Douro Valley’s Quinta do Noval acquires neighbour, Quinta do Passadouro

It has been a busy year for Douro Valley port and dry wine producer, Quinta do Noval. February saw the release of Noval's dry wine range in London, and in the summer, Managing Director Christian Seely joined the Fladgate Partnership’s Adrian Bridge, and Symington family’s Charles Symington at the Tate Modern to show to the trade the newly declared 2017 vintage.

Now, as the 2019 harvest approaches, Quinta do Noval announces the acquisition of their neighbour, the family-owned, Quinta do Passodouro.

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Bordeaux; Grand Cru Classè fatigue and the force of emerging change

Tradition makes a mockery of terroir?

At the recent Grand Cru Classé London tasting of 2015-18 vintages, a fellow taster I was talking to vented his frustration, saying, “I can’t be bothered with it. It is a waste of time.” He went on to say that he had spoken to the new winemaker at Chateau [X] asking him what it was like as a trained winemaker to be “unleashed on this classed growth vineyard in Bordeaux?” When the reply came back, “I spent six months learning how to make Chateau [X]”, the die was cast. “It makes a mockery of any type of terroir in Bordeaux!”

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Pauillac versus Saint Julien in top vintages

It was a great pleasure to be invited to Trinity College, Cambridge to a tutored tasting of wine pairings comparing Pauillac and Saint Julien. Prof. Stephen Elliot guided the tour of these top vintages of 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2000, and 1996, with a mystery wine thrown in at the end, to guess which commune it came from.

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Interview: Quinta do Noval's Christian Seely on producing dry wine in the Douro

The roots of ambition

Speaking at a recent launch of port house Quinta do Noval’s range of new-look red wines, Managing Director Christian Seely digs into the terroir to reveal the fruits of his carefully exercised labour. Is the beautiful undulating land of the Douro, with its extreme climate and steeply terraced vineyards, working its way to joining the ranks of Europe’s highest regarded dry red producers? 

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Review: Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Reserva, 2014, Peninsula de Setubal, Portugal

Inky dark ruby hue. Immediately reminiscent of LBV port. Mulberry, strawberry, chocolate. Elegant use of oak to soften and hook us back in for next sniff & sip. Very stylish wine from the Peninsula de Setubal, just south of Lisbon, Portugal. 

Periquita Reserva 2014, fab pick from @DulwichVintners for £12.50... cool blend of Castelao (54%), Touriga Nacional (28%), & Touriga Francesa (18%).

Available in-store or online from Dulwich Vintners

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CVNE Rioja Reserva 2014 Review

A quality Rioja that never disappoints. This deep, succulent, rich red will take the edge off the hardest day. Lovely complex range of flavours including leather and vanilla from the oak, smooth rounded tannin intertwine with ripe satisfying cherry flavours. 

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Couvent des Jacobins, Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Louis Jadot, 2015 Review

Feeling perfectly Autumnal with this benchmark classic pinot noir from Louis Jadot. Really bright red fruit, with great structure and lip-smacking food-pairing ability. We served with a vegetable curry with lentil salad. “One bottle is never enough” says our dining companions.

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Chateau Sainte-Marie 'Alios', Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2015 Review

under 25 blueMerlot (74%), Cabernet Sauvignon (21%), petit verdot (10%) 

A decent combination of dark fruit and spice, chocolate and tannic grip. It is drinking very well now and I have opened with friends who all commented on the quality of the wine. Great for this time of year with wild boar, venison, rabbit.

Vines situated on a steep slope of 24º, gravel and iron soil (hence Alios). Alios ripens faster because the soil absorbs the heat and the southern facing slope exposes them to more sun. 

Stainless steel tanks for fermentation. Soft extraction using pumping over twice the volume of the tank. Fermentation in tank and then moved to french 400litre oak barrels for 12 months. The larger barrel allows for less exchange of flavour with the oak.

For more information on buying visit Wine-Searcher

Main article and discussion with Stephane Dupuch of Chateau Sainte-Marie: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers: Interview and tasting with Stephane Dupuch

Tasting notes for the following wines can be found here:

Château Sainte-Marie, Vielles Vignes blanc - Madlys, Château Sainte-Marie, 2016 - Château-Sainte-Marie, Vieilles Vignes, Bordeaux Supérieur, 2016 - Chateau Sainte-Marie 'Alios', Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2015

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Château-Sainte-Marie, Vieilles Vignes, Bordeaux Supérieur, 2016 Review

under 25 pounds72% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon 

Dark fruit, very elegant, violets. Ripe but not overripe. 2016 was a cooler vintage than 2015. The 2015 are bigger in fruitiness and ready to drink but the 2016 have a more elegant character, are more balanced. These will age well. 

For more information on buying visit Wine-Searcher

Main article and discussion with Stephane Dupuch of Chateau Sainte-Marie: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers: Interview and tasting with Stephane Dupuch

Tasting notes for the following wines can be found here:

Château Sainte-Marie, Vielles Vignes blanc - Madlys, Château Sainte-Marie, 2016 - Château-Sainte-Marie, Vieilles Vignes, Bordeaux Supérieur, 2016 - Chateau Sainte-Marie 'Alios', Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2015

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Louis Jadot’s Beaujolais Village 2016 - Review

under 25 blueAt this time of year the palate starts to crave refreshing wines that match the seasonal menus and attire. Red wines that are full bodied are fine for big food dishes, bbq’s or cooler nights, but having wines made from the Gamay grape is a good strategy.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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":

 

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