Spit 2019. Part One
With Winemason and Nomad.
|Ballymaloe's Samuel (left) with Winemasons Ben and Killian (right)|
Quite a few sparkling wines (Cava, Champagne and Prosecco) on display when SPIT Cork came to town yesterday. I thought it would be rude not to try at least one and so I asked Ben of Winemason for a taste of the Llopart Organic Brut Reserva Cava 2015, a blend of Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada. It was an excellent start and again I was left wondering why we Irish don’t drink more of this Spanish sparkler.
“Here’s one you should try,” said Ben offering me a German sparkler. “The Germans are the biggest consumers of sparkling wine,” he said. As this Fritz Muller Alcohol Frei NV was non-alcoholic, I had no reason to say no! It has a little bit of sweetness but very enjoyable and one of best non alcoholic wines I’ve tasted. It has become very popular and Ben emphasised that it is “a real success”.
Time for a few whites then beginning with the :
Aphros Biodynamic Loureiro, 2017. Aphros was probably the first biodynamic vineyard in Portugal and here on the granite soil Loureiro is the grape. Superb flavour and long finish in this one. Some Albarino can be a little over the top in terms of aroma and flavour but the Leirana 2018, from Forjas del Salnes, is more restrained, a beautifully crafted wine from Rias Baixas.
Moment of Silence, 2018, by South Africa maverick Blankbottle is a star wine. Excellent, year in year out, always Chenin based though the other varieties may vary. The 2018 blend features Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. One to look out for.
|Pieter of Blankbottle|
And the white may soon have a red parter as Master of None is proving “very interesting, unique” according to Killian of Winemason. The 2017, that impressed on tasting, is their first year making the Master of None, the name is apparently a joke against the winemaker himself (he also designs and prints the labels himself). The bland features Grenache, Cinsault, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Roussane. It will be interesting to see how the 2018 stands up.
Cuvee Vom Berg, 2015, by Muhr Van Der Niepoort in Carnuntum, Austria, a blend of Syrah and Blaufrankisch, is a knockout wine. Fruit-focused, with supple tannins and pure acidity, it has great finesse, and is quite Pinot-like in style. The Muhr is Austrian while the Niepoort will be familiar to you from their wine (including port) business in Portugal. Killian told me it has been getting great reviews and I was certainly taken with this very smooth and polished wine.
The Organic Pitti, 2016, by Pittnauer was another impressive Austrian, a blend of Blaufrankisch and Zweigelt. A nice range of flavours, floral notes and a touch of spiciness, moderate acidity and an excellent finish.
Back to the whites at Nomad Wines. Vin de Savoie “Or Blanc” 2018 Domaine Trosset was my first sip. Virtually no colour at all in this one but, light, fresh and fruity, it has about everything else. Grape variety is Jacquére.
Had been hoping to try an Alsace Sylvaner but the Zinck 2017 didn’t make it to Cork. But there was an excellent substitute in the Goisot Bourgogne Aligoté 2016. Not too familiar with the Aligoté but this excellent winemaker neatly illustrates its potential.
Have enjoyed a few Cabernet Franc from Bourgueil over the years and the 2016 Domaine Guion didn’t let the Loire down. The Fleurie 2017 by Domaine de Fa was another excellent light wine. And another light one, unexpectedly so considering that the grapes were Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon, was the Buzet “Jarnicotton” Domaine du Pech. No sulphites added here by the way.
Winemason is owned by Ben Mason and Barbara Boyle and provide independent retailers and restaurants with original and distinctive wines from Europe and South Africa. They also help shape exciting well-priced wine lists for the on and off trade.
Nomad are regarded as Burgundy specialists. It was founded in 2007 by Thierry Grillet and Charles Derain and, in 2016, Jérémy Delannoy joined the team and they “are always looking for wines that have lots of precision and definition”.