Posts Tagged White Burgundy

Breaking Booze – its wine o’clock but there is a shortage!

Dire predictions of future wine shortages make for good copy. The media needs a constant stream of stories and tales of hailstorms, late frosts, flooding and other random acts of nature help fill pages, online and off. A year or so ago, it was northeast Italy. I certainly haven’t noticed a great Prosecco shortage in our wine bars, or any massive price increases. If anything the opposite seems the case. As well as providing news, such scaremongering may help producers push their prices up a little. Generally I ignore these tales of alarm. If there is a genuine shortage of one wine, we are lucky to have plenty of alternatives from other regions, although when the stories are genuine, naturally I do feel sorry for the unfortunate producers who may have lost an entire year’s income in a few short hours.

 However, it does now seem possible that we are facing into a worldwide shortage of wine. World consumption has been increasing steadily over the past decade or more, particularly in the US and China, two of the largest markets. At the same time, production has declined, mainly in Europe, where growers have been paid to grub up vines. To make matters worse, France and Italy, the two largest producers, have suffered a series of small harvests. Further afield, Argentina, Chile and South Africa are all looking at a reduced harvest in 2016. Australia and New Zealand both saw increases, and are reporting high quality too, but this is unlikely to make up for the shortfall elsewhere. As it takes several years for a vine to become productive, and a decade or more to yield high quality grapes, it could take time to address the shortage.

In 2016, well-known names such as Sancerre and Chablis suffered from late frosts in April and early May, and parts of Beaujolais from hail. We will probably see shortages of these over next year. The harvest in Burgundy overall is 20 per cent down on 2015 with some areas suffering far more. The finest region of Burgundy, the Côte d’Or, has experienced a series of smaller and smaller vintages, affected by frost, hailstorms and floods. Prices for the top wines have rocketed as demand has increased dramatically in the same period.

More worrying in the long-term is the increased demand worldwide for the finest wines. Consumers in China, Hong Kong and elsewhere are happy to pay large sums for the very best labels. In the most sought-after areas, the scope for increased production is very limited. It is likely that the great wines of the world will continue to increase in price, and we will have to look elsewhere for our wine.  I will return to this subject again in the near future.

ImageViré-Clessé Vieilles Vignes 2014, Florent Rouve



Sophisticated textured green fruits, underpinned by subtle hazelnuts, with real depth.

Stockists: Marks & Spencer




DSCF7121Johann Geil Pinot Noir 2015, Rheinhessen



Charming free-flowing light supple cherry fruits. By itself, with salmon, tuna or pork.

Stockists: Mortons, Sweeneys, Redmonds, Wicklow Wine: Mitchells, Listons, Jus de Vine, Drinkstore, Corkscrew, Blackrock Cellar, 64Wine; Grapevine.





Image 2Langhe Nebbiolo 2014 G.D. Vajra



The friendly face of Nebbiolo? Floral and elegant with very approachable red fruits.

Stockists: Baggot St. Wines; Clontarf Wines; Fallon & Byrne; Green Man; Jus de Vine; Searsons; The Corkscrew; World Wide Wines.

Posted in: Irish Times

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Domaine Olivier Santenay Blanc ‘Clos des Champs’ 2013

Domaine Olivier Santenay Blanc ‘Clos des Champs’ 2013

Image 1Domaine Olivier Santenay Blanc ‘Clos des Champs’ 2013
€33.95 from O’Briens

White flower aromas; clean and fresh with a nice racy minerality, elegant pears and subtle toasted nuts.

I would drink this with black sole, brill or plaice served simply, possibly with lemon and butter.

Santenay is not the best-known region of Burgundy, and even then you are more likely to come across red wines rather than white. So today’s wine is a bit of an oddity. Santenay lies to the very far south of the Côte d’Or. The wines are sometimes dismissed as being a little too earthy, but I have always enjoyed them. Given the way Burgundy prices are going (upwards!) we may see more Santenay being offered on the future.

Posted in: Top Drop

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Jean-Claude Ramonet at Kelly’s Resort Hotel, Rosslare

The name Ramonet is revered amongst wine drinkers the world over. Recognised as one of the greatest producers of Chardonnay, his wines are sought after and fought over by collectors everywhere. An invitation to a tasting of his wines was therefore not to be missed. I had been to a spectacular tasting of his wines some years before in Kelly’s, so I knew what was in store.

A word about Kelly’s Resort Hotel in Rosslare, Co. Wexford and Bill Kelly. Bill married into the Avril family, proprietors of Clos des Papes in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This provided him with an introduction to some of the finest estates in France and elsewhere. He now imports a large proportion of the hotel’s wines directly from the producer. His list is therefore quite incredible, and amazingly well-priced. I know wine-lovers who travel to Rosslare simply to enjoy the wines and food at very reasonable prices. Looking at the wine list in the bar, I saw Bourgogne Rouge from Rougeot, Mortet, and Benjamin LeRoux (who visited here last year), all at around €35.
Jean Claude Ramonet is a modest man, a little ill at ease giving tastings in a formal setting; I hear his cellar tastings are a very different affair. He struck me as a very pleasant man, in many ways still a traditional farmer, and someone who wears his knowledge lightly. I enjoyed his company over dinner later that night, where we drank the red Chassagne Clos de la Boudriotte 2012. It was a wonderful light refreshing wine; gouyelant I think the French would say. He was accompanied by his daughter, Ann-France who is studying in Bordeaux University.
Ramonet has 22 hectares of vines in Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet, including small holdings in Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet and Le Montrachet. He produces no less than 27 different wines each year. The average age of his vines is forty years. His grandfather arrived in Burgundy in the late 1920’s and gradually built up the estate. He runs the domaine together with his brother Noel, who looks after exports. The winemaking is deceptively simple, and sounds the same as you hear at every Burgundy cellar door. The result are not; I have yet to taste a disappointing wine from Ramonet, and most of the wines are superb. If you ever get the chance to try a bottle, don’t miss it.

We tasted the following wines:

Bourgogne Blanc 2012 – made from vines within Chassagne, a delicious lively young wine with plump elegant fruits.

Chassagne-Montrachet 2012 – a clean fresh nose with herbs; lovely purity of fruit, nervy and long. Delicious wine and a definite step up the ladder.

Puligny-Montrachet 2012 – a little broader and richer on the nose, with a lovely cleansing minerality on the palate alongside some succulent pure fruits. Excellent.

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Clos de la Boudriotte 2012 – 30% new French oak, although you don’t taste it, from a one hectare plot of 30 year-old vines. Classic Chassagne with wet stones, rich melon fruits and real power. Delicious.

Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet 2009 – 1,500 bottles made. Wonderful honey and honeycomb on nose and palate, big and powerful with excellent concentration and length. Superb wine.

Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Les Chaumes 2004 – excellent mature white Burgundy. Waxy nose with developed palate of grilled nuts, old cupbaords and a creamy texture.

Le Montrachet 2010 – tried later that evening, a memorable treat. Huge young concentrated fruit with honey, acacia, and subtle new oak. Mouth-coating and textured but perfectly balanced. I would love to try it again in a decade.

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