New releases from urban winery Ldn Cru, Gavin's last

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Gavin Monery, winemaker, Ldn Cru

Yesterday afternoon I met with winemaker Gavin Monery, to taste through the new wines from urban winery Ldn Cru, plus the previous vintage. It was Gavin’s last tasting, but he was keen to show the wines because he’s very proud of them.

london cru

There have been changes at Roberson, the wine agency company behind Ldn Cru. Cliff Roberson’s daughter Talya has taken over from her father, and for various reasons it means that Gavin is no longer able to work with the same vineyards going forwards, and for him this was a significant change, as he’d spent a long time sourcing these and also cultivating relationships. So Gavin is moving on, to Vagabond Wines to do a similar project in Battersea, and he will also be making some wines for Vagabond in situ. For example, In February will be going down to South Africa to make Old vine Cinsault and Chenin. Vagabond have customers already who can buy even small parcels of wine, whereas Ldn Cru had to sell to restaurants, which made the project a bit tougher.

But he leaves on good terms. ‘Roberson is a great company and I love what they’ve done,’ says Gavin. ‘I’ll always be really grateful to them.’

So, the wines. From 2015 onwards all the wines got a special cuvee name related to the variety they are made from, and a date underneath indicating vintage. ‘Because we ship fresh grapes we are not allowed to use the variety or vintage,’ Gavin explains. These latest releases are very impressive wines.

ldncru

Baker St Bacchus 2016 England
Sandhurst (Kent) and Great Whytman in East Anglia (Essex). The Essex fruit comes in a bit riper. Beautiful aromatics here. Very fresh and tangy with floral, grassy, elderflower notes. Crisp with good acidity and a hint of pith. Really bright and convincing. 89/100

Abermarle St Albariño 2015 Rias Baixas
From a vineyard in Salnes. Very lively and pure with real intensity to the lemony fruit. So fresh and lively with keen acidity. Hints of pith with a bit of grip. Pure, direct and very impressive. Finishes lemony and vivid. 91/100

Charlotte St Chardonnay 2015 Limoux
12% alcohol. Limestone soils. The soil here is white. 1 new barrel out of 18 this year. There’s a lovely freshness to the bold pear, apple and white peach fruit. There’s some richness to this wine, but also a lovely taut, mineral character, with just a hint of nut and toast from the oak. Very fine and expressive. 92/100

Chardonnay 2014 Limoux
12% alcohol. Did a bit of work with turbidity this year. There’s lovely freshness, with lemons and tangerine, and a bit of citrus pith, too. This has a linear personality, with nice bright fruit and some subtle nutty notes. Finishes with a hint of bitterness. 91/100

Pimlico Road Pinor Noir 2016 Limoux
Pure limestons soils. Two tanks, one had 40% whole cluster, the other 30%. Very little extraction. Went into old barrels. Very pure, vivid, juicy and supple with red and black cherry fruit as well as some spiciness. There’s a hint of rhubarb, with nice grip under the fresh fruit. Youthful and vivid, and needing a little time to open up. This is impressive, with nice acidity. 90/100

Grenache 2014 Calatayud, Spain
90 year old bush vines, 1000 m altitude, open fermenter, one punch down a day. Beautifully fresh with fine-grained raspberry and cherry fruit with nice weight. Hints of leather and liquorice. Has nice acid structure. 92/100

Gresham St Grenache 2015 Calatayud, Spain
Silky and vivid at the same time with lovely ripe raspberry fruit, and some cherry liqueur notes. Sweetly fruited yet really fresh with some bitter plum notes on the finish. Juicy and really vivid. Has potential for development. 92/100

Barbera 2014 Piedmont, Italy
20% new oak. Spicy, vivid and lively with high acidity and a bit of grippy structure, but also lovely pure fruit. This is silky and fresh with pure berry and cherry fruits as well as a bit of spice, pepper and tar. Juicy and bright. 91/100

Barbican Barbera 2015 Piedmont, Italy
20% new oak, to season the barrels for the other varieties. This has real grip and intensity, with some tannic grip and a bit of tar and spice. There’s direct blackberry and cherry fruit with a tarry twist. Fresh and intense with a taut personality but also lovely expressive fruit. 91/100

Kings Cross NV
65% Syrah, with some 2016 as well as a majority of 2015, 15% Barbera, 15% Grenache, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ripe but restrained with good concentration of berry and blackcurrant fruit. Nice spiciness and lovely liqourice and leather hints. Sweet and a bit spicy with good structure. 91/100

Syrah 2014 Calatayud, Spain
40% whole cluster. Juicy and fresh with some pepper and liquorice, as well as smooth but well defined black cherry and blackberry fruit. Has lovely focus and nice structure. There’s high acidity, but the wine tastes ripe. Very fine. 92/100

Sydney Street Syrah 2016 (barrel sample) Calatayud, Spain
12.8% alcohol. Low alcohol, high acid. 950 m altitude, in Calatayud. Very fresh and expressive with ripe raspberry and red cherry fruit. There’s some lovely peppery detail with juicy acidity helping provide structure. Grippy and taut, this has lots of potential. 91-93/100

Sydney Street Syrah 2015 Calatayud, Spain
50% whole cluster. Nice concentration and some real elegance here, with pepper and spice. Notes of liquorice, dried herbs and nice weight. Lovely weight here: fine and fresh with lovely ripe berry fruits and some raspberry freshness. This is really good, and will get better. 93/100

Cabot Sq Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Languedoc
Red clay over limestone. Lovely vivid blackcurrant fruit with nice acidity and good tannins. Structured and well defined with nice juiciness and lively acidity. Taut, backward and with potential to develop. 93/100

Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Languedoc
Structured and dense with nice grip. Lovely sweet raspberry fruit with a savoury, spicy, slightly earthy edge to it. Firm and drying on the finish. A wine for the long haul. 92/100

Previous reviews of Ldn Cru are here, here and here.

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