Showing posts with label Karwig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karwig. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Winemakers Since 1803: The Wohlmuth Family Of Austria

Winemakers Since 1803: The Wohlmuth Family Of Austria
The Wohlmuth family have been in wine since 1803, the winery now run by Maria and Gerhard as well as their son Gerhard Josef and his wife Marion. Hand in hand with nature is the motto here “with an uncompromising aspiration for quality”.

Lots of hard work involved, much of it down to the steepness of the vineyards around the village of Kitzech (close to the city of Graz, European Capital of Culture two years before Cork) in Südsteiermark (South Styria). With an average steepness of up to 90%, they are among Europe’s steepest. The soil is slate which leads to deep-rooted vines. Here, they grow mainly white varieties and also Pinot Noir.

The grapes for the Aristos are grown to the east in the Neckenmarkt vineyard in the Mittelburgenland region (a couple of hours east of Graz and close to the Hungarian border) where they have been producing since 2002.

Karwig Wines carry quite a lot of the Wohlmuth wines, including a Chardonnay Sekt. Check them out here

Wohlmuth Aristos Burgenland (Austria) 2010, 13.5%, €20.95 Karwig Wines

Quite a lot of info on the back label: it is a quality wine and a dry one. The grapes are hand-selected and it is a blend of Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French oak. The vineyard is in Neckenmarkt which has loamy slate and shell limestone. The Blaufränkisch is “our great red wine love”.

It is a light (and bright) ruby colour with aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant and a little pepper too. Pleasant fruit flavours on the palate, medium bodied with a little spice and soft tannins. Nice acidity too, promising a good match with food (lamb cutlet; duck breast on lentils are suggested), and the wine is Highly Recommended.

Wohlmuth Reid Gola Pinot Gris Wohlmuth (Austria) 2013, 13%, €17.80 Karwig Wines

Wohlmuth say this “refined Burgundy-style wine” has “lots of potential”. Gola (the vineyard) is of Slavian origin, the word meaning “naked”, which refers to the meagre slate soil. Here the roots go deep and the “soil” is reflected in the wines. In Gola, they also grow Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Riesling and more.

Light straw is the colour. There are very pleasant aromas indeed, a mix of blossom, white fruit, herbs. It is zingy, peppery and dry. Quite a palate-waking intro with ripe stone fruit flavours, no shortage of minerality and an excellent lingering finish also. Highly Recommended. Food pairings suggested are classic pan-fried chicken and also wild garlic risotto.

The Wohlmuth Winery is well-known for the artwork on their labels; the painting on the 2013 bottles is by Professor Ulrich Gansert.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Orschwihr: Hard to spell, easy to drink!

The Wines of Chateau d'Orschwihr: Hard to spell, easy to drink!

The Celtic God of Fire is associated with the warm hillside vineyard of Bollenberg in Alsace. That Celtic god was Belen or Belenus and he was also associated with pastoral life. The Mont de Belen is said to be an ancient place of sun worship and indeed it still enjoys “an exceptional amount of sunshine.”

The general timeframe of grape growth and wine production is about five or six years. The aim at d’Orschwihr is to develop a sustainable and environmentally friendly viticulture which produces a raw material that in turn produces remarkable wine. This is achieved by applying certain principles and you may read about the château’s philosophy here

Chateau d’Orschwihr Riesling Bollenberg Alsace (AOC), 13%, €19.30 Karwig Wines


Colour is an appealing light gold. There are white fruit aromas, with citrus prominent. The palate is mouth-watering and flavourful, well structured with a balancing backbone of acidity, well balanced all the way through to the long rich finish. This gorgeous golden wine is Very Highly Recommended. Try with seafood and fish, not forgetting freshwater fish, pork and poultry too.

Chateau d’Orschwihr Gewürztraminer Bollenberg Alsace (AOC), 14%, €21.85 Karwig Wines.

Again, we have a lovely gold colour. Intense aromas, fruit, hint of honey. Intensity of fruit on the palate also, a terrific mouthfeel too, and a rich finish.  Some sweetness too. After all, the residual sugar count is 9.3 gr/l, about twice as much as the Riesling. But it is pretty well camouflaged by the other elements. Very Highly Recommended.

Match, they say, with spicy Asian dishes of fish and meat, especially Japanese food.
My tip, tried and tested: Try it with Citrus White Chocolate Truffles by Skelligs Chocolate.











Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tapas at Schull’s Casa Diego. And Farewell to lovely Stanley House

Tapas at Schull’s Casa Diego

And Farewell to lovely Stanley House
Huevos Estrellados

After trips to Three Castles Head and Mount Gabriel and, in between, a lovely lunch at Budds, we were wondering where to eat on our last night in Schull. Had earlier spotted Casa Diego and thought the flexibility (stop when full, maybe!) of tapas might well fit the bill.

They certainly did. Aside from a long list of tapas they also do a more structured meal with starter, mains and so on. They have an indoor dining room and also a bunch of tables on a sheltered sloping garden. And it was the open air venue that we chose.
Pimientos Rellenos

And choosing from the long list wasn't easy as there were many tempting dishes there, everything from Banderillas (a small skewer containing spicy crunch cocktail onions, peppers and olives) to Chorizos a la sidra (chorizo in cider) to Gambas al ajillo (local scampi in garlic, virgin extra oil and chilli).

The wine list isn't as long but I did spot a favourite, the Semele, with its distinctive design, the letters forming a person drinking. Karwigs import this and it has a complex nose, well-ripened red fruit, and is dry, with a well-rounded finish. Certainly enjoyed that.

We started with a selection of the tapas and later ordered more! Favourites included the Pimientos Rellenos (Piquillo peppers with a selection of mushroom or vegetables); the Huevos Estrellados (Fried eggs with potatoes and Iberican ham); the Michirones (Fava beans stewed with cured ham, potatoes, chorizo and bay leaves); the Embutido Ibérico (a massive plate of Spanish chorizo, lean pork sausage with coarse black pepper, and Iberican Ham); and the Berenjena Rellena (stuffed aubergines wth minced meat and homemade tomato covered with melted parmesan cheese). 

The only bum note was struck, surprisingly, by the Patatas Bravas. You get a plateful of the spicy cubes but most of the bigger cubes weren't fully cooked. Still, we had more than enough from the smaller ones as the plate was big and packed.

Service had been friendly and excellent throughout. When we went up to pay we were told they didn't accept credit cards. Had we been eating in the inside room, we’d probably have seen that on the door. We were told there was an ATM in Centra, just down the street. So we walked down there and brought back the cash to the friendly trusting folks in Casa Diego. By the way, L’Escale, on the pier, is another restaurant that doesn’t take credit cards.
Schull harbour from Stanley House

On the following morning (Sunday), we said goodbye to Nancy and her lovely Stanley House on the Colla Road. Our room had a gorgeous sea-view as had most of the outdoor areas and gardens. They cook an excellent breakfast here too and Nancy is very helpful with directions and tips on what to do in the area.

Still time to call down to the Country Market which is held every Sunday morning in summer. Lots of good things here from homemade baking and jams to a full sized Gubbeen stall where we lingered awhile, tasting a smashing two year Coolea with Tom Ferguson himself. Filled a bag there and then took a final walk along the shore. Didn't get too far in the sun. Just sat down on one of the many seats and watched some swimmers come in after what looked like a long one.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Italian Wines From Recent Tastings. A Short List Of Favourites!



Italian Wines From Recent Tastings. 
A Short List Of Favourites!

With a little help from the recently published The Modern History of Italian Wine, we have been tasting our way through quite a few wines from the peninsula and its islands. Such a range of terroirs, such a range of wines from the cool foothills of the Alps to the heat of Puglia out to the hot islands with their cooling breezes. You won't find the very expensive classics here but I think the selection below contains some excellent wines at reasonable prices. And they all are readily available in Ireland. Just click on the links for review, supplier and price details and don't forget to come back here. Enjoy.


Red
Cantina Tollo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (DOP) Bio 2015
Innocenti Rosso di Montepulciano (DOC) 2012
La Vigne di Sammarco Salice Salentino (DOP) 2014
La Vigne di Sammarco Primitivo di Manduria (DOP) 2015
Ciabot Berton Barolo (DOCG) “La Morra” 2011
Luigi Righetti Amarone della Valpolicella (DOCG) Classico 2012
Terrabianca Scassino Chianti Classico (DOCG)
Carminucci Naumakos Rosso Piceno Superiore (DOC) 2013
Fontanafredda Raimonda, Barbera D’Alba (DOC) 2009

Orange
La Stoppa, Ageno, Emilia, Emilia Romagna, Italy, 2011


White
Pighin Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli (DOC) 2015
Cantina Sociale Gallura Vermentino di Gallura Superiore (DOCG) Gemellae, 2013
Carminucci Naumakos Falerio (DOC) 2015, 12.5%
Colle Stephano Verdicchio di Matelica (DOC) 2015
Terredora Di Paolo “Loggia Della Serra” Greco di Tufo (DOCG) 2015
Colutta Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali (DOC), 2015
Les Crêtes Petite Arvine Valle D’Aosta (DOP) 2012

Dessert
Masi Angelorum Recioto della Valpolicella Classico (DOC) 2012

Context: The Modern History of Italian Wine

 See the posts from the Italian series:

Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!

Puglia: Cool Wines From The Hot Heel Of Italy.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Velenosi of the Marche

When Angela Piotti Velenosi and her husband founded their winery in 1984, cooperative wineries and bulk wine reigned in her local area of the Marches and Piceno. They started with just five hectares. Three decades later, the vineyards stretch to 105 hectares and produce 2.5 millions bottles, “of which a large share is exported to five continents”. Quite a lot it makes its way here to Ireland and Karwigs have quite a selection.

Velenosi Villa Angela Passerina, Marche (IGT) 2013, 12.5%, €16.70 Karwig Wines
Passerina, according to Wikipedia, is both a rare local white grape that is found in the Marche and a DOC for wines of the same name. It has large berries, high yields and a long ripening period. It makes appealing wines with clear, focused fruit.

Not a bad summation at all of this Highly Recommended wine. It has a rather rich straw colour. And there’s a mix of fruity and floral notes in the intense aromas. The palate is soft and fresh. Acidity is excellent and the finish is persistent.

Velenosi Brecciarolo Gold Rosso Piceno (DOC) Superiore 2012, 13.5%, €20.95 Karwig Wines

This is a blend of Montepulciano (mainly, c. 70%) and Sangiovese, It has been matured for c.24 months in new barrels.  Brecciarolo refers to broken stones, typical of soil in the area.

The colour is violet and the aromas (mainly of red fruit, especially cherries) are pretty intense. No shortage of strong flavours, spice is pretty prominent too, a refreshing acidity and it finishes well too. Warm, soft and harmonious, well balanced. Highly Recommended.

Velenosi Brecciarolo Rosso Piceno (DOC) Superiore 2014, 13.5%, €16.50 Karwig Wines

Just like the Gold, this is a blend of Montepulciano (70%) and Sangiovese. After fermentation, the wine “is channelled into second-fill barriques where wines for the production of Roggio and Ludi had been kept the previous year.

Colour is ruby with tints of garnet. There are rather intense red fruit aromas and a little vanilla there too. Warm and juicy on the palate, the red fruit flavours are well delivered, some spice too. One of those mouth-friendly wines, easy drinking, easy to like and Highly Recommended.

* By the way, Velenosi produce quite a range, including a delicious sweet wine. It is a favourite in this house and you may check it out here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Barolo and Amarone. Two Italians Worth Meeting

Venice
Barolo and Amarone. Two Italians Worth Meeting
A good few years back, a mixed nationality group of tourists, including yours truly, were slowly making our way across Italy. There were a few Australians in the party - they were mainly beer-drinkers (stubbies rather than stickies) but included one winemaker - and their conversation regularly featured the word Barolo. It seemed like a holy grail to them. Later I would find out why! Perhaps they also mentioned Amarone but I can't recall. These two wines from the north of Italy are well worth getting to know!


Ciabot Berton Barolo (DOCG) “La Morra” 2011, 14.5%, €32.95 Le Caveau
Nebbiolo is regarded as native to the Piedmont region and produces some of Italy's “most uniquely perfumed and powerful reds”. Since early days, one of those wines, Barolo, was referred to as the “king of wines, the wine of kings”. This La Morra is a right royal example.

It comes from a prestigious and historical cru. The winemaking is “fairly” traditional. The 100 per cent Nebbiolo is aged 18 months in 25 hl Slavonian oak casks (useful for stabilising and harmonising) and then 6 months in steel vats before bottling.

According to Vino Italiano: “…. the top wines in the DOCG are said to hail from the communes of Monteforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto, Barolo and La Morra.” The hilly land concerned lies generally to the south-west of Alba and much of it is a protected World Heritage site since 2014.


This gorgeous light red wine has aromas of blackberry in Autumn, gentle hints of cherry too, plus floral notes. On the palate it is smooth round and rich, some spice too. Concentrated and elegant, perfumed and powerful. The excellent acidity heralds a long, fresh finish, a finish as satisfying as all that goes before. Very Highly Recommended.

Luigi Righetti Amarone della Valpolicella (DOCG) Classico 2012, 15%, €25.95 Karwig Wines

Amarone, some of you will know, is a style, not a grape and the style was developed in the area of Valpolicella where local wine-makers searched for a way to increase the body, complexity and alcohol content of their wines, made generally from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara fruits. Amarone della Valpolicella is an intensely flavoured dry red wine made from dried grapes. 

Righetti may not always feature in the lists of top wine-makers here but his is a good one; you may take a certain confidence from the G in the DOCG. Colour is a deep ruby red. The complex nose features oodles of dried red fruit. It is rich and dry with concentrated flavour - the alcohol is also high; some spice too and a noticeable tartness, all characteristics carried through to the finalé. Very enjoyable wine and Very Highly Recommended.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Three Wines. And a few beers!

Three Wines. And a few beers!
Valdivia Dorius Amontillado seco sherry, Jerez (DO), 18%, €17.85 (50cls) Karwig Wines.

This dry amontillado is the perfect match for meat dishes and mature cheese and vanished very quickly here, where it was used as an aperitif - so quickly, I didn't have time to take any notes. 

To get the best from its generous aromas and flavours, serve it at between 12 and 14 degrees. It has lovely amber colour, a rich almond nose, a nutty and tangy flavour and the superb finish goes on and on. And you can get all this from just one little sip. Very Highly Recommended. Enjoy, with all five senses, as they invite on the bottle.

Exquisite Collection Cremant du Jura (AOP) Chardonnay 2014, 12%, €11.29 Aldi

Had to pick up a sparkling wine in a hurry and got this Brut (dry) in at the local Aldi. A few hours later, I was very impressed with it. This sparkling Chardonnay, made using the same methods as they use in making champagne, was perfect for our little celebration. It is not lacking in complexity, has light fruit flavours, a hint of biscuit (that you find in champagnes), and a fine finish. Good price too. Very Highly Recommended.


Barefoot Merlot (California), 13.5%, €10.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
“Wine tastes better in a tee than in a tux”, Barefoot say. So you’re thinking cheap and cheerful, nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with this Merlot either.  This is smooth and warming, full of raspberry and blackberry flavours, mild tannins, well balanced too and with a decent finish. It is an easy-drinker and good value. 

Beer Bullets

Cloudwater Session IPA Wai-iti 4.5%
Thought this was an American brewery but they are from Manchester. Brexit or not, this is an excellent beer, a superb IPA. You’ll get hoppier but the balance here is spot-on and as a result, the beer is well worth a try. You may not get it in Old Trafford or The Etihad but you’ll certainly find a bottle in Bradley’s.

St Bernardus Wit, 5.5%, 

St Bernardus has quite a smile and his abbey beers deliver every time. As they do with this perfect wheat beer. This traditional Belgian wheat beer is more or less a perfect example of the type, with clove notes, very refreshing, your perfect thirst quencher. Thirsty? Bradley’s have this answer.

St Bernardus Abt 12, 10%
Another big delivery from the Belgians, the big here referring to the alcohol at 10%. Not a big worry though; the beer is perfectly balanced between malty, bitter and sweet. It has fruity aromas, is full bodied with a hoppy touch on the finish.


They say: It is the pride of our stable, the nec plus ultra of our brewery. Abbey ale brewed in the classic 'Quadrupel' style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!

Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!


Vino Italiano (2005) sums up Pighin: A large estate with holdings in both the Grave and Collio DOCs. There are some decent wines in the bunch, and the Grave wines are bargains.

They have proved innovative wine-makers and built the first Italian example of an insulated winery. No water wasted here; the terrace roof is irrigated with well water which contributes to cooling down the spaces before returning down to where it came from. See the Modern History Of Italian Wine (2016) for more.

Grave is named, in much the same way as its Bordeaux namesake, after its gravelly soil. The Pighin family were in haulage when they took 30 hectares of Risano in 1964 and their drive for quality started then and continues. 

Their piece of Grave is considered superior for its wines, leading to varietal intensity and aromatic complexity. Pinot Grigio is king here and this below is a right royal example below.

Pighin Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli (DOC) 2015, 12.5%, €17.75 Karwig Wines
The colour is a straw yellow, micro bubbles noticeable. The complex aromas speak of white fruits, hints of blossom too. On the palate, it is smooth and noticeably supple, superbly balanced and with a persistent finish. Nothing watery or weak about it; just a full bodied example of the grape and Very Highly Recommended.

Pighin Risano blanco Venezia Giulia (IGT) 2013, 12.5%, €14.85 Karwig Wines
The grapes used in this white are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, plus autochthonous (i.e. indigenous) varieties of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They come from the vineyard of Risano where “Hot, breezy summers, rigorous winters and average rainfall create particularly favourable conditions”.


This very light straw coloured wine has attractive, if modest, floral aromas. That gentleness continues and combined with the freshness of the palate makes it an ideal aperitif. Good acidity should see it pair well with the recommended salads and light summery offerings. A very pleasant wine indeed and Recommended and good value, especially if you have a gang coming to visit.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In the heart of Chianti

In the heart of Chianti

If Tuscany is the centre of the Italian Wine Universe (as declared by Vino Italiano) then Chianti Classico is its heart. Chianti itself is a vast area in Tuscany with Pisa and Siena among its best known cities. Chianti Classico DOCG, situated on the hills between Florence and Siena, is tiny by comparison.

Hugh Johnson, writing in The Finest Wines of Tuscany (2009),  says the revolution of Tuscan wines began over 40 years ago and is still on-going. “It is the New World within the Old, questioning, experimenting all the time, with ever-rising standards.”  Looks like there is a lot more to this story.

Sangiovese is central Italy’s most important red grape and the main grape in Chianti where Grapes and Wines note Terrabianca as one of the top producers. It is also the base of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino and Morellino di Scansano.


Terrabianca Scassino Chianti Classico (DOCG), 13.5%, €22.70 Karwig Wines

The estate is ancient (mentioned as far back as 1085) but Roberto and Maja Guldener started here only in 1988. Now, after much hard work, some of their wines, including this one, are well-known in “many countries all over the world”. Not bad going for a couple that left the city (Zurich) to live in the countryside.

The blend is 97% Sangiovese with 3% Canaiolo. It has spent 8 months in Slovenian oak and three months in bottle before release.

It is a vibrant cherry red, clear and bright. The inviting aromas are a mix of fruit (led by raspberry and cherry). It is fresh and supple, with moderate spice, fine tannins, a really pleasant experience on the palate, a well made Chianti, with typical fragrance and fruit, with a firm backbone and a long lasting finish. Very Highly Recommended.



Fattoria di Rodáno Chianti Classico (DOCG) 2011, 14.5%, €20.45 Le Caveau

This blend of 90% Sangiovese and five per cent each of Colorino (with its deep dark colouring) and Canaiolo (also used in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) is produced by the Pozzesi family on an organically run hill-top vineyard in Tuscany. It is oak-aged in large Slovenian botti di rovere but this is really “little more than a seasoning”.

Colour is a bright cherry red and ripe red and darker fruits are prominent in the aromas. Flavours of plum and cherry are found on the palate of this medium bodied wine, spice too. Tannins though rounded are still a factor and even more so is the typical mouth-watering acidity. The elegant finish persists. This impeccably balanced wine is Highly Recommended.

See also (from my current Italian mini-series):


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fontanafredda, important player in Italian wine. Three examples.

Fontanafredda: important player in Italian wine. Three examples.

The Modern History of Italian Wine (2016), to which we'll be referring often over the next few months, picks Fontanafredda, renowned for decades for its Barolo, as a key player in Italy's wine industry. The important company now produces some 7.5m bottles a year and you can find quite a few of its products, including the Barolos, in Karwig Wines. Below are just three examples. 

Fontanafredda Raimonda, Barbera D’Alba (DOC) 2009, 14%, €21.15 Karwig Wines


In 1858, an area close to the village of Serralunga D’Alba was registered to the King Vittorio Emanuele II. Here he indulged his passion with the commoner daughter of a drum major and it was eventually their son Emanuele Guerrieri, Count of Mirafiore, who devoted his life to making wine here, “with a very modern approach”.

Success with Barolo followed later but, after war and economic strife, the banks took over in 1931 and appointed a winemaker to take charge. In recent years, the property passed to Oscar Farinetti, “another visionary” according to the recently published Modern History of Italian wine, “who revitalized its sale and the commercial image of the brand”. 

Dressed with the colours of the estate, the Stripes series “is the central line of production by Fontanafredda”. And the Barbera for this striped bottle is grown around Serralunga.

Part of the wine is aged in large French and Slavonian oak casks, the rest stored in small barrels of medium toasted French and American oak for about a year. The two parts are blended prior to bottling.

Colour is a deep ruby. There are intense aromas of cherry and plum, notes of vanilla. Quite a striking velvety mouthfeel on this one, round with ripe and tangy fruit, hints of spice, and an excellent acidity. A very pleasant drop indeed and Very Highly Recommended.

Karwig’s also do another excellent example of the grape: Renato Barbera D’Alba.

Fontanafredda Gavi (DOCG) 2015, 12.5%, €23.10 Karwig Wines

This is another of the vineyard’s Stripes Series and the Cortese vines from which it is produced are grown near the village of Gavi in south east Piedmont. Serve between 10 to 12 degrees and you’ll find it is ideal for starters and light meals.

It is a light straw colour with a definite green tint and micro-bubbles cling to the sides of the glass. There are fairly intense aromas, a melange of white fruit and blossom. Lively fruit flavours predominate as it rolls smoothly across the palate. It is an easy-drinking well-balanced wine with a long dry finish. Highly Recommended.

Fontanafredda “Le Fronde” Moscato D’Asti (DOCG) 2012, 5.0%, €9.95 Karwig Wines

This is a gorgeous moderately sweet wine, another string to the impressive Fontanafredda bow. Try it with all desserts, they encourage. I had a few of those delightful cheesecakes from Charly and tried the two together. Excellent, though I'm told it may be even better with drier cakes (e.g. panetone). And, by the way, it is also lovely on its own.

May not have much alcohol on board - yes, that five per cent is correct - but it has quite a lot going for it otherwise. It is slightly fizzy, lots of bubbles in evidence, mainly clinging to the sides of the glass, a frizzante rather than a spumante. Indeed, the low alcohol count means it can be convenient to use within a multi-course meal, either as aperitif or with dessert. I prefer to use a normal white wine glass rather than a flute.


It is aromatic (this one sage and honey) and floral, full and fruity also. Well worth trying, ideal in the garden in summer, with three or four friends. Recommended.

Recently reviewed: