29 April 2012

Wines from Saint Emilion Satellites

Discover wines from the hills just outside the historic centre of Saint Émilion. The Satellites of Saint Émilion offer similar grape varieties, climate and soil as those of Saint Émilion. The wines from our producers can match the quality of their more expensive neighbours, but with a lower price tag. The value for money offered by these wines makes it worth seeking them out. 
DiscoverVin have sourced wine from two Saint Émilion satellite appellations:

1. AOC Lussac-Saint Émilion 
Next door to Saint Émilion, with blends typical of Saint Émilion, Lussac-Saint Émilion produces quality fruit driven wines. The wines are similar in style to those from Saint Émilion, refined, velvety and complex. Merlot dominates, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec can also be included in blends. Lussac-Saint Émilion’s history dates to Roman times. Its terroir reflects the diversity of the soils in the plateaus, hillsides and valleys of the region. 

Chateau La Fleur Poitou, 2010 Website Price $25.00 per bottle 
The 2010 vintage from Château La Fleur Poitou is a lovely expressive Merlot blend from an outstanding vintage. Drinking well now with great fruit, but will repay several years in the cellar. 
The Wine 
Merlot (60%) Cabernet Franc (30%) Cabernet Sauvignon (10%)

A garnet red colour, almost black with purple hints. A concentrated nose well ripened black fruit: blackcurrant, blackberry, plum and cherry. The fruit flavour follows through on the palate with fleshy, round velvety tannins. Lovely balance, aromatic and good persistence. 




2. AOC Montagne-Saint Émilion 
Montagne-Saint Émilion is the largest of the satellite appellations. It is one where winegrowers have been inspired by their highly regarded neighbours to improve their vines and the quality of their wines. Most vineyards have good terroir with southerly aspects and a variety of good soil types. Merlot and Cabernet Franc tannins contribute to the elegant full-bodied structure of Montagne-Saint Émilion wines. The wines are generally robust with wonderful Merlot and Cabernet Franc tannins contributing to their structure. 

Château Le Croix Bonneau, 2008 Website Price: $35.00 per bottle 
The 2008 vintage from Château Le Croix Bonneau was one of only a few wines from this vintage to receive two stars in the French wine guide, Le Guide Hachette, 2012. New owners have renewed the vineyard. They use techniques such as disbudding and “vendage verte” or a green harvest (leaf stripping) to maximize fruit ripening. Minimal use of chemicals and hand picking and sorting are elements of the quality-orientated approach at Le Croix Bonneau. Michel Rolland, a renowned Bordeaux oenologist, consults to the winemaking team at the château. 

The Wine 
Merlot (95%) Cabernet Franc (5%) This is a wine with pleasant aromas of black fruit (blackberries, black currant) and subtle roasted notes (grilled and smoky). There is lovely rich fruit and fine chalky tannins.

26 April 2012

Saint Émilion Satellites

Look Beyond the Terracotta Rooftops


Discover wines from the hills just outside the historic centre of Saint Émilion.
This charming region, dominated by historic homes and Romanesque churches has many acres of vines.  The Satellites of Saint Émilion offer similar grape varieties, climate and soil as those of Saint Émilion. The wines from our producers can match the quality of their more expensive neighbours, but with a lower price tag. The value for money offered by these wines makes it worth seeking them out.
DiscoverVin have sourced wine from two Saint Émilion satellite appellations Montagne-Saint Émilion and Lussac-Saint Émilion



The Saint Émilion Satellites

Six satellite villages that once sold their wines under the Saint Émilion AOC surround Saint Émilion.  Of these villages, four now add Saint Émilion to their names to form the Saint Émilion satellites.  The Barbanne River, a small river that formed an ancient frontier between those in the south who spoke the Langue d’Oc and those in the north who spoke the Langue d’Oil, separates the satellite villages from Saint Émilion.   Today the Barbanne is a frontier between the famous and expensive wines of Pomerol and Saint Émilion and more affordable quality wines from the satellite appellations.

Oz Clarke acknowledges that while wines from the satellite appellations may not resemble the best or most glamorous wines of Saint Émilion or Pomerol they can measure up to some of their neighbours.  Wines from the satellites offer value for money.  Move beyond the terracotta rooftops of Saint Émilion to discover interesting wines at a fraction of the cost of their more easily recognized neighbours.


21 April 2012

Remembering Good Vintages with an online vintage chart

How is it that some people seem to so easily remember good vintages and bad vintages in different regions and different countries? I guess for a sommelier in a good restaurant dealing with this everyday its part of the job. Personally I struggle to remember all but the outstanding years. I find it more problematic remembering the average versus the not so good. Or at least to be confident I have got it right. As Bordeaux and the south-west of France are the main regions sold by DiscoverVin I find the vintage ratings in Bordeaux easier to remember, but once I step outside Bordeaux its difficult to remember the good from the bad.


There are now some online resources that are very useful.


Here is a great online resource published by www.erobertparker.com an easy to use vintage chart http://www.erobertparker.com/info/vintagechart.pdf . I have found to be the most comprehensive and easy to use.


cellar, vintage wine,bordeauxTry keeping it in your favorites and next time you are browsing in a wine shop, a menu or online give it a try. It is a quick way to check if for example the 2007 from whichever region you are looking at is a vintage to be avoided or sought out!


At DiscoverVin we want to concentrate on good producers from good years. In this way we want to take the stress out of having to remember good years from bad. That is, we do the "hard work" in selecting the good wines, so I guess this is the other way in remembering good from bad vintages- put your trust in your wine merchant who can select good wine for you! 


Happy browsing!



3 April 2012

Gourmet Traveller Wine - Best Buys April/May 2012

DiscoverVin was happy to read the review for 2009 Saint-Albert Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh in the Best Buys over $25 category in the April/May edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine



This delicious sweet wine, made from local varieties petit manseng, gros manseng, courbu and arrufiac in the Madiran region of southern France, tastes a bit like a Jurançon and is similarly produced from naturally dried rather than botrytis-affected fruit. It has an exuberant peachy aroma, not as complex as a botrytis wine perhaps but with a controlled sugar-level and lip-smacking, more-ish, bitter citrus-peel flavour. It’s not ‘sticky’, hence you can drink more of it without feeling over-loaded. HH


It is a pleasure to bring this wine to Australia. We first tasted it in Paris when we were living in Bordeaux. We ducked into a wine shop to buy something to go with a raspberry and cream birthday cake. The owner suggested this wine, over and above more expensive sauternes and champagne. We were so impressed with the wine and the match that we sought it out while living in France. Each time we loved it especially with cakes! The name is a mouthful and so is the flavour of the wine! Delicious!

In fact this is not the first review that it has received in the Australian media...

Winewriter Winsor Dobbin made this his Wine of the Week 10 September 2011 "Another terrific late-picked wine from Producteurs Plaimont, one of the most consistent co-operatives in the south-west of France. An affordable alternative to the dessert wines of Sauterne, this is a blend of four south-western grapes; petit manseng, gros manseng, petit corbu and arrufiac from the Madiran region. You’ll find ripe citrus and tropical fruit salad notes on the nose, leading in to more ultra-ripe fruit on the palate, balanced by some delightfully fresh acidity. Complexity has been added by oak maturation and while this would be great with puddings, it would also work with pates and blue cheeses."


Here are some more details on this lovely dessert wine:

Terroir: The Pacherenc vinyards are in the same geographical area as Madiran (reds are called Madiran and whites Pacherenc). This wine is from vineyards of 115 hectares where the ancient tradition of late harvest wines were revived by the Producteurs Plaimont. In the 17th century, growers realised the magnificent potential of the local grapes to benefit from the climatic conditions- sunny autumn days enabling ripeness and high sugar levels and the cool nights, preserving high acid levels and intense aromas.
Grape varieties: Petit Manseng 50%, Gros Manseng 30%, Petit Courbu 10%, Arrufiac 10%
Winemaking: Harvest takes place around the 15th of November (Saint-Albert's Day). Pacherenc de la Saint Albert comes from grapes left on the vine until the third or forth pass through the vineyard, ensuring very ripe grapes with concentrated flavours. As per tradition, the grapes are placed in small wooden cases for transport in order to preserve the quality of the grapes. Once vinified the wine is aged in oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: Bright straw colour. The nose has ripe fruit characteristics of citrus and quince with favours of vanilla and cocoa. The wine has great balance, freshness and acidity so that it is not cloying at all. The complex ripe fruit characters are then taken over by the fresh acidity which cleans up the palette (and makes you wish for some more!)
Although in Australia we would label this as a dessert wine, it is really quite versatile. The French would serve it as an apertif. Traditionally it would also be served with foie gras or a sheep milks cheese (perhaps from the Pyrenees!). The producer says "wonderful with desert based on cream and fruit". Yes Birthday Cake!
Alcohol: 12.5%


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 ...