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19 August 2013

Argentina: Torrontés

A swift blast of Google-ing resulted in the discovery that "... three Torrontés varieties exist in Argentina," says Wikipedia (goes there, for the more curious among you); and these aren't genetically related to the Torrontés you find in Galicia, northwest Spain, as I'd assumed, but are apparently a crossing of Alexandrian Muscat and another variety (Mission or something else depending on which one). Ah ha, so that would account for the refreshing aromatic grapey / citrus peel Muscat-esque styling you often get from these fairly addictive dry whites (if you like that kind of thing); but you also find characters (and higher alcohol too) more akin to Viognier or Gewurztraminer even: more exotic, full-on and sometimes spicy-yellow flowery...
To read this report on Torrontés - plus recent articles on Cabernet, Tempranillo, Malbec etc. (and any of my other in-depth features) - get my full-size special Argentina varietal supplement, including all my recommended wines and wineries and the usual frank commentary! CLICK HERE to subscribe by PayPal for only £10 a year (approx $16 or €12) or buy it as a one-off special for only £2.50!

Tulum Valley, San Juan - from www.fincalasmoras.com

Features on Malbec HERE and Cabernet/Tempranillo HERE...
Some other reds from Argentina HERE.

16 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine des Soulanes update

Fooled you - IT'S HERE actually...

Some of those Soulanes = south-facing hillside
Taken by Vi Erickson

15 August 2013

Sicily: Bosco Falconeria

This Sicilian estate winery's full title is Bosco Falconeria Azienda biologica Simeti Taylor (goes to their Facebook page, where I pinched the photo from), hence the "Simeti Taylor organic farm." Found near Partinico a good trek to the west of Palermo "in the hills overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare", farm is very much the right word; as you can see from the fresh mulberries below, they grow a variety of fruit, veg and nuts here as well as wine grapes, and have done organically for almost 25 years.


This old family property was resurrected in the 1970s as a holiday home initially, then brought back into production in the 80s by Antonio Simeti, an agricultural specialist, and his American wife Mary Taylor. The estate is now managed by Natalia Simeti and her husband Rami Salo, a Finnish Tai Chi Chuan instructor - that should come in handy for handling the stress at harvest time! They also run courses and seminars in this ancient Chinese body and mind art, by the way. And there's a market on the first Sunday of the month... this place sounds interesting, will have to go there some day... Anyway, here's what I said about three of their wines:

2011 Catarratto white - nutty with crisp appley notes, pretty fresh on the palate layered with nice nutty richness & intensity.
2011 Falco Peregrino white (Catarratto fermented on the skins, no added sulphur dioxide) - more exotic and perfumed, light bitter apricot character then softer finish, again refreshing acidity with good depth of fruit and more nutty flavours on the finish. Good stuff, unusual.
2011 Nero d'Avola red - it was a little 'baked' when I tried it (could have been open too long / too warm) with rather firm tannins. Not sure, would like to try it again sometime...
More info @ boscofalconeria.it

And more Sicilian and Italian wineries and wines HERE.

14 August 2013

Roussillon: Domaine Rousselin update

There's a "virtual and tasty" update on Laurence and Pascal Rousselin's wee estate winery HERE, tucked away in pretty hilltop Lesquerde in deepest Fenouillèdes country...

Languedoc: Château Maris - Minervois La Livinière

from chateaumaris.com
Robert Eden, "bio-dynamic wine maker" as he describes himself on their website, has been working in the Languedoc for many years now and set up Château Maris 15 years ago, backed by Kevin Parker of Green Partners. They're obviously very committed to environmentally friendly wine production - Demeter certified since 2008, Biodyvins in 2004 (both for biodynamics), Ecocert in 2002 and the National Organic Program - and there's a fair amount of detail on this on their site: click on web link under the photo (Robert with one of their vineyard horses). But to try and go 'all the way' organically, in terms of carbon emissions, water and energy sustainability etc., they also built "the world’s first hemp cellar." Before you spliff-heads out there get too excited, this means they used hemp and lime bricks, which apparently continue absorbing CO2 for many years "as the lime solidifies into limestone," and a lot of raw wood from sustainably managed forests. They claim these materials also provide excellent natural insulation, while being able "to breathe" at the same time...

The € prices quoted are from online retailer The Languedoc Wineshop. Their wines are well distributed in the US, e.g. Verity Wine Partners NY or Kimberly Jones in California, and in Canada (see website for more info); and through Armit Wines in London (£ prices from their online store).
2011 Maris Organic Minervois (mostly Syrah, Grenache) - lovely pure spicy violet and black cherry aromas, tasty fruit with fairly easy-going tannins, nice ripe vs peppery finish. €7.80, £59.94 for six.
2010 La Touge Minervois La Livinière (85% Syrah, Grenache, Carignan) - similar pure spicy Syrah style fruit on the nose, punchier and more structured though, attractive dry tannin vs sweet fruit texture, fresh bite and good length. €12.40, £89.94 for six.
2010 Continuité de Nature La Livinière (90% Carignan, Grenache) - jammy blue fruits lined with fresh acidity yet powerful too, concentrated and tight palate, very different from the above wine considering it's the same vintage, leaner and longer; probably more versatile with food though. €21.60, £119.94 for six.
2009 Nouvelles Fraiches Grenache - 'oily' sweet liquorice notes on the nose, ripe and rounded mouth-feel, quite punchy, fades a little in the end. €16.60

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