Mention Chile these days across wine industry experts and you’ll find buckets of respect for what this country has achieved.

Chief Winemaker Meinard Bloem at Casas del Bosque

It’s true, Chile has been producing wine since the Spanish conquistadors pitched up in the 1600s, tempted by just how perfect the growing conditions were for making wine.  Surrounded by the Andes on one side, desert in the north and the Pacific on the west, it proved an ideal land for growing, well, just about anything.  In recent years, it’s been regularly reported that if, hypothetically, all of the Chilean farmers of all crops came together, there would be a strong argument for certifying Chile as a nation 100% organic, such is the limited need for pest control and the like.  That’s quite a statement to make and whilst it unlikely to be achievable on paper, in practice it’s worthy noting that, overall, Chile likely produces the most wine with the least chemical intervention.

Casas reds

A brace of perfection!

Our good friends at Casas del Bosque are no different and we are proud to have listed them within our portfolio since Hannibal Brown was founded back in November 2012.

We were charmed initially by the Carmenere Reserva.  Not so long ago, this grape variety was widely confused in the vineyards with Merlot, but for the fact that it presented a consistently more robust characteristic.  For those less familiar with this varietal, it’s worth remembering that Carmenere is to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina (and I defy anyone reading this to have never heard of the latter!).

Such was our intrigue that we researched Casas del Bosque more thoroughly, introducing Syrah Gran Reserva (aka. Ribena on steroids), the Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and more recently the Cabernet Sauvignon.  Casas del Bosque don’t do blends – they prefer their wines to reflect true single varietal characteristics and they are masters at optimising the fruit and purity in each and every one of them.

To discover more, we’re excited to be tasting the Syrah and Carmenere with Meinard Bloem, Bosque’s Chief Winemaker, who joins us for a virtual chit-chat via Facebook Live! and YouTube on Thursday 6th August 2020.   We hope you can join us!

 

Wow!  We had a blast with Ernie Loosen last night, who joined us for our latest LockdownLive! stream via Facebook and YouTube.  Take a look here>

Since the lockdown commenced, our external events have been cancelled and so we took to the social media channels to reach out to friends, customers and anyone interested in learning a little more about wine in a fun and entertaining way.Ernst Loosen

We’re now pleased to be bringing in guests into the fold in the form of world renowned winemakers and none more so than the great Ernst Loosen, a legend across the wine industry.

Ernst was born into a winemaking family, although his early fascination was more along archaeology than oenology.  But when Dad came calling and was ready to turn the business over to his children, Ernst stepped up to the plate and happily found his true calling.

He applied a simply philosophy – a strive to produce intense, concentrated wines that show individuality and great character.  When he purchased the Villa Wolf winery in 1996, he applied this same philosphy and the winery has never looked back.

Ernst was named Germany’s Winemaker of the Year in 2001, Decanter’s Man of the Year in 2005 and International Wine Challenge’s White Winemaker of the Year in the same year.  His achievements are considerable and we are delighted that he joined us for our vinous chit-chat on Thursday 23rd July 2020.

 

On the back of last night’s Lockdown Live! wine session entitled “Don’t mind if I Douro”, we were nattering about, funnily enough, the Douro valley in Portugal.  How things have changed in the last hundred years.  Back in the day, the Douro river was a fast moving river that required the skill and bravery of seamen to navigate its rapids.  The ancient bargos, known as rabelos, were sail boats with oars.  Flat-bottomed, they were used to transport barrels containing port wine down river to the safety of the city of Oporto, where they would be prepared for their onward journey to London, amongst many other cities across Europe.  Look out for the oxen who had a roll in pulling the little boats through the trickiest parts of the river – monstrous work, even for an ox!

It wasn’t uncommon for barrels to be lost during their voyage and it’s easy to see why in the following old footage taken probably from the 1920s.  Sit back with a glass in hand and enjoy this short movie!

It’s summertime! Get out there, catch up with friends and family and enjoy the sunshine! Our Thursday Lockdown Live! events continue throughout the summer (19h00 BST).  But for now we say “Cheerio” to our Sunday Sessions, giving you time to get out there and explore.

A huge thank you to everyone who has joined us for our sessions.  It’s been a great way to learn and explore the world of wine. Let’s take a look back and reflect on a few wine facts we’ve shared thus far…

Tickled Pink (3rd May) & Rosé – Part Deux (14th June)
• Rosé used to be the result of failed red wine making
(to get the good stuff, go for a producer who set out to make a good rosé)
• Some countries are allowed to mix red and white wine to make rosé!
• France produce 30% of the world’s rosé
• One of Hannibal’s favourite rosé wines to drink this summer is Château D’Ollières (also available in magnums!) (wine in pic.)

Mad about Malbec (10th May)
• Malbec used to be one of the main red grapes in Bordeaux
• Argentina produces 75% of the world’s Malbec

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie (17th May)
• It is possible to get Burgundian styles of wine from producers in cooler areas of Australia (think Philip Shaw in New South Wales – ‘The Architect’ Chardonnay)
• Bordeaux produces three times the amount of wine than the whole of Australia!

 

Sparkling Sunday (24th May)
• Due to fantastic conditions 2018 England produced roughly the same amount of sparkling wine as the whole Champagne region.
• Method Cap Classique is South Africa’s answer to Champagne. Try tasting ‘Jacques Bruére Blanc de Blancs 2011’ (wine in pic.)

English / Welsh / Scottish but not ‘British!’ (31st May)
• England’s wine production has quadrupled in the last 10 years
• The Davenport Vineyard were the first in the UK to get organic status, in the year 2000
(they also have a winery dog called Marvin!)

 

Orange Wine (7th June)
• Orange wine is produced using the method for producing red wine with white grapes (the ‘skin contact’ gives the colour)
• Best paired with food, we invited you to try some delights from our friends, Russian Revels who specialise in foods from the ‘new east’. Georgian aubergine rolls & their legendary cheesy bread were a hit!

Sweetie Sunday (21st June)
• There are x3 categories of dessert wine – Fortified (Sherry, Port, Madeira), Late Harvest / Noble Rot (Sauternes, Tokaji, Late Harvest Riesling) and Passito – Raisin Wine (Vin Santo del Chianti, Recioto della Valpolicella)
• Our featured wine this week was from the popular Casas del Bosque winery in Chile. Best served chilled, this ‘Late Harvest Riesling’ pairs really well with goats cheese or a zesty lemon tart

Cadet du Chateau Claymore

Bordeaux explained…a little (28th June)
• The left bank of the river is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and the right bank, Merlot – if you like soft and fruity go right bank (Pomerol, Saint Emilion). More structured wines are from the left (Haut-Medoc and Graves).
• Pam’s rule of thumb in Bordeaux – good ‘recent’ vintages end in a 5 (1985, 1995, 2005…)

Don’t mind if I Douro (5th July)
Portugal was the first country to have DOC status, way back in 1755
Ripanço is a soft and fruity wine, but also a traditional process in wine making

 

That’s a lot of learning! All of the sessions are available to watch back on our YouTube Channel. Don’t forget to check the website and keep an eye on our social media channels for upcoming events so you can be prepared with your wine and canapés.

Thanks everyone. We’ll be back with our Sunday Sessions later in the year. So for now, tune in every Thursday 7pm for wine and food pairings galore – see you there!

TTFN

Pam, Jude & Finn

 

It’s hard to believe that we launched our live streams three months ago!  In line with the lockdown, twice weekly, we’ve been using Facebook Live! and YouTube to broadcast a light-hearted albeit informative natter direct from Hannibal Brown HQ.   Anyone who’s been viewing thus far will know that Finn the Mastiff has been the star of the show – there’s been a fair amount of stealing the canapes, spilling the wines, but we love the big feller for all his clumsiness.Gary and Kathy Jordan

This Thursday at 7pm, we’re hosting our very first ‘Meet the Winemakers’ event.  We welcome Gary and Kathy Jordan, winemakers extraordinaires from the dazzlingly impressive Jordan Estate, South African Winery of the Year in 2014.  Not only do they make incredible wine, Kathy is behind the ‘Women in Wine’ initiative and they’re famous of their pioneering planting techniques.  Technology all being well, they’ll join us to chat through some of their most remarkable wines.  These folk are an inspiration to any winemaking nation.

Added to this, we’ve set up a little competition to find the best question to pose to them.  To enter, just submit your question for them by commenting on our Facebook Event and tag a friend.  The best question (judged by Gary and Kathy!) will receive a bottle of Jordan Estate Real McCoy Riesling.
 
Don’t forget to tag a friend to be in with a chance of winning! We’ll announce the winner during the event on Thursday 25th June at 7pm

Finn McCool – a clumsy gentle giant.


 

Listen to Jude explain what makes a wine suitable for vegans consumption.

As we continue to endure Covid 19 and all the upheaval that it throws at us, we are pleased to say that we are still delivering across the nation.  But we’ve discovered two things.   Firstly, that as the local dumps are closed for the foreseeable, our store of disguarded cardboard wine cartons (used for shipping on pallets) is turning into a mountain.  Thank goodness for the use of a very large garage, courtesy of Mrs Brown, which we are using as a temporary storage facility.

We’ve also realised that whilst these shipping cartons are rather flimsy, they are absolutely fine for transporting our local orders, thus reducing our overall carton use.  They may not be particularly pretty (afterall, we do love our Hannibal-branded cartons), but they do the job just as well.  So, to our local customers, you may see future wine orders in re-used shipping cartons.  In any case, it makes no difference to the quality of our wines.

An important fact – we are way ahead of the supermarkets and wine shops on sanitisation because not one person has touched any of our bottles of wine since they left the wineries.  The only time the bottles are handled are when Hannibal Brown staff pick your order.  Rest assured that all of our staff are using hand sanitisers and gloves at all times, so the bottles are clean as a whistle.  This is something important (imagine how many people touch a bottle of wine in a supermarket…).
Today’s recommendation – our deliciously ripe Alsace Gewurztraminer from the Dopff winery.

 

Just an update from the team at Hannibal Brown to say that whilst we are sad to announce the cancellation of our Spring Wine Event (destined for 2nd April), we are quietly optimistic that we might be able to go ahead with our summer event in late June/early July.  Of course, we will let you know in due course.

In the meantime, you can be assured that our wine retail business continues.  Our office has had a deep clean, as have our vehicles and our dedicated couriers, and we have instigated on-going measures to keep us and you as safe as possible.

Should you wish to buy wine from us, our delivery service as normal.  But we won’t be asking for a signature upon delivery and we will be keeping a minimum 2 metre distance apart.  Packing is all being carried out using hand sanitiser and gloves.

We hope that you will have the confidence to purchase your wines from us in the coming weeks and months.   There are so many great wines to choose from these days, and our portfolio continues to emphasise organic wines as a healthier option.

Stay safe and healthy and feel free to give us a call anytime – we always have time to chat about wine – 020 3876 8008.  Best wishes, Pam & Jude.

Hillary, Edie & Barry

Everyone put your paws together and say a big ‘hoorah’ and ‘thank you’ for all the hard efforts and support and the funds we raised for the Guide Dogs at our Autumn Wine & Food Event.  Near on 100 people attended the event (held in Trinity Hall, Wimbledon) and were tantalised by a wide variety of specialist wines from around the world, along with the most delicious canapes from Elliot Johnson-Paul of JP Dining.  Imagine ox cheek croquettes with a Chateauneuf du Pape.

Drum roll please……we raised the grand total of:
£810.90!!!

This was through donations from tickets, wine sales, Bubbles Bar, ‘Name that Grape’ and the raffle.

Big Thanks to:

Elliot Johnson-Paul – JP Dining – jpdining.co.uk – He will transform your special occasion into something exceptional, with a unique private dining experience

Elliot Johnson-Paul

Samantha Carr – Magnetix – samantha.magnetix-wellness.comfor donating the magic Dog Collar, for the raffle, which contains magnets and negative ions for better health and wellbeing for your dog.   Check out the website for more info and fab items for humans too.


The Crowd

Hillary and Edie – for the wonderful presentation and demonstration!

All of you – for your generous contributions.

We hope you can make the next tasting on Thursday 12th December, in Wimbledon (same venue) where it will be full of festive cheer!

  • Taste 25+ Wines
  • Festive canapé pairing presentation
  • Live Music

Taste and select your Christmas wines and pick up some lovely gifts.  See you there!

Christmas wine tasting ticket

Click for more info

See you on the 12th December!

Guide Dogs?  Yes, Guide Dogs!  This special Autumn wine tasting (Wed 23rd October) is being held in support of the Guide Dogs.  By simply attending, you’ll be helping us support this amazing cause.  And of course, YOU taste the wines, not the dogs! * sample 24+ fabulous artisan wines from around the world* enjoy mini wine masterclass with Michelin standard canapés from Elliot Johnson-Paul of JP Dining (jpdining.co.uk)* take part in our special fund-raiser competition to win the most curious prizes (you’ll have to attend to discover what they are…)* Meet the best trained dogs in the land! There will be representatives (human and canine) from the Guide Dogs to answer questions and talk about their fabulous organisation. If you haven’t been to a Hannibal Brown wine event recently, then you’re in for a treat.  Best described by one of our previous guests as an educational party”! EVENT DETAILSWeds 23rd OctoberTrinity Hall, Mansell Road, WimbledonDoors open :  18:45 – 21:30£28 per head To book, just respond to this email or :call : 0203 876 8008  /  team@hannibalbrown.com  /  hannibalbrown.com/autumn-wine-tasting We look forward to welcoming you there and please help us spread the word – the more people joining us drinking fabulous wine and eating delicious canapés, the more money will be raised for this great cause.  Help us help them change someone’s life.#guidedogsuk