Summertime drinking…Mirabeau Roses

Jul 03, 15 Summertime drinking…Mirabeau Roses

Posted by in All, France

Now that the weather is cooperating, more or less, and giving us lots of nice and sunny days, I’ve been breaking out the rosé wines. I recently received a few samples of the Mirabeau rosés and loved them. Mirabeau have an interesting back story, actually, they have the one we all have about chucking everything in and moving to the south of France but they actually did it. In 2009 Stephen Cronk quit the rat race and upped sticks with his wife and three children, leaving the suburbs of southwest London for the foothills of Provence. I met Stephen recently at the Taste of London and he had no regrets about leaving the rat race. Stephen did loads of research finding the best vineyards in Provence before setting up shop. They brought an impressive international winemaking team together led by Jo Ahearne MW. It’s one of the most accomplished teams in their field and they employ the most current winemaking techniques from around the world, while concentrating on building lasting relationships with local growers. The result are award winning rosés, the Mirabeau Classic which has aromas and flavours of wild strawberry, raspberry and redcurrant , light and lively on the palate, it’s an absolute thirst quencher. Their premium rosé, the Mirabeau Pure has hints of grapefruit, cherry and orange blossom but is fuller and a wine with more depth. It’s a “gastronomic”wine as they say, meaning it would be a great companion at your lunch or dinner table. Mirabeau rosés are available in the UK at Waitrose and online. They’re also active Twitter users so follow them @mirabeauwine Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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2011 Secret de Leoube, Provencal rose

Jul 22, 12 2011 Secret de Leoube, Provencal rose

Posted by in France

It looks like summer is finally going to make an appearance and really not a minute too soon as I was beginning to give up hope. I’ve been drinking rosé wines anyway because I think that rosés can be drunk anytime of year. I say that with the proviso that I like my rosés to be dry with the fruit not too apparent on the palate. I tried Chateau Leoube’s rosé last year and enjoyed it very much. A delicately hued pink colour, it ticked all the boxes of a Provencal rosé . I tried the 2011 vintage this year and it is still a great wine. Chateau Leoube is a venture started by the same folks who own Daylesford Dairy so they do all they can to ensure that the vineyards are as organic and sustainable as possible. The wine estate consists of 65 hectares of vineyards and 20 devoted to olive trees for their organic olive oil. I also tried their Secret de Leoube 2011. A wine with body and elegance, it dances on the palate, a pale peachy colour, red berry fruits on the nose, creamy in the mouth with strawberries, cranberries and a bit of spice with a long finish (for a rose). This is a wine that is much more then an everyday rose, I loved it! The Secret de Leoube is available from Corney & Barrow and retails for £21. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A Rose night in Soho…

Apr 23, 12 A Rose night in Soho…

Posted by in Food and Wine, France

There’s something about a glass of rosé from Provence that is so pleasing to the eye, a seductive quality in it’s shimmering hues that makes me just want to dive right in. I remember when I was first introduced to Provençal rosé, I was immediately smitten.  Professionally, we are trained to judge a wine by its colour but way before I got into the wine trade, I knew that there was something evocative and special about the rosés of Provence. Many British holiday-makers associate those pink tinged wines with long, lazy, hot summer days on the beaches of Southern France. Having grown up in California, I don’t, but they still have a siren call for me. Before you ask, no, I wasn’t hitting the rosé bottle before I sat down to write this post. I did, however, attend a dinner recently at Bistro du Vin Soho sponsored by Provence Wines, the generic body that promotes all wines Provençal. Wine has been made in Provence since 600 BC when the Greeks brought it over after colonizing the coast and founding Marseille. The Greeks were making wine long before the Romans had ever set foot in France, although, it was the Romans who spread the cultivation of vines to the Rhone and beyond. The first wines made by the Greeks were in fact a pale pink colour because at the time maceration was unknown and so the wines produced had little contact with the skins – just enough to give it a rosy shade. Wine making has progressed and we now have wines that come in various shades but the vignerons of Provence still carry on making their beautiful rosés. Provence is made up of 3 appellations, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. The region itself produces 88% of all rosé produced in France with Côtes de Provence producing primarily rosé wine. There are more then a dozen varieties allowed in the production of rosé but the majority use a combination of grenache,...

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Chene Bleu, wines from Vaucluse

Sep 01, 11 Chene Bleu, wines from Vaucluse

Posted by in France

The old saw goes, “How do you make a small fortune? Start with a big one and buy a vineyard.” Which is basically what Nicole Rolet and her husband, Xavier did in the late 90’s when they bought a derelict vineyard along the southern border of Gigondas in the region of Vaucluse in Provence. After having the land assessed by soil experts Claude and Lydia Bourguignon and being told they had soil with incredible potential to grow excellent vines, Xavier went back to work in the City and Nicole set to studying wine. Nicole and Xavier settled on the name Chene Bleu because of an ancient “blue” oak tree that dominates the vineyard and symbolizes to them, the “…beauty and uniqueness of the vineyard.”  Joined by Xavier’s sister Benedicte Galluci, a viticulturist and her husband, Jean-Louis, winemaker, they are now producing small quantities of biodynamic, hand picked, hand made wine. No expense is spared in the production of the wine and they follow biodynamic principles down to bottling on “flower days” or “fruit days” to ensure the wine shows at it’s best. The soil that was so praised by the experts is indeed excellent for producing wines with a streak of minerality, the schist and clay soils showing off in the wines. They grow syrah, grenache, viognier, roussane and marsanne and use bespoke wine making techniques which are adapted to each particular parcel of their vines.Using those bespoke techniques gives them the opportunity to produce their wines to their exact specifications but it also leaves them producing only Vin de Pays wine instead of AOC wines as they often go out of the AOC guidelines in order to produce the wines to their exact specifications. I, for one, am not that bothered if a wine is a VdP or  AOC as long as it’s well made and I enjoy drinking it. Nicole brought the entire range to The Boundary Restaurant in Shoreditch to taste and here are my brief notes on each: 2009 Rose...

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What I’m drinking now – 2010 Ch. Leoube rose

Aug 30, 11 What I’m drinking now – 2010 Ch. Leoube rose

Posted by in France

Summer 2010 is over. Wait, did we even have a summer this year here in soggy England? Whether or not we had a proper summer, there’s always hope that we’ll have an Indian summer. Indian summer. The two words always remind me of N. American Indian moccasin-clad feet and sunny forest lakes (I know, I’m being literal but that’s the kind of person I can be sometimes). I suppose the best one can hope for in an Indian summer is that the temperature doesn’t plummet overnight and the sun comes out to play among the autumnal leaves falling to the ground. So, what to drink? Is it time to put away the whites? Time to bring out the big guns – the reds? It’s a tricky time of year (wine-wise) but I got a pale salmon-hued rosé the other day from the South of France that just might be the answer to what to drink for an Indian summer. Ch. Leoube is from the region of Provence but is owned by the English founders of Daylesford Organic, although they do have a French winemaker, Romain Ott. I don’t know how organic they are in the vineyards but I’m guessing they’re not spraying the place down with pesticides. The vineyard is in Cap Bénat, in a coastal cove and has clay and schist soils which give the wine a soupçon of minerality. Côtes de Provence is known for their rosés and rightly so. Nowhere else do you get such delicately coloured wines, almost orangish-pink in colour, not so dark that they could be confused for a Beaujolais or even a red Burgundy like some (*cough* New World) rosés nor bursting with lots of ripe red fruits, they are delicate and clean wines, creamy but still retaining a zing of acidity, the echo of starfruit and red berry flavours on the palate followed by a spiced note on the way down. A perfect aperitif or perhaps something to go with a light lunch or dinner, at...

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