PROJECT FRONT FOOT: SUMMER 2024 NEWSLETTER

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From my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

Greetings from Berlin and Project Front Foot.

Please find attached the project’s Summer Newsletter. A bumper edition highlighting project beneficiary clubs and communities in the UK, Switzerland, France, Germany and Lebanon.

With some of the indifferent pitches in the US during the recent T20 World Cup, we have atmospheric images from last weekend of young refugee cricketers in Normandy as they construct their own tournament pitch. These to be viewed against pictures of a similar scene we happened upon during one of our road trips around Maharashtra twelve years ago.

Add in news of our Summer Kit Appeal and the project’s outreach over the last five years and there is more than enough to occupy that next tea or coffee break. As ever, do feel free to forward the newsletter to any likely interested parties.

Hope you’re well.

Cheers

Vic”

PLEASE SUPPORT PROJECT FRONT FOOT AT https://www.gofundme.com/f/project-front-foot?member=28025211&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_content=undefined&utm_location=undefined&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer&utm_term=undefined

 

 

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Fifty Shades of Grey | 1974 vintage Colheita Ports

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At Vila Nova de Gaia, on the south side of the Douro at Porto, the river flows under the Ponte de Dom Luis towards the Atlantic, 550 miles from its source in northern Spain.
Dazzling light and ferocious heat bounces off white stones.
Other than access to the river (and the lower taxes that brought Port producers here in the first place) it seems an unlikely place to make and store wines.
Vila Nova de Gaia Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia, photographed by Stuart George in July 2010. 
A Colheita is a Port wine from a single year that has been aged in wood for at least seven years – essentially a vintage-dated Tawny Port.
The economics of aged Ports are challenging. It means locked-up capital, loss of wine by evaporation, and high insurance charges.
A Port shipper has to make wine that will not be bottled or sold for perhaps 50 years or more. A modern bank manager would be appalled by such a business plan.
But It does mean that these exceptional wines are great value for money for 50-year olds 😁.
“Even though the clock would like to convince us otherwise, time is not the same for everyone…”. – José Saramago, Todos os Nomes (All The Names)
1974 Kopke Colheita Port
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“A good and most particular taste…” | Château Haut-Brion 1990

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On Friday 10th April 1663, Samuel Pepys – an administrator in the Royal Navy – noted in his diary a visit “to the Royall Oak Tavern, in Lumbard Street… and here drank a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan, that hath a good and most particular taste that I never met with.”

“Ho Bryan” was seven shillings a bottle. Spanish or Portuguese wine was only two shillings.

Over 360 years later, Château Haut-Brion – written phonetically by Pepys as “Ho Bryan” – is still a highly-regarded drink in London taverns.

After the difficult 1970s, when poor Bordeaux vintages coincided with economic depression, the 1980s reversed this: A succession of fine vintages and plenty of money available to buy them.

The 1989s (including the exceptional Haut-Brion ’89) were sold at the highest-ever prices for newly-released Bordeaux wines.

The 1990s were offered at lower prices – the best-value for a quality year since 1982.

It was a good investment because the next three vintages were poor.

(Samuel Pepys would have agreed.)

1990 Haut-Brion at Arden Fine Wines
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The Ice Age | 1956 Château Latour

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It was cold across Europe in February 1956.

On Hampstead Heath in north London, two inches of snow fell on 19th February – a bit chilly for skinny-dipping in the Mens’ or Ladies’ Ponds.

On 21st February, temperatures dropped to -20°C in Bordeaux. The Garonne river didn’t freeze solid as it did in 1871 but icebergs floated beneath the Pont de pierre.

Mild weather before February caused the sap to rise in the vines. The sap was then frozen solid by the frost and many vines split open and died.

However, the Gironde estuary – where the Dordogne and Garonne rivers meet 15 miles downstream from central Bordeaux – didn’t freeze.

Latour’s 1956 was a good wine for this nightmarishly nippy vintage, with some flavour but lacking the intensity of less difficult years.

  • Château Latour for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Château Latour 1956 (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
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Pavillons of Splendour | Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux

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A “second wine” has been made at Château Margaux since the 18th century, though Pavillon Rouge was not named as such until 1908.

It has been one of Arden’s most popular wines over the 18 months.

Depending on your taste, elegant 1985 – not exuberant 1982 – is the finest red Bordeaux vintage of the 1980s.

Pavillon Rouge ’85 is now, like its “grand vin” sibling, a perfect example of well-aged claret.

1985 Pavillon Rouge Chateau Margaux

As a juvenile, the 1988 Pavillon felt as hard as stale bread but it has smoothened over the years and is now probably at its best.

1988 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux at Arden Fine Wines

1992? Well, it rained a lot in the spring and then during the September-October harvest…

A light vintage of Pavillon Rouge that can still be enjoyable.

1992 Pavillon Rouge-du Chateau Margaux at Arden Fine Wines

The 1995 Pavillon Rouge is one of the best made in the late 20th century.

The “third wine” Margaux du Château Margaux was introduced for the 1997 vintage, using grapes and/or tanks and barrels that were considered unworthy of the first wine or second wine.

The 1997 Pavillon Rouge benefited from this more rigorous selection and has endured well.

Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux 1997 at Arden Fine Wines

We have 1984 Pavilion Rouge currently available:

  • 1984 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux
    1984 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (1 x 75cl)
    £290.00
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PROJECT FRONT FOOT: SPRING NEWSLETTER / ROAD TRIP SPECIAL

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From my friend Vic Mills:

“Hi Stuart,

Greetings from a decidedly springlike Berlin and Project Front Foot.

A seriously busy quarter for the project culminated in our recent four-day hack around Western Europe delivering kit to refugee cricketers, clubs and communities in France, Switzerland and Germany (2,000 kilometres over four days) along with a consignment of project kit heading to Lebanon.

A big ask, even by our standards, and all chronicled in the attached Brexit-busting bonanza of a newsletter. Not much time to rest and regroup, either, as we start all over again before the month’s end with our annual Summer Kit Appeal. As ever, do feel free to forward the newsletter to likely interested parties. Hope this finds you well.

Cheers

Vic”

PS Please support Project Front Foot at https://www.gofundme.com/f/project-front-foot?member=28025211&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_content=undefined&utm_location=undefined&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer&utm_term=undefined

 

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“Warwick may live to be the best of all…” | 1985 Warwick Castle Listrac-Médoc!

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The bottling of 1985 Warwick Castle Listrac-Médoc (sic) was done by Ulysse Cazabonne, founded in 1976.

“Warwick may live to be the best of all…” | 1985 Warwick Castle Listrac-Médoc!

This negociant (merchant) was taken over by Chanel in 1994 and maintains offices in Margaux, next to Chanel-owned Château Rauzan-Ségla.

The gold-black label of Warwick Castle 1985 is similar to the Margaux estates of Château Palmer (the label of which is actually very dark blue); Château Cantenac Brown; and Château d’Issan (which has crimson font).

I was told that the then Earl of Warwick (David Greville, 8th Earl of Warwick, fourth creation) was “part-owner of a Bordeaux wine estate”, though I have not been able to discover what estate.

There is another historic link between Bordeaux and the Earls of Warwick.

John du Plessis, 7th Earl of Warwick (first creation), served as a de facto diplomat for King Henry III.

The 7th Earl was at Bordeaux in August 1254 but he was ambushed in Poitou on his way back to England and not released until the following year. Ouch.

Spoiler alert: I have plans for this bottle for the first Saturday of May 2024 🎂.

But we do have some other tasty 1985s for you…

  • 1985 Chateau Musar
    1985 Chateau Musar (1 x 75cl)
    £755.00
  • Château Pontet-Canet price at Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. Château Pontet-Canet Pauillac. Pontet-Canet when to drink. Chateau Pontet Canet.
    Château Pontet-Canet 1985 (12 x 75cl case) SOLD
  • Carruades de Lafite for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Carruades de Lafite 1985 (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échézeaux from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Échézeaux 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Échezeaux for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Échézeaux 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-St-Vivant from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London.
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-St-Vivant 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg 1954 at Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. DRC Richebourg 1954 price. Romanée-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru. Romanee Conti Richebourg 1954 for sale.
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Richebourg 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • La Tâche price. La Tâche wine for sale. La Tâche for sale. La Tâche wine price.
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1953 from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. Domaine de la Romanée Conti wine. Romanée-Conti wine price. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti price. Romanee Conti wine for sale. DRC Romanee Conti price.
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London
    Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Château Cheval Blanc 1985 for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Château Cheval Blanc 1985 PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR 1985 CHEVAL BLANC
  • Chateau Haut-Brion wine for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Chateau Haut-Brion 1985 (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
  • Chateau Margaux 1985 for sale at award-winning Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London
    Chateau Margaux 1985 (1 x 75cl)
    £690.00
  • Château Lafite Rothschild wine for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    Château Lafite Rothschild 1985 (1 x 75cl)
    £795.00
  • 1985 Château d'Yquem Sauternes at Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. 
    1985 Château d’Yquem Sauternes PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Le Pin Pomerol logo
    1985 Le Pin Pomerol for sale PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE
  • Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1985 label
    Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1985 (1 x 75cl bottle) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
  • Petrus Pomerol by Valentino Monticello in Bacchus and Ariadne
    1985 Petrus Pomerol (1 x 75cl)
    £2,850.00
  • 1985 Chateau Ste Michelle Merlot
    1985 Chateau Ste Michelle River Ridge Vineyard Merlot (1 x 75cl) SOLD
  • 1985 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port (1 x 75cl) SOLD
    1985 Quinta Do Noval Vintage Port (1 x 75cl) SOLD
  • 1985 Dow Vintage Port
    1985 Dow’s Vintage Port (1 x 75cl) SOLD
  • Château Latour for sale at Arden Fine Wines
    1985 Château Latour (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
  • View of Opus One wine estate and vineyards
    1985 Opus One (bottle) SOLD
  • bottle of 1985 The Macallan Special Reserve Easter Elchies | 43%
    1985 The Macallan Special Reserve Easter Elchies 牛
    £6,199.00
  • 1985 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia
    Sassicaia Tenuta San Guido 1985 (1 x 75cl bottle) 牛 SOLD
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Heby Rides Again | 1949 Château de Heby

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From the great 1949 vintage, this half-bottle of Château de Heby was imported (in probably 1950 or 1951) by Averys of Bristol.

It would have been shipped to Bristol in casks and bottled in Averys’ cellars.

1949 Château de Heby

There was no (as far as I can tell) wine estate called Château de Heby, so I can only guess that it was a brand name created by Averys for a generic Médoc red wine.

The name appears to have been taken from the Grange de Héby house in Castelnau-de-Médoc, about 15 miles north-west of Bordeaux city.

In the 1990s Grange de Héby was renamed as Domaine de Héby and turned into a retirement home (“maison de retraite”).

Domaine de Héby

In 2014 it was closed.

Where did the 75-year olds go…?

  • 1949 Château de Heby EB Averys half-bottle
    1949 Château de Heby (1 x half-bottle) SOLD!
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“Birthday greetings, bottle of wine…” | 1964 vintage wines for sale

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For anybody celebrating a 60th birthday or anniversary in 2024, we advise looking away from France’s classic wine regions to other places where the 1964 wines are (we think) better value…

Arden Fine Wines’ Mayfair landlord is the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. We like to do our bit for Arab-British trade with offers of the great Lebanese wine Chateau Musar.

The late Serge Hochar, who was winemaker at Musar for 55 years, said that “’64 was my wild wine…”

It was the first Musar vintage to use a little bit of added sulphur to keep it stable in transit and during cellaring.

(SO2 is added to all wines except so-called “natural” wines. SO2 will not poison you – though it is often overused in cheap wines [to keep them “fresh”] and might give you a headache… 🤕)

The remarkable 1964 Chateau Musar is still going as strong as ever.

  • 1964 Chateau Musar (1 x 75cl) from Arden Fine Wines in Mayfair, London. 1964 vintage red wine. 1964 anniversary wine. 1964 birthday wine. Chateau Musar best years.
    1964 Chateau Musar (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
  • Chateau Musar 1959 & 1964 front
    1964 Chateau Musar (6 x 75cl)
    £6,478.00

The Iberian Peninsula also had a good year in 1964.

There was no Vintage Port, though Colheitas (single-vintage Tawny Port) are available and well worth a look.

The 1964 Rioja vintage was classed as “Excelente” by the Consejo Regulador Denominación Origen Calificada Rioja.

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva is a fine example of this excellent Rioja vintage. Imperial is a red wine that has always been designed and built to last and to improve – and it goes well with fish (sic).

Some years ago I dined at Kaia Kaipe in Getaria, a fishing village 30 miles or so west of San Sebastián.

The main course was turbot, cooked on the barbecue downstairs and seasoned with oil, Txakoli (the local white wine), and garlic.

White wine is the obvious choice to accompany these fish dishes but the local preference is for mellow old Rioja –like 1964 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva.

Highly recommended 😋.

  • 1964 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja
    1964 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja (1 x 75cl) PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THIS WINE!
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Thirty Years Warre | 1994 vintage wines

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“There is always an unassailable financial imperative to make as much (good) wine as possible. In 1994, it would have cost a First Growth château (like Mouton Rothschild) 2 million francs (about £200,000) to declassify (i.e. not sell as the ‘Grand Vin’) a 150-hectolitre / 20,000-bottle vat of wine…”
The 1994 Bordeaux harvest was small.

If the Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes were picked before (or after) the September rains, the quality was good.

But Cabernet Sauvignon takes longer to ripen properly, so some winemakers left it until October, trying to dodge the rainfall.

Château Mouton Rothschild managed to bring in its grapes without them getting too wet and made a very good wine in 1994 – comparable to the 1988.

In the Douro Valley of Portugal, 1994 was a widely “declared” vintage that produced classic Port wines of great richness and longevity, such as Dow’sSmith Woodhouse, and Warre’s.
Since a standard 75cl bottle is not large enough to share, we suggest trying a 1.5-litre magnum bottle of 1994 Quinta do Passadouro Vintage Port, brought to life by the great Douro winemaker Dirk Niepoort.
We also have available magnums of the outstanding Lebanese red wine Chateau Musar.

Its 1994 vintage was made in the aftermath of a late summer heatwave.

The resulting wine was, according to Musar itself, “intense (and) richly-concentrated” – which is not always the case with 30-year olds…

SEE ARDEN’S 30-YEAR OLDS HERE
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