Tag Archives: cabernet franc

Terruño Pizarroso at Bodegas Bentomiz

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Bodegas Bentomiz is located in Sayalonga in the Sierras de Málaga. There winter rains are plentyful and the summers long and dry, but this close to the Mediterranean sea the heat is never overwhelming. They dispose of around 80-100 years old vines in what is called in Spanish “terruño pizarroso”, slate soils.

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the Mediterranean as seen from the inside of the stylish Bauhaus bodega

It was the Dutch couple Clara Verheij, a translator, and André Both, a civil engineer, that moved down here more than twenty years ago. They don’t only make some fresh, fragrant wines from local grapes romé, moscatel and others. They set ut a restaurant as well, and we had lunch there not long ago. André is chef, but has had great help from Juan Quintanilla of restaurant Sollun in Nerja, of regional fame, whom André calls his mentor.

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Clara and André

For the lunches they take great pride in pairing 5 or more dishes with wines, not only their own. When we were there Valdespino‘s bold fino Inocente from Jerez was served as an apéritif, and Guitiérrez Colosía’s Puerto de Santa María Oloroso Sangre y Trabajadero was paired with a salad of diced beef in soy sauce. From their own “Ariyanas” range the Romé Rosé 2014 (a very light vintage) came along with a ceviche of corvina, while the Seco Sobre Lías Finas 2014 (a floral and mineral moscatel) came with cod on a spinach emulsion. The Tinto de Ensemblaje 2012 (the ‘ensemblaje’ being petit verdot, tempranillo, cabernet franc and romé, the fullest and most red and wild berry-fruity wine of the day) came with oxtail in reduced sauce with a cream of carrot, ginger and more. One of their dessert wines, appropriately called Naturalmente Dulce 2010 (a dark golden/ light amber coloured floral honey and almond-smelling wine) accompanied André’s own creation “Axarquía”: -We are here; the brown (bread-crumbs) is the earth, the white (vanilla ice) is the snow, says André.

2016-06-29 16.00.33 the Axarquía dessert

Here is another offering, this week’s wine, the Terruño Pizarroso, that got its name from the soil of the place, and that is also served by their lunches – though not that particular day.

The grapes for this moscatel de alejandría wine are grown between 450-900 meters. At Bentomiz no pesticides are used, and all work in the field is done by hand. After harvest the grapes are sundried, then matured for some months in French oak.

LR Ariyanas Terruo Pizarroso 2008

Ariyanas Terruño Pizarroso 2008 (Bodegas Bentomiz)

Golden colour. Aroma of white flowers and herbs, apricot and dried exotic fruits, with toasted hints. Quite sweet in the mouth, reminiscent of honey, but with a certain lightness too, some citrus (grapefruit), and some of the exotic elements continue ’till the end.

Price: Medium

Food: Tropical fruit desserts, fois gras, medium strong blue cheeses

Chinon, oui!

Here is a terrific cabernet franc from Chinon in the Loire valley, maybe the most famous place for that grape.

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The winery is located in Cravant-les-Côteaux, near the village of Chinon. Fabrice Gasnier is 4th generation. Together with his wife Sandrine he disposes of mostly old-vine cabernet franc planted on plots with chalk, gravel, sand and clay soils. For almost ten years it has been certified for both organic and biodynamic growing.

For this wine there was manual harvest from the more than 80 year old vines. The must was spontaneously fermented and aged 6 months in big oak vats.

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Vieille Vignes 2014 (Dom. Fabrice Gasnier)

Dark, young colour. Needs air, but opens and reveals dark berries, green peppers and aromatic herbs. Lovely, luscious taste, and can be appreciated alone, but with an astringency that makes it go well with food too. Concentrated with good length.

Price: Medium

 

Antidote of London

You might think that Antidote could have something to do with the Remedy restaurant, about which I wrote a few months ago, at least their names could suggest so. But no. They have a few things in common though, they both offer a cure against depressive tendencies, and they offer well-prepared bites, and a lot of good, healthy wines – all worked organically, many biodynamically in the vineyard.

They rely on market catch, and the menu changes often. The food is quite simple, but well made, and often with both a modern touch and inspired by several corners of the world. The wine list is quite extensive, and there is a good selection of wines by the glass. They say that the wines come largely from France. That’s true, but I have spotted wines from other European countries like Italy, Spain and Slovenia, an occational one from Greece, and outside Europe too, such as Australia.

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I visited this cosy Soho locale twice in August, the first time with my daughter who is vegan, and they were very helpful, and gladly made some creative twists. Second time was the day after, when I had some more wines and a couple more bites.

Along with their “Heritage Tomato” dish (with lemon, lovage parsley and goat’s curd) I had Ch. la Coste “Pentes Douces 2014 (Ch. la Coste), a provencal blend of vermentino and sauvignon blanc: light in colour, a rich aroma with hints of herbs, and a slightly warm touch in the aftertaste. With next bite, Spring Onions with egg yolk, comté cheese and buckwheat, I tried Clef de Sol 2014 (La Grange Tiphaine) from Montlois sur Loire, a light, fruity, mineral chenin blanc, with a lot of acidity wrapped in super fruit. Following this with the same dish I tried what turned out to be one of the stars of the evening, Maupiti 2014 (Clos de l’Elu), a light red wine from Anjou, also in the Loire. This one is made from gamay and cabernet franc. It shows lots of red berries, it’s fresh and fruity, mellow in the mouth and just delicious drinking.

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La Poudre d’Escampette 2014 (from winery Le Casot des Mailloles) is a dry red wine from Banyuls, quite unusual for the area’s image as a dessert wine region. It’s made from 120 year old grenache and 80 year old carignan vines. An unpasturized camembert from Normandie was perfectly matched with the (to a certain extent volatile) acidity of the high-hill wine. A good match was also the ossau-iraty, a sheep’s milk cheese from French Basque Country.

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An unusual wine to round off maybe, but excellent there and then, was I Clivi RBL 2014, a biodynamically farmed, native yeast spumante brut nature from the grape known as ribolla gialla in Friuli, Italy, close to the Slovenian border. It was dry, but rounded off, fruity, a little carbonic-mineral, and nice for washing away what might remain of the fat from the cheeses.

Bourgueil wine for a drunken night?

Anyway that’s the meaning of the expression Nuit d’Ivresse. It’s in the middle of the Loire valley that this wine starts its life, on limestone and clay-silex ground. Catherine and Pierre Breton has 6 hectars of vineyards in the Borgueil-Chinon-Vouvray area, and they made their first Ivresse wine without addition of SO2 in 1992.

The wine is certified organic, made from cabernet franc grapes, and has undergone a three week long fermentation that startet with indigenious yeasts. Both malolactic and a 12 month ageing was done in two year old barrels, and the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered – and again without addition of sulphur.

I first tasted this wine in a wine club in 2014. Now I came across it again, and while slightly more evolved it still had a lot of lovely fruit.

Nuits d’Ivresse 2011 (C. & P. Breton)

Dark red. Aromas of blackcurrant, raspberry, a bit balsamic, Earl Grey tea. Less structured than last time, but still with a certain grip, just lovely, and with just the right acidity and concentration for “inspired” drinking.

Price: Medium

Food: Red and light meat, game, hard cheeses

 

Cabernet Franc from the Loire

For six generations or more than 180 years the Amirault family has stayed at Le Clos des Quarterons. They claim to constantly strive to achieve a natural balance across the entire estate. This led them to the decision to run the vineyard biodynamically.

philosophie

The grape is cabernet franc grown in a soil mainly of gravel and silty clay, with some limestone. The grapes were harvested by hand, macerated in tank for 5 to 6 weeks, and aged for more than a month in demi-muids (500 litre barrels). It was a blend from all the old plots of vines on the estate (average age 55 years).

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Le Clos de Quarterons Vielles Vignes 2012 (Amirault Vignerons)

With decanting the wine reveals traces of violet, blueberry and blackcurrant. Quite soft, quite complex, and by no means marked by the oak.

Price: Low

Food: Red meat, game, salads, some not too spicy dishes, and according to the producer: Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”