An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Apr 22, 15 An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Posted by in Champagne

“Champagne is best drunk between 9 am and 9 am the next day…” according to Ruinart Chef de Cave, Frédéric Panaïotis. I couldn’t agree more, which is how I found myself one Friday morning in Mayfair ready for a tasting of Ruinart’s rosés going  back to the 1980’s. The morning was dedicated to an exploration of Ruinart’s rosés. According the tasting notes, …”Ruinart is recognised by many as a reference for Blanc de Blanc Champagne and the Rosé wines in its portfolio contain a high percentage of Chardonnay grapes.  Frédéric describes the Ruinart Rosé as “A harmonious blending of two grape varieties, that gives a silky generous feeling on the palate.  The Chardonnay provides exceptional aromatic freshness while the Pinot Noir offers intense colour and delicate red fruits with an unexpected hint of exotic fruits…” I enjoy vertical tastings very much because it’s a chance to see how wines evolve and champagne is no different. We started with their NV rosé as a benchmark to see how the wines evolve over the years. This NV is full of berries and even has a few tropical notes to it. Fred noted that they are hoping to achieve an aromatic style of champagne, bursting with raspberry and strawberry. Fred says this is a rosé for jacuzzis, I’ll have to take his word for it! As we went through the wines, we went from Dom Ruinart 2002, 1998, 1996, 1990 and finished off with the Dom Ruinart 1988. The 2002 was still vibrant and pale pink in colour, still very aromatic on the nose. It was when we got to the 1990’s that the rosés began to turn darker in hue, almost onion skin in colour. The champagnes were also spicer and full of candied fruits on the nose and palate. By the time we go to the Dom Ruinart 1990, we were getting into Christmas pudding territory on the nose, with hints of dates, mushrooms and figs. This is definitely a food wine. Fred recommended this...

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Brancott Estate 2010 Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc debut

Feb 15, 13 Brancott Estate 2010 Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc debut

Posted by in New Zealand wine

Brancott Estate winemaker Patrick Materman was in town this week and unveiled their newest sauvignon blanc, the Brancott Estate Chosen Rows 2010. What makes this particular sauvignon blanc stand out from your run of the mill NZ s.blancs is that it is made with ageability in mind. Patrick and Brancott have produced what they hope will be a wine that shows that NZ s. blanc has aging potential, something that it has been accused of lacking in the past. The Chosen Rows experiment began in 2008 with the selection of 14 different plots around Marlborough. Patrick said that although primary fruit has been important for NZ s. blanc, he wanted to find a way to take it up a notch. So they “threw out the rule book” and started from scratch. They introduced many changes and experimented with things like indigenous fermentation, the use of oak, large formant barrels, foudres, and extended time on the lees, all in an effort to produce a s. blanc that would not only have ageability but also have concentrated texture and mouthfeel. They harvested 280 tonnes in 2009 but produced only 12 cases. After a few more tweaks, in 2010 they produced 3,500 cases of the 2010. Patrick had brought along the 2009 as well as the 2010, 2011 (which was a Fume Blanc style) and the still-in-barrel 2012. They haven’t decided on the final blend for the 2012 just  yet. I tasted the 2009 and found it to be a vibrant wine with a subtle fruit nose and rather austere, not as fleshy as I thought it would be, I had to bear in mind that this wine was the prototype for what was to come.  The 2010 definitely showed a lot more complexity and intensity – with an aromatic nose, textured but fresh with a good balance of fruit and acidity. The 2010 had been aged in large oak barrels and the oak was finely integrated into the wine. It was certainly not your everyday NZ...

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Tawny port and orange slices

Apr 13, 12 Tawny port and orange slices

Posted by in Food and Wine, Portugal, Travel, Videos

I never know what interesting food and wine combinations I’m going to come across but one of the more unlikely pairings, to me anyway, was 10 yr old tawny port and fresh orange slices.  They was presented as dessert at lunch while we were visiting Quinta da Gaviosa in the Douro Valley. I was in the Douro with Discover the Origin to well, discover the wines of the Douro (ok, I guess I was discovering the origins, didn’t want to be too obvious there – #fail). Anyway, we had wound our way through the rather steep hills of the Douro to visit the father/son wine making team of Domingo and Tiago Alves de Sousa of Quinta da Gaivosa. Unfortunately, as so often happens on press trips, we were running late and so Domingo had to rush off to Porto for a wine maker’s dinner. Tiago however, was able to stay and give us a grand tour of their vineyards and explain a bit about the land. Quinta da Gaivosa’s vines are perched high on the steep  hillsides and many of the vines are over 80 years old. It’s this longevity that gives their wines such concentration. I shot a short video of Tiago explaining the soil and climate of the region. Some of you may have seen it already as I inadvertently posted it as a stand alone video here last week: Many of the vines at Quinta da Gaivosa are as I mentioned over 80 years old and there is one vineyard in particular that Tiago is not even sure how old it is,  he thinks it’s over 100 years old but no one is sure as it was an abandonded vineyard. Tiago discovered it one day and decided to see what the vines would supply. We took a drive up to the top of the hill where the abandoned vines were and he has left it much as he found it. There are big gaps between the gnarled, stubby vine trunks and...

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Tiago Alves do Sousa, talking about his old vines wine, Abandonado 2009

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.11234648&w=450&h=325&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] 1st collector for Tiago Alves do Sousa, talking about his old vin…Follow my videos on vodpod Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Mar 26, 12 Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Posted by in Asia, Podcast, Spain

This episode features one of Japan’s few female winemakers, Ayana Misawa, 5th generation winemaker for Grace winery (“Chuo Budoshu” in Japanese). I met Ayana at the annual Koshu of Japan tasting, held in London in late February 2012 and she sat down to tell me a bit more about the history of the koshu grape in Japan. In the UK market, Rioja is one of the most reliable and dependable wines around. However, the Spanish have woken up to the fact that they need to innovate and I met up with the winemaker for one of the centenary wineries of Rioja, Bodagas Bilbainas. Rioja has a number of wineries that are over one hundred years old but that hasn’t stopped them from looking at innovative or different ways of making their wine. Diego Pinella Navarro, head wine maker, is part of the new generation taking Rioja wines into the future. Lastly, I move up a bit further north to the wines of Navarra. Navarra is situated just north of Rioja but other then the rosés of the region, most people don’t know much about the wines. I chatted with the Consul General of the D.O.  Jordi Vidal when he was in London last week to find out more about what’s going on there, both with the traditional varieties they have always used as well as some newer ones. And, the regions wine making connections with France…. Any questions or comments, just leave me a note in the comment section. Find the podcast on iTunes: http://bit.ly/wHVS9g or Podomatic if you don’t have iTunes: http://bit.ly/GRuZAV Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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