Showing posts with label Bordeaux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bordeaux. Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

April is the Real Wine Month

April is the Real Wine Month

April, the Real Wine Month, is up and running!

Real Wine Month is an exciting, innovative promotion of artisan wines which have been produced sustainably by organic, biodynamic viticulture and low intervention (a.k.a. 'natural') winemaking. It is being run across Ireland and the United Kingdom by specialist importers Le Caveau (Ireland) and Les Caves de Pyrène (United Kingdom).

From 4th-30th April, selected wines will be poured by the glass or featured on wine lists,  in tastings and themed events in over 200 restaurants, independent retailers and wine clubs across the U.K. and over 50 in Ireland.

This, the third Real Wine Month in Ireland, is shaping up to be the best yet. From pubs, bars and bistros to Michelin-starred establishments, to independent retailers and wine clubs, we have seen increasing interest in the quality, authenticity and diversity of these small-scale, artisanal wines.

Through participating restaurants and retailers, the promotion represents a great opportunity for wine-drinkers to taste and explore a diversity of wines that are not mass-distributed due to small-scale production, or indeed are in short supply due to global demand particularly from cities like New York, San Francisco, London and Paris.

To see what’s on in your area, the events, the participating restaurants, wine bars and stores, please click here for the full press release. I hope to have another post or two over the month.

In the meantime, here are some of the wines that you may well come across. There are some real beauties here!

Chateau Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers sec 2014, 13%, €14.90 Le Caveau

I didn't know it then but I was looking down on this vineyard less than two years ago. After a visit to Gavin Quinney’s Chateau Bauduc, I had climbed to the top of the famous local abbey Le Sauve Majeure and, from the final 159th step, had a great view over the surrounding countryside. April is Real Wine Month and, as part of the fun, Chateau Turcaud will be represented at events in Dublin and Cork.
Le Sauve Majeure
This particular wine is a classic Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc (60%), Semillon (35%) and Muscadelle (5%) and, having been fermented and aged on the lees in vat,  the result is very crisp and fruity.

You'll note a good depth of yellow in the colour with aromas of citrus fruits, some blossoms too. On the palate, it is more intense, more assertive than the nose, with a lovely wave of fruit flavours, an excellent mouthfeel, well balanced and with a good finish. Highly Recommended.

Serve this delightful wine well-chilled as an aperitif, with all sorts of seafood, or with goat cheese, sheep cheese, and hard cheeses.

Isabelle and Stéphane Le May are eager to safeguard the local soil and terroir they have inherited: they’ve come back to mechanically weeding, and fight vine diseases with sustainable methods.

Chateau Beauregard Mirouze Tradition 2013 (Corbieres AOC), 13.5%, €14.85 Le Caveau

Winemakers Karine and Nicolas Mirouze have blended 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah (over 40 years old) to make this excellent organic wine.  Mirouze will be another of the French wineries to be represented here this month. Their favourite pairing for this wine is Duck breast accompanied by a ratatouille of vegetables from the garden.

Colour is a deep red, almost purple. The aromas, savoury and spicy, puzzled me a bit and the chateau says they are “nose dashing”!  A mingling of the scents of red fruit and garrigue (the local scrub). So there you are. On the palate, you find intense dark fruit flavours, spice too, tannins noticeably in play, yet overall invigorating and with a very good finish. A really warming satisfying wine and Highly Recommended.

Clos de Caveau Carmin Brillant 2012 (Vacqueyras AOC), 14.5%, €24.50 Le Caveau

Vacqueyras village, under the shade of its large trees, stays cool when the vineyards all around are warm. And this is one cool wine, coming from a height of 200m, higher than most of its neighbours.

The vineyard is naturally isolated by a belt of Mediterranean forest, making it ideally suited for organic viticulture, for which the domain obtained full certification in 1989. Most of the work in the vineyard is carried out by hand and the yields are very limited. Clos de Caveau too are coming to Dublin and Cork in April.

Colour is a dark red and the aromas feature red fruit and some hints of herbs. It is very smooth and concentrated on the palate, lush fruit flavours with spice and herbs, and fine tannins. An excellent finish as well and Very Highly Recommended. The blend is 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah and it is 100% organic.

Chateau Tour des Gendres, La Gloire de mon Pére Cotes de Bergerac Rouge (AOC)  2007, 12.5%, €21.30 Le Caveau

The aromas are intense and very pleasing, one that invited me to take off my glasses! Like the wine, I’m getting on; by lifting the glasses, my nose works that little bit better! It is quite a dark red with a lighter rim - it is after all getting on in years!

On the palate, it is very very smooth and rounded, gentle too, nothing extreme, still fresh but ready to enjoy and appreciate, with an excelling lingering finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Bergerac, perpetually in the shadow of neighbour Bordeaux, produces many excellent wines, mainly from much the same grapes. This blend of Merlot (45%), Malbec (35%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (5%), is an excellent example. By the way, the proportions of the blend vary from year to year. It spent eight months in oak. Viticulture is biodynamic.

A word from the makers: This wine, quite powerful in the mouth, will accompany venison, duck, the stews and cheese. It will be better if decanted for within hours, and can be kept  between 5 and 8 years. The eight years is up! But no panic at all.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Bordeaux Trio. St Emilion and Graves

A Bordeaux Trio
St Emilion and Graves

Château Tour Baladoz, Grand Cru St Emilion 2005, 13.5%, SuperValu

The Bordeaux vintage of 2005 is legendary and this rich, plummy wine is just gorgeous. Merlot is the main grape here with both Cabernets also in the mix, Franc at 20%, Sauvignon at 10%.
Colour is purple and the aromas are concentrated, ripe dark fruits plus fragrant floral notes. Full bodied for sure, sublime soft fruits with great balance, tannins now very soft indeed and this well-rounded rich and splendid wine, provides a beautiful lingering finish. One to take your time with, small sips recommended. The wine itself is Very Highly Recommended.

Regular price is 44.99 but SuperValu had it down to €30.00 in the Christmas wine sale, so watch out for reductions!

Château Magneau Graves 2009, 12.5%

This 2009, another good year, is from the heart of Graves and made following the Terra Vitis guidelines, an approach that “guarantees a quality production method that respects the environment”. Watch out too for their Cuvée Julien, a much awarded white wine vinified exclusively in barrels.
This red has spent 12 months in oak (one third new) and is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (45%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Colour is lighter than the Baladoz. It has aromas of red fruits (mainly cherries) and on the palate it is sharp with a lively acidity, good balance though and a rather elegant mouthfeel with a good finish. Medium to full bodied, it is not as soft as either of the others but a good wine and Highly Recommended.

Château Peyreblanque Graves 2010, 14%.

Another good one from Graves, this from the 2010 vintage. Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) is the dominant grape here with Merlot (30) playing a supporting role. Time in oak is 10-15 months. Peyreblanque (white rock) was bought in 1990 by the current owners, the Médeville family, who own quite a few chateaux in the area.

This garnet coloured wine has quite intense aromas (dark fruit, spicy notes). It is full bodied, the fruit and oak in smooth tandem, some spice, fine tannins, strikingly well balanced overall and with an excellent finalé. Very Highly Recommended.

  • The two Graves wine were bought in Podensac in 2014 and cost ten euro each. All gone now! Thankfully though, no shortage of good Bordeaux wine in Ireland.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Best of Blends. More than 15 varieties in one

Best of Blends.
More than 15 varieties in one.

Blending has been a part of winemaking for many generations. Probably started by accident. But no accident in the Douro below where more than 15 grape varieties are used! Sometimes, as it in the majority here, just two grapes are used. There can be up to six in Port and sometimes more than double that in Cotes du Rhone. Blends everywhere then, including our two from South America.

Quinta do Judeu Vinho tinto 2010, Douro (DOC), 13%, Curious Wines

Colour is somewhere between violet and purple. It has a smooth silky feel, rounded flavours, some spice, some grip, quite intense yet harmonious in all aspects, not least in the long finish. Much to be said for the human touch: this has been foot trodden in granite lagares. Hope that bare-footed gang had as much fun trampling forwards and back on it as I had drinking it. Very Highly Recommended.

It is not filtered so should be decanted. I got this bottle as a present from Maurice O'Mahony (of the former Wine Alliance) and it is “made from more than 15 Douro varieties from old vineyards, with the predominance of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Roriz and Tinta Amarela”. Curious Wines are now selling the wines of Quinta do Judeu.

Chateau de Rochemorin 2009, Pessac-Leognan (France), 13%, €16.40 in Graves. Bordeaux wines are widely available in Ireland.
This “assemblage” is the classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with Cab Sauv supplying 60 per cent of the mix. The aim is to produce a well balanced wine that is the best possible expression of the terroir.

This left bank bottle comes from a Lurton vineyard, a family “who have strived for excellence...this family’s passion for viticulture goes back a long way”. The Lurtons, particularly André, are highly respected.

Colour is purple and on the nose there are berries, vanilla, even a drift of tobacco. Two thousand and nine was one of those very good years so this expression is one of the best, elegant and smooth and drinking so well now. Soft and easy drinking, fresh with ripe tannins, long, flavoursome and Very Highly Recommended.

Finca 878 Clásico Vino Tinto Malbec Merlot 2012, Argentina, 13%, €13.95 Karwig Wines (now reduced to 11.15, great value).
This blend is popular in Argentina and, according to Wine Searcher, is becoming popular in New Zealand. This 878 is designed for the younger drinker. The producers’ translator calls them junior drinkers but it went down well with this senior imbiber!

This medium red gives off aromas of ripe red fruit. Palate is pretty smooth, fruit yes but with good balance, easy drinking, finish not the longest but Highly Recommended. In Argentina, they grow over 90,000 acres of these two grapes, four times more Malbec than Merlot. Most Argentinian Merlot ends up in blends.

Something to check before you start drinking. The bottom eight on the label is upside down!

Dóna Paula Malbec Syrah 2011, Mendoza (Argentina), 14%, €10.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence.

This is a rich dark red and aromas of plum dominate. Beautiful fruit flavours follow, sweet notes yes, yet very good acidity, a pleasant mouthfeel with a long finish. Good wine, good value and Highly Recommended.

The estate, part of the Chilean Santa Rita group, in the foothills of the Andes, has “always been managed using Sustainable Agricultural practices”. Watch out too for their Los Cardos wines which, according to Wines of South America, “are among the world’s great values”.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Margaux Once. Must visit again!

In Margaux Once.
Must call again!

The vineyards of Margaux, on the south bank of the Garonne estuary (many Irish holidaymakers will know Royan on the opposite bank), grow mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The classic  blend is always a combination of these two “majors” and sometimes a little of Cabernet  Franc, maybe some Petit Verdot, more rarely Malbec and other old varieties.

According to the Maison du Vin de Margaux, where I bought the bottles below (along with some more!), Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for nearly 65% of the vines planted in the appellation. “It gives wine structure, bouquet, and a potential to age.”

Merlot brings roundness, generosity and complexity to the aromas. Cabernet Franc, much rarer, brings an extra touch of of elegance and suppleness while Petit Verdot produces wines “that are fairly rich in colour, fruit and tannins”.

The vines and the soil all play a part in making a Margaux and so does the climate of each year. “This variability, known as the effet millésime (vintage effect), is at the origin of variations in wines’ quality and expression.”

The variables will test the expertise of the winemaker who also has to contend with different harvest times for the different grapes. Merlot is first, then comes Cabernet Franc followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and then the Petit Verdot.

Take good care of your Margaux wines. They recommend “to open them one or two hours before service and present them in a nice carafe or decanter. Perfect service temperature is 19 degrees. Their finesse and subtlety show themselves in accompaniment with red meats or cheeses with delicate aromas”. Margaux wines are widely available in Ireland. Enjoy!

Some of my 2014 purchases
Chateau La Galiane 2009, 13.5%, 16.50 in Margaux

Gorgeous intense dark fruit aromas. Then there are rich fruit flavours, with a wee bit of spice, ripe tannins, and good balance. All in all, a classic well rounded Bordeaux with good structure and no little finesse, a lovely blend in which Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the major grapes.

Chateau La Tour De Bessan Crus Bourgeois 2011, 13%, 20.30 in Margaux

Even more intense wave of aromas, slightly different to the Galiane. It is rich and complex, full bodied and, again, ripe tannins. Great flavours of red fruits in this smooth Cru Bourgeois. The blend here is Merlot (62%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (38%). A marginally better wine than the Galiane. It has spent 12 months in French oak and the average age of the vines is 25 years.

Labastide Dauzac 2008, 13%, €23.00 in Margaux

Garnet is the colour, the aromas full and harmonious. This is full-bodied, red fruits, some spice too, pleasant and smooth on the palate, and with a long finish. Again the classic blend of Merlot (57%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (43%) and Very Highly Recommended.

This is the second wine of Dauzac, made from younger vines. It has spent 12 months in oak (not all new) and, if I had to pick one from the three, this would be it.
Take your pick!
In a pioneering book on matching food and wine called The Head of the Household from his Cellar to his Table, conceived and started in a WW2 prisoner of war camp, the author Frenchman Roger Ribaud, knowing that the Bordelais had been trapping pigeons, recommended that they match their catch with a Margaux. (Source: Wine & War by Don & Petie Kladstrup).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wine in a Tube! For a cosy tête-à tête. Sweet Sauternes.

Sauternes. Sweet for My Sweet
Wine in a Tube! WIT Or Witless?
Château Lamourette 2005
Château Laville 2001

You've got to hand it to the French, never short of ideas when it comes to marketing. Just been browsing the Maison du Sauternes and came across the WIT (wine in tube). Discover our new concept for a cosy “tête-à tête”. Be astonished. Spend a delicious time - share original Sauternes. Two different wines for moments of delight. This pack contains “S for her” and “S for him”. Special offer. 22€. This price includes postal charges.

Might take a punt on that but then maybe the the revenue might come looking for their share of the proceeds. Maybe not! By the way, I wonder what do they call it in France. WIT or VIT? Looks like WIT on the website.

Just one surprise from Sauternes. The other, for me, on a visit there last year, was that it was quite an ordinary village and indeed the Maison Du Sauternes was one of the bigger buildings there.

Another surprise came in a local restaurant, Auberge des Vignes, where we had an excellent three course Menu du Jour, that also included wine and coffee, all for just sixteen euro per head. Read more about the meal and the village here.

Richard the Lionheart praised the wines of Sauternes in the 12th century and this sweet Bordeaux has been a regular on royal tables since. You’ll pay 1,000 euro or more for the top end but prices start at about 12 euro and that means a Sauternes also appears on more humble tables, including mine!

The World Atlas of Wine, while acknowledging that not all Sauternes is top class all the time, says it is “lamentably underappreciated but incomparable, it is a speciality that finds few real rivals”. "In great vintages the results can be sublime, a very sweet, rich-textured, flower-scented, glittering golden liquid.” Sauternes is widely available in Ireland, not sure though about the tube.

I’m currently enjoying the Lamourette. It comes from a vineyard not too far away at all from the headliner Chateau d’Yquem and is very impressive. It has the usual nose of candied fruit. The palate is creamy, that candied fruit is still there but it is balanced and pleasant with a long spicy finish.

Overall, this is lighter than expected and you could see why the Maison du Sauternes can recommend drinking Sauternes all through a meal, even recommending it with Leg of Venison (which has been marinated in Sauternes, of course!).

It is a sweet wine, no doubt in the world about that. But there is a terrific balance here, a wash of acidity that negates any hint of heaviness or any tendency towards a cloying feel. 2005 saw plenty of noble rot - a good year.

I haven’t tried the Château Laville yet but I'm hugely encouraged by what Jancis Robinson had to say about the 2001 vintage: The rain that spoilt the reds encouraged botrytis to such an extent that this is a truly magnificent, long-term vintage, helped by a greater degree of selection and cellar expertise than ever before. Perhaps the greatest Sauternes vintage in modern times.

For a good insight into Sauternes (including noble rot) see here.
The 2001 Laville is no longer featured on the Maison du Sauternes website but you may check the 2010 here.

The Lamourette now available is the 2009. Info here.

Recipe for the Sauternes Cup

I found this on the website. Doesn't say it is is for one or two. What do you think?
In a large glass bowl, place fruit depending on the season ( apricots, peaches, pears, melon, etc ... ), diced and sliced ​​oranges. Pour the Sauternes (about two glasses per person), add one or two glasses of brandy. Macerate about an hour in the refrigerator. Serve with ice cubes and carbonated water. Sauternes, with the bouquet and strength, lifts the heart: the wine of the happy day.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Margaux and Riedel

Margaux and Riedel

Charmes de Kirwan, Margaux 2010, 13%, €31.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Thought this Kirwan would be just the one to baptise the new Riedel glasses and indeed, it proved a very compatible pairing indeed.

It may well be the second wine of the estate but it is a very drinkable classic and “one to watch” according to the 2014 Hugh Johnson handbook.

The dark fruit aromas were highlighted by the Riedel. On the palate, the fruit (plum, cherry mainly) is upfront in a very well balanced wine. Tannins in evidence but not in major way and you’ll also notice the characteristic freshness of the Cabernet Franc. Second wine, yes, but a first class drop and Very Highly Recommended.

Cabernet Franc makes up 23% of the blend and the other grapes are Petit Verdot (12%), Merlot (25), and Cabernet Sauvignon (40%).

La Reserve d’Angulet, Margaux 2009, 13.5%, €20.00 Maison du Vin de Margaux.

Continued the Margaux-Riedel combination with this gem, the second wine of the Angulet estate. Like the Kirwan above, it is made from the fruit of younger vines. The blend in this case is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.

The Sichel family, the owners of Angulet, say it “offers the best quality for price in the entire Margaux appellation”. A bold statement indeed but I think there’s more than a tannin of truth in it. Oz Clarke reckons the last ten years or so have seen it get better and better while Hugh Johnson says it is stylish and good value. 

Delicious red fruit aromas rise from this one which has a dark opaque colour. Superb fruit, some spice too, as the wine, with its rounded supple structure, washes gently across the palate, the pleasant sensations carrying right on through a long finalé. Very Highly Recommended.

I think you can take it that I am now, after taking part in a few demonstrations, the most recent last month at Ballymaloe, a Riedel convert. I’ve no doubt but that they enhance the wine. The glass used for the two wines here is the Riedel Restaurant Cabernet Merlot 446/0, recommended for Margot in particular and for Bordeaux in general; the recommendation details: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Fronsac, Graves rouge, Listrac, Medoc, Moulis, Pauillac, Pessac Leognan rouge, Pomerol, St Estephe, and St Julien.
Great glass too for Port. Just don’t pour too much in!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux and more

Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux and more

Feature in SuperValu Sale
Final week of SuperVale French Wine Sale
Vaillons La Chablisienne 2011, Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, 13%, €20.00 SuperValu French Sale

This is the native land of Chardonnay and this is an excellent expression of the grape, pure and perfect.

Colour is a light yellow and there are complex aromas, including floral and fruit strands. The aromas persist on the palate where you can taste the brilliant purity, the flinty flavours; quite an elegant wine with a long finish. Crisp and mouth-watering, one of the very best in this sale and Very Highly Recommended.

Lorgeril Les Terrasses Viognier 2013, Pays D’Oc IGP, 12.5%, €10.00, SuperValu French Sale

Lovely aromas and a light gold colour. This is one of the winemakers’ “Collection Fruitée” and it lives up to the name. Fruity (peaches, pears), well balanced, fresh and crisp and very refreshing. Recommended.

Bersan Saint Bris Sauvignon 2012 (Burgundy), 12.5%, €12.00, SuperValu French Sale
Colour is light straw, clean and bright, with fruity aromas. On the palate, there is a nice fruity tang, melons and gooseberries to the fore, with good acidity and a crisp dry finish. Recommended.

The area of Saint Bris is unusual; its wines are made from Sauvignon blanc rather than Chardonnay which is grown throughout the rest of Burgundy.

Domaine Balland Chapuis Coteaux Du Giennois Montagnes Blanches 2013 (Loire), 12%, €10, SuperValu French Sale.

This Sauvignon blanc is from Giennois, a little known Loire region and neighbour of the famous Sancerre.

Colour is a light straw and there are inviting fruity aromas. There is a sharp and tingly introduction to the palate, then white fruit flavours (apple, pears, hints of citrus, though apple more prominent on 2nd sampling 24 hours later), all fresh and lively and a good dry finish. Recommended.

Chateau Manon La Lagune, Blaye Cotes De Bordeaux 2012, 13%, €9.00, SuperValu French Sale.

Gironde estuary
This well priced red is a excellent blend of Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30) and Cabernet Franc (10). Many Irish families have holidayed in the Charente campsites close to Royan. Some will have seen the timber hut in the village of La Palmyre selling wines from Blaye which is not too far away in the Bordeaux direction.

A nose of blackcurrant aromas is followed by  refreshing black fruit flavours on the palate, some spice too, with a soft and smooth mouth-feel. Any prejudice I had about Blaye maybe not being good enough because it is in the edge of the Bordeaux appellation geographically, was quickly and pleasantly soothed away, all that before a good finish. Highly Recommended.

Saint Emilion

Les Hauts De Gros Caillou 2012, Saint Emilion, 13%, €14.00, SuperValu French Sale

The wines of Saint Emilion are much better known here than those of Blaye. This is again mainly Merlot (about 65%) and the balance is Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red fruit aromas and the colour is a little darker than the Blaye. In the mouth, there are fruity notes galore in this typical Saint Emilion, good acidity too, of course, all leading to a well balanced wine. Young but drinking really well and Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Good Stuff From The Garonne Gravel. A Duo of Excellent Graves Reds

Good Stuff From The Garonne Gravel

A Duo of Excellent Graves Reds

Chateau des Fougeres Clos Montesquieu, Graves rouge 2011, 13%, €14.80 at Maison Des Vins in Podensac

This is a fairly small estate and much of the work is done by hand. This is a classic blend, half Merlot, half Cabernet Sauvignon. It is pleasant and supple on the palate, has excellent flavours and some spice. Tannins too but just about. And this superb dry wine finishes so well. Very Highly Recommended.

I passed Chateau des Fougeres quite a few times last summer but never visited. Charles de Montesquieu, for whom this wine is named, was a philosopher and author as well as a public figure, businessman and wine grower. He lived in La Brède, overseeing the development of his estate and his vineyard. He was the first to promote the wines of the Graves region, and did much to build their reputation throughout France and in Britain.

Clos Montesquieu Graves rouge is raised in French oak casks for 14 to 16 months. “Its ageing potential has increased over the past vintages and will continue to do so thanks to various ongoing projects. The grapes we use for this wine come from our most gravelly parcels.” And that gravel gives you a big hint as to how to pronounce Graves!

Chateau de Respide Cuvee Callipyge, Graves rouge 2010, 13.5%, €11.80 at Maison Des Vins in Podensac

The chateau is proud of “this high-end wine”, a blend of Merlot (48%), Cabernet Sauvignon (47) and Petit Verdot (5). 24,000 bottles were produced and it has spent 12 months in oak (50% of which is new timber).

Colour here is quite a dark red and there are intense fruits on the nose. On the palate, it is smooth, and fruity too, hints of spice, but all under close control. Tannins are present but not obtrusive. All in all, a superbly made superbly balanced wine, “suitable for Bordeaux Grands enthusiasts” as they say at the chateau who indicate it goes well with “dishes in sauce”, meats, poultry and cheese. Very Highly Recommended.

The style of wine from both these vineyards, both left bank, is essentially the same as that in Pessac Leognan so that means good value can be found here and neither chateau is too far away from the Autoroute Des Deux Mers (A62), familiar to more than a few Irish holidaymakers. Alternatively, why not detour to Podensac where’ll you find the Maison des Vins (where 100s of chateaux are represented) and also the Lillet distillery.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wine. Two for the Meat. One for the Sweet.

Wine: Two for the Meat. One for the Sweet

I have been dipping into SuperValu’s 12 wines for Christmas and reckon these three are ideal companions for the season. The first can match most desserts while the others will go well with your roasts, including the turkey. All are reduced from the 10th of December until the end of the month.

Vinha do Foral Moscatel de Setubal (Portugal), 17.5%, €12.00 SuperValu
The beautiful amber colour catches your eye and the aromas (orange skin, honey) are quite intense. On the palate, this sweet wine, well balanced and not at all “sticky”, is crisp and fresh, enough sweetness to pair with desserts (even the Christmas pudding), yet dry enough to shine as an aperitif, maybe even as an apres digestif. Either way there is a prolonged finish. Oh, by the way, it seems you can have it with two or three ice cubes. I haven’t tried that.

Made by the Cooperativa de Pegoes from one hundred per cent Moscatel grapes, this is a Very Highly Recommended. Do note the higher alcohol content. Like Port, this is a fortified wine.
Right bank ahead. Crossing the Garonne
at Langoiran

Chateau Sissan Grande Reserve 2011, Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux, 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu.

This is a relatively new (2008) denomination and covers a narrow strip on the right bank of the Garonne, more or less across the river from Barsac and Sauternes. According to the World Atlas of Wine, the area produces “toothsome reds”.

And this one certainly is toothsome! It has a lovely ruby robe and, on the nose, has lots of red fruit aromas, some spice too. A well made wine with superb ripe soft fruits on the palate and again hints of spice; it is full bodied, mellow and with a lingering finish.

Blend of Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Cabernet Franc (5%). Very Highly Recommended.

La Rioja

Finca Labarca Reserva 2007 (Rioja), 14%, €10.00, SuperValu
Rioja, and its Tempranillo, is a favourite here, so this was welcome when it arrived and even more so after opening. It may well be seven years old and the red may not be as deep as early on but there is no shortage of fruit on the palate and there is lively spice as well (quite a match for the local spiced beef!). The oak has been well integrated, the tannins are soft, the finish long. Another wine for the Christmas where its versatility will be a bonus. Very Highly Recommended.