Showing posts with label Rhone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rhone. Show all posts

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Two Very Fine Viogniers. One from the Rhone, the other from South Africa’s Paarl.

Two Very Fine Viogniers. 

One from the Rhone, 

the other from South Africa’s Paarl.

Ferraton Viognier Collines Rhodaniennes (IGP) 2019, 13.5%

€19.50 Ardkeen Grocery Store, Waterford// Little Green Grocer,

Kilkenny// Manning's, Ballylickey// The Olive Branch, Clonakilty.

This mellow full bodied Viognier, from the Northern Rhone, comes in a lovely bright yellow colour with green hints. Apricot (with pear and orange) plus floral notes combine to promise much as they lead the aromas. And the promise is well delivered on the cheering palate, soft and thick, fresh and vibrant, all the way to a very pleasant fruity finish. 

It comes unostentatiously (it is after all the relation and neighbour of the ultra-famous, and much more expensive Condrieu), laden with a sack full of delicious scents and flavours. Very Highly Recommended.

Collines Rhodaniennes more or less covers the entire Northern Rhone, stretching from Montélimar (well-known for its nougat) in the south to Lyon (capital city of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region) in the north, and its IGP replaces Vin de France. 

The fruit for this Ferraton is grown on the right bank of the Rhône, along the foothills of northern Ardèche. The terroir is composed of granite and decomposed granite. Traditional agriculture methods are in use and the harvest is carried out manually when the grapes reach optimum ripeness. 

It is recommended to serve this wine at 12-13°C as aperitif, with foie gras, with salads, with grilled meat and all fish dishes. Wine Folly suggests dishes flavoured with almonds, citrus, stewed fruits, and aromatic herbs such as Thai Basil and tarragon. And, with its apricot influences, you could also try it, as Grapes & Wines indicate, with pork or chicken with an apricot stuffing. Also, the Armenian dish of trout and apricot should be another match.

I often wonder does the name of this grape put newcomers off buying a bottle, especially if you have to pronounce it. Here’s how: vee-own-yay. Much of the Viognier we come across here in Ireland is from France but it is grown around the world and finding favour in Australia and California in particular. And we've got another good one below from South Africa.

Charles Back

Fairview Viognier, Paarl South Africa 2020, 13.5% 

RRP €24.99 The 1601 /

The South African Viognier by Fairview has a bright light gold colour with exotic fruit aromas along with subtle oak notes. It is vibrant and refreshing in the mouth, rich and complex with apricot shining through, peach and lime in there as well. A lively acidity contributes to the balance along with the subtle oak. It feels close to creamy (thanks in part to its time on lees). And there’s a long lasting finish. Very Highly Recommended.

The grapes were hand picked in the early morning and whole bunch pressed. Only the free run juice was used. Sixty per cent of the Viognier was fermented in French oak barrels (20% new) with the remaining 40% fermented in stainless-steel tanks. After fermentation, the wine was left to mature on lees for eight months, with regular stirring, prior to being blended for additional texture and body.

The fruit is sourced from the vineyards at Fairview farm in Agter-Paarl. These trellised Fairview vines are grown on the slopes of Paarl mountain, on decomposed granite soils. Summer canopy management practices including leaf removal and shoot positioning ensure optimal sunlight penetration into the canopies.

I heard owner Charles Back and wine-maker Charl du Plessis, in a Zoom presentation the year before last, say the high cropping level is a problem. “We need to manage the canopy. Treat it as a red grape early on, the aim always is to get the correct balance between the alcohol and the tannins.” I reckon they got it spot-on in 2020.

That year, unlike previous vintages, was very good, not just for the region, but for South Africa in general. Winters were cool with sufficient rainfall. Spring was mild and summer saw warmer temperatures allowing fruit to ripen at a steady rate. The Viognier was harvested between the 2nd - 7th February.

The Fairview website, naturally enough, is proud of the achievements of owner Charles who  was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the International Wine Challenge in 2014. He is a true pioneer of the region, credited with bringing Mediterranean varieties to the Cape. 

“One of the (many) gifts that Charles Back has brought to Cape wine was, and still is, Fairview Viognier. Planting the mother block of this French grape in 1994, Charles and team have nurtured this variety to bring you a gorgeously aromatic and refined wine. A must try!”


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

From the Rhone and Med. Two Outstanding Reds For You. Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

 From the Rhone and Med. 

Two Outstanding Reds For You.

Beaujolais Soirée at On The Pig's Back.

Famille Tari IGP Méditerranée Cadet de la Bégude (IGP Méditerranée) 2020, 14% ABV 

RRP €26.99 Neighbourhood Wines; Green Man Wines; Terroirs; The Corkscrew; Pinto Wines; Myles Creek;; MacCurtain Wine Cellar, Cork

This red is a blend of three grapes associated with the Mediterranean: Grenache 35%, Mourvèdre 35%, and Cinsault 30%. It is classed as a IGP Méditerranée, a wide-ranging appellation that covers most of Provence and more. Wine Searcher tells us that this Cadet de la Begude has been ratedas one of the top 5 IGP Mediterranée wines” even though it is also regarded “like a second wine for the estate”. 

Colour is mid to dark ruby. Aromas are quite intense, darker fruit, mostly cherry. And that cherry edge continues on the palate. The balances comes from a fresh acidity and you also get fine-grained tannins, plus a spicy finish. Very Highly Recommended.

I’m not the only one happy with it. The producers are ecstatic, if the almost poetic label is anything to go by: A noble terroir and the signature of the Tart family 7th generation of winegrowers, give birth to this valiant Cadet. A selection with a fragrance of freedom, respectful of its environment, carried by the Mistral wind and the light of the Mediterranean Sea.


Domaine de la Bégude was purchased in 1996 by seventh-generation winemaker Guillaume Tari, Once a stopover for travellers seeking shelter and sustenance – ‘beguda’ means ‘drink’ or ‘the place to drink’ in Provençal – the estate was abandoned and overgrown when Guillaume discovered it. He and his wife set about replanting the old terraces and restoring the buildings. Certified organic since 2006, the vineyards are located at 400m altitude above sea level at the highest point in the Bandol.

Guillaume’s focus now is on producing wines that truly reflect their origins. All the grapes are harvested manually, sorted twice, destemmed and fermented with natural yeasts. The Cadet rouge and rosé are an equal blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault and are produced from the youngest vines at the estate, which have an average age of 10 years. As the vines are not old enough, the range is classified as IGP Méditerranée instead of Bandol AOC.


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Maison Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage Rouge (AOC) 2020, 13% ABV
RRP €34.99 Michael's Mount Merrion, Pinto Wines, McHugh’s Off Licence - Malahide Road,

“Of all the wines produced in France, none offer more excitingly spicy flavours than those of the Rhone Valley.”*

And that is where our wine comes from. Colour of this 100% Shiraz is a deep purple with a sustained bright hue. It is fragrant with ripe cherry, small red fruit and spicy of course! On the palate it is well-structured, juicy, intensely fruity, spicy also, and fresh, with a wonderful balance, finishing long with velvety tannins. Very Highly Recommended.

The fruit for the Domaine Les Alexandrins wines comes entirely from estate-owned vineyards in Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is aged in large 55 – 80 hectolitre wooden vats for 10 months, followed by six months in stainless steel, softening the tannins and maintaining freshness.

The label indicates that the soil here - pebbles* and clay - has been made for Syrah. "Aged in wood for 12 months, our Crozes-Hermitage can be enjoyed young but will also age wonderfully.”

Crozes-Hermitage is the largest of the Northern Rhône appellations, about ten times larger than the neighbouring Hermitage, whose famous hill spreads out behind the town of Tain l'Hermitage 

Both wines are produced from Syrah and, while there are many similarities between the adjacent appellations, Hermitage scores where it counts even if you have to be patient with it as it “needs to be laid down for five, ten, even twenty years to fully open up”. Only some vintages of Croze can be laid down for long periods.  

The writer Alexandre Dumas is the famous patron of Hermitage while the best Croze-Hermitage can come up with is a bandit called Mandrin. I suspect that many of you, like myself, are glad that the less expensive Croze-Hermitage usually represents much better value. After all, some of its best vineyards are situated just behind that famous hill. You don’t have to be a bandit to enjoy.

And speaking of taking things for free….

Pebbles, brought in by the river from Switzerland in the quad-centenary period, is a bit of a misnomer here as the generally flat stones are quite large. Winemakers have to keep an eye on them: “People steal them to finish a calade (stone path) or build a pool wall. They are stealing our terroir!” More here


* from French Wines by Robert Joseph.


Best Value Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Two to enjoy: A special Garganega and a delicious Syrah Rosé from the Rhone.

Two to enjoy: A special Garganega 

and a delicious Syrah Rosé from the Rhone.

Angiolino Maule, La Biancara, Masieri Bianco Garganega Veneto (IGT) 2021, 12.0% ABV

€20.95 Grainstore Wine Pop-Up Ballymaloe, 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

La Biancara, the vineyard, was “born” in the end of 80s, when pizza makers Angiolino and Rosamaria Maule bought a small plot of land, about six hectares, in the hills of Gambellara (a town in the Veneto). Since the beginning, they worked to develop their personal idea of wine; a wine created by the exaltation of nature, without chemical interferences in wineyard or in cellar, in order to obtain the highest expression of terroir in every bottle. 

Vino Italiano, which praises the vineyard (as does the World Atlas of Wine), says it could be argued that the (white) wines are purer expressions of Garganega than those of neighbouring Soave (where the grape dominates). Garganega is thought by some to be related to the Greco (another Mediterranean grape that I favour) of southern Italy.

Serve at approximately 10 Celsius with mussels, scallops, lobster, a variety of fish, tofu and grilled poultry. Herbs such as tarragon and chives will help highlight the green notes in the wine.

Straw is the colour of this 2021 white, predominantly Garganega but with  a ”drop of Trebbiano”. It is slightly clouded (they neither filter nor fine the wine). Aromas are delicate, floral notes and also tart lemon, lime and tangerine. Acidity is quite lively in this full bodied wine and there’s a fine finish as well. Very Highly Recommended. Serve at approximately 10 Celsius with mussels, scallops, lobster, a variety of fish, tofu and grilled poultry. Herbs such as tarragon and chives will help highlight the green notes in the wine.

They also produce a superb red, usually found with the white!


Yves Cuilleron “Sybel” Syrah Rosé Vin du France 2020, 13.5%

€18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny 

If you’re looking for a delicious dry rosé for slightly meatier fare or as these sunny (?) days turn to chilly evenings, look no further than this ruddy (should I say bloody?) Rhone rosé by maestro Yves Cuilleron.

Ruddy may be pushing it a bit but the colour of this bottle is a more robust pink than you normally see, thanks to the producer employing the “saignée” method (see below). It is produced from 100% Syrah grown “within the confines of the village of Chavanay in the Northern Rhone”.  

It is pretty to look at and the aromatics are promising if relatively delicate. Then the serious berry flavours kick in big time on the palate, quite an impressive amalgam of strawberries, cherries and raspberries all wrapped in a Syrah spice. So good, so well balanced, bright and fresh, this is one to look out for this summer (or perhaps its extension). Highly Recommended.

Saignée (means bleeding) is a unique style of rosé wine because it is so often bolder and darker in colour than any other rosé wine. If you’re not a fan of traditional rosé, you might like it because it’s “bigger, darker, and stronger than other wimpy pink wines”, according to Wine Folly. “Saignée also describes a method of rosé winemaking that involves ‘bleeding’ off a portion of red wine juice after it’s been in contact with the skins and seeds.”

See more (just a little!) on the subject here 

Yves Cuilleron initially worked as an engineer before being hit by the wine bug at age 26. He went to train at Ecole Viticole of Macon for a year then came back home, at the foot of Condrieu and Côte Rotie hills, and took over the family’s 3.5-ha estate.Importers Le Caveau are big fans. “The return of Yves Cuilleron to resuscitate his uncle’s farm is not only significant for a single individual or domaine. His efforts to return the region’s wines to global prominence will save the area’s vineyards from fading back into the hills and help to breathe life back into Condrieu, Côte-Rotie, and other corners of the northern Rhone.”

Geek Bits

Soil: Granite terroir.

Style: Rosé de Saignée

Grape: Syrah

Winery: Vinified and matured in barrique and in tank.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

A Montefalco Red and a Rhone White. A Superb Pair from Le Caveau.

 A Montefalco Red and a Rhone White. 

A Superb Pair from Le Caveau.

Tenuta Belefonte Pomontino Montefalco Rosso (DOC) 2019, 13%

€21.95 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Pomontino is not a grape but the name of this blend of two grapes; one is the well-known Sangiovese (80%) and the other is Sagrantino.

It comes, from Umbria, in a light ruby robe, bearing warm rich welcoming aromas of cherry and berry. No shortage of these fruit flavours on the palate but now the main feature of this light and elegant wine is the vivid acidity that helps keep it all balanced on the way to a dry finish where you’ll note some light tannins (mostly on the lips). Very Highly Recommended.

It has been aged one year in large Slovenian oak casks and 6 months in bottle. Native yeasts are used and it is neither fined nor filtered, total production was 16,000 bottles and the recommended service temperature is 16° - 18°C (64°F).

It comes from the small area of Montefalco, part of Umbria perhaps best known for the tannic red Sagrantino. The vineyard expands on it: “The area of Montefalco, and more generally the Umbria region, can boast a deep-rooted tradition not only for reds but also for white wines. Particularly fresh wines, intriguing for their structure and surprising with the evolution.”

The owner Peter Heilbron is a relative newcomer. About 15 years ago, he was the busy MD of Heineken Italy. Then he and his wife Sabina purchased this wonderful 40-ha property and set aside 11 hectares for the vineyard (the rest of the land is dedicated to woodland, orchards and olive trees).

Heilbron designed his winery, completed in 2010, building it into the clay and marl hillside with subterranean porous walls made from gabions, steel baskets filled with stones. The winery is energy independent, using solar panels for electricity and generating heat and hot water by burning vine cuttings in a biomass boiler.

In the vineyards, Heilbron shuns chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, using seaweed and plant extracts as a kind of vine homeopathy. He has not pursued organic certification because, in rainy seasons, he sometimes prefers to use a sustainable fungicide to fight mildew rather than copper sulfate, which is permitted for organic use but can build up in the soil and be toxic to bees and other organisms. "I prefer to do it my way," he says. And going by this bottle and the white below, his way is working out very well indeed!

You may well be wondering about the Sagrantino grape, a little known one here in Ireland though once it “used to be considered good for convalescents”, according to Grapes & Wine which goes on to say it is found around Perugia in Umbria and makes intense, tannic and strongly fruity wines.

We enjoyed the white relatively recently and you may check it out here:

Montefalco Bianco

Chaume-Arnaud Côtes Du Rhône blanc (AOC) 2020, 13.5%

€20.40 64 Wine DublinBradley’s of CorkGreenman DublinLe Caveau Kilkenny

Straddling both banks of the Rhône River, from Vienne to Avignon, the AC Côtes Du Rhône (CdR) includes over 170 communes and 6 departments: Loire, Thone, Ardeche, Drome, Vaucluse and the Gard.

The main white varieties are White Grenache, White Claudette, Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier and Bourboulenc. Secondary varieties are White Picpoul and White Ugni. This is an AOC wine; for the IGP wine, Chaume-Arnaud turn to Chenin, Chasselas and Vermentino. CdR regulations allow the use of some 22 grape varieties between red and white.

This one by Chaume-Arnaud (Le Caveau also import the red) is a blend of 40% Marsanne (hardy, vigorous, generous), 40% Roussanne (delicate, elegant, and complex) with 20% Viognier (hardy, high alcohol, can enrich bouquet). 

Colour is mid-straw, clear and crisp. The bouquet is fruity and floral and that transfers to the palate, with peach, pear, apricot prominent, a beautiful texture and, with fresh acidity contributing, a fine and delicious balance. Serve at 12 degrees (according to the label) and you’ll find it ideal with grilled fish, shellfish, fish stew and goats cheese.

It is a really excellent wine. And we shouldn’t be surprised. While the Rhône is best known for its reds, the winemakers don’t suddenly lose their skills when they turn to making whites. Very Highly Recommended.

Le Caveau: 

“Domaine Chaume-Arnaud is biodynamically managed and comprises of 38 ha of vineyards planted on slopes and terraces around the picturesque villages of Vinsobres and Saint-Maurice, near Nyons.

The altitude, between 200 to 450m, and the cool wind from the nearby Alps (the Pontias) keep the temperature lower than the neighbouring villages and contribute to the natural freshness and complexity of the wines……The focus is to have the healthy, biodynamically grown fruits shine into the wines; winemaking is resolutely low intervention and no additives (albeit a tiny amount of SO2) are used.”

Valérie and husband Philipe, and now son Thibaud, are the family behind the chateau: We first chose to work in organic farming, which seems to us to be more respectful of the earth and people, ….Over the years, we have noticed that not only are our soils more lively, but our vines are more vigorous and our wines have evolved towards a more harmonious balance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

A Distinctive Rhone Double by Mas Théo

A Distinctive Rhone Double by Mas Théo


Mas Théo “Griffon” Grignan-les-Adhémar (AOP) 2014, 14%

€22.95 Taste in Castletownbere; Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; The Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny; Mary Pawle.

This is a Rhone GSM, with the emphasis very much on the Syrah, with its forward flavour and boldness, and which accounts for 90% of the blend while Grenache has 7%, leaving three for the Mourvedre.

The nose of this dark ruby wine is rich, ripe red fruits and a whiff of spice. The aromatic power continues into the flavours on the palate and the spice is not shy either. Complex and robust, full bodied with soft tannins, it is balanced. Harmonious to the long finish with notes of vanilla. Quite a mouthful. Two thirds of the wine has spent 12 months in barrels. This outstanding combination of strong character and smoothness is Very Highly Recommended.

The label tells us that the best serving temperature is 16 degrees (you’ll also see 14 mentioned elsewhere on their social media) and suggests matching with match with lamb tagine, mushroom tournedos, lamb puff pastry, game (deer, venison), buffalo with foie gras sauce, boar stew…

You, like me, may be wondering about the name of the wine. Griffon, for me, is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion that you often see on religious buildings. There is also a breed of dog, the most popular of which seems to be the Brussels Griffon. But the griffon on our bottle is of a humbler origin, merely “a tool used to work the land to eliminate weeds but also to aerate and invigorate the life of the soil”.

Mas Théo is located in the north of the southern Rhone, quite close to the town of Montelimar (the nougat capital of France) and here they grow typical Rhone grapes. 

Les Caves Cathedrales, huge cavernous caves that were formerly used for quarrying stone, now contain the Mas Théo winery. Pic via Mary Pawle Wines

Mas Théo Gemeaux Vin de France 2017, 13.0%

€18.50 Taste in Castletownbere; Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; The Little Green Grocer in Kilkenny; Mary Pawle.

This “delicious and crunchy” wine is a blend of Carignan (60%) and Mourvedre (40), is organic and biodynamic. Recommended serving temperature is 12%.

It has a dark red colour and you’ll find dark berries  and hints of the garrigue (local scrubland) in the aromas. It’s nice and smooth on the palate, has excellent acidity, is medium to full bodied, tannins are smooth and there’s a good finish. Highly Recommended.

Planted among fields of lavender and thyme or olive groves, on land long famous for its truffles, the vines in Mas Théo soak up the scents and aromas distilled by the generous sun of the Drôme provençale.

Pairing suggestions, obviously from the French side, are snails with parsley, ostrich fillet with morel sauce, couscous with lamb, lamb pie, and steak with Roquefort cheese.

Staying local, it should go well with duck, roast pork shoulder and the upcoming turkey, also Gouda style cheese (Ballinrostig, Coolea and Hegarty’s Templegall). And Steak with Cashel Blue, pourquoi pas?

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Couple Of Youthful Reds From The Rhone and The Veneto

A Couple Of Youthful Reds From The Rhone and The Veneto

Mas Theo Le P’tit Gaby (Vin de France) 2019, 13.0%,

€14.65,  Taste Food & Wine Shop in Castletownbere, Mary Pawle

This blend from the area of Drome (about 20 minutes east of the Rhone river) consists of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Carignan and it is organic and biodynamic.

Colour is a mid to dark red. Aromas are rather concentrated, a melange of floral and fruity (blackcurrant), herbal notes too. And there’s a double barrelled palate, fresh and forward fruit (nothing jammy about this) and high level spice, the aromatics still a factor. This very drinkable Rhone wine impresses all the way to the lip-licking finish..

While the fruit is grown and the wine is made in the Rhone, it is labelled Vin du France, but don’t let that put you off! Very Highly Recommended.

While the Rhone in general may have its problems - this year’s big freeze for example - Mas Theo has one of its own. They’ve named it Operation electric fence.  “The presence of the wolf in our woods has been officially confirmed which also resulted in this predator decreasing the wild boar population. We would have thought we were quiet for grapes but there are finally some resilient ones who are in the industry and enjoying the sweetness of our clusters.” 

Tips from the source: This is a good wine to consume in its youth, which helps to highlight its fruity and slightly spicy notes. P’tit Gaby was the nickname of Laurent Clapier’s great grandfather : Gabriel Théolas.

Match with: grill on the barbecue, aperitif with tapenade, gambas a la plancha …

Service temperature: 10°C.

*Mas, by the way, simple means farmhouse. You’ll see it in Provence (Mas de la Dame was a favourite of mine on one visit to the area) and also at the other side of the Pyrenees (Mas Igneus, for example, is a Mary Pawle supplier in Priorat).

Giol Cabernet Sauvignon Veneto IGT 2019, 12.5%, 

€13.70 Taste Food & Wine Shop in Castletownbere, Mary Pawle

This organic (and vegan friendly) Cabernet Sauvignon blanc from the north east of Italy is a deep ruby colour. The aromas are fresh and fruity with a herb-y hint. The palate is quite intense, flavours of cherry and red and darker berries, harmonious start to finish. It is a youthful Cabernet Sauvignon and quite a pleasant easy-drinking wine that has no added sulphites. Highly Recommended.

They say: Our grape must and wines are pure grape juice; they are not tampered with in any way but are shown respect and allowed to mature naturally. In addition to the organoleptic quality of the flavours and aromas, we also guarantee food quality: digestibility, hygiene and freshness. Our products are as genuine and honest as our know-how and experience makes possible….  For nearly 600 years, our winery has placed an emphasis on nature, quality and beauty. Our family’s long experience is apparent in our esteemed wines.”

Pairings: haute-cuisine meat dishes, charcoal-grilled meats, red and white roast meats, fancy poultry and game, mature cheeses like medium-mature and mature Piave, and medium-fat semi-hard cheeses. Serve at around 20° C to heighten the aromas and flavours.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

France: A beautiful Morgon and, from the south, a gorgeous Ginger!

France: A beautiful Morgon and, from the south,

a gorgeous Ginger!

Bonne Tonne “Côte Du Py” Morgan (AOC) 2018, 13%

€28.75 The Vintry, Rathgar, Dublin. The Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny. Manning's BallylickeyMary Pawle 

“To come to live off our profession by producing a small quantity of grapes for a great quality of wine..”

The Gamay grape, outlawed by Royal decree in 1395  for being “a very bad and disloyal plant”, is now one of the most respected, at least when grown in the Beaujolais region. And Morgan, where the Grillet family make their Bonne Tonne wines, is one of ten cru areas here and one of the better known ones.

So I’m expecting good things when I pour this mid ruby coloured wine. I won’t be disappointed at all. The dark berry aromas are quite intense, inviting, rich and fresh. And so it continues on the rich and rounded palate, smooth and harmonious all the way through to a long intense finish. It is an absolutely amazing Gamay and Very Highly Recommended. 

The Grillet family have been winemakers for seven generations in Morgon and their vines are of an average age of 65 years. 1.10 ha is grown in Beaujolais appellation including 50 ares in Gamay and 60 ares in Chardonnay. The wines of the area possess a lot of finesse and a wonderfully expressive fruit.

Here is how the Grillets sum it up: “This is the challenge we have embarked on. To come to live off our profession by producing a small quantity of grapes for a great quality of wine and to make finally express itself this soil so rich which does not require less. The 'black gamay with white juice', the only grape variety authorized for red wines in Beaujolais, can thus translate all its complexity of aromas.”

The Morgon "Côte du Py", is the most famous climat of the vineyard. 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.

World famous for its exceptional soil resulting from ancient volcanic activity, the soil of the Py hill is composed of decomposing volcanic elements, with the presence of iron oxide and manganese. The blue rock is friable, and so the locals have been known to claim that the best Morgon are made on this land of  terre pourrie (rotten rock)! 


Mas Théo Ginger Vin de France 2019, 12.5%

€17.70 Toon’s Bridge Dairy shop in Dublin (Georges St D2)Mary Pawle 

From the middle of the Rhone area, this orange/gold coloured wine, tannic and fruity, is a blend of Marsanne (35%), Roussane (35%), Grenache Blanc (30%). And it is “vinification like the reds” that gives the wine that orange-y hue.

And, so the vineyard says, the name Ginger, the hair colour or the vegetable, fits well with the spirit of this wine. “And the label’s red hen is a nod to those of the farm” but remains silent on the fox!

Aromas are complex: barley sugar, butterscotch. And you can find much the same combination in the flavours on the full palate plus stone fruit flavours such as plum and apricot. All before a lingering and very pronounced dry, almost sherry type, finish. If you are not familiar with the style, this is a pretty good bridge to orange wines and is Highly Recommended. It is new to the Mary Pawle range and should be available in more outlets in the future.

Served at 10°C, the wine should go well with “with a Bresse chicken with morel sauce (good luck with that!) or a very chocolatey dessert”.

Since 2012, the biodynamic wines are made in old stone quarries: the Caves Cathédrales. This troglodyte area is an ideal cradle for the elaboration of these natural wines in the same way that tufa quarries of the Loire are ideal for raising wine and growing mushrooms. “The atmosphere of the Caves Cathédrales, rather cold at 57°F (14C), but regular throughout the year, makes it possible to manage the wines without preservative.” The vineyard itself is part of a mixed farming enterprise.