Month: February 2015

Crazy For Cabernet? Chile Has The Goods

Let’s start off with a bold statement:

“Our Undurraga T.H. Pirque Alto Maipo 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is excellent”

even if we do say so ourselves. It scored 18/20 in Decanter Magazine’s March edition. At the same time it lives in the £12-15 price bracket, it is incredibly good value.

Every time we crack open a bottle of Undurraga we are blown away by the combination of fruit and spice balanced beautifully with a graceful body. It is undoubtably one of our favourite wines.

However… why is it that people typically don’t open a bottle of Chilean Cabernet for a special occasion?

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Chile is a country with a long and proud history of wine making in general, and Cabernet in particular. Cabernet vines have been grown in Chile since the 1850s making up just under a third of the 130,000 hectares of vineyards in the country.

It must be incredibly galling to the Chilean wine industry that its products do not demand higher prices abroad. For example, if you were looking for an equivalent vintage Bordeaux you would pay at least ten times as much as you would for a Chilean Cab.

However, their loss is our gain. Red wines coming out of Chile have never been better or more popular.

Whilst the producers are struggling to raise the price point on their wines, take the plunge, grab yourself a bargain and crack open a Chilean Cab on a special occasion. We are willing to bet, neither you nor anyone else enjoying your wine, will be disappointed!

If you are interested in our cab, it’s available here.

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Russia Moves To Tackle Counterfeit Wine

Counterfeit alcohol is big business in Russia. Decanter Magazine recently covered new steps taken by the government to do something about it.

The Independent reported in 2010 that an official from the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation stated that 50% of wine and 70% of cognac on sale in Russia was counterfeit. That year around 927 million litres of wine was consumed, constituting off-trade sales of around £5.2 billion. That’s of lot of money!

To combat this Russia is introducing minimum pricing for wine, expected to be around 100 Roubles per litre, (or 75p) for a 750ml bottle. A similar strategy was taken in 2010 to combat counterfeit vodka. This has reduced the volume of counterfeit vodka sold by 25-30% and is expected to have a similar effect on the counterfeit wine trade.

75p a bottle might seem cheap but average wages in Russia are around 40,000 roubles a month, or £400. In the UK the average monthly salary is more than 5 times higher than that at around £2,200 before tax. Apparently wine retailers in Russia are concerned that setting a minimum price might drive people to cheaper alcohol.

We recently wrote about Russia increasing investment in it’s wine industry. The anti-counterfeit measures coincide with an initiative to grow Russian vineyards from 90,000 to 140,000 hectares by 2020, a 55% increase. A third of the existing 90,000 hectares was gained when Russian annexed the Crimean peninsular in 2014.

According to The Moscow Times, this is all part of a push to restore Russian wine production to the glory days of the Soviet Union. In the 1980s the USSR had around 200,000 hectares of vineyards. In contrast, France has around 867,000 hectares of vineyards.

Today Russia’s vineyards are subsidised by the government to the tune of around £5.8 million annually. This represents between 10-20% the cost of growing grapes. However, this pales into insignificance when compared to the subsidies France provides.

France receives around £9 billion under the European Union (EU) Common Agricultural Policy and will be spending an EU grant of £230 million this year just on promoting it’s wine outside the EU. French vineyards receive subsidies of between 60-80%.

Full story in Decanter.

Image by 17Rising17 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Charles Rose Wines Mentioned In Decanter Magazine!

This is going to seem a little self-congratulatory, and possibly a little over the top, but there you go. As a small business, run by a single family, we celebrate our successes and victories no matter how small!

We love fine wine, and we know that finding a good one can be difficult and time-consuming so we are here to save you the trouble. We purposefully stock a small, select range that we have researched (not just consumed) so that you can be confident you are buying a good product.

As such, it is always gratifying to see our products in Decanter Magazine. Arguably, one of the best known wine magazines, published in over 90 countries. It’s a trusted source for wine lovers and a great way to discover what is happening around the world in the wine industry.

We were over the moon to find that in Decanter’s March Edition, two of the products we stock are mentioned and we are listed as a supplier! We know, it’s a small thing, but great to see that we have chosen some great products that we have priced competitively!

So, what were they?

Undurraga, T.H. Cabernet Sauvignon,Pirque, AltoMaipo 2012


UndurragaTHCabernetSauvignonAltoMaipo2012Decanter said this in their article “Chilean Cab: where quality meets value”:

From one of the highest areas in Maipo, this is a graceful Cabernet, filled with ripe yet refreshing flavours of red fruit and spices, its medium body delivering intense tannins. Perfectly ready for grilled meat but will evolve.

This is a wine with pedigree, with previous vintages reviewing well in Decanter Wine Reviews (95/100 for the 2011 vintage) and the International Wine Challenge (Gold in 2013 for the 2010 vintage).

So, get it while you can as production is limited to 2,700 cases – so when it’s gone, it’s gone!

Beronia, Rioja Reserva 2010


BodegasBeroniaReserva2010-2000x2000Decanter said this in their article “Panel Tasting: Rioja £8-25”:

Fragrant herbal nose with cedar spice. Much oak is promised but it’s well handled. Supple, juicy palate with well-integrated tannins and a full body.

This fantastic wine also has pedigree, with the 2009 vintage scoring well in the Decanter World Wine Awards (Silver in 2014) and the International Wine Challenge (Gold in 2013).

Admittedly, we are a bit biased towards rioja, we love the vibrant flavours and the fruit, and this example is no exception.

It’s a luscious deep red wine with hints of black cherry and a sweet refined finish.


If you’d like further information on either of these wines then visit the links to our product pages above, or visit our website. Please excuse us for blowing our own trumpet!