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.

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.
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.

23 October 2014

Luc de Conti - Organic Wine Maker

Luc de Conti is deeply committed to organic and bio-dynamic methods. His wines are among the finest and most exciting wines of Southwest France. 

Chateau Tour des Gendres wines are produced on layers of calcareous soil south of the Dordogne river in the appellation of Bergerac.
 Built on a hilltop Gallo-Roman site, the property has been famous for its wines since the 12th century! 
Luc and Martine de Conti bought the property in 1981. The vineyard is fifty hectares in size and offers three very different “terroirs”: Les Gendres, Les Grand Cailloux and St. Julien d’Eymet. At Les Gendres the soil is very calcareous and gives colorful, full-bodied wines with round and ripe tannins; At Les Grand Cailloux the soil is clayey and calcareous and gives fruitier wines and at St. Julien d’Eymet, the sandy, clayey-calcareous mixture brings suppleness and fruit. 

Known since the 12th century as the winery of “Chateau de Bridoire”, Chateau “Tour des Gendres” (literally “Tower of the sons in law”) is located on the site of an old Gallo-Roman villa. Owned and run for the past 3 generations by the “De Conti” family, Chateau “Tour des Gendres” is the flagship of the Bergerac appellation.

The De Conti’s have 52 hectares, all in Bergerac, all organically farmed since 1994, AGROCERT certified since 2005. Yeilds are managed based on grape varieties, soil, vintages, the style and balance of the wines and their agricultural plots. average yield: 5-6 bunches per vine. Vinification techniques are customized to reflect the true vintage expression.

DiscoverVin is proud to offer both red and white  wines from Tour de Gendres.

Chateau Moulin des Dames Rouge is a  complex beautifully balanced and satisfying red wine.
Grapes: 60% Merlot, 40 % Cabernet Sauvignon
The wine is a deep red colour, with a very ripe, intense nose.
Aromas of liquorice, mint and blackberries mingle with discreet oaky notes.
The palate is supple, elegant with delicate tannins and perfectly balanced.

Wine Enthusiast, Roger Voss, Dec 2010: By softening the extract and reducing the use of wood, Luc de Conti has succeeded in making a smooth, elegant wine in a difficult year.  89/100

20 October 2014

WIne and Food Dinner: Talking French- Bishop Sessa Thursday November 6th

We are looking forward to seeing our friends in Sydney for a great night of wine and food at Bishop Sessa, 527 Crown Street, Surry Hills on Thursday November 6th at 7pm

It will be a pleasure to taste the amazing dishes of chef Paul CooperHave a look and see what customers have been saying recently about Bishop Sessa on Trip AdvisorWe know the wines will be great!  

Call 02 8065 7223 to secure your spot. 

Melbourne French Festival Paris to Provence November 21-23

The Team at DiscoverVin is excited to be participating in the Paris to Provence Festival in Melbourne November 21-23.

To whet your appetite here is the Paris to Provence Web Series - Gabriel Gaté cooking at home!

By the way you will find our friend Gabriel Gate in some of our earlier our earlier blogs, cooking with some DiscoverVin wines.

15 October 2014

Lesser Known Grape Varieties- The Daily Telegraph Discover the Next Big Thing -

In the article below,  from the UK's Daily Telegraph of Tuesday 14 October, 2014,  Producteurs Plaimont from Gascony in South West of France are referred to as producers of excellent wine from unusual grape varieties.

 DiscoverVin imports and distributes wines from authentic producers such as  Domaine du Crampilh annd Producteurs Plaimont, made from the unusual grape variety Tannat.   The Chateau St Go Rouge  has been one of best selling wines, particularly at the City Wine Shop in Spring Street Melbourne.

 In February 2013 Sean Mitchell from The Grape Observer wrote "Aromatically, the Chateau Saint-Go 2007 has pronounced notes of blackberries, supplemented by the scent of sweet cloves, dark plum skins and dark cherries, and is generally rather opulent in expression.  On the palate, the wine is dry, with medium acid, fine grained tannins and medium to long length.  Blackberries abound, and the finish is balanced.  I found myself drinking this wine rather effortlessly, enjoying its nuances of length, grip and blackberry flavours.  I would suggest that it is fully developed and provides excellent drinking right now.  Good"

"Nero d’avola. Tannat.  Picpoul. Manseng Teroldego.  Furmin,  Carmenère. Cortese. Arrufiac.  These are the names of just some of the lesser-known grapes you can find on our supermarket shelves. As I wrote earlier this summer, big retailers have been growing increasingly adventurous over the past few years, supplementing the usual mass-produced brands with interesting grapes, partly to satisfy curious appetites, and partly because supermarket wine buyers love wine, too, and want to share the fun.

It was a chat with Olivier Bourdet-Pees, managing director of the excellent Plaimont Producteurs cooperative in deepest Gascony, that made me realise how extreme the effects of the globalisation – or Starbucksisation, as I sometimes think of it – of the wine market since the end of the Second World War have been. 
“In 1950 in France,” said Bourdet-Pees, “the most popular 20 grapes – merlot, cabernet, syrah, chardonnay and so on – made up only 50 per cent of the vineyard. Now those same 20 varieties account for 93 per cent. It’s a motorway of taste. It’s difficult to explain, and difficult to show.”
Data from the Wine Economics Research Centre in Adelaide demonstrates that this is not just a post-war phenomenon: grape diversity is still in decline in the 21st century, not just in France but globally: in 2010 significantly more of the world vineyard was accounted for by the same grapes as in 2000. Or, to look at it another way, 12 of the 44 countries studied had more than one-third of their vineyards covered with just one – very popular – grape variety. 
Plaimont Producteurs runs a conservation project to rescue forgotten local grapes from obscurity, searching for and propagating the vines and carrying out experimental micro-vinifications on its fruit. Its nursery includes 12 varieties whose identities are completely unknown. It also works with non-mainstream varieties, and does it well.
Plaimont Producteurs is far from being the only growers labouring to maintain a ranger network of winding lanes and overgrown byways as an alternative to the international merlot superhighway.
Across Europe other small and dedicated resistance fighters, like Walter Massa in Piemonte, are engaged in the campaign to restore grape diversity.

The distinctiveness that different grape varieties – and geography, too – can offer is not just important in Europe, with its richness of indigenous grape varieties, but in the New World, too. It is thrilling to see Australians making fiano, Uruguayans growing albariño and New Zealanders vinifying gamay. One of my favourite eccentric vineyards in Marlborough belongs to the Swiss Hans Herzog, who is borderline-obsessed with cultivating varieties not usually found in this land of sauvignon blanc. He has arneis, zweigelt, nebbiolo, barbera… the rows of unexpected vines stretch on. 

But why, even as there is an increase of choice on our shelves, do the popular grapes grow ever more popular? Sales of the top white grape, sauvignon blanc, have increased by 13 per cent in the last year even as overall sales of wine remained flat. It might simply be a consequence of being bewildered by choice. Studies have shown that the more options people are given, the more likely they are to make a conservative selection. Perhaps it’s the same with grapes: offer drinkers three possible glasses (or bottles) of white and maybe they will curiously pick the verdicchio. Over-face them with a menu of 20 and – oh goodness, sauvignon blanc please. 

Of course, this is why local grapes were more popular when they were local grapes, available in certain patches of the country, before globalisation took a hold and simultaneously made everything more available and everything less. It’s a classic Catch-22 situation. Happily, we can solve it with a glass of wine. The right glass of wine."

6 October 2014

The Alliance Française Albury-Wodonga French Film Festival 17/18 October

Its on again! The  Alliance Francaise Albury-Wodonga French Film Festival! Come and enjoy a glass of French wine and nibbles at the opening Night Cocktail party session, on the evening of Friday 17th October sponsored by DiscoverVin.

DiscoverVin will be sharing some of their favourite wines.

Tickets are on sale now. In previous years the opening night session has sold out.

Call the Regent Cinemas Albury on 0260 213 044 for  bookings. 

The opening night film is Folies Bergère
This fabulous comedy, both charming and poignant, stars the gorgeous Isabelle Huppert. She and her husband are cattle breeders- so expect country idyls and scenes with lovely cream colored vaches!

2 October 2014

The Wine Gang Visit Producteurs Plaimont

The Wine Gang, five UK wine critics put on berets to visit Saint Mont in the South West of France.  This is their description of visiting the charming town of Saint Mont and touring the area including spending time at  Producteurs Plaimont.   
The Wine Gang have graciously let us reproduce their blog on the DiscoverVin blog.
Eric shows Grace how to wear the beret Saint Mont style
Leaving Côtes de Gascogne, we headed to Saint-Mont, a charming town surrounded by vineyards and blessed with beautiful ancient stone buildings including a magnificent monastery (which is also a hotel). Eric Fitan (president of the Saint Mont Wines trade body), Charlotte Grizeaud (communications manager) and Xavier Didelon (area sales manager, Plaimont Producteurs) stuck a beret on our heads (the beret is almost a uniform in Saint Mont!) and took us for a walk around the town.
Ferme Descoubet’s owner shows us his sustainable farming methods
We then joined Christine Cabri in Plaimont Producteurs tasting room for a brief introduction on the three main Saint Mont terroirs and their influences on the wines from the appellation.
We tasted a selection of Saint Mont white and red wines, including a rare wine made from vines that date from before phylloxera destroyed most of the French vineyards in 1863.

Saint Mont is a world-famous site for grape variety and vine research, and international amphelographic (grape and vine) experts come here to study the region’s unique heritage.
Not only does Saint Mont have some vines that are more than 180 years old, but it also has grape varieties that are so rare that they have not been identified yet!
Saint Mont
Saint Mont terroirs
Eric shows us around the Saint Mont classified plot
 In front of Chateau
Visit of Saint Mont monastery with Eric, Charlotte and Xavier
We moved on to Château de Sabazan and then Château Saint Go, where we tasted a flight of Saint Mont reds, including a vertical tasting (several vintages of a same wine), showing the ageing potential of these tannat-based wines.

Saint Mont vineyards
Plaimont Producteurs have played a key role in preserving andidentifying Saint Mont’s grape variety heritag

We then drove to the Maison des Vins in the tiny village of Madiran, where Paul Dabadie (President of Madiran wines trade body) was expecting us. Paul had prepared a special blind tasting of 20 Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh wines to introduce us to the denominations.
What a great way it was to discover the two appellations! We tasted our way through the different expressions of the local varieties: Tannat, complemented by Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for the reds of Madiran; and Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Petit Courbu, and Arrufiac for Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh’s dry whites and sweets.

Dry white Pacherenc du Vic Bilh
Pacherenc du Vic Bilh’s barrique d’or
We moved on to dinner at the restaurant Le Prieuré, our appetites whetted by all the lovely wines we had just tasted.
We were joined there by Frédéric Richevaux (Plaimont Producteurs) who had brought wines from their respective properties to complement our dinner.
We first enjoyed a homemade foie gras terrine with sweet Pacherenc du Vic Bilh. Followed by a white fish in a creamy saffron sauce, paired with dry Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh.
We then had duck served with a sauce and vegetables. It was brilliant to taste Madiran wines with food, after having tasted them on their own an hour earlier. We could see how the tannins of the wine cut through and lifted a rich dish like the duck.
Our hosts had prepared another surprise for dessert, pairing chocolate fondant with a 100% tannat Madiran wine. And what a success!

Our trip ended with a lunch at the restaurant de la Tour in Lembeye, where the chef and winemakers had worked together to pair a Moroccan inspired meal with their wines.
It highlighted how modern these wines are, and how they can be a perfect match for not only local cuisine, but international dishes, including spicy food.
So, next time you order a curry from the take-away, try and match it with a Madiran or a Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh!
A million thanks to all the producers and representatives involved in the trip, who made it a great voyage of discovery, and who made us fully experience the warmth, the hospitality and the passion of South West French wine producers!
With Roland et Emmanuel


Discovervin is pleased to sell the wines of Producteurs Plaimont in Australia, including this mixed pack of 6 bottles of their wines.

Jeeper Royale Champagne Dinner

Join us for a very special Jeeper Royale Champagne 5 course degustation.  Sam Ferjou of Champagne Jeeper, DiscoverVin and Rosé Roya...