WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

19 February 2011

Darting Estate Riesling vs Rhone Villages "Terre des Garrigues"

They've nothing in common, actually, apart from both being 2009 vintage (good year in both regions, it seems) and both picked as a couple of my random "wines of the moment." Darting's Dürkheimer Michelsberg (luckily absolutely nothing to do with Piesporter Michelsberg "wines" of old - Darting is in Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz, different region for a start) Riesling Kabinett trocken (13% alc.) is a lovely example of "new Germany" with plenty of charming zingy peachy citrus fruit and ripe lime / kiwi / melon edges, fairly rounded mouth-feel at first actually, for Riesling, with zesty mineral streak / subtle acidity lending class and off-dry finish. £8.49 at M&S. Nice with prawn risotto made with spicy, but not hot, Thai green curry paste.
Whereas this sumptuous Cotes du Rhone red is made from Grenache and Syrah (13.5% alc.) by the Compagnie de l'Hermitage (aka "SCA Les Coteaux") in Visan in the southern Rhone Valley. Still a bit young and definitely more attractive after being left open for a day, this combines food-friendly (lamb steak or lean mince in a garlic tomato sauce perhaps) solid dry yet nicely coated / coating tannins with a very light touch of underlying oak (?), chunky peppery black fruits and savoury hints too. €5.38 at Leclerc supermarket, Bayeux, France. Oh, it was "unfiltered" too in that fashionable word on the label way. Roll your own Rhone maybe?
Photo from darting.de

16 February 2011

Roussillon Dessert Trophy European final

And the winner is... Michelin-starred Formel B restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark. The sweet-toothed taste-off took place last month in north Catalan "Vin Doux" capital Perpignan during their biennial "Rencontres Muscat" business convention. Each of the European winners in their own country had to battle it out again to see who would take the supreme trophy. Pâtissier Daniel Kruse and sommelier Jacob Christiansen at Formel B were deemed worthy champions for their verbose dessert "Citrus fruits in all their glory, a homage to the flavours of Roussillon," (pic.) which was served with a 2009 Muscat de Rivesaltes from leading Maury-based estate Domaine Pouderoux.
Funnily enough, Pouderoux's Muscat was also matched with the UK-winner's pud combo created by sommelier Andrea Briccarello and pastry chef Daniel Fancett at Galvin La Chapelle in London back in October: Lemon bavarois with citrus fruit salad and basil sorbet (yum sounding that one). The other runners up were:
Germany – pâtissier Holger Stehr and sommelier Martina Kraemer from Hotel Krone Assmannshausen in Rüdesheim.
Belgium – pâtissier Olivier Monbailliu and sommelier Charlotte Vanhaecke from La Tâche in Brugge.
The Netherlands – pâtissier Martijn Weststeijn and sommelier Leroy Pechler from De Zwethheul in Schipluiden.
Spain – head pâtissier Montse Estruch and sommelier Fernando Riquelme from El Cingle in Vaccarisses.
Oh, there was an intriguingly curious footnote in the press release: "Unfortunately France were (sic) forced to withdraw due to unforeseen circumstances." Hmm, tell me more... Maybe the French team's soufflé collapsed irredeemably?!

03 February 2011

"White of the mo" = Moramari Fiano

Moramari 2009 Fiano from Sicily: £4 on promo at Asda supermarkets a couple of weeks ago (and arguably worth paying more for if no longer on offer, about 6 quid I think?). I can't get enough of white wines like this, and Sicily is good at them made from several exciting indigenous varieties like this one, Fiano. I like that combo of oily and ripe-fruit flavour/texture with seductive nutty and zesty edges. Just has so much more character than many New World whites (except Rieslings perhaps) and omnipresent Chardy blends you see around.
Not sure who the producer is - the MGM/Mondo del Vino group perhaps? - but the brand is part of this UK importing dynamic duo's portfolio: Off Piste Wines.
More tasty Sicilian white wines can be found in my "island of mystery" feature on the WineWriting.com Italy archive page.