Showing posts with label St Chinian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St Chinian. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Two Excellent Reds For Santa's Bigger Helpers. A Grenache/Mourvèdre Blend from St Chinian and A Malbec From Argentina's Mendoza

Two Reds For Santa's Bigger Helpers. 

A Grenache/Mourvèdre Blend from St Chinian

A Malbec From Argentina's Mendoza


Chateau Bousquette Pruneyrac St Chinian (DOC) 2018, 14.5%

R.R.P. €17.90. The Quay Co-Op, Cork/ Scally's Supervalu, Clonakilty
// The Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny // 

This is a big wine from the Midi, full of the aromas and flavours of organic Grenache (50%) and Mourvèdre.

Colour is purple, a little lighter at the edge, tears are slow to clear. Aromas are expressive: spice, pepper, wild berries and the local garrigue. On the palate it is harmonious, with intense flavours and silky tannins. Finish is long and spicy.  Very Highly Recommended

The Domaine de la Bousquette was the property of the Abbaye de Foncaude until the French Revolution. A long line of winegrowers, including the Fabre-Ginoulhac family who managed it until 1996, followed before it was taken over by Swiss winegrowers Eric and Isabelle Perret

It was very early on, in 1972, that the Domaine de la Bousquette joined the " Nature et Progrès " charter, and is now regularly certified by Ecocert for organic farming, without chemical fertilisers, weedkillers or pesticides.

This cuvée is named after an old family from the region, who were very involved in the estate at the beginning of the century, as evidenced by old bottles found in the cellars. Pruneyrac is in Saint-Chinian, an appellation in the large southern France region of Languedoc-Roussillon.

Uncork about 1 hour before the meal and serve with, for example, with lamb shoulder confit with sweet onions and ginger. Perfect too with a leg of lamb, cassoulet, strong cheese or a barbecue. By the way, this juicy red is excellent with turkey!


Top Wines 2022. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 



El Abasto Malbec Mendoza (Argentina) 2018, 14% ABV, 

RRP €19.35. 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

There are, according to Wines of South America, two main factors that help Malbec thrive in Mendoza. 

The low rainfall (12” as against 30” Bordeaux) and its timing, falling mostly in the summer, promotes ripening and minimises disease. Second, Mendoza’s wide thermal amplitude (put simply, the difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures) promotes aromatic development and softened tannins. The proof’s in a glass of this vibrant fruity full-bodied wine.

Where did the name come from. The label tells us that by the end of the 19th century, Buenos Aires was growing significantly due to migration from Europe. The El Abasto market opened in 1893 and, with many immigrant neighbourhoods, it quickly became also a centre for Tango, poetry, and culture.

Mid to dark ruby is the colour. The aromas are full of jammy dark and red fruit, all saying welcome, come on. And in the mouth, it is equally loveable, totally gluggable. That punchy yet soft fruit (plum, blackberry) comes in a medium body, and the wine is smooth right through to the finalé. Put this on your Malbec shortlist. Highly Recommended.

Pair with charcuterie, cold cuts, firm cheeses, steaks, burgers, pasta with red sauce and, among other things, Wine Folly suggests melted blue cheese.. And it can be served chilled, though you probably won’t need to do that at this time of year!

We can get some excellent Malbec from Cahors (in the south west of France) where it originated and is known as Côt. But is has found a welcoming home in Argentina and is the country’s most important grape. Indeed most of the world’s Malbec is now grown in Argentina.


Best Value Wines 2022 Under €18.00. With Reviews & Irish Stockists. 


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Treviso Pinot Grigio Stands Out. As Does Our Delicious Saint Chinian Red

A Treviso Pinot Grigio Stands Out. 
As Does Our Delicious Saint Chinian Red 

GIOL Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie (DOC) 2020, 12.5%

RRP: €13.90-€14  Stockists: Urru, Bandon/ The Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny/ Taste, Castletownbere / The Olive Branch, Clonakilty, The Quay Co-Op, Cork and Mary Pawle

This Pinot Grigio from the Treviso based winery has a straw (even a hint of copper) colour, darker than most. Aromas of ripe peach and apricot plus dry hay, are delicate yet promising. Flavour and texture make an immediate impressive impact on the palate. The flavours follow the aromas right through to a refreshing lip-smacking finish. A crisp and balanced Pinot Grigio that stands out from the crowd and Highly Recommended.

Back to the texture. The wine is kept on the fine lees and has more contact with the skin than usual. You’ll note the words “Skin ferment” on the front label. It is akin to an orange wine, also known as skin-contact white wine, skin-fermented white wine, or amber wine, and is a type of wine made from white wine grapes where the grape skins are not removed, as in typical white wine production, and stay in contact with the juice for days or even months.

You’ll also see the word “ramato” on the label. According to Decanter (Oct 2019), Ramato is for the wine lover who wants more from their Pinot Grigio. “When Pinot Grigio grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to spend time with the juice, a teasing, tactile texture and coppery hue results in a distinct wine style called ramato. It comes from the word ‘rame’ which means ‘copper’ in Italian.”

The vineyard say it is excellent with vegetable hors d’oeuvres, soups and starters, grilled fish with sauces, Parma ham and melon, and soufflés. Serving temperature: 10-12° C. 

They say: 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. Since 1987, we have been producing wine from grapes grown in our historic vineyards using organic farming methods, respecting both the environment and the raw ingredient. 

* We’ve recently reviewed another of GIOL wines on the site, a Cabernet Sauvignon, here . 

Chateau Bousquette Pruneyrac St Chinian (2017), 14%

€17.75. Quay Co-Op, Cork/  Scally’s Supervalu, Clonakilty/ Morton’s of Galway / The Grainey, Scarriff, Co. Clare., Mary Pawle

This organic wine has an intense red robe, close to purple. Aromas are expressive, spice, pepper, wild berries and the local garrigue. Believe it or not, I stayed once in a gite near Narbonne (about half an hour away from St Chinian) and the owner was Madame Garrigue.

Madame and myself got on quite well, very well indeed, and this is how my relationship with this wine is going. The palate ups it another notch, dense and silky, tannins smooth as can be. Flavours are delicious, red and darker fruits at its centre and sweet notes of spice in the long finish. Very Highly Recommended. Great price too by the way.

Pruneyrac is from Saint-Chinian, an appellation in the large southern France region of Languedoc-Roussillon. It is made from two local grape varieties: Mourvèdre (predominately) and Grenache noir. This cuvée takes the name of an ancient family from the region who made wine here at the beginning of the previous century as evidenced by old bottles found in the cellars.

The current winemakers suggest this wine will be perfect with a leg of lamb with prunes. Serve at 17 degrees and, if you wish, keep for about 5 years.

Also in wine:

Château la Claymore is a 33 hectare estate owned by the Dubard family, located in Lussac-Saint-Émilion, one of the best Saint-Émilion satellite appellations. The property craft good value Merlot-based wines. 

O'Briens have this reduced from €29.95 to €16.95 (while stocks last or until end of January.)


February 14th Valentines Day is soon approaching and Wines of the World have a celebrity mix of white, rose and red wines- 2 bottles of each- 6 bottles in total delivered right to your door and we recommend the perfect cheese to pair with each wine!  Get all the details of this Valentine's Virtual Tasting here.


Jean Smullen (right) tells us, via her ever popular Wine Diary, that New Zealand Wine have been reviewing what to do regarding the Dublin Annual Trade Tasting on the 7th March. It is a difficult decision as hoped to go ahead with Covid precautions in place, but the safety and well-being of visitors, exhibitors and staff is paramount. They also want to ensure the tasting a success for everyone involved and are concerned that attendance could be affected given the current infection rates, which would not do the event justice given your investment in it. Having looked at the Irish trade diary, they have decided to postpone to the event to Monday 9th May 2022. The Radisson Blu Hotel venue remains unchanged.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Two to try from St Chinian and the lesser known Madiran

Two to try. St Chinian and the lesser known Madiran

Brumont Torus Madiran (AC) 2011, 14%, €18.45 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Madiran is a lesser known wine region in Gascony in the South West of France and Tannat is the big red grape here. In this Torus, Tannat accounts for 50% while the two Cabernets, Sauvignon and Franc, account for the rest.

With freshness and depth from its terroir, it is a “perfect match for the local gastronomy” which features specialities such as Magret de Canard and Cassoulet, “foods that demand a wine of serious character and structure”. The Tannat provides all that plus tannins (of course!). When I first came across this grape I was told it was a man’s grape! Things have changed since then if this very approachable Torus is anything to go by.

It is dark ruby, lighter at the rim, legs slow to clear. Blackcurrant to the fore in the rather intense aromas. Rich and powerful is the first impression, great depth and concentration, fresh and full of flavour, good acidity too, and tannins as you'd expect from the name of the grape. Fruit and acidity well balanced all the way through to the soft finish. Highly Recommended.

The man’s grape tag may well be passé at this stage. Even six years ago I found a delicious rosé, with a strawberry nose, fruity and dry, entirely loveable and gluggable. Ten per cent Cab Sauv and 10% Cab Franc had been added to the Tannat and the winemakers of Irouleguy ended up with an award winning gem.

Research has shown too that the grape “has record levels of procyanidins, the heart-friendly chemical in red wine”. Grapes and Wines also says that Tannat reds have been and are being improved by modern wine-making methods (which include a tannin-softening technique). So not as tough as they were in the old days!

Tabatau Camprigou Saint-Chinian (AC) 2014, 13%, €15.20 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

St Chinian, just 20 miles from the Med, is in the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region, close to the other AOCs of Minervois and Faugeres. Tabatau, in Occitan, means child of the tobacconist. Winemaker Bruno Gracia’s grandfather was the village tobacconist, hence the unusual name for the winery. The blend for the 2014 is Syrah (50%), Grenache (40) and Carignan (10).

It is a ruby colour. There are red fruit aromas, moderate intensity. All that lovely red fruit, some spice too and silky smooth tannins (with just a little bite) combine on the palate. Medium bodied, with a nice balance between fruit and acidity, and Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian

Languedoc Strongholds: Corbieres, Minervois, St Chinian.
Top Notch Reds. And White!

“Down here, they speak the language differently”, I had mentioned to my companion as we came down from Peyrepertuse (left), a high Cathar fort in the Languedoc, south of Carcassonne. Workmen stopped to allow the string of tourists reach the car park. The digger-driver was instantly on his mobile and soon he illustrated my language point as one “Whay” after another boomed out. No gentle “Oui” for him!

They make wine differently too in the rocky hills of the western Languedoc. And they make it very well indeed.

Le Moulin des Nonnes, Cuvée Inés blanc 2012, Minervois, 13.5%, €12.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale from 12th Feb.

This Vin Biologique, produced by the Andrieu brothers, is a blend of Roussanne (50%), Grenache Blanc (40) and Muscat petit grains (10) and is Very Highly Recommended. Colour is a bright gold and it has beautiful floral notes. Nice fruity notes on the palate too, some gorgeous spice too. This elegant organic white, with its fruit and finesse, surprised me. Apparently, less than ten per cent of Minervois wine is blanc. Perhaps we should encourage them to make more! “Whay, whay, si vous plais!”

Les Secrets Saint Chinian rouge 2012, 13.5%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

This red, a brilliant blend of Grenache and Syrah, is Very Highly Recommended. There is a superb introduction on the palate, excellent fruit, spice galore, but nothing extreme, all well balanced. Quite an elegant medium-bodied performer with a silky smooth lingering finish.

St Laurent Corbieres rouge 2012, 14%, €10.00 in SuperValu French Wine sale.

The palate on our second red is slightly more reserved and none the worse for that, fruit and spice again in evidence but slightly more rounded. The Corbieres, bottled by the same co-op in Saint Chinian, is more full bodied, possibly a bit better as a food wine. Grilled meats and cheese are recommended. Indeed, I think the Corbieres is marginally the better wine but I have a small preference for the Saint Chinian. Both though are Very Highly Recommended.

*   French wines are extremely popular in SuperValu and all three above are part of their French sale that begins on February 12th. These three would be a good start and I also note that the Minervois blanc is part of a trio that may be had for €25.00, the others being Coteaux de Giennois (Loire Sauvignon blanc) and Domaine Cristia Grenache. There is more from the Languedoc and big name areas, such as Bordeaux and the Rhone, are also well represented.