Chateau Margaux gets experimental

Mar 09, 12 Chateau Margaux gets experimental

Posted by in Biodynamic wine, France

If you are one of the 5 First Growths of Bordeaux (Ch. Margaux, Ch. Lafite Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Haut-Brion and lastly, Ch. Mouton Rothschild), you might think you could rest on your laurels, not give a fig for any new fangled advancements and just continue to produce wine the way it’s always been done. I mean, the first classification was done in 1855 and only one chateau has been added since then (Mouton Rothschild), and that was back in the 1970’s. You could do that but if you’re Chateau Margaux you won’t or rather, you don’t. That’s not to say the others are not also innovating but Ch. Margaux is the first to go public with their experimental findings.  Paul Pontallier, Managing Director and winemaker of Ch. Margaux was in town recently to give us a sneak peek into the inner workings of Ch. Margaux and how they are striving to maintain their reputation as one of the best wines of Bordeaux. He wants the world to know that Margaux is a forward thinking chateau and that they are looking to the wine business of the future, and the younger generation that will not only carry on the traditions but also build upon and improve what has gone before them. According to Paul, there is a plenty of experimentation and research going on in Bordeaux. He stressed however, that they themselves are not making anything new but rather in an organized way, they started these experiments because he does envisage change at some point in the future and his goal is to make the best possible wine and remain the best possible wine now and for future generations. So what are they up to? Pulling back the curtain of the great and mighty Oz (as in Wizard, not Clarke) we find, biodynamic wine! Let me explain first that the wines we tasted are not the ones that go into the first growth but are distinct plots that they are using on the estate...

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Riesling at The Modern Pantry, Spring Tasting menu

Spring is just around the corner, now if we could just get the weather to cooperate. In anticipation of warm days and sunny skies, The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell is featuring a riesling paired Spring Tasting menu for the month of March.This is first of what they promise to be a series of wine themed dinners. I think it’s apt to have riesling for Spring as it’s such a refreshing wine with it’s racy body and zippy, zingy acidity, represented by the New World’s offerings to the rich honeyed aromas and ripe stone fruit flavours and minerality of the Old World, riesling rarely let’s me down. It’s also a very versatile food wine and, with recently awarded MBE, Anna Hansen’s cuisine, is the perfect partner to the often spicy, exotic flavours of her food. The wines were chosen by Bill Knott for the restaurant and what was most interesting was that Bill said he chose the wines first and then worked with Anna to find just the right food matches. Usually, it’s the other way around when doing food and wine matching. Bill chose an array of rieslings showcasing it’s versatility from a variety of wine growing regions, from its homeland of Germany to the ends of New Zealand, we were presented with a delightful profile of the grape. An amuse bouche of tempura battered oysters was followed by the first course of Black fried squid paired with a kabinette riesling, the Bernkastler Badstube 2010 from the Mosel was a nice foil to the spicy sweet squid, the wine being slightly spritzy with loads of sweet ripe peach fruit on the palate, salty and sweet…mmmmm. Albert Mann is a great producer from Alsace and biodynamic to boot. His wines are always refined and fresh, the 2009 Albert Mann was pleasingly aromatic, almond blossom notes floating about. A slightly off dry but tasty wine with delicious ripe fruit on the palate. The seared King oyster mushroom, yuzu & tamari and kimchee & manouri pot sticker...

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Guest Post, Caroline Henry – La Fine Bulle a perfect place to relax and discover new Champagnes in Epernay

Guest Post – There are so many great wine blogs out there in the blogosphere. These guest posts are an effort to introduce you to my fellow wine bloggers, people who’s blogs I enjoy reading and who I’ve met up with over a glass or two. Cheers!  Epernay lies in the centre of the Champagne region and is considered to be the capital of this wine region. It is sleepy little town situated at the banks of the Marne River at the cross roads of the 3 of the 4 sub regions – La Vallée de la Marne, Les Montagnes de Reims and La Côte des Blancs. It has been the home of the major Champagne Negotiants since the early 19th Century and still today one can visit the famous Champagne Houses on the Avenue du Champagne. It is hence the perfect place to go and sample a few Champagnes in the recently opened Champagne bar/store, a cosy yet classy bar, located 17 Rue Gambetta.  The bar offers a choice of 5  growers Champagnes by the glass, and changes the selection on a weekly basis. They have partnered up with 25 growers representing the main subregions in Champagne including de Côte des Bar in the Aube. Their by the glass selection tries to reflect the different styles of Champagne and the focus ranges from showing off a single variety (eg Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir) to showing the characteristics of the different regions. And the selection always includes one rosé. Glass sizes are 10 ml (€5.50) and 14ml (€6.50). Alternatively one can opt for a flight – here one can either choose to taste the 4 whites or to include the rosé as well and have a tasting of the 5 featured Champagnes. The flights come in 2 sizes, 5 ml tasting (€12 or €14) or 10 ml tastings (€20 or €26).  The featured Growers Champagnes are also available by the bottle for the very reasonable price of €35. La Fine Bulle also offers...

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A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Feb 28, 12 A long lunch at Juveniles wine bar, Paris

Posted by in Food and Wine, France, Travel, wine bars

When I was in Paris last, I popped into Juveniles wine bar for a long leisurely lunch. Juveniles is a Paris institution. It was one of the first wine bar of it’s kind to open in Paris 25 years ago. At the time, the concept of  offering various wines by the glass was mostly unheard of in Paris. Scotsman Tim Johnson presides over the bar to this day and was there while I was and stopped to chat with me and my luncheon companion. The menu is French bistro and the wine list while not overly extensive is full of interesting wines from around the world as well as more esoteric French wines. If you’re looking for a non-French wine by the glass, this place is it. Always something interesting on the menu. The day we were in, there was a Chilean wine by the glass as well as Spanish! This is going to be a photo-blog because I neglected to take notes but took lots of pics! Juveniles is on a small street, very close to The Louvre but a  million miles away from the touristy hoards. Wine and Duck A few more bar interior pics. The place is small so be sure to get there either early or late, or better yet, make a reservation. Juveniles is also a wine shop, wines available at retail prices… they have a cricket club Yes, it was one of those long afternoon lunches… Juveniles 47 rue de Richelieu, 1er arrondissement M° Pyramides, tel: 01 42 97 46 49, closed Sundays Have a favourite wine bar in Paris? Leave your suggestion in the comments section Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Champagne Tarlant in the snow

Feb 21, 12 Champagne Tarlant in the snow

Posted by in Champagne, France, Travel

I was in Champagne a few weeks ago when most of Europe was suffering through a bitterly cold “cold-snap”. How cold was it? In the vineyards of the Valle de Marne, in the Champagne region (where I happened to be), it was -18 Celcius, that’s O degrees Farenheit. However, when you get invited to go out and taste the  champagne with a member of the wine making family, how can you say no? Which is how I found myself sitting in the middle of one of Champagne Tarlant’s vineyards, going through a tasting of their range with one half of the brother and sister team that run Champagne Tarlant day to day, Melanie Tarlant. Champagne Tarlant is unique in the region as they are one of the few champagne growers who make the majority of their wine with zero dosage. Zero dosage has a bit of a reputation in the wine world as being mouth puckeringly acidic and citric. Zero dosage means that no sugar is added after disgorgement. Champagne makers add a dosage to sweeten the wine, the reason being that the wines may still be a bit thin and acidic due to whatever reasons and so they add sugar to make it a bit more palatable, adding a sweetness to counteract the acidity. Melanie doesn’t think that adding sugar is the answer. They began making zero dosage in the 1970’s when a client asked her father to make one for him and since then. Her brother Benoit, who is the family winemaker,  has upped the production to 80% of their champagne being zero dosage. Her family believe that adding sugar is like adding make-up to an already beautiful woman, she doesn’t need it to be gorgeous. Zero dosage can be tricky because it all goes back to the beginning of the wine making process, they can’t or won’t add sugar later to cover up any mistakes or faults in the wine. That is another quality that makes them stand out, they make...

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