Sunday, 19 December 2010
Friday, 10 December 2010
Whilst in the Dordogne recently, I discovered a couple of domaines that I'm now a huge fan of. One was Vignobles des Verdots, which I'll look at in another post, and the other was Grande Maison.
Domaine Darviot-Perrin Bourgogne Rouge 2007 - £12.74 from Howard Ripley
[caption id="attachment_530" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Plateau Private Dining Room"][/caption]
Recently I had the good fortune to be invited to Plateau Restaurant in Canary Wharf for a fine food and wine dinner. The event showed off the skills of the acclaimed chef, Allan Pickett, pairing four courses against Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines, all from the same Producer, Henri Bourgeois. It was an interesting concept, particularly as each course was comparing an old world example against a new, as Henri Bourgeouis are making wines in New Zealand as well as the Loire Valley. The four courses the wines had to match up against were:
This week heralded the start of a new wine appreciation course I'm running as part of my wine business, Viavino. The course is a tour of the classic regions of France in six sessions. Each session looks at wines from the region or regions in question and compares them against examples made from the same grape varieties from around the world.
The course breaks down as follows:
Friday, 3 December 2010
Bourgeuil and its neighbouring appellation Chinon face each other across the Loire and both make red wines from Cabernet Franc. The grape is better known as part of the classic Bordeaux blend, which is Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot in varying proportions. However, its other homeland is about 300km north of Bordeaux in the central Loire valley where it makes lighter red wines that are usually drunk young but can also age really well.
This example from Yannick Amirault, although 8 years old, was in great shape. Still plenty of guts and red brambly fruit but also more developed flavours reminiscent of mushrooms, spice and tobacco. Long, complex and perfectly delicious with the beef casserole.
The central Loire is good hunting ground for some really interesting reds (the fantastic sweet whites are another story) that are far better value than wines of similar quality from Bordeaux or Burgundy. Try one out.
Friday, 12 November 2010
On my recent trip to the Dordogne I found an amazing small Cave cum Deli in the market town of Ribérac. They had loads of older vintages that should have been selling at a premium but were stuck at the same price they would have been when they first came into the shop. I love finding places like that and needless to say I bought a pile of wine.
Anyway, one of the gems I found there was
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Following on from my post a couple of days ago about Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio, I'm delighted to write up the tasting note for a bottle of Alsace Pinot Gris I had the other night with some pre-supper snacks. This just shows how amazing the variety can be when on the ideal soil, in the perfect climate and in the best of hands...
I was eating some Tomme and a few slices of Ventricina whilst supping this magnificent wine. It was so long that I could clearly taste it in my mouth a good two minutes after my last sip. In fact, a further two minutes past and I could STILL taste it just as strongly as when it was in my mouth. Wow, that's super long! Fresh lemon flavours, some complex minerality and decently crisp acidity for a Pinot Gris. With eight years bottle age it was wonderfully rounded, the honeyed flavours laced with discrete spice; very full and yet still extremely elegant. Regal!
A truly excellent wine from one of Alsace's leading houses.
Josmeyer Alsace Pinot Gris 'Fondation 1854' 2002 Vieilles Vignes
Bought from the producer in June 2009 for €22.50
Monday, 8 November 2010
I was asked the other day what the difference is between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. A good question. The Pinot family has quite a few members, principally Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, or Pinot Black, Pinot Grey and Pinot White if you will. In English speaking Countries we generally take the French name for a variety over say the Italian, Spanish or German. So for example we're more aware of Mourvèdre (fr) than Monastrell (sp), we encounter Grenache (fr) more often than
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Hello there and welcome back to Hugo's Reserve following a somewhat long Summer break. I went to the Dordogne in South-West France for a couple of weeks, which was a real treat to explore, both vinously and gastronomically. You need to bring your best appetite with you to do it justice mind, as the food is very fat. Liking to consume large quantities of duck and goose is fairly mandatory, as that's pretty much all you're going to eat. Fortunately I love both. Either a Salade de Gésiers
Thursday, 5 August 2010
Ah, Sangiovese. What a wonderful grape. With its high acidity, gripping tannins and rasping red cherry fruit it produces wines that positively demand to be drunk with food. For decent quality Chianti coming in at about a tenner, pasta with tomato sauce or some flash-fried pork chops with a squeeze of lemon is the kind of thing we're talking about here.
The heartland of Sangiovese is the Tuscan Hills, where it's the main or only variety in the three best appellations devoted to the grape; Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Unlike most wines from Sangiovese, which are usually medium bodied and relatively light, the wines from these prized appellations can be
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Last night we had a taste-off between two red Burgundies from leading producers of the Côte Chalonnaise to go with our first rate Coq-au-Vin. The wines in question were Domaine François Lumpp's Givry Premier Cru Crausot 2007 and Domaine François Raquillet's Mercurey Premier Cru Les Combins 2006.
François 1's Givry (€18, bought from producer) was immediately very appealing. Lots of crunchy red fruit (strawberry, raspberry, red cherry) with an unmistakable Pinot Noir elegance, a modicum of well-handled oak and a persistent finish. Not overly complex, but really lovely. It's quite young, but I'm not convinced it's got anywhere better to go in the future; it's delicious as it is and keeping it would probably compromise the appeal of the fruit.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Last night I met a couple of chums in Wright Brothers Oyster bar by Borough Market in London. They've got a small but reasonable wine list that's well matched to their menu of Oysters every which way and a pile of other seafood dishes. We had a dozen mixed oysters - four each of English, Irish and French - followed by
Thursday, 22 July 2010
The Gaggia Classic is, err, a classic. It doesn't have any stupid functions or electronic automatic options or any nonsense like that, it's just a really solid stainless steel chassis that knocks out first rate espresso (there's no x in espresso, you must shoot people who say expresso). Other models come and go with funny designs, colours, special options and all that, but the Classic has seen them all off; it's still made and still the best domestic machine you can get. It also never changes in price, it costs £300 in the shops or £250 online and it's well worth every penny. It's the only domestic machine in their range that uses
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
It's simple really
Monday, 19 July 2010
It's an old-fashioned kind of place, Chez Becker, but boasting the desirable combination of high quality with very fair prices. Furthermore they seem to be always open, they're very
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Wine producers come in three types; negociants, domaines and co-ops. Negociants (merchants) buy grapes and/or wine from growers and then make a finished wine from all the brought in components. This may or may not include their own grapes if they have any. Domaines (Estates) are self contained producers; they grow their own grapes and make their own wine from them. Finally there are co-ops
In this last trip I picked up a couple of cases from the highly regarded producer Josmeyer. They're more expensive than most, but boy are they worth it. Amongst other wines I got a case of Les Pierrets Riesling 2002. I had my first bottle this weekend; it was bone dry, intensely mineral and citrus and very long. A really classy drop. In the UK you can buy the 2004 vintage from the Wine Society (but you have to be a member) for £19.50.
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
The grapes grown there are typical of the region; Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
Monday, 5 July 2010
Friday, 2 July 2010
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Finally last night, after the Riesling and prawns followed by the Claret and chops, we had a bottle of Cune Rioja Reserva 2004. This had so many things going for it; I think the standard bottling (as opposed to a prestige cuve) Reserva is the benchmark for Rioja Producers and Cune are a straight-ahead classic producer and 2004 was a terrific vintage. Coming up to six years old it's just about old enough if decanted for a bit and it didn't disappoint. What a lovely thing a decent bottle of reserva is! It had just what you would expect; the sweet cedar smell from the American oak, lashings of Tempranillo fruit, some decent developing complexity, good length and a refreshing finish. I find a good quality but not over-the-top Rioja makes a great partner for hard cheese and as such, I often use it as the second red of the evening. This one is drinking well now but will probably improve for another year or so and stay at its best for several years after that. I'm glad I have a case.
After the Albert Mann Riesling with spicy prawns (see previous post) last night, we had a bottle of Puygueraud Côtes de Francs 2003, which came from the Wine Society. Heat wave or not, what a lovely year for early-drinking sound quality claret. All the recent 2003s I've had have been delicious and I would recommend getting hold of the lesser Bordeaux appellations of that year for immediate drinking. Last night's Puygueraud was coming along nicely, with the classic blackcurrant and cassis smells and flavours you would expect, but overlaid with some developing complexity and a lick of well-handled oak. Plenty of stuffing and quite yummy with our BBQ'd lamb chops. Mmm.