How the UK pays 67% of all wine duty in the EU

February 25th 2015, by

We welcome the ’Drop the Duty’ campaign ahead of the 2015 Budget on 18 March. Tax on wine in the UK has gone up by 57% since 2008 but what makes wine duty so unfair is the amount you pay in Britain compared to the continent. Drop doesn’t mean ditch, in this instance, just ’reduce by 2% please, George’.

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Source: ec.europa.eu, with current exchange rates. Malta has €1.77 wine duty.

With Britain having the second highest duty rate in Europe it’s little wonder, when you look at my duty map, that Britain pays two thirds of all wine duties levied across Europe, according to the The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, or WSTA. After all, there are 60 million people in the UK, compared to less than 24 million in Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark combined.

A small but significant step

The WSTA is pressing for a small reduction of 2% off the fixed duty on wine, which is currently £2.05 plus VAT for still wine and £2.63 plus VAT for sparkling. The campaign invites consumers and the trade to write to their MP with an automatically generated letter, and signing up is easy.

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Our line-up of new vintage Bauduc wines, Spring 2015

February 24th 2015, by

There’ll be no shortage of hype about Bordeaux 2014 – ‘an Indian summer of historic proportions’ and all that. Whilst we won’t be offering our 2014 red en primeur, our two whites and our rosé have just been bottled and are ready to go. Here’s a run-down of the new wines on offer this Spring, including a new red and our Sauternes from the 2011 vintage. (2011? Blimey, time flies). You can order them here for delivery in the UK, or here for collection from Calais.

004269-BAUDUC-bb2014Château Bauduc Sauvignon Blanc 2014

2014 has turned out to be a very good vintage, with good weather for the flowering in June, a fairly cool summer and then a lovely September both before and during the harvest. We made this crisp, dry white from the blocks of Sauvignon Blanc that surround the chateau. An upmarket house wine that is grassy, zingy, refreshing and versatile, and bottled with a Stelvin+ screwcap.

The 2014 has just been selected by Restaurant Gordon Ramsay once again as the house white at his eponymous three Michelin star establishment in London, and we’ll soon be going to see Rick Stein for the annual, slightly nervy ’man from Del Monte’ moment. (Gordon leaves it to his head sommeliers and wine buyer, in truth, but Rick still likes to keep his oar in at The Seafood in Padstow.)

Here are some pictures of the Sauvignon harvest. You can order the wine direct from us for UK delivery.

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February news – How the UK pays 67% of wine duty in the EU

February 18th 2015, by

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An introduction to Bauduc Sauternes 2011

November 20th 2014, by

We are delighted to introduce you to our new, delicious sweet white wine from the world’s most famous sweet white wine appellation. It’s more than just a pudding wine, we feel, as it also goes really well with cheese – and foie gras, if that’s your thing.

Sauternes Bauduc - 070 - Version 3

Sauternes has to come from a designated region on the other side of the Garonne from us, so we worked with a fifth-generation grower there and bottled the wine at Bauduc earlier this year.

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Pick your own and other November news

November 19th 2014, by

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What a difference a year makes – October news

October 23rd 2014, by

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Bauduc 2014 – what a difference a year makes

October 22nd 2014, by

We’ve been here a tad over 15 years and have just completed our 16th harvest. Crikey. (Sophie, below left, was two when we arrived and Amelia and Tom were both born here. Georgie, away studying at Bristol, was four.) Another question we’re frequently asked is about how many bottles we make. It can be a sore point, especially with 2013 in mind, as the answer is anywhere between 50,000 and 200,000.

We pick at weekends to keep staff costs down. Sophie, Amelia, Angela and Tom at Bauduc.

We pick at weekends to keep staff costs down. Sophie, Amelia, Angela and Tom at Bauduc.

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2013 ‘cuvée grêle’ back label

It is with some relief, with the crop safely in, that we can now move on from the cuvée grêle (right).

Actually, we’re quite stubbornly proud of our hail blend; despite the *ahem* challenges, the 2013 is the house white at Rick Stein’s and Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous three Michelin star restaurant in London. It’s a crisp, dry and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc. There just wasn’t much of it though and, worse still, we had to be draconian with the selection of the final blend before bottling.

So, what of 2014? Tasting all the fermentation tanks again last night, the whites are showing well. All ten parcels, which are vinified separately to help us understand the character of each block, are good enough to be included in any assemblage, I reckon. I rank them in order of quality and compatibility, and have already decided on the blend for five separate ’lots’ at this stage. These ten blocks are being added together to form the five interim blends as I write.

Whether we blend it all remains to be seen and it may be that we don’t put tous les oeufs dans le même panier. Our private and restaurant customers simply want the best wine we can produce for a reasonable price, and that remains our primary focus. We are naturally mindful that to bottle, label and box up the wines costs 80 centimes per bottle: our golden rule, which dawned on us after some time and several costly errors, is that we don’t bottle anything unless we’d drink it ourselves.

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Bordeaux 2014 – guarded optimism as harvest ends

October 15th 2014, by

This report also appears on JancisRobinson.com and Liv-ex.

There’s a sense of cautious optimism as the last of the red grapes are harvested in Bordeaux. While 2014 isn’t a great year, it could prove to be a really good one for many chateaux. An excellent flowering in June, a mixed summer, then a gorgeous September and first few days of October all give the impression of a ’bookend’ season that started and ended well.

On the face of it, the timing of the harvest and the size of the crop is almost a return to normal, if there is such a thing. The dry whites were picked in September and the reds in late September and first half of October, producing a decent yield of healthy grapes.

La Conseillante in Pomerol, Merlot, 2 October 2014

La Conseillante in Pomerol, Merlot, 2 October 2014

Yet it hasn’t simply been a case of harvesting ’à la carte’, as some Bordelais like to boast in great years like 2005, 2009 and 2010. I’ve been lucky enough to drop in to see the harvest being handled at scores of leading chateaux over the last few weeks and here are some observations.

Five glorious weeks

I caught up with Christian Moueix in St-Emilion at the beginning of October, before they picked at Ch Belair Monange. “It’s a good vintage – very good in fact” he said, speaking mainly of his Pomerols. “And a miracle compared to what we thought at the end of August.”

After a fairly lacklustre summer, we’ve had the best September and start to October that I can recall in 16 harvests here.

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Bordeaux 2014 – the red harvest begins

September 26th 2014, by

This report also appears on JancisRobinson.com and Liv-ex.

The red wine harvest has got under way in Bordeaux, shortly before the end of an exceptionally sunny September. Merlot, the most widely planted variety and the first of the reds to ripen, has started to come in from the more precocious terroirs and from younger vines on drier soils. Yet there’s no rush. The forecast is for more sun this weekend, and most chateaux and growers are holding off for ’optimum’ ripeness after the relatively cool and humid summer.

Even at this late stage, the vintage is still too early to call. The next two to three weeks will be crucial as most of the Merlots have yet to ripen fully and the Cabernets will soon follow.

Il faut être patient et flexible.’

Palmer 24 Sept 2014 - 081

Many of the top estates in Pomerol and on the left bank (above) tentatively started picking their early Merlots this week under blue skies, although we’ll see a lot more activity from next week onwards. The dry whites, which are always the first to be harvested, were picked from the start of September in Pessac-Léognan and later in the Graves and the Entre Deux Mers; what’s left is being brought in now. The only possible downside was that the weather was almost a little too warm for these whites: the autumnal chilly mornings only kicked in from Tuesday 23 September.

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Harvesting in the dark – in pictures

September 24th 2014, by

We like harvesting in the dark. We started the Sauvignon Blanc at Bauduc on Tuesday 16 September and over the next ten days we harvested just a parcel each morning by machine. Thanks to the fine weather, we’ve had the relative luxury of being able to wait for each block of vines to ripen, instead of having to rush everything in at once – and the grapes have been brought in during the coolest part of the day. Although picking by hand has more romance about it, I’m a big fan of picking Sauvignon Blanc when it’s comparatively chilly and away from the glare of the midday sun.

Bauduc 23 Sept 2014 - 060 - Version 2

It’s been a hot and sunny September, yet we faced a worrying shower on Wednesday night (17/9) and then a brief storm on Thursday afternoon. That storm brought hail to some growers up the road, poor sods, but we survived with just some heavy rain for a few minutes.

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