Showing posts with label Alsace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alsace. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Two Very Highly Recommended French Whites. One from Bordeaux and one from Alsace.

Two Very Highly Recommended French Whites. 

One from Bordeaux and one from Alsace.



Château Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers sec 2020, 12.5% ABV

€17.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


This Turcaud Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon (50%) with Sémillon (45%) and a touch of Muscadelle. The Entre-Deux-Mers (between two seas) is a famous wine growing region from the Bordeaux Appellation. The domain is situated in a very pleasant rural area, 30 km from Bordeaux and 20 km from Saint Emilion.  I know one producer who bought a vineyard here instead of the "boring" landscape of the Medoc.


Colour is a light straw with green highlights. Citrus, plus more exotic fruit, and floral notes in the very pleasant aromas. On the palate, it has a lot of that exotic fruit, liveliness and a very nice length. Very Highly Recommended.


Importers Le Caveau have a plea for you: So often overlooked here in Ireland , white Bordeaux is a joy to drink, this is really worth a try, we urge you not to make the same mistake as most.


Must say that I have long been an admirer of white Bordeaux blends, particularly where Sémillon plays a big role in the blend as is the case here. 


Ironically, it was an SSB wine from Xanadu in Western Australia that really alerted me to the blend. And that at a wine show in Cork; a few days later, I was down in Centre Park Road and collecting a case from Bubble Brothers.


I got a good grounding in the blend a few years later during a couple of visits to Podensac in Bordeaux. In a beautiful century-old residence nestled in the heart of the vineyards, in the Maison des Vins de Graves, I had the opportunity to taste many examples of white Bordeaux. 


Individuals, tourists, amateurs come here to buy the best vintages of the region. Guides are at your disposal for an enriching discovery of the vineyard and its castles. I got a good few into the car that summer but they soon ran out and then it was time to turn to le Caveau and this superb example of a Bordeaux blanc.


By the way, the amounts of Sauvignon and Sémillon in the blend can vary from vintage to vintage. In 2018, the split was Sauvignon Blanc (65%) and Sémillon (35).


The summer that I visited Podensac, I had Abbey Le Sauve Majeure on my visit list. I found it and climbed to the top of the impressive ruin. From the 159th and final step, I had a great view over the surrounding countryside. I didn’t know then the view included the immaculate vineyards of Caveau Turcaud, nowadays run by Stéphane and Isabelle Le May. Isabelle is the daughter of  Maurice Robert who bought the chateau in 1973. 


Their Tasting Advice: This wine is best enjoyed within two years of the vintage, well-chilled as an aperitif, with all sorts of seafood, or with goat's milk, ewe's milk, and hard cheeses. This wine is a pure delight.


Meyer-Fonné Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes Alsace (AC) 2019, 12.5%

€20.65 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny


Straw is the colour here; thought I saw a tint of green, and I did, but it was from a football pitch reflected from the TV! The aromas are seductive, of pear, peach and almond. A touch of sweetness on the nose, is found too on the palate, where white fruit, rich and fresh, some lemon zest now as well, is accompanied by a refreshing minerality. Precision, depth, purity all combine here. Delicious and moreish, with a very clean finish, this is Very Highly Recommended. Very good value too by the way.


Pinot Blanc, a variant of Pinot Noir, is grown mostly in Europe for its dry and refreshing wines, particularly in Germany, Italy (where it is key in Franciacorta production), Austria and France. Suggested pairings include Quiche Lorraine (not a surprise!), soft cheeses, flaky fish, and crab salads. I find it quite the match for Goatsbridge trout.


Le Caveau: Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes comes from a plot of old vines, it acts like Pinot Gris on the nose — rich, oily apricot and pear fruit— but the touch of white pepper and taste of freshly squeezed oranges is classic Pinot Blanc. A house pour at a number of Ireland's Michelin starred restaurants over the past 15 years. A sure fire hit each and every bottle opened.


Félix Meyer himself has come in for high praise.

"Félix Meyer is one of the more ambitious and successful young vignerons of Alsace.” Wine Advocate.

“ ... Félix Meyer still has humility, still has a sense of wonder, and is still capable of self-criticism. He is a seeker and a perfectionist. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”
Kermit Lynch, US importer.


No chemical fertiliser is used in the running of the vineyard, “only compost we make ourselves using raw materials derived from organic farming. Calcium and magnesian limestone is spread each year on the granitic soil terroirs to prevent acidification.”


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Well worth checking out this red and white double from O’Briens Wine

Well worth checking out this red and white double from O’Briens Wine

Emiliana Coyam Valle de Colchagua Chile 2019, 14%, €25.95


When I was around ten years of age, there was a series of summers when a week or more was spent picking blackcurrants on a farm that was quite close. That came back to me when I smelt the cork of this Coyam from Chile and that mix of berry and leaf wafted into my nostrils. A summer’s day on Dring’s farm and half the neighbours picking currants.

A long long way from the Los Robles Estate in Chile’s Colchagua Valley where this wine, a blend of Syrah (37%), Carmenere (33), Cabernet Sauvignon (8), Carignan (5), Malbec (4), Garnacha (4), Tempranillo (3), Mourvèdre (3) and Petit Verdot (3), is produced organically in a Mediterranean climate.

Coyam (the word means oak forest, there was one here) is a rather famous wine, made under the care of  Alvaro Espinoza, a leading exponent of organic and biodynamic practices, a signature wine of Emiliana, one of the most accoladed wines in Chile and awarded no less than 94 points by JamesSuckling.com .

Colour is a dark cherry with a lighter tinge around the rim. The full aromas are, as you’d expect, more than just the blackcurrant now, other dark berries there too along with floral notes (including violet) in a complex mix. The depth of fruit shines on the palate where the intro is rich and power-packed. Still, for all that, it is juicy and soft with a touch of sweet spice, the friendly finish long ,with just a little tannin grip. Very Highly Recommended. Might take a bottle with me next time I get a call to go picking blackcurrants

You may well note vanilla during your tasting and here’s why. Ageing is 18 months, 75% in 225 L French oak barrels (mix of new barrels, second- and third- use), 15% in 2,000- and 5,000-litre foudres, and 10% in concrete eggs. 

I was advised to decant an hour or so before drinking. This very versatile wine can be enjoyed with both sophisticated and simple dishes. Ideal to pair with red or white meat with either a  black pepper, Roquefort, or garlic butter sauce. There’s also space for spicy foods like Indian or Mexican, or vegetarian dishes with mushrooms, bell peppers, potatoes, aubergine, or peas. 


Kuentz-Bas Le 4eme Tour Pinot Blanc Alsace (AC) 2017, 13.5%, O'Briens Wine



This organic Pinot Blanc has a clear light straw colour. Beautiful citrusy aromas and pear with some floral notes (one is reminded to some degree of the Riesling that is also grown in the Alsace). Elegant and refreshing with a lengthy finish. A dry refreshing white and it is a little gem. Highly Recommended.


Kuentz-Bas was founded in the Alsatian town of Husseren-les-Châteaux in 1795. In 2004 the 10ha estate was bought by Jean-Baptiste Adam, the fourteenth generation of his family involved in winemaking.


'Useful rather than exciting' is a fair description of this versatile grape variety, according to Jancis Robinson. “Austria is perhaps the country which values Weissburgunder the highest … But it is probably in Italy that, as Pinot Bianco, this vine is most widely grown, and produces the greatest diversity of styles. 


This bottle illustrates that they grow it well also in Alsace, well enough to get me excited! 


* O'Briens, by the way, have a "Winter Warming Reds" offer at present. Check it out here. The selection includes the Bodegas Tandem Ars in Vitro, a favourite of mine.




Monday, July 19, 2021

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.

Something different from Alsace and Verona, both wines highly recommended.


Vino Nato Disobbediente Monte Dall’Ora 2019 11.5% 

€24.45 (litre bottle) 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This blend, of pergola-trained 60% Corvinone & 40% Molinara, from the hills outside of Verona (think Valpolicella), has a quite light ruby red colour. Corvinone has been previously thought to be of the same group as Corvina but 1993 DNA profiling suggests that it is its own unique varietal.

Aromas here are both floral and fruity (strawberry, raspberry, cherry). The taste is along similar lines, relatively intense. On the palate also, you will find a lively acidity before a dry finish. A very pleasant wine indeed and Highly Recommended. It is a certified organic wine, clean and classy.

Not very much info on the “redacted” label, not even a vintage date! Pretty certain it is 2019 though and that is what is on my invoice. The wine’s name, Vino Nato Disobbediente, means Wine Born Disobedient. 

Two other words that survive on the front are resistente and contadino which Google translates as Hardy Farmer! And there’s a bit of sense to that as this type of wine, light and red (that can also take a little chilling), is made by the farmers for their own family use. And, another thing, it comes in a litre bottle. “A litre of pure joy!” According to importers Le Caveau; I willingly agree with that assessment.

The Venturinis, Alessandra and Carlo, have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typicality. All the wines are blends of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Oseleta. Fermentation is spontaneous with indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle, cherry-fruited elegance.



Christian Binner, Côtes d’AmourSchwir Alsace (AOP) 2013, 13.5% 

€28.95 (was 33.50) 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


This light, fruity and fresh blend of white grapes from the Alsace is a traditional selection of mainly Riesling and Pinot Gris with lesser inputs via Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois blanc.

Colour is orange-y. It is an intensely aromatic wine, lots of fruit and floral notes also. No shortage of fruit either on the palate, “a fruit basket of apples, oranges, poached pears and grapes” according to importers Le Caveau. Balance is attained though. It finishes long and dry. If you do like to stray off the usual piste, this is well worth a try. Highly Recommended. 

Serve at less than 14 degrees; grilled fish is an excellent match.

Harvest is manual, all grapes pressed together, fermented with indigenous yeast. It is a medium body structured wine. Zero sulfur added, unfined, unfiltered, so you may see a little sediment as I did.

Côtes d’Amourschwir is a selection from the best vineyards on the Cotes d’Ammerschwir. It is a blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewuztraminer, Muscat and Auxerrois. The grapes are blended from the press, fermentation takes place is large oak foudre that are over 100 years old.

The Binner family has owned vines in Alsace since 1770 and today they practice organic and biodynamic agriculture, neither fine nor filter the wine, use only natural yeasts, use minimal sulphur, etc... All the wines are aged in 100 year old big foudres and undergo malolactic fermentation. 


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Very Highly Recommended from Bordeaux and Alsace.

Very Highly Recommended from Bordeaux and Alsace


Bois de Rolland Vieilles Vignes Bordeaux Supérieur (AC) 2018, 14% 

€18.35 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


Beautiful bright cherry red colour on this blend of Merlot (mostly) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite an intense bouquet of darker fruit, a hint or two of spice (including vanilla). It makes an immediate and impressive impression on the palate. Harmonious for sure, rich and ample with a lengthy finish. With juicy flavours of cassis and cherry, this is easy drinking and Very Highly Recommended


Perhaps because there is so much of it, Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur are often, sometimes lazily, shunted into the realm of second-rate wines. Just look a little harder, find a trustworthy importer and a producer such as we have here and the consumer can find both quality and value for the money.


They say: Château Bois de Rolland 'Vieilles Vignes' is a Bordeaux Superieur that tastes really honest, made with care, with a definite sense of place. When Bordeaux are made that way, they are quite irresistible. Gorgeous black fruit, meaty hints on the nose, very subtle oak presence, perfectly integrated, ripe, fleshy on the palate with cool undertones which adds to its drinkability and saline touches in the end.  

The property has a wonderful history and pedigree. Situated just 17 kilometres from Saint Emilion on the Coubeyrac plateau of clay and limestone – the blend that helps to express some of the best wines in Bordeaux. The property became renowned for its vines, cereal production, and cattle rearing. Now just a winery, the perfect exposure of a plateau with south-facing vines upon ancient sedimentary soils allow the Geromin family to produce fabulous wines.

Serve this multi-award winner at 16 to 18 degrees after decanting. Red meats, game, grilled meats, cheese, chocolate desserts are the suggested pairings.


Is there oak? Yes indeed. Vinification and aging details: Mechanical harvest, traditional fermentation at 25 ° C., maceration for 2 weeks at 30 ° C. Aging in vats on staves medium heat and medium heat plus for 8 months. Packaging: Bottled at the Château.


Binner Cuvée Béatrice Pinot Noir Alsace (AOP) 2016, 13.5%

€39.75 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny



I removed the glass closure and poured, its deep pink (rosé, if you like) filling the bottom of the glass. Concentrated red fruit aromas rise up. Those juicy red fruits flavours (mainly strawberry, cherry) engage you as the juice spreads across the palate. Don’t judge a wine by its colour - this has quite a backbone, no wilting rose. Tannins are smooth and there’s a long and satisfying finish. A generous unfiltered Pinot Noir that stands out from the crowd and Very Highly Recommended.


Good acidity too and that makes it an excellent food wine. Recommended pairings are: Filet-mignon, cold meats and terrine with friends, with a white meat, or simply to accompany the cheese plate. Serve at 18 degrees. The label discloses that this organic wine has spent 11 months on lees in traditional large oak foudres (casks).


This Pinot Noir from Alsace was, for me, one of the stars of the Le Caveau portfolio tasting in Cork in March 2019, and indeed my wine of the year. Heartened by that tasting and also the words of Jean Frédéric Hugel (at a Cork tasting) that Pinot Noir from the Alsace is now  “incomparable to what it was twenty years ago”, I put it on my buying list and didn’t wait long before giving the wine an extended “trial”. I wasn’t disappointed.


I put it on a recent buying list as well and no disappointment this time - a year for so later. Every bit as good, complex and delicious, the perfect companion for the dishes above along with the likes of roasted chicken, and crispy pork. 


Christian Binner is the wine-maker and this wine is named for his sister. The Binners own nine hectares in total, with only six planted to vine and the estate has been chemical-free for over two decades. They harvest in October, later on average than any of their neighbours, with patience that allows for fully ripe fruit and resulting complexity of flavour.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Two Heartily Recommended Wines. A Pinot Blanc from Alsace, a Sangiovese from Montepulciano

Two Heartily Recommended Wines. A Pinot Blanc from Alsace, a Sangiovese from Montepulciano



Meyer-Fonné Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes Alsace (AC) 2018, 12.5%

€20.65 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny



Seductive aromas of pear, peach and almond announce this beautiful pale straw coloured Pinot Blanc from Meyer-Fonné of the Alsace. A touch of sweetness, also on the nose, is found too on the palate, where white fruit, rich and fresh and smoky, is surrounded by a refreshing minerality. Precision, depth, purity all combine here. Delicious and moreish, with a very clean finish, this is Very Highly Recommended. Very good value too by the way.


Wine Folly says it will match up well with soft cheeses, salads with cream dressings and flaky fish (eg cod). Personally, I think it would have not problem with salmon or trout.


Le Caveau: Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes comes from a plot of old vines, it acts like Pinot Gris on the nose — rich, oily apricot and pear fruit— but the touch of white pepper and taste of freshly squeezed oranges is classic Pinot Blanc. A house pour at a number of Ireland's Michelin starred restaurants over the past 15 years. A sure fire hit each and every bottle opened.


Félix Meyer himself has come in for high praise.

"Félix Meyer is one of the more ambitious and successful young vignerons of Alsace.” Wine Advocate.

“ ... Félix Meyer still has humility, still has a sense of wonder, and is still capable of self-criticism. He is a seeker and a perfectionist. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”
Kermit Lynch, US importer.


No chemical fertiliser is used in the running of the vineyard, “only compost we make ourselves using raw materials derived from organic farming. Calcium and magnesian limestone is spread each year on the granitic soil terroirs to prevent acidification.”




Innocenti Rosso di Montepulciano (DOC) 2015, 13.5%, 

€19.35 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny



Light and bright ruby colour. Gloriously aromatic, with cherry and plum to the fore, forest fruits and herbal notes in the mix as well. It is medium to full-bodied; that warm fruit is there, some spice too, a lick of wood, really well balanced. Fine-grained tannins noticeable on a long and very dry finish. With a little more weight than your typical Tuscan red, this is easy-drinking and Very Highly Recommended.


I think we’ve all been confused at one time or another by Montepulciano on an Italian wine bottle. It is the name of a grape and of a town in Italy. According to Wine-Searcher.com the grape was named after the town and was once widely grown there.


Nowadays, the grape has found another home in Abruzzo (Abruzzo is a large area on the east coast), hence Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  In the late 20th and early 21st century, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo earned a reputation as being one of the most widely exported DOC classed wine in Italy (Wikipedia). 


Our wine comes from the town of Montepulciano. This is in Tuscany, in the province of Sienna, and is one of the most attractive hill towns in the area.The main grape grown here is Sangiovese. Only the very best grapes are used for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The others are used for Rosso di Montepulciano. The Vino Nobile has the big reputation but the simpler Rosso is no mean wine either as our example indicates.


Importers Le Caveau tell this Rosso di Montepulciano is a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo grapes.

Monday, November 23, 2020

A couple of splendid French whites, from the north-east (Alsace) and the south-west (Gaillac).

 A couple of splendid French whites, from the north-east (Alsace) and the south-west (Gaillac).


Laurent Cazottes “Adèle” Vin de France 2018, 14.5%

€19.95  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny


Adèle blanc is 100% Mauzac rose, an indigenous grape from the Gaillac region. where you'll find Domaine Laurent Cazottes. Husband and wife team, Laurent and Marina, are known for making exceptional, artisan eau de vie from various fruits they organically farm. They also make gorgeous wine from old vine Gaillac grape varieties: Mauzac, Braucol and Duras. Their wine, like their eau de vie, is certified organic and treated with great care. Highly Recommended.

Adèle’s colour is more orange than gold. Aromas hint of ripe apples. Lively, and complex, on the rich and rounded palate, intense white fruit flavours (pear, apple), with a fine acidity too, all the way through to the warming (sherry like) finish. Should be versatile at the table. Think I’d start with free range pork (preferably Woodside Farm) with apple sauce, followed by Tarte Tatin.

I think I’d like to have Cazottes as neighbours. In addition to the wines, they also cultivates 600 “Williams” pear trees, no less than “1300 truffle oaks for the melano sporum truffle, 1000 saffron bulbs, oil from our sunflower, bread wheat, barley, black oats, sparse hay, aromatic plants for the production of floral waters and essential oils." Everything is in organic farming, the Cazottes estate is certified by "Nature et Progrès”.


Domaine de l’Achillée Riesling Alsace (AOP) 2016, 12%, €27.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny



Colour of this organic Alsace Riesling is a lovely light gold, quite bright. Aromas are rather intense with lime leading the way, a slight background note of diesel. Quite a presence on the palate, superb flavours of grapefruit and lime, a terrific acidity too and the harmony holds all the way through the persistent finish. Highly Recommended


The label suggests serving at 12 degrees. Don’t put it in the fridge, rather leave it outside the back door these Autumn evenings! They say it is perfect with seafood and raw vegetables. Excellent with all dishes based on white meat and fish, preferably freshwater. Try it with baked trout.


Domaine de L’Achillée is an Alsace winery, situated less than an hour south-west of Strasbourg. The Dietrich family have farmed the land here since 1600. These days they concentrate on grapes and other fruits and have been organic since 1999.


In 2016, the two sons of Yves Dietrich, Jean and Pierre, joined the adventure to give it a big boost, to become independent. Quickly accompanied by an equally passionate team, they built together a straw winery where they now vinify the fruits of the family estate. Apparently, the heavily compacted straw bales are more fire-proof than the iron frame that supports them. Their website says this is the largest straw building in Europe.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Gentil and Passetoutgrains: Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out


Gentil and Passetoutgrains:
 Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out

You find Gamay in Beaujolais, hectares of it. You also find Gamay in Burgundy; not just the village of the same name but also some Gamay grapes growing. It was once a main grape here but, in 1395, the local duke declared this “disloyal grape” was to be replaced, in the Côte D’Or, by Pinot Noir (source: The Finest Wines of Burgundy).

What little Gamay is nowadays grown here is blended with Pinot Noir to make what the above book terms “a refreshing gutsy wine to drink young”. This wine has an appellation of its own:  Passetoutgrains.

The influential wine writer, grower and importer, Kermit Lynch declares that Passetoutgrains is a word based on old local patois and generally meaning “toss it all in”. Gutsy and toss it all in might put you off but the bottle below has nothing rustic or rough about it at all. Au contraire!

Sometimes hyphenated to Passe-tout-grains , it must contain more than 30% Pinot Noir, more than 15% Gamay, and the proportion of other allowable grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris) must be less than 15%. Not too sure what the exact blend of our bottle is.

I am much more familiar with the Gentil blend from Alsace, an excellent white wine, and have enjoyed superb bottles from the likes of Hugel and Trimbach. Gentil started, about 100 years ago, as a kind of toss it all in white grape blend. Today, the name Gentil is reserved for AOC Alsace wines conforming to the standards of a blend of superior quality. 

This blend must be composed of a minimum of 50% Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and/or Gewurztraminer, with the rest made up of Sylvaner, Chasselas and/or Pinot Blanc. Before blending, each varietal must be vinified separately and must officially qualify as AOC Alsace wine. Gentil must mention the vintage and may not be sold commercially until after quality control certification in bottle.
This Meyer-Fonné consists of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Meyer-Fonné Gentil Alsace (AOC) 2018, 12.5%, €18.00 

By coincidence, I’ve seen (on the Le Caveau website) that the Kermit Lynch mentioned previously is a major fan of Félix Meyer: “ … Félix Meyer still has humility, still has a sense of wonder, and is still capable of self-criticism. He is a seeker and a perfectionist. Quantities are limited because while he makes several different cuvées, the domaine has only eleven hectares of vines. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”

And this Gentil, a blend of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, is really excellent. Light straw colour, green tints. Quite aromatic, citrus to the fore, touch of ginger too. Fresh and bold on the palate, a passing kiss of sweetness. Quite complex really but it is engagingly fruity, spice in the mix too, excellent texture and a long dry finish. A gem at the price and Very Highly Recommended.  

Indeed, many Gentils are pretty well-priced and offer an attractive entry to the area’s wines and this entry level beauty enhances the confidence to go and seek out more wines from this Alsace estate which is run on biodynamic principles. Food pairings? The man himself: “It is a pleasure wine, multi-use from aperitif to meal with friends.” Santé!

Domaine Lacour Bourgogne Passetoutgrains (AOP) 2017, 12%, €16.95 

Domaine Lacour, with Fabrice and Antonin at the helm, can be found in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, about halfway between Meursault and the village of Gamay.

Here, the Lacour family blend Gamay and Pinot Noir, two of my favourite grapes. I was expecting good things. It turned out even better! Mid ruby colour. Beautiful aromas, mainly red fruits including strawberry. Light, smooth, gentle and elegant, it has rounded flavours, smooth tannins, and deliciously long finish. What’s not to like? Very Highly Recommended. Suggested Food pairings: BeefVealvenisonPoultry

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

An Outstanding Pinot Noir from Alsace.


Binner Cuvée Béatrice Pinot Noir Alsace (AOP) 2016, 13.5%, €36.50 

This Pinot Noir from Alsace was, for me, one of the stars of the Le Caveau portfolio tasting in Cork in March. Heartened by that tasting and also the words of Jean Frédéric Hugel (at a February tasting) that Pinot Noir from the Alsace is now  “incomparable to what it was twenty years ago”. I put it on my buying list and didn’t wait long before giving the wine an extended “trial”. I wasn’t disappointed.

I removed the glass closure and poured, its deep pink (rosé, if you like) filling the bottom of the glass. Concentrated red fruit aromas rise up. Those juicy red fruits flavours (mainly strawberry, cherry) engage you as the juice spreads across the palate. Don’t judge a wine by its colour - this has quite a backbone, no wilting rose. Tannins are smooth and there’s a long and satisfying finish. A generous unfiltered Pinot Noir that stands out from the crowd and Very Highly Recommended.

Good acidity too and that makes it an excellent food wine. Recommended pairings are: Filet-mignon, cold meats and terrine with friends, with a white meat, or simply to accompany the cheese plate. Serve at 18 degrees. The label discloses that this organic wine has spent 11 months on lees in traditional large oak foudres (casks).

The Winery doesn’t add sulphur and poses an interesting question about it. I quote, without correction of any kind: When it comes to the idea that natural wines age badly, we must now twist it! Sulfur, and the "wine pharmacopoeia" that appeared only 60 years ago, never helped to preserve the first great wines. It is only after the appearance of fertilizers and pesticides that sulfur has invaded our cellars to rectify the imbalances introduced to the vineyard. How did they do before modern oenology?

I’ve been enjoying some excellent Pinot Noir recently. Any tips on what I should add to this list:

Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir Dundee Hills (Oregon USA) 2014
Justin Girardin “Clos Rousseau” Santenay 1er Cru 2015
De Loach  Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015, Sonoma County (California)
Binner Cuvée Béatrice Pinot Noir Alsace (AOP) 2016
Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard New Zealand
Craggy Range Martinborough New Zealand
Little Yering Pinot Noir Australia
Joseph Mellot Le Connétable, Cuvée Prestige, Loire
Hugel 2009 Pinot Noir Alsace.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.


Karwig Gems from Alsace and Ribeiro.

Chateau D’Orschwihr Pinot Gris Bollenberg Alsace (AOC) 2010, 14.6%, €20.95 Karwig Wine

This is not your usual Pinot Gris.This is from the Alsace where they make them full-bodied, wines of substance and character. “At table,” says the World Atlas of Wine, “it offers a realistic alternative to a white Burgundy.” Different for sure but Very Highly Recommended.

For a start, you are advised to “Take your time to discover this golden yellow coloured wine”.

And that colour is amazing, a brilliant golden yellow, very much like you’d find in a dessert wine such as Monbazillac. The intense exotic nose gives ripe yellow fruits (apricots), floral notes too, even a hint of honey. The palate’s rich with flavour, a creamy mouthfeel, but with an excellent balance and persistent finish.

This full-bodied wine, according to the chateau’s website, “is perfect with white meats, fish or seafood in sauce. It is particularly suited to fit scallop dishes”. 

I think though you can be more adventurous. Bolder suggestions include broiled salmon, rich lentil stews, roast duck and washed rind cheeses. And, with the hints of sweetness (it does have a sugar content at 9g/l), I tried it with a few pitted Tunisian dates (from Bradley’s of Cork) and thought they went perfectly well together. Different strokes for different folks!

Cuñas Davia Ribeiro (DO) 2016, 13.5%, €24.95 Karwig Wine

This pleasant young red wine from Spain is not that widely available; just 2,125 bottles were produced from this vintage and the number on my bottle is #477. It is a blend of 40% Mencía 30% Brancellao 15% Caíño 15% Sousón, not the best known of grapes! Raised for 6-8 months in casks made from French oak and 6 months in the bottle.

It is lovely wine with a dark ruby colour, the rim a little lighter. Fresh and intense aromas of darker fruits (plum, cassis), hints of oak. Warm and smooth on the palate, black and red berry flavours, pleasant acidity, tannins are pleasant too, and there is a long dry finish. Highly Recommended.

The acidity marks it as a wine for food and the makers say it matches perfectly with Galician style octopus, blue fish, grilled meats and earthy casseroles.

Alberto joined his father Antonio García Carrasco in the vineyard in 2009. Alberto says his father “learned the basics of biodynamism - the interaction of cultivation, wine and the Cosmos - from my grandfather, along with a great respect for sustainability and the environment. With these principles, he founded Valdavia in April 2004. My sister, María, and I accompany him on this journey.”