Showing posts with label Meyer-Fonné. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meyer-Fonné. Show all posts

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Riesling of “great purity, ethereal and dry, a gastronomic grand vin” from Meyer-Fonné

 A Riesling of “great purity, ethereal and dry, a gastronomic grand vin” from Meyer-Fonné

Meyer-Fonné Riesling Katzenthal Alsace (AC) 2019, 13% ABV 

€29.95 Le Caveau, 64 Wine, Greenman Wines, Bradleys Cork

From the granitic slopes surrounding the village of Katzenthal comes this very distinguished and racy wine. The immense potential of these granitic soils of Katzenthal is realised time and again by Meyer-Fonné.

The colour of this 2019 Riesling is a beautiful gold with tints of green. Minerality and lime feature in the flavours on the complex yet easily accessible palate while the aromatics throw citrus notes, a floral flicker and the more or less usual hint of diesel. It may be “usual” but the diesel here is not a disturbing sensation as some examples can be and soon fades into the background. Rich and ample for sure with peach joining the lime as the wine, with a balancing acidity, heads towards a long and rewarding finish.

Very Highly Recommended.


Check out our Top 2023 Wines here.


Check out the Good Value Wine List here


Meyer-Fonné is fast becoming one of our favourite winemakers; in the past, we have also Very Highly Recommended his Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes (twice), his Meyer-Fonné Gentil thrice (going for four with another one in the queue), and his Crémant d’Alsace (AOC) Brut Extra.

The maestro is rather proud of this one: “Originating from the granitic slopes of Katzenthal, this very distinguished, concentrated long finish wine carries the emblem of its terroir magnificently. Its mineral and floral character, great purity, ethereal and dry, make it a gastronomic grand vin. Ideal with all kinds of fish.”

The man himself, Félix Meyer, has come in for high praise.

"Félix Meyer is one of the more ambitious and successful young vignerons of Alsace.” Wine Advocate.

“ ... 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. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”
Kermit Lynch, US importer.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Two Very Highly Recommended French Whites. One from Bordeaux and one from Alsace.

Two Very Highly Recommended French Whites. 

One from Bordeaux and one from Alsace.

Château Turcaud Entre-Deux-Mers sec 2020, 12.5% ABV

€17.50 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This Turcaud Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon (50%) with Sémillon (45%) and a touch of Muscadelle. The Entre-Deux-Mers (between two seas) is a famous wine growing region from the Bordeaux Appellation. The domain is situated in a very pleasant rural area, 30 km from Bordeaux and 20 km from Saint Emilion.  I know one producer who bought a vineyard here instead of the "boring" landscape of the Medoc.

Colour is a light straw with green highlights. Citrus, plus more exotic fruit, and floral notes in the very pleasant aromas. On the palate, it has a lot of that exotic fruit, liveliness and a very nice length. Very Highly Recommended.

Importers Le Caveau have a plea for you: So often overlooked here in Ireland , white Bordeaux is a joy to drink, this is really worth a try, we urge you not to make the same mistake as most.

Must say that I have long been an admirer of white Bordeaux blends, particularly where Sémillon plays a big role in the blend as is the case here. 

Ironically, it was an SSB wine from Xanadu in Western Australia that really alerted me to the blend. And that at a wine show in Cork; a few days later, I was down in Centre Park Road and collecting a case from Bubble Brothers.

I got a good grounding in the blend a few years later during a couple of visits to Podensac in Bordeaux. In a beautiful century-old residence nestled in the heart of the vineyards, in the Maison des Vins de Graves, I had the opportunity to taste many examples of white Bordeaux. 

Individuals, tourists, amateurs come here to buy the best vintages of the region. Guides are at your disposal for an enriching discovery of the vineyard and its castles. I got a good few into the car that summer but they soon ran out and then it was time to turn to le Caveau and this superb example of a Bordeaux blanc.

By the way, the amounts of Sauvignon and Sémillon in the blend can vary from vintage to vintage. In 2018, the split was Sauvignon Blanc (65%) and Sémillon (35).

The summer that I visited Podensac, I had Abbey Le Sauve Majeure on my visit list. I found it and climbed to the top of the impressive ruin. From the 159th and final step, I had a great view over the surrounding countryside. I didn’t know then the view included the immaculate vineyards of Caveau Turcaud, nowadays run by Stéphane and Isabelle Le May. Isabelle is the daughter of  Maurice Robert who bought the chateau in 1973. 

Their Tasting Advice: This wine is best enjoyed within two years of the vintage, well-chilled as an aperitif, with all sorts of seafood, or with goat's milk, ewe's milk, and hard cheeses. This wine is a pure delight.

Meyer-Fonné Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes Alsace (AC) 2019, 12.5%

€20.65 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Straw is the colour here; thought I saw a tint of green, and I did, but it was from a football pitch reflected from the TV! The aromas are seductive, of pear, peach and almond. A touch of sweetness on the nose, is found too on the palate, where white fruit, rich and fresh, some lemon zest now as well, is accompanied by a refreshing minerality. Precision, depth, purity all combine here. Delicious and moreish, with a very clean finish, this is Very Highly Recommended. Very good value too by the way.

Pinot Blanc, a variant of Pinot Noir, is grown mostly in Europe for its dry and refreshing wines, particularly in Germany, Italy (where it is key in Franciacorta production), Austria and France. Suggested pairings include Quiche Lorraine (not a surprise!), soft cheeses, flaky fish, and crab salads. I find it quite the match for Goatsbridge trout.

Le Caveau: Pinot Blanc Vieilles Vignes comes from a plot of old vines, it acts like Pinot Gris on the nose — rich, oily apricot and pear fruit— but the touch of white pepper and taste of freshly squeezed oranges is classic Pinot Blanc. A house pour at a number of Ireland's Michelin starred restaurants over the past 15 years. A sure fire hit each and every bottle opened.

Félix Meyer himself has come in for high praise.

"Félix Meyer is one of the more ambitious and successful young vignerons of Alsace.” Wine Advocate.

“ ... 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. He is a terroirist, and when he speaks of a granitic soil, the wine in your glass tastes of it.”
Kermit Lynch, US importer.

No chemical fertiliser is used in the running of the vineyard, “only compost we make ourselves using raw materials derived from organic farming. Calcium and magnesian limestone is spread each year on the granitic soil terroirs to prevent acidification.”

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

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Hundred of the Best from Le Caveau. Starting with Franciacorta and a Clonakilty Girl

A Hundred of the Best from Le Caveau
Starting with a Franciacorta and a Clonakilty Girl
Meeting Rhona at St Peter's last week

“We are a small vineyard, ten hectares in total, eight planted with Chardonnay, two with Pinot Noir,” said Rhona Cullinane of the 1701 vineyard in the Franciacorta region of Italy when I met her at the Le Caveau portfolio tasting in Cork’s old St Peter's Church last Thursday. So I hear you asking: Rhona Cullinane, from an Italian vineyard? Well, Rhona is from Clonakilty and went to Sienna to finish off third level education and fell in love with the country and now divides her time between the 1701 vineyard and London with plenty of opportunities to get back to Clon.

1701 is an unusual name for a winery . It comes from the year of the first vinification there by the Conti Bettoni Cazzago family; that was in the “brolo”, a four hectare vineyard framed by X1 century walls. In 2012, brother and sister Federico and Silvia Stefini took over the estate and the winery and named it 1701 in honour of that long-ago first vintage. Rhona works with the Stefinis and they were the first in the Franciacorta region to be awarded the coveted biodynamic Demeter certification in July 2016.

There are about 100 to 120 producers in the area and they are now “slowly focusing” on external markets, Rhona told me last week. “there is a regional ambition to move to organic and biodynamic”. 

Rhona was showing the 1701 Franciacorta Brut DOCG. It is a blend of Chardonnay (85%) and Pinot Noir (15%).  The summer heat of the vineyard is tempered by the breeze from the lake (Iseo) and the mountains to the north. “We choose to keep it on the lees for 30 months, well above the appellation minimum. It is made in the traditional manner, manually harvested, with the indigenous yeasts, and a secondary fermentation in the bottle but with zero dosage.
Ballymaloe sommelier Samuel (left) and Damiem of Clos de Caveau

St Peter's
It is a gorgeous sparkling wine, the palate full and generous, clean, fresh and elegant, apple notes, citrus too and that typical brioche note, beautifully balanced and a dry finish. Expect to pay in the mid 30s, considerably less than what you'd pay for the bigger names of the region; lovely wine, great value.

Jules, who is spending a few month in L’Atitude (Cork) improving his English, was keen to show me some of the wines he was familiar with from his home in the south west of France, beginning with the family’s impressive Chateau de Cedre héritage. “This is 95% Malbec, 5% Merlot,” he said. “Four of the five parcels are organic but the next vintage will be fully organic. It is started in cement tanks, matured in barrels.” 

It is medium to full bodied, gorgeous black fruits on the silky palate with a clean finish. Colour is a light ruby, it is easy-going, no shortage of drinkability. Another quality wine at a very good price (15.40).

The small Mirouze vineyard in Corbieres produces some excellent wines, including that Ciel du Sud that Jules showed. It is a lovely lively blend, 50% Grenache, 50% Carignan. It is raised in cement tanks and no sulphur is added. 
Margaret of Le Caveau and, right, Dave of Café Paradiso

The little vineyard is surrounded by garrigue. That means the vines are well away from the sprays of neighbours. On the other hand, wild boar enjoy the cover of the scrub and so the Mirouze family have to use an electric fence to deter them.
My cuvée!!

Domaine No Control is into wine (of course) and music. One of their Gamay is called Fusion, the other Rockaille Billy. I had spotted the Billy on the list early on and wasn't leaving until I had a taste of it. The domaine consists of just five hectares and Jules agreed that this was that bit different to Beaujolais Gamay. “Lovely, great drinkability”. Must get a few bottles of that for the table when I have guests!

from Oregon
The next chat I had was with Damiem and he was showing the Clos de Caveau Vacqueyras AC Carmin Brilliant. Vacqueyras village, under the shade of its large trees, stays cool when the vineyards all around are warm. 

And this is one cool wine, coming from a height of 200m, higher than most of its neighbours, and bearing the distinctive diagonal wraparound label designed by Karl Lagerfeld. It is a superb blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, natural yeast is used and nothing is added. Good structure and bite, lovely ripe tannins, excellent acidity and freshness.
Sustenance via L'Atitude 51

Then it was on to the Alsace table where there was a strong showing from Meyer-Fonné. Always find the Gentil wines from the Alsace very drinkable and the MF 2016 was typical. Later, I would come across a similar effort from Oregon’s Ovum Wines called Big Salt! 

The Meyer-Fonné Gewürztraminer 2015 Réserve was aromatic and rich. Hints of sweetness too in the Pinot Blanc but this was dry with  a minerally finish. Also excellent - it suited my palate well - was the 2015 Riesling while the 2013 Grand Cru didn't quite do it for me, almost always find it hard to tune out that whiff of petrol. 
Mayer-Fonné well represented on Le Caveau list

The 2016 Pinot Gris was much more to my liking and the winery points to this one as “the archetypical Pinot Gris for the table”. Will put that on my list. Indeed, I think I may just make a list of all the Meyer-Fonné wines and see how I get on.

I had been pointed towards the Kumpf et Meyer 2016 Riesling by Ballymaloe sommelier Samuel. And with good reason. From its fresh, fragrant and full nose through its complex palate to the long and savoury finish, this is worth a second longer look and so another that will make my ever lengthening shopping list!