Showing posts with label Loire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loire. Show all posts

Monday, January 9, 2017

Three Classy Reds. Don't judge a book by the cover!

Three Classy Reds

Don't judge a book by the cover. The plain label on the Gamay could well lead you to believe this is a bottom shelf wine whereas it is anything but. Perhaps, especially if you bought bottom shelf Moroccan wines on French holidays years ago, you wouldn't be expecting a great deal from the Volubilia but it is a lovely surprise. And no surprise really with the Italian. You'd expect this to be good and it is very good indeed.


Clos du Tue-Boeuf Gamay 2015, Vin de France, 12%, €18.85 Le Caveau
Light red, fairly typical of the grape, is the colour of this natural beauty. The aromas are of strawberries and raspberries. On the vibrant palate, you'll find the same mix of fruit flavours, with a light tang of cider apples; it is light and fresh and smooth for sure, fine tannins and then a long finish.

The two Puzelat brothers, regarded, by Jamie Goode, as “natural wine royalty”, mature this for 4-6 months in large wooden vats. The organic grapes are bought in from trusted local winegrowers in the Loire. “The wines are quite unique, highly expressive of their terroir, authentic, filled with life and have a very strong personality.” That lively personality is very evident, pleasingly so, in this example and it is Very Highly Recommended. By the way, it is neither filtered nor fined, so do decant!


La Zouina Volubilia Classic Red, Morocco 2012, 13.5%, €22.95 Le Caveau

This is a relatively new French run chateau. Bordeaux know-how plus freedom to experiment has helped produce this excellent result from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Syrah, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo.

Colour is medium red. And the aromas include warm blackcurrant. It is medium bodied, smooth and fresh, well endowed with concentrated berry flavours, medium spice, fine tannins. It is well balanced with a long and juicy finish. A surprise from Africa and Very Highly Recommended.

Ascheri Coste & Bricco Barolo (DOCG) 2010, 14.5%, €47.00 (down to 30 in recent Fine Wine sale) O’Brien Wines

No surprise that this one was good as I had tasted it at the O’Brien Wine Fair in Cork. Nebbiolo is the grape here. Made from two select plots from Ascheri’s single vineyard, this is their top cuvée. 

The wine has spent 26 months in Slavonian barrels, six months in steel and a further nine in bottle before release. According to Grapes & Wines, Italian Nebbiolo ages better than those of California and Australia. And indeed the producers reckon this will last for 18 to 20 years if kept in a cool dark place.

I couldn't wait that long to tuck into this garnet coloured wine. Small red fruits feature in the aromas, also some herbal hints. It has a palate full of rich flavours, spice too and an acidity that helps put all in harmony. This elegant and inviting wine is Very Highly Recommended.


They, Ascheri, recommended matching it with hard mature cheese, pheasant, pigeon, roast lamb and beef, Mediterranean vegetables. I've tried and tested it here with Parmesan and Walnut crusted rack of lamb with roasted vegetables, the lamb bought at our local craft butchers, Davidson’s of Montenotte, Cork.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Northern Whites. Double Delight.

Northern Whites
Double Delight


On the Loire

We’ve got two excellent whites for you to consider this week. One is a Riesling from Germany’s Rheingau and the other is a Sauvignon Blanc from the little-known Menetou-Salon appellation in the Loire valley.

Germany’s greatest variety, Riesling, is first documented in the Rheingau in 1435. Don't think Carl Ehrhard has been there that long but he has built up a great reputation and our selection is a lovely example.

Menetou-Salon is a village at the eastern end of the Loire Valley wine region. Wine-searcher.com says it is “forecast by many to be a potential rival for the famous Sancerre appellation (its immediate north-eastern neighbor), Menetou-Salon is rapidly establishing its reputation at an international level”. The reputation is being built on two varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Carl Ehrhard Rüdesheim Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2015, Rheingau (Germany), 11.5%, €18.60 Karwig Wines

A few words:
Kabinett: a wine made from fully ripened grapes of the main harvest, one level lower than Spätlese.
Feinherb: off dry.

This light gold 100% Riesling has lots of mini-bubbles clinging to the glass. There are white fruit aromas and the intense fresh fruit flavours (apple, citrus) make the tongue tingle at the start before rolling deliciously on. That tingle is the acidity keeping all that lively lovely fruit (with its hints of sweetness) in balance, right through to the excellent finish. Carl Ehrhard never leaves one down and this is Very Highly Recommended.

Just to let those of you worried about the whiffs of diesel from some Rieslings know, there is not a trace of fumes here!


Jean-Max Roger, Morogues, Le Petit Clos 2014, Menetou-Salon (AOC), 12.5%, €21.55 Karwig Wines

This is a classic Loire Sauvignon blanc, on a par with neighbouring Sancerre where Jean-Max also farms. It is elegant and restrained and the perfect partner for “the bounty of the seas,..... Also a good match for white meats and goat’s cheese”. The fruit comes from 5 hectares of vines in Le Petit Clos vineyard. In this steep south-facing slope, grape quality is the season long target.

This light gold wine has pleasant herbaceous aromas, citrus hints too, and these follow through on a fresh and lively palate, superb balance and long finish. Dry and crisp, with lots of character, this excellent Sauvignon Blanc is Highly Recommended.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Late Christmas Wine Double. One Red, One White

Late Christmas Wine Double
One Red, One White


Guy Saget Pouilly Fumé 2014 (France), 12.5%, SuperValu Christmas €14.00 (down from 22.99).

Pouilly Fumé is an AOC area by the Loire River and Guy Saget is a leading producer. The grape here in this wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and it has been aged for five months on the lees. You may read all about this well-known AOC here.

This has a nice straw/gold colour with aromas of white fruit including notes of citrus. Good fruit and matching acidity flow in together. And, in this refreshing wine, they depart together also in a long finish. An excellent example of a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Highly Recommended.

Their matching suggestions, mainly for the French: asparagus in cream, tuna carpaccio, lamb curry, grilled prawns, pike perch in beurre blanc. But I think you'll find it goes well with smoked salmon and goat's cheese, both of which are likely to feature over the Irish Christmas.



Mosaic 2011 Priorat (DOQ), 14%, €15.00 (was 23.99) SuperValu Christmas Wines


The steep vineyards of Priorat are in the northeast of Spain and the three grapes in this elegant Mosaic are a mirror of what you’d find just north of the border: Garnacha (30%), Syrah (30%) and Cariñena (40%).


This is the winemaker’s selection and is “excellent with roast meats” so that should cover the turkey for you. According to the back label, it will also match the steak (that usually arrives when the turkey is gone, or when you're just plain tired of the big bird!).


Color is violet, with a bright sheen. Dark fruits dominate the rather intense aromas. No shortage of deep fruit flavours on the palate, spices are also prominent and there are soft tannins too. It is really well balanced with a long and pleasant finish. Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

France. Via le route rouge

France. Via le route rouge


Let’s take a red wine trip in France, not all encompassing by any means. Indeed, I’m being a bit contrary here as two of our areas visited, the left bank in Graves and the Loire valley, are perhaps better known for their white wines. But they've got some red gems from those gravelly soils as well.
Passed these vineyards in Graves a few times

Clos Floridene Graves (AOC) 2011, 13.5%, €16.35 Maison des Vins, Podensac.

D’accord, let us begin in Podensac, in Graves. It’s a small enough town with a nice restaurant called Chez Charlotte where a three course meal cost me €22.00 in 2014. The friendly proprietor speaks good English and is also proud of the area, listing the main attractions as Charlotte (big smile!), the Lillet Distillery, the Maison des Vins and the fact that they have a water tower by the famous architect Le Corbusier.

Denis Dubourdieu is also renowned in the Bordeaux area but as a wine-maker. In 1982, he and his wife founded Clos Floridene. This wine is a fresh and fruity blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%) and Merlot (28%).

Colour is a deep garnet and blackcurrant dominates the aromas. The palate is an intense mix of fruit, and tannic flavours, some spice too and, with a long silky finish, this left bank red is Very Highly Recommended.

Chateau Saint Eugène Martillac 2011, Pessac-Léognan (AOC), 13%, €12.80 in Graves

Colour is cherry red, a shiny one! Ripe red fruits and violets feature in the aromas. On the palate, there are excellent fruit flavours and a matching acidity, fine tannins at play here too. Rather powerful, with some spice, dry and warm and a long finish. Very Highly Recommended. The blend is 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot and it has spent 12 months in barriques.

The chateau is located in the heart of Martillac and its clay-limestone soil was newly planted, mainly with Merlot, in 1998. Owners are the Gonet family, well known as owners in the Champagne region for over 200 years. Martillac is a commune in the Pessac-Léognan area which itself is in the outskirts of Bordeaux and includes the legendary Haut-Brion.
Found this old vineyard tractor in Languedoc museum
Chateau la Bastide L’Optime 2011, Corbieres (AOC), 14%, €18.30 Karwig Wines

Let’s now take the L'Autoroute des Deux Mers from Bordeaux towards Narbonne - you’ll be glad of a glass of wine after driving around Toulouse on the peripherique - and head for Corbieres, one of the biggest appellations in the Languedoc.

We are tasting another blend, this of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache, from vines whose average age is 50 years. It has spent 12 months in barriques bordelaises. Colour is a dark red with a lighter rim. Intense red fruity nose along with some spice. The attack is fairly intense, fruit and pepper combining, round tannins there too, but it is smooth and warm as it spreads across the palate to a long dry finish. Powerful and concentrated, this too is Very Highly Recommended.
Lunch in a Rhone village
Cellier de Monterail Cotes du Rhone 2014, 13%, c. €12.50 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
It is just a short trip from the Languedoc to the Southern Rhone where most of the generic Cotes du Rhone is produced. Grenache is usually the main grape, as it is here with over 40%; its companions in this bottle are Syrah and Mourvedre (the usual suspects in the GSM trio) along with Cinsault.

Quite a light red with pleasant enough red fruit aromas on the nose. This basic wine of the region illustrates why the Cotes du Rhone is so popular and so well known in Ireland. It is well balanced, round and full with some spice and the tannins remind you gently that they in play. Recommended.

O’Donovan’s choose this to represent France in their recent Rugby World Cup promotion though they picked an even better French wine (Chateau de la Ligne) to represent Ireland!

Driving through Southern Rhone vineyards
M. Chapoutier Les Meysonniers, Crozes-Hermitage (AOC) 2012, 13%, €21.95 Bradley’s Offlicence

The highly respected winemaker Michel Chapoutier, one of the big names in the Rhone (ref: Larousse)  is an uncompromising terroir lover and committed too to organic and biological winemaking, preferring to “use the power of life” rather than “the power of death”, the -ides (herbicides, pesticides etc), in the vineyard. He doesn't like to see wine being over-analyzed as it takes the fun out of it and you’ll note that all his labels are marked in Braille.

And, yes, as well as talking the talk he walks the walk. Just take a glass of this hand-harvested foot-treaded Syrah from the Northern Rhone. It is in the classic style, fresh and fruity. Colour is a medium to dark red with a bright hue. Aromas are of ripe red fruit. The initial fresh and fruity attack is long lasting, tannins there too but smooth; it is ample and round and then the long finish. Superbly balanced wine and Very Highly Recommended.
On the Loire. I was safely on the bank, glass in hand!
Chateau du Petit Thouars, Cuvee Amiral 2009 Touraine (France), 12.5%, €15.00 at the chateau
After the Rhone we head to the north and to the area around the town of Chinon in the Loire which we will leave with the boot full of wine and just a short journey to the ferry port of Roscoff!


“Many great men of our family served in the French Navy,” owner Sebastien du Petit Thouars told me when we called to his chateau near where the Vienne and Loire rivers meet.  And so, in memory of those great men, he called his top wine Amiral.

Colour is a deep red, close to purple, with a great sheen. Red fruit dominates the intense aromas. Fruit, fresh, juicy with a lively acidity and a pronounced dry and lengthy finish. Tasted this first when I bought it two years ago and it is definitely heading in the right direction. Only trouble for me is that this was my last bottle of the Very Highly Recommended wine. By the way, du Petit Thouars wines now come under the Chinon designation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux and more

Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux and more

Feature in SuperValu Sale
Final week of SuperVale French Wine Sale
Vaillons La Chablisienne 2011, Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, 13%, €20.00 SuperValu French Sale

This is the native land of Chardonnay and this is an excellent expression of the grape, pure and perfect.

Colour is a light yellow and there are complex aromas, including floral and fruit strands. The aromas persist on the palate where you can taste the brilliant purity, the flinty flavours; quite an elegant wine with a long finish. Crisp and mouth-watering, one of the very best in this sale and Very Highly Recommended.

Lorgeril Les Terrasses Viognier 2013, Pays D’Oc IGP, 12.5%, €10.00, SuperValu French Sale

Lovely aromas and a light gold colour. This is one of the winemakers’ “Collection Fruitée” and it lives up to the name. Fruity (peaches, pears), well balanced, fresh and crisp and very refreshing. Recommended.

Bersan Saint Bris Sauvignon 2012 (Burgundy), 12.5%, €12.00, SuperValu French Sale
Colour is light straw, clean and bright, with fruity aromas. On the palate, there is a nice fruity tang, melons and gooseberries to the fore, with good acidity and a crisp dry finish. Recommended.

The area of Saint Bris is unusual; its wines are made from Sauvignon blanc rather than Chardonnay which is grown throughout the rest of Burgundy.

Domaine Balland Chapuis Coteaux Du Giennois Montagnes Blanches 2013 (Loire), 12%, €10, SuperValu French Sale.

This Sauvignon blanc is from Giennois, a little known Loire region and neighbour of the famous Sancerre.

Colour is a light straw and there are inviting fruity aromas. There is a sharp and tingly introduction to the palate, then white fruit flavours (apple, pears, hints of citrus, though apple more prominent on 2nd sampling 24 hours later), all fresh and lively and a good dry finish. Recommended.

Chateau Manon La Lagune, Blaye Cotes De Bordeaux 2012, 13%, €9.00, SuperValu French Sale.

Gironde estuary
This well priced red is a excellent blend of Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30) and Cabernet Franc (10). Many Irish families have holidayed in the Charente campsites close to Royan. Some will have seen the timber hut in the village of La Palmyre selling wines from Blaye which is not too far away in the Bordeaux direction.

A nose of blackcurrant aromas is followed by  refreshing black fruit flavours on the palate, some spice too, with a soft and smooth mouth-feel. Any prejudice I had about Blaye maybe not being good enough because it is in the edge of the Bordeaux appellation geographically, was quickly and pleasantly soothed away, all that before a good finish. Highly Recommended.


Saint Emilion

Les Hauts De Gros Caillou 2012, Saint Emilion, 13%, €14.00, SuperValu French Sale

The wines of Saint Emilion are much better known here than those of Blaye. This is again mainly Merlot (about 65%) and the balance is Cabernet Sauvignon.

Red fruit aromas and the colour is a little darker than the Blaye. In the mouth, there are fruity notes galore in this typical Saint Emilion, good acidity too, of course, all leading to a well balanced wine. Young but drinking really well and Very Highly Recommended.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chaume Sweet Chaume

Chaume Sweet Chaume

Chateau Soucherie Coteaux du Layon Chaume, 2010 France, 12%



Soucherie in the summer of 2013
A remarkable wine, according to reliable French guide Hachette. But we rarely see the sweet Coteaux du Layon wines here in Ireland. I bought a box in the Chateau Soucherie in the western Loire in 2013 and just finished the last bottle!

Harvested from 70 year old Chenin blanc grapes, it is a gem, a gem “with dainty fresh magic” according to Guide Hachette.  This golden coloured wine has delicious gentle aromas, including hints of mango. The palate is rich, full and smooth, concentrated, balanced so without too much sweetness. A perfect sweet wine for your dessert and Very Highly Recommended.

And perfect too as an aperitif. It has been going well here the past few days, matching brilliantly with Almond and Pistachio Nougat by Miena, perfect with the Christmas cake (a light one) and with the Panatone, and I particularly enjoyed it with the Pisachio baklava (from Cork’s Sultan’s Delights).

The vineyard in Soucherie does not use chemicals, herbicides or synthetic fertiliser.

You may read some background here on these sweet wines and see how the morning mists that rise from the river Layon in late summer promote the development of botrytis (noble rot) – an essential ingredient in the finest Coteaux du Layon Chaume wines. And see too how the grapes are hand-picked in a number of sweeps, explaining to some degree why the wines are expensive.

Indeed, the methods used here are much the same as in Sauternes. I know that Karwig Wines give the wines of Bergerac (including the sweet Monbazillac) shelf space to compete with their Bordeaux neighbours but I don't think many Irish importers do so.  And often it seems as if Sauternes is king, the one and only.

And it is a shame that the impression gets around because there are so many more sweet wines available, including the magnificent Tokaji from Hungary and some terrific examples from Australia and elsewhere. 

But even in France itself, you have the aforementioned Monbazillac, Beaumes de Venise, Rasteau, Jurancon, Banyul, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Bonnezeaux (also in the Loire), and so many more. Even in Bordeaux, you've got Barsac (linked with Sauternes) and, a little further away, Tour de Calens.

These wines vary a bit so you'll have to do some research! Still, if you're looking for a classic, why not try a Chaume?

  • Sauternes has a long head-start. In 1790, Thomas Jefferson ordered thirty dozen bottles of Yquem for George Washington and himself.

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.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Really Old Vines and just about old vines! From the Loire.

Really Old Vines and just about old vines! From the Loire.

Have been doing a bit of work (drinking!) on the subject of old vines and, in general, it seems that, other things being equal, it is worthwhile paying something of a premium for the wines from the gnarled old vines. With that in mind, why not try a few and compare them with a regular wine from the same vineyard, which is often possible. I’ve been doing that over the years and have regularly come down on the side of the wine from the older plantings.

But what is old? Twenty five years, fifty years. The experienced wine commentator Mary Dowey reckons it has to be “forty years at least” and cautioned that not all varieties benefit from age. “It doesn’t do anything for Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot but Grenache is well suited.” The main benefit is an “intensity of flavour, really concentrated”. 
Pony on left is not interested in wine!
Vignes Centenaire de Minière, Bourgueil 2009, 13.5%, €19.00 at the château.
Colour is a dark ruby and the aromas are of dark fruit. It is refreshing and concentrated, with a strong element of dark fruit flavours; it is smooth, rich with hints of spice and has an excellent dry finish.

The local pony club, at least the adults on the party, were finishing an outdoor tasting when we pulled into sunny Chateau de Minière in the heart of the Bourgueil appellation last summer. After a pleasant hour, maybe two, we finished off our tasting under the shady trees with this wine made from the local stalwart, Cabernet Franc. Loved it then and love it now.

The fruit comes from vines that average more than 100 years old and it has spent two years in oak. The grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted, all under the direction of wine-maker Eric Goujat. Belgian couple, Kathleen and Sigurd, took over the chateau a few years back and have the vineyard in conversion to organic, a process that is almost complete.

Wines that are labelled VieillesVignes (generally more than 30 years old) can command a premium. This is the château’s most expensive wine but worth it, I think. Not all  vines are suitable for long age but Cabernet Franc seems to do well on it in this area!

In the cool cellars of Montplaisir (Chinon)
Domaine de L’Abbaye Vieilles Vignes Chinon 2008, 12.5%, €7.50 at Cave Montplaisir in Chinon.

Aromas of pepper and spices and dark berries are a feature here. On the palate it is refreshing and fruity, with engaging fruit flavours and a lingering dry finish. A very Cabernet Franc and good value too, at least in France!

According to the current World Atlas of Wine, the wines of Chinon are “absurdly undervalued”. That opinion is reinforced by the quality and price of this bottle.

The vines are single varietal Cabernet Franc over 35 years old. It is aged in the cellars in oak barrels for about 12 months depending on the vintage. 

Find out more here 


Anjou Blanc Vieille Vignes 2009, €15.00 at Chateau Soucherie
A tasting at Chateau Soucherie saw us start with two classy wines, the Anjou Blanc Vielles Vignes 2009 and the more expensive Savennières Clos des Perrières 2010. Could have spent more time with these two but, on the initial tasting, put my money on the Vieilles Vignes (and even more of it on the Chaume that we came to later on).

The Vieilles Vignes was another winner  for the old vine brigade. “A unique wine from vines of more than 80 years, rich and round, delicious as an accompaniment to veal stew.”

Probably should have bought more of it as, on our way out to the car in the baking parking area, we were told that the 80 year old plants had been dug up and this was the last of the old stuff! So, if you do come across it, do buy some and include one or two for me! I have none left now and indeed I seem to have mislaid my notes on it. But it was a beautiful well balanced wine, another confirmation for me that wines from old wines are worth exploring!

You may check out the Château’s tasting notes (by Olivier Poussier, once voted the Best Sommelier in the World!) here.