|Lost in Nantes? Encore?|
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Thursday, April 25, 2019
Lost in Muscadet Vineyard in Nantes.
And a Simply Better Surprise.
Domaine de la Fessardière “L’Air Innocent” Muscadet Sevre et Maine (AOC) Sur Lie 2015, €18.65 Mary Pawle
Brittany Ferries opened the Cork-Roscoff route in 1978 and, for quite a few years afterwards, virtually every Cork driver visiting France got lost in Nantes. Happened to myself once and I ended up in the vineyards to the south-east of the city (not the worst of outcomes, quite recoverable). French roads have improved a lot since then and now most major cities, including Nantes, have either a rocade or a périphérique.
Like most early ferry travellers, we didn’t go too far in the first year or two, mainly to the south of Brittany around Concarneau, Guerande and Carnac. The supermarché (even the odd hyper) were the main attractions for the first (and last) few days of the hols with the male eyes concentrating on the bottom shelves and the bottles of Muscadet for less than punt! Got a lot of it then (also Gros Plant, even cheaper) and that cheap stuff put many off the fruit of the Melon de Bourgogne grape for years.
Bit by bit though we began to realise that two very important words on the bottle were Sur Lie, though only a year or two back the somm in a five star hotel in Kerry didn’t seem to know them. Glad to say that this bottle is Sur Lie (raised on lees) and is a splendid offering via Mary Pawle Wines.
It has indeed been kept on its lees for six months. Besides there is no added sulphur and the fruit has been hand-harvested.The grape variety is the normal Melon de Bourgogne and the vineyard follows organic methods.
Mary says it is round and unctuous in the mouth and a good match with seafood or a semi-soft cheese. In addition, the producers recommend “fish in sauce, poultry with the cream, cooked cheese like the county (Comté, I presume) or Cantal.”
The name of this round, fresh and fruity wine, “L’Air Innocent”, emphasises this closeness to nature. Colour is a very light straw, bright and healthy looking. The aromas, delicate and appealing, are of white fruit (apple). Apple flavours are somewhat stronger than the scents and there’s a touch of citrus too, also a refreshing acidity, a tingle of minerality as well, and it also has a pleasant long finish. Highly Recommended.
First sip and a pleasant surprise. Yellow fruit flavours lead to a very pleasing palate. Nice bit of acidity too and all combine in a lovely finalé. The colour is a pale straw. Aromas of peach and apple hint of good things to come. A decent wine at a decent price from a surprising source as I wouldn’t have thought of Sicily as a hotbed of Pinot Grigio.
This wine has been exclusively selected for Dunnes Stores Simply Better. It is produced by Casa Fondata on the sunny island off the toe of Italy. Dunnes recommend it as a “perfect accompaniment to our Roasted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil & Mozzarella”.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Bianco de Ampeleia, Costa Toscano Bianco (IGT) 2017, 11%, €23.95 Le Caveau 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin,
The famous Elisabetta Foradori from Trentino is a driving force behind Ampeleia and, where Elisabetta goes you’ll find good wine. This, Bianco di Ampeleia, mainly made from the old variety Trebbiano, with an addition of other local white grapes (Malvasia, Grecanico & Ansonica) grown together in the same vineyard, is a fine example.
Might be a bit much to say the colour is rose gold but it is a cloudy gold with pink tones, very much in orange wine territory here and certainly organic. It is fragrant, hints of orange peel and dried fruit. You know now you are on to something different. And then you discover the amazing flavours; it is creamy, complex and fresh. Superb body and long dry finish. Very satisfactory indeed and Very Highly Recommended. Exactly the kind of wine to give organic orange-coloured wines a good name.
Should be excellent and versatile with food, anything from fish to turkey, from antipasti and bruschetta to creamy dishes like risottos, spaghetti ala carbonara, and fettuccine alfredo. Try it too with fruit desserts.
Podere La Prendia Pinot Grigio, Mantova (IGT) 2017, 12.5%, €16.50 Marks & Spencer
M&S winemaker Jeneve Williams had a hand in this excellent unoaked white, produced from grapes in the “mild and temperate” climate of Northern Italy (near Lake Garda). It is 100 per cent Pinot Grigio, one of the most popular varieties grown in Italy.
I remember hearing Australian winemaker Tim Adams speaking in Cork about ten years ago and he was introducing his Pinot Gris which had a distinct pink tint. He told us that this is a natural phenomenon of the grape and which he had retained, at least for that harvest. It is a distinctive grey on the vine but, when squeezed, the juice runs pink.
This is because Pinot Grigio is actually a red variety but with very low anthocyanin (the molecules that give colour to red grapes). Anyhow enough of the technical!
Back to the glass and what you’ll notice is that this wine from Montova has very little colour at all, just a hint of yellow. Aromas are pleasant, pear prominent. There is a surprisingly complex palate (it has spent some time on its lees), pear and lime mingle, a lively acidity and a persistent finish. A premium refreshing Pinot Grigio and Very Highly Recommended.
Serve it lightly chilled to get the best from it. Great as an aperitif or pair with white fish dishes or light herby pasta recipes.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Pinot Gris, more widely known by its Italian name Pinot Grigio, is one of the most popular grapes around.
Quite often it doesn't have much flavour and is easy to drink and these wines are sometimes described as inoffensive, a kind of damning with faint praise. It's as if someone said your wife or husband is "an inoffensive little person, you'd hardly know he/she was there". Luckily, the two below have lots of character, character that you'll appreciate as you get to know them. You'll soon know you have a real wine in your glass. And nothing offensive about it at all.
|Giorgio (right) in Cork last year.|
* In a 2015 article in the Irish Times, their wine expert John Wilson said Pinot was the Genghis Khan of wine and went on to write about Pinot Grigio (one of its many offspring). Read the full article here.
Colutta Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali (DOC), 2015, 12.5%, €17.50 Wines Direct.
Colutta may well be a small operator but is present in Ireland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Russia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa and, of course, United States and Italy. Giorgio Colutta took over the family vineyard in 1998 and The History of Modern Italian Wine credits him with being one of the influencers of the first decade of this century.
He is not organic; his emphasis, he told a group of us in Cork last year, is on being environmentally sustainable, it is easier to be organic in the south, he said. He uses mechanical control instead of herbicides, recycles rainwater and is self-sufficient with regard to energy consumption.
Modern Italian wine says “he used Pinot Grigio as his passe-partout to introduce the indigenous varieties”. These varieties include his amazing Schioppettino, which he showed in Cork.
Colour of the Pinot Grigio is straw yellow and there are fruit and floral elements in the bouquet. It is smooth and rich and full of flavour. Much more intense than your usual PG and no wonder Wines Direct regard it as “the best Pinot Grigio in Ireland”. A long finish adds to the pleasure. Very Highly Recommended.
The website tells us that the wine is left on lees until February to develop a better flavour and bouquet. It is not oaked and best served between 10 to 12 degrees.
Zenato Pinot Grigio della Venezia (IGT) 2015, 12.5%, €18.00 O’Donovan’s Off Licence
Zenato, well known for their reds, are on the fringes of Lake Garda and current wine-maker Alfredo Zenato heads the family’s drive to “produce affordable wines of exceptional quality”. And this is indeed an excellent expression of the grape, with more personality than most and a refreshing finish.
The colour is pale gold with green tints. A pleasant melange of citrus and peach in the aromas continues in the impressive palate, smooth and elegant right through to a persistent and grippy finish. A perfect wine for moules frites in the months ahead on the patio (finger crossed!). Highly Recommended.
Lovely as an aperitif and should go well with most of the lighter Italian and Italian style dishes. We tried it (didn't have that many options at the time) with salmon, risotto and pak choi and it worked very well.
See also (from current Italian series):
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!
Vino Italiano (2005) sums up Pighin: A large estate with holdings in both the Grave and Collio DOCs. There are some decent wines in the bunch, and the Grave wines are bargains.
They have proved innovative wine-makers and built the first Italian example of an insulated winery. No water wasted here; the terrace roof is irrigated with well water which contributes to cooling down the spaces before returning down to where it came from. See the Modern History Of Italian Wine (2016) for more.
Grave is named, in much the same way as its Bordeaux namesake, after its gravelly soil. The Pighin family were in haulage when they took 30 hectares of Risano in 1964 and their drive for quality started then and continues.
Their piece of Grave is considered superior for its wines, leading to varietal intensity and aromatic complexity. Pinot Grigio is king here and this below is a right royal example below.
Pighin Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli (DOC) 2015, 12.5%, €17.75 Karwig Wines
The colour is a straw yellow, micro bubbles noticeable. The complex aromas speak of white fruits, hints of blossom too. On the palate, it is smooth and noticeably supple, superbly balanced and with a persistent finish. Nothing watery or weak about it; just a full bodied example of the grape and Very Highly Recommended.
Pighin Risano blanco Venezia Giulia (IGT) 2013, 12.5%, €14.85 Karwig Wines
The grapes used in this white are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, plus autochthonous (i.e. indigenous) varieties of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. They come from the vineyard of Risano where “Hot, breezy summers, rigorous winters and average rainfall create particularly favourable conditions”.
This very light straw coloured wine has attractive, if modest, floral aromas. That gentleness continues and combined with the freshness of the palate makes it an ideal aperitif. Good acidity should see it pair well with the recommended salads and light summery offerings. A very pleasant wine indeed and Recommended and good value, especially if you have a gang coming to visit.
See also (from my current Italian mini-series):In the Heart of Chianti
From the Islands
Sweet Favourite of the Romans. Still Going Strong.
Barolo and Amarone. Two Italians Worth Knowing
Montepulciano and Montepulciano confused?
Pinot Grigio, one of the most popular grapes.