Events



BLANKbottle – Good Wine Real People Great Stories

12 August 2019 by Richard

Pieter Walser is the brains behind the BLANK bottle concept. He reminds me of the most popular boy at school who effortlessly excels at everything he does. He shines as a cult winemaker, an artist, a marketer, a surfer, an actor, a negociant, a designer, an entrepreneur, a family man, a visionary, a raconteur, a party animal, a leader, a rebel, a genius, a magician …you get my drift. Whilst Pieter comfortably wears all these hats with great aplomb, he says he prefers not to wear a hat atall, not knowing how to label himself. Speaking of lables, it is really hard not judge his wines by their inimitable, ingenious labels, especially as Pieter draws every one himself and they all have an engaging and absorbing story.

Some of the newly landed, limited edition wines – from left-to-right B-BOS-I & The Empire Strikes Back.

Some of the newly landed, limited edition wines – from left-to-right B-BOS-I & The Empire Strikes Back.

Pieter’s very first, virtually self-taught effort at making wine was in his last year at Uni using a friend’s garage. Clearly he had a golden touch as he quickly sold on all he made, using his tenacity and radiating charm. His impecunious student status must have informed his decision to plough back every rand into buying more barrels and finding more extraordinary vineyards to source grapes.
In 2004, when Pieter was just beginning to bottle his own wines, one of his first customers proclaimed “I don’t do Shiraz”. So, Pieter poured her a glass of straight Shiraz. “I love it” she immediately bellowed! It was at that time that Pieter decided not to varietally label his wines, with the idea of breaking down all preconceived ideas about what you find yourself drinking.
Still to this day, Pieter has no land to his name and buys in grapes and rents vineyards, often on short-term contracts. Usually the wine’s provenance is shown as Western Cape, as the grapes that go in to the blends come from different districts. Some wines are repeated year after year, while others are one-off releases. The limitations are what excite him and there are always new parcels and opportunities arising.

In a nutshell, BLANK bottle is a series of limited edition wines, each with its own individual story, made from specially selected parcels of grapes from around the Cape. In terms of winemaking, this is about as boutique as it gets. Pieter’s scale-small winemaking is hands-off with old barrels being used so that the wine expresses a sense of place. The most recent developments include Pieter messing around with concrete egg & amphora ferments with some skin-contact and whole-bunches.
This September we are showcasing some of Pieter’s new wines with BLANK bottle masterclass tastings in our Kew shop on Wednesday 18th and in Chiswick on Thursday 19th. You will discover more about the man behind the label, his stories and the composition of these new additions. Pieter works with 38 different grape varieties now just to keep everyone guessing. Book on-line here, phone or pop into either shop.

Jaa Koffer

More of the new arrivals – from left-to-right Jaa-Bru & My Koffer.

BBGWSFinally, having built up such a good rapport with Pieter over the last few years, we asked if he would make a wine exclusively for us. He duly barrel-fermented and blended some Macabeo and Fernão Pires, making just 670 bottles and drew a fetching label featuring members of The Good Wine Shop team. I get a hipster makeover with some dark glasses! It has an alluring stone fruit and tropical fruit nose – peach, guava and pineapple – delicate floral tones and a richly textured palate with bright acidity and a saline mineral finish. It is a perfect match with pan-fried scallops with parsnip purée & pancetta crumbs.

Celebrating 31 Days of German Riesling

12 July 2019 by Richard

I recently read an article about the amount of time we function without sight and I am not talking ‘blind’ wine tasting here or sleeping off yet another wine tasting dinner.  Our eyes saccade as they bounce around and you blink 2 or 3 times every minute meaning we are blind for 10-15% of our waking time.

In my experience, many consumers are blind to Riesling – the sneezing whilst overtaking a lorry at top speed on the motorway in torrential rain, kind of blind.

Well, we are championing ‘31 Days of German Riesling’ this July, with a month-long campaign celebrating Germany’s king of grapes and for me personally, the greatest grape on the planet.

If you missed out on the two Riesling masterclasses, which sold out within days, do not worry as we have a German Riesling wine bar takeover at Kew on Saturday 13 July.  We follow that up with a German Riesling Showcase tasting at Chiswick on Friday 19 July, from 6pm.  Ten exceptional examples of very dry to off-dry and a sweeter Riesling can be tasted at the event.  Expect the very best German producers from the likes of Keller, Fritz Haag & Schloss Lieser.

As a self-confessed Riesling-nut, I want it to reach a wider audience so more people can appreciate it, value it and come to love it. So, here are a couple of affordable trocken (dry) German Riesling that I recommend as ‘must-trys’:

Knewitz Riesling 2017, Rheinhessen:

Two brothers in their 20’s run this small family estate and they are establishing a fine reputation for themselves.  They have some vineyards with the highest pure limestone content in Germany and this brings a very precise style of bone-dry Riesling, which is a little Chablis-esque.  Organic grapes are hand-picked and fermented spontaneously in stainless steel.  The result is a crisp, super-refreshing, mineral-laden style, with a note of green apple crunchiness and texture.  By the way, Jancis Robinson recently rated it very good value and, unsurprisingly, I totally agree.

Horst-Sauer ‘S’ Riesling, 2017, Franken:

I first visited Herr Horst-Sauer about 20 years ago as he was then considered one of the rising stars of the Franken region.  So, imagine my surprise and delight when a supplier contacted me in the spring to say they were bringing their wines into the UK.  This Riesling is planted in the Escherndorfer Lump vineyard, an Erste Lage (a prime site), with a parabolic south-facing, limestone-rich slope, within a short distance of the meandering river Main.  Sandra Horst-Sauer, the talented daughter, has taken the reins and the list of awards has grown exponentially – more than you can shake several sticks at.  Sandra crafts this dry Riesling allowing the cool, mineral character of the site to be elegantly expressed.  Perfectly ripened grapes give flavours of quince, baked apple and juicy pink grapefruit that are immediately appealing.  A coiled, citrussy vibrancy and brightness will unfurl over the next few years, if you can resist it for now.

Whether you are Riesling blind, indifferent or a full-on fanatic we have some eye-opening wines, not only from Germany but other corners of the world too.

Pinot Noir Perfection

15 April 2019 by Richard

The Sideways effect:

“If anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving.  I am not drinking any f*****g Merlot“,  Miles pronounces in the film Sideways.  If like me, you recall watching it on a DVD player back in 2005, you may remember its main characters eulogise the Pinot Noir grape.  Overnight demand went through the canopy, especially in the United States, and became known as the ‘Sideways effect’.  15 years later, the phenomenon is alive and kicking as plantings of the grape multiply across the world.  However, the capacity for great wines to be produced is limited, as the grape only produces really interesting wines when conditions are cool and the growing season is long.  It is seen by winemakers the world over as the ultimate test, so, luckily for wine drinkers, attempts to create seriously good, multi-layered wines continue.  The result is a plethora of extraordinary wines from all corners of the winegrowing world.  To paraphrase Maya from Sideways ‘they all taste so f*****g good’.

Miles and Jack Sideways

A brief history before Hollywood let the cat out of the bag:

Pinot Noir is a 2,000 year old variety that has given birth to 21 varieties through spontaneous crosses, including Chardonnay and Gamay.  It is a great grandparent to Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon and a likely grandparent to Syrah.

During this time it has had plenty of chances to mutate: Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir Prècoce all have the same genetic fingerprint.  Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc are simply colour mutations.

Where it is thriving nowadays:

France has the most Pinot Noir planted with 29,576 ha, but it still only the 7th most planted variety in the country.  Its presumed birthplace is Burgundy but just 6,579 ha are planted here.  Whilst my focus is on still wines here, most of recent growth has been in Champagne; 12,900 ha represent 39% of all the area.

The United States takes a silver medal with 15,091ha in California.  The Sideways movie put one Pinot Noir in particular on the vinous map and that was Hitching Post. The ‘Hometown ‘ Pinot Noir, from Santa Barbara, has juicy flavours of ripe cherry, an earthiness, seductive spice and falls just the right side of brightness for me.   The famous restaurant of the same name was the scene for a part of the movie and a major tourist attraction now.

Pinot Bunch

My own fair hands grasping a bunch of Pinot Noir grapes!

A surprise for many is that Germany takes third spot.  It now has 11,800 ha thanks to climate change, young talented winemakers, world class wines, and increasing demand.  One producer I have been following for almost 20 years is Ziereisen. The Tschuppen Pinot Noir is blackberry-spiked, has a mineral note as well as a deep, savoury edge and is a delight.

New Zealand’s success is more apparent in the UK market but Argentina is just emerging as a contender.  Take the Verum Pinot Noir which is from Rio Negro in Patagonia, as far south as grapes successfully ripen.  Raspberries and a touch of earth combine to deliver quite a bit of complexity for its price.

To learn a little more about where else Pinot Noir is successful, how its wines are made and taste 7 examples from around the globe, book a Pinot Noir Perfection Masterclasss, on Thursday 16 May in Chiswick, now. (Kew’s tasting has already sold out!).

Christmas Opening Hours 2018

16 December 2018 by Alex

Both of our shops (Chiswick and Kew) will be open longer in the run up to Christmas.

We’re also staying open until 7pm on Christmas Eve in case you have any last minute beer, wine or spirit needs.

Our shops will all be open until 8pm on New Year’s Eve.

On Mondays in January, our shops will operate reduced opening hours opening between 4pm and 8pm.

 Date                                             Chiswick                        Kew
Monday 17 December 11am to 8pm 11am to 8pm
Tuesday 18 December 10am to 9pm 10am to 9pm
Wednesday 19 December 10am to 9pm 10am to 9pm
Thursday 20 December 9am to 9pm 9am to 9pm
Friday 21 December 9am to 10pm 9am to 10pm
Saturday 22 December 9am to 10pm 9am to 10pm
Sunday 23 December 10am to 9pm 10am to 9pm
Monday 24 December 9am to 7pm 9am to 7pm
Tuesday 25 December CLOSED CLOSED
Wednesday 26 December CLOSED CLOSED
Thursday 27 December 12pm to 8pm 12pm to 8pm
Friday 28 December 10am to 10pm 10am to 10pm
Saturday 29 December 10am to 10pm 10pm to 10pm
Sunday 30 December 11am to 8pm 11am to 8pm
Monday 31 December 10am to 8pm 10am to 8pm
Tuesday 1 January CLOSED CLOSED

Sherry – Lifting the veil on the world’s most versatile fortified wine

16 October 2018 by Alex

winery-2096700_1920Long liberated from the back of the cupboard (usually around Christmas in honour of elderly relatives) Sherry is wooing a younger generation of drinkers fascinated by the charms of Flor, oxidative ageing and a wide choice of styles for different food pairing experiences.

No other fortified wine can supply bone–dry, saline and yeasty styles like Manzanilla and Fino which pair so perfectly with salted almonds, olives and of course anchovies and produce lusciously sweet and rich PX for drinking with blue cheese and dark bitter chocolate – while also creating a range of dry, umami driven styles between those two extremes that work with savoury dishes brilliantly.

A quick guide to Sherry pairing

A quick guide to Sherry pairing…

Umami rules….

Umami is our fifth taste – if you enjoy the flavour of dried porcini, shitake mushrooms, soy, nori seaweed, tomatoes, air-dried cured meat and marmite then you are an umami fiend. Sherry’s long ageing under flor yeast and in partially filled barrels causes it to develop an umami flavour making it the ideal partner for a surprising range of foods.

 

Tresillo Amontillado Viejo

Try a slug of a good dry Amontillado in porcini risotto or a chilled, dry Oloroso with some Jamon off – cuts over good tomatoes.

On Thursday the 1st of November, Kew is running a tasting of exceptional Sherries from smaller producers, each paired with a “pinxto “ or tapa, to celebrate the unique artisanal quality and versatility of these beautiful wines. Click here to get your tickets or read on below for a sneak peek of what we will be tasting…

Included in the line-up there will be a Fino “En Rama”, bottled in the spring or autumn when the Flor is thickest, and usually unfiltered; La Panesa, a fabulous aged Fino, Gobernador Oloroso and the very rare 1874 El Tresillo Amontillado from Emilio Hidalgo; Palo Cortado from Almacenista Cayetano del Pino and two sweet styles including a Moscatel from Cesar Florido in the little town of Chipiona and the wonderful Antique PX from Fernando de Castilla.

South African Wine Bar Takeover in Chiswick and Kew

25 September 2018 by Alex

October sees some of South Africa’s greatest young winemaking stars descend on London for some very special tastings. Any of you who attended our tastings last year will know that we always have an absolute blast at these events. These easy-going, charismatic, irreverent winemakers are some of the most fun guests we have all year, but possibly more importantly they make fantastic wines of arresting intensity, complexity, balance, and authenticity. This is an amazing opportunity to meet these winemakers who have already gone from ‘up-and-coming’ to legitimate stars and who will be talked about as true legends in years to come. Our gorgeous wine bars in Chiswick and Kew will be lovingly invaded by five of these stars for one night only on Thursday the 4th of October from 6pm.

Joining us in Kew will be Duncan Savage of Savage Wines, Craig Wessels of Restless River, and David Cope of Alphabetical Wines:

Duncan SavageDuncan Savage made quite a name for himself as the winemaker at Cape Point Vineyards before establishing his own label in 2011. These wines instantly won critical acclaim and a cult following – produced in very small quantities, they are always highly sought after. He acquired his own winery in time to make the 2017 vintage and this has given him both more control over how the wines are made and the space to make more wine – both extremely positive developments for Duncan’s legions of fans! This, his first visit to us here at The Good Wine Shop is a real treat.

“I was a bit blown away by this range from Duncan. He is achieving his dream of zoning in on choice parcels of old vine from areas such as Piekenierskloof and Malgas… to create some thrilling, quite cerebral but delicious wines.” Neal Martin, Vinous Media, August 2017.

Craig AnneCraig Wessels is the self-taught winemaker at Restless River wines an estate that continues to go from strength to strength with each new vintage. The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is a wonderful if under-exploited region and Craig’s world class Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon illustrate this perfectly. Only a few thousand bottles are produced each year at this property and they are becoming increasingly hard to find. Craig and his wife Anne (pictured) really brought a festive atmosphere with them last year when they visited Chiswick so we’re really looking forward to seeing him here in Kew.

David CopeDavid Cope is the owner and proprietor of Publik Wine Bar in Cape Town, a contributor to WineMag.co.za, as well as an avid promoter of unusual and interesting wines. In recent years he has turned his hand at winemaking with various ranges of wines using grapes sourced for all over the Cape. When they first hit the shelves this time last year, David’s Alphabetical Red and White were a big hit with all of our customers here for their incredible value and fun drinkability. We’re really looking forward to meeting David and seeing what he has up his sleeve next!

In Chiswick, we look forward to welcoming Peiter Walser of BLANK bottle and Alex Starey of Keermont Vineyards:

 

Peiter CroppedIn his BLANKbottle winery in Somerset West, Pieter Walser makes an ever-changing roster of wines sourced from various growers throughout South Africa. Many wines are one-offs, made thanks to the availability of a singular, special parcel of fruit – he even made us a special cuvee of our own last year! Pieter designs all of his packaging himself to reflect his iconoclastic winemaking approach:

“When I started BLANKbottle, my goal was to create an honest wine brand that had no limitations when it came to style, vintage, area or cultivars in order to break down any preconceived expectations. Having no indication of cultivar on the bottle makes this possible. Not only does it demand complete honesty when it comes to quality, but it allows me the opportunity to introduce once-off limited runs of interesting wines. Its flexibility turned out to be BLANKbottle’s edge. Something for someone with an open mind and an adventurous heart”

Alex StareySince the redevelopment of the farm in 2005, Alex Starey has enjoyed the responsibility of making sure that the vineyards deliver the highest-quality fruit to create the best possible wines. Alex studied Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and graduated in 2002. He has travelled and worked in wine regions including Maipo Valley, Chile; Penedes and Priorat, Spain; St-Emillion and Cote Rotie, France.

“Winemaker and surf-addict Alex Starey is certainly talented and has taken the estate to new heights in recent years… these wines come highly recommended” – Neal Martin, Vinous Media, August 2017.

To secure your place at either (or both!) of this year’s wine bar takeovers, tickets can be purchased online here. Tickets cost £25 each and entitle the holder to one full glass of wine, a taste of at least six wines from the producers, some South African grazing plates to nibble on, and a chance to wine a signed magnum of wine in our prize draw! Tickets for this event are limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis so act quickly to avoid disappointment.

We look forward to seeing you on the night!

New Wave South American Stars

29 August 2018 by Richard

llama-glama-74767_1280

vinedo-de-los-vientos-tannat_1Let’s start with a bold claim that may surprise some of you: one of the most exciting producers in the world today is Uruguay!  …and to make matters more difficult, the nation has a relatively recent winemaking history and a population of just 3 million. Production is tiny, equivalent to Switzerland’s, and exports are about 5% of production. That is why they are not more widely recognised in the UK.  Like its beef, quality, traceability and value-for-money in Uruguay is arguably the best in South America.  Plus, you have the added bonus that the wines have a very European feel to them, aided by the cool maritime climate in the south. Those cool Antarctic sea breezes and the clay and limestone soils make it comparable to Saint Emilion – before global warming – so lighter, more structured styles result.  One flagship grape has been adopted and is a perfect match for the climate and soils: Tannat (of Madiran fame). Virtually all vineyards are small, family-owned, supporting The Good Wine Shop’s ethos of ‘Good Wine Real People, Great Stories’.

Uruguay is not just a rising star, it is a stunning meteor shower lighting up the night sky. If you are looking for a celestial introduction Vinedo de los Vientos Tannat 2014 is stellar!

BottleShot_Verum_Malbec Big

Leading the charge with a much younger generation, making wine with more freedom and diversity than ever before is Argentina.  A modern, more evolved winemaking culture is developing there. So, stainless steel fermentation tanks and cultured yeast have been discarded and hipster cement eggs and open bins are the new toys. Combine this with earlier harvesting and the result is wines that are fresher than the Andean snowmelt from a Patagonian ice field.

Malbec has been the king of grapes here for 20 years and continues to reign majestically. Contemporary wines have less oak, more acid structure and a regal poise and are much more in tune with export markets.

Over the last 10 years, some 15,000 hectares of Malbec have been planted above 1,000m and some at altitudes as high as 3,000m – that’s higher than any kite flown in the most parts of the wine world. Additionally, cooler climate regions, such as in Patagonia, are being explored. Awe-inspiring, just like the region, is a Patagonian Malbec, Bodega del Rio Elorza Verum Seleccion 2013.

The dramatic Patagonian landscape

The dramatic Patagonian landscape

GH18-GRUS-14-bottle-shot-2Chile is envied by the rest of the wine-making world for its inexpensive land and low costs, pest and disease-free vines, perfect summers and plentiful snowmelt for irrigation. International investment and an export-lead approach have helped its rapid growth. Now, new regions are being developed, matched with more suitable grape varieties, in Pacific Ocean influenced lands or the higher altitude of the Andes. The clear mountain air and skies of the remote Elqui Valley in the north, which rises to 2,000m, are world-renowned. The Elqui is a sanctuary for Syrah, a grape so well-suited to the terroir there, as demonstrated so masterfully by Vinedos Alcohaz ‘Grus’ 2014.

If your interest has been stoked, why not attend our South American masterclass at either Kew on Thursday 27 September (tickets available here) or Chiswick on Friday 21 September (tickets available here) and get to taste the wines above and more besides.

Salud!

New Arrivals for Summer

27 July 2018 by Alex

Lots of great new bottles have hit the shelves in the last few weeks, so we thought we’d share a selection of our favourites to inspire you during this warm weather!

Huber, Riesling Engelsberg, Traisental, Austria, 2017

Huber Riesling

 

 

 

Our favourite new dry Riesling comes from Traisental in Austria. Showing intense but cool peach and lemon fruit on the nose, the palate has the typical Austrian combination of dense texture and lively acidity. Vinified in stainless steel with 4 hours skin contact and 4 months on the lees.

Ventisei Bianco, Tuscany, Italy, 2017

26bianco

 

 

 

Part of a trio of wines from the Ventisei (Italian for twenty-six) brand that have just hit the shelves. The wines are made by Eline Saverys, the daughter of the winemaker at renowned Tuscan estate Avignonesi, who started her own wine bar in Antwerp at the age of 26 – hence the name! Experimenting with her own blends of organic grapes with the aim of creating something vibrant and super-drinkable led Eline to create the Ventisei brand, and we think she has been very successful! The Ventisei bianco is a blend 40.5% Trebbiano, 40.5% Malvasisa Bianca, and 19% Sangiovese, brimming with peachy fruit and white flowers and just generally incredibly summery and moreish!

Bodega Goiania, Txakoli Uno, Spain, 2015

txakoli-uno (1)

 

 

 

If you’ve ever been to San Sebastian, you may be familiar with Txakoli: incredibly refreshing in the sun, high in acidity, sometimes slightly fizzy, and free-flowing in every Pintxos bar in town. This Txakoli retains this freshness and thirst-quenching quality but the benefit of 5 months ageing on lees has transformed it into an entirely different animal. Mineral, citrussy, and tense with a rounded texture, this has more than a little in common with a good premier cru Chablis but for a much more friendly price tag!

Huber, Zweigelt Rosé, Traisental, Austria, 2017

huber rose

 

 

 

Although perhaps from a leftfield source, this dry rosé has been one of our favourites this summer. Jam-packed with strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry fruit, some of the Zweigelt vines used for this cuvée are 50 years old giving an extra depth of flavour. Impressive for its creamy texture sitting alongside a very modest 11.5% alcohol, we highly recommend taking a detour from Provence next time you’re thinking pink!

Ventisei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy, 2015

26nobile

 

 

 

Eline Saverys’s red wine from the prestigious Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG is a structured and serious wine from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. Each plot of Sangiovese grapes is aged separately in various sizes of oak barrels before being assembled into the final blend. Fragrant, with brooding dark fruits, and sweet cinnamon spice.

La Clarine Farm Jambalaia Rouge, Sierra Foothills, California, 2015

Jambalia

 

 

 

Delicious unfiltered red made from a field blend of Mourvedre, Marsanne, Grenache and Syrah. It’s all about the juice, pale red with lovely freshness, herbs and minerals. A full-flavoured red that’s lighter in body than one would expect. Serving this chilled in the sunshine really enhances the juiciness of the fruit and the general vibrancy of this wine.

First Drop, ‘2%’ Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia, 2015

FD 2p

 

 

 

The Shiraz grapes for this wine come from the Seppeltsfield, Greenock and Ebenezer areas of the Barossa. Aged in a mixture of new and old French hogsheads and American barriques for 20-24 months, giving a dark-fruited, earthy style with notes of tobacco and cocoa. So far so delicious, yet relatively conventional, so First Drop decided to add 2% of the fragrant white Moscatel for ‘a splash of funk!’.

Kew is Back Open!

29 June 2018 by Alex
IMG_4703Like a phoenix from the ashes the Kew shop is back open for business once again! We have worked extremely hard over the last few weeks to get the store up and running, installing brand new fittings throughout and filling the shelves with awesome wines. Our wine bar is fully kitted out once again and we’re ready to take orders for all those wines you’ve been missing.
The support from the local community has been overwhelming during this difficult period and we can’t wait to reconnect with all of our amazing loyal customers. Look out for details coming up soon of our official reopening party on the 7th of July!
Thank you all for bearing with us over the last couple of months, we hope to see you in the shop very soon!

‘Unicorn Sacrifice’ Tasting in Chiswick

25 March 2018 by Alex

Unicorn Dictionary

 

 

 

 

  1. A mythical animal typically represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.
  2. A start-up company valued at more than a billion dollars, typically in the software or technology sector.
  3. A rare, almost impossible to find, ‘once in a lifetime’ bottle of wine, likened to the mythical beast due a similar unlikelihood of ever encountering it.

We are excited to announce our next great tasting line up on Thursday, April 26th in Chiswick. Next month’s tasting theme is – in a sense – straightforward: an opportunity to taste a collection of incredibly rare and hard to find wines, often dubbed  ‘Unicorns’.

You could take your favourite red-trousered wine merchant for lunch once a week for the rest of your life and still not be given permission to buy some of these bottles. So, in true irreverent The Good Wine Shop fashion we decided to sacrifice eight of these mythical beasts at once on the altar of vinous edification for just 12 honoured guests. The wines hail from a range of terroirs, from blockbuster, household name appellations to ‘I didn’t know they even made that there’ bottlings – all with one thing in common, they are made in homeopathic quantities and are incredibly tightly allocated.

The wines will be accompanied by a selection of cheese and charcuterie and served in beautiful Zalto glassware. Tickets cost £120 per person and seats are limited to 12 people total to ensure there is enough wine to go around. We advise booking early to avoid disappointment as our last tastings have sold out in less than 48 hours!

Tickets can be purchased online here or RSVP via phone on 020 8994 8184 or email chiswick@thegoodwineshop.co.uk to get your tickets.

Line Up Full

As some of these wines may be unfamiliar, we have included some information about each Unicorn below to get you salivating…

Michael Wenzel, ‘Garten Eden’ Furmint, Austria, 2016
Furmint is a grape more closely associated with Hungary, and it was nearly wiped out completely in neighbouring Austria before Michael Wenzel’s father – Robert – began bringing vines over the border in the 1980s. Michael now tends 3 of the 10 hectares of Furmint in the country. This very special vineyard is planted using cuttings from vines over 100 years old on a unique red quartz soil, both of which conspire to give this dry Furmint an other-worldly minerality and exoticism.

Chateau Rayas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, 2009
Sitting comfortably at the pinnacle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape estates, Chateau Rayas’s wines are almost as well known for the tiny amount of wine they make as for the profundity of their wines. The only thing rarer than Chateau Rayas’s top red wine is their top white. Made from equal parts Clairette and Grenache Blanc, this extraordinary wine walks an astounding tightrope between rich, nutty, broad-textured character on the one side and tense, mineral, freshness on the other.

Valentini, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Italy, 2002
Not all Trebbiano is created equal, the Valentini family single-handedly resurrected the authentic, local version of this variety ‘Trebbiano Abruzzese’ – a process that took 40 years! – in order to stop it being pushed out by the less characterful Tuscan clone. Edoardo Valentini (now deceased) developed this unique white wine in total secrecy, and always rejected modern vinification techniques. Unique among Trebbianos, this wine can age and improve for decades. Almost never seen on the UK market, this mature example (made while Edoardo was still alive) is even rarer still.

Benoit Dehu, Coteaux Champenois Rouge, ‘la Rue des Noyers’, 2011
True terroir Champagne grower Benoit Dehu uses fully organic methods – including horse-drawn plough – and even goes so far as having barrels made from trees surrounding his small 1.7ha vineyard. This Pinot Meunier vineyard gives rise to all his Champagne as well as two still wines, one white and one red. Benoit produces approximately 400 bottles of each of these still wines, making this red wine a micro-cuvee from a micro-producer! Equal in quality to a top red Burgundy, this is something truly surprising.

Giuseppe Rinaldi, Barolo ‘Tre Tine’, Italy, 2012
Giuseppe ‘Beppe’ Rinaldi is known for two things: his caustic and forthright opinions, and his incredibly soulful Barolos. Unlike some producers, the Rinaldis are not interested in acquiring more vineyards, tending their three Barolo ‘crus’ that make up just 3.8 hectares to perfection and producing just 16,000 bottles of Barolo per year. The wines are hauntingly beautiful and the very definition of finesse, this is the quintessential ‘Burgundian’ Barolo.

Cayuse, ‘Cailloux Vineyard’ Syrah, Washington State, USA, 2004
French-born winemaker Christophe Baron found an area of land in Walla Walla that was so closely reminiscent of the terroir in Chateauneuf-du-Pape that he felt inspired there and then to buy it. Since that day he has rapidly risen to become the leading producer in the state. This Cote-Rotie inspired Syrah shows an other-worldy intensity of flavour combined with a profound complexity and perfectly judged texture that so rarely go hand in hand. Now changing hands for several hundred pounds a bottle on release, mature vintages of this wine are normally only found in the cellars of long-standing collectors.

Dunn Vineyards, Howell Mountain Cabernet , Napa, USA, 2004
Uncompromising and outspoken winemaker Randy Dunn has been making wine under his own label since 1979. The unique Howell Mountain appellation sits at a higher altitude than most parts of Napa, making it both cooler and above the fog line – factors that produce a unique combination of slow, complete ripening and firm tannic structure. Dunn’s are probably the most elegant and complex wines in the whole of Napa, the over-extraction and over-oaking so common in the region are nowhere to be seen here.

Chateau d’Arlay, Vin Jaune, Jura, France, 1990
Chateau d’Arlay is the oldest wine-growing Chateau in France with records showing it was making wine in 1070! Vin Jaune is a specialty of the Jura region, and must age in barrel for 6 years and 3 months to develop its controlled oxidative character. To fully appreciate this unique style, however, the wine must age in bottle for a prolonged period. It is very rare to find Vin Jaune with bottle age on the UK market, and this impeccably aged bottle direct from the Chateau is now nearly 30 years old.