25 September 2011

Le Pigeonnier



In french the word  pigeonnier means dovecote. It is also the name of the rarest wine produced by Domaine Lagrezette in Cahors.

Dovecotes dot the landscape throughout southwest France, often in the middle of a field, or as at Lagrezette in the centre of a vineyard. 

Pigeonniers are located away from trees that may harbor birds of prey and from prevailing winds. They have smooth walls with a protruding band of stones to stop climbing predators. In France in the middle Ages, owning a pigeonnier was the privilege of the lord of the manor. The bird poo (known as colombine) was an excellent fertilizer.

The Lagrezette pigeonnier is an exceptional building on six columns.  The Lagrezette Pigeonnier wine is an exceptional wine.  Production is limited to about seven thousand bottles per year.  The vineyard is only 2.7ha and the yield is limited to between 15-20 hL/ha. The Malbec grapes are harvested and destemmed by hand.  Vinification occurs in large oak casks and the wine is aged for twenty-eight months in new oak casks. With favourable reviews from Parker (95 points for the 2001), Le Pigeonnier has become expensive and exclusive, selling at close to $1600 per case in America.

Australian wine drinkers can purchase Malbec wines produced at Domaine Lagrezette from DiscoverVin - Cuvée Dame Honneur, Chateau Lagrezette and Zette rouge


DiscoverVin_ CahorsDiscoverVin_Lagrezette

DiscoverVin friends special offer with French Tutoring in Sydney

DiscoverVin has formed a partnership with French Tutoring.


For our friends in Sydney, French Tutoring offer a range of French language lessons/services.


If you mention DiscoverVin when enrolling you will receive
-free pocket-size bilingual phrasebook
-10% off all one to one lessons
-save $30 on group conversation classes


In addition, students of FrenchTutoring receive 10% off orders of $100 or more on DiscoverVin wines! 


For more information to go http://www.frenchtutoring.com.au/


What they say makes FrenchTutoring stand out from other providers:

No enrolment costs

No cancellation fees (see below)

No administrative fees

No travel fees (see below)

No peak / off-peak tutoring times / rates

No other hidden fees

50% off group conversation classes (see below)

- Flexible tutoring options (see below)

- All materials and handouts used (if any) are provided at the end of the lesson

- All our students can access our books and resources free of charge (you do not have to purchase books)

- All our students get 10% off any books / magazines purchased online at BORDERS

- All our students get 10% off language books purchased at ABBEYS Bookstore

- All our tutors are native French speakers and expert tutors - you do not pay extra to have an expert / premium tutor

- Our teachers do not teach using books - 
anyone can learn from books!

18 September 2011

Discover the Wines of Bergerac Part 2

Map showing the geographic locations of the DOC Appellations within Bergerac
Bergerac - The upriver neighbour to BordeauxThe Bergerac region is picturesque and historic with bastides (walled towns), medieval cities, chateaux, Romanesque churches and abbeys and gorgeous stone villages full of character and history and some exciting wines.

Situated on the Dordogne River the town of Bergerac is about 50 km east of Bordeaux.
Bergerac has a climate similar to that of St Emilion and Pomerol.

History, rather than geography has lead to the difference in perception between the wines of Bordeaux and Bergerac. The 100 years war changed the medieval wine trade. Vineyards upstream of Bordeaux, (Gaillac, Bergerac and Cahors) were under French control, while the English linked to Bordeaux since the reign of Elinor of Aquitane continued their relationship with Bordeaux.

Grape Varieties of Bergerac
Bergerac, the neighbour and close cousin of Bordeaux produces similar blends without the price tag. The main grape varieties are those of Bordeaux: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot usually make lighter style wines that are elegant, supple with silky tannins and represent the “terroir” of the region.
Bergerac Blanc will be a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. It is usually crisp, aromatic and full of vitality, pale in colour with a fine finish.

Appellations of Bergerac

As with Bordeaux, Bergerac is not one simple appellation, but one broken into sub-sections according to slope, microclimate and soils; including Bergerac Rosé, Bergerac Rouge, Bergerac Blanc, Pecharmont, Saussignac Monbazillac, Montravel and Côtes de Bergerac.

Three Bergerac Wine Producers

Luc de Conti is currently one of France’s leading white wine makers. He has been leading the movement to adopt organic viticultural practices in France.
Chateau Tour des Gendres showcases both his viticultural and oenological skills.
One of the loveliest wines from Chateau Tour des Gendres is the Bergerac Sec, Le Moulin des Dames Blanc, 2009. A fabulous complex and balanced Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend.

Chateau La Rayre is situated in the gorgeous village of Colombier in the heart of Bergerac on the Dordogne. The Chateau La Rayre rosé could be one of the wines of the Aussie summer. A great wine to take to a BBQ or to the beach – it goes with just about anything!

From renowned winemaker Christian Roche, the wines of Domaine de L’Ancienne Cure are made with passion, attention to quality and are considered amongst the best in the region.
Pécharmont, a small appellation with the broader Bergerac region, is the oldest collective of vineyard in Bergearc. "Pécharmant" comes from the words "Pech" ( "Hill") and "Charmant" (Charming), thus meaning "the charming hill." Pécharmant vineyards are well exposed to the sun and the soil consists sand and gravel from the Périgord. The Domaine de L'Ancienne Cure Pecharmont Sélection, Rouge, 2008 has fine tannins, reflective of the sandy terroir, power without aggression, round and savoury.

16 September 2011

Discover the Wines of Bergerac

Wines from the Region of Bergerac now available in Australia.

For the first time a range of wines from the region of Bergerac are available
to consumers in Australia. These wines typify the wines that DiscoverVin are
bringing to Australia. Quality and affordable wines of character, made by
independent producers.
Bergerac wines form a regional section of DiscoverVin’s portfolio of wines
from South-West France. We have sought out three excellent producers from
the region. Each works with care and expertise to produce wines reflective of
the terroir of the region. Organic and sustainable viticultural practices are a
key feature or their approach to wine making.
The Dordogne is a popular destination with Australian tourists visiting France.
Having developed an appreciation for the wines of Bergerac, up until now
they have been unable to relive and share their vinous experiences once
home again.
Made from grape varieties traditionally associated with Bordeaux, they have
their own elegance and refined expression of fruit, soil, climate, viticulture
and wine making techniques.

DiscoverVin’s Bergerac Producers
Assiduous research and touring through Bergerac led DiscoverVin™ to our
suppliers. We found passionate individuals, working in historic locations to
make award-winning wines (e.g. Two stars in the French Le Guide Hachette
des Vins for the 2007 Domaine de L’Ancienne Cure Monbazillac 2007). Wines
from both Chateau Tour des Gendres and Domaine de L’Ancienne Cure
feature on wine lists in Michelin star restaurants in London and Paris.
Stephanie Alexander records her visit to Chateau Tour des Gendres with
Maggie Beer when immersed in the traditions and flavours of the Dordogne in
her book Cooking and Travelling in South-West France. In the book Domaine
de L’Ancienne Cure wines were marked as family favourites – especially the
sweet, lush dessert wine, Cuvée Abbaye (Monbazillac).
DiscoverVin™ has formed close professional relationships with each of our
Bergerac suppliers. Our Australian consumers can be assured of a reliable
supply chain from cellar door to our warehouse and then to their cellar.
Chateau Tour des Gendres
Luc de Conti is currently one of France’s leading white wine makers. He has
been leading the movement to adopt organic viticultural practices in France.
Chateau Tour des Gendres showcases both his viticultural and oenological
skills.
DiscoverVin’s wines from Chateau Tour des Gendres include:
Bergerac Sec, Le Moulin des Dames Blanc, 2009 A fabulous
complex and balanced Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend.
Bergerac Rouge, Le Moulin des Dames, 2007 A Merlot/
Cabernet Sauvignon blend with 5% Malbec, which adds to the inky
colour and the red and dark fruit flavours.

Chateau La Rayre
Chateau La Rayre is situated in the gorgeous village of Colombier in the heart
of Bergerac on the Dordogne.
Bergerac Rosé 2009 The La Rayre rosé has been popular with
DiscoverVin’s clients and this could be one of the wines of the
Aussie summer. A great wine to take to a BBQ or to the beach – it
goes with just about anything!
Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure
From renowned winemaker Christian Roche, the wines of Domaine de
L’Ancienne Cure are made with passion, attention to quality and are
considered amongst the best in the region.
DiscoverVin™ imports wines from L’Abbaye range and the L’Extase range
including:
Bergerac Rouge (L’Abbaye Range), 2008 The nose is lifted and is a
complex mélange of fruit, subtle spices including green pepper, liquorice,
prunes, black cherries and some toasty elements.
Pecharmont Sélection, Rouge, 2008 Fine tannins reflect the sandy terroir,
power without aggression, round and savoury.
Côtes de Bergerac Rouge (L’Extase Range), 2005 2005
was a great vintage across the region producing wines of great
quality and longevity.
Monbazillac (L’Abbaye Range), 2005, 500ml The Wine Review of France
called it a “remarkably accomplished wine” and “close to a good sauterne”.

11 September 2011

Organic Wines and Soil at Chateau Tour des Gendres.



Each producer DiscoverVin visited during our recent trip to the South-West of France was eager to show us their vineyard and particularly their soil. Soil samples were on display in their offices, in their tasting rooms, and of course in the vineyard. Organic wines are produced from organic viticulture and soil quality is crucial to organic viticulture.
Organic approaches to viticulture mean the complete absence of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in the vineyard and the winery. In America organic wines must not contain sulfites, but French producers can still use small amounts of sulfur to prevent oxidation.
Biodynamic wine is 100% organic, but the grower has taken further steps such as making their own compost and sprays following concepts originated by the 20th century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. The cycle of the planets and stars determine when they undertake different procedures.
Luc de Conti from Chateau Tour des Gendres adopted organic practices in his vineyards in 1994. Chateau Tour des Gendres has been a certified organic producer since 2005. He uses various strategies to organically nurture and improve his soil, his vines and hence his wines. Natural composting promotes nutrient development in the soil rather than using fertilizers or other chemical treatments. Companion planting can promote biodiversity and help the soil. Planting oats or phacelia, crops with high root penetration, promotes soil aeration and is beneficial for the roots of the vines. Deep-rooted vines are healthier and prosper as the soil is cooler, the roots are closer to the minerals in the bedrock and hence the fruit can more fully reveal the character of the soil.
Biodiversity in the soil leads to biodiversity in the vineyard. Soil insects, worms, rodents and birds live in the Chateau Tour des Gendres vineyard. As the graze, touch and land on the grape berries they deposit natural yeast, the true signature of the soil.
The wines of Chateau Tour des Gendres have changed over time, improved and changed as organic practices have improved the soil, the health of the vines and the biodiversity of the vineyard. Stonger, healthier vines means fruit that ripens to its full potential. The alcohol content of the wines has lowered – the Chateau Tour des Gendres Rouge at 12.5% alcohol is much lower than many Australian blends of the same grapes. The natural acidity of the wine has increased. Tannins are ripe and soft. The wines reflect the mineral character of the soil and flavours more fully reflect the terroir.
For Vintages from 2009 Chateau Tour des Gendres are
permitted to use the Agence Biologique logo ( AB) to signify they meet the French governmnet requirements for organic agriculutre.
Chateau Tour des Gendres leads the way in organic viticulture. With time more producers, both in France and here in Australia have adopted organic practices. The results are showing through in wines with quality and flavour. Julie Harding MW writing about organic and biodynamic wines at the 2008 London International Wine Trade Fair said “The overall quality level was high but what struck me most was the depth of flavour in so many wines; not necessarily concentration but an integrity and ‘naturalness’ of expression, the sort of flavours and textures I would compare with clothes made from natural fibres such as linen, wool, silk, even leather. Lots of character and much pleasure.”

Asparagus and Loire Sauvignon Blanc

One of our favourite things in spring is fresh  Asparagus . We are lucky enough to have our own asparagus patch, but the supermarket ...