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Showing posts with label Gewurztraminer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gewurztraminer. Show all posts

21 June 2022

June wines of the moment

A mixed baker's dozen (plus) of wines worth taking bad photos of...
M&S 'Found' Weißburgunder 2021, Pfalz Germany (12.5% abv): Or Pinot Blanc to use its more familiar French name (Pinot Bianco in Italy). This juicy zesty pear and nectarine tinged dry white is from talented winemaker Gerd Stepp, who's made other tasty 'modern' German wines for Marks including delicious Riesling and Pinot Noir. Resembles Alsace Pinot Blanc in style but with more flavour. £9.50

22 December 2021

Festive wines of the mo

Rancio Sec Arnaud de Villeneuve, Côtes Catalanes, France (16% abv) - This very dry rancio style is an old-as-time Catalan speciality - although made elsewhere in France and Spain (and Europe) in similarly tiny quantities - and is distinctly different from other traditional cask-aged bottlings from the Roussillon, which is well-known for its mostly red, fortified sweet wines. This tasty 'commercial' example is made by one of the region's biggest (if not the) co-operative wineries...

15 October 2021

Wines of the mo: Zweigelt, Chardonnay, Fiano & Grecanico, Pinot Noir, Riesling and more.

It's not just that desperate label which grabbed me about this Aussie white - hmm, where's that Chardy from then? Perhaps add a picture of Dame Edna sniffing it on the back-label to be sure. This tasty unoaked Chardonnay is one of Aldi's burgeoning Specially Selected range and is also great value for €7.99 at Aldi Ireland or £5.99 in the UK.

07 April 2021

Varietal wines of the moment (except Sauvignon blanc)

Finest Valle de Leyda Chardonnay 2020, Chile - Luis Felipe Edwards (13.5% abv): As soon as this delicious fruity Chardy was discovered among Tesco's large 'Finest' range, it went out of stock; hopefully just temporarily. Ripe peach and melon fruit with creamy tones then zestier citrus on its weighty but balanced finished. Oak is suggested in the blurb but it was hard to spot, perhaps adding to its rounded texture and cashew flavours. £8 Tesco. (Since then, a subsequent bottle did strangely taste oaky...)

15 January 2021

White wines of the cosmos

'Here we are in the ship of the imagination...' Remember that awe-inspiring space travel programme 'Cosmos' back in the 80s by Carl Sagan (paraphrasing one of his most cosmological lines)? Don't know why I thought of that though: stellar white wines of the split-atom millisecond perhaps? Sounds more out-there than international or global, especially as these words are usually stranded with media-nouns like crisis, conflict or pandemic; or similar marketing babble (e.g. brand, product).
Photo from amazon.co.uk

30 July 2019

Ballyhackamore Belfast BYO: Rajput and Good Fortune restaurants (with wine tips to match dishes).

Ballyhackamore in east Belfast - known locally as 'Bally-snack' thanks to no shortage of eateries and cafés along this busy stretch of Upper Newtownards Road - is home to at least two recommended restaurants, where you can bring your own wine. The Rajput has become something of an Indian food institution, and I've always found the quality to be very consistent and the service top notch. It has also become one of the dearer Indian restaurants in Belfast, although no more than some fancy places with arty pretensions where you don't get enough food for the money. Whereas, even if the prices have edged up a little at Rajput, you always get good portions of tasty and varied dishes.

24 May 2019

'Wines of the week'

This varied selection of 'wines of the week', to use the popular editorial-speak, is making an impromptu appearance here instead of the more customary 'wines of the moment', just for a change of scenery, along with a few random dishes that made a good match. Some of these wines were opened at two recommended BYO restaurants located in Ballyhackamore in groovy suburban east Belfast, known affectionately as 'Bally-snack-amore': the Rajput Indian and Good Fortune Chinese, which will both be featured on this blog shortly.

26 September 2016

More 'white grapes of the moment'

For 'serious' white wine fans out there, here are a few more, quirkier bottles worth trying made mostly from lesser-known grape varieties. Warning: this is a Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc FREE zone (no Chardonnay either, but, hey, I like Chardy)... Prices stated are all £UK.

Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain (Palomino Fino, 15% abv). Classic very dry style sherry with intense yeasty notes, chamomile and apple too with tangy almond finish. £8 (50cl) Sainsbury's / widely available.

Domaine La Toupie 2014 ‘Fine Fleur’ - Roussillon, France (Grenache gris 49%, Grenache blanc 25%, Macabeu 25%, Carignan blanc 1%). Obviously that 1% white Carignan makes all the difference! Nicely aromatic and zesty with aniseed notes, then lightly ‘oily’ and nutty palate. £12.50 Joie de Vin.

Eschenhof Holzer 2014 'Haide' Roter Veltliner - Wagram, Austria. Despite its name, the RV variety isn't red (although does have a pink hue) and probably isn't related to Gruner Veltliner. Enticingly wild and yeasty nose vs creamy 'oily' notes, concentrated and rich vs steely bite; very nice and different too. £13.99 Red Squirrel Wine.

Marqués de Alella 2012 'Galactica' Pansa Blanca (= Xarello) - Catalonia, Spain. Nutty lightly oxidised and savoury nose yet still fresh and lively on the palate, very good unusual white although expensive (it's rare apparently). £21.99 Red Squirrel Wine.

Villa Maria 2014 Gewurztraminer - East Coast, New Zealand (13.5% abv). Surprisingly elegant with subtle hallmark 'Turkish delight' and lychee flavours, full bodied though yet with a lighter touch too. Drink now with Malaysian or Thai food (I did). £10.99 WineMark.

Alta Luna 2015 Gewurztraminer, CaVit - Trentino, Italy (13% abv). A little less in-ya-face and drier perhaps than most Alsace Gewurz, this is nevertheless still characteristically aromatic with rose water and peach, again quite elegant. M&S £9.

Chenin Blanc 2015, Adi Badenhorst - Swartland, South Africa (13.5% abv). Bargain compared to some of the wines reviewed here, considering the real mouthful of rich flavour you get for the money: honeyed melon fruit, 'oily' rounded and full-bodied with fresher side. Tesco Finest £6.

09 February 2015

France: whites of the moment (Chablis, Gewurz, Champers and sweeties).

Shrivelled grapes from www.jurancon-cauhape.com

Chablis 2014 L’Eglantière Jean Durup (Chardonnay, 12.5% abv): surprisingly soft and not too acidic for a Chablis that was probably only bottled recently; it was a bit awkward and closed up to start with, although has attractive citrus fruit on top of its 'mineral' structure, subtle concentration too then tight and crisp on the finish. Needs a few months in bottle to express itself but should be good. €11.75 cellar door, Thorman Hunt & Co. London, $15.99 K&L Wines California. Also available in Germany and the Netherlands...

02 August 2013

France: Alsace - Domaine Martin Schaetzel

The Martin Schaetzel wine estate spreads over 20 hectares (50 acres) of vineyards in the Ammerschwihr area, including several highly rated Grand Cru sites, and has been certified organic since 1998 as well as Demeter, the fearsome biodynamic controlling body. Their Kaefferkopf vineyard lies on a hillside to the south and west of the village made up of "granite, chalk and sandstone..." from the top down roughly. Eichberg ("oak mountain") and Pfersigberg ("peach tree mountain") are found to the southwest of Colmar and both enjoy a well-exposed warm microclimate. The family head is Jean Schaetzel these days, with his righthand man winery and export manager Michel Vié.

From www.martin-schaetzel.com

2011 Riesling Kaefferkopf Grand Cru - apple and almond notes, turning quite rich and limey on the palate vs creamy rounded character, very crisp and mineral though with linear bite on the finish vs that oily textured/flavoured backdrop. Different. €16 cellar door.
2011 Riesling Eichberg Grand Cru - ripe lime fruit with exotic peachy edges, again crisp and mineral mouth-feel with very long piercing bite vs lightly oily and nutty side too; tight dry finish, needs time. Wow. €16
2011 Pinot Gris Eichberg Grand Cru - juicy honeyed fruit with spicy notes, pretty full-on powerful style with oily nutty texture/flavours vs underlying crisp bite too. Definitely a foodie (Chinese, Thai, Indian even...). €15.50
2010 Gewurztraminer Kaefferkopf "Catherine" - classic lychee aromas with pineapple, honey and dried fruits too; even more lychee on the palate, powerful yet with mineral bite, still very perfumed vs enticing maturing oily side. Good stuff. €19
2011 Gewurztraminer Pfersigberg Grand Cru - relatively subdued nose vs explosion of fresh lychee and kiwi on the palate, quite big ripe and punchy, less dry perhaps than the above, pretty powerful flavour and weight vs attractive bitter twist. €16
2008 Pinot Gris vendanges tardives (late picked) - complex developing nose, honeyed and 'musky'; sweet dried fruits on the palate vs lively acidity, tight and very long finish, still tasting young with a few years ahead of it yet.

Oodles more on Alsace HERE (goes to archive page).

16 July 2013

France: Alsace - Eblin-Fuchs

Domaine Eblin-Fuchs lies on seductively rolling slopes around the village of Zellenberg (where the cellar is), between Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr and not far from Colmar, which is one of the region's driest and warmest spots apparently. Their different vineyard parcels add up to about 10 ha (25 acres), including some treasured vines in four of the area's steeper and very exposed Grand Cru sites; all of which have been farmed organically since 2001 with biodynamic certification smothered on top. The Eblin and Fuchs wine family histories go back several centuries, so I'm told, and were united by marriage in 1956. The estate's now run by brothers José Henri and Christian, who also make sparkling wine, eaux de vie from their own plums etc. and organic honey too.
I sampled the wines tasting-noted below and talked to these guys earlier this year at Millésime Bio wine show in Montpellier, south of France. Their wines are widely available in France and exported - click on web link beneath the photo for more info and contact details / opening hours.

Ever wondered what botrytised grapes look like? Yuk!
This is 'rot-shrivelled' Gewurztraminer, from www.eblin-fuchs.com.
2010 Riesling Zellenberg - nice developing colour, delicious ripe oily Riesling nose, concentrated palate with rich lime fruit and oily vs steely mouth-feel, long fine finish. Yum, lovely wine.
2010 Riesling Rosacker Grand Cru - fabulous oily vs citrus nose, rich and concentrated then crisp steely bite, nice ripe fruit with sweet lemon and lime flavours, oily maturing notes vs tight steely length. Yum again, should develop nicely.
2010 Pinot Gris vieilles vignes (old vines, 13% abv) - rich honeyed and spicy, has a touch of sweetness and fair weight with exotic ripe fruit vs a crisper side too, nice 'mineral' length vs quite lush. Good foodie white, try with Thai or Indian food.
2011 Gewurztraminer vieilles vignes (old vines, 13.5% abv) - complex exotic nose, floral lychee notes vs ripe lush mouth-feel and quite powerful vs a hint of freshness too, lingering flowery pineapple and lychee flavours. Try with fruit tart (especially e.g. peach).

Bags more on Alsace HERE (goes to archive page).

27 April 2013

New Zealand: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer

New Zealand winemakers are well known for their lively expressive Sauvignon Blanc wines and Chardonnays too made in different styles (fresh & fruity, rich and toasty, somewhere in between...). So it makes sense that other 'aromatic' white varieties are coming to the fore in cool climate New Zealand wine country including Riesling, Pinot Gris (Grigio) and Gewurztraminer. Let's not get too excited though: they're still small fry in the vineyard scheme of things, as these three grapes combined amount to about the same area of Chardonnay overall - a bit over 3000 hectares - and are dwarfed by 20,000 ha of ubiquitous Sauvignon blanc.

04 February 2013

Alsace: Cave de Turckheim: big French co-ops part 2

Riesling 'Brand' from
Continuing this compelling mini-mini-series on large but good French co-op wineries and their wines, which I started on my other blog with this post: Rhône: Cave de Tain: big co-ops part 1... Cave de Turckheim was founded post-War and is a substantial vineyard owner in the must-tour region of Alsace nestling on France's eastern border with Germany, separated by the River Rhein yet sharing certain grape varieties and a long mutual history (not always a happy one, mind you) and aspects of culture (the hearty local food springs to mind). Anyway, you've probably tried a white wine from Turckheim, especially their always consistent Gewurztraminer available under many different guises and own-labels throughout the world. But the winery's 200+ co-op members also own plots in some stunning vineyard sites such as the Brand (meaning 'burnt' in the same sense as the northern Rhone's Cote Rotie, i.e. it gets a lot of sunshine) Grand Cru, as you'll see from my glowing notes on their superb Riesling and other varietals sourced from this steep slope of vines overlooking the twee town of Turckheim. And their 'old-vine' wines can be surprisingly good too, even from a scorned and usually rather characterless variety like Sylvaner. The man in charge of winemaking and vineyards here is Michel Lihrmann, by the way.

I tasted these wines with export director Emmanuelle Gallis on their UK importer's stand, Boutinot Wines, at the London International Wine Fair last year (yet more forgotten-about notes...). Prices quoted below are in euros per bottle for cases of three bought in France cellar door or on-line, to give you an idea. In the UK, their 'standard' Gewurz sells for about £7-£8; so the Pinot would be about £6, I'd guess, the Brands about £15-£17 and going up to £18-£20 for their sumptuous late harvest Gewurz.

2011 Pinot Blanc - nice crisp 'mineral' tones vs light honeyed flavours, has a bit of substance too and attractive fresh bite. €5.45
2009 Sylvaner vieilles vignes - nutty rounded and concentrated vs crisp tight mouth-feel, delicious maturing notes with long tasty finish. Surprising. €5.95
2008 Riesling vieilles vignes - turning oily and mineral edged, intense pure Riesling style with zesty crisp vs oily palate, very long and fine with stylish finish. Classic dry Riesling. €7.95
2007 Riesling Grand Cru Brand - maturing 'kerosene' (!) tones with floral mineral nuances, rich and concentrated, beautiful Riesling style, intense with 'cut' and huge length. Superb. €15.35
2008 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Brand - lush and honeyed, very ripe and full-bodied vs lovely bite and length, spicy rich finish. Delicious again. €15.35
2008 Gewurztraminer vieilles vignes - intense lychee and rose water aromas and flavours, full and rounded vs tight intense and long mouth-feel, crisp vs aromatic 'sweet' fruit. €10.20
2010 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Brand - relatively closed up to start with, very lychee on the palate, big and fruity vs again has freshness and class, powerful too then closes up a little. Needs a few years to develop. €15.95
2008 Gewurztraminer vendanges tardives - oily honeyed aromas with exotic lychee and mango, rich and sweet vs lovely 'cut' and length, beautiful balance and class with fresh acidity vs exotic fruit. €17.50 50cl.

More Alsace producers and wines HERE: e.g. Martin Schaetzel and Eblin-Fuchs.
And previously on this blog: Juilen FreyEguisheim co-opBeer of the moment: FischerAndré KleinknechtDomaine Josmeyer and several more in this 2007 piece: Organically focused on Alsace Riesling...

29 March 2012

San Antonio, Chile: Casa Marín & Matetic Vineyards

Felipe and Maria Luz Marin
Knowing how much it amuses me to create a nice little theme, which in this case cunningly revolves around a couple of great wineries found in Chile's San Antonio Valley: Casa Marín and Matetic Vineyards. This 'cool-climate' coastal region lies to the south of the perhaps better known (or longer established at least) Casablanca Valley and (south)west of the country's lively capital Santiago.


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.