Showing posts with label Rueda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rueda. Show all posts

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, July 1, 2015

A Good Wine Mix. Your Thursday Tips.

A Good Wine Mix.
Your Thursday Tips
The grapes are dried by the Ammasso method,
explained on a peel-off back label.

Barone Montalto Ammasso 2013 Rosso Siciliane (IGT), 14.5%, SuperValu €18.99

This may well be Sicily’s answer to Amarone as the islanders have used the traditional Ammasso (known as Appassimento in the north of the mainland). The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are the locals Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese and the internationals Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Medium red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.


Albet i Noya, Petit Albet 2010, Penedes (DO), 12%, 12.49 O’Donovan’s

This organic wine from Catalunya is a blend of Chardonnay and the local grape Xarel-lo (60%). The Xarel-lo will be familiar to you as one of the grapes used traditionally in Cava. Albet i Noya started their move towards organic in the mid 70s. They also buy in grapes and these too are organic and, besides, the wine is certified vegan friendly.

Aromas are of white fruit, including melon. It is light and fresh and those scented fruits continue strongly on the palate. It boasts a bright acidity and a good dry finish. Enjoy it young, as the name implies. Highly Recommended.


Marques de Riscal Sauvignon 2013, Rueda (DO), 12.5%, €12.99 Bradley’s Off Licence

This bottle had just been opened and was on a table about two feet away. Yet, with the tail-end of a cold, I still got the very inviting aromas. Inviting too was the colour: light gold, fresh and clean.

And the wine continued to surprise on the palate. The feel, the flavour, the finish complete a hat trick of delights. Go try it now and then maybe move up the Riscal scale and see what their other Sauvignons have in store. This though is great value and Very Highly Recommended.

The World Atlas of Wine credits Riscal with a key role in the revival of Rueda’s Verdejo. On this evidence, they are doing well also with the Sauvignon, a more recent arrival.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Electric Start to Beery Good Night

Electric Start to Beery Good Night
Fish Bar Specials
Mackerel, Bisque and Plaice
You’ve got to hand it to the team at Electric. They got a great idea when deciding to turn the upstairs outside deck into an indoor fish bar. It’s one thing getting the spark but another thing altogether to turn it into a working reality. But that’s just what has happened here. It makes for a lovely visit every single time and I certainly enjoyed my hour or two here last Friday evening.

The menu keeps changing but the cooking and presentation is always good, often excellent, and you just got to love the informal service, smiles, chats and effortlessly efficiency. We sipped a gorgeous José Pariente Reuda Verdejo (used to be the house wine at El Bulli’s) as we studied the specials list.

We each started with a bowl of Lobster Bisque, served with rouille croutons. The bisque was of excellent quality, full of flavours and quite warming on a rather cool evening. By the way, the Fish Bar, despite all those riverside windows, is obviously well insulated (as you’d expect from the Electric team!) and was comfortably warm on the night.

Next we had three dishes to share, each at nine euro. Two were from the specials list: Steamed Mussels (with beer, chilli and lemongrass) and Tandoori marinated plaice fillets (with cucumber, tomato and mint raita). The third, from the regular list, was: Smoked Mackerel and Cherry Tomato Gratin (with Hegarty’s Cheddar, scallions, panko crumb).

Mussels are mussels, some will say, but this was a different treatment. Not that different but the sauce was enough to give a lovely little spicy lift, so much so that it was finished off with the spoon provided! There was some suggestion that the mackerel dish was a little on the salty side but it didn’t bother me as I loved both the textures and the flavours.

There was agreement about the Tandoori plaice fillets, all happy with this delicate and delicious plateful. The mild spice enhanced the fish and indeed, the raita, though excellent, was hardly needed.
At the counter of the Rising Sons
So it was a couple of happy punters that stepped out onto the Mall on the way to checking out some craft beer. First stop was the busy Rising Sons Brewpub on the Coal Quay. I’m afraid to say the average age jumped a fair bit when we entered the big lively space. We got a seat at the counter and ordered a tasting tray each, three small glasses of different beers for four euro.

They have a huge range of craft beers, and others, on draught, but I was interested in their own brews. The three that I got, from the six they produce a few feet away, were their seasonal Porter, the Steeple Hemp amber ale and the Mi Daza stout. The lady serving us gave us lots of helpful information on the beers.

Must say that I'm a fan of the Mi Daza which I’ve tasted in its various forms over the last year or two. Basically, it is a creamy old style Cork stout, “brewed with a traditional rich roasted flavour and hints of dark chocolate, imparted by a four malt extract and thrice hopped, leading to a unique taste and drinking experience”. One to stick with.

The just released seasonal Porter was our first sip and it went down well. It is somewhat lighter in body and flavour compared to the stout but a very pleasant drink indeed. The Steeple Hemp amber ale more or less ambushed the palate with the first sup. “Lots of hops” the lady said and she was right. It’s got a big body too and should be great with food. By the way, the palate soon got used to the hops.

Must go back soon and try their other beers, especially that Handsum IPA. Wonder does it live up to its name?
The Brewery Mezzanine at the Cotton Ball
Lots of good ale around nowadays and one of my favourites is the Kerry Lane Pale Ale available on draught at the Cotton Ball, our final halt of the evening. Started off here with their seasonal, the Indian Summer, which has enjoyed a long run this year. But I finished with the Kerry Lane and the pint just confirmed my already high opinion.

Actually, wouldn't it be great to see a tasting of the Kerry Lane, the Handsum and the Franciscan Well’s Chieftain in the one place? Are they all on tap in any one pub?