This time of year, France is focused on its wine harvest but this year is different to recent years, an unusually mild March and frosty April, difficult ripening due to water stress and scorching heat in June and August has led to low yields, the lowest since 1945. And with unpredictable rains now forecast the race is on to pick the grapes. Last week we spoke to Fanny and Francois Boyer from Chateau Beaubois and received their harvest update. “Our harvest started historically early this year on 11th August at 2am to take advantage of the cooler late-night temperatures. The harvest started 15 days earlier than 2106 and 30 days earlier than the 1988 vintage. Take note climate change sceptics”. said Fanny. Fanny who is the wi..
NATURAL WINES……..what’s it all about? We are hearing more and more about natural wine. Given all the marketing hype, it seems to have just appeared in a short space of time, however when wine was made 8000 years ago, it was not made with our modern knowledge, additives or techniques. The ancient natural wines were made from crushed grapes that fermented into wine. This all sounds very idyllic but would you really want a drink what our ancestors proclaimed to be natural wine? Before the invention of the glass bottle, natural wine was exposed to the air and oxidised quickly. Winemakers tried to preserve wine with resin, which made the drink sticky and thick. Other delightful additives included lead, salt, pepper, vinegar and herb infusi..
O Yes, La Dolce Vita…back from a wee trip to the Le Marche region of Italy, a little sun, a little wine and plenty of great tasting food. Never been there before and definitely heading back, whether its lunch in a town square watching the world pass by, or perched in a restaurant in the evening overlooking the undulating hills with the Adriatic in the background, it’s a place to visit and savour. So to the food, its locally sourced, served traditionally, unpretentious and predominately meat based, official statistics claim that marchigiani eat more meat than any other Italians and it shows, our favourite on the trip was grigliata mista di carne (an enormous platter of charcoal grilled meats) with a side order of salad..
Fans of southern Rhone wines who have seen the price of their Chateauneuf du Pape creep upwards over the last few years have been seeking out alternatives and Vacqueyras is a definite option, the region is cooler and vineyards sit higher on the landscape then Chateauneuf, producing wines that are robust, strong and rich. The wines are more approachable when young but can still age for up to 20 years. Vacqueyras Facts The region was awarded “Cru” status in 1990. The appellation gets its name from the latin “valléa quadreria” (“valley of rocks”) and is one of Frances smallest appellation in terms of wine production. Grenache is king in the southern Rhone and Vacque..
You might assume that all wines are vegan friendly, isn’t wine just made from fermented grape juice? you might ask, so where does the animal become involved in the wine making process? The reason that all wines are not vegan or vegetarian-friendly is due a process called ‘fining’. All young wines contain tiny murky particles, all natural such as tannin, tartrates and phenols and over time the wine will self-clear, however winemakers like to speed the process up and do so by fining the wine. Fining also removes unwanted molecules that filtration cannot remove, these molecules can often leave a taint in the wine which the winemaker wants removed before the bottle is opened. The fining agent when added to the wine acts like a magnet..
The 2015 vintage from Bordeaux is being hailed as close to its best, not on par with the exceptional 2010 but not far behind, in fact Bordeaux seems to be throwing up some interesting patterns for good vintages 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 will 2020 follow the trend? From what we have tasted so far there is a wonderful freshness to the wines and the tannins present are soft and smooth. This is great news for drinkers of the smaller chateau wines which will be arriving in our shops during 2017 and will not require lengthy ageing before drinking, in fact it’s extremely drinkable right now and improves well with decanting. More importantly our wine makers are unaffected by the speculation and demand for the premier chateaux, for example the La Fa..
It is that time of year again where we are all planning what feasts are going to be enjoyed over the Christmas period. Whatever you decide, most of us will be thinking about what wines to buy as gifts or serve with the Christmas dinner. We have put together an exclusive selection that would be ideal for drinking over the Christmas period with or without food. Domaine Moulin Berger Julienas 2013 is a wonderful wine from the Beaujolais region of France, if you like Fleurie you'll love this wine. 100% Gamay grape, ruby red with red garnet tints, medium bodied; delicate aromas of strawberry and blackberry with a slight touch of cinnamon, smooth, smooth finish with a lingering fruit finish. Was €17.95 now €12.99. ..
Let’s firstly step back in time to an age when grape growing and wine making was a slow one, influenced by the seasons, a culture of patience. No unnatural fertilisers, no pesticides, with a hands on approach to managing the vines and making the wine. The wine was matured using natural yeasts and the bacteria present on the grape skins to perform fermentation, allowing longer maturation rather than rushing it along with additives, colouring, acid or stablishing agents. In the past this would have been called traditional wine making. Moving to the present day wine is still made from grapes, but there are now many farming philosophies of getting from the bud to the bottle. First on the list is Mass Production Wines, Wine and wine nam..
You may have encountered the term Claret and wondered what it is? After all, there is no grape variety called claret. The term can be traced back to medieval times and has evolved in its meaning through the centuries. However one thing is certain, it’s deeply rooted in Bordeaux. The term Claret comes from Clairet which means clear, and Clairet is a French type of wine much loved in medieval times but rarely seen in the modern era, in fact when Eleanor of Aquitaine’s married Henry Plantagenet of England in the 13th century. Eleanor brought with her a taste for these wines and very soon galleons were shipping loads across the Channel to satisfy the great English demand. So originally all Clarets were Clairets, any clearer? &nb..