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16 February 2016

Uruguay: Bodega Garzón


I used Garzón's 2012 Tannat (click there to see my pick of that crop) in a 'wines of South America' themed tasting last year, which did the job well enough; so was pleased to see their name on a table at the 'Emerging Regions' event in London last autumn (which also took the 'wow-est view at a wine tasting trophy' in my book: if you get the chance to go to the Leadenhall Building in the City, take one of the Nasa installed lifts to the top for a rich-person's panorama across the old smoke in all directions).
Back to Bodega Garzón, which is found near a wee place of the same name in the Maldonado region not far from the resort town of Punta del Este on Uruguay's Atlantic coast. Founded by Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina in 1999, their vineyards lie on gentle hills up to 200 metres above sea level all around a quirky-looking eco-winery with grass and trees growing out of it. They also planted the star north-western Spanish/Portuguese white variety Albariño (Alvarinho) here in 2008 and 2011 to supplement Sauvignon blanc and Viognier, which has proved to be a good idea I'd say (see my notes below).
Photo above pinched from bodegagarzon.com where you'll find more info on their wines, tourist activities and restaurant, if you're lucky enough to go there some day (Uruguay could become the new Mexico or Brazil, who knows). Garzón is part of the Blends Wine Estates group - their UK agent is Bibemdum PLB, and prices indicated are approx UK retail/on-trade (I think). I'd be surprised then if you couldn't find them in North America and the Far East etc. as well (the Blends' website lists lots of international distributors).

Colinas de Uruguay Albariño 2014 - Juicy and honeyed style, quite rich (for young vines) texture vs crisp and zesty finish. Nice dry white. £5
Bodega Garzón Albariño 2014 (older vines) - Similar style, more 'serious' and yeast-lees character vs very crisp and intense. Good foodie white. £11
Bodega Garzón Viognier 2014 - Quite green and zesty for a Viognier, has attractive apricot fruit edges though on a fatter palate, pretty crisp on the finish. £11
Colinas de Uruguay Tannat 2013 - Very sweet/sour profile with dark liquorice vs bitter chocolate notes, smoky vs crunchy fruit cocktail, fairly soft tannins though. Different. £5
Bodega Garzón Tannat 2013 - Less aromatic to start and more concentrated mouth-feel with similar smoky vs crunchy profile, firm/fresh and structured vs some lush fruit too. All comes together in the end, pretty good. £11-£13

10 February 2016

Chile: Viña Ventisquero & John Duval

Downloaded from facebook.com/VentisqueroWines
One of Australia's most famous and laid-back winemakers, John Duval (below right) has been a consultant at Ventisquero (meaning 'grey glacier') in Chile since the beginning: 2004 vintage for Syrah and Merlot and 2005 for Cabernet and Carmenere (CLICK HERE and scroll down to read my report and notes cobbled together in 2007 featuring these wines). John, who was in London to host a special tasting a few months ago, said he's "worked with Felipe Tosso (winemaker at Ventisquero) for many years now... After I left Penfolds in 2002, it was through contacts there that I was invited to Chile." And the rest is history, as the old cliché goes; he goes over twice a year nowadays "after the vintage in Barossa and in November."

05 February 2016

WES Belfast wine tastings update

Here are the latest dates and details of forthcoming Wine Education Service NI courses and tastings running in Belfast city centre, with an updated PayPal button for card payments at the bottom of the post.

Impossible castle in Slovenia
(not where the vineyards are!)

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 book I'm trying to get finished soon-ish covering the whole of French Catalan wine country...
AND HERE IT IS ('Roussillon French Catalonia, wild wine country' available as paperback or ebook).

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.


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