Staying in French Wine Country

October 25, 2009

Jancis Robinson is a fan of Anne Gros’s wines; fabulous Burgundy Grand Crus.  Anne has an immaculate contemporary guesthouse called La Colombière in the heart of the village of Vosne-Romanée. “I tried to book there for my tasting trip to Burgundy in late November,” Jancis writes in her excellent website, “and she was already fully booked.”  Anne’s place is popular with wine buyers and journalists, holidaymakers and winemakers; make sure you book early!


To read Jancis Robinson’s notes on the book – French Vineyards – click here.

For full details of staying at La Colombière – click here.


Mas du Soleilla wins International Trophy

October 24, 2009


Congratulations to Swiss winemakers Peter Wildbolz and Christa Derungs for winning three Decanter World Wine Awards this year including the International Trophy for their 2007 Les Bartelles, La Clape.  I’ve yet to taste the ’07 but the older vintages are superb – the vines are picked by hand, the grapes are transported in small baskets and finally sorted by hand in Peter’s chai on this ‘sunny hill’ above Narbonne Plage.  Read the judges’ tasting notes on all three winning wines on  A full tasting note for Les Bartelles to follow…

For more information about staying at Mas du Soleilla click here

IMG_5599-1Bringing in the 2008 harvest, Mas du Soleilla.

Valmengaux – Top Bordeaux!

October 24, 2009

IMG_6918Parker is a fan of Vincent Rapin’s wines, the Guide Hachette team like it, and so do I. On the 15th October, at the restaurant La Coupole in Paris, the Syndicat des Bordeaux voted Domaine Valmengaux 2007 as the ‘Top Vin’ of the Bordeaux Appellation.  I tasted it from the barrel on a freezing cold day in December last year. I was amazed by its ripeness and concentration of fruit, especially for a wine from what was a challenging harvest in the Gironde.  Hats off to Vincent (photo) – he’ll be in London on the 28th of this month with his wines at the book’s press launch at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury.  I’ll be posting a full tasting note for the ’07 very soon.

For more information about Domaine de Valmengaux and its holiday accommodation click here.

Win a weekend in Champagne

October 23, 2009

Thanks to the folks at Waterstones and Eurostar, you can win a weekend at one of my favourite winery/bed & breakfasts – Le Vieux Cèdre – in the heart of the Côte des Blancs near Epernay.  Staying with Franco-British couple Didier and Imogen Pierson-Whitaker is a real treat.  She’s a great cook; he produces excellent Champagne (and sparkling wine from his vineyards in Hampshire, too).


The prize includes return tickets on the Eurostar – click here to enter the competition.

Organic Grand Cru Saint Emilion

October 12, 2009

IMG_3527The Ouzoulias family have been making Saint Emilion wine for generations. Their top wine is organic (AB certified) and the 2005 is beginning to show the huge potential of natural viticulture coupled with an enviable position on the village’s limestone plateaux.  2005 produced lakes of great Bordeaux wines but few remain with an affordable price tag like this one…

Château Franc-Pourret 2005 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

A bright carmine robe, medium weight, cerise highlights… so far so good.  First impressions come from a rich blackcurrant fruit and the perfume of violets; next, a wild sandalwood backbone and a hint of something minty.  Firm and juicy but delicate with a long finish on the fruit and a touch of vanilla.  Still way too young but should mature into an elegant, gracious old age.

Photo025For details on staying at Château Franc-Pourret click here…

Coteaux du Layon 2007

October 5, 2009

The chenin blanc late harvest of 2007 was saved by a beautiful Indian summer and its wines – like this lighter-style Coteaux-du-Layon from Château de la Viaudière – are a delight: clean, with a delicious balance of sweetness and acidity. It’s raining today but the forecast is more promising from the end of the week – fingers crossed.


Vignoble Gélineau Coteaux du Layon 2007

This ’07 is pale gold in the glass. Its honeyed aromas and a hint of dried apricot precede the smooth but fresh palate. Sweet lychee syrup leaves you with a tasty plum skin finish.IMG_0056









Pierre-Antoine Giovannoni bringing up a case from Viaudière’s cellars.  For accommodation details click here.

Grape Escapes

October 3, 2009

guardian2A review of 10 of the properties from the book – French Vineyards – in today’s Guardian…