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No. 40

The young face of Barolo

«Barolo is drunk on important occasions. The older the vintage, the better. At least, that's what we had learnt. You had to sip your glass in awe... The young winemaker Federica Boffa Pio is doing well to brush the dust off this image. The great wines from Piedmont undoubtedly deserve our admiration, because they are wines of exceptional quality with a rich heritage. But you don’t have to take all that so seriously. It’s twice as much fun if you don’t!»

Dominic Blaesi & Renzo Schweri

Founders

Bottle of Barolo DOCG from Pio Cesare

Awards

Robert Parker: 95/100, James Suckling: 94/100

«We don't follow market trends, we follow family tradition.» – Federica Boffa Pio

Pio Cesare bridging the gap between youthfulness and tradition

25-year-old Federica Boffa Pio is the youngest female top winemaker in Italy. «I was just born under a lucky star,» says the Piedmont native with a laugh. She is not referring to astrology but, in good winemaker fashion, to the vintage of her birth year. 1997 was an exceptionally good year for Barolo; the wines are considered mature and well-structured with real depth. In fact, this can also be said of Federica. The business economist has been running the almost 150-year-old winery for 2 ½ years. She had always known that one day she would take over the family business, but she never expected that day to come so soon... In April 2021, her father Pio Boffa died of complications from Covid-19. There was no time to think about whether she felt ready to take over from him. The business demanded that the then 23-year-old immediately follow in her father's footsteps. Since then, Federica has since mastered this Herculean task with consummate ease. She relies on a well-coordinated team, because the agronomist has been with the company for 20 years and the oenologist has not missed a grape harvest since 1981. She was particularly influenced by her father's advice not to follow short-lived trends, but to trust in finding her own path. Her mission is therefore not to completely revamp Barolo and its image, but to dust it off a little: «Many people believe that Barolo only goes well with party food – but I think it tastes best with fresh bread with a little olive oil and parmesan,» says the dynamic winemaker. We think this refreshing informality suits the time-honoured classic perfectly.

Awards

Robert Parker: 95/100, James Suckling: 94/100

Bottle of Prélude à Grand Puy Ducasse Pauillac AOC from Château Grand-Puy DucasseBottle of Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 5eme Cru Classe Pauillac from Château Grand-Puy Ducasse

Awards

Prélude à Grand-Puy Ducasse Pauillac AOC 2018: Decanter 91/100 // Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac 2018: James Suckling 94/100, Robert Parker 93/100, WineSpectator 93/100, Jancis Robinson 16.5/20

«Bordeaux high-flyer Grand-Puy Ducasse»

Reaching new heights after a «Renaissance»

Château Grand-Puy Ducasse stands proudly on the quay of Pauillac, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and Bordeaux, directly on the Gironde. When Anne de Naour first stepped through the doors in 2005, the odd mote of dust danced in the corners of the time-honoured winery. Compared to its noble neighbours Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite-Rothschild, the wine estate, founded in 1675, had lost some of its lustre.

But from then on, a change was in the air... Orchestrated by the successful Parisian oenologist, the ambitious new management devised a plan to cement the status of this domaine listed in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. The centrepiece of this so-called "renaissance" is the new winery. And while the renovation programme introduces state-of-the-art technology to the historic château, the old walls have been treated respectfully by the new approach. Instead of frightening away the nesting swallows encountered during construction, the feathered tenants are being relocated elsewhere on the grounds in the interests of biodiversity. Grand-Puy Ducasse is gradually converting to a purely organic operation, which will be complete by 2025, just in time for the 350th anniversary of this Médoc legend. Incidentally, the château's chambers will soon be open to guests – while the crus out in the wider world of wine spread the news of the Ducasse dynasty's bolstered reputation. Inspired by the timbre of this prestigious terroir.

Awards

Prélude à Grand-Puy Ducasse Pauillac AOC 2018: Decanter 91/100 // Château Grand-Puy Ducasse 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac 2018: James Suckling 94/100, Robert Parker 93/100, WineSpectator 93/100, Jancis Robinson 16.5/20

Bottle of Onoro O Old Vines Primitivo Puglia IGT from Onoro

«Our recipe for a pleasant winter»

Primitivo Onoro O and soul food Romy style

When the houses are wreathed in fog and the cold air insistently finds its way through your winter jacket, it's the best time for cosy evenings at home. We pamper our bodies and souls with warming food and the wine in our glasses acts like stored sunlight. Sitting around the table with loved ones and talking about God and the universe... These are some of the most fulfilling moments in life.

We asked Pascal Ralo, the chef and owner of Restaurant Romy in Bern's Old Town, for the recipe for his phenomenal goulash. The rising young star's cuisine is based on the recipes of his grandmothers from Austria and Portugal. Hearty, sophisticated and with plenty of homely warmth... This is food that leaves you completely satisfied. Why not stop by or even cook it at home with our recipe!

Romy's goulash

What you need:

  • 850g Beef shoulder

  • 3 onion, cut into str

  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Tomato puree

  • 1 TSP Caraway seeds

  • 1 TBSP Ground paprika

  • 1 TSP Dried marjoram

  • 1,5 dl White wine

  • 4 dl Meat stock

  • 150g Cream

  • 100g Crème fraîche

  • 5 stems Thyme

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • Salt & Pepper

For the garnish:

  • 10g Chives, finely chopped

  • 1 Chilli pepper, cut into strips

And this is how to make it:

Add oil to the pan and brown the meat all over. Add the onions and garlic. Add the ground paprika, caraway seeds and tomato purée and fry briefly.
Deglaze with white wine. Bring to the boil briefly and remove the roast from the bottom.
Add the meat stock, cream, marjoram, bay leaves and thyme and simmer. After 45 minutes, add the crème fraîche. Simmer again for about 30 minutes until the meat is tender.
Remove the meat, thyme and bay leaves and blend the sauce together. Add the meat again. Briefly fry the chilli peppers and serve on top of the goulash. Garnish with chopped chives.

«This goulash is my reinterpretation of my Austrian grandmother's secret recipe.»

Pascal Ralo

Head chef at Restaurant Romy

Bottle of Champagne Meunier Perpétuel Extra Brut AC from Delouvin Nowack

«Great class in small quantities»

The exceptional champagne from the Delouvin family

Most people immediately associate champagne with the same handful of big brands. They think of celebrities at the Infiniti pool, business people at a networking party or James Bond in bed with latest conquest. Beyond the world of glamour, glitz and grandeur, champagne also has an equally exquisite but much quieter side with small producers working in the artisanal tradition. They only use grapes from their own vineyards and therefore pay great attention to the character of the terroir. The result of this painstaking work dictated by the highest quality criteria is a luxury product that is truly impressive for its uniqueness and precision.

Among these boutique producers, the Delouvin family particularly stood out for us. Geoffrey Delouvin produces around 60,000 bottles of champagne a year from seven hectares of vineyards. His vineyards, divided into 36 plots, are located in the cru area of Vandières in the heart of the Marne Valley. They are mainly old Pinot Meunier vines, which he has been cultivating with great passion for 11 generations. Delouvin, who was honoured as a «Jeune Talent du Champagne» in 2018, makes his unique sparkling wines from these vines. The «Meunier Perpétuel» is based 50% on a consistent solera reserve, which is combined from all the harvests since 1992. Delouvin blends this with the current vintage to create a multi-faceted champagne. This elaborate process results in a balanced body and a complex flavour of brioche and roasted almonds. We personally think this is what is meant by true luxury!

__Rarity: Small champagne house with very limited production. __

Bottle of Cair Ribera del Duero DO from Dominio de CairBottle of Tierras de Cair Ribera del Duero DO from Dominio de Cair

«Cair and the magic of the terroir»

A winner from the Ribera del Duero

Juan Luis Cañas has very clear views on what is the most important prerequisite for a great wine: «You need an excellent terroir.» The agricultural engineer travelled the length and breadth of the Ribera del Duero region until he found his dream vineyard in La Aguilera, filled with old vines – some of which are more than 100 years old – situated on a limestone plateau at an altitude of 830 to 950 metres above sea level. Yes, this is music to the ears of wine enthusiasts! This is where Juan Luis Cañas built his modern bodega in 2008, where everything is geared towards vinifying the grapes under the best possible conditions. The result is dense, characterful Ribera del Duero wines. In just a few years, the winery has achieved a national and international breakthrough. But Cañas is not resting on its laurels and even dares to tweak the tried and tested – in order to achieve even better results. This is also the case with our favourite wine, Cair, which has been given a somewhat fresher style with the new vintage where the grapes are harvested earlier, macerated for longer and matured in larger barrels, to get out the real purity of the fruit. A Cair full of vitality! Nos gusta mucho...

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