27 September 2012

WIne reviews - Chateau Moulin Pey Labrie from Canon Fronsac

The team at DiscoverVin is very pleased to see 2 new reviews in the Australian media for one of our favorite Bordeaux reds- Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie 2006.

From the appellation of Canon-Fronsac on the right bank of Bordeaux, adjacent to Pomerol and Saint-Emillon. This is an appellation recently highlighted in an article in Decanter magazine by Oz Clarke. He wrote about how he was "excited" by the quality of wines being produced in Canon-Fronsac and other right bank appellations. 

Chateau Moulin-Pey Labrie is one of the best producers in this appellation. 

Benedicte and Gregoire Hubau made their first vintage in the Bordeaux commune of Fronsac at Chateau Moulin Pey-Labrie in 1988.

Their philosophy is to produce wine that is an expression of the ‘terroir” of their 6.75 hectare vineyard. They work with influential Bordeaux based oenologist Michel Rolland to make wines with finesse, elegance and balance.

So here are the 2 reviews-the first by Kerry Skinner in Quench in the Illawarra Mercury in  July 2012 and the second by John Lewis in the Newcastle Herald August 2012

Go to www.discovervin.com.au for more information or to purchase this wine.

23 September 2012

Bordeaux wine & food dinner Adelaide - Universal Table wine club

Wow what a great night! One of those kind of unexpectedly good nights, where beforehand you think, this should be good, but then it turns out to be excellent. Fantastic food, great wines (well to be honest we expected that!) and fabulous company.

DiscoverVin recently travelled to Stamps Restaurant in Adelaide at the invitation of the Universal Table wine club. This is a wine club with about 100 members that was started by Michael Hill Smith, who at the time was the first Master of Wine in Australia. It used to meet regularly at his restaurant - The Universal Wine Bar. It was a privilege to be asked along to the Club. It was potentially a tough crowd for a wine distributor - knowledgeable, experienced and potentially world weary as probably there was not much they hadn't experienced in the past. Possibly that was part of the pleasantly unexpected experience - rather than a  pedestrian night, there was a real buzz about the food and wine. Adjectives like "outstanding", "exquisite", "revelation" punctuated the conversation.

We had decided to present Bordeaux wines plus a few others and it seemed to hit the mark.

We had 5 courses of fantastic food - seasonal, creative, clearly cooked with care and passion by Brenton. A great front of house team, Matt and Alex led by Anita. 

We started with a taste of Domaine de la Croix Irresistable Rosé , Cru Classé in Provence poured from magnums, while people arrived and chatted - a great start to the evening.

First course of seared scallop with cauliflower panna cotta, roquefort scented cream with the delicious Arlaux Grande Cuvée Champagne (a small family producer making wine from  premier cru vineyards). Amazing to look at and a taste sensation on the palate. The champagne partnered the sweetness and richness of the dish very well.

Second course: An amazing course of Rainbow trout , rolled up with smoked salmon and served with caviar, leek , mussels, potato and red sorrel. Technically impressive and great textures and flavours. Served with Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau Haut-Peyrous Peche au Carrelet (Graves) 2009 and Chateau Tour des Gendres Moulin des Dames Blanc (Bergerac) 2009. The first made by Marc Darroze and lightly wooded. The second by the acclaimed Luc de Conti and more wood treatment and richness. It created a great debate as to which was the better match - but we were splitting hairs! It was all superb!

Next up was a delicious course of boned roasted rabbit with fennel jam, celeriac puree, sweet and sour quince. Again this was not a simple dish - beautifully cooked and complicated but delicious and integrated flavours. This dish showed of a trio of New Bordeaux from the right bank. The Chateau d'Aiguilhe 2008 (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux) - on the cover of September edition of Decanter magazine, Chateau Rouget (Pomerol) 2006 and Chateau Dassault (St Émilion) 2006. Three delicious merlot based wines. These wines demonstrated the power and finesse of the wines of the right bank. The D'Aiguilhe in particular drew a lot of attention. This wine epitomises 'New Bordeaux"- ancient vineyards - probably dating back to the time of the Romans, now producing wines using modern techniques and vineyard management to get the most from this fantastic site/terroir. No wonder by this stage the restaurant was buzzing!

Next was a slow cooked beef check with liver and bacon pie, potato and horseradish puree, beetroot and fine herbes. Another delicious dish and a perfect foil to two older cabernet based wines from the left bank. Legende de la Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc) 2004 and Chateau Lanessan (Haut -Médoc) 2004. Both of these wines are starting to develop some aged flavours and integration of the tannins and fruit. Delicious. The Legende de la Tour Carnet is a good example of a second-label. Tour Carnet is a grand cru producer and puts the grapes from parcels of younger vines (usually less than 15 yo) into the second label. This makes a wine more approachable at a younger age and is very good value for money. The Lanessan is one of our best sellers - it is drinking just beautifully at the moment.

Finally, cheese! We believe this is a club tradition or at least a preference to a sweet dessert. We showed off the spectacular Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure Extase 2003. Incredibly luscious botrytised fruit, great balance and length and not cloying on the finish. As good as many fine sauternes but great value for money at this level of quality. Dessert in a glass and went well with the cheeses.

It was a great night and we hope to be back next year to show off some more wines to the Universal Wine Club in Adelaide. We thoroughly recommend Stamps Restaurant to all our followers.

8 September 2012

Saint Émilion Classification System 2012

chateau dassault sign

The vineyards of Saint Émilion on the Bordeaux right bank were first classified in 1955. However one of the key differences to the vineyards in the Médoc on the left bank (which were classified in 1855), is that the St Émilion classification is revised on a regular basis - about every 10 years.

In 2006 a new classification was announced but then suspended after a series of court appeals by four chateaux that had been demoted.

On September 7th 2012 a new classification system was announced. After all of the legal fuss, all but one of the chateaux demoted in 2006 were reinstated. (Chateau de la Tour du Pin Figeac was the exception). The Saint Emilion wine council claimed that it was the result of an improvement in quality in subsequent vintages and has stood by the independence and transparency of the classification system.

Several properties have "disappeared" because their wine production has been absorbed into neighbouring/sister chateaux.

In all there are 82 properties (an increase from the 74 of the last system) - 18 Premiers Grands Crus Classés and 64 Grands Crus Classés. Again the Saint Émilion wine council says this is a result of improved consistency and quality across the appellation.

Over two hundred other Saint-Émilion wines carry the description "Grand Cru", however this designation is awarded under the basic appellation rules and is below the quality level of the 2012 classification. Nevertheless, the basic Grand Cru wines and indeed basic St Émillion, can still offer very good quality and value for money, especially in good years where excellent quality is found across the region. The classification system aims to categorise the very best wines produced in Saint Émilion.

The French government organisation INAO (Institut National des Appelations d'Origines )supervises this and other classification systems for wine and other agricultural products The INAO set up an independent process to try and ensure transparency and avoid accusations of favouritism or conflicts of interest. A jury of experts was set up to judge the wines via a series of tastings - they comprised of seven wine professionals, all members or former members of the INAO and all from outside the Bordeaux region. Chateaux were judged on their terroir, renown, methods of vineyard and cellar work and through a blind tasting of ten vintages (15 for Premier Grand Crus). 
To become Grand Cru Classé, chateaux had to score at least 14 out of 20, to become Premier Grand Cru Classé, at least 16 out of 20. Within Premier Grand Cru Classé is the sub-designation Premier Grand Cru Classé A and Premier Grand Cru Classé B.

INAO also brought in two independent bodies to ensure the application process and tastings were as rigorous as possible.  The Ministry of Agriculture now has to formal recognise the classification.

There are two new Premiers Grands Crus Classés A estates – with Chateau Pavie and Angelus joining Ausone and Cheval Blanc. One property, Chateau La Valandraut, has been promoted straight to Premier Grand Cru Classé B without passing first to Grand Cru Classé. Chateau Mondotte has also vaulted straight to Premier Grand Cru Classé from its previous classification AOC Saint Emilion. Larcis Ducasse and Canon La Gaffeliere also moved to Premier Cru Classé. The market would probably agree to these moves as the prices of the wines generally are already reflected in the new classification. 17 of the Grand Cru Classé wines were added to that classification. Only 3 were demoted from Grand Cru Classé.

rooftops saint emilion

Premiers Grands Crus Classés (A)
Château Angélus 
Château Ausone 
Château Cheval Blanc 
Château Pavie 

Premiers Grands Crus Classés (B)
Château Beauséjour 
Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot
Château Bélair-Monange
Château Canon
Château Canon la Gaffelière
Château Figeac
Clos Fourtet
Château la Gaffelière
Château Larcis Ducasse
vineyard chateau dassualtLa Mondotte
Château Pavie Macquin
Château Troplong Mondot
Château Trottevieille
Château Valandraud

Grands Crus Classés 
Château l’Arrosée
Château Balestard la Tonnelle
Château Barde-Haut
Château Bellefont-Belcier
Château Bellevue
Château Berliquet
Château Cadet-Bon
Château Capdemourlin
Château le Chatelet
Château Chauvin
Château Clos de Sarpe
drinking red wineChâteau la Clotte
Château la Commanderie
Château Corbin
Château Côte de Baleau
Château la Couspaude
Château Dassault
Château Destieux 
Château la Dominique
Château Faugères
Château Faurie de Souchard
Château de Ferrand
Château Fleur Cardinale
Château La Fleur Morange
Château Fombrauge
Château Fonplégade
Château Fonroque
Château Franc Mayne
Château Grand Corbin
alleyways and vineyards saint emilionChâteau Grand Corbin-Despagne
Château Grand Mayne
Château les Grandes Murailles
Château Grand-Pontet
Château Guadet
Château Haut-Sarpe
Clos des Jacobins
Couvent des Jacobins 
Château Jean Faure
Château Laniot
Château Laroque
Château Laroze
Clos la Madeleine 
Château la Marzelle
Château Monbousquet
Château Moulin du Cadet
Clos de l’Oratoire
wine shop in st emilion
Château Pavie Decesse
Château Peby Faugères
Château Petit Faurie de Soutard
Château de Pressac
Château le Prieuré
Château Quinault l’Enclos
Château Ripeau
Château Rochebelle
Château Saint-Georges-Cote-Pavie
Clos Saint-Martin
Château Sansonnet
Château la Serre
Château Soutard
Château Tertre Daugay (Quintus)
Château la Tour Figeac
Château Villemaurine
Château Yon-Figeac

chateau dassault label and bottle shotDiscoverVin currently stocks 3 wines from St Émilion from different classification levels...

Chateau Dassault 2006 Grand Cru Classé classification retained in 2012. A wine of great power but finesse. 

Chateau Petit Figeac 2007 Grand Cru- an interesting property formerly part of Figeac and adjacent to Cheval Blanc producing great value wines

Chateau Lagarde 2009 St Émilion- a property renewed after a change of ownership and providing a great entry level St Émilion from a great year

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