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


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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."

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 ...