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Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Azienda Ampeleia ‘Un Litro’ Costa Toscano (IGT) 2016, 12.5%, €21.95 Le Caveau
Vines in the Wild
This relatively new estate - Ampeleia is the Greek for wine - is certified organic and biodynamic; it is biodiverse with the vineyards interspersed with chestnut and cork oak forests as well as scrub.
This particular wine comes in a squat green one litre bottle - hence the name - and is a blend of Alicante (Grenache), Carignan and Alicante Bouschet which has spent 6 months in cement tanks. It is unfined, unfiltered and has no added SO2.
Colour is between a deep pink and a pale ruby. Aromas, say Le Caveau, have balsamic notes, plus wild herbs and spice hints and I find no reason to disagree! It is juicy, light and youthful on the palate with an engaging purity of fruit, a light mist of spice and then a dry yet fruity finish. Highly Recommended.
Mas Igneus FA206 Priorat (DOG) 2005, 15%, €21.75 Mary Pawle Wines
Mas is a traditional farmhouse found in the Provence (eg Mas de la Dame, winemakers in the Vaucluse) and Midi regions of France, as well as in the Catalan regions of both France and Spain. And FA206 means six months in second year barrels. Agricultura Ecologica is the method use by Mas Igneus, one of the newer wineries in the Priorat region. The blend is Garnacha, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is a deep ruby and you also note the long legs, slow to clear. There are beautiful aromas of ripe dark fruits, a touch of vanilla. It is smooth, concentrated, spice also, a warming mouthfeel, plus a long and rounded finish. Quite a superb wine, an oldie but goldie, and Very Highly Recommended.
Henri Nordoc Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d’Oc (IGP) 2014, 12.5%, €11.75 Le Caveau
No blending here, just 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The colour is a rich ruby. There are intense aromas: dark fruits, vanilla and toast. Dark fruits follow on the palate, fresh and juicy, spice and tannins also in play but neither prominent. This Highly Recommended wine finishes well and is good value also.
The great concentration and purity comes from vines that are well cared for; they aim for a low yield. Later, the wine spends 8 months on its fine lees. The back label promises a wine “characteristic of the Languedoc terroir which produces rich wines bursting with flavour”. I reckon Henri and the Languedoc have delivered.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Carignan, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc.Not Just Good Blenders!
Carignan, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc are not normally let out on their own, not in Ireland.
The three grapes are best known for their role in blends, in the Rhone, Provence and Languedoc. Mourvèdre is probably the most familiar in Ireland as it is the “M” in the GSM wines of the Rhone where G is Grenache and S stands for Syrah. All three come from the Languedoc/Roussillon area; if you’re a rugby fan, think Narbonne, Perpignan and south to the Pyrenees.
The SuperValu French Wine sale that starts tomorrow (Feb 12th) gives us the chance to see the three on a solo run and, at ten euro or less per bottle, it is an opportunity worth taking for those looking to see what else is out there aside from the more common Chardonnay and Merlot.
|An old vineyard tractor pictured near Narbonne a few years ago.|
Domaine De Simonet Bourboulenc 2013, 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th.
Bourboulenc is an ancient white grape and, according to the Hugh Johnson Handbook, “makes some of the Midi’s best wines”.
This one, from the Midi, has refreshing white fruit flavours, pear rather than apple, citrus also included and a slight smokiness (a characteristic of the grape, I’ve read); there is a vibrant mouthfeel and a decent finish as well. Nice acidity here too and I think it might go well with a half dozen oysters! Highly Recommended.
Claude Vialade Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2013, Cotes Catalanes IGP, 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th.
Colour here is dark red and there are dark fruit aromas. On the palate it is fruity and vibrant, not unlike the Mourvèdre but with a slightly heavier body and slightly stronger flavours. It has an excellent finish. It is recommended for meats and cheese. I tried it with a creamy Durrus Og and they do get on! While rarely seen here on its own, Carignan is widely grown in the South of France and elsewhere around the world, including Chile where it has a long history. Highly Recommended.
Domaine De La Condamine l'Eveque Mourvèdre Cotes de Thongue IGB 2012 - €9.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th
A dark red wine with dark fruit aromas. Stewed dark fruit flavours, quite intense, some spice also; very pleasant overall and a half decent finish as well. Lovely rich warm wine and great value. They say this, with its screw cap closure, is suitable for early drinking, so don't be holding on to it! Highly recommended.