Showing posts with label Chateau de miniere. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chateau de miniere. Show all posts

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.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flavours of Christmas (but may be tried at any time of the year!)

Flavours of Christmas

(but may be tried at any time of the year!)
Bubbles from the Loire
Ummera Smoked Chicken (served with a Cajun Potato Salad). Lovely contrast after days of turkey!

Rwandan Coffee, the Cup of Excellence award winning Maraba Sovu 2012 lot #14,  via Robert Roberts Connoisseur Club.

Organic Pink Bubbles (made from Cabernet Franc) from Chateau Miniere and Domaine du Clos d’Epinay Vouvray Brut. Souvenirs of the summer holidays in the Loire Valley.

Mella’s Rum & Raisin Handmade West Cork Fudge.

Ummera smoked chicken.
Cashel Blue mature and Warre’s LBV Port (2002).

The Cornstore’s Plum infused Whiskey.

Dungarvan Coffee and Oatmeal Stout, by now a Christmas standard.

Eight Degrees Zeus Black IPA, 7%. Looks like a rich dark porter but tastes like a pungent IPA.

Fleming's fantastic Orchard Chutney.
Fleming’s Orchard Chutney (Apples, Pears and Green Tomatoes from their own orchard).

Barrie Tyner’s Pates (from the local Farmers Markets, inc. Mahon).

Pandora Bell’s Honey Nougat with Almonds and Pistachios.

Cashel Blue

Friday, August 30, 2013

Marvellous Tasting at Chateau de Minière

Day 14 (part 1)

Marvellous Tasting at Chateau de Minière
This, our first outdoor tasting of the trip, was marvellous. In gorgeous sunny weather, and overlapping with the local pony club, we enjoyed meeting the crew at Chateau de Minière at Ingrandes de Touraine. Here, we tasted their excellent Bourgueil wines.

Owner Kathleen was unable to be present but Anna, Stephen and Anissa helped us through the tasting, a lovely leisurely one that included sparkling, rosé and red, all from the Cabernet Franc grape. 

There is a long line of feminine tradition here, now being maintained by Kathleen. The estate was handed down through a line of women for two centuries ever since Marie-Genevieve d'Espinay married Martial du Soulier in 1767 and brought him the property in her dowry. In 1995, Bertrand and Evelyne de Mascarel acquired Minière from the last descendants of Marie-Genevieve, Margarède and Diane du Soulier.

In 2010 Sigurd and Kathleen Mareels - Van den Berghe acquired Minière and will continue the further development of the vineyard and chateau.  One of those many developments is making the vineyard organic and that is almost complete.
Left to right: CL and yours truly (centre) pictured with Chateau staff Anna and Stephen.
Thanks to Anissa for taking the pic.
Back to the current wines. All were impressive but our favourite and perhaps the favourite of everyone on the estate is the Vignes Centenaires 2009 made, as you might expect, from vines of an average 100 years of age, some as old as 110! Also ordered were some Chateau de Minière 2009 and 2010.

We just could leave the sparkling rosé behind and so a few bottles of that are also on the way to Ireland along with some “specialites artisanales” of the house including Morello Cherries au vin de Minière.

Chateau de Minière is a lovely place to visit, right in the heart of the Bourgueil vineyards and close to the magnificent Loire river, and you may read more about it here.

We had planned to go boating on the Vienne and the Loire in the afternoon but that fell through when not enough passengers turned up at Chinon. The boatman declined to start up even though the four of us present offered to make up the difference to the required six, according to their leaflet, saying the minimum was eight! Had to make do with a spell in the pool as the temperature reached 28 degrees. Not a bad consolation!