Friday, 29 December 2017

Chateau Garraud Lalande Pomerol 2014

You can see and feel the end of year festivities in full swing, promos on many things including wines. Not that the wine in question was in Promo, but many promos that are on aren't a pleasure trip for the nose and palate.
When some store offers you 3 wines for about €10 $12 £9, then surely you can't get something acceptable in your glass, even on the more so called high end wines where it appears you getting a top deal it often isn't worthy to advertise it. In the end they still do make a good healthy profit, super stores aren't any good trust me. They have a lot of power and in some ways destroying much vital parts of the wine world (some small growers get stuck into their ways, he/she ends up years down the line working at a loss). The pressure the winemakers are put under, makes many going bankrupt, then for a big wine monsters to buy it up and sign a deal with that same supermarket.

But we hare here to dive into the right bank....

The Right Bank
The right bank two big stars are St Emilion and Pomerol, but that is far from all the appellations. There are quite a few satellite appellations to start with and of course Fronsac. St Emilion has Lussac, Puisseguin, Saint-Georges and Montage St-Emilion, while Pomerol has just Lalande de Pomerol and Fronsac has Canon de Fronsac. 
For a long time the satellite appellations had little to shine for as not much attention was paid, but since resent as the wines from St Emilion and Pomerol are sky rocketing, more and more winemakers have been pushing their wines to the forefront as their was a need for Bordeaux wines affordable and still good in quality. Still there is dope to be found but much has changed in these appellations and even wines from already very good quality have seen the sun shining brighter then ever before.  The wine in question Chateau Garraud is one of them, but we get to that first a snap view on the left bank overall. 

It all changed for the better in Bordeaux thanks to the marriage of Henry the II of England with Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th century. Wines from Bordeaux were exported more commonly, and so wines from the right bank started to make their way up the favorite list. St-emilion made faster head start then Pomerol, for a very long time wines from Pomerol were considered just ordinary nothing to rave about. The right bank had till the 1700 a greater advantage as the Medoc was not excavated yet by the dutch. Soon after the Medoc started to set itself as equally from high quality although that the quality then and now are not comparable at all.

It took until 1955 for St Emilion to get its own classification, Pomerol on the other hands was not ready to jump in the same classification boat. Pomerol always believed that its wines do not need a classification system to reach the top in the wine world and how right they were, it is here that you will find some the most iconic wines in the Bordeaux hierarchy, Petrus, Le Pin, Lafleur to name a few... Today the right bank of Bordeaux stands high in competition with the left bank, your are a merlot lover right bank will seduce you but you like your Cabernet sauvignon then medoc will teas you. Altough that the town of St Emilion and Pomerol are at about 60 kilometres from Bordeaux, they are ever so more linked to a Bordeaux wine, but do not mention that to a Saint Emilionnais or a Pomerolais, as they are extremely proud of their heritage and identity.

Chateau Garraud  Lalande de Pomerol

Chateau Garraud took shape in the middle of the 19th century by Count de Kermartin. It stayed that way till the 1930's when Leon Nony purchased the chateau and started immediately with important renovations and extension. Leo Nony also established Chateau Treytins  in 1950 which is in Montagne St Emilion. After his death, his son, Michel and then his grandson Jean-Marc continued to pull this Chateau to higher levels of excellence. In 1990 the vat room and cellars under go a new face lift, all was completely renovated and new buildings were constructed.
In 1997 and 2007, the family expanded further its vinyards in Lalande Pomerol and Montagne St-Emilion. In 1997, the Nony family created L'Ancien, a wine in very small quantities, representing the very best of Lalande de Pomerol quality.
The family operated today more then forty hectares, producing high quality wines which on regular occasion receive citations and awards in the press and tasting contests.

Chateau Garraud 2014

Created by the Count in mid-19th century around 1868, celebrating their 150th birthday.

Grape: 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon

Ageing: 25% in new oak barrels, 35% in 1 and 2 years old barrels 40% in vats

Alcohol: 14%

Price: €21 $25 £19

Planting density: 6000 vines per hectare

Yield: 36 hl per ha

Production: 50.000 to 130.000 bottles depending on the vintage

Visual: The wine appears in medium ruby colour, with a color intensity of 3.5 out of 5, its transparency is perfect and its brilliance is fairly sparkling,  its bright, fresh, like a young immature prince, masculine but not heavy, a slight seductive appearance.

Nose: The attack on the nose is average not none existent but discreet, cherries and currants , wet forest wood, little cardamon, hints of spice but not pronounced.

Palate: The attack on the palate is well perceived , with tannins starting to be round and soft, the wine has a medium body, with reds fruits mid way, mid palate holds the wine ok but not to long and its lingering is medium, with some oak and spice.

Conclusion:It reminds me of a very classical claret if I may it say it that way, fruit, tannins, some volume but very typical of a merlot dominant wine, it is well  made and not unpleasant to drink, as we are used to receive/ taste blockbuster wines, this is a nice change and lives on the notion of fruit, oak and spice, a pleasant discovery and for all those for who a Pomerol has gotten just that little tat to expensive.

Score: I rate this wine 18/20 80/100 (rated as a very good wine)

Until next time please do drink responsibly.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Mas de Novi, prestige Gres de Montpellier 2012 Languedoc

There are so many small and talented wine makers all around, but they are not always easy to find. So it is often an exercise of trial and error. Sometimes you end up choosing one particular wine from a domain and be disappointed, than to quickly judging the winemaker (house) to later ending up with another wine from that same domain and be ecstatic.
In most cases you should not have the extreme opposite from one house anyway, it is after all the same winemaker that makes all the wines. This counts of course for smaller growers, the mega machines producing in the millions do not make a wine anyway, here it is more the need for the consumer.
I have been working in this industry for over 12 year now, and still when it comes to wine, the customer quickly gets fooled by flashy sales techniques and of course the price.In cases where you buy two get the third for free, you can not and will not find a decent wine. Here they manipulate the wine to a degree so that the wine does not come over as complicated, bitter and complex. Low acidities, bone dry for white and most  reds, fruit and a good splash of alcohol. In many cases, people wake up with a headache, blaming the sulphites, but that is another debate.

Back to our wine, Mas de Novi

Gres de Montpellier.

The Gres the Montpellier is an area surrounded the suburb of the city of Montpellier, stretching from de Herault middle valley to the Vidourle, and from the Mediterranean to the south to the Pic St Loup in the North. Vines around Montpellier are there for a very long time, Greeks, Romans to Benedictine. The Benedictine laws making it compulsory to plant vines and drink wine at meals. History knows him as Saint Benedict, as he was the founder of over 1000 abbey's throughout Europe, of which all owned vineyards.

In 1138 with the blessing of the church the Cistercians founded the abbey of Valmagne near the plateau of Aumelas,  still today does the vineyard live and produce. The international reputation Montpellier holds stretches way back, its medical universities are paramount, studies of the viticultural progress were in constant movement. Arnaud de Villeneuve and Edward Adams (not at the same time a couple centuries between them), created and developed the alcohol still and wine based spirits. In 1729 the chambre of Commerce laid down the first regulations covering wines and spirits, together with quality control checks on wines, alcohol and barrels. Casks were to be marked with the languedoc cross by de consuls of the Parish. Many wine chateaux are dotted around Montpellier, like the outstanding one Chateau de Flaugergues in the commune of Montpellier, Château L'Engarran is another one near St George d'Orques, Château de Beaulieu, Château Saint Series amd Château Devèze are amongst the most prestigious and known in the region.

Whilst phylloxera was ravaging the vineyards if France, it was here that they started fighting back discovering the methods to combat the aphid. 
Today thanks to the Agropolis centre which makes it the worlds second largest agronomic grouping, Montpellier is once again a beacon in agriculture, viticulture and the international farm produce industry.

Production rules.

Wine style:  red wines

Principal varieties: Grenache noir must represent at least 20% of the appellation registered land, the principal grape variety must make at least 70% of the appellation registered land areas, at least two principal grape varieties are required to make up the blend.  Grenache noir, Syrah and Mourvedre are the principal grapes, carignan is the additional allowed grape.

Alcohol level: The level must at least 12%

Yields: The maximum authorized yield is 45 hectoliters per hectare.

Minimum age of the vines:  For carignan must the vine be of 9 years to granted the appellation status and 6 years for the other varieties.

Density: Minimum planting is 4400 vines per hectare.

Maturing: The wines may be released for consumption once they have matured for a year minimum.

Mas de Novi.

Mas de Novi is producing since the 19th Century, ancient dependance of the abbey from Valmagne, on one of the unique terroirs of the languedoc on a level of 150 meters above sea level. The domain holds 42 hectares of vines, completely in biodynamic culture in the middle of 60 hectares of forest and garrigue a perfect setting to produce wines with identity and character from this area.

Much over this domain is there not to be found, so it is the wines that will have to prove its standard and worthiness.

Mas de Novi Prestige 2012
Grape: Syrah 85% Grenache noir 13%  Mourvedre 3%

Alcohol: 14.5%

Ageing: 12 months on oak

Price:  €11 $13 £10 ex tax

Visual: Deep warm ruby color; color intensity is 4 out of , its brilliance is neat, limpidity is very good, (crystalline), this wine expresses southern moods, mature, casual, slight flirtatious

Nose: Blackcurrant bud, herbs, wet stone, smokey, earthy, ash, little alcohol, no neat aromas, somewhat hidden, somewhat shy

Palate: An air of watery feel not strong, alcohol heat up the gums, black fruit appears in the second phase, mid palate is the wine mediocre, not well balanced between aromas and acidities, its lingering is short, at the end the throat feels the heat of the alcohol.

Conclusion: This is not their top cuvee but lacks to show me the confidence to actually buy their top cuvee. I had this domain once a long time ago and I had a different feel then at the time, reaszon why I wanted to try it again. There is not enough personality in this wine and i wouldn't buy it again. Of course have I tasted worse but this is one of the houses that should do better then this, the wine is drinkable even enjoyable but stops short of yum yum.

Score:  I rate this wine 17/20 70/100 (rated as a good wine)

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.