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26 January 2012

New wine tours from Wine Voyages

Wine Education Service and Criterion Wine (both UK based) have teamed up to create an exciting new wine holiday company called Wine Voyages, with several tours planned from the end of May 2012 onwards. The first is a wine tour by coach to the wine & food mecca of Alsace country from 31 May to 5 June; and other scheduled trips include Champagne in July and November, Greece in September and Burgundy in November. Tours to more classic wine areas of Europe are also being put together, as well as further afield to e.g. California and South Africa.
To find out more, email info@winevoyages.co.uk or phone Sandy on 020 8991 8213 or Malcolm on 020 8991 8212. Full details are here:
Photo: Riquewihr in Alsace.

25 January 2012

Millésime Bio 2012

Just returned from a day-and-a-half tasting my way around what appears to have become the biggest organic wine show in the world, Millésime Bio in Montpellier (the Languedoc's finest/only city). But it's still a nice down-to-earth user-friendly fair though, like the growers and winemakers themselves who were there showing their wares on a simple table so you can easily talk and taste. No flash stands, corporate bull or "ah, you haven't made an appointment?" attitudes.
Anyway, expect a few new winery "profiles" (I'll drop the FBI gag this time... oops there I go again with that silly/sad sense of humour) over the coming weeks focusing on people and wines fresh from Italy and Austria...

Millésime Bio 2012

Just returned from a day-and-a-half tasting my way around what appears to have become the biggest organic wine show in the world, Millésime Bio in Montpellier (the Languedoc's finest/only city). But it's still a nice down-to-earth user-friendly fair though, like the growers and winemakers themselves who were there showing their wares on a simple table so you can easily talk and taste. No flash stands, corporate bull or "ah, you haven't made an appointment?" attitudes.
Anyway, expect plenty of new winery "profiles" (I'll drop the FBI gag this time... oops there I go again with that silly/sad sense of humour) and updates over the coming weeks, focusing on people and wines fresh from the Roussillon, Languedoc, southern Rhone, Bandol and Corsica...

18 January 2012

Chile: 'no way rosé!' part 3

Or my latest 'rosé of the mo' even: this tasty pinkie is part of the Co-Op's (UK) 'Fairtrade' range - that term makes a slight cynic like me slightly suspicious of the otherwise implied "we really stitch up our other 'non-fairtrade' wine suppliers," although the concept is commendable of course. It's sourced from Chile's Curicó Valley - I only kept the front label so don't know who made it - but, anyway, was £5.99 I think and is a Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot blend.

Languedoc: Château de la Negly, La Clape

Negly, with a sizeable 50 ha (125 acres) of vines surrounding its handsome yet workmanlike chateau, is owned by Jean-Paul Rosset, whose talented winemaker is Cyril Chamontin working with uber-consultant Claude Gros. Jean-Paul’s father used to grow grapes for the local co-op but he upped the quality stakes massively in vineyard and cellar from the mid 90s, and this is now one of the best estates on La Clape, out of quite a few very good ones it has to be said, if not the Languedoc (he types pushing the proverbial boat out). Their tasty reds age well too, as you'll see from my glowing notes on the 1998 'Falaise' below... I love what they cram into a glass, typical of that quintessential 'Clape' style showing concentrated warm ripe fruit with deliciously natural wilder edges (garrigue if you like, it's what the French call it) and heady Med 'sweet/savoury' mix. The first two were sampled and 'assessed' at a tasting in London a few months ago:

2008 La Falaise (Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre Carignan) - aromatic herby black cherry and liquorice notes, peppery and rich mouthful with powerful structured palate; lovely mix of concentrated fruit and firm chunky tannins, tight long finish too. Excellent. £17-£20 Thorman Hunt & Co, Bancroft Wines (London).
2007 La Porte du Ciel (15%) - dense dark colour, savoury maturing leather tones vs coconut oak vs very concentrated lush dark fruit, solid yet nicely textured tannins with very long powerful but balanced finish, still very much alive. Yum. €75 although apparently they only make a couple of hundred cases or so! Alexander Krossa Wines (based in the Languedoc selling mostly to Germany and a few other markets now as well e.g. the UK: profile on him with lots more wines to follow. I copied the photo off his site, by the way...)
1998 La Falaise – wow! That wild Clape nose comes through loud and clear, like burnt lavender plus lovely smoky mature fruit, delicious wine you just want to have more of... (tasted March 2011).


James Nicholson (Northern Ireland) also stocks a wide range of Negly wines including older vintages.

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