Showing posts with label Curious Wines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Curious Wines. Show all posts

Friday, March 27, 2015

Your Weekend Wine Suggestions. Ace Organic Boyo! And More.

Weekend Wine Suggestions

Ace Organic, Boyo! And More.

Cantina Orsogna Coste dí Moro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (DIOC) 2011, 14%, €15.99, reduced from 19.99, at Curious Wines

This splendid “biodinamica” wine, hidden behind its brown paper labels, is made from the Montepulciano grape grown in the Abruzzo area of Italy.
Pour this super organic gem and you’ll see the colour is a dense ruby and that it has amazingly pleasant fruity aromas. On the palate, it is warm and intense, the tannins are soft. Overall, an easy drinking wine that, in its freshness, is reminiscent of a Loire Cabernet Franc, and one, with its almost sweet flavours, that will please many. Very Highly Recommended.

Velenosi Rosso Novello 2014 (IGT Marche, Italy), 13%, €15.50 Karwigs
Montepulciano is the main grape (90%) in this blend, another wine earning a Very Highly Recommended tag.
It is a young and bright wine, ruby the colour. There are intense red fruits on the nose, some spice too. On the palate, it is full of fruit, so smooth and yet is so well balanced as the acidity is not shy either. Light and pleasing to drink but take your time; you’ll enjoy a sip as much as a slug. Hints of blood orange on the finish.

 Falvo Li Veli Orion Primitivo 2013, Salento (IGT), 14%,, €17.25 Karwigs

Ruby, a dense one, is also the colour here and it boasts rich ripe fruit aromas; note also a little spice. This is rich and fruity, quite powerful, yet elegantly smooth and long. The acidity though doesn't let go and so you have a fresh and pleasing wine, really beautifully balanced and you’ll love that long finalé. Very Highly Recommended.
Vigneti del Salento Primitivo 2012, Puglia, 14%, €12.39 reduced from 15.49 at Curious Wines
Pleasant aromas from this one as well and hints of spice too. Fruity, for sure, but balanced, overall soft and generous with fine tannins. Another easy drinking wine with lots of ripe and luscious fruit flavours. Highly Recommended.

Etienne Barret Crozes Hermitage blanc 2012, 12.5%, SuperValu.

This was my St Patrick’s Night wine and I wasn't all that keen on taking notes. But I have to say this blend of Marsanne and Roussanne is a beauty and Very Highly Recommended. Attractive aromas, full of flavour, almost creamy mouthfeel, plus a generous finish. One to note for sure.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bauduc’s Superior Red Double


Bauduc’s Superior Red Double

Summer (2014) tasting at Bauduc

Chateau Bauduc Close de Quinze 2012, Bordeaux supérieur, 14% abv, €18.99 at Red Nose Wines

This single vineyard blend, of Merlot (85%) and Cabernet Sauvignon, is supple and fruity, a classic Bordeaux, produced by English couple Gavin and Angela Quinney in their lovely vineyard, Chateaux Bauduc near Créon, in between the Garonne and Dordogne.

This is a very dark red, almost black, with ripe red fruit on the nose. It is a Bordeaux supérieur, for sure, but with a certain restraint, sophistication even. There's no mistaking its fruit, supple and pervasive all over the palate, right through to a delightful long and dry finish. Very Highly Recommended.





Château Bauduc 'Les Trois Hectares' Rouge, Bordeaux supérieur 2010, 13.5%, €28.00 Curious Wines & Red Nose Wines



“We only make Les Trois Hectares red in really good years, like 2010. The grapes come from the three best parcels of Merlot and the wine is aged in new and one-year old French oak barrels.”

I tasted this Merlot last June during a very pleasant visit to Gavin and Angela at Bauduc and it was marvellous. Now, in depths of winter, it still comes up trumps, full flavoured and elegant. No difficulty in seeing why the 2006 was the top selling red at Gordon Ramsay’s three Michelin star restaurant in London. Indeed, the Ramsey tasting crew had left the chateau just before we arrived.

Another Very Highly Recommended red from the outskirts of Créon. Indeed, if you are on holidays in the area, why not make a visit. But do contact them before you do so. Better again, why not stay there as they have a large house, with pool, to let in the grounds! Info here



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Karwig and Curious


Karwig and Curious

This old Citroen is now parked up at Chateau Bauduc.
But don't worry, deliveries to Curious Wines continue!

Curious Christmas

Just been flicking through the Curious Wines brochure, another really professional effort. Didn't have to go far to find some good wines at a very good price. With twenty percent off Spanish wines (Chilean also) at the moment, take note of the El Circo wines at 8 euro (I'm impressed with the Macabeo). Note too the Beso de Vino series (including another decent Macabeo). On Page 11, don't overlook the Portuguese pair, Stella white and red, each at 9 euro.

Now that’s the party sorted, how about a few for yourself. I'd be very happy with a bottle of Tim Adam’s “Bluey’s Block” Grenache (16.99) or anything, red or white, even rosé, by Gavin Quinney at Chateau Bauduc. Another Grenache worth a look is the Saint Cosme “Little James”. This is unusual as it is non-vintage but a “winner” according to Robert Parker. And me!

And if you’re feeling especially pleased with yourself, take a look at the Little Beauty Sauvignon Blanc (18.99) and their amazing Pinot Noir (26.00). No shortage of Christmas box suggestions from the folks at Curious. The Chateau Bauduc Bordeaux Sauvignon and Merlot is a twin pack I’d recommend at a reasonable 30 euro. Enjoy.

By the way, if you want to sample before you buy, Curious are open for Christmas Tastings next Saturday (6th) and Sunday (7th), in both the Cork and Naas stores. Times are 12.30pm to 6.00pm both days. More info here  

Casale Vecchio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009, 13.5%, €16.95 Karwig Wines

I have to admit that I usually like wines made with the Montepulciano grape, often look for it on restaurant lists, and this is no exception. Confusingly, there is an Italian village of the same name.

This deep red, with intense, fruity, gorgeous aromas, is a superb wine. On the palate it is well endowed with fruit flavours, plum mainly, also spice, dry with good length. This “flagship wine” of a “well respected winery” is best served with meat and grilled food, excellent also with “seasoned”cheese. Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reds to Remember

Reds to Remember
A Margaux chateau this summer.

Marques de Riscal Gran Reserva 2001 (150th anniversary edition), 14%, €49.99 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork.

This was produced to mark the 150th anniversary of Riscal and is rather special, a good choice for a special occasion of your own! It is the normal Rioja blend of Tempranillo (mainly), Graciano and Mazuelo, but from vines older than 30 years. The picking was by hand. Two and a half years in American oak was followed by three years bottle aging.

Dark cherry in colour, it has a complex nose: herbs, oaky fragrances, spicy. It is rounded, at this stage, well balanced with a viscous mouthfeel, no shortage of power or backbone, intense black fruits, supple and with a long silky finish. Superb. I’m sure you'll think of a special occasion. Very Highly Recommended.

By the way, I had a special occasion myself! Normally, I'll be sticking to my usual (flexible!) price range on this site, usually between €12.00 and €22.00.


Domaine de Maucaillou Margaux 2009, 12.5%, €12.00 in Margaux June 2014.

Moved on to this just as I was finishing the Riscal. What a pleasant surprise and a pleasant reminder that price is not always the best indicator of wine quality. This is a beautiful Bordeaux from a good year. Thought it was one of the more expensive of the Margaux that I bought there this summer and, on checking, was surprised to see it was the cheapest.

This is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, has spent 12 months in barriques and is produced in a 2.3 hectare vineyard. Confusingly, there is a Chateau Maucaillou not too far away in Moulis.

Colour is a deep ruby, healthy and bright, and it has a rather delicate fruity nose. On the palate, it has power and attractiveness in equal measures, a big wine indeed from a very small domaine, and a very nice finish as well. Check out your local wine merchant for Margaux. This one, if you come across it, home or away, is Very Highly Recommended.

Aresti Trisquel 2012 Syrah (Chile), 14%, €17.99 Supervalu.

This dark dark red has an intriguing nose: blackcurrants, spices, vanilla, caramel, smoke even. The Syrah (rather than Shiraz) suggests a nod towards the European style and it is indeed close to the more restrained Old World style. Quite complex on the palate, juicy, spicy, darkly fruity and a long pleasing finish. Quite a lot going on in this really stunning wine. Very Highly Recommended.

Moulin de Gassac Albaran 2011, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah Old Vines, 13.5%, €14.49 Curious Wines online.

On the lookout for value? Then you could do worse that check out the Curious Wines website as they give genuine discounts throughout the year. I saved three euro on this one a few weeks back. This is an excellent red for the price, great fruit and flavour, a highly recommended easy drinker from this innovative and well established Herault (Languedoc) vineyard.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Superb Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc. Check this Cuvée Grêle 2013!

Superb Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc
Check this Cuvée Grêle 2013!
Gavin Quinney at
Chateau Bauduc June 2014.
Mention Sauvignon Blanc these days and the next sentence will almost certainly contain the words New Zealand and maybe, just maybe, the Loire. New Zealand is well known for its distinctively aromatic pungent style while the traditional Loire style is often described with words like minerality and acidity.

New Zealand, where it is by far the most widely grown grape, is not the only New World country producing good Sauvignon Blanc. Chile is another, excellent examples coming from the cooler coastal areas of this long and narrow country. And there are quite a few more, both old and new world.

But let’s go back to France again and search that little bit harder. In Bordeaux (which may have seen the birth of this grape). I know many of us are under the impression that all Bordeaux whites (now increasingly rated higher by Mr Parker) are all a blend of SB and Semillon in all kinds of proportions.

But there are quite a few one hundred per cent Sauvignon Blancs in the area, including the pair below. And do note that Bauduc is available in Ireland via Curious Wines!

Chateau Bauduc, Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Bordeaux, 11.5%

Lovely fruit flavours here with excellent balance, crisp and dry with a little tingle and a lovely long finish. This gem, somewhat fuller than the Loire style, has been the house wine at Gordon Ramsey’s and Rick Stein’s for over a decade, showing you don't have to be in the Loire to make excellent French Sauvignon Blanc. Very Highly Recommended.

We are lucky to have this one at all. Vigneron Gavin Quinney notes on the back label: “We call this our Cuvée Grêle (hail) as we lost half our crop on 2 August, just before the September harvest.”

Chateau Rochemorin, Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Pessac-Leognan Bordeaux.

Came across this beauty in an one star Michelin restaurant in Arcachon (Le Patio) and absolutely enjoyed, even if it came in at fifty euro a pop. Enjoyed it even more when I found I could buy it in Podensac for €11.95.

In the Loire in 2013, I bought more red than whites and this year, in Bordeaux, I bought more whites than red. Pessac-Leognan is, according to Oz Clarke, “one of the most exciting areas in France for top-class white wines” while Hugh Johnson says it has Bordeaux’s “finest barrel fermented dry whites’. High praise indeed.

The highly respected Andre Lurton is the man in charge here and impressed even Jancis Robinson with this one who described it as racy and lively and “giving white burgundy a run for its money”.

It spends 10 months in oak barrels (35% new), on full lees with bâtonnage. Believe it or not  it can age 12 to 15 years but is excellent after 2 to 5 years. I’ll have my purchases wiped out by Christmas, at the latest!

Lots of white fruit on the nose, it is rich and fresh and beautifully balanced. Well worth seeking out if you are on hols in France. Not sure if you’ll find it in Ireland though I see that Wine Online are offering the 2007 version.

Other Sauvignon Blanc recommendations
New Zealand: Fiona Turner’s Tinpot Hut and Fleur McCree’s Little Beauty are both excellent Marlborough examples. Also worth a try is Tim and Judy Finn’s fresh herbaceous Neudorf from the Nelson area.

Chile: Aresti’s Trisquel Sauvignon Blanc and Cono Sur’s Single Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca.






Thursday, August 28, 2014

Winning Grenache from a Solera in Gigondas

Winning Grenache from a Solera in Gigondas
Saint Cosme Little James Basket Press, Non Vintage Red (Vin de France), 13%, €15.99 (12.79 August) at Curious Wines

The Rhone cased Chateau de Saint Cosme (est. 1570), a negociant-vigneron, uses the Solera blending technique, usually associated with sherry, to produce this excellent non vintage Grenache.

Unlike a vintage wine, Little James “is a permanent creation of a solera, which gets more and more complex every year with an irresistible crunchy fruit”. The typical bottle has fifty per cent of the current vintage and fifty per cent from wines of the previous decade.

There are aromas of darker fruits (plum and cherry for me) and some pepper in this dark red wine. On the palate, you'll find lots of fruit and that pepper again and great flavours all the way through the long finish. “A winner” according to Robert Parker. Very interesting and Very Highly Recommended.

Happy Day! Dining in Gigondas

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Exquisite Riesling and a Curious Duo

Exquisite Riesling
from the steep slopes of Nahe
Mathern

Mathern 2012 Niederhäuser Riesling Trocken, Nahe (Germany), 12.5%, €16.90 Karwig Wines

This Riesling, from the Nahe village of Niederhäuser, speaks for itself. It is simply superb and Very Highly Recommended.

Colour is a very pale honey with hints of green. On the palate, it is tangy and lively, green apples for sure, and with a good dry finish. Nothing at all complex here. Well made. Excellent. Buy it and try it!

Curious Duo

Chateau Saint Louis La Perdrix, Costieres de Nimes blanc 2011, 13%, €13.99 (11.19 for August)
Moulin de Gassac Merlot, Pays D’Herault 2013, 13.5%, €12.49 (9.99 for August).

There is a French sale at Curious Wines this month and you get 20% off when you but two French wines at €25.00 or under. These are two of the cheaper wines, both from the South of France, and two that I enjoyed.

Nimes is where denim comes from (de Nimes) and also where this white originates. The fact that it was made mainly from the Roussane grape caught my attention. I like the Roussane and liked this bottle, fresh and fruity and easy to drink.

Moulin de Gassac, farmed organically, overlooks the Med near Sete in the Languedoc and “offer a collection of wines highlighting the special characteristics of each grape varietal”. This medium bodied Merlot is one of the series, a rather friendly one, easy drinking and great value, especially at the moment.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ferry Nice Magneau Double

Ferry Nice Magneau Double
Graves vineyards, near Podensac
Came home from the recent holiday in Bordeaux with a stash of wine. Nothing unusual about that! The advice that came it was to leave it rest for about three weeks after its travels. Could have done with three weeks rest myself!

Three weeks without touching the St Emilion and Sauternes could be fairly frustrating, I thought. On the day home though, I spotted (invented?) a solution in the wine shop on the Brittany Ferry Pont Aven. They had a well priced double, a 2011 red and white from Bordeaux’s Chateau Magneau. These are used to traveling, I thought, and so, with that flimsy excuse, the pair were the first to be opened.

I had made the acquaintance of the wines from this Graves chateau in the Maison des Vins de Graves on the outskirts of Podensac and had confidence in its quality. I drank an elder cousin of the rouge but hadn't tasted either of the 2011s. I wouldn't be disappointed! 

On board value, for wines in general, was pretty good too. Can’t find the receipt but the two bottles cost about £17.50 (about 25 euro). If you’re taking the ferry to France this year, keep an eye out for this and similar offers. Staying on dry land? Then, From Vineyards Direct have some interesting Graves here and so too have Curious Wines.

Chateau Magneau Graves rouge 2011
Grape variety here is 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc. It has spent 12 months in oak casks (1/3 new) for 12 months. It has rich aromas with hints of red fruits and it is full-bodied with an elegant mouthfeel. Tannins are well-blended and all in all it is a very pleasant wine indeed, a good complement for all red meats and cheese and likely to be even better in a year or two.

Chateau Magneau Graves blanc 2011
I do like a decent bit of Semillon in my Bordeaux whites and this, a local gold medal winner, has 40%. The other varieties, both traditional in the blend, are Sauvignon (45%) and Muscadelle (15). This, with complex aromas,  was probably the more satisfactory of the pair, well structured, elegant, fruity with a long lasting aftertaste, the perfect mix of full body and intensity.  A lovely aperitif and likely to be a good match with seafood and fish.
Mine is not the only stamp of approval! Magneau wines are produced under the method of cultivation known as Terra Vitis:  " the stamp of French vinegrower-winemakers who respect nature and Man and who craft wines to please the taste buds."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cork Wine Business Expands

Cork Wine Business Expands
Advises "Skip the bank, go to the people"
Curious Wines Mike Kane at a Cork tasting
Cork wine company Curious Wines run by brothers Mike Kane and Matt Kane, one of the first wine companies in Ireland to use the web and social media to get business, are innovating again. The brothers are expanding their business by opening a wine warehouse and retail space in Naas, just off the M7 as a foothold into the greater South Dublin area. However, rather than relying on the banks to finance the expansion, it was apparent they had the necessary funding right at their finger-tips – through their own customers.
No more cajoling
"We needed an additional €30,000 of financing but instead of jumping through hoops by having to educate, prod and cajole a bank manager, we went to the people who understand and believe in our business: our customers, our friends,” stated MD Michael Kane.
Curious Wines are one of many businesses in Ireland using new forms of financing, based on peer-to-peer lending or crowd-funding. Here they're using LinkedFinance, where individuals get to bid "micro" loans at rates that suit them. When enough people bid the loan becomes an auction, with the loan fulfilled at the lowest rates bid. Where Curious have struck gold again is in offering the loan to their customers first.
“We’ve never seen such an enthusiastic response to a loan on our platform.” commented Marc Rafferty of LinkedFinance. “Normally we would experience 20-30% loan fulfilment in the first week of a loan being offered. With Curious it was 75%, and at rates we haven’t seen before.”
Rafferty continued: “Curious Wines has embraced Linked Finance as a way to raise finance to expand their Irish business in the ultimate fashion. By engaging with their own customers, they have driven the speed of the fulfilment, and driven down the rate at which people are prepared to invest in them. Not only are they receiving the finance they need to grow, they’re turning their current customers into lenders and advocates for their business and they’ve also publicised their wine business to the thousands of lenders supporting Irish SMEs on LinkedFinance.com. Now that's what we call a real alternative to the banks!” continued Rafferty.
The loan auction ends on Tuesday 24th June and details can be read here: https://www.linkedfinance.com/business-loans/investment/borrower/loan?id=1564
Would you get €30,000 from your bank in a week?
Matthew Kane, Curious Wines’ Operations Manager, who will run the Naas location: "We're blown away that in just a week we're at 75% of our €30,000 loan without pushing it that hard. We sent an email to our newsletter list and put up a few tweets and our friends and supporters spread the news via word of mouth. It's a total endorsement of what we're doing by our own customers."
Curious Wines are of the view that new direct to public financing models are a future that SMEs need to consider.
Michael Kane MD: "Despite all the fancy advertising saying banks are lending money, they're still far too conservative and strangling people in paper and conditions, we would urge many SMEs that are looking for financing to investigate LinkedFinance. These are the credit unions, the community coop banks of the 21st century"
The new Curious Wines location will be a 6,000 square foot unit in Tougher Business Park, Newhall, between Naas and Newbridge, just 3km from the M7 Dublin-Cork motorway. Around half the space will be used for retail, with the other half supporting the growing warehousing and distribution requirements of Curious’ nationwide online and wholesale business.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bordeaux’s Chateau Bauduc. Hail and Terroir. My 159 Steps.

Bordeaux’s Chateau Bauduc. Hail and Terroir. My 159 Steps.

Day 9 in Arcachon 10th June


Gavin Quinney knew about terroir but was somewhat sceptical when he started winemaking at Chateau Bauduc fifteen years back. Hail stones weren't in the wine equation then. But they sure are now. Fifteen years on, Englishman Gavin believes in hail and terroir. And much more besides.

Gavin checking Merlot

Chateau Bauduc is found in the area known as Entre deux Mers, the wide strip of land between the Dordogne and the Gironde. Bauduc couldn't be more entre. Gavin, and his dogs, took us around his 25 hectares of vines, some quite young, some quite old (Semillon planted in 1947). Vines are like people, mused Gavin as he pointed out the gnarly old Semillon and its lack of vigour (though not necessarily of quality). Seems though, they will not be here much longer.
This is a working vineyard and in between Gavin had chats with various people - work goes on. And it is detailed work, labour intensive, hands on. He pointed to his many rows of vines, including Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and said each single plant would be visited by man or machine at least twenty times over the year


After all that hard work we retreated to the steps of the chateau itself for the tasting. Having seen so many museum like chateaux in France, it was some change to see a lived-in one! On the steps and in the sunshine we met his wife Angela.

We started with his 2012 Bordeaux blanc, all Sauvignon blanc, and a real beauty. Then we moved onto the lightly oaked Clos des Quinze 2012 Bordeaux, a classic blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Just sipping a glass of it again now as I type and it is just perfect, a great balance of fruit flavours and acidity.
From the 159th step!
They just kept getting better.  Next up was the 2010 Les Trois Hectares, a Bordeaux superieur Merlot. Marvellous. And the good thing about these wines, unlike many that I write about on these trips, is that they are available in Ireland via Curious Wines http://www.curiouswines.ie.
Crossing the Gironde at Langoiran
Bauduc is near the town of Créon and here we enjoyed a lunchtime sandwich and a drink in a bakery recommended by Gavin. Headed on then to a local landmark, the Abbaye de la Sauve Majeure. It is now a ruin but much of the shell remains as does the bell tower. The receptionist more or less dared me to take that on and, with some power from the Bauduc wines, I scaled the 159 steps in record time.

Had been hoping to visit a top restaurant in Arcachon but it closes on Tuesday. Luckily for us, we found another traiteur just across the road and the madame here was welcoming and smiling. We liked that and liked her food as well, including a main course of beef tongue. Three courses costs us about twenty one euro. And we had lots of Bauduc to wash it down! Say no more.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Foot-treading has its merits! Douro Delight.

Foot-treading has its merits! 
Quinta do Judeu
A Cracking Douro Red.
Quinta do Judeu Corgo da Régua 2012 (Douro), 14%, €13.99 at Curious Wines, other stockists


If you thought foot-treading in wineries was a thing of the past, think again. It is alive and kicking, at least in the Douro region of Portugal. Chris Forbes of Taylor’s Port sang its praises - it maximises the juice and the flavors - at a tasting in Ballymaloe the other evening and, at the weekend, I had its merits beautifully confirmed by this bottle.

Colour is a dark red and the aromas are of red fruit. On the palate it is fresh and fruity and with a gentle mouthfeel. Tannins have their say but they are mild. Perfect with red meat, this is your everyday wine. And not just weekdays! Weekends as well. Very Highly Recommended.

While you might not expect the foot-treading, you won't be too surprised by the cork closure as after all it is a Portuguese wine. Grape varieties are local: Tinta Roriz 35%, Tinta Barroca 35%, Touriga Franca 20% and Touriga Nacional 10%. Decanting advised.

Domaine de Rochelin, Macon-Lugny 2012, 12.5%, €14.60 Karwig Wines
Must say I rather like the Chardonnays from this region and this is no exception. You've got a pale straw colour with tints of green and a nose of white fruits, peach and melon. It is fruity and fresh, with an almost plump feel and with a floral finish..

It is the result of sustainable cultivation, the aim being to create a style of freshness and exuding fruit aromas. I reckon they succeeded. Highly Recommended.

Bodegas Exopto, Dominio del Viento, Crianza 2010 Rioja, 13.5%, €15.99 Curious Wines.
Colour here is a light red and a bright one. The red fruit flavours are pleasantly obvious in the mouth while a mild acidity is enough to balance. Some spice too. All the delicious elements at play too in a decent finish. A well made rounded example of the type and Highly Recommended. It is made from 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha and has spent 12 months in oak barrels.

Domaine des Geslets, Les Geslets Bourgueil 2010, 13%
Domaine du Raifault Clos du Villy, Chinon 2009, 12.5%
Not sure you'll find either of these two in Ireland (you will find similar) but if you are in France during the summer, do watch out for them. I have been praising the reds of Chinon and its neighbour Bourgueil recently and these are two really excellent examples.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Two Excellent Reds. Well priced also! And two from the Loire.

Quarisa Enchanted Tree Pinot Noir (South East Australia) 2012, 13.5%, €13.99 Curious Wines

Wine is the colour of this excellent Pinot Noir. Didn’t know there was a colour with that name but apparently it has been in use since the early 18th century!
The wine itself is juicy and fruity, a silky medium bodied feel, well balanced with no alcohol burn, and tannins that shake hands without too much of a grip, and good length also.

Liked it (and the colourful label) at their pre-Christmas tasting and liked it even more when I brought a bottle home. Very Highly Recommended.

Beso de Vino, Seleccion 2011, Cariñena (Spain), 13.5%, €11.99, Wine Alliance stockists.
This was not supposed to be the Valentine’s Night star. That role went to a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and the Adriatic ace didn't disappoint.
But then the Beso, the supporting player, took to the stage. Took its chance. Grabbed the taste buds’ attention with the initial friendly approach, strong and spicy and all things nice-y. This pleasantly potent blend of Syrah and Garnacha, soft and dry and with a fine finish, proved itself a class act and comes with a price tag that won’t worry the bank manager. Very Highly Recommended.
Vincent Gregoire Domain des Geslets, L'Expression 2009, Bourgueil (France), 13%, €8.80 Syndicat des Vins Bourgueil.
This dark red Cabernet Franc has aromas of dark fruits with some spice. It is smooth, fruity and refreshing and an excellent example of what they do with the grape in this area.
All the grapes used have been raised under the “Sustainable Agriculture” method and come from old (65 to 80 years) vines. It is matured in 400l casks for nearly 12 months, “gaining black cherry, vanilla and spicy aromas”. If you do get your hands on a bottle, be sure and decant! Very Highly Recommended.


Domaine du Clos d’Epinay, Vouvray Brut, Methode Traditionnelle, 12%, €9.00 at the estate.
Well, unlike Dom Perignon, you won’t be tasting “the stars” when you open a bottle of this Clos d’Epinay. But there are lots of bubbles, maybe not the smallest, and the wine itself has many of the elements associated with champagne. Indeed, it is quite a lovely substitute for the real thing and at a fraction of the price. Recommended.
It is a small vineyard and when I called there in the late summer of 2013, they reported that up to ninety per cent of the crop had been damaged by hail stones earlier in the year. “That’s nature.” Let us hope they’ll have a better summer this time. The grapes used are 100 per cent Chinon Blanc.