Wednesday, 28 August 2013

HV Wines - Zelige-Caravent Ellipse 2010 Languedoc, truly a must to discover and a huge up and coming talent.

Zelige-Caravent Ellipse 2010 Languedoc, France

The Languedoc-Roussillon is the largest vineyard in France, for a long time it was the pichet (jug) of France. Masses of wine was produced to satisfy the demand in the capital (Paris) and North of France of easy, cheap drinking wine. For long the region did not received any merit for excellent wine producing. But the Languedoc-Roussillon with Provence are the oldest wine regions in France. In the fifth century before Christ the Greeks had already planted vines around the town of d'Agde. Then the Romains took over and exported the wines from the south to Rome and Germany, but when the Empire crumbled (they all do one day) the wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon lost the international reputation. From the ninth century many monasteries produced and distributed their wines but they for most stayed only consumed regionally. It's only in the seventeenth century thanks to the construction of the port of Sete and the Canal du Midi that the wines retook a flurry of  life outside the region. The Languedoc-Roussillon was then 460,000 hectares of wine and proclaimed as the biggest wine region in the world and it still holds this titles but the size has been reduced to 246,000 hectares.
The region (only Languedoc) produces all grapes combined about 12,7 million hectolitres and of that 1,245,000 hectolitres in AOC Languedoc.
The styles of wine are majority red wine but also dry whites, rose, sparkling (Limoux) and sweet wines (muscats)

Principal Grape Varieties

Red: (AOC) Grenache noir, Syrah, Carignan, Mouvedre, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon.

White: Grenache Gris and Blanc, Macabeu, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Vermentino (Rolle), Muscat a petits grains, Muscat d'Alexandrie, Marsanne, Roussanne, Piquepoul, Chardonnay, Mauzac, Chenin, Ugni Blanc.

So far the potential ageing of the Languedoc wines are about 8 years plus, but there has been wines from that region been consumed much older and were still in good conditions. So I keep my judgement open for now as this is after all the new world region in the old world.

Languedoc Visual: the wines are in general dressed with a violet, carmine red and sometimes even darker when the maceration has been long. The Rose's have a dress pale pink and shiny. The whites appear in a colour straw yellow, green, transparent for the dry whites to a golden colour for the sweet wines.

Languedoc Nose: Aromas of red fruits (raspberry, blackcurrant) dominate on the young wines. The association of spices and peppers when the Carignan and Syrah grape have been matured in carbonic maceration process. After five to six years the wine evolves towards leather like and dry fruits, grilled almonds flavours. When the vines finds themselves close to the garrigues then bay leaves take over. The Rose wines a very distinctive due to their very intense floral notes (acacia) and red fruits as well (cherries). On the nose the whites offer the aromas of apricot, citrus, infusion of garrigues, spice and honey.

Languedoc palate: The red wines show power and discreet aromas in their young stage of their life but later on the develop into wonderful and complex beautiful structured wines. The gravel based wines offer more mineral aromas and softer tannins. A soft, round and ample wine for the rose as for the whites it's a flavoursome, fresh approach with a dominant aspect of structure and depth.

The AOC of the Languedoc:
Red and Rose wine,
In the Aude: La Clape, Quatrourze
In the L'Herault: Corbieres, Coteaux de la Mejanelle, Gres de Montpellier (only red), Montpeyroux, Pezenas, Pic-Saint-Loup, Saint-Christol, Saint-Drezery, Saint Georges-d'Orques, Saint-Saturnin, Terrasses du Larzac, Coteaux de Verargues.
White wines,
In the Aude: La Clape
In the L'Herault: Picpoul-de-Pinet
Languedoc Vintages:
2011: 16/20
2010: 17/20
2009: 15/20
2008: 15/20
2007: 16/20
2006: 15/20
2005: 15/20
2004: 15/20
2003: 15/20
2002: 12/20
2001: 16/20
2000: 16/20
(rating references 14/20 acceptable, 15-15.5/20 average wine, 16-16.5/20 good wine, 17-18/20 very good wine, 18.5-19.5/20 excellent wine, 20/20 perfection)

Zelige-Caravent Ellipse 2010 Languedoc,
(truly a must to discover and a huge up and coming talent.)
This winery is truly remarkable and special, even so it is hard to stay biased as it is here i started my practical work for my studies. But i am proud and happy, as many high profile critics agree with me. Luc-Marie Michel and Marie Michel are truly a couple with ambition, vision and talent. They have been working hard and with conviction and the result pays off, their wines are in many high end restaurants around the world. Here in the UK they are exposed in one of my favourite wine shops here in London, Roberson on High street Kensington.
The winery is set in the picturesque village of Corconne, they have now 12 hectares of vines, planted in plots all around the area. Luc Marie and Marie, selected in   reds: Alicante, Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah as to their believe that's what the soil requires to produce the perfect product. The whites are Chasan and Roussane.
Zelige Caravent is a name surely to remember and if you can to try and taste, there is art and creativity in their wines, there is joy and professionalism, substance and identity. By many said over here in the UK, a new rising star in winemaking. I am proud to call them my friends.
Grape Variety: Syrah (shiraz) 50%, Carignan 40% and Cinsault 10%
Bought: Roberson wine
Price: £16.95
Visual: Dark ruby red with a very clean and neat appearance. The legs are heavy so indicating a high content of Alcohol (14%). Looks fresh, young and energetic
Nose: A burst of fruits and with blackcurrant as the main drive, so a totally fruity based wine, very typical of the region. When you let it breath for awhile then you have Chocolate flavours and a slightly eucalyptus hint once you add some air to it. The wine show a good balance in aromas and regardless of the high content of alcohol it does not overwhelm you.  
Palate: The fruits keep on coming and invade the palate with kindness and structure. It warms the palate gently and the fruit stay extremely fresh. The Tannins are light and the acidity is balanced. The middle is straight and not lazy and it holds fairly well at the end. This wine is absolutely light to medium and holds well together, a strong leadership of construction if this wine is truly apparent and marks clearly the identity of the terroir and the wine makers. 
Conclusion: I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to keep track now of this up coming domain. This is one of 8 of the family (pretty substantial) and I see why people love this wine. It has all the elements and tools to become one of the star players of the region and I believe they will. Their wines are snatched up left right and centre all over. Very well made and a just price according to what is produced. Truly remarkable. 

Rating: 18/20 

So till next time please drink responsibly. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

HV Wines - Piedmont, pretty much the best wine region in Italy!


It is with all and with anything, there will always be a supreme a best a most adored. In Italy for me it stands solid in Piedmont, with its charm, character, talent, authentic Italian identity, craft and talent.

The Langhe and Montferrato hills are the two aces in the hand of a region which has combined the defence of its tradition and the renewal of its wine making technology and know-how. Exceptional opportunities for the wine-loving visitor.

Piedmont has 43 DOC (dinominazione di origin controlata) and 7 DOCG (dinominazione di origin controlata et garantita) wines. Piedmont is one of the most prestigious wine-producing regions in Italy and according to many the best in terms of quality. This is a territory where wine is synonymous with culture, with centuries-old artisan tradition, where there is the ambitions to build, with its wines as the foundation, new opportunities for economic development and preservation of the environment.

The area is divided into two major parts, the most important can be found in the southeast and extends from Monferrato hills, on the right of the river Po, to the Langhe, bisected by the Tanaro and includes the province of Asti and Alessandria as well the part of the province of Cuneo. The seconds is on the foothills of the Alps, from Cuneo across the provinces of Turin, Biella, Vercelli, and Novara up to Verbania. These areas differ in terms of Geological origins and, consequently, in the character of their soil.

The Territory of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Soil and climate combine in the Langhe and the Monferrato hills to create wines of an exceptional level: red wines, with Asti Spumante as a leading example. An analysis of the cultivation of the grape, dividing it into three distinct zones, can only underline the extreme versatility of this part of Piedmont. Barbera, Nebbiolo and to a lesser extend Grignolino are the most used and successful red grapes in the region as well this is the region of the long ageing wines.

Nebbiolo and its entourage
The viticulture of Piedmont is essentially based on local grapes, cultivated for centuries and by now perfectly adapted to the specific conditions of the region: new varieties have been introduced only more recently to enlarge the gamut for markets looking for important wines but also more affordable ones. Seventy percent of the vineyards are planted with red grapes, thirty percent to white. Nebbiolo, is existence already documented in the Middle Ages, is by definition the grape of Piedmont and it gives birth to such Piedmontese wines as Barolo and Barbarsco, Gattinara, and Ghemme, all DOCG.

The most planted red grape is Barbera, which accounts for 50% of the total regional acreage. Then it is Dolcetto, Freisa, Grignolino, Bonarda, Brachetto, and Malvasia. Moscato is the most white grape planted in the region with the famous Moscato d'Asti about 80 million bottles plus produced annually. The other white grapes planted in the region are, Cortese (Gavi di Gavi), Erbaluce, and Arneis, while Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Italico, Riesling Renano, Chardonnay, Sylvaner, and Muller Thurgau are of more recent date.

Here the stars of Piedmont.

The best producer in the country is without a doubt
Angelo Gaja

La Spinetta

Elio Altare

Giacomo Conterno

Domenico Clerico

Bruno Giacosa

Cascina La Barbatella

So here some light on what Italy does really well. If you have the opportunity to sip those wines truly believe me close your eyes and smell feel and enjoy the vibe and drive that is Italy.

till next time please drink responsibly.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

HV Wines - The Aromatic Series for White Wines

Aromatic series                                         Aromas                                                       Wines
Vegetables                                                Fresh Herbs, Cut hay,                                 Young wines, Early
                                                                     Fresh leaves                                                Harvest, Chenin                                                                                                                             
                                                                     Infusion, Death leaves                              Chardonnay

                                                                     Boxwood, Ivy, Fern                                   Sauvignon

                                                                     Tea, Tobacco                                              Oak Fermented

                                                                     Undergrowth, Mushrooms                     Old Wines


                                                                     Mint,Thyme, Anise, Fennel, Truffle      Rolle,Clairette


                                                                    Acacia, Rose, Honeysuckle                     Chardonnay

                                                                    Violet,Iris, Rose,Hawthorn,                    Aromatic grape
                                                                    Heather, Broom,                                        Riesling,Viognier

White flesh fruit                                    Apple, Peach, Pear,Melon,Apricot    Mauzac, Marsanne,
                                                                                                                                     Semillon, Liquorice
                                                                                                                                       wines, Muscat

Citrus                                                        Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon, Citrus    Sauvignon, Liqourice
                                                                   zests                                                        wines

Exotic Fruits                                           Litchi, Pineapple, Mango, Quince      Manseng, Sauvignon

Dry fruits                                                Nuts, Hazelnut, Almonds                   Old Chardonnay,Marsanne

SPICE                                                       Cinnamon,Vanilla, Cloves                     Oak fermented wines

OAK & BALSAMIC                                   Oak, Balsa, Cedar, Resin, Pine,            Oak fermented wines

EMPYREUMATIC                                     Smoke, Grilled, Tobacco,Caramel        Oak fermented wines

MINERAL                                                 Flinty, Gasoline,Chalk                             Sauvignon, Riesling

FERMENT                                                 Yeast, Bread crumb, Brioche,             Yeast fermented wine
                                                                 Butter, Drop, Varnish, Yoghurt

CHEMICAL                                                 Sulphur                                                    too much SO2
                                                                 Alcohol, Rotten eggs                             Reduction
                                                                 Iodine                                                       Manzanilla

HONEY CONFECTIONARY                       Honey,Praline,Almond paste                 Sweet wines          SWEET                                                    Beewax                                                     Old wines 


Thursday, 15 August 2013

HV Wines - Le Cloitre du Chateau Prieure Lichine 2008 Margaux

Le Cloitre du Chateau Prieure Lichine 2008 Margaux

Margaux is the only AOC Parish of the Haut-Medoc holding the name of a 1st classified growth. Also the only appellation holding a female name. The AOC system for Margaux was created in 1954. The surface of production is 1,400 hectares and a average production is 68,000 hectolitres. The air of Margaux is stretched out over five parishes, Margaux, Cantenac, Labarde, Soussans et Arsac. The selection of the best soils in the appellation holds one of the best  breeches of gravel in the entire Bordeaux wine region. This helps giving Margaux's greatest aromatic finesse and their great strength to age.
Margaux finds itself to the south of the Medoc, in a landscape with forest, hills and breeches. The gravel of Margaux  are bigger than the gravel further north, this allows the soil to drain very well. Margaux is also the appellation the most imposing with 21 crus classes out of 70.
Margaux produces about 9 million bottles a year, 21 crus classes, 25 crus Bourgeois, 38 Crus artisans.

The Margaux grapes are; cabernet-sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, malbec and carmenere. Nature of the soil Gravel.
The potential ageing of the Margaux wines, 12 to 25 years+

Margaux visual: The dress colour of Margaux subscribes itself to the traditional appearance of the Medoc, by its intensity who holds very well during its long ageing life. Young the wine announces its structure and its potential for ageing by a colour of strong ruby or garnet red.

Margaux on the nose: The vividness and elegance appear on a palate exceptionally large and complex. Straight away the fruits hold an importance (cherries and currants) on which a mixture of notes inviting you to a voyage of cinnamon, spices, roasted aromas. When older the bouquet offers perfumes of undergrowth and mushrooms and cloves.

Margaux on the palate: Rich, full, fleshy, sharp, Margaux shows when young, its ambitions but shows it without temper nor arrogance. Its softness and aromatic complexity follow the indicating on the nose, gives Margaux a harmonious character et splendid seduction. Its refined, persistent and the final note pulls length very few wines can do. Perfectly constructed, Margaux's evolves happily all along its life. The tannins melt bit by bit to give you  a round and smooth ensemble, warm and generous. The final leaves the taster with the impression of harmony, refinement and elegance.

The crus classed in Margaux

1st growth
Chateau Margaux
2nd growth
Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Chateau Dufort-Vivens, Chateau Lascombes,  Chateau Rauzan-Segla, Chateau Rauzan-Gassies.
3rd growth
Chateau Boyd-Cantenac, Chateau Cantenac-Brown, Chateau Desmirail, Chateau Ferriere, Chateau Giscours, Chateau d'Issan, Chateau Kirwan, Chateau Malescot-Saint-Exupery, Chateau Marquis d'Alesme Becker, Chateau Palmer.
4th growth
Chateau Marquis du Terme, Chateau Pougt, Chateau Prieure-Lichine
5th growth
Chateau Dauzac, Chateau du Tertre.

Margaux's vintages  (R.Parker notes, this is rated on the region)
2012       88/100   (above average to excellent)                            early maturing
2011       87/100 (above average to excellent)                              early maturing
2010       95/100 (outstanding)                                                          still tannic, youth, slow to mature
2009       97/100 (extraordinary)                                                      early maturing
2008       90/100 (outstanding)                                                          early maturing
2007       86/100 (above average to excellent)                              early maturing
2006       88/100   (above average to excellent)                            early maturing
2005       98/100 (extraordinary)                                                      still tannic, youth, slow to mature
2004       87/100 (above average to excellent)                              still tannic, youth, slow to mature
2003       88/100   (above average to excellent)                            Irregular even in the best wines
2002       88/100   (above average to excellent)                            still tannic, youth, slow to mature
2001       89/100 (above average to excellent)                              early maturing
2000       94/100   (outstanding)                                                       still tannic, youth, slow to mature

Le Cloitre du Chateau Prieure Lichine. 2008

Alexis Lichine, nicknamed the “Pope of wine”, took over Château Prieuré-Cantenac in 1951 and gave it his name two years later. With quiet patience and determination, he pioneered the early days of Margaux’s renaissance, adding new terroirs to his estate and rebuilding the ancient priory home with modern furnishings.
He was an excellent wine-maker, an unrivalled taster and a tireless ambassador for Bordeaux wines and wrote several books that became best sellers across the world. He died at Prieuré -Lichine on June 1st 1989.
When during the October 1917 Revolution, a little 4-year old boy left Moscow with his parents for France, nothing suggested that he was destined for an illustrious career in wine. Towards the end of the interwar period in Paris however, the young Alexis was to acquire some early commercial experience in that field.
He then developed a passionate interest in wine and, after gaining experience both in the international market and in direct sales to private customers (much in fashion in those days), Alexis Lichine widened his wine horizons and left for his first stay in the United States.
During the Second World War he was called up and took part in the American landings in Provence in August 1944. Promoted to the rank of Major and aide-de-camp for General Eisenhower, Alexis Lichine, once demobbed, returned to France (his first adopted country) to visit the vineyards and taste the wines. Scanning many of the European vineyards to replenish the cellars of the prestigious New York Waldorf-Astoria hotel and those of the famous French restaurant, Antoine, in New Orleans, he then created his own range, "Sélections Alexis Lichine". His knowledge of wines was vast, and sensing that wine-growing was in his blood, he sought a viney
Grape varieties: cabernet sauvignon (~50%), merlot (~42%), petit verdot (~6%), cabernet france (~2%)
Bought: Delhaize (Belgium)
Price: 19.99 euros
Visual: Light ruby red, discreet but not shy. Young in appearance, elegant not muscle like wine. A brilliance to acceptance and correct.
Nose: Spice, oak, Currants, Blackberries, little cherries towards the end. The attack is modest and not aggressive, it initiate layers of fruits one after the other. The alcohol makes a slight appearance but not hidden.
Palate: As with many Margaux's they are subtle and elegant, this wine warms slightly the palate and the tannins are still present as the gums give the dry aspect. The fruits spread out evenly, aromas and acidity are acceptable and pleasant.
Conclusion: For their second wine, this 2008 was when I tasted it a couple days ago pretty mature and ready to drink. This wine was open and mature, the work of the winemaker and the consultant (Derenoncourt) gives light to this wine, making its way up the ranks. 2008 for Margaux was very good and this wine will stand the time until 2020 the furthest. I had a very pleasant experience with this wine. This wine for the price I paid is extreme good value for money.
Rating: I give this wine 17-17.5/20 (all the wines are rated at the price range bought and their technical aspect)

Till next time please do drink responsibly 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

HV Wines - Truly Cool "Some Young Punks", Passion Has Red Lips 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

Some Young Punks, Passion has Red Lips 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz

South Australia:
South Australia rightly calls itself the wine state, even so Victoria (the neighbour) may have more wineries and regions. It has 48 per cent of the nation's vineyards, is responsible for 48.6 percent of the annual crush, makes more than 50 percent of the annual wine output. It was not always like that, in 1889, at the height of Victoria's production (before the onset of Phylloxera, a louse that sucks the sap of the vine a total killer), South Australia produced 2.29 million litres compared to Victoria's 7.1 million litres. Federation (which removed state duties) and the progressive opening of Riverland areas along the Murray river let to an all time high share of 80 percent by South Australia in 1946.  By the 80's it contributed to the national make varied between 58 and 65 percent according to the vagaries of vintage.
In 1991 it was responsible or 51 percent of crush, so it might seem that there has been little change. In fact, in that year Australia made 394 million litres of wine; 2004 the total was 1432 million litres. The majority of the viticultural activities huddles in the south-eastern corner of the state. A great variations in soils, altitude latitude and land forms makes this region extremely interesting for wine making. Adeliade the capital of South Australia with its famous wine regions like, Barossa Valley, Clare Valey, Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Mc Claren Vale and Coonawarra.

Region: McLaren Vale (Fleurieu zone); Unlike the Silesian background of the Barossa Valley and Clare Valley, the development of the Southern vales-from Reynella to McLaren Vale to Langhorne Creek - was almost exclusively due to the effort of three Englishmen. John Rynell, Thomas Hardy and Dr. A. C. Kelly.
Despite the early start- John Reynell laid the foundations for Chateau Reynella in 1838- viticulture initially played a second fiddle to wheat. As soon the fertile soil was exhausted the wheat disappeared as fast as it came. In large part thanks to the huge success of Thomas hardy, the pace of viticulture picked up steadily through the 1880's and 1890's.  Early twentieth century over three million litres of wine was produced.
The prosperity was in large part founded on the English trade, with the staple export dark-coloured, high alcohol, tannic dry red wine of legendary medicinal value.
McLaren Vale shared in the prosperity of the 1960's and 1970's, and became quickly the spiritual home of the small wineries in Australia, boasting more small wineries than any other region by the early 1970's.
The opportunities for expansion are extremely limited, not so much by urban expansion as by severe shortage of water for irrigation. The underground watertable is severely depleted, and additional surface catchment has been prohibited since the 1990's while an extensive water resource study is carried out.

Predominant grape varieties:
Red; Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo.
White; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

South Australia Vintages:
(James Halliday scores)

2011 red, 7/10 = 70-79/100               white, 8/10 = 80-89/100
2010 red, 8/10 = 80-89/100               white, 7/10 = 70-79/100
2009 red, 8/10 = 80-89/100               white, 7/10 = 70-79/100
2008 red, 7/10 = 70-79/100               white, 7/10 = 70-79/100
2007 red, 7/10 = 70-79/100               white, 6/10 = 60=69/100
2006 red, 8/10 = 80-89/100               white, 7/10 = 70-79/100
2005 red, 8/10 = 80-89/100               white, 8/10 = 80-89/100
2004 red, 9/10 = 90-99/100               white, 7/10 = 70-79/100

Some Young Punks, Passion has red lips 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon/ Shiraz

Grape Variety: Shiraz 51%, Cabernet Sauvignon 49%

Producer: Some young Punks

Wine makers: Jen Gardner, Nic Bourke, Col McBryde
"We blame the booze. The whiff and the swill did us in and all that was left to do was to make more. In many ways the wines that weren’t worth the pull on the cork caused this as much as the wines that we will never have the pleasure of decorking again. This is Passion, a monster bigger than the three of us that leads us to soapbox, grandstand and sometimes pass out on the couch.
We wanted to do something that had been done before, to make exceptional wine with small estate charm.
The ethos is simple, self centred, and just a little arrogant. We make charismatic wines that are true to what we think ‘wine’ should be about. If someone doesn’t like the way we do it then they had better put the bottle down because there’s already not enough to go around.

Each wine, each vintage, and each label is a moment that will never come again - a winemaker should only ever promise to be consistently good, never just consistent. Each time we make a wine it may be the last wine we make - and if it isn’t worthy of being the last then it will never wear the Some Young Punks name.
  We believe that awesome wine is a powerful aid to creativity, there is always the danger that while drinking a bottle of Punks you may also be pushed to acts of random winemaking, it definitely keeps us ticking over.

The evidence: I refer you, the jury, to the gaudy bottles of plonk stamped Some Young Punks. It’s OK to judge a book by its cover, we judged the covers of books to decide on these labels. We need you to see us, and we don’t have lineage, or title in that respect.
This beautiful trade-off left us plenty of time to talk and drink and then talk some more. And when it was time we bottled it. Presto.”

Bought at: Whole Foods, High Street Kensington

Price:  €16 $17 £13.99

Visual: The wine looks vibrant, young and energetic, a dark velvety purple colour. Legs sliding slowly down on the wall of the glass, indicates that it contains a good share of alcohol (14.3%)

Nose: The first thing that hits you is the fruits, dark cherries, plum, blackcurrants very warm and ripe. Then a slight Smokey flair appear (very lightly) with a following of tobacco and chocolate. A wine definitely driving you to an excitement of guilty pleasures.  

Palate: The explosion of fruits on the palate is only an understatement, a fair freshness conducts the ride, but a tiny laziness on the edges which for me lacks a slight bit of extra acidity, but not taking away of the adventure enjoyed as this is a well crafted wine. The middle holds well together and it has a medium/short finish. Pleasure is truly here and it presents itself as a different style and breed of wine. Young, vibrant and exciting.

Rating: A well deserved 17/20 70/100 (rated as a good wine)

Conclusion: I haven't had many discoveries with so much fun and audacity. These guys (and girl) have truly set a mark and their marketing, image is truly one to look out for. Great Stuff.

Till next time and please drink responsibly.   

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

HV Wines - Château Les Grands Chenes Medoc 2007 Cru Bourgeois


Spending time roaming the four corners and of course as always I nose around and look out for bargains that is if there are any! Most of the time I do catch one and this time it is Chateau Les Grands Chenes 2007 Cru Bourgeois.

Bernard Magrez, started as a negociant in Bordeaux selling millions of bottles to supermarkets. In 1990  he founded the group Bernard Magrez and finally got himself his first Domaine, and what a domaine Chateau Pape Clement Pessac-Leognan, Grand Cru Classe de Graves.

He quickly expanded his empire today he has vineyards in France, Spain, Portugal, USA, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Morocco and Japan. As it states the obvious, the man holds truly an empire, but France is where he owns most of the properties.

He is a gentleman with one vision, producing amazing good quality wines. Of course he has his style very much Bordeaux identity which you will recognize in pretty much all his wines but if you can lay your hands on his Pape Clement (as well white or red) then you will understand to what point he try to achieve the quality in the wines he produces. Yes, not all will reach the heights of a Pape Clement but a baseline will you find of his identity in the wines with his name on it.
Of course for those that do not have the pockets to splash out on over €111 £100 $130 a bottle, then there are quite a variety of his wines that are very affordable and really enjoyable to drink.

Today I want to en light you on the Medoc Cru Bourgeois Chateau Les Grands Chenes 2007 bought for just €12.59 $14.85 £11.30(retail). It was in a supermarket known for their large Bordeaux selection and connection.

You can find it in the UK and USA, for those who need the engine to find it

So this wine;  The year 2007: Not a great vintage for Bordeaux, the weather has been unstable and irregular. The winter, spring and summer was of inadequate elements, so 2007 is a vintage that you will be able to consume young, as well the price overall is much lower than some other vintages. 2007 for the growths classification are available to drink from 4 years on, and will hold for about 15/20 years. Need to mention as it comes up a lot in conversations when mention the vintage. It is not because the vintage has been unfavoured for the vine that for that the wine will be not good. In a not so good year the winemaker has to work tripple as hard to make sure that he gets the best out of his vines, still making a good wine, just not as great as a top vintage (because of the weather elements). Many times done the test and very few could actually distinguish the vintages from one another, they notice differences but to point out which is the better vintage makes it just that bit harder. Top guys who know how to make wine will always make good wine.


Visual: the colour is a vibrant ruby red, giving an opulent, elegant and intense appearance. It most definitely indicates a wine holding a fair bit of muscle and character. The shine is composed and seductive, a wine totally constructed with one intention "pleasure and enjoyment". The legs are heavy and the transparence is perfect, the brilliance is fairly good, colour intensity 4 out 5.

Nose: Before adding any oxygen to the wine, I got a swirl of tobacco and dark fruits, this wine definitely does not make a shy entrance. After adding oxygen, the aromas explodes all over the place. First the oak and spice, followed quickly with black cherries, currants, blackberries, pepper and cedar wood. Much happening in a wine with such a small price tag, something of a rarity.

Palate: The attack is controlled but strong, a valley of warm dark fruits glides over the palate. A luscious and balanced construction this wine holds and the acidity is fairly well balances with the aromas. The end of this wine has a respectful length and leaves you with pleasant emotions.

Drink window: 2010-2020

Conclusion: Regardless that this is not an amazing vintage but the team behind this wine is dedicated and strives for the best even in difficult years. So for those who like to discover and enjoy a good Medoc wine then don't hesitate to purchase this chateau, it will not disappoint you. I am happy to say and this wine is pure value for money, I do hope that price lingers around what I paid for over here but as with all it might not be. I would say that this wine to its extreme price bracket would be for about €20 $22 £18, for it to be fair a couple quid lower.

Score: 17.50/20 75/100 (rated as a good wine)

So till next time please drink responsible.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

HV Wines - South Africa is it the most beautiful wine country?

South Africa is it the most beautiful wine country?
Image result for south africa wine
Many wine enthusiasts and professionals seem to think so when coming back from a visit to South Africa's cape Winelands.  It might be indeed a bold claim, but if you place yourself on a stretch of windswept mountainside with row upon row of climbing green vines in the near and middle distance, with Cape town itself and the iconic Table mountain in the far distance, and the Cape of Good Hope and both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean just beyond, you might just settle and agree.

Also the wine lovers have being proclaiming "The best New World wine I have ever tasted are from South Africa". So my question is this; is South Africa really a New World wine country?

Wine making in South Africa dates back from 1659, when Jan van Riebeeck, the founder and first commander of the Dutch settlement which is now Cape Town, made wine from vines that have been planted there four years earlier. The grape cuttings have been transported for cultivation by the Dutch East India Company, which has established Cape Town as a "refreshment station" with one goal: to provide fresh food to the company's merchants fleet on their voyages to India and the Far East. The wines then are a far cry of the quality that is produced today, and it was mistakenly thought that drinking wine would prevent sailors from developing scurvy. The wines then were barely palatable, made by people with little knowledge of viticulture or winemaking.

Twenty years later due to the more experienced commander Simon van der Stel, became the wine much better and enjoyable to drink. He soon started producing wine from his estate in Constantia. In 1691, the DEIC (Dutch East India Company) which still controlled the Cape, replaced the Commander post with Governor. So van der Stel was promoted, he became the first Governor of Cape Town. Stellenbosch which is the seat of South Africa wine production, is named after him and as the son of a Dutch man and an Indian Woman, he was the first mixed race politician in the history of the nation of South Africa.

The real change of wine making in South Africa happened in 1685 when Louis XIV, the"Sun King" issued the edict of Fontainebleau, he undid with one stroke of his pen, the edict of Nantes which till then protected the protestants living in Catholic France. Known as Huguenots, many fled to the Dutch colony in South Africa, where they were offered protection and farmland. Most settled in the area previously called Elephant's Corner, which is now named Franschhoek (French corner). They brought with them their Old World love of wine and proficiency in the vineyard and winery.

Fortunately, after van der Stel's abandoned 750-hectares, Constantia estate was purchased and rehabilitated by Hendrik Cloete in 1778, the delicious nectar Vin de Constance gained a worldwide following and, over time, created a demand for all the wines from this country. This is the same Vin de Constance memorized by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and requested by Napoleon on is deathbed. It is still made today by Klein Constantia.

For along time (from about 1865 to 1918) the wines from South Africa were in decline, Britain and France finally came to terms and French wine was back on the menu in Britain hitting hard to the success that was the South African wine.
Its only with the creation of the KWV (Kooperative Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid Africa Bpkt) which is the "Cooperative winemakers of South Africa, that everything went back for the better. They where created to set up a control system and regulate the sale of its members wine. Of course as a cooperation they were more concern with output and production than quality. Thankfully with time things have evolved for the better and today they are a private cooperation and producing high quality wines.
Importantly in 1918 the University of Stellenbosch was founded, and it today boasts one of the finest viticulture studies programs in the world.

In 1925 Stellenbosch University's first professor of viticulture, Abraham Izak Perold, crossed Pinot Noir and Cinsault, creating Pinotage, which is considered by many to be South Africa's "Signature grape".
South Africa ranks 9th in terms of the overall wine production by country,  accounting for 3 percent of the total world yields.
In 1972 the "Wine of Origin" scheme came into play, when the words Wine of Origins or WO appear on the label, along with the name of the production area, such as example Durbanville it is confirmed that 100 per cent of the grapes used to produce the wine are from the area stated.

The broadest geographic term is "unit" and there are four; Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape, and Western cape.
The geographic term "Region" refers to a large area within  a unit, such as the Breede River Valley or Cape South Coast. Then you have the districts they are more narrowly defined, they contain inside the larger regions; Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek some of the best known districts in the country.

The majority grape varieties used in South Africa

.Cabernet Franc
.Cabernet Sauvingnon
.Cape Riesling (Crouchen BLanc)
.Chenin Blanc
.Petit Verdot
.Pinot Noir
.Sauvignon Blanc
.Ugni Blanc

Some of the South African wines

Image result for buiten verwachting wine
BuitenVerwachting -Klein Constantia- Cape Town

Klein Constantia-Klein Constantia Estate-Constantia

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Steenberg-Steenberg Estate-Constantia

Boekenhoutskloof-Excelsior Road-Franschhoek

Fairview-Suid Agter Paarl Road-Suider-Paarl


Meerlust Estate-Meerlust Estate-Stellenbosch


Rustenberg Wines-Stellenbosch

Rust en Vrede-Stellenbosch

Vergelegen-Somerset West

South Africa has undoubtedly amazing wines, if they hold the best wines is truly debatable, if they hold one of the most beautiful landscapes there is surely little debate about that. It is hard here in Europe to get your hands on a large choice of South African wines, as with many the best are most of the time kept home. But now with the internet and international exposure, all has become a bit easier to lay your hands on the gems of South Africa. Surely a wine country receiving more attention, a wine country sure to be enjoyed.

Until next time please drink responsibly.