Showing posts with label Anjou. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anjou. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Cabernet Franc Supreme. And an intriguing Sicilian white from red grapes.

A Cabernet Franc Supreme. And an intriguing Sicilian white from red grapes.

Clau de Nell Cabernet Franc Anjou (AOC) 2017, 13%

RRP €43.99 - The Corkscrew - Blackrock Cellar - The Ely Wine Store, Maynooth - 64 Wine

A pretty deep red colour with a  lighter rim. Aromas are fresh and intensely fruity. A terrific complexity on the palate but all’s in elegant harmony, that superb fruit and the fresh acidity, and that balance continues through the persistent and dry finish. Have liked this characterful variety since I spent a month in Chinon a few years back and this particular wine is Very Highly Recommended.

They say: This is certainly the direction in which we are trying to go. Healthy and balanced grapes, concentrated and vinified with finesse to tend towards delicacy and elegance. From red fruit to cooked fruit through black fruit, spices and a floral bouquet, this is a wine of beautiful complexity that invites indulgence. A velvety texture with silky tannins.


Pairings suggested are: Duck breast with red fruits or honey; Semi-cooked seared tuna and vegetables with butter sauce; Pan-fried chestnuts, chanterelles and quinoa…The best pairings are the ones that inspire you, and allow you to express yourself. Let your imagination run free…Serve at 16°C, do not hesitate to decant - good advice!

This was bottled on a “fruit day”, meaning that your Clau de Nell is not just organic but biodynamic. Think you may be interested in the info on their data sheet.

Age: vines from 45 to 55 years. Pruning: mixed Guyot Techniques: covering the vine stock with soil in autumn, ploughing-down in spring, tilling and natural grassing. Growing methods: biodynamic practices, infusions and plant decoctions, depending upon the lunar calendar. Yield: about 40 hl/ha Harvest: handpicking in 12 kg crates, sorting at the parcel when fully ripened. • Winemaking De-stemmed harvest, native yeast, 30-day maceration without extraction. Gentle cap punching, limited pumping over, infusion techniques. Pressing: slow and gentle pressing in a pneumatic press. • Maturing 12 months on fine lees in Burgundy casks (228L) used 5 to 7 times, followed by 6 months in vats. Bottling: without filtration or fining on a “fruit day.”

Terrazze dell'Etna, `Ciuri` Etna Bianco 2017, 13% 

RRP €26.99. - Grapevine - The Corkscrew - The Ely Wine Store, Maynooth

'Ciuri' is made from Nerello Mascalese,  an indigenous Sicilian red wine grape, in this case vinified 'in Bianco' without the skins. A similar if better-known example of the technique is used in Champagne to produce white from Pinot Noir, the blanc de noirs. The Ciuri is unoaked with great depth and intensity and wonderful length.

Pale straw is the colour, clean and bright. Fresh floral notes, exotic fruit too on the nose. Fresh and fruity (citrusy) and certainly minerally in the mouth. This youthful gem has been aged for six months in stainless-steel and then also in bottle before release. I don’t think you need keep it bottled up any longer. Just open and enjoy. Highly Recommended.

They say: From the volcanic soil of Etna comes this sapid and “high mineralised” wine. A unique wine characterised by a vibrant floral heart on the nose, a synthesis of the elegance of the grape, Nerello Mascalese, and the personality of the soil.

Professor Antonio Bevilacqua is an engineer by profession and has a very successful business, based in Palermo and Milan. He is very proud of his Sicilian origins, and in 2007 he decided to start buying land in Etna with a view to producing the best wines possible. 

Today he has 35 hectares of vineyard with another 20 that he rents and manages, all situated at an altitude of between 600 and 900 metres above sea level. This altitude ensures warm days and cool nights, while the volcanic soil is low vigour, ensuring wines of great intensity and a lovely perfume from low-yielding vines.

His consultant oenologist is Riccardo Cotarella, who has successfully managed to marry the delicate intensity of the wines from Etna with a freshness and definition that few others have achieved.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Wines to enjoy. From the cool of The Loire to the heat of The Midi.

Wines to enjoy. From the cool of The Loire to the heat of The Midi.

Mirouze Ciel du Sud Rouge (Corbieres AOC) 2016, 14%, €20.10 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

A fifty fifty blend of Grenache and Carignan, this would be termed a LDR (light, dry, red) in Australia. The French winemakers, Mirouze, somewhat more poetically, call theirs “ a wine of light and natural thirst”.

Vin de Soif is another term, a wine you could drink with your lunch and then work away as energetically as ever during the afternoon, a bit like a farmhouse saison perhaps. So easy to drink, and easy to digest. A bit of sediment in the bottom of this French bottle, so perhaps best to decant.

Light wine or not, the colour is a tad darker than expected, close to a dark ruby. Quite intense fragrance, cherries and berries. And those summer fruits are prominent on the lively palate, round smooth tannins and some spice there too especially at the finish. 

The little vineyard, certified organic, in Corbieres is surrounded by garrigue. That means the vines are well away from the sprays of neighbours. On the other hand, wild boar enjoy the cover of the scrub and so the Mirouze family have to use an electric fence to deter them.

So there you are, one Highly Recommended wine, organic and very drinkable. Now, what have I lined up for the afternoon? 

By the way, they produce a white “cousin” called Sol Blanc, blend of Roussane (85%) and Vermentino.

Nicolas Reau “Pompois” Anjou (AOC) 2015, 12%, €25.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny 

When pianist Nicolas Reau switched from jazz and blues, the 22 year old went on to hit the high notes as a winemaker. Though not straight away. As in music, there is a long apprenticeship, but Nicolas was well on an assured path by the time he set up in the Loire village of Sainte-Radegonde, in the Anjou A.O.C. Appellation.

His estate (sounds much better than farm!) is called ‘Le Clos des Treilles’ and this Very Highly Recommended Pompiers is made from fruit produced by 50 year-old Cabernet Franc vines, grown organically. This wine spends 12 months in used oak barrels (used for 2 to 5 wines) without racking, so you won’t note much influence of the wood.

Mid ruby is the colour. Nose is somewhat complex, red fruit, herb and floral notes too. Palate is typical of the variety, light, fresh, fine tannins, sweet spice too and a good finish. Typical Loire acidity, so you’ll find it a versatile food wine, meat, cheese and vegetables all on its hit list.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Really Old Vines and just about old vines! From the Loire.

Really Old Vines and just about old vines! From the Loire.

Have been doing a bit of work (drinking!) on the subject of old vines and, in general, it seems that, other things being equal, it is worthwhile paying something of a premium for the wines from the gnarled old vines. With that in mind, why not try a few and compare them with a regular wine from the same vineyard, which is often possible. I’ve been doing that over the years and have regularly come down on the side of the wine from the older plantings.

But what is old? Twenty five years, fifty years. The experienced wine commentator Mary Dowey reckons it has to be “forty years at least” and cautioned that not all varieties benefit from age. “It doesn’t do anything for Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot but Grenache is well suited.” The main benefit is an “intensity of flavour, really concentrated”. 
Pony on left is not interested in wine!
Vignes Centenaire de Minière, Bourgueil 2009, 13.5%, €19.00 at the château.
Colour is a dark ruby and the aromas are of dark fruit. It is refreshing and concentrated, with a strong element of dark fruit flavours; it is smooth, rich with hints of spice and has an excellent dry finish.

The local pony club, at least the adults on the party, were finishing an outdoor tasting when we pulled into sunny Chateau de Minière in the heart of the Bourgueil appellation last summer. After a pleasant hour, maybe two, we finished off our tasting under the shady trees with this wine made from the local stalwart, Cabernet Franc. Loved it then and love it now.

The fruit comes from vines that average more than 100 years old and it has spent two years in oak. The grapes are hand harvested and hand sorted, all under the direction of wine-maker Eric Goujat. Belgian couple, Kathleen and Sigurd, took over the chateau a few years back and have the vineyard in conversion to organic, a process that is almost complete.

Wines that are labelled VieillesVignes (generally more than 30 years old) can command a premium. This is the château’s most expensive wine but worth it, I think. Not all  vines are suitable for long age but Cabernet Franc seems to do well on it in this area!

In the cool cellars of Montplaisir (Chinon)
Domaine de L’Abbaye Vieilles Vignes Chinon 2008, 12.5%, €7.50 at Cave Montplaisir in Chinon.

Aromas of pepper and spices and dark berries are a feature here. On the palate it is refreshing and fruity, with engaging fruit flavours and a lingering dry finish. A very Cabernet Franc and good value too, at least in France!

According to the current World Atlas of Wine, the wines of Chinon are “absurdly undervalued”. That opinion is reinforced by the quality and price of this bottle.

The vines are single varietal Cabernet Franc over 35 years old. It is aged in the cellars in oak barrels for about 12 months depending on the vintage. 

Find out more here 

Anjou Blanc Vieille Vignes 2009, €15.00 at Chateau Soucherie
A tasting at Chateau Soucherie saw us start with two classy wines, the Anjou Blanc Vielles Vignes 2009 and the more expensive Savennières Clos des Perrières 2010. Could have spent more time with these two but, on the initial tasting, put my money on the Vieilles Vignes (and even more of it on the Chaume that we came to later on).

The Vieilles Vignes was another winner  for the old vine brigade. “A unique wine from vines of more than 80 years, rich and round, delicious as an accompaniment to veal stew.”

Probably should have bought more of it as, on our way out to the car in the baking parking area, we were told that the 80 year old plants had been dug up and this was the last of the old stuff! So, if you do come across it, do buy some and include one or two for me! I have none left now and indeed I seem to have mislaid my notes on it. But it was a beautiful well balanced wine, another confirmation for me that wines from old wines are worth exploring!

You may check out the Château’s tasting notes (by Olivier Poussier, once voted the Best Sommelier in the World!) here.