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

12 January 2016

Roussillon winery updates

Wild back-lands around Domaine des Soulanes
Photo: Vi Erickson
It might look like I've been neglecting one of my favourite wine corners of southern France, the Roussillon, but I'm working on a whole bunch of updates and new winery profiles from the Roussillon (and just over the Corbières hills in a couple of cases) at the moment. This includes these Domaines: Schistes, Sabbat, Pons Gralet, Soulanes, Terres de Mallyce, Serre Romani, Rombeau, Gilles Trouillier, Tribouley, Balmettes, Sabots d'Hélène, Arcadie, Rivaton, La Toupie, Mas Devèze, Jones and Treloar.
These won't be posted here on my blog though, but will be part of a new e-book I'm hoping to get finished this year covering the whole of French Catalan wine country. Watch this space then (or a different one probably)...

11 January 2016

Is dry January beneficial?

This enlightening article on Decanter.com was written by Dr. Michael Apstein, a bit of wine/alcohol science in plain English: CLICK HERE to read it on their site.


08 January 2016

Wine Education Service: tastings & courses Belfast 2016 update

See below for the latest on forthcoming wine courses and tastings running in Belfast, plus a new evening tasting added to the programme at the end of April and updated PayPal button for card payments at the bottom.
Impossible castle in Slovenia
Saturday 30 January 2016: Spain and Portugal one-day workshop £90
LAST FEW PLACES LEFT!
Including at least a dozen wines tasted with your tutor, two-course lunch at the hotel and course manual - "We'll taste and talk about a selection of quality red, white, rosé and fortified wines highlighting the very different regions, grape varieties and wine styles found across the 'Iberian peninsular'. The spotlight will be on well-known 'classics' such as Rioja, Port​/Douro Valley and (real) Sherry​; but throwing in a few surprises too like Galici​a and Vinho Verde for dry whites, serious reds from Dao or the Alentejo and not forgetting the wine 'super-state' of Catalonia, home to some great reds, whites and Cava..." 10.45am to 4.45pm approx.

'Essential Wine Tasting' five-week course 2016 - £125 (£127.50 by card with Paypal)
Thursday evenings (7-8.45pm approx) February 4, 11, 18, 25 and March 3. Half-a-dozen wines tasted each session covering the whole wine world; course manual provided. Full details are on our website:
wine-education-service.co.uk/introductory

Saturday 27 February 2016 ​10.45am-​2pm​: 'Off the beaten track' ​wine tasting and ​lunch £49
ALMOST FULLY BOOKED!
"Come and explore the less-explored, although just as exciting wine world with this morning tasting of about eight diverse high-quality wines from countries such as Lebanon, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia or Greece and some English sparkling wine too. Includes a two-course lunch at the hotel afterwards."

Thursday 31 March 2016 7.00-8.45pm: Wines of Chile tasting £28.95
GETTING BOOKED UP!
"​We'll go on a tasting tour up and down Chile's varied wine landscape trying six to eight wines (depending on numbers) including popular and lesser-known grape varieties, such as e.g. Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir or Carmenere..."

NEW! Thursday 28 April 2016 7-8.45 pm: 'Island wines' tasting £28.95
This 'original' tutored tasting will hop around from one island to another across the world taking in six to eight wines (depending on numbers), travelling from the Mediterranean (Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Greece...) to where the Indian Ocean meets the South Pacific (Tasmania, New Zealand...), and perhaps somewhere in between as well!

The venue for all these wine events is the Ramada Encore Hotel in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. More info and online booking on the Wine Education Service site:
Facebook.com/WineEducationServiceNI (you have to sign in to Facebook). Or you can pay by card or your own Paypal account using the PP button below (you don't need an account to do this though). You can change the quantity of tickets on the secure web form:


Select event:


Click here for more about Paypal payments and your privacy. WES terms & conditions apply, which will be sent with your invoice or emailed on request. 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.

07 January 2016

French wine touring & tasting e-book

UPDATED Sept. 2016 - see link at bottom.

I've combined, tweaked, edited, added to and reformatted my special French wine and travel supplements into a Kindle e-book, which is now available to buy on AMAZON. This includes three huge reports on the Languedoc and Saint-Chinian, updated Cahors wine touring, independent Champagne wine-growers' mini-guide, 'Chablis on foot' (and more) and Alsace Grand Cru among other things (follow links for more info). Click on the links below to buy the e-book in your country's Amazon store (prices subject to exchange rate variations):
Amazon US ($6.50), Amazon UK (£4.95), France (€5.89), Canada ($8.43), Australia ($8.58), India (₹399), Germany (€5.89), Spain (€5.89), Italy (€5.89), Netherlands (€5.89), Japan (¥682), Brazil (R$21.32) and Mexico ($120.93).
Alternatively, it's also available on offer (compared to buying them individually) for £4.99 (about $6.50 or €6) as a 125-page PDF file with photos using the PayPal button below, by card or your own PP account although you don't need one to buy it.

THIS E-MAGAZINE WAS UPDATED IN SEPTEMBER 2016: CLICK HERE TO BUY THE LATEST VERSION (Amazon Kindle or PDF: US$5.99 / £4.50 / €5.37)...

01 January 2016

France: 'classic' reds, St-Emilion & Loire Valley...

For want of a better title, or 'some tasty Merlot and Cab Franc' perhaps. Over to those two reds then, both from well-known producers, both different and one of them better value probably because the 'appellation' is less sought-after...

Who'd have thought we'd be invited to Chateau de Chassilier, ay Gessiah?
Pic from josephjan
oueix.com, misquoted Python line from davidpbrown.co.uk.

Château Haut-Sarpe 2012 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (13.5% abv): 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 12 months in oak - Quite closed up to start with background cedar-y oak hints and aromatic plum/soy sauce notes, quite lush and concentrated with structured tannins vs rounder mouth-feel too, grip and freshness to finish; pretty serious red needing a few more years to express itself. £20 for 2009: Eton Vintners (England), Fine & Rare Wines also lists a few older vintages. €33 cellar door France - Joseph Janoueix Wines.
Couly-Dutheil 2014 'La Diligence' Chinon (13% abv) - Surprisingly ripe and smoky with earthy rustic edges vs aromatic damson and sweet blueberry/red pepper, fairly supple with a little dry bite and weight; attractive red, went well with a Chinese roast duck dish. £14.95 Perfect Cellar (London), €9.30 cellar door.

England: festive sparkling wine - Henners & Ridgeview

Henners Vineyard in East Sussex is already featured in my English Wine Guide (click there to buy it for just £3.50), which I've now updated with their latest vintage releases as well as from Ridgeview Winery - e.g. Merret Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs 2011 - and others plus news about vintage 2015 etc. Here's a little New Year's Eve sneak-taster in the meantime:

Henners Brut 2010 (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, 3+ years lees-ageing, 10 g/l dosage (residual sugar), 12% abv) - Delicious maturing nose yet aromatic too with yeasty-bread and toasted oat cake notes, still fruity and fresh with lively acidity vs toasty oily richness on its elegant finish. Very tasty. £29.99 Virgin Wines (where I copied the bottle shot from), £154 for six Henners' cellar door.