Urban winery LDN CRU (London Cru) are just about to release their 2014s. It’s the second vintage at this exciting project, based near Earl’s Court in West London, and I’m pleased to say that the wines are even better than the 2013s, which were already very good. I caught up with winemaker Gavin Monery at the winery to taste through.
‘I want these wines to be true to their variety,’ says Gavin. ‘Just because we move the grapes, it doesn’t mean we trample over the terroir or variety.’
His goal? ‘I want to make wines that shock people because they are so good.’ I think with these releases, Gavin has achieved this. Production has gone up from 1300 cases to 2200 with this 2014 vintage, and the plan is to increase this to 2800 in 2015, which is currently being harvested, including an Albariño from Rias Baixas. Gavin was going to do a Slovenian Pinot Noir, but the grower wasn’t prepared to drop crop to get the required quality. He’s also got some new concrete tanks from Vasche in Italy to play with.
Prices vary a little, but are around £18 per bottle in 2014.
London Cru Bacchus 2014 England
Gavin managed to get hold of three tons of grapes from Sandhurst Vineyards, and has produced 1900 bottles of this wine: a new venture for London Cru. It has a lovely perfumed nose of elderflower and citrus, with gentle herbal notes. The palate is fresh, focused and pure, and it’s bright but not harsh. A lovely crisp, focused wine. 90/100
London Cru Chardonnay 2014
This is from the same vineyard as in 2013 in the Roussillon. It’s a cool site in a warm region, 3 km from the ocean. The grapes are harvested early, and will all of London Cru’s wines, there is no acidification. Lovely complex nose of toast, spice and citrus, with some creaminess in the mouth, as well as nuts and toast. Broad and focused at the same time, this is a lovely wine. 92/100
London Cru Barbera 2014
This would be DOC Barbera d’Alba if it wasn’t made in London. It’s from a Cordera family vineyard, but this year Gavin has been upgraded. 5 tons harvested, 3 day cold soak, 10 day ferment and then pressed off to barrel. 15% new oak, 30% tank. Sweet wild brambly fruit on the nose. Sweet and perfumed with a hint of chocolate. Lovely sweet fruit on the palate. Rich yet balanced with sharp raspberry acidity on the finish. 93/100
London Cru Grenache 2014
From Calatayud in Spain. ‘When I think of Grenache I think of Rayas,’ says Gavin. ‘I don’t want power.’ This is from high altitude vineyards and is 20% whole bunch. Lovely sweet, juicy and focused with ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit. Sweet with nice texture and lovely freshness. There’s amazing raspberry intensity on the palate with some grip and nice acidity (pH 3.3). Pure and vibrant. 92/100
London Cru Syrah 2014
From a 900 m vineyard in Catalayud, Spain, with decomposed granite soils. Because of the altitude the growing season is long, and this was picked on the 11 October. 6 tons were harvested and split into three: 100% destemmed, 20% whole bunch and 40% whole bunch. These were aged separately. Sweet, lush, chocolatey black fruits nose that’s floral and appealing. The palate has a really silky, lush texture, but it shows restraint and freshness. Direct, pure and seductive with lovely precision and some fine spiciness. Still very primary but with great potential. 93/100
London Cru Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
This is from a vineyard owned by Jeff Coutelou in the Languedoc. Jeff doesn’t use Cabernet so London Cru can buy it, and the soils are red clay and limestone. This wine is to my palate, the best of these very good new releases, and it’s a world class expression of Cabernet. Beautiful, concentrated essence of Cabernet with pure spice-framed blackcurrant fruit and a bit of gravel. Amazing concentration and power with pure blackcurrant fruit and good structure. 94/100