Farewell to Gavin Monery, London Cru Winemaker

Farewell to Gavin Monery, London Cru Winemaker

Having worked alongside Cliff Roberson for almost 10 years, Gavin will now be seeking new challenges and adventures in the wine world that will see him leave at the end of the September.

Tasked with making wines for the city’s first urban winery (and proving that they’re no gimmick) London Cru is an award winning winery with 18 terrific wines in its range.  Portfolio highlights include the 94 point 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, our highest scoring wine and a personal favourite of co-founder Cliff Roberson, as well as the IWC Silver Medal 2016 Bacchus which was the highest-scoring 2016 vintage Bacchus at the International Wine Challenge Awards 2017.  

In addition to four IWC medals, Gavin’s wines have received great critical acclaim, with Richard Hemming describing the 2015 Chardonnay as able to “challenge famous names from Burgundy”.
London Cru wines are now enjoyed in several Michelin star restaurants across London and are testament to Gavin’s prowess as a winemaker. We wish him all the best in the future.

London Cru will be closed in September for refurbishment, reopening in November, just in time for Christmas with a range of new features including a state of the art private tasting room.
 
We will be working with a guest winemaker to produce a limited edition 2017 vintage. Watch this space for more details.

London Cru teams up with the Seafood School at Billingsgate

London Cru teams up with the Seafood School at Billingsgate

London Cru has teamed up with recently-relaunched Seafood School at Billingsgate to bring you an evening of seafood discovery and wine pairing.

Top chefs from the capital's biggest fish market have put together a delicious menu which have been paired to our award-winning wines.

You'll be welcomed byhomemade taramasalata and smoked mackerel paté, washed down with a glass of English-grown Bacchus (Baker St) while you see the chefs compile the component parts of the menu. You'll learn new skills and techniques as the chefs walk you through each stage of the dish. 

Menu

Sweet Potato Fish cakes with Tomato & Chili salsa

Smoked Paprika Squid salad

Smoked Salmon and gravadlax blinis

Queenie Scallops with Mango Beurre

Crab and Artichoke bake

Prawn & Samphire Remoulade

Each dish will then be served with a perfectly-paired London Cru wine, with a guided tasting session telling you all about the grower, the grape and why it's a great match for the food.

You'll go away wine-smart with bellies full and new skills and recipes to try at home. Couldn't think of a better Friday night. 

Date: Friday 7th July

Time: 18:30-21:30

Location: Billingsgate Market, Trafalgar Way, London, E14 5ST

*LAST TICKETS REMAINING*

Available here.

 

 

 

     

     

     

    London Cru scoops medals at the International Wine Challenge

    London Cru scoops medals at the International Wine Challenge

    London Cru triumphed in this year's International Wine Challenge by winning four prestigious medals for wines across the range, including three silvers and one bronze.

    Silver medals were awarded to our brand new 2016 Bacchus, 'Baker St', our 2015 Chardonnay, 'Charlotte St' and our 2014 Syrah. Our 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded a bronze medal.

    We are especially proud of Baker St, which has been ranked as one of the highest-scoring wines made from Bacchus in the country. It makes us especially pleased this wine is made from English grapes.

    London Cru winemaker Gavin Monery comments:

    ''It's a fantastic result. All the hard work over the harvest has resulted in some superb wines and I'm really pleased they've been recognised as some of the best in the country. It's an exciting time to be a winemaker in the UK; every year brings new challenges and opportunities to experiment with new techniques to find out what works best with Bacchus.
    It's a unique variety that shows aromas of elderflower, nettles and cut grass which are familiar to people in the UK, which often leads them to form a real emotional attachment to the variety. Hopefully in time as plantings increase this will allow Bacchus to take on Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio as the UK's white wine of choice.''

    The International Wine Challenge is seen as one of the world's finest wine competitions, judging all wines blind. Each medal-winning wine is tasted on three separate occasions by at least 10 judges.

    The IWC says...

    Baker St, 2016 - Silver

    "Passion fruit and lime aromas. Flavours of Granny Smith apples and citrus with refreshing acidity and a zesty finish."

    Charlotte St, 2015 - Silver

    "Lovely bright stone fruit with cinnamon. Vibrant palate, ripe, peachy and refreshing with a touch of oak."

    Syrah, 2014 - Silver

    "Deep plum colour, fresh berries with some developed tarry notes. Concentrated pomegranate on the palate and attractive leafy finish."

    Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 - Bronze

    "Brightly fruited with rose petals and blueberry and firm tannic framework."

    Easter Eating

    Easter Eating

    Four day weekend. Chocolate. Family. Wine. There is nothing not to like about Easter.


    If, like me, you’ll be settling down on Sunday afternoon with a huge hunk of lamb then you’d be mad not to pair it with Barbera - a wonderful, brambly grape variety from northern Italy.


    Over the years, Babera hasn’t really been given the chance it deserves at success. Although it’s the most-planted grape in Piedmont, another variety called Nebbiolo has a better reputation – and consequently it tends to get all the best vineyard sites. The Italians tend to see Barbera as a simple, every day drinking choice: the ultimate pizza and pasta wine. However, if Barbera is given the right vineyard site and good time to ripen and develop flavour it can be crafted into a brilliant wine full of bramble and cherry flavours, with a tart acidity that is just the perfect foil to fatty lamb.


    My cut of choice is shoulder, cooked for hours on a bed of roasted vegetables served with crispy roast potatoes. Nothing beats the delicious, melt-in-the-mouth texture and flavours you get from many hours in the oven. I’ll be drinking our 2014 Barbera, which has deliciously rich cherry and plum flavours all underpinned by floral aromatics and silky tannins. Plus, it's currently on offer down from £20 to £15.99 - such amazing value for this wonderful wine.


    The grapes for this Barbera were grown in the province of Cuneo in the region of Peidmont, north-west Italy by Giovanni Cordero and his sons. The Cordero family grow organic Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto just outside of Priocca as well as raising piedmontese cattle to make homemade salami and maintaining the local truffle forest. Such an idyllic-sounding life!  I’ll certainly be dreaming of the Italian sunshine while tucking into my Easter roast this year.
     

    The God of Wine

    The God of Wine

    Bacchus: the ‘God of Wine’. In my imagination, he is a rosy-cheeked cherub who can cure hangovers with the wave of a wine glass. Perhaps it is Bacchus guides home those truly committed hedonists who drink and dazzle until last drinks are called. It might even be that the hangover is Bacchus' payment; a scorching headache and dry mouth in recompense for the good times and a few hours of raucous fun.

    'Sylvaner x Riesling' x 'Riesling x Madelaine Royal'


    It wasn’t until 1933 that the name was used for a wine grape, when Peter Morio ‘crossed a cross’ - fertilising a Sylvaner x Riesling cross with Muller Thurgau, which is itself a cross of Riesling x Madelaine Royal. Mr Morio must have thought highly of his early ripening, aromatic new variety as he confidently named it after the God of wine. Although perhaps he’d had a drink by then. Or maybe two…

    Bacchus has found a natural home

    Bacchus as a variety is delicate, with a high potential for floral aromas (via terpenes compounds, presumably from the Riesling side). It ripens early, which suits cooler climates with short growing seasons (like England). If picked early it has a green, herbaceous tinge to the nose, reminiscent of nettles or fresh cut grass. People naturally draw comparisons with Sauvignon Blanc, but recent research suggests it has little in common. While in warmer weather it can sometimes lack acidity at harvest, this is rarely a problem we have in England. In fact, Bacchus thrives here with many feeling it has found its natural home. Over the last decade Bacchus has become the most popular still wine produced in the UK, creating wines with a freshness and vitality that is really exciting. 

    The flavours of Bacchus have an uncanny resemblance to the English countryside. The floral notes of elderflower mingle with hints of nettle, freshly-cut grass and summer hedgerow – aromas that really resonate with born and bred locals. It's entirely possible that as plantings increase over the next decade economies of scale may be created that allow Bacchus to compete with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio as UK consumers’ white wine of choice. 

    Our bacchus: Baker St 2016

    Our 2016 Bacchus, Baker St, was grown by the Nicholas family at Sandhurst vineyards in Kent, and Jane and David Fleming of Great Whitman vineyards in Essex. Both sites were picked at good natural sugar levels, giving 10% natural alcohol and balanced flavours. The grapes were harvested by hand and sorted in the winery before being gently pressed as whole bunches. Many of the aroma precursors in Bacchus are found in the pulp near the skins, so the pressing is a balancing act; we have to gently extract these precursor compounds while at the same avoiding extracting phenolic compounds from the skins, which can cause bitterness and astringency. After pressing the juice is settled for three days before the clarified wine is pumped into a clean stainless steel tank for fermentation. 

    We are constantly experimenting to try to get the best out of each vineyard and in 2016 we conducted yeast trials with Bacchus, splitting the juice into four batches and inoculating each with a different strain. The individual yeast strain has a huge impact on the eventual style of a wine, with each offering slightly different tastes and aromas. 

    We also experimented with French oak barrels (5% of the blend) which were allowed to start fermenting with ambient yeast, which in the case of Bacchus results in lower overall aromatics but more texture on the palate. Running multiple fermentations with different yeasts and fermenting a small percentage of the wine in oak meant we created a more complex aroma profile than had we fermented the wine as one. It’s this continued experimentation that helps us refine the London Cru style. 

    After the fermentation the wine was kept in contact with the remains of the yeast (the ‘lees’) for four months, which gives the wine some textural, mouthfeel qualities that subtly balance the high natural acidity of the variety.

    Our Bacchus is fermented bone dry with no residual sugar so it’s a really vibrant, fresh style. The nose is floral with hints of elderflower and fresh cut grass, and the crisp acidity lends itself well to all sorts of food combinations.

    My recommendation at home is to drink it with a crab linguine, with garlic, roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil, while if you’re eating out then perhaps freshly shucked oysters or good fish and chips would be the way to go. What could be more English than that?

    Cigalon and London Cru Wine Dinner

    Cigalon and London Cru Wine Dinner

    As part of Bookatable's 'Feast on London' culinary extravaganza, on Tuesday 28th March we are teaming up with Provencal eatery Cigalon for a wine dinner like no other.

    Chef Julien Carlon has devised a bespoke four course menu featuring authentic Provencal cooking with an English twist. London Cru winemaker Gavin Monery has worked hard with Julien to devise a perfect wine flight for the menu, and each course will be paired with a delicious London Cru wine.

    Gavin will be on hand to introduce each pairing, and talk about what it's like to be head winemaker at the only winery in London. 

    Menu

    £39.95 pp (including wine flight)

    Warm Leeks, Cockles & Capers Vinaigrette
    Albemarle St, Albariňo, 2015

    Poached Trout, Pea Pancake & Hollandaise Sauce
    Charlotte St, Chardonnay, 2015

    Grilled Mutton Saddle, Hispi Cabbage & Gentleman’s Relish Jus
    Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

    Blackcurrant Bakewell Tart, Crème Fraiche
    Syrah, 2014

    Book now to avoid disappointment

    London Cru in 'Top 10 Engagement Party Venues in London'

    London Cru in 'Top 10 Engagement Party Venues in London'

    "Bored of the same old? Host an engagement party with a twist at this fantastic London winery. Yes, a winery in London. The place to toast your future and taste your way to a successful blend."

    London Cru has been featured in Venue Scanner's 'Top 10 Engagement Party Venues in London' list for 2017. 

    Our winery is an ideal place to host all kinds of events, from engagement parties to birthday soirées. You can even add in a wine tasting experience to your event to make it even more spectacular, or pair your catering to our wonderful wines

    There's no where else in London where you can sip wine among the tanks and barrels where it was made. With capacity for 60, we also have full AV sound system and space for music entertainment.

    Our experts will help with all of the planning and preparation, allowing you to focus on creating a truly memorable event.

    Get in touch for more details.

    Gavin on choosing his favourite, perfect labels and making the best Syrah ever...

    Gavin on choosing his favourite, perfect labels and making the best Syrah ever...

    Tell me a bit about the new vintage! How excited are you?

    I’m excited -  very excited actually. I am always very critical as a winemaker, but I am really happy and think the wines are very good. Some of them are the best wines we have ever done, like the Chardonnay and the Barbera for example.

    And it’s fun to finally get them into the market. I have been sitting on them for a year; tasting them, knowing how good they are, and waiting for the launch party. It is nice to now show everyone else how good they are.

    And having seen some reviews already, it must be nice to see that they can hold up to great wines from some top regions.

    That is always something we strived to do from the beginning. We work with some great vineyard sites and wine growers in some less famous regions. We manage to get amazing fruit for a fraction of the price that you would pay in Burgundy, for example, but that is of the same quality - sometimes even better. It’s a key aim for us to identify those exceptional sites and of course the growers that go with  them. We work with those who  put in that extra work to make sure that we can then make some great wine.

    Ok, now probably the toughest question for any winemaker. Who is your favourite child? Is there, perhaps, a wine this year that you would consider your best work yet?

    (laughs) well I think the Chardonnay (Charlotte St) is a good one, no doubt. I really like the Grenache (Gresham St) as well which is lovely. The vineyard in Calatayud is just so great with vines that are 90 years old. It is almost surreal when you are up there. The vineyards are so isolated and strange that it is so much fun to work there. I mean they are all good (laughs).

    During our last tasting event people also enjoyed our older, more mature vintages. The Syrah for example was extremely popular.

    Yes! I certainly made some of the wines to age, and of course for us it is really nice to be able to prove to people that wines mature in the right way. I tried the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon earlier today, and it is amazing. And that’s what I hope people will see, that we are a good wine producer with longevity.

    London Cru is  right on track - the reviews have been good, and people are genuinely excited. Surely that is a good motivation. What motivates you as a winemaker?

    As a winemaker it is always nice to hear that people enjoy your work. You always have to be motivated, after all your name is tied up in the wine as well. It’s all about trying to get the best out of the grapes. And of course you are always self-critical. You always want to do better. That is motivation.

    It must be a big advantage to be able to go and pick so many different vineyards and surely exciting, but I can imagine it being quite challenging as well because you have to get to know all those different grapes, terroirs etc.

    I find it really interesting and it is one of the things that attracted me to the process in the first place. You are able to work in different regions in the same vintage. If you work, let’s say, in Burgundy, then you work with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. As good as they are, that is all you can do. I am making Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Albariño and so on. And all from different areas too. Of course you have different terroirs within regions and even vineyards, but it is wildly different travelling around Europe and discovering new things.

    Looking back, what would you say has been the biggest change or development since the first vintage in 2013?

    Better vineyards. With every year we get to know the sites better, and sometimes we find even better vineyards to work with. Like with our Chardonnay. Our growers now are really great which helps too. Another thing is probably the labels. We have changed them every year so far, but these ones are perfect – even though I didn’t design them (laughs). They are interesting and sophisticated now, telling the story of London Cru.

    Looking forward, what can we expect from London Cru?

    2016? Maybe the best Syrah ever! It has only just gone to barrel, but it already looks really promising. The grapes are from a great vineyard, and I can feel it is going to be something special.

    Final question - is there anything new planned?

    Yes, we will have our first Pinot Noir ever, and I am surprised at how well it has turned out. And we are making more English wine as well, so in 2016 vintage we will have a Bacchus again.

    Tasting the new vintage with Richard Hemming

    Tasting the new vintage with Richard Hemming

    A few weeks ago Master of Wine Richard Hemming came along to the winery to taste our 2015 vintage. Richard is a writer for Jancis Robinson and has been a follower of London Cru since the very start, so we were excited to see what he thought of our latest releases. 

    Heralding our 2015 Sydney St as "incredibly serious stuff - accomplished, generous, delicious", the 2015 Gresham St as "smooth and tender" and our 2015 Charlotte St as "rounded, fleshy, generous, perfumed and spiced" it's safe to say he enjoyed them. 

    Richard's reviews confirm his initial reaction to this year's wines as London Cru's breakthrough year.

    He also found time to re-taste our 2014 wines, commenting that our 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is "maturing well" and "a great achievement".

    His full tasting notes will be on JancisRobinson.com (subscription website) shortly.

    Pairing wine on Burns Night

    Pairing wine on Burns Night

    “Go, fetch to me a pint o’ wine, And fill it in a silver tassie; That I may drink before I go, A service to my bonie lassie.” (Rab Burns – My Bonie Mary)

    London may be miles from Scotland, but we’ll use any excuse we can to forget the doom and gloom of January, have a little fun with tartan and eat some delicious haggis to celebrate the birth of Robbie Burns.

    Whisky is the time-honoured pairing, and to be honest it’s a perfect match: the smoky, peaty flavour of the whisky complement the earthy, powerful flavour of haggis.

    But what if, like us, wine is your tipple?

    When considering grape rather than grain, red is the obvious choice. You’ll need something punchy and bold to stand up to the strong, spicy haggis. I’ll be drinking London Cru’s Syrah from 2014.  Based on the top Syrahs from the northern Rhone valley, this wine is rounded and robust, with big ripe fruit flavours with a load of black pepper to boot.

    If offal isn’t your cup of tea, then stick to the Scottish theme and make a warming cullen skink. Velvety and wonderfully rich, this traditional haddock soup is a great alternative. Serve up with a hunk of bread and a glass of nutty, citrusy London Cru Chardonnay and you can’t go far wrong.

     

    Pairing wine at Christmas time

    Pairing wine at Christmas time

    Albemarle St and shrimps on the BBQ in Australia...

    Gavin Monery, winemaker

    I'll be visiting family in Australia, and with the mercury hovering at around 38C the colonial Christmas is more about fresh seafood and salads than turkey and trimmings. I'm packing some 2015 Albarino which is a perfect match for fresh crabs, gently steamed with white wine, chilli and coriander, as well as jumbo prawns and crayfish, simply halved, dipped in garlic butter then barbecued over an open flame.

    Charlotte st and fish in germany...

    Max Margaritoff, marketing

    I will be going home to northern Germany for the holidays. Whereas on Christmas day we feast on roasted goose, Christmas Eve in the north is kept much more humble. A popular tradition is fish, especially carp blue, with parsley potatoes. An old custom is to keep a carp’s head for good financial fortune in the New Year. I will open a bottle of our 2015 Chardonnay (Charlotte St). The wines refined acidity is a great way to deal with the hearty style of the dish, while the elegant texture and tropical fruit aromas provide the body to increase the dish’s complexity.

    barbera and roasted guinea fowl in france...

    marion adam, roberson wine

    I will be celebrating Christmas with my family in Bordeaux where there will be a traditional lunch with roasted guinea fowl, stuffed with ceps, and served with potatoes and chestnuts. With soft tannins, high acidity, and packed with aromas of cherry and raspberry fruits,  the London Cru Barbera will be an excellent pairing with this dish and a great alternative from the usual Claret. 

    cabernet sauvignon slow-simmered puy lentils in england...

    talya roberson, ROBERSON WINE


    You don’t need to eat meat to enjoy the tannic structure and intense flavours of our 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.  I’ll be drinking it this Christmas with slow-simmered puy lentils, roasted cauliflower, sauteed chestnuts and a dark green leafy salad.

    King of Grapes?

    King of Grapes?

    As the 1980s drew to a close big, oaky Chardonnay gave way to lean, grassy Sauvignon Blanc and more recently the popularity of Prosecco prompted the biggest revolution in sparkling wine we’ve ever seen. Many grapes and styles of wine flit in and out of fashion from year to year but Cabernet Sauvignon is one grape that shows no sign of falling out of favour. This accidental 17th century lovechild of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc produces durable, deep purple grapes that make superb age-worthy wine. It is responsible for producing some of the world’s greatest (and most expensive!) wines. But what’s all the fuss about? 

    Old World Cabernet Sauvignon

    Old World wines are from the European regions where winemaking originated thousands of years ago. Although Cabernet grapes are now grown all over Europe the most famous are from vines grown on the banks of the River Gironde in Bordeaux, south west France. Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Old World is generally blended with another varietal; in Bordeaux its famous bedfellow is Merlot, but Italians have developed a wonderful blend using Sangiovese and winemakers all over Eastern Europe combine it with local varietals. Traditional Old World Cabernet has a concentrated core of blackcurrant fruit alongside layers of toasted oak.

    New World Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cabernet Sauvignon’s success in Europe prompted wider plantings all over the newer winemaking regions. Its vines can now be found in Australasia, South Africa, the US, South America and even China. In the New World, Cabernet Sauvignon wines are more likely to be single varietal highlighting the grape’s own flavours. In these sunnier climes Cabernet is able to ripen fully, allowing its softer, fruitier side to emerge. Standout regions include Coonawarra in Australia for intense cassis flavoured wines and Napa Valley in California for dark cherry, structured examples.

    Longevity

    Wine is a living, breathing product that is constantly changing. However, not all wines get better with age. If a wine is to improve as time goes on it needs high acidity and powerful tannins – both of which are hallmarks of a well made Cabernet Sauvignon. With time, Cabernet Sauvignon begins to take on deep, spicy plum flavours and succulent tannins, making it a fantastic wine for ageing if kept in the right conditions. We are starting to see London Cru’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon soften and develop - it acts as a great comparison to the younger 2014 Cabernet as they both hail from the same vineyard in Languedoc, France. When critic Victoria Moore re-tasted our 2013 Cabernet earlier this year she said that it had "improved immeasurably", saying "it has become more elegant with a bit of time in the bottle and has beautiful cassis and cedar notes, and smells of pencil shavings."

    Food

    Cabernet Sauvignon is a food wine through and through. From deep, rich stews to punchy, tangy aged cheese, the big, bold flavours in Cabernet can stand up to hearty meals. The best food and wine pairings improve the flavours in both the food and the wine. As a harder and sharper cheese, cheddar can handle the tannins in Cabernet Sauvignon and the fruitiness of the wine perfectly complements the cheese’s flavour. Stews and pie fillings with melt in the mouth cuts of fatty beef work well too – the high tannins act as a palette cleanser and the bold flavours in both the wine and the food stand up to each other. Personally, we love drinking the London Cru Cabernet with a big juicy burger with plenty of oozing cheese and salty bacon. Delicious!

    The 2015's Go On Their Way

    The 2015's Go On Their Way

    It's an emotional time when you finally finish bottling a vintage. A whole year of hard work, into bottle and shipped off. Being one of the less romantic wine-making processes it's often overlooked; there are days on end of clinking glass, feeding bottles onto the line and watching them rotate under the filler bowl. The hypnotic rhythm of the corking machine and the constant battle to ensure labels are perfectly applied. There are lots of moving parts and plenty to go wrong, but as the culmination of a year’s work it's also incredibly satisfying. - knowing that every bottle that rolls off the line contains a conversation or two, some laughter, perhaps dinner party or even a birthday. It's a time capsule of a single vineyard in a specific year, and every bottle tells a story.

    For the winemaker of course it's the end of the grapes' journey, but really it's just the beginning. Our bottles are bottled onsite via a mobile bottling plant. It's an advanced (and expensive) machine that offers advantages that smaller bottling lines just can't compete with. The bottles start their journey by being sterilised then rinsed, before a vacuum is applied and the air removed. Nitrogen is introduced to create an inert atmosphere inside the bottle before it starts on the carousel, triggering a valve that lets the wine flow in under gravity alone. Once filled they move along to the corking machine, which creates a small vacuum before inserting the cork.

    After this it's through to the labelling line before being boxed up, stacked onto pallets and stored in a temperature controlled warehouse - until it's time to pull the cork of course.

    Better than Burgundy?

    Better than Burgundy?

    Recently, a prominent wine writer and Master of Wine proclaimed that our 2015 Chardonnay, Charlotte St, is better than most Chardonnay made in Burgundy. What an accolade! Richard Hemming MW has long been a friend of London Cru and has tasted each vintage since the inaugural release in 2013. This year, he popped round especially to taste the first releases from 2015…and has declared this year's vintage as a ‘breakthrough’.

    A breakthrough

    Writing up his visit on his blog, Hemming said:

    “The quality of this wine is not just the best they’ve produced but – and this is the really important point – significantly better than most of the Chardonnay made in situ. In fact, it’s a whole lot better than Chardonnay made from a whole host of places, and it even has the intrinsic quality and complexity to challenge famous names from Burgundy”

    Our winemaker, Gavin Monery, said:

    "It's wonderful to hear that someone loves our wines, all the more so when they taste as widely as Richard does. When I first saw this vineyard I knew we could make something special, so to hear the wine described as 'a must try for lovers of sophisticated Chardonnay' is just fantastic. We'll continue working closely with our growers across Europe so we can keep making world class wine right here in London."

    Hemming also praised London Cru's new Albariño, Albemarle St.

    The wine

    Charlotte St is made in London with grapes from prime south facing vineyards on limestone soil in Limoux, south of France. The wine, which is made with minimum intervention, spent an additional eight months maturing in 100% oak barrels before being bottled in May this year.

    Charlotte St 2015 will be available from November. The 2014 Chardonnay is also drinking fantastically now and is available to buy for immediate delivery.

    Summer Whites - Albariño

    Summer Whites - Albariño

    The lush coastal town of Galicia in north west Spain is home to this increasingly popular grape. But what is Albariño? And why is it the summer white del día?

    The region

    Some grapes have an overwhelming connection to their place (some in the wine industry call this terroir), and Albariño is one of those grapes.

    90% of vineyards in Rías Baixas (the area around Galicia) grow the Albariño grape, and you can see why. The conditions are absolutely perfect for this variety, and the resulting wines are crisp and refreshing. Grown in the surprisingly green and cool Rías Baixas right on the Atlantic, you can almost taste the salty sea air in the finished wines. With rocky, granite soil, and misty green hillsides, the wines are also intensely stony and mineral.

    London Cru’s Albariño, Albemarle St, is from a coastal vineyard near beautiful traditional Galician town Pontevedra, in the heart of Rías Baixas.

    The wine

    Albariño is aromatic, with concentrated stone fruit and citrus flavours alongside grassy, mineral overtones. With moderate alcohol and high acidity, it is the perfect summer white.

    Some winemakers choose to ferment and age in stainless steel, giving the freshest, leanest style of Albariño. However, it is also common to give Albariño some time ageing in an oak barrel to add texture, or leaving it to develop on its lees (leftover yeast cells from fermentation). Both of these techniques offset the high acidity, providing mouth feel and a subtle creamy character.

    The food

    Galicia is home to a large proportion of Spain’s fishing fleet, so it is no surprise that their star white wine pairs wonderfully with fresh shellfish and grilled fish.

    The wine’s high acidity will help to cut through butter or cream sauces, and blends perfectly with sharp, citrus flavours.

    Best enjoyed with a plate of Dover Sole with brown butter, or a 'plateau de fruits de mer’. Both with plenty of lemon and black pepper.

    Piedmont Pairings

    Piedmont Pairings

    Rosé is developing a serious reputation for being a multi-talented food wine. From light and refreshing Provençal styles to bolder, darker Spanish wines, rosé is asserting itself as a real contender on many a restaurant wine list. London Cru’s Rosaville Rd lies somewhere in the middle of these styles. It it a beautiful copper colour, with aromas of grapefruit, strawberry and lychee and wonderful textural quality from time ageing on the lees (the leftover yeast from fermentation). The grapes hail from Piedmont in northern Italy, grown by Giovanni Codero who runs a family business growing grapes and breeding cattle to make homemade salami. The family kindly kept their best two Barbera sites aside for us and allowed us to make vineyard adjustments so that we could focus on getting the best flavours from the grapes.

    Here, members of London Cru and Roberson Wine give their favourite Italian food pairing for Rosaville Rd.

    Vitello Tonnato – Shana, On-Trade at Roberson Wine

    Vitello Tonnato is a wonderful summer dish from Piedmont. Cold or roasted veal is served with a tuna, anchovy and caper mayonnaise, perhaps alongside some tiny new potatoes and a lemony salad. It’s a firm favourite in the north of Italy, and absolutely perfect in warm weather. Pair with Rosaville Rd to beautifully cut through the rich mayonnaise and enhance the delicate flavours of the veal.

    Agnolotti alla Piemontese - Emma, London Cru

    These exquisite pasta parcels are similar in shape to ravioli. Every family’s recipe is different, passed down through generations. Generally, an egg-rich dough is stuffed with a mixture of beef, pork and rabbit and served with ‘salvia e parmigiano’ (sage butter and parmesan). Decadent and delicious, this rich pasta dish is the perfect foil to the refreshing acidity of Rosaville Rd rosé.

    Risotto Milanese- Talya, Director at Roberson Wine

    I find food and wine pairings often focus on meat or fish, and being a vegetarian this presents me with a conundrum. Risotto Milanese is a wonderful, unctuous saffron risotto, usually sprinkled with a traditional garnish of lemon zest, garlic and parsley (‘Gremolata’). It pairs magically with the complex, delicate flavours in Rosaville Rd with the wine’s crisp, dry finish cutting through the rich butter textures of the Milanese. Bellissimo!

    Burrata – Gavin, Winemaker at London Cru

    Without a doubt, this soft, opulent cheese would be spot on with Rosaville Rd’s textural complexity. Like mozarella’s better, bigger brother, Burrata has an outer shell of morzarella and a filling of cream, giving it a fantastic richness. Add a few leaves of rocket to inject a hit of peppery spice, and you have a food and wine pairing made in heaven.

    International Chardonnay Day

    International Chardonnay Day

    Chardonnay seems to be a bit like Marmite: you either love it or you hate it.

    However, despite this varied reputation it’s coming back into fashion with premium winemakers all over the world making top quality, luxurious wines. And what’s not to like? It’s versatile and resistant, allowing terroir to shine through and winemakers to make their mark.

    London Cru winemaker Gavin is no newbie to Chardonnay, having made it in his native Margaret River and in Burgundy.

    Our 2014 Chardonnay is ripe with peachy notes and a subtle toastiness. Lees contact (which is the proximity of the wine with the dead yeast cells that collect at the bottom of the barrel post-fermentation) adds weight and complexity. Gavin believes acidity to be the backbone of any wine and the 2014 has plenty of it, which balances nicely with the gentle oak flavours. The critics have agreed, with both Jamie Goode and Richard Hemming rating it highly.

    The 2015 Chardonnay is all downstairs in the winery, as yet unlabelled. From the sneak preview tastings we’ve had so far, it’s set to be a fantastic wine, so look out for its release in the coming months. This year, we’ve sourced grapes from Limoux – an area with a growing reputation for quality Chardonnay in South West France.

    Enough about London Cru. What you really want for International Chardonnay Day is cold hard facts about this ‘Marmite’ grape, and maybe a glass or two of the stuff itself...

    1. Chardonnay is a key grape in many sparkling wines, most famously Champagne
    2. People used to think Chardonnay was related to Pinot Noir and until about 1950 it  was often labelled ‘Pinot Chardonnay’
    3. Lots of people think oak when they think of Chardonnay, but Chardonnay can be unoaked (for example, Chablis). If a Chardonnay is aged properly in an oak barrel, the wine because textured, rich and creamy with buttery flavours. If it’s not the result is a crisp, mineral wine with green apple flavours
    4. Chardonnay loves chalky, limestone soil which helps give the final wine freshness and minerality
    5. Although Chardonnay is gaining popularity again in the UK, the US are way ahead of us with Chardonnay coming in as the top selling white varietal in the States

    If that has got you in the mood, pour yourself a glass to enjoy now and visit the London Cru website to order our 2014 Chardonnay.

    A Tasting at The Hide

    A Tasting at The Hide

    Last night we made our way over to bustling Bermondsey St to give two hour-long tastings to an excited group of bloggers, sommeliers and The Hide customers to celebrate London Wine Week 2016. The Hide proved the perfect setting for an intimate introduction to London Cru, with funky decor, a buzzing atmosphere and tasty small plates to satiate post-tasting hunger pangs. Being right next to the wine industry’s education HQ (The Wine and Spirit Education Trust), we felt completely at home.

    Gavin Monery, winemaker, led an in-depth introduction to London Cru wines, supported by Lindsey and Emma from London Cru and Zainab, from sister company Roberson Wine. Zainab’s on-trade experience as a sommelier certainly came in handy when pouring the wines around!

    Gavin talked the group through the various processes of winemaking, from hand-harvesting the grapes in Europe and the grape reception in London, to pressing, fermenting and ageing. This was all followed by a tutored tasting of the full 2014 range, with a sneaky peak of the yet-to-be-labelled 2015 Albariño.

    Many thanks to Paolo from The Hide for being such a wonderful host, despite nervously waiting for his overdue first baby to arrive. Also a big thanks must go to the The Hide’s bar team and to marketing manager Fiona for helping to organise the event.

    The Hide have ripped up their usual wine list and are only serving London Cru wines this week – by the glass and the bottle - so if you couldn’t make yesterday’s tasting, pop down any time this week to give London Cru a try.

    London Wine Week at The Hide

    London Wine Week at The Hide

    Bermondsey St's The Hide are tearing up their usual wine list for one week only and keeping it local, serving only London Cru wines at the bar. It's a great chance to try a range of London Cru wines by the glass, and choose a new favourite. The Hide Bar will be serving up the following London Cru wines:

    • 2014 Bacchus "The bacchus 2014 might just be the best I've tasted." Victoria Moore
    • 2014 Barbera "Extraordinary fragrance and expression – full of astonishing and bright floral character." Richard Hemming
    • 2014 Chardonnay "Lovely complex nose of toast, spice and citrus, with some creaminess in the mouth, as well as nuts and toast." Jamie Goode
    • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon "Lovely pure sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with some blackcurrant leaf. So classic and expressive." Jamie Goode
    • 2013 Syrah "Perfumed, violet, great clarity, really dry and delicate, with just enough tannin. Juicy and fragrant and really subtly done." JancisRobinson.com

    So head down to this funky, warehouse venue from the 24 - 28 May and taste wines the critics are raving about.

    Free tasting!

    During this week, for one night only, talented London Cru winemaker Gavin Monery will be hosting a free tasting of London Cru's 2013 and 2014 vintages at The Hide.

    It's a unique opportunity to learn more about one of Europe's most innovative wineries and get an exclusive introduction to the different wines made in the heart of London, by the winemaker himself.

    Day: Tuesday 24 May Time: 8-9pm Location: The Hide, 39-45 Bermondsey St, London, SE1 3XF

    Spaces for the tasting are limited. RSVP to mail@londoncru.co.uk

    After the Storm

    After the Storm

    After the madness of the 2015 harvest the month of December in the winery is relatively relaxed. All the wines (except Albariño) are in barrel, and for the most part they'll happily stay there until the new year. This month I'll spend a lot of time in our onsite laboratory, analysing the wines regularly to make sure they're on track.

    All our red wines, as well as our Chardonnay are going through malolactic fermentation, when specific bacteria convert the tart malic acid to softer tasting Lactic acid. The vast majority of red wines around the world will undergo this process, as well as a good proportion of full bodied whites. The bacteria that make this conversion are happiest at 20˚C, however so are the bacteria that turn wine into vinegar, so it's a risky few months.

    Of course the lab analyses can give us numbers and tell us what's going on inside the wine, but it can't tell us the most important thing - how does it taste..? For that we have to get stuck in ourselves and have a glass. Or two..

    Another big part of the holiday season for us is showing off the winery through our tours, tastings and events. We try and do things differently at London Cru, so visitors are taken directly into the production area of the winery, rather than being received in a typical cellar door.

    We’re a small, boutique, but very much working winery and we like to show people the equipment and explain the processes while they taste. Our equipment is simple, low tech and labour intensive, however we feel it’s the best available to bring out the true characters of each wine. During tours we can teach as much or as little as you might want to know about wine, but we steer clear of wine snobbery; our philosophy is if a glass is half full then there’s room for more..