Playing Catch Up’s

It’s been many month’s since i’ve updated my little blog. It’s also been many a crazy month. This is a little, short and very quick post to play catch up with what has happened of late… Then I promise we will get back to the good stuff.

The wine stuff.

 

Just a week after getting back from the wine trip of a life time, there was a little picture of me on the cover of Good Living. You can read the article,If you would like.

Then just a few weeks ago, I won the big one. The Best Small Wine List in the FWP Gourmet Traveller Australian Wine List of the Year Awards…… Absolutely mind blowing.

 

And here is a picture of me with the award on my head. As you do….

 

So that’s enough showing off for now…. We have played catch up’s with the awesome stuff…. I’ll write about wine next time, which will be soon. I promise.

MOV xx

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Truffled Food Porn

So you would think that after visiting Cote Rotie, Condrieu, Croze Hermitage and Cornas in the one day it couldn’t get any better? Think again, to finish our day we were booked into Beaugraviere for dinner.

Best Truffle restaurant in the world?  I could pretty much die right now and feel fulfilled.

First Course -  just a simple dish of potato and Truffle.

Second Course – Truffle Veloute, chopped Truffle (some kind of nut).

Third Course -  Truffled Spinach, scallop stuffed with Truffle and topped with Truffle.

Fourth Course -  Foie Gras Parfait, Truffle butter and yep you guessed it, topped with Truffle.

Fifth Course -  Seared Foie Gras and a whole Truffle in pastry. A WHOLE GOD DAMN TRUFFLE. Kill me now.

Cheese Course – Which was of course, topped with Truffle.

Dessert -  Truffle Ice Cream.

Whilst gorging ourselves in an all out Truffle fest. We drank…..

1988 Fonsalet Blanc

89 Fonsalet and 97 Rayas

And the most incredible late harvest Chardonnay. If anyone out there sees this in Australia, please let me know. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

And it seemed only fitting to finish with this.

Bucket of Truffle.

Best Dinner Ever!

XX

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Clape Cornas

There were moments on this trip that were better than others; on the whole the entire trip was pretty amazing but some bits were just….. to put it simply – fucking amazing.

Tasting in the Clape cave was one of these moments. I took so many notes, most are indecipherable. Rodney had a slight smile on his face the entire tasting and by the end of it James was literally jumping up and down.

There was a magical feeling in the air in this dirty, mould-covered cellar. The barrels showed years and years of nursing beautiful wine to maturity. There was  black mould on everything and for some reason none of us felt the cold at all down there. Pure magic!

As I just mentioned, I did write pages and pages of notes whilst at Clape. I will try to decant some for you but let me just start by saying that the 2010 vintage in Cornas is wonderful. The quantities are not high so expect to pay a lot for them, but let me tell you now each bottle will be worth every cent.

2011 Clape Les Vins Des Amis although the vineyard is made up of brown stone, sits just outside appellation and is viewed as table wine it is still vinified exactly the same as Cornas. Really aromatic nose with hints of chocolate and tobacco. The palate is very approachable with soft tannins and chocolate characters.

The 2011 Clape Cotes Du Rhone (made from 100% Syrah, granite and round stone soil, vineyard right on the border of Cornas) nose of spice earth and rose petals. Palate was soft, generous and quite full-bodied with quite broad tannin structure. Incredible wine. What a good start!

2011 Clape Cornas The nose showed delicious, sexy red cherry and dark fruits. This was such an intense wine I could picture how amazing this is going to be with some age. There was loads of chocolate coating the palate with hints of spice and black olive on the length.

The legendary Auguste Clape was not at the tasting with us, which was a shame. Instead his grandson Olivier led us, who was a strapping young man with the largest hands you have ever seen. You know what they say, big hands great wine? Or something to that effect.

Olivier then went on to explain the vinification process. The Clape family make wine from wonderful old vines with each parcel of fruit  vinified separately, then blended after spending eight months in barrel using the best parcels for Cornas’, then the rest for Renaissance.

The parcel from ‘ La Cote’ made from 55 year old vines,  sits just behind the village, on top of the hill and is always used in the final Cornas blend, this had a really intriguing nose. Floral and wonderful fruit with quite powerful tannin. Apparently according to Olivier 09 and 10 were really great vintages from this small vineyard. The next parcel we tasted came from 60-year-old vines and I’m sorry to say I didn’t catch the name of the vineyard (we now venture into the undecipherable part of the essay that I wrote) The nose was quite funky with a blood and earth character but the palate had this incredible texture. It felt alive and energized. It reminded me of the feeling I get whilst I’m  talking myself into going for a run, very  passionate and excitable.

We then moved onto a parcel from the youngest vines in the estate, which were only 16 year’s old – Teenage Vines.  Jammy figs, blackberry jam and strawberries on the nose with loads of fruit sweetness on the palate but still nice tannins and acidity. Then we tried a little 2010 Renaissance from 25-year-old vines and the difference was incredible. Super spicy and with a full-bodied velvet character. Who cares if this is the second label? I would drink this everyday if I were able!

We then moved onto trying 2009. The 2009 Renaissance has a nose of tobacco, dried herbs, spice, red jube fruit and a hint of confection. The palate was so complex I would have liked to spend an hour or so with my nose in the glass. My tasting note reads “goose bump giver, the nose has texture!” Perhaps I should have spat more. The 2009 Cornas was so complex, I don’t know if I can do it justice with words. Brilliant fruit on the nose, amazing balance and lovely tannin. Beautiful.

We finished our magical tasting at Clape with a peek at the 2002 vintage. A cool vintage with quite a lot of rain although not as wet as 93. The north wind helped to stop rot and extra sorting helped but even with this, their yields were still down by 30 %. The nose was quite ethereal, very pretty with lovely red fruit. Quite expressive on the palate, very vibrant and defiantly still a baby. But still truly magical.

MOV xx

 

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The Rhone Adventure Continues

So Croze Hermitage is a beautiful place that makes beautiful Shiraz. Shiraz that is right up my alley; spicy, elegant  and with just the right amount of  power.

Our appointment in Croze Hermitage was with Laurent Combier. Laurent’s father was the first in northern Rhone in the 70′s to embrace Organic cultivation. Practices which are still followed by Laurent to this day.

The wines were good, some were great and a few were ok. The 2011 Domaine Combier Blanc made from 100% Marsanne   was really lovely. Super light lemony richness, balanced acidity and alcohol, much nicer than the Marsanne we had just tasted in Condrieu.

The 2011 Domaine Combier Cuvee L was a cracker of a wine, although from young vines and only the entry-level wine of the range. The juice spent eight months in concrete eggs. The result was bright lively red fruit and lovely aromatics with a nice dense fruit character on the palate. Completely second glass worthy.

The 2010 Domaine Combier Classique was also quite nice. Red lipstick, maraschino and blood plum fruit on the nose with generous fruit, up front tannins and nice structure and balance on the palate. The 2010 Domaine Combier Clos De Grieves which comes from the estates oldest vines was very pretty. Floral and hints of red fruit, there was a lot happening on the nose of this wine. The palate was full with soft tannins and that lovely spice character that I always enjoy from the Croze Hermitage.

I enjoyed our brief visit with Laurent Combier. Laurent was lovely, promising us a ride in his Airplane the next time we visited. Apparently this man loves only two things in life, wine and planes. How they fit together I’m not entirely sure but what ever floats your boat I suppose! Or should I say Plane.

Next up on our adventure in the Rhone is Cornas.

We are going to Clape. CLAPE !!!!!!

xxx

 

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The beginning of the Rhone

It is always hard to envisage a wine region without ever seeing it with your own two eyes. I have looked at so many maps of Cote Rotie in the past and to be honest I never understood the grandeur of the place, never understood how bloody steep the hills are or how hard it must be to work the vineyards.

After seeing Cote Rotie with my own two eyes, I will never whine about the cost of the wines from this region ever again.

Our first stop in the Rhone Valley was Domaine Jamet. Jean Paul Jamet, who is quite a quirky chap, makes his wines from around 25 separate vineyards in the Cote Blonde and Cote Brune – all Shiraz and  all of which I adored.

First up was 2011 from the Lancement and Chavarost vineyards (granite soil) and made with 95% whole bunches. Umami was the first word I wrote and this wine was textbook. Savory, soy, dark plums and green peppercorns on the nose. Great line and minerality on the palate, with soft balanced acidity and incredible precision. This was the first wine of the day, it was 9am and I didn’t spit it out – it was that good.

Next up was 2011 (also tasted from barrel) La Plomb and Mornachon from slate soil. This was a seductive little number, violet and floral with an underlying umami character, though not as dominate as the last. Very intense, yet lovely and soft with beautiful tannin structure, an absolutely beautiful wine. At this point I forgot how cold it was!

I will put up all the tasting notes that I wrote from  2011 Jamet at another time as what I really want to write about is the other vintages we tasted – the 2010, 2009, 2008 and 1992. These were all mind-blowing wines, almost faultless and  completely drinkable, even at 9am.

The 2010 Jamet From the Lancemond vineyard, which was 100% de-stemmed,  was complex and interesting whilst being powerful and restrained at the same time. I know that sounds impossible but believe me this was and is incredible Shiraz.

The nose showed red fruit, red licorice, perfumed floral aromatics, rock salt and at the end a hint of earth. The palate was soft yet textural with hints of chocolate and roasted coffee. Tannins in line and great balanced acidity with wafts of roasted chestnuts on the length.

The 2009 ( I forgot to write the vineyard down) was a warmer vintage, dark and powerful with dominating red fruit on the nose yet the palate was fresh and fine with incredible balance, purity and forceful yet supple tannin.

The 2008 was very ethereal with a slight hint of banana on the nose. Very fresh with integrated dried herbs and red fruit. The palate was beautifully supple with chewy, almost chalky tannin though not as predominate as in 09, yet lovely lasting length and defiantly age worthy.

Then we finished the tasting off with a 1992, which we were told was a very difficult vintage. Spicy on the nose with hints of English breakfast tea, whole bunch black peppercorns, tobacco, dried herbs and an interesting strepsil character that I actually really liked. The palate was very fresh, with lovely herbaceousness, depth and length with wonderful up front tannin.

Amazing! Domain Jamet was and I’ll say it again – Amazing! So good that I bought a few bottles for myself to bring back to Australia.

Next up was Andre Perret in Condrieu. Everybody loves Perret. I do not often hear a bad thing about this domain and I must say that I have also been a huge fan in the past but you know we can not let one vintage spoil a winemaker’s reputation. It would have been hard for anyone to shine after the brilliance we had just seen at Jamet.

However I really wasn’t fussed with any of the 2010 vintage from Perret. I found the alcohol too high, the tannin too green and the fruit boring.

So instead of writing an essay here’s a pretty picture instead.

Only two appointments down, in what was to be one of the best days’ tasting of the trip. We had a visit booked with Yves Cuilleron next but the poor man was so busy we only got to do a super quick run through of the 2011 vintage. Yves had to rush to get some samples ready for us to taste, while we killed some time in a nearby bottle store.

As the samples we tasted were not ready, nor finished  I cant be too harsh. I will say, that his reds were outstanding and defiantly worth another look. One to keep an eye out for would have to be 2010 St Joseph ‘ Les Pierres Seches’ (100% Syrah). Very elegant red petal and red fruit nose, nice tannins and nice acidity. It was really looking lovely, even though it was not finished and had not been fined as yet.

After a pretty wonderful morning we jumped back into the car and headed off to our next installment – Croze Hermitage.

Stay tuned!

XX

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Be to the Em to the Be

Even though we had tasted sheer brilliance in Burgundy, the day was certainly not over. After saying our goodbyes to Alex Moreau, I swiped a little piece of Burgundy terroir and we headed off south to the Macon.

We were visiting the lovely Mallory and Bejamin Talmard and it was beyond cold….. so far beyond cold it was freezing. We did a quick tour of the cellar, tasted some 2011′s out of tank and then the lovely Talmards invited us into their home to finish off the tasting. I pretty much ran inside.

Their whole range of chardonnays were delicious. Super clean with lovely freshness and great fruit expression. It was hard to pick a favourite at Talmard as I really enjoyed both the Macon – Montbellet and the Macon- Uchizy. The Uchizy had a lovely nose with soft delicate fruit characters, nice minerality and length.

We were quite reluctant to leave the Talmards but as I said before the day was certainly not over and we had a dinner date in Beaujolais with Mr Jean Paul Dubost from Tracot.

There is something quite romantic about getting lost in France. This happened to us quite a lot whilst we were there. The best though had to be whilst we were in Beaujolais. I won’t go into too much detail, lets just say it included many little villages, turning up at restaurants that were defiantly not open and Rodney spending an extended amount of time in a hairdresser.

Once we finally reached where we were supposed to be we had a great tasting of some excellent Brouilly and a super funky completely natural Moulin A Vent; that if all goes to plan will be making an appearance on the list at Bloodwood restaurant.

We enjoyed a superbly fattening meal with Jean Paul and headed off to Lyon. Full of memories of Burgundy, Macon and Beaujolais or as I like to now call it – Be to the em to the Be.

MOV xx

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Little bits of Burgundy

 

 

Thats me. Freezing in Burgundy!

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