Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Germany. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Excellent Wines from Franconia in the famous "Flat Bottle"


Horst Sauer Escherndorfer Silvaner Franconia (Germany) 2016, 11.5%, €20.90 Karwig Wine

The vineyard, Escherndorfer, its steep slope open to the south, has been regarded as a special one for centuries, creating wines of a distinctive concentrated fruitiness and great longevity.The producer is a member of the German Premium Wineries and you will see the indicator of this, the initials VDP, on the neck.

The wine, made from the Silvaner grape, in the distinctive Franken Bocksbeutel, is a light straw colour and you’ll note micro-bubbles clinging to the “flattened” bottle. There are intense scents of pear, melon and gooseberry. Aromatic and fruity, with a vivid and refreshing minerality also at play. Not really as “reserved” as the website hints at, as flavours are quite concentrated from early on and the finish is persistent with elegant acidity and that minerality of course. Highly Recommended.

Horst Sauer Escherndorfer Lump Riesling Franconia (Germany) 2016, 12.0%, €23.60 Karwig Wine


Again, the protective south facing slope is a big factor in this attractive trocken (dry), powerful and complex. The producers have no doubt about it: “In these Escherndorfer Lump wines lie our life blood”.

So what do you get from this light straw coloured wine? Firstly, complex aromas of peach and nectarine, apricot and hints of honey. Much the same fruit flavours combine superbly on the rich palate, moderate but effective acidity, intense and well-balanced, minerality too, all the way to the satisfactory dry finalé. Looks well, smells well and tastes well and Very Highly Recommended from the Franconia area. 

Perfect match with spicy and Indian food.

The Bocksbeutel
This bottle shape, according to Wikipedia, is derived from that of field bottles, which were known already in antiquity, and which were manufactured with a flattened shape for practical purposes, for example to keep the bottle from rolling away on uneven ground. 

The Bocksbeutel has been used for wine from Franconia at least since the early 18th century, initially for the wines from the region's most famous vineyard, the Würzburger Stein, and later for other Franconian wines, in particular those of better quality. The city council of Würzburg decided in 1728 that the best wines from the city's own winery, the Bürgerspital, should be filled in Bocksbeutel bottles. 

You probably have seen the same shaped bottle used for Portuguese rosés. Read more about it here  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Two Outstanding White Wines


Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Bischofsberg Riesling trocken 2015, Rheingau (Germany), 12.5%, €19.65 Karwig Wines


I’ve long been a Carl Ehrhard fan and that continues after sampling this Riesling trocken from Bischofsberg, one of his vineyards. It has lovely bright gold colour. Apples feature in the aromas. This enticing crisp wine sees apples also in the flavours, a lively acidity too and then that minerally finish. This is a food friendly wine, Asian food and cheese are among the suggestions. Excellent too on its own and Very Highly Recommended.


If you’re new to German wine, you may need help with some of the words on the label:
Rüdesheim is the town.
Bischofsberg is the vineyard, named after a local archbishop.
Riesling is the grape.
Trocken means dry.
Rheingau is the wine district.
Ehrhard - you’re on a winner!



The vineyard has a gentle south-facing slope and the area in general is well known for its dry Rieslings - “full bodied with racy acidity”.


Yves Cuilleron á Chavanay “Les Vignes d’a Coté” Marsanne 2015, 14%, €17.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny



The Marsanne fruit for this Vin de France comes from an uncle’s vineyard revived by the return of Yves Cuilleron to Chavanay at the northern end of Saint-Joseph, one of the eight Northern Rhone crus.

If you like this, you are in good company as Victor Hugo was an admirer of Saint-Joseph wines. The main white grapes here are Clairette, Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier, Bourboulenc and there are two secondary grapes White Picpoul and Ugni Blanc.

Anticipation was high as I settled down with this. Cuilleron comes with high ratings: …superstar…leading light…bright shining star..are adjectives applied to him by leading wine writers and publications.

Colour is bright yellow with tints of green, limpid in the bottle. On the nose there are white fruits, hints of honey and light floral notes. It is round, rich with exotic flavours, a semi-creamy texture, acidity enough and a long dry finish. This fresh and generous wine over-delivers. It is a high quality entry level wine and Very Highly Recommended. Marsanne can age well but this one (all 18,200 bottles) is made to be drunk when it is young and fresh (sur le fruit).

Monday, April 30, 2018

And Union. Solid Colours Stand Out.


And Union. Solid Colours Stand Out.
With the multitude of multi-coloured cans now on the beer shelf, it’s back to basic for German brewers And Union. And their one colour cans really stand out. They certainly caught my eye in Bradley’s the other day and I took advantage of the four for €10.00 offer. 

CL, who had just been to the Franciscan Well Beer Festival, wasn't overly impressed with my quartet, saying there were better beers at the Well. She has a very valid point - I certainly enjoyed a few there: 9 White Deer Brewery Black Lightning IPA and Stag Saor Gluten Free Stout; Kinnegar Brewing Hare & Hag Irish Coffee Stout; and Lough Gill Brewery Mac Nutty Brown Ale.

The four Germans though are all well made and I enjoyed each of them, particularly the black lager. Then again, as you can see from the selection in the Franciscan, I was “researching” the dark-ish side that evening. Next time, I’ll let CL choose!

And Union Unfiltered Lager, 5%, 33cl can
Brewed in Bavaria, from Hallertau Aroma hops, this is “an old school lager, bursting with flavour”. Bitterness units are 25.

It is pale and cloudy with a full head, citrusy aromas and fruit too on the palate, malt and citrus prominent, smooth to a dry finish. This vegan friendly brew is recommended as an appetiser and also “with spicy foods, tacos, oysters, tempura”.

And Union Neu Black Lager, 5%, 33cl can
Again this is brewed from the same Hallertau hops and the bitterness count is lowest of the four at 20. “A rich and toasty and complex yet light bodied and refreshing.”

You’ll see blacker blacks. It has an ample white head. Aromas of hops and fruit. Much more complex on the palate than the previous one, rich and toasty as they say and it is light and refreshing with a fruity and hoppy finish. My favourite of the four.







And Union Sunday Pale Ale, 5.5%, 33cl can
Bitterness units in this Pale Ale are higher, as you’d expect, at 35. It is “balanced and gently spiced, easy-like-Sunday-morning..”

It pours cloudy with a mid-gold colour, an ample if short-lived white head. Aromas are moderately hoppy. Hops used by the way are Hallertau Aroma and Summit. In the mouth, you get a good mix of malt and citrus, dry for sure, all the way to a hoppy finish. Pair with whatever you can handle after the night before, cornflakes maybe but not the Full Irish!

And Union Friday IPA 6.5%, 33 cl can
This “Bavarian take on the American-style IPA is not for woosies”. Not for craft beer newbies either with the bitterness units hitting 55. Hops used are Hallertau Aroma and Chinook.

Again, I liked this one with its hazy gold colour and ample white head, aromas slightly more hops than fruit. On the palate, It is a quite complex amalgam of hops and malt and fruit, well balanced though with a long dry and effervescent hoppy finish. Cheers!




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wagner and Strauss. An impressive duet in red and white.

Wagner and Strauss. 
An impressive duet in red and white.
Wagner Stempel Riesling Rheinhessen (DQ) 2015, 12%, €19.95 Bradley’s Cork.
Nine generations of the Wagner family have been involved in wine-making here since 1845. Daniel Wagner has been the wine-maker since the early 90s and under him they have converted to organic production methods. 

According to the Finest Wines of Germany, he has proved that “forgotten or previously unconsidered terroirs can be of exceptional quality when they are interpreted properly”.  

Harvest is late (October/November) and the wines are kept on their lees until the end of May.This one, labelled trocken, is imported by the Wine Mason.

Colour is light straw, tints of green, micro-bubbles cling to the glass. Quite a bunch of aromas, fruit, herbs, even a hint of smoke. A fresh and fruity vibrancy emerges as soon as it meets the palate - notes of melon, spice and yellow apple - all balanced by a keen acidity; the long flavourful finish is lip smackingly dry. Very Highly Recommended.

A superb uncomplicated wine to be enjoyed with or without food. I enjoyed it with Hederman’s smoked mackerel, freshly boiled beetroot from the garden, and salad leaves with some roasted pepper.


Johann Strauss Zweigelt Reserve Austria (QaO) 2011, 13.5%, €20.50 Karwig Wines

Zweigelt is the grape and Kremstal is the area in Austria where this fragrant and elegant wine comes from. The blue/black Zweigelt is the most widespread red wine grape in Austria. A cross between St Laurent and Blaufränkisch, it was developed in 1922 and is said to deliver full bodied wines with tones of morello cherries. The morello is black and a sour kind of cherry.


Our Zweigelt has a mid-ruby robe and a fragrant nose of dark red fruits, hints too of pepper. Rather elegant introduction with soft tannins. Restrained waves of those cherry flavours follow, a touch of spice too and then a lingering finish. A pleasure to drink this one and Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Have you met Dornfelder? Let me introduce you.

Lingenfelder Dornfelder 2011, Grosskarlbacher Osterberg Pfalz, 12.5%, €18.95 O’Brien’s

The Dornfelder grape is a modern (1955) crossing which is well suited to the cool climate of Germany (and getting popular in England too). It is packed with red berry fruit and soft round tannins and this delicious example is reminiscent of good Pinot Noir.

The Lingenfelder brothers, Karl-Friedrich (left) and Georg, gave me a crash course on the grape when I met them at O’Brien's November Wine Fair. Their Dornfelder grapes come from a single vineyard Osterberg (Easter Hill). 

They practice sustainable viticulture and promote bio-diversity on all their vineyards and in the cellar there is no yeast culture addition, no fining, minimal filtering and no chaptalisation. The family, centuries in wine-making, are best known for their Rieslings.

The Dornfelder, which has spent six months in big oak barrels, ancient containers, has a rich ruby colour. The fresh and fragrant aromas speak of red fruit, floral notes too, herbs, maybe something even wilder. It is full bodied, red berry fruit (cherry, blackberry), slightly spicy, a touch tannic too. I found it very satisfying at the Wine Fair last November and this bottle confirms that good first impression. Very Highly Recommended.


Grapes and Wine may not go as far (perhaps they haven’t tasted the Lingenfelder version) but admit the grape, the second most planted red in Germany, has a certain honesty: “..it doesn't pretend to be more than a well-coloured, juicily fruited grape… and it fulfils that role very well.”

Pinot Noir is the most important red wine grape in Germany. Known as Spätburgunder, nearly 11,5% of the vineyard area is planted with it. On the white side, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau account for some 43% of Germany's 105,000 hectares of vineyards. (source: http://www.germanwines.de/ )

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Exciting White Trio. Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling

Terras Gauda Abadío de San Campio Albarino, Rías Baixas (DO) 2014, 12%, €20.35 Le Caveau

Thought to be related to Riesling and presumably brought by Cluny monks to 12th century Iberia, via France, the recently fashionable Albarino grape is now mainly associated with Rías Baixas in north western Spain. It is also grown in neighbouring areas in Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho.

I was expecting good things in this bottle and I got them, even better than anticipated. Colour is mid-gold, bright and clean and there is no shortage of white fruits in the aromas. On the palate, it is bright and fruity, citrus in the tingle, minerality to the fore, a superb combination overall and that includes the long finish. Ticks all the boxes for a classy Albarino and is Very Highly Recommended.

The producers say it is ideal with seafood, shellfish and fish and especially with Tuna steaks.

Elgin Ridge 282 Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa 2014, 14%, €19.95 Le Caveau
At 282 metres above sea-level, we are at the ideal height to create cool climate Sauvignon Blanc in the Elgin Valley. The organic farming methods give the wine its elegance and unique flavour.

So says Marion Smith, ex Ballyjamesduff, who now runs the winery with her husband Brian. By the way, Dexter cattle, a native Irish breed, figure in the organic farming, grazing between the rows of vines and indeed Marion has the biggest herd of Dexter in the Western Cape.

Dexters aren’t the only “helpers” for Marion and Brian, who planted their first vines here in 2007. They also use Dorper sheep, chickens and Peking ducks to control the weeds and pests. Looks like the combination is working very well indeed.

Colour is a medium-gold with green tints. The aromas are fresh and cool. That freshness extends to the palate, tingly with concentrated white fruit, including gooseberry, citrus also prominent, pepper and spice too and then an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling trocken, Rheingau 2015, 12%, €17.80 Karwig Wines

Grapes are hand-picked and indeed the vinification is focussed on “preserving the natural fruit”. This is facilitated by natural and gentle fining and slow cool fermentation. As usual Carl Ehrhard gets it right.


Colour is pale gold with greenish tints and you'll note micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Aromas are a gentle mix of apple and citrus. It tingles the palate; the intense fruit, now with more than a hint of grapefruit, and a super refreshing acidity combine well all the way to a long finish. This dry wine is Very Highly Recommended. Perfect for aperitif and with seafood and Riesling is regularly recommended for Asian.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Go East For A Classy Pair

Go East For A Classy Pair


Diwald Grüner Veltliner, Grossriedenthaler Löss (Wagram, Austria) 2014, 12.5%, €16.00 Mary Pawle
“We don’t like Coca Cola wines or Glass House tomatoes,” declares this organic pioneer from Austria, their way of saying they prefer to make their wines in the vineyard. Organic it is and it also looks and tastes very much like a well-made classic Gru-Vee.


It is light gold in colour, bright and clean. White fruits in the aromas (apples and gooseberries, I thought). Refreshing white fruit flavours follow with a perceptible tingle, superb body though and excellent balance and a good long finish. Very Highly Recommended.


The vineyard is located north of the Danube, roughly equidistant from Vienna to the south-east and Melk (with its famous monastery, where they serve an excellent sauerkraut) to the south-west.





Kilian Hunn Spätburgunder 2009 (Baden, Germany), 13%, €18.30 Karwig Wines


Lots of talk, including some guff from this quarter, on Pinot Noir from Burgundy, New Zealand, Chile, even Oregon. All good for sure. But do be sure to add Germany to the short-list. With confidence.


And yes it is Germany. Lots of Badens around. More than one in Germany, one in Switzerland and there's even a Baden-Baden in Austria (the only one I’ve visited). Baden means spa so that accounts for the many towns with the same name.

Colour is a youthful red, red to the very edge, despite its relative age. There are good berry aromas, mainly strawberries. Super fruit flavours, dry, elegant, then a persistent finish. Simply excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings. Reasons to Remember

Joe Karwig’s Rieslings
Reasons to Remember
Happy days with Joe (left)

We had joy. We had fun. We had Rieslings in the sun. And in the rain too! It is after all, one of the most versatile of wines and was a particular favourite of the late Joe Karwig as Beverly Mathews reminded us when she introduced an evening of Joe’s Rieslings at L'Attitude Wine Cafe last Wednesday. 

The rain of the day persisted in to the night on the nearby quays and streets. But the constant downpour failed to prevent a full house. “He was an incredible man,” Beverly continued. “He knew so much about wine and so much about Riesling in particular. He had these wines selected for an Autumn tasting and we thought it would be a shame not to go ahead with it.”

“It is a great demonstration of the styles of Riesling from the very dry to sweet, yet just a small sample of what they have in Karwig Wines, and the proceeds are going to the Cork Simon Community.”

She then introduced us to Joe's son Jurgen and asked him what were Joe’s favourite wines in general. Jurgen: “German whites were his main love and Italian reds. He loved the Old World wines in general.’

Marcus Gates of Karwig’s was introduced as “Cork favourite Australian” by Beverley, and he took us, enthusiastically, though the wines. He too remembered Joe: “I wish I wasn't doing this. I’d prefer to have Joe here.”

Furst Von Metternich Riesling Sekt trocken NV Rheingau
“Creamy mousse...brioche...great with Foie Gras…”, drooled Marcus as we sipped this 100% Riesling sparkling wine. “Made by a man who had 3 wives and 19 children and wanted to unite Europe”. This is genuine, made with the traditional champagne method. That creaminess, the bubbles and acidity worked very well with L’Atitude’s canape of Brie. Goes well too with pork belly, according to Marcus.
Full review (30/12/15) of this wine here.

Wohlmuth Kitzecker Riesling 2013 South Styria Austria
“This is from one of the highest growing areas in Austria,” said Marcus. “Very minerally, for sure. Makes you pucker! With peach, apricot and citrus elements in the mix, it makes for a lovely aperitif. Great with seafood. This is a baby and definitely another few years in it.”  Riesling is great with Asian and this was underlined when L’Atitude paired it with prawns. Both the flavours of the wine and the prawn improved when they met on the palate. Can't ask anymore of a match!
Marcus
Georg Muller Hattenheimer Wisselbrunned GG Riesling 2012 Grand Cru Rheingau
This has the VDP eagle displayed on the neck, “a guarantee of pure wine pleasure”, not a bad start. For many years the winery was a foundation for the benefit of the town of Eltville in the Hattenheim region. In 2003, it came back into private ownership. Peter Winter, a one-time boss and long-time friend of Joe Karwig, is the new owner and kept the existing name.

Jurgen was involved in a recent harvest here. “This vineyard is a top site. ..less juice per vine.. flavours more concentrated. It is more quality, less about quantity.” Marcus enthused: "Very complex, big mouthfeel..I’d like to see it in 15 years time. But it is drinking very well now, a cracking wine and one to watch.” My favourite too!

Woollaston Estate Riesling 2006 Nelson South Island New Zealand
“This is from rainy Nelson,” said Marcus. They are certified biodynamic now and were getting there ten years ago”. The petrol aromas dominated this one even though the excellent salmon ceviche (made by L’Atitude’s Chilean Francisca) helped moderate them.
Golden oldie
Dr Heinz Wagner Saarburger Kupp Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2010 Mosel
Back to Germany for the 5th wine, an off dry, made by the 5th generation of the family who have been here since 1880. “Very steep”, said Marcus. “Even steeper than Patrick's Hill. Some minerality but a little bit of residual sugar means it's off-dry (feinherb). But it is addictive!” Great match here with a skewer of pork, apricot and red onion, very enjoyable pairing indeed.


Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese 2011 Mosel
We would, naturally, finish on a sweet note though this, from the south facing slopes, is not quite a dessert wine. “You have peach, grapefruit, honey. You see very few ausleses in restaurants around here.” It proved quite a match with a piece of Bleu d’Auvergne, the sweet and the salty going nicely together.


Time now for a toast to Joe as Jurgen and Marcus introduced a surprise: a 1988 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch. “There is a little bit of oxidation, just showing its age!”, said Marcus. “But still clear, vibrant, a nice little treat. Give it a moment or two for the aromas to open up. Would have been sweeter once but now drying, on its way to fading away.” And then we toasted Joe with the old Riesling and a “chorus” of clinks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three Fine Bubbles to Ring in the New Year.

Three Fine Bubbles
To Ring in the New Year

Champagne can be expensive, sometimes very expensive indeed. But there are some excellent alternatives out there at more attractive prices. And I’m not talking Cava or Prosecco here. The three below come from France, Germany and England. And one, the Saint Hilaire, was being made a hundred years before champagne and indeed I’ve read that Dom Perignon may well have learned a trick or two here. Don’t know how much truth is in that one.
Saint Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux brut 2010 (Languedoc-Roussillon, France), 12%, €23.35 Karwig Wines

This is France’s oldest sparkling wine, produced by the Methode Traditionnelle where it is naturally fermented in the bottle. It was first created by the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Hilaire over 450 years ago. Written records survive from 1531. The abbey is 25 miles south of Carcassonne.

The main grape in the blend is the Mauzac which is called Blanquette locally. This accounts for ninety per cent of the mix with Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay also used (up to a maximum of ten per cent). White fruits (peaches, apples) feature in the aromas. The palate is fresh and fruity, rather intense in flavour with no shortage of fine bubbles, persistently on the up. This is real bubbles. Think non-vintage champagne at a fraction of the price! Very Highly Recommended.

Furst von Metternich Riesling Sekt  (Rheingau, Germany), 12.5%, €23.50, Karwig Wines

Riesling, believe it or not, is the grape here, one hundred per cent, displaying its amazing versatility in a rather elegant wine, “a wine for special moments”. You’ll note the fountain of extremely fine bubbles, always a good sign, rising through the pale yellow colour. This is a serious sparkling wine, with a fresh fruitiness (peach and tangerine), and again Very Highly Recommended.

Not sure that Karwig Wines carry them but the producers also do a sparkling Chardonnay and a sparkling Rose made from Pinot Noir.

This German winery also has quite a history, over 300 years, though their sparkling is more recent, dating from the mid 19th century, the current brand from the 1920s. The Schloss Johannisberg headquarters was destroyed in a 1942 bombardment and rebuilt by 1965.

Dermot (left), pictured with wine writer John Wilson
and Simon Tyrell (right)

Wiston Estate Blancs de Blancs NV (South Downs, England), 12%, €53.00 Le Caveau

The Wiston Estate has little by way of wine history but the South of England has in a few decades carved out quite a niche for itself in the high end of sparkling wine and one of its leading men is Dermot Sugrue from County Limerick, the winemaker at Wiston. Amazingly, the first Wiston Vines were not planted until 2006 and the first grapes picked in 2008. There are now 16ha of vines planted on the chalk slopes (same chalk as Champagne).

I won this rather expensive bottle at a pre-Christmas dinner raffle and I am keeping it for the big night - not long now! I’ve tasted it before and it is a notably agreeable companion!  

This Blanc de Blancs NV has been voted the best in England and Dermot himself told us all about it. “It has a sense of richness that belies its youth. It is one hundred per cent Chardonnay, mostly 2011 plus reserve from 2010 and has spent 18 months on its lees.” It has indeed a delicious palate, a depth of flavour with excellent balance, bubbling all the way with finesse and elegance. Again, Very Highly Recommended. Happy New Year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

White Across The World. Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

White Across The World
Chardonnay-Riesling-Gruner Veltliner

El Grano Chardonnay 2013 (Chile), 13.5%, €14.30 Le Caveau
Sun, the snow capped Andes, and the Pacific Ocean have all influenced the character of this El Grano Chardonnay. So too has the French father and son winemaking team of Denis and Gregoire Duveau. Chile is their Pays de Rêves, their country of dreams, and their organic wines are known for their very pleasant roundness.

Colour is quite a pale gold. There is a nice aromatic drift of white fruits and blossoms. The palate is loaded with fruit, fresh and round and smooth, a very pleasant balance and long echoing finish. Does this please me? Answer is a resounding yes. Very Highly Recommended.


Finca Pasion Mi Vida Chardonnay 2012 (Argentina), 13.5%, €13.50 Karwig Wines
Another everyday wine, unoaked, from Mendoza. If giving this as a present, you can add your own personalised greeting on the specially designed back label.

And there’s no reason why you wouldn't give it as a gift. Its colour is a light gold, very bright. White fruits and floral notes on the nose, a good feel, flavours and finish from a lively and pleasant wine. Recommended.


 Carl Ehrhard Rudesheim Riesling trocken 2014, Rheingau (Germany), 12%, €16.50 Karwig Wines


Colour is a shiny light gold, totally clean; micro bubbles cling to the glass. Aromas are citric and orchard, even a weak drift of petrol. Tempting flush of fruit on the attack, crisp with a little tingle too in the mouth, a refreshing acidity and a long flavourful finish. Another thoroughbred from the Ehrhard stable and Very Highly Recommended.


Johann Strauss Gruner Veltliner 2013, Kremser Sandgrube Kremstal DAC (Austria), 12.5%, €16.15 Karwig Wines

Colour here is a light to medium gold, not quite as golden as the famous Strauss statue in the Stadtpark in Vienna. White fruits in the aromas, some blossom too. Minerality and fruit front the initial attack and then refreshing flavours take over, yet balance is perfect; all combine for an excellent finale, little wave after little wave.
The Kremser has long been recognised, the Romans among its early fans, as excellent for viticulture and this Gruner is Very Highly Recommended. The producers suggest matching it with asparagus, fish, pork and scallops. I found it excellent too as an aperitif.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sauvignon Blanc. Graham Norton in on the act! Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile

Noble Grape Sauvignon Blanc
Graham Norton in on the act!
And Cono Sur's Silencio best in Chile.

Sauvignon blanc is one of the best known and best loved grapes on the planet. The Loire Valley is regarded as its heartland but it thrives too in New Zealand, especially in Marlborough, and in Chile and indeed in many other places around the world.

And it is to New Zealand that West Cork born Graham Norton went to try his hand at making a bottle. Personality in a bottle or a personality with a bottle? The answer is somewhere in between.  


Cono Sur Reserva Especial Sauvignon blanc 2013, Valle de Casablanca (Chile), 12.5%, €13.99 Bradley’s Offlicence

According to the recent Wines of South America, Cono Sur (the first winery to be recognised as carbon neutral) is “one of the most consistent and reliable wineries in the country”. The country is, of course, Chile, and this is an excellent example and Very Highly Recommended.

The pale gold colour is bright and healthy looking and there are fresh aromas of white fruit and blossoms. Fruit flavours in the crisp and elegant palate, lively acidity and a decent finish too. Ideal as an aperitif or with seafood dishes.




Graham Norton’s Sauvignon blanc 2015, Marlborough (New Zealand), 12.5%, €12.00 at SuperValu from November 6th

Norton is a shareholder in the Invivo Winery and the wines for blending were brought to him in London. Winemaker Rob Cameron came too and together they came up with a wine that quickly won a string of awards.

Critics say:
“Fresh and lively… fabulous juicy finish”.
“Tongue tingling….full of punch and personality”.
“Savvie….full of lime zest.”
Norton says: “It’s lovely! Tropical fruit...a bit of zing...cheers to that!”

Colour is just about present with hints of green. Aromas are fresh, white fruit, some herbal elements too. There is a generous flush of freshness and fruit, matched immediately by balancing acidity (just like a Norton put-down!). Must admit this is an excellent drop indeed (unlike his red chair!) and Highly Recommended.

Emiliana Sauvignon blanc 2014, DO Valle Central (Chile), 12.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s
This is an organic wine by Eco Balance, made for “relaxed everyday enjoyment. Integrity, sustainability and an earth friendly focus inspires all that we do”.

This is light yellow, green also evident, clear and bright. Aromas include herbal elements, white fruits too (including grapefruit). It is fresh and fruity with a zingy acidity, a decent mouthfeel and a moderate finish. Very good value and Recommended.


More good news for Cono Sur and chief wine-maker Adolfo Hurtado. Their Silencio Cabernet Sauvignon, launched in Dublin 12 months ago,  has been named as the best red wine in Chile, gaining an unprecedented 98 points.