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DotW, Balance, Moingeon, New Ins & Car’s the Star

Whilst we are nicely into October it seems we are having a late rally with the weather. Temperatures of 20 degrees and more are forecast for the days ahead, a warm blast from the south should keep us going for a little while longer.
Rather a lot in tonight’s Sheldon’s Times. We have a lovely DotW, Amanda has written an excellent article about ‘balance’ in wine, we are bringing some delicious white Burgundies up from the cellar, we have some decent New Ins and of course we finish with Car’s the Star – not one but two. What’s not to like? Crack on.

Dog of the Week

Firstly I have an editorial correction to make regarding last week’s DotW. If you cast your mind back we had Romy, the lovely Golden Retriever. He was visiting us having travelled all the way from Warrington. Here’s the correction:
Romy is in fact a lady, not a gentleman doggy.
Romy, Stephen and Catherine do not come from Warrington, they come from Swalcliffe.
Stephen and Catherine’s surname is Warrington.
So there we have it – wrong on three counts. My sincere apologies to Stephen and Catherine, and perhaps more so to Romy. She could probably live with the home location being incorrect, but the gender mix-up is unforgivable.
Let’s see if I can get things right this week. Here’s Tiggy, he’s a boy-dog. He belongs to Wendy and Mark (remember Wendy with the stripey tiger car in Car’s the Star). They are not from Warrington, nor are they from Swalcliffe. Mark and Wendy live round the corner in Shipston.
Tiggy reminds me of my friend Twix, only Tiggy has a lighter coat. Of course we also had Rusty as DotW not long ago who was a darker version. I wonder if we could get them all here one day for a team photo? Thanks Wendy and Mark for bringing Tiggy to see us.

Elegance or Boldness – a question of Balance?

Amanda has written this excellent article about balance in a wine, what it means and how it is displayed (or not) in different wines.
On this week’s WSET Level 2 study group we were comparing wines from hot climates and their cooler, European counterparts. The group is fairly cosmopolitan, with students from Hungary, Australia and South Africa, as well as a sprinkling from Shipston and the Cotswolds. One particular pairing provoked quite a lot of debate. We paired an Aussie Shiraz, Mollydooker’s The Boxer (£26.50) which weighs in at 16% alcohol content with a Northern Rhone Syrah, Chapoutier’s Les Meysonniers from Crozes-Hermitage (£21.50) at 13.5% abv. European wines are often described as ‘elegant’ compared to the ‘bolder, more fruit-forward’ wines from warmer climes. These descriptions soon lapsed into ‘weaker’ v ‘Wham-Bam’ – such is the effect of 16% wines on the tutor’s grasp of the English language….
When asked which of the two styles each group member preferred, there was a split, but what was agreed was that each style was acceptable as long as the wine is balanced.
Balance in a wine comes from the skill of the grower and the winemaker. The flavour components of the wine, such as acidity, flavour intensity, sweetness, alcohol and tannin need to be harmonious otherwise something about the wine feels out of kilter in the mouth and the brain finds it less acceptable. Very sweet dessert wines such as Sauternes or Tokaji are great examples of wines with balance. The extreme sweetness is only acceptable because the wines have high acidity levels which make the mouth water. This counteracts the sugar.
Our Mollydooker Australian Shiraz was extremely high in alcohol, but also very full bodied with very intense black fruit flavours. The acidity and tannins supported the flavours with the overall effect being Wham Bam. Totally delicious.
The Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage by contrast was lower in alcohol, lighter in body, more subtle in flavour, higher in acidity but with more complex flavours. Whilst more subdued (elegant) than the Aussie counterpart, the balance was great and the wine shone.
The challenge that European growers are currently facing is unusually hot summers. The strict regulations of the European regions don’t always allow much scope to modify how the grapes are grown. Achieving balance with very ripe grapes can be difficult. My advice would be to brace yourself for the Wham Bam, and eat cheese with the wine!
Amanda x

PS – The next WSET Level 2 evening class starts in November. For those of you that are interested, contact Amanda for details at

Introducing Domaine Moingeon

I have finally succumbed to pressure from Amanda to bring some new white Burgundies into the shop and I have been keen to share these wonderful wines with you for some time. Strictly speaking Domaine Moingeon does not count as a ‘New In’ because we have been sitting on the wines in the cellar for over a year now. But first a little about the Domaine…
Domaine Moingeon was founded by André Moingeon in the 1950’s, although certain parcels of vines have been in the family for over 150 years. André was joined by his son Michel in 1978 and Michel has since been joined by his grandson Florent. Together they have grown the domaine to encompass 10 hectares of vines around St. Aubin. On our last visit to Burgundy in January 2020 I thought the wines from the Domaine stood out as exceptional examples of well made, intense examples of Cote de Beaune white Burgundies without the price tags of the better known Domaines.
Michel and Florent at Domaine Moingeon, 0920hrs on 8th January 2020
(I know, a bit early for a tasting but hey, that’s how it goes)
The Domaine is based in Saint Aubin and as well as having holdings in the village the Domaine has decent holdings in both the villages of Chassagne and Puligny and a few vines in Meursault too.

From the tasting back in 2020 we selected five wines for the shop:

2018 St Aubin 1er Cru “Chateniere” (£34.50)
2018 Chassagne Montrachet (£41 – limited stocks)
2018 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Vergers” (£49.50)
2018 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru “La Garenne” (£49.50)
2018 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (£120 – very limited stocks)

Knowing I keep a few things hidden out the back, a few of you have convinced me to dip into our stocks already, hence the limited quantities of the village Chassagne in particular. And we took all of the Corton Charlemagne we were allowed to have – just 12 bottles. I can recommend these wines highly, they really are very good – a pure expression of Chardonnay fruit, well judged use of oak and a very appealing long finish. Try one for yourself and let me know what you think,

New Ins

The first of the New Ins tonight is a wine I have been keen (desperate) to bring in. We mentioned a couple of months back that a few lucky souls were invited to try the new vintage release of Dom Perignon. We have been waiting ever since for the trade release. Sadly quantities released were so small that we have struggled to get meaningful amounts at this stage but I am please to say we have secured just 12 bottles in their presentation cases. Welcome the new release of Dom Perignon 2012 (£175/bt).
I suspect it will be a while before we are able to acquire more bottles so if you are a keen DP fan, jump in and give this a try now. WIGIG.
On white we have the return of 2016 Chateau Capion Blanc. After Howard (the Ambassador for Chateau Capion in the UK) came to the shop and ran a tasting we have been selling rather a lot of bottles of Capion across the range. We ran out of Chateau Capion Blanc and are pleased to have it back in. Stocks of the other wines, namely Coup de Coeur (£14), Garennes Blanc and Rouge (both £18) and Chateau Capion Rouge (£38) have also been replenished.
A few reds worthy of consideration:
2017 Karl Johner Pinot Noir “Bischoffinger Steinbuck” (£45) – a wine we have had before in it’s 2016 guise, this top quality Pinot from Baden Baden, Germany always comes top in blind tastings. Delighted to have it back and pleased that we have been able to hold the price.

2018 Johner Estate Gladstone Pinot Noir (£25) – Karl Johner bought holdings in New Zealand back in 2001, recognising the potential quality of fruit that could be produced from this cool climate area. The vineyards are in Gladstone, just north of Martinborough. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered so expect a natural suspension and a little sediment, all in the aim of keeping as much flavour in the bottle as possible.

2009 Rauzan Segla (£175) – 2009 was the 350th birthday for Rauzan Segla and the label for this vintage was designed by the late Karl Lagerfield, the connection being that Rauzan Segla is owned by the same group that owns Chanel and Karl was the Creative Director at Chanel at the time the wine was bottled and released. But don’t let the label affect your perception of this wine.
The 2009 Rauzan Segla is a top drawer Margaux, Neal Martin gives it 94 points out of 100 and says of the wine:
“The 2009 Rauzan-Ségla has a very fine bouquet with tightly packed blackberry and wild strawberry fruit, melted tar and pencil shavings, leaning a little towards Saint-Julien in style (like the Giscours.) The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, gorgeous red berry fruit laced with all spice and cumin, gently fanning out towards the grippy but precise finish that is pure class. This is the best bottle that I have encountered, though the less said about the late Karl Lagerfeld’s designed label the better! 2021 – 2040”
2005 d’Armailhac Double Magnums (£395 per DM) – just three of these beauties from the Rothschild-owned Pauillac estate, if you are already thinking ahead to the C season, one of these will look great on any dinner table.
And just a handful of bottles of 1995 Leoville Barton (Saint Julien) which won’t hang around.

Car’s the Star

Not one, but two treats in this week’s Car’s the Star. An Aston and a Ferrari, both up here for the Salon Prive event at Blenheim Palace at the beginning of September. A couple of beauties, too difficult to choose between them. We are lucky having the opportunity to have such smashing cars here at the shop. And I love the numberplate on the Aston, very timely with the release of the new Bond film. And no, we don’t have any novelty 007 Bollinger bottles in the shop. Definitely not.
Many thanks to Chris and pals for dropping in and playing the “see how much wine you can fit in the back of an xxx” game – always a fun pastime.
That finishes another edition of Sheldon’s Times. Before we close I want to give a big shout out to Gary the tiler for popping in today and fixing our dodgy floor tiles on the way into the spirits room. Who knew a vet could possess multiple talents?
Seems the weather is improving again, cloudy but with decent temperatures. It means we can have the front door open so you can drop in without having to deal with the heavy oak. Amanda, Trish and I will be here tomorrow to look after you. Pop in and pick a couple of lovely bottles for the weekend.

Shane, Amanda, Esther, Nigel, Trish and Carol

Your editorial-correcting, Moingeon-loving, in-balance wine team at Sheldon’s Wine Cellars

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