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

JN Wine Blog

Red letter wines (not necessarily red!)

Have you already got a special date pencilled into the new diary?

Maybe an engagement or is that big birthday is looming ever closer? Whether it’s an anniversary, reunion, next Christmas or just a long awaited get-together with friends, we will all be making plans for the future as we open our new diaries and calendars this January.

And one of the questions that comes to mind is – which wine should I choose to make the occasion extra-special. We would suggest you put a couple of special bottles away for sharing when the big day comes round and we want to give you a bit of help to choose those bottles:

For keeping up to a year.

Chablis 2014 is turning out to be a rather fine year for white Burgundy. The wines have crisp, vibrant acidity coupled with great intensity of fruit. Given a year’s ageing the wine will mellow just enough to retain their structure but gain an added dimension of elegance and texture.

Domaine Gueguen Chablis 2014

Domaine Gueguen Chablis 2014

Bottle Price: £14.95 / €21.50 Case Bottle Price: £13.46 / €19.35

Nathalie & Giles Fevre Chablis 2014

Nathalie & Giles Fevre Chablis 2014

Bottle Price: £15.95 / €22.99 Case Bottle Price: £14.36 / €20.69


For keeping 2-3 years

Cote Rotie is often out of most people’s price ranges but this well-made example is well worth the money coming as it does from one of the region’s most respected growers and from a vintage that is already showing very well in its youth. By 2017 this Northern Rhone classic will have rounded out to a silky, spicy and poised red wine. The oak will have integrated and will lend texture and depth, without diminishing the delightful aromatics brought to the wine by the 5% Viognier.

Cote Rotie Champin Le Seigneur 2012

Cote Rotie Champin Le Seigneur 2012

Bottle Price: £35.95 / €49.99 Case Bottle Price: £32.36 / €44.99

For keeping 5 years plus

2010 was a magnificent vintage in Bordeaux and one which will outlive most of us. Put a bottle of this mighty wine away for 5 years and it will reward you with a wonderful spectrum of complex flavours. Produced from 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, it is typical of the solid, masculine Pauillac style; yet in this vintage it has a lively, spicy quality and rich, expressive notes of coffee and tobacco. By 2019 the tannins will have softened somewhat, retaining the wine’s structure but making it more approachable and balanced.

Batailley 2010

Batailley 2010

Bottle Price: £44.99 / €58.00 Case Bottle Price: £40.49 / €52.20

The Staff Favourites

All of us at JN Wine are as passionate and enthusiastic about wine as James himself. Put simply, we love wine and each of us in the shop has selected just one of our favourites to make up this brilliant case. With so much to choose from, it was a near impossible task, but this is what we came up with and we hope you enjoy them as us!


Andy - Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin La Champine Viognier 2015 75cl, France

I love to find hidden gems and La Champine from Jean-Michel Gerin, made from fruit sourced from areas surrounding the legendary Condrieu, is a stunning Viognier. Rich and elegant with great complexity on the nose and palate, this is a real sensory treat.

Maria-Elena - Dehesa La Granja Cosecha 2008 75cl, Spain

Produced by one of Spain’s most celebrated winemakers, Alejandro Fernandez, this wine is made using old-vine Tempranillo grapes grown in the Castilla y León region. Intense, ripe, plummy fruit, with a savoury, slightly smoky finish, this wine is only released when deemed in perfect condition for drinking – good things come to those who wait.

Laura - Domaine Modat Le Petit Mod'Amour 2015 75cl, France

Unusually dominated by Carignan, I can’t stop recommending this wine. Soft and fruity with an underlying power, the  “Little Word of Love” will genuinely seduce you. Great with charcuterie and strong cheeses.

Stephen - Domaine Octavie Sauvignon Blanc 2014, France

The Roubally family who produce the Octavie have a genuine respect for winemaking traditions. Their dedication to good husbandry and avoidance of chemicals, pesticides and herbicides brings out a superb, steely, fresh and aromatic Sauvignon. 

Seán - Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco 2015 75cl, Italy

The blend of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Friulano and Sauvignon Blanc intrigued me from the moment I spotted it. This rare blend produces a beautiful, wonderfully soft and elegant wine which highlights the best of Italian innovation.

Connor - Scriani Valpolicella Classico 2014 75cl, Italy

This dark, concentrated Valpolicella is surprisingly nimble and well balanced. Having tried a number of lighter, fresher Italian wines recently, this was a great alternative - a real, rich treat which doesn’t overwhelm.


Dominio de Tares - Godello La Sonrisa


Ever since Dominio de Tares joined the JN Wine portfolio in 2013, they have been firm favourites with customers and staff alike. Situated in Bierzo - one of the most talked about wine regions of Spain - they are one of the area's most widely respected producers. Using only traditional grape varieties, in tandem with modern winemaking practices, the winery creates top quality, eminently drinkable wines.

Today we are celebrating a new addition to the selection available at JN Wine! Dominio de Tares' Godello La Sonrisa 2015.

La Sonrisa, or 'The Smile', is a wine whose primary purpose is to be enjoyed with friends and food - spreading happiness and putting smiles on faces. La Sonrisa 2015 shines brightly with all the the characteristic aromas of the Godello variety. Jubilant, youthful aromas of citrus, green apple and stone fruit. The palate is refreshing with brisk acidity, moderate alcohol, soft texture and a long refreshing finish.

Godello La Sonrisa 2015

Bottle Price: £11.99 / €16.95 Case Bottle Price: £10.79 / €15.26



Finding Ninot

Good Burgundy is like nothing else but following a few small harvests, we have seen prices rise to levels that puts it out of most people’s reach. This prompted us to look beyond the big names of the Cote d’Or and we set out on a quest to find a few dynamic young growers from the fringe area of the Chalonnaise. Lying to the north of the Maconnais and just south of the Cote de Beaune, this region offers both red and white wines from the traditional Burgundian grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. While the wines of the Cote Chalonnaise may sometimes be described as more rustic, there is no doubt the villages of Rully, Givry and Mercurey offer excellent value for money and are perfect for those seeking earlier drinking Burgundy at an affordable price.

Our newest discovery is Domaine Ninot and their wines have the honour of being our first new arrivals of 2016. The Ninot family have had vineyards in Rully since the 14th Century, making wine and barrels for over 600 years. Young Errell and brother Flavien have recently taken over the reins after studying oenology and travelling to vineyards in other parts of the world.

The grapes are entirely hand-harvested for strict selection of only the best fruit. Even after the strict selection in the vineyard, Erell manually sorts the harvested grapes by hand, making sure only the best fruit is chosen for her winemaking. The vines average a stately 35 years old, bringing concentration and complexity to the wine. Erell raises her wines with skill and care, always taking care to preserve all the delicate aromatic elements that help make her wine such a stand-out.

We visited them last summer and are delighted to see their excellent wines reaching these shores for the first time. We hope you enjoy them!

Rully AC La Barre

Bottle Price: £16.95 / €24.50 Case Bottle Price:  £15.26 / €22.05

100% Chardonnay from the Cote Chalonnaise in Burgundy. Yield 45 hl / ha. 30 year old vines. Hand harvested, full malolactic fermentation. White flowers on the nose with fresh acidity and a round, pleasing texture.

Rully 1er Cru Gresigny

Bottle Price: £19.75 / €28.50 Case Bottle Price:  £17.78 / €25.65

100% Chardonnay from the Cote Chalonnaise. Yield 40hl / ha. Grapes all hand harvested on this small family estate. Full malolactic with a proportion undergoing fermentation in barrel. Yellow fruits such as apricot and peach feature on the nose. A rich white wine with plenty of character and yet not lacking in finesse.

Rully 1er Cru AC Marissou

Bottle Price: £19.95 / €28.99 Case Bottle Price:  £17.96 / €26.09

100% Pinot Noir from the Cote Chalonnaise in Burgundy, all hand harvested. Partly aged in oak. Red fruit on the nose with supple tannins and a long savoury finish. Drinking well now but can be kept a further 2 – 4 years.

Mercurey AC Vieilles Vignes 2014

Bottle Price: £18.50 / €26.50 Case Bottle Price: £16.65 / €23.85

100% Pinot Noir from this brother and sister team in Burgundy’s Cote Chalonnaise. The vines used for this wine  are over 70 years old and the yield a meagre 35 hectolitres per hectare. Cherry red in colour with notes of black and red berry fruit on the nose. A round and supple wine with a firm structure and fine tannins. Complex yet delicate. A good example of savoury red Burgundy at a very fair price.


The James Nicholson Case

In 2017, James Nicholson will celebrate 40years in the business. Wine lovers far and wide trust James's knowledge, passion and dedicaton to bring them the best the world has to offer.

James has personally selected this fantastic case to showcase just a fraction of the great range of wines he has personally sought out throughout 2016. 

12btl Case Price: £140.00 / €203.00

Préface Blanc 2015, Coteaux de Beziers, France

An interesting blend of southern French varieties. The Grenache gives a richness to the palate with flavours of apricot and pineapple while the Vermentino lends acidity and the Chardonnay a creamy core. Rounded mouthfeel and a tangy finish.

Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

Classic strong citrus characters with lemon and grapefruit leading, complemented by elderflowers, with smoky and flinty undertones. A juicy and vibrant palate of pure ripe citrus flavours leaving a lengthy finish with refreshing, balanced acidity.

Pazo De Señorans Albariño 2015, Rias Baixas, Spain

Hints of ripe stone fruits, citrus flavours and white flowers, lovely minerality on the finish. An Albariño with incredible depth and length.

Pra Otto Soave 2015, Veneto, Italy

Made by the master of Soave Graziano Pra, this has  exotic jasmine and yellow fruit aromas. A dry, rich  and full-bodied palate with undertones of hazelnuts.  Great length and elegance.

Domaine Bellier Cheverney White 2015, Loire, France

“It shouldn’t work but it does: a blend of Sauvignon  and Chardonnay from the Loire with lifted grassy  aromas, fresh green fruits and a lovely zippy finish.  Very enjoyable wine”. Chosen by John Wilson in the Irish Times as one of his Top 20 Wines.

Salwey Weissburgunder 2013, Germany

One of the most consistently brilliant producers of those German wines that are neither sweet, nor Riesling, nor from the Mosel, and therefore all but unknown in the Englishspeaking world. Salwey’s Pinot Blancs have a reputation of ageing far better than most. Lovely minerality shining through the ripe stone fruits with a relatively full body.

Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico 2014, Tuscany, Italy

Rocca delle Macìe is a dynamic winery which in a little over 40 years has forged a reputation throughout the wine world as one of Chianti’s most highly regarded estates. Aromas of wild berries, a touch of vanilla and spice with a savoury finish and a lick of acidity.

Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin La Champine Syrah 2015, Rhône, France

One of the greatest winemakers in the northern Rhône, this  is a sublime Syrah with dark fruit and spice on the palate and a full body to match any Christmas roasts or hearty stews.

Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Stellenbosch, South Africa

From one of our favourite South African Cabernet Sauvignon producers. Aromas of dark berries and a hint of tobacco,  well structured, lots of fruit and plenty of length.

Châteaux Laclaverie 2011, Bordeaux, France

A Merlot based wine, Laclaverie is produced by the wellrespected Thienpont/Derenoncourt stable and is made at Château Puygueraud. The wine is soft and ripe with fleshy, plummy fruit enhanced by warm spicy notes.

Cantos De Valpiedra 2012/13, Familia Martinez Bujanda, Rioja, Spain

“This impressive single estate, located on three terraces above the Ebro River, has made a second wine since 2005. It’s a pure Tempranillo sourced mostly from younger parcels, but is still very stylish, with bright acidity and crunchy berry fruit complemented by oak.”  91 points. Tim Atkin.

Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina

A single variety blend from different sites from the Achaval Ferrer stable, recognised as one of the finest Malbec producers in Argentina. Oodles of ripe red and black fruits, fine tannins and lively acidity make this a real treat for Xmas.


A selection of wines from the James Nicholson Case shall be open for tasting in the shop on Saturday the 3rd of December. We will also be joined by Indie Fude and Kilmegan Cider.