Hi everyone - looking forward to a great hour of sniffing, swirling, tasting, spitting (backwards or forwards as you see fit!), banter and an all-round great GIF game as ever! All these elements and more always make for a great tasting, whether you’re in Wemyss Bay or Weymouth!
Here’s a short intro on the two wines we’ll be tasting tonight.
Pinot Gris ‘Les Prélats’, Domaine Ginglinger 2016 13.5% £12.95
Paul Ginglinger’s family has been making wine for an incredible 13 generations (since 1610!), and the current generation – Michel Ginglinger and his wife Loreto – took over from Paul in 2000.
The estate is located five miles south of Colmar in the village of Eguisheim, home to some of the oldest vineyards in Alsace, with records of vines here since the Roman times.
There are 13 hectares of vines in total, planted on east and south-east-facing slopes of marl-rich granite soils over clay, in what is described as ‘the sunniest corner of Alsace’. The vineyards are between 220 and 340 metres above sea level, and are protected from the winds by the foothills of the Vosges mountains. A portion of the estate’s vines are in two of the area’s grand cru vineyards, Eichberg and Pfersigberg.
Ginglinger’s Cuvée des Prélats is a blend of several pacerls (Altengarten, Krumling, Morschwihrerweg, Fuchsloch, Kleiner Eich et Stich). This diversity brings together complementary characteristics that add to the complexity of the blend. Delicate fruit, lightly rounded with good weight / a little fatness.
The team manages the vineyards plot by plot, and the domaine is now certified organic. The harvest is carried out by hand.
Loreto and Michel Ginglinger
In the winery, Michel brings his experience from managing cellars in Burgundy, Champagne, South Africa and Chile. Grapes are fed into tanks using just gravity, rather than pumps, which prevents over-handling. The wines spend some time ageing on their lees for adding refinement and strength of character.
Our note: Charming Alsace pinot gris, with gentle, bready aromas, and silky texture lifted by fine citrusy acidity on the palate.
d’Arenberg The Footbolt McLaren Vale Shiraz 2016 14.5% £12.50
d’Arenberg is undoubtedly one of the most significant wineries in Australia’s McLaren Vale today. It was started in 1912 by Joseph Osborn, a teetotaller, who purchased 25 hectares of land and began selling fruit to local wineries. In 1928, the property’s own cellars were completed and red and fortified wines were made here in increasing quantities to supply the expanding European markets.
The name d’Arenberg came to prominence in 1959 when Joseph’s grandson Francis d’Arenberg Osborn, universally known as ‘d’Arry’, took over the running of the business and christened it in honour of his mother’s family name. The wines themselves started gaining cult status amongst judges and amateurs alike. By the 1970s the d’Arenberg range had gained a significant national and international profile and its wines had become extremely fashionable.
d’Arry and Chester Osborn
In 1984, d’Arry’s charismatic son Chester d’Arenberg Osborn, having graduated and spent time exploring European estates, took over the reins as chief winemaker and viticulturalist. Passionate about the family business from his youth, the inimitable Chester soon set about reintroducing traditional practices to capture the small-batch character of his wines. The old-fashioned basket press, for example, allows oxygen into the vinification process, softening and rounding out flavours and contributing much of the innate character that sets the wines apart. At the same time, Chester has moved the brand into the 21st century and now presides over an expanding range of evocatively marketed wines yet ensures that intrinsic quality in the bottle remains uniformly high.
The d’Arenberg Cube - visitor centre, tasting rooms and restaurant
Why Footbolt? Joseph Osborn was a successful racehorse owner and Footbolt was the pride of his stable. In 1912 he made the hard decision to sell his horses to purchase the d’Arenberg property.
The season of the 2016 vintage began well with average winter rainfall, Summer conditions were significantly warmer than average with two heatwaves through January testing the limits of the vines. Following the heatwave was rain and cool weather, which helped slow down ripening, and allowed flavour development to catch up to sugar ripeness. White wines from this vintage are fruity and very flavoursome, as are reds with ample tannin to match.
Small batches of grapes are crushed gently and then transferred to five tonne headed down open fermenters. These batches remain separate until final blending. Foot treading is undertaken two thirds of the way through fermentation. The wine is then basket pressed and then transferred to a mixture of new and used French and American oak barriques to complete fermentation. The barrel ferments are aged on lees, and there is no racking until final blending. This wine does not undertake fining or filtration prior to bottling.
Our note: d’Arenberg’s inimitable winemaker Chester Osborn has never shied away from full-throttle styles! This Aussie shiraz shows why: satisfying and delicious with concentrated blackberry and mocha flavours and a warming, spicy finish.