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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Rigal The Original Malbec from Asda Cote du Lot 2011

Rigal Malbec from the Cote du Lot 2011 IGP was on the shelves in Asda - a place that surprises on the few occasions I shop there, it was a mere £5 so worth a shot!
We opened it that night and on pouring it - its youthfulness was obvious, it was a deep purple with a wide purple rim and aromas of young black fruits burst from the glass, the fruits smelt a little baked as if they came from a hot vintage or at least a hot area of France, and on investigation it turns out that the Cote du Lot (of the Lot valley) is a newly formed area for an IGP in the Cahors region and with it goes alot of vine/wine rules that they must adhere to so as to maintain a certain quality..... anyway back to the wine.
The aromas were not particularly inviting, but on the mouth I was pleasantly surprised, the black fruits were the predominant flavour as expected ( black cherries especially, but also blackberries and blackcurrants), there was good acidity and  body, the alcohol I had expected to be high ( hot baked fruit - high sugar content which translates into high alcohol) but it was not out of balance. There were some spicey tones though the oak influence was clumsy and chunky I felt and these had a slightly bitter aftertaste, but there was a sweet long finish and a green herbal leaf edge. The tannins were ripe but slightly chalky and made me feel that this was not a wine to be kept. The winemaker is Matthieu Ressiot of  Rigal, part of the JeanJean group.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised, this Malbec, a grape that is found alot in New World Argentina, having come from France originally, was fresh, fruity and easy drinking. The alcohol level was lower than expected ( 12.5% vs 14-15% for many Argentinian Malbecs), but the aromas of over baked fruits were not a pleasant start, maybe when we have a glass of what was left it will be better..... worth a try!
To update - aromas improved within about 45-60 mins - and we enjoyed the rest of the bottle!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2007

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2007 Kaseler Riesling Trocken Mosel Qualitatswein is a wine we bought on our trip through the Mosel , we visited the 'cellar' where we were made so welcome and we tasted some beautiful wines, with lovely tropical fruits on nose and palate.
The winemaker, Wolfgang Mertes, showed us down into the actual cellar, harvest was due in the next few weeks and one could sense the anticipation in the air, they were anxious to get started!
This wine was a clean fresh fruity wine with apricots and soft fruits on nose and palate, a white flower perfume also was part of its makeup.
The finish was not as long as we had hoped and there was an absence of minerality, but it was a beautiful light bodied fresh and juicy wine, fruit providing the sweetness, balanced by the acidity so keeping the wine tingly!
A wine to enjoy.

Spring Creek Estate 2006 Marlborough Pinot Noir

Spring Creek Estate 2006, from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough, Pinot Noir is a wine we picked up at a wine tasting in Warwick, Underwoods, and we thoroughly enjoyed it on the night, and it was a good price for a New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Since then we have ploughed through 7-8 bottles with less enthusiasm, the wine lacks fruit, is a little one dimensional and has a high acidity without the sweet red fruits to balance it, it is pale as expected and does have the tempting Pinot flavour that we all love, but after that it fails to deliver. Better to forget that it is a Pinot Noir and enjoy it for what it is, and we have had it slightly chilled at a barbacue before - and that seemed to suit it. The presence of wood is overpowering - and although I like the use of wood in red wine, this for me was too much.

Dr Wagner Saarburg 2007

Dr Wagner Saarburg 2007 ( Saarburger Kupp Riesling Spatlese) Trocken, a wine we first tasted while touring the German Mosel, it is a beautifuly crafted wine made in the Saar area of the Mosel taken  from 6 hectares of vineyards with 30 year old Riesling vines. The fermentation takes place in 1000 litre barrels and with no additional yeasts.
The pale lemon wine has prominent aromas of green fruits, apricots and definite minerality, a touch of herbal essence and lime skin. Tasting it echoes these characteristics with a fresh, clean mouth, minerality lies at every level and the layered flavours of lemon, apricot and green apple are kept fresh by the more than medium acidity, it is light bodied but is multi faceted and a wine with pedigree, great to drink now but could be kept for another 2-4 years.  Grape

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cono Sur Vision Viognier 2008

Cono Sur Vision Viognier 2008 from the Colchagua Valley comes from a block of vines which in 1997 had been grafted onto 50 year old Chenin Blanc  - hence its freshness. Adolfo Hurtado is the winemaker - a name that is heavily linked with improvements in the Pinot Noir coming from Chile these days.
This wine is a delight, it is pale golden straw, a hint at the high alcohol associated with Viognier is seen in the fast legs that form after swirling the glass.
Aromas of tropical fruits mingle with apricot and an overiding waft of citrus and solid minerality.
On the mouth once more - tropical fruits, a hint of oak ( spice and richness), kiwi and melon and citrus - followed by a long citric finish with a cleansing bitter edge with structural minerals playing their part. The wine is fresh ( for a viognier) and has good body along with quite high but integrated alcohol , 13.9%, typical of the grape again. At the price - about £6-7, an absolute bargain - a wine to be enjoyed with or without food!
Another plus point with Cono Sur is that they have been working towards being carbon neutral for many years, and that can only be good for the environment - so I say drink more :-)

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Anselmi 2011 San Vincenzo IGT

We tried a real summery wine last night, a white wine  from Monteforte  in the Veneto region of Italy which is actually the Soave DOC area ( they decided  to leave the Soave DOC  but have gone IGT registered instead ) it was a blend of 70% Garganega, 30% Chardonnay and Trebbiano ( or Sauvignon Blanc its close cousin). The vines are grown near the top of a hill on volcanic / tuff ground, picked at the end of September / start of October. Destemmed, cold maceration, pneumatic pressing followed by fermentation at 16C in stainless steel and then bottled 3 months before sale. Roberto Anselmi, the maker/grower, is regarded as one of the leading white wine makers in Italy. He uses high density planted vines, trained carefully, uses green harvesting to produce the best fruit to make his wines from.
I bought it from a shop in Birmingham called Loki when I was shopping with a friend.
The wine, Anselmi 2011 San Vincenzo IGT, a golden straw yellow, had apple, floral notes with a tropical edge ( kiwi, melon...), on tasting it the crisp acidity balanced the fairly full body with the well integrated alcohol. Flavours of apricot, green apple with a hint of asparagus were followed by a long cirtic finish and a slight toasty edge with a touch of minerality. This is a wine that pairs well with alot of fish, chicken, vegetarian foods and is a lovely wine with pasta which is what we had with it - delish.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Cave Saint Pierre Cote du Rhone Blanc made by the Skalli family 2006

Cave Saint Pierre. Preference. Cote du Rhone Blanc  Skalli  2006
The Skalli family, a great  Southern France wine making family, make a selection of wines from the Rhone (mainly S Rhone) and this is a simple wine which is great with food, it retails at about £6 and is a mix of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and some Clairette. This golden wine has aromas of apricot, pear and a little tropical fruit, on tasting it we found that it was mouthcoating, spicy fruits and a pleasant citric finish that was creamy but maybe a little hot, it was great with food as it had good acidity and was creamy. Great wine for the money!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Super Tuscans

Where does the term 'Super Tuscan' come from and what does it mean
In the 1940’s, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta bought a horse ranch in Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast for him and his family. At the time, this was considered a poor location for growing grapes to make wine but Rocchetta was not interested in making wines for the market, only for his family He had worked at Chateau Lafite in Bordeaux, loved the wines so imported Cabernet Sauvignon vines from there to plant his vineyard which he called Tenuta San Guido. He aged the wine in French oak barriques (instead of the large Slovenian Casks most Chianti producers of the day were using). The first wines were made in 1944,  were rustic but good. Over the years, Rocchetta learned his craft and made better and better wines. They were unlike any other Italian wines and were called Sassicaia, they did not fit into the local wine laws and so started the Super Tuscan movement. The idea of blending Sangiovese grapes with international grapes was not new; records show it being done in the 18th century. Such wines had to be labeled as VdT, considered the lowest designation of Italy’s wines.
Sassicaia wines gained a reputation for their quality. They were, however, quite limited and may have remained a footnote in Italian wine history except for one family connection. Piero Antinori, whose family was and still is, one of the largest winemaking families in Chianti, dating back 600 years, was a relative of Rocchetta. He had tasted the early vintages of Sassicaia and knew of the quality. In 1968 Antinori persuaded Rochetta to let him have 250 cases of the wine to sell. It was an instant hit. In 1978 it won a tasting of the world’s best Cabernets held in London. The world aclaam gained by these wines meant that Sassicaia and Bolgheri now own their own DOC, the only single winery DOC in Italy. Sassicaia became the model for Antinori's Tignanello, the first of its kind in 1971. These avant garde wines were generally regarded as the first Super Tuscans. The Tignanello had no addition of white Malvasia grapes so allowing his Chianti to be more structured and powerful, and was based almost entirely on the Sangiovese and was aged in barriques (later on in 1975 25% Cabernet Sauvignon was added) it was a commercial and artistic success..

Numerous other Tuscan producers saw the results and followed. Some were frustrated by the DOC laws of Chianti, others envious of the high quality and high prices of Tignanello. Many existing wineries and several new ones started to grow grapes on the Bolgheri coast. There was no set formula for these wines. Most contained Cabernet or Merlot, a lot had Sangiovese, and some had Syrah or other varietals. The most consistent thing about them was their high pricing. Many of these wines could now be called Chianti, as the DOC laws have been changed to eliminate the need for white Malvasia grapes and allow for 100% Sangiovese, but the genie is out of the bottle. There is more cache in the Super Tuscan name at this point.
By the 1980’s “Super” wines had proven their worth. Regions throughout Italy started to create these wines almost flouting their lack of DOC status. In 1992 the Gloria law came into effect, partly in response to this phenomenon, Italy added a new classification to their wines. Indicazione Geografica Tipica or IGT was created to add some level of regulation to non-DOC(G) wines. Most Super Tuscans now carry an IGT Toscana designation.
Some Super Tuscans can age for 30+ years especially if they contain Cabernet Sauvignon, and they are not made every year - the 'second' wine often a Chianti..... is!
Bolgheri is an area in Tuscany which is close to the sea, it is made up of many different soils, and the skill comes in matching each variety with 'its soil' and climate, and here top notch oenologists and agronomists play their part finding the right grape variety rather than using those laid down by the local wine law.  The land is cheap and flat and the climate is warmer, so the grapes produced reach a higher sugar content quicker, they are further forward. Many feel that the New World has influenced this area of Italy more than others, this includes the fermentation methods used. More stainless steel is used with sophisticated cellar technology including temperature control to produce a  richer wine with softer tannins, and in fact merlot has become a popular grape variety to plant in Italy with increases seen especially in Tuscany and even more so by the coast.
The latest trend is in varietal Cabernet Franc considered by many to be the most suitable international variety for the Tuscan soils and climate. ( Le Macchiole Paleo and Poggio al Tesoro's Dedicato a Walter are both 100% Cabernet Franc) Plantings of Syrah are also on the increase as are local varieties such as Ciliegolo.

Here are some examples of Super Tuscans with some of the grapes contained in them and the year they were started.

Sassicaia by Tenuta San Guido (1968 - cabernet sauvignon & cabernet franc)
Vigorello by San Felice (1968 - sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Tignanello by Antinori (1971 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Tignanello is a blend of 80% Sangiovese with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and some Cabernet Franc In fact, just about every vintage is a consistent and outstanding wine. Antinori also makes a wine called Solaia. Usually the opposite of Tiganello, it is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and a smaller component of Sangiovese
Le Pergole Torte by Montevertine (1977 – 100% sangiovese)
Solaia by Antinori (1978 – 80%cabernet sauvignon, - franc & 20%sangiovese)
I Sodi di San Niccolò by Castellare di Castellina (1979 - sangiovese & malvasia nera)
Ghiaie della Furba by Capezzana (1979 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & syrah)
Sammarco by Castello dei Rampolla (1980 - cabernet sauvignon)
Cepparello by Isole e Olena (1980 - sangiovese)
Sangioveto by Badia a Coltibuono (1980 - sangiovese)
by Fontodi (1981 - sangiovese)
Camartina by Querciabella (1981 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Grattamacco by Grattamacco (1982 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & sangiovese)
La Gioia by Riecine (1982 - sangiovese)
Cabreo by Cabreo il Borgo (1982 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Nemo by Monsanto (1982 - cabernet sauvignon)
Fontalloro by Felsina (1983 - sangiovese)
Ripa delle More by Vicchiomaggio (1983 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Percarlo by San Giusto a Rentennano (1983 - sangiovese)
Le Stanze by Poliziano (1983 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Bruno di Rocca by Vecchie Terre di Montefili (1983 - cabernet sauvignon & sangiovese)
Boscarelli by Boscarelli (1983 - sangiovese, cab sauv, merlot & petit verdot)
Ornellaia by Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (1984 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & cabernet franc)
The estate also makes a Merlot called Massetto
Masseto by Tenuta dell'Ornellaia (1985 - merlot)
Stielle by Rocca di Castagnoli (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Geremia by Rocca di Montegrossi (1985 - merlot & cabernet sauvignon)
Summus by Banfi (1985 - cab sauv, sangiovese & syrah)
Veneroso by Tenuta di Ghizzano (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Vigna L'Apparita by Castello di Ama (1985 - merlot)
San Martino by Villa Cafaggio (1985 - sangiovese)
Balifico by Castello di Volpaia (1985 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Il Pareto by Tenuta di Nozzole (1985 - cabernet sauvignon)
l Corzano by Corzano & Paterno (1987 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Anfiteatro by Vecchie Terre di Montefili (1987 - sangiovese)
Maestro Raro by Felsina (1987 - cabernet sauvignon)
Saffredi by Le Pupille (1987 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & alicante)
Brancaia il Blu by Brancaia (1988 - sangiovese, merlot & cabernet sauvignon)
Accaiolo by Castello d'Albola (1988 - sangiovese & cabernet sauvignon)
Avvoltore by Moris Farms (1988 - sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon & syrah)
Desiderio by Avignonesi (1988 - merlot & cab sauv)
50&50 by Capannelle & Avignonesi (1988 - sangiovese & merlot)
Paleo by Macchiole (1989 - cabernet franc)
Olmaia by Col d'Orcia (1989 - cabernet sauvignon)
Guado al Tasso by Antinori (1990 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot & syrah)
Cavaliere by Michele Satta (1990 - sangiovese)
Romitorio by Ruffino (1990 - colorino & merlot)
N'Antia by Badia di Morrona (1991 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Lamaione by Frescobaldi (1991 - merlot)
Il Bosco by Tenimenti d'Alessandro (1992 - syrah)
Siepi by Castello di Fonterutoli (1992 - merlot & sangiovese)
Il Carbonaione by Poggio Scalette (1992 - sangiovese)
Casalferro by Barone Ricasoli (1993 - sangiovese & merlot)
Luce by Frescobaldi (1993 - sangiovese & merlot)
Lupicaia by Castello del Terriccio (1993 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
They also make a wine called Tassinaia, usually an equal blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet
Soloio by Casa Emma (1993 - merlot)
Messorio by Le Macchiole (1994 - merlot)
Redigaffi by Tua Rita (1994 - merlot)
Messorio by Macchiole (1994 - merlot)
Galatrona by Petrolo (1994 - merlot)
Tzingana by Monte Bernardi (1994 - merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc & petit verdot)
Il Futuro by Il Colombaio di Cencio (1995 - sangiovese, cab sauv & merlot)
Solengo by Argiano (1995 - merlot, cab sauv & syrah)
Piastraia by Michele Satta (1995 - cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sangiovese, syrah)
Rosso di Sera by Poggiopiano (1995 - sangiovese & colorino)
D'Alceo by Castello dei Rampolla (1996 - cabernet sauvignon & petit verdot)
Dulcamara by I Giusti & Zanza (1996 - cab sauv, cab franc & merlot)
Cantico by Podere La Capella (1996 - merlot)
Tenuta di Trinoro by Tenuta di Trinoro (1997 - cabernet franc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
San Lorenzo by Sassotondo (1997 - ciliegiolo)
Petra by Petra (1997 - cabernet sauvignon & merlot)
Primamateria by Poggerino (1997 - sangiovese & merlot)
Montervo by Cima (1998 - merlot)
Oreno by Tenuta Sette Ponti (1999 - sangiovese, merlot, cab sauv)
Testamatta by Bibi Graetz (2000 - sangiovese, colorino, canaiolo, moscato nero & malvasia nera)
Magari by Angelo Gaja (2000 - merlot, cabernet sauvignon & cab franc)

Vintage Guide

A link to a vintage guide from 1971 - 2008

Tenuta San Guido - Bolgheri Sassicaia 1998 DOC
The grapes are hand picked, destemmed, crushed and fermentation is set off by natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. For the first week, pumping over of the must takes place three times daily; during the second week, this is reduced to once daily until the end of the 14-day fermentation period. The wine is pressed from the skins and undergoes full malolactic fermentation. This wine was then aged for 24 months in 225-litre Allier and Tronçais oak barriques - 33% new and then 6 months in bottle.
The dense ruby core had slight browning at the rim indicating some age, with the legs slow to run. Aromas of spice and smoke along with coffee pervade, and are layered with red / black fruits , there is an elegant floral edge which is perfumed.
On tasting it the well integrated tannins along with well balanced alcohol and acidity produce a well structured and supported wine still with plenty of fruit and a spicy long finish which is crisp but expansive, the red and black fruits are layered with spice and smokeyness with a hint of liquorice and savoury nuttiness.
Priced at £218

Antinori Tignanello 2007 IGT
This wine is made up of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, and were harvested by hand after a good season, they were then fermented at 27C and  matured in oak barrels for 12 months followed by a further year in bottle before being shipped.
The wine was medium to deep ruby with no garnet rim, the aromas were of red and black fruits including cherry and blackcurrants with a spicey menthol edge and a hint of savouriness. The gripping savoury tannins were ripe but obvious, flavours of red and black fruits and spies are supported by good acidity and body. A finish that has spice and a savouriness, a wine to be kept and enjoyed.Price around £50 a bottle

Marchesi Antinori Solaia 2007 IGT
The grapes used in this wine are 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 100% new oak for 18 months followed by another 12 in bottle. Careful selection is used here and production is low.
A deep ruby core with darker tints and a very narrow rim. Aromas of black fruits ( black currant, blackberry) and cherry along with repressed spices and tobacco. Minerality plays its part as does a slight edge of mint.
On the mouth this is fruity and  minty, spices abound and the gripping, chewy, fine tannins add structure and layered complexity. The spices (due to oak usage I feel) overpower the wine slightly for me, they need time to integrate. The body has texture and the acidity and alcohol feel well balanced, a lovely silky wine with much time in it yet!

Capezzana Conte Bonacossi Ghiaie Della Furba 2006 IGT
The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (30%) and Syrah (10%) with alcoholic fermentation taking place in steel tanks, and malolactic fermentation in french oak it is then matured for 16 months  in barriques and laid down for a further 12 months in bottles.
A deep ruby colour with a hint of black had intense savoury aromas of spicy tobacco, black cherry and some red fruits, it has overtones of smokiness. On tasting it the fine gripping but ripe tannins add structure to this medium bodied wine, the black cherry and red fruit flavours along with the smokey spices are enrobed by the savouriness and the finish which is long is of fresh red fruits, the wine feels a touch spirity - and given time may integrate well, a complex elegant wine especially at the price of about £32 - buy, buy, buy.

Isole e Olena 'Cepparello' Toscano Rosso 2006 IGT
The producer, Isole e Olena (Paolo di Marchi is the maker) could actually label this as Chianti Classico, but such is the power of the super tuscan 'IGT badge' that they have chosen to park their wine under its banner! This is a lovely 100% sangiovese wine and has all the savouriness that you would expect, it has sweet red fruits on both nose (which is rich and vibrant) and palate, along with herbs and spice and a hint of menthol. The tannins are flavoursome and silky,  the mouth cleansing acidity is balanced by the medium rounded body of the wine, the length is long and savoury! Overall a beautiful structured wine - and one that will be drinkable for the next 3-7 years - Enjoy!
The price you would expect to pay is about £40-45.

Ornellaia Bolgheri Superior 2007 
Produced by Tenuta dell Ornellaia, this is a grape blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot which was harested between August ( Merlot) and October for the Cabernet Sauvignon, this is what you would describe as a Bordeaux blend. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 1 week followed by maceration on the skins for 10-15 days.The wine is a deep ruby with black tints, a small narrow rim, aromas of dark red fruits, spice and cedar fill the glass. Dark cherry is the pervading aroma and is present on the palate matched with spicey vanilla, balsamic and a savoury edge, the tannins are fine, silky and ripe, they enrobe the flavours and add structure and enjoyment to the balanced and silky wine, the acidity keeping the well ripened fruits fresh even after 5 years. Oak ageing is a factor in its history (70% new oak and 30% used once) and Malolactic fermentation takes place within barrel. Aged in barrel for 18months,  blended after the first 12, then aged in bottle for 12 months+. This wine has the complexity and structure to allow it to age for quite a few years.
Expect to pay£130+

Fattoria Le Pupille Elisabetta Geppetti Saffredi IGT 2007

This wine is a Merlot blend, and is deep ruby with a very dark core and narrow ruby rim, it has aromas of balsamic, spice, red fruits and cinnamon overtones, the rich red and black fruits come through on the palate as well as the spices, the tannins are very soft and ripe, with underlying textural structure, full bodid and with fresh acidity that is uplifting. An elegant, well balanced wine that manages the full-on fruit enrobed with spice by careful acidity balance. The cedar box, smokey spiciness is due in part to malolactic fermentation in french oak as well as barrique ageing. Prices are around £75

 Poggio al Tesoro W Dedicato A Walter 2007 IGT

This wine is dedicated to the late brother of Marilisa Allegrini co-owner of the 110-acre estate and is 100% Cabernet Franc aged in French Oak for 18months, this has alot to do with its character.
The core is medium deep and ruby coloured, aromas of ripe red fruits, spice and balsamic are quite closed initially, but there are hints of carbonic maceration on the nose.
Both red and black fruits are present on the palate though black fruits dominate balanced by the  smokey spice , the high acidity maintains the fruits freshness while the silk ripe tannins together with the high alcohol and weighty palate balance and enrobes the wine. A wine with pedigree!

Domaine du Gravillas 2006 Carignan VdP Cotes de Brian

Domaine du Gravillas 2006 Carignan VdP Cotes de Brian
I know it is 'only' Vin de Pays - but this is where Languedoc wine becomes interesting, these guys don't follow the rules - the wine they make does not fit the laws laid down by the local appellation, they do what they think works - and does it ? YES !
The grapes come from old Carignan vines ( Lo Vielh ) planted in 1911, they are planted near the Brian river and this is the VdP - Cotes de Brian, near the village of St Jean de Minervois ( a village known for its sweet dessert wines made from the Muscat grape ).The wine growers are John and Nicole Bojanowski, and they have 8ha of vines and they make the wine next to their house in the village.
The wine comes in at £15 - when you can find it ( we bought it at Underwoods near Warwick ) after tasting it one evening there.
I am not normally a great lover of Carignan, I often find it harsh, over alcoholic and with little enjoyable body, well let me tell you this is different, the old vines and some barrel ageing, careful winemaking really serve up a fabulous wine after a little breathing time.
Peering into the glass you see the colour is not too deep,  ruby colour with a few garnet tints at the wide rim, and those slow legs dribbling down the glass after you have swirled hint at the alcohol and the silky mouth feel.
The aromas coming from the glass are of old smokey spice with red fruits ( cranberry, cherry) and there is a hint of ginger and brewed tea, it has an elegant perfumed quality and has lots of layers of interest - making the tasting even more interesting.
And yes everything on the nose comes through in your mouth, the layered fruits, spice, smoke, tea and a slight citric finish which is pleasant and medium in length, the structure is strong but silky, the tannins are ripe and velvety and the silky mouth coating sensation from the quite high alcohol ( 13.5%) makes you want another mouthful - so yes I liked it.... alot, and it made me rethink the 'I don't like carignan' comment!
The tannins are soft and this hints that you should think of drinking this in the next year or so, the fruits are present but not ripe fresh fruit but mellowed and integrated - so again - drink this up!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Chateau de la Chartreuse Sauternes 2006

Chateau de la Chartreuse Sauternes 2006
A really lovely sweetie from Bordeaux, made from the grapes sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadelle, typical for this type of wine from the sauternes area on the left bank in Bordeaux, affected by noble rot or Botrytis Cinera, which gives it a characteristic aroma and taste of honey, oranges, apples, pears and a little butteriness. Golden in colour due to its oak maturation and thick and syrupy, it has plenty of acidity to make this luscious wine very drinkable - not sickly or too sweet, great with blue cheese, foie gras and even as an aperitif, for me - the wine that says christmas pudding to me!
A half bottle of this will set you back £15, but with the grapes low yield and the wonder of wether it will be affected by the botrytis fungi at all, the time in oak, the intensity of human picking time ( this needs to be hand picked with a number of times called 'tries' through the vineyard each time only taking the affected berries.....) one wonders why it does not cost more.
I love to sit after a long hard day with a small glass of fridge cool Sauternes before I start the evening meal, somehow the world seems a better place!

Chateau Angludet Margaux 2008 and 2004

Chateau Angludet Margaux 2008 and 2004
Margaux - an area that all wine lovers will have heard of, many will have tasted wines from this area in Bordeaux and some may have visited, the Sichel family bought this property in 1961( devastated by the 1956 frost and only 5ha under vine when purchased and Cru Bourgeois Exceptional, moving to Cru Exceptional Superior in 2003) and after much renovation now makes wine under the watchful eye of Benjamin Sichel ( son of Peter Sichel). The 32ha estate of gravelly soil with vines ( 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot ) 25 years old are machine picked and then vinified in old cement vats for 20-30 days, and after malolactic fermentation are barrel aged for 12-14 months 25% are new oak, then fined traditionally with egg whites and gently filtered before bottling.
Ch Angludet 2008
A deep garnet ruby red with narrow rim has thick coloured legs. Aromas of farmyard and, spice, smoke is enrobed with black fruits and is perfumed, layered complexity and fine tuned. In the mouth one is immediately aware of the silky texture, black fruits, vanilla, spices, and the ripe grippy tannins, great body, well balanced acidity and the alcohol though not high is structural enriching the experience, a truly pleasurable wine that still has some maturing time that will improve it further. The price is £24.

Ch Angludet 2004
Deep garnet with coloured legs and narrow garnet rim. Promises much on the nose, vanilla is still present but seems more integrated and the fruit is sweeter and softer and mainly black fruits. On the palate one is entranced, the sweet fruits blended well with the spices and elegant and structured well. The tannins are softer than the 2008 and silky but still with some grip. The length is long and a delight to the end, finishing with gentle spices and black fruits which have mellowed with age and a hint of liquorice, great finesse and balanced throughout. An elegant wine with structure under a soft exterior. This wine though a delight will with some more ageing reach its peak - worth the wait! Priced at £36.

Chateau Fourcas Dumont Listrac 2006

Chateau Fourcas Dumont Listrac 2006 is from an amalgamation of 2 chateau, Clos du Fourcas and Moulin du Bourg and is now called Chateau Fourcas-Borie located in the north of the Listrac area in the Medoc, Bordeaux. The vineyard is 30ha but 18ha is used for this wine and has grapes which are about 30 years old, 50% Merlot ( for fruit and fullness), 40% Cabernet Sauvignon (for structure and body) and 10% Petit Verdot ( colour, structure and tannins) and yields of about 35-40hl/ha are expected. Production stands at 200 000 bottles pa.
Fermentation, cold maceration  malolactic fermentation take place in stainless steel tanks and then 12 months maturation in oak barrels with regular rackings producing a smooth silky red wine with great structure.
A deep ruby wine with garnet tints and garnet in the rim, aromas of black and red fruits along with vanilla and smoke, perfumed and elegant with black pepper and fruitcake. The texture is velvety and mouth coating, ripe tannins are rich and structural as is the well integrated alcohol and good acidity.Flavours of red and black fruit are enrobed in spice and elegant smoke, a wine to be savoured and may improve in bottle if kept for another few years. The long spicy finish has fruit and smoke edges and is delicate through and through.

Chateau Argadens Bordeaux Superieur 2007

Chateau d'Argadens Bordeaux Superieur 2007
Peter Sichel bought this 45ha Chateau in 2002 and in 2008 it changed its name slightly to Ch Argadens - losing the d'.... The vineyard based in the Entre-deux-mers region of Bordeaux underwent vast renovation and the wines now balanced but packed with fruit due to the low yield per hectare (42hl/ha)and spice. The blend is 63% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and the age of the vines is about 30 years and  a soil of clay-limestone.
The grapes are pressed then fermented in stainless steel vats where they remain for post fermentation maceration as well as malolactic fermentation, then the wines are barrel matured for 12-14 months resulting in a medium ruby wine with wide rim with slight tints of garnet.
The aromas of red fruits and a leathery overtone of smokey spice together with darker fruits are also present in the taste along with tannins that are dry and coating, the body of the wine is supported by the warming alcohol and the finish is elegant with fruit and spice to the end, great structure and form! This is an early drinking wine and is well priced at £10.

Chateau Taillan Lagrave 2009

Chateau Taillan Lagrave 2009 Cotes de Bordeaux
A 'petite chateau' negociant wine from Maison Sichel,  a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and the remainder is Malbec and is a simple claret with no oak contact. Pale ruby with wide pale rim and purple tints indicate a young wine, aromas of simple red and black fruits ( plums, blackcurrants ) which are echoed on the palate, juicy and fruity, some tannins are present but unitegrated and raw, the wine has high acidity and is thin bodied. The lack of spices and vanilla reinforces the belief that no oak has been used, It is simple, clean and easy, but at £7-8 per bottle what can you expect from a Bordeaux . 2009 is a good year for red wines in Bordeaux as were 2005 and 2010 and this wine is fresh, light and good value.

Sirius Bordeaux Blanc 2010

Sirius Bordeaux Blanc 2010
Sirius Wine was the first wine made by one of the big French Wine merchants / negociants Maison Sichel, and they started back in 1985 in the commune Canton de Saint Macaire. What they wanted to do was to make a wine from a lesser area in the way that the top wine makers do, so showing that although terroir plays its part.... so does the wine making! Making a wine surpass its origin in effect.
 First produced in 1985, careful selection after machine harvesting,skin maceration of the sauvignon blanc, barrel fermented with lees stirring 2-3 times per week, and barrel maturation for 2-3 months in the same way that the grand cru classe's of Graves and Pessac-Leognan, so placing it in a top quality category.
The Sirius brand is a flagship of Maison Sichel and is considered a niche wine with only 200 000 bottles of the white wine made and 500 000 of the red. 19ha of vines ( semillon and sauvignon blanc ) which are 30 years old are planted in clay/limestone soils on the banks of the Garonne River.
The blend is 50:50 Semillon : Sauvignon Blanc,  is very pale with a slight greenness to the rim, the legs are slow and thick as would be expected from the semillon content. Aromas of green apples, citric overtones and a hint of pear and white blossom. On the mouth a silky mouth feel but clean and dry, once more citric and crisp apple abound with fresh acidity and a creamyness due to the lees stirring, well balanced alcohol and a clean citric finish, again a lovely wine at the price of about £9.95. Summer time in a glass or great as an aperitif all year round.

Hauts de Bel Air

Hauts de Bel-Air Blanc 2011 a Sauvignon Blanc made by the Sichel group in 2011, a property in Bordeaux was set up in 1967 which uses rigorous selection of the grapes to make a lovely fresh zingy wine with aromas of apricot, pear and a touch of grapefruit. There is a good length finishing with  grapefruit and citric skin. A great summer slurp - aperitif or just to glug at a barbacue!