Posts Tagged Semillon

Ovilos 2012 Ktima Biblia Chora, Pangeon, Greece

<strong>Ovilos 2012 Ktima Biblia Chora, Pangeon, Greece

OvilosOvilos 2012 Ktima Biblia Chora, Pangeon, Greece
€25.99 from Wines on the Green, Dawson Street; Baggot Street Wines; Jus de Vine Portmarnock.

Textured and rich with creamy peaches and apricots and all the requisite balancing acidity. A delicious harmonious wine full of character.

Big enough to handle white and richer fish dishes. We had ours with barbequed chicken.

Please don’t let the price put you off; this is a fantastic wine and worth every cent. I see I made it a wine of the week twice, once in the Irish Times, and once on this site a year go. It has only got better with time. A blend of 50% Semillon and 50% Assyrtiko, the latter a highly rated indigenous Greek grape variety.

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Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2013, Barossa Valley

<strong>Torbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2013, Barossa Valley</strong>

WoodcuttersSemillonTorbreck Woodcutter’s Semillon 2013, Barossa Valley
€24.95 from O’Briens

This is an unusual but very enjoyable wine. In the past, Dave Powell’s white wines were very full-bodied and oaky (I quite liked them), but he seems to have toned down the oak a bit and possibly picked earlier to get a fresher more balanced style.

This has delicious floral and toasted almond aromas, medium-bodied waxy lemons and honey on the palate and a bone dry finish. I would happily lay down a few bottles, as I suspect it will age for another five years. Right now, I would drink it with grilled and barbecued fish or chicken dishes.

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Sauvignon, but not as we know it.

Sauvignon, but not as we know it.

From the Irish Times, Saturday 23rd April, 2016

It has an unmistakable pungent aroma, making it one of the easiest grapes to recognise in blind tastings. We adore it in this country, but we are merely part of a worldwide love-in of Sauvignon Blanc. Whether it comes from Marlborough in New Zealand or Chile, we just cannot get enough of it. Plantings are spreading around the world to include many warm areas unsuited to this cool climate variety.

I suspect most wine drinkers like it as much for what it isn’t as for what it is; it isn’t too high in alcohol and it isn’t aged in new oak barrels. It is usually light, fresh and full of fruit. What is not to like? Nothing obviously.

However, drinking one wine all the time can get very dull. I have pointed out a few alternatives here before. My favourite would be Riesling, but every country offers their own version of crisp ’n’ dry.

But how do you make Sauvignon more interesting? One option is to plant it in a special place as they do, on chalky Kimmeridgian and Portlandian soils, in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé; the wines tend towards racy, flinty and mineral. A second possibility is to use a few tricks in the winery, such as wild yeasts, lees stirring and oak barrels, to add layers of complexity. If done well, as Greywacke and others have done in Marlborough, the wines are well worth trying.

There is plenty of Sauvignon in Bordeaux (where it is used for both dry and sweet wines such as Sauternes), Bergerac and other parts of southwest France. Here the tradition is to blend in some Sémillon and sometimes a dash of Muscadelle. The latter gives a lovely floral aroma and the Sémillon a plumpness that develops into a delicious toastiness with age.

All of the top white wines of Bordeaux, and there are some truly great wines, are made this way, with plenty of new oak barrels being used as well.

It is one of the only times where I enjoy Sauvignon in combination with new oak. Inexpensive Bordeaux Blanc, Bergerac Sec and other Sauv/Sem blends can offer fantastic value, and far more interest than many pure Sauvignon Blancs.

Western Australia also uses the same blend to great effect. A final alternative is to make it fizzy; there are now a number of sparkling Sauvignon Blancs available. I am not yet convinced.

I give one example of each style of Sauvignon; a lovely Bordeaux blend with 30% Sémillon, then a crisp mineral terroir-driven Sauvignon from Saint Bris (actually part of Burgundy) and a barrel-fermented, wild yeast wine from one of the new stars of South Africa, David Niewoudlt.

Image 3Ch Reynier Blanc 2013, Bordeaux

Nicely aromatic with lovely plump peach fruits.

Stockists: Baggot St. Wines; Corkscrew; Honest2Goodness.

goisot copyExogyra Virgula, Sauvignon de St. Bris 2013, Domaine Goisot

Stunning, energetic wine with a crisp minerality and cool refreshing green fruits.

Stockists: McCabes; Sheridan’s; Donnybrook Fair, Donnybrook; Jus de Vine; 64wine.

Image 2Ghost Corner Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Elim, South Africa

Delicious mouthwatering peach fruits, with a creamy texture.

Stockists: Blackrock Cellar; Donnybrook Fair, Malahide; On the Grapevine, Dalkey

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Australia was 228 years old earlier this month, or at least that is when the white settlers arrived, as Brian Walsh of Wine Australia observed. Vines arrived a little later. Wine Australia held Australia Day tastings in London, Dublin and Edinburgh. The Dublin one was well attended and had plenty of really interesting wines on show, and quite a few producers looking for homes for their wines. I spent most of the time tasting sub €20 Chardonnay and Shiraz, and found plenty to write about over the next few months.

Image 27
I also attended an excellent masterclass hosted by the erudite Brian Walsh, one of the most experienced Aussie wine hands, and John McDonnell who lent his own wisdom and a few good stories too. Great to see John back in the saddle, even if only for a day! We tasted twelve wines, six categorised as History and six Evolution. The stars for me were the first two white wines, along with a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz/Syrah from the Evolution section.

McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2004, Hunter Valley

A mere 11%abv but a stunning wine; yellow apples, lanolin and grilled nuts, with a touch of beeswax. Still fresh and vibrant. Classic Hunter Valley, one of the world’s great wine styles. An amazingly cheap €19.99, although no stockists were listed.

Pewsey Vale The Contours Riesling 1999, Eden Valley

It said 2010 on the tasting sheet but we were treated to a mature version, probably by the agents Cassidys Wines. This wine is an old favourite; I remember one glorious sunny morning a decade ago, sitting in the back of an old pick-up with Yalumba winemaker Jane Ferrari, eating bacon and cheese muffins and sipping mature Contours, while looking out over the vineyard itself. Yesterday the wine was wonderful, clean and bright with complex ever evolving flavours that can only be Riesling. Sadly I do not think this vintage is still available. We will have to age our own stocks (the 2010 is €25.99) for a decade or so. But it will be worth the wait.

Vasse Felix Chardonnay 2013, Margaret River

Classic modern Aussie Chardonnay from one of the finest exponents. Fresh clean pure apple fruits, a lightly creamy texture and a subtle toasty touch. Good acidity and nice length. Very stylish, well-made wine. €24.90 a bottle.

Dalrymple Pinot Noir 2012, Piper’s River, Tasmania

Tasmanian Pinot Noir has improved massively over the last decade. There are now some serious wines (along with excellent sparkling wines and Chardonnay). A fresh nose with cool red cherries and raspberries and a touch of oak; the palate is surprisingly concentrated and muscular, almost trying too hard, with good just-ripe Pinot fruits. €43.99 Cassidys Wines.

De Bertoli Estate Grown Shiraz 2013, Yarra Valley

Made by Steve Webber, one of Australia’s best and most interesting winemakers, this is excellent cool climate Syrah/Shiraz with a lovely savoury elegance, some crunchy whole-stem fruit and tannins. Blanc cherries and damsons with impressive length.

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