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This is a video that shows the production of a regular Beaujolais wine. The who speaks shows somethings, which are very important in order to understand how can you call a real Beaujolais wine. He talks about the legislation, about the quantity of Gamay planted in Beaujolais. But, one thing really important that he says is that the real Beaujolais wine is very different from the so caled Beaujolais Nouveau, made to be drunk very young, and which is very fruity. Check it out.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 22th of 2009.

Gamay Grape

In the south of Burgundy we will find the last district of this fantastic frenh region: the Beaujolais. This region has a different soil from the rest of burgundy. Actualy, Beaujolais is almost a different region from Burgundy. This region, which is located about 35 miles north to the city of Mâcon, has granite-laden hills, that’s why no other location in France has been able to elaborate Gamay-based wines as Beaujolais. Yes. Apart from the soil, the big difference between Beaujolais and the rest of Burgundy is the grape that is cultivated. The Gamay is the principal grape of the location, with more than 98% of all vines planted.

The Gamay produces light to medium-bodied wine, that is made to be tasted slightly fresh and young. This wine has a light purple color, pleasantly fruity flavors, such cherry, bananas, berries, and peaches and high acidity and low tannins. It can be paired with a lot of french cheeses, such as Reblochon, Pont L’Eveque and Camembert, with duck and goose meat, and other typical food from its region.

Beaujolais Village AC

The Appellation of Beaujolais is divised in three categories: There are the Beaujolais AC wines, which are produced in the southern part of the location. There, the wines red wines must contain 9% of alcohol level. These are the most simple Beaujolais Wines. Than we have the Beaujolais Supérieur AC, that are produced in the same region, but whith 10% of alcohol. The vineyards at this location must have lower yields per acre, what point to a higher quality of the this kind of Beaujolais wine. There are the Beaujolais-Villages Appellation Controlé wines, which correspond to a group of thirty-nine villages with superior vineyards. Finally, we have the highest-quality level of a Beaujolais Appellation. There are only ten villages that can take the name CRU in their wines, plus the name of the Village. They are e Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, Réginé, and Saint-Amour.

There are a few other french regions that also produce some gamay wines. In Côte Chalonnaise, there is a famous a blend of Pinot Noir and not more than two-thirds of Gamay, which is known as the “Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grain”. There are some other gamay wines in Loire and Touraine. Outside the french lines there are not so much gamay wines. Nevertheless, there are a few good examples of this grape wines in New Zealand and California.

Mourvèdre | Red Wines

June 24th, 2008

Red Grape Mourvèdre
Mourvèdre, with its meaty richness and wonderful longevity, forms the backbone of our Esprit de Beaucastel. The seventeen acres of our vineyard devoted to Mourvèdre represent over a third of the acres currently planted in red Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties. The intense animal quality of Mourvèdre is often improved by the rich fruit of Grenache and the structure, spice, and power of Syrah.

Early History

Mourvèdre is native to Spain, where it is known as Monastrell and is second only to Grenache (Garnacha) in importance. From the Spanish town of Murviedro, near Valencia, Mourvèdre was brought to Provence in the late Middle Ages where, prior to the phylloxera invasion at the end of the 19th century, it was the dominant varietal.

The phylloxera invasion was particularly devastating to Mourvèdre. Whereas most of the other Rhône varietals were easily matched with compatible rootstocks, Mourvèdre proved difficult to graft with the existing phylloxera-resistant rootstock. Thus, when the vineyards were replanted, most producers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape chose to replant with varieties that were easier to graft, such as Grenache. For decades, Mourvèdre was found almost exclusively in the sandy (and phylloxera-free) soil of Bandol, on the French Mediterranean coast, where it is bottled both as a red wine (blended with Grenache and Cinsault) and as a dry rosé. Compatible rootstocks for Mourvèdre were developed only after World War II. Shortly thereafter, Jacques Perrin of Château de Beaucastel led regeneration efforts in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and made Mourvèdre a primary grape in the red Beaucastel wines. Since the late 1960s, total plantings in Southern France have increased dramatically.

Mourvèdre came to the New World as Mataro (a name taken from a town near Barcelona where the varietal was grown) in the mid to late 1800s. In Australia, it found a home in the Barossa Valley and in California it was first established in Contra Costa County. Until recently, the grape was rarely bottled by itself, and was instead generally used as a component of field blends. The increasing popularity and prestige of Rhône varietals and a return to the French Mourvèdre name has given the varietal a new life. Currently about 400 acres are planted in California.

Mourvèdre at Tablas Creek

Mourvèdre is a late-ripening varietal that flourishes with hot summer temperatures. As such, it is beautifully suited to our southern Rhône-like climate at Tablas Creek, where its lateness in ripening makes it less vulnerable to late spring frosts. In the vineyard, Mourvèdre is a moderately vigorous varietal that does not require a great deal of extra care. The vines tend to grow vertically, making Mourvèdre an ideal candidate for head-pruning (the method traditional to Châteauneuf-du-Pape), although vines can also be successfully trellised. When head-pruned, the weight of the ripening grapes pulls the vines down like the spokes of an umbrella, providing the ripening bunches with ideal sun exposure.

Our Mourvèdre vines (like all of the vines at Tablas Creek) are cuttings from Château de Beaucastel’s French vines. Although Mourvèdre was available in California when we began our project, we felt that the American source material was less intense in both color and flavor than the French clones. The berries from the Beaucastel clones are small and sweet, with thick skins and intense flavors.
Rótulo de vinho rosé de Mourvèdre

Flavors and Aromas

Wines made from Mourvèdre are intensely colored, rich and velvety with aromas of leather, game, and truffles. They tend to be high in alcohol and tannin when young, and are well-suited to aging. The animal, game-like flavors present in young Mourvèdres can be so strong that they are occasionally mistaken for the bacteria Brettanomyces. In a well-made Mourvèdre, these flavors should resolve into aromas of forest floor and leather with aging. Although it is occasionally bottled as a single varietal, the intense animal quality of Mourvèdre is often improved by the warmth and fruit of Grenache and the structure, spice and tannin of Syrah. Mourvèdre-based wines, like our Esprit de Beaucastel, pair well with grilled and roasted meats, root vegetables, mushrooms and dark fowl such as duck: flavors that harmonize with the earthiness of the wine.

Source: http://www.tablascreek.com/mourvedre.html

Counoise | Red Wines

June 23rd, 2008

Red Grape CounoisePerhaps the question we hear most frequently at wine events and in our tasting room is “Counoise? What the heck is Counoise?” Even the Wall Street Journal joked about Counoise’s obscurity in a recent article about blends. Yet the grape is a key component of many Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, and comprises 10% of the Beaucastel Rouge. Its moderate alcohol and tannins, combined with good fruit and aromatics, balances the characteristic intense spice, strong tannins, and high alcohol of Syrah.

Early History

The precise origin of Counoise (pronounced “Coon-wahz”) is unknown. According to the great Provençal poet Frederic Mistral, it was introduced into Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Spain by a papal officer, who offered it to Pope Urban V when the papacy was based in Avignon in the mid-14th century. Counoise was planted in the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and was given a prominent place in the wines of the celebrated Château la Nerthe estate of Commandant Ducos in the late 19th century. Ducos was a student of the characteristics of various grape varietals, and played a key role in the development of the Châteauneuf-du- Pape region. When the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée laws regulating (among other things) the permitted grape varietals were passed in the 1930s, the varietals planted by Ducos (including Counoise) comprised 11 of the 13 allowed Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties. The varietal saw a similar rebirth at Château de Beaucastel when Jacques Perrin increased the planting of Counoise as a complement for Syrah.

Counoise at Tablas Creek

We brought Counoise cuttings from Château de Beaucastel in 1990 and they spent three years in USDA inspection. Once the vines cleared quarantine, we began the process of multiplying and grafting, and we currently have 5 acres planted. The grape is particularly suited to the geography of Tablas Creek, as it produces most reliably in stony hillside soils and reliable sun. It is easy to graft, is moderately vigorous, and ripens fairly late in the cycle. We knew that we wanted to list the individual varietals on the front label of our bottles beginning with the 1999 Reserve Cuvée. Before we could do that, though, we had to get past the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — the federal agency which, until the reorganization mandated by the Homeland Security Act, oversaw label approval for wine. Since no one else in the States had used Counoise on their label, it fell to us to demonstrate it was a legitimate grape. The process, which included submitting a full dossier of materials (in French and English), took two years. Now Counoise is a fully registered (if not widely recognized!) grape varietal.

Flavors and Aromas

Counoise is a deep purple-red, and has a rich, spicy character, with flavors of anise, strawberries, and blueberries. In our Esprit de Beaucastel, Counoise comprises 5-10% of the blend, and helps open up the more closed varieties of Mourvèdre and Syrah. Its soft tannins and forward fruit rounds out the blend and provides an element of finesse to the final product. At slightly higher percentages (10-20%) in our Cotes de Tablas, its soft fruitiness and pronounced spice give the wine an earlier-drinking friendliness that compliments the fruit and acidity of Grenache and the structure of Syrah

http://www.tablascreek.com/counoise.html

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