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Award Winning Wines of The Month!

Just in time for Summer, the Decanter World Wine Awards have been announced and we’ve got a very special offer on our AWARD WINNING Deutz Champagne.

The Decanter World Wine Awards are held every year and celebrate the very finest in winemaking. Over 16,000 wines were entered to be judged blind by 240 of the world’s best winetasters and sommeliers.

This year is cause for a double celebration as both the Deutz Brut Classic and the Deutz Rose Champagnes have been awarded Bronze medals.

deutz-classic

The Deutz Brut Classic scored 88/100 and was noted to have dynamic aromas of crab apple, quince, pear and gentle smokiness.

deutz-rose

The Deutz Rose also scored 88/100 and was said to be aromatic with fresh strawberries, cranberries with lovely ripe citrus fruits and honey. A crisp and vibrant palate with cherry fruit and a little earthiness.

So, throughout August, September and October , enjoy 20% off these two fantastic champagnes!

We’ll drink to that.

For more information about the Decanter World Wine Awards click here.

To check out the Deutz Brut Classic click here.

To check out the Deutz Rose click here.

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The Rise and Rise of English Sparkling Wine

We’ve known it for a while – but it seems the secret’s out. English Sparkling Wine is a hit.

Sales were up over Christmas 2015 and experts are predicting that 2016 will see even greater growth.

To keep up with demand, production has also had to increase. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have cited a 103.2% increase in the production volume of English and Welsh sparkling wines between 2010 and 2014.

So keen is the interest in English wine that the renowned Champagne brand Taittinger has announced plans to produce it’s own English wine after buying land in Kent.

Awareness of English wine is also on the rise thanks to a series of high profile sponsorship deals. From the Nyetimber sponsorship of Cowes Week to Wimbledon offering an English Sparkling wine, there will be no shortage of English wines this summer. Virgin have even switched from offering Champagne to Meonhill Sparkling Wine from the Hambledon Vineyard on their 787 Dreamliners.

So whether you’re messing about on the river, watching a spot of tennis or flying first class, you’ll not be far from a glass of English sparkling wine.

If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to check out English Wine Week organised by the English Wine Producers. The week runs from 28th May to 5th June 2016 and features events across the country to highlight to brilliance of English wines. For more information see, http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/

Alternatively, if you fancy sampling English Wine but can’t wait for English Wine Week, you can have us deliver a bottle of our excellent Coates & Seely English sparkling wine direct to your door.

For more information see:

Introducing our Wine of The Month: Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie DOC

Well now that we’ve moved beyond February 29th, March has finally arrived and so has the time to introduce March’s wine of the month!

This month we’re showcasing our Tosti Prosecco Brut Atelie DOC.

Prosecco, the Italian cousin to France’s champagne, has quickly been gaining in popularity in the UK. Last year, sales of prosecco overtook sales of champagne for the first time in Britain. Prosecco has not only a rich history and quality, it is also a highly fashionable and cheaper alternative to champagne.

Our Tosti Prosecco is produced in Canelli, in the province of Asti, Northwest Italy, which is undoubtedly one of the wine capitals of the world and known for its’ sparkling wines. The Tosti Brut Atelie is produced by husband and wife team Maria Cristina and Giovanni Bosca. Seven generations of the Bosca family have been producing wines and sparkling wines at their family estates since 1820.

This prosecco is both refreshing and gentle with aromatic fruity notes. It is crisp and lively with a beautifully clean aftertaste. The perfect accompaniment for cured meats, asparagus and creme brulee.

So whether you’re celebrating St David’s Day, treating a special Mum on Mother’s Day or enjoying an Easter celebration, our Atelie Brut Prosecco is just the thing.

And with 10% off the RRP – it’s ‘eggcellent’ value for money (sorry we couldn’t resist!)

Charles’ Ultimate Gift Buying Guide

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.

If you are unsure of what is the best choice for that special someone this Christmas, why not have a look at our suggestions for a very merry Christmas.

Dapper Dads (and Grandads)

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port

Noval 20

This delicious blend of ports is carefully matured in oak casks. The perfect way to round off a delicious Christmas lunch.

Marvellous Mums (and Grandmas)

The Mionetto Sergio Prosecco or Mionetto Rose Sergio Prosecco

 

Whether you opt for the White or the Rose prosecco, mum’s everywhere are bound to love these superb sparkling proseccos from the Veneto and Trentino areas of Italy.

Party Princesses

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

Deutz Rose

It’s party season and what better way for party princesses to celebrate than with a glass of fabulous pink champagne in hand.

Lovers of all things Vintage

Deutz Brut Vintage 2006 Champagne

Deutz Vintage.jpg

This champagne is a class act. Perfect for those who love the finer things in life.

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

Noval Silval 2005

A superb vintage port, perfect to enjoy now.

Those who dare to be different

Quinta do Noval White Port

Noval White

Perfect for those who love to try new things.

Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry

Sherry

While Sherry used to be reserved for the Christmas trifle, this wine is not just for Christmas and is certainly on trend this year.

The Wine Aficionado

The Around the World Mixed Case

Case The Aroud The World

If you can’t decide between white or red, then our Around the World case will do the job for you. A great way for wine aficionado’s to sample a wide range of wines.

Organic Foodies/Gin Lover

Forest Gin, Premium London Gry Gin

Gin

This award winning gin is hand-crafted in small batches and is made with organic certified botanicals foraged from Macclesfield Forest.

If you would like any more help, please be sure to email, tweet or connect with us on facebook and our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

Booze Cruise Anyone?

It appears that the traditional cross-Channel booze cruise to Calais is making a come back.

The popularity of booze cruises grew steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s. A perfect storm of cut-price ferry tickets, the opening of the Channel Tunnel, a strong pound, low duty and the removal of limits on the amount of alcohol that could be purchased fueled the rush to Calais. Many of the major supermarkets and wine sellers even had their own bases in Calais to meet demand.

Following on from the global financial crisis, the slump in the exchange rate combined with the increasing competitivity of supermarkets in the UK, meant that the day trips waned in popularity. Even if the ticket price for alcohol was still cheaper across the water, it was no longer economical to make the trip.

However, the recent weakening of the euro against the pound and lower taxes in France mean that filling up your car in France may now be more profitable. The exchange rate is currently around £1 to €1.40. So currently a €5 bottle of wine would cost £3.55. The same €5 bottle would have cost £4.27 in May 2013.

According to Caxton FX there has been a 56% increase over the last two years of Britons buying goods in French Carrefour Supermarkets. The Calais Wine Superstore has reported a 15-20% year-on-year rise in sales which the owner puts down to dedicated shopping trips.

However, if it seems like too much hard work to trek over to France to find good quality wine, please check out our selection of fine wines, which will be delivered direct to your door!

The image is of the iconic P&O ferry, the Pride of Canterbury, by Fabian318 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Champagne From A Shipwreck Still Good After 170 Years

Sometime in the 1840s a two-masted schooner, possibly en route to St. Petersburg (nobody actually knows) sank off the coast of Föglö, an island next to Finland. It was travelling a route known to be used for Champagne deliveries to the Russian Imperial Court.

It lay there undisturbed in the calm, dark waters of the baltic for 170 years. Finally, it was found in 2003 by the Finnish Maritime Administration and explored by a group of Finnish and Swedish divers in 2010. After entering the hull through damage in the stern they found a number of items including 168 bottles of Champagne.

In 2011, a single bottle of this 200 year old Champagne sold at auction in Finland… for £26,700. Surely a bit steep for a bottle of wine thats been at the bottom of the sea for two centuries? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Old bottles of Champagne seem to have a habit of turning up.

At the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reims there is an 1893 bottle on display which was found, of all places, in a inside a sideboard in Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, in 2008.

The cargo recovered from the shipwreck included bottles from three of the oldest Champagne makers: Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar. But just how old are these bottles?

Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded the company that would become Veuve Clicquot in 1772. In 1798, Philippe’s son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin and died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in Frrench) the company. Under this formidable woman Veuve Clicquot became the Champagne power house it is today. Analysis of the corks from the Veuve Clicquot bottles recovered from the wreck show a logo with a comet, apparently added by Madame Clicquot in 1811. This was added to celebrate an unusually good crop, so the bottles recovered could be as old as 204 years.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Heidsieck Champagne house in 1785 in Reims. Legend has it that he presented wine to Queen Marie-Antoinette. After his death in 1828, his nephew Christian Heidsieck started a partnership with Henri-Guillaume Piper. Christian died in 1835, his widow married Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1838 marking the beginning of the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house. The Heidseick bottles recovered bear branding from the original company name so they are likely no younger than 177 years old.

The last maker Juglar, is the most interesting in that it ceased to exist in 1829 as it was absorbed into the Champagne House Jacquesson. Juglar bottles were recovered from the wreck meaning that the Champagne is likely somewhere between 186 and 204 years old!

In case you were wondering, the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, invented in 1531 by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne. This happened, possibly by accident initially, as bottling of the wine was carried out before the initial fermentation had ended.

Scientists from the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, France have now analysed samples of the champagne and were surprised by what they found.

The bottles recovered were remarkably well preserved, 55m down in waters of 2-4 degrees C, high pressure and low levels of light. The aromas and chemical features of the Champagne were preserved and it was drinkable.

The Champagne itself was remarkably similar to modern Champagne, but much sweeter with sugar levels of 14% – more like a modern desert wine. Modern tastes have driven the sugar levels in Champagne far lower than this. The levels of CO2 were vastly lower, 80% less than a modern bottle, probably because most of it had escaped through the cork. Finally, traces of arsenic hint at the use of arsenic salts as a pesticide in use at the time.

All of which goes to explain why these bottles can fetch such a high price at auction. Perfectly drinkable 200 year old Champagne, yours for around £25,000!

Image is of the Mary Camden, a two-masted schooner, by William Pierce Stubbs (1842 – 1909) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Italian Sparkling Wine On Tap, Is It Prosecco?

Prosecco, the Italian cousin to France’s champagne, has quickly been gaining in popularity in the UK, but are you enjoying the real thing? Not if your prosecco is served on tap apparently.

Last year global sales of Prosecco overtook Champagne for the first time. In the UK, Prosecco achieved a 74.6% uplift in sales in the year to 20th July 2014 according to Kantar Worldpanel. There was similar staggering double-digit growth in 2013 with an increase in sales of £70 million.

Such is the staggering popularity of this sparkling gem that many eateries and pubs in the UK have started to sell it on tap. The advantage being a super sparkly glass of fizz without having to order a full bottle. However, according to EU Regulations, Prosecco must be produced in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene area of north-east Italy (just as champagne must come from the Champagne region of France) and must be marketed exclusively in traditional glass bottles. So if it arrives on tap, it is not Prosecco.

The trend of pubs selling Prosecco from barrels so alarmed Italian producers that they contacted the Food Standards Agency asking them to stop the sale of prosecco on tap. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that it is not an acceptable practice to sell prosecco in this way. As such, it is perfectly permissible to serve Italian sparkling wine on tap, but it cannot be called Prosecco.

So if you simply want a glass of Italian sparkling wine, by all means order from the tap, but if you want the real thing, buy a bottle!

Image is “Prosecco vineyards” by John W. Schulze is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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

World’s Oldest Wine In A Barrel Is Rehoused… Again

Lying in the Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg in France is a very old wine. It is an Alsatian white wine made 20 years before Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos de la Frontera in Southern Spain to explore the Americas.

Having been around for more than half a millennia it’s not surprising that the barrel it was originally housed in failed and was replaced in 1718. After it was discovered that the newer barrel was leaking last April (2014) the wine was transferred to a steel vat whilst a new barrel was made to house it. Apparently, this week the wine was transferred to the new barrel built by people from the Radoux cooperage in France.

Incredibly this wine has only been tasted four times.

The first was in 1576 to celebrate an unlikely alliance between Strasbourg and Zürich, Switzerland. Strasbourg doubted that Zurich, around 150 miles away, would be a useful partner. The Swiss overcame French doubts by bringing porridge to them in under a day. This is now celebrated in the Hirsebreifahrt, or millet porridge trip, every ten years.

The second was in 1718 to celebrate the laying of the first stone of what would become Strasbourg’s first public hospital.

The third was during the Second World War. On 23rd November 1944 General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque led the 2nd French Armoured Division in liberating Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, from German occupation.

Finally, in 1994 tests were conducted by the department in charge of policing products and preventing fraud, the Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF). Seemingly they also tasted it as apart from remarking that the wine has an ABV of 9.4% they also said:

“the old thing has maintained an astonishing sprightliness… a powerful, very fine aroma.”

This is a pretty remarkable story… a little too remarkable… whilst researching I noted that Philippe Junger, in charge of the cellars, said in 2003 in an article from Jancis Robinson:

“About one percent of the volume evaporates each year, it’s the angels’ share, so we add a bottle of dry white wine every three months.”

Being the wine geeks that we are, it seemed to us that if this was the case then probably not much of the original wine would now be left. Using our rusty maths the Charles Rose Wines team reckons that in fact less than 1% of the original wine would now be present.

Can we really still call this a 1472 vintage? Junger also said:

“… in this barrel there is dry matter from at least 300 litres of 1472 wine, so it remains a 1472 vintage.”

Perhaps for such a historically significant wine we can just give it the benefit of the doubt.

Image is by Marylou Jean (photo), Alchemica (sorting, storing), TroisiemeLigne (comments, localization) (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Britons To Spend More On Wine Than The French

Since the credit crunch of 2008 we might be drinking less in Blighty but that hasn’t stopped the value of the UK wine market increasing by 15% to around £10.6 billion in 2014.

At this point, you could rightly conclude that if we are drinking less wine but spending more then its because of tax.

Tax on wine has gone up considerably in the UK since 2008, by almost 60% (£1.56 to £2.47 inc. VAT). Thats quite a lot, and the third highest in Europe behind Ireland and Finland (they have VAT at 23% and 24% respectively!) In France you’d pay just 3 pence in duty on a bottle of wine… sigh…

However, its not just tax, our spending habits have changed. Apparently the biggest growth is in the premium wines area for bottles costing between £7 and £14.

So we are drinking less but prepared to spend more to get a better product. If we continue to do that then by 2018 we will be spending £11.3 billion a year according to forecasts by Vinexpo, and we will have displaced France as the world’s second biggest still wine market. The US is the biggest and currently bigger than the French and British markets combined.

Full story in the FT.