Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum in Chablis

Mar 29, 13 Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum in Chablis

Posted by in France, Travel

When we arrived at Alain Geoffroy’s tasting room,it was the end of a long day of tasting in Chablis and while it had been an illuminating day of tasting, I must admit by this time my teeth and palate were ready for a small break. When Alain’s daughter, Nathalie, came out to greet us and asked if we wanted to tour the corkscrew museum, how could we say no. I love visiting these little out of the way museums that seem to be dotted around French wine regions. I once visited a seashell museum in Champagne, but, I digress. The collection is comprised of more than 3000 corkscrews, corkpulls and other types of accoutrements to get the cork out of the bottle. In addition, Alain has also collected antique viticultural tools used in the vineyards and has a whole collection of tank spigots – I know it may not sound all that interesting but it is kinda cool to compare the old days technology with what they use now, especially considering that some of those tools were used in the not so distant past. There was also a slightly disconcerting assortment of mannequins used for the displays. I think it’s safe to say that they spent most of their money on acquiring the corkscrews and not the mannequins. The museum is officially open the same days and times as the tasting room. There is a nominal fee to pay but Natalie says that’s mostly to ensure that people are really interested in seeing the museum (and probably not looking to nick an antique corkscrew). Afterwards, we did indeed have another tasting of Geoffroy’s wines including a few older vintages from 2009 and 2008. The tasting room is open most days as is the museum so if you are looking for something off the beaten track, Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum is pleasant diversion from all that wine tasting.  Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A couple of cracking white wines from the Languedoc, Chateau d’Angles La Clape

Feb 01, 13 A couple of cracking white wines from the Languedoc, Chateau d’Angles La Clape

Posted by in France

Bourboulenc. I just like the name of that grape. It kind of rolls off the tongue…bour-bouuuuuuuu-leeeeeeenc……. Anyway, bourboulenc is a white variety that grows mostly in southern France and was the star grape for me at a recent tasting I went to hosted by AOC Languedoc Wines. Bourboulenc is the main variety used in Chateau d’Anglès La Clape’s Classique blanc 2010 (the rest of the blend being 40% grenache blanc, 5% marsanne, and 5% roussane). Everyone at the tasting jumped on this little jewel of a wine. Refreshing but fleshy, spicy and creamy but still retaining a structural integrity, this was a wine that was really hard to put down. I found it approachable but intriguing at the same time, my mouth flooded with the flavours of citrus and white fruits along with the minerality that comes from the soil. I found myself coming back to this wine again and again because it was just so morish! Usually, I tend to pick the most expensive wines at a tasting as my favourite but the Classique comes in at under a tenner (barely), £9.99 from the Wine Rack. Later, at dinner, we had the Classique’s big brother, the Chateau d’Anglès La Clape 2008 Grand Vin. 40% bourboulenc, 20%grenache white, 20%roussane and 20% marsanne, the wine had spent 7 months on the lees and a further 2 years in old barrels. The result, a creamy and rich wine rolling around my palate. Not too creamy but a pleasure to drink, flavours of white peaches and nutty almond notes on the finish. It was still  a powerful wine with èthe smells of the sea and the particular aromas of garrigue – the lavender, herbs and other wild things that grow in the south of France all mingling together on the nose. The wine was paired with baked sea scallops with seaweed, which turned out to highlight the iodine and mineral notes of the wine. A fresh wine that still has plenty of aging potential with a long and...

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Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Oct 29, 12 Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

One of the things I love about wine, among the many, are the back stories that go with them. Meeting the winemakers or owners and listening to their tales of how the wine came to be, is fascinating and for me, always enhances the wine drinking experience. I had just returned to London from a long press trip but wasn’t going to let that stop me and went straight from Southampton to The Greenhouse Restaurant in Mayfair to meet Carol Duval-Leroy, her son Julien and their winemaker, Sandrine Logette-Jardin. I do love champagne and never say no if I can help it! What piqued my interest about Duval-Leroy was the fact that Carol took over after the untimely death of her husband about 20 years ago. She has not only kept the house going but is also the only woman to head a champagne house today. She now runs the house with the along with her three sons. Much like the original Veuve Clicqout of the 1700’s, she has not only continued but made many innovations as well as producing top quality champagne. The House is one of the few that uses organic grapes for their Brut Champagne and their tasting room is the only one in Champagne to  incorporate photovolataic panels, have a system for retrieving rainwater and have soundproofed it with a wall of vegetation. Over 40% of the Estate is made up of Premier Cru and Grand Cru villages on the Cotes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. But enough of that, on to lunch. We started with the Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru, made from 100% Premier Cru grapes, they call it the Fleur because the nose is very floral. A blend of 70/30 chardonnay/pinot noir, it was light and fresh, a great aperitif and way to start the lunch. The Rose Prestige 1er cru is made by letting the must goes through an 18 to 20 hr maceration before malolactic fermentation and then a blend of rose saignee and white...

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Lunch/Launch of Billecart-Salmon Elisabeth Rose 2002

It’s not every year that Billecart-Salmon releases it’s Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon rosé but lucky for us they’ve deemed the 2002 ready to drink now. The Cuvee Elisabeth is named for wife of the founder of the Billecart house, Nicolas Francois. Nicolas has his own prestive cuvee and in 1988, Billecart decided to name their prestige rosé in tribute to the co-founder of the house, Elisabeth Salmon. The 2002 is 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir blend, coming from Grand Cru vineyards. 7% of the pinot noir used is the still wine used to give the champagne its copper coloured hue. The berries used to make the still wine are hand selected to achieve that beautiful, bright colour that this rosé champagne sports. Colin Palmer, Managing Director of Billecart-Salmon UK, told us over lunch that the rosé is only released when Francois Domi, chief winemaker of Billecart believes it’s ready. For this reason, the cuvee is not released in chronological order which is why not all the vintages are available. Even when they are released, it’s made in such small quantities that they quickly sell out. It’s so special that it’s even packaged in it’s own specially designed box. Billecart had chosen Morton’s Club in Mayfair to kick off the launch and we were treated to a delicious lunch paired with some of their other champagnes before the big reveal. We had the Extra Brut Non-vintage, as an aperitif, of which I made a video with Winebird TV, click here to see the video. It was still delightful and great with the anchovy tapanade served with breadsticks.The Extra Brut is a zero dosage champagne but doesn’t suffer from being overly acidic or tart as the fruit is perfectly balanced. Aromatic and fresh with complex aromas of brioche anad dried fruit, on the palate – biscuit notes and flavourful white fruits, great to drink on its own.  The Billecart-Salmon Blanc de blanc followed, which was great with the crab salad starter. A whole seabass was roasted and presented at the table to...

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Win a pair of tix to Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

Film4 Summer Screen is returning to Somerset House from 16th to 27th August, and The Wine Sleuth has teamed up with the official wine sponsor of this year’s events, Bordeaux Wines, to offer a pair of tickets to one of the sold out performances – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (PG) on Sunday 26th August. All tickets are completely sold out so this is your chance to win tix. To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets for the performance, all you need to do is answer the following question: Q: Bordeaux is the home of grapes renowned the world over. Name one of the three most widely used grape varieties in Bordeaux blends. Tip – there is a hint here TO enter: leave the answer in the comment section at the bottom of this post. Our lucky winner will be able to enjoy Steven Spielberg’s wild, whip-cracking sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The man in the hat is back when Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The action comes thicker and faster second time around, as Indy’s search for a mystical stone leads him to a dangerous subterranean world and pits him against a sinister religious cult. Each evening a film will be shown on the giant screen with full surround sound under the stars. The series will offer visitors an exciting and eclectic line-up of classic, cult and contemporary films, enjoyed with Bordeaux wine by the glass or bottle. Alongside the films will be an accompanying programme of insider talks and special events as part of Behind the Screen, and ticket holders are invited to arrive early and listen to a line- up of London DJs. The official wine sponsor of this year’s events, Bordeaux Wine, from the South West of France has produced red, white and rosé wines for centuries. Bordeaux wines will be on sale at the Courtyard Bar and the CIVB will also be sampling wines...

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