Susan Adda catches up with Vincent Laval, organic producer from the famed Champagne Georges Laval, one of the first crop of organic growers in Champagne in the early 1970's!

In this interview Vincent explains how important the terroir is in producing his champagne. He and his small team place their intense focus on the vineyard, managing the vines by hand and encouraging life to grow as much as possible. This life among the vines is then expressed in the champagne as a precise representation of Cumiéres terroir, where the grapes are grown. 

You get a sense of the spirit of the Cumiéres in these wines - itself a really beautiful and tranquil place. At the Terres et Vins de Champagne tasting in Reims, we were lucky enough to taste the "vins clairs" (clear wines). The chardonnay, Les Chénes, has a subtle perfume with incredible richness in the mouth. Really makes me go "hmmmmmmm!".

Les Chénes 2012 - really good balanced acidity, white fruit characters, bags of class... one more glass syndrome written all over it - around 1700 bottles produced!

Les Hautes-Chevres 2012 - Deliciously powerful, really fresh bright acidity, slightly nutty and fresh fruit. 1500 bottles produced!

vincent laval chalking up the label

 

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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.

 

Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 

 

It’s been a hot couple of weeks here trekking around northern Catalonia. From the homeland and backdrop to surrealist Salvador Dali’s world to dramatic remnants of the volcano park an hour away, this place is a land of rough-hewn vistas and rustic hospitality.

 

It’s a scorching summer evening in Regent’s Park and what is my glass is of premium importance. The fact that Britain is experiencing a thorough multi-day licking from the sun, is itself unconventional, as are the pourers at this evenings tasting: 4 wine producers from the appellation AOC Ventoux in the southern Rhone.

 

Carluccio's deli and restaurants are a high-street staple, where great flavours in food blend easily with quality wines on the list. Following the death of the charismatic founder, Antonio Carluccio, his spirit lives on in style and philosophy. Nick Breeze talks to Head of International Operations (especially where wine is concerned!), Mike Stocks about wine-list tips, food matching and the great man of "mof mof":

 

Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.

 

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