As most of you - who read my blog regularly - know, my favourite wine merchant is Bubble Brothers. That is mostly down to the very good work of Austin in the English Market and Julian in the head office.
Anyhow, last night Julian invited to a wine tasting in the Aga Shop (Lapp's Quay, behind the Clarion) and he brought some truly amazing wines. The scheme was ,A virtual tour of the Languedoc'. His knowledge of the region is based on visits he did himself and of course of meeting with the producers in person.
We tasted 9 wines covering most of the Languedoc area and ranged from white over rose to red and of course, don't forget the dessert wine.
17 people attended the tasting and it was big enough to make it worth doing but small enough to be not too intimidating. Wendy, Sue and Linda joined me (and seriously girls, you have to take these tastings a bit more serious :-)
Okay, here we go. These are the wines we tasted (the comments are mine and mine only and should not be taken as cast in stone - what do I know about wine?)
Vinitrio, Vine de Pays d'Oc (Viognier) €11.50
A screwcap bottle with a slim green label. Very pale colour, apple fresh bouquet, slight zing to it but a short finish. Very light - ideal for weddings.
Domaine Reine Juliette, Terres Rouges (Picpoul de Pinet) €12.90
Picpoul means lipstingler and the high acidity proves the name right. I couldn't really find words to describe the smell - a bit strange for me. Again, pale colour. Warm on the palate with a long finish. Perfect with any seafood.
Mas des Bressades, Tradition Blanc, €13.90
This vineyard produces white, rose and reds and I have tried the rose a few months back and wasn't massively impressed and this white - a mixture of Grenache Blanc and Rousanne - didn't do it for me either. This wine was unoaked and very young and in my humble opinion lacked character. A perfumery bouquet was - at least for me - offputting but the flavour reminded me of late summers. Julian described it as fullbodied.....I couldn't make up my mind. 13% alcohol but it tasted a lot stronger.
Mas des Bressades, Tradtion Rose, €13.90
Again, this wine was very young and failed to rock my chair but I am sure it would be a hit at weddings. Linda loved the wine but it wouldn't be my favourite. Light pink colour, ripe strawberries coming through. Dry finish. I wouldn't know what to match it with foodwise.
Chateau Bertrand, Corbieres Rouge, €12.90
A dark, almost 'dirty' red colour with a rich berry bouquet. Redcurrents coming through quite strong. A slight bitter finish but long lasting. This wine is a winner with any game dish you want to serve (that reminds me that I still have to cook that rabbit stew I am planning for so long).
Chateau Jouclary, Cuvee Tradition, €13.50
One of the wines I buy when I am in the mood of treating myself. Me, the wine, the cheese and the book with Ludovico Einaudi in the background - a perfect evening. Anyhow, this wine is good on its own but goes really well with French half soft cheeses - wouldn't match it with too mature cheese tho. It has a rich dark red colour, a quite sweet ripe berry bouquet (no worries it is not a sweet wine at all), it got a bold structure with a warm finish that lasts.
Chateau la Villatade, AOC Minervois, €15.90
This was the first time I tried this wine and I know now why Austin has not recommended it to me (he knows my taste too well by now). This wine has an almost black red colour which is amazing actually. I can only describe the smell as 'musty' with a hint of perfum. High tannin made it not one of my favourites.
Domaine Rimbert, Les Mas au Schiste, €19.90
I was lucky enough to meet this guy a few years ago at the Bubble Brothers Winefair and was almost falling in love with him. I tried one of his wines and he could see that I wasn't impressed so he let me try his 'favourite' wine and I am still happy that I did. This wine is one of my alltime favourites and I have to admit that I am quite stingy with it. I had it at one of my own wine tastings and the crowd wasn't overly impressed - just proves that there is no formula for taste.
Ripe fruit comes through, giving it a bold structure with delicate notes. It has a long finish and I can say that it goes nicely with my favourite cheese - The Munster - without having to hide behind the strong flavour of the cheese.
Mas Amiel, AOC Maury, €19.90
A red sweet dessert wine. I used it for marinating strawberries for the dessert of my Great British Menu challenge and have to admit that it went so well with the berries and the creme brulee. A nice change to the whites you get served. This should also be very nice with blue cheese and honey drizzled over it....the new bottle looks more like a beer bottle to be honest and I really hope that they still manufacture the elegant longneck bottles.
I also met Kevin, owner and chef of Fenn's Quay. Linda and myself actually love going there for lunch. It is bigger inside than it looks from the outside. The food is simple but very good with a regular changing menu. The portions for lunchtime are perfect. The staff knows their stuff as well and you feel welcome the minute to step a foot in. Kevin and his lovely cousin Kate and I had such a lovely chat that we completely forgot the time.