Posts Tagged Les demoiselles de Falfas

Is it time for a new way to classify wine?

At one time all wine literature was laid out by country and region; then came wine by style. In recent months it occurred to me that we should categorise our wines slightly differently – by producer type. I reckon they can be roughly divided into four groups, with some overflow. The problem is knowing where to put your favourite wine, when everyone is pretending to be small and artisan.

Big Wine

Like big beer, these are the large-scale industrial producers, although they don’t always like being called that. Modern technology allows them to churn out huge quantities of soft fruity, often off-dry wines that are drinkable if rarely exciting. They will usually have several ranges of wine, including some very expensive ones. We should probably be thankful for these producers; they keep us supplied with plenty of drinkable everyday wines and some of the more expensive wines can be very good.

Small and medium farmers

Most often found in Europe, many small and medium-size farmers simply sell their grapes to the local co-operative, which then falls into the “Big Wine” category. But some do produce their own wine. Generally it will be okay, occasionally very good. They often struggle to market their wines and earn a living unless they come from a fairly well-known area such as Sancerre, Soave or Rioja, and can therefore charge higher prices. The best producers within this group are responsible for the most interesting and best-value wines. It is here that you will find the truest expressions of a grape variety, climate or region.

The wild bunch

The nearest wine gets to hipster. Often young, experimental and dismissive of all other producers, they seek out new grape varieties, unheard of ancient regions, and love to make organic, biodynamic or even natural wines using as little modern technology (or sulphur) as possible. If the winemaker is good, the wines can be excellent – if not, they smell and taste of vinegar or poo, or both together.

Luxury goods

These will probably come from a very well-known posh region such as Bordeaux, Champagne, Rioja, the Napa Valley or Margaret River. The owner, often a wealthy businessman or multinational, will hire a very expensive consultant who will produce plush, lush, rich, smooth, ultra-ripe red wines with plenty of new oak. You won’t always be able to tell the grape variety or wine region, but you can tell it costs a lot; it has been teased and manicured like the greens at Augusta. These wines are made to be drunk by other very wealthy people who don’t always know a huge amount about wine, but want to have the best of everything.

This week, three small to medium producers, plus a good value wine from a co-operative.

La Bicicleta Voladora 2015, Rioja



A delicious unoaked Rioja packed with succulent dark cherry and bramble fruits.

Stockists: 64wine, Glasthule.

Les Demoiselles de Ch Falfas 2015, Côtes de Bourg (biodynamic)



Forward bright juicy ripe dark fruits with a lovely balancing acidity. Perfect with the Sunday roast.

Stockists: Terroirs, Donnybrook

Domaine des Nugues 2015, Beaujolais Blanc



Delicious unoaked wine with gentle fruits, a lovely texture, a fine minerality and an excellent finish.

Stockists: Martin’s, Fairview; 64wine, Glasthule.

Posted in: Irish Times

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Côtes de Bourg

I have been enjoying the wines of Ch. Falfas for a few years now, and was delighted to receive an email from Terroirs in Donnybrook, mentioning that proprietor and winemaker Véronique Cochran would be showing her wines in their shop.

Véronique is originally from Saumur in the Loire, where her father Francois Bouchet, was the very first biodynamic grower. Given her upbringing it is not surprising all of her wines are biodynamic as well. ‘I could never do it another way’, she says. Their 20-hectare holding is split into two holdings, the largest part surrounding the very attractive Château. She is based in the Côtes de Bourg on the right bank of Bordeaux, and an area that can offer excellent value for money. They have around 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon co-planted with 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec, all traditional in the area.

I tasted each of her three separate cuvées. The wines were of a very high quality, and well-priced too. Véronique was both charming and knowledgeable. A great way to get the weekend started.

Les Demoiselles de Falfas 2015 €23.50

Made with very little maceration, this is a delicious forward, extrovert wine with bright fresh ripe dark fruits and a good easy finish. Lovely wine and very good value. Vêronique suggests trying it with lighter foods, including tomato-based dishes. This is named in honour of her two daughters.


Ch. Falfas 2012 €29.50

Light elegant nose, refined blackcurrant and plum fruits, good acidity and a lightly tannic finish. Classic Bordeaux just starting to drink very well.


Ch. Falfas 2010 €39

Excellent maturing nose and palate with leafiness, developing sweet red and black fruits, good concentration and finish. Nice wine.


Ch. Falfas 1995 No longer available.

Made by her late husband in a more extracted style, this had a lighter nose, showing real development, a minty, herbal character, and light red fruits. Drinking nicely now, but unlikely to improve further.


Le Chevalier de Ch. Falfas 2011 €59

Made from 750-780 year old vines. Super wine, with everything you look for in a young Bordeaux. Concentrated blackcurrant fruits, a lovely backbone of acidity, structured and firm with excellent length. You could drink this now, preferably decanted, but I would love to try it again in another five years.


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