News, Expert Opinions and general chit chat from the world of wine

JN Wine Blog

La Jasse Cellar Door is Open

It’s been quite a year at La Jasse! The 6th October 2014 is firmly imprinted in Bruno’s mind as he recalls the phone call he received on his travels from his very distraught wife telling him water was surging into their home at Domaine la Jasse. Within 2 hours, Bruno tells me, 280mm of rain fell on their property – enough to mean evacuation from their family home and the rebuilding of their office. When we visited in January the damage was visible but they are well and truly back on their feet again, thanks to the help of their friends and neighbours.

The domaine covers 45 hectares about 15 km north of Montpellier. Patrick Leon is the consultant here. He used to work at Mouton Rothschild and only looks after 12 domaines so is very much hands-on at La Jasse.

La Jasse has a loyal following among JN customers – many of you have been buying the wine for as long as we have and I don’t think you will be disappointed when you taste this year’s bottling from the 2012 harvest.

La Jasse red 2012 is about 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc and Merlot. On the nose there is abundant ripe, juicy black fruit. The palate is round, silky, medium to full bodied and the tannins are very fine and ripe. They use “microbullage” to make the tannins soft – a technique used very successfully by some of the top properties in Bordeaux. The wine was aged in French oak for 18 months, with only a small percentage of new oak. Ready to drink on arrival but will keep 3  - 5 years.

4 cases (48 bottles) at £8.49 / €14.50 per bottle

(incl. 2 Free Magnums & other Free gifts)


2 cases (24 bottles) at £8.99 / €14.95 per bottle

(incl. 1 Free Magnum & other Free gifts)


1 case (12 bottles) at £9.49 / €15.45 per bottle (incl. other Free gifts)


½ case ( 6 bottles) at £9.99 / €15.95 per bottle

Shelf Price £12.99 / €18.50 per bottle


We also loved La Jasse’s white wine from the 2014 vintage and are pleased to offer it as well this year:

12 bottles at £8.99 per bottle

Shelf Price £11.99 / €16.99


La Jasse white 2014 is 70% Chardonnay, 30% Viognier. Floral, peach and apricot nose, very vibrant and lively. A lovely mouthfeel with unctuous tropical fruit balanced by zesty acidity. The Chardonnay comes from the cool hills of Limoux, a nice contrast to the Viognier vineyards which skirt the Mediterranean. It is a well made, unoaked wine which will make delightful drinking over the summer.


New to JN Wine - Negly La Brise Marine White

A white Negly to add to our collection here at JN Wine. Chateau de la Négly is located in the stunningly beautiful La Clape region, which lies between Narbonne and the Mediterranean Sea, the estate consists of a handful of vineyards, all of which lie within sight of the sea. While all of their wines lean towards the full-bodied, decadent end of the spectrum, they possess fabulous, singular bouquets as well as balanced, seamless and even elegant profiles on the palate. 

La Brise Marine is a superb and unusual white blend. It is made up of 60% Roussanne, 40% Bourboulenc.  The Bourboulenc element is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel and aged on its fine lees for six months, whilst the Roussanne is vinified in barrique. This results in a wine with a vibrant colour.  On the nose there are aromas of exotic fruit, mango, and white peach with notes of fresh almond.  The palate is powerful and generous, with an exquisite note of minerality on the finish which just enhances its complexity.  Serve well chilled, 8-10°C with a Mediterranean tuna tatar. You’ll be transported to the South of France in no time!

Negly La Brise Marine White 2014

Negly La Brise Marine White 2014 Pk6

£11.99 / €17.95 Case Price £10.79 / €15.89



Lights, Camera, Malbec!


April 17th is World Malbec Day and here at JN we’d love for you to be part of it.  This is a day to celebrate all that is good about Argentinean Malbec.  Malbec flourishes in Argentina creating wines widely superior than those of its country of origin, France.  During the 90’s, Argentina positioned Malbec as their star varietal. More than 10,000 acres were planted and it became the undeniable leader of the country’s exportations. 

Each year World Malbec Day is linked with a different art because, let’s face it; winemaking is as good an art form as any other.  Just like a great play or film, a great wine can create mind-blowing experiences, entertain us, lead to intriguing stories and help us form memories that we can look back on.  So this Malbec Day, with your help we’re looking to bring a bit of Argentinean theatre to the shop.  Why not show off your best tango moves?  Or get a picture with our Lights, Camera, Malbec poster for the chance to wine a case of Malbec, or the top prize, an Argentinean chef coming to your house to cook a meal for you and your friends.  Amazing!

If you’re new to Malbec, or just looking for something a little different, we have a great range of Argentinean Malbec here at JN.  Our most popular by far is the Altosur Malbec, a bargain at only £9.35.  This is everything you want from a Malbec.  Its aromas of dark, bramble berries, cherries and liquorice lead on to ripe, fresh fruits on the palate.  This is a perfect bottle of wine for any meat casserole or steak.  Or why not go for our Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec? Aged in oak for 10-12 months this wine shows complex aromas of plum and violets. Again, the perfect partner for a juicy steak. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit special, why not go for our top range Malbec Achaval Ferrer? This is an extremely rare wine made in small quantities.  Aged for 14 months in new French oak this wine exudes exotic aromas of truffles, blueberry and black cherry- a perfect present for the Malbec lover in your life. 

So join JN this Friday 17th April and help us to celebrate World Malbec Day!

Altosur Malbec 2013

£9.35 / €13.75 Case Price £8.42 / €12.38

Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec 2013

Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec 2013

£12.00 / €17.50 Case Price £10.80 / €15.75

Achaval Ferrer Bella Vista Malbec 07

Achaval Ferrer Bella Vista Malbec 07 Pk6

£54.95 / €74.50 Case Price £49.46 / €67.05

Young Pinot Maestros - Doing their thing

Do one thing and do it well.  

In this case, the thing they do is grow Pinot Noir.  This notoriously fickle grape does not tolerate sub-standard growing conditions and Burgundy has long been leader of the pack.  There has long been plenty of speculation as to where in the world will challenge Burgundy’s supremacy.  New Zealand and Oregon are putting on a very compelling show.

Lowburn Ferry

The phrase “great wine is made in the vineyard” is particularly apt for Lowburn Ferry.  

Owners Jean and Roger Gibson are totally focused on growing the best Pinot Noir they can from their tiny vineyard nestled beneath the Pisa mountain range in Central Otago.   They bought the land in 1991 and planted the vineyard in 2000 on a site selected for premium grape growing with its sheltered north facing aspect (north facing in the southern hemisphere is towards the sun), underlying mineral-rich and well-drained schist substructure and its biologically active soils from the previous 100 years of sheep farming.  They are committed to environmentally friendly sustainable winegrowing too.

Jean and Roger are both extremely knowledgeable about all matters horticultural.  Roger has a 1st class Masters degree in Applied Science from Lincoln University.  As well as managing his own vineyards he is a tutor in viticulture/horticulture at Otago Polytechnic.  Jean has a degree in Horticultural Science from Massey University.  Together, they love spending time in the vineyard and this talent and enthusiasm becomes apparent when you get this wine into the glass.

NZ’s foremost wine writer Bob Campbell MW had this to say about Lowburn Ferry in his ‘Top Secrets’ feature in Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine, Feb 2011. “Its recipe for success is location and good viticulture…”  About Jean and Roger he says: “Between them there’s not much they don’t know about growing grapes.  They could do the world a favour by growing more.”  And what Bob doesn’t know about NZ wine just isn’t worth knowing.

Lowburn Ferry is perhaps just about to take off as the 2011 Home Block has been selected by British Airways to serve on their first class cabin service on their Asia-Pacific flights, a serious endorsement for these wines. Thankfully you don’t have to fly first class to Tokyo to get your hands on some of this fabulous wine.  We have some right here…

Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2011

Lowburn Ferry Home Block P Noir 2011 Pk6

£29.50 Offer Price £25.07

The Gibsons say of the 2011 vintage that the wines are ‘typically feminine and delicate in nature with fine tannins and lifted aromatics’.  ‘The wine has red and dark fruit on the nose, with spice, dried herbs and leather.  Rich, sweet dark fruit on the palate with a hint of cedar oak.  A medium bodied, complex wine with concentrated, fine grained tannins and good persistence on the finish.  Enjoy on its own or with foods such as lamb, poultry, duck and venison.  It will continue to develop depth and complexity for 5-7 years.’

“Full-coloured, it is mouthfilling and savoury, with strong, ripe cherry and spice flavours, finely balanced tannins and excellent complexity.  Best drinking 2014+” Michael Cooper – Buyer’s Guide to New Zealand Wines.


J. Christopher

On the other side of the world (coincidentally (?) also at 45° latitude) lies a second region rapidly gathering a reputation for world class Pinot Noir.  The Willamette Valley in Oregon with the Coast Mountains to the west and Cascade Mountains to the east is a sheltered, moderate and relatively cool climate perfect for Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines.

In the years prior to striking out on his own, winemaker and rock star Jay Christopher Somers had been learning his craft in Oregon and NZ learning from the best and developing his own style of making wine.  In summer 2004, he took off to Germany to help out a shorthanded team at vintage.  Over a few glasses of Riesling, he and the winemaker discovered a mutual adoration of Pinot Noir and a plan began to hatch.  His boss that summer was none other than Germany’s most celebrated winemaker – Ernst Loosen.  A partnership started to form and in 2010 they built a new winery Newburg, Oregon.  This old world / new world collaboration mirrors Somers’ winemaking philosophy and has formed the basis for their entire partnership.

“Our mission is to make old-world wines with new-world terroir” (Jay Somers).

“Jay doesn’t try to replicate Germany or Burgundy in the New World, but rather to bring an Old World sensibility to the creation of New World wine – a sensibility that favors great structure and expression of terroir.”  (E. Loosen).

Ernst Loosen is not the only fan of Jay Somers; Wine Spectator’s Matt Kramer named him ‘one of Oregon’s finest winemakers’ in his 2014 Wines of the Year review.

J. Christopher Williamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011

J Christopher Willamette Pinot Noir 11

£31.99 / €41.85 Offer Price £27.19 / €35.57

The flagship wine from this petite, top quality producer.  The wine is a blend of grapes from excellent parcels in different parts of the valley.  This is classic Oregon Pinot Noir with ripe dark fruit flavours, silky tannins and nuanced aromas.  Delicious with roast duck, mushroom risotto or some soft cheeses.  

Domaine Gueguen - Meet our new Chablis Growers

Frédéric and Céline Gueguen have recently taken a brave step into the world of the self-employed.  2013 was an important year for this young couple; this is when they purchased their vineyards and harvested their own fruit to make their own wine for the first time.  Bravo!


As native Chablisiens, the world of winegrowing was never far from their sights.  Both have family members making wines here and both have grown up in a strong wine culture.  Frédéric was born in Paris but his mother was from Chablis and they moved back here when he was 12.  Since then he has been working in vineyards helping his cousin and his uncle during his weekends and holidays.  He clearly got the bug and went off to study winemaking and viticulture and his career progressed from there.  For the next 15 years Frédéric has been honing his skills and developing his expertise working for other growers in the region.   Céline took a more commercial route undertaking sales and marketing and wine tourism for her father’s domaine which is where the two met.  Their complementary talents and experience have given them the confidence and wherewithal to strike out on their own.  Now they are doing things their own way, taking charge of the process from grape to bottle and beyond and making their mark on the world.

As far as their custodianship of the land is concerned, they take a very conscientious approach by farming as organically as possible with minimal use of chemicals.  Sustainability is key.  As well as wanting to harvest grapes that are as healthy and tasty as possible they are cognisant of leaving a legacy for their children.

The property consists of 22 ha of vineyards dotted around the Chablis region, each with a unique terroir and they use minimal intervention in the winery to capture as much of this diversity as possible.  The parcels are then blended to make wines that most fully express the multi-faceted character of Chablis.  The icing on the cake is the beautiful property on site that they have converted to accommodation for tourists – now where did I leave my passport…?

Domaine Gueguen Chablis 2013