17 August 2012

Bordeaux Dinner at Bistro Vue

DiscoverVin hosted a wonderful Bordeaux Wine Dinner in partnership with Bistro Vue in Melbourne on Tuesday 14 August. A selection of our Bordeaux wines were expertly matched to a divine menu prepared by the uber-professional but relaxed and skilled team at Bistro Vue.

Smoked eel and an Oyster. Delightful Amuse Bouche served with Chateau Haut Peyrous Bordeaux Blanc

The first wine: Chateau Haut-Peyrous Peche au Carrelet 2009 was a lovely Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blend from the appellation of Graves. The winemaker is Mark Darroze who purchased this property and modernised it, introducing organic production methods in 2008. The Peche au Carrelet refers to the fishing nets used in the nearby Garonne river to catch local crustaceans fish and eels. So this was an inspired match by chef Chris Bonello and sommelier Maurizio Severgnini to serve this wine with a fresh oyster and some smoked eel.

The Haut-Peyrous was continued and served with the first entrée - crispy prawns, warm lettuce and wild garlic. The body/tail of the prawns were separated from the heads which were also fried and so could be popped into the mouth to savour the intensity of flavour! The Haut-Peyrous was a great foil with enough body and acid to stand up to the slight oiliness of this dish.

Next a look at an older right bank wine: Chateau Lanessan 2004 from the Haut-Medoc. This is a classic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It is an interesting producer, held in the same family for seven generations but recently modernising production methods and bringing in young, highly skilled winemaking team to rejuvenate the wines. This one is now drinking beautifully. It still has lots of lovely fruit but the tannins are softening and integrating with the fruit. A classic "claret" style, ready to drink. It matched a delightfully subtle terrine of ox tail - served in thin slices like a carpaccio and served with some cornichons and leaves. Delightful pairing of the older left bank Bordeaux and this dish - a modern twist on a Bistro classic.

We then had a spectacular main course of Flinders Island milk-fed lamb served with beetroot, the leaves of the beetroot and mash. The photos above show a before and after shot of the lamb! The lamb had been cooked sous-vide to maintain its tenderness. Wow! Rich flavours and very tender without  disintegrating into a grey mush. To accompany, 2 younger but very special wines Fleur de Clinet 2008 (Pomerol) and Clés du Pape Clémont 2008 (Pessac-Leognan). Both of these showed the power but restraint of good Bordeaux. They also demonstrated the quality and value for money of the second label wines of these famous producers - Chateau Clinet and Chateau Pape Clémont - usually made from younger vines and designed to be more approachable in their youth. Beautiful fruit, nice tannin and structure but balanced - and approachable now. Another inspired match with the lamb.

Cannelé Cannelé- A deconstructed approach to a Bordeaux classic. Served with Chateau Le Pradey St Croix de Mont, delicious dessert wine.

An then an amazing finale of Cannelé Cannelé - using all the elements of cannele (custard, rum, cinnamon) in a spectacular looking and tasting dessert. Each element had taken considerable time an skill and when reconstructed the whole was a crowd-pleasing triumph. And alongside it Château La Pradey Saint Croix de Mont 2009. This is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, affected by botrytis and lusciously sweet but not cloying on the finish. And then coffee, tea and a cannelé those crisp on the outside, moist and gooey on the inside petits cakes much loved by the Bordelaise. A delightful end to a memorable meal.


The atmospheric dining room, set up for 30 guests for DiscoverVin's Bordeaux Dinner at Bistro Vue.

The Wines of Bordeaux

Tuesday 14th August 2012
Amuse bouche
Smoked eel & oyster
1ère entrée
Crispy prawns, warm lettuce, wild garlic
2009 Château Haut-Peyrous Blanc, Graves
2ème entrée
Oxtail terrine
2004 Château Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Plat principal
Flinders Island milk fed lamb
slow cooked in Claret
2008 Les Clés de Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
2008 Fleur de Clinet, Pomerol
Cannelé, Cannelé
2008 Château la Pradey, Sainte-Croix-du-Mont

11 August 2012

New Bordeaux Part 2

Hot on the heels of Oz Clarkes Feature article on the New Bordeaux in Decanter magazine September 2012 (and in part reproduced in our blog) comes another article on the good value for money of "New Bordeaux". 
Chateau d'Aigulhe in Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux
Chateau D'Aiguilhe in Castillon-Cotes de Bordeaux

DiscoverVin wants to bring good values and interesting wines to Australia. We can see that there is almost a mini-revolution occurring in Bordeaux with some great value wines being produced by producers sitting just outside the vineyards included in the 1855 classification system. It seems like the less well known appellations of Bordeaux are starting to get some recognition. These are wine regions held in high esteem since the time of the Romans. Taking grapes from these proven sites/terroir and using modern viticultural and winemaking techniques is leading to a surge in quality and interest amongst discerning wine lovers.

The term "New Bordeaux" is being used to encompass these "new" wine making regions and producers.

Written by John Mariani in Bloomberg Business  on August 6, 2012 and reproduced in the Sydney Morning Herald and entitled Bargain Bordeaux 99 Percenters Can Afford- a reference to the fact that the top classified chateau chased by unprecedented world-wide demand can only be afforded by the top 1% of income earners.

"Despite some softening of prices in the past year, first-growth Bordeaux wines are still at levels only a few can afford.

While the first growths get all the hype and stratospheric prices — a 12-bottle case of 2008 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild recently sold at auction in Hong Kong for $US11,800 — second through fifth growths have shown little in the way of price inflation.

Bargain bin for Bordeaux is found in the estates and appellations that fall into categories as Bordeaux Superieur. Look out for local names such as Fronsac, Cotes de Bourg, Cadillac, Cotes de Castillon and others that make up 95 percent of the region's wines. 

After all, it's what the French drink on a daily basis.

stocked up on Bordeaux from such unheralded appellations and have been drinking them with pleasure, sometimes with real surprise. It hardly needs noting that none rises to the levels of complexity that one finds in first and second growths, but I would be hard put to discern many from an array of third, fourth and fifth growths.

The vintages went from 2006 to 2010, and all of them were ready to drink right now, although a year or two more on some of the more recent vintages will prove interesting. All were typical Bordeaux blends of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, and cabernet franc.

Here are some examples of wines from the appellations of BlayeFronsacSt Emilion satellites and Castillons that are available from DiscoverVin. Click on the links to read more!

Chateau Fontblanche (Blaye-Cotes de Bordeaux)
Chateau Haut-Larriveau (Fronsac)
Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie (Canon-Fronsac)
Chateau D'Aiguilhe (Castillons-Cotes de Bordeaux)
Chateau La Fleur Poitou (Lussac St Emilion)
Chateau La Croix Bonneau (Montagne Saint Emilion) 

6 August 2012

DiscoverVin at Le Tour Lounge

Le Tour is over.  
The Olympic track cycling, while exciting, lacks the French scenery and cows.
DiscoverVin were happy to be involved with Le Tour Lounge in Oxford Streeet, Sydney.  
This was a hub to watch the Tour de France live. 
An exciting use of an otherwise vacant retail space, the lounge proved to be very popular.
              Open from 11am to 2am daily.
              200+ people a day through the doors
              Featured on Triple J (national radio station)
              Featured on National ABC news
              160 or so new Facebook friends with a FB reach of over 7000 people per day
              Featured on multiple bike blogs through Sydney.
              Featured in “Time out” and “What’s on” in Sydney. Made the front page of the City of Sydney Website, Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been tweeting……etc
DiscoverVin's "Taste of the Tour Pack" was promoted at the Lounge, through tastings and as you can see in the photos, framed as a wine of the day.
The pack is still available through our shop.  www.discovervin.com.au

New Bordeaux, Decanter, Oz Clarke and DiscoverVin

DiscoverVin has a unique range of wines from the Bordeaux region and South West of France. We are Australia's premier source of well made and value for money wines from this region. When we returned to Australia from living in Bordeaux in 2009, we realised that there were many good value wines not available-so we decided to import them!
One of the things that really impressed us was that some great wines are being produced outside of the expensive Grand Cru Chateaux of the classification system established in 1855. There were many producers making "New Bordeaux"-old vineyards that were producing wines using new methods in the vineyard and in the winery. Many producers have gone or are converting to organic practises. It is almost like a massive renewal going on and there is a determination to respond to the challenge of wines from the new world.
The August 2012 edition of Decanter Magazine features an article by Bordeaux expert Oz Clarke.....
"The veteran wine writer and broadcaster has spent months tasting ‘literally hundreds of wines from the places no smart folk go, from chateaux whose names wouldn’t raise a flicker of recognition...’ for his new book.
And he is ‘amazed and excited by their personality and flavour differences,’ he writes in this month’s Decanter magazine.
Clarke makes the point that the Romans recognised many of these regions – like ‘the tumbling slopes of limestone clay’ of Blaye on the right bank of the Gironde opposite Haut-Medoc – as perfect for vines.
‘The conditions of this grand limestone plateau haven’t got worse, they just need people to make the best of them.’
All over Bordeaux there are wines – ‘the Blayes and Bourgs, Fronsacs, Lalandes-de-Pomerol, Castillons and Francs…’ – that have immeasurably improved as knowledge of viticulture and viniculture has increased, and younger, university-educated generations have taken over.
Clarke visits satellites of St Emilion, like Lalande-de-Pomerol whose wines, he says ‘bear a strong similarity to good Pomerol’, and ‘rising star’ Castillon, whose limestone plateau is the ‘seamless’ extension of the same limestone that nourishes St Emilion’s vines.
‘The attractiveness… the allure of the wines today is completely unrecognisable from the thin, tart, mean-spirited flavours I was auto-ejecting a generation ago,’ he writes.

His conclusion is that ‘there is a vibrancy, a vivacity in the new Bordeaux that guarantee not only its survival but its position of dominance.’ "

Many of the wines that he mentions in this article such as Blaye, Fronsac, St Emilion satellites and Castillons are available from DiscoverVin

Here are a few examples 
Chateau Fontblanche (Blaye-Cotes de Bordeaux) 
Chateau Haut-Larriveau (Fronsac)
Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie (Canon-Fronsac)
Chateau D'Aiguilhe (Castillons-Cotes de Bordeaux)
Chateau La Fleur Poitou (Lussac St Emilion) 
Chateau La Croix Bonneau (Montagne Saint Emilion)

Its an exciting time for these less well known appellations in Bordeaux that are the rising stars!

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