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Sunday, February 25, 2018
Allez Les Rouges. And The Whites Too
French Wine Fest At SuperValu.
The French have taken over the wine aisle of your local SuperValu and they’ll be entrenched until the last day of the month. So you'd best get in there quickly and take advantage of the current generosity. Some big cuts in regular prices here and other tempting offers; watch out for case deals and also get another ten euro off if you buy six bottles.
Remy Ferbras Vacqueyras (AOP) 2015, 14%, €12.00 (20.99)
Colour is ruby red and ripe dark fruits abound in the inviting mix of aromas. There is a great balance between the ripe fruit and spices, plus a hint of liquorice, impressive texture, full bodied and rounded. A good bottle to have on your table at this time of year, great with duck and roast meat dishes, and also the goat now being sold by Eoin O’Mahony in the English Market. It is SuperValu’s Wine of the Month and Very Highly Recommended. Note that massive discount!
Vacqueyras is one of the nine villages in the Southern Rhone that is allowed its own name as the AOC name. The others are Cairanne (the most recent, 2016), Rasteau, Vinsobres, Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Lirac, Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape and all nine are regarded as crus.
The village itself is small and tree lined. Indeed, when I called there a few years back, the summer canopy of leaves had the centre in deep shade in the early afternoon. Looked a bit unreal.
Homage du Rhone Vinsobres (AC) 2015, 15%, €12.00 (15.99)
Vinsobres may not be as well known as its fellow Rhone wine Vacqueyras but it is well worth checking out. Grapes allowed in the Vinsobres are Grenache (50% minimum), Syrah (25%) and/or Mourvedre, other varieties allowed 25% max. Serve, they suggest, at 16 to 17 degrees, with Provencal dishes of lamb or game. Goat perhaps?!
Colour is mid-purple and the legs are indeed slow to clear (as you'd expect with the high ABV). Aromas are rather intense, plum and cherry prominent. Spice and fruit lead on the palate, an intense tango; tannins there too but they are gentle. Bring on the red meat, that game, a stew perhaps, then the cheese. With this in our cups, we are well prepared. Highly Recommended.
Chateau Mauleon Cotes du Roussillon Villages Caramany (AOP) 2014, 13%, €10.00 (11.99)
This mid to deep purple wine features strong red to darker fruits in the aromas, floral hints too. There is a spicy introduction with strong fruit, the tannins close to velvety. Quite an impressive assemblage of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache. Recommended. Pairing dishes suggested are Mountain ham, Pata Negra, Rack of Lamb (with spices), or Pork chops (with herbs of Provence, stuffed tomatoes or mushrooms and cream).
Andre Goichot Mâcon-Lugny (AC) 2016, 13%, €10.00 (14.99)
This is a terrific example of French Chardonnay from the grape’s birth place (there is a village called Chardonnay a short drive away). After a few years of tasting, I am coming to the conclusion that most AG wines are good and that quite a few are very good indeed.
This has a very light strawy colour. A nose of stone fruits, floral notes too. Palate features flavours of those fruits (peach, nectarine, apricot) plus apple and citrus too, a crisp acidity, and some minerality also. Highly Recommended. Well priced too by the way.
Andre Goichot Pouilly-Fuissé (AC) Les Feuilles d’Or 2014, 13%, €16.00 (22.99)
Colour is a medium gold and there are aromas of citrus and white fruits among quite a medley. In the mouth, it is smooth, close to creamy, richly fruited and soft with good acidity too plus a lingering finish. An elegant wine indeed, one of my favourites from the sale, and Very Highly Recommended.
This friendly, fresh and fruity white wine has a light, and bright, straw colour. Inviting white fruit aromas, floral notes also. The palate delivers a delicious mixture of citrus, peach and apricot flavours, a little tingle too, even a hint of sweetness, yet the fresh finish that follows is lip-smackingly dry. Highly Recommended. Sufficiently full-bodied to pair with Asian cuisine.
Others to note in the sale
Chateau Camp De La Hire 2010 (Castillon, Cotes de Bordeaux), 13%, €12.00 (15.99)
Intense colour here; the fruity aromas are also quite intense. Medium to full bodied, with soft tannins, it is fresh and elegant, well balanced and pleasingly complex with long finalé. Highly Recommended.
This is not the Bordeaux of the big chateaux. But the same grapes are used, mainly Merlot in this case. Castillon, one of four Cotes de Bordeaux areas, is squeezed between the Dordogne River to the south, St Emilion (no less) to the immediate west and the Dordogne department to the east.
Alchimie Sauvignon Blanc (Coteaux du Giennois AOC), €12.00 (14.99)
This little known little appellation (202 hectares) on the eastern edge of the Loire Valley northeast of Sancerre (4181 ha) produces almost equal amounts of light-bodied red and white wines. With extensions of Sancerre limestone geological formations into the area, you can expect good Sauvignon Blanc and this doesn't disappoint. Highly Recommended.
Fancy a little sparkler? Try Andre Guichot Vin Mousseux Blanc de Blancs Brut €12.00 (17.99).
Price in brackets indicates the normal price per bottle.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Great Rhone Run Continues
Bourgogne Angels Deliver For Christmas
Domaine Chaume-Arnaud, Vinsobres Rhone (Fr) 2012, 14.5%, c. €21.00, Le Caveau Kilkenny.
Vinsobres (once famous for its olive groves) is a hillside village in the Southern Rhone, just to the south-east of Montelimar (famous for it nougat). It obtained its local appellation (red wine only) as recently as 2005. Minimum alcohol content, according to AOC rules, is 12.5% but that is well exceeded here. I've had a great run on the Rhone recently and this is another excellent bottle. Very Highly Recommended.
There are generous red-fruit aromas from this ruby wine, spice too with vanilla and pepper prominent. This is the Rhone, powerful and refreshing, in a glass and on a palate. Rich fruit flavours abound and no shortage of spice either. Full bodied and earthy, with fine tannins, it has a quality aftertaste. Pair it with red meat, game, cheese.
The blend is the usual Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre but with a splash of Cinsault. No chemical fertilisers are used and harvesting is by hand on this biodynamic vineyard run by husband and wife team Philippe and Valerie Chaume-Arnaud.
Les Couteaux Des Anges, Pinot Noir (Bourgogne) 2013, 12.5%, €10.00 SuperValu ‘til 31st Dec.
Burgundy is the place for Pinot Noir and this is a very good example. Colour is the typical light red, clean and bright and the aromas are of red cherry. There are beautiful soft fruit flavours and a lovely balancing acidity. This medium bodied wine is a real pleasure on the palate, light and fruity, and it has quite an elegant finish to boot. Don't be afraid to agitate it slightly while in the mouth - you’ll be well rewarded! Very Highly Recommended.
SuperValu recommend you try it with their Salmon Mulled Wine Christmas dinner. I think it would also go well with Scallops and Truly Irish Rashers (of which we’ve had some recent experience!) Generally though, it should match with meaty fish, mushrooms, soft cheese, poultry and cured meats.
Speaking of matching, the recently reviewed Vinha de Foral Moscatel de Setubal is a natural with mince pies!