MY TOP WINES OF 2019 – MAY

Uncategorized

Not to be one always looking back, whenever I start a new year I try and think about all the great times of last year and it helps me get really up for all the challenges and possibilites for 2020.

So whilst most of you are doing Dry January or something equally as healthy to overcome the post-Christmas and New Year booze/chocolate/meat comas, I thought I’d start the year with a quick recap of the wines that meant a lot to me in 2019…

MAY – DOMAINE DUSEIGNEUR

Bernard Duseigneur’s excellent Chateauneuf Du Pape

The Best Wine Law You’ve Ever Heard!

France, Uncategorized, Wine Industry

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I was there this Monday just gone in my “Rhone Valley” lectures for my diploma and heard a brilliant fact that I thought I had to share with you all! Apparently the winemakers of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape felt the urge to bring this into legal statute back in the 1950s and to this day it’s arguably the only wine law in the world to have never been broken…

New Wine This Week 58 – What and Where is Gigondas?

France, New Wine This Week, Reds

58 - Delboy

“Chateauneuf Du Pape!” Anyone who’s ever watched Only Fools and Horses will have heard Delboy shouting this one out when something’s not gone great for him and his brother Rodney. Such is the fame of the AOC, it even made it into Delboy’s script! It’s definitely the most famous in the Southern Rhône.

#NWTW Week 38: It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot, Mum!

France, New Wine This Week, Reds

week 38 galets

The Rhône Valley, and in particular the Southern Rhône, is right up there as France’s hottest vineyard area.  It’s right on the Riviera, where all the rich and famous (and people who don’t know any better) go on the their summer holidays to soak up the sun and sea breezes. The grapes are doing exactly the same.

Bordeaux Broken Down ‪#‬‬‬4: Appellations

France, Info For Beginners, Info For More Seasoned Winos

In France, wines from certain areas can label themselves under the local appellation. It’s the French system of looking to ensure quality and standardising the production of famous areas. On the bottle of wine will be written Appelation D’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). It’s a way of telling the drinker that this has been made in a certain way, with certain grapes, in a certain area, and it’s most likely going to taste exactly like you’d expect. It’s effectively as near as damn it a stamp of quality as you can get in product that varies so much between producers and vintages.

So famous appellations? Well, you’ve probably heard of Chablis, Sancerre, Chateauneuf Du Pape. These are all AOCs. The growers that produce these wines will be subject to stricter guidelines in the production techniques, but on the other hand, chances are they’ll charge a tad extra for them. Not much you can do about that I guess.

In Bordeaux there are plenty of AOCs. Keep your eye out on the bottle for the AOC:

It may be a specific named one; such as Pauillac, St Émilion, or Pessac-Léognan.

Or maybe from a more generic AOC; such as Bordeaux Superieur. (Each one means certain standards in wine making have been upheld. As a rule of thumb, the more generic AOCs have less stringent controls, usually.)

Usually a geographical distinction, find the right one and you could be quids in on the best value for money in the region

Usually a geographical distinction, find the right one and you could be quids in on the best value for money in the region

Satellites have their own appellation names; Appelation Puisseguin-St Émilion Contrôlée for example.

Within appelations, the wines can be internally ranked. On the left bank you have the growth system. So 1st Growth chateaux are supposedly the best of the best, going down to the 5th Growth chateaux which are the still in the group of the best, just a bit lower down. This is a bit messed up as the last ranking was done in 1855, which was funnily enough, the first one too. Chateaux have changed owners, sizes, shapes, and so on over the years. But people still hold these rankings pretty dear to them, so there you go.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1st Growth Chateau, now available at Tesco!

Chateau Lafite Rothschild, 1st Growth Chateau, now available at Tesco!

Over on the right bank it’s a bit different. The only place to really make ranking distinction on the label is St Émilion. The better wines are St Émilion Grand Cru AC, and the best wines (as chosen roughly every 10 years) are St Emilion Premier Grand Cru AC.

Chateau Angelus, Premier Grand Cru Chateau, the bell is still there fyi

Chateau Angelus, Premier Grand Cru Chateau, the bell is still there fyi

Don’t let this confuse you too much. It’s just so you can look at the label and sort of understand a bit more what’s happening.

One quick hazard to point out, Grand Vin De Bordeaux is not a controlled term. It means sweet FA. Don’t go paying up for this.

Right, that’s enough on labels.

Cheers