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urban winery

Making of a Rosé…..

Making of a Rosé…..

At Roberson Wine we love a great rosé and during the spectacular 2018 English vintage our London Cru team managed to get our hands on the perfect Pinot Noir grapes. Due to the exceptionally warm summer these grapes were perfectly ripe, carefully hand harvested and transported from Surrey in small crates to our cellar in Fulham.

Once in our state-of-the-art cellar these grapes were destemmed, gently crushed and then allowed to macerate in our pneumatic press for 4 hours. This period, where the skins and the juice are in contact, allows for the anthocyanins (colours) in the skins to be extracted.

When we had the perfect rosé colour the free run juice was transferred to our temperature controlled fermentation tanks and inoculated with specific rosé wine yeast. At London Cru we take our rosé very seriously and fermented the wine as 2 different components, each with an important role in the finished wine. 90% was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks which preserves the delicate fruitiness of the Pinot Noir aromas. 10% of the wine was fermented and aged in old oak barrels adding a richer, lightly oaked character which builds the body and complexity of the final wine in the blend.

The wine completed malolactic fermentation which adds to the softness and creaminess of the final wine. Additionally, Rosaville Rd was aged on lees for 5 months after fermentation which continued to build the mouthfeel and texture of the wine.

Rosaville Rd is a pale, delicate rosé, with aromas of pink grapefruit and fresh strawberries. With a smooth crisp palate of red fruits and great body from lees ageing this is an expressive English Pinot Noir from a great vintage, well balanced and a fabulous on a warm spring day. This wine is great by itself in the sunshine and also an excellent partner with light dishes such as a goat’s cheese and asparagus tart.

Check out how this wine was bottled below

Bacchus is BACK

Bacchus is BACK

At London Cru we are tremendously proud of our 2018 Baker St Bacchus. This wine is the quintessential English still wine, with a bright zesty palate, a vibrant gooseberry and elderflower nose and enticing background aromas of hedgerow and yeasty goodness from lees ageing. This wine is the perfect accompaniment with seafood such as oysters, lobster, or the humble fish and chips, but is also fabulous as an aperitif with mild cheeses.

What makes this wine so special?

Baker St incorporates Bacchus from two outstanding vineyards, one located in Kent and the other in West Sussex.

These grapes were gently transported to our winery in London, partially destemmed, and pressed in our state-of-the-art pneumatic press. The juice was then fermented in four different components each with a different design focus. 90% was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks which preserves the purity of the Bacchus aromas. 10% of the wine was fermented and aged in old oak barrels adding a richer, lightly oaked character and builds the body and complexity of the final wine in the blend. The wine was aged on lees for 5 months after fermentation which continued to build the mouthfeel and texture of the  wine.

Baker St is a serious wine with incredible length and mouth wateringly delicious balance. Olly Smith from the Daily Mail has agreed that the 2018 vintage in the UK has provided wines of amazing quality and judged our Baker St to be ”Exuberant, floral and zesty, this urban winery’s bottle is liquid splendour”. Even before officially releasing our Bacchus it has been quickly listed at some of the finest restaurants in London! Watch this space in the coming months as we release the exact venues and their recommended sommelier pairings.

Baker St is currently available for pre-order for £15 and will be available from early May. Judging from initial interest and that we sell out of Bacchus every year we recommend you get your hands on a few bottles now to avoid disappointment.

At London Cru we have also recently launched our new members Crush Club, where we are inviting wine lovers to join us in the next harvest! See this flyer for more information.

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NEW YEAR, NEW CRU

NEW YEAR, NEW CRU

Introducing Roberson Wine’s New Assistant Winemaker

Vintage 2018 is done, the fermentations are all complete, and as winter takes hold of London the activity for London Cru in the Roberson winery slows down. This is a great time for our team to stop and reflect on our achievements since opening the winery in 2013. We have become a well-known hub for tasting cracking wines, a lively event space, and a producer of critically acclaimed wines.

The 2018 vintage was a particularly great one for us and highlights the growing maturity of the wine industry in the UK. With a great number of new vineyards being planted around the country, and production of increasingly high-quality grapes, England really has become a world class producer of cool climate wines.

To support this future, the London Cru wines from 2018 were exclusively sourced from vineyards in England. This decision was made deliberately to support our local growers, allow us to showcase quality English wines in the heart of London, and finally to minimise the environmental impact of transporting our fruit long distances. As the first urban winery in London, we feel this new step is an important metamorphosis for our long-term sustainability. At London Cru we have shown the world that quality award winning wines can really be made right in the heart of the capital. In the coming years London Cru will continue to demystify wine and bring innovation and eccentricity into the London wine scene.

With this new pathway in mind we would like to introduce Alex Hurley, who will join Agustín Novoa in the winery team for 2019. Alex worked as a Geologist through Australia and Asia before deciding to follow his passion for wine. Having previously made wines in Australia, Burgundy, and Barolo, the seduction of working with quality English grapes brought him to the UK.

With a Master of Enology and Viticulture, Alex will drive the daily operations of the winery, work closely with our growers, as well as be a friendly face in the winery. In sync with our new direction with the London Cru wines, Alex loves to make wines with minimal intervention, great balance, and natural acidity. When not making or talking about wines, Alex is a passionate foodie and looks forward to exploring more of the English countryside.

If you’re interested to get a sneaky taste of the wines from our winery tanks, have a chat with our team, or find out more about our new winemaking direction at London Cru, check out our upcoming tours and tastings.

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.