To the south of Bordeaux city, near Cadillac, Château Ricaud boasts an exceptionally diverse array of soils. Impressed by its quality potential and the architectural splendour of the château, Alain Thiénot (of Champagne fame) bought the property in 1980 and has subsequently put in place a remodelling plan to transform the estate into a benchmark Loupiac and to create a Côtes de Bordeaux worthy of the finest wines.
Château de Ricaud Cadillac is a blend of 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon & 2% Petit Verdot from vines with an average age of 25 years. The wine was vinified in temperature-controlled stainless steel, followed by ageing in oak barriques, 20% of which were new, for 12 months.
With its appealing dark ruby appearance, the wine is complex on the nose offering initial notes of strawberry and blackberry. Beautifully structured on the palate, full and generous with rounded, fleshy tannins. Perfectly integrated oak character accompanies the long, delicately spiced finish.
The Colonge family have been making wine in this part of the Beaujolais region since 1789. Lying in the heart of the northern, Cru, area of the region, they are based in the commune of Lancié. The estate comprises 37 hectares divided between 4 appellations: Fleurie, Brouilly, Beaujolais-Villages and Beaujolais.
Colonge have 7.3 hectares of Fleurie vineyards on south/south eastern facing slopes.
Fermentation is by semi-carbonic maceration combined with whole bunch fermentation. Maceration lasts around 10 days. This allows the wine to get the tannic structure required for ageing. Bottling is after the Easter following the harvest, for a cellaring potential of 5 to 6 years.
Deep ruby red in appearance with crimson tints. The nose is floral with spice aromas at the fore giving way to red fruits and vanilla. The palate is complex, fleshy and creamy with silky tannins and very ripe black fruit.
André Roméro is a most characterful and talented grower. He founded Domaine la Soumade in 1979 and was joined by his son Frédéric in 1996 on completion of his oenology studies. Today the estate covers 26 hectares, including a new plot of 2.5 hectares of the finest land in Rasteau – pure ‘Argile bleue’ with 60 year old vines.
Whilst Frédéric has assumed responsibility for most of the day to day work on the domaine, André is still actively involved, that is when he is not following the fortunes of F.C. Barcelona!
Domaine la Soumade practices “agriculture raisonée” (sustainable winemaking) in all of their vineyards, only treating the vines where absolutely necessary.
They use organic compost which is only applied when soil deficiencies are revealed, following analysis of the soil and vine vegetation. When climatic conditions dictate they use organically permitted treatments (sulphur and copper) to protect the vines from mildew and oidium.
The Domaine la Soumade Rasteau is 80% Grenache Noir, 10% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre from low yielding (38 hl per ha) vines varying in age from 10 – 30 years.
The grapes are harvested by hand with the best grapes selected on a sorting table in the vineyard.
Traditional winemaking with punching down of the skin cap and a regular pumping over of juice in open stainless steel tanks. Maceration of the skins lasts between 14 and 18 days with a temperature controlled fermentation.
Founded in 1995, Calmel & Joseph is a négociant house specializing in Languedoc-Roussillon wines from private wineries from across the region. Over the years, they have built close personal relationships with a large number of growers from all appellations. Convinced of the extraordinary potential of this region, oenologist, Laurent Calmel, and Jerome Joseph work together on the vinification, blending and ageing of wines with the common purpose of demonstrating the little known, yet unique quality of these Mediterranean terroirs.
Mourvèdre 50%, Syrah 25%, Grenache 25% from low yielding vines grown on a mixture of limestone gravel and sandy clay soil.
Vinification follows traditional methods with regular pipeage (punching down of the cap to maximise extraction and texture). The malolactic takes place in barrel and the wine is aged for 14 months in a mixture of new wood (20%), second fill (30%) and third fill (50%).
Deep red in colour, the nose is full and intense with notes of red berries and hints of Mediterranean herbs and spices. On the palate, the texture is supple, concentrated and well-balanced, with fine tannins. Notes of menthol, bay leaves, blackcurrants and spices.
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, established in 1891, has been run by the Brunier family for five generations. The estate’s vineyards are situated on the famous “Plateau de la Crau” the stony terrace where there is nothing but “galets roulés”, or rounded stones, as far as the eye can see. This special terroir imparts a highly distinctive minerality to the wines.
With the Bruniers’ expansion into the satellite appellations, Daniel and Frédéric have produced some delightful fruit driven, crunchy wines.
“Le Pigeoulet” comes from two separate parcels, 10 hectares on the lower southwest facing slopes of Mont Ventoux and 3 hectares on the east bank of the Rhône, 15km north of Avignon. The blend is 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Cargnan and Cinsault and ageing is in foudres for 12 months.
Situated at the foot of Mount Brouilly, this estate of some 70 hectares of vines, produces delicious Brouilly. The vineyards are on weathered granite, the soil is shallow and poor – sandy, acid and containing rock debris. Deeper down the subsoil is rich in mineral elements such as iron, potassium and manganese giving the wine its special character.
The grapes are hand picked, sorted and de-stemmed before being put into temperature controlled stainless steel vats for a long (2-3 week) maceration period during which the chapeau de marc -the cap of the grape skins- is regularly pushed down into the juice (pigeage), to enhance the aromatics, colour and body of the finished wine.
After pneumatic pressing, the malolactic fermentation takes place gently and slowly throughout the winter after which the wine is bottled in the spring. The wines are always aged for several months at the château before release.
Bright, deep purple in appearance, the bouquet is dominated by notes of ripe fruit. In the mouth it is full and silky with soft, supple tannins – serious and classic Beaujolais.
This small co-operative, founded in 1954, has 110 members and 200 hectares of vineyard in the Haut-Rhin, nine kilometres from Colmar.
Grapes for the Gewürztraminer Réserve are grown in vineyards running along the south and south-east facing hillside slopes around the village of Hunawihr at an altitude of 250-320 metres above sea level. The average age of the vines is 25 years old.
This Gewürztraminer was made from a blend of micro-parcels from the Hunawihr vineyards, picked at optimum ripeness. The temperature controlled fermentation took place between 16-18°C for three weeks, followed by four months in stainless steel tanks to settle before careful filtration. No malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place.
Straw yellow in colour with an elegant silver gold tint. The nose is complex with very delicate flavours of exotic lychee and mango with a hint of rose. Full-bodied, this is a medium dry wine with a refreshing acidity. Rose perfumes continue on the long finish.
The Vigneau brothers, Christophe and Stéphane, have 30 hectares of Chenin Blanc grown on prime Vouvray vineyards spread over a variety of sites.
The delicious, minerally Vouvray Sec “Cuvée Silex” is from flint (silex) and clay soils. Silex is considered the finest soil type for the Chenin Blanc in this part of the Loire Valley.
Pale straw in appearance, the nose has a lovely blend of herby notes, green apple freshness and just a touch of honey. The palate is dry with apple flavours, brilliant zesty structure and a very long finish.
The late Jean-Michel Vigneau began the process of converting to organic production in the early 1990’s and in 1999 Vigneau-Chevreau received certification from Ecocert. The current generation have taken the next step by adopting a biodynamic approach which pays close attention to the natural rhythms of the earth and lunar cycles.
Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau is one of the only two estates in Vouvray to be biodynamic and they own 25% of the appellation’s organic vineyards – 30 ha.
A mature wine from the renowned Sauternes property of Château Filhot.
“Gold Reserve” 1998 is a light and elegant style. Not the sweetest of Sauternes but full of dried fruit and marmalade flavours. It is well suited as an aperitif or to partner rich savoury dishes such as rich pâtés, or cheeses (especially Roquefort). If you want to use it as a dessert wine choose a light, fruit dish.
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants