Opinion

Valentines Wines (II) Bloggers Of The World Unite (episode 1)

One of the best parts about becoming a blogger has been meeting other bloggers from near and far – from literally round the corner to the other side of the world.  Reading their blogs has been interesting in itself, but has also been very helpful in learning how to make my own blog better.  Everyone I have met has been polite, pleasant and generous.

For some time now I had been meaning to try collaborating with some of my fellow bloggers – and then I hit on the idea of asking them to contribute a recommendation for a Valentine’s Day wine.  A cheesy romantic link to V-Day was optional – it could just be a wine that the writer really liked and so would recommend – and just a couple of lines was requested, though some wrote more.

I was bowled over by the reaction – everyone I asked agreed to join in!  Some even gave the background as to why a particular wine was romanic for them.

So sincere thanks to all who contributed!

Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 by Joanne Cronin (@dudara) of Stitch and Bear

Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Astrolabe Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013

I’m not a V-day person, but I’ll go for Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc, because a friend served it as the white wine at their wedding which was one of the most beautiful and romantic weddings I’ve attended.

It was a beautiful summer day and it really was the perfect wine for it.

€19.99 Available from O’Briens

Schloss Schonborn Hollenberg Spätburgunder 2011 by Lorcan O’Brien (@theirishwino) of Hibernian Bacchant

Schloss Schonborn Hollenberg Spatburgunder 2011
Schloss Schonborn Hollenberg Spätburgunder 2011

From the O’Briens website: “Aged in oak and treated by the winemaker in a manner similar to 1er Cru Burgundy, this is an accomplished Pinot Noir that merits an hour’s aeration and a roast pheasant.”

Quite simply my favourite wine of the last year.

Ca’ de Noci ‘Sottobosca’ Frizzante Rosso 2011 by Cara Rutherford (@buddhainyrglass) of The Buddha In Your Glass

Ca’ de Noci ‘Sottobosca’ Frizzante Rosso 2011
Ca’ de Noci ‘Sottobosca’ Frizzante Rosso 2011

Crafted by brothers Giovanni and Alberto Masini on their family’s estate near Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy. The vineyards are certified organic, and the brothers do not use chemicals in any process of winemaking, including sulphur and additives. Wines are left unfiltered and unfined.

Not for the faint of heart, this will funkafy your Valentines Day. Inky violet red with pink bubbles, black cherry and blackberry flavours ride along a current of vivacious fizz, backed by barn door funky earth notes and a cleansing acidity that harmonises with the fruity, dry finish.

Blend of Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambrusco Maestri and Malbo Gentile

  • IGT
  • Estate Bottled
  • 11% Alcohol
  • $16
  • Enjoy now
  • Only 4000 bottles produced
  • Louis/Dressner Selections

 

Also see other Valentine’s Wines posts:

I – The Tasting Panel

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Tasting Events

Barn-storming New Discoveries: Highlights of the H2G Tasting

So firstly to dispel any possible misunderstanding – H2G is short for Honest 2 Goodness as apposed to H2G2 which is shorthand for the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and its associated online encyclopediaSo not really alike.  At all.

So now we’ve established that, what is H2G?  It’s based around a farmers’ market held every Saturday in Glasnevin, north Dublin, run by brother and sister team Colm and Brid Carter.  In the main Colm handles the wine and Brid the food, though of course there’s some crossover.  They sell wines at the market, online and wholesale.  The portfolio is imported directly by them, and mainly consists of sustainably-made wines from family producers in Spain, Italy, France, Austria and Germany.

And why “Barn-storming”?  Well the high ceiling and large open door of the venue bring to mind a barn.  Apart from the lack of hay.  And animals.  So perhaps a chai in the Médoc would be a more appropriate analogy…

The tasting covered a large chunk of their portfolio, including sparkling, white, rosé and red.  Here I’ve picked out a few which really caught my attention, though the overall standard was very high.

Great version of a familiar wine: Enrico Bedin Prosecco DOC Veneto Frizzante NV

Bedin Prosecco DOC Treviso
Bedin Prosecco DOC Treviso

Yes that’s right, I’ve picked a Prosecco to start with!  Regular readers may remember that I don’t usually care too much for Prosecco.  Yes, it’s the base of the famous Bellini cocktail, but usually a single glass is all I can manage before switching to something else.  If it’s only average quality, I might not even finish the glass.

Now this example surprised me – it was very pleasant to drink without being too sweet or flabby.  It’s not a terribly complex drink, with notes of citrus, apple, pear and peach, but sometimes simple is just fine.

The Bedin winery is located in the foothills close to the mediaeval town of Asolo, known as the “Colli Asolani”, fairly close to Venice.  As well as Glera (the official new name for the Prosecco grape) there’s also Bianchetta Trevigiana grown here, though that is most often used for blending or making vermouth.

This is the lighter sparkling Frizzante version; due to the lower pressure it doesn’t need a Champagne-style cork and cage so can be sold with a simple crown cap.  Happily, these means less Irish duty than most fizz so the tippler wins for a change!

Familiar Grape From A New Producer: Weingut Setzer Setzer Weinviertel DAC Reserve Grüner Veltliner “8000”

Setzer "8000" Grüner Veltliner
Setzer “8000” Grüner Veltliner

Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s signature white grape, known as GruVee by the cool kids.  It’s a real mouthful in figurative and literal senses – it’s generally dry but more full-bodied than many other whites.  It deserves to be better known, though it’s always going to be more niche than Chardonnay.

If you like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling then you need to give Grüner a try.

So what’s special about this example?  The other GVs made by Setzer are very drinkable, but this premium version sets itself apart by both the quality of the soil and the unusually high vine density.  In this 15 hectare vineyard vine density is right up at 8,000 vines per hectare, supposedly imitating that of the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, rather than the region’s usual 3,000 vines per hectare.  The competition between vines lowers yields per vine, extends their potential lifespan and results in more intense flavours.

The soil itself is described as loess (look it up!) over gravel and limestone, coming from a raised seabed – perfect for drainage (vines don’t like wet feet).

A New Producer, New Appellation, New Grape: Chateau Saint-Go AOC Saint Mont

Chateau Saint-Go AOC Saint Mont

Although there’s a lot of tradition in the world of wine, things do move pretty fast at times.  This appellation is located in Gascony’s Gers Department and got promoted to AOC from VDQS (the next quality level down) in 2011.

The producer, Plaimont, is a consortium of cooperatives in South West France.  Their wine production covers the appellations of AOC Saint Mont, AOC Madiran, AOC Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and IGP Côtes de Gascogne

At the H2G tasting their entry level white “En La Tradition Blanc” was very nice, though on the simple side.  The Chateau Saint-Go itself was stunning, a wine you could happily contemplate all evening (as long as you could get a top up!)  Roundness and texture come from some oak ageing, but oak doesn’t dominate the palate.

And what is the new grape?  It’s made with Gros Manseng (which is familiar to lovers of Jurançon from further south), Petit Courbu (found in Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh AOC) and Arrufiac.  I have to confess I hadn’t heard of Arrufiac, but it transpires that its increasing popularity is mainly due to the raised profile from Plaimont.

So there you go, you never stop learning in the world of wine – and the educational experience is a fun one!