Dominique Morel, Beaujolais-Villages
Dominique's philisophy is to make wines that he likes to drink. Sourced from parcels of old bush-vines, his Beaujolais-Villages has plenty of fruit and a rounded mouthfeel. It encapsulates the approachable style of Beaujolais-Villages.
The vineyards face south west and cover 12 hectares. The Beaujolais-Villages is sourced from densely planted bush vines, which seem to give a degree of bramble-fruit potency more akin to the region's Cru wines. The average age of these goblet-trained vines is 45 years with an average yield of 50 - 55 hectolitres per hectare. Soils here are poor, stony and granitic, accounting for the perfume and finesse so characteristic of the good wines of this region. The grapes are all hand harvested.
Pre-fermentation maceration of the whole bunches was followed by semi-carbonic maceration. Dominique allowed the temperature to rise for a couple of hours only, which helped with the extraction of colour, aroma and tannins. Then, after chilling, the fermentation took place over seven to eight days. Minimum handling techniques were employed and the wine stayed in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks after fermentation.
At its best, Beaujolais is a deeply pleasurable wine and Morel's wines encapsulate this style better than most. Dominique Morel has 12 hectares of vineyard in Beaujolais and Fleurie. The vines are up to 70 years old, something that accounts for the intensity of his wines. To sum up his philosophy, Morel says: "I make wines that I like to drink, with lots of fruit, good colour and a rounded mouth-feel''.
2018 Pinot Noir Jean-Claude Boisset, "Les Ursulines", Bourgogne
100% Pinot Noir. Bright ruby red in colour with pronounced aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry with hints of black pepper. On the palate, flavours of juicy red fruits and sweet spice are well-balanced with bright, lifted acidity and round, silky tannins. An excellent value Red Burgundy.
The fruit for this wine comes from old vines, mostly from the Côte de Nuits, which ensures that the quality of the blend is far higher than that of a standard Bourgogne. The vineyard management here is stringent and uses specific techniques to control yields, guaranteeing good concentration of flavours in the grapes. These techniques include debudding, cluster thinning, little or no use of fertiliser and environmentally-friendly vine protection.
The grapes were hand harvested and collected into small 20kg crates. Sorting took place in the vineyards and then again at the winery. Grapes were 100% destemmed but not crushed, then gravity-fed into vats. Maceration lasted a total of 24 days including one week cold maceration at 12°C to develop aroma and good colour. Fermentation took place with indigenous yeasts with infrequent punching down of the cap. The wine was aged on lees for eight months in lightly toasted French oak barrels (15% new) before being lightly filtered and bottled.
Jean-Claude Boisset was radically transformed with the arrival in 2002 of viniculteur Grégory Patriat, one of the best viticulturalists/winemakers of his generation in Burgundy. Grégory had spent the previous three years working in the vineyards at Domaine Leroy and still spends a great deal of his time in the vineyards, paying his growers by the hectare in order to ensure low yields. He also prefers to work with organic growers, as he finds they produce better fruit. Unlike other Burgundian négociants, Grégory specialises in making wines from 'lieu-dits' or tiny plots of vines, something which accounts for the limited production of most of his wines.
Chateau Coudray-Montpensier Chinon
This Cabernet Franc has a deep, dark red colour. On the nose, it has bright aromas of pure black fruit with a hint of vanilla. The palate is refreshing with bright acidity and subtle, round tannins, with blackcurrant notes on the finish.
100% Cabernet Franc
Boulevard Napoleon `L`Aberadou` Pur Cinsault de Schistes IGP Pays d'Hérault
Named after the street the winery is located on in the village of La Livinière, Minervois, Boulevard Napoléon is the partnership between restaurant owner Trevor Gulliver and winemaker Benjamin Darnault. Seeing the potential in the vineyards located by his holiday home, Trevor started making the wines and then showed them to his other partner, chef Fergus Henderson, who was more than impressed, as were we! Each wine is a classic expression of the varietal grown on the dry, stony slopes of the south of France - yet they retain a vibrancy and definition that marks them out from the crowd.
Frederic Berne Beaujolais Beaujolais Lantignié `Pierre Bleue`
Frédéric Berne's Beaujolais Lantignié `Pierre Bleue` is a lovely deep purple in the glass. On the nose it is fragrant with perfumes of blueberries, black cherry and fruit compote. On the palate, the tannins are soft and ripe, Flavours of bramble fruit and violets are concentrated and well balanced with a lifted acidity.
La Croix Gratiot Pinot Noir Les Zazous
This wine is bright ruby in the glass, and has an elegant aromatic nose with notes of red cherries, plum and a hint of cinnamon. It is full bodied, the palate has fine, silky tannins and finishes with lingering cherry flavours.
100% Pinot Noir
Blanville Merlot Pays d'Oc
Ruby red in colour, the nose boasts aromas of fresh red cherry and plum. On the palate the tannins are ripe and plush, complimented by flavours of juicy red fruits and liquorice. The wine has a well-balanced acidity and a smooth finish.
The vineyards of Haut Blanville enjoy a warm dry climate, moderated by sea breezes giving freshness and vibrancy to the wine. Ripe with plush, juicy red fruit, this is a deliciously approachable Merlot.
Les Vignes de L'Eglise, Merlot/Grenache IGP Pays d'Oc
This wine is cherry red in colour, with fresh, perfumed aromas of ripe plum and cherries. It is smooth on the palate with medium to full body and integrated supple tannins. Juicy, easy to drink, with a touch of spice on the fruit-driven finish. A great everyday or House wine!
Domaine du Coulet, Cornas `Brise Cailloux`
A seventh-generation vigneron, Matthieu Barret studied viticulture in Beaune and joined his grandfather in Cornas in 1997. After inheriting a parcel of vines from his grandfather, who used to sell grapes to the local co-operative, Matthieu built up his own domaine in Cornas. He immediately started working the vines organically and produced his first vintage in 2000.
Made using fruit from the mid and lower vineyard slopes at Domaine de Coulet, this is an expressive wine with intense notes of fresh red cherry and blackberry, hints of fennel, supple tannins and a long mineral finish.
Certified Biodynamic, Certified Organic, Vegan, Vegetarian
Chateau De Dufort, Corbieres
Intense spicy fruit flavours, supple, soft, sometimes sweet tannins and a fresh acid core, which makes this wine from the Languedoc irresistible with all the hearty rustic fare of autumn - a rich cassoulet, or meaty slow-cooked ox cheek with garlicky mashed potato - the kind of stuff that makes you feel like Henry VIII.
Boutinot ‘Les Coteaux’ Côtes du Rhône Villages
Immediately impressive, this wine reveals its class from the start. Brambly fruit underpinned by subtle oaky nuances, lovely sweet spice - warm star anise with a touch of cinnamon. This classic Côtes du Rhône Villages is enriched with specially-selected parcels from the cru vineyards of Séguret, Sablet and Cairanne.
Common practice in the Côtes du Rhône is to bottle the best cuvées as a single, named, village wine and the rest as more basic Côtes du Rhône Villages. Boutinot’s philosophy, on the other hand, is to start with the intention of making the very best Côtes du Rhône Villages possible by sourcing wine from the vineyards of named villages, and enriching them with a small proportion of barrel-aged wine from Sablet, Séguret and Cairanne. Boutinot's Côtes du Rhône Villages 'Les Coteaux' is therefore a selection of the best Grenache Noir and Syrah from some of the 17 named Côtes du Rhône Villages. We source wine from a number of growers with exceptional terroir and so have the flexibility to select only the very best fruit each vintage (rejecting parcels which do not meet our high standards). Mostly unoaked, a small proportion (20%) is part-aged for 22 months in a few new, but mostly older, oak barrels to bring depth and subtle notes of complexity.
A delicious accompaniment to grilled meats, herby Sausages, casseroles or a classic shepherd's pie.
Vallet Frères Bourgogne Pinot Noir
Delicate garnet colour with peppery, strawberry fruit on the nose, the palate is light to medium-bodied with appealing nervy fruit and mouth-watering acidity balancing the dry tannins and elegant red fruit.
Founded in 1864 by Pierre Bourée, Vallet Frères is now in the hands of the fourth generation of the family, Bernard and Jean-Christophe Vallet. The family owns vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin, in the Beaune Premier Cru of Les Epenottes, and in the Grand Cru of Charmes-Chambertin, as well as the entire monopole vineyard of Clos de la Justice, also in Gevrey-Chambertin. Vallet Frères is also a négociant, and sources the best grapes from growers in other areas, with whom it has worked closely for decades.
Serve with a traditionally Coq au Vin. Roast chicken or young game birds and equally good with pasta bakes or wild mushroom linguine.
Domaine Chante Cigale, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge
This is a traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape serious and brooding and benefits from a little time to breath and open up. The palate is complex with herby, tapenade flavours and ripe textured tannins balancing the significant 15% alcohol which is expertly managed and integrated.
Try with traditional roast lamb, lentil and vegetable moussaka and any rich hot-pot that heavily features aromatic 'herbes de Provence'.
VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, SUSTAINABLE
Chateau Capburn St Estephe 2013
The sister property of Château Calon-Ségur, Château Capbern is a Cru-Bourgeois punching well above its classification. With excellent structure and intensity, it has charming cassis fruit and structured, fine-grained tannins.
91% Cabernet Sauvignon , 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
Domaine La Haute Marone ‘Le Cru des Dentelles de Montmirail’, Gigondas
Gigondas is a single village 'cru' of the southern Rhône valley whose vineyards nestle under the jagged, lacy peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains.
Intense aromas of black cherries, then a wisp of smoke creeps in along with some hints of toasted cocoa beans. Deep and intense, this wine slowly reveals its secrets - black cherries, dark chocolate, a hint of clove and nutmeg - hugely rich and enveloping but with elegance.
Ideal with a good Provençale daube or game dishes. Also a treat with hard cheeses, particularly farmhouse cheddar.