Yapp Brothers Blog

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.



Presidents, Prime Ministers and a rosé to try before you die  »

September 23rd, 2014 by Tom Ashworth

Some wines receive more attention than they deserve, others are scandalously un-championed. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Château Miraval rosé has been getting quite a following in the past few years. It’s a good wine, and so it should be given that it’s made by the Perrins (of Chateauneuf’ Beaucastel fame), but it ain’t the real deal. If Miraval is the new kid on the block, Château Simone represents Provencal royalty.


chateau simone churchill


The Rougier family have farmed the 17 hectares of north-facing vineyards at this 16th Century Château (and former monastery) on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence for 7 generations. The estate forms two-thirds of the tiny 25 hectare appellation of Palette (which is permitted to use a bewildering 17 different grape varieties). Winston Churchill was a family friend, regular visitor to the Château and keen consumer of the wines (“My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.” Winston Churchill).

A framed menu on the cellar walls notes that, when the well-to-do residents of Aix hosted a lunch for Presidents Mitterand and Berlusconi, white Simone was served with the starter. Simone rosé is one of only a handful of rosé wines that feature in Neil Beckett’s book ’1001 wines you must try before you die’, while the red received one of our all-time favourite tasting notes in Henry Jeffreys’ ‘World of Booze’:
“I’ve fallen in love with the wines of this venerable Provincial Estate. The red, a blend of nearly every grape in the world, tastes like a sort of heady Levantine claret. Imagine Suleiman the Magnificent enjoying a moment of intimacy in Château Léoville Las Cases, and you’re nearly there.”


Château Simone

Château Simone


An extraordinary place, making extraordinary wines for extraordinary people. Worth trying a bottle?



Baux Séjour  »

September 19th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

To Otto’s at number 182 on the Gray’s Inn Road last night to sample a dazzling vertical of Domaine de Trévallon accompanied by a decadent menu of specially selected dishes. The eponymous Otto and I go way back to the days when he was buying wine for a grand fin de siècle restaurant called the Auberge de Provence back in the 1990s.


Otto and Jason

Otto Tepasse and Jason Yapp


As a young man Otto cut his teeth at La Tour d’Argent in Paris where he learned the arcane intricacies of the duck press and became a master of food and wine matching – skills which serve him well to this day. The wine list at Otto’s is lovingly curated and very reasonably-priced so unsurprisingly the restaurant is a default destination for gastronomically inclined oenophiles. To reward the party faithful Otto arranges periodical wine dinners when venerable vintages are broached alongside specially selected dishes.


Ottos Restaurant Trevallon tasting


If a job is worth doing it worth doing well so Otto and I pulled out all the stops to produce a selection of wines and dishes that I very much doubt will ever be emulated. I had no idea what to serve as an aperitif so deferred to the creator of Domaine de Trévallon, Eloi Dürrbach, who staunchly recommended Egly Ouriet ‘Vignes de Vrigny’ Champagne. This is a lovely, fruity, citrus-edged wine made from pure Pinot Meunier on a family-run estate just to the west of Reims and I commend it to you. It set the stage nicely along with some tiny toasts of tuna tartare.

Once guests were seated we sampled the recently-released Domaine de Trévallon Blanc 2012 – a heady blend of 45% Marsanne, 45% Roussanne and 10% Chardonnay. It went down very well with a scallop carpaccio served with a basil, ginger and lemongrass dressing. In common with much white Rhône and Burgundy I expect that it is a wine that will age gracefully but it is drinking very well on its youthful fruit.


Trevallon decanter


We then indulged in a flight of four vintages of red Trévallon. The 2010 – which is drinking amazingly-well for such a young wine and has very pure fruit and a fresh acidity. The 2000, which coming towards its prime but has plenty still to offer. The glorious 1990, which is fully mature, sensuous, rounded sweet and cedary and the impossible to source, touch-stone 1982 – a wine we sipped with reverence as there is none left in the Dürrbach cellars.


Domaine de Trevallon 1982


We then enjoyed a dish of casseroled grouse with foie gras and girolles along with a pairing of the 1995 and 2005 vintages. These two wines are not dissimilar in disposition but clearly demonstrate the benefits of bottle age as the 1995s rugged tannins have softened and yielded to a core of Autumnal dark fruit whilst the 2005 still has a degree of austerity and unyielding reserve.


Domaine de Trevallon 1990


We then tucked in to magnums from the sun-drenched 2003 vintage, that exudes warmth and southern spice, and went down a treat with some baked Saint-Marcellin.

To round off proceedings we were served an unimpeachable pear and almond tart accompanied by the ever-reliable Domaine de Durban: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in the 2010 vintage that was chosen for its relative geographical proximity to Les Alpilles and its failsafe, crowd-pleasing qualities.


Ottos Restaurant


Everyone departed sated with a deeper insight into one of France’s most intriguing estates.

With thanks to Victoria Moore, Andrea Fasan, the ridiculously well-informed David Beresford , the Yap family (no relation) and the team at Otto’s for a highly-entertaining soirée.



3G Signals and Classic Cars  »

September 12th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

Yapp HQ does have a penchant for classic modes of transport and we are proud of our own fleet of cars and vans that wouldn’t look entirely out of place in the Wacky Races. So when we had a call earlier this week asking if we’d be a pit stop for a classic car club rally we naturally said yes. It’s not often, after all, that Mere sees a rally motor through let alone stop to taste some wine.


3G Car Club

3G Car Club


The 3G car club has been going for over 20 years and they pride themselves on the fact that a. Like their cars they are still going strong, and b. The cars are originals and haven’t been renovated.


MG Midget - 3G Car Club


Today as the court yard at Yapp HQ was filled with the sound of engines revving we’d guessed at who might be outside. We motored through the current Wines of the Month open for tasting, lots of the 3G club were rather taken by the Tavel: Domaine Maby La Forcadière 2013 – and after a tour of Yapp HQ we waved them off to their next destination (Stourhead, the Spread Eagle for lunch) and we could now not only hear the sound of the engines – but the reassuring sound of newly purchased wines clinking in their boot!


MGB - 3G Car Club



Smashing Plates  »

September 3rd, 2014 by Jason Yapp

My official party line is that personalised car number plates are inherently naff and it is far better to have a cool car such as the 1960s Aston Martin DB5, immortalised by James Bond in Goldfinger, that a Yapp Brothers customer parked in our courtyard the other day and I couldn’t resist posing alongside, with utilitarian plates than an affected registration on a run-of-the-mill motor.


JY with Aston Martin DB5


The reality is somewhat different as I am actually far more intrigued by number plates than I like to admit. I think it must be because personalised registrations represent an attempt to stamp some individuality and character on the generic and rail against impersonalised officialdom. They can also be entertaining and even amusing.

A friend assures me that he clocked a bottle blond in a sports car sporting the characters ‘B1TCH’ which I think shows self-deprecation and awareness in equal measure. I’ve never spotted the infamous ‘PEN15’ plate (which must take some balls to carry off) but the picture below does suggest it slipped through the DVLA’s normally scrupulous censorship.


PEN15 number plate


What is indubitably dodgy is the current vogue for ‘not very’ personalised plates. This morning I saw ‘T20 KEV’ on a silver BMW and I thought: Why bother? A bit like a bad toupée or a half-hearted cross-dresser there’s something a bit pathetic about it. Another questionable trend is when letters have to be conjoined or screws deployed to give the desired result. I was once offered the registration ‘R11ONE’ on the basis that a screw placed between the two ‘1s’ would make it highly desirable. I wasn’t convinced. I frequently see a black 4X4 sporting the characters ‘D1JDE’ which is just trying too hard; and besides self-praise is no praise.

Some registrations seem destined to belong on certain vehicles. When I was living in Brixton 25 years ago there was a black Mercedes van that used to park in my road. It carried the Chanel perfume logo and a minimalist number plate reading simply ‘N0 5’. While that undoubtedly cost quite a bit to procure as a long-term investment it was probably a sound one.


Chanel NO5 number plate


If you’ve got the funds then putting a silly registration on an aspirational vehicle must be irresistible. I can’t think of a finer example than Slade axe-man Dave Hill’s notorious ‘YOB 1’ which graced his 1962 Radford Convertible Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Mark III from the mid-1970s and must have drawn many a smile.


Dave Hill - Slade - Rolls Royce - YOB 1


A few years ago when walking with my family on the South coast I espied the vehicle below and naturally wondered if it belonged to the eponymous mail-order clothing magnate.




A mutual acquaintance assured me that it did not so it is amusing to see that he chose the image below, which inspired this piece, to promote his latest Autumn collection.




Par hazard I recently stumbled across my dream number plate not a mile away from my home. I had long assumed it would be residing on Jimmy Young’s Jag or suchlike but there it was on a tatty Land Cruiser in the car park of my local Sainsbury’s!




I did pop an opportunistic business card under the windscreen wiper but thus far no one has made me an offer. So, despite my predilection for self-publicity my motor still bears the pedestrian registration it arrived with. Now that you know my preferences if you can locate a number plate that is too good for me to turn down there is a finder’s fee of a case of Champagne ‘Yapp’.


JY Peugeot



Goose Neck Barnacles & Other Animals  »

August 26th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

It’s always fun trying new things, and having just returned from Portugal on this year’s family jaunt to the Algarve we’ve managed just that.

The small fishing village of Bergau is 50 minutes west of Faro (thankfully on the Easy Jet route from Bristol) and is all that a small fishing village should be – pretty unspoilt over the years and a great place to jump into various local seafood specialities.


tapas bar menu


We’d been to the No 8 tapas bar in previous years, we were well acquainted with their Octopus dishes and the flaming Portuguese black pudding but they always have ‘specials’. This year we were told that as it had just been the full moon they had a new crop of percebes – goose neck barnacles that were only fished for at full moon – and a famed local delicacy.

It all sounded a bit romantic – or perhaps a story thought up to market the Tapas bar – but by all accounts it’s the fact that the sea is normally calm and the divers can see better under the full moon.


goose neck barnacles


Never wanting to miss a new experience we had a bowl of percebes as a starter – they look like claws, and did beg the immediate question ‘can you actually eat these?’ – our host then proceeded to show us the way – you break the claw off and you eat the root of the barnacle. These are boiled and in effect ‘sealed’ so the taste of the sea is intense. I could see what the fuss was about – good fun, different and within seconds and experience not to be forgotten.

You can buy these oddities in the UK at big Fish Markets I subsequently learnt (http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/oct/08/wild-goose-barnacle-chase) but I think really you need to be by the sea from where they were gathered – and the full moon somehow does play it’s part!


Douro Vinho Branco Seco Reserva


All washed down with a bottle of Douro Vinho Branco Seco Reserva 2013 – a night out to remember (even with the slightly inaccurate translation of my name with the booking!).