Yapp Brothers Blog

CIVL Partnership  »

October 20th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

Here at Yapp Brothers we seldom participate in organised wine tasting trips as we enjoy the freedom of setting our own agenda and deviating from it as and when we care to. However an invitation from the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins AOC du Languedoc aka ‘CIVL’ to spend 3 days tasting sur place at the end of the 2014 harvest this week proved irresistible as there are wines of increasing quality and value to be found here – and Tom had managed to procure a couple of rugby tickets to see Toulon vs. Scarlets this Sunday.


Coteaux du Languedoc


Having left Heathrow under distinctly Autumnal skies we touched down in Toulouse in glorious sunshine last Tuesday and then headed to Narbonne where we checked into the functional but welcoming Clarion Suites hotel, which has an enviable location right by the Canal du Midi. We then repaired to Le Petit Comptoir restaurant for a convivial supper and wine sampling with representatives of Languedoc wine production and various compatriots who share our enthusiasm for the region’s wines.


halte digestive


After retiring at an uncharacteristically sensible hour we were all ready to board our bus to the Maison des Vins du Languedoc in Lattes on Wednesday morning for an extensive sampling of Terrasses du Larzac, Saint-Saturnin, AOC Coteaux du Languedoc and Pic Saint-Loup. Space precludes going into too much detail here but recent vintages have been good. Most growers seem to have managed to pick most of their grapes before the rains came this year, and 2013 was another strong vintage. There are increasing numbers of wine-makers converting to organic viticulture, and the quality of white wines has increased enormously although they still represent a fraction of overall production.




We then repaired to La Ferme Marine, a large seafood restaurant, on the Bassin du Thau for a fruits de mer fest accompanied by a potable Picpoul de Pinet from l’Ormarine. It was then straight back on the bus to the impressive Cistercian Abbaye de Valmagne for another extensive tasting of generic Coteaux du Languedoc and IGP wines, which bought a broader range of grapes styles and quality into play.


Sardines and Black Rice


On Thursday we decamped to the picturesque village of Rouquebrun to major on Saint-Chinian after which we had a restorative lunch au plien air at the restaurant Le Faitout in the village of Berlou which was the gastronomic highlight of the trip thus far. Sardines and black rice with a chilled young red Saint-Chinian proved an unashamed crowd-pleaser.


Maison des Vins du Saint Chinian


It was then back to Narbonne for another big tasting of IGP or Vin de Pays wines before our final foray on Friday morning at Château du Luc in Corbières, whereafter our compadres headed off to Toulouse airport and we picked up a hire car in Carcassone and onwards to appointments with some of our long-established suppliers.

Our conclusions thus far. The Languedoc is a vast and variable wine-area but there are gems here if you are prepared to seek them out, and still bargains to be found particularly at IGP level. You can still eat very well in France although that requires more effort than it once seemingly did. Organised trips definitely expose you to more wines than you could possibly taste under your own steam and it is good fun to taste wines in the company of fellow enthusiasts. It is very difficult to pack in rain and arrive in sunshine. When we have the wood-burner on in Somerset people are still swimming in the Med in Toulon!


after the wine tasting

There’s nothing like a post-tasting beer.


With thanks to: Chistina, Jerôme, Estelle, Sam, Trevor, Guy, Tom and Ed.



Rhône Wine: Old and New  »

October 15th, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

Our recent archive release of older vintages from the Rhône has been a spectacular hit, particularly with restaurants looking to get exciting, great value wines on their list for the Autumn. Trade magazine ‘Drinks Business’ reported as follows:

“According to Yapp’s Bianca Ford, there has been keen interest from the on-trade. ‘I think these older vintages are giving very good quality wines at fairly decent prices. Sommeliers are looking for new lines with more London restaurants starting to compose Rhône lists. The Rhône is definitely up and coming from the last few en primeur campaigns I’ve done, and in a way the high price of Bordeaux has helped.’ Yapp’s 2013 prices are set to be released early next month.” Yapp Releases Old Gems from the Rhône.


Cornas: Domaine Clape


We still have some of the older wines – check out our website or give us a call. If, however, you’d like to receive information on our forthcoming Rhône 2013 en primeur release, please email us on sales@yapp.co.uk and you’ll be the first to know.

Our team will be in the Rhône next week, reporting back shortly.



Library Luncheon  »

October 8th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

To the impressive new ‘Chef’s Library’ private room at Le Gavroche to meet with Michel Roux, Silvano Giraldin and head sommelier David Galetti for a marathon of food and wine matching to make our selections for our annual Autumn lunch this Thursday. That may sound like a first class ticket on the gravy train but I assure you that a direct audience with three of the hospitality industry’s pre-eminent figures does focus one’s attention.


David Galetti, Michel Roux & Silvano Giraldin.

David Galetti, Michel Roux & Silvano Giraldin.


Fortunately we got off to a good start as we were in unanimous agreement about which wine worked best as an aperitif to accompany canapés and soon settled upon a Vouvray Mousseux Brut from Domaine Aubert as a crowd-pleasing fizz to prime palates for the ensuing feast. Then, after much deliberation and samplings of the kitchen’s legendary Soufflé Suissesse and mi-cuît Scottish salmon we settled upon a Carpaccio of Beef with pickled beets and rye toast as a delicious and unusual amuse-bouche that really shone out alongside a scrub-scented Corsican Vermentino from Domaine Saparale.

For our starter a dish of seared scallops with white bean purée and truffled mushrooms was on everybody’s short-list but it took us a while to find a really resonant wine match. Eventually we hit upon an organic Marsanne-Roussanne blend from the Languedoc called ‘Les Mûriers’ from Mas Bruguière whose wild herb notes and oily texture married marvellously with the shellfish and the more earthy mushroom flavours.


Le Gavroche Autumn Menu


We all concurred that we should feature a really indulgent and comforting dish alongside a brace of chest-thumping reds to herald the onset of Autumn. After sampling some delicious lamb and unimpeachable pheasant we had a clear winner – a slow-braised rump cap of beef served with the smoothest, creamiest mashed potato I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. There was universal agreement on the wine front too. Firstly a black-fruited Brézème ‘Grand Chêne’ 2012 – a tarry straight Syrah from the base of the Northern Rhône followed by the terrific Domaine Richeaume ‘Cuvée Tradition’ a sumptuous, organic blend of Rhône and Bordelais grapes from Provence.

By way of a finale we worked our way through the entire ‘Assiette du Chef’, a heavenly selection of miniature desserts that featured a divine rum baba and a perfect panna cotta. We eventually agreed upon a dish of caramelized apples, almond cake and vanilla ice-cream that was a clear favourite paired with our stalwart – Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from Domaine de Durban – a heady, sweet nectar that left us all smiling.


Le Gavroche sign


I’m already looking forward to re-visiting our selections in the full confidence that they have been thoroughly road-tested by the best in the business!

(For those unable to attend, we have put together a mixed case of the wines featured in our Autumn Lunch – available on our website here).



Willi’s Wine Bar  »

October 6th, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

There are certain bars and restaurants that transcend their industry. The roll call of chefs who learned their métier at Le Gavroche reads like a who’s who of haute cuisine – Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, Rowley Leigh & Andrew Fairlie, to name a few. Likewise, back in the day, Oddbins was the launch pad for many a career in the wine trade.


Willi's Wine Bar, Paris


Just north of Palais Royale, at 13 rue des Petits Champs, sits Willi’s Wine Bar. Opened in 1980 by Mark Williamson and Tim Johnstone it introduced Rhône wines to Parisian drinkers and the wine trade to many a wayward ex-pat ‘yoof’…such as myself. In 1988, having left school and seeking remunerated adventure during a gap year, I pitched up at their door on the advice of Robin (Yapp) and spent the next year in their employ. I shared digs in the Marais with Tim’s nephew Richard Manners who now owns a successful London pub group (The Atlas, Anglesea Arms) with his brother George. Ask around the UK wine trade and you’ll find many who washed glasses, pulled corks, delivered fish or ran errands for Tim & Mark.


Willi's Wine Bar


The duo parted company in the nineties, Tim now focuses on the equally successful Juveniles bar/restaurant, 50 yards around the corner in rue Richelieu. However, this wave of Brits in Paris including, of course, Steven Spurrier, whose famous Caves de la Madeleine Tim & Mark bought in the late eighties (I vividly recall gutting it with sledge hammers one Sunday afternoon), were the pioneers of a wine bar movement that now thrives in both cities. On a recent weekend in Paris I popped into Juveniles to pay my respects to Tim who was holding court after a generous lunch. I would highly recommend you to do the same.


Tom at Willi's Wine Bar

Tom outside Willi’s 26 years on.


Working at Willi’s – memorable moments:

  • Learning about great food, wine and poster art.
  • Serving Willi’s regulars such as Chanel’s style icon, Ines de la Fressange.
  • Seeing ‘new band’ Hot House Flowers play the Cirque d’Hiver.
  • Christmas in The Marais with my family.
  • Clubbing at the Rex, Locomotive and Bains with young (now legendary) DJ Laurent Garnier whose Mancunian girlfriend waitressed at the restaurant.

Working at Willi’s – best forgotten:

  • Unloading fish into iced containers at Rungis market at 4am in minus 10 degrees.
  • Breaking the lift at Steven Spurrier’s apartment block (with his son Christian, plus others who shall remain nameless) and having to be manually winched down by an irate concierge.
  • Confusing a bar regular’s request for an ashtray (cendrier) for an order of wild boar (sanglier), to the never-ending amusement of the locals.



Three Wine Men – York  »

October 1st, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

Bravo to Olly, Oz and Tim (the Three Wine Men) for having the collective ‘cojones’ to host their York wine tasting at the end of September in a marquee. We were ready to be sewn into our long-johns for the weekend but, instead, we were treated to sunshine and blue skies. The only shadows cast were those of the magnificent Minster.


York Minster


The denizens of Yorkshire turned out in force, although perhaps not on the scale of July’s Tour de France. Crowd-favourites were the frisky Quincy 2013 from Jerôme de la Chaise – seen being enjoyed by Olly and our Jonathan below – and Domaine Arbouse’s Pic Saint Loup.


Jolly Olly Smith & Jonathan Hoad


Next stop Cardiff on the 11th and 12th October and, until then, you can still enter our Three Wine Men competition.



Autumn Tasting and Sale 2014  »

September 25th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” – John Keats.

This Saturday 27th September (yes, just Saturday) we’ll be opening the doors to the Tasting Room at Yapp HQ and rolling out a tip top selection of wines for tasting that will be ideal for the game season and Autumnal dishes.


Yapp Autumn Tasting and Sale


We’re just now making the final wine selections and setting up the courtyard here in Mere to be ready to roll – as always, it’s free to come along, all the wines in the tasting will be reduced in price from our normal list price and if you fancy any single case of wine from the main list that isn’t in the sale we’ll throw in a £12 collection discount on each case.

Our habitual sale ‘partners in crime’ from Godminster Organic Cheddar and the folk from the Chesil Smokery in Dorset will be with us to tempt you on the way in (or the way out for that matter) of the tasting room and Claude the Butler will be serving his fresh coffee and cakes – should you fancy a break at any point during the day.

Regulars will testify that Yapp tastings and sales are convivial affairs and great fun – so we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

For those unable to attend this weekend, we have put together an Autumn Tasting and Sale Offer Case – a six-pack of wines for just £68.85 delivered, that saves £20.05 (on list price with delivery).

Autumn One day Tasting and Sale
Saturday 27th September 2014 – Yapp Brothers, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6DY 9.30am – 5.00pm.