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Récolte Noire – Blanc De Noirs N.V., Dosnon & Lepage

26 Apr

I’m at the 2012 Champagne Bureau Tasting, and after a well staged and prolonged campaign I am in the throws of palate fatigue. It would takes something special to rally the troops now, and moving to the Dosnon & Lepage stand, this is exactly what I find.

On this vinous voyage so far, I have scaled the heights of La Montagne de Reims and spanned the breadth of La Vallée de la Marne, but with Dosnon and Lepage’s Récolte Noire, I now find myself in the uncharted district of the Aube, and more specifically La Côtes des Bar.

Sixty miles from Epernay and boasting no Premier or Grand Crus, the Aube is very much the black sheep of champagne that has strayed from the flock, and this is mirrored in the ethos of Dosnon & Lepage; a small boutique house very much penning their own script, and to understand the Récolte Noire, it is a story we must hear. (more…)


11 Apr

What do you need to produce a bottle of wine and bring it onto the market? The bare essentials are grapes, some yeast, fermentation vessels, and some bottles to put it in. Dimitri Brečević reckoned he had it all covered, when just weeks away from releasing his first vintage, it dawned on him that there was a problem: he had no labels and no branding.

A few phone calls later, and he’d tracked down one Sean Poropat, a designer based in Poreč, near his home village Buzet (Istria, Croatia). Sean took just one week to come up with a range of design options, from which the distinctive “Piquentum” branding was selected.

Although Brečević was raised in France, his father hailed from Istria (The Northerly part of Croatia butting up to Slovenia). Following a winemaking apprenticeship that took him from South-West France to Australia and New Zealand, Dimitri was keen to return to his fatherland and apply his winemaking knowledge back in Croatia. In 2006, the opportunity to purchase a disused army bunker near the village of Buzet presented Brečević with the chance he needed. Perfectly situated in the midst of vineyards, the bunker was also naturally cool – a real boon for winemaking. The only challenge was seeking planning permission to convert the ex-military facility into a winery – its existence had been so secret that the planning department initially denied that there was any building there at all! (more…)

Battle Island

21 Mar

Uncorked by Andrew B.

Battle Island – that is all it says on the front label. And what an odd label it is too. A night time view of a lake, in the foreground a red haired girl looking at her reflection in a puddle. She has a raven on her shoulder and leaves are falling from the tree. OK so far? Next to the backgrounds tree, detail-less as they are shadowed are a dinosaur, one of those head statues from Easter Island and a winged totum pole. Yep, it lost me as well.

The rear label doesn’t yield any great revelations. For its main statement explains that “This is not an explanation to join the storyline find”. Shame that url doesn’t load anything; perhaps it is hidden somewhere, hence the use of the word ‘find’. Or I’m reading to much into it! (more…)