Articles from: February 2013

Wine Blog – weekly cocktails no 4

Ariane from

No 4 of our cocktail reviews on a Thursday.  Ready for that Friday night. Go Go Gone.

Today our cocktail is called  Ariane.

This is a classic  from the great Combier Distillery in Saumur, France.


2 ice cubes

1 cl Combier  Eau de Vie of Cacao

1 cl Gin

1/2 cl cane sugar syrup

3 cl Pineapple Juice


Put all in a shaker and give a good shake and poor into an elegant cocktail glass.

Have a wizzy weekend.



Wine blog – weekly wine review

Guide no 10 of my review of all the wines on our wine list at  Our list covers most of the wine regions of France and so you should have no trouble in finding a wine to suit your palate.

Today we review a wine from the Alsace region of France in the appellation of Alsace AOC.

It is an appellation Riesling  varietal from the estate of Domaine Michel Dietrich

Polyculture had been the norm for centuries when in the 60’s Laurent Dietrich (father of Michel), decided to relinquish calves, cows, pigs and horses in order to devote himself to the direct sale of wine in bottles. Our first customers were won over and have been kind enough to return regularly over the years.

The property is situated at the heart of a medieval town, Dambach la Ville, which itself nestles at the centre of the legendary Alsace wine route. The varied geology of the Alsace region is a benefit: the seven Alsace grape varieties are adapted to the nature of the soils and the continental climate. Our village is nestled in the very heart of Alsace, in the Piémont des Vosges area.  The characteristic soil is made up of alluvia from the slow decomposition of detritus and the erosion of the Vosges, the mountains which protect us from excessive rainfall. Here and there, outcrops of varying mineral veins can be found. Depending on the plots and how they lie, the harvest will therefore provide various types of wine, which should be drunk fairly young. Dambach La Ville is the town of two mica granite (iron and magnesium), and because of the poor soil in which it is grown, its FRANKSTEIN “Grand Cru” (high quality wine) makes the vine dig down deep to find the mineral sustenance needed to produce wines of character.  The average age of the vines is 27 years. We work 14 Hectares, spread over the following villages: Dambach la Ville, Dieffenthal, Itterswiller and Albé. Production is split into three “appellations” (wine designations): the seven Alsace grape varieties, the Crémant d’Alsace (Alsace sparkling wine) and the FRANKSTEIN Grand Cru. The grape varieties are found within each “appellation” area, defined by local place names or late harvesting.

Vinification is traditional – Michel Dietrich wanted to preserve the tradition of his craft, handed down by his father and grandfather. Certain plots are worked with the help of our “comtoise” mare and the wines are housed in beautiful large oak barrels, allowing us to work with our local wild yeast.

This is a still white wine made from the varietal Riesling grape. The vines have to work hard to grow in these granite soils. A traditional vinification is completed by ageing on the fine lees. The finish wine is clean on entry, white flowers on the nose and a fruity, delicate and good length. Serve between 9-12°C with seafood, fish and a pork loin in sauce.

Please enjoy.



Wine blog – weekly updates

 wine blog loire wine tours

I am sure that you will be happy to hear that we will be starting another blog for loirewinetours ready for our new season. Hopefully if I can get myself in gear I hope to do these whilst we are actually on our wine tours so our guests can take part as it were. I am trying to have an active input from our guests so that they are able to make comment as we progress and also when we finish. Lets see how it transpires. As I write our guru on anything related at all that is web based mistro Dan is doing the necessary. We have registered our new domain name so all we have to so is wait for Dan the man to do his bit. It willl like this blog and be linked to  which is our wine club format were you are able to buy wines at wholesale prices. which is our on-trade wine website. our retail wine website. self catering holiday website. Facebook and Twitter @GFWINES, and of course the wine tour website.

Wine Blog – weekly wine offer

 weekly wine offer

French red wine

Our weekly wine offer this week is an Anjou appellation a french red wine from Domaine de la Saugourde. This is a great medium dry fresh and fruity wine made from a the Cabernet Franc grape by winemaker Francois Letheuil in Les Verchers sur Layon. Yes that the famous Layon valley where some of the great sweet wines are made. Its on offer at the moment. It was £8.99 and now its reduced to £6.99. A steal. For our weekly wine offer  go to to order. Cheers.


Wine Blog – Weekly biodynamic Calendar update

So whats in store for us this week for our favourite tipple and when best to drink it?

All starts well for Monday and Tuesday with two lovely fruit days so a chance to savour a good red Chateauneuf du Pape say. We have a delicious one from a great estate in the heart of the appellation. Go to and search out Chateauneuf du Pape from Domaine de la Ronciere.

Anyway back to the biodynamic bit. Wednesday and Thursday are root days so not good but things pick up at the end of the week. Both Friday 1st March and Saturday 2nd March in the afternoons its  a flower day and to cap it all you will be able to enjoy a glass or three over sunday lunch as its also a flower day. Enjoy your week. Cheers.

Wine Blog – weekly facts

 IMG_2536 blog 23 02 13

Lieu-dit (plural: lieux-dits) (literally said-location) is a French toponymic term for a small geographical area bearing a traditional name. The name usually refers to some characteristic of the place, its former use, a past event, etc. A lieu-dit may be uninhabited, which distinguishes it from an hameau (hamlet), which is inhabited.

English speakers seem to have discovered the concept through oenology and have considered it as a wineterm which in its typical usage translates as “vineyard name” or “named vineyard”. Typically, a lieu-dit is the smallest piece of land which has a traditional vineyard name assigned to it. In most cases, this means that a lieu-dit is smaller than an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC).

In some cases, lieux-dits appear on wine labels, in addition to the AOC name. This is most commonly seen for Alsace wine and Burgundy wine. It may not always be easy for consumers to tell if a name on a wine label is a lieu-dit or a cuvée name created by the producer.

The only case of mandatory mention of a lieu-dit is in Alsace, for Alsace Grand Cru AOC. The Grand Cru designation may only be used if a lieu-dit is indicated. Lieux-dits may also be indicated on regular Alsace AOC wines, but is not mandatory.

In Burgundy, the term climat is used interchangeably with lieu-dit. The use of the lieu-dit varies with the level of classification of the wine. Although the Grand Cru burgundies are in generally considered to be classified on the vineyard level and defined as separate AOCs (with the exception of Chablis Grand Cru), some Burgundy Grand Crus are in fact divided into several lieux-dits. An example is Corton , where it is fairly common to see lieux-dits such as Les Bressandes, Le Clos de Roi and Les Renardes indicated. For village level burgundies, the lieu-dit may only be indicated in smaller print than the village name to avoid confusion with Premier Cru burgundies, where the village and vineyard name are indicated in the same size print.

In Rhône, lieux-dits are most commonly seen for some of the top wines of the region. An example is the lieu-dit La Mouline within Côte-Rôtie.



Wine Blog – News etc

Did you see more evidence in the papers this week about the antioxidant polyphenol. Its a powerful compound that does wonders for your body. Firstly it helps to prevent the ageing of the body. The body gradually oxidises which is what ages us all so eating something with Polyphenol in it is good. It also helps to reduce cholesterol. Guess where you will find loads of this wonderful compound yes in red wine but only if its natural with no horrible chemicals and certainly not those horrible branded wines you find in supermarkets and pub house wines. Look for real wine made naturally to retain the good substances that are produced by grapes and retained when they are turned into wine. Have a look at our wines at and buy a well made quality wine that will do you some good. You have read about these recent health scares. Don’t trust what is in a packet or in a bottle unless you know the provenance. You may pay a little more but its better to do that and drink a little less so the cost works out the same. Go on start looking after your body. It will lead to less health problems in the future and lead to a happier life.  Cheers.

Wine Blog – Cocktails no 3

Week 3 of our cocktail reviews on a Thursday.  Ready for that Friday night go go go.

Today our cocktail is called After Five.

Originally the name of a mixed cocktail topped with lemonade or soda, it has now been transformed into a layered shooter with a real kick.


½ measure chilled peppermint schnapps

1 measure chilled Kahlua

1 tbsp chilled Baileys Irish Cream


  1. Pour the peppermint schnapps into a shot glass. Carefully pour the Kahlua over the back of a teaspoon so that it forms a separate layer.


  1. Finally,  float  the Baileys Irish Cream on top.


Have a wizzy weekend.



Wine Blog – hols in France


New for this year for all our wine tour guests is our new wine room overlooking the heated swimming pool with french doors opening out to the terrace. Its been converted from the original wine room when Auguste Gourin made his Rose d’Anjou pink wine at the manoir. Winemaking finally finished in the seventies.

We had some dummy runs late last year in the wine room for our guests to taste wine, enjoy our talks on the wines of the Loire valley and to have dinner cooked by Karin with fresh ingredients from our own potager kitchen garden. They were great fun and hugely successful so this year we will be ready to welcome all our guests who have already booked and those of you who may wish to book in the future.

You have the opportunity to book a fully escorted all inclusive residential wine tour or stay on a self catering basis in one of our cottages in the grounds of the lovely manor house.

Log onto for our residential holidays or for our self catering holidays.

See you soon. Cheers.

Wine Blog – Weekly Wine Review

muscadet Haut vrignais label

Guide no 10 of my review of all the wines on our wine list at  Our list covers most of the wine regions of France and so you should have no trouble in finding a wine to suit your palate.

Today we review a wine from the Loire region of France in the appellation of Muscadet  sur Lie AOC.

It is from the estate of Abbaye Sainte Radegonde in the heart of the Nantes vineyards.

Located 20 km from Nantes, in the heart of the Nantes vineyards, Sainte Radegonde Abbaye dates from the 11th century.

Its historical buildings house a fine wine museum and the wine business, offices and store rooms. The adjoining residence is still occupied by the family.

For all the various domaines, spread over 165 hectares, the basic knowledge of the “terroir” is respected. All the plots of land each year receive individual treatment to aid growth. The estate has been certified “structured agriculture” since 2004.

The harvesting of each domaine is separately vinified in stainless steel tanks, thermally regulated and with the right selection of yeast in order to respect each terroir.

Both the white and the pink wines are vinified at low temperature in order to extract the maximum aromatic potential of each wine.

The red wines are vinified according to the traditional method, but make use of current technical tools. The twice daily ‘punching of the must allows for the extraction of all the phenolic characteristics from the must. Thereafter one proceeds to the maturation by using the micro-oxygenation process.


This still white wine is made from the varietal Melon de Bourgogne grape. The vines grow on south facing Vendee soils close to the Atlantic coast. The grape are picked and fermented at low temperature and then aged in vats on their lees over the following winter period to extract the flavours of the terroir. The wine is dry with a good balance from the mature grapes with alightness and lively style. Serve at 8-10°C with seafood, shellfish, and Asian and exotic dishes.

Please enjoy.


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February 2013
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