Showing posts with label Bordeaux. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bordeaux. 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.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A Bordeaux "Super Sleeper" and a Relatively Unknown from Umbria

A Bordeaux "Super Sleeper" and a Relatively Unknown from Umbria

Le Doyenné 1er Côtes de Bordeaux AC 2011, 13.5% 

€19.00 (was 25.45) 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Colour of this Bordeaux blend is a mid-ruby with a noticeably lighter rim. Tears are slow enough to clear. Red and black cherries lead the aromatics and there is some spice there also. And that fruit and mild spice also mingle elegantly on the palate, a smooth a palate as you are likely to come across. Really well balanced. Lovely finish with a little grip. Very Highly Recommended.

The blend is headed by Merlot (at 70%) with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc making up the remainder. Château Le Doyenné results from mature parcels of vines. The wine is aged in oak barrels for 18 months.

Records dating as far back as 1791 mention the existence of Château Le Doyenné which was purchased in 1994 by Jean and Marie-Dominique Watrin. With “flying-winemaker” Michel Rolland acting as consultant, they undertook a complete reconstruction of the vineyard and renovation of the winery. The 13 hectares of the estate, located on the right bank of the Garonne, 15 km from Bordeaux, are in the heart of the “Premières Côtes de Bordeaux” appellation.

The 2011 Le Doyenné is not the first to attract attention. The Wine Advocate - Robert Parker checked out the 2005 and wrote:  A super sleeper of the vintage like its predecessors, the 2005 Le Doyenné is well-made..... Blend of 70% merlot and 30% cabernet sauvignon cabernet franc, it exhalts sexy aromatics, superb fruit, medium-body, velvety tannin, loads of glycerin and elevated alcohol 13+%. Available for a song, this lovely offering should drink well for 5-6 years.

Much the same can be confidently said of the 2011.


Tenuta Bellafonte Sperella Montefalco Bianco (DOC) 2019 12.5% 

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

Sperella is produced with the grapes of the younger vineyards of Tenuta Bellafonte. The free-run must is fermented spontaneously at controlled temperature, the wine matures for about 5 months on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Once bottled it refines in bottle for some months before being released during the spring after the harvest. It is vinified from indigenous yeasts and bottled without filtration

Colour is a strong straw. Lime and Bergamot feature in the aromatics. Citrus notes continue on the palate, pineapple too; it is intensely fresh and full of supple character with a backbone of minerality. Impressive body too. Highly Recommended.

It comes from the small area of Montefalco, part of Umbria perhaps best known for its tannic red Sagrantino.

The vineyard expands on it: “The area of Montefalco, and more generally the Umbria region, can boast a deep-rooted tradition not only for reds but also for white wines. Particularly fresh wines, intriguing for their structure and surprising with the evolution. These wines, thanks to a particular gastronomic vocation, has always been side by side, to the typical reds of the territory.”

As the area has only come to any kind of international prominence in recent decades, many will not have heard of it, or of its Sagrantino and certainly not of its Spoletino grapes from which this white is produced. Sometimes you will see Trebbiano Spoletino  (as you do on this label) but the addition of Trebbiano is not helpful as it is a name shared between quite a few different Italian grape varieties (some of which are not even related)..

The owner Peter Heilbron is a relative newcomer. About 15 years ago, he was the busy MD of Heineken Italy. Then he and his wife Sabina purchased this wonderful 40-ha property and set aside 11 hectares for the vineyard (the rest of the land is dedicated to woodland, orchards and olive trees).

Heilbron designed his winery, completed in 2010, building it into the clay and marl hillside with subterranean porous walls made from gabions, steel baskets filled with stones. The winery is energy independent, using solar panels for electricity and generating heat and hot water by burning vine cuttings in a biomass boiler.

This should be a versatile wine at the table. Mussels and fries, Scallops and black-pudding, white meats such as chicken or pork (and probably a few red meats as well), along with vegetable dishes and mushrooms, may be essayed.

Monday, February 28, 2022

Delighted with this Pair of Very Highly Recommended Reds

Wine & Wellington!
Delighted with this Pair

of Very Highly Recommended Reds


Chateau Tire Pé Bordeaux AOC 2017, 13.5%, 

€20.65 €18.45  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

While looking for a wine to pair with the Beef Wellington by James Whelan Butchers, this Bordeaux got the nod. Tire Pé is not a  blend; it is 100% Merlot but did an effortless match with the delicious fillet and the equally delicious duxelles.

It has a deep ruby robe and notes of red and dark berries in the aromas. The same berries lead the flavours on the palate, with a little spice also. And there’s a terrific natural acidity that played a key role in the pairing with the Beef Wellington.

When the beef had been finished, the bright and expressive wine proved itself as a very pleasant companion on its own with an excellent refreshing finish, tannins light on the lips. Very Highly Recommended

The vineyard info: this "terroir" Merlot (20 to 40 year old vines), distinctive, delicate and expressive, with fruity and spicy aromas. Has been aged for 18 to 24 months in concrete vats.

“Whatever the cuvée, our guideline is in balance, precision, expression... 

To go in this direction, we harvest our grapes at the "right" maturity, carry out "soft" vinifications (no "forced" extraction but rather in "infusion" mode) at moderate fermentation temperature (24-28°), then aging ranging from 8 months to more than 36 months in concrete vats, in barrels (400 and 500 l) or even in terracotta jars.”

Hélène and David Barrault purchased Tire Pé in 1997; they are farming organically since 2008 (certified since 2014).The hill of Tire Pé owes its name to ancient rural scenes, where working horses would pass wind under the effort of climbing the hill, on their way back to the farm.

Le Caveau tells us they have created a little garden of Eden, “where wild grass, insects, birds and small wild animals live among the vines. Very unusual sight in the Entre-deux-Mers appellation, where their 13.5-ha estate is located.”

Vincenzo Red (top) and white

Fattoria di Vaira Vincenzo Rosso 2019, 12.5%

€18.45  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

With “At Home” offers from restaurants increasing at the time, we ordered one from Da Mirco in Bridge Street, Italian of course! Indeed, one of the most genuine Italian restaurants around these parts. But did we have an Italian win at hand?  Yes, we had, even if Vincenzo’s Rosso is not from the north where Mirco hails from.

It is a dark ruby in the glass, a lighter red at the rim. This is quite aromatic: plum, blackberries, and black currant with a rustic background . Quite a depth of flavour and no shortage of spice either on the palate, lively and fresh, with ripe tannins towards the finish. A friendly and very drinkable wine and Highly Recommended. I didn’t do it but it may be no harm to decant this.

Da Mirco's Tagliere

The grapes used in the blend are Montepulciano (50%), Merlot (25%) & Cabernet Sauvignon (25%). I’ve seen this described as a “bold blend”. A bit unusual for sure but works nicely in this Rosso. Food pairings suggested are: cured meat, cheeses, red meat. 

It certainly matched well with Da Mirco’s Tagliere with Italian cured meats, cheeses, olives and more as well, and went well also with  the main course of Homemade Cannelloni with a filling of Braised Irish Venison Ragu.

Importers Le Caveau: Fattoria di Vaira is one of the largest biodynamic farms in Italy. Here they cultivate vegetables, grains and cereals, and produce fresh cheeses, olive oil, and honey. After several years of applying biodynamic practices, their soil has been restored, reaching a degree of purity similar to wild soil.

Geek Bits
 Molise, Italy
Vintage: 2019
Grape variety: Montepulciano (50%), Merlot (25%) & Cabernet Sauvignon (25%)
Food pairing: Cured meat, cheeses, red meat
Bottle size: 75cl
ABV: 12.5%

* We recently enjoyed Vincenzo’s white, details here.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

From the heights of Jumilla and the banks of the Gironde, come two Very Highly Recommended red wines.

From the heights of Jumilla and the banks of the Gironde, 

come two Very Highly Recommended red wines.

Altamente Monastrell Jumilla (DO) 2019, 14%

€13.00 The Olive Branch, Clonakilty; Taste, Castletownbere;  Quay Co-Op, Cork; Mary Pawle

Fernando Barrena, a man of Navarra, with more than 15 years of experience in wine industry as co-owner of Azul y Garanza Winery, is a key figure in this Jumilla project, “a privileged 900 meters high environment near the Mediterranean Sea, where we find Monastrell grapes at their finest".

María Ángeles Conesa, his partner in vine here, is a woman of Murcia, with roots in Jumilla. She is an agronomist and is technical manager of the vineyard and wine cellar. “For me, this is a travel back to my own land in order to produce wines that reflect the outstanding landscape where I came from."

Purple in the glass, a little lighter at the rim. Intense ripe berry fruit (lots) in the warm aromas and some garrigue notes as well. Very Mediterranean, as they say themselves: “Intense, balsamic, highly scented.”

And there’s no loss of the intensity as dark fruits hit the fresh and complex palate, with a touch of spice (paprika) there too. Firm tannins also add to the pleasant experience along with a lengthy finish. Very Highly Recommended. Great price.

One hundred per cent of the vineyards are bio certified, immersed in a beautiful landscape full of biodiversity: almond trees, olive trees, wild bushes… Only one preventive treatment with sulphur per year is enough to keep the crop healthy. You can find hares, partridges, quails, wild boars, eagles, hawks, finches, sparrows, larks here.

Azul y Garanza continues to expand its portfolio. It is now “a more complete and exciting viniculture experience with the addition of new enriching varieties, soils, climates, collaborators and wines. Wild-natured vines, full of biodiversity and astonishingly beautiful; organic and endowed with special faculties which result in one-of-a-kind wines. Wines which are a clear reflection of the place they come from.”

Famille Hubert Cuvée des “2C” Vin de France 2020, 13.5% 

€25.50 New to portfolio, only in restaurants so far or Mary Pawle

Purple is the colour of the juice from this Syrah led blend from Blaye. Aromas are of red and darker fruit, gentle yet persistent. It is supple with tangy fruit flavours, easy to drink and thanks to its juicy acidity, a good companion at the table where suggestions include Petiscos (Portuguese tapas), antipasti and other nibbles but I’ve seen chicken and poultry also recommended. The wine itself is Very Highly Recommended.

Two of the four grapes used are not associated with the Blaye area, northwest of Bordeaux city on the northern side of the estuary. I’ve read that the well-known Portuguese grape, Touriga Nacional, is approved nowadays for controlled use here. That leaves Syrah, so much part of Rhone blends, as the real stranger. The blend recipe is Syrah (50%), Touriga Nacional (25%), Malbec (15%), and Merlot (10%).

They (the Huberts) say, giving two explanations for the wine’s name: Syrah and Touriga Nacional, unusual for us in Gironde but which, thanks to biodynamics, wonderfully reveal our terroir. Our identity is there, characterized by a smooth and mineral wine profile. And with one stone, we welcome  (grandchildren) Camille and Colette to the family!  The non-Gironde grapes account for the fact that the wine is classed as Vin de France. 

The family Hubert have two chateau here: Chateau Peybonhomme Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux and Chateau La Grolet in neighbouring Côtes de Bourg. Biodynamic since 2000, double Guyot pruning, spontaneous winter grassing, soil tillage in spring. Treatments combining Bordeaux mixture in small quantities with herbal teas from plants such as horsetail and nettle are used and they are certified Organic, Biodynamic, and Vegan.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Highly Recommended Wines from Puglia and Bordeaux.

Highly Recommended Wines from Puglia and Bordeaux.

Amastoula Aglianico Puglia (IGP) 2017, 14%, Mary Pawle

Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; Mortons of Galway; The Connemara Hamper. at approx €17.50

This organic wine from the south of Italy has a deep red colour. It has intense aromas, peppery and toasty with vanilla. And you’ll find all those and more on the warm palate plus red fruit flavours (cherry, plum), juicy, with firm tannins, and there is a persistent finish. Highly Recommended

Aged for 24 months in oak barrels, it goes well with red meats, baked or grilled, game and aged cheeses. Other suggestions: rabbit, chicken with paprika sauce, barbecued lamb.

Aglianico is prominent in the vineyards of Italy’s warm south. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry. The Italian vineyards are among the most diverse in the world and hundreds of varieties have been “authorised” for planting and selling as wine, according to Vino Italiano. says Aglianico is known to produce full-bodied red wines that show musky berry flavours with firm tannins and good ageing potential. “Even when grown in hot climates, Aglianico is capable of retaining high levels of acidity, which makes it a particularly useful vine in the Mediterranean.”

Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours “Le Blanc Bonhomme” Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, new to Mary Pawle List.

The Vintry in Dublin and Mannings Ballylickey RRP approx. €25-€27. You'll also spot it in a few restaurants.

I like Bordeaux whites and like them even better if there’s plenty of Semillon in the blend and that is the case here, it is fifty/fifty with Sauvignon Blanc. The classic Bordeaux white will contain at least 25 percent Sauvignon Blanc, to ensure a certain aromatic freshness. For a richer style, a higher proportion of Semillon is used. Muscadelle is the third possible grape in the blend but many Bordeaux whites do not include it.

By the way, if you are ever in the Graves area of Bordeaux, make your way to the small town of Podensac and its Maison des Vins de Graves. With about 200 wines from the area sold at château prices, the vinothèque offers wine lovers a chance to taste red and white AOC Graves and Pessac-Léognan, and the Crus Classés of Graves. There are daily tastings (not of all 200!) but enough to try out a few white blends for sure. You may also take in the Lillet Distillery in the town where the famous drink has been crafted since 1872.

A light gold is the colour of this biodynamic wine. Aromas of moderate intensity feature floral and citrus notes. The flavours are fronted by a ripe citrus flush, a rich progress on the palate, excellent mouthfeel too. Persistent fruity finish too, drier towards the finalé. Well made (it has been 40% barrel fermented), well balanced, delicious and Highly Recommended. 

Well done again to Guillaume Hubert and his team here. The suggested food pairings are Foie gras ravioli, marinated trout, cooked cheeses.

If you’re among the many Irish that have holidayed in or near Royan, then you’ve probably come across the wines of Blaye on sale in markets and so on on that side of the Gironde estuary. Blaye has a gentle rolling pastoral landscape while neighbouring Bourg is more hilly.

The vineyard has been biodynamic since 2000, pruning is double guyot, spontaneous winter grassing, tillage in spring. Treatments combining Bordeaux mixture in small quantities with herbal teas such as horsetail and nettle are used. 

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.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Very Enjoyable Wines of the World Online Tasting With Kate Barry

Wines of the World Online Tasting

With Kate Barry

Very much enjoyed my virtual visit to the weekend’s Wines of the World Tasting with our host Kate Barry. She had three wines to go through but each was anonymous, wrapped in a brown bag, for the time being. Kate made us work (fun!) to determine what we were tasting.

But she did it so well, step by step, in simple English. No online technical hiccups here, every word from Kate was loud and clear. And there were smiles, slurps, and a few laughs, easygoing all the way, a very pleasant way indeed to learn about wine - see below for next Virtual Tasting. 

Bag No. 1, a white, was first. “We will use our senses: eyes, nose, palate.” Normally, one of the first checks is to see if the wine is corked. If there’s a “damp cardboard” sensation, you’re in trouble. But no need to worry in this case as the closure is a DIAM cork that comes with a guarantee against cork taint.

Kate holds up the first of the wine: “It is lovely and bright with a medium pale colour. Hold your glass at an angle against a sheet of white paper and you can see it’s of medium intensity, lemon with a hint of gold.” Would the nose be medium or pronounced? “Just about medium,” said Kate. Now cover your glass with a hand, swirl, smell. “Woohoo..Absolutely beautiful.” Smell now for fruit, citrus perhaps. “Lemon, lime, here.” Try now for apple and pear. Stone fruit, melon perhaps. Move on to tropical. “A hint of pineapple”. “And I think there’s a tiny bit of white pepper.”

Now we move to the palate. “Get the wine into your mouth and slurp. You’ll notice the difference!” She smiled. “The tip of the tongue will tell us whether it’s dry or not..” Are we salivating? “I think there’s a medium salivation going on, so a medium plus acidity.” Alcohol? Check the glass for legs or tears, the more tears, the more alcohol. Is there a burn at the back of the throat? “I think this is medium.”  The body? Take a sip of water (light bodied) and compare. “This is a bit more than water, so light to medium bodied.”

Now to check the flavour intensity. Medium was Kate’s verdict. Flavours include lime, lemon, green apple, a little spice, minerality (more on palate than nose) plus some stone fruit. Measure the length of the finish, how long does the flavour last? Up to five seconds is short, 5-10 medium, above 10 long.  “Eight seconds, really refreshing”. Nothing jarring here. “I think it has a loverly balance, a lovely wine. Not complex, simple and easy drinking”

So now for the reveal. Old or new world? Alcohol content? Vintage? Variety or blend? What have we been drinking? It was a Michel Lynch “Nature” Bordeaux (AOC) 2017, 12%, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, a typical blend of the region. 

Michel Lynch “Nature” Bordeaux (AOC) 2017, 12%, €16.50 Wines of the World

A lovely pale colour and silver tints, this vintage has an intense bouquet with notes of white flowers and citrus fruit. The palate fresh and harmonious, underpinned by fine intensity and noteworthy mineral tones. Grown from 100% organically grown grapes  in the Bordeaux region of France.

The wine pays tribute to Michel Lynch, one of the great names of Bordeaux wine (Irish, of course). Made from a careful selection of organically grown grapes, it contains as little sulphur as possible and has environmentally friendly packaging.

Fat Bastard Malbec Vin de France 2019, 13%, €11.50 Wines of the World

One difference between red and white wines is that red has tannins. “No tannins in white wine. Full stop!”, says Kate. “Tannins is a dry gritty sensation. Some love it, some hate it. The paler the colour, the lighter the tannin. This one is medium grippy, all integrated.”

The label says a lot here: remarkably full bodied (fat bastard), round and generous. The Fat Bastard Malbec is sourced from southern vineyards, between the Languedoc and the Gers regions. Kate took us through each of the reds in the same way as she tasted the white.

This Malbec has an intense colour with a vibrant purple hue. Elegant with aromas of black cherry and hints of vanilla and chocolate. Generous and unctuous with a delicate spicy finish. Kate: “ It’s a simple easy-drinking food wine. Lovely with a meal. Love it with a steak or Spaghetti Bolognese. Cheese too.”

A French wine created by Thierry Boudinaud, a renowned winemaker who has crafted wines from California to Chile to South Africa. It is named after a British expression describing a particularly rich and full wine.

Graham Norton’s Own Shiraz, South Australia 2017, 14.5%, €14.00 Wines of the World

The Graham Norton Shiraz is from South Australia and is a mix of fruit from different regions offering a reasonably complex, concentrated wine with a deep ruby colour. It’s a bold in aroma and on the palate, juicy wine full of character, just like the man himself! Perhaps that’s why they called it Shiraz rather than Syrah (the French name for the grape denotes, mostly, a gentler wine). 

Quite a good wine for a tasting actually. The flavours alone, mostly primary, could fill half a page of your notebook! As is often the case in Australia, the fruit comes from different areas, three in this case: “The Barossa, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek; each brings something different.”

Kate enjoyed tasting this one. “A dry wine with medium plus acidity.” She expected a high alcohol count, judging mainly by the burn at the back of throat, and she was spot on. Lots of primary fruit flavours plus some spice. Excellent finish too and well balanced. “I’m a lover of this wine and I hope you enjoyed it too.” We did, enjoyed the whole session.

Casa Silva - Live Zoom Virtual Tasting March 26th

The next live interactive virtual tasting will feature wine expert Kate Barry and Stephen Ludlam from Casa Silva. Casa Silva is Chile’s most awarded winery of the 21st Century – outstanding wines of great quality and fantastic value. It has the oldest wine cellar in the Colchagua Valley. Beneath its traditional and historic facade, however, is one of Chile’s most modern wine facilities. Should be a superb evening.  More details, including booking, here.

Kate will hold another recorded (non Zoom) tasting in mid-April. Keep an eye on the website for details. By the way, Wines of the World also do private tastings for firms and other groups.