Showing posts with label Gascony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gascony. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Excellent Laffitte Family Wines Feature in SuperValu’s French September Sale

An excellent trio of wines from the Laffitte family in Gascony feature
 in SuperValu’s French September Sale
Some of the Gascony vineyards stretch to the foothills of the Pyrenees

Brothers Christophe and Sebastien Laffitte are producing these “Tandem” wines in Gascony (SW France), in a village where the family’s history can be traced to the 15th century. The three wines featured here are “about pleasure and togetherness. We hope you enjoy it at your table with the special people in your lives.”

If you do get to holiday in Gascony, you’ll find the locals very keen to talk about rugby, once they know you’re from Ireland. What they are not keen to talk about is Cognac! So be careful when ordering brandy, you are in the land of Armagnac, Cognac’s big rival. Indeed, some of the grapes that the brothers grow (Colombard, for example, are used in the spirit). Similarly, if you are in the mood for a sweetish drink, be sure and ask for Floc de Gascogne (not the Pinot des Charentes of the Cognac area). 

As the Laffittes indicate, these three wines are meant for regular celebration rather than meditation. A recent CNN article says that, in up and coming Gascony, this "everyday enjoyment" extends far beyond just a daily glass of wine. Pursuit of pleasure is seen as a key part of the Gascon lifestyle. And that fits in too with the aims of Supervalu wine buyer Kevin O’Callaghan who says he has wines in the French Wine Sale (5th to 25th September) that will excite all tastes, from the novice to the most experienced. 

Watch out too for the 12 Special Guest Wines - their run is limited to the duration of the sale. Kevin: “These wines offer amazing value..with customers able to explore the different French regions at prices ranging from €8-€50 and all in between.” The three below are listed as Guest!

Domaine Laffitte Rosé, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP) 2018, 11.5%, €8.00 (11.99).

 The grapes for this rosé (screwcap closure) are Cabernet Franc, Marselan and Tannat. The Tannat will surprise some people as it is regarded as a tough grape. But not in these parts. A few years back, I drank a rosé (Argi Dansa), a very good one I thought, in Irouleguy, and that was made with 80% Tannat.

Colour of this Laffitte is a pale pink. It is sweetly perfumed, mainly with strawberries/raspberries, hints of sherbet. On the palate it is soft and fruity, plus hints of citrus, refreshing and easy-drinking with a decent finish. One to enjoy, for sure, especially during our Indian summer!

Domaine Laffitte Red, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP) 2018, 12.0%, €8.00 (11.99).

This red is an excellent blend of smooth Malbec (80%) and fresh Cabernet Franc (20%). Nose is full; you get the vivid cherry and a whiff of spice from a foot or so away, a little vanilla too. Smooth and elegant on the palate, silky tannins and rounded fruit all the way to the finalé. Versatile: white or red meat, lunch or dinner

Domaine Laffitte Sauvignon Blanc, Côtes de Gascogne (IGP) 2018, 12.0%, €8.00 (11.99)

This Sauvignon Blanc, with its pale gold colour, has surprisingly intense aromas, with citrus prominent. It is ample and lively on the palate, a tangy touch, minerality present, with a decent finish to boot. Not bad as an aperitif and a sure bet with fish and seafood.

Another easy-drinking wine to complete the Laffitte trio, all excellent value. These are among the guest wines, just for the duration of the sale. Try them and if you like them get a few more in. Stock up the red and white for Christmas and a rosé or two as an aperitif when there is more heat in the house than outside!

Great Chance to Explore French Wine Regions
At the entrance to Vacqueyras.
Unfortunately, that's water coming out
of the tap, not wine!

With reductions on over forty wines, the SuperValu French sale provides quite the opportunity to go out and explore the various regions. Of course, Burgundy and Bordeaux will always have their followers. But do have a look at lesser known areas.

I am especially drawn to Burgundy but don’t forget that next door is Beaujolais and I always enjoy a well produced wine from that region’s Gamay grape. André Goichot is a reliable name here and you could do worse than try his Fleurie or the Moulin à Vent (one of the 12 guests!) and both are substantially reduced.

The Loire is well represented in the sale. No shortage of Sancerre on the list. If you like to move off the beaten path there the Coteaux Du Giennois (one of the lesser known areas here) and the Alchimie Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t disappoint. 

I’ve always been a fan of the Rhone reds and SuperValu have an impressive quartet lined up for you: Vinsobres, Vacqueyras, Gigondas and Chateauneuf itself. My favourite is probably the Vacqueyras. A good bottle to have on your table this Autumn, great with duck and roast meat dishes.

Monday, September 24, 2018

SuperValu Freshen Up Wine Offering. Two Whites and a Super Red

SuperValu Freshen Up Wine Offering
Two Whites and a Superb Red

Regular wine shoppers at SuperValu will have noticed many new “faces” on the wine shelves. Quite a few have eye-catching labels and Kevin O’Callaghan, Head of SuperValu Wine, while well aware that you cannot always judge a book by its cover, likes “the label to sing or depict an essence or style in the very wine they are producing. …” He reckons" the art of storytelling will be the next consumer motivator.”

So let us start with a look at three wines, including two whites, from Carcassonne wine exporters LGI Wines.

Duo de Mers Sauvignon Blanc Viognier (Vin de France) 2017, 12%, €11.99

The label here sees two fish, one heading in a directly opposite direction to the other, one darker. So what’s the story? The wine goes with fish. True. But look at the wine’s name, referring to two seas. The Sauvignon comes from Atlantic influenced Gascony while the Viognier is sourced in Mediterranean Languedoc. Similarities to Australia here with the fruit coming from different regions.

Sauvignon accounts for 70% of the blend in this pleasant easy drinking light coloured wine; the Viognier adds to the white fruit elements in the aromas. On the palate, the blend is fresh, fruity and smooth. Good value and great for a party. Try it on its own as an aperitif or with shellfish, fish, and salads.

Combeval SCG Grand Cuvée Côtes de Gascogne (IGP) 2017, 11.5%, €11.99 

A relatively plain label on this one, just a selection of curved lines indicating little hills and a few words confirming that it is from the sunny slopes of the south of France. All the fruit - Sauvignon Blanc 60%, Columbard 20% and Gros Manseng 20% - comes from Gascony. Gascony may not often pop up in the wine conversation but it is a producer of lovely fresh white wines and there are many vineyards here and much of the fruit (including Columbard) is used to produce the well-known Armagnac spirit, Gascony’s worthy answer to the Charente’s Cognac.

Colour is light straw and the aromas here are mainly those you’d expect of Sauvignon, herbaceous with fruits (e.g. gooseberry, apple). On the palate, it is well endowed, thanks in part to time on both big and fine lees, a tingly touch too and a good finish, somewhat longer than the Duo above. Again pair with fish and salads and treat yourself to a glass beforehand!

The SCG is a play on the well known GSM of the Rhone and neighbouring areas. Indeed, Supervalu have the Combeval GSM and the red grapes in the blend are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Should be worth a try also.

Dark Apparition Alicante Bouschet Pays D’Oc (IGP) 2017, 12.5%, €12.99

The label shows an ectoplasmic figure trying to break out of its containment unit. The monochrome ghost is, according to the online blurb, apparently trying to express the full body and power of the wine. Really?

Let us move on to the grape itself. Unlike many grapes, this one has a precise birthday. In 1855, Henri Bouschet crossed Grenache Noir with Cabernet Sauvignon and this baby was born and has gone on to prove quite popular, especially in the south of France. Unusually, its pulp is red which enhances the colour. It also provides fatness to the wine. Put it all together and you have a Dark Red Apparition! Really?

Let us move on to the wine itself, let the Alicante materialise! At harvest, the fruit is divided into two sections. Some fruit goes through the modern process of thermal maceration, most is traditionally fermented on skins for three weeks and is then aged for six months with French oak which “adds complexity” providing a full-bodied cuvée when both parts regroup.

Colour is indeed a dark red. Quite a concentrated melange of scents, ripe fruit, floral and vanilla. Smooth and juicy on the palate, concentrated too with initially a slight sweetness, always the merest trace of vanilla, smooth tannins (on the lips), a good dry finish. The Alicante is well and truly out of the bottle and it is an excellent drink. Really!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Domaine de Pellehaut Ampelomeryx   2007, 13%, €13.99, Curious Wines
Gascony, best known for its Armagnac (I also like the local Floc), produces some “popular wine-bar wines” according to Hugh Johnson who notes Pellehaut as one of the better producers.
Picked up a bottle of Domaine de Pellehaut Ampelomeryx 2007 at Curious Wines recently and this blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Manseng Gros and Manseng Petit, sure surprised me, in a very pleasant way.

Colour is inviting, so is the nose and the promise is delightfully delivered onwards by an excellent Vin de Pays. This has a share of awards to its credit and Johnson recommends that you DYA, i.e. Drink the Youngest Available. The