Yapp Brothers Blog

What we’ll be drinking this Easter  »

April 17th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

As various digital calendars and mobiles start beeping with various messages (mine has been firing off various reminders about the end of school term, Easter eggs and paying caravan site fees) there’s clearly no avoiding the fact Easter will be with us sooner rather than later. Well, later this year with the actual main event is happening late April, I know it’s literally a moveable feast that’s connected with phases of the moon but I strongly suspect the Yapp staff are thinking more Spring than Winter when I’ve asked around the hallowed halls of Yapp HQ.


Team Yapp

Team Yapp


Bianca is planning on staying put this year with her young family (as she said, ‘holidaying in Gillingham-sur-mer’) but with plans for a family BBQ focussing on king prawns the ever reliable and stylish Provençal Bandol Mas de la Rouvière Rosé 2013 rosé will be served to all assembled.

Bordeaux Supérieur: Château d’Abzac 2010 with roasted Lamb for Easter Sunday lunch with family is the plan from Sebastian. Chosen, he says, because you need a well grounded red with decent tannin structure, good fruit and a finish that can endure as long as the lamb. This well balanced claret will stand up to the robust flavours of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.

Richard, our irrepressible web guru is keeping his option well and truly open on his trip to meet up with parents back on his old stomping ground of Kent. Along with routine children’s travelling paraphernalia he’s packing some Gigondas: Domaine Saint Gayan 2010, and a rosé, possibly the Costières de Nîmes: Château Roubaud Rosé 2013. The schedule roughly being, a red for the roast lunch or a rosé if the weather is good enough to have a barbecue outdoors instead (fingers crossed for the weather, not that his Mother’s roasts are apparently anything other than superb!). He’s also got plan C up his sleeve – a bottle of Tandem: Syrah Du Maroc 2010 in case the recent sand storms from the Sahara turn the back garden into a Kentish version of Morocco.

Tom, always slightly left field at this time of year, will be serving fish rather than meat. He’s a big fan of escabèche – fried fish chunks marinated and cooled in a spicy, vinegar sauce. Rick Stein has a good mackerel escabèche recipe, but he’ll be trying a Peruvian version from ‘Ceviche’ that partners the dish with sweet potatoes, boiled eggs and corn. The proposed wine match will be the new vintage of Cassis: Clos Sainte Magdeleine Rosé 2013, hoping the weather plays ball!

Our ‘legendary’ shop manager Meirion will be ‘taking the sea air’ in Cornwall and is planning on being at the beach in Rock and, as long as he remembers to take a cork screw, plans to be drinking the unoaked Chablis: Domaine Christophe Camu 2012 – with some seafood that’s yet to be decided on.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be on a coast somewhere (either Sidmouth or North Wales, we’re still working on various domestic logistics) but my wife’s birthday dictates the packing of some fizz. So, some ‘his and hers’ will need to be packed – Julie is an avid fan and practically evangelical about the Vouvray Mousseux Brut, that’s consistently reliable but is better than ever in the current bottling. I’ll follow suit with a bottle of Saint Péray Mousseux Brut: Domaine Biguet – made from pure Marsanne that is bottle-fermented in the méthode traditionelle. If it was good enough for Napoleon…

So wherever you are planning to be this Easter we’d like to think we have a wine that will add to your gathering – Happy Easter!



Reality Check  »

April 14th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

The Real Wine Fair


To Tobacco Dock for the Real Wine Fair – a convivial gathering of international wine-makers who commendably lean towards minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar and eschew chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This Bacchanalian bun-fight is (extremely well) run by our old chums at Les Caves de Pyrene and was born out of the inaugural Natural Wine Fair in which we participated back in 2011.


 Real Wine Fair, Tobacco Dock


The problem with the ‘Natural Wine’ movement is that it is a very broad church and at the more ‘yoghurt weavery’ end of the spectrum the wines can be cider scented, cloudy, volatile and pretty unpleasant. A good rule of thumb is to avoid wine-makers with beard plats, thumb rings or South American headgear and you’ll probably escape the worst offenders.


Beware Yoghurt Weavers!

Beware Yoghurt Weavers!


This year we’ve been joined by three longstanding Yapp suppliers – Laurent Bunan from Bandol, Marc Imbert from Corsica and Bruno Ribière from the Roussillon. All three domaines have full organic certification and already enjoy a loyal following on these shores. Unsurprisingly with London basking in 16 degrees and bright sunshine Laurent was doing a brisk trade in his lovely coral-pink rosé in the newly bottled 2013 vintage. I acquired a taste for this wine when I worked a harvest with the Bunan family back in 1993, and sitting outside the pop-up pub the Unfiltered Dog, with a bowl of Duck Soup’s unimpeachable taramasalata as I type this, I have to say it as good as ever.


Real Wine Fair - Team Yapp

Real Wine Fair – Team Yapp


To give credit where it is due Marc’s scrub-scented Vermentino and Bruno’s inimitable, sherry-like, old vine Grenache Blanc were also showing extremely well in the East 1 sunshine.


Marc Imbert and Steven Spurrier

Marc Imbert and Steven Spurrier


With some great artisan food offerings, the aforementioned pub and a one-off Natural Wine shop there’s lots to explore at this refreshingly relaxed wine fair – you can bet your beard I’ll be back for the next one!


Yapp stall - Real Wine Fair


Pick of the Bunch  »

April 4th, 2014 by Jason Yapp

Further to last Monday’s posting about the most recent gathering of the Bunch we are delighted that Victoria Moore offered her readers the opportunity to sample a cross-section of her favourite wines from the Bunch in Saturday’s Telegraph.


Pick of the Bunch


This diverse dozen is comprised of six redoubtable reds, four elegant, still, dry whites an unimpeachable Provençal rosé and a ‘pristine’ bottle-fermented fizz from Britain’s oldest independent wine merchant. Those looking to sample cutting-edge wine making from the Old and New Worlds sourced by six of Britain’s best merchants should avail themselves of this rare opportunity to partake of the ‘Pick of the Bunch’!

More information on the Pick of the Bunch case, including how to order, can be found on the Bunch Wines website here.



Bunch Lunch  »

March 31st, 2014 by Jason Yapp

The Bunch is a convivial group of wine merchants who got together in the early 1990s with a view to promoting the independent wine trade, protecting consumer interests (in the wake of some scandalous business failures) and enjoying each other’s company over a few decent bottles of wine. The founding fathers have now all retired and, like an enduring rock band, there have been a few changes to the original line up but the intrinsic esprit remains. The Bunch convenes every September for an annual press tasting and once or twice a year to catch up and discuss issues of the day. The meetings are always enjoyable and informative but there is, perhaps inevitably, a certain one-upmanship as to the wine each merchant chooses to serve their peers.


Paramount Lift Going Up

The Paramount: Lift Going Up…


Last week we all met up with some journalist friends for a tasting and lunch at the Paramount Club at the top of the Centre Point tower on New Oxford Street. If the views were impressive then so were the wines. The theme for the occasion was ‘classic and innovative’ with each merchant contributing a wine they felt fell into each category. Yapp Brothers opened the batting with our ‘classic’ offering – a Champagne ‘Extra Brut’ from J Dumangin Fils. This whistle-clean, growers’ blend of 50% Pinot Meunier and 25% each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay was very well received and primed our palates for the ensuing wines. Next up came Lea & Sandeman’s ‘innovative’ selection – a Castelli di Jesi Verdiccho Riserva Classico from Cantico Della Figura in the 2010 vintage. With lovely lemon and lime scents and a zesty, persistent palate this found immediate favour with the panel. James Tanner then treated us to his contemporary choice – an IGP Lazio Terre de Pallavicini ‘La Giara’ Malvasia Puntinata 2012 – another nervy, un-oaked Italian white of immediate appeal. Then, as some exceedingly fine starters began to materialise, Vicky William’s of Berry Bros. & Rudd fielded her traditional nomination – Yves Gangloff’s 2012 vintage of Condrieu. I am a sucker for Northern Rhône Viognier and this was earth-moving stuff. With a taffeta texture, bountiful white peach and apricot aromas and flavours and a haunting, ethereal finish, this is a benchmark example of the genre. There was some debate about when this wine would reach its drinking zenith but there was general consensus that it is delicious right now on its ripe, youthful fruit. Adam Brett-Smith of Corney and Barrow then indulged us with what he declared to be ‘the world’s least costly fine wine’Leflaive’s Macon-Verzé in the 2011 vintage. Exuding elegance and finesse (the wine not Adam) with a lovely mineral-edge nobody disputed his audacious claim! We rounded off a terrific flight of white wines with our innovative selection – Marc Angeli’s ‘La Lune’ 2012. A humble Vin de France, made from pure Chenin Blanc in Anjou, by a celebrated exponent of biodynamics. This sparked some lively discussion about the ‘Natural Wine’ movement which many of us felt was commendable in principle but rather too loosely defined. The wine itself had pleasant orchard fruit flavours and some interesting nutty nuances but was somewhat overshadowed by its illustrious competition.


Room with a view

Room with a view


As our main courses arrived we segued on to a fascinating array of reds. First up was Adnam’s ‘innovative’ choice – another ‘Vin de France’, called ‘La 50/50’ made by a Burgundian couple in the Minervois from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah. This had both power and restraint with a wealth of garrigue berry fruit over a background of ripe tannins. I think this 2011 bottling will improve with bottle-age. It was followed by Adnam’s ‘classic’ red – the Cape Mentelle, Margaret River – Cabernet Sauvignon 1982, winner of the 1983 ‘Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy’. What a treat – it wore its age lightly with bags of sweet fruit and soft, cedary tannins. This is what is great about the Bunch – the opportunity to taste really interesting wines and discuss them at leisure in good company. We then sampled Berry Bros’s ‘innovative’ offering – a lovely, spicy DO Ribiera di Sacra, Domino do Bibei ‘Lacima’ 2010. Being something of an ignoramus where Spain is concerned this was new to me but it is made from 100% old-vine Mencia and I commend it to you.


The wines

The wines


We were then in indisputably traditional territory with Charles Lea’s Volnay 1er Cru ‘Santenots’ 2009 from Nicolas Rossignol. We all liked this pedigree Pinot Noir with its pure fruit and fine acidity and balance but there was widespread agreement that it would improve with age and that there was a danger of these voluptuous 2009 Burgundies being consumed before they realise their full potential. On the home straight now James Tanner upped the ante with a bottle of René Rostaing’s sublime Côte-Rôtie ‘La Landonne’ 1999. A certain Mr Parker of Maryland once described this as ‘undoubtedly the greatest vintage he (Rostaing) has ever produced. A ‘Profound, full-bodied, muscular effort.’ Already drinking beautifully it still has many years of graceful aging ahead of it. Our final wine of this dazzling dozen was a sizzling Sicilian discovery from Corney & Barrow – the IGT Tenuta di Passopisciaro 2009, in magnum, from grapes grown 1000 feet above sea level on the edge of Mount Etna. Packed with bright cherry and berry fruit and underscored by a fine acidity this made for a suitably explosive finale to a great gathering.

Our conclusion? We should do this more often!

With thanks to:
Alastair Marshall of Adnams [Chair]
Vicky Williams of Berry Bros. & Rudd
Adam Brett-Smith of Corney & Barrow
Charles Lea of Lea & Sandeman
James Tanner of Tanners

Tim Atkin
Ian Harris
Graham Holter
Anne Krebiehl
Sam Wylie Harris


The Red Room

The Red Room



Spring Tasting and Bin End Sale  »

March 27th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

Four times a year we throw open the doors to Yapp HQ and host one of our ever-popular sale and wine tastings. This Saturday, 29th March, it’s our perennially popular Spring Bin End Sale where we endeavour to create some cellar space for forthcoming vintages.


Yapp sale 2014


We’re in full swing getting ready this week, and we’ve already selected some great wines that will compliment any Easter meals or gatherings you may be contemplating.


Yapp Sale Sign


We’re also welcoming back some old friends to Yapp HQ – the ever reliable Godminster Organic Cheese, a fine array of coffee and cakes on sale from Claude the Butler and naturally not forgetting and the good folk from the Chesil Smokery there’s plenty to taste and buy – it really is buying made easy!


bin ends sale wine


Over 30 wines to try and food samples aplenty – what’s not to like! Whatever you are planning for the Easter break, this is the ideal opportunity to ‘try before you buy’!


wine tasting


For those unable to attend this weekend, we have put together a selection of wines as a six-pack for just £64.90, discounted to sale prices and with free delivery. (Offer subject to availability, ends Monday 31st March).


Bin End Wine Tasting and Sale
Saturday 29th March – Yapp Brothers, Water Street, Mere, Wiltshire BA12 6DY
9.30am – 5.00pm.



The Lion Roars, again!  »

March 24th, 2014 by Hamish Catanach

Last Sunday, all the normal Yapp signage had a bit of a makeover, with ‘High Visibility Yellow” taking pride of place. As with many things, momentum does seem to take hold when certain moons align – in this case the winning combination was 1,400 cyclists, Yapp HQ, and Côtes de Thongue: Tradition 2013.


cycle sign


Last year, the longer route of 100 miles was cancelled due to overly inclement weather (frankly, it snowed!) and the Yapp feeding station was just 19 miles into the race. This year the clever folk at the Lionheart had done their route maps with painstaking precision – the Yapp feeding station was at the middle point – of both routes.


Lionheart at Yapp Brothers


We set up and waited for the masses to arrive. Over the next half an hour we had the proverbial four seasons in one day – hail, rain, wind, sun and by 10.30am we had our first cyclist through the archway into the courtyard.

The first hour after the first rider saw the ‘keeners’, fit as fleas and swerving the main food, the cheese and wine just refilling water bottles and heading off again as quickly as they could. Safe to say, as the day went on the more ‘social’ riders rocked up – from this point on we were cleared out of all our supplies from Godminster Organic Cheese and I’d got my daughter helping pour out some samples of our Côtes de Thongue: Tradition 2013 just to keep up with demand!


Côtes de Thongue: Tradition 2013


As with many events we meet lots of riders who were new to Yapp and some regulars, some even remembering the snow from last year with many a comment “the wine last year was all that got me through to the end!” with a fair few of the later riders this year asking if we could fill their drink bottles with wine.


Team Yapp

Team Yapp


The day pasted in a blur of wine, cheese, wheels, bikes, bright kit – and then it seemed as quickly as the hoards arrived they were gone to finish the last half of the ride. The hill that leaves Mere towards the Deverils is a stinker – and I for one was more than happy to be heading back home on 4 wheels but there’s something about these 2 wheeled lionhearters – they are clearly made of tougher stuff!