Showing posts with label Gentil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gentil. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Top Families. Top Wines. From Torres and Hugel.

Top Families. Top Wines. 

From Torres and Hugel.

Torres, a Spanish family, dedicated to wine for five generations and the Hugel family, that started making wine in the Alsace in 1639, produced our two excellent wines today.

Torres Altos Ibéricos Rioja Crianza (DOC) 2018, 14% ABV

While Torres is synonymous with wine in Spain, it was only in 2005 that they first purchased land in Rioja. This wine, first produced in 2007, is 100% Tempranillo and has spent 12 months in French and American oak. It bears the red crianza sticker (see below).

Not surprisingly, it is regarded as a modern interpretation of Tempranillo. Its amicable aromas, intense and fragrant, draw you in, more so than its 20th century counterparts.

Yours truly with
Miguel Torres.

That “lighter touch” continues on the well-rounded palate, where soft red fruits and sweet spices combine smoothly with the effects of its time in oak. The finish is long with a light spicy aftertaste. Very Highly Recommended.

The Tempranillo grape is Spain’s top variety. Best known for its Rioja expressions but grown in many regions of the country. Older Tempranillo goes well with the likes of steaks and burgers while fresher styles like this are best matched with “baked pasta and other tomato based dishes” according to Wine Folly.

Rioja red wine stickers:

The green label (cosecha) indicates less than one year in oak, less than one in bottle.

The red label (crianza) indicates 1 year in oak, 1 in bottle.

The burgundy (reserva) indicates 1 year in oak, 2 in bottle.

The royal blue (gran reserva) indicates 2 years in oak, three years in bottle.

  • This Rioja was a gift. The wine, imported by Findlaters (as is the Gentil), is widely available, including at Bradleys, North Main Street, Cork for €14.95.



Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Hugel Gentil Alsace (AOC) 2020, 13% ABV, €14.95 Bradleys.

Pale yellow with green tints is what you see in the glass. There are attractive aromas (including fruit, citrus and peaches, and floral elements). On the palate, it has a soft and supple feel, is full of flavour, dry and absolutely refreshing, with a great finalé. 

Lots of attractive features yet it is very versatile at the table, doesn’t overpower your food. Natalie MacClean recommends seared scallops, sushi, vegetables, herbed chicken, pork dishes, excellent too as an aperitif says our retailer Michael of Bradley’s. Very Highly Recommended.

Gentil is an Alsace tradition, made from all the white grapes of the estate. And it is done carefully, to a very high and controlled official standard.

It is Hugel’s only blend, dry and the ideal introduction to Alsace wines. It combines the elegance of Riesling, the richness of Pinot Gris, the fruitiness of Gewürztraminer and Muscat with the freshness of Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. They are all here: “All the Alsace grapes in one glass”.

I’ve been very partial to Gentil in general for quite a few years now (the Hugel one is on sale in Bradley’s). I met Jean Frédéric Hugel in Cork a few years back and he told me it is their best seller. “It is produced from six different grapes. These are blended after the wine-making stage to balance it better. It is super versatile and works well by the glass in restaurants.” I thought that was interesting as I cannot recall seeing it offered around this area. Maybe there’s an opening there - it is delicious and, as Jean Frédéric said, super versatile.

Other Gentils available locally include Meyer-Fonné and Trimbach.

Hugel & Fils, founded in 1639 in picturesque Riquewihr, Alsace, France, is still 100% family owned and managed by the 12th consecutive generation of the family.

Alsace enjoyed a very good year in 2020, so much so that “No late harvest wines were produced due to the ‘too good’ sanitary conditions which forbid the development of botrytis. “A cool and long growing season gives this unique dry wine great finesse and unequalled drinkability.” And that is well confirmed by this bottle, by the way, closed with DIAM “the cork without the risk of cork taint”.

  • More here on DIAM closures.


Best Value Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Monday, March 2, 2020

Gentil and Passetoutgrains: Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out

Gentil and Passetoutgrains:
 Two Less Usual Blends Worth Seeking Out

You find Gamay in Beaujolais, hectares of it. You also find Gamay in Burgundy; not just the village of the same name but also some Gamay grapes growing. It was once a main grape here but, in 1395, the local duke declared this “disloyal grape” was to be replaced, in the Côte D’Or, by Pinot Noir (source: The Finest Wines of Burgundy).

What little Gamay is nowadays grown here is blended with Pinot Noir to make what the above book terms “a refreshing gutsy wine to drink young”. This wine has an appellation of its own:  Passetoutgrains.

The influential wine writer, grower and importer, Kermit Lynch declares that Passetoutgrains is a word based on old local patois and generally meaning “toss it all in”. Gutsy and toss it all in might put you off but the bottle below has nothing rustic or rough about it at all. Au contraire!

Sometimes hyphenated to Passe-tout-grains , it must contain more than 30% Pinot Noir, more than 15% Gamay, and the proportion of other allowable grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris) must be less than 15%. Not too sure what the exact blend of our bottle is.

I am much more familiar with the Gentil blend from Alsace, an excellent white wine, and have enjoyed superb bottles from the likes of Hugel and Trimbach. Gentil started, about 100 years ago, as a kind of toss it all in white grape blend. Today, the name Gentil is reserved for AOC Alsace wines conforming to the standards of a blend of superior quality. 

This blend must be composed of a minimum of 50% Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and/or Gewurztraminer, with the rest made up of Sylvaner, Chasselas and/or Pinot Blanc. Before blending, each varietal must be vinified separately and must officially qualify as AOC Alsace wine. Gentil must mention the vintage and may not be sold commercially until after quality control certification in bottle.
This Meyer-Fonné consists of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Meyer-Fonné Gentil Alsace (AOC) 2018, 12.5%, €18.00 

By coincidence, I’ve seen (on the Le Caveau website) that the Kermit Lynch mentioned previously is a major fan of Félix Meyer: “ … 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. Quantities are limited because while he makes several different cuvées, the domaine has only eleven hectares of vines. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”

And this Gentil, a blend of Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer, is really excellent. Light straw colour, green tints. Quite aromatic, citrus to the fore, touch of ginger too. Fresh and bold on the palate, a passing kiss of sweetness. Quite complex really but it is engagingly fruity, spice in the mix too, excellent texture and a long dry finish. A gem at the price and Very Highly Recommended.  

Indeed, many Gentils are pretty well-priced and offer an attractive entry to the area’s wines and this entry level beauty enhances the confidence to go and seek out more wines from this Alsace estate which is run on biodynamic principles. Food pairings? The man himself: “It is a pleasure wine, multi-use from aperitif to meal with friends.” Santé!

Domaine Lacour Bourgogne Passetoutgrains (AOP) 2017, 12%, €16.95 

Domaine Lacour, with Fabrice and Antonin at the helm, can be found in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune, about halfway between Meursault and the village of Gamay.

Here, the Lacour family blend Gamay and Pinot Noir, two of my favourite grapes. I was expecting good things. It turned out even better! Mid ruby colour. Beautiful aromas, mainly red fruits including strawberry. Light, smooth, gentle and elegant, it has rounded flavours, smooth tannins, and deliciously long finish. What’s not to like? Very Highly Recommended. Suggested Food pairings: BeefVealvenisonPoultry

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Two Splendid and Delightful Whites.

Chateau de Chatelard Beaujolais Blanc (AOP), Cuvée Secret de Chardonnay 2016, 13%, €18.30 Karwig’s

Given the Beaujolais bias toward Gamay, it is not surprising that Beaujolais Blanc is little-known. Just two per cent of the crop is Chardonnay. Chatelard do quite a few good reds also and Karwig’s have a selection.

This white has a light gold colour, clear and bright. There are fairly intense aromas, fruity and floral, all present too in an ample palate. There is a creamy texture plus a superb balance and the finish is soft with a nice length. A pleasant surprise and Very Highly Recommended. Good on its own or with seafood and fish (don't forget freshwater fish too, such as trout).

The winemakers tell us that about twenty per cent has been aged in barrels to “give more fatness and complexity”. Vintage is by hand and this is a natural product so you may find a soft and light deposit (a sign of quality!).

Meyer-Fonné Vin D’Alsace (AOC) Gentil 2015, 12.5%, €16.65 Le Caveau, Bradley's Cork
Felix Meyer makes his wines in accord with biodynamic principles and “with unmatched precision, depth, purity and expression of terroir”. This Gentil (many Alsace winemakers produce a gentil) is a blend of Muscat, Pinot blanc, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, “a perfectly balanced and serious wine”.

The denomination Gentil is reserved for AOC Alsace wines that fit within the standards of a superior quality blend. I reckon this one had no problem meeting the criteria. I have also found over the years that the Gentils are fairly priced, good quality and good value.

This has a beautiful light gold colour and bubbles tend to linger. There are intense white fruit aromas, a waft of blossom too. The palate is engagingly fruity, spice in the mix too, excellent texture and a long dry finish. Quite a gem at the price and Very Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Terzetto and Gentil. Blends from Australia & Alsace

Terzetto and Gentil
Blends from Australia & Alsace

Today, we have two blends for you, one of three Italian grapes, not from Italy but from the McLaren Vale in Australia, the other a more formal blend of white grapes, known as Gentil, from the Alsace. Both wines are excellent, each Highly Recommended. As you might expect, the alcohol in the Australian is much higher, 14.5% as against a moderate 12%.

Terzetto is Italian for a trio and the three grapes in Kevin O’Brien’s wine of the same name are Sangiovese (45%), Primitivo (40%), and Nebbiolo (15%). The percentages will vary from vintage to vintage. Kevin likes this one: “On their own, these varieties shine but… this threesome.. create a compelling wine that is perfumed, enticing and beautifully structured.”

Gentil started as an kind of all-in white grape blend in the 1920s. Today, the name Gentil is reserved for AOC Alsace wines conforming to the standards of a blend of superior quality. This blend must be composed of a minimum of 50% Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris and/or Gewurztraminer, with the rest made up of Sylvaner, Chasselas and/or Pinot Blanc. Before blending, each varietal must be vinified separately and must officially qualify as AOC Alsace wine. Gentil must mention the vintage and may not be sold commercially until after quality control certification in bottle.

Kangarilla Road Terzetto 2013, McLaren Vale (AUS), 14.5%, €17.95 (14.36 at sale earlier) O’Brien’s.

Violet is the colour and the slow-clearing legs hint at the high ABV. Red fruits dominate the aromas. Juicy and fruity; the fruit flavours carry a hint of sweetness but are really well balanced with a delicious savouriness, good acidity too and tannins at play as well. All that and a very pleasing finish. Quite a blend from Kevin O'Brien (great to see his wines back on Irish shelves) and Highly Recommended.

Usually, O’Brien’s bottles have beautifully executed hand-drawings of the leaf of the grape variety. This one has no less than three, of course.

Meyer-Fonné Gentil 2014, Vin d’Alsace, 12%, €16.65 Le Caveau.

Light gold is the colour of this white blend from the Alsace. There are subtle white fruit (peach, melon, citrus) aromas, some blossom too. It is fruity and refreshing on the palate, includes hints of sweetness, lively acidity too, plus a decent finish. A very agreeable little number and again Highly Recommended.

And this agreeable little number is his “entry level wine”, leaving one very keen indeed to try the full range, right up to a highly rated Cremant, from this organic producer. The current official word on the Gentil blend (the practice goes back to the 1920s) is above but this Meyer-Fonné consists of Muscat, Pinot blanc, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.