gfwineblog – updates

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Back to nature and proper values

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There seems to be little evidence of organic farming in the growing of vines that I saw anyway in the Medoc. Most of the vineyards seem to be using weedkiller on the ground. What a pity. However as the pic shows there is some evidence of working with nature and here is a local winemaker in his small vineyard maintaining the ground with his horse and plough. What joy. We should applaud those that strive to work with nature. There is in the Medoc and Haute Medoc areas a classification called Cru Artisan which  are family businesses that cultivate their own grapes, and make, market and sell their wines. ‘Cru Artisan’ is an official term that has been used for over 150 years in Bordeaux but one that largely disappeared from common usage in the 1930s. The extremes of rich and poor are quite obvious especially around the prestige estates where on the one hand you see hoards of tourists at the big commercial estates yet within a short distance are houses that are run down and in a poor state. Why don’t these rich estates put more back into the community. Because they want to make money for themselves. What a world we live in.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

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www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog – updates

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Hotel Rollan de By,Medoc

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The top end of the Left bank of the Bordelais wine regions is the Medoc. Somewhat out of reach and left out from the 1855 classifications but with some stunning wines. We stayed at Chateau Rollan du By (pronounced Be) to be able to experience their wines which now extend throughout a substantial range of styles from young fruity drink now wines to the more complex structured wines under the Medoc Appellation. So Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grape varieties. Probably more than most the domaine uses the Petit Verdot in larger percentages. The Top of the range Haut Condissas uses 20% in the blend and it works with a wine that is a gem and compares with the first growths. We tasted the range of reds and found a great opportunity for those wanting wines to drink now as well as wines for laying down. Marion Cousin showed us around the production facilities and gave us a tasting of the wines. We went away with samples to taste with our clients. The Chateau has a hotel in which we stayed and enjoyed the experience. Thanks to Deborah and Benjamin for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

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www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog – tasting

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tasting the 2014 enprimeur from the barrel

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The lighthouse at Chateau La Tour de By

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The Bordelais is a very extensive wine region that has at its heart three main grape varieties and the colour red as in red wine. Yes there are whites, pinks and sparkling but by far the major part is the red wines made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes. I’ll tell you about the journey between Fronsac and Medoc but for this blog it’s about a trip to the Medoc area which is the furthest appellation from Bordeaux up the left bank. We visited Chateau La Tour de By. Here the chateau is located right on the Gironde river estuary with its own lighthouse which guided ships up the river in the 19 century. Now you can climb the narrow steps to the top and see the river from above the vineyards. We were shown around the chai and were given a tasting of the reds and the pink generic Bordeaux Rosé made from cabernet franc by a very well informed intern, a student from the university of Bordeaux as you can see in the pic. A jolly good pink for the summer. Dry but fruity.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

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www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog – tasting

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The coat of arms of Castillon-la-Bataille

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A jaunt down to Bordeaux to seek out some decent wine this week so for the next few tasting blogs I will be looking at both right and left bank wines. Yesterday was spent on the right bank in Fronsac, Pomerol, St Emilion and Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux. This later appellation sits on the eastern extremity of the Bordelais region on the north side of the Dordogne river.

All Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines are red, made predominantly from MerlotCabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, with a permitted addition of MalbecPetit Verdot and even Carmenere. Merlot is the main variety, producing relatively well-structured wines that are approachable at an early age. There is of course, variation in the exact blends of these Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon wines, depending on several factors. These include the target market and style of a wine, the existing varieties planted in the vineyards and their precise terroir. Those sites with clay soils, for example, are better suited to Merlot and will have the potential to create softer, more supple wines for early consumption. Those on gravelly soils will favour the Cabernet varieties, which are likely to create more-structured wines with higher tannin levels – wines that will require and reward a few years’ cellaring.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog – weekly wine offer

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Esprit de Vin

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SPECIAL OFFER

Esprit de vin Rouge
Was £7.45 per bottle

NOW £6.99 per bottle

This is a fresh and delicious wine with loads of fruit and a spicy note, and a great price to boot! Highly recommended.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk/karins-loire-holiday-cottages-blog  Our gite holiday blog

gfwineblog – biodynamic calendar

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Biodynamic calendar 2015

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Here’s our week for drinking wine based on the biodynamic calendar. Go on you should try it. Wine can taste better on the right days and here is our guide to follow. We’ve given you some ideas on the wine to drink on the good days ie fruit and flower. Enjoy.

Three days of root on Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday so not best for a good bottle of wine. Never mind ‘cos the rest of the week is pretty good with a mix of flower and fruit days. May I suggest that you try a bottle of our Loire valley sauvignon blanc. Not from Sancerre or even Touraine but from the Anjou region. Its not a sauvignon blanc area for appellation wines but some estates make an IGP wine. Its not as intense as that in Touraine or Sancerre but its well priced and easy drinking. Go on try it. Our local producer Chateau de Brossay has made a cracking 2014 vintage from a relatively difficult year. For six quid a bottle its a steal. Yes?

Wine  blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog -facts

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The chenin Blanc grape

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Vouvray

Vouvray is a French region of the Loire Valley located in the Touraine district just east of the city of Tours in the commune of Vouvray. TheAppellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) is dedicated almost exclusively to Chenin blanc though the obscure and minor grape Arbois is permitted but rarely used.

Wine production in this area is highly variable and dependent on climate conditions, with cooler years promoting the production of dry (sec) andsparkling Vouvray while warmer, more favorable vintage encourages the production of sweet moelleux or liquoreux styles produced by noble rot in a manner similar to the sweet dessert wines of Sauternes. With the naturally high acidity of Chenin blanc, Vouvrays from favorable vintages have immense aging potential with some examples drinking well into 100 years of age, however it is more common to find a well aged Vouvray peaking at the 40 year mark. Across the Loire River from Vouvray is the Montlouis AOC which produces Chenin blanc based wines like Vouvray that tend to have less acidity and concentration of flavor.

History

Viticulture has existed in Vouvray since at least the Middle Ages when the Catholic Church maintained vineyards at the localmonasteries. The Chenin blanc grape, known locally as Pineau de la Loire, is believed to have originated in the Anjou wineregion sometime in the 9th century and from there eventually migrated to Vouvray. In the 16th and 17th century, Dutchmerchants oversaw the plantings of many vineyards in the area to be used for wine trade with markets in LondonParis andRotterdam. Grapes from all over Touraine were brought together in a mass blending labeled simply as “Vouvray”. Wine cellars were built in the region from caves created from the excavation of tuffeau rocks used to build the Châteaux of the Loire Valley. The cold, steady temperature of these cellars served ideal for the advancement of sparkling wines made according to the traditional méthode champenoise that became popular in the 18th and 19th century. In 1936 Vouvray was created as anAppellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC). The boundaries of the AOC were defined around the village of Vouvray and seven nearby villages. Included among these villages were ChançayNouzillyVernou-sur-Brenne and Rochecorbon.

Climate and geography

Located along the right bank of the Loire river east of the city of Tours, the Vouvray region is situated on top a plateau that is dissected by small streams and tributaries of the Loire such as the Cisse and Brenne. These streams contribute to the unique climate conditions that promote the development of the Botrytis cinerea fungus that causes the noble rot used to produce sweet dessert style wines. The climate of the region is mostly continental with some maritime influence from the Atlantic Ocean located more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the west. Wine production in the region is highly dependent on the climate with significant vintage variation expressed year due to the variable climate. Cooler climate years shift the bulk of production towards drier styles of wine including sparkling Vouvray. More warmer climate years promote the production of sweeter, dessert style wines.

The northern location and relatively cooler climate combines to make harvest in Vouvray one of the last to completed in France, often lasting into November. Vineyards are usually planted on the plateau above the river bank in soils composed of gravel and clay on top of tuffeau.

Viticulture and winemaking

Chenin blanc is the dominant and nearly exclusive grape of Vouvray. While the obscure minor grape Arbois is permitted in the Vouvray AOC, it is rarely seen. With more 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) of vineyards planted as of 2006, it is the single largest producer of Chenin blanc-based wines in France by a sizable margin, with only the Anjou wine region of the Coteaux du Layoncoming close. Most of the vineyards are planted on a plateau with a southern aspect facing towards the river. Viticulture and wine production in the region is dictated almost completely by the climate characteristics of a particular vintage with cooler climate years shifting productions towards dry and sparkling wines while warmer vintages seeing increased production of sweet and even botrytized wines. The harvest in Vouvray is often the last in France to be completed, potentially lasting until November. When sweet and botrytized wine are being produced, the harvest is often very labor-intensive, involving successive tries or passages through the vineyards with harvesters hand-picking only the ripest berries.

Vouvray produces more than a million cases of wine a year.The traditional style of winemaking in Vouvray is a minimalistapproach, often using neutral fermentation vessel such as stainless steel and not submitting the wine to malolactic fermentation. While some winemakers are experimenting with oak very few wines are made with new oak. Vouvrays are usually bottled early and expected to age in the wine bottle.Sparkling wines are made according to the traditional method and can either be pétillant (semi-sparkling) or mousseux (fully sparkling).

Wines and styles

The Chenin blanc wines of Vouvray are characterized by the grape’s natural high acidity. The perception of that acidity and style of wine will be determined based on the balance of sugar in the wine. Dry or sec styles will have more noticeable acidity than the sweeter demi-sec and moelleux. The acidity is also a key component to the wine’s aging ability. Depending on the style, Vouvrays can exhibit notes ofhoneynutsgingerfigapples and white flowers. Vouvrays are often paired with rich, hearty dishes and flavorful sauces.

Sweetness levels

As Vouvray can be made in a wide range of sweetness styles, the wine labels may indicate the sweetness level by the terms SecDemi-SecMoelleux and Doux. While these terms are not strictly defined, they tend to roughly fall into the guidelines below. Note that the residual sugar level may not equate to the level of sweetness that a taster will perceive in the wine due to balance of acidity in the wine. In some cases a producer’s Demi-Sec wine may taste drier than their Sec. Sparkling Vouvray may also have the sweetness level indicated on the label.

  • SecThe driest level with 0-0.4% (less than 4 grams per liter) residual sugar. Sometimes producers will specify their bone dry wines as Sec-Sec or “dry dry” and their slightly less dry wines as Sec-tendres or “gently dry”.
  • Demi-SecAn “off dry” style with between 0.4-1.2% (4 to 12 grams per liter) of residual sugar.
  • MoelleuxA sweet, often botrytized style with 1.2-4.5% (12 to 45 grams per liter) of residual sugar. The term Moelleux is French for “mellow”.
  • DouxThe sweetest style with more 4.5% (45 grams per liter) of residual sugar. The term liquoreux or “liquor-like” may appear on the label to describe the almost syrupy sweet nature.

Aging.

Vouvrays are known for their longevity and aging potential, particularly if the vintage was favorable. Some wines, most notably the sweeter Moelleux styles, have the potential to age and develop in the bottle for several decades to a century. While modern producers are contributing to making examples more approachable to drink while young, some premium examples still made in the traditionally high acid style will often need 3 to 7 years of bottle age before the acidity tones down. Dry or Sec examples from favorable vintages can have the potential to age for 15–20 years or more but many are ready to drink within 4 or 5 years after vintage. Sparkling Vouvrays tend not to have the same aging potential as their still wine counterparts or vintage dated Champagne and are usually meant to be consumed within 3 years of vintage or, for non-vintage bottling, soon after purchase.

In 2005 Decanter Magazine conducted a compilation of the “100 Greatest Wines” ever made. A 1947 Vouvray (considered a favorable year by many critics) from the producer S.A. Huet was ranked #6 on this listing-the second highest ranking for any white wine behind only the 1921 vintage of Chateau d’Yquem.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

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gfwineblog – cocktails

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Whiskey Sour

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No 95 in our list of cocktail recipes:

So for two lovelies

Whiskey Sour

1 measure lemon or lime juice

2 measures blended whiskey

1 tsp castor sugar

ice

2 slices of lemon or lime to decorate

2 maraschino cherries to decorate

Shake the first three ingredients well over ice and strain into two cocktail glasses.

Decorate with the two slices of lime or lemon and the two cherries.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

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gfwineblog – news

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The good thing of drinking red wine

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Hey further great news about the health giving properties of drinking wine. Wow.Keep it up.

A report in the press confirms that a glass of red wine keeps you healthy. A study used three different groups to drink red wine, white wine and water. Those who drunk the red wine showed a an increase in good cholesterol. It also helped to keep the blood free from artery clogging compounds. Moderate intake of red wine decreases the risk of heart disease and strokes. Hey get that bottle of red wine out. Cheers.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

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gfwineblog – tasting

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Laurent and Fabrice Maillet winemakers of Vouvray

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The Chenin Blanc grape can produce some startling wines and ones that are so different in taste throughout the length of the Loire valley, France from the west of Angers to the east of Tours. At the eastern extremity is the Appellation of Vouvray which makes still and sparkling white wine from the chenin blanc grape. If you are of a certain age its one of those wine areas that you may have come across for producing medium wines as well as dry white wines and it could be difficult in those days to tell the difference as there could be little information on the bottle. I tasted a really quite sublime Vouvray this week with an onion and goats cheese tart. This was a dry style of the chenin blanc.  Its a lively and fresh wine with rich aromas of acacia, rose, pear, citrus and a slight mineral note.The texture is quite delicate as it is a 2012 vintage but this will develop over time. That’s the joy of chenin with its high acidity it will keep and develop well for many years. This 2012 needs to be drunk now as it was not such a brilliant vintage. The wine pairs well with seafood like crab and prawns as well as fish such as sea bass and other delicate white fish. You need to serve it well cold. I enjoyed it.

Wine blog ing is fun with Grainger’s wine regularly to catch up on the latest with the wine scene or something quite different.  You never know what might appear.

Cheers.

Our websites

www.loirewinetours.com   Our wine tours

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk  Our self catering holidays

www.gfwine.co.uk  Our retail wine shop

www.thestrictlywineclub.co.uk  Our wine club

www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

www.thewinefinder.co.uk  Our wine import portal

Our email addresses

info@loirewinetours.com Our wine tours email address for enquiries

graingersatmanoir@yahoo.co.uk Our self catering holiday email address for enquiries

enquiries@gfwine.co.uk Our retail wine shop email address for enquiries

enquiries@thestrictlywineclub.co.uk Our wine club email address for enquiries

enquiries@vintnersfinewines.co.uk Our wholesale wine shop email address for enquiries

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

www.gfwineblog.co.uk  Our wine blog

www.manoirdegourin.co.uk/karins-loire-holiday-cottages-blog  Our gite holiday blog

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