger NV, Laurent Perrier Brut NV, Veuve Clicquot NV & Bollinger NV. We found that in the blind tasting some of the better known and more expensive Champagnes did not score so well. Although, the more we drank the less competant we became and with no spitoons on the table things could only go one way.

The Champagnes were accompanied by canapes from Marco Pierre White's new restaurant, Indigo. It was a great evening - lovely to meet some new people & share our tasting notes. We have also brought back some great ideas for hosting our own Champagne Evening in the Lakes at one of the fabulous venues at our fingertips. We will keep you posted!

What did occur to us was what very good value our own house Champagne, Gremillet Non Vintage really is - at £19.39 it knocks the socks off Champagne at the same price point and gives even the Grand Champagne Houses a run for their money.


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