Bordeaux-Undiscovered Christmas Wine Offers 2014

Logo Christmas Holly James VersionEach week we will be adding new offers and promotions for Christmas right up to 17th December which will build up into a fantastic selection of goodies! We have new wines and superb savings across the board that will ensure a fabulous festive season for one and all.

Christmas Prize Draw BannerYou’ll find we have something for everyone and every pocket with Christmas Specials on Bubbly, Reds, Roses, Whites and Clarets, Christmas Cases, Limited Offers on stellar vintages and an unbeatable Christmas Fine Wine Selection. We will also be reducing prices on lots of your favourites whilst stocks last as a special ‘Thank You’ for all your support this year!

What’s more every customer who buys a case of wine between 22nd October and 17th December will be entered into a Prize Draw to win a case of wine worth over £200!

Take a sneaky peep at what we have planned for Christmas at Bordeaux-Undiscovered and grab the opportunity to snap up our first Christmas Offer – the Christmas Clarets Case!

Christmas Clarets Case Banner 2Christmas Clarets Case

Enjoy 12 top quality Clarets for Christmas at a great price! Perfect with food and deliciously drinkable on their own this case contains a fabulous range of reds to suit all occasions! Our Christmas Clarets Case includes some of our brightest stars; from the top flight Graves, Chateau Pessan (normally priced at £15.99), to top performing vintages from wonderful estates!buy button

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Chateau Sociando Mallet 2006 – 90 Point Wine at an Unbeatable Price

sociando mallet 2006 newsletterTake advantage of being a Bordeaux-Undiscovered customer and snap up the outstanding Chateau Sociando Mallet 2006 at an unbeatable price.  We are offering this stunning 90 point Parker wine from the Haut Medoc at only £23.99 a bottle!.  Haut Medoc was one of the star appellations in 2006 producing some of the best wines for that year and Sociando Mallet is one of our top picks.sociando 2006

As a regular newsletter reader you already know we like to look after our customers and you won’t find this wine at a better deal anywhere else.  What’s more it’s available in single bottles so you aren’t tied down to buying it by the case.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to taste one of Bordeaux’s great fine wines.

Much has been made of the supermarkets, Lidl, Aldi and Tesco gearing up for Christmas with tempting prices on Bordelaise fine wines such as Sociando Mallet, but we like to think that we can go one step further for our customers, so watch this space!  We are cherry picking superb wines from our selection and offering our customers better deals, and better wines,  than the big boys.buy button

sociando mallet 200690 Point Wine:  Sociando Mallet 2006

Scored 90 points by the world authority on fine wine, Robert Parker, Sociando Mallet 2006 has “Classic aromas of black currants, graphite, powdered wet rocks, and earthy undertones compete with the intense black currant fruit present in this structured, medium to full-bodied, concentrated 2006. Always an over-achiever, Sociando Mallet is built for 20-30 years of longevity.”  In fact, Sociando Mallet’s inky purple wines have an unusual capacity for longevity and are one of the longest lived wines made in the Medoc.  The 2006 is drinking beautifully right now.

Parker’s scores are based on a 100 point scoring system and wines rated 90 – 95 are considered to be outstanding wines of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.  The 2006 Sociando Mallet is a beautifully structured Cabernet based Claret; full bodied, rich and sumptuous.  It’s both powerful and fragrant, having flavours of blueberries, blackcurrant jam, blackberries and ripe raspberries with notes of cherry blossom, truffle and oak.

sociando-mallet-small-200x300Insider’s Tip

Haut Medoc lies in the Medoc (home of Pauillac, St Julien, Margaux and St Estephe).  This AOC sits at a higher altitude on well drained gravel terraces which are best suited for the growing of Cabernet Sauvignon and lies on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary.  Sociando Mallet itself is located north of St Estephe in the little village of  Saint Seurin de Cadourne and dates back to the 1600s.

It was purchased in 1969 by Jean Gautreau, a negociant from Lesparre, as a forgotten and derelict property. However the terroir is the same band of gravel that runs beneath the vines of First Growth Chateau Latour and Gautreau saw the potential that others had not.

Sociando Mallet has benefited from 4 decades of investment and improvement and its wines are the insider’s choice for top quality wines, regularly outperforming those produced by its neighbours.

Bordeaux’s 2006 vintage is often over looked as 2005 was such an exceptional vintage (some even claiming it to be the ‘vintage of the century’).  However for those in the know 2006 was a very good year and is the source of some real showstoppers, such as Sociando Mallet.

For what it’s worth this wine particularly from this vintage is one of my favourites because of its length, complexity, roundness and overall character – it’s a wine that will not disappoint particularly when it is drunk with beef, game and wholesome casseroles!

Enjoy!

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Tour de Ryder Cup – Golfers Cycle 1150 Miles to Raise Money for Prostrate Cancer UK and Melanoma UK

TDRC Team 3A quick heads up about a fantastic effort to raise money by a customer for Prostrate Cancer UK and Melanoma UK. He along with 3 avid golfers are cycling their way round the 13 Ryder Cup Golf Courses.

Andy Crowther, Darrne Tordoff, Andrew Walker and Rick Gillgrass are pedalling 1150 miles over 9 days. On route the four will collect flags from all 13 UK and Ireland Ryder Cup host venues, which they intend to present to the Ryder Cup teams when they reach Gleneagles.tdrc 2

The Tour de Ryder Cup was inspired by the death of the riders’ mutual friend Simon Ashdown, also a passionate golfer who, aged 50, lost his battle with Melanoma in December 2012.

It would be wonderful if you could show them some support and follow the teams progress here:

Twitter:
@TourDeRyderCup

Facebook:
facebook.com/tourderydercup

Blog:
tourderydercup.wordpress.com

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/teams/TDRC

Many thanks and good luck lads!

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Going Back To Your Roots, Discover Organic Wine in Bordeaux – Award Winning Chateau Rioublanc

Rioublanc newsletter bannerBordeaux is going back to its roots as winemakers turn to organic methods to create better wines of higher quality. Organic winemakers believe that the use of chemicals destroys the uniqueness of the land and the individuality of the flavour that this terroir imparts to the wine. They have a good point.

Chemicals used to combat pests can be absorbed into the grape vine, passing into the fruit. As a result, residues of these chemicals find their way into the finished wine. This has worried consumers for some time and many wine lovers are turning to organic wines for health reasons and because of their desire to support eco-friendly vineyards.

Organic wines are growing in popularity with wine lovers and you will often see these wines in France displaying the green and white ‘AB’ label. This stands for ‘Agriculture Biologique’ and the vineyards have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify. The wines have to be made from organically grown grapes which means that the winemakers do not use 425942_249891325100099_175064702_nchemical weed killers, pesticides, fertilizers or fungicides on their crops.

In Bordeaux the number of organic estates have increased from 3% to 7% in the last decade, with organic wine production growing at a higher rate than non-organic in some recent years. Chateaux are focused on increasing biodiversity and promoting more sustainable wine making. Several of the famous Grand Cru Classés have adopted organic methods in the vineyards, some even going back to horse power (notably Chateaux Margaux, Pontet Canet, La Lagune and Domaine de Chevalier).

Chateau Pape Clement has gone one step further and has returned to its 19th century past with the reintroduction of oxen. They are very powerful – an ox can pull and hold more than twice its weight and Marel and Blanc will be able to pull mowing and cutting machinery.Rioublanc Red 2010 label

Many of the smaller estates, the Petits Chateaux, are also organic. One in particular, Chateau Rioublanc, produces both a lovely red and a white wine. This is a family owned winery located in Saint Ciers d’Abzac, not far from Pomerol and Saint Emilion. Philippe Carretero represents the latest generation to handle the reins at this small chateau, which is certified both ‘Agriculture Biologique,’ ‘Ecocert’ and ‘EU Organic’ . In fact, the vines at Rioublanc have not been fed chemical fertilizer for at least 20 years.

The soil is worked by hand – sometimes the tiller is helped along with a helping tow from a quad bike with light low pressure tyres if they going gets tough. Philippe says that hand tilling is precise and only an experienced worker can achieve this efficiently. Grass grows between the rows of vines and Philippe believes that competition with the grass is really beneficial as it limits the vine’s vigour, protects from erosion and limits soil compaction. As he does not use weedkillers he found an original solution – a tool created in Italy for ecological weed control which he had specially adapted to suit the vineyard. chateau rioublanc 11

Philippe’s background is not only in oenology (the study of wine making) but engineering and he knew from an early age that his destiny was to make wine at Rioublanc. The development of the chateau has always involved long term vision and Philippe says that ‘it takes time, lots of time and you are always thinking of the future. When you plant a vine, you are investing in it for 50 years. Most of what we do, we do for our children. It is a gift and it’s a duty . . . that’s life!’

rioublanc organicRioublanc takes its name from the little streams that crisscross the plateau (‘riou’ is the Occitan word for stream and ‘blanc’ refers to the white limestone soil). The estate dates back to the 19th century and was once the home of Yves Renouil, a well known oenologist and author of the ‘Dictionary of Wine’. euroleaf-logo

The Carretero family purchased the chateau in in 1963 and began a long term plan to improve the vineyard with the utmost respect for the environment and quality of the wine. Philippe Carretero represents the latest generation to handle the reins at this small estate. His principles are the same as his forebears: that with every vine you plant you are always thinking of the future and that the living vineyard is a gift that bears a duty of responsibility.

Rioublanc 1The family’s dedication has paid off and Chateau Rioublanc is an impressive wine. Their 2010 Organic Claret gained a Gold Medal in the Mundus Vini International Wine Awards and their Organic White is proving to be a best seller.

Both these lovely wines are available at Bordeaux-Undiscovered and you’ll find that we are the only stockist in the UK, so why not discover them for yourself and taste the difference?

Rioublanc red gold medal winner SMALLChateau Rioublanc Organic Claret 2010, Gold Medal Winner – £9.99

 Beautifully balanced with great structure and a fine nose of luscious black fruits. Deep flavours of blueberry, ripe blackberry and dark plum with notes of vanilla, pepper and oak. Soft, elegant tannins awith a nice lasting finish. Decant 2 hours before serving.

 

 

 

 

 rioublanc white SMALLChateau Rioublanc Organic Bordeaux Blanc 2013 – £9.99

 Delicate, elegant and very aromatic with an intense and fine nose of acacia blossom. Lovely flavours of pear, white peach and lime with subtle hints of honeysuckle and amyl notes of banana.

Enjoy!

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Discovering Pinot Noir Beyond Burgundy

petit toque 11Burgundy may be the home of great Pinot Noir but if you know where to look you can pick up some amazing discoveries that don’t command a hefty price tag. In France, Pinot Noir is also found in the Haute Vallée de L’Aude, where it produces wines of great quality.

Le Petit Toque smallThe Haute Vallée de L’Aude follows the path of the river Aude through Cathar country in the far south west of France. Here the mountains reach up to 2000ft above sea level as they rise to form the Pyrenees. At this altitude Burgundy’s signature red grape, Pinot Noir, has found a second home. This is a grape that likes cool climates and light soils. Flourishing amidst this elevated terroir; warmed by the Mediterranean sun, tempered by the coolness of the mountains and swept by winds bearing down from the Atlantic Ocean, the Pinot Noir grown here produces pure and elegant wines.

A lovely example is Le Petit Toque. Made by the pioneering local cooperative, Le Petit Toque (the Little Crack) is named in honour of the region’s charity auction, Toques et Clochers (Cracks and Steeples). The auction raises money to repair the 42 bell towers belonging to the of the appellation. The aim is to preserve local historical heritage and architecture. Every year a village is selected to host the festival which attracts almost 30,000 people to the village streets and celebrates the renovation of its church. It is also a major event in the wine world – it is the second largest wine auction in France after Burgundy’s Hospices de Beaune and has been organised by the cooperative since 1990.

petit toque 22Le Petit Toque is an elegant, soft and supple Pinot Noir. It’s very well structured, deep and fragrant with fine, layered flavours of blackcurrant, ripe black cherry and raspberry; highlighted by notes of liquorice, violets, woody brambles and subtle barnyard earthiness.

A superb food wine, Le Petit Toque is 12% abv and pairs beautifully with duck, beef, lamb, pork, bacon, pigeon, venison, guinea fowl and poultry. You can serve it slightly chilled as is the custom in the north of France. It also marries well with grilled salmon, tuna and mackerel, dishes with rich sauces, mushrooms and hard cheese.

About Pinot Noirpinot

Pinot Noir is the noble grape that makes the great wines of Burgundy and evokes passion in those who fall in love with it. It’s also one of the most studied grapes in the world. In 2007 it became the first fruit crop to have its genome (genetic map) sequenced, showing the handiwork of master wine growers going back to the Stone Age. Pinot Noir’s origins are so ancient it’s believed that it’s only one generation away from the wild grape and it’s possible that it originated in Gaul where wild vines could have been domesticated.

toqueSome point to the Roman writer Columella who described a grape in Burgundy in the 1st century growing in Burgundy so similar that they believe it must be Pinot Noir itself. Potentially Pinot Noir could be the oldest cultivated grape. It’s certainly the patriarch of the Pinot family and is the ancestor of many traditional French grape varieties thanks to its ‘marriage’ with the ancient grape Gouais Blanc (some of these include Chardonnay, the Beaujolais grape Gamay, Aligoté and the Muscadet grape Melon de Bourgogne).

toques 2By 1375 Pinot Noir had acquired it’s name, which is taken from the French for ‘pine’ and ‘black,’ as the grapes grow in tight clusters on the vine resembling pine cones. It was jealously protected in Burgundy in 1395 by the Duke, Philippe the Bold, who insisted that the production of Gamay be outlawed so as to favour the better wines made by Pinot Noir. The grape needed protecting; it can be difficult to grow as it is very thin skinned and the tightly packed grapes make it susceptible to rot. However the wines it produces are well worth it – they have notoriously been described as ‘sex in a glass’.

Upper ValleyAbout Haute Vallée de L’Aude Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is very sensitive to its environment and can reflect subtle differences in terroir. Planted somewhere too hot the grape will ripen too fast losing all the haunting nuances of flavour it is famous for. Despite the fact that it’s a tricky grape to nurture in the vineyard it instills an almost obsessive quest for perfection in those who cultivate it. The winemakers of the Haute Vallée de L’Aude are no exception.

toques 3Home to the headwaters of the river the Haute Vallée de L’Aude is criss-crossed by narrow and deep gorges that feed streams down the mountain sides. The area is famous for its unspoilt beauty and wild flowers, especially its orchids (it has over 80 different species). Pinot Noir thrives here as at this altitude it’s cool and airy – the Aude is one of the windiest regions in France.

petitAlthough snow falls here in the winter and the rainfall can be high, the proximity to the warm Mediterranean means that the Pinot Noir grapes ripen fully but slowly. Harvest takes place here a full month later than that on the plain below. Wines made on this terroir are fresh and vibrant. They may be hard to find but once discovered they are a true revelation as to what Haute Vallée de L’Aude is capable of.

Le Petit Toque Pinot Noir 2013 is available from Bordeaux-Undiscovered

 

 

Posted in Chateaux Profiles, Grapes, Haute Vallée de L'Aude | 4 Comments

Discover French Malbec, The Black Wine of Cahors

cahorsI am constantly amazed at the number of customers who attend the wine and food festivals that I take the Bordeaux-Undiscovered wines to. It is so pleasing to see you all and one question I have constantly been asked is, ‘do I have a good Malbec?’ Spurred on by the thought of a hunt I started searching for one. In recent years most people have fallen in love with Malbec via Argentinian wines. Malbec was introduced in the 19th century and its true home is actually in France . . . it originated around Quercy in Cahors. So, armed with this knowledge I set off to discover a good French Malbec that truly represented this grapes’ heritage and history.

cahorsFinally I came across Gouleyant Malbec made by French Malbec specialist Georges Vigouroux. The Vigouroux family helped revitalize the Cahors appellation in the early 1970s and were pioneers in saving the precious Cahors Malbec from devasatation in the late 19th century. These wines were once considered to be some of the finest in the world and were dubbed ‘the black wines of Cahors’ by the English in the Middle Ages. There are records of Cahors wines being sold in London in the 13th century and nowadays the only problem with these wines is their rarity.

Gouleyant Malbec Cahors SMALLGouleyant comes from the historic vineyards belonging to the medieval Chateau de Haute Serre in the heart of the Cahors. In the 1880s the wines from this estate sat on the same tables as those of the greatest chateaux in Bordeaux and Burgundy. The Vigouroux family saved these historic vineyards and restored the estate to its former glories. The vintages they produce are multi award winning and we are thrilled to have discovered this treasure trove of astonishing wines.

The inky black wines of Cahors are more structured and fuller bodied than their Argentinean Malbec counterparts and Gouleyant is no exception. It is a deliciously deep and dark wine with supple and expressive with soft, elegant tannins. Gouleyant has flavours of blackcurrant, elderberry, plump raisin and black cherry with smoky notes of violets, cocoa and liquorice.grapes malbec

Having such good tannic structure Gouleyant is ideal with steaks, roast duck, goose, beef and lamb. It also pairs wonderfully with slow cooked or braised meats, hearty casseroles, smoky Hungarian goulash, tagines, rich beef curries, osso buco and aged hard cheeses.

Beautifully balanced with great structure, I believe Gouleyant Malbec is a winner. I am convinced you will think so too. It’s exceptional quality and value speak for themselves.

cahors mapAbout French Malbec
Malbec’s parents are Prunelard and Mageleine Noire des Charentes. Prunelard is an almost extinct Gaillac variety which thankfully has been revived by wine makers committed to using Gaillac’s long lost varietals. Magdeleine Noire des Charentes is very rare indeed and is the mother of both Malbec and Merlot. The story goes that it was discovered in 1992 growing in a vineyard in Brittany that was abandoned more than 200 years ago.

Chateau de Haute Serre

Chateau de Haute Serre

At one point Malbec was grown in 30 different departments of France, a legacy that is still present in the abundance of local synonyms for the variety. It is known as Malbec in Bordeaux, Pressac in Libourne, Auxerrois in Quercy, Bouchal in the South West and Cot in Cahors. Local lore has it that it became known as Malbec as a Hungarian peasant by the name of Malbeck took the grape to the Medoc in Bordeaux in the early 18th century and it acquired his name.

vigourouxMalbec is still grown in Bordeaux in small quantities; the First growth Chateau Cheval Blanc uses a tiny amount of Malbec in its blend as do Chateaux L’Enclos and Gruaud Larose. However if you travel back in time to 1855 when the chateaux were being classified all the Grand Crus – they all had Malbec in their vineyards. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, documents show that Malbec was probably the most planted grape in Bordeaux when it is thought that approximately 60% of Bordeaux’s vineyards were planted with Malbec vines. Hugh Johnson mentions in his book, The Story of Wine, that First Growth Château Lafite’s vineyards were dominated by Malbec and that another First Growth, Château Latour, was mostly Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau de Haute Serre

Chateau de Haute Serre

The reasons Malbec flourished in Cahors and declined in Bordeaux are simple: it was due to disease and weather disasters. The phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century destroyed most of the vineyards in Europe. Phylloxera is a sort of aphid and was introduced from the USA by accident as botantists unknowingly brought home infected vines from America to Europe. A cure was found by grafting the vines on to resistant rootstock but many wine makers planted different grape varieties that were either more easy and quick to grow than their traditional vines or more readily available. In 1956 severe frost devastated many vines (this was an appalling year for freezing temperatures and snowfall across the globe) and most of the Malbec in Bordeaux was wiped out. The deep freeze hit Cahors too, but unlike Bordeaux, wine makers here saved their Malbec by replanting the crop. Malbec is a thin-skinned grape and was easier to grow in its home of Cahors as it is more suited to its climate than that of Bordeaux.

Bertrand Vigouroux

Bertrand Vigouroux

About Cahors Malbec
Cahors is the ancestral home of Malbec and it was from Cahors that Argentina gained its first Malbec vines in 1852. Cahors is a beautiful medieval city almost entirely surrounded by water. The town was established by the Romans on a wide meander of the River Lot near a spring revered by the Gauls. It lies in the old province of Quercy which is divided between the departements of the Lot and Tarn et Garonne today and is about 100 miles east of Bordeaux. The Cahors vineyards were amongst the first planted in France by the Roman Emperors, more than two thousand years ago.

In the 14th century Pope John XXII, a Cahors man born and bred, did much to promote the black wines from the region and they were exported across Europe. Wines from this area accounted for 50% of all exports from the port of Bordeaux in 1310. Cahors and Bordeaux actually became rivals and the black wines of Cahors were often added to those of Bordeaux to enhance their vintages. The Bordelaise imposed restrictions on the entry of wines from outside Bordeaux to their port which meant that no Cahors wine could enter the port before Christmas. However that didn’t stop the reputation of the black wines spreading. By the 1600s the wines were well known at the Russian Court . . . the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, insisted that the tannic structure of Cahors wines cured his ulcer! There is even a grape named after Cahors in the Crimea.cahors vines

The medieval vineyards of Cahors stretch over limestone terraces along the valley of the Lot and over the great limestone plateau of the Causse. The climate is oceanic but is influenced by the Mediterranean. Cahors has lower rainfall than Bordeaux. In autumn, the southerly wind blows hot, dry air from the south that helps to ripen the grapes.

Gouleyant Malbec, Cahors 2012 is available from Bordeaux-Undiscovered at £9.99 a bottle.

Enjoy!

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A Rare Wine Made From A Rare Grape: Gouleyant Loin de l’Oeil Sauvignon

gaillacWine lovers are often keen to discover wines made from rare or long forgotten grapes and are intrigued by their mystery and captivating flavours. Some of the most popular blogs I have written cover these unusual wines and I am really pleased to have discovered an absolute gem which I have brought back to the UK. My search took me inland from Bordeaux east to one of the oldest wine producing regions in France: Gaillac.

mapThe first vines were planted in Gaillac by the Romans long before the birth of Christ. This is one of the earliest centres of wine making in ancient Gaul and the Romans shipped their wines along the River Tarn to Bordeaux and from there on to northern Europe and England. After Rome fell the wines of Gaillac continued to be developed by the Benedictine monks and they have quite a pedigree – King Henry III and Louis XIV both enjoyed Gaillac wines. These wines were not only enjoyed by the French Kings but also by our very own King Henry VIII.

gaillac townIn 1520, King Henry VIII met the King of France, François I, near Calais on the Field of the Cloth of Gold. King François gave him 50 barrels of Gaillac wine as a gift and Henry VIII loved it. As you can imagine this ancient history of wine making has left quite a heritage in Gaillac and there are some very rare grapes grown here that go into making some fabulous wines.

Gouleyant Gaillac White SMALLGouleyant Loin de l’Oeil Sauvignon is one of these little treasures. Loin de l’Oeil is one of the rare grapes of Gaillac, it’s grown nowhere else, and very little is known about its history. Gaillac was famous for its wines long before Bordeaux and it’s thought that Loin d’Oeil was used in Gaillac whites popular in England from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. It’s possible that this traditional grape could be a relic or descendant from Greco-Roman ones once planted there. This grape is a source of pride for the region and is practically unheard of outside France so I am delighted to have tracked down this gorgeous wine.

gaillac grapeLoin de l’Oeil means ‘far from the eye’ (as the grape bunches hang on a long stem far from the branch) and it’s known for its wonderful fragrance. An old local tale says that says that the bunches are far from the eye of the harvester, and some of them get left behind – hence its name. Whichever tale is true this grape makes a lovely wine. If you enjoy Viognier, Gouleyant has a similar style; fuller bodied, lush in character, but with a crisp, refreshing edge due to the Sauvignon Blanc in the blend.

The blend in this rare and extraordinarily delicious Gaillac dry white is 80% Loin de l’Oeil and 20% Sauvignon. It’s very fragrant with lovely depth. It has floral aromas of orange blossom and rose water with layered flavours of baked apple, peach and apricot finished with lemon zest and hints of almond.gaillac river

Gouleyant is a wine to relax with and savour but it pairs beautifully with food. It’s natural pairing is with salt and fresh water fish, bouillabaise, spicy prawns, pasta puttanesca and paella. However it’s also delicious with chicken dishes, pheasant, turkey, warm salads and cheese.

It is a lovely marriage between the two grapes and this original and intriguing blend of Loin de l’Oeil and Sauvignon Blanc is made by Georges Vigouroux and his son Bertrand-Gabriel, who are specialists in wines from south west France. Their award winning wines come from estates dating back to the Medieval times which lie on the limestone foothills of the Massif Central. The climate here is warm and the slopes are swept by the hot Mediterranean wind known as the Autan.

There are dozens of pigeonniers (pigpigeoneon houses) dotting the vineyards as up until the 19th century the only fertilizer allowed on the vines was pigeon droppings. Gaillac winemakers have always been strict when it came to maintaining their wines quality and with the backing of the local lords, an early form of quality control was imposed: no wine from elsewhere could be imported into Gaillac so that it would not be adulterated.

Nowadays wines from Gaillac are starting to impress the wine critics once more. The only problem that wine lovers face is that the wines are difficult to get hold of outside France . . . until now! The 2013 vintage is available at £9.49 from Bordeaux-Undiscovered.

Enjoy!

Posted in Chateaux Profiles | Tagged | 4 Comments

Come and See Us at Chatsworth House at the Food and Drink Fair

chatsworth 3Nick will be at Chatsworth House at the Food and Drink Fair Thursday 5th – Sunday 8th June so please come along and join him to taste some great wines. Bordeaux-Undiscovered will have a super selection of our range and we’d love to see you! You can find us at Stall 1.

Over the 4 days there will be a mouth watering selection of the best food and drink on offer in the region. There are more than 80 stalls on the hill below the Stables featuring gourmet delights, seasonal specialities and dining accessories, and there will be food (and wine!) to enjoy on the day as well as to take home.chatsworth 2

Chatsworth is the stately home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in Bakewell, Derbyshire. It’s set in beautiful gardens and parkland and is a stunning location.

The Food and Drink Fair is open between 10:00am – 5:00pm. You can find more information on how to get there and on the attractions at their website: http://www.chatsworth.org/whats-on/events/food-and-drink-fair

We hope to see you there!

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Something Special for the London Wine Fair: Chateau La Fleur Morange

London Wine Fair LogoThe London Wine Fair 2014 opens its doors to the wine trade at Olympia from 2nd – 4th June and this year I am taking something special to show to the visitors. The London Wine Fair is the UK’s leading trade event and is essentially Britain’s festival of wine. This year it forms part of the inaugural London Wine Week, the first consumer wine festival of its type that will launch in the nation’s capital on 2nd June. As you can imagine with more than 10,000 trade visitors from 79 countries the wines I intend to exhibit need to be outstanding. They will need to impress all in the trade, from retailers to restaurateurs, from merchants to Masters of Wine.

Exhibition Board-2There is one wine that has has meteoric success which few in the trade have had chance to taste. It has received high acclaim from wine critics the world over, including Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker and it’s made in a tiny winery at Saint Pey d’Armens, in Saint Emilion, by Jean-François Julien and his wife Véronique, assisted by the renowned oenologist Claude Gros. It’s name is Chateau la Fleur Morange.

This wine has a story behind it that I have told many times but for those of you who haven’t heard it let me tell you a little about its birth. This is not a wine made at a great chateau with a history as long as your arm and a bank balance to match. This is a wine made by a modest and honest man who works very hard to make a good wine; a wine he, his wife and little daughter can be proud of.

lfm jfIn 1999 Jean-François, a skilled cabinet maker, and his wife, Véronique (who was born into the wine making family at Chateau du Basque) bought a few acres of vines from Chateau Gerbaud in Saint Pey d’Armens. Their intention from the very first was to create a wine that was at the top its game. Jean-François had taught himself the craft by reading the legendary French oenologist Emile Peynaud and realised that one of their tiny plots of vines – some of which are 100 years old – was capable of something great.

His hunch was right. The soil through which the 100 year old vines push their roots is unique.

lfm jf 4The vineyard lies on the foot of the hill of Saint Etienne de Lisse where the soil once lay under an ancient ocean. Fossilised oyster shells are embedded in the limestone here and the soil at La Fleur Morange is a combination of this chalky limestone and sandy clay over an iron oxide subsoil known as ‘crasse de fer’. This is the only complex mixture known to exist in Saint Emilion.

Jean-François is convinced that this unique soil contributes to the finesse of the tannins. What’s more the iron gives a slight taste of salt which makes your mouth water and with this in mind the Julien’s worked hard to exploit and develop the aromatic complexity and minerality of their wine. The end result is a sensual, voluptuous wine that expresses flavours of truffles and chocolate as it ages.

Exhibition Board-1The soil is only part of the story. Skill, sheer hard work and dedication have a lot to do with it as well. Nothing was spared when it came to the wine making process. Jean-François built the chai with unique temperature controlled vats that eliminate cold spots. The barrels are installed on a balcony high above the ground where malolactic fermentation can take place naturally.

The Juliens halfm sve every right to be proud; La Fleur Morange has become the flagship of the little village of Saint Pey d’Armens and the pride of its inhabitants, including the Mayor. Saint Pey d’Armens has its own Grand Cru Classé at last – La Fleur Morange was dramatically welcomed into the ranks of the Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé in 2012.

Production is limited due to the small size of the 4 acre vineyard but I have a real treat in store at the London Wine Fair. I am taking a vertical flight of vintages from 2003 through to 2011 of La Fleur Morange and of 2007 to 2011 of their Second Wine, Mathilde (named after Jean-François and Véronique’s little daughter) for the trade to taste.

Exhibition Board-4Sadly this show is not open to the general public but if you’d like to try La Fleur Morange or Mathilde for yourself you can find them at Interest In Wine, Bordeaux-Undiscovered‘s fine wine website. Likewise, if you’d like to arrange a tasting for a wine club or a group of friends please get in touch!

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Wine from the Woodlands – Discovering Chateau Chauvet

Chateau Chauvet smallChateau Chauvet is an award winning Claret from a small property that sits on the crest of a hill deep in the countryside around the tiny village of Saint Hilaire du Bois (St Hilary of the Woods). The village sits between the valleys of the River Vignague, which has its source at Soussac in Margaux, and the River Dropt. Here, the bucolic landscape is sparsely populated and the vineyards, fields of sunflowers and orchards are protected by swathes of dense woodland. Chauvet literally means ‘bald’ and refers to a clearing, carved out of the forest, whicHilaire_d-e7474h was used for growing grapes, fruit and vegetables centuries ago.

The patron saint of the village, Saint Hilary, was the Bishop of Poitiers in the 4th century and he was famed for his theological writings. He’s said to be the first Latin Christian hymn writer and the 12th century church in the village is dedicated to him. Saint Hilaire du Bois may be isolated but it is fertile and full of life. The village has held a flower feflowersstival for the past 60 years and truffles can be found in the woods.

Chateau Chauvet is made by a local family, who take their name from the area, who have been wine makers since 1880. The Chauvet brothers, Gerard, Gilbert and Claude, bought the vineyard in 1951, which covered 17 acres at this point in time. They heralded in a new era for the vineyard and gradually improved the land, bringing the total acreage up to the 103 acres it is today.

The current generation is represented by vineyardGregory Dalla Longa (Gerard’s son), a talented and award winning vigneron who took his first steps in the vineyard as a toddler. Having worked with his father and grandfather on every vintage since his early childhood, he knows the vineyard inside-out. A graduate in Oenology from the University of Bordeaux, he now works as winemaker and chauvet 3oenological consultant for a variety of different estates. Thanks to his skills and experience, he has taken the wine to another level, insisting on optimal ripeness for the grapes and fine-tuning the fermentation for better fruit and tannin extraction.

Gregory is a talented winemaker, Chateau Chauvet is a wonderfully well balanced Claret. It has deep brambly flavours of blackberry, rich blackcurrant and juicy red cherry with notes of violets, cigar box and cinnamon. This is a very well crafted wine with good structure. Satiny smooth and stylish, Chauvet is an absolhilaire du boisute bargain and the 2010 vintage is available for £7.99 from Bordeaux-Undiscovered.

Being so well balanced Chateau Chauvet is a super wine to pair with food. It’s excellent with game, duck, beef and lamb but also goes well with salamis, parma ham, poultry, meat basechauvetd pasta dishes . . . and, of course, truffles.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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