20 December 2014

Dont panic! Grab some gift certificates to redeem online!





Running out of time to get to the shops? 
We are here to help!

A DiscoverVin gift voucher is a fantastic gift for any wine loving family and friends.

Our gift vouchers are available in any amount you like and can be redeemed by the recipient online, or by phone, using an individualised code.

We can either email them to you or send directly to the recipient accompanied with an individualised message. 


Indeed these are always available and are suitable for Birthdays/Thankyou/Congratulations etc as well as Christmas.

So forget the traffic and the crowds, grab some gift certificates and relax and enjoy the festive season!
 
TO ORDER: Please call us on 02 6020 6016 or  0414 596 395 or send us an email  info@discovervin.com.au . Tell us how much you want to spend, the message and we will be in touch to get payment details.


Our usual terms and conditions apply.

Seasons Greetings from all the team at DiscoverVin!


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12 December 2014

A tradition of unique grapes add flavor to South West vintages

Dave de Simone writes about wine for Trib Total media out of Pennslyvania in USA.
He recently wrote about the wines of South West France.  In the article he describes the wonderful food and wines of Gaillac and Fronton.  Two areas we love.

"Never heard of négrette, fer servadou, duras and gros manseng , let alone prunelart, ondenc and loin de l'œil ?
Not to worry.
These wine grapes represent just a smattering of more than 130 varieties scattered across the storied vineyards of South West France. The region's viticulture blossomed during the Roman era. In the Middle Ages, industrious monks produced wines to quench thirsty pilgrims traversing the region on the way to St. Jacques de Compostela in northwestern Spain.
Later, the tumultuous French Revolution, the devastating 19th-century phylloxera infestation and economically disruptive wars sorely challenged the region's wine culture. Through it all, generations of undaunted South West wine growers persevered and, somehow, preserved the region's unique traditions and wines. Today, a new, well-travelled and outward-looking generation of vignerons — and female vigneronnes — has emerged poised to share their diverse wines with a wider audience.
Faubourg 73, a charming, hip bistro in the town of Montauban, embodies the region's confident, vibrant spirit. With a musical backdrop ranging from the Doors' “Soul Kitchen” to Frank Sinatra's “Fly Me to the Moon,” engaging proprietor Pierre Cantagel efficiently serves “bistronomie” cuisine. The fun, laid-back approach incorporates fresh, local ingredients served in delicious small plates.
Thin slices of jambon noire de Bigorre — ham made from local black pigs — precede small cups of cream of pumpkin soup, mussels Basquaise with fresh chorizo sausage, Vietnamese venison eggrolls and braised duck pieces with caramelized shallot in a rich red wine sauce. Winegrower Frédéric Ribes matches each successive dish with whites and reds from Fronton, a 5,000-acre appellation making terrific wines seldom known in America.
Ribes, along with his brother Jean-Luc and the polyglot jack-of-all-trades Pierre Salama, specializes in négrette, a grape also known as folle noire (“crazy black”). The vines grow in Boulbènes, soils of silt and clay mixed with quartz and oxidized red stones called rougets .
Nearby Gaillac (pronounced guy-ack ) producers offer a glittering galaxy of dry sparklers, crisp, exotic whites, fruity rosés, earthy reds and luscious, sweet dessert wines. The Romans planted vineyards here as part of their Mediterranean Narbonne province. Monks at Abbey-Saint Michel solidified Gaillac's winemaking traditions and prosperity for centuries. English kings long preferred the wines.
Today, vibrant producers such as Domaine Plageoles, Domaine Causse Marines, and L'Enclos des Braves have embraced Gaillac's traditional varieties to export hand-crafted, attractively priced, terroir- driven wines.

Read more: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/davedesimone/7279732-74/wine-wines-black#ixzz3LbIsnlxf
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

10 December 2014

Our Top 5 Christmas Wines




'Tis the season to be jolly! Here are our top 5 Christmas/New Year wine suggestions.


Gift Packs
Christmas is all about giving after all. We have some great gift packs ready to be sent. We can send to you or to the gift recipient. We can include a personalised note.


We also have individualised gift certificates at various price points that can be redeemed online.


Jump online or give Helen a call on 0260 206 016 for ideas.




Champagne
Many of us look forward to a glass or two of bubbles with friends and family over Christmas. This one is fantastic. Its new to us and has had tremendous feed-back and sales. Its well-priced enough to pour a glass for your family (well maybe!) By the bottle its $54 or $49 in a six pack.



Rose
We are thrilled to see the rise and rise of dry rose. Rose sales now exceed white wine in France, and it has really taken off in Australia in the last 2 years. We have 2 lovely rose wines. We served them at the Paris to Provence Melbourne French Festival and sold out of both!




Chateau Rollan de By
This is a special wine that would go perfectly with turkey and ham and everything festive. It recently out scored the famous Chateau Margaux and Chateau Cheval Blanc (featured in the movie Sideways) in a blind tasting. Both these wines sell for >$1000 per bottle. This is $65. A special wine to enjoy over the holiday period. Limited stocks. Find it here.




Mixed packs
We have some great mixed packs at various price points with a mix of rose/whites/reds and dessert wines. Don't forget we can send to your holiday address. 

Some clever customers have done this in previous years and had a case of their favourites delivered to their holiday accommodation/agents. Brilliant! Click here to buy.

Courier deadlines are approaching so please jump on line and order ASAP.

Whatever you are doing this holiday season, eat and drink well but drink responsibly.



6 December 2014

Classic French food and wine matches at Christmas


We blogged this last December 2014 and we think it is just as relevant today. We have updated the links to some new vintages...

"Figaro magazine in France this week published an article on the classic wine and food matches of a traditional  French Christmas meal. 
It gave some common-sense insights into the classic matching of French wines and Christmas dishes. These rules also apply in Australia, whether you are serving French wines or not.

It said "The golden rule of successful and easy matches, consists of choosing wines that discretely flatter the dishes, but never eclipse them." (Well we are pretty sure that's what the article- in French- said! We had to translate it!)
Entrees
For an entrée of smoked salmon they suggest "a lively and dry white wine such as a Sancerre or Muscadet."  
From our portfolio we would suggest a Bordeaux Blanc (100% sauvignon blanc) such as the incredibly good value Chateau Beycheville 2014 (Good rating in Grape Observer $32) or a wine that has been wowing in tasting events recently Domaine Bellegarde Jurançon sec La Pierre Blanche 2009 ( $41) if you want a special white wine to start.

The French traditionally have a foie gras dish at Christmas. The classic match for that, as suggested by Figaro is a sweet white such as Sauternes, Coteax-du-Layon, Jurançon or a Monbazillac. 
Foie gras is not something we often do in Australia at Christmas time. Recently at the Paris to Provence Melbourne French Festival, the french expats though were lining up to buy bottles of Domaine Bellegarde Cuvée Tradition 2012 from Jurançon ($35.90) and Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure (Monbazillac) 2005 ($50) to have with paté/foie gras at Christmas. If you like Sauternes we have one from Chateau Rolland a small family producer,named by the "10 best list" in the top 10 best value Bordeaux ($68.50).  So if you want to do as the French do, or you are looking for a wine match for pates or terrines over the holiday season these wines have an absolute wow factor! 
According to Le Figaro, oysters, "because of their iodine content and slight "nuttiness" need more acidic white wines like Entre-deux-Mers or Champagne".
We have 2 perfect partners for seafood in that instance: Chateau de la Bouyère Blanc 2014 from the Entre deux Mers region of Bordeaux, an unwooded sauvignon blanc/semillon blend, and our fabulous award winning Achille Princier Grande Tradition NV Champagne ($54) This champagne has been getting a great reaction since we started selling it recently. It is also available in a 6-pack for $49 per bottle.

Figaro suggests Champagne for seafood, crab, scallops, lobster, prawns and the Achille Princier would be perfect!

Main Courses


According to Figaro, the main courses are the chance to drink the grand wines of Burgundy or good vintages of Bordeaux! 
DiscoverVin can certainly help you out there with a range of Bordeaux that are special, have some age and are ready to enjoy but won't break the bank!  Current favourites include Chateau Rollan de By 2008 ($59) and Chateau Haut-Vigneau 2008 ($38, 16.5 points Jancis Robinson)
Specifically Figaro suggests matching a stuffed turkey with Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a Pomerol or a Saint Emilion. 
We don't have a Chateauneuf-du-Pape but we have a wonderful wine from nearby in the southern Rhone that has been likened by many to a good Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It's from a biodynamic producer: Domaine Roche Audran Cuvée César 2011 ($35.90). Pure fruit driven blackberry and raspberry 100% old vine Grenache loveliness- one of our current best sellers. In blind tastings it is picked as Chateauneuf-du-pape

We have some great Pomerol Chateau Rouget 2006 ($95) and some wonderful Saint Émilion from bargain level Chateau Truquet 2011 ($31) to the excellent Petit Figeac 2007 ($85) from the famous Figeac estate, and to what Parker called "hedonistic" grand cru Chateau Dassault 2006 ($99). 

Cheese and dessert



For cheese a late harvest ("vendanges tardives") is suggested. 
We have an excellent vendanges tardives from Producteurs Plaimont in Madiran called St Albert Pacherenc du Vic Bilh 2009 ($41.50 stocks very limted). This a great wine, named best import by Huon Hooke. This is from the excellent 2009 harvest, picked just before the first snowfalls of the season and is a fabulous match with a cheese platter.  

With chocolate Figaro suggests a fortified wines such as port or a rich dessert wine! 
We suggest a Rutherglen muscat or a rich dessert wine such as the lusciously sweet Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure Extase 2005 ($59.90, stocks very limited) from Monbazillac. A rich botrytis affected wine. Very French and a wonderful way to finish a memorable meal. 

We are sure these wines will flatter your Christmas dishes!

Click on the links to see more information on the wines or to order.

We also have Christmas/mixed packs ready to go at various price points.


Whatever you are eating this Christmas we hope that you eat and drink well!  


3 December 2014

Discover a New Tradition

The perfect wine to accompany summer fruit has arrived. Domaine Bellegarde, Cuvée Tradition, Jurançon Moelleux has luscious complex fruit, balance and length.  The finish is not too sweet, making it an elegant and gorgeously structured wine.

DiscoverVin have just taken delivery of the 2012 vintage of what has been one of our most popular dessert style wines.

Jancis Robinson gave it a very good score of 17 points and featured it on her "tip-top whites and fortifieds". December 5th 2014..."Not much nose but fabulous balance of tang, acidity and sweetness. A perfect sweet wine for foie gras? So direct and revitalising. Exceptional value for a full 75-cl bottle although half bottles are also available".

The sweet wines of Jurançon are amongst the great sweet/dessert wines of the world and great value for money. This is an excellent example and the 375ml bottle is ideal to serve to complete summer meals.

Cuvée Tradition is made from Manseng grapes. This wine uses 65% Gros Manseng and 35% Petit Manseng.

The wines are not botrytised, in fact it is said that the thick skin of the manseng grapes protects against rot.  A long dry autumn allows the wines to dry on the vine and concentrate flavours. Fermentation and vinification occurs in oak barrels for the Petit Manseng, which gives an added complexity. The Gros Manseng is fermented and vinified in stainless steel.

Jurançon is a beautiful, hilly area in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in the south west of France.  The snow capped mountains can be seen from the vineyards and winery at Domaine Bellegarde, which is one of the best producers in the area.  It is a family estate with 14 hectares of vineyards.  They use organic practices and combine modern technology while maintaining the traditions of past generations.

Our tasting notes: Shiny gold/yellow colour. On the nose complex citrus and peach tones. The balance is excellent, complex citrus and stone fruits. Moelleux means sweet but unlike many dessert wines from Australia this wine has a drier finish. They can be consumed on their own (often the French would have them as an aperitif) with pate, cheeses and it is absolutely delicious with fruit desserts.

27 November 2014

Tour de Gendres Cuveé des Conti, Le Classique, Bergerac Rouge

Tour des Gendres, Le Classique, Bergerac Rouge, 2012 is a velvety, approachable Merlot from the appellation of Bergerac. It is ideal for drinking now.

Known as the “Prince of Bergerac”, Luc de Conti has gained a reputation as a leading French wine maker. Working with his brother Jean and his cousin Francis, they produce biodynamic wines that concentrate on fruit, balance, power and freshness.

Driven by passion as much as by perfectionism, de Conti has introduced organic and biodynamic farming practices to the family domain. He is pragmatic about working with the appellation’s historic grape varieties and doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice vines at the altar of ‘terroir’ and quality.
Certified fully organic in 2005, the estate’s approach was very much a family-orientated decision.

Tour des Gendres, Le Classique, Bergerac Rouge, 2012 is available online for $26.00
The wine is a Bordeaux blend with 60% Merlot and 40% Malbec.
Our tasting notes: Deep garnet colour with purplish tints. The wine
reveals slightly spicy notes of raspberry and cherry on the nose. This
wine is crunchy and chunky on the palate, sweet yet fresh and crisp.

26 November 2014

DiscoverVin - looking for everything unmodern.




Luc de Conti, winemaker at Château Tour des Gendres in the Bergerac appellation in South West France is emphatic about the natural evolution of his biodynamic wines. “We’re looking for everything unmodern” ("On cherche l'anti vin moderne par excellence"), he says. When asked to describe his wines in one phrase de Conti said “Wines that follow the heart more and more, and Parker less and less”.

DiscoverVin has released of two Château Tour des Gendres wines. Known as the “Prince of Bergerac”, De Conti has gained a reputation as a leading French wine maker. Working with his brother Jean and his cousin Francis, they produce biodynamic wines that concentrate on fruit, balance, power and freshness.

The wines are an ideal fit with DiscoverVin’s wine portfolio. Our portfolio places emphasis on independent wine makers and grape growers that typically adhere to the practice of meticulous hand nurturing from vineyard to bottle.

Driven by passion as much as by perfectionism, de Conti has introduced organic and biodynamic farming practices to the family domain. He is pragmatic about working with the appellation’s historic grape varieties and doesn’t hesitate to sacrifice vines at the altar of ‘terroir’ and quality.
Certified fully organic in 2005, the estate’s approach was very much a family-orientated decision. Authenticity and excellence are the buzzwords that he lives by and produces in his wines.

And according to Jancis Robinson MW: “A handful of producers such a Luc de Conti at Château Tours des Gendres ...are now producing ambitious wines to rival some of Bordeaux’s smartest offerings.”

The white wine, Cuvée des Conti, Bergerac Blanc 2013, is a fresh Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle blend made using biodynamic principles. It is an excellent expression of ripe Semillon that offers a superb aromatic complexity, combining roundness and vivacity in the mouth. 

And the red wine Tour des Gendres, Le Classique, Bergerac Rouge, 2012 is a velvety, approachable Merlot, ideal for drinking now.

18 November 2014

White Wine and Cheese - The Wine Gang recommend some South West whites

Homage au Fromage, by Jane Parkinson


rocamadour3
It might seem controversial to die-hard red wine fans, but the modern school of thought among those in-the-know is that white wine is a much better all-round wine partner for cheese.
Why? Because its inherent freshness cuts through cheese’s fatty content much better than a chewy red wine would. And so perhaps it’s one of the wine world’s best-kept secrets that South West France – with all its indigenous and delicious white grape varieties to offer – is in fact a Mecca for cheese-friendly wines. So let’s dive in.
White cheeses that are chalky in texture and/or salty in flavour, like goat’s cheese and halloumi, are notorious for working wonders with Sauvignon Blanc. But this isn’t an exclusive pairing by any means, so for something slightly different but just as successful a match, try the dry white wines of Gaillac, which are made from punchy native grapes such as Mauzac and Loin de l’Oeil and are tongue-tingling, crisp, fruity and salty. Sometimes these whites even have a drop of Sauvignon Blanc blended into them too,.
Crumbly cheeses, such as feta, Wensleydale and Caerphilly are also best served with a fruity and fresh white wine. To match these, it’s worth buying a bottle of dry white wine from Côtes de Gascogne. Local grapes here such as Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Colombard (as well as Sauvignon Blanc sometimes too) make fruity, slightly textured white wines with bags of apple-flavoured freshness.

Comté sliceRicher, Alpine-based cheeses, such as Comté and Gruyère, as well as Spain’s most famous sheep cheese Manchego, are crying out for wines with plenty of depth to the flavour all the while being tense with freshness. And so step forward the white wines from the Basque region of Irouléguy, or even the dry Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh wines. These really make the most of indigenous varieties such as Gros Manseng, Arrufiac and Petit Courbu by being zingy, sometimes smoky, and full of nutty and herbaceous flavours.
These wines would also serve a richly-flavoured Cheddar well, but if you’re interested in tracking down something unique, go for a Chardonnay from the Pyrenean region of Ariège which can have a lovely nutty and waxy flavour.
chabichou du poitou squareAs we all know, sweet wines are hedonistic in their own right, but even more so when paired with two types of cheese styles; salty blue cheese such as Roquefort, Stilton or Gorgonzola, and washed rind powerfully-flavoured cheeses like Munster or Epoisses. There are two no-brainer places to look in South West France to meet your wine needs here. Firstly the sweet Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh wines, often made with Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng, they’re full of luscious honey and apricot flavours. Or else go to Gaillac and indulge in their delicious honeycomb and marmalade-rich sweet wines.

17 November 2014

Chateau Haut-Peyrous, Rouge. 2009 Vintage now available


Hard work in the vineyard at Chateau Haut Peyrous in 2014 now leads to work in the cellar.
While vintage 2014 is almost complete at Chateau-Haut Peyrous in Graves, DiscoverVin are excited about the arrival of the 2009 vintage on Australian shores.

 
2009 was a great year in Bordeaux and the red wine, Retours de Palombières from Chateau Haut-Peyrous is a great example of this vintage.

Chateau Haut-Peyrous is a biodynamic and organic producer, with all work since 2008 carried out in accordance with organic production criteria.  The soil is worked mechanically with grass left to grow between rows to encourage microbial activity.



Retours de Palombières is Merlot based (65%)  with Cabernet Sauvignon (20%), Cabernet Franc (20%) and small amounts of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

DiscoverVin have sold out of
2008 but now have 2009 in stock
On opening immediate complexity on the nose is evident with red fruits and violets. Great mouth feel.  It is round, complex and gorgeous. The tannins are restrained, but add structure. It has lovely minerals and the spice typical of good Graves red wine.


Rich and soft now we think the wine will continue to improve with cellaring for the next two to five years.

Wine Enthusiast Reviewer, Roger Voss, described the 2009 wine as "A powerful yet youthful wine.  It balances blackberry fruit character with smoky tannins and delicious , bright and juicy acidity."

12 November 2014

Producteurs Plaimont and Serge Dansereau: a special night of the wine and food of south-west France November 20th

This will be a special night of wine and food in Sydney. Serge Dansereau and his team at Bathers' Pavilion Restaurant, have put together this fantastic menu and we have matched some special wines from south west France. Serge has recently returned from touring the region so we are sure the food will be inspired!

The matched wines feature some excellent wines from the Producteurs Plaimont, one of the very best producers in the region. 

Export Manager Anais Breham will be present. She will be bringing her wine expertise and giving us also some insights into the rich history and food and wine culture of the region. This region has been producing wines from ancient indigenous grape varieties since the times of Benedictine monks and the pilgrims walking the Campostella de Santiago. By embracing modern wine-making techniques, Producteurs Plaimont have brought these previously "secret" grape varieties and good value wines to the world's stage.

The good folk of this region enjoy an unparalleled quality of life and "joie de vivre"- including slow food and wonderful wines to match. 

Come and find out some of the secrets!

For bookings please call 9969 5050 or email eat@batherspavilion.com.au



11 November 2014

Lesser-known Bordeaux wines you'd be mad not to try

Lesser-known Bordeaux wines you'd be mad not to try

The Bordeaux region has a wine for every taste – and every budget – if you know where to look

Bordeaux grape vines
Big sky drinking: the Bordeaux region’s famed  hillsides  Photo: Alamy
Driving to Clos Manou at Saint Christoly Médoc always reminds me of that bit in C S Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader where they sail to the edge of the earth. Leaving the city of Bordeaux behind, you pass the commune of Margaux, then St Estèphe, the estuary of the Gironde widening on your right. The elegant buildings grow more sparse, the sky seems to get bigger and you feel closer to it: the place feels forgotten, in a “here be dragons” kind of way.
Last week I promised to tour a few of the less-known parts of Bordeaux, the ones in which you might hunt out well-priced wines (not cheap wines, there is a big difference); and the northern Médoc is one of them. I think of it as one of Bordeaux’s newer areas because of Robert Parker’s recent anointing of Ch Sociando-Mallet, and because of Ch Cos d’Estournel’s great enthusiasm for their new Goulée vineyard (first vintage, 2004), on a gravel hill once surrounded by water. But that’s not the whole story.
At Clos Manou, they might only have made their first wine in 1998, but they have the oldest cabernet sauvignon vineyard in Bordeaux – great, gnarled vines thought to have been planted in the 1850s.
There is a particular flavour to the wines up here. They are broader and less edgy than reds from farther south. I often find what my mind logs as black coal-dust and black (as opposed to red) berries, but with a more open, new-worldy feel. If I were looking for a bordeaux to unite both left (Médoc) and right (St Émilion et al) bank fans, this is where I’d come.

Another part of the region which has seen a big hike in investment over the past decade or two is Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux.
Viewed on a map, this appears as one of many satellites of St Émilion, with which it shares a border. The others – Montagne St É, Puisseguin St É; Lussac St É; St Georges St É – all bask in the reflected glory of the St Émilion name.

Castillon goes without, so has never been able to command such lofty prices, for land or wine; but what it does have is a share of the same limestone ridge.  It also has Stephan von Neipperg, an Errol Flynn lookalike (right down to the pencil moustache). He has owned Château d’Aiguilhe, the flagship estate of the Côtes de Castillon, since 1998. Its reds represent all that is special about this area: merlot gives them soft curves, cabernet franc a joyful, red berry and redcurrant leaf fragrance. In fact, the wines as a whole have a sumptuous, happy-go-lucky quality more often found in Pomerol than in St Emilion – and at far more affordable prices. Look out for the second wine of Château d’Aiguilhe, Seigneurs d’Aiguilhe.

Excellent value can be found in the other neighbouring Côtes de Bordeaux – in particular Francs (mainly from Ch Puygueraud, whose second wine, Chateau Lauriol, I mentioned last week).

There’s another area on this side of the estuary I sometimes like to look at and that’s Fronsac (and the superior Canon Fronsac). Unlike the other wines I’ve mentioned so far though, these do need a bit of explaining. Notable for their tannic undertow (they can be quite bitter on a bad day), these wines might be on the right bank but they appeal more to the more masochistic palate of the left-bank lover. I like them on a table – you know those times when you have a savoury dish that demands a wine with some mettle.










7 November 2014

Chateau Rollan de By - Modern Wine Making Levels the Field


John Foy, a New Jersey writer on nj.com posted this article on the New Jersey drinks and cocktails website describing a recent New York wine tasting featuring Chateau Rollan de By 2006. Rollan de By is one of our favourite Médoc producers.

In an blind tasting, 2 vintages of Rollan de By out scored wines usually selling for far more in price including the famous Chateau Margaux and Chateau Chevel Blanc.

Enjoy reading the article below and follow his concluding advice:
"So, at your next dinner pour the Chateaux Rollan de By or Haut Condissas and keep the change." 

DiscoverVin has limited stock remaining of Chateaux Rollan de By 2006. We have the Chateau Rollan de By 2008 which has recently arrived and is drinking well. We think its a steal as well! 


Rolland de By 2004.jpg
Blind tasting of 2004 Bordeaux wines (courtsey of Bethany Scherline)

"A recent comparative tasting of two wines from Chateau Rollan de By was a stroll down memory lane.
Domaines Rollan de By is a collection of eight Bordeaux chateaux in the broad Medoc appellation owned by Jean Guyon.
In September, Guyon’s son Matthieu orchestrated a blind tasting of their Chateaux Rollan de By and Haut Condissas, with the First Growth Bordeaux Chateau Margaux; Chateaux Cheval Blanc and Canon (both Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe), and the distinguished Chateau Lagrange.

We began with three 2006 wines: Guyon’s two chateaux and what I discovered was Chateau Canon. I, and the participating wine writers, voted Chateau Rollan de By first; followed by Chateaux Haut Condissas and Canon.

The second flight had five 2004 wines: Guyon’s two chateaux and Chateaux Margaux, Cheval Blanc and Lagrange. We voted Cheval Blanc first, followed by Rollan de By, Haut Condissas, Lagrange and Margaux.
Whether Guyon realized it, he took a page from Robert Mondavi, one of the greatest wine marketers. In the 1970s and 1980s, Mondavi regularly toured America and foreign venues hosting blind tastings for wine writers, retailers and restaurateurs that pitted Mondavi’s cabernet sauvignon reserve against the wines of Chateaux Margaux, Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild and other classified Bordeaux estates. Every tasting I attended resulted in Mondavi’s cabernet sauvignon reserve garnering more votes than one or more of the world-renowned Bordeaux wines.
Did that mean that Mondavi’s cabernet sauvignon reserve was better? Did the September tasting prove that Rollan de By and Haut Condissas, at less than $50 each, are qualitatively above the $1,000 Chateau Margaux?
I think these comparative tastings tell a different story.
The wine world has experienced a transformative age since the 1970s.
In the September tasting, all the wines were properly made; that would not have been the case prior to 1980. Back then, despite the great chateaux’s better vineyards, wine-making equipment and talented winemakers, poorly made wines were common.
Today, the great chateaux and Domaines Rollan de By employ scientific analysis of their wine and vineyards, temperature-controlled fermentation tanks, new barrels, and educated winemakers and wine consultants. In short, the playing field is much more level.
Consumers can buy wines with a quality assurance that our ancestors never had. Yes, differences remain, but they are matters of taste and style, as well as ego. This change has obliterated the sanctified and archaic 1855 Bordeaux classification that is the pillar of Bordeaux pricing.
So, at your next dinner pour the Chateaux Rollan de By or Haut Condissas and keep the change."

30 October 2014

The Wine Gang Focus on Gaillac

The Wine Gang, five UK wine critics experienced the diversity of wines from South West of France.  This is their description of visiting Gaillac, an wine producing area near Toulouse.
Gaillac


The Wine Gang have graciously let us reproduce their blog on the DiscoverVin blog.

Diversity is the name of the game in South West France: from a vinous perspective, there really is something for everyone if you put together all the appellations in this beautiful corner of Europe. If there was a single area that expressed this versatility in microcosm, however, it would have to be an historic appellation that straddles the Tarn River: Gaillac.
"The diversity starts, of course, in the vineyard, or, rather, beneath the vineyards: Gaillac has three distinctive terroirs, each offering a different character to the wines, from the power and structure offered by the stone, sand and gravel terraces on the left bank of the Tarn to the elegance and succulence brought by the chalky clay of the right bank and the poise and vibrant fruit of the limestone Plateau Cordais.
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Harvest in Cotes de Tarn
But that’s really just the beginning. On those soils, Gaillac producers work with nine different grape varieties to produce seven distinct wine styles. The permutations are, therefore, as fascinating as they are delicious. In Gaillac you can find vividly berry-fruited, explosively juicy youthful reds made from Gamay and bottled shortly after harvest, alongside intense, structured but elegant reds made from the local favourites Braucol and Duras as well as Syrah, offering fine tannins and freshening acidity to go with their spicy flavours.

Whites, from Mauzac, Loin de L’Oeil, Ondenc and Muscadelle, can be oak-aged, dry and savoury, with concentrated juicy apple offset by minerals and rippling acidity. Or they can be lusciously sweet and honeyed, like a liquid tarte-tatin, enlivened by a line of fine citrus."

DiscoverVin import two wines from Chateau de Saurs in Gaillac.
This chateau has been in the hands of the same family since the 16th century. It is now in the process of conversion to organic production (from the  2012 vintage the wines will be labelled as certified organic).
The vineyard extends for 42 ha, growing selcted grape varities to produce wines of the Gaillac appelation (white, rosé and red).

Chateau de Saurs AOC Gaillac Blanc Doux is made from a selected parcel of Loin de l'Oeil of more than 40 years old. The grapes are late-picked at the peak of ripeness during October. Loin de l'Oeil ('Lew-an-de-le-oh-eye") translates as eye of the lion. This gorgeous dessert wine has a sweet honey flavour on the palate.

Chateau de Saurs Tradition Rouge has been one of our most popular wines.
 "This is easily the best Gaillac wine that I have tried" Sean Mitchell, Grape Observer, June 2014.  
From an ancient vineyard that has been producing quality grapes for many centuries, premium grapes are now being made into modern, organic and clean wines while retaining characteristics typical of the terroir. 
Great value for money! The Tradition Rouge is from the great vintage of 2010.

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 ...