Showing posts with label Domaine la Sarabande. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Domaine la Sarabande. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Carlow’s Isla Brings Her Wines Home

Carlow’s Isla Brings Her Wines Home
Winegeese organisers, Beverley Mathews (right) and
Maurice O'Mahony (left) with Isla and Paul Gordon.

There are more vines growing in the Languedoc than in Australia. Paul Gordon should know. He is Australian and he and his Irish wife Isla work (and I mean work) a vineyard in the Languedoc about twenty minutes drive from Beziers. The vineyard is called Domaine la Sarabande and they had four wines at the latest Winegeese tasting in L’Atitude 51 in Cork last evening.

The couple met in New Zealand in 2003 and then spent five or six years in wine in Marlborough. In 2009, they settled in France and raised some €40,000 from relations and friends in return for wine in the future. Isla: There is just the two of us. We are very small; everything is gently worked and done by hand. We have upped production to about 28,000 bottles a year which is more or less where we want to be.

With so many vineyards in the area, there is much competition locally and so the pair export about 90 per cent of their wine, mostly to English speaking countries. And indeed, those same countries (Ireland, US, Australia and New Zealand) are all happy with screw caps but not so the French.

And the bottling is done on the farm, but by a mobile contractor who drives up in his specially equipped truck when they are ready. “The wine goes in one end; the cartons come out the other!”
The first wine shown last evening, the 2012 AOP Rosé, is sold mostly at “the cellar door”. It is about half and half Grenache and Cinsault, very fruity with good acidity, finishing crisp and dry. Drink it young and you’ll see it goes well with salmon, smoked trout or with a medium spiced Asian cuisine.

Then we moved on to their beautifully name Misterioso, their entry level red from 2012, a great match with the Duck terrine from L’Atitude (the ladies here know their pairings and regularly get them spot on!). It is fruit forward, easy drinking, fresh and juicy and very approachable.The 2011 AOP Rouge was next up, a blend of Grenache (60%), Carignan (25) and Syrah. “A lot more going on here...more structure..more body. Suits red meats, stews. Carignan is pain to grow, susceptible to disease but its earthy character makes it worth it.” It went down well with the L’Atitude spiced beef.



Wine number four was their 2012 Vin de France, made with approximately 60 Carignan and 40 per cent Aramom. Aramom? It is an old local grape. And they have some on their land. The bush vines are 60 to 80 years old with a very low yield but very intense fruit.

It was perhaps my favourite but only 1000 bottles are produced! “It is really quite special. Earthy fungal, herbal, minty (the vineyard is bordered by the garrigue) and fresh to the finish. Because of the soil type, the wine holds the acidity, it is a winemaker’s dream, no manipulation required,” said Paul. A lovely wine to finish a very pleasant evening on.

Next up: December 5th 6.00pm in the Food Emporium (Brown Thomas). John Wilson talk and tasting on the Wine Geese. No fee but do book a place via L’Atitude or the Ballymaloe Wine Shop in BT. 


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Winegeese. A New Generation in Cork last night.

The Winegeese. A New Generation.
Languedoc winemakers at L'Atitude
Bottom (l to r): Leslie Williams (Irish Examiner),
Neasa Corish Miquel and Philip Grant.
A couple of modern winegeese were at L’Atitude in Cork lasted evening and very impressive they were too. Both Neasa Corish Miquel and Philip Grant operate in the Languedoc and, with Irish Examiner’s Leslie Williams linking and prompting the pair, we had a very entertaining evening and tasted some excellent wines.

Neasa Corish Miquel is originally from Dublin and married into the Miquel family. They have two vineyards, one near Beziers, the other south of the Narbonne to Toulouse stretch of the A61 autoroute.

The big surprise from Neasa was her 2012 Albarino, the only one in France (at least for the present!). The Miquels took a big gamble here, planting 14 hectares “all in one go”. But is looks like paying off. This is an elegant fresh white wine with a lovely fragrance. Matched with a mix of smoked and fresh salmon, one of the many excellent bites from the L’Atitude kitchen, it went down well.

Her opening wine, the 2011 Viognier, has been harvested by night and “handled gently”. Its freshness was evident and it went well with the cheese. Neasa said it keeps well for days in the open bottle and is even decanted in some restaurants.

Then Philip who, after a successful business career, bought the large Chateau Bellevue estate in November 2007 (just before the crash!), spoke about the main grape grown there. It is the little known Négrette which has “fabulous colour and fabulous fruit” but “is tricky to grow”.

Worth it though as illustrated through his wines. The first was his 2012 Rosé. Some forty per cent of his wine is rosé and this beauty went very well indeed with Jack McCarthy’s classy Pastrami. Bren Smith of Mackenway, who distribute for Grant and Miquel, said it was also a terrific match with curry.

Philip then produced his first red, his 2009, a gold medal winner and his best seller. It is fifty five per cent Négrette, with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah also in the blend. It is fresh and fruity, soft, and matched very well with the mushrooms.
The Canal du Midi flows through the Languedoc
and was once used for carrying wine.

Then came the big hitters. Neasa’s introduced us to her Larmes des Fees (the tears of the fairies), a 100% Syrah from 2006 and under the St Chinian appellation. It has been aged for 18 months in oak and much the same in bottle, is very high quality and will age well. The tears of the fairies, Neasa told us, flowed when they heard a group of washerwomen bad-mouthing absent colleagues. Probably still flowing so.

The 2009 Optimum is powerful and fresh and age worthy and another award winner for Philip. Indeed, it has been awarded a very hard to get Coup de Coeur by Hachette. This Fronton AOC red is from low yield vines and has “an enormous concentration of flavour. “It has taken off very well, “he said, “and the biggest buyers are the Vietnamese”.

It was quite a long evening but we didn’t notice the time going by, thanks to the good company and the good wines. More of the same next Wednesday (7.00pm) when the wines of Domainela Sarabande (also from the Beziers area and owned by Australian Paul Gordon and his Irish wife Isla) will be featured. Tickets from L’Atitude at 021 2390219.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Two November Winegeese Events at L'Atitude

Two November Winegeese Events at L'Atitude
Leslie Williams, at L'Atitude on the 14th.
Winegeese arrive at L'Atitude - On the Double.
L'Atitude 51 in Association with Mackenway Wines present
Bringing The Wine Geese Home November Edition (Part 1)
Presentation & Tasting with Winemaker Phillip Grant of Chateau Bellevue la Foret, Fronton AOC, South-West France, and Wine Writer Leslie Williams (Irish Examiner) 
Tickets €12 (include canapés selected to match the wines)
Booking essential. 
Contact L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or info@latitude51.ie
Bellevue were one of the victims of the June hailstones this year but they responded well as you may read here.

L'Atitude 51 in Association with Tyrrell & Co present 
Bringing The Wine Geese Home November Edition (Part 2)
Presentation & Tasting with Winemakers Paul & Isla Gordon of Domaine La Sarabande
Tickets €12 (include canapés selected to match the wines) 
Booking essential. 
Contact L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or info@latitude51.ie
Paul and Isla were the first Australian/Irish vignerons in the Languedoc and you may read their story here.