Happy Friday with a Piemontese staple!
Cooking some ternasco and trying out an IGP Ribera del Gállego / Cinco Villas. Pure Garnacha from villages to the South West of Huesca - fairly continental climate with some altitude and pyrenaic influence. Pure raspberry juice with strawberries and cream. Tannins might be a bit too low now but it definitely is very delicious
4.50 euros a bottle.
Dumien Serrette Cornas Patou 2019. First go at Cornas, and it’s a lot lighter than I was expecting, for some reason. It’s very perfumed with black cherries, violets and slightly herbal, reminding me of Kekfrankos or Côt. Very fresh, medium bodied, a little savoury. Gentle, more subtle in the mouth, a nice acidity giving freshness; smooth tannins and no rough edges, silky; finish a tad short, but slips down easily.
April is the cruellest month… well, at least where the weather is concerned. What’s with this biting north wind?!
On a warmer note, the daughter is back from a fun week away in Germany - so we’re reunited shortly, before she’s going back to Uni again. It felt fitting to open a German wine:
Horst Sauer Escherndorf Fürstenberg Müller-Thurgau, Franken 2021
Bought last summer in the Systembolaget in Karlstad (for SEK159) - not the most glamourous of grapes, but Sauer does it well. Pale straw in the glass, the nose hits first with a flinty/gunpowder like smokiness. Then fruit (mainly orchard, but also some citrus) and gentle blossom follow. It’s actually really nice to sniff - different notes (kumquats, herbs, honey) slowly make themselves known.
It’s very pleasant on the palate too - with a nice concentration of fruit (apples, pears, those kumquats) and a fresh lemon verbena herby sort of note. There’s good minerality and freshness to the texture and a lemon sherbet finish. Hoping this will match our mild curry - but even if not, it’s a pleasure to drink - based on first glass at least.
Joining @Joni-B73F0 with 100% Garnacha this evening
Cherry drops, raspberry & a whiff of cinnamon.
Accompanied a lightly spiced sausage casserole nicely.
Another fine drop from the small wonders cellar plan. Be very happy to drink the other 5 over the next few years.
Hope everyone has a great weekend.
In the restaurant of a Dutch hotel chain this evening. They have a superb wine list, but lacking vintage information. And where supplied, way too young. Giscours 2019 anybody? Tignanello 2018? Same for the Knoll riesling smaragd that I ordered. 2020 is way too young for my taste, but boy does this wine have promise for 10 years ageing or so. Citrus fruits, apple, pear, flowers, great acidity, great complexity, ultra long finish. And only about 20% markup to retail prices. So very glad to have tried it.
This here tonight…
…a Chablis ‘Vieilles Vignes 1946’ 2014 from J-M Brocard. My concerns about its age were immediately quashed after pouring and taking a sniff.
A beautiful greenish yellow colour. A restrained but fresh nose with citrus and orchard fruit aromas and that distinctive note of oyster shell often found in Chablis. Lemon and green apple flavours with good mineral complexity on the tangy but rounded palate with a refreshing, palate cleansing, green fruited finish to end. All in all, an excellent example of villages Chablis.
It was a super match to my sockeye salmon, lemon hollandaise with steamed early season asparagus and Jersey Royals dinner…
…my plating up could have been better but, nevertheless, was happy with the end results and I’m very much looking forward to finishing up the rest of the veg with some roast lamb tomorrow.
Have a great weekend everyone.
Taking heed of your advice on the weekday thread and opened this tonight.
Quite golden so I can see what you are saying about within 5 years of vintage.
Really enjoyed it.
This bottle from the recent Mystery Case offering was beautiful. No dying majesty here. Best £25 spent in a very long time!
I really enjoyed that wine too, If memory serves I drank my final bottle just before Xmas. I can’t help but think they’re doing it a disservice by not closing it with a screwcap as far as longevity, and the resultant potential for bottle variation, is concerned. That said, that’s not an uncommon thought here !
Today was our last full day in Alsace before heading back homewards tomorrow. It’s been a good week, and we’ve visited three wine producers - a couple of the new wave of young producers pushing different styles and low-intervention wines, and one more traditional.
Achillée. We visited here on Wednesday, having been served their skin-contact gewurztraminer in a wine pairing at Auberge Frankenbourg, and been very impressed. Founded in 2016 in Scherwiller, we watched their premises (the largest straw building in Europe, apparently) going up as we cycled past, and this has finally prompted us to visit. They’re a family that used to sell their grapes to a co-op, but have now decided to make their own wine - biodynamic, natural, and all that jazz. For a low intervention winery there seemed to be quite a lot of intervening - I’d describe it as “different intervention”, I think. For example, they had a number of wines where they’d blended the 2020 and 2021 vintages - actually not a bad idea given the ripeness of 2020 and the higher acidity of 2021 - but I’m not sure where that sits with letting the fruit ferment and talk for itself. Nevertheless, extremely interesting and good quality wines, and all made with skin contact. That really shows - even with grapes such as pinot blanc where there’s no colour imparted, there’s an extra tannic grip, and good acidity.
Moritz Prado. An even newer winemaker, founded in 2018 by a young couple - he’s Alsatian, she’s Colombian. Ghislain Moritz doesn’t actually come from a winemaking family, but after travelling, took up winemaking, worked in Romania, and then came back home and bought some parcels of vines in Albé. Angela Prado gave us a lovely tour of their new premises (only opened this year), and talked us through their wines. Again, low intervention and natural, and we were very impressed with what they’re already achieving, with a range divided into relatively straightforward, simple varietals; wines designed to express more of their terroir; and natural, cloudy, more off-the-wall wines. But all three work - in fact, I’d say that the latter two are better than the first. They’re getting excellent intensity of fruit expression, without falling into the mousy hole to which natural wines are prone. It was clear that they’ve taken quite a personal and financial risk to chase their commitment, and I wish them very well - they deserve to succeed.
Boeckel. Now we were back to the more conventional side of Alsace winemaking, and a producer know to TWS members. Dry, gastronomic wines, and the GC Zotzenberg Sylvaner and Riesling were standouts. Even in the ripe 2020 vintage, their sylvaner managed to keep its minerality and acidity balance, and the 2021 riesling is lovely too - floral on the nose; stony on the finish.
We went for a walk through the Zotzenberg afterwards, which was full of wild tulips.
So to this evening’s dinner, which was also a wine-drinking combination of the traditional and the new. More local asparagus, with Bruno Sorg, Muscat GC Pfersigberg, 2015. And entrecôte and potato wedges, with Moritz Prado, Pinot Noir Clos du Sonnenbach, 2019.
The muscat has lost most of its floral nose - there’s still a bit of camomile left, but only just - but replaced it with with extra mineral and herbal aromas and flavours, as only muscat grown on great terroirs can. Super-minty and long on the finish, and good structure. That’s the last of our 2015s, and I’m quite happy with that, although in this case it might have been interesting to see what happened next, too.
The pinot noir is just lovely - black cherries, red cherries and loganberries on the nose, some forest floor and liquorice on the palate, and very smooth tannins. Made from 80% destemmed grapes and 20% whole bunch, with 1 year ageing in three parts - 50% in barrels, and the rest divided between stainless steel and sandstone amphorae.
Hope everyone has a good weekend!
Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to provide us with such insightful thoughts on your current stay on, what is, a beautiful part of the world in every respect ( and as always, your food looked, and I’m sure tasted, fabulous ! )
Lovely post and pictures, but I doubt the tulips are "wild"in the strictest sense; “feral” would be a better word; they would have been introduced by humans at some stage in the past. Truly wild tulips are found mainly in the middle east and central southern Asia. This equates to garden tulips doing best in dry, warm parts of the garden, in contrast to daffodils etc.
Another way of looking at it (assuming they want to make the best wine possible, to which balance is important), is that a multi vintage blend with contrasting yet complementary characteristics is less intervening than acidification or chaptalisation.
Agree. I think Rioja allowed 10-20% to be blended across vintages. The stuff might be sitting in barrel so can’t see much wrong with it. It’s just bringing some from another good tasting barrel with a different number on it.
Fought off the jet lag last night with this from the 2019 Rhone EP offer @ £42 for six, seem to recall it being popular on the offer threads given the price.
Very enjoyable and went well with five guys bacon cheeseburger with all the add ons (just about had enough jet lag functionality to use deliveroo app as didn’t trust myself to cook).
May be wrong but do not recall seeing it in subsequent EP offers.
A good weekend to all
This weekend, Friday included, so far.
Back in France for a fortnight; first item of note was the dual unexpected issues of a) the pilot denying access to the rear steps after landing, on the grounds of it being too windy, thus those of us in row 33 - deliberately so, as that’s normally the fastest exit to beat the subsequent interminable passport queue sorely cussing and swearing that we’d be last in line and b) there being no passport control anyway as - of course they were - they were on strike - we sailed through without any impediment !
So, wines consumed since Friday are…
TNs…the Ramie was purchased as a result of a tip-off from @Aaronb who went to Milan recently and was offered this at a wine bar; a very rare and quirky Piedmontese red; DOP Pinerolese, being a blend of four very local varieties, which is 30% Avana, 20% Chatus, 20% Bequet, 15% Avarengo …and 15% Barbera. I had a case of 6 shipped to my French location without any Brexit aggro. A lively spicy wine which I think should age well. Think a young Chianti with equal proportion of a Fronton.
The Cauhapé sec is a blend of Manseng, Colombard and others and was perfect with a Portuguese inspired pan-fried salt cod, capers and crushed potatoes dish. Note the disquietingly high %abv which did not come across during its despatch.
On to today and what better aperitif than the dregs of a Chateau Chalon stoppered - off three weeks ago and still in perfect condition.
Then, to go with a her’s of Oleron Oysters and a his’ of pannéd fillet of egelfin (Haddock) and fresh peas. This Ranina from Slovenia - a cellar door purchase from 2017 and since lost in the myriad of the dust-garnering under stairs cupboard of near-forgotten holiday souvenirs. Ranina is the local name for Bouvier, a Slovenian variety which is nowadays mainly cultivated in Austria. This was from the Mea Culpa winery cellar door near Maribor. It’s kept well; slightly spritzy, nose of fresh apples, palate of lemon sherbet, greengages and hints of herbs such as rosemary and thyme. One of those wines when you know you won’t ever have again and tinged with sadness…
Finally to go with cheese this lunchtime a gorgeous Rioja GR which has only subtle oak and retains a delicious cooked prunes in vanilla profile. Tempranillo is, for me, one of the few red wines which works with cheese. It would stand up to LRA Ardanza no problem.
After a frustrating couple of weeks, exercise-wise at least, and a really good workout earlier today ( enjoyable would be pushing it, mind ! ) my usual appetite for food and wine has returned big time. So, in the bottle here tonight…
…a Schweigener Sonnenberg Riesling Trocken 2016 from Weingut Julg ( the vineyard itself is actually across the border in Alsace and overlooks Wissembourg ).
Anyway, lemon and lime, golden apples, green pears and floral /. blossom notes on the nose ( a hint of kerosene initially seems to have blown off with air ). Similar flavours on the weighty and viscous palate with vibrant acidity providing good cut and balance, and a mineral quality, to the oily fruit flavours. A tangy, but rounded, finish to end completes a thoroughly satisfying drinking experience.
All of which provided an excellent match to tonight’s fatty, and all the better for it, pork chop, griddled asparagus, smoked paprika spiced roasted cauliflower, crispy sage leaves, meal…
…hardly fine dining but I couldn’t help but think it was the tastiest plate of food I’ve knocked up in quite some time. No doubt, the exercise might have helped in that respect though !
Edit - I did intend to have a roast lamb dinner but the joint in question is still slowly defrosting in the fridge.
I have enjoyed the Traboules as well, and have missed it in subsequent EPs. Lay & Wheeler do stock it, if you are interested:
The puy lentils are nearly done, and these two will be going in for a final crisping up shortly. My reward for two+ hours of cooking:
Pale, with a really big hit of wild strawberries initially, this is developing additional complexity on the nose in the glass. Somebody else (sorry, forget who!) said this vintage may not be a keeper, and I think they are right - this is good to go, sweet fruited and by Xinomavro standards easy drinking. It’s also delicious.