Click to read tasting notes on our selections for February's case of the month - 15% off some of the very best biodynamic wines from France, Germany, Spain and Italy
February picks from across Europe
Mr Wregg gives us the lowdown on his predictions for the year ahead…
I Predict a Quiet Riot
Checking the pulse of the UK alternative wine scene... Click to read more.
The UK's Alternative Wine Scene
Read all about the latest Australian delights from Domaine Lucci, Patrick Sullivan, Gentle Folk & Bill Downie...
New Australian Wines
The Real Wine Fair returns with a bang and launches brand spanking new website! Click here to preview.
Real Wine Fair, 2016
Brand New Event Website
A celebratory evening for Les Caves at the annual Harpers Wine & Spirit Awards!
Best in show
Les Caves Wins Harpers Award
After a break of one year, the Real Wine Fair is returning to Tobacco Dock in Wapping on 17-18 April 2016.
The Real Wine Fair
Event Returns to Wapping!
Les Caves de Pyrene had the pleasure of exhibiting at the Three Wine Men tasting on the 4th & 5th December at Church House, Westminster! Click to find out more...
THREE WINE MEN REVIEWED
Our Wines Shine at Celebrity Tasting
Joyous energy in evidence at Les Caves' Italian tasting at Vini Italiani in South Kensington...
Tasting Takes in Tuscany & Beyond
Our new portfolio of Californian and Oregon producers was showing well in an autumn tasting at The Orangery, Cavendish Square in London. Here's a selection of the wines that Les Caves staff found most enticing
Staff picks from US tasting
A gastronomic tasting tour of London with our Spanish expert David Canadas
Real Sherry Tapas Walks
Fine sherry and fine dining
Owner of Golden Cluster Jeff Vejr tells us about the development of winemaking in Oregon and a tale of rediscovered Semillon vines...
Interview with Oregon's Jeff Vejr
Les Caves' Feats of Clay tasting brought together 15 producers and more than 40 wines, all with the distinction of having being vinified in clay pots: qvevri, amphora or tinaja.
Feats of Clay tasting
When the celebrated steakhouse Hawksmoor opened its first northern outpost, Les Caves de Pyrene was on board to provide four wines for its eclectic list...
House wine at Hawksmoor
Spanish red, perfect for steak
The story of a Chilean winemaking family, their friendly horses, and some crazy vines
The wild vineyard
Villalobos: the art of nature
THE LES CAVES TEAM
Affectionately known as Le Grand Fromage. An all-action rugby player until his knees (and various other parts) gave out, Eric moved to England in the 1980s, taking up the cause of natural wines from his homeland with typically Occitan flair. Now dividing his time between London and Sicily (making wine on the slopes of Mount Etna with partner Anna Martens and their two sons), he is very much the spirit and guiding light of Les Caves de Pyrene, its presiding palate and ideas guru.
Founder & Chairman
The voice of reason. Amy’s efficiency and super-powers of organisation have propelled her speedily through the ranks at Les Caves de Pyrene. Since becoming operations manager in 2013, she has been the very glue of the company - involved in every aspect of organisation and corporate strategy. In 2015 Amy was appointed managing director - despite the gravitas that the position confers she is still the partiest animal in the Les Caves menagerie.
Former sommelier Doug was an early recruit to Eric’s merry band and is author to the epic poem/doorstop that is the Les Caves de Pyrene wine list. Recently, he has been allowed out to play and is cultivating a role as a wine buyer in several foreign fields. The rest of his time is spent herding stray cats in the sales team and blogging his heart out. His appearances at the office are so infrequent that he is reputed to be a mythical creature and for this reason has acquired his folkloric sobriquet, Sir Wregg.
Sales & Marketing Director
As Philippe can testify, it is dangerous to get drunk with Eric because you may find the King's Shilling at the bottom of your glass. Our senior French wine buyer looks after some pretty groovy accounts in London, where he will often take a "quick bite of lunch". For three hours. Monsieur Lubac has accumulated a formidable personal cellar over the years (or, as we call it, Grand Cru Cooking Burgundy), his knowledge of the wines of the Rhone valley is encyclopaedic and he never wears the same tasteful designer t-shirt twice.
Director & French Buyer
David is one of a long line of members of staff hewn from the Oddbins block and our expert on all things Iberican. He was born in Madrid but raised in Letchworth, somehow emerging from this reversal of fortunes with humour and grace intact. Having resolutely put Spain on the map for Les Caves de Pyrene, he also doubles as senior account manager and is trying to teach the world to love and respect sherry.
Director & Spanish Buyer
Half-French and half-Italian (Fritalian?), Didier wears two colourful Mediterranean hats - but not at the same time. He first encountered Les Caves whilst working behind the bar at Cellar Gascon in Smithfield, where the Pacherenc flowed unpronounceably alongside the gateau basque. He started at Les Caves on the phones (as we say) before eventually donning the shoe leather as a sales rep. A key member now of the sales and management team, Didier also shares responsibility for buying the wines of his mother-and-father-lands.
Director & Italian Buyer
Our Dario is a mash up of Sardinian and German genes. Pick the Riesling bones out of that Cannonau. Now a double-digit Les Caves vet Dario not only sells our Italian portfolio to the London, ahem, (rhymes with raffia), but as part of the Italian buying team, liaises with our many growers. His regional wine maps are a thing of beauty – and very useful to boot, and his customer trips to the land of the boot are planned with military precision, guaranteed to result in shock and awe.
Italian Buyer & Sales Representative
After graduating from Bristol University, by way of Oddbins, erudite Will crossed paths with a certain Mr Scholes when serving him a Guinness (what else?) at a local pub and was persuaded that he would be better off at a certain company up the road... He has embraced the challenge magnificently, and may often be spotted wistfully swirling a glass of something cloudy as he makes his rounds, accosting anyone prepared to listen to his ramblings on carbonic maceration and the judicious use of sulphur.
24/7 party animal Carlo has more nicknames than any one at Les Caves. Lupo. Bello. Bello Lupo. And Lupo Bello. (We’re not very imaginative). A native of Puglia, and a talented former-sommelier, Lupo has a fearsomely good palate and can spot cork taint before the bottle is even opened. He brings colourful emotion to the monochromatic world of wine-selling and has many devoted customers to whom he is also devoted and can be observed of an evening carousing in all of Hackney’s brightest and beautiful watering-holes.
AKA Boardie. Yes, we’re that good with nicknames. James patrols the southern borders of our sales empire, seeking to educate the natives in the ways of the natural force (thereby needing the patience of a small green Jedi). Recently, James has been blessed by fatherhood. The twins should keep him out of mischief for the next eighteen years. One of life’s natural athletes, James is a mean footballer and can whack a golf ball with alacrity miles into the fynbos in the Bot River region.
Sun-worshipping Patricia once had the thankless task of selling us wine. Now she drives her company jalopy epically hither and yon (especially yon) to meet customers across the four corners of our pleasant land. Mastermind specialties? "Travel Inn Locations" and "Getting a Hot Meal on the Isle of Man after 9.00 pm". In her spare time she polishes her French credentials taking prolonged ciggie breaks, drinking brutally strong coffee and diving in the warm waters of the Med to work up a thirst.
Mr one N and two Ts is a sun-baked roué, can party like it’s 1974 and is liable to launch into a segway of the filthiest ditties and shanties known to man. Phil’s past is equally as colourful as his occasional singing forays and he speaks Spanish with the confident lithp of a native hipther. The genial Jekyll side to his Mr Hyde is muchos respected by his customers, who value his diligence, politeness and willingness to wine-train recalcitrant members of staff who’d muchos rather be sinking a few lagers!
Inveigled to join Les Caves many moons ago when he was the buyer for Villandry restaurant, rugby-dad Gid manages only behemoth accounts - with the odd gargantuan one. All the world’s his spreadsheet; he loves marshalling his armies of statistics. He buttonholes our buyers with requests for wines that we’ve never heard of (decent Prosecco rose, decent Pinot Grigio rose…). No blush Zin so far... A danger to the Atlantic pulpo population he’s racked up more trips to Galicia than the rest of the company put together.
Laura, the most recent recruit to the merry band of sales folk, hails from Ireland and still sports the gentle brogue of her homeland. She formerly worked at a biodynamic Italian wine estate, immersing herself thoroughly in wine (not literally) and there acquired her love of the subject and Italian culture. On her return to Blighty she managed the award-winning Loire-focused wine list at The Green Man & French Horn, where she acquired the priceless Les Caves ability to wax lyrical on the 57 varieties of Chenin.
No serious party in South London is worth its salt without a visitation by the TT. Former general manager of the Lindsay House in Soho our own Mr Congeniality has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the late night/early morning watering holes in London. When he isn’t selling his reproduction French(y) furniture for an armchair or a table leg TT consorts with the upper echelons of the French restaurant, ahem,… rhymes with mafia.
With the Mission Impossible theme playing in the background our Elena P pilots the supertanker that is the CdP shipping department. She is the multi-tasking polyglot’s polyglot conversing at a million miles an hour with our growers across the planet. She’s thoroughly familiarised herself with the arcane procedures of groupage, shipping procedures, types of containers – an education in itself. Cracking the whip (in the nicest possible way) Elena ensures that we receive wines from the farthest shores of manana-shire (except Crete).
Charles “Mr” Porter used to drive one of our battered old vans in the days of waybackwhen delivering Gascon goodies to the local French bistros and pubs. Now he sits in the shipping lane despatching orders all o’er and wrestling with the linguistic linguine of unpronounceable cuvées and growers’ names. A keen cyclist our Mr Porter has also been known to take to the high seas (or the Solent) in a yacht, trying to avoid the shipping lanes!
Signor Jackson (told you our nicknames were imaginative) is our shipping magnet (boom-boom) and pores over the ancient runes (and ruins) of our stock sheets. Tipple-wise he’s not averse to the Pinot-ier things in life - Gevrey-Chambertin goes down well apparently. His other knotted handkerchief is as a DJ extraordinaire, and he’s wont to wax lyrical on the esoterica of mixing desks and whatnot. His fave rave destinations include Thailand and Cambodia and a certain wine bar in Barcelona.
Another of our resident polyglots Laura can converse in French, Spanish with a little Italian. Her language degree led initially to a career selling book rights (her proudest claim is to have sold books on French cheese to the French). Dealing with three children under the age of 3 has given her experience in time management and diplomacy, useful for working in our busy shipping department! Laura’s not averse to wine with bubbles (Champalou Brut a fave tipple, Gerbais if you’re paying), otherwise prefers to sup the light ‘n’ fruity stuff.
Skilful linguist Vanessa is often given the unenviable task of contacting our more hermetic growers to prise info out of them. An essential part of the Real Wine Fair organising team, she’s goddess of the spreadsheets and has perforce had to immerse herself in any sort of organisation and logistics. Known as Audrey Hepburn (the eyes have it!) Ness loves anything artsy-crafty and peddled her craft (or bike) all the way from London to Paris recently. She loves a good Prosecco – Coste Piane is a particular favourite!
PR & Events
Yolanda’s creative skills have been put to great use looking after Les Caves’ and the Real Wine marketing and websites. She did a brilliant job designing the RWF site. A seafood enthusiast (not to mention chocoholic) ‘Landa loves a crisp white – Albarino or Picpoul, for choice. When she’s not up to her elbows in the virtual world she dreams of visiting The Great Barrier Reef and her outdoorsiness extends to climbing Ben Nevis at midnight recently – which is what any sane person would do rather than spending a night in Fort William!
PR & Events
Vicky is another member of our superstar team beavering away in PR and events. She is responsible for updating our multiple lists and trying to upload the avalanche of new wines that arrive unannounced every month. (It aint gonna stop!). An avid tea drinker and amazing chef she loves holidays and sunshine and is a big rugby fan – no surprise having spent eight months in New Zealand. Vicky’s idea of bliss (which is how they say bless in NZ) is a chilled glass of Albarino o’erlooking an azure seascape.
PR & Events
Ben joined Les Caves at a tender age upon graduating from Plumpton College. He heads up the crack team on our sales desk, doing his utmost to keep our customers happy and their glasses full. Ben sports a bewildering array of eclectic tastes in film, music and literature, and is a gung-ho adventurer, liable to take himself off to some of the less hospitable corners of the globe - including North Korea and Eastern Ukraine. Being no stranger to danger he should be right at home with volatile natural wines.
Head of Sales Support
Having a family connection to the wine industry, it must have been fate (or perhaps the scent of Prosecco) that led Lady Shuckburgh to our doorstep and she has since become our longest-serving Sales Support team-member, her diligence and sunny outlook proving an invaluable asset. Sophie is a lover of all things sparkling, La Biancara’s Garg-n-Go being her latest discovery. As well as gargling and going our Sophie is honing her baking skills. We now know garlic butter definitely doesn’t work in chocolate cake.
Leaving behind her career in the world of opera and classical music, Breton-born cellist Line has brought her vibrant, spirited nature to the Sales Support orchestra. When it comes to imbibing, she has always possessed a suitably esoteric palate (aubergine tea anyone?) but the latest string to her vinous bow has been the discovery of the strange charms of the Savagnin grape. She has now set herself the immense task of ‘tasting the Jura’. Expect our minuscule allocations of Ganevat and Houillon to be further reduced to satisfy the curiosity of this avid taster!
One of our more recent recruits to the Sales Support Team, banjo-playing, bird-watching mathematician (what are the odds of that??) James has brought his eternally cheerful outlook and disarming enthusiasm to the sales island. He has also been broadening his wine horizons after a long stint at Majestic, and has already developed a truly eclectic palate. While harbouring a soft spot for the classical Chateauneufs of Barroche, he especially enjoys challenging the taste buds of his former colleagues with wines such as skin-contact Rkatsiteli – bravo!
One of the stalwarts of Sales Support, Ed has proven himself to be an invaluable team-player, tackling the pointed demands of the sommelier-elite of London whilst developing a catholic taste in wine demonstrated by his love of all things orange. And we ain’t talking satsumas. Outside of his honourable office duties, this straight-talking gourmand is oft seen sipping and supping in the trendiest watering holes the Big Smoke has to offer. We believe he is the only Arsenal supporter who has a fish-monger on speed-dial.
Our Financial Controller is also our resident petrol head having come to us from the whizzy world of GP2 Racing. Two bambinos have put a gentle brake on the days of shopping and socialising in London; she now spends weekends looking for the best soft play locations in Surrey. Preferred tipple? Laurent Perrier Rose. Not gin! (Don’t ask). Tasha’s claim to fame is to get LCDP collectively hurled out of a pub in the middle of Spain after deciding that the service would be swifter if she was administering the drinks!
Justine is our resident G&T expert who often needs to follow the sound of flipflops to find her way to the nearest train station! (The mind boggles). She’s been with the company for nine years, beginning in the credit control torture chamber as the queen of thumbscrews. Now she has ascended to the lofty status of Assistant Financial Controller and otherwise may be found unwinding on most weekends in the local hostelry trawling through the cocktail menu. (PS Gin & tonic is not a cocktail).
Assistant Financial Controller
Abbey joined the accounts team in May 2014 and has swiftly become our resident karaoke queen. We have a sneaky idea who’s going to be the life and soul of future Christmas parties. She’s a big dog loving, shellfish loathing (the two are not mutually exclusive) Accounts Assistant… Every week she heads to the wilds of East Dulwich to Toast.ED Restaurant to ensure that the books are at least half-baked rather than totally cooked.
Our erstwhile flashmobber may be found at weekends supping the bubbly stuff or zumbaring her way around the local town centre. There’s a sentence you don’t read every day! Yvonne has been part of the CDP family for many years, and deals with all of our supplier & producer invoices, payments, expenses and many other things... the list is endless!
Avril spent the last 17 years in the motor industry before joining the CDP gang. Their loss was our gain! When she’s not chasing down our customers, having taken custody of the honorary thumbscrews, she spends time with her grandchildren (4 at present, a 5th on the way) and seeking out her next cake or Mars Bar fix at the local garden centre.
Credit Control Supervisor
The baby of the department started with us on a temporary contract back in October 2014, but soon realised that she couldn’t live without us. She makes weekly visits to our restaurant, Soif, pulling together the financials, where you will find her under a heater with a hat & scarf even in the height of summer. This little lady, who likes the finer things in life, may be found most weekends tasting the local delicacies around Hampshire. (Is that a euphemism?)
This cake-baking, animal-loving, biker chick can often be found at weekends on the back of her boyfriend’s Harley zooming back and forth from Essex. Victoria is the newest member of the credit control team and works alongside Avril chasing our lovely customers for their pennies! And pounds!
Nini first arrived at Les Caves stashed between cases in a pallet of Vouvray shipped over from her parents’ estate. She is the long-standing manager of our shop at Pew Corner, keeping the boys downstairs placid through a steady diet of French pop music, and juggles this with handling our customers’ Ex-Cellars orders. When the proverbial hits the fan, her voluble cries of “Peteeerrr” can be heard from the office upstairs – and most of Artington. Her penchant for “les bulles” is renowned and that certain sparkle is prevalent in almost everything she does.
Shop Manager & Ex-Cellars Dept
Our newest recruit in the shop, Danny started his wine journey at one of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurants, worked alongside a sommelier from Toulouse called Viv who regularly impressed upon him that “South West is the best”. He went on to spend a period working as a sommelier at another top-end establishment on the Isle of Skye, before heading south of the border and joining the team at Les Caves. Danny’s ready enthusiasm for increasing his knowledge of our portfolio (drinking) more than makes up for his questionable sense of humour.
Pete originally joined Les Caves as a van driver, leaving the warehouse at some godforsaken hour in order to get the wine to our thirsty customer on time. Since then he has taken on the mantle of Warehouse Manager at Pew Corner, and spends most of his time behind the scenes finding ever-ingenious new ways to cram in bottles from our ever-expanding range into every last nook and cranny available. Pete is a master raconteur and never short of an anecdote, whether required or not.
Joining the company not long after Pete, Anthony has been and remains one of our most valuable secret weapons. He is always at the ready to come to the rescue and only he can navigate across London in his red van quite as efficiently as he does. When not out on deliveries, Anthony spends his time assisting his colleagues in the shop at Pew Corner (aka smashing bottles). Anthony also heads up the catering department at shop tastings, and the bacon sarnies he lays on at our annual stock take are the stuff of legend.