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Monday, 19 September 2011

What we've been drinking 19/9/11

This being a birthday month there are some specially good bottles among this lot.  Our September tasting circle included 4 Chambolle Musignys and two village reds from the Côte de Nuits, of which only the 2007 C-M disappointed - not such a good year, perhaps too young.

Among the whites and rosés, a new discovery - the Dom. de Fadèze near Marseillan and the Etang de Thau - stands out for its refereshing rosés.  Another wonderful rosé from the Chemin des Rêves - see also below, and (from Bourgne) alongside 3 aligotés which drank well despite their age, but made excellent kirs too, there was a Ch des Hospitaliers 'Muscats' (4 different varieites of muscat grape).

In reds, apart from the tasting, we had some excellent wines.  Apart from non-French wines from Chile and Italy (the Lascar Carmenere was lovely, and the Montepluciano d'Abruzzo a good cheap standby from Lidl) you'll see Abracadra from the Chemin des Rêves again, a syrah vin de pays from the Salle de Gour domaine at St Hippolyte du Fort (which I am amazed to say is now on sale at our bakers'!!), an Enclave des Papes we found at the cave coopérative in Visan and one of the sensations of the fortnight, a 2000 Vacqueyras from the Domaine des Amouriers.  This was one of our first discoveries in the southern Rhône, and is still winning accolades after reviving after the unexpected death of its Polish owner in the late 90s.

Finally we have a variety of sweet wines, apéritis and alcohols used for kir and other mixtures and cocktails.  Highlights are the crème de cassis from Bourgogne and limoncello from Italy, both used to make kinds of kir with aligoté whites, and the sweet wines made from late-picked grapes - the '15 novembre' from Didier Cornillon in the Drôme, and the muscat vendanges tardives from the local cave coopérativeat Vérargues - simply delicious!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Favourites - Domaine Lucien Jacob, Echevronne

The vigneron here is Jean-Michel Jacob, son of Lucien who became well-known in the Côte d’Or for developing new strains of pinot noir well suited to the higher vineyards of the Hautes Côtes.  This maker was our first contact with Burgundy in 1995 when Mary visited them to set up Jon's 50th birthday present, a 'vineyard share' through 3D Wines.

Since then we have visited the Cave almost every year, and have got to know Jean-Michel and his wife Christine quite well.  The Hautes Côtes de Beaune red was where we began with them; since then we have enjoyed more exalted wines from their expanding production including Savigny les Beaune, Beaune, Gevrey Chambertin and Chambolle Musigny as well as excellent white chardonnay and aligoté and some of the best crème de cassis and crème de framboise in the Côte d'Or.

We have bought a lot of their wines - premiers crûs from Gevrey, Savigny and Beaune itself in the 15 years and this is gradually being opened and sampled in its maturity.  For more immediate drinking we often choose village wines from Savigny lès Beaune, which often show the difficulty and interest of the pinot noir grape on first tasting; Mary once said "if you were offered this without knowing it was wine you might not guess".

Each December they hold an open weekend, with between 20 and 40 wines on offer including those from Jean-Michel’s sister and brother-in-law's property, Domaine Forey, in Vosne Romanée.  Their basic wine is an excellent red Morey-Saint-Denis but they make others including Vosne Romanée and a superb Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru which we like too much!

Christine is originally English so it's a good place to visit if your French is not so good!  They also have a gîte to let in the village. 

Domaine Lucien Jacob, Echevronne, 21420 Savigny-les-Beaune  Phone 03 80 21 52 15.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A great article

I never read the Daily Mail, but a friend drew my attention to this article on Languedoc wines.  Spot-on from beginning to end.  I'd only add that the other Picpoul de Pinet well worth buying the Domaine Félines available from Waitrose - or for much less from the Domaine near Mèze!!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Guide Hachette des Vins 2012

The new edition of Hachette has arrived, always a good moment.  It has been a standby in our search for new, interesting and delicious wines since the mid-1990s, and lately we have been pleased to find, quite often, that makers whom we have got to know and like by other routes have ended up listed in Hachette.  Among our favourites in the 2012 edition are:
  • in Champagne, Guy Larmandier at Vertus in the Côte des Blancs - his children are now running the business and have a coup de coeur for their Cramant
  • in Bourgogne, Dom. Lucien Jacob (one of our first discoveries, originally through 3D Wines) in Echevronne, Dom. Henri Naudin Ferrand (2 sisters have long succeeded their father in nearby Magny-les-Villers in the Haut Côtes de Nuits, Raymong Dupont-Fahn near Meursault and the Mercurey producer Domaine Pillot at Mellecy in the Côte Chalonnaise.
  • Our favourite among the Beaujolais crûs, Domaine les Roches Bleues for their Brouilly and Côtes de Brouilly
  • Lingot-Martin at Poncin (Ain) for their Cerdon pink sparkler, our most recent discovery last month
  • Didier Cornillon in the Diois for his Gamay d'Antan
  • in the southern Rhône, Durban in Beaumes de Venise (for their red Gigondas as well as the Muscat), Amouriers at Vacqueyras which was another of our very early discoveries, the conic Oratoire de St Martin at Cairanne, Jean-Marc Espinasse's Domaine Rouge Bleu near St Cécile les Vignes for his Mistral red, Trapadis at Rasteau not only for the unusual red vin doux naturel of that village but for Côtes du Rhône red too, and Pesqué near Mont Ventoux
  • near to our home in the east of the Languedoc, Grès Saint Paul here in Lunel, Guitard just east of us in the Gard, La Coste Moynier in Saint Christol (this village is now the main centre of wine production in the Pays de Lunel)
  • two family connections of our friends the Llinares, Tavernel (south of Nîmes), and Bergerie du Capucin who have shone as very new arrivals in the crowded but excellent Pic Saint Loup appellation.
  • Further afield across the Hérault and the Aude 2 coastal domaines: Nouveau Monde south of Béziers (to which we were introduced by our friend Régine) and Mire l'Etang in the La Clape area near Narbonne, Félines Jourdan (who makes excellent Picpoul de Pinet) and Fadèze for their delicious Roussanne, both near the Etang de Thau between Marseillan and Mèze, Benoit Viot's outstanding Chemin des Rêves at St Gély du Fesc south of the Pic St Loup, and at the western extremities, Isabel Coustal's Château Sainte Eulalie at La Livinière in the Minervois and the Le Mariés Château Aiguilloux in the Corbières
That's just a snapshot - doubtless there are more we already know and many, many more that we look forward to discovering among the 10,000 wines listed. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

What we've been drinking 1/9/11

The selection this fortnight includes a raspberry-pink Cerdon sparkler, demi-sec; viognier and roussanne whites from the Domaine la Fadèze near Marseillan (the roussanne is especially good); a Tavernel white made by our friend Daniel's brother-in-law south of Nîmes, and a delicious Muscats des Hospitaliers made from a blend of 3 varieties of muscat at the Ch des Hospitaliers in St Christol.  Among the reds were 2 bottles of Camille Cayran from the Cave Co-op at Cairanne, a Plaisir d'Eulalie Minervois from Isabel Coustal at La Livinière, and longtime favourite; other Rhône wines including a Rabasse Charavin Cairanne 2004 and a 2010 Beaumes de Venise from the Dom. de Durban.  3 other Languedoc wines from makes we know well - a Coté Sud from Grès St Paul, a red Abracadabra from Benoit Viot's Chemin des Rêves, and a Rabassière from the Collines de Bourdic Co-op near Uzès.   There were 2 2003 burgundies, a Gevrey Chambertin from Dom Lucien Jacob and a Haut Côtes de Nuits from Dom. Naudin Ferrand.  Overseas wines included a good and cheap Tarragona (bought at Lidl) and a Chilean merlot (Dona Pauliina) and a Barbera d'Asti, both bought through the Wine Society.  22 in all, 18 French, 3 other European and one South American.  6 whites, 3 rosé, 13 red.  One of these was corked [it happens :-(]