I told you it was good!

August 17, 2010

Congratulations to Manu and Tess Guillot-Broux (right). I’ve just read in this month’s Bourgogne Aujourd’hui magazine that their excellent organic Mâcon Cruzillle ‘Les Genièvrières’ 2008 has been awarded 18.5 points by the mag’s esteemed tasting panel.  “a sublime Genièvrières…quite simply a true ‘vin de garde’ with a fresh, pure nose and floral and vanilla notes…an unctuous palate, subtle, round and ‘gourmande’.”  The red wine, noted as “superb” gets 16.6 points.


Vignerons at the launch of French Vineyards

November 5, 2009


Bloomsbury, October 28th. A warm evening brought fourteen award-winning winemakers to the October Gallery’s art festooned salons and courtyard to celebrate the launch of French Vineyards.  Seduced by the aromas of over 50 different fine wines, the 150 or so guests came from near and far to toast the success of the book. The vignerons included:

Mathieu Mélinand (Domaine des Marrans, Fleurie)

Vincent Rapin [photo] (Domaine Valmengaux, Bordeaux)

Pascal Méli (Ch. Bujan, Côtes de Bourg)

Jacquie Franc de Ferrière (Ch. de Carbonneau, Sainte-Foy de Bordeaux)

Helen Kelly (Ch. Claribès, Sainte-Foy de Bordeaux)

Laurence Ployez (Maison Ployez-Jacquemart, Champagne)

Jonathan James (Domaine Saint Hilaire, Languedoc)

Jorje Maslakiewicz (Domaine Saint Ferréol, Languedoc)

Chantal Comte [photo] (Ch. de la Tuilerie, Costières de Nimes)

Paul Uhart (Ch. Lavanau, Côte de Duras)


…and representatives from Ch. Franc Pourret (Saint Emilion Grand Cru), Domaine Gayda (Languedoc), Ch. La Villatade (Minervois) and Clos de Caveau (Vacqueyras)

…plus a groaning tasting table of wines from Domaine Horcher (Alsace), Domaine Agapé (Alsace), Domaine de la Chapel de Vatre (Beaujolais Villages), Ch. Saint Robert (Graves), Domaine Désertaux-Ferrand (Côtes de Nuits and Meursault 1er cru), Anne Gros (Clos Vougeot grand cru), Ch. Haute Fontaine (Corbières), Mas du Soleilla (La Clape), Domaine Saint Luc (Côtes du Rhone Villages) and Saint Estève de Néri (Luberon).

My thanks go to all of the above plus Alastair Sawday [photo] and his talented, hard-working team who hosted the soirée so well.


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 www.jancisrobinson.com, “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.

Hovering over the vines

August 21, 2008
“In the air you’re in perfect harmony with nature,” enthuses Guy Cinquin. “Every flight is an adventure because you never know where you’ll end-up.” When he comes back down to earth in his beloved hot-air balloon, Guy returns to his tidy winery and a couple of hectares of vines at the edge of the village of Mercurey -Le Domaine de l’Europe.  Guy and his wife Chantal have two B&B rooms for balloonists, wine buyers, grape-pickers and, of course, the tourists who come here to explore the pretty Côte Chalonaise countryside.  What makes Domaine de l’Europe special are its superb Mercurey wines and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the Burgundian landscape from hundreds of metres above the vines.  For prices and availaility contact Guy or Chantal at Domaine de l’Europe, Mercurey.



Swimming in a 1er cru vineyard

August 21, 2008
Four kilometres from Beaune is the famous wine village of Pommard and the home and winery of Estelle and Thierry Violot-Guillemard – Le Clos de Derrière-Saint-Jean.   Thierry was born here but the house has a very international feel; guests from many countries come to stay at their excellent chambres d’hôtes, Estelle speaks English and German, and their wines are exported as far afield as the USA, New Zealand and Japan.  Guests can bathe in the smart swimming pool right next to the fifty-year-old 1er cru Pommard vines and then relax with a glass of the estate’s wine and gaze at the swallows skimming through the vine rows.  Breakfast here is superb!
Domaine Violot-Guillemard, Pommard.


100% Terroir

August 13, 2008
Tess and Manu Guillot-Broux have developed their winery’s reputation as one of ‘best kept secrets’ of Burgundy wine. Visitors to their pretty two-bedroom gite just across the road from the winery will be charmed by its rustic simplicity. Exposed timbers, pine floors and lime-pointed stone walls give a glimpse of authentic rural living.
Manu learned his wine-craft from his father who had worked in both the Beaujolais region and the Côte de Beaune. This apprenticeship taught him how to get the best from the gamay and chardonnay grapes planted on these hilly slopes. Guillot-Broux wines are truly organic – that’s to say that the vines have been certified as ‘agriculture biologique’ since 1991 (although the vines had already been cultivated organically since the 1950s) and in the winery the addition of sulphur, artificial yeasts and sugar is restricted to an absolute minimum. The secret of Manu’s success he asserts is the ideal geology found here in abundance on the higher slopes. The white wines are impressive: every bit as rich, buttery and toasty as the classic white burgundies of Cote d’Or. The reds too are a real surprise: dark, concentrated and lightly oaked, quite different from the light, fruity wines usually associated with the gamay grape. “Wine is made in the vineyard,” he asserts. “The grape variety is less important than the soil. I’m going to produce a new wine called ‘100% Terroir’ and let people try to guess what’s in it!” he says, almost convincingly.
Domaine Guillot-Broux, Cruzille, Macon.





The Renaissance of a Grand Burgundian Chateau

August 8, 2008

Chateau Melin, near Auxey-Duresses was owned by the church and was used as a Catholic retreat for the poor children of France’s major cities.  After being abandoned in the 1980s the place stood empty and neglected until 2000 when it was purchased by Hélène and Arnaud Derats.  An energetic couple, they have restored the chateau to its proper state.  The grand house is now the family home; HQ for Arnaud’s wine business; a wine depot; and classy (but great value) bed and breakfast.  Arnaud is a member of the Chevaliers du Tastevin and owns 23 hectares of village, 1er cru and grand cru vines in 15 different communes all along the Côte d’Or.

Bikini Tops not Peasant Smocks at Montrachet

August 8, 2008

Tending the vines at Le Montrachet this summer in designer sunglasses and bikini tops.  Photo 23/6/08 

Own a piece of the Côte d’Or

July 16, 2008
Corgoloin is not the most famous village of the Côte d’Or, down below the 1er cru levels near the railway line. But in the village is the winery of the Désertaux-Ferrand family who are producing some class-leading white and red burgundies.  Their Meursault Les Boucheres won the latest BIVB Cave de Prestige award with a score of 18.5/20 – not bad for a producer from the Côtes de Nuits!  They also have a couple of charming holiday gites, lease their vines through 3D Wines and regularly win awards at the International Wine Challenge in London. Stay for a week or a long-weekend, meet the family, taste the wines… rent a vine!
Domaine Désertaux-Ferrand, Corgoloin

The Beauty of Les Hautes Côtes

July 16, 2008
Leave Nuits Saint Georges and Beaune and drive up into Les Hautes Côtes. The wines are good: many of the wineries here have parcelles in the 1er cru vineyards as well as their own côtes wines. The stunning scenery here is another reason for leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the N74; high vineyards with amazing views, wildflower meadows, forests, streams and lakes… and in Echevronne, the winery of Lucien Jacob whose 17 hectares of Chardonnay and Pinot vines produce some delicious red, white, and rosé Burgundies. Name sounds familiar? Lucien Jacob’s vines can be ‘leased’ through 3D-Wines whose clients travel to the property to pick up their wines each year. Some stay in the family’s little gîte in the village a hundred metres from the winery.
Domaine Lucien Jacob, Echevronne