Showing posts with label Burgundy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burgundy. Show all posts

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dao. Burgundy. Lodi. A Trio of Reds

Dao. Burgundy. Lodi.

A Trio of Reds
Casa de Mouraz 2011 (DAO), 13.5%, €17.50 Mary Pawle

The grapes for this excellent red come from several vineyards of Casa de Mouraz “some of which are mentioned in documents from the 16th century”. They were no doubt organic then and are organic now.

The wine has been matured in fine Nevers oak for 8 months and is a blend of local grapes: Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and the almost unknown Agua Santa.

It is an intense red colour with violet hue and the legs are in no hurry to clear. You’ll find ripe rich fruits in the aromas. It is smooth, spicy, with a lovely mineral streak, and a lasting finish. A serious drop indeed and Highly Recommended.




Ambroise Lettre d’Eloïse Coteaux Bourguignons 2013, 13%, €17.85 Le Caveau

The wines of Maison Ambroise, certified organic since 2013, are regarded as classic Burgundy “with distinct terroir influenced personalities”. This, new to the Le Caveau range, is 100 per cent Pinot Noir and has been aged in 400l barrels, two to five year old, for ten months. No fining or filtration has been applied so be sure to decant. 

By the way, did you know that synonyms for Pinot Noir include Pinot Nero, Pinot Negro, Spatburgunder, Blauburgunder.

Colour here is a pale ruby; red fruits in the aromas, most noticeably cherry. It is wonderfully fresh, the lively fruit flavours well matched by the acidity, a perfect balance, plus an excellent finish.  Highly Recommended.

Saw a few matching suggestions and the one that made most sense was Roasted duck breast with plum sauce. One from BBC Food here.
Jewel Collection Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 (Lodi, California), 14%, €16.90 Karwig Wines

Interestingly, this was “tested” on a Friday, then the Vacuvin was applied. The bottle was finished off on the following Wednesday and a small improvement was noted! The vine is made by a cooperative of growers from “gnarled 40 year old vines”.

Ruby is the colour, tending towards violet. And there are rich jammy aromas, plus vanilla. All that rich fruit appears too on the warm palate but nicely balanced by the acidity, some spice too, vanilla again, plus a decent finish. Pair with hearty dishes of beef, pork, fowl and various game. Recommended.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Striking It Rich In The Real Wine Month. This Bordeaux Is Hors Catégorie!

Striking It Rich In The Real Wine Month
This Bordeaux Is Hors Catégorie!
Looking out over the vineyards from the top of the Sauve-Majeure Abbey
April is Real Wine Month. Restaurants, stores and wine bars are taking part. See what's going on here.

Chateau Turcaud Cuvée Majeure 2014 Bordeaux blanc, 13.5%, €18.95 Le Caveau

Not too sure I should be shouting off the rooftops about this Bordeaux beauty. It is a perfect match - for me! I’m drawn first by its light gold colour. It almost sparkles in the glass. And then those complex aromas of white fruits (apple, pear) along with floral and minty hints and more. The deliciousness continues on the palate, enhanced by a rich voluptuous texture, a very pleasing balance of fruit and acidity, the oak nicely integrated, and a finish that lingers, reluctant to say goodbye.


Later, too late on this occasion,  I read on the Chateau website that it “can benefit from decanting a half hour to a full hour before the meal, and is ideal served chilled but not too cold.” This wine, they add, is at its best as an aperitif or with marinated salmon, foie gras, fish terrine, scampi, scallops, lobster, fish in a sauce, white meat, and most cheeses.


Sauvignon gris (30%) plays a big role in the blend; also here are Sauvignon blanc (55%) and Semillon (15%). After fermentation in French oak (40% new), it is aged for six months on fine lees which are “stirred with a stick (bâtonnage) once a week to put the lees into suspension in order to produce more complex, aromatic wine”. I reckon they got it right! Very Highly Recommended or maybe, as they say in the Tour de France, hors catégorie.


Familia Cecchin Malbec 2015 (Maipu, Mendoza), 13.6%, €20.35 Le Caveau


Over-the-top labels usually make me quite cautious about the wine in the bottle. And when I saw that this Malbec expresses the “soul of those who make it”, I was thinking that's a bit over the top. But maybe not! This one, made from organic grapes, is Very Highly Recommended!


It has a dark violet colour with rich fruit aromas and a peppery drift as well. On the palate it may not be quite as in your face as some traditional Argentinian Malbecs but there is a gorgeous restrained rush of fruit flavours and a lively matching acidity, a delightful balance achieved, and with a smashing finalé.


Familia Cecchin, who farm in Maipu, Mendoza, is the first Argentinian winery to become part of the Artisan Craftsman Growers, a worldwide association of high quality winemakers. They work in a traditional manner, according to the Wines of South America -”They use horse-drawn plows, minimize the use of agricultural chemicals and use only native yeasts. The vineyards are bordered with aromatic plants.. to attract animal pests and keep them away from the vines.” They are well known for their Malbec, Carignan and Olive Oil!



Tour de Gendres Cuvee des Conti Bergerac sec (AOC) 13%, €17.15 Le Caveau

Color is a lovely light gold, a bright one! The aromas include white fruit and blossom. Excellent white fruit (melon, peach) with good concentration, well rounded and refreshing overall plus a good finish. Eight months maturing on the lees helps. Highly Recommended.

This is the family speciality, their favourite! It is made from Sémillon harvested very ripe and partially passerillé (dried out). The full blend here (it will vary from season to season) is Semillon 70%, Sauvignon blanc 20, Muscadelle 10. They advise serving it with seafood, pike with white butter, grilled fish, a Cabécou. I’d like to  try it with some of that fresh Goatsbridge Farm trout, also available in Kilkenny of course, and in many supermarkets.

Viticulture is biodynamic, the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. Yields are low.

Menade Nosso Verdejo natural 2014, 13%, Vino de la tierra de Castilla y León, 13%, €19.95 (now 17.96) Le Caveau.

Castilla y Leon is a large region in northwest Spain that includes Rueda, now the undisputed home of Verdejo. The grapes for this wine come from Rueda itself, from Finca Menade. No added sulphur is used and the cork is covered by a waxy cap. Besides, a box of this wine will be packed with straw, perhaps to signify that it is a natural wine. Unlike its cousin (reviewed here too), it doesn't have the Rueda DO but don't worry, this is an exceptional wine and Very Highly Recommended.

There is a good depth of colour, strawy, and it is bright and clean. Aromas of white fruits and some herby hints too. Amazing mouthfeel, superb volume, impressive balance and a finish that goes on and on. If this is organic, keep the real wines coming, waxy cap and all!

I’ve seen the words greasy and oily used to describe the feel of this wine but don't let this put you off. It just means that there is more viscosity - you’ll note that the legs (or tears) on the glass are slow to clear.

Menade Verdejo 2014 (Rueda DO), 13%, €15.95 Le Caveau
This family run vineyard, just south of Valladolid, in Rueda, is certified organic. Hand-harvesting, carbonic snow  (instead of sulphur), natural yeasts and low yields are among the techniques used to produce pure and expressive wines.

And this light gold Verdejo is a very good example. Aromas are of white fruits (citrus to the fore) and there are floral hints too. It has lovely fresh fruit, a refreshing acidity, dry, well balanced and an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Maison Ambroise, Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Les Hauts Pruliers’ 2010, 13%, €46.35 Le Caveau.

Once on a vineyard visit, I noticed our guide was vigilant in moving us further away every time the tractor and sprayer came anywhere near our group. Now I read this about Maison Ambroise: Ludivine (Ambroise) explained the move to organic viticulture is one of true belief as she lost her grandfather due to illness caused by chemicals used in the fields.

The Les Hauts Pruliers vineyards are located on a very steep slope, just above Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru ‘Pruliers’. Harvested manually, neither filtered nor fined, the wines are classic and expressive with distinct terroir-influenced personalities. This is quite a gem.

It has the typical lighter red colour of Pinot Noir and a bright one too. There is a tempting nose of black and red berries, some spice too. And this is echoed on the palate; smooth and elegant. Deep and rich, nicely balanced, a vibrant mid-palate all heading towards a long finish.  

If Burgundy is Pinot Noir heaven, then this wine comes from a special piece of paradise. Maybe I should have waxed a little more on the lyrical side with this one, but the city below is flooded, the rain lashing down outside.  Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Pair of Pouilly-Fuissé. Classy Chardonnay Couple

A Pair of Pouilly-Fuissé
Classy Chardonnay
The neighbouring villages of Pouilly and Fuissé in Burgundy, surrounded by vineyards full of Chardonnay vines, give their names to the rather large Pouilly-Fuissé appellation. It is, according to Oz Clarke, “the sexiest name in the Maconnais”,  and at its best produces rich dry white wine. Can be confused with Pouilly-Fumé, a white wine (Sauvignon Blanc) from the Loire. If this happens to you, if you grab one from the “wrong” shelf, don't worry. Just open the Fumé and enjoy.

According to Larousse Wines, Pouilly-Fuissé wines "have a clear character and a good range of flavours. As they get older, they develop dried fruit and honey notes".

Don't let them get too old though. Three to six years is the ageing potential.







Goichot Pouilly-Fuissé “Les Feuilles d’Or” 2014, 13%, €18.00 SuperValu French Wine event.
Colour is a medium gold and there are aromas of citrus and white fruits among quite a medley. In the mouth, it is smooth, close to creamy, richly fruited and soft with good acidity too plus a lingering finish. An elegant wine indeed and Very Highly Recommended. Recommended with shell fish, king prawns, lobster, crab or poultry in cream sauce as well as many goat’s cheese. 
The SuperValu sale continues until September 23rd.

Domaine Noblet-Charvet Pouilly-Fuissé 2013, 13.5%, €22.90 (now at 18.30), Karwig Wines.
Colour is a slightly deeper gold than the Goichot and it has much the same concentrated aromas with white fruit, citron, honey hints. Smooth, close to creamy again and rich, with a slight drift of spice, soft and fruity, with lively acidity. You may well find it goes better with your shellfish than the Guichot which in turn could well be better with the crab and lobster in the creamy sauces! Take your pick. I’d have a very slight preference for the Goichot but this too, from the well regarded Noblet family, is Very Highly Recommended.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Burgundy Bourgogne. Five of the Best

SuperValu Feature Burgundy
Some of Bourgogne's Best


The French Wine sale is underway at SuperValu until the 23rd of the month (September). The focus here is on Burgundy (Bourgogne) and indeed mainly on the whites of the iconic area.

Burgundy and Bordeaux are perhaps the best known wine areas of France but there are major differences. Bordeaux is the area of the the big chateaux, the extensive vineyard. But Burgundy is the land of the small holder.

In Bordeaux too, they blend both reds and whites. In the Bourgogne region, the wines are mainly single varietal. This “purity of expression” means that each plot gives each vintage its own personality and unique characteristics. Chardonnay (48%) and Pinot Noir (34%) are the most widely grown here.

The current sale gives you, and me, a great opportunity to sample the superb wines from the region. Andre Goichot, best known as a negociant but who is also a producer, has been here since 1947 and all the wines below are his.

Maison Andre Goichot Mercurey (AOC) 2013, 12.5%, €18.00.
Colour is a light, and bright, red while the aromas give you a nice mix of raspberry, cherry, strawberry. Red fruit flavours, cherry prominent, on the palate, light as you'd expect, the lightness of a classic youthful Pinot Noir; acidity and tannins combine well as you go into the dry finish. Very Highly Recommended. You’ll be hard pushed to find a better example at or about this price - if you do, let me know.

Don't think I'd go as far as to say it's a divine wine but the village of Mercurey is named after a local Gallo-Roman temple to Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

Did you know that Pinot Noir juice is clear? The grapes must be macerated in vats to put the skins in contact with the juice. The colour is in the skins and, without this maceration, the Pinot Noir would produce a white wine. Pinot Noir accounts for about a third of the Burgundy harvest.

Maison Andre Goichot “Les Petit Meix” Chablis 1er Cru 2014, 13%, €18.00.

This, of course, is a Chardonnay, dry and fresh. If this is your first Chablis, you’ll probably find it much drier and fresher than the non-burgundian Chardonnays you've been drinking. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the wines of Chablis are surely the most flattered in the world - according to DK's French Wines 1999.

Colour is pale gold and it has the characteristic mineral aromas that hint of the dryness and freshness to come on the palate. It is quite a gorgeous mouthful, fruit and acidity in good balance and a super dry finalé.
Matches indicated include fine poultry, oysters and veal in a white sauce. But this is a complex wine, very versatile (you'll have no problem with duck or pork) and Very Highly Recommended.

Maison Andre Goichot Meursault (AOC) 2014, 13%, €35.00.

Colour is a greenish gold, limpid and brilliant, and here again the fruit and acidity match up in an exceptional balance. Fresh and smooth it has an excellent refined mouthfeel with a streak of minerality and a long finish that keeps giving.


On the area’s website, I read: “Nowhere in the Côte de Beaune does the Chardonnay grape do better that its does here”. Maybe a little early with this one, as they say “it is a great white wine for laying down”. It is indeed excellent now, and Highly Recommended, but whether it is twice as good as the Chablis or Montagny is debateable. Perhaps its best days are in the future! So maybe I’ll buy a few of these for that special occasion in a couple of years and lots of the Montagny for the here and now!

Former US president Thomas Jefferson once visited the region and reported: "..at Meursault only white wines are made, because there is too much stone for the red".


Domaine Les Guignottes, Les Resses Montagny 1er Cru 2014, 13%, €20.00
Not too much to say about this - just go out and buy and enjoy! This classic Chardonnay has beautiful intense white fruit aromas, peach the most prominent. Colour is a bright gold and there are amazing fruit and nut flavours, some spice too. The acidity too is outstanding. Fresh, with  a gorgeous mouthfeel and a long finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Domaine Les Guignottes, Montagny Les Guignottes, 13%, €18.00
Falling in love with Montagny, for sure. Tried this out with a trio and they all loved it as well, its amazing colours, brightness and aromas but above all for the outstanding flavours and acidity and that long finish. Great value too. Very Highly Recommended. 

Montagny (in the Chalonnaise region) produces white wines only - fresh, young, alluring classic burgundian. Very versatile as a food wine, including seafood, many cheeses (including goat) and it won't be intimidated by paella.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

High-end Burgundy Wines at Zamora Evening. Excellent Matching Food As Well

High-end Burgundy Wines at Zamora Evening


Excellent Food As Well


Edouard Leach (left) and Billy Forrester.
Zamora got its wine events off to a great start with a superb Burgundy tasting event at the new Academy Street venue last Monday.


The top end wines, three white and three red, came via Bubble Brothers and Maison Francoise Chauvenet who were ably represented by Edouard Leach. And Edouard’s task of showcasing the marvellous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of the region was made all the easier by the matching food served up by the Zamora kitchen under the direction of Pat Browne of Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Burgundy, unlike Bordeaux, is a land of small plots. There are some 3,500 growers with an average 6 hectares. Once it was the the negociants who dominated but now 1000 growers bottle themselves. As the growers go for more control at the end of the operation, so the negociants seek more control towards the start.
In the meantime, Maison Francoise Chauvenet brings together grapes from various parcels and makes some brilliant wines and those on show at Zamora were made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

First up was the Marguerite de Bourgogne Chardonnay (2013). This is the signature house blend of wine from four Cotes de Beaune vineyards. Edouard said it sets the style and is drinking perfectly now. This was matched with A salad of Jerusalem Artichokes with smoked almonds and preserved lemon dressing. Simple, but an excellent match. We were off to a very good  start indeed.

And it got better. The kitchen delivered their Carrigcleena Duck Liver Paté with crostini to pair with the Pouilly-Fuisse 2013. Edouard: “This is considerable step-up. The fruit is more concentrated and it goes well with the paté.” Chauvenet themselves say this is the undoubted king of the Maconnais region and Edouard emphasised that the quality here is down to a very deliberate low yield policy.
Fish
Our next visit was to the small village of Puligny-Montrachet, one of the places in the famous triangle near Beaune. “There is a huge demand for the triangle wines”,  Edouard said. “This 2012 is slowly opening up and, in two or three years time, it will be even better, will have attained full complexity.” Not bad as it was though and a serious partner with the House smoked Salmon and Hake, served with seasonal greens, roasted red and yellow peppers and a black garlic aioli.

Now we were on to the reds. Would they match up? Would they what? Billy Forrester of Bubble Brothers introduced the first, the entry level Marguerite de Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013. He was very proud of it: “A wonderful old world Pinot Noir. Delicious.” He must have been proud too of the matching dish: Boeuf Bourguignon with Kale and scallion champ potato. We could have been in Lyon!
Boeuf Bourguignon
Edouard was somewhat puzzled by the fact that the next wine, the Mercurey 1er Cru (2013), was not so popular in Ireland. Mercurey is the best red wine village in the Cote Chalonnaise, between Beaune and Macon and “this is a huge seller in France, Belgium and Holland. It is quite soft, nice and generous.” And went well with the soft and mild Buche de Chevre.

Both the kitchen and the wine company came up with a terrific finalé. Zamora’s final contribution was an Organic Rhubarb Bread and Butter Pudding, with compote and softly whipped cream. A dessert delight.
And the final wine was a very serious one: Nuits-Saint-Georges 2011. Edouard advised: “This needs time. It is still relatively closed, needs more age”. And speaking of age, he had some advice if you are thinking of keeping a few bottles of this. “Pinot Noir is very fragile, can lose everything if kept too long. If you have a case, use one bottle every year!”.

Though, nowadays, quite a few areas around the world are making excellent Chardonnay and  far fewer areas Pinot Noir, you will still hear that Burgundy is the spiritual home of both. Don't think there were too many arguing with that after this particular evening.
Cheese

The partnership between Bubble Bros and Maison Chauvet is a relatively recent one but is has started well with the promise of other excellent wines to come. Currently, there is ten per cent off the Chauvenet wines. So do keep an eye on their website for all the latest news from Burgundy. And also for news of further wine evenings at Zamora.


  • By the way, I always thought that Cotes d’Or meant golden slope or golden hillside. But I just read in The Finest Wines of Burgundy by Bill Nanson that it is actually  a contraction of Cote d’Orient - East-facing Hillside. I could have asked Edouard had I read that before the evening!

Dessert


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.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yummy Duo

Yummy Duo
Caldora Yume Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2008, 14%, €20.60, Karwig Wines
They call this “Yummy” in Karwig’s and it is easy to see why. This very dark red has gorgeous aromas of dark fruit (plum, cherry). On the palate it is smooth and fruity, tannins present but close to unobtrusive. This full flavoured lively wine is a delight and a very good example as to why Montepulciano is so popular.
The technical bits:
Grape is 100 per cent Montepulciano, 10 days in skin contact, 10 months in barriques, 6 months in large vats, and 6 months in bottle. Takes a bit of rearing! Worth it though as this is a multi-award winner including silver at Decanter World Wine Awards 2012. Very Highly Recommended.




Domaine Noblet Charvet Pouilly-Fuissé 2011, 13.5%, €20.40, Karwig Wines
Made a mistake when picking up this one – meant to get a Pouilly Fumé. If all errors turned out so well!
This, from Burgundy rather than my intended target the Loire, has a pleasant concentrated bouquet and a colour of light gold with shades of green. This Chardonnay has lively intense white fruits yet a fine acidity, well balanced and with a long finish. Quite a refined wine really and Very Highly Recommended.


The wines of Pouilly Fuissé “are undoubtedly some of the most famous white Burgundies” and the Noblet family is a long standing top producer while Chardonnay is the most popular and most versatile white grape in the world.