Showing posts with label Burgundy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burgundy. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Two Highly Recommended Organic Whites From Penedès and Burgundy

Albet i Noya Lignum! Penedes (DO) 2020, 12%, 

€16.60-17.00 Wunderkaffee in Farran Village// Quay Co.Op// The Olive Branch, Clonakilty// Harringtons, Ardgroom// Taste . Castletownbere// Organico, Bantry// Sonas , Newcastle West// Morton of Galway/ The Connemara Hamper// The Vintry, Dublin// Ardkeen, Waterford// Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny. And many more.

Light straw is the colour of this  Catalonian blend. The moderate aromas, of moderate intensity, give up floral notes along with exotic fruits and a touch of oak. In the mouth it is surprisingly rich and complex, with notes of peach and citrus, and with a long lingering finish. Highly Recommended.

The blend is off Xarel-lo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and they come together very well indeed. The winery itself says: There are two sides to this wine. The Sauvignon gives it a perfumed, floral nose. Xarel·lo and Chardonnay together with a hint of oak (where the Chardonnay spends 2 months) give it a little body and complexity in the mouth with a long finish.

Xarel-lo, a high-yielding white grape, is best known as the main grape in the Cava blend. Mostly found in Cataluña where Albert i Noya is regarded as one of its best producers (according to Grapes and Wines).

This organic Catalonian wine is quite versatile at the table, particularly with food from the “whiter” side such as Vegetables, Salads, White fish, Rice dishes, and Seafood and, also, as aperitif. Serve at 18 degrees.

In 1903, during the phylloxera crisis, “our great great grandfather, Joan Albet i Rovirosa, arrived in the Penedès to work the the vineyards at the Can Vendrell de la Codina estate, in Sant Pau d’Ordal”. And this is where the company still operates.

In the late seventies “an opportunity knocked on our door and, restless as ever, we decided to embrace it. A Danish company was searching the Penedes for an organic wine grower. Nobody had ever heard of organic wines. But curiosity won us over and that's how we threw ourselves into this adventure.”

Josep Maria Albet i Noya decided to try one of the vineyards, despite doubts from friends and family. But it worked out well and encouraged him to extend the practice. Healthier vines and healthier wines are the result. The winery is well known for this white and also for its red equivalent also known as Lignum!

Ambroise Bourgogne Aligoté (AOC) 2020, 12.5% ABV 

€18.75 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Colour is mid-gold and it is clear as crystal. The aromatics are modest, citrus and floral. There’s a creamy texture. The fruit, fresh and tangy citrus, impresses, with a streak of minerality, all the way to an excellent finish. Not a Chardonnay but a very engaging white Burgundy and very well priced as well. Produced from vines located in the town of Premeaux Prissey, this cuvée aged in vats for 10 month.

Aligoté is Burgundy’s second white grape and doesn’t really get much of a vote of confidence in its few paragraphs in Grapes & Wines but Le Caveau, importers of this bottle, report that is making a comeback lately and that our bottle “is quite a delicious example of this variety”.

Back in 2017, in St Peter’s Church (not the one in Rome but the one in Cork’s North Main Street,), I was delighted to have the chance to chat to Bertrand Ambroise and taste his delicious Burgundy wines. Organic farming is a way of life for the Ambroise family. I have been a fan of the wines for quite a while but this is my first Aligoté from them. It is a good one and Highly Recommended, especially with any creamy sauce, or shared in the garden with some cheeses and meats.

Maison Ambroise is a long established, small négociant house, who operates on 21 hectares of their own vineyards and purchase grapes from another three. They own vines in Prémeaux (where the grapes for this one grow), Nuits-St-Georges, Ladoix, Meursault, the hill of Corton, Vosne-Romanée (with some Grand Cru Echezeaux!), Gevrey-Chambertin, Vougeot, Beaune and as far as Saint-Romain. 

Bertrand Ambroise was relatively recently joined by his son Francois and daughter Ludivine, they received their organic certification (2013). Ludivine explained the move to organic viticulture is one of true belief as she lost her grand-father due to illness caused by chemicals used in the fields.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Looking for superb Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered!

 Looking for superb Chardonnay? We’ve got you covered!

Domaine Corsin Mâcon-Villages (AOP) 202, 13% 

RRP €26.99 Mannings Emporium. The Cinnamon Cottage Cork

This unoaked Mâcon is bright gold with refreshing citrus fruit on the palate and a long finish.

The nose is inviting and expressive, something magical about the lovely citrus notes. The aromas go on to the end, joined on the palate by more delightful fruit (peach and apricot). And our light gold wine - you also spot green tints - continues on its merry way, balanced by a refreshing acidity, to a very satisfactory finalé indeed.

Serve as an apéritif and with starters along with pork meats and goat cheese. The producers recommend a serving temperature of between 11°and 13°C. One of the best Chardonnays I’ve come a cross in a long while. Very Highly Recommended.

This was a good vintage in the Mâconnais and the harvest took place under perfect conditions; both yields and quality were excellent. The fruit for this wine come from vineyards around the villages of Davayé and Solutré, with a north-easterly exposure and an altitude between 200 and 280 metres. The Chardonnay vines are rooted in clay-limestone soils. The Mâcon-Villages plot “Les Prés Cousins”, is one of the oldest vineyards in Davayé, with an average vine age of 30 years.

Domaine Corsin, now in its fifth generation, has established an excellent reputation for making wines in Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé since 1864. They were among the first to label wines as Pouilly-Fuissé and Mâcon Blanc.

Innocent Bystander Chardonnay Yarra Valley 2021, 13% 

RRP €28.99 Mitchell & Son. O'Donovans Off Licence. Drink Store. The Wicklow Wine Co. World Wide Wines

This year marks the golden anniversary of Australian Chardonnay. With varietal labelled Chardonnay first produced back in 1972, I thought It would be a good time to try at least one example of modern Australian Chardonnay.

Colour of this Yarra Valley wine is a light straw. Aromas, not overly powerful, are a pleasant melange of pear, apple and citrus along with floral elements.  And the crisp and dry palate follows the same criterion, nothing like the big buttery Chardonnay that the Aussies sprang on the world three or so decades ago, rather it is a supple presence on the palate, beautifully citrus and stone fruit flavours with a youthful acidity delivering balance and a dry and satisfying finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This sophisticated and complex wine, bursting with vibrant stone fruit character and a hit of zingy citrus, is one to seek out and enjoy. Pairings? Simple. “Great paired with people” says the label. More serious recommendations are Paella del Mar, BBQ chicken with fresh coriander salsa verde, smoked salmon and brie frittata. Then there’s fiction, fantasy and a little romance.

Innocent Bystander add: Yarra Valley Chardonnay is a queen amongst wines; sophisticated, serene and perfectly poised. A variety whose remarkable winemaking heritage combines with regional youth and vitality to deliver a rewarding, multi-faceted wine able to satisfy a thirst or take to the table.

The year 2021 was the tale of two seasons. Leading up to harvest it was very wet and cool. Then only weeks before picking the sun came out and led to fully ripe and flavoursome Chardonnay with excellent natural acidity.

This winery changed hands in May 2016, with a family company, Brown Brothers (should probably be called the Brown Sisters nowadays), taking over. Geoff Alexander joined the Brown Family Wine Group as Assistant Winemaker in 2005. In October 2007, Geoff was promoted to the position of Winemaker and is now responsible for a portfolio of red, white, sparkling and fortified wines at a range of price points including the Innocent Bystander brand. He is particularly interested in the development of new varieties and wine styles, something for which the Brown Family Wine Group is rightly famous. A company to look out for then!

Monday, June 13, 2022

Two red wines to look out for, one from Burgundy, one from the Dolomites

Two red wines to look out for, one from Burgundy, one from the Dolomites.

 Drei Zinnen (Three Peaks Park) in the Dolomites, just a couple of hours from Foradori vineyard.


Domaine Lacour Côtes Du Couchois Bourgogne (AOP) 2020, 13%, 

€22.65 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Côtes du Couchois is a relatively unknown area of Burgundy and is the source of authentic and very well priced wines. This is one to look out for.

It is also one of the darker coloured Pinot Noirs. The grape is loved for its red fruit and you’ll note plenty of it (cherry, raspberries) in the aromas. More of the same on the smooth palate, enlivened by a wash of sweet spice (from the oak ageing). Tannins are soft and there is a long finish. Another superb wine from Lacour and Very Highly Recommended.

This father (Fabrice) and son (Antonin) team run a 13-ha estate in the appellations Côtes du Couchois, Hautes Côtes de Beaune and Bourgogne. Antonin, in his mid-twenties (captain of the local rugby team), is now working full time at the estate. The Côtes du Couchois is a tiny appellation located South of Maranges, at altitude between 300 to 420m.

They say: “Ageing in terracotta allows the freshness of the fruit to be preserved …Unique in the Couchois, this "Cuvée Amphore" allows you to pleasantly discover the typicality of our territory.”

Pinot Noir, and this a typical example, is versatile at the table. Try it with  duck, chicken, pork and mushrooms. 

As you know, the grape is one of the main ones in Champagne and no surprise that France is the world’s largest producer of Pinot Noir. The USA is second and Germany third with Moldova a surprising fourth.

We have come across Domaine Lacour previously on the blog and, two years back, were absolutely delighted with their Passe-tout-grains, a sort of vineyard blend (in this case mostly Pinot Noir and Gamay) somewhat similar to the Gentil of Alsace. A short review of the Lacour version here.  

*The Passe-tout-grains is also available from Le Caveau.

Foradori Teroldego Vigneti Delle Dolomiti (IGT) 2019, 12.5%

€30.95 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This wine from the mountainous Trentino wine region of northern Italy has a dark garnet colour. Pretty intense aromas of a dark fruit character. This juicy red wine softly bathes the palate with notes of cherries, raspberries and blackberries, and there’s a hint of sweetness. It is fresh and lively and balanced all through to the lengthy finish that also comes with pleasant light tannins.

In 2016, The Modern History of Italian Wine (my review here) honoured the producer Elisabetta Foradori as one of the leading producers in the renaissance from the 1960s onwards. She led the local change from pergolas to Guyot (lower yield, more quality), practiced the “diligent use of small oak barrels” (to tackle the international market), and then her embracing of biodynamic cultivation and her adoption of the amphora in “this land where Regina Elisabetta (Queen Elizabeth) reigns” further enhanced her wines.

In the Trentino area, a favourite at the table is a bowl of giant canederli (bread and flour dumplings, which are laden with smoked bacon chunks and served in a warm broth). Local breads and cheeses are also on the table, dispatched before you tackle the filling polenta and sausage based dish known as Smacafam. Apples will feature in the dessert course, perhaps their version of strudel. And this is the wine to pair with the local food!

Here in Ireland, you could match it with cured meats and dishes that include bacon or guanciale (O’Mahony Butchers have this in the English Market). Teroldego would do well with spaghetti carbonara, for example, because it would both cut through the richness and compliment the bacon and pepper notes. 

I was in that area just once myself, on a day trip from Austria, and remember having the best ever Spaghetti Carbonara in a high altitude restaurant in or near the Naturpark Drei Zinnen (Three Peaks Park) in the Dolomites and then enjoying a stroll around a nearby lake (in pic above) under some awesome peaks.

This dark aromatic wine is indeed a gem, light in alcohol but full of flavour, a distinguished part of the Trentino gastronomy. The wine itself is pure, precise and elegant and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Two Superb Wines from Burgundy and Mendoza. Well worth a try!

Two Superb Wines from Burgundy and Mendoza for your list. Well worth a try!


Chateau De Santenay ROC Blanc Mercurey (AC) 2017, 13%

RRP €31.99 Terroirs

Chateau De Santenay is situated in the central strip of the Côte Chalonnaise which itself is in the middle of the Burgundy vineyard (north to south and leaving aside the isolated Chablis). Here, on that central strip, according to the World Atlas of Wine, “Mercurey is much the best-known appellation…”. 

Our 2017 Santenay comes in a bright and clear light-gold colour. Aromas are concentrated, pear and citrus notes, and just a mild hint of vanilla. The mouthfeel is superb, the texture impressing (thanks to its time in oak). For sure it is ample in the mouth, those superb fruity aromas (more of the pear now) continuing and citrus flavours, plus hazelnut hints. Thanks to its stimulating acidity, it has a beautiful balanced path to the finalé.

The Chateau de Santenay is one of the most important Burgundy estates with its 90 hectares spread across 14 appellations planted in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. “We are totally committed to the protection of the environment and the biodiversity of our vineyards.”

The Chateau itself confirms that the grape variety is 100% Chardonnay from a small vineyard in the village of Saone-et-Loire. White wine represents only 10% of the vineyard in Mercurey but it is a very significant proportion. Mercurey blanc has a zesty mineral edginess (from the limestone in the soil). The soils are rich in clay, but the limestone (typical of the Côte Chalonnaise) is “very present” as well as some areas of marl. These characteristics give the white wines of Mercurey a strong structure. 

“Our good farming practices allow us to be certified ‘High Environmental Value’ and ‘Terra Vitis’. The soil is managed by tillage, permanent grass cover and that ,with herbicides removed from the process, provide a biologically active soil life. The thinning and green harvesting help to control the yield and maintain good health of the plant by aerating clusters. Winemaking is traditional with moderate pneumatic pressing. Static settlings for 12 hours then fermented in oak barrels. Aged sur lies during 12 to 18 months.”

Pair with pasta, rich fish (salmons tuna) shellfish, mild and soft cheese, charcuterie.

Flichman Dedicado Malbec (Tupungato Mendoza Argentina) 2016, 13.5%

RRP € 29.99 Avoca Handweavers Shops, Molloys Liquor Store (Clonsilla), The 1601, Michael's Mount Merrion, Ely Wine Store Maynooth,

This Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza (the UCO Valley sub-region) has a deep ruby colour. Ripe red fruits feature in the intense aromas along with hints of spice (from its 12 months in oak). On the complex palate, there is dark fruit and a very fresh structure with concentrated ripe tannins. The finish is long with more fruit and spices. Very Highly Recommended.

You can taste why this is one of Finca Flichman’s signature wines. The finca was founded in 1873 by a Polish immigrant and bought by Sogrape in 1998. It is also very well known for its Caballero de la Cepo, an iconic bottling and one of the earliest super-premium wines.

Importers Liberty: Produced in the Valle de Uco, Mendoza. Made by one of Argentina's rising stars German Barra, fruit for this Malbec is sourced from the Tupungato district of the Uco Valley. Aged for 12 months in French oak, it is full bodied and rich. 100%Malbec.

High altitude Tupungato is the northernmost sub-region of the Uco Valley in Mendoza, at 1300 metres above sea level. The grapes benefit from large diurnal temperature variations which result in a longer growing season. Pedro Parra, the renowned Chilean soil mapping expert, consults on these vineyards.

Flichman tell us that fermentation was carried out over 20-25 days in stainless steel tanks. After malolactic fermentation took place, the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. It is a wine with typical aromas of the variety subtly fused in wood. It presents an excellent level of nuances on the palate.

Monday, May 31, 2021

A Couple Of Excellent French Wines To Consider, from Burgundy to Bouche du Rhone

A Couple Of Excellent French Wines To Consider, from Burgundy to Bouche du Rhone

Cowboy of the Rhone Delta

Domaine Ambroise Lettre d’Eloïse Chardonnay  Couteaux Bourguignons (AC) 2018, 13%

€19.40 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Light gold is the colour of this Chardonnay from Burgundy. Citrus and floral notes in the aromas. A citrus-y tingle as it hits the palate, an excellent acidity.  This fresh and lively wine, a wonderful drop indeed, is very well made and Very Highly Recommended. The wine is fermented in 1-, 2- and 3-year-old 400-l oak barrels, where it stays for a period of 10 months and we benefit beautifully because of it. The wine is not fined and only lightly filtered. The fruit for this excellent Chardonnay, one of around nine produced by Domaine Ambroise, comes from young vines.


Le Caveau say: Harvested manually, neither filtered nor fined, the wines are classic and expressive with distinct terroir-influenced personalities.

Maison Ambroise is a long established, small négociant house, who operates on 21 hectares of their own vineyards and purchase grapes from another 3. They own vines in Prémeaux, Nuits-St-Georges, Ladoix, Meursault, the hill of Corton, Vosne-Romanée (with some Grand Cru Echezeaux!), Gevrey-Chambertin, Vougeot, Beaune and as far as Saint-Romain. Bertrand Ambroise has been a key figure in the development of the estate and this wine is named for his grand-daughter.

Some official info from the area: This appellation Coteaux Bourguignons, created in 2011 covers red, white, and rosé wines, grown over four départements. The Coteaux Bourguignons appellation covers wines that can be blended or come from a single varietal, and which can use some more old-fashioned varietals. The word rosé can be replaced by the word Clairet.

This Bourgogne blanc is very adaptable at the table. It makes it a delicate and tasty pre-dinner drink while its wide-ranging and persistent aromatic spectrum (thanks to the Chardonnay grape) makes it a team player in the kitchen, especially with fish and shellfish. Its native power enables it to prevail over onion tarts as well as over a wide variety of soft and hard cheeses such as Brie, Vacherin, Saint-Nectaire, Mont-d’Or, Beaufort, Comté and all varieties of Gruyère.

Serving temperature: 11 to 13°C.

Saint-Cyrgues, Saint-Cirice 'Syrah - Grenache’ VdP du Gard (IGP) 2019, 13.5%

€14.85 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny 

Cherry red in colour, this blend from Costiers de Nîmes is produced with 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 10% Marselan and 10% Merlot. Cherry and raspberry in the aromas. 'Saint Cirice' is the estate's entry level red and is rich and a little spicy. A good finish too.

Costières de Nîmes is in the Rhone delta and has those rounded pebbles (decent sized stones!), indeed the terroir is very close to that of Côtes du Rhone. It is well known over the decades for producing good wines and is one place in France where you can get exceptional value and this Highly Recommended bottle is an excellent illustration!

Le Caveau sum it up well: It will have broad appeal and would be a perfect choice for a house wine, or for any occasion where the need for a pleasurable drop and a keen price are essential.

St Cyrgues is an estate with vineyards along the southern slopes of the Costières de Nîmes which has a history of vine cultivation dating back centuries, and it was bought in 1991 by a young Swiss couple, Evelyne and Guy de Mercurio, and is run along organic lines.

Quite a versatile wine at the table. Suggestions noted are to serve it with wild mushroom risotto, gardiane ( a local stew made from smoked bacon, black olives and garlic) or a chunk of tomme cheese. Should perform well when matching up with roasted or barbecued meats so would do well during your Sunday lunch.

Nimes is the major city in the area in the eastern Languedoc, the city where denim (de Nimes) was invented. If you go to see the local bullfights (spectacular action fests where the athletes are more at risk than the bulls) you’ll note that the people involved with the bulls and the horses (paraded through the town before the spectacle), are kitted out in

denim just like your cowboy.

Under Pont du Gard - definitely not a cowboy

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Super Spanish White Plus A Burgundy Blend (yes, a blend!)

A Super Spanish White Plus A Burgundy Blend (yes, a blend!)

Menade Verdejo Ecologica Vino De La Tierra De Castilla Y Leon (DO) 2019, 13%

€ 18.35 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

This Verdejo from the heart of Spain comes in a light gold robe. White fruit aromas (pear) and some floral elements in the inviting aromas. And on the palate, the welcome continues as you get that lovely fresh fruit (nectarine, grapefruit, passionfruit) plus a refreshing acidity, harmonious all the way to the excellent finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This versatile wine is ideal for a tapas evening and I’ve certainly enjoyed it on a few excursions, The Gallery in Westport one such occasion that I remember well. Luckliy I had a bottle on hand the other night when our dinner was a fabulous box of Tapas from Cask. And the Verdejo excelled itself across most of the “courses”. I didn’t chance it against the Chocolate Empanadas but it stood out when paired with Monkfish Croquettes, Prawn & Chorizo Stew and especially with the Lamb Kofta (with Raita sauce). A very impressive display indeed.

Brothers and sister Marco, Richard and Alejandra Sanz run this certified organic estate in Rueda, South of Valladolid. The estate has 160 ha in production (including 30 ha of pre-phylloxera vines). Hand-harvesting, natural yeasts and low yields with minimal intervention in the cellar is how the trade-mark Menade style of pure and expressive wines is created.

Rueda is one of the DOs within the larger Castilla Y Leon region and here the Menade estate is always looking for ways to help the land and the environment. Their mobile tree project is one: “Our on-going mobile tree project consists of towing a variety of different tree species into different vineyard parcels. Planted on trailers some 3 meters high, the objective is to see how they adjust to their individual destinations, where we monitor them to assess where and how their eventual presence might prove most beneficial on a potentially permanent basis.”

Domaine Lacour Bourgogne Passetoutgrains (AOP) 2017, 12%, 
€18.95 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Burgundy Passetoutgrains is a regional appellation that can be harvested all over Burgundy. This is one of the few exceptions for blending grape varieties in Burgundy: instead of using only Pinot Noir the wine here will be composed of Pinot Noir and Gamay, in proportions chosen by the wine producer (at least one third of Pinot Noir). 

While this blend has been around for hundreds of years, it rarely makes it out of France. Punch, in 2017, put is near anonymity down to the fact that many winemakers still keep back a good portion of their production to drink with family and friends. And it may be harder too get in the future; , the production of Passetougrain has drastically decreased mainly because Pinot Noir grapes are more profitable in the area. So get it while you can. A few bottles would be perfect for the summer. But do look for a more recent vintage. Highly Recommended.

Colour is a light to mid ruby. Aromas are insistent, mainly red fruits, especially strawberry. The Gamay is credited with contributing the red fruit aromas. It is light and smooth on the palate, rounded fruit flavours abound, tannins are smooth and the light and delicious wine finishes long. Easy-drinking and well priced.

Serve at about 16 degrees. Made to be enjoyed young, it is an everyday wine for snacks and picnics and its light and fruity qualities means it is also a great accompaniment to cold cuts and grilled meats.

Monday, February 15, 2021

A Strongly Recommended French Double

A Strongly Recommended French Double 

Château Petit Roubié Picpoul de Pinet, AC Coteaux du Languedoc 2019, 13%, €14.50 Mary Pawle

Fairly widely available including Organico, Bantry; Mannings, Ballylickey; Field’s Supervalu, Skibbereen; Taste, Castletownbere; Quay Co-Op, Cork City; The Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny; The Connemara Hamper, Clifden; Ardkeen Food Store, Waterford; The Good Food Store (Toon’s Bridge Dairy) Dublin.

Light gold, with faint green reflections, is the colour of this Picpoul. Aromas of the wine are somewhat shy but mainly floral. Crisp on the palate, no shortage of acidity either yet, with white and citrus fruit on the palate and its excellent mouthfeel, it is more harmonious than you’d expect for the grape. Dry for sure, especially towards the finish, and obviously an excellent match for oysters and shellfish (which are abundant in the area).  Serve at about 8 degrees for best results. I think this is even better than the previous vintage, so Very Highly Recommended.

Importer Mary Pawle says it is often referred to as the Muscadet of the South. Indeed, you’ll almost certainly come across Picpoul more than Muscadet on Irish restaurant lists these days.

The Picpoul is grown on a clay-limestone terroir not far from the large Thau lake, on the edge of the Med. While regarded as a lake, it has very high salinity.

Château Petit Roubié has been practising organic farming since 1985. Floriane and Olivier Azan have owned the estate since 1981 and have developed, thanks to a judicious choice of winemaking, a very attractive range indeed. Their lands are in a historic area; if you visit, you can still see vestiges of the Via Domitia (the Roman road) in their scrubland. And those Roman engineers were building on top of an even older “road”. The wine is presented in a distinctive Neptune bottle though that, as far as I know, has nothing to do with the Roman god of the sea.

Emmanuel Giboulot “En Grégoire” Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes De Nuits (AOC) 2017, 12%, 

€41.00 New to the range but available online at Mary Pawle

This light and perfumed biodynamic 2017 Burgundy, mid to dark ruby in colour, has plenty of berries in the aromas. The attack is fresh with lots of fruit coming on strong, more gentle as the smooth finish is reached and fine tannins dry the lips. Very Highly Recommended.

The producers confidently assure us that "En Grégoire" "can accompany a beautiful plate of cold meats, grilled meats, a dish

exotic. Its complexity will do wonders."

An excellent Pinot Noir then. Par for the course in these parts, you might well say. Except that, as recently as 2014, this winemaker Emmanuel Giboulot was fined and threatened with a jail term for sticking to his principles.  He was convicted for refusing a government order to spray crops with pesticides, following fear over an outbreak of golden rot, only to have the decision reversed on appeal.

Emmanuel met the problem of agricultural practices and its impact on wine and human health head on - Prison rather than poison - and is now a prominent advocate for organic and biodynamic viticulture. His wines reflect his principles and the widely acknowledged exceptional Burgundy terroir.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Supervalu Christmas Wine Sale Features Bordeaux and Burgundy. And So Much More.

Supervalu Christmas Wine Sale Features Bordeaux and Burgundy. And So Much More.

Château Haut Breton Larigaudiere, near Margaux

A huge selection in the annual Christmas Wine Offering at Supervalu. Their wine expert Kevin O’Callaghan: “There is something for every wine lover and curious customer alike. Whether pairing with fish, meats, or a delicious cheese, the selection of excellent offers this season ticks every box.”

And, speaking of boxes, they have two case deals on offer. The first (on now until December 30th) features Barão de Vilar Reserva (2018), velvety and fruity with an elegant finish and will cost you €50 euro, down from the RRP of €89.00. Believe it or not, you can save another tenner by buying between November 26th and December 9th and taking advantage of the “buy any six bottles and save an additional €10.00” offer.

Later in the month, watch out for the second case offer. Here the temptation is the Italian Vivaldi Ripasso (2018), aromatic, full bodied, soft and warm, the temptation enhanced by the asking price of €40.00 instead of €94. You just gotta love Signore O’Callaghan. You’ll have to be on your toes for this one - it is short lived: from December 17th to 20th.

Faced with a sample of what’s on offer, I went for a couple of classic areas for the reds, two from Bordeaux and one from Beaujolais. Very happy indeed with the trio below. See the post on the best of their white wines here.

Lady De Mour Margaux (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, €25.00 (34.42).

Deep ruby colour. Red Berries on the nose, touch of vanilla too. Super-smooth blackcurrant,  elegant palate, terrific body and texture, harmony reigns between fruit and smooth tannin, persisting all the way to the impressive finalé. Impressive all round actually.

Margaux is, of course, one of the prime areas of Bordeaux and it is nearby in Soussans that you’ll find Chateau Haut Breton Larigaudiére, the producers of this blend where the lead player Cabernet Sauvignon is supported by Merlot with a little Cabernet Franc. It has been aged in oak for 10-15 months. This one may be kept for 5 to 10 years according to the advice on the label.

Lacombe-Cadiot Bordeaux Supérieur (AOC) 2018, 14%, €13.00 (15.73)

Dark ruby colour. Ripe black fruits lead the aromatics. The fruit more than holds its own on the palate, a touch of spice too, fresh, clean and elegant, smooth tannins and a persistent finish.  Pretty much the perfect Supérieur, underlined by the fact that this very vintage was recently awarded 97 points by Decanter.

A Bordeaux Supérieur of exceptional quality according to Supervalu, echoing the “remarkable Bordeaux Supérieur” from the producers who come under the De Mour wing, the same group responsible for our very fine Margaux above.

The grapes, again Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, come from Macau, also in the Medoc and just a few minutes drive from Larigaudiére where the Lady de Mour fruit is grown. From Supervalu’s Signature Range, their food pairing suggestions are red meats and rich white meats, also great with cheese

Andre Goichot Fleurie (AOC) 2018, 13%, €12.00 (14.66) 

Fleurie is perhaps the best loved and also one of the very best of the Beaujolais area’s ten crus.  I’m quite a Fleurie fan and always look forward to opening a bottle and this was no exception.

It is mid to dark ruby in colour. Cherry scents are prominent when you nose it and on the palate it is deliciously fruity with a hint of spice and, importantly, a refreshing acidity that helps create harmony, right through to the finish. 

Medium bodied, it is soft and easy drinking, not a blockbuster or anywhere close to blockbusting, but it has character enough to pair well with a wide range of lighter dishes. The label recommends hard and soft cheeses and classic roasts, be it red or white meat. Worth a try also with spicy food.

In Cork in 2018, Jamie Goode said there is lots of excitement worldwide about Gamay. He maintained the trend towards lighter wines is also helping as Beaujolais can come up with lighter styles that are still complex and he would use the masterclass to demonstrate that and also the diversity within the region.

Fleurie, like all ten crus, is in the north east of the Beaujolais region. Here, the Gamay grape thrives on the granite soil. The crus that produce the flagship wines are: Chiroubles, Saint Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Not everyday, you can try out a cru for 12 euro!

More Reds For You

We wrote about the whites here last week. Aside from the case offers above, there are some other noteworthy reds too by the way, from Spain, France and Portugal.

There are a couple of serious contenders from Rioja and both have been favourites in Supervalu for a few years. You’ll enjoy the warm cherry flavours of the superb Pago De Labarca AEX, a 100% Tempranillo, made from “exceptional” grapes. 

Kevin describes the Finca Labarca Gran Reserva as “one of the most serious wines in our collection”. Rich and smooth on the palate, it is indeed something of a blockbuster. The AEX is €20.00 (22.62) while the Reserva is €15.00 (19.66).

More superb fruits feature in the Vacqueyras Remy Ferbras €14.00 (20.65). From the Rhone, “this little brother to Chateauneuf du Pape” has “all that great taste”, lovely and lush in the mouth.

Some terrific wines, and very well priced, are coming out of Portugal these years. The Fado Friendship 2018, down from €13.76 to €10.00, is one very good example. If you like your reds a bit lighter the Rioja, then this, with its soft texture and its smooth fruitiness, is well worth a try.

Have you enough to be going on with? And by the way, don’t forget those case offers, especially that time limited Italian one. And do check out the post on the best of their white wines here. Actually, I;ve just made it easier for you by adding it below....

Part 1:

Supervalu's Wine Santa has been busy, blending quality and value in the run-up to Christmas.

Kevin O’Callaghan, Supervalu’s wine expert, has wines galore “from across the globe” reduced in their Christmas offering. “A harmonious blend of classic and modern wines with some household names and unmissable prices”. Offers are available from November 26th to December 30th or until stocks last.

It was wines from the classic areas that caught my eye, Sancerre and Chablis in the whites, Bordeaux and Beaujolais in the reds. Let us start with the whites (reds next week!). The Sancerre got the biggest thumbs up around here!

Guy Saget Sancerre (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, €15.00 (19.66)

From the Ambassadeur de Loire, this Sancerre has a very light straw colour, clean and bright. Aromas are the regular suspects of grass and herbs, and nettles which seem to led the charge here. This is of course 100% Sauvignon Blanc and this Loire version is precise and refreshing, less pungent than its New Zealand counterpart (none the worse for that), a very satisfactory drink right to the dry finish.

Food pairings suggested are: grilled fish, Crottins de Chavignol (goats cheese), tandoori chicken skewers, sushi and sashimi. More than likely you won’t get the Chavignol around here but Ardsallagh or St Tola will do just as well.

Supervalu say: The mission of the Guy Saget brand is to demonstrate to the highest level Saget Le Perrière’s intention to unravel the extreme complexity associated with the Loire Valley vineyards. A complete collection of the finest Loire will seduce you, thanks to their authenticity and accessibility.

It’s a mission that they take seriously.  The Guy Saget portfolio embraces around thirty appellations, all of them showing hallmark Loire features. These include Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Chinon, Vouvray and Muscadet : 

- Dry whites : Muscadet, Muscadet-sur-lie,... 

- Medium sweet whites : Vouvray… 

- Sweet whites : Coteaux du Layon, Quarts-de-Chaume... 

- Dry rosés : Rosé de Loire, Touraine Rosé... 

- Medium sweet rosés : Cabernet d'Anjou, Rosé d'Anjou... 

- Reds : Chinon, Anjou, Saumur Champigny... 

- Sparkling wines : Crémant de Loire, Touraine sparkling wines...

No wonder he claims the title of Ambassadeur de Loire on the label of this excellent Sauvignon.

I made a superb Kir with this and the Wexford Cassis from the Blackwater Distillery in West Waterford, the ratio about six to one.

Andre Goichot Chablis (AOC) 2018, 12.5%, €15.00 (19.66)

Always a frisson of excitement when a glass of Chablis is offered.

This 2018 doesn’t let the side down. Far from it. A light gold colour, pristine. Apple and pear feature in the pleasant aromas. It is, of course, made from nothing but Chardonnay grapes and it is strikingly crisp from first taste, carrying some lovely white fruit flavours, maybe a touch of lime as well, as it spreads across the palate, clean, precise and harmonious, like a Bach partita, right through to the finalé.

No wonder Supervalu declare that it is “the classic partner to seafood and white meat dishes”. It is indeed but this characterful wine, rich and elegant, can effortlessly stand on its own.

Founded in 1947, Andre Goichot, headquartered near Beaune, are both negociant and producer, meaning that they buy wines from different areas and producers and also make wine from their own vineyards.

Abellio Albariño Rias Baixas (DO) 2019, 12.5%, €10.00 (13.76).

Made entirely from hand-harvested Albarino grapes, this Spanish wine, from the Rias Baixas area, has a mid-gold colour. Quite rich aromas of white fruit, apple and pear, and also peach. There is a striking refreshing minerality on the palate where the same fruit flavours shine through fresh and crisp.

The Albarino grape is a distinctive Northern Spanish variety. Its refreshing characteristics make it very versatile with fish and particularly with seafood. Often recommended for Asian also.

Albarino, more modern than classic in terms of its history in Ireland, is most readily associated with the Rias Baixas region which is named after the long-ish Atlantic coastal inlets (or rías) that characterise the landscape here in Galicia in north-western Spain. The grape is also prominent in nearby northern Portugal where it is known as Alvarinho. This Abellio is a favourite of mine. And also a favourite of Supervalu’s wine-buyer Kevin O’Callaghan who was involved in the attractive label design.

Don’t forget your case offers!

We will feature the reds in the next post on this sale but do note that they have two case deals (both red) on offer. The first (on now until December 30th) features Barão de Vilar Reserva (2018), velvety and fruity with an elegant finish and will cost you €50 euro, down from the RRP of €89.00. Believe it or not, you can save another tenner by buying between November 26th and December 9th and taking advantage of the “buy any six bottles and save an additional €10.00 offer”.

Later in the month, watch out for the second case offer. Here the temptation is the Italian Vivaldi Ripasso (2018), aromatic, full bodied, soft and warm, the temptation enhanced by the asking price of €40.00 instead of €94. You just gotta love Signore O’Callaghan. You’ll have to be on your toes for this one - it is short lived: from December 17th to 20th.