Author Archive | Richard Watson

Something from the Black (wine) Country!

In the heart of the French Dordogne is Cahors, famous for its ‘black wine’. This is malbec country or cot as it’s known locally and although the wine of this region is often sumptuously rich and full bodied it has perhaps become more refined over recent years. Jean-Luc Burc’s estate, located near Puy-l’Eveque in the north west of the region has been an established winemaking area for centuries and has recently been elevated to Chateau status. Chateau Pineraie is 85% malbec (the legal minimum is 70%) which Jean-Luc blends with merlot to add a brambly softness to the wine. Don’t be put off by the strong rural nose of this […]

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Scrumptious stuff from the Middle East!

I recently attended a tasting of wines devoted to the less well known vine-growing parts of the world, including Japan, India, Brazil and, of all places Lebanon! Domaine des Tourelles is amongst the longest-established and most highly acclaimed wineries in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Founded in 1868 by French adventurer François-Eugène Brun the property was the first commercial cellar in the country producing wines, arak and other spirits. In 2000 the last of the Brun family died and the estate was bought by close friends the Issa family. Faouzi Issa graduated with winemaking and viticultural degrees from Bordeaux and Montpellier Universities, then trained in the Rhône and at Château Margaux before […]

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Languedoc-Roussillon; A new AOC: Picpoul de Pinet in Languedoc

On 14 February 2013, the 47 members of the INAO (the French regulatory wine board) voted to recognise Picpoul de Pinet as an AOC in its own right. The “Picpoul de Pinet” denomination was originally classified as a V.D.Q.S. in 1954, and then promoted into the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc category in 1985. The new AOC covers 2,400 ha in the Castelneau de Guers, Florensac, Méze, Montagnac, Pinet and Pomerols municipalities. Average production reaches between 60 to 55 hl per hectare according to the new technical specifications agreed by INAO. In 2012 the appellation produced more than 70,000hl, of which 40% was aimed for export markets. Stretching along the Thau basin and facing the Mediterranean’s Golfe de […]

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Wines of the Week

We’re in Australia this week, South Australia to be precise, for two superb value wines with origins over a century apart. Bob and Cherie Berton established their winery in 1996 with 75 acres of land on gently rolling hills in a sub-region of the beautiful Eden Valley, a short drive north-east of Adelaide. In 2007 Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state of the art facility has the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes, and allows Berton Vineyards to produce value for money wines which sit alongside the premium, single vineyard offerings. This vibrant and fruity white from the 2011 vintage is an unusual blend […]

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A couple of crackers!

We’re back in the Old World again for this week’s first recommendation; Sicily to be precise – an island whose winemaking history goes back to the 8th century BC, even before the arrival of the Greeks. Until quite recently the overwhelming proportion of its output was either the fortified and usually sweet Marsala or tanker-loads of pretty ropey blending wine which could end up almost anywhere. Then in the 1990s quality began to replace quantity and many of the old, over-producing vineyards were pulled up and replaced by some of Sicily’s old, indigenous varieties. Of course, the likes of cabernet, syrah and chardonnay also got a look-in due largely to […]

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Wines of the Week

 This week I’m concentrating on wines from Australia; South Australia to be precise. At one time or another I’ve worked at various wineries around the state and I can honestly say that not only are the locals some of the most friendly, welcoming and down to earth people you could meet, they also enjoy living in one of the most beautiful parts of that vast country. Most of the quality winemaking areas in South Australia lie between the capital Adelaide and Port Augusta, just a couple of hundred miles up the road. In 1996 Bob Berton established a winery in the Eden Valley which produces a superb range of wines […]

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Colchester Gazette Astute Wine Club

I’m constantly impressed by the sheer variety and quality of wine coming out of Spain these days. The time when all you could find on the wine merchants’ shelves were Sherry and Rioja are long gone and regions such as Rueda, Ribera del Duero and Jumilla are producing world class wines that are definitely worth a punt. It may come as a surprise but Spain has the largest area of vineyard of any country in the world (just over a million hectares – about 14% of the total) and its production of wine lies third after France and Italy. No wonder then that there is such a wealth of wine […]

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New cult beer from Western Australia!

Fintry Wines is now a retailer of the hugely fashionable and ‘uber-trendy’ new beer to hit these shores from Fremantle in Western Australia. Little Creatures Pale Ale is a 5.2% abv beer which is rapidly gaining a following over here. Produced in a former crocodile farm, this is what the makers have to say about it: “We love our Pale Ale and throw bag loads of whole hop flowers that we source direct from hop growers in Victoria, Tassie and the US throughout the brewing process. These hops provide the intense citrus and stone fruit characters that we carefully balanced with select speciality malts and a local pale malt made […]

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Wine Spectator – ‘Smart Buy’.. .

Another recommendation for this cracking little number from the southern Rhone – the Americans love it! “This broad, gutsy red delivers lots of mouthfilling plum, blackberry, roasted fig, bramble, smouldering tobacco and warm stone notes. Dark and dense through the finish, but well-delineated. Drink now through 2016.” J.M Available now – just £8.49

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