Domaine Le Pointu, AOC Châteauneuf du Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc. Domaine le Pointu.

By Paige Donner

Châteauneuf du Pape Is White It’s like a natural reflex, certain wines, varietals, regions make us think automatically of a color of the wine. Red, White, Rosé. This is one of the most gratifying symptoms of entering more deeply into the world of wine, learning that, for example, a brilliant Châteauneuf du Pape comes in a white as well. We’ve recognized it before and we’ll say it again, good winemakers are always the first to say that wine starts in the vineyard, on the vines.  After seeing and participating in several harvests and talking to dozens of winemakers and vineyard hands, I couldn’t agree more…with the caveat that the methods differ greatly from vineyard to vineyard with some focusing on vineyard farming as opposed to vine husbanding.

Tending AOC Chateauneuf-du-Pape vines through the seasons.

Vine Husbanding

After a mere 5 years in the heart of Provence’s Châteauneuf du Pape AOC, Patrick Coste, with wife Karine, has proven just what can be accomplished with vineyards and a cellar when good strong methods of vine husbanding are carried through from the vineyard to the fermentation tanks to the barrels and, finally, to the bottles.

Domaine Le Pointu. Cotes Rhone.

It was only in 2004 that the first harvest of Domaine le Pointu went into their vats.  “Le Pointu is the name of one of our vineyard plots planted with white grapes; it is located on a hillside near the wood of Château Rayas,” explained Mssr. Coste, the younger. Patrick’s father, Maurice, is the former President of the Courthézon Cooperative Cellar. Courthézon is where the winery of the 27- hectare, 5 year old Domaine is located.  Six hectares of vineyards are in the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation, 11 in the Côtes du Rhône appellation and 10 in Vin de Pays.

Significant terroir. The rocks transmit the warmth from the sun to the vines at night. This creates a special ripening process for these AOC Chateauneuf du Pape grapes.

Le Pointu vines from that plateau butt up against the the renowned vines of Beaucastel, signaling the same terroir. Still, it does come down to technique. And there’s quite a difference between farming and harvesting and husbanding and tending.  The signature terroir of these vines are large rocks that transmit the heat from the sunshine they absorb in the warm Provenςal days to the vines at night, thus aiding in the slow maturation and warm ripening of the grapes. The French term for this terroir is galets roulés.

Karine and Patrick Coste. Domaine Le Pointu.

Land of The Rising Sun

Success has come quickly for the husband and wife team who named two of their best vintages so far after their first two sons, Clément and Mathieu.

With a combination of marketing and good, solid, French countryside people skills, Patrick was able, straight out of the gate, to get the attention of Japan’s President of the Association of International Sommeliers, Kazuyoshi Kogai at Japan’s Foodex Salon 2007. A contract with a leading Japanese cosmetics company has fallen into place since then which has Domaine Le Pointu supplying gift boxes of wines for the company during holidays.

On your next trip through Provence, be sure to stop at Domaine Le Pointu.

Domaine Le Pointu will also be the wine supplier for Paris-Dakar for this year’s races.  Good vineyard practices, solid people skills and knowing when and who, to ask for advice seems to be the Coste’s winning recipe here. The reputed Bordeaux wine consultant, Christian Prud’Homme, has been advising Patrick Coste on the vinification process, notably the barrels he uses at Le Pointu, which are all Bordeaux barrels.

And the wines themselves? Well, they’ve already earned the attention of Bettane & Desseauve, Robert Parker, Andréas Larsson and Jancis Robinson.  Personally I would recommend anything from their 2007 run, whether it’s their Côtes du Rhône  – especially Cuvée Le Vieux Chêne – or Châteauneuf du Pape, particularly Cuvée Clément and Mathieu, both made from vines 90-105 years old with a production of 10000 and 8000 bottles respectively. Each are Grenache noir and Cinsault noir made from different vintage years.

But the wine that got me excited was Domaine le Pointu’s Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Spéciale Feuilles d’Or (label pictured above). It is made with organically cultivated grapes, indeed the Domaine will be certified organic in 2011, from 90-year-old vines. This wine is made from the famous terroir of galets roulés. White Châteauneuf du Pape wines represent only 4% of the total production of the appellation.  It has a delicate bouquet, floral with a touch of fruit, citrus. It makes a nice aperitif when young but you can keep it 2-5 years and pair it with herb-encrusted fish, veal and fresh cheeses.  Total of 2000  (two thousand) bottles.

Domaine Le Pointu, 255 Chemin de la Grande Allee, 84350 Courthezon, France.  www.domaine-le-pointu.com

TWITTER.COM/LOCALFOODWINE

*LOCAL FOOD AND WINE*

FACEBOOK/LOCALFOODANDWINE

Share

Advertisements

Saint-Chinian

St.-Chinian, AOC

by Paige Donner

Just north of the ancient town of Béziers, where Molière and his band of Troubadours once spent a winter (ca. 1656), is the lovely AOC Saint Chinian. The area which envelopes 20 some villages and 3,300 hectares from the foot of the mountains Espinouse and Caroux, also includes the sub-appellations of Berlou and Roquebrun. It is one of the earliest appellations in the Languedoc to receive that distinction, designated in 1982, and produces both reds and rosés under AOC St. Chinian, with the area’s vignerons producing whites under the AOC St. Chinian (blanc) since 2005 and also frequently under a Vins de Pays d’Oc label.

The climate, – sunny Sud de France – and the soils, primarily schistes, clay, calcareous and limestone, are typical of this Mediterranean zone and is one of the important elements that has lent itself to building this appellation’s “grand” reputation. The average temperature is a cool 14° C. The varietals used for the red blends in St. Chinian are Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Lladoner Pelut. For the most part a St. Chinian red can be expected to be rich and generous with the rosés a bit more delicate giving off their hints of red berry fruits.

Red wines dominate in this appellation, which is true of the region, with 89% of the production going towards them, while just 1% ends up as white wine and a decent 10% being produced as rosés. To visit all the wineries of St. Chinian, allow for some time. There are 100 private wineries and 8 cooperative cellars (caves coopératives) with a total of approximately 350 producers.

Saint-Chinian Roquebrun, Languedoc Roussillon, Sud de France

A Bit of History

The name St. Chinian is derived from the name of the monk, Sanch Anhan, who founded the monastery in the year 794 on the left bank of the River Vernazobre one of two rivers that run through the terrain. The Benedictine monk, beatified in 1102, became known as St. Chinian. St. Chinian is a delightful area in which to play tourist while you taste wines and stock up your cellar. You can meander along the ancient Roman road that connected Narbonne to the upper Languedoc and then all the way onto Italy – the road that Molière and the Troubadours would have travelled. Or you can drive through the Orb Valley where orange trees an eucalyptus trees flourish alongside the river gorge, and where the little jewel of a village Roquebrun nestles. Be sure to pause along the wine route to take some of the heritage walks through the vineyards.

Domaine La Grange Léon, AOC Saint-Chinian, Berlou

Joël and Véronique Fernandez named their vineyard after Joel’s great-grandfather, Leon, who himself came from a long line of vineyard managers and winemakers originating from this Languedocien patch of land not all that far from the Spanish border and Pays Basque. It was Léon who was one of the founding member of the “caves coopérative” of Berlou, credited with uplifting the quality and reputation of St. Chinian wines. Since he was 16 years old, Joël dreamed of being the owner-operator of his own vineyards and winery. He immersed himself in the seasonal rhythms of the vines, in the harvests and dedicated himself to learning the mastery of the “alchemy” of winemaking.

La Grange Leon, Saint-Chinian, Rouge “l’Audacieux”

Voilá

In 2008 Joël and Véronique established their own winery. They harvest their grapes only by hand and are rigorously attentive about the quality of the grapes they allow into the cellar. The Domaine’s vineyards are primarily schiste soils and because they’ve invested so much of themselves into their winery, they are fond of declaring that their wines are “a bit of the terroir and a bit of ourselves.”

La Grange de  Léon – Vintage Selection

La Rose de Laury, AOC Saint-Chinian Rosé This rosé has delicate fuchsia reflections with notes of strawberries and cherries. 60% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre.

Viognier, Vins d Pays d’Oc Blanc Sold out. Only the proprietor has a few bottles on reserve. Uncharacteristically made from 100% Viognier. [The French make blends from the appellation’s designated varietals, Americans tend toward single varietal vintages.] Notes of passion fruit, pineapple, apricot. Aromas of verveine.

D’une main à l’autre, AOC Saint-Chinian – Berlou Rouge Only available in 2010 – so get it now. Plums on the nose, black cherries; mandarin, vanilla, pepper on the tongue. Round, full, long in the mouth. For steaks on the grill in summer, Entrecôte in the winter. Also: L’insolent, AOC Saint-Chinian Rouge; L’Audacieux, AOC Saint-Chinian Rouge Visit the Maison des Vins in Saint-Chinian on the Grand Rue to start off your wine tasting of the region. Ask for Henri Miquel, the President or Nelly Belot, Director. And be sure to stop in at the Syndicat du Cru AOC Saint Chinian at 1 Rue de la Promenade, St. Chinian.

TWITTER.COM/LOCALFOODWINE

*LOCAL FOOD AND WINE*

FACEBOOK/LOCALFOODANDWINE

 

Share

Château Capion

By Paige Donner

In this Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, once owned by Sir Lancelot, there rests a 16th c. Castle, Château Capion, tranquilly nestled along the riverbanks of the Gassac.

Château Capion

On the Château Capion’s 75 hectares are planted approximately 48 hectares of vines, mostly of what has become the regional classics: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault for the reds and Viognier, Chardonnay, Roussanne for the whites.

Château Capion Vineyards overlooking Mt. Baudile.

They have also planted the Bordeaux varietals of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc, all which thrive in the unique l’argile bleue terroir – red, volcanic clay/soil – of this micro-climate situated in the sweetspot between Aniane and Gignac, not far from the Medieval village of St. Guilhem le Desert, just 30 km from the Mediterranean Sea on France’s southern coast. This l’argile bleue is similar to what can be found in Bordeaux and has proved to be quite a singular discovery for this vineyard as well as the neighboring vineyard.

Château Capion Vineyards

Limestone is what is predominantly found on the vineyards with these sections of interspersed red clay soil found only in concentrated deposits, where they’ve planted the Cab Sauvs and Cab Francs, who thrive on their scattered patches of argile bleue, especially, too, because the only water source used for the vines is the natural source to be found deep, about 100 m. under the ground. This pure, natural water source keeps the vines hydrated. They use no irrigation on the vineyards, relying just on this natural water source and rainfall in the Autumn, which varies significantly between as much as 400mm to 1000mm per year.

In the Gassac Valley where St. Aniane first planted vineyards, Sud de France.

For the Syrah, this is paradise. Château Capion’s calcareous sandstone and limestone soils differ in the size of the rocks from large stones you can pick up three at a time with your hand to very large stones that you need two hands to hold. Château Capion’s award-winning winemaker Jérémy Chanson explains that they use a vinification process more reminiscent of Côtes du Rhône du Nord. Their Syrah vines, mostly 30 years old, with some vines pushing 80 years and more, offer the raw stuffs for good tannins. “We feel it in the cellar, the difference between the old and young vines. The tannins and the color…,” says Chanson, a native Languedocien whose grandparents, one branch of which came from le Pays Basque, worked in vineyards in their day. He’ll also tell you that from “Corsica to Perpignan, there are no Syrah vines like ours here at Château Capion. She gives where she lives. That is Syrah.”

Working in the cellar at Château Capion, Sud de France.

Their prize vineyard, the Triangle of Le Juge, are the grapes he presses for their Le Juge vintage, and what has earned the Château, along with their Capion vintage, the award of “Best French Winemaker 2008” in London as well as high marks from Decanter MagazineGuide Parker(Robert Parker’s wine guide to France) and Andrew Jefford’s, The New France. In the cellar he uses gravity for processing the grapes and hand stirs for the “pigeur;” in the vineyards they practice eco-friendly viticulture. There is garrigue all around – sage, fennel, lavendar, thyme – but it is husbanded to a degree that lends a subtler, elegant taste to their wines when compared to the wines from the regional terroir.

For wine enthusiasts, a visit to the Château is imperative. Frédéric Kast, Winemaker, delights in sharing their wines, declaring that each wine has a distinctive personality, “just like you and I do.” The tasting room is suggestive of a Chapel Sanctuary; the heavy marble dais and the stained glass windows add both light and depth to a cheerful room fully refurbished, as is the original XVI c. castle, with taste and modern comfort. They have also manicured a tour of the vineyard with stopping points for an explanation of the terroir, of the view of the terrain which looks out onto Mt. Baudile, of the vines, of the flora of the garrigue… For those looking to absorb even more from this Southern French terroir, the Château offers suites you can rent on the property for short stays, including the new “Troubadour Room” which is in the castle itself. The immediate property surrounding the main house features an English garden, a French garden and a Japanese garden all nestled up against the Gassac River, with views of Mt. Baudile and the Gassac Valley.

16th c. Château Capion, Languedoc-Roussillon

The Swiss Buhrer family who purchased the property and vineyards in the mid-90’s have raised their five children there. The label on their prestige single-vineyard white, Le Colombier, is that of a dovecot, which they chose as it is the symbol used throughout history of love, peace, hope and the presence of the Holy Spirit. When this part-Sound of Music, part-Swiss Family Robinson acquired the property in ’96 they inscribed on the outdoor solar clock what became the guiding principle for their family, their wines, their vineyards: “C’est le temps de l’Amour.”

Collection Cardinal

“The Heart of the Terroir”

Le Colombier: Blanc, A.O.P. Coteaux du Languedoc;     This Roussanne (40%) and Viognier (60%) blend is a soft golden color with a brilliant shine telling of its fine acidity and balance. Floral notes of white roses, full and long in the mouth. To pair with white meats, grilled fish. 12 Euros

Le Juge: Rouge, A.O.P. Terrasses du Larzac;   Primarily Syrah (70%) from vines that are grown in ideal conditions for syrah, with Grenache and Mourvèdre (15% each) blended in for balance and acidity. This “honor of Capion” has fine, subtle hints of garrigue, elegance and refined tannins and its je ne sais quoi is what sets it apart from the wines of the surrounding area and puts it in league withLa Pèira en Daimasela wines, though altogether different. It is aged in new barrels for 12 months. Aromatic whispers of “framboise,” during vinification. 12 Euros

From 2007 and on this wine will continue to be remarkable. To drink now or to save. Can be enjoyed in the summer with grilled meats as well as in the winter with heartier meals.

TWITTER.COM/LOCALFOODWINE

*LOCAL FOOD AND WINE*

FACEBOOK/LOCALFOODANDWINE

Share

Mas de Daumas Gassac

“One of the 10 best wines in the world.” – Michael Broadbent

“A Lafite in Languedoc.” – Gault et Millau

Daumas Gassac vineyards planted amidst the Languedocian garrigue and protected forestlands, Aniane, France.

By Paige Donner

My father once told me the tale about a Stradivarius. There was a Stradivarius that sat in the dusty folds of a shelf in the back of an obscure violin shop. People came and bought violins from the shopkeeper, for themselves, for their children, but the few who stumbled upon the dusty, old instrument quickly overlooked it, assuming that it couldn’t possibly be an instrument of any worth. Until one day, a master violinist stumbled into the store and like a mother to its child, was at once drawn to the exquisite instrument and knew it instantly for what it was. In his hands, beautiful music once again flowed forth from the Stradivarius.

This story came to mind as I drove away from Mas de Daumas Gassac, the 50 hectare Languedocian vineyard estate just outside of Aniane. This region, the Midi, is, of course the Languedoc-Roussillon, the region that produces the most wine not just in France but in the world. The region is, in every sense of the phrase, Sud de France.

 

Daumas Gassac vineyards and aromatic Mediterranean garrigue, Aniane.

What the region was not known for in 1970 was its quality wine. Flanked by Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire and Rhone Valleys, the Languedoc has long been known as the area that makes table wines or vins de table, the better ones just squeaking by with a vin de pays classification – or so goes the common perception. But not all wines need a classification in order to be good. Excellent, even. Indeed, in the case of Mas de Daumas Gassac, as much notoriety as this wine has attracted, it still eschews classification, its winemakers saying a polite “no thanks” to an AOC label.

Rooted In The Languedoc

Flash back to 1970 when a husband and wife team, Aime’ and Veronique Guibert, were in one of those life transitional phases and decided to buy a farm. What they found was this old rundown farm just outside of Aniane, situated in the middle of the Forest of Arboussas, that was still owned by two old spinster sisters of the Daumas family. It was also nestled next to the Gassac River and, in fact, was an old mill or “moulin.”

 

Mas de Daumas Gassac. Estate, Winery, Vineyards, Tasting Room.

Tout ce qui brille n’est pas d’Or.

“Everything that glitters is not gold.”

…And, conversely, all that is gold does not glitter. In what has played out over the last 40 years since the Guibert family has grown their grapes and harvested their wines at the vineyard they planted around that old dilapidated mill, now the Mas de Daumas Gassac, is nothing short of an uncovering of a long-forgotten treasure. The treasure, arguably an unofficial Tresor de France, is the terroir of the Gassac Valley.

 

Daumas Gassac red, glacial soils. A terroir specific to the estate.

50 Hectares of Vineyards Surrounded by 100 Hectares of Mediterranean Woodland

The 50 hectares that Mas de Daumas Gassac rests on are home to the first wines ever produced in the Gassac Valley. Those wines were made for Charlemagne, the first King of France ca. 780 A.D. In fact, it was St. Benoit d’Aniane, one of Charlemagne’s counsellors and an Abbey, who created the first vineyard in the “magical” valley of Gassac some 1,200 years ago.

The magic is the microclimate. The terroir was rediscovered in 1971 by Henri Enjalbert a Professor of Geology at Bordeaux University. Veronique, also a PhD (in ethnology) and husband Aime’ Guibert were successful in getting Professor Enjalbert out to the Mas to check out not just the unusual red soil, which was found to be glacial soil, the calceous limestone (for the white varietals), but also to explore the cool microclimate that is derived from multiple factors: the Gassac River, several natural springs on the property, and the cool night air that descends from the Larzac mountains throughout the valley cooling the air surrounding the vines in August and September by about 5 to 10 degrees.

 

Pere and Freres Guibert, Mas de Daumas Gassac.

It was this same Prof. Enjalbert who declared to the Guiberts that they were sitting on “the ideal and unique terroir to produce a Grand Cru wine.”

Mas de Daumas Gassac Estate Today

 

A Guibert with his grapes.

Today it is the brothers Samuel, Gael, Amelien, Roman and Basile who take care of the estate. The Mas de Daumas Gassac label, with its sister label of Moulin de Gassac, produces about 150,000 to 200,000 bottles every year.

Walking through the Daumas Gassac vineyards is not just a walk through the vines but also a walk through the Forest of Arboussas, the Languedocien garrigue and, on this sweet summer day in June, a walk through veils of frolicking white and yellow butterflies. The ladybugs are there, too, when you stop and look closely.

 

Winemaker Samuel Guibert, Mas de Daumas Gassac.

Samuel Guibert, the estate’s winemaker who spent ten years in New Zealand before coming home to help run the family business, matter-of-factly explains that no chemicals, no fertilizers, nothing of the sort has ever touched this soil. “It’s virgin land,” he says. The family themselves source their drinking water from the freshwater springs on the property, so they are not about to poison themselves – or their vines. Their approach to land is “to preserve nature’s balance.”

What’s really unique about this estate, however, in addition to the glacial red soil and everything else…is that the 63 vineyard parcels are all planted interspersed throughout the property, fully integrated with the garrigue and the 3,000 hectares of protected forestland.

When you look up the translation for garrigue, the English is “scrubbrush” or just “garrigue.” What it is in fact is clusters of lavendar, mint, thyme growing wild since the millennia. This is the real Mediterranean. Aromatic, fragrant. So like hidden gardens of fruit nestled within aromatic parcels of herbs, the vineyards are planted throughout this preserved and untouched forestland of fragrant garrigue.

 

Mas de Daumas Gassac barrel cellar. French oak used not to influence taste but to enhance age-ability.

The Cellar

When the grapes are harvested by hand, they are then deposited via gravity into the underground fermentation cellar via a trapdoor which is up top at ground level. The fermentation cellar used to be an underwater tank. “We took what existed and made the best of it,” says Guibert, emphasizing that the whole process from sorting to destemming to macerating is all moved along purely by gravity and all done by hand.

 

Fermentation cellar at Mas de Daumas Gassac. Was once an underground water tank.

This is a process not often seen any longer anywhere, including France. Some of the vineyards in Bordeaux used to use this gravity-fed process but most have since switched to automated. The difference being, explains Samuel, that the less the grapes are manipulated or handled, the better.

Similarly natural and using the resources at hand, the river next to the cellar helps to maintain the cellar at a cool 13-14 degrees C. in Winter and about 17-18 C. in summer with about 70% humidity. “It’s perfect temperatures for cellaring our wines,” says Samuel Guibert.

They only use about 5% new oak. “We don’t use oak to influence the taste of the wine, rather to enhance the capacity to age,” explains Guibert. You will often hear that a Mas de Daumas Gassac – red or white – has an ease of ability to age. “They are wines that can age, I like to say,” says Guibert, noting that the red that you drink and enjoy today will be a different wine from the one you cellar for 10, 15 and even 25 years. Different and perhaps equally enjoyable.

They blend for complex wine. The Guiberts only planted old strains of vines used before cloning, “to ensure traditional flavors and low yields.”Some of the planted vines are pre phyllaxera era and some are grafted onto American root stock. Oenologues refer to the Daumas Gassac vineyard as a “living museum” of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Manseng – a varietal that really only thrives in the south west region of France, – Viognier and also a “panoply” of 10% varietals that originate from “Biblical” Mediterranean vines – Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Armenia.

As for the vines that St. Benoit of Aniane planted for the Abbey and Charlemagne, “The existing vineyard that my parents found when they arrived at Mas Daumas in 1970 was indeed extremely ancient but no one can prove if it was the exact same vines as when St Benoit d’Aniane arrived,” says Guibert.

Emile Peynaud, the revered modern genius of oenology, told Mssr. Guibert back at the start of this quest for treasure that he had never been attendant at the birth of a Grand Cru. Forty years later, and we get to enjoy the fruits of that treasure quest.

Mas de Daumas Gassac Haute Vallée Du Gassac 34150 Aniane, France www.daumas-gassac.com

*Local Food And Wine*

Share

Share

Terrasses du Larzac

by Paige Donner

Terrasses du Larzac

Terrasses du Larzac, Coteaux du Languedoc, AOC.

Terrasses du Larzac is a relatively new appellation – AOC status since the 2004 harvest– in the Hérault region of Languedoc-Roussillon in Southern France. In this sense it is absolutely reflective of the Coteaux du Languedoc’s re-establishment of the quality and prestige of its region’s vineyards, winemakers and especially its wines.

Top 100 Wines

The Domaine de la Sauvageonne’s 2006 ‘Les Ruffes’ wine was placed in the top 100 wines of 2008 in The Wine Spectator, the leading USA wine magazine. Not only a tribute to the Domaine and its Director, Gavin Crisfield, this is proof of the quality potential in the Terrasses du Larzac.

The Terrasses du Larzac is a V-shaped area spreading from the Pic Saint Baudile, its cliffs and benches, that graduates on downward to the point of the V towards Aniane and Lake Salagou. The area encompasses 32 communes (villages such as Saint Jean de la Blaquière, Puechabon, Lodève, St.-Jean-de-Fos…) and produces some 75,000 hectoliters of AOC Languedoc, and only 9000 hl of AOC Languedoc -Terrasses du Larzac, annually. While the highest points of the natural boundaries of the Terrasses du Larzac reach over 800m high, the only planted and permitted AOC zones are between 50m and 300m high on the foothills of the Causse.

READ MORE on Local Food And Wine – Sud de France

TWITTER.COM/LOCALFOODWINE

*LOCAL FOOD AND WINE*

FACEBOOK/LOCALFOODANDWINE

Share

Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma

Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma County

Seghesio Family Vineyards, Sonoma

The Seghesio Story begins in 1886 when Edoardo Seghesio departed his family’s vineyards in Piedmonte, Italy for a new life in America. Like so many immigrants, he was drawn to Northern Sonoma County and the Italian Swiss Colony, to follow his passion for winemaking.

Because Zinfandel was the first vine that Edoardo planted, the Seghesios maintain their commitment to the varietal they are most known for. The Sonoma Zinfandel and the Cortina Zinfandel is full of complex, concentrated berries. From their Home Ranch and San Lorenzo vineyards, Seghesio also produces single-vineyard zinfandels. The Old Vines Zinfandel is made from the three single vineyard sites.  Seghesio also produces two Italian white varietals from their Keyhole Ranch estate in the Russian River Valley, an Arneis and a Pinot Grigio.

Angela Vasconi and Edoardo were married in 1893. In 1895, they purchased a modest home in northern Alexander Valley, less for the home than the surrounding 56 acres Edoardo recognized as ideal vineyard land. They planted the “Home Ranch” that year to what has become our family’s lifeline – Zinfandel.

Seghesio Zinfandel, Homegrown Californian

Edoardo remained at the Colony while building his own winery in the evenings after work. Upon its completion in 1902, the young couple began Seghesio Winery while raising their five children.

Seghesio produced jug wine before and after Prohibition, and produced wine for other wineries from World War II until 1983. They began producing wines under their own label, which ended up being mostly mediocre Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Then, in the early 1990s, the IRS knocked on their door and delivered a $4 million bill for back taxes, forcing the Seghesios to make some difficult decisions.

After a considerable amount of soul searching, the Seghesios realized they were building a brand that simply wasn’t sustainable. Pete Jr. reflected, “Ted and I were tired of making cheap wine. But, we had a tough time getting the older generation to believe in us. They produced jug wine their entire lives – it’s all they knew. Then one day Uncle Ed said, ‘We’re going to be the Jordan of Zinfandels,’ and I knew that he got it.

By 1993, the Seghesio brand had grown to 130,000 cases of not only the family’s zinfandel and Italian varietals, but also Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc and both red and white table wine.  It was in that year that control of the winery shifted to the younger generation.  They turned their focus to the vineyards and eliminated all but the wines they grow reducing production to 30,000 cases.

Today, they are proud to passionately produce almost exclusively estate wines, some from those same vineyards Edoardo and Angela first planted in the late 1800s.

*LOCAL FOOD AND WINE*

TWITTER.COM/LOCALFOODWINE

FACEBOOK/LOCALFOODANDWINE

2004 Château La Bienfaisance ‘Sanctus’ Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Fellow Wine Spies know that the wines from Saint-Émilion Grand Cru have been treasured since the times that the Romans initially cultivated Bordeaux’s vineyards of the Rive Droite. -Local Food And Wine Continue reading

Argentina Trapiche Malbec – Goooaaallll!

Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard wines keep amazing palates. Two of the most prestigiousinternational wine magazines, Wine Spectator from the United States and The World of Fine Wine from the UK have recently published an article in which our successful Single Vineyard wines are quoted.

Wine Spectator titled the article: Daniel Pi builds a track Record. In the picture he appears next to James Molesworth, Senior Editor of the magazine and the responsible for tasting the wines from Argentina.

The prestigious wine critic made a vertical tasting of Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard and these were his scores:

Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Adolfo Ahumada 2007 I 91 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Domingo F. Sarmiento 2007 I 92 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Fausto Orellana de Escobar 2007 I 93 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Cristina y Bibiana Coletto 2006 I 91points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Adriana Venturín 2006 I 92 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Federico Villafañe 2006 I 91 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Francisco Olivé 2005 I 91 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Eleodoro Aciar 2005 I 91 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Fausto Orellana 2005 I 92 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Carlos Gei Berra 2004 I 90 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Victorio Coletto 2004 I 90 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña Pedro González 2004 I 90 points
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard Viña José Blanco 2003 I 90 points

On the other hand, three of the most prestigious wine critics from the UK and
collaborators for The World of Fine Wine* magazine: Tim Atkin MW, Gerard Basset and Anthony Rose, devoted a full article to Malbec from Argentina versus Malbec from Cahors.

They did a blind tasting of 40 Malbecs, 21 from Cahors and 9 from Argentina, among which our Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard 2007 Viña Domingo F. Sarmiento, Viña Fausto Orellana de Escobar and Viña Adolfo Ahumada were rated with excellent scores.

The journalists agreed that Malbec is capable to offer a greater range of styles in
Argentina than in Cahors, mainly because of the differences in latitude and altitude.

Following please find scores:
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard 2007 Viña Sarmiento: 17.5
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard 2007 Viña Orellana: 16.5
Trapiche Malbec Single Vineyard 2007 Viña Ahumada: 15.5

*The World of Fine Wine is one of the most prestigious and professional wine magazines in the UK. Fine Wine uses a very professional punctuation system: blind and open tastings are at the center of the magazine. They use a distinctive and rigorous tasting protocol, which makes their tastings an impartial and invaluable guide to the world’s finest wines. 20-point scale, calibrated specifically for fine wine, strikes the best balance for our purpose.

*Local Food And Wine*

Pic Saint-Loup

Pic St. Loup in the northern part of Languedoc-Roussillon.

Pic Saint-Loup in Côteaux du Languedoc produces some of the finest wines in the Midi. As a sub-appellation of the Languedoc AOC, it is petitioning vigorously, and successfully, to become its own appellation. Many foresee that it soon will succeed in these efforts.

“The vignerons of the Pic Saint-Loup have been very smart to identify their appellation with the majestic mountain of Pic St. Loup,” comments a compatriot winemaker from the Murviel-les-Montpellier sub-appellation just to the south of Pic Saint-Loup.

The Coteaux du Languedoc appellation was replaced by the appellation Languedoc AOC in 2007, but the two names will run concurrently until 2012.

The majestic peak of the St. Loup mountain is a dominantly identifying landmark for this notable region in Sud de France and it conveys the inextricably linked mark of the terroir, that of its cooler elevated vineyards which are set apart from the lower, and hotter, Languedocien plains.

Pic St. Loup, left; Hortus Mountain, right.

The Pic Saint Loup and Hortus mountains are at the cross-roads of Legend and History. According to a children’s story, they were born from the blow of a club given by a giant who had flown into a terrible rage. Since then the mountain weeps from the Mascla spring. Pic Saint Loup also evokes the name of the sainted knight Loup who, in memory of his lady, became a hermit, singing his undying love from the top of this rocky peak…This is a land of vines and olive trees, crossed by shepherds and coal makers of every origin supplying the cities on the sea shore with wool and charcoal…

READ the complete Myth And Legend of Pic Saint Loup Wine Region on Domaine de l’Hortus

Garrigue of Languedoc

Thirty kilometers from the southern French coast, the climate is Mediterranean with the characteristic aromatic haut garrigue perfuming the terrain. The topography of the area, dominated by these two distinctive mountain peaks – Montagne de l’Hortus and Pic St. Loup itself – to the north and east means increased diurnal temperature variation which is an essential factor in the development of balanced acids and sugars in the wine grapes.

Pic Saint-Loup Sub-appellation, in Languedoc, Southern Coastal France

The Pic St. Loup is only red and roses. White varietals are grown in the appellation but are not bottled under the Pic Saint Loup AOC classification. Only reds are honored with that with the whites receiving a Coteaux du Languedoc, or the local Vin de Pays du Val de Montferrand also for the roses.

In fact they wineries have been quite strict in setting up their qualifications for the sub-appellation AOC:

The principal grapes must be Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah; a vintage must contain at least two and must comprise at least 90% of the blend. At least 20% of that must be Syrah, a vine that is not indigenous to the area, but was planted early last century, along with Mourvedre and Grenache, as cépages améliorateurs, during the re-planting of the country’s vines. Maximum yield is 45 hl/ha, minimum alcohol is 11.5% and the vines must be at least 5 years old. These conditions will only become steeper when the INAO accepts their petition for AOC classification. Other varieties in the blend can be Carignan and Cinsault which are allowed a maximum of 10%.

The mesoclimates of this limestone dominated terroir allow for the viticulturists to plant the heat-loving Mourvedre in the warmer, lower vineyards and use the higher vineyards to grow a more elegant style of Syrah, which responds well to the cool mountain nights.

Pic St. Loup Facts

  • Size: 13 villages north of Montpellier, stretching 25 km north–south and 10 km east–west
  • Area of production: 1500 hectares, with 800 ha planted to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre
  • Producers: 3 caves co-op, 36 (and counting) individual producers

Clairette du Languedoc

Roman wine press, antiquity. Operational in 10 A.D. in Aspiran, Languedoc-Roussillon.

Many people know claret as a sweet white wine the English liked to drink back in the day. But this old-fashioned vine has the prestige of being the varietal found to have been cultivated on the oldest European vineyard discovered to this day.

That vineyard is in Aspiran, the Languedocian village in Sud de France. It once belonged to Quintus Iulius Primus who maintained the claret vineyards under cultivation as early as the year 10 A.D. when nearby Bezier was still a Roman outpost. The varietal is indigenous to this Languedocien region in the Herault.

Ancient claret vineyard of Quintus Iulius Primus of Aspiran, Languedoc from ca. 10 A.D., France.
Excavation of ancient claret vineyard from Roman times, ca. 10 A.D. in Aspiran, Languedoc region in the Herault, Southern France.

In 1948 Clairette du Languedoc was pronounced its own Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC), the first in the region.

Claret, both the dry white and sweeter varieties of the wine enjoyed popularity all throughout the Middle Ages. It is said that Rabelais and Oliviers de Serre both mentioned “Cleretz,” also called “Hypocras,” in their writings. At nearby Montpellier Rabelais lectured on the ancient physicians, Hippocrates and Galen. In 1532 he was a physician at Hôtel-Dieu, a general hospital in Lyons, the city that was France’s commercial and cultural center at the time. In the same year he published his famous comedy, Pantagruel, under the pen name Alcofribas Nasier – an anagram of Rabelais’s real name.

French Renaissance writer, Franciscan monk, humanist, and physician, whose comic novels Gargantua and Pantagruel are among the most hilarious classics of world literature, François Rabelais’ heroes are rude but funny giants traveling in a world full of greed, stupidity, violence, and grotesque jokes. The true target of his satire was the feudal and the ecclesiastical powers, and the world of the learned. Rabelais’ books were banned by the Catholic Church and later placed on The Index librorum prohibitorumon (the Index of Forbidden Books). … Read More Here

Hypocras and Cleretz were the ancient names for Claret.

During the Renaissance, in 1533, Francois The First drank claret wines in Beziers. It is said that when Moliere spent a winter in Beziers ca. 1654 he drank the famous Hypocras, “clairette moelleuse” of the age.

Claret vines like the hot, arid conditions and poor, dry soils of the Mediterranean. It tends towards high alcohol content and is often referred to as clarette blanche and blanquette. The wine was big business for the Hérault region all through the Middle Ages. After the French Revolution, claret began losing its market share in European trade. It wasn’t until 1900 when, due to phylloxera, claret vineyards fell into declining production.

Today, in addition to Aspiran, where Chateau Malautie‘ grows claret vineyards right next to the fields once maintained by Quintus Iulius Primus two thousand year ago, you can also find wineries producing claret in the villages of Adissan, Le Bosc, Cabrières, Ceyras, Fontès, Lieuran, Cabrières, Nizas, Paulhan, Péret, and St-André-de-Sangonis. There’s about 70 hectares in total under cultivation in this appellation.

In addition, claret makes (minor) appearances in blends including Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Tavel Rosé, Côtes-du-Rhône, Lirac and Blanquette de Limoux. Clairette du Languedoc production centers may also produce red or rosé Coteaux du Languedoc wines.

The archeological Museum, Musee‘ Archaologique Lattaria, in nearby Lattes, just wrapped up a half-year long series of conferences, “Wine, Nectar of The Gods, Muse of Men.”

*Local Food And Wine*

“World’s Best” Top 50 Restaurants -The San Pellegrino Awards

The San Pellegrino recently released its Top 100 Restaurants of The World. We decided to ask ourselves, how does a food critic rate a restaurant?

The Michelin Guide is the most revered, its stars the most sought-after. It has now spawned itself across Europe, in America and Japan, but remains strictly anonymous with a vast team of inspectors split into regions and who visit destinations unannounced. Its inspectors have never been allowed to out themselves to journalists and, according to a piece run last year in The New Yorker, they are advised to tell not even their parents about their line of work, in case they boast about it. Its main rival in Europe, the Gault Millau, takes itself as seriously, awarding points on a scale of 20 instead of a star rating. This score, too, is decided by a team of anonymous inspectors. –  From The National

Can’t SEE THE VIDEO? Click HERE

1 Up 2 Noma Denmark The S.Pellegrino Best Restaurant in the World, The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in Europe
2 Down 1 El Bulli Spain Restaurant Magazine Chef of the Decade
3 Down 1 The Fat Duck UK The Chef’s Choice sponsored by Electrolux
4 Up 1 El Celler de Can Roca Spain
5 Down 1 Mugaritz Spain
6 Up 7 Osteria Francescana Italy
7 Up 3 Alinea USA The Acqua Panna Best Restaurant In N.America
8 Up 33 Daniel USA The Highest Climber sponsored by Cocoa Barry
9 Down 1 Arzak Spain
10 Down 4 Per Se USA
11 Up 29 Le Chateaubriand France

*Local Food And Wine*

Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fume 2007: The Wine Spies

By: The Wine Spies

2007 Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fume

(http://thewinespies.com)

Mission Codename: The Fox and the Vine

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Acquire a delicious Pouilly Fumé for our operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier

Wine Subject: 2007 ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fumé

Winemaker: Arnaud Bouchie

Backgrounder:

The central vineyards of the Loire Valley is Sauvignon Blanc country with arguably among the best examples of the varietal being molded into the world’s best wines. The Pouilly Fumé appellation sits on the eastern side of the Loire River across from Sancerre. The wines of Pouilly Fumé must be 100% Sauvignon Blanc and like its brethren from across the river are heavily influenced by the Terroir with its limestone, flint and marls composition.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Crystal clear light pale straw yellow with subtle green hues that becomes clear water pale along the edges. When swirled, the slightly springy wine clings to the side of the glass before forming legs that descend to the wine below.

Smell – Medium in intensity with bright and fresh aromas of citrus and green tree fruit with mineral notes of wet stone, and hints of subtle herbs and white flowers.

Feel – Smooth, with good weight, this medium bodied wine’s fresh fruit provides a slight touch of sweetness. Dry and crisp otherwise, with lively but balanced acidity.

Taste – Fresh and tart citrus and green fruit, specifically Meyer lemon and lemon creme and green apple is layered over slate and wet stone and steely gun flint minerality and touches of herbal grass.

Finish – Clean, refreshing and crisp, this wine’s vibrant acidity, steely minerality and good weight holds the fruit and other flavors perfectly as it gently fades and begs another sip.

Conclusion – The 2007 Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier ‘La Renardiere’ Pouilly Fumé is a delicious and fresh Pouilly Fumé that shows Sauvignon Blanc in its simply beauty and finesse. A lovely wine to sip on a warm summer afternoon as a prelude to an enjoyable meal. Also pair this wine with grilled whitefish.

Mission Report:

WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

SUBJECT: Arnaud Bouchuie-Chatellier, winemaker, graduate of Lycée Viticole of Beaune

AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Arnaud. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

ARNAUD BOUCHIE-CHATELLIER: Merci Beaucoup.

WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

ARNAUD: My great grandfather who was one of the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc vines in Pouilly-sur-Loire. He had a willingness to always improve quality through innovation and modern technology while taking into account what we have learned from past.

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

ARNAUD: The wines at Domaine Bouchié Chatellier is made exclusively by family members. The knowledge of viticulture and winemaking has been passed down from generation to generation from the beginning of last century.

WHITE: Who do you make wine for?

ARNAUD: We emphasize natural wines and enjoy sharing this work of art that nature gives is with those who love wines like we do.

WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Pouilly Fumé so special?

ARNAUD: Our soils are silex or flint, we use the selection massale process of propagating sub-varieties of vines that are best suited to our vineyards. Also, the experience of four generations is present in our vineyards and our cellars. This is what gives our wines their uniqueness and character.

WHITE: What is your objective each day?

ARNAUD: We make authentic and natural wines but above all they’re meant to be enjoyed!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

· The location of the Domaine Bouchie-Chatellier in the Loire Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.

Twitter.com/localfoodwine

*Local Food And Wine *

FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

Posted via email from Local Food And Wine

Baboons Go Ape For Grapes

Yes, the World Cup is just days away.  And as you gather with friends to watch the games, you likely will be inspired to do some tastings of the very reputable S. African wines.  After all, their vineyards are some of the oldest under cultivation.

Can’t See The VIDEO: Click HERE

A novelty that hasn’t been lost on the nation’s baboon population!

Taking the notion of “critter” wines to an altogether new level, South African vineyard managers have to outsmart and outmaneuver a pest of the monkey variety…turns out baboons find the sugar and starch of grapes altogether irresistible!  They particularly go in for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

Here’s what’s been reported in the popular press:

by: Nastasya Tay  [Johannesburg]

Baboons, it seems, prefer pinot noir. They also like a nice chardonnay. Largely undeterred by electric fences, hundreds of wild baboons in South Africa’s prized winelands are feasting on ripe, succulent grapes, forcing winemakers to use noisemakers and rubber snakes to try to drive them off during this harvest season.

“The poor baboons are driven to distraction,” said Justin O’Riain, who works in the Baboon Research Unit of the University of Cape Town. “As far as baboons are concerned, the combination of starch and sugar is very attractive – and that’s your basic grape.”

Growers say the picky primates are partial to sweet pinot noir grapes, adding to the winemakers’ woe, for pinot noir sells for more than the average merlot or cabernet sauvignon.

Fauna Dynamics

Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman has even gone so far as to report that South African vineyards are now training baboons to harvest the grapes. So if you plan on lending a hand during crush, you might just find yourself harvesting side-by-side with a  few brethren baboons…

From Wine Specatator:

It turns out that the baboons are actually being trained to harvest the grapes themselves (the trick is keeping them well-fed so that they don’t do any on-the-job snacking). It’s all part of the latest viticultural movement known as FaunaDynamics, in which human labor is all but eliminated in the vineyard. Zoologists at the San Diego Zoo claim their 100 percent FaunaDynamic teaching vineyard will be online by 2014 (rhesus monkey-directed draft horses have just completed plowing a 4.1-acre parcel). Peregrine falcon nests surround the vineyard to protect it from grape-hungry starlings, and several of the zoo’s primates have been sent to the Cape to learn harvest methods from Stellenbosch’s simians. Not surprisingly, PETA has already announced plans to protest the first harvest.

If you’d like to drink some of the wines made from the grapes the baboons go in for, we suggest starting with these:

Quoin Rock [Excerpted from The Wine Doctor]

The Quoin Rock winery is located in Stellenbosch where the climate is continental (warm and dry summers, cool winters), although Carl van de Merwe was keen to stress that the summer temperatures are hot rather than merely warm. He clearly has no problems with ripeness of fruit, although he has had challenges protecting the sugar-rich fruit from the local baboon population prior to harvest; the marauding monkeys have a habit of responding to the sweet aromas of ripeness with a pillaging of the vineyard. The solution has been to install electric fences to protect the harvest and vines.

There were three wines on show from Quoin Rock, including recent vintages of the estate’s Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The Sauvignon Blanc is mostly fermented in steel, with a minor portion fermented in barrel. The wine is left on its lees for six months before bottling, the intention being to engender a fuller, more creamy mouthfeel. The Chardonnay meanwhile is 100% barrel-fermented, with 30% of the oak new in this vintage. The third wine was a 2004 Syrah.

Twitter.com/localfoodwine

Okanagan Food And Wine Vancouver Food And  Wine

*Local Food And Wine *

FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

Posted via web from Local Food And Wine

Pommery Champagne, Chocolate Truffles, Bogart, Monroe and Chaplin

Succumb to the liveliness & finesse of Champagne Pommery Brut Royal from France..  in the presence of Felix Ghoul from the Champagne house in Reims..

Explore new vineyards & Terroirs with wines from the old & new worlds…  including California, Argentina, France, Austria..  cherry-picked from Colorado Wine Company‘s unique wine selection..

Indulge in the highest-quality delicacies with artisan cheeses from the four corners of the world by Nicole’s Gourmet Food..  You will experience tasty & harmonious couplings with each wine served..

Tantalize your senses with Yvan Valentin‘s chocolate truffles..  Just imagine a velvety chocolate ganache hand dipped in Valrhona Grand Cru Chocolate and..  delight the chocolate connoisseur in you!..  Chocolate Truffle Menu here:  4 flavors your taste buds can’t resist.

4 flavors that your taste buds can’t resist..

Dark Chocolate Truffle
“Old tradition” crunchy bitter sweet chocolate filled with a dark melting ganache.A classic simply exquisite.

Milk Chocolate Praline Truffle
Wonderful combination of creamy ganache and caramelized toasted hazelnut paste wrapped in a milk chocolate.

Ivory Cointreau Truffle
Delicious blend of chocolate, orange peel and Cointreau in a velvety smooth chocolate icing. A favorite for white chocolate lovers.

Cappuccino Truffle
Perfect blending of chocolate and cappuccino cream, coated with bittersweet chocolate and light cocoa.


Discover & Learn through the passion and expertise of Champagne, fine wine & gourmet specialists who will guide and assist you throughout the soiree..  You are all taken care of!

Listen to a delicate mix of sultry crooning, tender melodies, and bittersweet lyrics from the Leftover Cuties who harken back to a simpler age when music was as likely to come from a soup-line or a smoke filled speakeasy as it was from a recording studio.. watch & listen to them

Can’t See The VIDEO? Click HERE

Relax & Mingle at really unique & irresistible Hollywood locations..  Live Classic at the Hollywood Tower.. or Live New at La Belle at Hollywood Tower..  an exceptional choice in one location!.. learn more

More Info at www.LAWineTasting.com

*Local Food And Wine*

Twitter.com/localfoodwine

FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

Posted via web from Local Food And Wine

Brooks Winery 2007 ‘Ara’ Willamette Valley Riesling

By: The Wine Spies

Mission Codename: The Wisest of All

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit Brooks Winery and secure an allocation of their prized ‘Ara’ Riesling.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Brooks Winery

Wine Subject: 2007 ‘Ara’ Willamette Valley Riesling

Winemaker: Chris Williams

Backgrounder: Oregon’s Willamette Valley, just south of Portland and along the Willamette River is well known for Pinot Noir and other Burgundian varietals but the Alsatian varietal Riesling also thrives here. Its deep and fertile volcanic soil, cooler climate most directly effect viticulture. Most of the vineyards in this area are planted in the valley’s and hillsides along the river. Today’s wine comes from a unique winery – with a unique heritage.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Pale and clear straw yellow that becomes almost watery clear along the meniscus. When swirled, randomly spaced legs start off wide and thin as they glide down to the wine below.

Smell – Medium in intensity with bright aromas of tart grapefruit and lime citrus as well as green apple. A touch of white flower, light minerality and subtle sweet exotic spice emerges as this wine opens.

Feel – Medium-bodied and smooth with a nearly dry, mineral texture that is framed by its bright and crisp acidity.

Taste – Layers of fresh grapefruit, lemon and lime along with tart green apple meld with notes of exotic and sweet baking spice, slate minerality, a touch of grassy herb and a tiny hint of classic petrol.

Finish – Medium in length and extremely clean with crisp and bright acidity longing the citrus and green tree fruit that fades leaving a tangy tart zest on the palate that invites another sip.

Conclusion – The 2007 Brooks Winery ‘Ara’ Willamette Valley Riesling is a delicious, fresh and crisp wine that will find itself the perfect accompaniment to a variety of foods, including the zestiest and spiciest creations from your kitchen or local Thai delivery. Bright and fresh with balance between its fruit and other classic aromas and flavors. We paired this lovely wine with pulled pork barbecue sandwiches

Mission Report:

WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Chris Williams

WINE EDUCATION: Hands-on

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF:none

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY:I think it’s very important to always show the vintage as part of Terrior.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Eat, Drink, and be merry!

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Brooks is 1998 Willamette Valley Riesling, Chris Williams’ 2004 Ara Riesling


Below is a recent interview conducted by Agent Red when we featured the delicious Janus Pinot Noir.

WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

CHRIS: And thank you, it’s always a pleasure to find a new audience to show my wine to.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

CHRIS: It was really more about a friendship I formed with Jimi Brooks that lead me into the business. From there my appreciation for wine grew quickly.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

CHRIS: That would have to be Jimi. I learned everything from him including to always encourage yourself to try new things.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

CHRIS: Myself, but always with a consumer in mind!

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

CHRIS: the 2007 Janus is a wine I’m very proud of. I feel it was a standout in the vintage for me with perfumed aromatics, a very elegant mouthfeel, and finishing with nice soft tannins. A wine that will stand the test of time!

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

CHRIS: I recently had it with a beef cheek Reuben and it was fantastic!

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Willamette Valley so special?

CHRIS: For me it’s really about the people, the sense of community really shows through!

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

CHRIS: Just finished bottling my 2009 whites and now I’m tending to the Pinots.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

CHRIS: A lot like life, you have to always be open to new things to really find your true pleasures.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

CHRIS: Just……….ENJOY!

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Brooks Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.

Twitter.com/localfoodwine

*Local Food And Wine *

FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

Posted via email from Local Food And Wine

How To Love The Heartbreak Grape

by Paige Donner

How To Love The Heartbreak Grape

Pinot noir is a very fickle grape, requiring the utmost attention and respect in every phase of the winemaking process. Winemakers are the first to testify to this, claiming that grapes that have been handled too much can end up making wines that lack flavor and harmony.

Clearly, Pinot noir is a risky (and more expensive) proposition for the winegrower, the winemaker, and the wine drinker. But it is precisely this high-stakes gamble that makes pinot noir all the more alluring and rewarding.

There is much debate as to the origins of the variety, although one currently popular theory is that the Pinot noir grape is an offspring of Pinot meunier and Gewurztraminer. This union helps explain the characteristics behind the beloved Pinot noir. As author Stuart Pigot notes in Planet Wine, “Pinot meunier gave Pinot noir its bright, berry aromas and initial charm, while Gewurztraminer its silkiness, extravagance, nobility, and fickleness.”

Pinot Noir, the elegant, fickle, silky grape.

The name Pinot Noir is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” in reference to the varietals’ tightly clustered dark purple cone-shaped bunches of grapes. Therefore, Pinot noir refers both to the grape varietal as well as the wine that it produces. The skin of the Pinot noir grape is relatively thin, making it a tricky, albeit rewarding, candidate for wine production.

As mentioned by Karen MacNeil in The Wine Bible, “Winemakers adopt a minimalist approach, and often a percentage of the grapes is not crushed. Instead, whole grapes are put directly into the fermenting tanks, which also helps maximize fruity flavors in the wine. To keep those fruit flavors dominant, many wine-makers are also extremely careful and sparing in their use of new oak for aging.”

Oregon, inspired by the similar climate characteristics of Burgundy, staked its reputation on Pinot noir with much success. Thanks to ocean fog, California has shown that it too has no shortage of spots cool enough to keep Pinot grapes on the vine as they develop fine fruity flavors and texture. Notable Pinot regions in California include Los Carneros, the Russian River Valley in Sonoma and Santa Maria north of Santa Barbara.

Pinot noir is what put Oregon on the map internationally, and is the most planted in the state by far. Wineries in Oregon tend to be small family affairs. Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot gris follow. Oregon has no such thing as cheap, bulk wine. The climate is distinctly cloudy and cool, especially in the Willamette Valley where most of the wineries are clustered. This gentle climate, which highly resembles that of Burgundy, allows for wines of good acidity and balance, moderate alcohol, and an ideal degree of flavor.

Love Pinot? Check out the International Pinot Noir Celebration!

Summer Wine Reads:  Johnson, Hugh. The World Atlas of Wine, Ed. 4. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994; MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible. New York: Workman Publishing, 2001; Pigott, Stuart. Planet Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley, 2004; Robinson, Jancis. Jancis Robinson’s Wine Course. London: BBC Books, 1995.

Twitter.com/localfoodwine

Okanagan Food And Wine Vancouver Food And  Wine

*Local Food And Wine *

FaceBook/LocalFoodAndWine

Posted via web from Local Food And Wine

Patagonia Pinot Noir – Condemned To Quality

Patagonia and Pinot Noir – “Condemned To Quality”

Patagonia, Argentina

Patagonia is Argentina’s southernmost wine-growing region. Its Pinot Noirs have gained in popularity the past six years, since most of the Patagonic vineyard plantings around 2000. The three wine-growing areas of Patagonia are Neuquen and Rio Negro along with Chubut. Rio Negro is the only area in the region that’s been planted for over 90 years.

The Schroeders are a European family deeply rooted in Patagonia and well-known for their solid enterprising profile. All their wines are hand harvested. The vineyards are certified Organic under ISO 22000 and Global Good Agricultural Practices "GAP".

The Landscape And Terroir

Patagonia is known as cold and windy with starkly beautiful landscapes. It was recently designated as the No. 2 most wished for travel-adventure destination. There’s one inhabitant per square meter in a country whose population is 40 million.

Rio Negro is a valley that has apples and pears, in addition to wineries, and stretches from the Andes to the Atlantic. It’s the name of a river and it’s the name of the wine-growing region in Patagonia.

To travel from Mendoza, Argentina’s main wine-growing region, to Neuquen, in Patagonia, you will cover 800km. The crop yield from the two areas is just as contrasting: Mendoza averages 60 tons per acre, whereas Rio Negro yields approximately 20-25 tons per acre. Hence the phrase, “We are condemned to quality,” explained Federico Boxaca of Familia Schroeder, the Patagonia winery that makes the 100% Pinot Noir vintage, Saurus Patagonia Select Pinot Noir.

Patagonia's Pinot Noirs, "Condemned To Quality"

North Patagonia’s growing conditions are ideal for Pinot Noir. This delicate, old and noble variety requires an arid climate, short summer and cold winter. The Pinot Noir grown in Patagonia has smooth tannins, a deep ruby color and aromatics of black fruit.

Argentina’s Late-comer

The logistics of Patagonia is what makes it a regional late-comer to the game of grape growing. “It’s long been perceived as too expensive and too unpredictable,” explained Boxaca. In fact, when Chandon started his winery in Argentina in the 60’s, they first looked at Patagonia. They found that it gave great acidity, at the levels necessary for sparkling wines. However, since the train tracks were long laid by the English and span from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, easy access to Patagonia has been a long time coming.

Boxaca illuminates the region’s good qualities even further: “We have soft, well-developed tannins; good acidity and low PH.” This is achieved through good vineyard management, one that has been developed to counter the ravaging of the region’s wind factor.

Patagonia Winery.Most wineries of the region have restaurants and lodges.

The wineries of Patagonia have adapted their viticulture technology to the terroir characteristics so as to allow for high-quality wine – in this case Pinot Noir – production. Boxaca explained that growing a healthy vineyard of Patagonia Pinot Noir requires these three main things:

  1. A wind shield of planted Poplar trees around the vineyards to protect the vines from being overly stressed;
  2. The night to day temperature drop of about 20 degrees c. which amounts to good acidity, and
  3. The extra hour of sunlight which works for the harvest in this case. The chalky, Patagonia soil, formed by glaciation, houses deep round pebbles, something the Pinot Noir vine has taken a liking to.

Water To Wine

It is said that in Argentina there are three things to drink: Water, water with wine, and wine. It is also said that a newborn baby, to stop it from crying, is offered a finger dipped in wine to pacify it. In a country where 40% of the population is descended from Italian and 30% from Spanish, it is no wonder that wine is so much in the blood.

The important thing here to consider, is Does the Patagonia Pinot Noir have that “drinkability factor?” That is, when you take a sip does your mouth water, is it appetizing, does it make you want to drink more? The answer is a resounding Yes. “There is much more to the Argentine story than Malbec,” commented Gismondi who toured Argentina’s wine regions and came away with a solid sense of the country’s wines. “The food is fantastic and in Argentina wine tasting is an adventure.”

In Patagonia there are currently a total of no more than seven wineries, including Familia Schroeder, Bodega del Fin del Mundo and Humberte Canale. Over 50% of the wineries have lodges and restaurants, noted Boxaca. Patagonia’s “stunning landscapes” feature steppes, forests, glaciers and lakes.

Patagonia Wineries

Familia Schroeder’s Saurus Patagonia Select Pinot Noir ’06 is made with 100% Pinot Noir grapes, aged 12 months in 70% French, 30% American oak and is now showing well and full-bodied. Find notes of Cherries, berries.

Familia Schroder’s Icon Wine features a simple metallic label and is a heavy, thick-glass bottle. They’ve only made 1,000 cases for the world. It’s a blend of 54% Pinot Noir, 46% Malbec and in ’08 their ’04 vintage took gold in Le Mondial du Vin competition in Switzerland. Velvety on the mouth, ripe-red, dark berries.

“Soft tannins is what we have in Argentina,”commented Daniel Pi who is the head professor at the Oenological Department at the University of Mendoza in Argentina. “We can ripen the grapes until the time when we pick them. We don’t have to pick the grapes early. We are far from the ocean and its cooling breezes. We don’t have the pressure to pick the grapes because they are cold.” Wine Harvest, with its attendant pagan expressions and spectacular moments, is in March.

Argentina and its Gaucho Heritage of Mounted Horsemen.

Evocative of Argentina is the image of a mounted horseman, a gaucho, riding across a swath of rural land. The iconic gaucho has long been associated with Argentina and its culture. Its imagery evokes association with freedom, silence, honesty, strength, laziness, melancholy and horsemanship. Since 2001, and despite high inflation, Argentina enjoys economic growth and social stability.

Culinary Tourism Anyone? Try Vancouver Island

By Paige Donner

Culinary Tourism makes perfect sense…at least to us!  When you travel for pleasure, at least half your time and itinerary are taken up with decisions like where to eat and what to eat?  When you plan a trip around destinations known for their exquisite culinary offerings and wine pairings, you’ve already done most of the hard work before you’ve ever left home. Then all there is to do once you arrive is…Relax and Enjoy!

Can’t see the VIDEO? CLICK HERE>>>


Spring and Summer mean Blooming Gardens in Victoria and all over Vancouver Island…

Can’t see the VIDEO?  CLICK HERE>>>

The Comox Valley – also on Vancouver Island – is a Must See, Must Do, Must Eat and Drink and Be Merry kind of destination…

Can’t see the VIDEO?  CLICK HERE>>>

Twitter@LocalFoodWine

Vancouver Food And WineOkanagan Food And Wine

Local Food And Wine

Share

Share