Whilst no one got full marks in our Christmas Quiz, our congratulations and a Jeroboam of Bollinger must go to Kurt Baker who won with a remarkable 49/50, which we think you’ll agree is a pretty impressive score for such a tough quiz.
With the extraordinary surge of interest in (and prices of) Chateau Lafite Rothschild it seemed appropriate to arrange a comprehensive tasting of recent vintages. Oliver East and I travelled to Belgium last week where a "bring a bottle" tasting was organised featuring all the important vintages from 2006 back to 1982 and three older years. The same group of people tasted a similar range of Haut Brion last year, Cheval Blanc two years ago and Latour three years ago.
There was a review on www.decanter.com last week of the new Galvin brothers restaurant, "La Chapelle", in Spitalfields. Not suprisingly, it lists Jaboulet's Hermitage la Chapelle on the wine list. They apparently offer the rather mediocre 1994 vintage at a staggering £360 per bottle (plus service charge). This is a wine that is available retail at about £40.
Oliver felt that it wasn't enough for him to spend eight hours a day, five days a week with his sales team, and so booked a 'bring your own bottle dinner', held at Trinity restaurant in Clapham. With Bordeaux being the mainstay of what we taste here at Farr Vintners Towers, it was decided Burgundy was the theme and that all wines would be served blind. So what did we end up bringing? Wines from Hungary, Italy, a couple from the Rhône and a one from Germany - 10 out of 10 for following orders chaps!
Customers often ask us how we choose the wines that Farr Vintners sells. To a certain extent the choice is simple as our number one goal is to offer great and famous wines to our customers at the best possible prices. Consequently, when a case of Petrus, Latour or Richebourg is offered to us it's not a question of "if" we want it but only a question of deciding on the price at which we think we can sell it, and then taking a small margin for Farr Vintners. As most of you know, we sell wines on a flat 10% commission for those not in a hurry for payment or buy outright at around a 20% margin if the vendor is looking for a cash sale. Most classic wines have a market price and we always try to find a good balance where both supplier and customer are happy with the deal.