Articles from: December 2011

Sparkling wine

Saumur Brut is a much better fizzy than champagne and a better price too

Champagne sales have fizzed up this year despite Britain’s economic woes.

Sales of bubbly in 2011 rose by 17% on the previous year a clear sign that despite a mood of austerity people have not swapped champagne for cava.

However there is a real quality alternative which is much better in flavour terms and also more importantly a lot cheaper than champagne.

You should log onto our website and seek out the sparkling wines we have on offer. Cheers.

A healthy 2012

An article from the Daily Mail on simple ways to transform your health.

Daunted at the thought of starting a healthy 2012. Don’t despair. There are dozens of small and simple lifestyle changes you can make that will dramatically improve your health. Here’s one relating to wine:


In moderation, alcohol – and red wine in particular- is thought to have a beneficial effect upon heart health, as it relaxes the blood vessels. Antioxidants in red wine may also have  a protective effect on the arteries. But wine buffs take note- French red wine has up to three times more artery protecting enzymes than German reds, according to research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

So there you have it there’s a plentiful selection of great French red wines on our web site, So have  a healthy 2012 on us by choosing to buy one of our french wines. Cheers.

Wine and Cheese

from back to front - terrace to salle a manger to sunset

An article appeared in the Daily Telegraph today about what wine is best drunk with cheese.

Its Headline on the front page is:

Want a wine ripe for the cheese platter? Stay away from Red.

The piece on the front page reads: If you normally reach for a glass of red wine to accompany your festive cheeseboard, you could have been getting it wrong for years-experts say white wine would be better. They claim sweeter whites, such as riesling, and french Sauvignon blanc, such as Sancerre, compliment the flavours of cheese, whereas reds overpower them. Only older, more expensive red wines, such as Rioja, will have softened enough to drink with cheese, experts say.

So there you are. We agree with the no no on red wine but not with white. You should try your cheese with pink like a good Cabernet de Saumur appellation which has fruit and a little sweetness. Go on you should try it. The good thing is you can continue to drink pink all the year round. Cheers.

Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2011 vintage part 4

The 2010 Saumur Puy Notre Dame still in the vat in December 2011.

In my view the best wine produced by winemaker Pierre Van Den Boom is his Saumur Puy Notre Dame appellation. This particular AOC has been in existence in vintage terms since 2007. Pierre was not making wine in 2007 but his first was 2009 and it won him many accolades not least the Paris fair gold medal. Its, in my own mind, the best red wine produced in France and Pierre’s secret is time and passion. I say that with little knowledge of french wines elsewhere but I feel that the wine has become so complex with such depth of flavour producing rich deep fruit from really not a lot of background. You know what I mean. You can carry out all manner of operations and clever tricks to develop a wine but when you have a single grape varietal and a vat to produce such artistry I challenge anyone to come up with this result. The fruits are deep and  compote of cherry and prunes. Pierre’s only additional involvement in the process of making his Puy Notre Dame is the weekly operation of remontage the pumping over of the juice to cover the cap of solid skins that sits on top of the juice during  the fermentation process. It aerates the wine to stop reduction and most importantly extracts the tannins and flavours out of the skins. After fermentation and removal of the solids the wine is left for over 12 months to develop those flavours Pierre has managed to extract and I believe this is the real clever trick. Red wine needs time to develop those complex flavours and where better than in the vat. The 2010 still lies in the vats developing those wonderful flavours and it will not be bottled until 2012. SO BE PATIENT and you will not be disappointed. Cheers.

Today’s wine tasting at Saga in Sandgate

Our tasting at the Pavillion

We had our second tasting in the Pavillion at Saga in Enbrook Park today after our first event last week. We decided to sell off all our end of lines, part cases, bin ends etc and they were all lined up on the table. Pinks were reduced to £4.99 as well as the Chateau de Brossay Savignon. So we had a good range of wines with whites from Domaine de la Saugourde at Les Verchers sur Layon, Domaine du Vieux Pressoir at Oire near Messeme red and white saumur appellation, Chateau de Chaintres at Chaintres in Saumur Champigny appellation country with the cuvees of ‘Chateau’ and ‘Domaine’ and the Blanc de Noir Cremant de Loire appellation, Domaine de Rocheville with the ‘Troubadour’  pink and ‘Le Page’ red, Chateau de Brossay sparkling white, pink and red (always popular), Sauvignon, and Domaine de L’Enchantoir with the Saumur red appellation and the Puy Notre Dame. Again this proved popular.

Our last tasting before Christmas. So here’s wishing all our customers a happy Christmas and a great New Year. Cheers.

Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2011 vintage part 3


The cabernet franc berries ready for the vats

I discussed the chenin blanc yesterday and th process from field to bottle for the white saumur appellation.

Today its the turn of the Saumur rouge appellation. The wine is made from 100% Cabernet Franc, the red grape of the Loire valley. Some cabernet Sauvignon can be added in the appellation up to 20% and some domaines do add some to give the wine a little pepperiness to the wine here. However the classic Saumur and its identity is Cabernet Franc so most red Saumurs are just the single grape varietal Cabernet Franc.

Pierre Van den Boom the winemaker at L’Enchantoir picks quite late with a well mature grape. This yea r the potential alcohol was 13% in late September. The grapes are picked by machine and the berries are transferred from the trailer directly to the vats. Pierre has a number of parcels in different parts of his vineyard. There is a parcel on the flood plain of the Thouet river where the soils and alluvial with gravels and fine sediments. This is vinified separately. He has a small hectare parcel in the village of Chavannes where the top soil is very thin with underlying limestone bedrock and a third parcel of some 4 hectares in the village of Messame where the ground has  a little more top soil but again heavy limestone bedrock. These are also vinified in separate vats.

We tasted the vats at the point where alcoholic fermentation was all but complete with only a small amount of suger remaining. The wine was still to go  through the malo-lactic fermentation so you can tast the harsher malic acids. Certainly the wine at this stage has developed enough to provide a clue to the vintage. Its looks like a nother cracking year. Cheers.

Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2011 vintage Part 2

Tasting the chenin blanc from the vat with winemaker Pierre and his wife Brigitte

I gave you some background in the first part of the domaine de L’Enchantoir report of the 2011 vintage. The white chenin blanc harvest for the Saumur appellation was harvested in the early morning from 6am on 15 September and was pressed early whilst still cold from the night temperatures and pumped into the vat producing some 11,000 litres. This juice was cooled for 48 hours to let the larger solids settle (in french called debourage) before fermentation starts. The juice is then pumped to another vat and allowed naturally to start the fermentation. Pierre keeps the fermentation temperature at around 18-19 degrees centigrade to keep the fruitiness of the wine and allow a slow even fermentation that has been going for over two months.  Each day Pierre  stirs the lees at the bottom of the vat to assist in transferring flavour from the lees into the wine. This is called batonnage in french. He uses a long handle with a board with pegs made by a friend which he plunges and lifts in the vat to stir the lees.

Pierre is a natural winemaker with a philosophy of minimal intervention. He adds only small quantities of sulphite to his wines as they vinify. The chenin will probably only have about 3 milligrams per litre when bottled. The maximum allowed for dry wine with less than 5 grams of residual sugar is 200 milligrams per litre so you can see that he uses  extremely small doses in his wine.

The next stage for Pierre will be to let the wine rest in the vat  after fermentation finishes before bottling in 2012.

Our New Portfolio 2012

enjoy a relaxing moment with a glass of Saumur

Over the next few weeks we will be formulating our new wine list for 2012. So watch this space.

The main changes will be the inclusion of all the wine regions in France and our new wines from Mentrida in Spain. We will also be looking at adding Italien wines later on in the year.

The list for France will cover:

Bordeaux, Loire, Champagne, Alsace, Burgundy, Rhone, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Southwest and Jurs.

We will also be restruturing our logistics and operations in France with our new representative there Mathias Noguera so that we will be able to offer much lower prices to our customers through more efficient shipments. So all good stuff to look forward to. Cheers.

Christmas wines

Relax with a glass of Puy Notre Dame

Here’s our list of Christmas wines to buy at great prices. We hope you enjoy.


Wholesale Xmas Wine List


                                           GREAT DEALS


 MINIMUM SIX BOTTLES                     includes vat and local delivery                    Bottle Price             Case Price

                                                                                                                                                                                add separately      Same wine

                                                                                                                                                                               for mixed case

                                                                                                                                                                                    of 6 bottles

1. Anjou Blanc AOC  Domaine de la Saugourde  2009                                                                   £5.99             £35.94

A lovely dry crisp white wine made from chardonnay and                                                                         

chenin grapes. Great with fish like salmon, cheese and chicken.                

Serve between 8-10°C

2. VDP de Loire Chateau de Brossay 2010                                                                                        £5.99        £35.94

A typical sauvignon wine with instantly recognisable aromas of green

fruits.  Matches well with chicken, turkey and the classic goats cheese.

Serve at 6-8°C.                                                      

3. Saumur Blanc AOC Domaine du Vieux Pressoir 2009                                                              £6.49        £38.94

An elegant dry wine made from Chenin Blanc grape. Apple                                                                                       

flavours. Serve with shellfish and the Xmas turkey. Serve chilled             

4. Saumur Blanc AOC Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2009                                                                  £6.49        £38.94

A crispy dry white made from Chenin blanc grape. Aromas of

white fruits and flowers. A balance of fruit with a long finish.

Pairs with fish and shellfish as well as goats cheese. Serve chilled.          

5. Saumur Blanc AOC Domaine de Rocheville 2009                                                       £21.49      £128.94

A unusual complex white dry wine fermented and aged in large

oak barrels which brings out the vanilla flavours with a complex elegance.

Goes with fish in a sauce as well as blue cheese.

Serve chilled 8-10°C

6. Anjou Rouge AOC Domaine de la Saugourde 2009                                                                   £5.99        £35.94

A fruity light red wine made from cabernet sauvignon and                                                                                         

cabernet franc grapes. Drink with roast chicken, Xmas turkey,                  

or with pork. Serve lightly chilled and open before serving                        

7. Saumur Rouge AOC Domaine du Vieux Pressoir 2009                                                             £6.49        £38.94

A medium body wine with a character of red fruits. A great                                                                                       

accompaniment to turkey and chicken and soft cheeses.                            

Serve between 10-14°C

8. Saumur Rouge AOC Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2009                                                                 £6.49        £38.94

A light and fruity red wine with loads of red fruit flavours.

A great match with grilled meats and salmon.

Serve lightly chilled. 10-14°C

9. Saumur Champigny AOC Chateau de Chaintres ‘Chateau’ 2007                                            £8.99             £53.94

A structured red wine with a rounded mouth made from cabernet                                                                             

franc grapes. A good accompaniment for roast beef and other red           

 meats. Serve at room temperature and open an hour before serving. 

10. Saumur Champigny AOC Chateau de Chaintres  ‘Domaine’ 2009                       £8.49        £50.94

A light red fruity wine made from Caberent Franc grapes. A full nose

of blueberry and a complex palate Great with the Christmas turkey.

Serve 12-14°C. Open and hour before serving.

11. Saumur Champigny AOC Chateau de Chaintres  ‘Oratorien’ 2007                     £13.99      £83.94

A rich oaked red wine with a full nose of compoted fruit and subtle tannins

with a rich finish.  A must with game and venison or roast beef.

Serve 14-16°C and open well before serving.                

12. Saumur Puy Notre Dame AOC Domaine de L’Enchantoir 2009                                          £8.49        £50.94

A smooth well balanced medium red wine with flavours of                                                                                         

compoted fruit and light tannins. Serve with roast beef and a                    

steak. Serve at 14-16°C         

13. Saumur Puy Notre Dame AOC Domaine du Vieux Pressoir 2009                        £8.49        £50.94

A rounded medium bodied red from anew Appellation showing the

character of the terroir with mineral notes. A subtle and roundness of

tannins. Goes with a nice juicy steak. Serve 14-16°C




14. Anjou Village AOC Chateau de Brossay 2007                                                                          £9.99        £59.94

A mature medium bodied red wine with a rich and rounded mouth.

Notes of black cherries. Pairs with cheese and red meat in a rich sauce.

Serve 14-18°C. Open a hour before serving.

15. Saumur Champigny AOC Domaine de Rocheville 2007      ‘Le Page’                                   £6.95        £41.70

A light fruity red well rounded with a smooth taste and aromas of strawberries.

This will go well with a cold meat salad or with white meats such a

chicken and turkey. Serve slightly chilled.

16. Saumur Champigny AOC Domaine de Rocheville 2007 ‘Le Prince’                     £7.95        £47.70

A more bodied red wine from Rocheville with light tannins giving a velvety

Mouth. Aromas of blackcurrant. Drink with warm salads, red meats and cheese.

17. Saumur Champigny AOC Domaine de Rocheville 2007 ‘Le Roi’                                           £27.45      £164.70

A top notch red full bodied aged in old oak Bordeaux barrels delivering

candied prunes with a long and subtle finish.

Serve 14-16°C.\Open well before serving.

18. Cabernet de Saumur AOC Domaine Rocheville                                                         £5.99             £35.94

A dry pink wine with hints of peach and apricots made from the                                                                                               

Cabernet franc grape. Serve with salads or just drink on its own.              

Serve chilled between 7-8°C.

19. Cabernet D’Anjou AOC Domaine L’Enchantoir                                                        £6.49             £38.94

A medium pink wine with loads of fruity flavours made from the                                                                                    

cabernet franc grape. Good with a hot curry and spicy dishes.                  

Serve chilled at 8-10°C

20. Rosé de Loire AOC Chateau de Brossay 2010                                                                           £5.99        £35.94

A dry tender pink wine giving a blend of soft fruits with a good structure.

Drink with shellfish and salads. Serve chilled at 6-8°C

21. Saumur Brut AOC Domaine de la Saugourde        NV                                                              £8.99             £53.94

A zingy dry sparkling white wine with loads of bubbles made from                                                                               

the chardonnay and chenin grapes. Ideal as an aperitif, or try with           

an ice cream dessert. Serve chilled between 6-8°C

22. Cremant de Loire AOC Chateau de Brossay          NV                                                              £9.99        £59.94

A lively fizzy with a velvety attack on the palette of peaches. Ideal                                                                              

As n aperitif, dessert, bruch and party time.   Serve chilled 6-8°C                                

23. Saumur Brut AOC Chateau de Brossay                  NV                                              £9.99             £59.94

A lively and fruity pink bubbly made from the gamay, grolleau                                                                

And cabernet franc grapes. Definitely for an Xmas celebration.                                           

Serve chilled between 6-8°C.                                                                

24. Vin Mousseau Qualite Chateau de Brossay            NV                                                              £9.99             £59.94

A really unusual medium fruity red bubbly.A great surprise to                                                                                  

have with friends. Made from grolleau and cabernet franc grapes.            

Its has to be a partydrink for all occasions. Also a great match

with chocolate dessert. Serve chilled 6-8°C

25. Coteaux du Layon AOC Chateau de Brossay          2003                                                           £14.99         

A beautiful sweet smooth tender wine. The best sweet wine in France.

 Great as an aperitif and with blue cheese and foie gras.

Serve chilled  8°C                                                   


Please email your orders

or telephone Simon  Grainger on 01303 226692

Please confirm billing details when ordering.

Domaine de L’Echantoir 2011 vintage Part 1

The berries after harvesting with the mechanical picker. See how good they are.

During our visit to France at the beginning of December we tasted the 2011 wines of Domaine de L’Enchantoir. Here is the report on the wines vinified from the vendange by Pierre Van Den Boom the winemaker.

First up  white Saumur AOC wine from the chenin grape.  Here lies the true essense of a passionate wine maker. I witnessed a sorry period of wet weather in late August with Pierre. It looked bad for a time.  I visited regularly to see him,  meet the oenologist and inspect the vines. The problem for Pierre (like all the other producers) was that he was in a difficult postion. The grapes were not yet fully mature but if he left them to mature they may all rot with the damp conditions. Like previous years Pierre decided to wait but to allow his grapes to be given the best chance of achieving full maturity and not go rotten he went out into the vines with Brigitte his wife and his workers to firstly cut  away the lower leaves  to allow as much air circulation as possible and to cut out any rotten berries off the bunches. This was all done by hand some 16 hectares of not just chenin but also cabernet frnac although this is a better grape at resisting rot.

The result was that fortunately the weather got better and the sun came out to allow the grapes to fully mature and come harvest on 15 September the berries were in great shape with very little  rot. This meant that the juice after pressing was prime and mature to 14% potential alcohol. The tasting from the vat whilst the wine was still fermenting showed that Pierre had made the right decision and I reckon that this will be another great year for the dry Chenin of Enchantoir. Well done Pierre.

However on this vintage tread carefully because many of the domaines either picked early before full maturity which will produce a sharp acidic or they waited and had a lot of rot in the harvest producing a ‘rust’ flavour to the wine. Go carefully.

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December 2011
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