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

29 August 2014

Languedoc: new "special supplement" coming soon

No, I haven't done a French-style August close-down but have been adding material to my WineWriting.com blog (click to read all about my latest Portuguese wine special for instance) among other (more constructive) things to do. Anyway, I'm now working on a hopefully substantial "special supplement" (for want of a better description) drawing on all things and people Languedoc tasted, seen and encountered over the course of the first half of this year: a trip to the region in April to the "Millésimes en Languedoc" showcase based in and around the City of Carcassonne (including some nice pics like the one I took below plus tips on eating, staying and alternative things to do, such as hiring or being driven around in a brightly coloured Citroen 2CV...), a tasting in Dublin and a couple of wine events in London.

"Mediaeval Disneyland France" aka la Cité de Carcassonne

23 August 2014

Portugal: Bairrada, Dão, Douro - new winery profiles and updates on Aliança, Portal and Romeu

Fully updated profiles on Quinta do Portal and Aliança Vinhos de Portugal with their latest ranges reviewed (including a Portal Vintage Port retrospective featuring vintages from 1995 to 2000...), can be found in my new special Portugal report (click there for more info and to buy for just £2.50 or free if you subscribe for £10 a year). Includes RMJ's complete run-down on these wineries and several new wines. There's also a summary on my Portugal archive page HERE (scroll down).

From quintadoromeu.com
Quinta do Romeu – Douro Valley
A taster:
"The Menéres family estate was established in 1874, and the company is now run by João Pedro Menéres, José Clemente Menéres and Manuel Menéres Sampaio... "... We do not use any chemicals in our farming,” their site goes on in that glib manner. Ahh! That's the one thing that annoys me most about organic producers..." The complete rant, profile, reviews of the tasty wines below and where to get them can be found in my new special Portugal report (click there for more info and to buy or subscribe).

2013 Rosé (Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional – tank sample at the time) – yeast-lees notes, nice gummy zippy mouth-feel with fresh and gentle red fruit finish. Expensive though (in the UK anyway): £10.99. €6.25 cellar door.
2011 Moinho do Gato red (Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz) – attractive soft fruity style with peppery touches, has a bit of grip vs juicy fruit on the finish. £8.99, $15. €4.50 cellar door.
2010 Quinta do Romeu red (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sousão) – aromatic floral red/blue berry fruits, nice soft fruity palate with light tannins and fresh acidity too; very attractive red drinking now. £10.85, $19. €6.25 cellar door.
2010 Reserva red (“field blend picked and fermented together with some oak ageing,” mostly Touriga Nacional with Touriga Franca and Sousão) – touch of coco oak and more structured vs still plenty of that nice juicy fruit, firmer finish yet well rounded too. £14.99, $27. €10.50 cellar door.

16 August 2014

Portugal: Lisboa wine focus


"Stretching out to the north and west of energetic Lisbon, this big wine-producing region used to be called Estremadura... renaming it 'Lisboa' seems logical (captain) thereby closely associating location and identity with the Portuguese capital... The most common grape varieties planted here are, for reds, Aragonez or Aragonês aka Tinta Roriz (isn't that often the way just to add a little charismatic confusion, and the Spanish call it Tempranillo, Tinta Fina, Cencibel...), Touriga Nacional, Castelão and Touriga Franca, with expanding plantings of Syrah and other French varieties..."
Available as a special 20-page report with pics focusing on the exciting Lisboa wine region and featuring these ten wineries and my reviews of their ranges: Vale da Capucha - Quinta de São José, Sociedade Agricola Labrugeira – Vale das Areias, Quinta de Sant'Ana, Quinta do Monte d'Oiro, Quinta de Chocapalha, Marta Vine - Azulejo (Casa Santos Lima), Félix Rocha – Quinta da Ribeira, Quinta do Pinto, Companhia das Quintas - Quinta de Pancas.
Plus three extra winery profiles in different regions: Aliança Vinhos de Portugal - Bairrada, Dão. Douro Valley: Quinta do Portal (including a Vintage Port retrospective 1995 to 2000) and Quinta do Romeu (organic)...
And two bonus retro features: Niepoort Port 'masterclass' led by Dirk Niepoort including Garrafeira, Colheita and Vintage ports spanning a century back to 1912...
And my tasty Algarve & Tavira wine and food touring article...
All yours for a mere £2.50 (less than $4 or €3.50) - this special report is published in PDF format and emailed to you once I receive confirmation of payment from PayPal (pay by card or use your own PP account, although you don't need one to do so).




"Vasco da Gama Bridge and Tagus River, Lisbon" - Photo by Jose Manuel from www.imagesofportugal.com.

MORE ON PORTUGAL HERE.

02 August 2014

Wine tastings and courses in Belfast Oct to Dec 2014

Follow this link to WineWriting.com for details: "Wine Education Service NI (that's me) evening wine tastings, five-week courses and one-day workshops scheduled from early October to early December in Belfast city centre are as follows..."

Wine tastings and courses in Belfast Oct to Dec 2014

Wine Education Service NI (that's me) evening wine tastings, five-week courses and one-day workshops scheduled from early October to early December in Belfast city centre are as follows:

Wines of Italy Saturday workshop
October 4 from 10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Cost: £90 including 2-course lunch
"On our 'Wines of Italy' one-day workshop, we'll take you on a guided tour around several of this varied country's different wine producing regions and taste and talk about a dozen high quality wines. These will include classics from northern Italy, such as Piemonte and Veneto, central Italy such as Tuscany and Umbria, and the deep south e.g. Sicily, Sardinia or Puglia..."

Wines of South Africa tutored tasting
Thursday October 9, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Cost: £27.50
"A mini tasting tour around the Cape wine-lands including popular varietals such as Pinotage, Shiraz and Chenin blanc, as well as some red and white blends highlighting the different winemaking styles, climate zones and terrain found in South Africa's diverse wine regions..."
More info and booking: wine-education-service.co.uk/wine-tasting-belfast or by Paypal - click on the button below.

Essential Wine Tasting five week course
Starts Wed October 29, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Cost: £125
Five evening sessions on Wednesdays 29 October and 5, 12, 19, 26 November:
Tasting technique & classic grape varieties - Learn how to taste like a professional! Get to know some classic grape varieties.
Wine production & classic grape varieties - Learn what goes on in vineyards and wineries. Get to know more classic grape varieties.
The wines of France - Taste classic examples from Champagne, Burgundy, the Rhône Valley and Bordeaux.
The wines of other European countries - Taste stylish examples from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
The wines of the New World - Taste signature wines from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Argentina and California.
More info about this mini course can be found on our site: www.wine-education-service.co.uk/introductory. Book via the link on wine-education-service.co.uk/wine-tasting-belfast

Wines of Spain & Portugal tutored tasting
Thursday November 6, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Cost: £27.50
"We'll taste and talk about a focused range of red, white, rosé and fortified wines selected to highlight the very different regions, grape varieties and wine styles found across the 'Iberian peninsular'. This will include well-known classics such as Rioja, the Douro Valley and Sherry but throwing in a few surprises too..."
More info and booking: wine-education-service.co.uk/wine-tasting-belfast or by Paypal - click on the button below.

"Christmas wines" tutored tasting
Thursday December 4, 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Cost: £35
"Christmas tasting" including Champagne and Port and some nibbles - more info to follow. Booking: wine-education-service.co.uk/wine-tasting-belfast or by Paypal - click on the button below.


Select tasting:



The venue for these events is the Ramada Encore Hotel near St. Anne's Square in the heart of 'the Cathedral quarter', Belfast city centre.
Wine Education Service NI does not sell wine - our informal wine tastings and classes are designed to be purely educational and fun of course; we source high quality representative wine samples from a variety of different retailers.