Friday, 29 August 2008
The 2004 Somerbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is just about ready to be enjoyed now. This wine had an amazing intensity when tasted in 2006, which has now calmed and mellowed into a beautiful rounded elegant red wine. Matured in mainly French oak barrels, so that tight rich full style of toasty oak is now in perfect harmony with the intense spicy cassis ripe fruit. This wine is sensational with roast lamb or richer meats as well as a strong cheese. Awarded a GOLD MEDAL at the Michelangelo Wine Awards in South Africa. The winery has now sold out in Stellenbosch, so we have the last few cases remaining in the UK. A great deal at £99 per case including vat. Send orders direct to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, 28 August 2008
Just heard that Chateau La Gravehttp://www.chateau-la-grave.net/ at Badens have started their harvest last night. They pick their white grapes...mainly Sauvignon Blanc during the night and very early morning, when the temperature is much cooler. The grapes will arrive in pristine condition at the winery.
Chateau La Grave is unusual in the Minervois area to have so many white grapes planted. They seem to benefit from the very cool breezes that come down from the North passed the city of Carcassonne. Their wines are always very clean and cool with delicate flavours. Look forward to tasting them later this year after fermentation or early next year.
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Nose: Intense, spicy, mature, ripe, dark, brooding, serious, rich, mocha, alcohol intensity evident.
Palate: Deep, ripe, intense layers and layers of clean dark damsons and dark mature fruits.
After: A long smooth slightly smoky finish. Balanced tannins. This wine will develop further but is excellent now (with a bit of air in a decanter?)
Cebenna is the best wine produced at this very small and very hands on wine estate run by the passionate husband and wife team of Luc and Patricia Bettoni. They have small parcels of ancient Grenache, Carignan and Syrah vines scattered around the St. Chinian hills. Their enthusiasm is enormous, their dedication is charming. They are converting to total organic certified viticulture (however they have been practising organic principles for many years.) Certainly a wine estate to watch for the future.
Monday, 25 August 2008
Max took this picture last night. I think this was the first cloud that we saw all day! Fantastic weather with a cleansing vent du nord.
Lots of clearing up work in the vineyards all weekend.
The harvest here in the Languedoc will start soon (some whites are gradually being picked). Lots of grape analysis and chin rubbing and general decision making will take place over the next month. Although the lack of water is an ongoing problem and there are rumblings that this will reduce the quantity significantly, the omens are looking good.
I found this interesting article written by Sophie Kevany recently.
International sales of the exceptional Bordeaux 2005 vintage have saved French wine export figures for the first half of 2008. Figures released last week, for the period January to June 2008, show a fall in French wine export volumes of 8.72%, but an almost equivalent rise in value of 8.16%, compared to the same period in 2007.
Broken down by wine category the figures, compiled by France’s national agency for export development, Ubifrance, show a clear drop in exports of cheaper wines, and a rise in demand for more pricey ones.
Exports volumes of lower category vin de table wines for the period fell by 35.65%, and value by 19.53%. Exports from the more expensive Bordeaux region on the other hand fell by 1.52% in volume, but rose by a significant 42.5% in value.
Hervé Henrotte of Ubifrance said the significant rise in Bordeaux values was partly explained by sales of the exceptional 2005 vintage, now being delivered to retailers and consumers.
However, the overall export trend, Henrotte said, was away from simpler, cheaper wines and towards higher priced, more sophisticated ones.
“In America and the UK people are moving away from varietal wines and towards more complex ones, particularly the young, urban drinkers,” he said. “They are not buying a food product, they are buying a moment of pleasure.”
Henrotte also said the dive in volume and value of the cheaper wine exports was partly a correction on last year. “During much of 2007 exports [of these wines] rose significantly during the ban in Russia on imports of wine from Moldova,” he said.
However, the high value of the euro against both the dollar and sterling also played a role he said, as well as the fact that at this lower level, there was a lot more competition from other wine making countries, and consumers were more price conscious.
Cabernet Franc is rarely seen on a label alone. It is normally blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon for classic Bordeaux blends, or made as superb wines in the Loire region.
However this little beauty comes from an historically fascinating wine estate on the outskirts of Beziers in the South of France....Baronnie de Bourgade. The wine estate was owned by Baron Gilles de Latude and his English wife Ruth Parker until very recently. Gilles and Ruth have now sold up and are enjoying themselves on a 'Grand Tour' of France. They worked relentlessly to develop their original and stylish label 'Les 3 Poules'. They were extremely successful with this wine, winning international acclaim and trophies, awards etc. But sometimes the energy exerted in growing grapes and producing wine....let alone the marketing/traveling and eventual sales are too much vis a vis the financial return.
I wish Gilles and Ruth good luck, and will closely monitor the future wines from this property under the new ownership.
The Cabernet Franc here was from the 2005 vintage. It has a superb deep spicy nose with ripe autumn fruit balanced with a classic Cab. Franc cut capsicum earthy character. No oak aging for this wine, so the palate is pure fruit with a grip from fruit tannins rather than heavy wood. A clean and well balanced wine for early drinking rather than long cellaring. A universal food match wine, but lovely with barbecue meats and cheese.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Lutte Raisonnee is an untranslateable phrase which is used for essentially explaining that wine growers are responsible and respectful of their environment.
It is near organic status...without having Ecocert organic certification.....But Lutte Raisonne is not full on Organic or Biodynamic viticulture.
Growing grapes may be a 'romantic' lifestyle. However it is tough and also can be very cruel financially. The unknown element after all the hard work and the investment is the uncontrollable and unpredicatable element of the weather. If you practise organic agriculture the weather can ruin you.
I strongly believe that Lutte Raisonne is a good middle ground for responsible grape growers who are tending their land for quality grapes, but also bearing in mind that they have to make a living. Minimal interference but working with the seasons and the elements may prove the best philosophy. Maybe not a reasoned fight....more a reasonable harmony.
This secret path leads through the garrigue...the wild rosemary, thyme, sage, small kermes oak trees and the broom.
We picked sensational wild asparagus from the low bank on the left in early Summer. Much of our cooking has additional flavours from pickings in the garrigue. You can not get better and more local thyme and rosemary!
At the end of the path there are two blocks of Grenache vines.
Sunday, 17 August 2008
My latest musical 'find' are a fantastic Eurotrash kitsch group who are Anglo French. They are soon to be big in Moscow and we were treated to a fantastic concert on a hot early Summer's night back in June in France. Have a look at www.voilathelovers.com and click on their my space link to hear their tunes.
My favourite track must be 'FrogsnSnails'. Any song that has the words.... 'Yummy Yummy Yummy Yum protect me from the restaurant' has to be a winner.
The music is best appreciated with a chilled glass of 2007 Rose from Domaine Sainte Leocadie...a fantastic ripe cherry nose with great balance on the palate and clean dry style after. A bountiful fruity Rose made from free run Grenache and Syrah juice with a dash of Carignan.
Thursday, 14 August 2008
Ernie Loosen from Dr Loosen wine estate always says 'Drink my Riesling Kabinett wines in year 1 or year 11, but be careful in between'. These words can also be relevant to fine red burgundy. Great and showy with maximum 'pink cherry' character when young but can 'go to sleep' in mid term before coming back with class and elegance after 7-8 years.
Anyway back to the wine tasted! It was just unexpectedly tight with evident new oak masking some quality dark intense fruit. We should have given it some air...or maybe left it for another couple of years. It was just a shame to try a wine at its awkward youthful stage. I would like to try more wines from this estate as I think there is quality lurking here, it was just unexpetced in this style when many of the wines of the area are far more open and evolved at this stage. 55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 15% Carignan. 40% new oak for 1 year.
Wednesday, 13 August 2008
Does Cinsault ever hit the high points???
We have made a light Rose previously...but it was not world beating!
What is the best Cinsault based wine produced?
Monday, 11 August 2008
Friday, 8 August 2008
* The garrigue is a fragrant mix of lavender, thyme, rosemary, sage and juniper that acts like a scrub in the mediterranean area. The fragrance from this wild hedgerow undoubtedly positively affects the style and uniqueness of these wines.
www.laprademari.com has more background details.
If you want more price details or to check on availibity then drop me an email or have a look at www.bellawines.co.uk
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Monday, 4 August 2008
Sunday, 3 August 2008
The Rose was a deeper, richer intensity than my normal preference, but it worked really well with the grilled tuna and Rouget.
Friday, 1 August 2008
Bordeaux has been 'established' for many years...mainly due to the ease of trade from the port of Bordeaux and the historic links from the time of Henry 2nd and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (nice dowry!).
But the dynamism and action are certainly taking place in the Languedoc and the Roussillon areas of France. This diverse region spreads from near Marseille through to the Spanish border. Some of the wines from the undiscovered hills of the Minervois region (near Carcassonne/Narbonne/Beziers) are sensational. One specific grower is the young, wild, hairy man called Eric Mari who is producing stunning wines at Domaine La Prade Mari. These wines are now being served at Rick Stein's restaurant in Padstow as well as the award winning St.John's Restaurant in London. In fact the Viognier grapes in this picture next to Max were picked last year and are now being served as the Domaine La Prade Mari Viognier 2007.These wines are such great value and are available in the UK via http://www.bellawines.co.uk/