Showing posts with label Greenman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greenman. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Check out this Rhone Double!

Check out this Rhone Double!

When you enjoy a glass of Côtes Du Rhône, either in a sunny back-garden or a warm sitting room, you'll hardly be thinking of a frosty night. But frost has had a major influence on the wine story in the area. In 1956, the famous Mistral Wind (still an influence here), battered the region for three weeks, reaching a velocity of over one hundred kilometres per hour and dropping to a temperature of minus 15 degrees centigrade.

The majority of the region's olive trees suffered serious frost damage but the vines resisted so well that the majority of the local farmers decided to turn over primarily to vine cultivation.

Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Vinsobres (AC) 2016, 14.5%

€24.80  64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Dark ruby is the colour of this Vinsobres. But it is the aromas that make the first big impression. “Rich and profound” according to importers Le Caveau. Rich for sure. “Takes your breath away” is the verdict of a taster here. But nothing alien in the mix, just lots of dark fruit (plum, cherry).

And the palate is also a winner. No shortage of that fruit, hints too of liquorice plus a good wash of spice as well. Full-bodied and juicy while the finish is fresh and elegant with supple tannins. This very drinkable and vivid biodynamic wine is Very Highly Recommended.

The blend is 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault. Until 1956, olive trees outnumbered vines in the towns of Vinsobres and St Maurice, but one night in February of that year, all the olive trees perished by frost. After that, vines came to dominate and the area’s previous diversification began to wane. Chaume-Arnaud though are working their way back to the old model and so you’ll see olive trees, cereals and tomatoes keeping the vines company on the estate, run now by Valérie Chaume-Arnaud and her husband Phillipe and their son Thibault

The altitude, between 200 to 450m, and the cool wind from the nearby Alps (the Pontias) keeps the temperature lower than the neighbouring villages and contributes to the natural freshness and complexity of the wines. 

Vinsobres wines owe their richness to the assembly of the qualities of richly varied, complementary terroirs. The appellation's soil here is very stony, red to brown in colour, and their warmth allows the vines to flourish early with a high concentration of grapes. Made mainly of Grenache and Syrah, they produce dark red wines with a complex, harmonious nose with spiced flavours that are suitable for ageing. 

Vinsobres is one of nine cru villages in the Southern Rhone of which Chateauneuf du Pape is the most famous; others include Gigondas and Vacqueyras, Tavel (for rosé) and Beaume de Venise (for Vin Doux Naturel).

Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Côtes Du Rhône (AOC) 2018, 14.5%

€19.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This Côtes Du Rhône has a dark ruby colour. Aromas are rather intense, dark fruit prominent. On the palate it is fruity and juicy, excellent acidity too. A very friendly wine, one you really want to carry on with. A very good example of the AOC and Highly Recommended.

The fruit for Côtes Du Rhône (CDR) comes from a much wider area, spreading over 170 communes. By contrast the CDR Villages area covers about 100 communes. The exclusive Crus, including the Vinsorbes above, number 19, Cairanne the most recent to be elevated.

The grapes for this Chaume-Arnaud are Grenache (60%), Syrah (20%), Cinsault (20%), and are harvested by hand having been grown on stony ground. Grenache offers fruitiness, warmth and body. Syrah donates a hint of spice as well as depth of colour. Cinsault brings finesse to the party and is ideal for making young fruity wines.

The family have eschewed the use of all chemical and synthetic products, respecting instead the rhythms of nature to intensify the life of the soil and maintain a harmonious equilibrium. And it shows in this very drinkable, very digestible wine.

Serving temp recommended is about 14 degrees. Try with venison and wild boar. You won’t find these everywhere but do check out Ballinwillin Farm in North Cork - they also have an online shop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Two Superb Reds. A Morgon by a Maestro. A Malbec from the High Desert.

Two Superb Reds. 
A Morgon by a Maestro. A Malbec from the High Desert.

Jean Foillard Côte du Py Morgon (AOC) 2016, 13%, €35.60 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Every month in the vineyard, there are decisions to be made, practical crossroads to be negotiated. They concern, for instance, cultivating and fertilising soil, planting, training and pruning vines, and when to begin picking the grapes. But before all that, the vineyard is shaped at a philosophy crossroads. Quantity before quality. Chemical or organic. Fortunately for us, Jean and Agnes Foillard gave the thumbs down to the industrial and choose the natural organic route. Their healthy and beautiful wines are their reward and our pleasure.

In Morgon, Foillard wines express the terroir like a maestro musician. “The aromatics soar and the texture is silky and fine”. Try it in three movements: Le Classique, Cotes de Py, and Corcelette. Long may the maestro of Morgon play on.

The fruit for our Côte du Py, also known as Le Classique, is grown on a hill that is actually an extinct volcano and is masterfully transformed into a soft delicious vibrant-red wine with superb depth of vivacious flavours and a refreshing acidity. There are cherry and raspberry notes, floral too, in the aromas. On the palate, it is elegant with no shortage of minerality, tannins are a very fine influence here and the finish just goes on and on.

Foillard, a leading natural winemaker, has been described as the master of this hill (Côte de Py) and this stunning 2016 will serve to reinforce that claim. Very Highly Recommended. Give this a few more years and it will be even more rewarding.

There are ten crus in the Beaujolais region and Morgon, as you probably know, is one of them. With the typical acidity, these wines can match a range of foods. One suggestion that I fancy is Moroccan Lamb Tagine with apricot.

Amalaya Gran Corte Barrel Selection, Valle Calchaqui (Argentina) 2015, 14.5%, €24.99 JJ O’Driscoll, Wine Online

In Salta’s high desert, for centuries farmers made offerings in hope of a miracle for a bountiful harvest. Esperanza por un milagro is on the front label and the miracle has come to pass inside.

This Gran Corte is an amalgam of Malbec (85%), Tannat and Cabernet Franc. Twelve months in oak has added complexity and roundness.

Amalaya is acknowledged as a leading producer in this region. Owned by the Hess family, they are best known for their Malbec and Torrontés and this Gran Corte is their signature wine.

Colour is purple and there are aromas of red and black fruit. A superbly concentrated wine with a wash of spice, complex of flavour with rounded tannins and a long spice-driven finish. The winery, by the way, makes only blends and this man-made Malbec miracle is Very Highly Recommended.