Showing posts with label Carignan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carignan. Show all posts

Thursday, November 22, 2018

The Cecchins of Mendoza; Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon


The Cecchins of Mendoza 
Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon

According to Wines of South America, The Cecchins of Maipú, Mendoza, are a third generation wine family with a very strong focus on Carignan (though also well-known for their Malbec). They use horse-drawn ploughs and native yeast. The plots in their 27 acres of organic vineyards are bordered with aromatic plants to attract animal pests away from the vines.  If you’re lucky enough to visit and dine in their restaurant, you’ll see the fruit, walnuts and olive oil, all organic, are grown on the farm.

Familia Cecchin Carignan, Mendoza (Argentina) 2015,  13%, €18.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

The Cecchin Carignan has a purple colour, with a lighter rim. Earthy and savoury scents outweigh the expected fruit. On the palate, the fruit is the main element, a touch of spice too, tannins well integrated, no shortage of acidity and a lengthy finish. Light and refreshing and Highly Recommended.

Carignan is used mostly in blends, particularly in the Languedoc. It is rarely enough seen solo. Suggested food matches include Peppery Catalan sausage,  Spicy lamb meatballs, and Aubergine lasagne.

Familia Cecchin Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza (Argentina) 2015,  13%, €18.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Fairly deep ruby red colour. Moderately intense aromas (black berries, cassis). No oak has been used. Straightforward Cabernet Sauvignon character on the palate, fresh and fruity and full bodied, full of vitality and noticeable acidity, good tannin structure and excellent length. This is a very dry wine, not at all related to the regular South American fruit bombs, and Highly Recommended.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely grown grapes and this Mendoza effort is really good value especially when you see that the Screaming Eagle version from the Napa Valley will, according to Wine-Searcher, cost you over €3,000 a bottle! 

By the way, Wine-Searcher suggests Fillet steak with foie gras and truffles; Beef wellington with honey roasted carrots; Korean-style beef stir fried in garlic, soy and sesame, as a match for Cab Sauv.

Did you know that, in 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Exciting New Wines on Findlater List

Exciting New Wines on Findlater List

There is a freshening up going on the wine list of Findlater's and the man responsible for sourcing the new wines is Master of Wine Mick O’Connell. He was in Cork at the weekend and had a bunch of the new ones with him for a well-attended tasting in Bradley’s, Cork’s specialist off-licence and food-store. So new tastes at Bradley’s (established 1850) courtesy of Findlater's (established 1823). Oldies but goldies!

The off licence was packed as the punters queued up to taste. I didn't get through them all - Culture Night beckoned - but enjoyed the Grand Bateau wines and also the Aplanta. The Roqueterre though seemed to be the overall favourite and over the past few days I had the chance to sample that and the Assyrtiko from Crete.

Lyrarakis Vóila Assyrtiko Crete (Greece) 2016, 13.5%, €16.95 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork
The Vóila plain and indeed adjacent areas in the east of Crete are regarded as ideal for  Assyrtiko.  “Our family discovered the quality potential of East Crete since the 70's. Originally on the “Vóila” plain and subsequently in the extended surroundings, we discover exceptional vineyards where the great grape variety thrives.” Quality is also helped by the hand-harvest “seeking to obtain a “proper fruit maturity”.

Decanter gave this lovely wine no less than 91 points. The producers recommend serving it at 12-14 degrees and pairing it with “all seafood, grilled fish as well as white meat cooked with lemon”.

It has a lovely gold colour and delicate aromas of white fruit. The ripe grapes contribute to rich fruit flavours and a good texture. There is though a matching acidity to balance and a very long and pleasant finish. Highly Recommended.

Roqueterre Reserve Carignan Vieilles Vignes Pays d’Herault (IGT) 2016, 12.5%, €12.95 Bradley’s, North Main Street, Cork


This dark red wine, made by Marilyn Lasserie, was “flying out the door” during Findlater’s Culture Night Tasting in Bradley’s. Not surprised as it is an excellent well-priced wine and one of a host of new ones introduced to the catalogue by Mick O’Connell MW, our host on the night along with Adrian McAleer.

Aromas of the dark fruit kind, with a good share of spice, introduce the wine, made of Carignan, the grape described on the label as “a forgotten treasure” of the Languedoc area. Reserve is produced from low-yielding vines, some of which are over 60 years old.

Dark fruit flavours follow through to the warm palate, smooth silky tannins there too and a long and uplifting finish. A pleasant wine indeed and Highly Recommended.

Other new wines available for tasting on the night were:
Passage du Sud Sauvignon Blanc (South of France);
Grand Bateau Bordeaux white;
Bijou Rosé Cabrieres (France);
Aplanta, Alentejo (Portugal);
Grand Bateau red Bordeaux;
Clous Puy Arnaud Bordeaux.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Three Handsome Reds! One in a Litre Bottle.

Azienda Ampeleia ‘Un Litro’ Costa Toscano (IGT) 2016, 12.5%, €21.95 Le Caveau
Vines in the Wild

This relatively new estate - Ampeleia is the Greek for wine - is certified organic and biodynamic; it is biodiverse with the vineyards interspersed with chestnut and cork oak forests as well as scrub.

This particular wine comes in a squat green one litre bottle - hence the name - and is a blend of Alicante (Grenache), Carignan and Alicante Bouschet which has spent 6 months in cement tanks. It is unfined, unfiltered and has no added SO2.

Colour is between a deep pink and a pale ruby. Aromas, say Le Caveau, have balsamic notes, plus wild herbs and spice hints and I find no reason to disagree! It is juicy, light and youthful on the palate with an engaging purity of fruit, a light mist of spice and then a dry yet fruity finish. Highly Recommended.

Mas Igneus FA206 Priorat (DOG) 2005, 15%, €21.75 Mary Pawle Wines

Mas is a traditional farmhouse found in the Provence (eg Mas de la Dame, winemakers in the Vaucluse) and Midi regions of France, as well as in the Catalan regions of both France and Spain. And FA206 means six months in second year barrels. Agricultura Ecologica is the method use by Mas Igneus, one of the newer wineries in the Priorat region. The blend is Garnacha, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is a deep ruby and you also note the long legs, slow to clear. There are beautiful aromas of ripe dark fruits, a touch of vanilla. It is smooth, concentrated, spice also, a warming mouthfeel, plus a long and rounded finish. Quite a superb wine, an oldie but goldie, and Very Highly Recommended.

Henri Nordoc Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d’Oc (IGP) 2014, 12.5%, €11.75 Le Caveau

No blending here, just 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The colour is a rich ruby. There are intense aromas: dark fruits, vanilla and toast. Dark fruits follow on the palate, fresh and juicy, spice and tannins also in play but neither prominent. This Highly Recommended wine finishes well and is good value also.

The great concentration and purity comes from vines that are well cared for; they aim for a low yield. Later, the wine spends 8 months on its fine lees. The back label promises a wine “characteristic of the Languedoc terroir which produces rich wines bursting with flavour”. I reckon Henri and the Languedoc have delivered.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Carignan, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc. Not Just Good Blenders!

Carignan, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc.
Not Just Good Blenders!


Carignan, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc are not normally let out on their own, not in Ireland.
The three grapes are best known for their role in blends, in the Rhone, Provence and Languedoc. Mourvèdre is probably the most familiar in Ireland as it is the “M” in the GSM wines of the Rhone where G is Grenache and S stands for Syrah. All three come from the Languedoc/Roussillon area; if you’re a rugby fan, think Narbonne, Perpignan and south to the Pyrenees.


The SuperValu French Wine sale that starts tomorrow (Feb 12th) gives us the chance to see the three on a solo run and, at ten euro or less per bottle, it is an opportunity worth taking for those looking to see what else is out there aside from the more common Chardonnay and Merlot.

An old vineyard tractor pictured near Narbonne a few years ago.


Domaine De Simonet Bourboulenc 2013, 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th.

Bourboulenc is an ancient white grape and, according to the Hugh Johnson Handbook, “makes some of the Midi’s best wines”.

This one, from the Midi, has refreshing white fruit flavours, pear rather than apple, citrus also included and a slight smokiness (a characteristic of the grape, I’ve read); there is a vibrant mouthfeel and a decent finish as well. Nice acidity here too and I think it might go well with a half dozen oysters! Highly Recommended.

Claude Vialade Carignan Vieilles Vignes 2013, Cotes Catalanes IGP, 13.5%, €10.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th.

Colour here is dark red and there are dark fruit aromas. On the palate it is fruity and vibrant, not unlike the Mourvèdre but with a slightly heavier body and slightly stronger flavours. It has an excellent finish. It is recommended for meats and cheese. I tried it with a creamy Durrus Og and they do get on! While rarely seen here on its own, Carignan is widely grown in the South of France and elsewhere around the world, including Chile where it has a long history. Highly Recommended.

Domaine De La Condamine l'Eveque Mourvèdre Cotes de Thongue IGB 2012 - €9.00 SuperValu from Feb 12th

A dark red wine with dark fruit aromas. Stewed dark fruit flavours, quite intense, some spice also; very pleasant overall and a half decent finish as well. Lovely rich warm wine and great value. They say this, with its screw cap closure, is suitable for early drinking, so don't be holding on to it! Highly recommended.