WELCOME TO CLARION WINES
Clarion Wines has grown out of the combined experience of three very different partners, with between them a little over 60 years in the Wine Trade. We are united by our ambition to work for ourselves in complete independence, running a small and efficient business which can deliver precisely what you are looking for at a fair price, with a strong emphasis on service and without the complications which can sometimes attend dealing with larger firms. This aim applies whether you are a buyer of regular drinking wines, or a collector of the greatest wines that France and Italy have to offer - as our ever-changing list covers an extraordinary breadth of both price and style.
The intention of our website is to show you all of the wines we have in stock along with our list of fine and rare wines, which includes wines owned by Clarion as well as stock to which we have access on a broking basis from various carefully controlled sources. In addition, you can see other special offers, wines offered regionally 'en primeur' and our full range of events and services. Whatever you are looking for please get in touch and we will do our very best to help.
We have tried to provide detailed information on the wines and their producers for those who are interested in finding out more - while keeping the amounts of immediately visible text to manageable levels.
If you feel there is room for improvement in any area, do please let us know - we are always happy to try and make things better in the hopes that you will keep coming back.
2014 Burgundy En Primeur
The 2014 growing season was a mass of contradictions, with many factors turned on their heads – but as one grower remarked, if the beginning and end are good, then what happens in between (within reason!) is less important. Just as well. After a mild and damp winter, spring brought considerably warmer and drier conditions that usual. Rainfall was 50% lower than the average, and the warmth produced the earliest bud-break for 30 years. Flowering also took place in good conditions and the heat continued into June. But the pattern then deteriorated, firstly with a hail storm – devastating in parts of the Côte de Beaune – on 28th June, and then with very cool, wet weather in July in August with rainfall at 65% above the average for the two months, and hours of sun 23% below the average. However, the health of the grapes was saved by two factors – carefully treatment by growers, particularly those whose May treatments broke the cycle of mildew and oidium; and the cool temperatures brought by steady north winds which prevented any onset of rot. Then September turned as dry as August had been wet, with glorious Indian Summer weather and a third more hours of sun than the average for the month. Oddly, and despite the dismal weather in July and August, hours of sun between January and September were 9% above the average, and wide variations between day and night temperatures in September added to the complexity in the fruit. Quantities were reduced by the need to select carefully to remove fruit damaged by the dreaded suzuki flies, on average by about 15%; much more of course in vineyards damaged by the June hail. 2014 is best described as a classic vintage, full of precise flavours, with wonderfully textured tannins. The wines are approachable, and also have considerable potential thanks to their good structure and excellent levels of acidity. A very fine and versatile vintage.
2014 Rhone En Primeur
As so many others will doubtless also write, 2014 is undoubtedly a “growers’ vintage”. With the weather patterns described variously as “complicated”, “temperamental” and “capricious”, the work in the vineyards during the growing season was more critical than ever to the quality of the wines made. After a mild winter and an early spring, the vines got off to a flying start; with the very hot first two weeks of June, flowering was early and quick, and the vines about 3 weeks ahead of normal. But the much cooler, wetter weather which followed for most of July and early August (August saw almost twice the average rainfall for the month), reduced this advance by at least 2 weeks and, in some cases, more. With so much moisture around there was an abundance of foliage, and canopy management was therefore essential. Steep slopes and well drained soils were also a great advantage. From late August, the weather improved, and conditions in the two to three weeks immediately before the harvest were very favourable. Those who managed their vines well, and sorted rigorously to eliminate damaged fruit (suzuki flies, which puncture healthy grapes, turning them bad, were a particular problem in this vintage) produced excellent results.
The white wines are especially good, as alcohol levels are a little lower than average, allowing the wines to show wonderful minerality and freshness. The reds have terrific purity, precision and ripeness. Quantities are small across the board, and this means that many growers have not produced separate cuvées as in more generous years – a disappointment for some, but a great advantage to the ‘lesser’ cuvées which therefore benefit from the inclusion of the very best fruit. A fine, classic vintage, sensibly priced, for early to mid-term drinking.