A Remarkable Garden – Chateau Val Joanis

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Château Val Joanis is a winery located in the Vaucluse Department of France, in the region of Provence-Alps-Cotes d’Azur. The wines it produces are classified Cotes du Luberon and the gardens of the winery are listed by the Committee of Parks and Gardens of the French Ministry of Culture as one of the Remarkable Gardens of France. Producing wines since Roman times, today the estate is owned by the Roozen family, who are continually striving to produce delicious wine, whilst protecting their environment. A beautiful estate of 400 hectares, the 186 hectares of vineyard spread over the hills at altitudes ranging from 280m to 499m, the site of the famous plot ‘Les Griottes’. If you are in Provence do visit this beautiful estate, admire the wonderful gardens, and try its splendid wines!

 

5_1Our personal favorites are the Chateau Val Joanis ‘Tradition’ Rouge 2016, a well structured and balanced wine, supple and round with a deep purple colour. A slightly spiced wine with notes of blackcurrant and red berries. Offers a juicy core of dark licorice, plum and blackberry coulis flavours, maintaining good focus and tension through the finish. Syrah and Grenache. €19.95

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And the Stunning Chateau Val Joanis ‘Joséphine Rosé 2017 made with a selection of best juices, the cuvée Joséphine is aged on lees for some months. The result is a charming, fruity and elegant rosé. Perfumed notes of raspberry and red currant are juxtaposed by bramble and crushed stone on the nose of this elegant rosé. It’s irresistibly juicy—full of red berry and cherry flavors yet revitalizing and fresh, with a cooling salt- and mineral-laced finish. €23.95

 

You can check out our full range of wines from Chateau Val Joanis here

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2017 Wine Harvest, a difficult year.

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Healthy chardonnay grapes, left, and sunburned ones. Photographer: Elin McCoy/Bloomberg

January is as good a time as ever to deliver bad news, and many European countries are taking time adding up the tallies of the previous year’s grape harvest and reporting yield’s down as much as 25%. Adverse climatic conditions in 2017, including heavy hailstorms and hard frosts in the spring as well as drought in the summer, caused considerable damage to vineyards all over Europe. The result, most of the wine-growing regions in Europe are had a very low harvest for 2017.

Italian wine body Assoenologi estimated that Italy would see one of its smallest wine harvests for 60 years in 2017, down by 25% on last year, that’s a reduction of roughly 5.5 billion bottles. Things are not much better in France where they have had the worst harvest since 1945, according to France AgriMer, an agency that works with both the industry and government. Wine production to fall by 18% on 2016 after spring frosts ravage vines, but hot summer could deliver top vintages – meaning price increases across the board for low yields but higher quality fruit.

The outlook in Europe’s other large producer is not much better with Spain’s output dropping down 20% from 2016, and in Germany the estimated vintage is down 12%. All in all 2017 proved to be a difficult year in Europe.

Despite wild fires in both California and Oregon the north American harvest is likely to be similar to last year. South Africa saw very small increases in yields, about 1.4%.  In South America, both sides of the Andes were affected to varying degrees by the shift from the wetter El Niño  weather system to the drier conditions associated with La Niña weather system. In Mendoza, Argentina yields were down about 30 percent compared to normal. And in Chile yields were down about 22% due to drought and forest fires. New Zealand also experienced a drop in yeilds by about 9%. Philip Gregan, CEO of New Zealand winegrowers, attributed the smaller harvest of 2017 to wet weather over the summer season. Australia was the only country to undergo modest yield increases at roughly 5% despite a tricky vintage.

The conclusion is that unfortunately the price of your favourite wines will probably increase this year a wineries increase excellar prices to try to cover lower quantities produced.

 

 

 

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Pinot Noir is a seriously romanticized wine in the world. It gets a cultish following among those who like to drink it. Just look at Paul Giamatti’s character in the film Sideways. One of the reason’s given for the obsession with Pinot is that it is a finicky and difficult grape to grow, but if you achieve this it really expresses the terroir where it is grown.And it is grown or attempts are made in at least most wine-producing countries.

Hailing originally from Burgundy, France, Pinot Noir, and almost all red Burgundy wines are made from 100% Pinot Noir, like all great French wines the village and even vineyard can appear on the label of Pinot Noir wines. For example we have a wine in the shop picture here. IMG_6621This is a wine produced by Stephane Brocard of Closerie des Alisiers, in 2014 from the vineyard of Les Champs Rémy in Gevrey-Chambertin. Confusing isn’t it, you feel like you need a decoder ring to figure it out. The wines from other countries can be a bit easier and straight forward like Antonutti’s Pinot Nero (nero being the Italian for Noir). IMG_6622

Both of these are great examples of Pinot and well worth a try. The Gevrey is a bit young but would be great with a big meal in about a year’s time.

Closerie des Alisiers Gevrey-Chambertin ‘Les Champs Rémy’ 2014 €46.95

A concentrated wine from 40-year-old vines, this is rich and dense. It has a balance between the juicy black fruits and firm tannins, the whole shot through with acidity. Drink this fine single vineyard wine from  late 2018.

Antonutti Pinot Nero 2015, Friuli, Italy €16.95

Ruby red with gently blurred edges. The scent opens with fruity notes such as Blackberry and raspberry and closes in a gently spicy sensations final. The taste is harmonious with a variety of sensations both spicy and fruity, all in harmony with each other; very good gustative persistence.

Some new reds from Domaine Chamfort

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Vasco Perdigao, born in Paris of Portuguese parents, bought this winery in Sablet in 2007 with his wife, Sonia, after having left his parents’ hotel business in Paris and having worked in Condrieu and Gigondas. Working in Organic viticulture, he makes three major Cotes du Rhone Villages wines and an exceptional red Vin de Pays. His first fully completed vintage – 2010 – earned him high points from Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson MW for his excellent Vacqueryas, some of which we still have.  Old vines, maniacal vineyard hygiene, obsessive ground toiling. Cool, sandy soil for Grenache in Sablet, large rolled quartz pebbles and limestone for Rasteau, heavy quartz for Vacqueryas contribute to stunning reds.

Rasteau is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée for wine in the southern Rhône wine region of France, covering both fortified and unfortified wines. The sweet fortified wines (Vin Doux Naturel, VDN) can be red, rosé or white, and have long been produced under the Rasteau AOC. In 2010 dry red wines (unfortified) were also added to the appellation, effective from the 2009 vintage. Domaine Chamfort’s holding in Rasteau is at an altitude of 300m and overlooks the village itself. At this altitude it benefits from bright sunny days and cool nights along with the mix of pebbles and brown clay to produce a full fruit driven and velvety wine.

The 2012 is a blend of 70% Grenache Noir and 30% Syrah. Deep rich red colour with a bright fruit driven nose of mature red fruits and ripe plummy spice. The palate is silky smooth with intensity and intertwined fruit and mineral notes. Serve with grilled meats. This beautiful wine is normally €19.95 but is currently on sale at 25% OFF until Friday 23rd of January.

Located at the northern borders of the renowned vintage and Gigondas with south southwest exposure, Chamfort’s vineyards located in Sablet, on gravelly and sandy plains village produce a classy fruit driven Cotes du Rhone Red. The 2012 is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah although in some vintages they add some Cinsault. The nose is delicate, beautiful red fruit, with floral and spicy notes. On the palate, the tannins are smooth and a little tight. This Côtes du Rhône has a very nice volume, a lot of sweetness in the final a beautiful extension reveals notes of candied fruit, finesse.

Notes From Wine School Week 1 France

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For Many centuries the big name wines of the world were from the classic wine regions of France, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone Valley. While many have discovered the treats of Spain, Italy and Australia among others, the French have rallied and are now producing better wines particularly in the south of the Country. France is habitually among the world’s leading producers of wine in terms of volume produced! Meaning not all French wine is good in fact quite a lot of it is mediocre or just plain bad!

France’s main wine regions are Bordeaux in the South West, Burgundy in the centre near Lyon, the Rhone Valley to the South of there and the Loire Valley which follows the course of the river from Nantes in the west inland.

Bordeaux is perhaps the most famous region and it has given us the Grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec in reds and Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc in white. Many wines produced here tend to be called Chateau XXXX. This region, it may surprise you produces more wine than all of the continent of Australia. While dry tannic reds dominate here, there are many crisp dry whites along with some of the most famous Dessert wines, Sauternes. Many of the wines of Bordeaux are name after the small village where they come from e.g. Margaux, Pauillac and St. Émilion.

Next to Bordeaux in fame is Burgundy which boast the queen of white grapes Chardonnay as its primary grape and the fickle Pinot Noir as its red counterpart. As in Bordeaux the wines are named for the villages from which they hail. The super lean and minerally Chablis being a fine example of the French idea of Terroir – a sense of place- grown on chalky limestone soil this chardonnay tastes like no other. Almost all the wine produced in Burgundy is made from either the light and ethereal Pinot Noir or the terroir reflective Chardonnay. The most famous villages are located in the Cote d’Or while further south the Maconnais and Cote Chalonnaise produce more fruit driven styles.

Most producers here tend to label their wines after their family name with prefixes such as Domaine being commonly used. In the Southern part of Burgundy the area of Beaujolais is located, the wines made here are from the Gamay Grape variety and can be found labelled as Beaujolais, or again after their individual villages such as Fleurie, Brouilly and Morgan among others.

To the south again of Burgundy is the Rhone Valley an area that stretches along the river Rhone south from Lyon to Avignon. The northern half of the Valley is famous for its Syrah based wines, in fact most of the famous appellations here allow only Syrah and maybe in rare case some Viognier. Famous appellations here include Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Cornas, and St. Joseph in the reds and Condrieu in the white.

While most Cotes Du Rhone wines come from the Southern Rhone, the area also has some notable appellations such as Vacqueryas, Lirac, Rasteau and the ever popular Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Most of the southern Rhone reds are based on a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, the wines of Chateauneuf can include up to 13 grape varieties including 5 white grapes such as Rousanne.

The Loire Valley is the final of the big four wine producing areas and itself is divided into 4 distinct districts, the river mouth around Nantes where the Muscadet rules, the neighbouring areas of Anjou famous for its rosés, and Touraine which produces reds from the Cabernet Franc variety under the village names Chinon and Bourgueil as well as others along with delightful whites based on Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. One of the more famous Chenin Blanc appellations is Vouvray which can be off dry. Finally the upper Loire is home to the most famous appellations of Sancerre, Pouilly Fumé, (not to be confused with Pouilly Fuisse from the Macon), and Menetou Salon. While all these areas can produce rosé and even reds it’s their Sauvignon Blanc wines that people really enjoy.

 Other wine producing regions in France include Champagne which uses 2 red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier along with Chardonnay to produce the world’s most famous sparkling wines. Alsace on the German border and very influenced by its location as it mainly produces the German variety Riesling in various styles and Gewürztraminer along with some excellent Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio). Provence which is most famous for its rosé wines and the huge Languedoc and Roussillon which is most famous for vast litres of plonk but thanks to New World flying wine makers has been turning out some superb wines based on Syrah, Grenache and even Cabernet.

A note on Classification

There are 4 main classifications, the largest is AOC/AC which says where the wine come from and that it is made from the approved grapes e.g. Sancerre, Lirac, and Pomerol. The next is VIN délimité de qualité Supériuere VDQS which has similar restriction but is not as classified as AOC. Next is Vins de Pays VdP, which usually states where it is from e.g. Vins de Pays d’Oc and sometimes also the grape variety. Finally then you have Vins de Table which can be made of just about anything!

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Touring Touraine

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Touraine has long been on of our personal favourite areas for crisp minerally whites.  An AOC since Christmas eve 1939, this area is known for Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc in whites and Cabernet Franc, Cot (Malbec), Pinot Noir and Gamay in the reds. We personally find the reds a bit green with off vegetal notes, not really pleasant to be honest ( Exceptions being Chinon and Bourgueil which produce some lovely elegant medium bodied reds based on Cabernet Franc).

Great Chenin blanc comes from Vouvray and delightful Rosés from Anjou but it’s a good Touraine Sauvignon Blanc that does it for us! As good if not better than a cheaper end Sancerre, in our opinion. Touraine is one of the Larger AOCs in the Loire with many of the aforementioned sub-regions falling with in its boundary, so searching out those gems can be though but we think the Sinson Touraine Sauvignon is one of those wines. It may not have the fruit flavours of Marlborough Sauvignon but it has a delightful edgy mineral streak that is crisp and refreshing with nice notes of citrus and white flowers on the nose. The palate is wonderfully thirst quenching with a delightful dry finish.

Give Dad what he wants this Sunday

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We have a selection of Fine Wines on Offer this Friday & Saturday for Dad. So forget the novelty mug with ‘World’s best Dad’ that says you forgot it was Father’s Day, or the socks and ties which he most definitely has an abundance of and get him a great bottles of wine. We have put together the below selection and are offering 20% off this Weekend.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Mudgee, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

The darker of the two single vineyard Ridge of Tears wines. The alcohols may be identical yet the nose is sweeter too, sweeter fruited and almost more conventional in its dark berry form. It tastes less ready too, more hulking, a wine that seems to have been squeezed into the bottle, and will need some cellaring before it is at its peak. The tannins are broader, the alcohol more prominent, the flavours bigger and easier to get your head around, more berried and sweeter through the middle.

Logan ‘Ridge Of Tears’ Shiraz 2010, Orange, NSW, Australia          €32.95         €26.36

Sourced from a vineyard sitting at 870m (which is very high for Shiraz), both this and the Mudgee wine had similar handling in the winery, the fruit basket pressed and hand plunged. It has a spice and fragrance to it that marks this as a wine of prettiness whilst the Mudgee wine is one of brawn. This could well be a Syrah to the other wines Shiraz. Still, it is a close-run thing. Bright ruby-red in the glass, the nose here is built upon black pepper and redcurrant fruit, set lightly but not without concentration behind it. The oak is well integrated – that is, it’s not obvious in any way – and spice dominates everything. That spice runs through the palate too, a line of dark leafiness to the slightly less serious fruit flavours. Light and shade once again. Tannins are firm, proper firm and slightly bitter (yet not unripe) and the acid noticeably high. A very good modern Australian red in terms of style, yet also just a very good Orange Syrah. For some raised on a diet of sweet inky Shiraz this will seem almost wimpy in its leafy daintiness, yet I can’t help but be attracted by the Pinot-esque delicacy. Should be even better as it puts on more weight in the bottle too.

Yalumba ‘Habermann Vineyard’ Grenache 2005, Barossa, Australia  €39.95         €31.96

From the Habermann vineyard, located on the corner of Basedow Road and Thiele Road, Tanunda, this block of Grenache was planted in 1972, and is grown on heavy textured grey to brown clays. These soils are generally cracking clays and therefore tend to have visible ‘cracks’ in summer. They are characterised by high vigour as they have a high water holding capacity and high nutrient content. This wine has a medium depth of red in colour with an aroma of red berry fruits and floral aromatics, combined with chocolate, cherry ripe, pepper and spices. The palate is fuller and denser with sweet fruit-confection middle – a complex, textured wine with chalky tannins to finish.

Bafarela Grande Reserve 2009, Douro, Portugal                             €24.95         €19.96

The Bafarela Grande Reserva is produced by Casa Brites Aguiar only in exceptional vintages. The 2009 was aged for 12 months in 500 litre French oak casks after fermentation. Intense, deep dark ruby colour. The nose offers distinct and complex floral aromas. In the mouth, it is precise and well-rounded with seductive obvious fruit flavours compliment by floral and mocha notes. Extremely well structured with dense yet fine tannins. The wine stands out more for its freshness rather than its concentration, and its long seductive finish.  The wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo).Bafarela Grande Reserva is a wine that encapsulates the elegance of one of the specialities of Casa Brites Aguiar at its best, only 15,100 bottles were produced.

Muller ‘Lagenreserve’ Gruner Veltliner 2011, Krems, Austria                   €26.95         €21.56

The 2011 Lagenreserve is a blend of the best Gruner Veltliner grapes from the Eichbuhel and Gottschelle vineyards. Aged in oak barriques for nearly a year giving this Gruner Veltliner a very white Burgundy quality. Light green-yellow in the glass, yellow apples in the nose, the palate reveals elegance and flavour of fresh spices; quite substantial, a convincingly long finish with superb fruit flavours.

Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2010, Veneto, Italy             €32.95         €26.36

The 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella boasts incredible richness and depth. Blackberry jam, graphite, smoke, licorice, tar and plums are beautifully integrated in this dark, seamless Amarone. Despite its considerable weight and density, the 2010 is accessible. Hints of truffle, tobacco and new leather wrap around the finish. A wine to enjoy rather than cellar.

Barale Barolo 2008, Piedmont, Italy                                              €32.95         €26.36

Sergio Barale delivers delicate and elegant wines with refined and complex aromas. Garnet-red in colour with ruby reflections. Intense perfume with clean scent of roses, vanilla, licorice, spices and toasted oak. Gentle notes of absinth and tobacco. The flavour is full and elegant, good-bodied and austere with recurring olfactory sensations. The spicy note and the hints of wood blend perfectly.

Domaine Giuliani Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009, Rhone, France         €29.95         €23.96

The delicious 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape is made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre – from vines averaging over fifty years of age and situated on their finest property. It is a deep ruby red and aromas of ripe raspberries, cherries, cassis, smoke, garrigue and spice positively leap from the glass. In the mouth it is certainly not a timid wine. The red and black fruit persist joined by raisins, liquorice and just a hint of pepper. It is full, round, supple, and elegant and long – everything a fine, young Châteauneuf du Pape should be.

Closerie Des Alisiers Vaucoupin 1er Cru Chablis 2010, Burgundy, France    €28.95         €23.16

Premier Cru Chablis from the famed Vaucoupin vineyard. This wine is from the outstanding 2010 vintage and displays floral notes on the nose, with fruit driven hints enhanced by intense mineral notes and lightly smoky touches. A note of honeyed citrus fruit has developed with bottle age. Very rounded on the palate, but also full-bodied yet elegant. This is a delightfully classic premier cru Chablis.

Gaudium Reserva Rioja Gran Vino 2004, Rioja, Spain                      €54.95         €43.96

Dark ruby red colour. Intense, fruity bouquet brings to mind aromas of red currants, raspberries and wild strawberries. On the nose it is lively, complex and aromatic, where subtle notes of pleasant fruit mingle with a delicate touch of oak. Fleshy and delicious in the mouth, its powerful structure and soft tannins reveal a pleasant fullness. A well-balanced wine showing splendid class, which is already drinking very well, while promising to age superbly.

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