Les Dauphins rose for summer

Jun 24, 13 Les Dauphins rose for summer

Posted by in France

Over the weekend I went to the Taste of London and was re-introduced to the wines of Les Dauphins, most specifically to the new Les Dauphins rose. Les Dauphins is made by a co-operative in the Southern Rhone called Les Cellier des Dauphins and they are one of the largest producers in the Rhone accounting for over 30% of all production. I’ve had their Cotes du Rhone Villages in the past and think it’s a great summer time red. Perfect for hamburgers, grilled chicken or sausages, it has a spicy profile with a strong core of black and red fruits running through it. One of the most eye-catching things about the wine is the label. Done up in a 1920’s style font, the French were at first aghast when this label was presented to them, according to their UK rep, Louise Hill, “…they thought they needed a more classic label…” but the French were over-ruled and the label certainly does have an appeal to the UK market place. Happily, the wine inside deserves to be talked about as well. At Taste of London, I also had the opportunity to try the rosé, made of 80% grenache, 10% syrah,10% cinsault, it’s a cheeky little number, full of fruit but having good acidity which saves it from being cloying and gloopy (for lack of a better word), in the mouth. Very refreshing and I think it would be a good match with a prawn salad or grilled sausages. The Cotes du Rhone Villages is available from Waitrose, retailing for £8.49 and the rosé will be available in Asda at a retail price of £6.75. Two wines that are perfect for summer picnics, if summer ever arrives here on these soggy isles… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Jun 19, 13 A visit to Domaine Jean Francois Rapet ets Fils, Bourgogne

Posted by in France, Travel

I recently went to Bourgogne for the first time and have fallen in love with the place. I’ve always liked the wines but once you go there it does cast a spell on you. I suppose I was lucky that the weather was warm and sunny, which always helps! I was visiting on a press trip with the EU funded initative Discover the Origin and I can say I certainly did do a lot of discovery while I was there. We stayed in the northern part of Burgundy, being based in the pretty little town of Beaune. A medieval town that was founded centuries ago, it is the home of the Hospice de Beune and the centre of town is full of well preserved buildings. Wandering around the ancient buildings and the cute little town square, it was hard to drag myself away from the sidewalk cafes and get out to the vineyards but go we did. We visited quite a few domains while we were there but one of the first was Domaine Jean-Francois Rapet. This domaine has been in the same family since the 1870’s and the current generation of Rapet’s are carrying on the family traditions. It’s not a large domaine but still family owned and run. We visited their main house in St. Romain. They have vineyards in St. Romain, Volnay, Pommard, Auxrey-Duresses, Ladoix Blanc and Meursault. Rapet still use the old cellars underneath the family home and have a small winery which they are busy expanding at the moment. We had a small tasting after our short tour of the cellars. One of the more interesting wines was the Coteaux Bourgogne which was introduced in 2011. They use grapes from Beaujolais to round out their blend. Their rouge Coteaux Bourgogne 2011 is made in stainless tanks and doesn’t see any oak at all. They result is a cheerful, fruity wine meant to be drunk young. It had a savoury note to it but was still very fresh. They’ve only produced...

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In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Jun 17, 13 In Bourgogne, Domaine Parent Pommard is going biodynamic

Posted by in France, Travel

I was in Bourgogne not long ago on a press trip with Discover the Origin, an EU initiative to introduce the well known but possibly misunderstood regions of Bourgogne, the Douro and Parma. During the trip, one of the producers we got to meet was Anne Parent, winemaker and part owner of Domaine Parent Pommard. The domaine is situated in the and around the village of Pommard and they make both red and white Bourgogne. We started our chat in the half empty cellars of the domaine. Anne apologised for the empty space saying that usually the cellar is full to the top but as the last few harvest have been bad in the region, stocks are low. She is concerned about the 2013 vintage and is hoping for a bumper crop because otherwise… The conversation then turned to biodynamic practices in Bourgogne. During the trip, I  had spoken to many producers and while many used biodynamic practices, Anne was the first one to tell me that she was actually in the process of going totally biodynamic. That is a brave thing to do in Bourgogne where the weather is not always warm and sunny and there are a myriad of issues that growers face every year. Anne told me that they are currently in the process of going biodynamic but it is a step by step process and they are not 100% there they are however, going to be certified organic this coming year. In 2010 they started their biodynamic policies but is has been a great challenge. However, she will not go back to chemicals or sustainable practices. She sees going biodynamic as an investment in the vineyard. To do that though,  they must have the right equipment and strategy. According to Anne, “…you have to think of the consequences of how you organize the vineyard, the work involved and the cost…” Working in a biodynamic vineyard is completely different in that you have to be precise and serious, she continued. You cannot make...

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Wines for Father’s Day and Beyond, Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis

Jun 08, 13 Wines for Father’s Day and Beyond, Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis

Posted by in France

Father’s Day is just round the corner but it’s not too late to get your Dad the perfect gift. If you’re visiting me, you must be looking for a few wine recommendations and I’ve got a few from The Perfect Cellar.  I was recently sent these two lovely wines (Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis 2011 Mont de Milieu) by the Perfect Cellar and think they’d be very good choices for your Father’s Day gift giving. The first one is a red Bordeaux produced by Chateau Chantelune. They may not be very well known but are a small vineyard that has been developed and cared for by Jose Sansfins, technical director of Margaux house, Ch. Cantenac-Brown. I tried the 2009 Chateau Chantelune, a fabulous blend of merlot and petit verdot, with a plate of charcuterie and bread. I decanted it for about half an hour before drinking it and it opened up nicely. On the nose, loads of black fruits and spices jumped out of the glass, followed by a smooth, velvety textured palate. I noticed flavours of blackberries, licorice and toast with a long finish. A great choice and priced at £32.99 a bottle, a Bordeaux that punches above it’s price point. I was recently in Chablis and came away with a new found appreciation of Premier Cru Chablis. There are only 40 Premier Cru in Chablis, most planted on southeastern facing slopes which helps them get as much sun as possible. Premier cru wines also spend a bit of time in oak which gives them complexity and flavour but they still have the crispness that one associates with chablis. The Mont de Milieu 2011 Premier Cru by Domaine Charly Nicolle. A fresh but elegant wine, full of white flower and white stone fruits on the nose with a distinct hint of minerality. This wine would be great with creamy seafood dishes or roast chicken. Retailing for £20.45 a bottle, a real charmer. As an added bonus, The Perfect Cellar is running a promotion in...

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Pure Chablis at the Epsom Derby 2013

Jun 05, 13 Pure Chablis at the Epsom Derby 2013

Posted by in France, Lifestyle

The sun is out and just in time for summer horse racing season. Last week I went to Ladies Day at the Epsom Derby as a guest of Pure Chablis. The sun was shining on the racecourse and we had a perfect view from our box on the top floor of the Queen’s Stand. As the event was hosted by Pure Chablis, we had plenty of chablis on hand to taste before, during and after lunch. They were showcasing the medal winners of the 2013 Concours des Vins de Chablis. Some of my favourites were on hand, including Domaine Louis Moreau, Alain Geoffroy. Garnier & Fils, Domaine Long-Depaquit, Isabelle et Denis Pommier  and Jean-Paul et Benoit Droin. On a warm, sunny Spring day, Chablis really ticks all the boxes as a refreshing wine. The 2011 premier cru wines were my favourites as they had weight and a depth of flavour that is only going to improve as they get older. When I was in Chablis recently, I found that the older vintages were the most flavourful and full of depth and character. A great day out at the races and, as an added bonus, one of my horses won! Next time I’m going to have to bet more 😉   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Langlois-Chateau, Loire Valley wines

It may seem like I only drink champagne but that’s not true. Sometimes I drink sparkling wine, too. All kidding aside, I do enjoy a good sparkling wine and some of my favourites are cremants.  A cremant is a French sparkling wine that does not come from the Champagne region. It’s as simple as that. So for example, you can have a Cremant de Bourgogne, Cremant de Alsace, or as in this particular post, a Cremant de Loire. In each case, the sparkling wine is made from grapes that are grown locally and usually produced in the traditional method but not always. I met up with the the wine maker for Loire Valley producer, Langlois-Chateau, Francois-Regis de Fougeroux recently  for lunch at Cigalon on Chancery Lane. Francois-Regis brought along  his sparkling wines as well as a few red wines for us to have with lunch. The white sparkling was composed of chenin blanc, chardonnay and cabernet franc and the rose sparkling was 100% cabernet franc. Langlois-Chateau is owned by Bollinger and benefits from the experience and expertise that the Champagne house brings to the table. They are the only house that buys grapes and then vinifies them separately as opposed to other producers in the Loire who buy the “must” and make their sparkling wines from there. They also use the “traditional method” with the wines spending at least 2 years in the cellar before being released. All of this results in sparkling wines that have much in common with champagne. The brut sparkling wine had very fine bubbles with good balance and citrus fruit flavours, a great aperitif. I really enjoyed the rosé, an aromatic and fruity nose followed on by loads of strawberries and raspberries on the palate, very fresh and morish. Francois-Regis calls this his “swimming pool” wine, perfect for lounging on a hot (well, here in England the most we can hope for is a warm) summers day. Another plus in choosing cremant de Loire’s is the price tag. Both...

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