Sunday, 31 May 2015

HV Wines: Chateau de Fonbel St-Emilion Grand Cru 2009

A couple of nights ago I had once again the chance to taste Château de Fondbel from St-Emilion but this time the 2009 vintage, a vintage we all know as a stellar vintage, especially for Bordeaux.

It is true that 2009 and 2010 have shot for many Bordeaux lovers a massive hole in their pockets as the wines have reached stratospheric prices. Our granddads and fathers remember prices for those top monsters to be so affordable compared to now (regardless of the vintage, the top growths have been rising ever since), that they can hit themselves against a brick wall now, as if they knew, today they would be reaping the benefits, it would be so ridiculous.

Vintages like these are on one side good for any brand as we all want to sell our products at the best price, whatever we might say think or criticise. But prices are set to markets demands and I know all world suppliers will always say; "to expensive" whatever the vintage. They see their share in profit going down as with all there is greed, (some will find any excuse to justify their price), capitalism doesn't make necessarily a good being from us. Today compared to 10 years ago, many suppliers will say that they do not make much money out of the en-primeurs, so why still bother with it then?.....(....because there is demand)

The Château's for centuries work with negociants, as then at the time it was the negociant that finished of the wine, bottle it and then sold it. Now those negociants are on a cross-road as many Château's have seen how greedy they have become (Bordeaux has never been so popular globally as in the last 15 years), one big name has already pulled itself out of the game, but the greed seems to come along and prices do not can Bordeaux manage itself towards the future?

However much it is turned or twisted, it is time for the suppliers expert to know how to find wines and know how to promote. Have the knowledge of the product is vital, which wasn't necessary the norm before. You always will have the label drinker who will always buy the top growths, although he/she will most certainly take on a fight to make sure that the neighbour does not get a better deal. Typical with the too much money ones, they have a constant feel of being ripped off, or that it is due they should get these wines at a bargain price, without understanding that supply is limited and the world got bigger in terms of punters able to afford those wines, so it ain't gonna get any cheaper ever.

But here is a wine that is very famous in the wine circle and still holds a price we all can afford (for now). Yes Château de Fondbel St-Emilion is in the hands of a family that know certainly how to make A wine.

Chateau de Fonbel St-Emilion Grand Cru 2009
Image result for chateau fonbel
The Vauthier family, bought Fonbel in 1971, they own also Château Ausone, a St-Emilion Grand Cru Classee A and Château Moulin St-George in St-Emilion as well. Fonbel has actually a long history back to the time of the Romans, where actively grapes where grown and cultivated for the making of wine in St-Emilion.

Fondbel has 16 hectares of vines, with a terroir of clay, sand and gravel. The vineyard is planted of 70% Merlot (the most planted grape in St-Emilion and Pomerol), 20% Cabernet Sauvingon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Carmenere, which represents the largest planting of Carmenere on the right bank, and one of the largest planting in Bordeaux. Even the Petit Verdot planting is amongst the largest even the largest on the right bank.
The vines have an average age of 20 years, which is aiming for wines with strength, power, vivacity, crispy fruits, playful and joyful. In older vines the elements change and the characters of the wine evolve and express a total different personality. The blend of the this wine is very similar to the percentage planted.
The wine of Fonbel is vinified in big stainless steel temperature controlled vats, the malolactic fermentation takes place in the vats as well. Then it is aged in 30% new oak barrels for about 10 months before it is bottled.The wine of Fondbel is produced by the same team as Ausone, the young Pauline Vauthier is slowly but surely taking a more active role, while Alain Vauthier is slowly taking a step back, giving way to the new generation. Château Fonbel is producing on average about 8,000 cases of wine, which is about 96,000 bottles.

Grape variety: 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot 3% Carmenere

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: €22 $25 £16

Visual: Ruby red colour, good limpidity, good brilliance, masculine, powerful, but with a little air of dirty boy (its appearance, its limpidity not entirely clean), heavy legs, a wine with a good attitude.

Nose: Caramel (toffee), oak, black fruits (blueberry, blackberry), little plum, tiny hits of ethanol, violet, and layers of spices bur not prominent, discreet (vanilla, pepper)

Palate: Fresh, round tannins, a perfect time to drink now, acidity and aromas are in good harmony, fairly dry, good mid-palate and long finish with raisins on the back palate.

Conclusion:  exactly what to expect from the Ausone estate team, a lot of love and passion runs through the veins of this wine. The drive in this wine is remarkable and the use of Petit Verdot and Carmenere is definitely noticed, it taint a different identity to the tradition that St-Emilion is known for. A classic version wine and very good value for money, a wine surely on the rise so while you can do lay your hands on some of it.

Score: I rate this wine 18.6/20 86/100 (rated as a very good wine)

Even so the Bordeaux wines are maybe for many become a vision of our imagination, there are truly some still out there that we all can afford, this is one of them and it is really pleasure in a glass.

rating system
19.6-20 exceptional
19-19.5 excellent
18-18.9 very good wine
17-17.9 good wine
16-16.9 fair wine
15-15.9 drinkable wine
14-14.9 acceptable wine

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

HV Wines: Vina Ijalba Rioja

I came across this domain through my work and what is noticeable straight away is the marketing of a brand, vibrant striking colours and graphics, the aspect of organic and a Rioja makes you look twice at this house.
Vina Ijalba has about 32 hectares of vines planted (about 80 acres). they have a fairly extended family of 11 wines, 7 reds, 3 whites and 1 rose. The Bodegas was founded in 1975, so respectively young you could say, celebrating their 40th birthday this year. Although I will comment on two red wines, their whites are definitely worth checking out especially the Maturana Blanca.

Don Dionisio an industrialist in La Rioja, has as main activity the extraction and marketing of gravel and agglomerates. Due to open casting mining and gravel extraction practising, they left the soil in poor conditions and so not useful for any agricultural practise other then viticulture. So the production isn't big but the quality is promising and consistent. Ijalba Dionisio Ruiz the owner of the Bodega began planting in 1975 near Logrono, it has several parcels of vines around the town of Logrono, San Vincente de la Sonsierra and Najerilla Valley. All the vines are planted on gravel and limestone and the endurance and vision of the Bodega is to improve and to make at each vintage a better wine.

No use of herbicides and chemicals fertilisation, no pesticides, a total respect of the soil and vine, holding the organic approach to the core, of everything they do. A vital philosophy set up from the start as the land they use to make their wines is land that was there before and needs to survive after, for generations to go. A vision they had 40 years ago comes to its fruits today as organic growing is becoming the norm pretty much everywhere now, as we all understand the importance of preservation and respect of the place we live.  

I have tasted two of the wines from this domain, the Dionisio Ruiz Ijalba 2011 and the Crianza 2008. Both wines are DOC, Rioja and express their terroir.

Vina Ijalba Dionisio Ruiz 2011 Rioja DOC
Grape: Maturana Tinta

Alcohol: 13%

Price: €16 $17 £11

Visual: Purple red colour, profound, intense and masculine, good limpidity, ok brilliance, a beefy appearance slightly rustic.

Nose: Oak, spices (black pepper) a slight alcohol overpowering, not very complex, black fruits like blackberries, black cherries, slight nail varnish which might be due to the alcohol intrusion.

Palate: Cooked red/black fruits, astringent on the back palate, little tannins, balance between acidity and aromas not very well, it is fairly short, and it falls apart at the end and a notion of sweetness.

Conclusion: The look of the bottle is much better then the wine itself, sadly it lacks freshness and clean cuts of the fruits. The balance has to be perfected and the directions to be purer, it is far from a really bad wine but I expected more, it needs technically to step up, as is feels and seems to be a domain that is working hard to get where it hopes to go.

Score: I rate this wine 14/20 70/100

Vina Ijalba Crianza 2008 Rioja DOC

Grape: 90%Tempranillo 10% Graciano

Alcohol: 13%

Price: €11 $12 £8

Visual: Ruby red, bold and masculine, fairly heavy legs, good limpidity, fair brilliance looks matured and composed. 

Nose: Alcohol first hit not good, then under that red fruits, cherries, oak, incens, discreet not impressive, little blood orange, black currant a flair of juniper. 

Palate: Soft not powerful, overcooked and ripe fruits, quince, plum, weak acidity, medium long, not aggressive, little tannins.

Conclusion: I have not encountered many organic Rioja's, this house does have an energetic and vibrant youthful approach, This wine is easy drinking and for a 2008 it holds itself still well together, but with to many technical errors. A pleasant encounter this is. This house is fighting amongst so many from this region, pretty much for all none Spanish (and maybe for the Spanish to) the most known region in Spain, which can be a burden as well as the competition is stiff. It is definitely a domain that will stand out if you go shopping, their entire marketing is set on a strong visual introduction, for that they have certainly top marks but there is for me still work to do technically. I would not be disappointed if this would come onto the table, but as I already said the bottle looks better then the wine. A domain to keep an eye on...

Score: I rate this wines 17.5/20 75/100 (rated as a goof wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

HV Wines: Leitner Burgerland Zechun Heideboden 2009 Austria

I am always a bit dubious when it comes to this part of Europe, although the history of Austrian wines goes back 5 to 10 thousand years. It started with the Celts, then the Romans, Karel the Great, Charlemagne and all the German, Hungarian, Austrian royalty. The love for wine has always been there. So it is totally natural that I will explore Austrian wines.

Austrian Wine culture

The Austrian vineyard has a size of about 45,700 hectares of Vines, The biggest part is in Basse-Austria about 25,000 hectares, then Burgerland with about 16,000 hectares, Vienna counts only for about 700 hectares of planted vines. The average production is around 2,5 million hectolitres but varies greatly according to the vintage. 

The principal grape varieties;

White grapes; Gruner Veltliner, representing more then a third of the vines planted in Austria, Muller Thurgau just over 5%, Welschriesling almost 10%, Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) just over 5%, Rheinriesling a bit less then 5%. Also to mention Neuberger, Muskat-Ottonel and traminer, and with less then 1% planted, Rulander (Pinot Gris), Zierfandler, Musket-Sylvander, Bouvier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.

Red grapes; Blauer Zweigelt almost 10% planted, Blaufrankish around 5%, Blauer Portugeiser little less then 5%, and with less then 1%, St-Laurent, Blauer Burgunder, Blauer Wildbacher, Cabernet sauvignon.

The different categories of wine;
Table wine, at least 10.6 degrees KMV (which correspond to the must calculation to identify the ripeness and sugar degree to define its alcohol content), widely used in Austria, Germany and Luxembourg.
Landwein: at least 14 degreees of KMV
Qualitatswein: at least 15 degrees of KMV
Kabinett: at least 17 degrees of KMV
Pradikatsweine: from Spatlese to Trockenbeerenauslese, Eiswein and Strohwein, can have no chaptalisation,(adding of sugar to obtain the alcohol degree required), the sugar has to come fro the grape.
Spatlese; At least 19 KMV, Auslese at least 21 KMV, Beerenauslese at least 25 KMV, Ausbruch at least 27 KMV, Trockenbeerenauslese at least 30 KMV, Eiswein at least 25 KMV but the grapes have to be frozen when harvest. Strohwein, (straw wine) at least 25 KMV it is the extract of the grape stored at least three months on straw or rush, or the grapes are piled on wires and left to dry in open air.

Different types of wine;
According to the sugar content (and the fixed acidity), the wines are classified the following way;

Trocken: (dry) up to 9 g/l of residual sugars maximum, the total acidity is taken into count. Example; a wine holding 8g/l of sugar must have at least 6g/l (per thousand) of total acidity to be declared a dry wine.
Extra Trocken: (very dry) up to 4 g/l maximum of residual sugar
Halbtrocken: (semi-sweet) up to  g/l of residual sugar
Lieblich: (between semi-sweet and sweet) up to 45g/l of residual sugar
Suss:  (sweet) above 45g/l of residual sugar

Principal regions in Austria;

Wachau, Kremstal, Kamptal, Traisental, Donauland, Caruntum, Weinviertel, Thermenregion, all this is part of the Basse-Austria. 
Neusiedlersee, Neusiedlersee-Heugenlland, Mittelburgenland, Sudburgenland, all part of the region Burgenland.
Sud-Oststeiermark, Sudsteiermark, Weststeiermark, all part of Styrie
Vienne, the region around Vienna

Leitner Burgenland Zechun Heideboden 2009

Grape: Zweigelt 38%, Merlot 29%, Syrah 25%, Gamay 7%

Price: $12.60 £9.20 $14.45

Alcohol: 13%

Visual: A dark red colour with still little purple reflection, good limpidity, good colour consistency, masculine, a bit unclean in its appearance a bit like a bad shave, heavy legs, a certain degree of teenager not fully mature yet.

Nose: Oak, red fruits, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, tiny nail varnish but really faint, little blackcurrant bud, green pepper and patchouli,

Palate: Oak and black fruits, weak acidity, soft tannins, balance between aromas and acidity ok, could be better, medium last, a slight burn on the gums.

Conclusion: Not often going into Austrian territory, but this wine does come as a pleasing surprise, it is not blowing my mind away, but taking note that Austrian reds do progress well and fast, definitely a country to take note off amongst the more resent new comers although the history of wine goes back a very long time, but Austria is letting itself notice more then let us say 20 years ago. This wine can progress even more to my thinking, just a little question on the grape variety assembled........

Score: I rate this wine 15/20 65/100

I will certainly come back to taste more Austrian reds, as there is good potential and the drive to succeed is surely there, I think that there is potential work on grape variety choice, not sure of Zweigelt is a star grape of the future.........

Until next time please do drink responsibly. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

HV Wines: Chateau du Coing de St Fiacre Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2014

I truly did not know what to think about when I came across this wine, as for such a long time, many Muscadet Sevre et Maine (named because it sits between those 2 rivers) sur lie, did not combine with good quality wines. The "sur lie" is simply on its lees, which gives the wine different notes and complexity.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine, is for some a white wine we do not really think about or know much about. For a long time they were producing big quantities but not always attached with quality. Till recent the producers have looked at ways to improve and with the technology advancing rapidly and new strategies and philosophies, the old Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie has risen to a new level of much better quality and that's what I discovered in this domain. But first where and what defines Muscadet Sevre et Maine. 

Muscadet Sevre et Maine

Part of the Loire Valley, Muscadet Sevre et Maine is produced in the Loire-Atlantic on the land known as "Vignoble Nantais" (Nantes vineyards, Nantes is a town).
Muscadet, has three appellation, we have the Sevre et Maine, Coteaux-de-la-Loire and Cotes-de-Grandlieu.

Muscadet Sevre et Maine is the biggest of the three appellations, Its size is 8,800 hectares and its production is approximately 418,000 hl.
This appellation is only white and it was created in 1936.
It can also carry the name "sur lie" as in this case here but not all wines are made that way. Also for those not aware, Loire farmers are the most profound and frontrunners of Bio-dynamic wine culture in France.

How to recognize as Muscadet Sevre et Maine (general observation)

Visual:  The dress of a Sevre et Maine is pale or green colour, can have a tiny bead or carbon on the tip of the tongue when it has been raised on its lees. In certain areas the colour can even appear slightly bronze.

Nose: All the Muscadet Sevre et Maine are variable, all depends of the terroir, which plays an important role. Some are much more fruity, others deviate more towards mineral aspects than others totally towards flower tints.

Palate: Fairly sharp at first are the Muscadet Sevre et Maine on the palate, but then quickly turning towards a round and sometimes oily aspect. A certain astringency can be present but holding an elegance, working very well with many different fish dishes. Depending of the part where the vines are growing but as well as flowers as fruits play a major part in the completion of this wine.

Grape: Melon de Bourgogne

Soil:  Brown soils, filtering and gravely, sandy-clay soils on green rock formation, mica-shale, Gneiss,Granite and Gabbro.

Potential life span: 2 to 5 years and some vintages up to 10 years.

Château du Coing de St Fiacre, Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie 2014
The Gunther-Chereau family has acquired this Chateau since 1973, it was Bernard Chereau, son of a wine maker in Monnieres. Then at the time it was a bold move as the usual stream of things was wine in bulk and big distribution, not attentive and creating a product of high quality. He was aiming towards restaurants, cellars and individuals, today it is his daughter Veronique Gunther-Chereau, wine maker in her own right that runs the estate. And since 2010 his grand child and the daughter of Veronique, Aurore with a degree in oenology has joined to set the adventure further and improve the estate to a higher level.
Emphasizing on terroir, insure great quality and respect for the environment is a believe profoundly cemented in the vision of the family.
Today the estate holds 70 hectares of vines, spread out onto three different types of soil, Shale, Gneiss and Gabbro. The unique grape used for making these wines is "the melon de Bourgogne". Since the beginning their view has always been a reasoned culture towards a biological approach.
As with all wines it is a joint collaboration between man, nature, grape and terroir. No wine becomes great without the interference of men/women. After all if it wasn't for men/women, wine wouldn't have seen the light of day.

Sur Lie: As it said itself, on its lees, the wine stays in contact with the lees till its bottled, and this is done now for about 17 months at this estate. In general a Muscadet stays sur lie for about 7 to 14 months. This estate has another Muscadet Seine et Maine named L'Ancestrale and this one lays 45 months on its lees, creating an ever complexer and intenser wine.

Grape: Melon de Bourgogne, old Burgundian grape variety, very little used in Burgundy only about 7ha left. The characters are, nice with little acid, often consumed and best when young, aromatic, good softness in character.

Alcohol: 12%

Price: €11 $12 £8

Visual: Pale yellow almost transparent, very good limpidity, little reflection, looks young, fresh, not over imposing, legs are light.

Nose: good aromatics, pears, melon, little pineapple, flairs of little carbonic gas.

Palate: Little acid, soft and round, tiny hints of carbon (very characteristic for these wines) , cooked pears, medium finish, not aggressive.

Conclusion: A light wine well settled for fish dishes but also to be consumed on its own, fruity character, it is a nice change from the usual white grape suspects, but not entirely convincing a little shy in its overall aspects, although for this price it is a wine well made and youthful, definitely drink when its young so 2 to 3 years after its vintage, it will not necessarily leave a note of unforgettable, maybe it is also because we don't see it that much around? Either way for a change it is very welcome on the table.

Score: 15.75/20 79/100

Amongst the crowd there is a willingness to look elsewhere, what I mean with that is that the usual successful white grape to this day will certainly stay no doubt about that, but that people are willing to try other directions and especially in white grape varieties, Spain, Portugal, Italy. It is all good as we have never been spoilt for choice as much as the time we live in now. Muscadet Sevre et Maine and Melon de Bourgogne is maybe for some a discovery, I recommend it certainly as it is pleasant, fresh and joyful.

Till next time please do drink responsibly. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

HV Wines: Domaine Montrose Rose 2014, a pleasant surprise

Yes, next one in line on the rose saga, Domain Montrose. Here we go to the south of France Cotes de Thongue which is the Languedoc-Roussillon appellation. I had never encounter this domain before who is making more than just this rose, they have in total 9 wines, first wines 5, La Balade 3 wines and 1 prestige wine.

Since quite some time the Languedoc has been challenging the Provence rose wines and with justice. Also these two appellations are connected (as they lay next to each other) and so naturally what the neighbour does well, we can do as well. This Rose is proof of it.

The Balade rose is their higher level composition but this one I did not got the chance to taste,(it's on the bucket list)

Image result for domaine montrose
Domaine Montrose is a family owned business and the estate was founded in 1701, when the "Three Lizards" (the emblem of the estate) coat of arms was given to their ancestors.


The coat of arms was given by King Louis XIV counsellor, the Coste family (owners) holds this with pride as proof of a long tradition in viticulture. Today Bernard Coste is the 11th generation in charge of this domain. 
The domain is close to the town of Pezenas in the Cotes de Thongue, Languedoc, and is very fortunate to be able to plant on three types of soil; volcanic, chalky clay and siliceous-clay gravel. 

The domain is also greatly involved to preserve and enhance it's terroirs biodiversity. In 2012 they have done a thorough scientific study of the entire domain's fauna and flora. In 2013 they have planted 1053 trees from 21 Mediterranean species (oak trees, olive trees, quince trees, strawberry trees, fig trees, wild pear trees to name a few......
Biodiversity helps them to cultivate their vines with respect to the environment. 
Montrose is a domain with many promising aspects, and is surely standing out amongst the great talents the Languedoc-Roussillon accounts for. 

One thing that Michel Rolland today for sure can eat his words for,when at the time he spoke of the Languedocien and Languedocienne in Mondovino, in mocking of their peasant behaviour because they stood up against the ugly giant that was Mondavi, (that is not to say that the Americans do not make outstanding wines), insinuating that they have little knowledge of making great wines( Languedoc got the sting for a very long time as bucket wine). This is the region to look out for, as the diversity in the terroir is huge and the talent is bursting from all sides.    

Domaine Montrose Rose 2014

Grape: 65% Grenache, 25% Cabernet sauvignon, 10% Syrah

Price: €8 $9 £6

Alcohol: 12.5%

Yields: 65 hectolitre per hectare (65 hl/ha)

Terroir: volcanic, chalky-clay and pebbly

Winemaking method: each parcel is vinified separately, grapes are harvest at night to preserve as much freshness as possible. They are destemmed and a short skin contact is then processed, the fermentation is held at temperatures between 15 and 18 degrees (59 F to 64F) to retain the fruit aromas. Then once all the different parcels are vinified separately, they are assembled to create the wine. 

Visual: a fresh pink salmon colour, very good transparency, ok brilliance, radiant, energetic, young expression. 

Nose: red fruit (raspberry and cherry), hints of fleshy with fruits, a present nose, not overpowering, little flowers appearing in the second stage like peony, rose petals, little sweet smell impressions. 

Palate: Dry but not super dry, well balanced on that level, red fruits bursting over the palate, soft tannins, little acid but fairly good freshness, medium long, little bit of bitterness at the end but not uncomfortable. a very pleasant rose wine. 

Conclusion:  a light and very pleasant rose, although the skin contact is little, the extraction is a tat over in my view, on the back of the palate it loses slightly its direction, it has a little sweet emotion and certainly not bone dry, which I think is a plus point here as if it was to dry then it would loose its appeal totally ( we are not talking here of a really sweet wine, it is dry). It is a well made rose, which I would happily have on my table. This is also the first of the two rose's of this domain and for the price it stands, it is very good value for money. 

Score:  I rate this wine 17.20/20 72/100 

So if you are looking for something pinkish for this summer then surely this one and Douce vie (the rose I blogged before this one) are good recommendations.

Until next time please do drink responsibly. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

HV Wines: Bernard Magrez Douce Vie Rose 2013 Cotes de Provence Les Muraires

In a previous blog I mentioned that I had a couple of rose's lined up, the rose Haut-Bailly was one of them Douce Vie de Bernard Magrez is the selection for this blog.

As in all I guess there are places that do things better then other places, as much for the culinary, historical and I believe wine as well. Although today one can make a wine pretty much everywhere, one can cook a particular dish from a very authentic birth place pretty much everywhere , but it will not and almost never beat its point of origin.

So here in this chapter I try to come to say that for a very long time as far as my memory stretches in legally allowed, rose for me came from Provence. But rose style wine goes back to the Greek and Roman times although back then it was not called rose. It is just that their red wines were more looking like a rose wine we see today. But nonetheless it is Mateus from Portugal that first introduced Rose style wine to the world market in the early 21st Century, it died down as it fell quickly out of fashion, but the winemakers from Provence had another view about it and they kept on making it for those hot summer days, where a fresh pinkish wine served with all varieties of food when down like a treat.

It is only from the early 2000 that a sudden change and hunger for the pink drink became globally attractive, and today is still very popular that for the last 7 years it is the most in demand wine. So of course a lot have put their weight to it even in Bordeaux, so many are at it and so I come back to my point that their are places where it is part of the identity of a region and for me Provence is the absolute original clone of Rose wine.

So of course Mr Bernard Magrez with his huge portfolio could not have that missing link. So who is that Bernard Magrez?

Born in 1936, he made his millions by founding the William Pitters spirit company, then at the time pressure was bearable assets were not as they are today, neither were the shares and price tags. He arrived at the right time, one would hope that people like him and many more would help out the human dna, helping talented others without necessarily thinking of how much one could fill his bank account first, as with all you need to think outside the box and wealth all round will be plenty? Let us just hope he feels and is a philanthropist?

Anyway, beside the great vision Mr Magrez  had and the huge portfolio he has produced, he is the sole owner of four classified growths in four different prestigious classified appellations, Chateau Pape Clement In Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Chateau La Tour Carnet, Haut-Medoc, Chateau Fombrauge in St- Emilion, and Clos Haut Peyrageuy in Sauternes. Of course throughout France he has invested, sacrificed, improvised and brought many estates back to life and with great success.

Alone in Bordeaux he has 20 estates to his name then 15 in the Languedoc-Roussillon, 3 in Provence, 6 in Argentina, 3 in Chile, 1 in California, 6 in Spain, 1 in Japan, 2 in Morocco, 1 in Portugal, 3 in Uruguay. The gentleman holds a fair large portfolio and to give him credit all his wines are searched and worked to excellence. In 2009 he was voted the 29th most influential man in the wine industry.

So today I give you.....

Bernard Magrez Douce Vie Rose 2013 Cotes de Provence, Les Muraires
Grape: Grenache, Syrah, Cinasault. (no specific percentage)

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: €11 $12 £8

Visual: wild smoked salmon colour, warm, elegant, slightly masculine, perfect limpidity, fair brilliance (acidity), no heavy legs, mature looking not shy at all. 

Nose: hints of rose petals and fresh red fruits, little appearance of honeysuckle, here and there a little slight hit of toffee very intriguing. a very mature and grown up rose

Palate:  round, soft, elegant, rose petals, little acidity, medium long last, a fair balance between acidity and aromas, red fruits finishing of the palate. 

Conclusion: As Mr Magrez and his team know what they doing, there is always a warranty that you will have a decent, to very good wine at hand, and no exception here. This rose feels and taste mature and well made, This is a rose with serious approach and utter professionalism, I think a bench mark of Mr Margez philosophy. The price is very correct and utterly good value for money. 

Score: I rate this at 17.5/20 75/100 (rated as a good wine)

Compared to the Rose of Haut-Bailly, is this wine value wise more then worth your money and on the aspect of quality well I leave that over to you to decide but for me a no brainer. 

Till next time please do drink responsibly.    

Sunday, 3 May 2015

HV Wines: Clarendelle 2008 Pessac-Leognan, Inspired by Haut-Brion

I have been handed over a huge box full of wines from many different countries, I think around 30 bottles, so there is work to do, some of them are totally foreign to me which is great. So I had to start somewhere and when I saw this one sitting there in the box the choice was quickly made.

Clarendelle 2008, Pessace Leognan, inspired by Haut-Brion.

A little bit of history first, back in 1934 Clarence Dillon an American financier visited Bordeaux. Totally taken under the spell of Haut-Brion, he recognized the unique opportunity of acquiring such a legendary estate, in 1935 he bought Haut-Brion. With a huge dedication and commitment towards Haut-Brion he improved the quality of the wine year on year. Of course one lead to the other and the neighbouring estate La Mission Haut-Brion became part of his portfolio in 1983, then in 2011 the company bought Chateau Quintus in St-Emilion. Now in the hands of his grandson Prince Robert of Luxembourg, came to light Clarendelle a hommage to Clarence Dillon, creating a wine inspired by the spirit, quality, endurance and determination of its founder. 

This 2008 is the only one that holds the red coloured label all the other vintages are green and the only reason for that is that this is the only vintage from where the grapes come solely from the Haut-brion and La Mission Haut-Brion estates. All the other vintages have also grapes from their other estate in St-Emilion.

Grape: 49%Merlot 32%Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Caberent Franc 2%Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price: €31 £22 $33

Visual: Dark cherry red, very good limpidity, fair brilliance, masculine and elegant appearance, a certain seductive je ne sais quoi.......

Nose: wet wood at first, followed by oak, blond tobacco, blackcurrants, blackberry and a hit of sandalwwod, a little overpowering of the alcohol.

Palate: Soft tannins (but then I think that its life span is about now to another year or so ) warm, dark, rich  fruits (berries), alcohol, little acidity, heat (will come most likely from the alcohol), hints of cacao, velvety on the back palate, better on the palate then the nose actually...

Conclusion: This is a wine inspired and made by the team of Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, so there is talent around, the presentation of the product is absolutely well searched and executed with style. The wine is fair and well made, but not the wow factor (maybe it is because it's inspired by Haut-Brion one expecst a lot?). I would say for the price one will pay it might just be a hit to high,(there is stiff competition out there doing of wines as good or even better for cheaper), so do you pay a bit for the name as well?
It is a wine very well made and holds well together, it is a wine that is not designed to walk the distance and there is for me a lack of freshness (but then I did not drink this wine in 2010 where it might have been different), On the nose a bit disappointed as the alcohol was a bit overpowering. The grapes used here are obviously not qualified for their first nor their second wine, so imperfections are present, it is surely nothing like an Haut-Brion or a Mission Haut-Brion for that as these wines are in a different class and I think that its never intended to, but I guess Clarendelle is an alternative for those not able to fork out $500 £292 €490 for a Haut-Brion.

Score: I rate this wine 17.50/20 75/100

Until Next time please do drink responsibly.