Uncorked: Under this heading, we collect various wines that we have tasted, and liked, recently. It can be wines that we have had during dinner at home, at wine tastings, press lunches, visits to vineyards, or other occasions.
We describe the wines just with a few short sentences, tasting notes that we hope will give you a short but accurate impression of what we thought of the wine, without delving into finer points tasting notes.
Some inspiration for more wine discoveries! As well as a perspective on what to expect from older wines.
Exclusive white Douro in limited edition, newly re-discovered and other very unusual grape varieties from the French Southwest, unusually tasty muscadet, several exciting reds from South Africa, natural wine from the Rhone Valley and a so-called solidarity wine from Languedoc.
Pedro Milanos 2017, Douro Branco, Quinta Senhora de Graça, Douro Valley, Portugal
Winemaker Vasco Valente Lopes at Quinta Senhora de Graça in the small village of São João de Lobrigos in the Douro Valley has made a pleasant white wine in a very limited edition, only 100 bottles (!). Our bottle was number 41. The grapes are the local malvasina fine, rabigato, codega and viosinho. Nicely structured with a good texture and mouthfeel. Aromas of peaches and melons.
You can dream up something nice with a good selection of fresh vegetables to pair with this slightly aromatic wine.
Le Fief Du Breil 2015, Domaine Jo Landron, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Loire Valley
An unusually aromatic Muscadet and also much more flavourful and complex than you would expect from this region. Fresh acidity, aromas of lemon and other citrus fruits, a little pineapple. A certain body thanks to the long ageing on the lees. Very nice wine. Jo Landron is a biodynamic pioneer in Muscadet. Ageing in a concrete tank on the lees (sur lie) for 30 months. Also, low alcohol, only 12%. (14 euro)
And in these curious times it was the same evening that we noticed and wondered about an aircraft in the sky flying past the Eiffel Tower. Not very often we see that now.
Verdanel 2017, Domaine Plageoles, Vin de France
From well-known Domaine Plageoles in Gaillac, an estate that loves to search for old, forgotten grape varieties. This grape variety called verdanel has been disappeared for hundreds of years but was miraculously found outside the town of Marseillan in Languedoc. However, it probably originated in Gaillac. Fermented with the natural yeast at relatively high temperatures. No oak ageing, instead we can taste the grape’s character of white flowers and ripe fruit. Quite discreet on the nose with slightly aromatic notes. Pleasant and quite full-bodied on the palate. A pleasant wine as well as being an interesting one. Organic. (13 euros)
This is a wine that you can serve for example with the not so well-known barbue (brill).
Boschkloof Syrah 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Excellent wine with some typical spicy aromas of the grape, such as cinnamon and cloves. Good balance between the fruit and the oak. Freshness in the finish. Boschkloof is an interesting family estate. The son, Reenen Borman, is a very innovative winemaker.
With this Boschkloof Syrah we had some delicious grilled lamb chops, in its simplicity, with a dash of creamy mushroom sauce and roast potato wedges. Some onion and red bell-pepper among the potatoes to season.
Laibach Claypot Merlot 2016, Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, South Africa
Soft merlot but with good freshness. Some oak but a good balance between the fruit and the oak and the warm spice. Organic. Claypot is the name of the vineyard. The clay in the soil means that they do not have to irrigate. Merlot thrives well in this type of soil. An organic wine made only in 18 barrels (5400 bottles).
Swiss cheese can be as good as French (if you avoid a tasteless standard “Swiss cheese”). A Mont Vully, made on the shores of the Neuchatel Lake and delivered by Fromager Quatrehomme in Paris, is a dream together with the Claypot.
Ulumbaza 2016, Red of Springfontein, Walker Bay, South Africa
Nice, fruity and unpretentious wine made from pinotage, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and a dash of petit verdot. Grapes come from limestone soil and are fermented with wild yeast. From the interesting estate Springfontein in Walker Bay. A steal. With a curious stamp on the label saying: “unfiltered, meticulous terroir viticulture, hand crafted, 100% vegan”. (~ 7 euros)
A wine full of charm that goes perfectly with a really delicious couscous merguez, just a little seasoned with harissa.
Galets Rouges 2018, Château Mourgues du Grès, Costières de Nîmes, Rhône Valley
Organic estate Mourgues du Grès makes a very interesting range of wines down in the Costières de Nîmes at the mouth of the Rhône River. In Galets Rouges we have dark fruit and a well-structured and elegant character. There are also some warm spices. For only 9 euro it is a steal.
Galet Rouges pairs perfectly with grilled lamb chops with a millefeuille courgettes-tomates and small onions.
L’Ancienne Cure 2016, Jour de Fruit, AOP Pecharmant, South West
Splendid wine, fruity, textured, balanced. The grapes are 60% merlot, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 10% cabernet franc. L’Ancienne Cure in Bergerac has long made excellent wines thanks to winemaker Christian Roche. (15 euros)
We enjoyed this wine the same evening that we finished our very last bottle of “Divin” from Barza Alba, the excellent brandy made in Moldova. It used to be called “cognac” but now the category denomination is Divin.
Clos des Mourres, NoVice, Côtes du Rhône 2018, Rhône Valley
Ingrid and Jean-Philippe Bouchet are organic winegrowers in Vaison la Romaine and produce wines with few or no additives. This wine has a clear natural wine style with a certain volatile acidity and a bit of a dry finish. The grapes are grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. Dark fruit and a good texture. With the food, the dry finish disappeared. (11 euros)
At the end of dinner this went well with three selected cheeses from the talent Paris cheese-monger Quatrehomme, saint-nectaire, epoisses and laqueuille (a blue cheese that deserves to be much better known).
Mansois 2018, Lionel Osmin & Cie, Le Conservatoire, AOP Marcillac, South West
Exciting wine from the Southwest made from the unusual grape fer servadou, also locally known as mansois. Plesant and powerful with an abundance of tannins and a high and fresh acidity. Nothing to drink on its own but excellent with food.
To such an unusual wine you can make a contrast with a great food classic, a wonderfully thick slice of entrecôte, grilled and served with grilled onions and French fries.
C…Marie 2016, Les Trois Saisons, Clos Marie, AOP Languedoc
A cuvée solidaire from Domaine Clos Marie in Pic Saint-Loup. Owner and winemaker Christophe Peyrus lost most of his 2016 harvest due to hail. He was however allowed to buy grapes from other wineries in Languedoc to still be able to make wine this year (normally he is not allowed to buy grapes as it requires a different business structure). A superb wine with elegance and texture. Smooth and fresh, complex, with vibrant juicy fruit. (15 euros)
This wine too went absolutely perfectly with a grilled lamb chop (we like lamb, as long as you make sure you don’t over-cook it; just a couple of minutes on the grill on each side, they should be very rare and tender inside).
And why not a really nice and cool gin and tonic on a hot day like today. 34 degrees C in the shadow in Paris today.
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