Showing posts with label Mendoza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mendoza. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The All Whites. Including a Mendoza Double.

Valle Aldino Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Central Valley (Chile), 13%, €12.70 Karwig Wine


Have you been reading The 24 Hour Wine Expert by Jancis Robinson? At €6.80 (Waterstones), it is well worth getting. 

In a section called Be Adventurous, she lists 15 pairs, one wine The Obvious Choice, the other tagged The Clever Alternative.  In Sauvignon Blanc, the obvious is Marlborough while the alternative is Chile.

The alternative, she says, can “be sometimes cheaper, often more interesting”. This Valle Aldino is certainly cheaper and, while not more interesting than the better Marlboroughs, is a good alternative at a decent price.

Colour is a light straw with tints of green. Fresh and grassy aromas, white fruits there too. Gooseberries and citrus flavours, with strong melon-y notes too, on the zesty palate, plus a decent finish. Recommended.


Mendoza’s Domaine Bousquet
A Blend Double

In 1990, the Bousquet family from Carcassonne in Southern France began to explore wine-making possibilities in Argentina. In 1997, they settled in Tupungato (Mendoza) in one of the highest vineyards in the world.

It is no less than 1,200 meters above sea level. There is a large difference between day and night temperatures. This variation (the thermal amplitude) helps create fully ripened grapes with good acidity. The heat of the day promotes the ripening, the chill of the night preserves acidity. Grapes are hand-picked and the vineyard is certified organic.

Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay - Pinot Gris Reserva 2010 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, €18.80 Mary Pawle Wines
Colour is a light gold, clean and bright and a ring of bubbles stay around the rim for a while. It is strongly aromatic, some exotic white fruit and floral notes too. Concentrated white fruit flavours announce its arrival on the palate and the acidity ensures a happy balance. It is an elegant style with a dry and pleasing finish. Highly Recommended.

The mix is 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Gris. And the Reserve apparently means that the grapes have been picked from the best plots.

Domaine Bousquet Cameleon  Selection Torrontes - Chardonnay 2014 (Tupungato, Mendoza, ARG), 14%, O’Donovan’s Off Licence.

The Cameleon, one of their brands, symbolises the family story of Jean Bousquet, the leaving of France and adapting to the new life in Argentina. Adapted quite well going by this bottle, also Highly Recommended.

The blend here is fifty fifty. Aging is in stainless steel plus four months in bottle. Ideal, they say for seafood, fish dishes and cheeses. I say fine on its own and worth a try too with white meat and Asian dishes.

Colour is a light gold, clean and bright, much like the first bottle above. Aromas are of white fruits, floral notes too. On the palate there are fresh white fruit flavors, some sweet spice, an oily mouthfeel, more body here, that expected acidity and a long, dry and very pleasing finish.

This is what the family wanted from the blend and from their soil. “With its subtle attunement, this Chameleon is a conspicuous presence in a landscape of indistinguishable wine.” Don't know what the neighbours made of that statement!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Striking It Rich In The Real Wine Month. This Bordeaux Is Hors Catégorie!

Striking It Rich In The Real Wine Month
This Bordeaux Is Hors Catégorie!
Looking out over the vineyards from the top of the Sauve-Majeure Abbey
April is Real Wine Month. Restaurants, stores and wine bars are taking part. See what's going on here.

Chateau Turcaud Cuvée Majeure 2014 Bordeaux blanc, 13.5%, €18.95 Le Caveau

Not too sure I should be shouting off the rooftops about this Bordeaux beauty. It is a perfect match - for me! I’m drawn first by its light gold colour. It almost sparkles in the glass. And then those complex aromas of white fruits (apple, pear) along with floral and minty hints and more. The deliciousness continues on the palate, enhanced by a rich voluptuous texture, a very pleasing balance of fruit and acidity, the oak nicely integrated, and a finish that lingers, reluctant to say goodbye.


Later, too late on this occasion,  I read on the Chateau website that it “can benefit from decanting a half hour to a full hour before the meal, and is ideal served chilled but not too cold.” This wine, they add, is at its best as an aperitif or with marinated salmon, foie gras, fish terrine, scampi, scallops, lobster, fish in a sauce, white meat, and most cheeses.


Sauvignon gris (30%) plays a big role in the blend; also here are Sauvignon blanc (55%) and Semillon (15%). After fermentation in French oak (40% new), it is aged for six months on fine lees which are “stirred with a stick (bâtonnage) once a week to put the lees into suspension in order to produce more complex, aromatic wine”. I reckon they got it right! Very Highly Recommended or maybe, as they say in the Tour de France, hors catégorie.


Familia Cecchin Malbec 2015 (Maipu, Mendoza), 13.6%, €20.35 Le Caveau


Over-the-top labels usually make me quite cautious about the wine in the bottle. And when I saw that this Malbec expresses the “soul of those who make it”, I was thinking that's a bit over the top. But maybe not! This one, made from organic grapes, is Very Highly Recommended!


It has a dark violet colour with rich fruit aromas and a peppery drift as well. On the palate it may not be quite as in your face as some traditional Argentinian Malbecs but there is a gorgeous restrained rush of fruit flavours and a lively matching acidity, a delightful balance achieved, and with a smashing finalé.


Familia Cecchin, who farm in Maipu, Mendoza, is the first Argentinian winery to become part of the Artisan Craftsman Growers, a worldwide association of high quality winemakers. They work in a traditional manner, according to the Wines of South America -”They use horse-drawn plows, minimize the use of agricultural chemicals and use only native yeasts. The vineyards are bordered with aromatic plants.. to attract animal pests and keep them away from the vines.” They are well known for their Malbec, Carignan and Olive Oil!



Tour de Gendres Cuvee des Conti Bergerac sec (AOC) 13%, €17.15 Le Caveau

Color is a lovely light gold, a bright one! The aromas include white fruit and blossom. Excellent white fruit (melon, peach) with good concentration, well rounded and refreshing overall plus a good finish. Eight months maturing on the lees helps. Highly Recommended.

This is the family speciality, their favourite! It is made from Sémillon harvested very ripe and partially passerillé (dried out). The full blend here (it will vary from season to season) is Semillon 70%, Sauvignon blanc 20, Muscadelle 10. They advise serving it with seafood, pike with white butter, grilled fish, a Cabécou. I’d like to  try it with some of that fresh Goatsbridge Farm trout, also available in Kilkenny of course, and in many supermarkets.

Viticulture is biodynamic, the soil is nourished with seaweed and silica treatments to encourage microbial activity. Yields are low.

Menade Nosso Verdejo natural 2014, 13%, Vino de la tierra de Castilla y León, 13%, €19.95 (now 17.96) Le Caveau.

Castilla y Leon is a large region in northwest Spain that includes Rueda, now the undisputed home of Verdejo. The grapes for this wine come from Rueda itself, from Finca Menade. No added sulphur is used and the cork is covered by a waxy cap. Besides, a box of this wine will be packed with straw, perhaps to signify that it is a natural wine. Unlike its cousin (reviewed here too), it doesn't have the Rueda DO but don't worry, this is an exceptional wine and Very Highly Recommended.

There is a good depth of colour, strawy, and it is bright and clean. Aromas of white fruits and some herby hints too. Amazing mouthfeel, superb volume, impressive balance and a finish that goes on and on. If this is organic, keep the real wines coming, waxy cap and all!

I’ve seen the words greasy and oily used to describe the feel of this wine but don't let this put you off. It just means that there is more viscosity - you’ll note that the legs (or tears) on the glass are slow to clear.

Menade Verdejo 2014 (Rueda DO), 13%, €15.95 Le Caveau
This family run vineyard, just south of Valladolid, in Rueda, is certified organic. Hand-harvesting, carbonic snow  (instead of sulphur), natural yeasts and low yields are among the techniques used to produce pure and expressive wines.

And this light gold Verdejo is a very good example. Aromas are of white fruits (citrus to the fore) and there are floral hints too. It has lovely fresh fruit, a refreshing acidity, dry, well balanced and an excellent finish. Highly Recommended.

Maison Ambroise, Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Les Hauts Pruliers’ 2010, 13%, €46.35 Le Caveau.

Once on a vineyard visit, I noticed our guide was vigilant in moving us further away every time the tractor and sprayer came anywhere near our group. Now I read this about Maison Ambroise: Ludivine (Ambroise) explained the move to organic viticulture is one of true belief as she lost her grandfather due to illness caused by chemicals used in the fields.

The Les Hauts Pruliers vineyards are located on a very steep slope, just above Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru ‘Pruliers’. Harvested manually, neither filtered nor fined, the wines are classic and expressive with distinct terroir-influenced personalities. This is quite a gem.

It has the typical lighter red colour of Pinot Noir and a bright one too. There is a tempting nose of black and red berries, some spice too. And this is echoed on the palate; smooth and elegant. Deep and rich, nicely balanced, a vibrant mid-palate all heading towards a long finish.  

If Burgundy is Pinot Noir heaven, then this wine comes from a special piece of paradise. Maybe I should have waxed a little more on the lyrical side with this one, but the city below is flooded, the rain lashing down outside.  Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Argentina Scores with Reds. And Whites.

Argentina Scores with Reds. And Whites.
Mascota Malbec And Beef Wellington Hit The Spot At Cornstore Wine Event
Matias, introduced by Mags O'Connor (Cornstore)
The Cornstore is renowned for its aged steak, Argentina’s Mascota Vineyards for their Malbec. Put the two together and you are on a winner. That happened in Cork’s Cornstore last Monday night and it was the highlight of a lovely wine evening with El Esteco’s Matias Ferraro our knowledgeable and humorous host.

Matias took us through a series of excellent wines from two vineyards, the whites from Amaru High, the reds from Mascota, all imported by Cork company Classic Drinks who also helped the evening run smoothly.

As we started off with some gorgeous tapas from the Cornstore kitchen, we were introduced to the Amaru High Torrontes 2013. The vineyard, believe it or not, is situated at 1700 metres and higher. “The height and coolness leads to a thicker skin, more concentration. Light yellow, it is a little spicy but with good balance,” said Matias.

The Torrontes is regarded as Argentina’s national grape and I'm surprised it is not better known here. Perhaps with Matias and Classic Drinks promoting it, we’ll see more of this gorgeous wine with its beautiful fresh flavours and balancing acidity. If Albarino can make the breakthrough here, Torrontes must have as good a chance.
Now we dropped down to the Finca La Mascota, a vineyard near Mendoza, the town where Scotland beat Holland in the 1978 World Cup. Matias may have been down following the recent World Cup final loss to Germany but this Buenos Aires resident has Boca Juniors to cheer on in the weeks ahead.

He cheered us all up on Monday when he introduced the Opi Cabernet Sauvignon. Opi Sadler is the winemaker; delays in his journey meant he didn't make the Cornstore but Matias went solo and was in top form. As was this excellent wine, full bodied and full too of dark fruit with a long finish. Superb with some of the tapas, particularly the Beef Carpaccio.

And then it was on to the Beef Wellington, with twice cooked Roast Potatoes and Caramelised Root Vegetables and a Bordelaise Sauce. What a dish! What a wine! The La Mascota Malbec 2012 is a gem, beautiful aromas, vibrantly fruity, smooth and easy drinking and with a long lazy finish. It takes two to tango and this beef and this wine were the perfect pair.

Beef Welllington.
The Menu
Amaru High Vineyards Torrontes Rosé 2014
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Parma Ham and Toonsbridge Mozzarella Roulade.
Beef Carpaccio en Croute with Truffle Oil & Parmesan Cheese.
Smoked Salmon Rillette with pickled Cucumber.
Wild Mushroom Risotto beignets with Celeriac Purée.

Amara High Vineyards Torrontes 2013.
Opi Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.

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Classic Beef Wellington, with twice cooked Roast Potatoes and Caramelised Root Vegetables and a Bordelaise Sauce.

La Mascota Malbec 2012.

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Poached Rhubarb and Strawberry in Rose Jelly with Blood Orange Sorbet.

Santa Ana Sparkling Wine Malbec Rosé.

Yours Truly and Matias.