Wine Review: Louis Barthélémy Brut Amethyste Champagne

The more we work with wine, the less and less it seems we have time to just randomly open a bottle. Many times we have an agenda of either trying out samples for our collection or checking out the competition. Last Friday we just randomly opened a bottle, the Louis Barthélémy Brut Amethyste. The wine was mediocre but the freedom felt great!

This specific bottle was sourced from London over the New Year. It was from a small wine-shop, Philglas & Swiggot (Review here) located in Marylebonne. The selection was heavy with wines from down under, but they also had some interesting rieslings and champagnes that I had not seen anywhere else before. Louis Barthélémy was a goo example, a producer exclusive to Philglas & Swiggot in London (They were are the importer). The bottle cost less than 30£ so we decided to grab one for a try.

Louis Barthelemy Brut AMethyste
Louis Barthelemy Brut AMethyste
Golden color with lively bubbles
Golden color with lively bubbles
My precious collectibles
My precious collectibles

The House of Louis Barthélémy was founded by a Russian Princess who fled revolutionary unrest to Epernay, France (there are worst places to flee). In 2002 it was acquired by Jean Barthélémy Chancel a young champagne maker driven to make distinct and elegant wine with low dosage and long ageing on lees. Sounds like my kind of wine! The house does not own its own vineyards but sources grapes from crus (vineyards) around the famous grand cru villages of Ay and Epernay.

The Brut Amethyste is made of 50% Pinot Meunieur, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and aged approximately 3 years on lees. It is fresh in the nose with golder colour and lively bubbles. The taste has notes of red fruit, brioche and zesty orange.

Perhaps it was the style or the young age of the wine, but the Brut Amethyste does not rank among my favorites. I am slightly curious in trying some of the other wines as the style of the house should by description be something to my liking. They also have a extra brut and a zero dosage, so perhaps I should have a go at those (when I can find the time). So all in all we give the wine a 2.5 in pure quality and a 3 in value for money.

Wineweek 29: The Last Stretch Before the Summer

Summer in Sweden is short. The spring basically starts in April and turns into summer in June. That is how it should be. Every year, however, the wait for warm weather is so intense that it seems like June is just a tease. It looks like summer when you gaze outside of your window, but a cold wind usually pushes for wearing several layers of clothing. July and August are warm (and hopefully not too rainy) and by September the cold winds return. All this introduction brings me to one point, that is one must enjoy all the good weather one can and take a long summer holiday. So after our last boxes of wines have reached their new owners, that is what we will do, take a vacation.

We returned from Shanghai late Wednesday evening. As it was a day flight, it was not a problem at all to adjust back to European time. On Thursday we were already holding tastings and taking more orders for or pre-summer delivery window. It has caught us partly by surprise what has been popular. We have selected all of the wines based on what we like, but one never knows if others share your opinion. This said we were cautious with the number of boxes we ordered from our suppliers. We were especially cautious with the more expensive wines and Rose, as one does not want to be left with a lot of stock with those. So this of course resulted in us selling out of the Quinta de Saes Rose and Rimarts 100% Chardonnay Cava almost at once (and the great red from Antonio Madeira we are also running low on). You live and you learn.

We also tried some nice wines ourselves this week. On Friday we opened a bottle of Louis Barthelemy Champagne, a bottle bought from London in January. It was slightly different, a very orange zesty champagne with some brioche on the nose. Not bad, but not a favorite. A review will follow. We also visited our old friend, Gaston Wine bar, and restaurant Volt on Saturday. It was a great night out with some interesting wines and beautiful food. If you look at the photos they are taken with my new baby, the Samsung Galaxy S6. I am so pleased with the quality of the camera. The iPhone really pales in comparison.

That is it for this short Wineweek. Coming up next week, we will be working with shipping of wines for the Midsummer celebrations, M will be visiting our accountant and Noma (not jealous at all) in Copenhagen, and we have a booking at a new restaurant in Stockholm called Punk Royale. I suspect (with 99% certainty) that there will also be some wine. Have a great week you all!

Aussie Inspiration at Philglas & Swiggot

After five and a half weeks of travelling in Asia, we returned to a grey and cold Sweden yesterday. Regardless of the weather, it is great to be home – there is nothing like your own wine fridge. Before going back to business and some Singapore memories, I have a few reviews on London wine shops to share with you.

A few blocks off Oxford Street it feels very tranquil stepping into this small wine shop. Philglas & Swiggot used to have a clear focus on Australian wine (and to some extent also New Zealand) but the past years strengthening of the AUD has made it more tricky to sell Aussie wine (and other stuff from down-under) in the UK. So the selection has extended to other parts of the world as well, for example Italy, France and South Africa. The shop in Marble Arch is one of three outlets and I am yet to check out the others.

Service was really friendly and extremely knowledgeable and helpful (great recommendations for other wine shops to visit, this is how we found out about the German wine shop The Winery). The current selection of wine did however to some extent fail to excite me, probably because I am not very knowledgeable on Aussie wines. I only found a few things that really got me in to the buying mood: a German Riesling names Einz, zwei, dry (what a great name) and a Louis Barthelemy Champagne.  I also saw some Taltarni sparkling wine from Tasmania. It’s one of my old favorites, and although I did not see a good reason to drag a bottle all the way to Stockholm (as I have tasted plenty of samples), I am happy to recommend it to anyone who wants a good Aussie bubbly.

After visiting Philglas & Swiggot and spending some time in Asia (due to the proximity, a lions portion of the wine selection in shops was from Australia), I realized how poor my knowledge on Down-under wines really is. There are many interesting areas, like Yarra Valley making some good Pinot Noir and Barossa Valley with its Shiraz and not to mention Tasmania with some great Method champenoise bubblies.  I am still on my way learning about old world wines, but something about Australia tickles my fancy (maybe it’s the weather). A few days before we were due to fly back to Sweden we started discussing next years holiday plans (as one needs holiday plans), and Australia is climbing quite high on the list.