• Bordeaux blanc: insights into a growing thirst for quality

    White Bordeaux wine tasting notes review

    Tasting and talking about modern Bordeaux in respect of white wines, with wine consultant Mathieu Huguet.

    In terms of quantity, dry white wine production in Bordeaux may only be 9% of production but on my last recent visit, these (mostly) Sauvignon dominated blends made a much bigger percentile impact on my impression of Bordeaux.

  • Good ordinary and extraordinary claret

    Good ordinary claret and extraordinary claret

    People approach red wines from Bordeaux in myriad ways. Be it by budget, region, vintage, or, a mix of all three. For myself, I prefer the octopus approach: inquisitive tentacles and a wanton palate.

  • Le Grand Chai Castillon Cotes De Bordeaux 2009 (14% abv )

    Le Grand Chai 2009This offering from Laithwaites is worth writing about.  2009 is a real corker of a vintage for Bordeaux and this outlying area of Cotes de Castillon is no exception.  Judging by the bulky back label, Tony Laithewaite is also pretty impressed by this wine.  

    Hold the glass up to the light and notice the purple edges (meniscus) where the wine touches the glass.  This sign of youth is a precursor to bright redcurrant and a compote of fruit on the nose and a powerful mouthful of pleasure.   

    A good balance of acidity drives the bright fruity flavours home with rounded tannins that have kept Ch and I sipping in continuous motion (an empty bottle will break the spell!).

    A definite buy for all those laitwaites / Sunday times drinkers out there.  Pile it in.

    From £9.99  www.laithewiates.com

  • White Bordeaux tasting notes and food pairings

    Chateau Cerons 2020 Graves Blanc

    Scottie Gregory pairs a selection of white wines from Bordeaux with a range of inspiring food dishes.

    Berry Bros & Rudd Sauternes 2017 (made at Chateau Climens)

    chateau climens Berry Bros Rudd sauterne 2017

    As Chateau Climens declared that they would not be making any of their first wine in 2017, because of extensive frost damage in April of that year, I approached my tasting of this wine with some trepidation. But such fears turned out to be misplaced. This wine turned out to be delightful. Possibly more delicate than I remembered. But delicious nonetheless.

    My memory returned to some twenty years earlier when I thought that I had died and gone to heaven on Christmas morning. My daughter had arranged for her longest-standing friend to come for Christmas, whose partner just happened to be a Michelin star chef. His Christmas present to me was a whole Foie Gras, which he insisted on cooking me for breakfast!

     

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    I had, fortunately, put a bottle of Chateau Climens on the cold, tiled pantry floor the night before as I was going to serve it with Christmas pudding. But because Foie gras demands a good Sauterne……...!

     

    Both the Foie gras and Chateau Climens were out of this world!

    But I digress. The Berry Bros & Rudd Sauterne, we detected a honeyed nose, with hints of rosemary, orange peel and wild geranium. On the palate pears and acacia honey, with nectarines and peaches. But the most striking feature is its acidity combined with that honey, which makes it long on the palate and exceptionally well balanced.

    We drank the Berry Bros & Rudd Sauterne with Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was a perfect foil for the butteryness of the pudding.

    I have already mentioned that it is excellent with foie gras, as well as other puddings, such as Raspberry or Strawberry Pavlova, Raspberry Pannacotta and the late Gary Rhodes recipe, Apricot Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding. If pairing with Chinese food I would recommend trying it with Fried Pork Dumplings, if you are lucky enough to find a good dumpling chef, (I have to travel 40 miles to find one!) otherwise, just try with good old Pork Sweet and Sour, most people’s entry point to Chinese food.

    £14.95 from BBR

    Cháteau De Cérons 2020

    chateau de cerons graves blanc 2020

    Grown on classic Graves terroir made up of gravel and seashells, this a wine with a wonderful texture. It is made from 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillion and 10% Sauvignon Gris. On the nose, elderflower and blackcurrant leaf predominate. On the palate, pink grapefruit, nectarine, elderflower and cardamom, finishing with a refreshing, long mineral note.

    We drank this with my daughter’s very skilfully Roasted Chicken with sweet roast onions, which matched it superbly well. I would also try Chateau de Cérons with white fish such as Grilled Dover Sole or Plaice or Lemon Sole cooked simply en papillotte with butter, lemon and parsley. If looking for a Chinese food match any rich pork or chicken dish such as salt and pepper chicken or Ken Hom’s Shanghai Braised Pork recipe would be my suggestions, as its minerality would cut through the richness of the dishes. 

    £19.95 from Graves

    Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours, Blaye Cotes De Bordeaux

    chateau peybonnhomme la tours

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    The 3-hectare estate which produces this wine is located in Cars, close to Blaye and the bank of the Gironde River. Great effort is put into producing this wine in as natural a way as possible, the result is organic, low sulphites and a vegan friendly wine with lots of character. This wine was voted the most popular from this selection of white Bordeaux wines by my wine tasting friends and I loved it

    It is a 50/50 blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine has a fresh, citrus acidity on the nose, which balances perfectly the pineapple and mango on the palate and the subtle creamy notes that arise from one third of the wine being aged in French oak barrels. It is quite exotic and rather different from other white Bordeaux that I have tasted.

    We drank this wine with Porchetta stuffed with Lemon, Garlic and Sage and it went exceptionally well with it. It would enhance Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Belly Pork with white wine and powdered sage, another favourite of mine. Chateau Peybonhomme-Les-Tours would also be great with seafood dishes such as Brill Meuniére or prawn dishes, such as pasta with a cream, lemon and dill sauce. Tarragon chicken with a cream and lemon sauce might also be a good match for this wine. If matching with Chinese food, any Belly Pork dish featuring star anise would go down well. 

    £21.80 from Q Wines.

    Chateau Vignol, Entre-Deux-Mers   

    Chateau Vignol con pasta

    Château Vignol is the flagship property of the Doublets, a longstanding winegrowing family whose roots date back to the 18th century. In the 1970s, husband and wife Bernard and Dominique Doublet decided to focus on producing some of the most delicious Entre-Deux-Mers, Bordeaux’s fresh white wine and heavily invested in the family property. Over time, they purchased additional estates in the neighbouring regions of Graves and St. Emilion. Today, they produce a number of wines with their two sons, Alexandre and Jean-Thomas who joined the business in 1996.

    The grapes in this white Bordeaux are Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle and Sauvignon Gris

    The soil on which the grapes are grown is clay and limestone, which gives the wine its minerality. On the nose pear, apple, melon which are also experienced with lemon, linden and elderflower on the palate. 

    This wine would go well with soft goat’s cheese, pasta in white sauce and Italian Butter Lemon Chicken or just quaffing with friends at a summer party. On an oriental note, this would also pair well with any Chinese fish dish incorporating fresh ginger.

    £13.80 from Friarwood

    Calvet Cremant De Bordeaux

    calvet party Bordeaux Cremant

    This Cremant is made from Semillion and Cabernet Franc.

    Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux is a delightfully luminous golden colour in the glass. On the nose  toasted brioche, elderflower, apple and lemon which combines with peach and pear on the palate. It displays a very fine mousse that lasts. I am going to use this wine for pre-prandial canapés and as the main drink for summer parties. as I had forgotten all about it. Cremant de Loire, Cremant de Bourgogne and  Cremant d’Alsace feature in my shopping basket regularly. And now that I know that I can get it from Ocado for £12, I shall.   

     

  • White Bordeaux wine and oysters...

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Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 

 

As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.

 

 

Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!

 

Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.

 

Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.

 

The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.

 

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