My first taste of the 2017 San Nicola from Campochiarenti, following its arrival last week. I am never sure whether to decant a wine such as this, but as I was longing to try the wine, I decided against it this time. With a minimum of 85% Sangiovese, the ruby colour that swirled in my glass showed up well, with a translucent appearance.
On the nose, my initial reaction was that maybe a decant would have been worth a wait, as while I could smell the cherries, there was a residual aroma of gamey-ness lying behind the fruit, with a spicy-ness tinged with tobacco.
Again on the palate, the cherry and redcurrant fruits were there, but there was that underlying bitterness, synonymous more with a Burgundy, of the farm, as the soft tannins merged with the acidity levels, balancing each other out, leaving a medium plus body in the mouth, and a lengthy finish, with hints of tobacco left in the mouth, and black pepper on the plate.
As the evening progressed, and the bottle lightened, the farmyard dissipated, leaving the fruit far more prevalent, and the finish mellowed into a pleasing residual, the wine opening up wonderfully well.
Although youthful, and will clearly benefit from resting in the cellar for a while, with a decant, and allowing some breath, the wine opens up to an excellent drink right now.
Comparing it to the 2016 I was drinking last year is difficult, and with no more 16 in my cellar, I cannot do a direct comparison. Looking at my notes, I see that I decanted the 16 and it drank superbly, so, this is where I will go, and allow some air when I uncork the next bottle of this wonderful wine.
A few months ago, during this long summer spring and summer of isolation brought about by Covid-19, I watched a number of Instagram Live chats about the burgeoning wine developments coming from the Principality of Wales.
Yes, Wine from Wales!
I will confess to having a limited knowledge of the Wine Industry in England, and now Wales, having returned home from England twenty years ago, when the wine industry was still in its infancy, only really having a vague idea that there was some very nice sparkling wines starting to come out of the south-east of England, although none had passed my lips. I recall back in the 70’s, working in Victoria Wine as a student, that we stocked some sparkling wines, Concorde , that were classed as British Wines. They were the cheapest on the shelves, and although I never tasted them, my understanding was that they were pretty average to say the least. (The term British Wine generally refers to wines made from imported fruit concentrate, are generally sweet, and basic quality.)
I came across this advert for them….
We have moved on a long way from those days, and today, English Wines are making inroads in the Global Market Place, albeit in a small way so far, due to the limited volume being produced. However, the quality of the wines being produced in England has certainly caught the eye of wine judges in International Competitions, and today, English Sparkling Wines are routinely compared with French Champagne, with more to come.
So much so, that Oz Clarke, a long time champion of the developing English Scene has released his recent book, titled English Wine, with a note apologising to the Welsh for not adding them to the title, and hoping they would forgive him for not writing English & Welsh Wine every time… We shall see if they forgive him. The book itself is a masterpiece of writing, if you haven’t read Oz’s writing before, I highly recommend his way with words, and his many books on our favourite subject. The tome is a tour de force around England and Wales, and his prose makes it hard to put down.
All this leads me back to Wales, and my new found interest in an absolutely New World Area, although there were wines produced at Castle Coch in the Vale of Glamorgan up to the beginning of the last century, around 1920, when the vines were pulled, and there was to be another 30 plus years before commercial vineyards were to start appearing again, anywhere within the British Isles.
The Instagram Live Chats I watched seem to feature a certain individual, who is absolutely passionate about Welsh Wine, Robb Merchant. His story is well told by Oz in his book, suffice to say he didn’t come to wine through family inheritance, in fact, after buying a small farm, it was his wife, Nicola who had the dream, and together they have developed White Castle Vineyard, in Abergavenney, Monmouthshire, and I was intrigued. They produce a range of wines, from sparkling, through to the reds of Rondo, Regent and Pinot Noir Précoce (early ripening Pinot), and a white from Siegerrebe, and I couldn’t resist placing an order for some, directly from Robb at the farm.
I was able to get hold of the Pinot Noir Précoce 2018, and the Regent 2017 from White Castle, but as yet I haven’t had an opportunity to taste them. I have, however, had the pleasure of exploring a totally new grape to me, their 2018 Siegerebbe.
Siegerrebe is a white wine grape, created in Germany in 1929, by crossing Madeleine Angevine and Gewurztraminer, and is mainly found in its native country, along with small plantings in Canada, as well as England and Wales. Obviously it is a lover of cool climate, budding late, but ripening early, and it may have found its home in the Welsh countryide.
I found the wine to be light straw in colour, and it had sweet aromas of fruit emanating on the nose, with peach and orange overlaying a somewhat floral aspect at first. I was expecting low acidity, but felt that the sharpness was still there to enrich the texture, and maybe there were hints of spice on the finish, but it was the light summer stone fruits that were prevalent on the palate, maybe some pink grapefruit too, and these remained on the finish, with the flavours to be savoured as I finished my first glass.
All in all, a very enjoyable wine, paired well, with a Thai Curry, as you would expect from a relative of Gewurztraminer, and I believe it would go well with any light spiced dish, or white meat salad. A summer drink, chilled it would go well sat out on a warm day, as a substitute for Rosé, with a handful of nuts, or as an aperitif before dinner as we head into the autumnal days in September. I look forward to sampling the sibling reds that Robb produces in the days ahead.
I was also able to get hold of some other Welsh Wines from Montgomery Vineyard, in Cefn-Y-Coed, their Rondo, Pinot Noir, and a Bacchus/Solaris blend, and I have those to look forward to in due course. There are a number of other small beacons on the Welsh Wine Industry, and while the scale may be small to date, the future is definitely bright, and book titles may have to change to incorporate the “New” New World Wines of Wales before too long.
I wrote quite recently about the beauty of being in a Wine Club and the excitement that comes with every arrival – a journey into the unknown. Opening the box and pulling out one joyous adventure at a time, wondering what the next delight will be.
(As I’m sure you can work out, if you would like more information on the wines I describe below, I have provided links to the Winemakers, the locations and even the odd link to a poet! Just click on the link and you will be whisked away).
Last week, my latest arrival was delivered from my Irish Wine Explorers Club from the wonderful folk at Wines Direct, and needless to say, I was far from disappointed with the gems that sprang forth.
The first out of the box was from the Loire Valley. A 2018 vintage Domaine Masson-Blondelet, Sancerre AOP, from the family run estate in the heart of the Pouilly-Fume Appellation. When I went over to their website, I found some of the best technical sheets I’ve seen, giving full details of the wine, and well worth a look for the geek in us all.
Next up, was the Pessoa from Portugal, Vinho Verde DOC wine, and I understand this is VV but not as you know it, made from the Loureiro grape, but in a Kabinett style. The winemaker, Jorge Goncalves, although Portuguese by birth was brought up in Germany, and studied wine making at Geisenheim University before travelling the world to hone his skills, reaching South Africa where he learned the secret to blend New World fashions to the Old World elegance, and he returned to Portugal to start up his winery, named after Fernando Pessoa one of Portugal’s most famous poets and writers (See you can learn more than just wine here!).
Third out of the box, and the first Red was a wine I have had the pleasure of before in earlier vintages, this being a 2018 Monastrell from Jumilla DO in Spain, and the Altos de La Hoya old vines of the Olivares Fernandez family. I’m looking forward to the deep ruby and dark fruits of this one.
Next up, the third of the white wines, and a Fiano from Coriole. Now, anyone who knows me, will understand that I have a huge love of Italian wines, and whilst I would never be presumptuous to believe I know all the makers of Fiano from Campania or Sicily, this was a new name for me – WAIT A SECOND – Underneath the name of the wine were the words McLaren Vale, definitely a new region of Italy to me! Yes, this Fiano is the first to come from Australia, and the hands of Mark Lloyd’s family. Another find from the folk at Wines Direct that will be enticing me to sample very soon.
Only two to go now, and these would both be red, unless I am very much mistaken. And lo and behold, it was back to France, after out surprise visit to South Australia, and back to the Loire Valley, although this time for a Cabernet Franc from Chateau de Montdomaine , from the hands of Frederick Plou and his wife Louisa, “Le Breton 2018“. This will be a good wine to eat with a hearty French dish such as boeuf bourguignon or a coq au vin, so it may lay on the shelf until later in the year. I have heard that the family make an exquisite Malbec, so knowing my love of that grape, I’ll be looking out for that in the future.
The box is nearly empty now, and the last bottle is always tinged with sadness as I reach into the empty sleeve of the winebox, knowing that it will be a month before I have the tingle of excitement again. But, I was saving the best, unknown to me, for last – with the emerging bottle being a Bordeaux, the label indicating Chateau La Fleur St Georges from Lalande de Pomerol AOC, the second wine of La Fleur de Bouard, on the right bank, in that wine mecca of the west of France. The winery is owned by the De Bouard family, who, for the connoisseurs amongst us, own the 1er Grand Cru Classé, Chateau Angelus of Saint-Emillion. Hubert de Bourd de Laforest has put as much pride into developing this gem as he has with every other wine he has been involved with in producing over more than 25 years in the profession. Again a wine for a hearty occasion, a beef dish, maybe stretch to some game, definitely one to savour me thinks.
So, the box is now empty, the wines are now on the rack, and while the excitement of unpacking the case is now over for another month, I have so much to look forward to from this months selection. Before you know it, another arrival will be sat on the table awaiting opening, and the journey around the world of wine will begin again – I’ll let you know……..
Around about the time that we first were locked down, I was fortunate enough to receive a supply of wines from East Devon, from Dalwood Vineyard and Mike Huskins. Included were a few bottles of the 2016 Brut, Seyval Blanc/Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine, which picked up a Silver Medal at the 2019 IEWA, and a Bronze at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards.
Before I restarted my Blog Posts, I wrote a review of the first bottle I drank not long after, and last night we popped the cork on another, no special reason, just fancied a bit of fizz, and I knew what to expect, perfection. rather than repeat myself with a further review, I thought I would share what I wrote at the time of the first bottle, and my opinions haven’t changed, aside from the fact that I wish I had ordered more!
“Let me start by stating that fizz, be it Champagne, Traditional Method, Cava, Prosecco, or any other bubbles, rarely rocks my boat, and aside from celebrations, would not be a regular in my glass. Having said that, I had heard really good things about Mike Huskin’s Dalwood Vineyard Brut 2016, and with a few bottle arriving last week, it seemed a good time to see if I could be convinced that “fizz” isn’t just for weddings and Formula One Wins!
Dalwood’s Brut in 2016 was a blend between Seyval Blanc (70%) and Pinot Noir (30%), and once the cork was gently removed, and a glass poured, the immediacy on the nose was of ripe green apples, straight away, which I can already associate with Seyval from my sampling of the still wine from Dalwood with Seyval as the base of the blend earlier this week.
The colour was light gold, and the stream of bubbles looked impressive. A stronger sniff and the notes of the bakery were there, indicating the autolysis. I subsequently learnt that the wine spent 30 months in second fermentation in the bottle this way, before a very low amount of dosage, 4g in the 2016, as I was ready to savour the full flavours.
A crisp cool explosion onto the palate, with good acidity, but totally balanced by the Pinot, as Seyval at its peak is high on the acidic front, leaving enough to get the mouth watering, but no hint of burn. Those green apples, along with pear, more of the candied type than from the tree, and a yeasty bread/biscuit note, emanating from the time spent on second fermentation were to the fore.
Absolute dryness gave a wonderful texture to the wine, without puckering at all, and the finish remained fresh, leaving those apples lingering in the mouth long after the swallow. I read how someone had described the lingering flavours as that of Apple Crumble, and while the thought didn’t hit me at the time, this is a very apt description.
While I may not have been totally converted to making “fizz” an everyday wine in my house, this particular version has certainly raised the thought that it will appear more likely. An excellent English Sparkler, well worth seeking out if you are ever down in East Devon, and one that compares very favorably with higher priced offerings from the Continent.”
Yes, this wine’s name evokes the local dialect, and Sketta, roughly translates as Unmarried Woman. I know not why this name was chosen for this wine, but if this is an example of unmarried women in Sicily, then there will be plenty making the flight there.
In recent months, Sicily has featured high on my wine choices, although, up until now, it’s mainly been the reds of Etna, the Nerello Mascalese’s, and the Nero d’Avola’s on the island. However, between my Wine Clubs, I have a number of Whites on the shelves, and I decided that this would be one to try.
Grecanico is the grape on the label, which is synonymous with Garganega, the Northern Italian grape of Soave, and a little research told me that Cantina Marilina is run by two sisters, Marilina and Federica Paterno, whose father, Angelo, had bought the 60 hectares on a hillside in the southeast of Sicily near the town of Pachino, after 25 years working in the industry locally.
Opening the bottle, the colour immediately hits you – Deep golden, dare I say, even Orange. Whether it was this amazing colour, the photo does not quite do it justice, or not, but the first aroma I noted was marmalade, the golden type from Sevilla sprung to mind, quickly followed by a surprise, petrol hints. It was fleeting, but it was there, not something I was expecting, but it didn’t detract at all, in fact, it enhanced the experience.
First sips showed the honey texture, and a zingy punch of acidity, before the cacophony of fruit came through, There was apricot, there was lime, the citrus giving the tang, then there was orange peel, that marmalade sensation, and raisins floated around the palate. On the finish, there were notes of caramel too, that lingered as the glass was put down, demanding a further raise to the lips to make sure the pleasure was maintained – It was…
The vineyard is organic, grown on calcareous soils, extended skin maceration leads to the wonderful colour, with fermentation in concrete tanks for six months, before finishing off in the bottle for three months prior to release.
The wine marries well with what you would expect from Sicily, with seafood in abundance on the island, and pasta with green vegetables, and shellfish would be perfect. It may not stay Unmarried as a Wine, a perfect wine as a change from Soave, seek it out.
A very enjoyable Albarino indeed. One of the dangers of any style of wines becoming popular, is the tendency to dumb down the style to cater for the popular demand, maintaining a common level. I’m glad to say that this wine does not fit into that category, it’s an excellent example of the grape, blended as it is, 70% albariño, 15% caiño , and 15% Loureiro.
On pour, a delightful deep straw yellow appearance abounds in the glass. The nose has what you expect, with lemon citrus, hints of apple, and slight floral notes. The first thing that grabs you as you take the first sip is the tangyness of the acidity, mouthwatering delights, before mellowing into the flavours of the tropics, with mango, peach, that zesty green apple, and of course, the citrus of lemon and grapefruit. An almost cream like texture adds to the overall enjoyment of the combinations of flavours.
The finish to this perfect glass lingers long after the swallow, and left on the palate is that hint of salinity, not powerful, but there, and reminding you that the Ocean is not far from the birthplace of the wine.
All in all, an excellent example of the quality coming from Galicia, and one to look out for. It should be widely available, as Emilio Rodriguez and his team created just short of a million bottles in 2018, seek it and you won’t be disappointed.
It’s been a busy time in recent weeks. Still working from home, into Week 20 now, and it seems a long time ago that I was last in the office, back on March 16th. Since then, its been like living in a live action reworking of Groundhog Day. On the plus side, I’m loving the commute, which now takes 20 seconds, instead of 40 minutes. With the economy starting to return to existence, I won’t say normal yet, this has had be working long hours to get as much done to get things going as I can, in my own small way – Taking up a lot more time than the first month or so of our original Lockdown.
But I have been able to enjoy my wine collection, and this last weekend I opened up a bottle I have been eyeing up for a while, just waiting for the right moment, and right food to go with it. The wine in question being the 2017 Fattoria Coroncino Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Il Bacco from the Wine Club, and as the picture shows, with a picada of Italian meats (OK, there was some Spanish Serrano in there as well as Parma), and cheeses closer to home, with some decoration of tomatoes and cucumber, and a dash of pickle, the Verdicchio came out.
The wine is from Marche in Ancona, and is a DOC wine. Under the DOC regulations, 85% of the wine must be Verdicchio, with allowable blending of Trebbiano and Malvasia to smooth out the final product. Unfortunately the web site of the producer is in Italian, and a little out of date, so I cannot be clear what, if any, addition was made in the 2017.
Nicely chilled, and subject to my 20/20 rule, the pour enlisted a yellow colour, with maybe a hint of green around the edges,,,,,,,, Now, my Italian isn’t proficient (OK, non-existant!), but I think that Verdicchio gets part of it name from Verde, which means Green, so maybe I was on the right track.
I was somewhat surprised by the strong nose, as my thoughts of this grape do not recall strong aromas, but there were clear floral, elderflower twitches on my nostrils. On the palate, the citrus fruit flavours came through, lemon, grapefruit, and quite strident acidity, puckering up the lips, but with the fruit balancing out, leaving a fresh, vibrant aftertaste. I had read somewhere in my studies that Almonds were a distinguishing feature of this grape, and maybe there was a hint of the nut left on the tongue, but I wouldn’t say I would have picked that out from the citrus flavours if I hadn’t remembered something from my old books.
Certainly an excellent wine, and yet another great example of the Wine Club Experience. In my constant quest to expand my knowledge, the delivery of the unknown from the Clubs helps to increase the range of flavours, and varietals to experience. Wines I may not find locally here in Ireland, or wines that even if they are on the shelves, I may not have reached for.
The wine went perfectly with the picada, and I would highly recommend picking this up again, if I could.
When I started out on the Learning Curve, to discover new wines from new regions, new varieties of grapes I had never experienced, I was in a slight dilemma. While I could look up grapes, regions, and wines, I would be tempted to stick to places I knew, grapes I was slightly familiar with. I needed a way to get out there and find new wines, within a reasonable budget, and without any preconceived ideas of what to buy.
Looking around, I discovered a Wine Club run by an online company here in Ireland, Wines Direct. They do have a physical presence out in Mullingar, and also an outlet in Arnotts, one of Dublin’s iconic department stores, but the Wine Club caught my eye, with their Explorers Club. It was exactly what I was looking for:
Are you getting bored of the same old wines? Join the Wine Explorers Club and get 6 exclusive wines delivered to your door every month. Just choose your level and whether you want a red, white or mixed case. Then we scour the globe to find new artisan wines for you to explore. Every month, 6 carefully curated bottles will appear; each with its own tasting notes, food pairings and information about the winemaker.
And so, some two years, and over 150 bottles of wine from all four corners of the planet, later, my latest arrivals were delivered yesterday. They have three levels of membership of the club, and I plumped for the top line, hoping that this would give me the chance to explore wines I would not have gone for on the shelf. In these two years, I have yet to be disappointed, aside from the fact maybe that I didn’t have a full case of some of the excellent wines I have received. Having said that, if required, you can always order more of any of the wines from the store, or online.
I thought it would be interesting to showcase this months delivery, to share what I have in store in the next while. This months selection arrived yesterday, and, as ever, the eclectic range of three whites, and three reds, was spread across different countries, with this month seeing three Italian, two French plus a trip down under to Australia. Each month sees different arrivals, never duplicated, a tour de force of the Wines of the World – A True Exploration.
(For more information, click on the highlighted areas).
Domaine de L’Hortus Grande Cuvee 2018 by Martin Orliac – Val de Monteferrand IGP
First up being a trip to the Languedoc, and Domaine de L’Hortus, and a blend of Chardonnay (40%), Sauvignon Gris (30%), Viognier (20%), and finally Petit Manseng (20%), with a mix between the barrel fermented Chardonnay and the steel used for the others. From the cool climate area of Pic Saint Loup, a Grand Vin in the making, and one for a special occasion I feel.
Cantina Marilana “Sketta” 2018 by Marilina and Federica Paterno – IGP Terre Siciliane
Next up, a trip to Sicily at the foot of Italy, and Cantina Marilana, for a wine made with very little intervention, concrete tanks for fermentation of the Grecanico grapes, extended maceration on the skins, and with six months in tank to fine naturally, before a further three months in the bottle before release, the sisters who run the family 60 hectare winery, in the southeast of Sicily, have come up with a winner here.
Coriole Redstone 2017 by Mark Lloyd – McLaren Vale
To the other side of the world next, and a trip to the McLaren Vale for a New World Shiraz, from the deep red soils of the region, and the Coriole Vineyards. Hence the name of the wine, with the grapes aged in old French oak for twelve months, and with some of the vines dating back to 1919, this results in a Shiraz, or Syrah as the grape is known in Europe, richly coloured, and packed full of flavours. As in most of the Clubs vineyards, organic practices are carried out, showcasing the wines.
Chateau Fongaban 2015 by Pierre Taix – Puisseguin-St Emilion AOC
Back to Europe and Chateau Fongaban, with a trip to the cradle of wine in France, Bordeaux for this Merlot domninated/Cabernet Franc blend from the St Emilion Satellite appellation of Puisseguin, a name with a Celtic connection, with Puy being the Celtic word for The Hill of the Powerful Wine (see, you learn something new everyday!). Aged in old oak, I expect to find powerful aromas of dark cherry and spice when I open this, although I think I will put this one away for a few years.
Stefano Accordini Classico 2018 by Stefano himself – Valpolicella Classico DOC
The last two bottles see us back in Italy, with first a trip to the north east, on the hillside close to the River Adige and Lake Garda to Stefano Accodini. As is always the case with the Club, a family business, produces this blend of Italian grapes, Corvina (65%), Rondinella (30%) and Molinara (5%), a luscious red full of Morella cherries and red berries. Hand harvested, with a week on the skins, before four months resting in tanks before bottling and release. One to drink young.
Castellari Bergaglio 2018 by Marco Bergaglio – Gavi DOCG
Last, but by no means least, and to the north west, between Piemonte and Liguria, the Gavi DOCG area, and the Cortese grape produced by Castellari Bergaglio. Another white that benefits from the careful hand of the winemaker, keeping the juice on the lees after a soft press, with fermentation taking up to 20 days, before a short maturation in bottle, and again a wine to be drunk young, although with the body here, it will keep for a few years, and retain its honeyed flavours of melon and figs without losing quality.
So, there we have it, a tour of my Explorers case this month. Over the two years, the Club has taken me on a journey of discovery, form Argentina and Chile in South America, via Australia and New Zealand, to the traditional European Classics of Spain, Italy and France, with trips to Germany, Austria, Portugal and Greece along the way. Traditional grapes we all know and love, to new varieties I have trouble pronouncing, especially the beautiful indigenous grapes of Greece, such as Xinomavro and Thrapsathiri (yeh, go on, you try!). I look forward to continuing the journey.
NB. I would stress that this is purely my thoughts on the Wine Club I joined, I have not been paid to promote the Club, or any of the wines described.
A loose title for a piece on a weekend of sipping wine while still on Virtual Lockdown from the CoronaVirus, as clearly any trips to the Mediterranean this year will only be achieved via the medium of the wines, and foods coming from the countries that border on the waters.
First up on Friday evening was a bargain buy from last summer, which had snuck under the radar. a 2016 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore from Sartori di Verona. I picked this up last year from Supervalu here in Dublin, as part of a deal, for only €8.66 a bottle. An excellent blend based on Corvina and being a Ripasso, it could be thought of as a leftovers from Amarone. But it’s much nicer than it sounds. Ripasso style takes the skins after Amarone has been made, and goes again with the Valpolicella, a second fermentation, with the word Ripasso translating as “To Go Again”, which is exactly what they do, creating a more complex Valpolicella.
Dark Red cherries were prevalent, there was spice, there was an earthiness which defied the risotto that we ate alongside, and the length was staggering for such a bargain wine. Normally I would expect a wine like this to be heading around the €15 euro mark as a starting point, so a bargain buy, and having kept it hidden (by accident) for twelve months at home, it was even better.
Saturday saw me moving from the the Veneto region of Italy to a new world for me – not in the “New World”, very much in the Old World, to some the potential cradle of grapes being made into wine. To Turkey we sailed. This came about due to a conversation with a Sommellier friend who heard I had some Bolivian Marselan in my cellar, so a deal was made to swap for something interesting he had, and so, we swapped, and I received a bottle of KAV from Doluca Wines.
Kav is a blend of Bogazkere and Okuzgozu grapes, both indigenous to Turkey, and I confess, I had never heard of either, nor can I pronounce them! Bogazkere translates as “Throat Burner”, a robust tannic grape, from Southeastern Anatolia, which is combined with the Okuzgozu from Eastern Anatolia, an aromatic red grape, with a crisp fruity character. These grapes are known as Bulls Eye Grapes, as they are far larger than one normally sees.
The blend is aged in 225 lt. French oak for 12 months before a further 2 years of bottle ageing, to acquire a full-bodied, fruit driven, fig and dried fruits abound, in a very dark coloured, but remarkably well balanced wine. Yes, the tannins were there, but the more aromatic grape certainly hit the Bulls Eye and softened the Throat Burner, to reveal an excellent wine, and one really worth seeking out, retailing at under €20 here in Ireland. We drank with a robust Venison Stew, which paired perfectly.
Sunday saw a switch back to France, and the Languedoc. For the past few months of lockdown, every weekday morning has found me logging into Instagram Live at 7.30a.m. (Irish Time), and the Vineyard Rambles of Katie Jones from Domaine Jones, in Tuchan, in the Aude department in France. Every morning, Katie takes us to one of her many small vineyards, and will be taking us through to harvest and beyond as the summer progresses, well worth checking out on InstaLive, at DomaineJones.
As a result of the rambles, I sought out the wines that Katie produces, with a diverse range of grapes, from the Languedoc faithful, Grenache & Syrah, to more interesting variatals of Grenache Gris, Carignan and even the Hairy Grenache. Unfortunately no importer here in Ireland (you’re missing out guys!), so I went direct, and purchased a mixed case direct from the winery.
The first wine from the selection to be opened was the Along Came Jones, “Difference” 2018. A Grenache heavy blend, combined with Syrah & Carignan, The very interesting cartoon of a label is worth checking out on its own, telling the story of Katie’s arrival in the region, but once opened the initial colour of the juice leapt out at me, red cherry, along with the fruit aromas which were jumping out of the glass. The wine took me straight to the Garrigue, the limestone hills of the Languedoc, and the wild vegetation that abounds. Rich herbs shone through, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme, (although, no parsley or sage!), and the Carignan spices also came through. Medium bodied, soft tannins, and a truly wonderful finish, lingering long after the swallow.
All in all, an excellent weekend haul, and a journey around the Mediterranean, where I long to return, although that looks like it will be delayed to 2021, along with other travels, In the meantime, we can explore the regions through the wonder of wine, I hope you will join me on the journey. In the meantime, tune into Katie’s Insta Live at 7.30 in the morning, and wave as you watch and listen to the rambles.
I was asked to write a piece about the future of drinking after the relaxation of the Covid 19 Regulations we have been under for the past few months for the Glamorous Globetrotting Website. As the pubs and restaurants gear up for re-opening from June 29th, what will it be like out there in the Post Covid World, time will tell.