Category: Tastings

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Rhum agricole

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Rhum Agricole

Rhum agricole is the French term for cane juice rum, a style of rum originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice rather than molasses. Rhum is the term that typically distinguishes rum made from molasses in French-speaking locales in the West Indies.

Cane juice rum mostly comes from HaitiMartinique, and the Guadeloupe islands of Marie-GalanteGrande-Terre, and Basse-Terre, but is made throughout the Caribbean, including on TrinidadPanama, the Dominican Republic and Grenada, and in the Indian Ocean on Mauritius and Réunion Island.

Most rum is made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar refining. When France began to make sugar from sugar beets, sugar prices dropped and the debt ridden sugar factoriesin the French Caribbean could not survive solely on sugar production. Fresh cane juice was now available for fermenting and distilling into rum.

Cane juice rums from Martinique are labeled “AOC Martinique Rhum Agricole” because French and European law allowed a designation called “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” (protected designation of origin) for rums produced on the island of Martinique that meet certain local standards. This designation is unique to Martinique and does not define the category of cane juice rum or rhum agricole.

In Martinique, AOC labeled cane juice rums are usually distilled to 70% alcohol (140 proof in the U.S.) and then watered down to 40–55% (80–110 proof) when bottled. It may be aged as little as a few months (3 months at least for AOC Martinique Rhum agricole) or up to a few years. After three years of aging in oak barrels, it may be called “rhum vieux,” or “old rum”

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

Cheers.

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gfwineblog – tastings

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Patrice Colin

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I promised to mention the wine we drunk on Sunday at Couleur de Loire. It is a Coteaux du Vendomois AOP wine given its appellation in 2001. It is located north east of Tours in the Loire valley.

The wine that accompanied our lunch was from Patrice Colin who has 48 acres close to the city of Vendome in the Middle Loire area of Touraine. He is the 8th generation of wine makers in this unique wine region .TheAOC Coteaux du Vendomois is well known for its grapes: Pinot d’Aunis, a very ancient varietal dating from the 13th century, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc for reds and Chenin blanc for white. Patrice has been farming organically since 2008. Some of his vines are more than 80 years old. He is a strong advocate for the AOC Coteaux du Vendomois and a leader in the “Vigneron independent” movement, a coalition of proud independent winemakers dedicated to the quality and integrity of the wine.

The blend of Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc are vinified separately and then assembled to give a more fleshy and structured wine.
The color is supported. The nose is powerful with very ripe fruit. The mouth is rich with fine tannins.
Its great with cheese, starters and spicy dishes.
There is a long maceration period followed by ageing in old oak barrels in the estate cellars

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

Cheers.

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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

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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

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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

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IMG_0730 07 05 15

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Its just the bare bones tonight I’m afraid as its been a liquid evening with the MHS players so i’ll fill you in with the tasting tomorrow all being well. So moving on we tasted a Chateau Montaiguillon Montagne Saint Emilion 2011. I picked this up from a tasting in London last year and it certainly does not disappoint. Loads of big supple red fruits. Plums yes and cherries. Great with a hard cheese. Super smooth tannins. Really a great wine and one to lay down. I’m off the Bordeaux country on 18 May and will visit the right bank so a great opportunity to call in to taste the 2012.

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

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Eddy and Mileine Oosterlinck-Bracke of Domaine de Juchepie

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No 8 in my round of tastings from the Angers Wine Fair. Domaine de Juchepie.

Eddy & Mileine Oosterlinck – Bracke happened upon Domaine de Juchepie in 1985 and started an adventure from holiday home to winemakers in the Village Coteaux du Layon of Faye. They have 6 hectares of vineyards growing the traditional grape variety of Chenin Blanc on the bedrock of Juchepie which is essentially composed of grey-greenish and purple slate, alternated with volcanic rock : phtanite, spilite and rhyolite. The top soil is very thin (on average not more than 20 to 40 cm) consisting essentially of heavy clay, which retains a certain reserve of moisture in times of drought. This can be very useful, as rain is here a lot more scarce than in the wider region. Here there is a closed landscape : a small slope, facing south, and enclosed on three sides by the hillside. With an opening down to the river Layon, from which emerge the mists in autumn. These conditions make this “terroir” particularly suited for the development of noble-rot (botrytis cinerea), and therefore for the production of the great sweet wines of the Loire valley.

The vineyard is organic and biodynamic using natural products to protect and support the vines and berries as they develop. Grapes are pressed in vertical presses and fermented and aged in oak barrels so the whole process of making wine is by use of traditional methods and only using the natural ingredients in the juice.

I tasted the Les Quarts de Juchepie a gold medal winning wine at the Angers Wine Fair this year. This is a Coteaux-du-layon-Faye village appellation sweet wine made from the chenin blanc grape variety. It is produced from vines grown on a soil composed of green and purple slate, and spilite (volcanic rock). It is harvested at a yield of 10 to 15 hl/ha with a minimum of 17.5° potential alcohol, fermented and aged in oak barrels without any addition of yeast or sugar. Bottling is after 18 to 24 months.

The wine is best served with a dessert of fruit compote or as I did a soufflé of raspberry. Delicious.

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

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Our email addresses

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The Chenin Blanc grape berries affected by the Noble rot

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No 7 in my tasting of the wines at the Angers Wine Fair this year

Domaine de Noels

My tasting this week was a 2011 Coteaux du Layon Village/Faye dessert wine. It won a gold medal at the Angers Wine Fair this year. Eric Bazantay and Jean-Michel Garnier at Domaine de Noels make wine in Faye d’Anjou in the heart of the Anjou appellation with 26 hectares of vines in the Coteaux du Layon, Cabernet d’Anjou, Crémant de Loire, Anjou Villages appellation areas.

The estate vineyards are mainly located on the hillside of Christmas, facing south. This promotes early growth and allows the grapes to reach full maturity ready for the harvest.

The soils here are clay-slate dominant giving the wines a quality that reflects the appellation.
The balance of adapting the farming methods to the land and the respect of the land and the environment allows the domaine to produce quality wines.

The chenin blanc berries for the Coteaux du Layon wines are manual harvested in 3 or 4 passes through the vineyard with careful selection of only the noble rot berries when they are fully desiccated. The berries are pressed very slowly and the fermentation is allowed only to occur very slowly at low temperature. The wine is matured for 6-8 months in tanks.

The Coteaux du Layon Faye is a great sweet from the best slopes of Faye d’Anjou. It is a wine with a powerful nose, complex aromas of candied fruit. In mouth it is full and rich; and remarkably long aftertaste.

I suggest it is served at around  8 to 10 ° C as a very pleasant aperitif as I did or with a good foie gras. You may also drink it with a sweet dessert.

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

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www.vintnersfinewines.co.uk  Our wholesale wine shop

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Our email addresses

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Domaine des Forges Vignoble Branchereau Coteaux du Layon Premiere Cru Chaume

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No 6 in our tasting of the medal winning wines at the Angers Wine Fair 2015

The Domaine des Forges has been a family vineyard for 5 generations. They  grow over 47 hectares of vines including a Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay white varieties, some low-cropping Gamay planted on schist , Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon  and 27 hectares of Chenin Blanc.

Chenin includes one finely-placed hectare plot in Quarts de Chaume grand cru and 3 separate plots in Savennières, the original Moulin du Gué being joined by 1 hectare in Clos du Papillon and another in the famous savennières Roche aux Moines.

The steep slopes of St Aubin and Chaume  produce intensely elegant wines whose great concentration is always balanced with just enough power, freshness and fruit.

Ensuring both quality and ripeness of the grapes by grassing through the vineyards, short pruning, summer thinning and thinning-out of the leaves, the picking is carried out carefully with close selection and the yield seldom rises above 25 hectolitres /hectare for Chenin Blanc.

Cabernet, Chardonnay and Sauvignon ferment at controlled temperatures in a series of stainless steel and underground vats or in barrels.

The Layons, Savennières and the increasingly elegant Anjou Blanc ferment slowly, plot by plot and selection by selection, either in vats or in 1 to 3 year old 400 litre double-barrels, with a partial malo and careful maturing on the lees ensuring extra ampleness and concentration.

The results are wines with a richness and intensity that clearly show the world-class potential of this style of Chenin.

I tasted the Chaume Premiere Cru sweet wine which won a gold medal at the Angers Wine Fair in February.

The Chaume AOC is a tiny enclave of 78 hectares within Coteaux du Layon. It was recognised by decree on 21 February 2007. (See the article on the Premier Cru Chaume appellation process online.) The wines come from designated plots around Hameau de Chaume, and fall within Rochefort-sur-Loire. The appellation decree limits the yield to a maximum of 25Hℓ per hectare.

Grape variety: Chenin, harvested when it is over-ripe.

Terroir: Sandstone shale, quartz and puddingstone on a carboniferous subsoil. The terroirs are on hillsides, making for excellent concentration.

Winemaking: The grapes are harvested in passes collecting small sections of the bunches. The grapes are pressed gently using a bladder press. Alcoholic fermentation is controlled by adjusting the temperature and the wine is aged in tanks and barrels.

Tasting notes: A dried fruit nose with notes of toasted almonds. In the mouth, a good intensity with candied fruit aromas accompanied by the typical honey notes we expect from this appellation.

Pairings: Ideal as an aperitif, or with foie gras or blue cheese canapés. Serve before dessert, ideally spiced or tangy flavours based on cinnamon, orange peel or bitter chocolate. Avoid pairing with very sweet desserts.

Drinking: Drink within the first 4 years. A 3 to 4 year dumb period follows (avoid drinking during this time, or decant well in advance). Open aged 8 or more years to experience the tertiary aromas. Keep for 15 to 20 years.

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

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Chateau la Variere

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My tasting this week is another from the wine finder catalogue found at the Angers wine Fair this year. Its a dessert wine from Chateau la Variere

The wine origins of the chateau started in fifteenth century so it has a long tradition. It is located near the village of Brissac-Quince, Anjou, the Château was a manor Varière the Middle Ages. The two old cellars, the oldest of the XVth century are remarkable for the beauty of their architecture. The vineyard is vast and varied. It covers 110 hectares and most of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Anjou are produced at the castle.

National and international recognition of the chateau contribute to the reputation of the wines of Anjou in France and in the world.

Designations of origin (PDO), The vineyard is located at the junction of the Paris basin sedimentary (old primeval ocean) characterized by white and brittle rocks, and Armorican (black and hard rock).
The architecture of the region is very revealing in this regard: the stones white limestone tufa mingle with black stones Shale.
Anjou Rouge AOP AOP Anjou Villages Brissac

The two great red grapes of Anjou are Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cabernet Franc is the most common red grape variety in the Val de Loire.
A second generation grape with thin skins, Cabernet Franc is quite fragile and requires a climate both dry and mild. Anjou with 600 mm of annual water and mild climate suits this perfectly.
All parcels planted with Cabernet Franc at the Château Varière have calcareous soils. By its porous texture this soil type corresponds to the nature of Cabernet Franc, which requires regular water supplies.
Historically Cabernet Sauvignon has always been listed in Anjou, particularly in the Brissac region. This third generation variety, has late maturity and is  best wth hot, dry soils black shales that accelerate ripening. Its strong tannic structure comes from ageing best in oak barrels. Bonnezeaux AOP, Quarts de Chaume AOP AOP Coteaux du Layon, Aubance Coteaux AOP The sweet of the Loire Valley are from the varietal chenin blanc. This variety of third-generation and highly susceptible to botrytis cinerea (noble rot) especially as autumn comes alongs with the Angevin misty mornings. Located in the Anjou on black slate floors, many so-called sweet wines are distinguished from each other by veins of soils and landscape and soil conditions (more or less steep hills) which ensure different taste of diversity and concentration of residual sugar after fermentation. AOP Cabernet d’Anjou, Anjou Blanc AOP The Cabernet d’Anjou is a pink with a natural sweetness. At the Château Varière the Cabernet d’Anjou are from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Anjou Blanc Château la Varière is a dry white wine made ​​from Chenin Blanc. It is aged in barrels on fine lees.

Great importance is given to cultivation methods at the chateau. The methods of rational cultivation allow the vines to flourish in the best possible environment.  Grass uses water for development and restricts the amount of rain water absorbable by the vine. By grass clippings decomposition provide natural nutrition for the vines.

Spacing of vines and height for the different areas have been developed over time and many studies on the growth of the vine and its development patterns have concluded the optimal height of foliage for best photosynthesis for sugar production in the berries. The optimum ratio for vine height to distance between rows is for the northern areas in the range of 0.6 to 0.8 (foliage / row width in height) to a maximum of foliage height 2m10-2m20 for the wind stability. At Varière they apply a coefficient of 0.7, a density of 5,000 vines per hectare and a width of rank 2m. The vines can grow up to 1m and 80 in height, allowing for maximum photosynthesis.
There are no unnecessary treatment. The dates of the latest treatments are based on the collection dates in order to prevent any possible residue in the must.

The wine tasted was a Coteaux du Layon AOP sweet wine which won a gold medal at the Fair. It has a  straw colour with a shade of gold. It is expressive to the nose with honeyed sweet sensation. In the mouth it is has a balnce of the sugar with an acidic layer giving a harmonious mouth of candied fruits and citrus fruit flavours. A great wine paired with Foie Gras or a dessert such as Tarte Tatin.

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

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Our email addresses

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

Our blogs

www.loirewinetoursblog.co.uk  Our wine tours blog

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